Thursday, April 30, 2009


Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Everybody knows that marijuana has long roots that stretch straight to hell. Just ask Daddy Reagan: It’s WEED, not grass. Yes, it’s a fiery danger to us all.

That’s why alcohol and cigarettes are the legal elixirs, people — the good drugs, taxed to the hilt and available at a corner near you. Don’t even bother finding out for yourselves about marijuana’s worth. Would the government really lie?
And medical benefits, our ass. Surely the dozen states that have legalized medical cannabis are just in it for the money. Huh? The American Medical Association signed on? What do physicians know?

bfba/1241096933-stoned.jpgWe still don’t know why anybody would show up for this surely illicit Cleveland Marijuana March at “high” noon, Saturday, May 2. The decade-old march, in conjunction with festivities taking place in about 300 other cities across the globe, will begin at Public Square with the Weed Olympics, pagan-sounding though it is.

Some of the events: the Cottonmouth Challenge, in which contestants shove as many cotton balls as they can in their mouths; the Munchies, a race to see who can eat a bowl of Funions the fastest; and a bong relay that will have competitors putting their heads on a bat, spinning around and then seeing who can roll the fastest joint (with simulated ingredients, of course). Silly stoners, spinning makes you dizzy!

But the event isn’t all merriment and silliness, apparently. After gathering reinforcements (last year’s rain-stymied event drew 500), the revelers will head out on a march around the Justice Center, then end up, sometime around 2 p.m., at a party in Huntington Park, with activists, party games and music from Zoo Station, the Groove Prophets and Jim & E Roc.
Laura Kosa-Thomas, a 36-year-old from Lorain, is in her second year organizing the event as president of the Ohio Cannabis Society. She’s also founder of Pot TV.

“As soon as you mention I smoke it, people instantly think you’re stupid,” says Kosa-Thomas, who notes how, with her medical problems, she could move to a state like Michigan that’s legalized medical cannabis. But what good would that do for Ohio? “I want to stay here and fight. It’s ridiculous. Alcohol can ruin a marriage, a life, somebody else’s life, but I can smoke an ounce and not do that. I might eat up everything in the house and go to sleep, but that’s it.”

Go to for more information and to tap into the local activist scene. And if you go to Saturday’s march, be careful — weed’s still illegal. And thank goodness. Who needs all those taxes? — Dan Harkins

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Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 9:12 AM

Buildings like the Capitol Theater on Detroit Avenue are giving neighborhoods something to brag about again. And as the Northeast Shores Development Corp. tries to turn around others, like the old LaSalle on East 185th in North Collinwood, the Westown Community Development Corp. is closer. The group will soon buy the decrepit Variety Theater at 11815 Lorain Avenue for a complete makeover into a renovated theater, seven storefronts and 13 apartments upstairs.

66d8/1241112473-variety1930.jpgWard 19 councilwoman Dona Brady was successful on Monday in convincing Cleveland City Council’s finance committee to pitch in $211,000 in redevelopment funding toward the 80-year-old building’s purchase. A group, Friends of the Variety Theater, has already raised the remainder of the $1 million asking price through loan promises, and has purchased a new marquee — currently in storage — to return the tired-looking block to an earlier, prouder time.

“They can’t put the sign up without owning the building,” Brady told her colleagues. “So when we do, it’s going to be something. The decline of the Variety, especially the marquee going into such drastic decline, has been sort of a symbol of decline for this neighborhood. So now we’re going to be able to install this marquee, and it’s going to be a beacon for the area again.”

The Westown CDC has been championing the effort for nearly four years, for obvious reasons, says Brady. Last year, Brady was instrumental in having the area — from 110th to 123rd streets — declared a historic district.

“If you don’t act proactively to control what’s torn down or put up, you’re going to lose the neighborhood’s whole sense of identity,” she says.

And she’s happy that the godforsaken “headbanger” music — played there by a slew of big metal and punk acts until a judge shut it down in 1986 — won’t be emanating from the rafters again.

