The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on December 6, 1995 · Page 24
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 24

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Cincinnati, Ohio
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Wednesday, December 6, 1995
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Page 24
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iliii CliVcLviVtil UiUlACA Section Tomorrow: Extra attention One hospital takes a stand on sending mothers home a short time after delivering their newborns. Your Town 3 Obituaries 6 Business. 9 I Editor: Jim Smith, 768-8600; fax, 768-8340 Wednesday December 6, 1995 wemo n D sraoiaFw rail!? METRO 32 na Stt III! CLIFF RADEL i . , i "J Apology helps owner get past city's bungling ' At Christmas time, visions of wrecking ' balls dance through Barry Lefton's head. . This comes from years of up-and-down ' dealings with the city of Cincinnati. ' 7 Until yesterday, Lefton, co-owner of .Provident Camera, spent the last eight holiday seasons convinced that city offi- cials didn't care what their change of - 'plans had done to one businessman: him. ' After Lefton told me his troubles, I called City Hall on his behalf. We both learned a bureaucracy can be helpful ... if you find the right guy. Lefton now knows the city will work with small businesses. It's not solely devoted to Lazarus and Fountain Square West. "We want to dispel that Barry Lefton myth," says Mark McKillip, the Economic Development Department's downtown division manager. People such as McKillip just have to know there's a problem. And, boy oh boy, has there been a problem. It all started during the holiday season of 1987. The city sent a letter telling Lefton he would have to vacate the Provident ' Camera Building that he co-owns on Sev-' enth Street. Between the "whereases" and the "to wits" and the "hereinbe-fores" of this "legal notice of passage of resolution," Lefton learned city hall was going to condemn his building for urban ' renewal. Five years later, the city sent Lefton a never-mind letter. The urban renewal deal had fallen through. His building's date with the wrecking ball had been canceled. He could rest easy. '? Easy for the bureaucrats to say. They hadn't spent $550,000 on another building. i - Lefton had taken the city at its word back in 1987. After receiving that first letter, he made plans to move. That's what a prudent person does after receiving a document, signed by the mayor, stating: "This is merely a notice of the first step in the legal procedure to acquire the property by condemnation proceedings. " , Lefton had further reasons to believe the city meant business. "When you go to a meeting at City Hall and they show you plans and a model of how the block's going to look, and when gays from wrecking companies come into the store and look around because they're going to put in a bid to tear down your building, you say to yourself, 'We better go out and find another place.' " , So, Lefton did. And he got burned. Lefton bought the old Litwin Jewelers building on Sixth Street for $550,000 in 1988. Then the bottom dropped out of the real estate market. To make matters worse, downtown Cincinnati embarked upon a progressive going-out-of-business sale from which it has yet to recover. As soon as the city informed Lefton it didn't want to renew Seventh Street, he put his Sixth Street building up for sale. i "That was three years ago," he cries, and pounds his fist on his desk. "Three years! In that time, we've had one offer for $250,000. "You can't sell property in downtown Cincinnati," he says. "It's like selling ice to the Eskimos." ; Since 1992, Lefton has spent $300,000 for a new roof on the Sixth Street building i home to a state liquor store on the first floor. He's also spent $ 1 2 ,000 for a new furnace, plus "$60,000 to $70,000 a year for the mortgage payments." Lefton would gladly write off the roof and the furnace just to get out from under the mortgage payments. "I'd love to sell the building for what I paid for it," he says. "No questions asked." Lefton does have a question for city ' hall: "Why didn't they ever call to say they were sorry?" - This is where McKillip enters the picture. When I informed him of Lefton's frustration, he took immediate action. He sent Lefton a fax about being eligible for property tax rebates because of the improvements he's made to his Sixth Street building. He also placed the site on the city's available downtown properties list "so we can match sellers with buyers." McKillip closed his fax by saying the city was sorry. , Those words touched Lefton. , i ."It's good to see someone in the city knows what's going on," Lefton says. ."It's nice to know you've got a friend." Cliff Radel's column appears in The Enquirer Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Available to speak to groups. Tips and comments most welcome. Call 768-8379 'or fax at 768-8340 Judge says his hands are tied on the sentence BY KRISTEN DELGUZZI The Cincinnati Enquirer Charles Cole is no ordinary killer, Judge Norbert Nadel of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court conceded Tuesday. Despite that concession and an outpouring of community support, Nadel had no choice in the sentence: Cole, convicted last month of murder for the Aug. 1 shooting of Charles "Kevin" Blankenship, was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole for 18 years. But Cole and dozens of his supporters claim he fired the fatal shots in self-defense. He says he feared for his life and his home when he aimed his 9mm pistol at Blankenship and pulled the trigger four times. The jury rejected the self-defense claim. And on Tuesday, Nadel rejected the claim again when he refused to overturn the verdict or order a new trial, as de- Cole fense attorney Kenneth Lawson had requested. "Charlie Cole obviously is not your ordinary killer," Nadel said, waiving the stack of more than 50 letters he had received from friends, relatives and strangers who thought he was justified in shooting Blankenship. Nadel said he was moved by the letters, not to mention the sheer volume of correspondence, but said Ohio law spells out the punishment: life in prison without chance of parole for at least 15 years. Cole had an extra three years added because he used a 7 would do this my whole life if they would let me ' Carrier captain a role of honor BY BENOIT DENIZET-LEWIS The Cincinnati Enquirer Airplanes and the sea are the two biggest loves for Cincinnati native Robert C. Klosterman. So it should come as no surprise that he is approaching his newest Naval assignment with all the enthusiasm of child presented with a shiny new toy. A 97,000-ton toy. On Nov. 15, the 49-year-old Navy captain was named commanding officer of the USS John C. Stennis, the Navy's newest nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. It is scheduled to be commissioned on Saturday at the Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia. "I consider myself the luckiest person in the world and am honored to have been chosen," Klosterman said. "I would do this my whole life if they would let me." The Stennis, named after the seven-term senator from Mississippi, will carry about 6,000 crew members. From its 4.5-acre flight deck, it can deploy about 80 aircraft including the FA-18 Hornet strike fighters, F-14B Tomcat fighters, E-2C airborne early warning aircrafts and S-3B Viking anti-submarine aircrafts. The ship will be based in Nor- (Please see CARRIER, Page C4) ..;,:,., 1 . : pp"' t . , 1 t ,!! J 3 U''''- .. h-': : .., ........ , U.S. Navy photo Capt. Robert C. Klosterman, a Cincinnati native, is commander of the Navy's newest aircraft carrier, the nuclear-powered USS John C. Stennis. I, - .fc,t,irr-- -a-.... x USS John C. Stennis: By the numbers Flight deck: 1,092 feet long; 257 feet wide Height 244 feet keel to mast (equivalent to a 24-story building) Weight: 97,000 tons Maximum speed: more than 30 knots Number of propellers: 4 Weight of propellers: 66,200 pounds 63Ch Crew: 6,000, including air wing Three cops who went beyond the call of duty BY ADAM WEINTRAUB The Cincinnati Enquirer Few assignments are more difficult for a police officer than a domestic violence run. The victim, usually a woman, may be hurt but unwilling to press charges because her attacker is often someone she cares about. The same kind of emotional maelstrom makes it difficult to investigate sexual assault cases. But some officers go the extra mile, handling such cases with a gentle touch and understanding that makes an impression on the victims, their families and the advocates who work with them. Women Helping Women Inc. honored three officers Tuesday for their careers of demonstrating knowledge, sensitivity and compassion in their work with victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. "These officers are wonderful examples of how experienced law enforcement can make a very caring difference during a time of severe emotional upheaval," said Ann MacDonald, executive director of Women Helping mm wnwwjj jet'" ' ... '" Davis Oiebel Women. Advocates, fellow officers and emergency room workers nominated officers for the eighth Thomas R. Oberschmidt Award, named for a retired Cincinnati detective. Normally, one officer is chosen; this year, three deserved it, MacDonald said. Specialist William Davis, assigned to the Cincinnati Police Division's homicide unit, was one of the officers assigned to the April 10, 1994, slaying of Tonya Eastin. Ezekiel McPherson, Eas-tin's boyfriend and the father of her children, was sentenced in January to life in prison for murder. Sgt. Steven Dungan of the Ohio State Highway Patrol interviewed former patients at the Mijlcreek Psychiatric Center for Children. Those interviews were a crucial part of the case against Ricky L. Cotton, who was sentenced to life in prison for the rape of a patient. The key to interviews with mental patients is patience, Dungan said. "One thing I've learned over the years," he said, "is that if you just listen long enough and gain they confidence, they'll tell gun. Moments before sentencing, Cole told Nadel, "I'm not guilty of this crime. I'll leave it at that." Lawson promised a swift appeal, claiming the jury erred by convicting Cole of murder when a videotape of the shooting shot from a security camera Cole installed on the front porch of his Tremont Avenue home in South Fairmount showed Cole was (Please see SENTENCE, Page C4) Stadium plans compete One splits tax, other gives choice BY ANNE MICHAUD The Cincinnati Enquirer In solid assent that sales-tax proponents are serious about compromise, the tax's chief author acknowledged Tuesday that two competing plans are on the table. One option would split the tax into two 50-percent portions on the March 19 ballot: public safety issues paid with one half, stadiums and property tax rollback in the other. The second option would give voters a choice of approving either a full penny increase or a half-cent. Both would include revenues for stadiums. "Those scenarios are real close," said County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus, author of the original sales tax plan. "It has changed internally a couple of times. It's coming together, but it isn't soup yet." Bedinghaus The plan to increase the sales tax from 5.5 percent to 6.5 percent would raise $100 million a year to build stadiums for the Bengals and Reds, offer property-tax rollbacks to homeowners, expand the Hamilton County Justice Center and pay for other public safety needs. It is scheduled for a ballot vote March 19. As behind-the-scenes rewriting of the Hamilton County sales tax plan continues, Bedinghaus said he is trying to collect "the broadest base this community has had working on an issue in a long time." Bedinghaus said he and other tax supporters are working to answer concerns of the Hamilton County Republican Party, African-American leaders, organized labor, local elected officials and Cincinnati City Council, especially Mayor Roxanne Quails. He is hopeful, even, about the Hamilton County Democratic Party, which voted Saturday to oppose the 1-cent tax hike. But the people Bedinghaus is courting said they have heard talk of compromise from him, and nothing concrete. "I have good indications that most of (our) issues can be addressed," said Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. "Now, that doesn't mean they've gotten it done." Among other things, the Democratic Party wants the issue split so that the jail expansion and stadium construction are separate (Please see STADIUM, Page C4) . 'J' I The Cincinnati EnquirerCraig Ruttle Sgt. Steven Dungan, left, wins congratulations for his work from Ann MacDonald while Thomas R. Oberschmidt looks on. you the truth." Officer David Diebel of Forest Park has made himself an expert in domestic violence and stalking cases, and has studied how best to address domestic violence issues in the region. "I teach and I speak, and I guess I practice what I preach," he said. Inside Abortion debate: Physicians clashed over abortion restrictions in House Bill 135 during testimony before U.S. District Judge Walter Rice. Rice, who issued a temporary restraining order last month, must decide whether HB 135 unconstitutionally restricts abortions. Story, C2. Neighborhood on alert: Madisonville residents are banding together to help keep their homes safe from burglars who have broken into at least 16 homes, smashing furniture and killing pets. Story, C5.

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