Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Don't Text While Passing Through Fairview Anymore. Really. Don't.

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 12:33 PM

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The next time you’re driving through Fairview Park, don’t even look at your phone. It is probably best to pretend you don’t have it with you.

Citing the many dangers of texting while driving, the city passed a new law that will allow cops to pull you over if you appear to be composing, sending, or reading texts or e-mails while driving. You don’t have to scoot through a yellow light or anything first. They can just pull you over for doing anything text related.

A first offense will cost you $100, a second will be $250, and people who keep doing it after the second time could be fined $500.

According to the Sun Post-Herald, city council passed the new law as an emergency measure.

“With all the kids coming from college over the holiday season, spreading that awareness and having that information out there could help save a life,” Councilman Brian McDonough told the paper.

“It is amazing that people think they can multitask while driving, and it is something they just can’t do. All the research and all the studies show this type of driving and texting — going 55 mph, looking at the phone while trying to reply to that text or email — you are going the length of a football field blind,” he added.

Plans are afoot to start an education program at Fairview High School to warn and inform young drivers. No word on how the city plans to educate people too old for high school but who also text while driving.

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Updated: Florida Gets Acquainted With Ohio's Master of Charter School Disaster

Posted By on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

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The tale of Mark Thimmig is a reminder that not all Ohioans who depart for Florida leave in search of fruity drinks and leathery skin. Some simply seek new marks for their scam.

From 2001 to 2005, Thimmig was the CEO of White Hat Management, the outfit that runs one of the country’s largest for-profit charter school factories. White Hat’s local outlets took up residence in strip malls and boasted the academic rigor of a Mr. Hero franchise.

A 2007 Scene article titled “Education at Its Worst” detailed White Hat’s dubious academic record as well as its slimy financial dealings. Reports estimate that White Hat pocketed 96 percent of the money it received from the state. Such a move would signal an exemplary exercise in maximizing profit margins, except that the money had been earmarked for educating kids.

For years, White Hat stonewalled 10 Hope Academies and Life Skills Centers in Cleveland and Akron who wanted to know where their money had gone. On Friday, a Franklin County Common Pleas judge finally ruled that the schools are entitled to White Hat's financial records. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the schools are still operating under a contract with the company. White Hat is owned by Akron businessman David Brennan, a Republican Party donor and proponent of expanding charter schools in Ohio, the Dispatch reports.

Meanwhile, since vacating White Hat’s top post, Thimmig has reemerged in Florida, where he co-founded Mavericks in Education in 2007. According to reports by the Broward Palm Beach New Times, the group opened four charter schools, holding up as their model Thimmig’s previous employer, White Hat, as the “next generation in education.”

Alas, round 2 at the helm didn’t go so well either.

In 2009, Thimmig left the group after internal disagreements and later sued Mavericks for dough he said he was owed for loans made to them. Co-founder Mark Rodberg and Mavericks manager Lauren Hollander answered back with allegations — shocking allegations, mind you — that Thimmig screwed around with the schools’ budgets and “[misused] federal and state grant funds.” Same song, different state.

According to the Florida paper, Thimmig is currently running an automotive business in Canada, where he’s likely charging five-year-olds $100 an hour to play with a broken socket wrench.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Clinic Makes More Millionaires, Many of Whom Don't Work There Anymore

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 5:10 PM

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Cleveland Clinic added to the roster of people it’s turned into millionaires in 2010, bringing the total to 15, up from 13 in 2009.

MedCity News slogs through the Clinic’s latest tax filing for the scoop, which reveals that CEO Toby Cosgrove made more than $2.3 million in 2010. However, Cosgrove got a smaller raise of only 8 percent, compared to an 11 percent bump in 2009.

The two new Clinic millionaires are neurosurgeon Teresa Ruch, and director of clinical space and equipment integration John Petre.

The most interesting tidbit gleaned from the tax paperwork is that five of the people the Clinic paid over $1 million to in 2010, no longer work there. In fact, former COO David Strand hasn’t worked there since mid-2009 but he was the Clinic’s fifth-highest paid employee in 2010 at $1.3 million. Strand even got an 18 percent raise in 2010,despite not having worked there one day.

MedCity News notes that Strand, who left under somewhat odd circumstances, must have had an attorney who is expert in negotiating severance packages.

