Tuesday, September 05, 2000

Local Digest

Woman in hospital after suspicious fire

        MIDDLETOWN — A 41-year-old woman remained hospitalized Monday after a fire early Sunday that officials say was arson.

        Tonya Jennings of the 1900 block of Spring Grove Lane was in serious condition at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Neighbors helped Ms. Jennings escape her burning home about 12:15 a.m. Sunday.

        Fire officials said evidence of arson was discovered at the fire scene.

        Anyone with information regarding the fire is asked to call Fire Marshal Steve Ludwig at 513-422-4511 or Detective John Magill at 513-425-7741.

Three found dead
in rural house fire

               VERMILION, Ohio — A fire that swept through a rural home in north-central Ohio early Monday killed three people, authorities said.

        The house was engulfed when firefighters responded to the 2:35 a.m. call, the Erie County sheriff's office said in a news release. They found the bodies while sifting through the debris, the sheriff's office said.

        No other information was expected to be provided on Monday, the office said.

        The victims were taken to Providence Hospital in Sandusky, where autopsies were expected to be performed today, said Dr. Tom Nesgoda, the Erie County coroner.

        Dr. Nesgoda said he likely would need to consult dental records to identify the victims. The causes of death had not been determined, he said. He declined to comment on whether he knew the family who lived at the house.

Asians finding
home in Columbus

               COLUMBUS, Ohio — Cen sus figures show that the Asian population in Franklin County nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

        The county has 28,812 Asian residents, up 47.4 percent from the 1990 total of 19,550, the Census Bureau said.

        The county gained more Asian residents during the 1990s than any of Ohio's other 87 counties.

Donation boxes
may be cut back

               COLUMBUS — Central Ohio charities are reconsidering their use of donation boxes because too many people seem to be mistaking them for trash containers.

        In recent months, workers for the Volunteers of America have found a dead goose, dead cats and other unwelcome surprises in the steel boxes, which typically are placed outside retailers.

        The Salvation Army has found blown automobile tires, old toilets and dirty diapers in its boxes.

        “Once we got a pet ferret that was donated by mistake,” Mirinda Stone, supervisor of the organization's thrift stores, told the Columbus Dispatch for a story Monday. “We've even unlocked boxes and found (homeless) people in them.”

        The growing number of unsuitable gifts has led to mounting bills for trash removal, causing the agencies to either reduce the number of boxes or hire people to monitor them.

New birthing centers
gaining in popularity

               AKRON, Ohio — Christi Phillip recently gave birth to her son, Alexander, in a 3 1/2-foot-deep tub designed to relieve pain and promote relaxation during labor.

        The experience at Akron City Hospital was so positive that if she or her family needs medical attention, she said she'll return.

        Ms. Phillip's attitude is the reason why the hospital invested in the $10,000 tub and why many other Ohio hospitals are going out of their way to fix up maternity wards or offer more birthing options for women. Hospitals are discovering that catering to pregnant women can drum up future business.

        Since the unit with all private rooms opened in January 1999, there has been an increase in maternity business at the hospital. The hospital is on pace to have about 1,000 deliveries this year, up from 912 in 1998.

        This week, Robinson Memorial Hospital in Portage County is opening a $1.6 million birth center.


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