Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Documentary About Cleveland Youth Advocacy and Arts Organization Premieres Tomorrow

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 9:32 AM

AMANDA KING
  • Amanda King
The studios of Shooting Without Bullets are tucked away in a low-profile, multi-use building on the city’s near east side. Scattered about are photography equipment, lights and gels for photo shoots, loose sheets of paper, snacks in various stages of being eaten and artworks in various stages of completion.

The whiteboard is marked up with Instagram handles and logistical information. There’s a palpable potential energy in it all.

Less than a year since being founded by 28-year-old law student and artist Amanda King, Shooting Without Bullets has developed a dedicated core of teens telling their stories through art. At 6 p.m. tomorrow at Cleveland Institute of Art’s Peter B. Lewis Theater, their stories will be showcased in Under Exposed, a documentary film.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

This is Honestly the Best the Cavs Could Come Up With?

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 4:59 PM

SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
Under sunny skies at City Hall, hours before a pivotal city council vote that will commit about $88 million of city money to a renovation project at Quicken Loans Arena about which enormous questions remain, a parade of civic leaders extolled the virtues of Dan Gilbert and economic growth.

In what was billed as a "major announcement," these leaders purported to "sweeten the deal" with three new provisions in the proposed financial arrangement.

Per Council President Kevin Kelley:
  1. The portion of the Q admission tax that goes to the city's general fund will never fall below the portion that goes to debt service on the renovation. If it ever does (from 2023-2034), the Cavaliers will write the city a check for the difference, and Kelley said he had it in writing.
  2. The Cavs say they will refurbish every basketball court at rec centers across the city.
  3. The Cavaliers will donate 100 percent of revenue from its playoff watch parties to Habitat for Humanity with the goal of rehabbing 100 Cleveland homes. (Last season, per Len Komoroski, that amounted to about $750,000. The year before, it was considerably less).
These provisions made for tremendous last-minute PR, and were reportedly negotiated over the weekend, but they amount to very little for local residents. Here's why:

The money for the project will come from admissions tax revenue at the Q. The current structure puts 5/8 from Cavs games toward debt service on Gateway bonds and 3/8 to the city's general fund. For non-Cavs-events, the split is 6/8 and 2/8. Over the past couple of years, the revenues from these portions have been roughly the same. So the Cavs' guarantee is merely to ensure that that the amounts that are already nearly the same will be precisely the same.

Regarding Habitat: The Cavs have already been donating 100 percent of their watch party revenue to area charities. This afternoon's announcement was merely picking a recipient of these funds.

So the one real, new benefit announced this afternoon was the Cavs' promise to refurbish basketball courts at city rec centers. It's unclear if the Cavs will build new courts entirely or just, like, buff them. Either way, it's a pittance compared to the legitimate Community Benefits Agreement that the Greater Cleveland Congregations has been agitating for.

Recall that GCC wanted to create a Community Equity Fund that invested one dollar in the community for every public dollar invested in the Q. (That would amount to about $160 million.) They wanted those funds to be administered by an independent quasi-governmental body and spent on the immediate construction of mental health crisis centers, capital projects in Cleveland neighborhoods, and the creation of workforce programs that led to actual jobs (modeled after the Step Up to UH program).

And while a promise to "refurbish" basketball courts is a nice gesture, the scale is infinitesimal compared to what opponents desire.  

Nonetheless, government officials and representatives from the city's black civic community  approached the mic to forcefully condemn those who oppose the project — "Anyone against economic growth is foolish and unwise," said State Senator Sandra Williams — and to cheer on the majesty of corporate do-gooderism. What a spectacle!

Ken Silliman read a statement on behalf of Mayor Jackson. Kevin Kelley read a statement on behalf of U.S. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.

