Thursday, May 31, 2012

Battles Cancel This Weekend's Show at the Grog Shop

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 4:01 PM

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Battles, the NYC crew that mixes indie rock with electro dance-punk plus a whole mess of other experimental sounds, just canceled their show at the Grog Shop on Sunday.

Apparently there's a family emergency with one of the group members.

But hold on to your tickets. The show is in the process of being rescheduled.

The band's rep tells us they're shooting for June 13, which is "90 percent confirmed," we're told.

As soon as we get an update, we'll let you know. —Michael Gallucci

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New State Legislation Seeks to Clarify Meth Clean-up

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 1:12 PM

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In early May we offered a peek at the Akron Police Department’s standout efforts to crack down on methamphetamine production. The takeaway was that meth isn’t a local problem, but a statewide woe that most municipalities barely try to keep a handle on.

Now a few state senators are trying to refocus attention on meth by creating sturdier guidelines for what happens after cops bust a house. Specifically, they want to hold you, meth-making homeowner, responsible for what happens in your place.

The legislation, which mirrors a similar law fresh on the books in Akron, was introduced in the state Senate last week. “It makes it clear that the owner is responsible for remediating the lasting effects of the meth production,” explains Frank LaRose, a Copley Republican who co-sponsored the bill. The hitch, he says, is that there’s no shortage of disagreement on what passes for a meth-house bill of health.

“This was the part that was confounding us for the last year as we worked on this. There are widely varying standards from state to state, from steam clean the carpet and lightly wash the walls down with soapy water on the lenient side, to tear the house down on the other side.”

The bill calls for the Ohio Department of Health to study federal guidelines in order to carve some actual rules into stone. Once that’s accomplished, LaRose hopes to hammer out more specifics on cleanup. One idea making the rounds is to certify certain companies to handle the job. Which, considering the meth boom that’s on right now, could be a great new use for your hazmat suit.

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Lots of People Already Quitting Their Jobs at Cleveland Casino

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 1:06 PM

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The Horseshoe Casino’s first days in business were bound to include a few kinks here and there. Would Mike Trivisonno’s poker table require delivery of fried chicken? Would he fetch his own?

But word inside Dan Gilbert’s palace is that the house is dealing with more than a few hiccups in its opening weeks — most notably that a ton of employees have already quit.

“People can’t handle it,” says one Horseshoe employee who asked not to be ratted out for talking to people of our dubious stock. “It’s the stress. It’s a lot of culture shock. A lot of people from all departments have already quit. It’s visibly noticeable and something we talk about.”

Many of the problems stem from the casino’s hiring philosophy, says the staffer. “The process was kind of like American Idol, which was cool. But even if you were experienced, you might have been turned down because they wanted to hire based on having an upbeat and positive attitude. There are people working here who had never even frequented a casino as a guest before.”

A second casino employee who also declined to be named confirms that workers are fleeing like Browns fans at halftime. Consensus is it’s the relatively inexperienced older folks who are cashing out early, and that plenty of workers are thoroughly enjoying themselves. But management isn’t exactly giving them reason to stay.

“Cage cashiers have had a serious problem with quitting because they’re keeping them way too long — 11-hour days,” says the employee. Even worse: Slot attendants work for $6 an hour plus tips, which have been all but nonexistent.

“I saw four people crying after they looked at their paychecks. Some people are really flipping their shit.
“A lot of people quit when they didn’t get the shifts they wanted, acting like it’s the first day of sixth grade and you’re picking your homeroom. It’s every department: dealers, cashiers, attendants, security.”
Dealers, in particular, have been flagged for not being polite enough, fast enough — even correct enough. “They just brought in 14 experienced dealers to deal with that.”

Rock Gaming says it’s casino business as usual.

“We intentionally staffed up,” says spokeswoman Jennifer Kulczycki. “Caesar’s has opened casinos before, and they know when you bring a new industry to a new market and people aren’t familiar with a 24/7 operation, you anticipate some attrition. Sixteen hundred is normal operating conditions, and we hired over 1,600.”

But even more troubling are emerging rumors that Horseshoe guests can’t get a timely beverage.
“The waitresses have been awful,” one worker says. “It takes over 20 minutes to get a drink. I’ve got customers asking me about their drink nonstop.”

So the place sucks?

“I love it. I’d be bored if I wasn’t doing this.”

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The Quality of Cleveland Life Report

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 1:02 PM

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Your guide to living in fabulous Cleveland.

Operation: Happy Bridge: Construction begins on downtown’s Lorain-Carnegie Bridge to make it more friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. Phase 2 of the project involves carving smiles onto the sandstone Guardians of Traffic.

Rapidly Decaying: RTA plans to begin $14 million in repairs to its rapid-transit Red Line by late this year. Construction will result in altered routes near the airport for a period of months, plus a bump in ticket price from $2.25 to $3,000 per rider.

Nice Melons: West Side Market’s months-long centennial celebration begins June 2 with a family festival at the newly opened Market Square Park, followed by a sexist-produce-vendor video retrospective.