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Video of The Day: Woman Hides Shoplifted Case of Beer Between Thighs

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 4:50 PM

We have no idea where this took place, but it's pretty amazing. The beer was reportedly Guinness. Thanks to WMMS 100.7 for sharing.

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State Finally Admits That Microbrew Fans Are Just as Good as Wine Snobs

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Local brew tasting rooms coming!
  • Local brew tasting rooms coming!

Our state legislature actually did something useful last week. Lawmakers voted to end the discrimination that has plagued Ohio microbreweries while favoring local wineries.

What’s most important about this according to the Akron Beacon Journal, is that Westlake’s Black Box Brewery and Cleveland’s Indigo Imp are planning to build tasting rooms where locals, and tourists alike, can try out all the craft brew varieties on offer.

Akron’s Ohio Brewing Company will also build a tasting room.

“It’s a great day for Ohio microbreweries and the Ohio craft brewing industry because it allows microbreweries to showcase their products in a relaxed setting and put us on par with the wineries,” Chris Verich, Ohio Brewing’s owner told the paper.

A new law will take effect in March, eliminating the $3,906 state license fee required for any local brewery not attached to a brewpub wanting to offer beer tastings. For most small operations this cost was prohibitive and not only that, only three such tasting licenses were issued each year. The law also greatly increases the number of breweries in the state that will be permitted to have tasting rooms.

The finally elevates craft brewers to the level of Ohio wineries, which have enjoyed the ability to offer wine tastings for a tiny $76 annual state license fee.

Stay tuned for more on the tasting room plans.

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Your Tax Dollars At Work: Cable No One Watches and Kasich's Creative Math

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 2:05 PM

Nobodys home but the cable is on.
  • Nobody's home but the cable is on.

Governor Kasich and his family don’t live in the mansion designated as the gubernatorial residence, opting instead to stay in their own home—closer to their children’s school. But it cost taxpayers $438,720 to staff and maintain the place in 2011. This includes the cable bill.

Incredibly, the Kasich administration says it is actually saving money compared to what it cost to run the mansion under former Governor Strickland. The Columbus Dispatch reports:

The state spent $448,177 for then-Gov. Ted Strickland to live at the 358 N. Parkview Ave. estate in 2007 (his first year in office), a sum the Kasich administration says would be $488,968 today if adjusted for inflation.

“We’re glad to be saving taxpayers money, $50,000 in savings when Strickland’s first year is adjusted for inflation,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said.

But Nichols fails to factor in the additional and kept-under-wraps cost of having to keep tabs on Ohio’s first family at their more convenient family home.

The state also provides security for Kasich and his family at their Genoa Township home at an undisclosed cost, but a spokeswoman for the State Highway Patrol said security costs for the governor are “comparable to what they’d be if he were living at the mansion.”

We don’t have any math whizzes at Scene but we’re guessing that “comparable” means more than the $50,000 the administration says its saving taxpayers at the mansion.

And there’s that cable bill. The Kasich administration does hold state shindigs at the Governor’s Residence. Do guests gather in the parlor to watch TV? Who is watching TV? The on-duty maintenance staff?

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Berea Kleptomaniac Boasts of Stealing Funyuns, And Getting Away With It

Posted By on Tue, Dec 27, 2011 at 12:17 PM

It would be fun to say something along the lines of, “only in Lorain” here but to be fair, this theft highlights a crook hailing from Berea.

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James Thomas, 36, ventured out to the Lorain Walmart and executed one of the most elaborate shoplifting plans we’ve ever read about. He managed to successfully position a cell phone, a 32-inch HDTV, and a big batch of DVD/Blu-Ray sets outside the store’s security sensors. This was done with the aid of an oversized Tshirt used to cover the stolen items in a shopping cart.

After a few turns around the parking lot, Thomas came back to the $1,500 pile of stolen goods and put them in his car. But alas, store security had been watching the whole plan, jotted down his license plate number, and called police, who promptly arrested him.

With his ego evidently bruised by the arrest, Thomas felt a need to inform police that he tricked them anyway. The Morning Journal reports:

While being booked in the city jail, Thomas let the arresting officer know that while he may have been busted this time, he had got away with a different scheme earlier that day: the theft of food items from Big Lots, including a coveted bag of Funyuns.

We hope he enjoyed them because they probably don’t serve Funyuns in jail.

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