Wednesday, October 15, 2014

(Updated) Man Arrested for Taking Nude Photos of Underage Cast Member of Touring "Billy Elliot" Musical, Trying to Extort Victim

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2014 at 10:03 AM


Update: William Koch was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison for convincing a string of underage teens to send him nude photos and for threatening them with exposure if they didn't send more or otherwise engage in sex acts on video. (Chronicle-Telegram)


(Originally posted Jan. 17. 2013) Fake girlfriends, online persona and Catfish have been the dominating topic of conversation the last 24 hours after it was revealed that Notre Dame star Manti Te'o's dead girlfriend was never real.

In related local news...

William T. Koch, a 23-year-old Columbia Station man with cerebral palsy, is under investigation by authorities for soliciting nude photos and video from underage members of the touring cast of the "Billy Elliot" musical and then using that ammo for blackmail.

Specifically, Koch created a fake Facebook profile of a 15-year-old girl and contacted a 15-year-old Canadian boy who was part of the cast. He sent nude photos of a female body, convinced the boy to masturbate online with the excuse that his/her webcam was broken but would send more photos in the future, captured said video, and then sent the following message, threatening to make the images public unless he had sex with his 10-year-old brother:

“So u either (expletive) your brother Tomorrow morning and let me watch, or else it goes on facebook. And in all honesty, those pictures are not of me…And if you do decide to post the pics I sent you as blackmail, go right ahewd (sic). That profile, and this Skype, for that matter, are all fake. I am a 45 year old dude.”

But this wasn't an isolated incident. Koch had previously had chats with the FBI after trying to contact members of the "Billy Elliot" cast, and even hacking one of their profiles, demanding nude photos in exchange for control of the Facebook account.

From the Chronicle-Telegram:

Continue reading »

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

U2 Conference Coming to Cleveland

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 3:28 PM


U2 isn’t just a rock band from Ireland. The group has been a cultural force for over three decades now and inspires the kind of worship that borders on fanaticism. This year, we’ll get to see just how much people can geek about the band when the annual U2 Conference rolls into town on April 26-27. The conference, which will take place at the Marriott Key Center and at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, will feature a series of speakers who will talk about the band’s enduring influence and importance. “We are happy to welcome the U2 Conference to Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum,” says Dr. Lauren Onkey, vice president of Education and Public Programs at the Rock Hall, in a press release issued by the Rock Hall. “Engaging scholars and fans alike dovetails with the museum’s mission of encouraging global celebration and study of rock and roll music. We’re especially excited to showcase the incredible resources at the Rock Hall’s new Library and Archives to conference attendees.” Registration opens tomorrow. Find more info at

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Ohio Is Getting Poorer

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 2:02 PM


The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, a network of organizations that provide resources for low-income Ohio residents, just released its 2012 State of Poverty in Ohio Report, and it’s a pretty sobering read. The OACAA’s data is based on the federal poverty threshold, which is calculated yearly by the U.S. Census Bureau and is determined by family size and annual income. The Census Bureau’s computation of poverty status has historically been criticized by economists and aid advocates for relying on outmoded findings about where the average household allocates its money and underrepresenting degree of need, but it remains the most comprehensive tool for national and statewide poverty surveys.

Lazy? Too busy nursing a bottle of Dom and mowing over homeless people in your stretch Escalade to read a 52-page report on poverty in Ohio? Below are some easily digestible statistics from the report, but you might want to check out the original for the helpful infographics at the beginning, which is where I drew most of the statistics from anyway because I don’t know how to read and also I’m on the phone with my portfolio manager in the Cayman Islands.

Ohio poverty statistics:

1 in 6 Ohioans live below the national poverty level.

Our statewide poverty rate is 16.4; the national rate is 15.9

42.3% of those living in poverty work full- or part-time.

Poverty increased in Ohio by 57.7% between 1999 and 2011, though the population only increased 1.7%

Over the past 22 years, the hourly wage of Ohio’s richest 10% increased by $3.99, while wages for low-income workers decreased by 71 cents and those for middle-income workers by $1.34.

