Thursday, August 14, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

Man acquitted of racial harassment

GEORGETOWN - A Brown County man was acquitted Wednesday of criminal trespassing charges in a case in which his black neighbors said he and six others racially harassed them.

A Brown County Municipal Court jury of seven whites and one African-American deliberated for about an hour Wednesday afternoon before finding Rick McElroy, 44, of Cahall-Schoolhouse Road, not guilty.

Members of an African-American family accused McElroy and six other white men of coming onto their property Dec. 7, 2002, and threatening them with loaded rifles.

Marcia Fields and her brother, Othel Cooksey, Jr. told authorities that the men threatened to kill them and used racial slurs.

Church officer pleads guilty to embezzling

LEBANON - A former secretary and treasurer of a Mason church has pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated theft.

Diana Kembel, 45, of Hamilton Township, made the plea to avoid a trial, which was set to begin today in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

She had been accused of stealing $210,000 from Mason United Methodist Church between January and September 2002.

But Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel on Wednesday said the amount of restitution Kembel owes is being disputed.

In several weeks, Judge James L. Flannery will hear lawyers' arguments on the amount Kembel owes and will sentence Kembel. She faces one to five years in prison.

Some hospitalized after chemical spill

HAMILTON - A chemical spill in the 1300 block of Franklin Street about 9 p.m. led to some evacuations of nearby residents.

An unknown number of people were taken to Fort Hamilton Hospital with respiratory problems.

Police said shortly after evacuations began they decided instead to warn other residents to stay indoors.

The nature of the spill was not immediately known.

Township officials look into false alarm

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Fire officials confirmed this week they are conducting an internal investigation into whether six firefighters and emergency medical technicians were involved in an alleged false fire call on May 10.

A fire department dispatcher made the allegation, said Chief Jim Detherage..

The alleged incident involves an on-duty EMT or firefighter telephoning Station Two firehouse on John Road in Pisgah about 11:30 p.m.

Using a private phone, the employee stated there was a smell of smoke in a house later determined to be a fake address, he said.

The firefighters put on their gear and were en route but couldn't find the address when the alleged caller notified communications it was a prank, Detherage said.

It is not known when the investigation will wrap up, he said.

Making false reports to emergency crews, he said, is a misdemeanor. If the phony report intervenes with an actual emergency, then the offense becomes a felony.

Woman dies in car crash on I-74

WHITEWATER TWP. - A 28-year-old woman was killed in a one-car accident on Interstate 74 west of Ohio 128 Wednesday morning.

The woman, who was a passenger in a car driven by Robert C. Ott, Jr., 42, of Sayler Park, was thrown from the car when it flipped, said the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.

The car was traveling west on I-74 when the driver lost control, deputies said.

It went off the right side of the interstate, struck a guardrail and went airborne. It landed on its top in the right lane.

The woman was dead when emergency workers arrived. Her identity was being withheld Wednesday, pending notification of family members.

Ott was treated at University Hospital and released.

Alcohol or drugs may have been a factor in the crash, the sheriff's office said.

Neither Ott nor the victim was wearing a seatbelt.

Motorcyclist dies in collision with truck

LAWRENCEBURG - A West Harrison, Ind., man was killed Wednesday morning when the motorcycle he was driving collided head-on with a garbage truck.

William Petrey, 61, was dead at the scene.

Authorities say Petrey was driving the motorcycle east on Ind. 46 just west of Whites Hill Road about 8:13 a.m. when he crossed the center line, striking a Rumpke garbage truck head-on.

The driver of the truck, Ryan Eason, 26, of Blue Ash, was not injured.

Fernald safety faulted
Gate debate splitting residents
Student, school at odds on mascot
Schools going extra mile for newcomers
Hamilton chemical spill causes injuries, evacuation

Amos: Black Family Reunion needs parents to stick around
Howard: Some Good News

Three children rescued from Great Miami in very close call
Son charged in stabbing, dad for assault on officer
Garage trove of stolen items
Golfers to shift out of park
West Chester rejects vote on rec center
Mason looking over ideas for downtown
Mason fitness center explored
Middletown foresees school savings
More givers sought locally
2 indicted in vehicular homicide cases
Union Twp. man's family can't comprehend slaying
Goshen opens its schools to adjacent districts
Tristate A.M. Report

Gloria Schumacher was wife, mother, community volunteer

Tintype exhibit celebrates Ohio inventor's idea
Ohio farms producing a corn-ucopia
Ohio Moments

Taylor Mill raises water rate 59%
City approves preservation of Civil War battery site
Principal won't get job back after demotion
Schools improve in basic testing
Honey of a fair begins today
Priest gets 10 years in sexual abuse case