360 Fireworks Party

Monday, June 25, 2012


by Michael Monks 
The fire that mostly destroyed the playground at Sixth District Elementary School in Austinburg early Sunday morning is being investigated as suspicious according to Covington Police. No arrests have been made but investigators are hopeful that surveillance video from the school that shows activity before and during the fire will help lead to suspects. "Our investigators are meeting with area residents and potential witnesses to put together facts surrounding this event," said interim Covington Police Chief Spike Jones, who attended first through third grades at Sixth District in the 1970s. "It's absolutely horrible that anyone would torch a child's playground, especially at an elementary school. It's absolutely disgusting."
Representatives from the Center for Great Neighborhoods which primarily built the park in 1999, Gateway Technical & Community College, Keep Covington Beautiful, and Janice Wilkerson of Covington Independent Public Schools met this afternoon to assess the situation. Daneille Eulitt of Keep Covington Beautiful tells The River City News: 
1.The playground site is currently an official crime scene. We are waiting to hear from the police and fire departments, as well as the insurance company, to see if and when we will be able to begin the clean-up. As of right now, plans for renovation and the swing set installation are stalled until we hear further information from them, which may take several weeks.
2. We have a preliminary estimate of the cost of rebuilding the structure at $100,000, mainly for materials. Of course, we will be seeking donations and volunteers, and we are working on some fundraising efforts now.3. We plan to keep our initial “build” date of July 21st, however, in lieu of any building, installing or renovation, we will focus instead on hosting a community involvement event at Sixth District. We also plan to start the beautification project with some planting and initial landscaping around the front and back entrances of the school building itself.
4. At the event we will have a volunteer sign-up, encouraging community members to donate their time and expertise in rebuilding the playground. We will also be asking the community to provide their input and ideas for designs for a blacktop mural as well as components they would like to see as part of the new playground structure. 
To donate or help with repairs please contact : Heather Abbott Student Affairs Specialist Urban Center of Gateway Community Technical College 525 Scott Boulevard Covington, KY 41011Office: (859) 815-7634
To read the original report and to see more photos of the damage, click the link below. 
A dumpster used for construction debris during the renovation of a row house at the corner of Russell & Robbins Streets caught fire Saturday afternoon. The location was also the site of a fatal fire in 2009 that nearly destroyed the four connected row houses, nearly all of which have now been renovated. A neighbor who witnessed Saturday afternoon's fire tells The River City News, "Flames were shooting and the smoke was very thick for a couple of hours. The Covington Fire Department had two big trucks and they got it under control. They did a good job protecting property and cars in the vicinity. Kudos to them for averting a terrible fire in our neighborhood."
Interim Chief Jones says the police department is also investigating the dumpster fire as suspicious. "They were lookinh into that to see if there are connections (to the Sixth District playground fire)," Jones said. "We'll look at any possible connections and right now we're looking at all aspects on that one."

There will soon be a limit on how long drivers can park in the Fifth Street parking lot and the 501 Main Street parking lot. From a City of Covington press release: 
In an effort to free up these lots for the residents, businesses, and the visitors to Mainstrasse Village - and keep commuters that were using the lot as a Park and Ride out of the lot - we had AMPCO install "3 Hour Parking, M-F 8 AM to 5 PM" signs. AMPCO has made parking passes that will be available to the residents, businesses, and their employees that will be free of charge. With the pass, vehicles will be able to park longer than 3 hours without being ticketed. These passes will be distributed free of charge.

The passes are available in the AMPCO office that is located in the Midtown Garage (corner of 5th and Scott, directly across from the Library). Those wishing to obtain a pass will need to show Ampco a pay stub showing employment at a business, or a piece of mail, drivers license, or something similar showing proof of residency to receive their pass. AMPCO will be issuing warning tickets initially, explaining the process for those that did not get the notification. 
If anyone has questions, please call Mike Yeager, Covington Engineering Division, at 292-2112 or Ron Traweek with AMPCO at 431-7049.

The City of Covington is writing more parking tickets than ever before
From the Cincinnati Enquirer: 
Vigilant meter monitors, working for Ampco System Parking, have been writing significantly more parking tickets in recent months than city police wrote in the past. The aggressive enforcement will pour nearly $387,000 into city accounts, 52 percent more money than two years ago when Covington police – often cadets – were primarily responsible for parking enforcement.
In addition to a boost to city coffers, city leaders hope the boost in ticket-writing will make it easier to find parking in Covington and lead to more people visiting Covington businesses. 
Full story: Cincinnati Enquirer/Mike Rutledge 
Don't miss this morning's news! Should school board members be tested for qualifications? KY's education commissioner thinks so; Work on a business improvement district for Downtown Covington begins in earnest in the coming days; Plus, how you can help rebuild Sixth District's playground. Click it.
The RC News: Monday Morning Round-Up 
City Commissioner Steve Frank will not be present at either of this week's important meetings regarding the City of Covington's finances. Frank writes at Facebook: 
All, unfortunately I will be out of town beginning this morning on business and may not be able to be back until Friday. I have made every city meeting both public and executive and tried to make as many neighborhood and city events as possible given the fact that I also have a 60 hour work week in my other profession. That means I will miss Tuesday Night's presentation from Management partners along with Chuck Scheper's State of the City Speech and Thursday's final vote on the budget. That said I have read the Management partner's report cover to cover, several times and participated in several all day events that helped shape its content. As per the budget. I am in full support and have seen the final numbers. Its a tough budget but one that is required if we want to get Covington back on a sustainable path to economic recovery. The budget vote should carry without my presence. Even given that, the only way I would miss these events is if it was absolutely required by my professional business to be away. 
Those meetings are Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday night, Mayor Scheper and the city commission will present the 2012-13 budget to the public at 6:00PM inside the Madison Event Center. On Thursday night at 6:00PM inside City Hall, the commission will vote on the budget. The River City News will have full, in-depth coverage both nights.
The rising cost of public pensions weigh heavily on municipal and state finances but a new rule will bring to light the financial obligations that could have been hidden previously: 
The new rules are the result of more than five years of work by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board on one of the most contentious topics the agency has ever tackled. The current rules have been criticized for making pensions look more affordable than they really are and creating incentives for governments to take undue risks with taxpayer money.
Mr. Attmore declined to predict which states and cities would bear the brunt of the board’s rule changes, but said that, in general, it would be those that had failed, year after year, to set aside as much money as their actuaries instructed. Such plans include those operated by Illinois, New Jersey and Kentucky. 
Full story: The New York Times 
SEE ALSO: Despite many reforms, big problems persist in most states with public pensions The Economist 
The Courier-Journal created a list of salaries and total 2011 compensation received by members of the Kentucky House of Representatives and the State Senate and shows House Speaker Greg Stumbo earning the most with a salary of $47,114 and total compensation of $94,183. 
Local legislators: 

