Thursday, January 19, 2017

Two Suspected Overdoses, Four Assaults on Officers in Last Week at Cuyahoga County Jail

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 10:37 AM

Two inmates were treated for suspected drug overdoses at the Cuyahoga County jail over the weekend, a county spokesperson confirmed yesterday, and investigations are underway on four assaults on corrections officers in the past week.

Such safety concerns are not a surprise to officers working in the facility, which has of late been the subject of a variety of troubling headlines. Two officers have spoken out publicly on Facebook about a variety of issues including understaffing (one officer supervising two pods/96 inmates at a time) and faulty doors in Jail II that inmates can unlock with spoons or magazines. Despite protestations from the county that those doors have been fixed, officers have filed grievances in recent weeks through their union arguing that the doors in fact have not been fixed and citing as evidence multiple incidents in which inmates have unlocked their doors during lockdown since December.

Further evidence that the officers are right and the county is full of it: An inmate popped a cell door last night in the 7A pod of Jail II.

Assistant warden Eric Ivey is well aware of that. He was at the facility yesterday evening and has taken to working a second-shift night schedule due to the recent string of safety and staffing incidents, a county spokesperson confirmed to Scene yesterday, though the county did add that Ivey typically works more than 40 hours a week and maintains a flexible schedule.

Still, the fact that safety issues and violent assaults have led  him to alter his schedule to be present in the evening, weeks after jail officials instituted a policy of assigning SRT (Special Response Team) officers to floors in the troubled Jail II facility, indicates the severity of the problem.

The union also recently filed a grievance suggesting that the general public — school tours, grand jury visits, social workers — should not be allowed in the facility given recent safety issues.

We'd relish the opportunity to ask Warden Ivey about that and other things happening in his jail but a county spokesperson declined, after repeated requests by Scene, to make Ivey or Associate Warden Victor McArthur available for an interview.

For his part, the county's director of regional corrections Ken Mills will be doing an interview with Fox 8's Ed Gallek today. We also have a request in to speak with him. Someone, after all, should answer questions at this point, and that should probably be someone in charge of the jail, not a spokesperson sitting in an office at county headquarters.
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Cleveland Transit Group Reiterates Call to Open Public Square in Light of FTA Extension

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 9:40 AM

Transit advocates on Public Square Saturday. (Councilman Zack Reed and ATU Local 268 Prez Ron Jackson front and center.) - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Transit advocates on Public Square Saturday. (Councilman Zack Reed and ATU Local 268 Prez Ron Jackson front and center.)
Clevelanders for Public Transit, the local coalition representing transit riders, has called once again for Public Square to be opened immediately.

In light of a Jan. 12 letter from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) granting RTA a 30-day extension on a $12-million debt, Clevelanders for Public Transit issued a press release reminding RTA of its only two options in the matter.

"If the specific breach was unclear before, it is crystal clear today," the release stated. It went on to cite the FTA letter, which presented RTA with two acceptable outcomes. RTA may: 1) Reopen Public Square to bus traffic... thereby repairing the breach of a 2004 funding agreement, or 2) Reimburse FTA for the "loss of the federal investment."

Though the FTA letter acknowledged "ongoing discussions," there was no mention of the city's and RTA's traffic study, which had been scheduled for completion on Jan. 18, one day before the original deadline (which was today). The deadline for repayment is now Feb. 21.

RTA did not immediately respond to a question regarding the traffic study's status. But Clevelanders for Public Transit argued in its press release that the study almost certainly will not affect FTA's position, which it has communicated explicitly on multiple occasions since August.

From the press release:

"The City of Cleveland is attempting to mitigate various impacts to bus service caused by the closure of Superior Avenue through an analysis of operational and financial impacts to GCRTA and is requiring GCRTA to create a safety mitigation plan before allowing bus service to resume on Superior Avenue. These address impacts of the closure of Superior and the City’s concerns, but fail to address the breach itself."

This is correct. The breach is the closure of Superior Avenue through Public Square.

Clevelanders for Public Transit has organized on behalf of riders, and the root of its opposition to the city's Public Square decision has always been a concern for them. Riders are often left out of discussions by city leaders, who reference "delays" and "operational impact" almost euphemistically, as factors somehow independent from the people who experience them.

"Regardless of delays and operating costs," read the statement, "closing Superior also introduces an additional million turns per year and increases the distance that many connecting riders have to walk between stops and between rail and bus service. The City’s plan fails to address these negative impacts to transit riders."

The group once again stated that Jackson's unilateral decision-making was out of order, in violation of an interagency agreement between RTA and the City. That claim, though Scene has brought it up to City Council, has yet to be meaningfully explored, even by those council members who have decried Jackson's maneuvers.

