Thursday, October 18, 2001

Tristate A.M. Report

County delays vote on loans to fix homes

        A proposal to offer low-interest loans to Hamilton County residents for fixing up their homes was shelved on Wednesday for a week by county commissioners.

        Commissioner Todd Portune introduced the measure, which would have the county use a portion of its investment portfolio to buy down interest rates.

        Commissioner Tom Neyer Jr. asked for an additional week to review new information about how the program would work and how much revenue it might bring into the county in higher property values and additional sales tax.

        At a meeting on Monday, Commissioner John Dowlin said the idea should wait until after the county's budget process.

        A vote is expected Oct. 24.

Murder case retrial to begin on Monday

        HAMILTON — A Butler County murder case that ended with a hung jury two months ago is set for a retrial Monday.

        Randy Young, 38, is accused of killing Tammy Esther McClellan, a 36-year-old mother of two whose body was found in Hamilton's Crawford Woods Park. She died from the combined effects of cocaine use and a physical attack, the county coroner has said.

        Mr. Young was arrested in September 2000, more than a year after Ms. McClellan's death. A convicted burglar who was on parole at the time of the slaying, Mr. Young reportedly was the last person seen with Ms. McClellan. But Mr. Young's lawyer, Melynda Cook-Reich, has said that doesn't mean her client killed Ms. McClellan, and will try to persuade a jury to find him not guilty.

        Judge Spaeth declared a mistrial Aug. 15, after jurors informed him that they were unable to reach an agreement.

        They had deliberated about nine hours.

Officials want judge to provide court tape

        HAMILTON — Butler County Juvenile Court officials should not have refused to copy an audiotape of a court proceeding, two top county officials said Wednesday.

        Prosecutor Robin Piper said Ohio's public records law requires courts to provide such copies “whether they want to or not.”

        Mr. Piper said his office “has reason to believe” that a transcript of an Aug. 22 juvenile court hearing contains significant errors. But professional stenographer Jane A. Fitch, whom Mr. Piper's office hired to produce a second transcript, said Judge David Niehaus refused to provide an audiotape copy for that purpose.

        County Commissioner Michael A. Fox on Wednesday also sent a letter to the judge on the matter, telling the judge, “Your action is wrong, it is arrogant, and it disregards the right(s) of parties that come before your court.”

        Judge Niehaus couldn't be reached for comment.

        But Rob Clevenger, juvenile court administrator, said the judge planned to settle the matter by reviewing the tape and transcript for errors.

Miami Twp. to spend $43.5K on fire tools

        MIAMI TOWNSHIP — The Clermont County township's board of trustees has approved the purchase of three thermal-imaging cameras for Miami's fire & EMS department. The cameras, which firefighters use to pierce smoke and darkness to detect people or hot spots in a building, cost $14,500 each.

Surgeon named chief of UC trauma division

        Dr. Jay Johannigman, a trauma surgeon at University Hospital, has been named director of the Trauma/Critical Care division at the University of Cincinnati.

        Dr. Johannigman has been a member of UC's surgical faculty since 1994 and completed residency training there in 1988.

Zoning board seeks alternate member

        DEERFIELD TWP. — Trustees are looking for someone to fill an alternate position on the Board of Zoning Appeals, which meets at 7:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month.

        The board has five members plus one alternate. All members must be Deerfield Township residents and serve a four-year term. The alternate member fills in when one of the five members is unable to participate.

[photo] DIVERSITY PEACEWORKS: Faith Sorenson of Silverton plays a Native American flute, called a Lakota love flute, Wednesday in the lobby of City Hall, where Diversity Peaceworks launched the National "Independence' Day, beginning July 5, 2002. The event also honored peace efforts in Over-The-Rhine.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
        The board hears and decides all zoning appeals, variance requests, conditional-use permits and nonconforming-use substitutions, enlargements or extensions. Zoning experience is preferred.

        Interested residents should contact Tim Hershner, director of planning and zoning for Deerfield Township, 3378 Townsley Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45140.

Woman pleads guilty in spa-sex case

        LEBANON — A woman who faced prostitution charges in connection with a massage parlor in Middletown pleaded guilty to a reduced charge Wednesday.

        Sue Salvatore, 40, faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine when she is sentenced in about one month on a misdemeanor charge of procuring prostitution.

        A county grand jury indicted Ms. Salvatore in June on a felony charge of promoting prostitution.

        Middletown police accused Ms. Salvatore of managing the finances and affairs of VIP Oriental Spa at 3585 Commerce Drive. She was among four women arrested at VIP and Clover Spa at 3925 Roosevelt Blvd. in April, after a three-month sting operation.

        Women at the spas, which advertised in Cincinnati and Dayton newspapers, offered sex to undercover officers on seven occasions, investigators said.

        She remains free in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Veterans Day parade, memorial dedication set

        BATAVIA — Clermont County Veterans Day Parade and memorial dedication will begin at 12:15 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Heritage Building on Riverside Drive.

        Ceremonies will start with the dedication of the Donald E. Patton Memorial at the Heritage Building, honoring Mr. Patton, who was the county's veterans service officer for 24 years. He died in July.

        The parade will be at 2 p.m. along Main Street.

        The dedication and parade is sponsored by Clermont County Council of the American Legion and the county's Veterans Service Commission.

United Way struggling to meet funding goal

        The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the economic downturn may be hurting the United Way's annual fund-raising campaign.

        United Way officials announced Wednesday that they had raised $38.7 million — or 64.4 percent of their $60,050,000 goal.

        “We have a lot of work to do and a great many companies and individuals to hear from if we are to exceed last year's results,” said John F. Barrett, campaign president and chief executive officer of Western-Southern Life.

        Campaign leaders have said they could be about $2 million shy of their goal when the campaign concludes on Oct. 26.

        United Way's annual campaign benefits more than 160 nonprofit agencies in eight counties.

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