Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough Elected RTA Board President after Valarie McCall Withdraws

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 12:17 PM

"Rally to Save Transit," Public Square, 3/12/2018 - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • "Rally to Save Transit," Public Square, 3/12/2018
At a strange and lengthy Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) annual board meeting Tuesday, Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough was elected president of the agency's board of trustees.

Clough has been an RTA board member since 1999 and has served as interim president since the resignation of longtime president George Dixon earlier this year in the midst of an investigation. Clough carried the vote 8-0 Tuesday, with Mayor Frank Jackson's Chief of Government and International Affairs Valarie McCall abstaining.

Newly appointed board member Kelley Britt did not cast a vote either. Evidently, she is waiting for a decision by the Ohio Ethics Commission regarding whether or not her RTA board appointment represents a conflict of interest with her current position at the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. She will not vote until she receives a decision.

Both Clough and Valarie McCall had submitted letters of interest for the President's seat. (McCall was also interested in the Vice President's seat, per Karen Gabriel Moss, who chaired the board's three-member nominating committee.)

The vote was held after a nearly two-hour private executive session during which the board discussed the preliminary results of an audit and a personnel matter involving RTA General Manager Joe Calabrese, appended to the agenda Monday evening.

Both Clough and McCall gave brief comments before the vote.

Clough, speaking extemporaneously, said he felt privileged to ask his colleagues for the presidency. He called RTA a "great organization" and said that as president, he would commit himself with the "same type of effort" that he had put forth for the past 18 years.

McCall, in measured tones, read the letter of interest that she'd submitted to her colleagues in full. She said that as a lifelong Clevelander, she has been a consistent advocate for transit riders and said she wanted to lead the agency into the future, embracing new technologies. She cited her "vast" administrative experience.

She repeated, however, something she has stated before: that RTA is not ready to ask taxpayers for a levy because of internal problems. She said that, among other things, the RTA board is riddled with mistrust — exacerbated by recent media coverage — and that the agency has to change. She said leadership must be "bold, open, honest and transparent."

"I don't think we're taking the issues in front of us seriously," McCall said. "I don't think we should be in a position when one day we're on the same page and the next day we're not."

With that, McCall withdrew her name from consideration for both the presidency and the vice presidency. Rev. Charles Lucas was nominated and elected as Vice President. The vote was 8-0, with McCall abstaining again.

One suspects that McCall would not have been inclined to voice her reservations had she, and not Clough, been the presumptive winner. 
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27 Reptiles Found Abandoned, Emaciated in Richland County

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 12:13 PM

Not the bearded dragon found in Ontario, Ohio. - PHOTO VIA WIKIPEDIA
  • Photo via Wikipedia
  • Not the bearded dragon found in Ontario, Ohio.
The Humane Society of Richland County is currently inundated with animals of the not-so-furry kind.

The Mansfield Journal reports that the shelter is now housing 27 reptiles, which were rescued from an abandoned home in Ontario, Ohio, a couple weeks ago. All of the rescued animals, which include a blue-tongued skink, a bearded dragon, corn snakes, pythons, a boa constrictor and more, are reportedly doing fine (if not somewhat skittish of humans), but were found by police in various states of malnutrition. Some animals found at the scene were pronounced dead.

As the pet shelter is not equipped for handling so many reptiles at a time, they've had to spend money on special equipment and food, which may not be sustainable over time.

The Humane Society is hoping to find forever homes for all of the reptiles, but is currently looking for help with foster parenting. If you're interested in taking on one of the animals contact the shelter at its site
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Local Indie Rockers Time Cat to Record Live Album in Akron

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 12:00 PM

  • Sandra Emmeline
Named after a children’s book, the Akron-based indie rock group Time Cat has recently gathered some momentum. The online music magazine Noisey published a profile of the group last year, and the band has just announced it’ll record a live album at the new Akron Recording Company (ARC) recording studio.

Locals Ben Patrick of the Dreemers and Nate Butcher of See Creatures founded the studio, which offers both analog and digital recording. The show is open to the public; it takes place at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 29.

