We don't know what kind of year you had — we hope it was a good one. But we hope you have an even better 2012. We know there will most likely be less rain since this past year set a record — but we have a torrent of political ads to look forward to that will probably have us throwing shoes at our televisions before summer arrives.
Meanwhile, have a good New Year's Eve, whether your preference is dressing up in your finest and heading to a big, glitzy bash, or spending a quiet evening at home. And we look forward to sharing the next year with you as we cover all the corners of Northeast Ohio music, arts, food, people, politics, and anything else interesting we can dig up to share with you.
Everybody’s got a party going on New Year’s Eve, but January 1 is typically a little dead. If you’re one of those people who likes to keep the party going, head on over to the Beachland Ballroom to see check out some of Northeast Ohio’s burgeoning array of burlesque talent. It’s the 2nd annual Roxy Remembered Gala Extravaganza, honoring the legendary but sadly long-gone bump-and-grind palace on East 9th that was one of the nation’s top burlesque spots from the 1930s-1960s. Today’s re-flowering of burlesque is taking place in restaurants, gay bars, nightclub, and music venues like the Beachland. Performers on the 9 p.m. show include Bella Sin, Constantinople, Twiggy Stardust, Fantasie D’light, Lounging Amy, ventiloquist puppeteer Nate Puppets, and DJ Saint bringing the music. They’ll rejuvenate your party-weary spirits for sure. — Anastasia Pantsios
Governor John Kasich has gone above and beyond the call of duty in putting Ohio in the national spotlight in his first year in office. Unfortunately, it's been mostly for things like this:
Politico's "Top 10 political blunders of 2011" devotes nine slots to national political snafus and the slapstick comedy that is the Republican presidential primary race. But it reserves a single choice spot for what it apparently considers 2011's worst state-level blunder: SB 5.
John Kasich wasn’t the only Republican governor to push this year for a law reforming public-employee unions. He was the only governor to push for a restrictive new labor law in a heavily industrial, unionized state, where acts of the Legislature can be annulled by popular referendum.
That’s what happened to the Ohio governor’s law this fall, when Democrats and organized labor easily repealed the law known as Senate Bill 5. Like many governors, Kasich has a bruised approval rating thanks to his clashes with big labor. Unlike other governors, he doesn’t have a tangible accomplishment to show for it.
There's one person who's most likely hoping 2012 will be kinder to him than 2011. — Anastasia Pantsios
If you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution to keep, here’s a good one: Sign up to receive sexual offender alerts from your county sheriff’s department. These will tell you what types of miscreants are travelling your hood and you’ll even know their names and what they look like.
A 51-year-old Ravenna man who was convicted twice before for rape and gross sexual imposition with an underage girl allegedly did it again.
William A. Owens was arrested in Kent Monday and charged with having sexual contact with a 9-year-old girl—a third-degree felony— at a Dodge Street home. He is being held in Portage County jail with a preliminary hearing scheduled for tomorrow.
According to recordpub.com, Williams was released from prison for the previous sexual assaults in August 2007 and is registered as a sexually oriented offender.
It’s been a year since Tim Smith launched Community Greenhouse Partners at the former St. George Catholic Church at East 67th and Superior. He brought with him ambitious plans and projected an ambitious budget of more than a million dollars. The only thing Greenhouse Partners was missing: a greenhouse.
But not anymore. With the cost of a new model an unattainable $40,000 or so, Smith turned to Craigslist, where he found a 125-by-25-foot, 1975-vintage beauty in rural Middlefield for only $4,000.
“It was at the Chelsea Flower Garden, on land they were donating to the Trust for Public Land,” says Smith. “They had taken it down long before that, and they were liquidating it. We caught them at the right time. They don’t even make them like this anymore.”
And although necessity drove the purchase, Smith says it’s in keeping with the Partners’ mission of sustainable, year-round growing. “By using old, abandoned greenhouses, we save money, we extend our growing season, and we can grow stuff in the winter,” he says, pausing to celebrate their commitment to recycling old stuff too.
You can’t see the new greenhouse in action quite yet. Delivered in mid-December, it’s just a pile of pieces, awaiting assembly once the Partners work out their permit with the city.
Drinking & Driving Up Overtime Pay: State Highway Patrol to step up police presence on New Year’s Eve. The move contradicts evidence that extra patrols are necessary around the holidays, but confirms reports that Ohio excels at buying shit nobody needs.
Holster the Colt?: Browns won’t rule out QB Colt McCoy playing Sunday against the Steelers. Also not ruled out: Ridiculous play calling, peewee-league clock management, and the possibility that all of Cleveland will be watching iCarly reruns by the fourth quarter.
The Race to No. 1 ... Draft Pick: New-look Cavaliers struggle out of the gate, with No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving getting rude introduction to the pro game. On the plus side: Still no Kardashians anywhere in sight.
This Week's Index: Spike the egg nog and settle in for four months of the Cleveland you’d rather do without.
Occupy Cleveland has no intention of giving up its tent village on Public Square, but it has succumbed to the corporate trappings of a real office. The group moved into rented space in the City Club building about two weeks ago and plans to throw a public office-warming party as soon as security issues are worked out.
“We are very proud to be in the City Club — the citadel of free speech,” says Occupy’s Leatrice Tolls. “It behooves us to have a permanent base of operations indoors.” Besides, the incessant holiday music at Public Square was proving to be a detriment to effective meetings. “It’s the same four songs over and over,” she says.
For now, the office serves as a warm spot for volunteers to discuss their various causes. Occupy Cleveland is paying the rent out of its pool of donations, which Tolls says is considerable. The group is also penning a request for additional funds from the granddaddy of the movement: Occupy Wall Street, which apparently is doing gangbuster business.
Whether or not Occupy Cleveland gets an extra $20 grand from New York, it plans to keep its focus on foreclosures. “A big tooth in our pitchfork is the foreclosure issue here in Cleveland,” Tolls says. A last-minute Occupy campout last month successfully delayed one West Side foreclosure, but the group would like to spend more on programs to help homeowners avert foreclosure well in advance of the sheriff’s arrival.
Other vestiges of Corporations Gone Wrong on the agenda are environmental issues like fracking for natural gas, and maybe Walmart. “We don’t like Walmart too much,” says Tolls. “There may be some things we focus on with them.”
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