Friday, June 6, 2014

Group Talks About Adding Restaurant/Brewery in Lakewood (Updated)

Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 1:49 PM

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Update: Good news today, folks. Lakewood has given unanimous approval for the plans for Birdtown Brewery & Pizzeria to go forward. Via Cleveland.com:

The planning commission Thursday night gave unanimous approval for developers to move forward with plans to turn a former Birdtown neighborhood church into a brewery and restaurant.

Developers Tom Leneghan, Sean Fairbairn and Jake Hawley said following the vote they plan to purchase the property this month, begin construction this fall, and open the Birdtown Brewery by summer 2015.

***

Rumor has it that a new brewery may be landing in the Birdtown neighborhood. Residents got to hear some of the concrete details about the potential new project at a city meeting earlier this evening.

Tonight, representatives from the city of Lakewood and the Barrio Restaurant Group (Tom Leneghan and Sean Fairbairn) laid out some preliminary plans to the community for Birdtown Brewery & Pizzeria, a tentatively titled project that's in the very early stage of conception and approval. The group has the former St. Gregory the Theologian Byzantine Catholic Church (2035 Quail St.,Lakewood) under a letter of intent. The 10,000 square foot building would house a restaurant and a small brewery operation.

The brew house would be one of the smallest in the region with only a three and half barrel system. "Our plan is to create a neighborhood and boutique-driven brewery that is all about Lakewood pride," says Fairbairn. For now, much is up in the air, but the group is thinking food will be focused on pizza, should the sale and approvals all go through.

The next steps for the proposed project include a Lakewood city planning commission meeting set for May, followed by another community meeting.

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Friday, May 23, 2014

Cleveland in Final Four to Host 2016 Republican National Convention

Posted By on Fri, May 23, 2014 at 8:31 AM

Update: Reports have trickled in that Cleveland is another step closer to hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention.

After convening yesterday, the RNC site selection committee narrowed the possible host city pool down to Cleveland, Dever, Dallas and Kansas City (Cincinnati and Las Vegas withdrew their bids after being informed their cities didn't meet the hosting criterion).

In June, the selection committee will return to Cleveland to do another sweep and assessment. Final deliberations will follow and a decision will be made by late summer.

(Originally posted 4/2/2014/) Cleveland is one step closer to hosting the 2016 Republican National Convention, the SSC announced today.

"After a painstaking review, I'm pleased to announce that six cities have moved on to the next round of consideration for the 2016 Republican National Convention," SSC Chair Enid Mickelsen said.

Those six cities? Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, and Las Vegas. (Columbus and Pheonix got the boot.)

"The eyes of the world will be on the RNC and our host city in the summer of 2016, and these six cities have shown they have what it takes to move forward," Mickelson said.

Now, a small team of RNC staff will visit each of the six cities to determine which sites have the best financing, convention venues, workspace, hotels, and, we hope, restaurants.

The SSC will then select a handful of the six to receive an "official" visit from the full RNC committee.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mini Melt to be Part of the New Case Western Reserve University Student Center

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 6:58 PM

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When it's completed in late summer, the $50 million Tinkham Veale University Center on the campus of Case Western Reserve University will feature a little taste of a big Cleveland landmark. Along with the usual student-focused amenities like coffee shops and cafes, the center will boast a Melt University.

"Bon Appétit approached us two years ago looking to add a little local flavor," explains Melt Bar & Grilled founder Matt Fish, referring to the well regarded food-service management company.

The 82,000 square-foot center, which is located southeast of the Peter B. Lewis Building, is slated to open in time for student orientation day in August. And when it does, those new students can get a taste of a true Cleveland original.

"It will be a scaled-down version of what we do — a handful of our signature sandwiches, soups and salads," says Fish, about this, his first establishment on a college campus.

The Melt University location at CWRU will be operated in partnership with Bon Appétit Management Co., the university’s food service provider since 2004.

“We at Bon Appétit are thrilled to be working with Matt Fish and Melt,” said Jim O’Brien, Bon Appétit’s resident district manager at Case Western Reserve. “It’s a local favorite, it’s fresh, and now it’s a part of the university’s dynamic campus dining scene.”

Melt University will operate from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will be open to the public.

Excerpt from Charles Ramsey's "Dead Giveaway"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 3:47 PM

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Our cover story this week, "Charles Ramsey Has a Goal," looks at Ramsey on the brink of his book's publication and what he hopes to achieve with it.

Gray & Co. Publishers was good enough to provide an excerpt from the book itself: Dead Giveaway © 2014 by Charles Ramsey with Randy Nyerges. Reprinted with permission of Gray & Co., Publishers. Available at Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com. Autographed copies available at CharlesRamseyWorld.com.