Continue reading »

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At Least Nine Shootings in Cleveland Last Weekend

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 11:59 AM

  • Scene Archives

On Sunday morning, Cleveland police released information regarding seven reported shootings throughout the city. Between the evening of Saturday June 16th and early Sunday June 17th, the following shootings occurred:
  • Saturday at 7 p.m.: A man was shot in the chest on Elton Avenue near West 74rd Street.
  • Saturday at 9 p.m.: A woman was shot in the neck during a fight at Kinsman road and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive
  • Sunday at 2:45 a.m.: A 48-year-old woman was shot in the leg at Visions Lounge on Euclid Avenue
  • Sunday at 2:50 a.m.: A 14-year-old boy was shot in the leg Covert Avenue near East 71st Street.
  • Sunday at 5 a.m.: A 32-year-old man arrived at University Hospitals with a gunshot wound from a shooting in the area of East 140 Street and St. Clair Avenue.
  • Sunday at 6 a.m.: Two men were shot at Community College Avenue and East 40th Street. The victims both shot in the arm are aged 70 and 28.
  • Sunday at 6 a.m.: Two people were shot at Lotus Drive near Miles Avenue.
Police released these reports before they would later begin investigating a homicide of a 16-year-old boy (now identified as African immigrant Bahati Juma) shot on Father's Day in the 11000 block of Detroit Avenue in the Edgewater Neighborhood. Oh, and the shooting in East Cleveland that injured two police offers.

And these are just the shootings that were actually reported.

Forbes lists Cleveland as the ninth most dangerous city in America, we rank ninth in teen gun violence, and the Major Cities Chiefs Association listed us with the fifth highest murder rate per capita in 2017, with four out of every five homicides related to gun violence.

Our homicide numbers are not good. Cleveland tallied 130 homicides in 2017, barely a decrease from the 133 homicides that marked 2016 as one of the deadliest years in the city in decades.

Unfortunately, for 2018, these numbers seem to be rising back up.

Cleveland News 19 keeps an interactive map featuring all of the homicides uncovered in the Northeast Ohio area. With a majority of these homicides occurring in Cleveland, Channel 19 estimates there have been 85 uncovered murders in 2018.

And we're only halfway through June.
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The Mercury Theatre Company Turns Cinderella on Its Head in 'Soho Cinders,' Featuring a Young Gay Man at the Center of the Ball

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 11:58 AM

  • Courtesy Mercury Theatre Company

Okay, sure, Jerry Lewis did it first in Cinderfella, turning the Cinderella story on its head and switching genders of the poor little heroine. But as inventive as Lewis was, he could never have anticipated Cinderella being turned into Robbie, a young gay man who is having an affair with a married (to a woman) mayoral candidate, James Prince, in London, England while diddling a Lord Bellingham on the side.

That’s the essence of the musical Soho Cinders now being produced by the Mercury Theatre Company. Robbie shares his confusion with his girlfriend Velcro during their frequent meetings at the local laundrette, Sit and Spin. And that relationship actually turns out to be the most affecting and resonant one in the show

The music by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewe range from acceptable to downright wonderful. Although the book by Drewe takes some enormous leaps of logic, eschewing reality when it comes to a political candidate having such dalliances.

As with Cinderella, the story comes to a climax during a ball, when the three men meet awkwardly. Robbie has managed to get to the fancy-dress affair despite the shenanigans of his evil stepsisters Dana and Clodagh.

Under the direction of Pierre-Jacques Brault, the cast is quite competent with a couple standout moments. The duet between Mason Henning as Robbie and Kennedy Ellis as Velcro is drop-dead gorgeous. And Amiee Collier and Kelvette Beacham as the sisters spare no calories in making the women as nightmarish as possible. That comes to a head in the song “I’m So Over Men” which, as you might expect, is so wrong.

As Prince (who is, you know, the “Prince”), Brian Marshall dials back the attitude he often brings to character roles, playing a fairly straight (though gay) character with a bracing degree of honesty. And Joe Monaghan as Prince’s campaign manager adds a dash of sarcastic edge to the proceedings.

