Thursday, August 03, 2000

Covington forums to address school audit

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Jack Moreland, the superintendent of Covington Independent Schools, is holding several open forums to discuss the Kentucky Department of Education's report on the school system's scholastic audit.

        The newly selected superintendent will also share his goals for the next school year, and a question-and-answer session will follow each forum.

        The audit reports are available through the schools or at

        The meeting dates and locations are: 6:30 p.m. today at Holmes High School Auditorium on 25th and Madison Avenue; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Kenton County Public Library on Fifth and Scott streets in the second-floor conference room; and 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at the John G. Carlisle School cafeteria at 910 Holman St.

Florence man creates standoff with police
        A Florence man wanted on four charges held Boone County Criminal Investigations detectives in a standoff for an hour and a half before surrendering Wednesday, police said.

        Ronald Epperson, 43, was in his parked car in a lot off Dixie Highway when undercover officers attempted to arrest him on charges of rape, intimidating a witness, disorderly conduct and menacing. Mr. Epperson drove to 550 Mount Zion Road before police were able to stop the car.

        In the standoff, Mr. Epperson pointed a handgun at his chest and threatened suicide. His lawyer negotiated his surrender via cellular phone.

        Mr. Epperson is being held in Boone County Detention Center with a $50,000 bond.

        In their investigations, detectives have identified two alleged victims of underage sexual misconduct. Anyone with related information is asked to call Boone County Criminal Investigations at (859) 334-2120.

Acres of marijuana discovered at border
        APPALACHIA, Va. — A search for marijuana turned up about $400,000 worth of the crop on a three-acre patch in Wise County near the Kentucky border, authorities said.

        “I've been here 17 years, and I've never seen any bigger than this,” Norton Police Chief Sam Mongle said at a news conference Tuesday.

        Law enforcement officers from Wise, Lee, Scott and Dickenson counties and the city of Norton joined state police and the Virginia National Guard in a widespread search this week.

        The search did not produce any arrests, but authorities said the investigation is continuing.

        Chief Mongle said the Wise County lot that was discovered by a National Guard helicopter crew had been fertilized and cultivated.

        The site contained about 4,000 plants, some as tall as 6 feet.

Wilkinson to head online bookstore
        LEXINGTON — Former Gov. Wallace Wilkinson is scheduled to become chief executive officer of the online college bookstore, which he helped create.

        Mr. Wilkinson, now board chairman, will be filling the vacancy created by the resignation of Steve Stevens, who has headed the company since it was founded. The resignation becomes effective Aug. 11.

        Mr. Stevens, who is taking an executive position with another company, will remain on the board of directors.

        He and Mr. Wilkinson founded the company in 1999, with Mr. Wilkinson raising the seed money and Mr. Stevens, who was president and COO of Wallace's Bookstores, resigning those positions to head the new venture.

Two injured in plane crash at Army post
        FORT CAMPBELL — Two people were injured Wednesday when their single-engine plane crashed at the Army post here.

        Both were taken to Blanchfield Army Community Hospital where they were in stable condition, said Capt. Carl Purvis, an Army spokesman. The identities of the victims were not immediately released.

        The two were piloting a Beechcraft Bonanza from Atlanta to Clarksville, Tenn., when the plane went down on the Army post's archery range at about 6:45 a.m.

        Soldiers near the crash site administered first-aid to the two injured people, Capt. Purvis said.

Higher gas bills for Columbia customers
        LEXINGTON — Customers of Columbia Gas of Kentucky are facing a 20 percent increase in their natural gas bills this fall.

        The average residential customer's overall bill is expected to increase from $64.51 to $78.07, effective Sept. 1.

        The Kentucky Public Service Commission, which regulates the state's utility companies, has 30 days to object to the increase, but rarely does. Columbia changes the rate it charges for natural gas every three months.

        The increase is attributed to a nationwide spike in natural gas prices, but it won't boost Columbia's profit margin.

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