In his new book, Dead Giveaway (softcover; $14.95; 165 pages) Charles Ramsey gives an account of his life before, during, and after the dramatic rescue of three kidnapped women in Cleveland on May 6, 2013. After seeing Child’s Play, the horror movie about an evil doll named Chucky, Charles Ramsey’s mother commented that she’d given him the perfect nickname. “I can’t begin to estimate the number of times Mom got a call from school about my behavior,” he writes. “She’d just shake her head and hang up the phone and then beat the shit out of me.” His relationship with his father was worse. “Life between Dad and me was a constant chess match. Dad tried to anticipate my moves, finding ways to cut me off at the pass. I always found ways to work around his defenses.” For example:

The GED class was held at Cleveland Heights High School, from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, for a month. Each week we were to take on a different subject. Most of the students were in their 30s through their 50s. At 15, I was the youngest one there. And the cleverest. Mom would drop me off at the school just before 5 p.m.

“I’m so proud of you, Chucky,” she would say.

Yeah, right, thanks for the lift, you dumb bitch, I thought to myself. Instead of going to the class, I took a 5:45 bus to Severance Center and headed to the bowling alley and pool hall. There, I would trim one sucka for $200 playing 9 ball, another sucka for $100 playing 8 ball. I would then catch the 8:45 bus back to the school and poke my head in the class for a few minutes, always having some creative excuse for my nearly four-hour tardiness. Mom would pick me up at 10, none the wiser. Since this wasn’t real school, I wasn’t really truant, and no one called my parents to rat me out.

I continued this pattern almost every day, until one day while at the pool hall I fired home the winning 8 ball shot in a side pocket, turned around to accept the congrats from the boys, and saw Dad standing there, arms folded, face scowling.

Someone had tipped him off.

“Is this some kind of field trip, you dumb nigga?”

Punishment was, as usual, swift and severe. I learned my lesson for a few days. I kept Dad convinced that I was sitting through class, while all along I kept heading back to the pool hall whenever I could. Finally, the day of the final exam arrived. I took the test, not sure of how well I did. A week or so later, a large brown envelope arrived in the mail. I opened it carefully. There in my hands was my GED certificate. I had passed that damn test with an 88 fuckin’ percent! I was no dumb nigga. I was smooth and smart—smarter than everyone else. I could spend three quarters of my time hustlin’ at the pool hall and still pass that fuckin’ test. The real idiots, it was clear to me, were those dumbshits who were wasting their time at that dumbass high school.

My parents were in a state of disbelief. Real disbelief. Mom burned up the phone line to Columbus, calling around to find out just how I pulled off this latest shenanigan.

“There’s no way in hell this little fucker could have passed that test,” Mom kept yelling into the phone at whatever unfortunate soul would take the call. “He couldn’t even handle the seventh grade. This is obviously a sick joke, or whoever graded that test doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing.” But every time she called, she kept getting the same answer: My score was legit. Eventually Mom took that certificate and had it laminated.

Continue reading »

Lorain County Law Enforcement Receive Armored Military Vehicles

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 1:23 PM

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  • Photo via Chronicle Telegram

Two armored military vehicles were gifted to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and the Lorain Police Department this week through the Ohio LESO Program, which provides surplus military property to law enforcement at no cost.

The Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles weigh about 50,000 pounds a piece and are equipped to withstand heavy gunfire, explosive attacks, and warzone environments which makes us wonder why, exactly, they are needed to help protect the citizens of Lorain County (unless we missed the memo about IEDs buried along Oberlin Avenue).

Capt. Roger Watkins of the Lorain County Police told the Chronicle Telegram recently the vehicles will be used "at crime scenes such as stand-offs, shootings and whenever a person is barricaded inside a building."

He added that another objective is intimidation and, granted, they've got that covered. But the acquisition does seem a bit excessive, unless, of course, the vehicles could be rented to neighboring counties for, say, a little tailgating.

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Browns Moving Toward Adding Cheerleaders for 2015 Season

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Browns cheerleaders in 1962.
  • Browns cheerleaders in 1962.

Want to rile up Browns fans, outside of the usual sticking points like talking about backup quarterbacks and the draft? Bring up the uniforms or cheerleaders. No fan base is more passionate about the clothing giant men wear or the women on the sidelines who wear very little. Both topics will be the subject of plenty of debate in the next few years.

As owner Jimmy Haslam and team president Alec Scheiner have previously said, the Browns will be wearing new uniforms, redesigned by Nike, in 2015.

And, according to a source in the organization, the team has also started moving toward adding cheerleaders for the 2015 season. The team has had meetings and started preparations to introduce a squad and is currently in the consultation phase of the process. Reached by Scene this week, the Browns declined to comment through a team spokesman.