“The facts about what The Q means for all Cleveland residents are irrefutable," Fudge said in her statement. "The Q means jobs and growth, tax revenues and so much more. The building is a tremendous economic asset.”
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Jackson, Budish, Kelley, "Cavs Reps" to Make "Major Announcement" on Q Deal Hours Before Council Vote

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 2:35 PM

SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
City Council President Kevin Kelley, joined by Mayor Frank Jackson (or officials from his office), County Executive Armond Budish, and a slew of civic leaders and Cavs reps — including, perhaps, Dan Gilbert himself —- will hold a press conference at 3:30 p.m. on the steps of City Hall to stump for the Quicken Loans Arena renovation deal hours before the council vote.

(Update: A Cavs' spokesperson said Gilbert will not be part of the announcement.)

A press released touted a "major development" in the deal. If there is one, it will once again have been negotiated behind closed doors and without the input of the public. And a major development is frankly absurd this late in the game — if it is indeed significant, it ought to be debated in committee.

City Council has held firm at 11-6, with Councilmen Reed, Dow, Cummins, Polensek, Johnson and Conwell voting NO on the deal, which would commit an estimated $88 million from 2023-2034 from a portion of the Q admissions tax. Reed said that tonight, he'll ask his colleagues to put the issue on the ballot themselves, because a referendum is a foregone conclusion.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge was rumored to be attending, or at least to have been invited. Fudge's press secretary confirmed to Scene that the congresswoman was in D.C. on legislative business but that she would  be releasing a media advisory at around 3 p.m.

“The proposed Q renovation is an all-around good deal,” said Council President Kelley in the release. “But the deal just got better.”
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Cuyahoga County Jail Guard Arrested for Allegedly Dealing Heroin, Cocaine, Ecstasy

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 1:04 PM

screen_shot_2017-04-24_at_12.46.27_pm.png
Brian Salters, who's been a corrections officer at the Cuyahoga County jail since 2013, was arrested earlier this month by Cleveland police officers with the fifth district vice squad.

Arrest records show that Salters was caught with marijuana, heroin, coke and ecstasy, and that officers witnessed Salters doing hand-to-hand exchanges.

He's on unpaid leave from the county after charges were brought for drug trafficking. He was briefly in custody at the very jail where he worked but has posted bond.

Salters is the second Cuyahoga County jail officer caught up in drug investigations this year. Previously, Kamara Austin was arrested for allegedly smuggling heroin into the facility for an inmate.
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Cleveland Chef Jonathon Sawyer Second to Leave 'Iron Chef Gauntlet': UPDATE

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 10:24 AM

COURTESY FOOD NETWORK
  • Courtesy Food Network
Update: Cleveland's own lauded chef, Jonathon Sawyer, was the second contestant chosen to leave the Food Network competition Iron Chef Gauntlet last night.

Although he did not lose the episode's Chairman's Challenge, which involved butchering a whole hog, Sawyer was selected by the winner of that challenge (Chef Sarah Grueneberg) to square off against the loser (Chef Shota Nakajima) for the Secret Ingredient Showdown.

Unfortunately, bananas and plantains, the secret ingredient, were Sawyers downfall, and his banana blossom salad was not enough to win over the judges.

In his exit interview, Sawyer told the TV audience that "it was an honor to be here." And last night on Twitter, Sawyer tweeted his thoughts on bananas and host Alton Brown.

***

(Original Story 4/13/17): Jonathon Sawyer, one of Cleveland's most decorated chefs and restaurateurs, competes on Food Network's Iron Chef Gauntlet, airing this Easter Sunday. The last chef standing on the show has the potential to be named the next Iron Chef, and will then join Cleveland's own Iron Chef Michael Symon along with Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto.

With six other contenders from all over the country, Sawyer's competition is fierce. But the Greenhouse Tavern owner, and one-time winner of the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Great Lakes, is primed for these sorts of food showdowns: Last year he made it to the second round of Food Network's Chopped Grill Masters Napa.

For those unfamiliar with the actual hour-long Iron Chef show concept, each episode starts with a secret ingredient, which needs to be included in all five dishes the chefs create.

And Sawyer's dream secret ingredients? Artichokes or offal.

"I feel like those two things I have an extreme advantage on," he confidently told Food Network. "No. 1, I just understand offal meat probably better than anybody else — definitely better than anybody else in this competition but mostly better than anyone else in the country. Spleens and livers and gonads and lungs and everything. It's those offcuts that we really embrace, because they're affordable. Artichokes, that's just kind of therapy for me. I can turn artichokes like a bitch."