Rep. Arnold Simpson $27,480 in salary, $63,976 in total compensaion
Rep. Dennis Keene $29,906 in salary, $71,000 in total compensation

Rep. Tom Kerr $16,752 in salary, $47,083 in total compensation

Sen. Jack Westwood $22,189 in salary, $58,180 in total compensation

Sen. Damon Thayer $19,240 in salary, $47,901 in total compensation

The full list, as well as explanations on how total compensation is calculated, is at the link. 

From a press release:
Metal recyclers in Kentucky will soon be required to register and keep records of their purchases under legislation sponsored by Rep. Tanya Pullin
(D – South Shore), which becomes law July 12.
During a ceremonial signing of House Bill 390 today at the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Third Division, Gov. Steve Beshear said the bill will ensure that recyclers are not inadvertently receiving stolen metal such as copper, brass, aluminum, bronze, lead or zinc.
“What Rep. Pullin has put into place is a statute that will give our Kentucky State Police the ability to track not only sellers of stolen metals, but those who knowingly purchase those metals, many times after Kentuckians have been victimized by the vandalizing of home and business air conditioning units or other sources of these metals,” said Gov. Beshear. “This will make it much more difficult for metal thieves to operate in the Commonwealth.”
HB 390 requires a registry for second metal recyclers, which will be administered by the Office of Occupations and Professions (O&P) in the Public Protection Cabinet. That registry will require applicants to pay the Kentucky State Police for conducting background checks. The legislation also limits payments for restricted metals to be done by check or electronic bank transfer rather than cash. It also requires the registry to keep records of restricted metal purchases such as manhole covers, guardrails, traffic signs, etc., and makes those records available to law enforcement at all times. Additionally, HB 390 recommends the creation of a Recyclable Metals Theft Prevention Working Group.
Once the regulations have been finalized, second metals recyclers will be required to submit to a name-based background check and receive a certificate of registration from O&P within 60 days of the effective date of the regulations.
Police work to combat growing heroin epidemic in NKY Cincinnati Enquirer 
Triple digit weather coming to Kentucky this week Herald-Leader 
Kentucky ranks tenth in injury related deaths State-Journal 
Immigration ruling at US Supreme Court could halt Kentucky legislation WFPL 
US lawmakers reworked their own portfolios as economy was collapsing in 2008 Washington Post 
NKU to study human trafficking in region Cincinnati Enquirer 
Dole recalls salads sold at Kroger and Walmart in Kentucky, other states Business Courier 
A lot of weed is seized after a traffic stop on I-75 in Whitley County. From the Kentucky State Police: 
During the stop officer Douglas learned 58 yr old Carl R. Bradshaw of Cincinnati Ohio was operating a 2003 Chevy Z-71 Tahoe at a high rate of speed and in a careless manner. While on the stop, Douglas smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle and asked the driver to step from the vehicle at which time consent to search was obtained.
Located in the rear passenger compartment of the vehicle was a suitcase and duffle bag containing approximately 45-50 lbs of marijuana. Bradshaw was arrested without incident and lodged in the Whitley Co Detention Center.
The swath of positive national media attention bestowed upon Cincinnati lately continues with a nice profile in the Chicago Tribune about the World Choir Games: 
Cincinnati is a city of neighborhoods, and two on the must-see list include Over-the-Rhine, an uber-chic area near downtown with a distinct Old World vibe. It's one of the most intact historically significant collections of architecture in the nation, comparable to New Orleans and Savannah, Ga.
In this rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, you'll find specialty shops, boutiques and several restaurants named among the best in town by Cincinnati magazine. 
Covington and Newport get nice mentions, too: 
When it's time to dine, the German heritage is in evidence across the Ohio River in places such as the MainStrasse Village area in Covington, Ky. Or walk across the "Purple People Bridge" to Newport, Ky., where the Hofbrauhaus is modeled after the original in Munich. While there, save time for the nearby Newport Aquarium, with its long underwater tunnels where sharks glide above you, and Mighty Mike, the biggest gator in the U.S. outside of Florida.
Full story: Chicago Tribune 
When the World Choir Games kick off next month, three events will be held in Covington, with one each at Devou Park, Mainstrasse Village, and the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption.
From the Holmes Band: 
Alumni and supporters of the Holmes Band we need your help!!! We are quickly approaching band camp season and we are looking for some items to help our students. If you are able to donate any of the following we would greatly appreciate it: a case of bottled water, granola bars, small bags of chips. If you are able to help us out please let us know!!!!! Thanks so much in advance and as always "Once a Bulldog .... Always a Bulldog"

No comments:

Post a Comment