Tuesday, August 24, 1999


Patient is critical; raw oysters suspect

        The Cincinnati Health Department is investigating whether raw oysters served at a local restaurant were carrying a rare, potentially deadly bacteria that has put a Northern Kentucky resident into intensive care.

        The patient was listed in critical condition Monday at St. Luke Hospital East in Fort Thomas. A doctor who called the health department Monday suspects his patient was made ill by exposure to vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria most commonly found in shellfish, said Judith Daniels, medical director of the health department.

        Health department staff members inspected the restaurant Monday. They collected oyster samples for testing, but results will take two to three days. They found the following food violations:

        • Low temperatures for baked potatoes and beer batter.

        • Improper storage of raw shrimp.

        • Two pieces of equipment that were not properly cleaned.

        • An improperly labeled chemical spray bottle.

        All the violations have been corrected.

        The restaurant's owner said Monday he has stopped serving raw oysters pending the results of the investigation. The Enquirer is not naming the patient, nor the restaurant because the health department has not completed its testing.

        If confirmed, it would the first case of vibrio illness that Dr. Daniels has seen in 10 years. The vibrio bacteria can cause high fever, chills, skin lesions and shock. The fatality rate for vibrio infections is up to 50 percent, Dr. Daniels said.

Lawmaker objects to state's lawyer fees
        COLUMBUS — As the state set aside $9 million Monday to pay private lawyers, a lawmaker called the amount excessive and dismissed the idea of looking to professional legal associations for advice about fees.

        “This is just a group of lawyers taking care of a group of lawyers,” Sen. Gregory DiDonato said. “Why would they recommend anything lower for their members?”

        The state Controlling Board approved the $9 million request by the attorney general's office to pay private lawyers to do legal work for state agencies this fiscal year. The approval allows the attorney general to waive competitive bidding for the work. More such requests are expected as the year goes on.

        The board, made up of six legislators and a representative from the governor's office, has the final say on state spending.

        Mr. DiDonato, D-New Philadelphia, questioned why the hourly rate the state pays private lawyers rose from $95 to $125. He also asked why the attorney general does not bid legal jobs competitively.

        Leah Pappas of the attorney general's office said her office reviewed lawyers' fees in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland and smaller Ohio cities.

Activists protest plan to kill coyotes
        KETTERING, Ohio — Sightings of coyotes in this Dayton suburb have prompted officials to consider trapping and destroying the animals, drawing protests from animal-rights activists.

        City Manager Steve Husemann said Monday that as many as six coyotes have been spotted roaming neighborhoods, worrying residents.

        “They're concerned about their household pets, and certainly there would be a concern about attacks on people,” Mr. Husemann said.

        City officials have contacted a trapper but have not yet decided whether to proceed with trying to trap the coyotes.

        “We're meeting with him to decide whether that's our best alternative,” Mr. Husemann said. “I think we have to do something. We may find a way to scare them away.”

        Blaine Hoffmann, spokesman for the People-Animals Network, said there is no reason to trap and kill the coyotes. He said his group plans to protest at a City Council meeting today.

        Mr. Hoffmann said the coyotes consist of a family of six that includes four pups. They live in a wooded area that lines a creek bed, he said.

        “They have not caused any property damage or injured any persons,” he said.

Wife may use sperm from her dead husband
        CLEVELAND — A woman whose husband died at age 38 says she's comforted by arrangements the couple made to preserve his opportunity of fathering a child with her.

        Todd Reese of suburban Eastlake died Sunday of complications from cystic fibrosis, a disease that attacks patients' lungs with a thick mucus.

        Months before his death, Mr. Reese and his wife of 11 years, Tina, drew up a contract that stated their wish that sperm be harvested from Mr. Reese after his death. Dr. Steven Kahan, a urologist at University Hospitals, performed the procedure hours after his death, and the sample was sent to a sperm bank.

        Mrs. Reese said she doesn't know yet whether she will use the sperm.

        “If I ever want to have a child but I'm not interested in being with anybody else, I'd rather have Todd's baby than a stranger's baby,” she told the Plain Dealer.

Sand more effective on burning tires
        SYCAMORE, Ohio — Conventional methods used by firefighters could not stop flames that engulfed Ohio's largest tire dump for three days, a fire captain said.

        “We used some water, some foam, we figured around 7 million gallons of water we pumped on this thing,” Sycamore Fire Capt. Jeff Hosler said Monday. “The water didn't really have much effect.”

        More than 200 firefighters from 19 departments in four counties fought the fire for seven hours Saturday afternoon.

        Foam helped the fire departments keep the fire from spreading but sand brought in by a contractor hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was more effective in containing the fire, Capt. Hosler said.

Boy, 14, is killed while target-shooting
        ROCKFORD, Ohio — A 14-year-old boy was killed Monday when he was shot while target-shooting with a friend at his grandmother's home near this northwest Ohio community, authorities said.

        Mercer County Sheriff Paul Gray identified the victim as Tim Miller of Mendon.

        Sheriff Gray said Tim and a 15-year-old friend were shooting at birds and targets. Tim was using a BB gun, while his friend had a .22-caliber rifle, Sheriff Gray said.

        The sheriff said the 15-year-old shot at a bird just as Tim came around the garage. The boy was struck in the chest.

Engine fault unlikely in small plane's crash
        BURGOON, Ohio — A home-built plane that crashed, killing both people on board, did not appear to have had engine trouble, an inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said.

        The FAA thinks the single-engine plane was about 200 feet in the air when it nose-dived into a field, inspector H. Tony Marshall said Sunday.

        The plane, which had taken off from a private airfield, went down about 7:45 p.m. Saturday near Burgoon, about 30 miles southeast of Toledo.

        Investigators checked the plane at the crash site Sunday. The cause of the crash had not been determined.

        Killed were pilot Emerson Klotz, 43, of Kansas, who built the plane; and his passenger, Earl Sterling, 39, of Bradner.

        Dee Morel, a friend of the pilot, said Mr. Klotz had been operating the plane for about three years and had been a pilot since 1978.


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Bus station demolition in hands of county judge
GOP exults after taking Senate rule
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Dayton-area driver indicted in fatal, alcohol-related crash
Former officer's sex trial begins
Four more 'Most Wanted' suspects have been arrested
Home last chance for troubled youth
Lebanon man dies in crash, may have had heart attack
Local companies volunteer to sponsor couple's wedding