Tuesday, June 13, 2000

Tristate digest

Boy injured in crash released from hospital

        A 3-year-old boy seriously hurt in a Fairfield Township crash Friday has been released from Children's Hospital Medical Center.

        Antonio Davis was released Sunday, officials said.

        A Rumpke garbage truck struck the vehicle driven by his aunt, Lucy Davis, 60, of Monroe. The impact killed her and her twin adopted daughters, Demetria and Tambra, age 7.

        Fairfield Township Police Chief Richard St. John said the investigation is expected to continue until at least Wednesday.

        The driver of the Rumpke truck, Michael Vail, 35, has not been charged.

Police car shot at; no suspects yet
        Early Monday morning, someone shot seven to eight times at a marked police car with two Cincinnati Police Division officers inside. None of the shots hit the car.

        Police are investigating, but have no suspects in the shooting, which happened at about 1:50 a.m., after the officers had finished writing a citation for an open flask. The incident happened in the 2000 block of Sutter Avenue in English Woods.

Woman charged after boyfriend set afire
        A Columbia Township woman has been charged with felonious assault for throwing gasoline on her boyfriend and setting him on fire.

        Jimmy Kelly, 44, was in critical condition Monday with second-degree burns at University Hospital.

        Vernessa Houston, 39, of View Point Drive, was arguing with him on Hudson Avenue in Evanston on Saturday when she threw a cup of gasoline on him and set him on fire, the Cincinnati Police Division said.

        A temporary protective order was issued against Ms. Houston during her arraignment Monday. She was being held in the Hamilton County Justice Center on $10,000 bond.

Groesbeck man charged in robbery
        A 36-year-old Groesbeck man on Monday was charged with the May 19 robbery of the Provident Bank branch on Glenway Avenue in Price Hill.

        Police charged Frank L. Pence, of the 3100 block of Lapland Drive, with aggravated robbery in the incident. Mr. Pence was in the Hamilton County Justice Center on unrelated charges, police said.

        About 2:30 p.m. on May 19, a masked man walked into the bank and handed a note to the teller demanding money and threatening the use of an explosive device. Police said the robber escaped with about $3,600.

Police looking into store jewelry theft
        HAMILTON — Police are investigating the theft of $6,851 worth of jewelry from the Kmart store at 1780 S. Erie Blvd.

        Police on Monday said they had made no arrests in the crime, which store officials thought occurred between December and late May.

        The stolen items included 10-carat gold rings, bracelets, earrings and pendants.

        The items were removed from a locked area of the store's layaway section.

Many using 911 for non-emergencies
        COLUMBUS — Laws banning non-emergency 911 usage are not preventing frivolous calls that tie up lines reserved for life-and-death emergencies, officials say.

        Although the Columbus City Council in 1994 made it a first-degree misdemeanor to improperly use 911, as many as half of the calls coming into Columbus 911 are not emergencies, said police Cmdr. Kim Jacobs.

        Some people call 911 for directions or tow trucks. Others call for sports scores.

        “There's only so many lines,” said Mark Adams, executive director of the National Emergency Number Association, a 911 advocacy group based in the Columbus suburb Gahanna.

Man to face charges of theft from florist
        MIDDLETOWN — Thomas Kovach used to have the best-landscaped house on his block, police say, but many of his beautiful plants may have been stolen.

        Mr. Kovach, 36, was arrested early Saturday after a brief chase.

        A police officer said he spotted Mr. Kovach inside Armbruster Florist, 3601 Grand Ave., after an alarm sounded, a police report says. He ran and climbed over a fence, but police caught him.

        Detective John Magill said Mr. Kovach may have committed a series of thefts from the florists' shop since last year. He said police found about $700 worth of suspected stolen items in a search of Mr. Kovach's home in the 2800 block of Roosevelt Boulevard.

        Mr. Kovach is scheduled to appear in Middletown Municipal Court on July 14 to face charges of receiving stolen property, obstruction of justice, criminal trespassing and theft.

Grand jury to hear child-rape allegations
        HAMILTON — A Butler County grand jury will hear the case of a 29-year-old woman who is accused of raping a 10-year-old boy she was baby-sitting.

        Jane Megumi Smith, of Hamilton, waived her right to a preliminary hearing Monday in Hamilton Municipal Court.

        Judge John Rosmarin sent the case directly to a grand jury without the hearing and continued her bond at $10,000. Ms. Smith is being held at the Butler County Jail.

        Police said the boy told family members about the alleged molestation. They are also investigating whether Ms. Smith might have had sexual contact with a second boy, a teen-ager.

        Ms. Smith, a homemaker, was arrested at her home Wednesday after the 10-year-old boy's family confronted her with the allegations.

        Police were called to the house because of the disturbance and, after they arrived, learned of the rape allegation.

Students have plenty of spiders to study
        HIRAM, Ohio — There's no shortage of subjects for students at Hiram College's new tarantula research program.

        Biologist Sam Marshall has amassed 750 of the spiders, some as big as a man's fist, for students to study at the small liberal arts school in northeast Ohio.

        The 42-year-old professor joined Hiram last year as director of the college's biological field station where part of his job involves getting undergraduates to focus on how the 60 species of tarantulas behave.

        “Despite the fact that they're the most famous of spiders, very little research is actually done on tarantulas,” Mr. Marshall told the Akron Beacon Journal.

        Historically, most spider biologists have studied spiders native to their regions in North American and Europe, while most species of tarantulas are found in tropical spots, he said.

House-for-dollar plan may be revived
        COLUMBUS — City officials are trying to reinstate a program in which houses could be bought for a dollar as long as those who buy them promise to bring them up to code and live in them for at least four years.

        Mayor Michael Coleman is proposing an Urban Homestead 2000 program, using incentives similar to the dollar-house lottery to boost homeownership. Columbus' homeownership rate is 49 percent, compared with 68 percent nationally and 74 percent in Columbus suburbs.


Gas price increase breeds suspicion
New law aims at teens, crowded cars
A pig in the pokey? Well, protective custody
Authority likely to manage project
Infant dies; parents accused
Ohio test aims at critical thinking
Probe of shooting remains stymied
Comedy team provokes thought along with laughs
Food peril not nutty politics
Charges allege sex with inmate
County windfall boosts agency
To beat summer's heat, find a place to plunge in and GET WET!
Woman freed after murder retrial
Audit of schools turns up problems
Aug. trial for man accused of killing uncle
City to collect property tax
GE gives $35,750 to students
Golf Manor pool ready for swimmers again
More Old State Road residents asking for sidewalks
Murder retrial begins in '95 shooting case
Plan to revamp schools offered
Former worker faces felony charges in contract dispute
Linton Series goal: Grow, retain intimacy
Man gets five years in prison for role in Covington killing
State: Schools require overhaul
Pig Parade: Hog Wild
- Tristate digest