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LOCAL DIGEST



Published: Sun, July 14, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Crash kills motorcyclist

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 48-year-old Struthers man died after the Harley-Davidson motorcycle he rode smashed into a concrete barrier. City police said John P. Lenhart, of Sexton Street in Struthers, died in the 3:24 a.m. Saturday crash on the Himrod Avenue expressway near Federal Plaza East. He wore no helmet, police said.

Arson investigation

YOUNGSTOWN -- Police are investigating four juveniles in an arson at a home in the 200 block of North Fruit Street.

According to police reports, the 42-year-old resident told police he left for work around 8:30 a.m. Friday and returned around 3:40 p.m. to find the trampoline in his rear yard destroyed and a Jungle Gym surrounding it burned in places.

A neighbor reported seeing four boys ages 7 to 10 near the trampoline earlier in the day.

Restroom robbery

YOUNGSTOWN -- A 56-year-old West Side man said he was robbed in the restroom of the Road House Saloon at 2537 South Ave., city police reports show. The man said he was in a stall around 5:30 p.m. Friday when another man entered and demanded his money and rings. He said he handed over two rings and a wallet with $45. The suspect grabbed a necklace, pushed the man and fled. The man said he could not identify the robber because he did not look at him.

Religious-freedom suit

YOUNGSTOWN -- Fourteen officials and employees of the Federal Correctional Institution in Elkton are being sued by an inmate who says they've violated his right to religious freedom. Florentino Mendez is seeking $250,000 from each defendant in the suit, filed last week in U.S. District Court. The suit does not say where Mendez is from or why he's in prison. It says he has not been allowed to practice his religion of Asatru, a Northern European religion based on belief in Old Norse gods.

Driver hurt in chase

BEAVER -- The driver of a Mazda who fled from an officer who tried to stop him on southbound state Route 7 suffered minor injuries after the car drove off the road, flipped over and hit a house, personnel at the Canfield post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. Information about the driver was not released. A state trooper was trying to stop the car after it swerved left of center around 2:54 a.m. Saturday when the driver fled, losing control and driving off the right side of the road. The Mazda struck a ditch, flipped three times and came to rest on its roof after hitting a house. The driver was transported by helicopter to St. Elizabeth Health Center. An estimate of damages to the house was not available.

Home is 90% built

YOUNGSTOWN -- Habitat for Humanity of Mahoning County completed almost 90 percent of its newest home in just one day with help from 30 volunteers.

"We had people from Boardman High National Honor Society, Fitch High School Latin Club, Leadership Mahoning Valley, the Potter's Wheel program, GM Lordstown, Ohio Edison and our regulars from Nehemiah Builders," said William Farragher, construction coordinator. "We didn't get as much done as we'd hoped because we ran into some sizing problems," he said.

Construction supervisors Ted Lenton and Dan Becker expected to start with a bare concrete slab around 7 a.m. Saturday and lock the front door by 5 p.m., having put up the walls and roof, installed windows and doors, and wrapped the house in preparation for siding, Farragher said.

The house, in the 2900 block of Ridley Avenue, is the eighth new house Habitat has built since 1992.

Letonya Whipple, a graduate of the Potter's Wheel program, and her three daughters ages 12, 8 and 6 will move into the house.




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