As renovations at FirstEnergy Stadium march on toward completion before the start of the 2015 season, so do the Browns’ efforts to modernize not only the stadium but also the game-day experience. With the fancy scoreboards also come the wiener dog races, for example.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

President of Drug-Testing Company Is Brother of St. Edward High School President

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 4:49 PM

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One of the big news items this week has to do with St. Edward High School, St. Ignatius High School and Gilmour Academy all kicking off a mandatory drug-testing program for their students in the fall. It's an interesting story because no other schools in Northeast Ohio presently test their students for drug use.

Another interesting point of fact is that the president and CEO of Massachusetts-based Psychemedics - the company that will be conducting the tests - is Raymond Kubacki, brother of St. Edward High School President James Kubacki. The former is a St. Ignatius grad himself and a member of that school's athletic hall of fame.

Since 1991, Raymond Kubacki has helmed Psychemedics, and he's now posting $7+ million in revenue on a quarterly basis. The intersection of private schools and the drug-testing market is a budding one. He told the Worcester Business Journal in December 2013, "Our primary focus is workplace drug testing. Secondarily would be emerging markets and one of those would be schools and colleges."

K.C. McKenna, vice president of admissions and marketing at St. Edward High School, says the decision to work with Psychemedics came after several years of research led by an internal committee.

"Really, this came about as a proactive, preventative measure. There was nothing in our own community that necessarily prompted this. This is not a reactionary endeavor by any means," he tells Scene. "Our committee, which included members of our board of trustees, a member of our faculty and other members of our administration, looked at the issue as a whole and arrived at the Psychemedics decision. Certainly, Jim knew a little more about the process because of his brother being involved, but his brother being CEO of that company in no way led to us making the decision to use Psychemedics."

On the ground, the Psychemedics initiative will affect about 980 students at St. Ed's (along with 340 at Gilmour and 1,500 or so at St. Ignatius). The hair testing costs $39 to $50 a pop, according to schools already working with Psychemedics. Built in to the cost, though, McKenna says, is an out for students who face peer pressure. With a program like this in place, there's an easier basis for students to say "No" when the moment comes.

While drug-testing in schools is brand new locally, there's a national trail of controversy following its headlines in the U.S. Seen as invasive by some, drug-testing really anywhere is cause for raised eyebrows.

The market for drug-testing has wobbled downward a bit, but, as noted by the Psychemedics CEO's outlook, there are plenty of pastures to graze among the private schools of the world. An anecdote from Louisiana:

Psychemedics has been around since 1987, but its fortunes have been tied to the trend in drug testing, especially employment testing, which has been going downward in the last decade. But drug testing with hair has some champions and the most famous might be Harry Connick, Sr., former district attorney of New Orleans and father of the singer. Connick pushed hair testing in New Orleans schools, including Catholic schools, during his tenure as DA, and when he retired in 2003, he joined Psychemedics board of directors. He is a shareholder.

Likewise and closer to home, St. John's Jesuit High School and Academy began drug testing its students in the fall of 2012. The move stirred debate across the St. John's community and beyond - about its effectiveness, its need, its process. Both sides of the argument were vocal as the policy unfolded.

Here in Cleveland, a letter was sent to parents today informing them of the program, as well. The core paragraph in the letter from the St. Ignatius administration reads, "We already have educational programs, counseling and intervention programs in place but, given the pressures our students face, now is the time to take an even more aggressive stance against this threat."

Mandatory, random drug-testing in public schools has been shot down in the U.S. Supreme Court, but the realm of private schools operates under its own set of rules. McKenna says the feedback from both students and parents has been overwhelmingly positive today. As the program unfolds at the end of this summer, he doesn't expect any glaring problems. But the concept itself - preventative though it may be - has remained a cause for community-wide inquiry, judging by conversations in other schools.

***

St. Ed's Board Chairman Dan Geib issued a formal statement on the matter today (May 1). Oddly, The Plain Dealer took credit for bringing the fraternal connection to light:

Whenever there is a potential conflict of interest, it is important that there be full disclosure of that potential. From day one, members of the St. Edward Board of Trustees were informed of the relationship between Jim Kubacki as President of St. Edward High School and Ray Kubacki as CEO of Psychemedics.

A committee at St. Edward High School spent two years investigating the question of drug testing students. The committee included members of the board of trustees, administration and a member of the faculty.

The decision of the committee was to proceed using hair follicle testing versus urinalysis because of three key factors that are important to our approach:

1.) Hair testing is the least invasive method for our students

2.) Hair testing provides a wider window of detection

3.) Hair testing is a more accurate process

At the time of the decision, Psychemedics Corporation was the only FDA-approved hair tester in the United States, and had an established schools division with a proven track record for effectiveness in schools similar to St. Edward.

St. Ignatius High School and Gilmour Academy conducted their own research and arrived at the decision to contract with Psychemedics independently of St. Edward High School."

- Dan Geib, Chair, St. Edward Board of Trustees

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