Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Judge Blocks Ohio Telemedicine Abortion Ban, Marking Second Win for Clinics

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 11:11 AM

A telemedicine abortion ban in Ohio was temporarily halted by a judge - PHOTO VIA PROGRESS OHIO/FLICKR
  • Photo via Progress Ohio/Flickr
  • A telemedicine abortion ban in Ohio was temporarily halted by a judge

For the second time in a week, a Hamilton County judge ruled in favor of Planned Parenthood and against a recently passed state law on abortion services.

Hamilton County Judge Alison Hatheway gave Planned Parenthood a two-week restraining order, preventing a law banning telemedicine abortion services from taking effect as planned on April 12.

The clinics and the ACLU sued to challenge Senate Bill 260, which prohibits the use of telemedicine in medication abortions, a procedure in which a two-pill regimen is used rather than a surgical procedure. The law also creates a felony offense for physicians who conduct abortion services using telemedicine.

Planned Parenthood said the use of telemedicine is a promotion of health care access, not a lessening of the quality of care provided by clinics.

“Bans on the use of telemedicine abortion have nothing to do with safeguarding patients’ health — they only make it harder for patients to access care that’s safe and effective,” said Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement on the decision.

Emily Pelphrey, an attorney representing the Ohio Department of Health, asked that the court deny the restraining order to give the state more time to gather evidence and reply to the lawsuit.

Judge Hatheway said a hearing on a more long-term decision for the case would be scheduled for April 19, giving both sides time to present their full cases.

Anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life criticized the telemedicine decision, and president Mike Gonidakis said “allowing Planned Parenthood to ignore Ohio’s critical health and safety standards puts women and babies at risk.”

Also this week, Hatheway granted a 30-day pause on a law that would regulate the disposal of fetal tissue and medical waste from surgical abortions.

The preliminary injunction granted earlier this week by Hatheway ruled Senate Bill 27 could not take effect for at least 30 days. This gives the Ohio Department of Health time to create the rules, regulations and forms needed for health clinics to follow the law.

Hatheway said because the rules and regulations were not yet in place, clinics could still be unknowingly at risk of violating the law, and without the rules in place, abortion providers may be afraid of civil action or loss of licensure. This, she ruled, could deny patients’ access to their right to an abortion, protected under the state and U.S. Constitution.

Abortion is legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks gestation, though the state legislature is once again trying to change that with anticipation of a challenge to the federal Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal across the country.

Originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal. Republished here with permission.

Tags: , , ,

Local Indie Act Kultures Releases Debut Single

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 10:43 AM

Kultures' Justin Miller. - PLANETARY GROUP
  • Planetary Group
  • Kultures' Justin Miller.
With his local indie rock outfit Polars on a long-term hiatus, Cleveland-based singer-songwriter Justin Miller decided to pursue a solo project dubbed Kultures.

“I've had time to write/record/produce a new collection of songs, and I'm releasing this record as a new artist because it's the first time I'm taking center stage as the lead vocalist,” says Miller in an email about the synth-driven Brit-pop sounding single “Favorite Number,” which just came out today. “I'm doing my best to make the most of the difficult times the pandemic has created for musicians (and everyone else)."

Miller says he discovered a passion for music at a young age and has been fighting against what he calls “suburban notions of success” ever since.

Scheduled for a June release, the full-length leans on “vocal-forward” melodies and intricate soundscapes.

The first song Miller wrote under the moniker Kultures, "Favorite Number" emerged from a beat that Miller had constructed for a hip-hop song for a collaboration with a local artist. The rhythm became more and more ambiguous/free-form, and Miller realized it could make the foundation for a unique indie track. From there, he added piano and started improvising vocal melodies over an ambient drum loop.

“[The song lyric] ‘you’re my favorite number’ refers both to a significant person in your life and a date on the calendar,” says Miller. “It can be a metaphor for your favorite person (your No. 1) or it can be a conversation with the future, with something you’re looking forward to.”

