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Entries in Cincinnati (5)

Monday
Mar042013

Zoo Workers Step in to Mother Abandoned Baby Gorilla

File Photo (Hemera/Thinkstock)(CINCINNATI) -- Workers at the Cincinnati Zoo have taken on a new role: surrogate mommy.

An infant gorilla was born at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, on Jan. 29. Her mother rejected her. She was flown to Cincinnati, where two gorilla mothers were available as surrogates.

But before Gladys can be left in their care, a cast of zookeepers will have to step in and teach Gladys how to be a gorilla.

“Gorillas are not a lot different than people in that they have their own language and rules of etiquette,” Ron Evans, primate team leader for the Cincinnati Zoo, told ABC News.  “They have to start learning these rules from the day they are born.”

This kind of surrogacy is practiced with several species of apes, including chimpanzees and orangutans.

A rotation of three are already wearing black hair vests,  grunting, grooming and walking on their knuckles around her. Once Gladys is strong enough, they’ll don black hair vests and carry her around, just as a biological mother would do.

Gorillas are carried by their mothers for their first 18 months, and only weaned at about three years.

“There are good moms and bad moms, just like humans,” said Ron Magill of the Miami Metro Zoo. “Sometimes new moms will reject their babies.”

Now the baby gorilla is being raised by six human surrogates who will tend to her around the clock.

They don’t want any one surrogate to get too close, because that could create attachment issues once Gladys is sent to live with her gorilla surrogates.

The workers give her daily checkups and participate in activities  such as Tummy Time to strengthen her neck muscles, and practice gripping.

The interaction is intended to prepare Gladys for her new ride — on the back of an adoptive gorilla mother at the zoo — as well as prepare her to join the rest of the troop.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Ex-Bengals Cheerleader Pleads Not Guilty in Student Sex Case

Hemera/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- A former Bengals cheerleader accused of sex abuse, and her mother, a middle school principal who allegedly covered up the crime, entered pleas of not guilty during their arraignment Monday in Kenton County, Ky.

Sarah Jones, one-time captain of the Cincinnati Ben-Gals cheerleading squad and a former high school teacher, is accused of sexually abusing a student and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual activities.

Sarah Jones' mother, Cheryl Jones, is accused of tampering with evidence in connection with her daughter's case.  Cheryl Jones is currently suspended from her job as middle school principal pending a further investigation.

Both Sarah and Cheryl Jones were arrested following a grand jury investigation into the charges.

At the courthouse Monday, the pair was joined by a dozen supporters, including the family of the alleged victim, according to ABC News affiliate WCPO.

Though the alleged victim's family supports Sarah Jones, Jefferson County Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Sarah Farmer said the state would continue to prosecute the case against both Sarah and Cheryl Jones.

"The commonwealth feels that we have sufficient proof to go forward," Farmer told ABC News.

At the arraignment, Judge Patricia Summe ordered Sarah and Cheryl Jones to avoid contact with the alleged victim and to disable the text messaging component of their phones.

Forensic evidence for the case was collected by taking Sarah Jones' computers and phone records.

The trial date for both Sarah and Cheryl Jones was set for June 27.´╗┐

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec122011

Cincinnati Basketball Brawl Could Lead to Charges

ESPN/ABC News(CINCINNATI) -- An Ohio prosecutor is considering criminal charges in the wake of Saturday’s bench-clearing brawl between cross-city basketball rivals Cincinnati and Xavier.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said he would review the game to determine if criminal charges such as aggravated battery are appropriate. The two schools suspended eight players on Sunday over the incident and now their coaches are struggling to make sense of what happened.

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin, appearing on ESPN, threatened to keep his players benched if they don’t apologize publicly: “They’re going to sit in front of a camera and say how sorry they are and how grateful they are for getting a second chance.” Cronin suggested the episode was personally humiliating. “I’ve never been this embarrassed.”

The most egregious punch was thrown by Cincinnati forward Yancy Gates, who smashed Xavier’s Kenny Frease in the face, leaving him with a swollen black eye. Cincinnati suspended Gates, junior Cheikh Mbodj and freshman Octavius Ellis for six games each. Freshman Ge’Lawn Guyn was suspended for one game. Cronin said the four suspended players will have to earn their way back on to the team.

“They have no idea of how lucky they are to even be on this team, at this school, let alone to be on scholarships,” the angry coach said.

