Monday, September 26, 2016

Slugger Jim Thome's Wife to Sign Copies of Her New Novel at Firestone Book Shop

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 5:21 PM

When he played for the Tribe, slugger Jim Thome was a fan favorite. He and his wife Andrea Thome return to town on Oct. 8. Andrea Thome will sign copies of her novel Walland at Firestone Book Shop in Chagrin Falls. The event takes place from 1 to 3 p.m.

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Developer Fred Geis Has Resigned from Cleveland Planning Commission

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 4:41 PM

  • Twiter @fredgeis
Developer Fred Geis has stepped down from the Cleveland Planning Commission, reports, after being counseled by his lawyers on the perils of conflicting interests. 

We needn't remind you that Geis is a big shot local developer. (Also a physical specimen.) His most visible downtown project is probably The 9, but his Streetsboro-based firm has also been instrumental in the development of Midtown's Euclid Corridor as a tech hub.

In seven months on the planning commission, Geis has recused himself from decisions related to projects in which he's involved, but as an active developer, that happens quite a bit. And Geis now seems to understand that at this particular urban pastry shop, he can't develop his cake and eat it too.

His appointment, back in February, struck many — even the Pee Dee's editorial board — as improper: 

"There's a big conflict of interest here and it's far more than perception," the Plain Dealer wrote about Geis's appointment. "Fred Geis, a Cleveland resident, owns several parcels of land in Cleveland and works closely with the city to craft public financing deals and to obtain low-interest loans for his projects. That seems at odds with a commitment to serve on an independent board that is supposed to protect the public interest...even if the interests of developers get hurt in the process."

The project that most directly impinged on Geis's decision, via Pee Dee real estate ace Michelle Jaboe, was the Link59 office building in midtown, a building that Geis plans to open for business in 2017, hopefully with more than zero tenants. But the more frenzied local uproar arrived after news leaked that Geis was involved in a proposed outlet mall at Burke Lakefront Airport, a project derided by all but the developers as a hideous oozing eyesore and a golf club to the temple of  downtown urban progress. 

Anywho, the planning commission is now short two members. Frank Jackson has appointing authority. Geis officially tendered his resignation on September 12.   
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Monster Jam Truck Series Coming to the Q in 2017

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 3:16 PM

The Monster Jam Triple Threat Series, an event that features humungous trucks racing against one another, takes place each year at the Q. The series returns in 2017 on Feb. 18 and 19.

Fans will witness “a fierce battle” for the championship with each competitor using customized high-powered vehicles.

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Former Ohio Attorney General Joins Anti-Death Penalty Organization

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 3:01 PM

Jim and Nancy Petro
  • Jim and Nancy Petro
Jim Petro, the state attorney general who oversaw 18 executions in Ohio, was elected to the board of directors of Ohioans to Stop Executions this weekend with his wife, Nancy. The move is a high-profile turnaround for a Republican state official.

“Ohio has an unusually high number pro-death penalty government officials who have changed their positions on the issue, but this is the first time we’ve had a couple with such experience join our leadership team," Melinda Elkins-Dawson, board chair, said in a public statement.

Petro urged "a re-examination of Ohio’s death penalty" via OTSE's work. He said he recently arrived at the conclusion that it's time to rethink this policy arena. (Nancy has always opposed the death penalty.)

In Ohio, Ronald Phillips is scheduled to be killed in January.

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Wilberts Food & Music to Host Prog Rock Festival

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 1:52 PM

  • Heather Cobb Isbell
Raised in Cleveland by parents who play with the Cleveland Orchestra, violinist Joe Dennison (pictured) mixes classical and prog rock with his band, Joe Deninzon and Stratospheerius.

Last year, Dennison and fellow prog rockers Circuline teamed up to create Sonic Voyages Fest, a touring prog rock festival. He brings the show into town this week for a performance at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, at Wilberts Food & Music

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Queen of Hearts Selected in Garrettsville, Winner Gets More than $3 Million

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 1:49 PM

  • Facebook: @SkyLaneBowling
Update (9/26): The saga concludes at last. Sunday afternoon, a Mantua woman won the Garrettsville Queen of Hearts raffle, taking home more than $3 million when she selected the number five on the board and a Queen of Hearts was revealed. 

After 51 drawings, the current raffle game finally draws to a close. Only three cards remained on the 54-square board that contained all 52 cards in a standard card deck, plus two jokers.

Skylane Bowling owner Aaron King has said he's going to take a few weeks off before he begins another iteration of the popular raffle. About 10 percent of the current pot ($340,000) will be placed into the next pot's winnings. 

The raffle game has been a huge boon to the small town, but also a logistical headache as thousands of ticket-holders have flocked in on Sunday afternoons, due to a requirement that the ticket-holder be present when tickets are called. King changed that requirement, but nearly 5,000 people still showed up Sunday. 


Update (9/19): A winning card was once again not selected in the Garrettsville Queen of Hearts raffle on Sunday, which means next Sunday's raffle could approach $3 million.