Renovations, expected to last as long as a half-decade, will begin once the sign goes up and the building is firmly under the Friends’ control, says Brady — and as soon as the remaining $6 million-plus in restoration costs can be raised. — Dan Harkins

Photo Courtesy of Gary Swilik

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Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2009 at 8:54 AM

Roldo takes on the Opportunity Corridor:

Opportunity Corridor is a road that will slice through an East Side Cleveland poverty area to quickly route drivers through and past it. The lucky drivers won’t have to even glance at the unseemly sights. From the highway to University Circle in no time. Convenience has a pricy price tag, as we shall see.

Two grants of $100,000 from each the Cleveland and Gund foundations has been combined to hire former Mayor Michael White executive Terri Hamilton Brown. She is married to Mayor Frank Jackson’s chief operating officer Darnell Brown. And how convenient — she formerly headed up University Circle, Inc.

All tied up in pretty bows. As it always is when the Establishment types come to call.

Read the whole thing here.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 5:30 PM

This displeased reader named Hagan seems to be responding to this column, and this article, both of which, in an astonishing coincidence, involve another man named Hagan.

from Matt Hagan
date Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 4:54 PM
subject You know what is a crime?

Libel. Tim Hagan has been convicted (indicted, accused) of what? He stands to personally gain how? You are such an arrogant fuck.

You're lucky very few people read your shit. If I enjoyed fucking people up, I would fuck you up. Is that a crime? Or a threat? Nope. Arrogant prick. Your hockey pic indicates you are more of a pussy type than an enforcer, so I would really, really enjoy encountering you after you used some "fighting words."

If you work for the Scene, are you a journalist, or just a pussy sensationalist?

You and your boy Harkins let very little stand in the way of your agendas and petty grudges, that much is clear. Your libelous BS and personal family attacks (now allied by the adored and similarly failing PD) make me sick. Be a man and report, rather than slander to increase the circulation of your hooker ads.

The rest of the Hagan clan must be very proud.

UPDATE: Mr. Hagan wasn't done. After I pointed out that he's one to talk about personal attacks, he sent this:


EXACTLY. Personal. Underscore precisely how vitriolic your rants are coming across as. You lie about my uncle and call him an arrogant prick, and I'm gonna get in your face, and tell you exactly what I'd like to do to you, were I so inclined to do those types of things, but I'm not.

I answer to the same god you do, so I'm not worried about any damnation coming on me for rightfully calling you a pussy with an axe to grind. Good day.

Note that in none of this does Mr. Hagan take issue with assertions of fact. So here's what he seems to be arguing: That public officials (at least those also named Hagan) can do and say whatever they like, and if anyone calls them on their style or substance, those officials and their supporters are within their rights to shout the dissenters down with claims of bias and "personal attacks," and by making thinly veiled threats of physical violence. Do I have that right? Or am I just a pussy whose ass you'd kick if you kicked asses, but you don't, but you would really really like to?

Arrogant prick.

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Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 4:52 PM

Two weeks after a national meeting that mandated a “second wave” of cutbacks, Clear Channel has slashed drive-time lineups from WTAM 1100 AM and WMVX 106.5 FM.

98fe/1241038834-trivshow.jpgWTAM’s Mike Trivisonno is now flying solo. Mike Trivisonno Show wingmen Paul Rado (top right in picture) and Marty “Big Daddy” Allen (top left) were cut Monday. Both are native Clevelanders. Rado landed his gig when the Browns bounced to Baltimore, and his dead-on Art Modell impression proved popular. He’s been full-time with the show since 2000, and hosts some weekend programming. Allen, a 27-year radio veteran, has been with Triv for 15 years.

“You’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with,” notes media analyst John Gorman. “And Marty Allen has been with him for most of his career. It’s safe to say that Allen has a lot to do with Trivosonno’s success. My guess is that Triv will not do as well without Marty Allen.”

ff7e/1241038556-brianjoe.gifMix 106.5 has cancelled The Brian & Joe Radio Show and fired the namesakes behind it. Brian Cronauer and Joe Fowler first teamed up at Akron’s WONE 97.5 FM in the late ’80s. During the ’90s, they became top draws at WMMS and WENZ. The morning-show hosts are active in local charities including Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. They’ve maintained a loyal following, but not a giant one; as of last quarter, the Hot Adult Contemporary station was 13th in overall rankings — which may have had more to do with a playlist that spans from Daughtry to Pink. The station has not announced a replacement.