But Xavier players defended their actions after the game. At a post-game news conference, star guard Tru Holloway complained of being “disrespected” by Cincinnati players before the game. “We got a whole lot of gangsters in the locker room, not thugs but tough on the court.”

Those words led to a one-game suspension as Xavier coach Chris Mack clearly was unhappy with Holloway’s remarks. “It was the wrong choice of words and it’s a problem and our fault for putting them up there (at a news conference) in the first place,” Mack added.

Xavier suspended three other players: Dezmine Wells, who was ejected, along with Landen Amos, and Mark Lyons. The fight led game officials to call the game with 9.4 seconds left and 8th-ranked Xavier leading 76-53.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar182011

Principal Turns Failing High School Around, One Student at a Time 

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- For years, Cincinnati's Taft Information Technology High School was notorious for being a dilapidated, crime-ridden school filled with failing and forgotten students. Teachers didn't want to teach there and it was often considered to be the worst slum school in the city. It was so dysfunctional that each clock told a different time -- all of which were wrong.

"There was no way I was going to let my son go to Taft," said Shonda Fowler, whose son is now a high school student.

Things began to change nine years ago. Taft got a new principal, his name is Anthony Smith and the motto he brought to Taft: "Failure is not an option." The phrase was not just directed at the students, but the teachers as well. Although Taft was designated a failing school, Smith decided to keep all of the teachers.

"I was ready to get rid of all the teachers because I had a premise that they didn't know what they were doing. I was wrong, 100 percent wrong," said Smith. "They knew what they were doing, they were working hard, just working hard in the wrong direction."

Smith teamed up with his teachers to closely monitor the progress or struggles of every student. Daily meetings helped identify those falling behind and plans were devised to help them catch up. Teaching reading and writing became an obsession, even in math and science classes.

"It's not good enough now to give an answer in math," said Rozell. "You have to be able to explain and articulate that answer."

But Smith's most unconventional partnership happened outside the classroom. The principal teamed up with Jack Cassidy, the hard-charging CEO of Cincinnati Bell, the city's local phone company. Cassidy was so inspired by Smith's determination that he put his company's name on the line. He promised free phones and laptops for every student who maintained a 3.3 grade point average. If they fell behind, the students would have to give the electronics back.

As a result, Taft has been transformed. Ten years ago the graduation rate was 18 percent. Now, 95 percent of the students graduate. The school, with an almost all-black student body closed the so-called racial achievement test gap. Taft students outscored white students in Ohio on the state's graduation tests in math, reading and science.

Now the place that students were once afraid to visit is attracting them. Kenny Fowler, whose mother once said she wouldn't allow her son to go to Taft, transferred there from one of the city's top schools. Kenny is now a straight-A student and his mother is now a believer.

This spring, the "old" Taft changes too. It will be replaced with a gleaming, new $18.8 million high school. The school will feature new desks, new lockers, a new gym, and even a clock -- that works. The school will still have the same commitment.

"You have to look at these children like they're the most important part of your life," said Smith. "I can teach you how to be a good teacher, I can't teach you how to care."

A lesson in saving troubled schools.. one student at a time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

Saturday
Oct232010

From Juror to Witness: Shocking Courtroom Declaration

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CINCINNATI) -- A juror in a domestic abuse case in Cincinnati stunned the courtroom by declaring she was the anonymous telephone caller who dialed 911 to send police to the scene of the crime.  It happened during opening statements this week just after the prosecutor laid out the case.  Jurors don't hear details of a case during jury selection.

The judge declared a mistrial because the juror's statement that she thought the suspect was killing the victim created prejudice for the rest of the jurors.  The defense attorney says he was shocked and the prosecutor said he was astonished.  The judge said he had never seen anything like it in 33 years on the bench.

It happened Tuesday in Hamilton County Court.  Juror Najah Johnson-Riddle was sitting in the jury box with the 11 other members of the panel.  Prosecutor Ryan Nelson had just detailed the case against James Capell, a previous offender who has pleaded not guilty in this case.  Nelson told the court Capell broke into the victim's home, beat her in the face with his keys, bit her and choked her.  A neighbor heard the commotion and called 911 anonymously.  Nelson said Capell was able to subdue the victim when police arrived, so they left.  The beating allegedly resumed but the victim was able to call a relative to try to get police to return.  When they did, Capell was arrested and charged.

Riddle-Johnson burst out that she had made the first 911 call.  The judge halted proceedings.  Riddle-Johnson will move to another part of the courtroom when a new trial is held.  She will be a witness for the prosecution.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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