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5 games out at festival



Published: Sat, July 20, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



5 games out at festival

NILES -- Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Festival has eliminated five wheel-type games of chance from its gambling activities. Ronald Tauro, a member of the church finance committee, said Police Chief Bruce Simeone threatened to shut down the 69th annual festival if the wheel games operated. Simeone was not available.

The festival began Wednesday and runs through Sunday. Tauro said the church could lose up to $20,000 if people don't spend their money on other festival activities. That's the amount the church makes off the five wheel games. Poker, instant bingo -- known as rip tickets -- and regular bingo can still be played, Tauro said.

State gambling laws prohibit slot machines, roulette and craps. Tauro said Simeone considers the wheel games to be roulette.

Cops sue over contract

WARREN -- The union representing this city's police officers has filed a lawsuit regarding a conciliation award in the police contract. City council approved a three-year pact with the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association in April, granting 4 percent raises for the officers in 2001, 2002 and 2003. The raises were based on binding arbitration.

The arbitrator's report also called for the city to pay 5 percent of the employee's contribution to the police and fire pension and disability fund. The union contends it agreed to the city's paying 50 percent.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court asks for a modification of the award.

Psychiatric exam

YOUNGSTOWN -- A woman accused of killing an 89-year-old man will undergo a psychiatric evaluation after a judge in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court accepted her written plea that she is innocent by reason of insanity.

Michelle T. Burton, 30, of Ellenwood Avenue, is accused of slashing the throat of Michael A. Butch, for whom she was a caretaker, in his Midlothian Avenue home in February. He died in May. Burton made the insanity plea a week ago. She had originally entered an innocent plea without claiming insanity. Judge John M. Durkin this week ordered that the woman be evaluated by the Forensic Psychiatry Center of Northeast Ohio in Youngstown.

Reduction sought

YOUNGSTOWN -- Poland Township trustees are asking a judge in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to reduce to $30,000 the amount a jury awarded a former road worker for wages he lost when the township fired him.

Earlier this week, the jury awarded Robert Swesey $55,000. Swesey had requested $110,000. In a motion filed in court Friday, the township argues that Swesey miscalculated the amount of his loss by including wages he would have earned in the future. The motion says that Judge Robert G. Lisotto had agreed that if a jury awarded damages to Swesey, they would have to be reduced by $25,000.

The township had fired and sued Swesey, saying he had fraudulently collected family health benefits when he was not married. Swesey countersued, saying he was married through common law.

Expungement requested

YOUNGSTOWN -- Two city police officers who were acquitted of robbery charges in January are asking a judge in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to order that the records documenting their arrests, indictments and trial be expunged. The officers had been accused of roughing up a Struthers man and stealing $480 from him in the restroom of the Pulse Bar on Market Street in March 2001.

In motions filed this week, Mark Rakocy, 34, and Christopher Lombard, 33, request that Judge James C. Evans order that all court records be sealed and that index references to the cases be deleted. They also request that the judge order the Youngstown Police Department, the city law department, the Mahoning County prosecutor's office, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the FBI to seal records related to the matter.

Both officers were suspended without pay when indicted in April 2001. They returned to work after the acquittal.

Child starts fire

AUSTINTOWN -- An apartment fire set by a 7-year-old boy playing with a cigarette lighter caused $150,000 damage and forced the evacuation of a building containing 48 apartments, the fire department said. The fire, which originated in the bedroom, was reported in Hillbrook Apartments, Apt. D-6, 470 S. Raccoon Road, at 10:23 a.m. Friday.

Police, firefighters and Lane LifeTRANS ambulance personnel evacuated occupants until 1 p.m. There was heavy fire damage to the apartment where the fire originated and smoke damage to 11 other apartments. Damage was estimated at $100,000 to the building and $50,000 to its contents.

The boy's mother, Sharon Morrow, was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.




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