1 in 12 Ohioans living in poverty has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Cleveland’s poverty rate in 2009 was 26.3%; in 2011, it was 34.3% (a 7.3% increase).

Of the family types afflicted by poverty, single females with children overwhelmingly predominate — the poverty rate of single women and their children is 5 times greater than that of married couples with children. Surprisingly, single women with children who work part-time sustain a higher poverty rate than unemployed single mothers and single fathers who work part-time.

Ohio’s median hourly wage increased by 2.9% between 2000 and 2011; during those years, the average per capita cost of healthcare expenditure increased by 36.1% and net tuition for in-state, public college education increased by 63.4%. Ohio college graduates have the seventh highest average student loan debt in the country.

1 in 4 Ohio children under 18 lived in poverty in 2011; for children under age 6, the rate increases to 1 in 3.

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Another West Side Shooting

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 9:42 AM


A man was shot in the chest late last night on the 5200 block of Storer Ave., near Cleveland's scrap metal district. The victim was male and believed to be 35 years old. Police said the shooting occurred at about 11:40 p.m.

The shot was to the chest, and the man was rushed to MetroHealth Medical Center. His condition is currently unknown.

This news comes on the heels of the Rocky River shooting last week, wherein two men were shot on Westway near Wagar Road. Michael MacGillis Jr., 39, of Rocky River, was fatally shot and his 43-year-old friend, Andrew Geraci, was shot three times but is in good condition at MetroHealth.

Donovan Owens, a 21-year-old man, has been arrested and is being held in custody for the double shooting.

No one has been arrested in last night's shooting.

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Big Freedia at Grog Shop: Concert Review

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Big Freedia, right, leads the crowd onstage in a fair bit of ass shakin during Azz Everywhere.
  • Big Freedia, right, leads the crowd onstage in a fair bit of ass shakin' during "Azz Everywhere."
One has to hearken back to as far as, perhaps, Jonathan Swift to find the right words to describe a Big Freedia concert: "Ass. And lots of it, I daresay!"

The Queen Diva herself strolled onstage, dropped off her purse next to the DJ's rig and lit right into one of the hottest shows in the country. And that's really not an overstatement.

Freedia's been making a name for herself and the rest of New Orleans' sissy bounce movement for years now. With her show on the road, crisscrossing North America and shining a beacon of light on unshaken asses from Montreal to South Central, she's proffering a grand statement: Be yaself and don't give a good goddamn what others think. "Shaketh thy ass," to once again invoke Swift.

So at the Grog Shop last night, this mostly miraculous show brought a world of fun to Cleveland Heights' grungy venue. It was LOUD - Freedia was often calling for more volume, More Volume, MORE VOLUME! - and it was brash. She brought along a succinct dance team to round out the "ass-certified" aspects of the show, as she said. And later, during her borderline hit "Azz Everywhere," she brought up about a dozen audience members to shake their stuff and get down. A choice quote from the Queen Diva: "Hands on the floor! Ass in the air!"

Even in the pit in front of the stage, the dancing masses ebbed and flowed in time with the chopped-up, flibbity-bibbity, can't-stop-won't-stop beats and loops. The whole bit is fairly repetitive, but a dismissal like that would miss the point. Freedia's come to free your asses minds and dish up a NOLA-style party wherever her and her dance crew find themselves. Consider yourself lucky - and totally spent by the time it's all said and done - to catch a show like that in our little corner of the otherwise Americana-laced Rust Belt.

On the way out, dig one of Freedia's more excitable videos below:

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Video: A Young David Wain Takes Us on a Tour of Shaker Heights

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 9:15 AM


David Wain, he of Wet Hot American Summer, Role Models, and other comedic, cinematic, and television fame, once grew up in Shaker Heights. In the video below, a young Wain takes us on a tour of the town, pointing out the sights and sounds — the library! the police station! there are a lot of books!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Official Pictures and Updates of Today's West Side Market Fire

Posted By on Wed, Jan 30, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Fire at Sebastian Meats in side the West Side Market
  • Fire at Sebastian Meats in side the West Side Market

City of Cleveland's official Facebook page for updates and photos of today's West Side Market fire.

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