Clear Channel — owner of 1,200 stations nationwide, including 10 in Northeast Ohio and six in Cleveland — cut nearly 2,000 employees in January. This round of cuts came two weeks after local executives were summoned to a national meeting in Texas.

Mike Kinney, marketing manager of Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster, said he couldn’t discuss the local cuts, and pointed Scene at the national office. He said the total number of jobs lost was “just a few,” under 10, on-air and off-air.

Trivisonno didn’t return Scene’s e-mail by press time. Even reliable moles in the Clear Channel cluster had clammed up. The corporate behemoth has issued a don’t-talk-to-the-press mandate — but it’s clear the company is looking for an excuse to trim its payroll — and its overhead — by any means necessary. — D.X. Ferris

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Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 2:34 PM

All I could think about was May 4. The tear gas. The rubber bullets. The police. The angry students.

The Kent State shootings happened 18 years before I was born, but as I watched the Saturday night riot on College Avenue, May 4 was all I could think about. But Saturday’s riot wasn’t fueled by politics or a generation gap. It was fueled by drunk college students with an urge to light things on fire and police who refused to let students gain control.

For the past five years, College Fest has been part of the spring semester. And each year, the heat and an abundance of cheap beer leads to an out-of-control crowd, forcing the police to break up the block party. So everyone assumed this year’s festival would be the same.

After a day of drinking and gorgeous weather, things started to go awry at 8:40 p.m. According to the Daily Kent Stater, police attempted to disperse the crowd, and protesters began to throw glass bottles at officers. Police responded by firing non-lethal ammunition from paintball guns. Ten minutes later, a fire was started at the end of the street. I’ve never seen a fire that high. Everything went in, from couches to textbook-size pieces of wood. From rooftops, porches and sidewalks, students watched the fire, cheering it on.

By 9:05 p.m., police were in full riot gear at the end of the street, arresting anyone who wouldn’t leave the area. As police began to march down College Avenue, the excitement escalated to tension and fear. Suddenly, the mass of people turned and started running down the street, away from the cops. My friend Ray grabbed my hand and pulled me down the street, warning me to watch out for the shattered beer bottles covering the ground.

Once the crowd made it to the end of the street, everyone assumed the worst was over. But the festivalgoers weren’t ready to give in yet. They started three more fires. At the intersection of College Avenue and Lincoln Street, a few men pulled several street signs out of the ground, throwing them into the growing pyre. People were still running. The air smelt smoky. Finally, Ray and I decided we had to leave. I was sweaty, muddy and shaken. I wildly texted everyone in the newsroom as Ray continued to pull me by the hand away from the scene. Then I heard several popping noises.

“What’s that noise?” I asked Ray, looking up mid-text. No reply. “Answer me!” I said, hitting him. “What is that noise?”

“It’s the rubber bullets,” he said, speeding up. It was definitely time to leave.

Sunday morning, College Avenue residents began to clean up the mess from the night before. Video, pictures and first-hand accounts flooded the converged Web site for Kent State’s student newspaper, television and radio station. Fifty people had been arrested for failure to disperse. The university issued a statement saying it was “disappointed in the events that have occurred and finds the behavior inexcusable.”

Kent State was once again in the news. — Brittany Moseley

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Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 12:38 PM

3327/1241023283-norbert.jpgSure it was 1964 when perennial candidate Norbert Dennerll last served Cleveland in an elected capacity, but that hasn’t stalled his drive.

The former three-term West Side Councilman, educator, Marine captain and insurance man is 79 now. And still he chose to officially kick off his mayoral bid against Frank Jackson with a lengthy stroll from the gutted Rego Market at Kamm’s Plaza all the way down Lorain Avenue to the West Side Market.

“Dennerll will point out that over 30 buildings are for sale and 88 storefronts are vacant in this short 7-mile walk,” his campaign states in a hand-written press release. A fine point, and a great way to make it. But we wonder whether he’ll be able to have any traction this time around. He’s run for this job, as well as for Congress and the board of county commissioners, more times than we can count. He makes sense — decrying the Cleveland Schools’ 37 percent graduation rate, high property taxes and eschewing of civil-service guidelines — but doesn’t he realize that Old Silver isn’t going anywhere? — Dan Harkins

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