Saturday, August 14, 1999

TRISTATE DIGEST


4-year-old girl started blaze, firefighters say

        A child started a $20,000 blaze in an English Woods apartment Friday afternoon after lighting her doll's hair on fire and putting the burning doll in a closet, Cincinnati firefighters said.

        The blaze ignited the bedroom closet in the basement apartment of a three-story, six-family apartment building.

        A tenant tried to put out the flames and alerted everyone to escape. No one was injured.

        Fire investigators say the blaze began when a 4-year-old girl started a rag on fire from a burner of the kitchen range and then ignited her doll's hair.

        Three adults and one child were displaced and are being helped by the American Red Cross.

Cincinnati police to open new field office
        The Cincinnati Police Division, in partnership with Metro Management Inc., will open a new District 1 field office Sunday at 1400 Race St., Over-the-Rhine.

        A field office is a place where police officers can go to complete routine paper work and still remain in the neighborhoods they patrol. The field office can also be used as a meeting place for officers and neighborhood residents.

        The public is encouraged to visit the new field office.

Low-interest loans for property repairs
        The Hamilton County Housing Rehab Program, funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is offering low-interest loans to property owners interested in making improvements.

        Interest rates are available at 1 percent, 2 percent and 3 percent, with a repayment term of up to 20 years. The loans are secured by a mortgage on the property and are exclusively for property repairs, with priority given to buildings with code violations or major maintenance problems.

        The elderly, handicapped or extremely low-income homeowners may be eligible for a reduced payment loan.

        To qualify, applicants must:

        • Own and occupy property in Hamilton County.

        • Have good credit.

        • Earn low to moderate income (a family of four can earn no more than $40,800 a year).

        Hamilton County property owners interested in applying should call community development representative Kathie Huesman, 946-4883. Homeowners within the city should call Neighborhood Housing Services at 631-8560.

Hairstyle regulation unfair, woman says
        A federal court was ordered Friday to hear the complaint of a black woman who said her supervisors regulated her hairstyles in the workplace, but didn't do the same to white co-workers.

        The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit directed a Cleveland federal judge to hear the complaint by Eunice Hollins, a machine operator at Atlantic Co. Inc.'s factory in Willoughby Hills, Ohio. She said she was treated differently, on the basis of race, by supervisors in applying the company's personal-grooming policies.

        Ms. Hollins said she was told to obtain supervisors' approval for her hairstyles — including braids and ponytails — even though some white women employed at the factory wore the same hairstyles and were not subjected to similar regulation.

River to be dredged for old ammunition
        PORT CLINTON, Ohio — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers this month will begin dredging a river that has been closed because of low water levels and concerns about military ammunition in the water.

        The ammunition is from a former military testing site used until 1966. Soldiers fired shells into Lake Erie, and some of the rounds are still finding their way into the nearby mouth of the Toussaint River.

        Fears of striking one of the live shells in the river have driven away almost all boaters and tourists.

        Also, without being dredged, the river is too shallow to provide access to Lake Erie for bigger boats.

        Col. Robert Slockbower, of the Corps, said Friday that the $700,000 dredging project will begin Aug. 23 and should be finished by October.

State receives $30M for reading programs
       

        COLUMBUS — The state has received $30 million from the federal government to fund reading programs in kindergarten through third-grade, the state announced.

        The Ohio Department of Education will coordinate the Reading Excellence Act grants, Gov. Bob Taft's office said Friday.

        The grants will build on the $20 million the state will spend during the next year on Mr. Taft's OhioReads program, a tutoring program designed to make sure that every child can read at grade level by the end of the fourth grade.

        The grants, part of a $260 million federal program, are geared toward schools with students from low-income families.

Marijuana search finds dog-fighting, alligators
        TOLEDO, Ohio — Deputies looking for marijuana plants found a dog-fighting operation, stolen cars and two alligators on a farm outside the city.

        Otha Lawrence Jones, Jr., 29, of Toledo was charged with five felony counts of dog-fighting, sheriff's Lt. Donald Atkinson said Friday. Mr. Jones also was charged with a weapons violation.

        During a routine helicopter search on Thursday, Lucas County sheriff's deputies saw marijuana plants on the farm. After landing to take a closer look, deputies discovered a building with 10 pit bulls inside, Lt. Atkinson said.

        The dogs were turned over to the Lucas County dog warden. The Toledo Humane Society took the alligators.

        Deputies destroyed the 28 marijuana plants on the farm. Each had a value of about $1,000. Additional charges could be filed.

        Authorities have talked to the farm's owner, who said he didn't know about the activities on his property, Lt. Atkinson said.

Charges dropped for highway dog-rescuer
        RAVENNA, Ohio — Score one for the dog lovers.

        Charges have been dropped against a man who pulled over on the Ohio Turnpike to shoo a confused dog off the highway, but wound up getting ticketed by a state trooper for illegally walking on the toll road.

        Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci on Thursday dropped the charge against Mark Federau, 36, of Parma, Ohio.

        “My interpretation of the facts was that he was acting as a good Samaritan, and I didn't think he should be punished for his actions,” Mr. Vigluicci said. “Common sense should prevail.”

        Mr. Federau had been facing a $100 fine after leaving his car on July 29 and running across the highway to save a dog that was darting in and out of traffic. He pleaded not guilty to the charge Tuesday in Ravenna Municipal Court.

        Sgt. Charges Veppert of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Hiram post said officers there were not upset at Mr. Vigluicci's choice.

       



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- TRISTATE DIGEST
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