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Eliot Ness' penpal; go to church, NOW; putting the brakes on the City Council

The Cleveland Play House's Eliot Ness in Cleveland torso murder display includes this tantalizing tidbit: Ness had a "number one suspect" who sent him postcards from at least two mental institutions. But the signature of this alleged villain -- a medical doctor with a prominent last name -- was blocked out by the curator. Out of consideration for the suspect's descendants, his name was kept off the exhibit. The curious will just have to wait until the postcards are returned to the Western Reserve Historical Society to check their authorship -- or one can just look up the name of Dr. Frank E. Sweeney on the not-so-easily censored Internet.

Praise the Lord and pass the fire hoses! Six Parma Heights firefighters are suing the town because the fire chief ordered them to attend a Baptist church service dedicated to the town's cops and firemen. During the service, an emergency call came in, which they had trouble hearing over the church band. Two firemen rushed out and drove a sick guy to the hospital. Now, the six men -- some aren't religious, some belong to other churches -- are suing for unspecified damages, a declaration that the order was inappropriate, and an order preventing it from happening again. "I have no problem with the Parma Heights Baptist Church," says fireman James Dunkle. "I object to being ordered by my boss to go to church."

How nasty has the fight between the mayor and council become? So bad that when a city hall insider heard that the brakes on Council President Mike Polensek's Crown Victoria had gone bad and needed immediate replacement after only 21,000 miles, a paranoid joke flashed through his mind. "Thank God he didn't get into an accident, but I kind of laughed when it happened," our source whispers. With Polensek accusing Mayor White of being behind mysterious, anonymous mailings sent to constituents of White's council enemies, the dead brakes had the feel of a bad private-eye story. "The mayor's been sending out letters on people. Who knows what his next step is?" our source says. Then he laughs uncontrollably.

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