A second single is due out next month.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Tags: , ,

Nonprofit Funded by FirstEnergy to Criticize Cleveland Public Power Refuses to Provide Documents Subpoenaed by City Council

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 10:26 AM

Cleveland Municipal Light plant sign, 1962 - CLEVELAND MEMORY PROJECT
  • Cleveland Memory Project
  • Cleveland Municipal Light plant sign, 1962

Making good on its recent promise to refuse to comply with subpoenas issued by Cleveland City Council seeking documents related to its funding from dark money sources tied to FirstEnergy, Consumers Against Deceptive Fees has let the deadline pass to provide the requested material.

A lawyer for the nonprofit, which collected $200,000 of FirstEnergy contributions made through a pass-through nonprofit that came to light in the midst of the HB6 scandal, told the group wouldn't comply because the subpoenas were an infringement on free speech.

After having gone to great lengths to protect the sources of its funding, the nonprofit dissolved itself in late 2020 after indictments came down against Larry Householder and others in the nuclear bailout bill case. Cleveland City Council had sought clarity on what other funding sources the group used as it sought for years to discredit the city-owned utility.

Board members have not responded to requests for comment from Scene or

“While we have determined where $200,000 came from, we intend to find all the sources of dark money that went to this organization and how it was spent to undermine Cleveland Public Power,” Council President Kevin Kelley said in a statement when the subpoenas were issued. “There’s at least another $351,000 this organization received to damage CPP, and we want to know who the sources are.”


Kelley told Thursday council might engage the courts in an effort to get Consumers Against Deceptive Fees to comply. And, as Frank Jackson said in February, the city is also considering a lawsuit against FirstEnergy itself in the matter.

Tags: , , , ,

Ohio City is Just the Start of Choolaah's Ambitious Expansion Plans, Which Will Include Boardman and Westlake

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 10:03 AM

Vibrant Indian fare is the name of the game at Choolaah. - COURTESY CHOOLAAH
  • Courtesy Choolaah
  • Vibrant Indian fare is the name of the game at Choolaah.

Last year was a challenging one for all restaurants, Choolaah included. The pandemic delayed the Indian eatery’s planned expansion into Ohio City, which was originally slated for a 2020 opening. Now, not only is Ohio City back on track, but the Cleveland-based company also is revealing ambitious plans for growth.

Choolaah launched its fast-casual Indian BBQ concept six years ago in Orange Village (27100 Chagrin Blvd., 216-350-3136). Since then, the company has gone on to open shops in Pittsburgh, King of Prussia, and Sterling, Virginia. Next up, says CEO Randhir Sethi, is to open multiple stores in the markets in which they already have a presence.

“The goal is to get to 10 stores next year and then the sky’s the limit,” says Sethi. “Plenty of people are doing it. Do we deserve to be one of those companies?”

Likely opening before Ohio City is a new Boardman store. Sites also are planned for Westlake, Canton and possibly Fairlawn. Columbus in on the radar, as are future stores in Greater Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Northern Virginia.

Sethi says that up until 2020, the focus had been so single-mindedly on the quality of the food, that they nearly dropped the ball on the technology side of the business, an aspect that would prove vital once the pandemic arrived.

“The food aspect was so hard,” he explains. “How do you take a fine-dining restaurant and convert it into fast-casual? That was a very ambitious goal. And when we picked our heads up, we missed the tech. We did not have an app, we did not have delivery, and our online ordering was weak. We fixed all of that in the first week because it was already in the works. Without that we wouldn’t have made it.”

Future locations will give diners even more options, he promises. Boardman will be the first Choolaah to feature a “Choolane,” a dedicated pick-up lane for orders placed online or via an app. Even stores that cannot accommodate a drive-through will devote interior space for efficient carry-out. That service will join dine-in and delivery. Locations, including Ohio City, will boast spacious outdoor dining areas.

Sethi says that Choolaah originally was designed as a restaurant where 75- to 85-percent of the business was dine-in. Now, only one out of every two guests elects to stay. To accommodate these operational shifts to carry-out and delivery, the company completely redesigned all of its kitchens.