Read an entire Food Network interview with Sawyer right here.

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Local Folk Singer Charlie Mosbrook to Play CD Release Show at Nighttown

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 10:15 AM

DARRELL BRANCH
  • Darrell Branch
Charlie Mosbrook, a veteran on the local folk-rock scene, celebrates the release of his new CD, Hear Me Callin': A Collection of American Folk Songs, with a performance at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at Nighttown in Cleveland Heights.

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Prosecutors Decline Charges in 2014 Incident Where Lorain Cop Slammed Suspect's Head on Cruiser Windshield: UPDATE

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 10:04 AM

DASH CAM VIDEO VIA WKYC
  • Dash cam video via WKYC

Federal prosecutors have declined to pursue any charges against Lorain police officers Zachary Ferenec and Christopher Ferenzi, Cleveland.com's Eric Heisig reports this morning. Ferenec slammed Pele Smith's head onto the windshield of a police car during a September 2014 arrest. (See dash cam video and earlier stories below.)

The Lorain Police Department didn't do much internal introspection in the wake of that arrest, waiting until dash cam video was publicly released and Smith had filed a lawsuit to begin a formal investigation. Last fall, Police Chief Cel Rivera said that they probably should have taken a closer look at the incident earlier.

Smith's federal court case is halted for the moment; attorneys are expected to file a joint status report in July and, possibly, get things moving again. - Eric Sandy

***

(Update 10/3/16): Lorain police chief Cel Rivera said this weekend that the 2014 incident during which a man's head was slammed onto a cruiser windshield hard enough to shatter the glass will be reviewed again.

The video, which you can watch below, shows the disturbing moment. Officers contended Pele Smith was resisting arrest and that while the video isn't easy to watch, it doesn't fully capture the incident. Smith's attorneys recently filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city and the officer involved.

While three supervisors reviewed the video and written reports and ruled the incident justified at the time, Chief Rivera now says it should have merited further investigation.

“I do want to assure Pele Smith and his family that a full investigation will be done and that the truth will come out so they will truly understand what happened,” Rivera said during a news conference, according to the Chronicle-Telegram.

Rivera said he had asked U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Carole Rendon if her office wanted to look at what happened after Smith was stopped for jaywalking on East 34th Street on Sept. 4, 2014. He said federal prosecutors suggested that he have Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will conduct the review, a request Rivera said he’s made.

[snip]

Rivera said in an interview after the news conference, which included several local pastors and Lorain City Councilman Angel Arroyo Jr., D-6th Ward, that in hindsight the incident should have been given a more thorough review initially.


***

(Original story 9/30/16): WKYC has disturbing video of the September 2014 arrest of Pele Smith by Lorain police. In the video, which does not show the beginning of the traffic stop, an officer is seen leading Smith toward the cruiser. Smith's head then violently hits the windshield. The glass cracks from the impact.


At the time, Smith was later charged with "tampering with evidence, obstructing official business and resisting arrest. In a plea deal with prosecutors, Smith pleaded guilty and received probation," according to WKYC's review of court records.

Smith filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officers and the department last month.

The Lorain police department hasn't provided full records of the arrest to the station yet but does say that the video, while disturbing, doesn't tell the full story.

Lorain Police Chief Cel Rivera released a statement Wednesday calling Smith “a violent drug trafficker” and said the video “does not tell the complete story” and “could be misunderstood" by the public.

According to the Lorain County Clerk of Courts website, Smith has no felony convictions for violent crimes such as assault or robbery. He has prior convictions for drug offenses and possessing a firearm.

“During the arrest and Mr. Smith’s active resistance, he was placed on the hood of the police unit to gain control and conduct a search, as per policy,” Rivera said in his statement. “I would caution observers to not rush to judgment relative to the actions of the police on scene.

“Although it is not easy to watch, police officers explain all of their actions in their police reports.”
We'll update you if and when those reports are released.

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