Sunday, January 10, 1999

TRISTATE DIGEST


Man, 53, arrested after fire in room

        A 53-year-old man was arrested early Saturday for allegedly starting a fire in his room at Tender Mercies Inc., an Over-the-Rhine home for the homeless and mentally ill.

        James Thompson faces felony charges of aggravated arson.

        No one was injured in the fire, which was kept under control by a sprinkler alarm system until District 1 firefighters arrived.

        The alarm sounded just after 2 a.m., and residents were evacuated from the building at 25 W. 12th St.

        Investigators said they did not know why Mr. Thompson set the fire, which caused approximately $2,000 in damage to his belongings and other contents of the room.

        The flames did not spread to the rest of the 25-unit apartment building, according to Capt. Dan Rottmueller of the Cincinnati Fire Investigation Unit.

Politicians slated for anti-abortion rally
        U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot is among those scheduled to address an anti-abortion rally Saturday on Fountain Square to mark the 26th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.

        The event is to begin with a rosary procession from City Hall at 1 p.m.

        “This is a solemn occasion marking the undeniable fact that approximately 36 million lives have been violently slaughtered in the name of convenience or choice,” said rally organizer Nick Federspiel.

        Other speakers include Cincinnati Councilman Charles Winburn, Ohio Sen. Louis Blessing and Bob Cetrulo, president of Northern Kentucky Right to Life.

Expert on drug abuse to head county agency
        The Hamilton County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board has named a Rhode Island expert on substance abuse its new executive director.

        Sherry Knapp, associate director for substance abuse at the Rhode Island Department of Health, will start Feb. 1. The agency, with a $16 million annual budget, oversees most substance abuse treatment in Hamilton County.

        Ms. Knapp replaces long-time executive director John Young, who resigned in July. Since then, associate director Martha Walsh had been serving as interim director.

Hospitals abandon report card effort
        CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Clinic and the eight hospitals it owns are pulling out of a project that issues report cards about health care, a move that could kill the nationally recognized program.

        “The bottom line is, it isn't very useful,” said Dr. John Clough, director of health affairs. “We're not leaving the study because we don't look good, we're leaving the study because no one uses it.”

        The clinic is among hospitals fighting about issues such as how to adjust death rates so that hospitals accepting sicker patients aren't unfairly penalized in the report card.

        The clinic's move would remove one-third of the 27 hospitals involved in the project. Other hospitals pulling out are Marymount, Lakewood, Euclid, Hillcrest, Huron, Southpointe, Fairview and Lutheran.

        Business representatives, who say they have used the report cards to pick hospitals for their employees, are considering responding by dropping the hospitals from health plans or lobbying state lawmakers to make reports mandatory.

Cop in strip search gets house arrest, probation
        COLUMBUS — A police officer who strip-searched a domestic violence victim and ordered her to take a bath was put on probation for violating her civil rights.

        Richard Kirby, 35, apologized to the 31-year-old on Friday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

        “Any actions of mine were totally unintentional,” Mr. Kirby said.

        Mr. Kirby was convicted in November of interfering with civil rights, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. He was acquitted of gross sexual imposition and abduction.

        Judge David Fais placed Mr. Kirby under house arrest for 30 days and probation for 18 months.

Free store for schools focus of workshop
        Crayons to Computers, a free store for teachers in poor neighborhoods, will showcase its Bond Hill resource center when it holds a two-day national workshop beginning Tuesday.

        More than 23 representatives from 16 cities will tour the two-year-old operation at 1250 Tennessee Ave., which was the first in the nation and is the model for similar school supply centers, said volunteer Dick Bere.

        Since opening in February 1997, Crayons to Computers has distributed an estimated $2 million in donated goods, including 650 computers to needy students in Cincinnati-area schools. For more information about Crayons to Computers, call the Bond Hill center at 482-7095.

Witness in racketeering case charged in murder
        CLEVELAND — A witness in a drug-trafficking case against a former suburban prosecutor has been arrested in the death of a man 13 years ago.

        Lester Williams, 45, of Boca Raton, Fla., was arrested on Friday at his apartment.

        A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted him Dec. 29 on two counts of aggravated murder and one count each of aggravated robbery and kidnapping, Detective Gary Garisek said.

        Mr. Williams, formerly of Mentor, is accused in the death of Ralph Barone of Avon Lake. Prosecutors think Mr. Barone was hired to deliver cash for drugs, but never dropped off the money. He was killed in 1985.

        Mr. Williams was a co-defendant and witness against former Bedford Prosecutor Thomas Longo in a pending federal racketeering and drug case.

       



Challenges facing Taft are familiar
TAFT INAUGURATION EVENTS
Let's not miss real spectacle of government
Storms take a brief timeout
You are grumpily invited to The Enquirer's Cincinnati Whine Festival
How cold can it get?
Give them an 'H' for postage hike
Questions surround nightclub killing
ARCHITECTURAL CRUSADE
Verdin saves church building
Wesley Chapel lost
Man lived alone in filth for years
Airport's Y2K cost: $6.4 million
Boone Co. cities vie to annex development site
Cincinnati clout in Columbus has limits
Exhibit shows off female banjo players
Fairfield aims to help freshmen
Family sees city's best, worst
'Footloose' took long road to Broadway
Former CCM dean Sapp remembered as visionary
Kentucky's education reform lauded
Sculpture evokes Hamilton
Study links vision loss, stroke
- TRISTATE DIGEST
Tuesday meeting will air plan to decontaminate Hillsboro site
Western group fights growth plan
Trip to D.C. leaves me cold