Though the next step is framed by FTA as an RTA decision — RTA was the recipient of the Federal dollars — the ultimate decision on Public Square will be Mayor Frank Jackson's. It was Jackson who insisted on closing the Square and Jackson who insisted on keeping it closed.

RTA has made it clear that it has no intention of paying the $12 million debt to FTA. Nor, the RTA legal team has written, is it legally obliged to. RTA board members (at least those not appointed by Jackson) are prepared to take injunctive action against the city.

The City will be forced to pay the debt — the full amount or an agreed-upon settlement — if Jackson sticks to his guns. That payment will come at roughly the same time that Jackson is forcing a $2+ million Motocross track down the gullet of City Council (via some very suspicious maneuvering and the apparent cooperation of Council leadership). That project, despite good intentions, tends to be viewed negatively by residents and certainly by some city councilmen, including new Mayoral candidate Jeff Johnson.

The Public Square debt. The motocross track. The publicly subsidized Q Transformation. All of these large, dubious expenditures were announced or mobilized in the immediate wake of the Cleveland income tax hike, which voters passed by a slim margin in November.

It makes for ghastly public relations in an election year.
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Country Megatickets to Go on Sale on Jan. 27

Posted By on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 8:53 AM

Luke Bryan performing at Blossom in 2014. - JOE KLEON
  • Joe Kleon
  • Luke Bryan performing at Blossom in 2014.
Now in its 10th year, the Country Megaticket offers local country fans the opportunity to buy one concert ticket to six of the biggest country concerts taking place this summer at Blossom Music Center, including Jason Aldean (May 12), Lady Antebellum (July 21), Dierks Bentley (July 27), Florida Georgia Line (Aug. 11) and Brad Paisley (Sept. 22).

The ticket also includes admission to the Luke Bryan concert that takes place on July 15 at Progressive Field.

Country Megatickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 27. They’re only available online at A Platinum, Gold or Bronze Megaticket guarantees a reserved seat for all of the shows. The Lawn Megaticket guarantees a lawn ticket for all the shows at Blossom Music Center and a reserved seat ticket at Progressive Field for the Luke Bryan concert. 

General parking for every show at Blossom is included with the Bronze, Gold and Lawn packages. The Platinum Megaticket package guarantees parking in the paved lots for every show in the series at Blossom. Parking isn't included with the Luke Bryan concert at Progressive Field.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Local Rockers Rosavelt to Celebrate Anniversary by Playing Their First Album In Its Entirety

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 3:48 PM

Way back in 1996, local singer-guitarist Chris Allen formed Rosavelt with friends from Cleveland and Cincinnati. The group drew comparisons to alt-country acts such as Son Volt, Whiskeytown and Wilco.

But Allen and his bandmates didn't benefit from the accolades.

"That helped us for about five minutes," he told Scene a few years ago. "All those bands are great, but they weren't selling tons of records. We'd do these [out-of-town] showcases, and they'd tell us, 'Whiskeytown sold only 100,000 copies. We expect you to do less than that.'"

Continue reading »

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Third Eye Blind’s 20th Anniversary Tour Coming to Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 3:15 PM

  • Danny Nolan
Last year, Yahoo News and other outlets report that alt-rockers Third Eye Blind, who performed at an Republican National Convention-related charity event held at the Rock Hall, angered some of the guests by using the opportunity to distance themselves from the Republican platform.

The band reportedly played its more obscure songs and didn’t even deliver its most notable hit, the infectious “Semi-Charmed Life,” the song that features the catchy chorus “I want something else/To get me through this/Semi-charmed kind of life, baby, baby.”

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The Cavs vs. Boredom, and Put Your Damn Phones Down — The A to Z Podcast With Andre Knott and Zac Jackson

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 1:28 PM


It's the return of one minute of baseball talk! Also, Andre and Zac dive into Cavs vs. Warriors, Cavs vs. boredom, Antonio Brown's selfish Facebook Live video and some listening suggestions outside of A to Z.

Subscribe to A to Z on iTunes here.

Like 'em on Facebook here.

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Members of Cloud Nothings Dissect the Tracks on Their Forthcoming Album

Posted By on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 at 1:12 PM

With 2014’s Here and Nowhere Else, which local indie rockers Cloud Nothings recorded in Hoboken at Water Music over an 8-day period, the band opted for a poppier, cheerier effort than 2012’s Attack on Memory.

That trend continues with Life Without Sound, the forthcoming studio effort due out Jan. 27. The band will launch a North American and European tour with a performance on Jan. 26 at the Beachland.

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