Update: That Salvation Army worker who claimed he was robbed at knife point by four guys who raided his kettle? Yeah, he was never robbed at all. He stole the money and concocted the story to cover his tracks.
Police now say that Kevin J. Weitzel lifted about $235. He's now charged with theft and falsification, according to 19 Action News.
And thus we have an answer to the question: Who is worse than a guy that robs a Salvation Army worker? The Salvation Army worker who steals the dough himself and then says he got robbed. — Grzegorek
The drumbeat of end times. The crumbling of western civilization. The decay of decency. Call it what you want, but this story out of North Canton just gives the apocalypse-inclined among us further ammo that the things are off in a bad way. This is just plain mean.
The AP reports that four guys in North Canton robbed a Salvation Army bell-ringer outside of local Kmart. They drew a knife on the poor guy and demanded he hand over the red kettle people dump their change in as they're walking in and out of the store. Yeah, not just one cracked-out guy — four guys. One two three four human beings actually brainstormed this scheme. Yeah yeah, there's a recession on and all, but come on, you need some extra change for beer money so you go after the bell-ringer?
North Canton police say they don’t know how much donated money was in the kettle when it was taken Saturday evening.
Police Sgt. Frank Kemp tells WJW-TV the four men, all wearing dark clothing and hoodies, threatened to use the knife. Kemp says the bell-ringer followed the Salvation Army’s standard procedure in such cases and did not put up a struggle. The robbers took off on foot.
Police are asking for tips to help find them
Update: Breaking news out of Ashtabula today — it is no longer occupied.
At its height, Occupy Ashtabula counted 15 protesters and one dynamite gazebo. That number dwindled, and eventually the campers packed up and headed home. Via the Star Beacon:
City Manager Anthony Cantagallo said he believes the winter weather is partly responsible.
Logical. The group says it still plans to organize protests at banks and occasionally gather for picnics.
There's an Occupy Ashtabula. Yeah, not totally surprising, but the city best known for its bridges and being mentioned in a Bob Dylan song has joined any number of other smaller suburbs and rural areas in the Occupy Movement.
Unlike most of them, however, Occupy Ashtabula looks like they're enjoying a nice gazebo. More pics over at Daily Kos.
The burgeoning block-long strip of clothing stores on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights now has an official name and a brand-new signature event. The merchants have dubbed themselves the Coventry North End Garment District. And tomorrow from 7-11 p.m., they are kicking off their monthly “shop hop” a.k.a. First Thursday on Coventry. In addition to being open late, individual shops will be offering refreshments, entertainment, sales and discounts.
The Coventry Garment District features nearly a dozen stores with stuff ranging from high-end women’s fashion to hip-hop styles to vintage and quality resale. Shoppers are welcome; flash mobs are not!
“We’re trying to brand it and get people to realize what a cool clothing district this is,” says Steve Presser, owner of Coventry Road toy store Big Fun and semi-official publicist for the street. “We want to get more foot traffic on the street so people will get familiar with what we have. We figured, let’s get first one in during the holiday season. Then when the weather is nice, I think it will really kick.” — Anastasia Pantsios
Yeah, we know the Black Keys don't call Akron home anymore. But they had a good run here, and we still love them.
We're also totally excited for their new album, El Camino, which comes out on December 6.
And if you're anything like us, you probably can't wait another six days to hear the whole thing.
The guys feel your pain, so they're sharing some stuff now. Head on over to their website to hear five cuts from the album.
Nothing really earth-shattering new from the Keys. But it's good stuff anyway.
What do you think? —Michael Gallucci
Take Shelter, the apocalyptic drama shot in Northeast Ohio and one of our favorite movies of the year, is starting to pick up award nominations.
Not that we're surprised. The movie has been generating buzz ever since it premiered at some prestigious film festivals earlier this year.
But with all the year-end critics' list and film organizations weighing in now, the movie is starting to look like its going to be a regular among them.
Take Shelter picked up five awards from the first big awards group to announce its nominations, the Independent Spirit Awards. The movie ties the black-and-white near-silent The Artist for most nominations.
It's up for Best Feature, Best Director (Jeff Nichols), Best Male Lead (the excellent Michael Shannon), Best Supporting Female (the ubiquitous Jessica Chastain), and something called the Piaget Producers Award.
The awards will be announced on February 25, the day before the Oscars, with the ceremony being broadcast on IFC that same night. And as long as the world doesn't get covered in oily goo by then, we're guessing the movie will bring home at least a few of those statues. —Michael Gallucci
Cuyahoga County taxpayers footing the bill for the Med Mart and convention center have long been assured that adequate performance standards are built into the contract with project developer MMPI. But it turns out it would take a near-catastrophic failure on the part of MMPI before the county could withhold rent payments or find a new developer.
To meet the contract terms, MMPI needs only to keep convention attendance at levels the old convention center maintained between 1994 and 1999, and make sure enough people stay overnight to keep one 100-room hotel mostly full.
Although a 2005 PriceWaterhouse Coopers study projected that a new convention center would generate 125,000 booked hotel nights each year, MMPI is expected to total only 35,000 hotel nights, for example.
Reality TV has yet to come calling for The Real Housewives of Cleveland — though who wouldn’t delight in the adventures of six Parliament-smoking moms bombarding Marc’s with coupon-stuffed fannypacks, then retiring to the Parma Cafe for happy-hour High Lifes?
For now, we’ll have to content ourselves with Catastrophes, Inc., a forthcoming show featuring Cleveland’s alleged “Masters of Disaster,” Ed Ranieri and Enzo Maddalena.
Perhaps best known for their sponsorhip of AM 850 WKNR, Ed and Enzo have been cleaning up the nastiest of nasty messes in Northeast Ohio for 15 years with their local branch of ServiceMaster. When a Kenny Chesney concert left Browns Stadium spewing more sewage than a Pat Shurmur press conference, the Masters were called in to restore order — 41 days’ worth of shoveling.