Thursday, August 29, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report

Companion sought after fatal shooting

        Cincinnati police are looking for an Avondale man after an early morning shooting Wednesday in Over-the-Rhine.

        The shooting at McMicken Avenue and Mohawk Place about 3 a.m. killed Kevin Johnson, 22, of Over-the-Rhine. Detectives are looking for Kevin Redding, 20, of Avondale, who was with Mr. Johnson.

        Mr. Redding, also known as “Turtle,” was last seen wearing a blue suede jogging suit.

        Both men have been arrested for drug possession and for dice games on the sidewalk in the 200 block of McMicken, near where the shooting happened.

[photo] CLEANING THE CRYSTAL: Stage worker Robert Lay cleans the grand chandelier in Music Hall's Springer Auditorium Wednesday. The chandelier weighs 2 tons and is 21 feet in diameter. It takes three days to clean.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        About 2 p.m., police found the silver 1999 GMC Yukon they were looking for in connection with the slaying. It was in the parking lot of Superior Chevrolet in Winton Place.

        Police are searching for three men in connection with the crime. They ask anyone with information about the slaying or Mr. Redding's whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.

Ex-village official admits benefits fraud

        LEBANON — A former Harveysburg administrator who had been caught stealing from village coffers now faces up to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty to Medicaid fraud.

        Kimble Grant, 46, of Waynesville, will return in a month for sentencing in Warren County Common Pleas Court, where he entered guilty pleas Tuesday to charges of Medicaid fraud and falsification.

        He was scheduled to go to trial Sept. 3 on those charges and an additional count of illegal use of food stamps.

        Mr. Grant was accused of fraudulently obtaining $8,936 in food stamps and $11,679 in Medicaid payments from 1997 to 1999. Authorities said he failed to report that he was receiving income from other sources, which inflated the amount he was to receive in government benefits.

        Mr. Grant was sentenced to six months in jail last year for embezzling $11,500 from Harveysburg by writing checks to himself, charging personal items on village credit cards and paying personal computer leases and a power bill with taxpayer money in 1999.

        The illegal spending was brought to light in a state audit released after Mr. Grant left the administrator's job.

Large cocaine seizure leads to indictment

        HAMILTON — A Dominican Republic native has been indicted on a Butler County drug charge that could land him in prison for 20 years if he's convicted.

        In an indictment made public Wednesday, Eddy R. Encarnacion, 34, who had been living in Hamilton, is charged with possession of 1,218 grams of cocaine. The charge is a first-degree felony, with a specification alleging that Mr. Encarnacion is a major drug offender.

        David Kash, an assistant prosecutor, said that means Mr. Encarnacion would face a mandatory 10 years in prison if convicted, and a judge could add one to 10 years.

        Mr. Encarnacion was arrested in late July in what the Butler County Sheriff's Office said was its largest-ever seizure of cocaine, worth about $170,000 on the streets. Officers seized $1,194 from Mr. Encarnacion, which a grand jury said should be subject to forfeiture under the state's drug laws.

        Another man arrested, John Norman Carter, 31, of St. Clair Township, has pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony charge of possession of cocaine. Sentencing is set for Sept. 13 before Judge Patricia Oney, who could impose prison time of one to five years.

        The cases of two other suspects have yet to go to the grand jury.

        Mr. Encarnacion is scheduled for arraignment Sept. 16.

Alcohol use suspected in fatal truck crash

        HAMILTON — Alcohol may have been a factor for a Rumpke driver whose garbage truck was involved in a fatal crash last week, a Butler County sheriff's report says.

        An investigator indicated alcohol was suspected and blood was drawn from Kenneth Strunk, 55, of Fairfield. Mr. Strunk's Ohio driver's record shows four

        drunken driving convictions between 1983 and 1994. No test results were available from Friday's crash that killed Charles Lawson, 69, of Hanover Township.

        The wreck happened about 5:30 a.m. on U.S. 27 near Hamilton-New London Road in Ross Township.

        Rumpke officials declined to comment Wednesday, except to say that Mr. Strunk remained under suspension while the incident is being investigated.

        Mr. Strunk had been employed by Rumpke since 1992.

Festival says no to ride provider

        LINCOLN HEIGHTS — A festival committee has decided not to use a Covington amusement ride company at this weekend's village festival.

        Star Amusement was supposed to provide two large rides and a game trailer for the Lincoln Heights Days Family Reunion from Saturday through Monday.

        It had pulled out of a verbal agreement with the village Aug. 20, but last Saturday, said it would come after security concerns were addressed.

        On Tuesday, the organizing committee decided it did not want the company to come because members “didn't feel the crowd would be accepting of them,” committee co-chair Patricia Stearns said.

        The village is now looking for another ride company. It took several months to find one that was available Labor Day weekend.

        “We want our event to be successful,” Mrs. Stearns said. “If Star Amusement would have come out, this event would not have been as successful as we would have liked it to be.”

Petitions rejected; group threatens suit

        LOVELAND — A group of residents said they may take court action within a week against the city because City Manager Fred Enderle will not accept petitions calling for a referendum vote to reverse a recent zoning code change.

        Mr. Enderle said the group did not follow the proper process, established by state law, but will not tell the group what it did wrong. The city manager said his job is to represent the entire city and that it wouldn't be proper for him to advise the group of about 50 members how to oppose the city.

        Last month, council approved a zoning code amendment that residential property of more than 5 acres could be rezoned for nonresidential purposes even if the surrounding land had different zoning.

        The move will allow a 16-acre commercial development on residential property.

        The group tried last week to hand in the petitions, which were signed by more than 800 residents.

- Compiled from staff and wire reports


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