Via the Beacon-Journal, the number 42 was selected in Sunday's raffle on the grid of cards where only four options remained. Nearly 15,000 partied in the parking lot of Skylane Bowling before the winning ticket was drawn. 

Now, only numbers 5, 36 and 46 are left. 


(Updated 9/12/16): The Queen of Hearts raffle game (the nuts and bolts of which you can read below) at the Sky Lanes Bowling Alley in Garrettsville is still looking for a winner.

Thousands arrived on Sunday, when the drawings are held, hoping to take home the $1.8 million prize. And, once again, thousands left with the money still on the table. 

The jackpot is expected to hit $2 million next time around.

The numbers left on the board: 5, 36, 42, 26.

Raffle tickets are only available at the bowling alley. $5 for one or five for $20.


(Original story 9/6/16): To your right is an image of something called the "Lunar Queen." It's the tumbler — alleged to be Ohio's largest — that will be used Sunday afternoon in Garrettsville, Ohio, to shake, rattle and roll the thousands of tickets purchased in the popular weekly "Queen of Hearts" raffle game at the Sky Lanes Bowling Alley.

A lucky player could take home the entire $1.4 million pot Sunday.

Here's how the game works: Participants purchase raffle tickets throughout the week. If their ticket is drawn on Sunday afternoon, they get the opportunity to turn over one playing card on the "Queen of Hearts" board, a board which, at the outset, contains all 52 cards in a standard deck, face down. If the ticket holder correctly picks the queen of hearts, they win the jackpot. If they don't, the pot rolls over and the sale of raffle tickets begins again. 

  • Facebook: @SkyLaneBowling
Currently, only five numbers remain: 5, 36, 39, 42, 46. Those number correspond to the placement of the remaining cards on the board. One of them is the Queen of Hearts! 

Though there was no drawing on Labor Day, Sky Lanes Bowling owner Aaron King estimated that the August 27th drawing, when the pot had eclipsed seven figures, brought the "largest crowd ever" to Garrettsville, 8,000-10,000 strong. 

Per Ohio law, the winner must take home the entire jackpot, but even without a cut, the raffle game is a huge boost to Sky Lanes Bowling and the City of Garrettsville, which, among other things, suffered a devastating fire in 2014. As an additional incentive, Nashville recording artist Chris Higbee will be performing Sunday prior to the drawing. 
And even if the Queen of Hearts raffle winner selects the wrong number Sunday, the 50/50 raffle is already up to $20,000. 

On a related note, the Columbus Dispatch recently reported that Ohioans lost roughly $10 billion in legal gambling between 2012-2015. 

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Railroad Earth Doses House of Blues with Thrilling Psychedelia and Bluegrass

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2016 at 12:02 PM


Those dedicated few who came out for Saturday's Railroad Earth show at House of Blues were treated to an absolutely stunning evening of live music. Those who opted for other activities missed out big time.

At the nexus of various American touring scenes — bluegrass, jam, jazz, blues, etc. — Railroad Earth commands an impassioned fan base, one that relishes the compositional integrity of this music and the mind-blowing talents behind the musicians' improvisational chops. This isn't one of those bands that trades leads atop a steady rhythm; rather, each of the six musicians tends to be charting his own course while listening to everyone else. The end result is an open-air jam session.

Part of what's so amazing about Railroad Earth is their ability to weave dense layers of music over and alongside one another. This is clear on their studio albums, but — oh, my — onstage this sonic quilt simply shines. They did so with aplomb this weekend in Cleveland. The crowd was exuberant as hell.

As far as the setlist goes (see below), we happened upon a great selection here in Cleveland. The first few tunes — The Forecast, Like a Buddha, Give That Boy a Hand — flowed supremely well. (Buddha's audience interaction is a great early-show attraction.)

Holding down the two poles of the stage on each night are fiddler extraordinaire Tim Carbone and mandolin master John Skehan. They often went back and forth with melodic ideas — Carbone, eyes closed and swaying frantically as if possessed, and Skehan, stoic and measured in his concentration. They were fascinating to watch.

Also worth noting here was Andy Goessling's performance. The multi-instrumentalist was incredible all night, moving from guitar to mandolin to flute to saxophone — including a few moments where he was playing to two saxes at the same time. He and the others, of course, approached all portions of the show with casual confidence. This is a band at the top of their game, with nothing but blue skies ahead.

Opener Gipsy Moon also brought an excellent set to the HOB that night. With a blend of old-time strings music — and the "gypsy" moniker well earned — they were a fantastic fit with Railroad Earth's danceable jamgrass later on.

The Forecast
Like a Buddha
Give That Boy a Hand
Came Up Smilin'
Any Road
New Lee Highway Blues

Hard Livin'
Happy Song
Cold Water
Mighty River
Stillwater Getaway
Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key
Warhead Boogie
Walls of Time

Peace on Earth

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