Even though the overall pace of the show seems a bit lethargic, and the British colloquialisms and accents are incomprehensible at times, the music shines forth. That makes Soho Cinders a must-see for those who relish new musicals that are willing to take chances.

Soho Cinders
Through June 23 produced by Mercury Theatre Company, Notre Dame College, Regina Hall, 1857 S. Green Rd., South Euclid, 216-771-5862,
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Cleveland's Elizabeth Ann Hosting Benefit to Combat Revenge Porn This Sunday

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 11:55 AM

  • Courtesy of Elizabeth Ann
In April, police shut down the illegal revenge porn database Anon-IB, but as we reported, Ohio still doesn't have any protections in place for victims of revenge porn. Ohio is one of only 12 states without any sort of protective legislation, and for Clevelander Elizabeth Ann, enough is enough.

"I'm a victim first, and an advocate second," Ann tells Scene. "It was an act of revenge against me that I have devoted a large part of my life trying to end."

Victimizing one out of every 25 women and 17 percent of the LGBTQ community, there are over 10 million Americans affected by revenge porn across more than 2000 websites and counting, a report by the Data & Society Research Institute found.

Ann says that no one deserves to feel the way that she's felt and she has since undergone therapy after photos were uploaded of her without her consent. Since uncovering the leaked photos, Ann has begun working with BADASS (Battling Against Demeaning and Abusive Selfie Sharing) and other victims of revenge porn to make legislative change.

On Saturday, June 30, a national march is taking to the streets of Pittsburgh to combat the image-abuse epidemic victimizing millions of Americans. Knowing that not everyone would be able to attend the march in Pittsburgh, Ann has helped organize an event right here in Cleveland.
"I wanted to combine people with my love for music, cocktails and bowling to have a stress free night where victims and supporters could not only meet face to face, but try and understand each other as well," says Ann. "Nothing brings people together like the power of music, and as an aspiring music therapist, I wanted to find a way to help the victims heal as well as create a safe space for them."

Ann's event is called "Bands, Bowling, and Badasses," and will raise funds to victims attend the march that would otherwise be unable to. In order to pass the Enough Act, the march is hoping to bring out as many victims as possible that are willing to share their stories and experiences regarding nonconsensual photo sharing.

MTV's True Life is also interested in Ann's story, and is arriving in five days to learn more about her activism, victimhood and survival. Ann explains that MTV had been in contact with BADASS looking to put together an episode highlighting victims of revenge porn, but needed victims to have been over 18 when their images were shared, a small margin for many victims of this crime.

"I expressed interest in helping with whatever they needed and never thought my story would even be considered," Ann says.

Bands, Bowling and Badasses takes place Sunday at Mahall's 20 Lanes. Local bands like Youth Pallet, Old Souls, RAM ONES, Mimi Arden, C-Level, and Runaway Brother are all scheduled to perform. Raffle prizes and specialty cocktails will also be available for the occasion.

Entry is $10 at the door, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Mahall's 20 Lanes is at 13200 Madison Avenue in Lakewood.
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More Than $23,000 Successfully Raised for Tamir Rice Afrocentric Center

Posted By on Tue, Jun 19, 2018 at 10:53 AM

  • Scene Archives
Last month we reported on Samaria Rice's goal of opening a student community center in Cleveland's St. Clair neighborhood in honor of her late son, Tamir Rice.

We recently learned that the Tamir Rice Foundation's Afrocentric Center surpassed its goal of $21,000 and raised a whopping $23,573.

Tamir, was shot and killed by Cleveland police officers outside of the recreation center where he frequently played on Nov. 22, 2014. The boy's killing sparked national outrage and has influenced police reform and juvenile rights reform efforts across the country.

Set to break ground in 2019, The Tamir Rice Foundation's Afrocentric Center will reside in the old Slavic News building and is set to provide arts, cultural, and educational programming for children of color to achieve self-determination. The Tamir Rice Foundation was founded by his mother in 2018.
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