Monday, July 7, 2003

Around the Commonwealth


Registration begins for river paddle event

Compiled from staff and wire reports

River sports enthusiasts can begin registering for the Great Ohio River Paddle, an eight-day September adventure in which participants will paddle 140 miles from Portsmouth, Ohio, to Rising Sun, Ind.

The Sept. 20-27 event, sponsored by the Ohio River Foundation, aims to educate school children and the general public about Ohio River ecology. They also hope to promote the importance of conserving and protecting the waterway as well as to celebrate the heritage of riverside communities.

The main event involves 40 experienced paddlers, but there will be a variety of activities for the general public at host communities. Proceeds benefit the foundation's River Explorer program, which educates the public about the ecology and the importance of the Ohio River.

To register or to become a sponsor, call (513) 460-3365 or visit www.ohioriverfdn.org.

Meth problem on the rise in western Ky.

OWENSBORO - A small sheriff's department in western Kentucky has neither the time nor the resources to investigate numerous tips it receives regarding the illegal production of methamphetamine.

Countless hours of police work, surveillance and federal grants have helped provide police with increased tools to fight the problem. But time is limited when officers receive five to 10 tips daily.

"At any given time, there are at least 12 to 15 active meth labs in one stage of production or another going on in Daviess County," said Det. Sgt. Jim Acquisto. "If we really knew the numbers, it would really scare us."

During five years as the Daviess County Sheriff's Department's lone narcotics investigator, Acquisto has had a front-row seat as the county's methamphetamine presence has escalated from a growing problem into a widespread epidemic.

Since 1998, the department has found at least 162 meth labs throughout all segments of the county.

Man armed with pistol robs gasoline station

SYMMES TWP. - A Montgomery Road gas station was robbed at gunpoint early Sunday, with the robber fleeing on foot with the cash, Hamilton County sheriff's deputies said.

About 2 a.m., a white man, estimated to be 27 to 30 years old, pulled a silver-colored semiautomatic pistol on a clerk at the Speedway station at 11050 Montgomery Road. He forced the clerk to give him cash from both cash registers, then ordered the clerk to the floor, police said.

The clerk was not injured. The robber was described as about 6 feet tall, 180 to 200 pounds, with short hair and wearing a ski mask. Anyone with information is asked to call sheriff's deputies at 825-1500 or Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.

Man fatally injured at truck and tractor pull

LEBANON, Ky. - A Springfield man died after he was struck by flying debris from a malfunctioning tractor during a truck and tractor pull.

Barney Warner, 50, suffered blunt-force trauma injuries to his head after the accident Sunday morning at the Marion County Fairgrounds, said Sheriff Carroll Kirkland.

The accident occurred about 1:11 a.m. EST, Kirkland said.

Warner was taken to North Springview Hospital in Lebanon, where he was pronounced dead, Kirkland said.

The tractor, owned by Akridge Farms in Springfield, was impounded for further investigation by the Marion County Sheriff's department, Kirkland said.

Investigators had not determined the cause of the malfunction.

Ohio ranked better in welfare performance

COLUMBUS - The state has considerably improved its performance for determining who is eligible for food stamp benefits and how much they should get.

Statistics released last week by federal regulators show Ohio ranked 18th among the states and territories for accuracy in calculating benefits with a 6.5 percent error rate, below the national average of 8.26 percent.

That represents a decrease of nearly 2 percent from last year and a drop from 1995, when the state's error rate peaked at 14.6 percent.

Since then, Ohio has worked hard to improve its system, said Neva Terry, who heads the research office of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

County caseworkers have undergone training to improve interviewing and the state has pushed for sanctions and criminal charges against food-stamp recipients who defraud the system.




ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Amos: Will new group let public in on downtown decisions?
Howard: Some good news
Radel: Locked exhibit leaves Peace Bell tourists glum

LOCAL HEADLINES
Ohio still has aviation pioneers
New city law tells litterbugs to can it
Cyclist gears up for trip over U.S.
Ohio cuts back local funding
Bridgetown man lends hand at home for nuns
Storms keeping linemen busy
Housing proposal opposed
Size of fire levy weighed
Monroe auditor report, tax vote delayed
Outdoor fees to increase
Tristate A.M. Report

OBITUARIES
Eleanor M. Allen found harmony working at CCM
Yachtsman Briggs Swift Cunningham Jr. dies

KENTUCKY HEADLINES
Plane crashes in Cumberland Gap
Around the Commonwealth