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Till Death Do Us Part 

How to whack your husband and still collect.

In 1986, Merle Mishne signed a will that left most of his $409,000 estate to his wife, Laurie, when her plans of killing him were still just a twinkle in her eye.

In June, Laurie was sentenced to 15 years for aiding her boyfriend, Dan Gordon Johnson, who bludgeoned Mishne to death last year. Doting wife Laurie helped him hide the body.

But it doesn't appear that prison has done the estranged wifey much good. As soon as she slipped on her bright orange jumper, she was filing a motion in Medina Probate Court to seek her chunk of her deceased hubby's estate.

"They were outraged, just outraged," says Mishne family lawyer Craig Bashein of Laurie's request. "They'll do everything to make sure she has no right to claim any of his estate."

But it won't be easy. It seems that Laurie's better at finding loopholes than she is at killing people. Since she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter, not murder, Ohio law does not prohibit her from getting the assets of the man she killed. So Bashein had to file a wrongful-death suit on behalf of four of Mishne's relatives, in hopes of keeping Laurie's paws off the inheritance.

Wormy business
Councilman Mike Polensek appears to be employing a concept previously unheard of in Cleveland politics: compromise.

For months, the city has wrestled with Jaime Melvin, who bought the former TRW valve plant on East 185th Street. His company, Sansai Environmental Technologies, is supposedly on the cutting edge of a process called "worm-casting," which uses worms and their poop to make soil. Melvin says the plant would employ more than 100 people and countless hardworking worms.

But Polensek has proved a solid roadblock. He doesn't want waste being hauled through the neighborhoods of his ward. So he's blasted Melvin for ignoring council's requests for information and raised questions about the entrepreneur's rap sheet. It seems that Melvin did five years in a federal pen after getting hit for racketeering in Nevada -- a qualification suitable for working in city government, but not private enterprise.

Melvin is still trying to sway the city, but Polensek sees a better solution. A New Jersey manufacturer wants to buy the TRW plant from Melvin, he says. And there's another abandoned factory in Collinwood that would fit Sansai's needs, while keeping the worms out of residential neighborhoods.

"He made some major mistakes, but we've always been pro-business," Polensek says of Melvin. "We've never shut the door to him."

Mistakes optional
Critics of Plain Dealer sports columnist Roger Brown say that accuracy is among his lesser merits (see "The Sniper" in this issue). Now they have fresh ammo.

On August 15, Brown wrote, "Make no mistake about it: longtime Channel 5 General Manager Ric Harris was firmly pushed recently from his station GM post."

Sadly, the only mistake was Brown's.

Two days later, in a follow-up gushingly headlined "Channel 5 GM Ric Harris has Universal appeal," Brown sloppily retracted his earlier claim and extolled Harris' innumerable virtues. Turns out, Harris had been wooed by NBC Universal in New York, for whom an executive VP position was created to handle marketing of new media.

This, insiders say, is not the typical career arc for local-news flops.

"We lacked the proper sourcing to substantiate that statement. It should not have been made in our column. We regret the error," Brown wrote in staccato prose, as if typing while he extracted Harris' foot from his buttocks.

"There was no phone call in advance of that article," says Harris. On at least one previous occasion, he adds, Brown directly quoted him in a column without actually speaking to him. (Brown didn't return Punch's calls.)

"Here's the piece that bothered me most," says Harris. "I'm born and raised here. The column Roger wrote -- my mother read that. My grandmother read that. This move to NBC is a cause for celebration in my family, and Roger just pissed all over it."

Stupid criminal
Word of advice: If you plan on stealing a $1.29 can of beer from a Circle K, don't stop to drink it behind the store -- especially if it's one-tenth of a mile from a police station.

Earlier this month, Brook Park resident Stephen Kopp was charged with theft of a 16-ouncer of Bud Ice. Shockingly, he didn't face additional charges for bad taste in beer, though he was hit for possession of a crack pipe.

But Kopp compounded his problems by bragging to fellow inmates. "I did the same thing last Monday night and got out then, and I'll get out again," he told them, according to a police report.

One more piece of advice: If you're going to boast of previous crimes, try not to do it inside a police station.

So sex sells, huh?
Guys drink water. Guys like chicks in bikinis. To entrepreneur Steve Macecevic of Westlake, this correlation has dollar signs written all over it. That's why he created Bikini Spring Water.

Macecevic got the inspiration from Donald Trump, who markets his own spring water. If America's worst combover can sell H2O, he reasons, imagine what bottles with pictures of chicks on them could do?

So Macecevic partnered with Hawaiian Tropic to feature scantily clad models on his labels. He says he's sold over 100,000 bottles through internet orders and area businesses.

"If you open up a cooler at a store and my water's next to an Aquafina bottle, you're a male, you're gonna grab that bottle," says Macecevic. "You're gonna get back in your construction vehicle or whatever, and you're gonna be like, 'Look at this bottle, isn't this great? There's a hot chick in a bikini on it.'"

Who says Cleveland suffers from brain drain?

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