Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Tristate A.M. report

'Big Sweep' targets city neighborhoods

Enquirer staff and news services

        The Big Sweep started at 7 a.m., Monday in Oakley as a follow-up to the Great American Clean-up on Saturday.

        It will run through December, not stopping until every neighborhood in Cincinnati has been spruced up.

        That means involving every city department, working with Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and neighborhood residents to sweep streets, paint fire hydrants, clean out clogged storm sewers, get rid of graffiti, fix potholes and anything else city officials and residents think needs to be done.

        Trash bins will be provided, said Heather Harlow, communications manager for Keep Cincinnati Beautiful.

        The Big Sweep is in Walnut Hills and Madisonville next week.

        If residents see something that needs cleaning up, they should call 591-6000.

        Bush taps big donor Brisben for UNICEF

        WASHINGTON — President Bush has chosen William Brisben, a real-estate developer from Indian Hill and a major Republican donor, to serve as U.S. representative to the executive board of the United Nations Children's Fund.

        The board oversees management of the fund, known as UNICEF, which seeks to reduce child hunger and disease and to protect children during war or natural disaster.

        Mr. Bush announced Mr. Brisben's appointment in late March. His service began last week.

        According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit group that tracks campaign contributions, Mr. Brisben, his family and his company donated more than $325,000 to Republican causes in the 2000 election cycle and about $45,000 so far in the 2002 cycle. He also contributed $100,000 to the committee that planned Mr. Bush's inaugural festivities.

        Man shot last week dies of wound

        Michael Earl Nelson, 48, who was found by police lying in a West End street April 21 with a gunshot wound, died Mondayfrom his injuries.

        The shooting, originally classified as a felonious assault, is now being investigated by detectives as a homicide.

        It's the 23nd homicide in Cincinnati so far this year.

        Police described the suspect in the shooting as a young man driving a dark van.

        Anyone with information about the crime is being asked to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.

        Darby is new head of Princeton schools

        Don Darby, interim superintendent of the Princeton City School District, has been named superintendent, effective Wednesday. He is the first African-American superintendent of the 6,500-student district.

        Mr. Darby, 54, of Springdale, accepted a two-year contract through July 2004 with an annual salary of $108,000. His contract, approved April 23, includes a performance clause that pays him a bonus for meeting certain criteria, such as improving proficiency test scores. The school board announced his hiring Monday.

        He has spent 29 years in the district as a teacher, assistant principal and assistant superintendent for administration.

        He has been interim superintendent since July 1, when Dennis Peterson left for a superintendent's job in Minnesota.

        Public forum on widening Montgomery

        The Ohio Department of Transportation will hold a public forum tonight to discuss plans to widen Montgomery Road (U.S. 22/Ohio 3) to five lanes from Ken Arbre Road to Kenwood Road.

        The meeting will be held from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at Bechtold Park and Lodge, 4312 Sycamore Road.

        For more information, call Kim Patton at (800) 831-2142, ext. 279.

        Arts group asks judge to toss boycotters' suit

        The Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) has denied it acted on behalf of city leaders by threatening to sue a boycott group on a claim of interfering with legal contracts between the arts group and performers.

        In a response filed Thursday to the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati's federal lawsuit, CAA attorney Edward G. Marks called the boycotters' lawsuit “frivolous” and recommended it be dismissed.

        “The complaint was not filed in good faith, has no basis in fact or in law, and was filed...to harass CAA and to deter it from pursuing the claims which it set forth in its letter of Feb. 28,” Mr. Marks said. The complaint “constitutes a frivolous pleading, which should be stricken.”

        The Coalition for a Just Cincinnati filed the suit in mid-March in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati against the arts group, which oversees the Aronoff Center, Music Hall and Memorial Hall. The lawsuit asks the court to declare that threats of a lawsuit by the arts association were “unconstitutional prior restraints” on the group's First Amendment right to free speech.

        The coalition says the association was attempting to “silence and crush the boycott” by threatening to sue for more than $77,000 in damages. The suit also claims that the arts association was acting on behalf of the city.

        Mr. Marks said the CAA's Feb. 28 letter to the coalition which outlined the arts association's demand for settlement of the dispute did not violate boycotters' constitutional rights in anyway.

        Meanwhile, Lucian Bernard, attorney for the coalition, filed a motion asking for an extension until Friday3 to respond to the CAA's state lawsuit.

        The CAA sued the coalition in March, claiming the boycott group was interfering with its ability to do business by pressuring artists to break contracts with its venues.

        Morgue photographer begins prison sentence

        Thomas Condon, the commercial photographer convicted of gross abuse of a corpse for taking unauthorized photos of bodies inside the Hamilton County morgue, began his prison sentence Monday.

        Mr. Condon, 30, was ordered to serve 2 1/2 years in prison following his October conviction.

        On Monday, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel denied a request from Mr. Condon's attorney asking that his client be allowed to remain freewhile an appeal is filed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

        Last week, the Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals rejected an emergency bond request that would have allowed Mr. Condon to remain free while his conviction is appealed.

        Manslaughter trial begins for driver, 16

        A 16-year-old Anderson Township girl goes to trial today, charged with killing her best friend in what authorities say was the result of an inexperienced driver who blended excessive speed with a steep road.

        The 1996 Mercedes Benz went out of control Jan. 18 just after cresting a hill along East Woodruff Road in Anderson Township.

        Prosecutors say the driver, who is not being identified because she is charged as a juvenile with aggravated vehicular manslaughter, was traveling about 135 mph. Her defense attorney disputes the rate of speed.

        Police say the girl was “hill-hopping.”

        The crash killed 16-year-old Julia Schmidt, of Westwood. The driver and another passenger, Drew Armstrong, 17, of Columbia-Tusculum did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

        Down syndrome center opens today

        Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center plans to open a new Down syndrome treatment center today to consolidate treatment and research services. It will be named the Jane and Richard Thomas Center for Down Syndrome in honor of the grandparents of Emily Ann Hayes, a child with Down syndrome.

        The goal of the center is to provide a full continuum of care under one roof, said Dr. Bonnie Patterson, the center's program director.


Cinergy could blast into past
Race redrew district, tape says
Officers in cruiser shot at on Winton Terrace street
Party's over? Derby security to clamp down
Fr. Hopp out of ministry
Hospital offers quick service - or lunch
Hypnosis provides valuable police tool
Man indicted on drug charges
PULFER: Olympian is back on her feet
RADEL: High school discipline not easy as pie
Some Good News
Field narrows for Loveland position
Kilburn foes lag in funds for primary
Last call at Tag's Tap Room?
Vandals deface airport curbs
Warren deputy accused in school sex case quits
Awaiting trial, girl out of jail
Cincinnati loses OTR case in U.S. Supreme Court
Dozens arrested in drug sweep
Former police officer says he'll repay misappropriated funds
Growth plan divides council
Late state budget forces layoffs at schools
Next 4 years come down to 1 day
Parishioners meet to discuss abuse allegation
Speaker Richards eyes governor's job
Trial opens in Craven case
Wyoming says school levy a necessity
Bush calls for mental health coverage
Stratton: Some don't get justice
- Tristate A.M. report