Monday, April 08, 2002

Local Digest

Two women injured in head-on crash

        Alcohol may be a factor in a two-vehicle crash early Sunday in Whitewater Township that sent two Cleves women to University Hospital, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office said.

        Shortly before 12:30 a.m., a 1994 Ford Thunderbird driven by Jeanine M. Grimes, 40, was traveling southbound in the 5700 block of State Route 128 when her car crossed the center line and slammed head-on into a 1997 Honda Accord.

        The driver of the Honda, Andrea J. Christy, 27, was listed in critical condition Sunday. Ms. Grimes was in fair condition, a nursing supervisor said.

        Neither woman was wearing a seat belt, sheriff's deputies said. The crash is under investigation.

Beechmont Ave. shops gutted in fire

        A three-alarm fire gutted two Anderson Township businesses early Sunday.

        The 12:30 a.m. fire at 7850 Beechmont Ave. destroyed at least one business there and left heavy smoke damage throughout both, according to Anderson Township Fire Lt. Sean Smith.

        The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

        One of the businesses was a check-cashing shop and the other was an art-framing establishment, he said. Both businesses were closed at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.

Russian speaks on post-Soviet years

        OXFORD — Yegor Gaidar, the first post-Soviet prime minister of Russia and a current member of the Russian parliament, will give Miami University's second annual Havighurst Lecture today in 100 Laws Hall.

        Mr. Gaidar's 5 p.m. speech is titled “Ten Years of Transformation in Russia: the Political and Economic Challenge.” The event is free and open to the public.

        Mr. Gaidar served as Russian President Boris Yeltsin's chief economic adviser and deputy prime minister, and he was one of the principal leaders of its transformation to a market economy.

        He is currently the director of the Institute for the Economy in Transition in Moscow and co-chairman of a major political party, the Union of Right Forces, as well as a member of the Duma, Russia's parliament.

Indiana officials: Help find care alternatives

        EVANSVILLE, Ind. — State officials are standing by their decision to close the Evansville Psychiatric Children's Center and urging opponents of the plan to help arrange alternative care for patients.

        Andrew Stoner, a spokesman for Gov. Frank O'Bannon, says it's time for those who are upset about the closing to “calmly sit down” and start working with state officials to place patients into community-based care.

        Officials announced the decision last week. They say closing the center will save the state about $3.3 million a year.

        Mr. O'Bannon does not plan to visit the 28-bed children's hospital, as he has been asked to do by state Rep. Brian Hasler, D-Evansville.

        John Hamilton, secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, said southwest Indiana places more children in institutions than other parts of the state. Of the 19 patients at the Psychiatric Children's Center on Friday, 11 were from Vanderburgh County, Mr. Hamilton said.

Title agency closing suspends transfers

        VANDALIA, Ohio — The closing of one of the biggest title agencies in the Miami Valley has left many property transfers up in the air.

        “I'm in total limbo,” said Barbara Gray, who wired $239,645 to the agency on March 27 to pay for a 12-acre parcel where she wants to build a house.

        Steve Clayton, 43, owner of Equity Land Title Agency Inc., agreed to have all accounts frozen and to have his insurance license suspended last month after his underwriter, First American Title Insurance Co. of California, accused him in court papers of misappropriating $4.5 million.

        A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge in nearby Dayton temporarily barred Mr. Clayton's agency from removing, damaging or destroying financial records or other documents or from further misappropriation of escrow funds.

        An affidavit for a warrant to search Mr. Clayton's house states that auditors from First American Title estimated the loss at approximately $8.5 million.

        Law enforcement officials say the case is in the hands of auditors, who must sift through thousands of pages of records to sort out the money and any possible wrongdoing.

Akron campus may raise tuition by 16%

        AKRON — — The University of Akron is considering a 16 percent increase in tuition and general fees for new students beginning this summer.

        New students would pay $5,850 a year, an $800 increase, under a proposal being studied by a budget planning committee of the faculty senate. The increase includes a $300 surcharge for new students.

        Tuition and general fees for returning students would increase 10 percent. Annual tuition for returning undergraduates would be $5,550.

        University president Luis Proenza said that, even with the increase, Akron would still be cheaper than Kent State University, Ohio University and Bowling Green State University.

        Trustees are expected to consider the issue April 24.

Many Indiana jails filled to capacity

        INDIANAPOLIS — Counties throughout Indiana are struggling with overcrowded, outdated jails, and some sheriffs are scrambling to find extra room to house inmates.

        Those are some of the findings expected this week when the state Department of Correction releases its annual report on conditions in Indiana's jails.

        Many of the problems are not new — especially crowding.

        Marion County is among those expected to be cited for cramped conditions. The issue first arose in 1972 when inmates filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

        A federal judge's 1975 cap on the jail's inmate population was lifted in 1999, but the county still faces caps at its lockup and has drawn fire for releasing inmates to meet it.


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