This Week's Index: Warm weather's arrival means the return of the "Smells of Cleveland" tours.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

So How's That New Radio "Alternative" Doing?

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Now on both WMMS and new rock alternative 99 X
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers: Now on both WMMS and "new rock alternative" 99 X

There was an initial small buzz of excitement around town when the “new rock alternative” station 99 X made its on-air debut a week ago.

It diminished to a very low-frequency hum, as area music fans realized the station wouldn't feature a wide-ranging list of the most interesting new music, a local slant, or even actual air personalities. 99 X is the latest Clear Channel offering, perched at the formerly unused frequency 99.1 FM. The station is one of a number of prepackaged formats, dubbed "Premium Choice," that issue straight from Clear Channel’s San Antonio headquarters. It’s already been airing for a couple of years on the HD2 channel of WMMS-FM, also a Clear Channel station. But since no one owns an HD radio, no one’s heard it until now.

With only 250 watts, the station’s reach rivals that of a Fisher-Price cell phone. It cuts out in parts of downtown and is virtually unlistenable in Cleveland Heights. “It can reach 10 to 15 miles from our tower in Middleburg Heights,” says Bo Matthews, who's been named PD of 99 X in addition to holding the same position at WMMS and WAKS, before adding: “You can listen online or use IHeartRadio,” Clear Channel’s heavily promoted app, which provides digital links to its stations across the country.

An initial listen seemed to indicate 99 X focused on ’90s-based alternative rather than new tracks. But Matthews says, “I wouldn’t call it classic alternative. There’s ’90s stuff but those are gold records on alternative stations all over the country. But it’s a current based-format. The same way WMMS plays Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, we play older stuff on 9.99 like STP, Pearl Jam, and the Offspring.”

In fact, both stations play a lot of ’90s rock. But while WMMS mixes Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana & STP with Linkin Park, Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses, 99 X alternatives them with bands like Fun, Silversun Pickups, Young the Giant, and former Akronites Black Keys.

Meanwhile, the station’s Facebook page, with just under 500 “likes” after a week on the air, was quickly reduced to cheap tactics more commonly associated with free newspapers.

“Let’s be real,” said one post. “We have zero marketing budget — so if you want 99X to stay in CLE, please do two things for us. Click LIKE, and then click SHARE. Let’s get this spreading like a bad rash. Thanks!”

Also posted last week: “The more likes we get, the more the Indians win.” The Tribe went on to get swept by the White Sox.

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Michigan Recruit Who Burned Ohio State Offer Letter Received Death Threats

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 2:25 PM

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Logan Tuley-Tillman: punk kid or honorable hero? We can probably guess your answer based on the color of the beer koozies in your trunk.

Just as a recap, Tuley-Tillman is the Illinois high school football standout heading to Michigan who also happened to get a scholarship offer from OSU – a letter he burned before the masses on Twitter.

Sure, torching the offer letter and broadcasting the evidence was juvenile, a fratty chest thump to the rest of the Go Blue nation. But, this being Michigan and Ohio State, Tuley-Tillman's move was obviously freighted with a nuclear payload of piss and bile. When the pic hit Twitter, he was bombarded with assaults from all sides by a character straight from the pages of Scene: The Buck Nut. According to Yahoo Sports, he even got death threats.

This is probably as good a place as any to say that – yes of course – not all fans of The Ohio State University are front lobe-stunted knuckle draggers who somehow connect A to B and concluded they have every right to bitch about the life decision of a 17-year-old kid. We know most OSU fans are good folks. In fact, we consider ourselves a member of the tribe.

Continue reading »

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The Good Life of Frank Russo (Updated)

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Whaddya wanna know? I got a massage scheduled this afternoon, so lets make it quick.
  • Whaddya wanna know? I got a massage scheduled this afternoon, so let's make it quick.

Update: Everyone seems to want to chat with Frank Russo. The PD, taxpayers, us, and now WKYC.

The station sent The Investigator to talk with the former auditor about his life as a free snitch. It did not go well. Some details from WKYC's investigative Investigator report:

Channel 3 News undercover cameras spotted Russo partying and having a good time at the Twist, a popular nightclub on Clifton near W. 117th Street.

Those who are close to Russo say he's a regular.

Russo has also been seen eating out at a number of local restaurants, including one in Tremont where a patron demanded to know why he wasn't in prison while Jimmy Dimora was.

[snip]

"How do you afford to eat out and go to nightclubs when you owe the government millions?" asked Meyer.

"I'm here to do a job, not to talk to you," Russo said.

"Stop being so mean and stop being cruel to human beings."

Video below that includes WKYC's undercover shots of Russo at Twist. Scandalous.

"Stop being so mean."

The Investigator kind of comes off like a prick, too.

***

The Plain Dealer tried to check in with former Auditor and current government rat Frank Russo to see what he's been up to and yes, when he's not being abruptly interrogated outside of Grumpy's by taxpayers, he's just roaming around doing his thing.

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