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Raspberry Jams 

Letters published September 12, 2007

No Idol praise for these power poppers: I just read that drivel you wrote about the Raspberries ["Why the Hype?," August 15]. It's no wonder the Cleveland music scene is nowhere to be found, with idiots like you giving utterly useless comments. Did you catch any of the shows they did? I believe they were targeting longtime fans, real people who actually work for a living and enjoy great musicians practicing their craft.

Unlike you, an obvious American Idol watcher, these guys can play real instruments. No one other than Ringo, or maybe Alex Van Halen, can pound a set of Ludwigs like Jim Bonfanti, or play a Rickenbacker twelve-string like Wally Bryson, or keep a backing track like Dave Smalley on bass -- not to mention the talents of Eric Carmen.

The Raspberries are also probably the nicest guys one would ever want to meet. They have real jobs, families, problems, etc., just like the rest of us working stiffs.

So my advice to you is to appreciate what we have, for it may soon disappear forever. Then we'll be stuck with the crap music we have today -- just turn on MTV. Show me real musicians who actually play their instruments and don't hang out with a "posse" next to a car with 90-inch wheels and wear 300 gold chains.

Now go back to community college and take a few journalism classes. Then go see a good band when you're old enough to get into a bar.

Dan Gregory
Mentor

We'll "Go All the Way" to make a point: It had to be said, and I'm glad someone said it. I hope you've got a thick skin, 'cause there'll be some slings and arrows coming your way.

In fairness to the 'Berries, I did listen to my Greatest Hits CD before writing this. But if this hype doesn't come to a stop, delusional fans soon will be claiming this band inspired Prince to pen "Raspberry Beret."

Jeff Weltman
North Canton

Hats Off
Gut-spilling for a worthy cause:
I would like to commend you concerning your exposé of Ohio's charter school experiment and the brave young lady who spilled her guts concerning what transpired at White Hat. I do worry about her safety after reading her brave story.

I'm a member of Concerned Ohio Retired Educators, and I wish to speak for my brothers and sisters in my praise to you. Investigative journalism is alive and well, thanks to people like you who aren't afraid to challenge those who prefer to operate in secrecy.

John Curry
Wapakoneta

Flipping burgers would be an improvement: Your piece "Education at Its Worst" [August 29] is bold and courageous. I have been helping to organize low-income parents in Ohio against for-profit charter schools. This article is terrifically important for that work. Best of luck with your next job -- may it be more gratifying than this ghastly experience.

Leigh Dingerson
Washington, D.C.

Let's pause for this commercial break: It is unfortunate that the work of White Hat Management tarnishes the public's perception of alternative-school programs. There are nonprofit alternative schools in Ohio that legitimately graduate students.

I am the director of North Coast Academy Education Resource Center, located in Randall Park Mall. Our school is one of the more than 100 public schools receiving state and federal funds for at-risk youth. Students are required to attend for three hours each day and are taught what they need to know to operate their computer and use the web-based curriculum from school and home.

The online courses challenge the students -- they are not just asked to regurgitate the information they learn. In addition to the traditional requirements of high school, students participate in classes on career exploration, consumer math, and a writing class. We also provide social-skills training and a mentoring program.

Why does North Coast Academy work? Low student-staff ratio, caring relationships, and a self-paced curriculum. Please visit to see an alternative school that works.

Rena Wertheim
Director, North Coast Academy
North Randall

Eau de Mittal
Smokestacks stink more than smokers do:
Why is it that people can't see the connection between sick kids and the steel plant ["Battling the Steel Baron," August 22]? Do you know why Cleveland is becoming a medical mecca? Could our city be making us sick?

I've driven by the plant and couldn't believe the foul odor originating from it. I can't imagine living near there. I'm sure we all get a taste of these toxins as they settle across our city. Never fear, though. A Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals medical office will be opening soon near you.

Don't forget to give a dirty look to the guy smoking as you pass by. It's easier to bulldog him than bully Mittal to do the right thing.

Carla Wainwright
South Euclid

Morris Code
Billy fans tap out an SOS -- Scene Officially Sucketh:
Your article two weeks ago about Billy Morris [First Punch, August 29] was the most biased piece of shit I have seen in my life. It shows how poorly the guy who wrote this investigated the matters in question. It was full of hearsay, with no proven facts.

I personally know Billy Morris. The Hi-Fi Club is the only place in Northeast Ohio that plays live music at least four times a week. This bar kicks serious rock and roll ass.

I've been a faithful reader of Scene for years. But if you're going to bitch about someone, at least get your details straight. It shows how ignorant this reporter is and desperate your magazine is to print on time.

William Linares
Lakewood

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