Saturday, August 30, 2003

Regional Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

Ohio increases rates for prepaid tuition

COLUMBUS - The state raised rates for its prepaid tuition program by 16.5 percent Thursday and warned that the fund could have a cash shortfall in about 15 years if current trends continue.

The Ohio Tuition Trust Authority has blamed soaring tuition and the declining stock market for increases in the past year and a half.

Effective immediately, one credit of prepaid college tuition costs $95 if contributions are made periodically by check, or $93 if made through monthly automatic payroll deductions.

The state last raised rates to $81.50 on Jan. 1 - up from $59.50 in January 2002. Once an account holder reaches age 18, the credits can be redeemed for tuition at one of Ohio's 13 public universities.

Also, the authority discontinued its special tuition unit prices for infants up to 1 year old and has limited yearly contributions to $2,000 per account to limit future tuition liability.

Judge OKs display of inflatable rat

FAIRFIELD - A giant inflatable rat will once again be part of union protests outside a Fairfield auto dealership.

U.S. District Judge Sandra Beckwith has granted a temporary restraining order against the city of Fairfield that clears the way for the union to resume using the 12-foot-tall rat in its protests.

The city had claimed the rat violated zoning laws. But the union sued this week, claiming the rat was a symbol of labor protest protected by the U.S. Constitution under the First Amendment's rights of free speech and assembly.

Protesters displayed the rat during demonstrations this year outside Fairfield Ford on Ohio 4.

The judge's order stands until at least Sept. 15, when she will consider issuing a permanent injunction against the city

Boy, 14, could face charges of rape

HAMILTON - Prosecutors say they are planning to press more-serious charges against a 14-year-old Fairfield boy accused of sexually assaulting four children, ages 4-8.

Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Greg Stephens said the current charges of gross sexual imposition were likely to be increased to rape. The youth, held in the county juvenile detention center since Aug. 18, is set for a pretrial hearing Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Fairfield police's investigation reported that the 14-year-old had allegedly been sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old boy, said Rob Clevenger, juvenile court administrator. The older boy also remained in detention Friday.

Clevenger said the 14-year-old's alleged assaults of the younger children happened at a Fairfield apartment complex.

Pharmacist sentenced in theft of $1.2 million

DAYTON, Ohio - A former managing pharmacist at Kettering Medical Center was sentenced to three years and five months in prison Friday for embezzling more than $1.2 million from the hospital.

Philip C. Garber, 45, also was ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service $386,000 in back taxes and penalties. He was sentenced in Dayton by U.S. District Judge Walter H. Rice.

Garber worked at the medical center from 1987 to 1998. He was accused of diverting 430 insurance checks sent to the hospital's pharmacies into an account he controlled at a Dayton bank.

Garber previously had pleaded guilty to theft, tax evasion and engaging in an illegal monetary transaction.

Man kills himself after police standoff

SHARONVILLE - A man facing eviction from his Shadow Hill II apartment shot and killed himself after a 61/2-hour standoff with police Friday.

The name of the man, who police said was in his 40s, was not released.

A bailiff went to the man's apartment on Sharon Park Lane about 9:30 a.m. Friday to evict him, Sharonville Police Chief Mike Schappa said. The man refused to come out, said he was armed and threatened suicide. The Hamilton County Police Association's SWAT team was called.

"He kept telling us he had nothing to live for," Schappa said. There was no one else inside the apartment.

Officers maintained contact with the man until about 2:30 p.m., when the man cut off communication. Officers heard a gunshot about 4 p.m. and found the man dead, Schappa said.

Man accused of threat against judge's life

A Cumminsville man threatened to kill a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge this month after she sentenced him to spend six months in jail for threatening to kill a corrections officer, according to an indictment filed Friday.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Ronnie L. Clark, 25, on charges of retaliation and intimidation, which carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.

Clark is accused of threatening to kill Judge Ethna Cooper after she convicted him on a charge of aggravated menacing for the earlier threat to kill a Hamilton County sheriff's correction officer. Clark is serving that six-month sentence in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

In April, Clark was convicted and sentenced to spend 30 days in jail on a domestic violence charge in which he threatened to kill the 21-year-old mother of his 2-year-old daughter.

Kroger: New garage or we go
Big potential seen in long-ignored river

Shaken, Catholics shunning church
Church spokesman believes in message
Nothing will shake her faith of 82 years
Elder High student's beliefs not affected
As a teen, he left the church
He believes in ideals of the Catholic faith
Victim abandoned dream of priesthood
Men of the cloth can be creeps, she says
Want to share your feelings about your faith? E-mail us

Two truck accidents cause headaches on highways (Photo gallery)
11 accused of participating in large cocaine, marijuana ring
Rental program freeze sought
Order restricts release of Bengals lawsuit information
Regional Report

Bronson: Lynch is not a resident, and Lindner is not cheap
Howard: Good Things Happening
Faith Matters: Art show honors Mary
McNutt: Neighborhoods

AK Steel's the place to be
Subdivision opponents want land checked for lead
'Grandpa' keeps kids laughing
Glass sculptures stolen
Widened part of Kemper to open
Symmes group drops petition
Street on project's edge faces cloudy fate

Virginia Coffey fought against discrimination
Former osteopath William Houser made house calls to his patients
Kentucky obituaries

Role of relay switches examined in blackout
Lawyer accused in drug-ring probe
Popular boy band no longer 'N debt to city of Columbus
Pharmacist gets 3 years for embezzling $1.2 million
Meter runs while judge blocks prison shutdown
Tiny village in jeopardy as new law takes effect
Woman, 105, donates $1.25 million for park
Ohio Moments

Restaurant shootings called unrelated
Doctor accused of unnecessary hysterectomies
Covington bishop apologizes for abuse by 30 priests
Overcrowded jail prepares for busy holiday weekend
Longtime legislator will not run in 2004