Sunday, August 22, 2004

Kentucky news briefs

Troubles pile on for Florence Freedom

The Enquirer

FLORENCE - The debt against the owners of the Florence Freedom minor league baseball team rose to $4 million. Twenty-one contractors who say they have not been paid for work done on Champion Window Field have filed 23 liens against Northern Kentucky Professional Baseball, the team's owners.

Also, the Cincinnati office of the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for Southern Ohio said they are conducting a white-collar criminal investigation into Chuck Hildebrant, 45, of Morrow, who owns 20 percent of the team.

If the team does not pay off the first lien by Monday, the city of Florence could evict the team from the stadium. The team is leasing the land under the stadium from the city, and the debt on the stadium violates that lease. The Freedom has six home games after the Monday deadline.

Football stadiums filled with title dreams

Signaling summer is ending, cleats dug into grass and turf Friday with the return of high school football in Northern Kentucky.

Northern Kentucky has gone three years without a state championship team. Teams like Highlands in Fort Thomas, Covington Catholic in Park Hills and Beechwood in Fort Mitchell, among others, have their sights set on a title.

Boone County schools OK artificial surfaces

FLORENCE - The Boone County school board Thursday supported the idea of paying for artificial playing surfaces at three high school football fields with corporate donations.

The board made no decision on a request to provide some up-front money, and several parents voiced concerns that extracurricular activities could be cut at some schools.

Shaun Alexander, former Boone County High School star and Seattle Seahawks Pro Bowl running back, has offered $250,000 for the project.

To install synthetic playing surfaces at Ryle, Conner and Boone County high schools, $2 million would be needed.

Artificial playing fields at high schools already exist at Beechwood in Fort Mitchell, Covington Catholic in Park Hills and Highlands in Fort Thomas.

Several Cincinnati-area high school football teams also play on synthetic fields.

Wrecking crew workers killed

NICHOLSON - Kentucky's Labor Cabinet is continuing to investigate a floor collapse that injured two men Thursday.

The men, who worked for Countryside, a demolition and excavation company in Demossville, were standing on the porch of a former auto parts store when the floor beneath them suddenly gave way. Both men fell 10 feet into the basement.

A helicopter took one man to University Hospital in Corryville while the other was taken by ambulance to St. Elizabeth Medical Center South in Edgewood.

Officials didn't release their names, and their conditions were not available.

The one-story brick building was at Ky. 17 and Ky. 16.

It was owned by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and was being demolished to make room for widening of Ky. 17.

Parts of golf course reopen after crash

FLORENCE - A golf course partially reopened after a plane crashed near the greens Aug. 13.

The front nine holes at World of Sports remained closed, but the back nine holes, driving range, miniature golf area, billiard hall and fitness center were open.

The National Transportation Safety Board is still investigating the crash of Air Tahoma Flight 185.

The plane, a 34-year-old Convair 580 was carrying cargo for DHL, which operates a freight hub locally. The plane crashed within sight of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, killing the co-pilot.

35 hospitals get OK for imaging machines

LOUISVILLE - Approval was given this week to 35 Kentucky hospitals for their own magnetic resonance imaging services.

Gov. Ernie Fletcher lifted a moratorium on new MRI services early this year. The moratorium, which had been in place for years, was aimed at holding down state health-care spending by limiting the proliferation of the expensive equipment.

But hospitals argued that MRI, which uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create a three-dimensional image of an area inside the body, has become a standard diagnostic tool.

Previously, hospitals have had to take patients to other facilities for MRIs.

According to their state certificate of need applications, hospitals plan to spend $300,000 to $3 million to establish MRI service.

Lexington man No. 3 in Pacific Command

LEXINGTON - A Lexington Reserve officer has been appointed chief of staff for the U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii.

Attorney Van Alford, 58, has closed his practice to become a rear admiral, the No. 3 officer at Camp H.M. Smith near Pearl Harbor. He will supervise 500 employees for the command, which covers 105 million square miles, largely ocean.

His wife and three young children will also make the move Wednesday. The appointment lasts for at least three years.

Alford received a second star at a commissioning ceremony in Washington, D.C., this week. He enlisted in the Navy in 1968 and did two tours in Vietnam. He then entered the Reserves in 1971 and enrolled in law school.

During Operation Desert Storm, Alford was stationed in Tel Aviv, Israel, as assistant naval attache. He served as chief of staff for the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and Black seas in the mid-1990s.

Two indicted in fire that killed couple

INEZ - A Martin County grand jury has indicted two people in a fire that killed an elderly couple at their home in the rural community of Tomahawk.

Clarence R. Raines Jr., 29, and Nancy Ann Thacker Messer, 28, both of Inez, face charges of murder, complicity to commit murder, first-degree arson and robbery.

Friday's indictment accuses them of setting the Aug. 10 fire to suffocate 86-year-old Robert Allen and 82-year-old Jane Allen, rob them and destroy evidence.

Raines and Messer were arrested Aug. 15 and lodged in the Big Sandy Detention Center. Police found them with property from the Allens' residence.

Bronson: Resignations finally brought patients help
Crowley: Picnic energizes party
Bake sale helps hurricane victims
Crowley: Around Northern Kentucky

Museum to get world's attention
1,500 on guest list for center's soiree
DNA registry offers tool for adoptees
Warehouse rubble smolders
Barrel Co. owner's Columbus firm sued
Church works to regain trust
Judge: Accepting Boehner phone tape illegal
Rare rhino needs a unique name
Local news briefs

Dig at Civil War site will include citizens
Benefit helps pay for boy's life-saving surgery
Jail guards against suicide
GOP doesn't stand for 'gay old party'
Soldiers' blood may be key to anthrax medicine
Kentucky news briefs

Schools face addition by subtraction
Slimmer, trimmer school systems await students this year
Fairfield parents letter in funding
Pressure is off on N.Ky. schools
Greater Cincinnati school levies on ballot
Students get up to 10 days for field trips

200,000 people get reacquainted at river
Dads go to bat for ballfield
Threatened barn owls near a record for chicks, nests

Faith Hunter devoted life to ministry
Simon Kinsella was writing his first book
Frank Gulley, 78, was church elder