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Clinic Cuts West Side Drug Service

The Cleveland Clinic will not be renewing its contract to run the MetroHealth pharmacy, a decision that could put an ugly dent in health care services on the near West Side. The pharmacy, which serves a sizable low-income and uninsured clientele, is a financial loser that Metro tried to close in 1995. Community pressure forced the hospital to find another proprietor, and for the past three years the Clinic has been running — and essentially subsidizing — the pharmacy. But the free ride ends when the Clinic's contract expires in January. "We've decided to focus our pharmacy services on the Cleveland Clinic's ambulatory care and family health centers," says Clinic Pharmacy Director David Kvancz. A coalition of social service groups is gearing up to find a replacement, worried that the steep prices at private pharmacies in that part of town could force many people to choose between medicine and food.

If the sphincter muscles seem to be loosening up a bit at City Hall, credit mayoral Press Secretary Nancy Lesic, who somehow sweet-talked Imperial Mayor Mike White into streamlining media requests for public information. A simple across-the-counter procedure in every other city in America, accessing public records has been handled by this administration like the Manhattan Project. Even the simplest requests were buried for weeks at a time in the Law Department, with His Highness personally ruling on the most sensitive. So it came as a shock to receive a letter from Lesic last week outlining new procedures, with some city officials now available via — gasp! — a direct phone call. "The mayor asked me to work on it," Lesic says, eschewing any credit for the changes. Could be. It's tough to generate good PR for the boss when your desk is constantly flooded with phone messages from irate reporters.

With the Scylla and Charybdis of the Klan rally and the inaugural game at Lerner Field looming this weekend, it's hard to know what to be more nervous about. Keeping very cool on the eve of their Cleveland debut, head Klansmen Jeff Berry and James Hogg offered some choice bon mots during phone interviews. Berry: "I don't care if I have to stand outside to put my robe on. To me, it wouldn't matter." Hogg: "I hate to see anyone fighting. If we never got a piece of publicity out of this, I wouldn't care." We'll remember that when you're posing in your bedsheets. For a real Cleveland welcome, Berry and Hogg ought to stop by the Shoreway muny parking lot, where Browns fans are primed to fire up the grills and tap a few kegs. If the completely unfounded rumor about the city cracking down on the open container law and putting up a big vendors' tent turns out to be true, the carnage there will make the Justice Center look like a church social.

And speaking of living off the Browns: Hanford "I Invented the Dawg Pound" Dixon has joined the Cleveland Kennel Club, a fan club that does an ingenious job of spinning its unofficial, non-NFL-approved merchandise into a plus for Browns faithful. "NOT ONE NICKEL GOES TO ART MODELL" promises the Kennel website, hawking $200 leather jackets and $18 T-shirts with the old arms-akimbo Brownie logo replaced by an identically postured mutt. Membership is free (so far), and if you act fast, you can help name that mascot. How about Rin Tin Rip-off?

Flea collars and hot tips to edge@clevescene.com.

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