Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report

Dead blue jay tests positive for virus

Enquirer staff and news services

        LEBANON — A dead blue jay from rural Warren County has tested positive for the West Nile virus — the first positive test from a bird in Greater Cincinnati this year.

        Birds are an indicator the disease is in the area, Warren County Health Commissioner George Reed said Monday. People can get it from mosquitoes, which Warren and other area counties also are testing.

        West Nile is a viral infection that typically produces mild, flu-like symptoms in adults. Those with weakened immune systems or over age 50 might develop more serious symptoms.

        The blue jay was found June 4 in Washington Township, east of Lebanon. Four dead birds also tested positive for West Nile last fall in Hamilton County, according to the 13-agency South West Regional Mosquito Task Force.

        Dead crows or blue jays may be reported to county health districts. Warren's can be reached at (513) 695-1220 and Hamilton's at 946-7800.


Butler airport gets $775,000 for expansion

        HAMILTON — The Butler County Regional Airport will receive approval for a $775,000 federal grant to buy land for expansion and to make other improvements.

        The Federal Aviation Administration will issue the grant in September, after the county has submitted the required paperwork. The grant will be used to buy property next to the airport for hangar space, to install security fencing, to upgrade airport markings and to update the airport master plan.


Commuter rail vote delayed until July

        HAMILTON — A regional planning agency has postponed its scheduled vote this week on the route of the proposed commuter rail system that would link Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland.

        A task force of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments had planned to vote Wednesday on whether the route should run through Hamilton or West Chester Township.

        Instead, the vote of OKI's north-south initiative task force has pushed back to its July 10 meeting to allow the OKI staff to collect more information.

        The delay heartened Hamilton officials, who believe the commuter rail will help the city's future economic vitality.

        “That's a real positive sign,” Hamilton Councilman Richard Holzberger said. “We got their ear and that's good.”

        In a special June 5 meeting, Hamilton, Middletown and Fairfield officials had talked to OKI officials about the importance of Hamilton being a stop on the route.

        Judi Craig, division manager for OKI's office of corridor studies, said the agency's staff needs more time to complete its analysis of information about the commuter rail.

        The project is at least 25 years in the future.


Roach withdraws request for hearing

        A hearing on a request from former Cincinnati Police Officer Stephen Roach, who wanted two unfavorable city reports critical of his actions removed from public scrutiny, will not take place.

        Officer Roach, who now works with the Evendale Police Department, withdrew his motion that had been scheduled for a hearing today before Hamilton County Municipal Judge Ralph E. “Ted” Winkler.

        Officer Roach's attorney, William Gustavson, declined to comment on the cancellation or the reason for his client's decision.

        On April 7, 2001, Officer Roach shot and killed Timothy Thomas during a foot chase in Over-the-Rhine. The officer claimed Mr. Thomas had a gun, but no gun was ever found.

        The shooting sparked days of riots and civil unrest. Officer Roach was later acquitted of negligent homicide and obstruction of official business.

        The charges were later expunged from his record.

        The reports were issued in March and May. They say the officer violated police procedure when he ran with his finger on the trigger of his gun and disgraced the police department when he lied about the shooting afterward.


Man gets 13 years in attacks on two

        HAMILTON — A Fairfield man was sentenced Monday to 13 years in prison for two attempted murders and aggravated burglary.         Butler County Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth passed sentence after Marcus Hayes, 41, pleaded guilty to the charges, which stemmed from the December shootings of his wife, Susan Thompson, 38, and her friend, Cepheuse Cardwell, 53. The incident occurred at an apartment in the West Pointe Pleasant complex.

        Additional charges of violation of a protection order and domestic violence were dropped in exchange for the guilty plea, Assistant Prosecutor Megan Shanahan said.

        Mr. Hayes had become angry because he was served with a protection order on Ms. Thompson's behalf. He then armed himself with a .40-caliber Firestorm and shot both victims twice, Ms. Shanahan said.

        During his sentencing Monday, Mr. Hayes “fully admitted to everything that occurred” and apologized to the victims and their supporters, Ms. Shanahan said.


Schools give 2nd chance to comment on budget

        Cincinnati school board members will offer the public another chance to comment on the proposed $437 million budget for the 2002-03 school year.         The meeting will be 7 p.m. Monday in the district's education center, 2651 Burnet Ave. in Corryville.

        Only one person showed up Monday at a public meeting on the budget. The budget, which increased 2.25 percent over last year's projections, is expected to be voted on by the board July 8.


Plane crash lands pilot in hospital

        SEAMAN, Ohio — A 50-year-old Seaman man remained hospitalized Monday after his single-engine aircraft crashed Sunday in pasture on Moores Road.         Although the crash occurred sometime Sunday, it was not reported to authorities until Monday, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

        The single-engine Cessna crashed in the Adams County pasture near Ohio 32, injuring pilot Ronnie Shupert and his 13-year-old son, the highway patrol said. The crash heavily damaged the fuselage of the aircraft, which nearly broke in two upon impact.

        Mr. Shupert was in good condition at Clermont Mercy Hospital Monday night. His son, whose name was not released, was treated at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and released.


Victim's ex faces tougher charges

        A Price Hill man has been reindicted and now faces tougher charges of felonious assault, domestic violence and two counts of aggravated burglary.

        William David Boyles, 26, the ex-boyfriend of Sara Ridder, who was found shot to death April 15, is accused of attacking Ms. Ridder a month before her death.

        Mr. Boyles has not been charged with Ms. Ridder's killing. He was on house arrest at the time. Police have yet to arrest anyone for the 24-year-old Westwood woman's death.

        Another man, Daniel Battaglia Jr. 28, was charged with obstructing official business for allegedly lying to police about a possible murder weapon. He had been scheduled to appear in court Monday. But the case was continued to July 25.


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First lady wants students to hear tales of freedom
Historian: Other sites may suffer
Lifted voices of choir put song in hearts
Symbol of flame brings home
Wanted: Any Underground Railroad items
5 more tell lawyer ex-Elder principal had sexual contact
Legal tiff over stadium pricey
Avondale teen gets deal in dad's death
Challengers regroup in two Ohio court cases
Cinemas not out of picture
City drops property tax break
City, town may be able to get along
Drownings leave behind questions
Grand Glendower open for the summer
Little Miami schools face deep cuts
Panel backs all-day kindergarten option
Schools' levy is lowered 1 mill
Taft, Blackwell seek disclosure of campaign funding
W. Chester to look at Ind. library
- Tristate A.M. Report
Ex-senator toasted at UK
Firehouses in N.Ky. going dry
GOP candidate tours district
Judge keeps mining permit ban
Kentucky State's president told he's out by month's end
Schools learning to combat gangs
Slow budget may hurt tracks
State jobs safe, Ky. official says
Study faults KSU standards
Kentucky A.M. Report
HOWARD: Some Good News
PULFER: Cheap, nasty