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White Rights Group Dodges Protest

Forget the Klan. The much creepier American Nationalist Union was in town this past weekend, virtually unnoticed by the local media. Ostensibly a conservative free speech organization, the ANU is usually a flash point for protesters and watchdog types, who have tied the ANU to militia movements and white supremacy groups. The meeting here unfolded quietly at the Middleburg Heights Radisson, where about 30 people, mostly middle-aged and older white guys, listened to local Holocaust revisionist Jerome Brentar and legal luminary Kirk Lyons, who is representing surviving Branch Davidians pursuing wrongful death lawsuits against the federal government. The biggest name on the bill, notorious Holocaust denier Eustace Mullins, was a no-show, reportedly sick with colon cancer. But the shock slack was more than taken up by Sam van Rensburg, a well-dressed South African army veteran who said he regrets that he didn't use more force against the enemy (i.e., blacks). When Americans learn of his past, he claimed, some react in horror while others "look at me with envy and admiration, because I got paid to do the kinds of things they would have loved to do." Even ANU head Don Wassell balked at that sentiment. "I want to see peaceful change," he says. As do we all.

The ink was barely dry on the self-congratulatory anniversary note penned by Coventry Road Shopper (aka the Free Times) Publisher and Editor Randy Siegel last week when the news broke that the paper was on the selling block again. Rumors of the sale had been circulating for weeks prior to the formal announcement that owner Stern Publishing is unloading seven weekly papers, including its crown jewel, The Village Voice. Speculation on prospective buyers has ranged from media giants Times Mirror and Knight-Ridder to Canadian press mogul Conrad Black to Barry Diller's USA Networks to Scene owner New Times. Sales price estimates climbed steadily in the days following the announcement, topping out at about $200 million. Siegel is pitching America Online as a likely bidder to his staff, which doesn't seem to have done much for morale. No wonder -- the only question that matters is whether the Shopper will remain open after the papers are sold. And at this point Siegel can't guarantee his own job, much less anyone else's.

The Red Star Café bids adieu this weekend, though only temporarily, promises owner John Cook. After unsuccessful attempts to sell the business, Cook has decided to shut it down and reopen in the spring at West 65th and Detroit, next to Cleveland Public Theatre, with an expanded menu and -- ta da! -- table service. Devotees of the old restaurant can take a piece of it home by stopping in at 10 a.m. on October 7, when the fixtures and equipment will be auctioned off.

Always looking to save a few bucks, the Democratic Party's Executive Committee of the City of Cleveland decided not to hire off-duty cops to keep an eye on the Slovenian National Home at East 65th and St. Clair two weeks ago, when the group met to consider election endorsements. It took all of 10 minutes for politically insensitive vandals to smash the windows of nine cars, including those of Councilman Joe Cimperman and Housing Court Judge Ray Pianka's wife. Matters were apparently equally chaotic inside, where both Legal Aid Society lawyer Lauren Moore and Councilman Joe Zone won endorsements for the same judicial seat.

Alarms and hot tips to edge@clevescene.com

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