Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Regional Report

City won't sell land after debate on views

Compiled from staff and wire reports

MOUNT ADAMS - The city of Cincinnati won't sell city-owned property on Carney Street after City Council's Finance Committee permanently tabled the sale Monday.

Developers Craig Liebel and Michael Warner wanted the property to build a house, but neighbors said that house would block their views of downtown.

The proposed $21,000 sale had rekindled the debate over public view corridors and led City Council to request a study of the issue.

A preliminary report by the Department of Community Development and Planning this month identified several views of downtown that should be protected, but also noted that some views from downtown toward the hillsides should also be examined.

City Manager Valerie Lemmie has proposed a moratorium on the sale of city property in view corridors while the city studies the issue further.

Food service fees likely to rise in '04

More than 2,700 restaurants, vending machine owners and other food services in Cincinnati could see their permit fees rise in 2004 under a proposal to be discussed at tonight's Cincinnati Board of Health meeting.

The proposed changes, affecting 20 categories of food service, range from bumping fees for temporary charity food booths from $48 to $50 to increasing annual fees for large restaurants from $968 to $1,098. Overall, the increases would allow the city to collect more than $740,000 a year from food service permits, up from nearly $649,000.

A public hearing on the proposed increases would be held Oct. 28. Tonight's meeting will be at 6 p.m. at Health Department headquarters, 3101 Burnet Ave.

Freedom Center nears deadline

With a week to go before a fund-raising deadline, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center continues to pursue a $1.5 million challenge grant.

"The response has been tremendous," said Freedom Center spokesman Ernest Britton.

In June the Freedom Center announced that an anonymous donor would match, dollar for dollar, up to $1.5 million, gifts made locally to the Freedom Center's capital campaign. The deadline is Sept. 30.

At the anonymous donor's request, the Freedom Center will not announce dollar amounts until the challenge campaign ends, Britton said. About two weeks ago, officials said about two-thirds of the total, or about $1 million, had been raised.

Contributions can be made online at www.freedomcenter.org; by mail at Freedom Center Challenge, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; or by calling Sarah Dirr, development director, at 412-6905.

Wyoming to honor distinguished alumnus

WYOMING - A highly decorated pioneer in the development of the U.S. Navy's nuclear submarine program will be honored as the Wyoming School Foundation's 2003 Distinguished Alumnus/Master Teacher today at Wyoming High School's Pendery Center for the Arts, 106 Pendery Ave.

Adm. C.R. "Bob" Bell is a 1948 graduate of Wyoming High School and a 1953 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Wyoming School Foundation during the last six years has made distributions to the Wyoming City Schools of more than $1.2 million.

The foundation has embarked upon a campaign to build an endowment fund of $20 million by 2020 .

At 7:30 p.m., Bell will address the community at the foundation's annual Celebration of Donors and Volunteers at Pendery Center.

Candidate sues city over campaign finance

A candidate for Cincinnati City Council sued the city in federal court Monday, claiming a city charter provision on campaign finance violates the U.S. Constitution.

Pete Witte, a Republican, claims in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court that Article XIII of the city charter violates his rights to free speech by prohibiting contributions from one council candidate to another. He's seeking a restraining order barring the city from enforcing the law.

"All council members, mayor and candidates deserve the right to support any candidate they wish to support," Witte said.

The city solicitor could not be reached for comment Monday night.

Walnut Hills man given life sentence

Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Beth Myers sentenced Gregory Curtis to spend life in prison Monday after he pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated murder.

Curtis, 22, of Walnut Hills, stood up in court during an unrelated matter late last year and admitted he strangled a woman in October.

Cincinnati police investigators matched his admission to the death of Cynthia Clendenin, 35, of Westwood.

Curtis is accused of raping Clendenin and then strangling her to death Oct. 6, 2002, in a lot on West Seventh Street.

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