“We want to be safe and smart, but let’s adopt technology and rebuild our business so that we’re hyper-relevant when we come out of this and we’re going to take off like a rocket,” Sethi adds.

Sit in a room with Sethi and co-CEO Raji Sankar and you’ll likely hear the term “conscious capitalism.” Yes, a primary objective is to provide healthy, flavorful and exciting Indian food, but that seems to come secondary to creating a company culture that values every team member.

“Herb Kelleher said that the business of business is people, and that never was more evident than this last year,” says Sethi. “The purpose of business should be to make people’s lives better, not just shareholder value.”

That philosophy translates to supporting worthy nonprofit causes, providing livable wages, purpose, and paths for advancement to all employees, and promoting joy at every turn.

Tags: ,

Update: Fu Manchu's 30th Anniversary Tour Comes to the Grog Shop in March 2022

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 9:48 AM

  • Courtesy of the Grog Shop
Update: Fu Manchu intended to hit the road last year and play the Grog Shop on a tour in support of its 30th anniversary. The pandemic put the celebration on hold, but the band just announced rescheduled dates and will now perform at the Cleveland Heights club on Tuesday, March 29, 2022.

Original Post 1/17/2020:
Stoner rockers Fu Manchu original formed in 1985 as a Black Flag-influenced hardcore punk band called Virulence. The band released its first single, “Kept Between Trees,” in 1990 and alongside peers such as Kyuss, Monster Magnet and Sleep helped create the genre now known as stoner rock .

"Since its inception, the quartet has built itself a fanatical army of loyal enthusiasts all drawn to the group’s ridiculously catchy, unpretentious music, guitar-driven sound and carefree lyrics centered on 'old muscle cars, choppers, vans, skateboarding and science fiction,'" reads a press release about the band's upcoming 30th anniversary tour that includes a May 12 stop at the Grog Shop.

Tickets to the show are currently on sale.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Tags: , , ,

Kane Brown Coming to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in November

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 9:20 AM

Country superstar Kane Brown. - MATTHEW BERINATO
  • Matthew Berinato
  • Country superstar Kane Brown.
Country singer Kane Brown has just announced his headlining Blessed & Free tour that'll visit all 29 NBA basketball arenas throughout 2021 and 2022, making him the first country artist in history to headline every NBA basketball arena on a single tour.

The tour stops at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Nov. 21.

A life-long basketball fan, Brown first hinted at the tour during the 2020 NBA All-Star game in Chicago, where he played in the NBA celebrity All-Star game.

Jordan Davis will join Brown as support for all 2021 tour dates. Restless Road, an act that Brown signed to his label, 1021 Entertainment, will open all shows.

Registration for a Bless & Free presale is underway at

Tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 16.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Tags: , ,

Update: Rage Against the Machine Again Postpones Reunion Tour, Including Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse Date

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 8:59 AM

RATM"s Tom Morello performing at the Agora in 2016. - JON LICHTENBERG
  • Jon Lichtenberg
  • RATM"s Tom Morello performing at the Agora in 2016.
Update: Fans of Rage Against the Machine will have to wait until 2022 to see the reunited band's tour come to the Cleveland.

For the second time, the group has rescheduled its entire tour, which originally would've taken place last year (and was then bumped to this year), citing COVID-19 concerns.

The show scheduled to take place at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse this summer will now take place on July 27, 2022, at the venue.

On its website, the band says that tickets to the previous show will be honored, and fans can obtain refunds if they prefer.

(Original Post 2/10/2020): Earlier today, a reunited Rage Against the Machine announced a worldwide headline tour that will kick off in El Paso and include a July 29 stop at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

The terrific hip-hop duo Run the Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P) will open the show.

According to a press release, "Through ticketing, volunteering and band donations, Rage Against the Machine will be working with multiple charities and activist organizations throughout the tour."

Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Sign up for Scene's weekly newsletters to get the latest on Cleveland news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Tags: , ,


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

April 7, 2020

View more issues


© 2021 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 505-8199
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation