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Hiroshima Heights 

Garfield plans an explosive Independence Day.

In an apparent attempt to save money on this year's Fourth of July fireworks display, word has it that Garfield Heights will hold its annual Home Days celebration at the City View shopping center ["Tomb With a View," January 10], where explosive levels of methane emanating from a landfill could inexpensively put the "grand" back in the fireworks finale.

Some might question the wisdom of this. ("Some," in this case, meaning anybody who's ever told a drunken friend that writing his name in gasoline is "Umm, dude, probably not a good idea.")

"These people got to be freaking crazy," says Garfield Heights Councilman Henry Warren, who's heard of the city's plans to move the celebration from the Metroparks. "[Fire Chief Anthony Collova] has got to be out of his mind."

Collova didn't return Punch's calls, but Mayor Tom Longo says his Home Days plans are up in the air.

In the meantime, the suburb is garnering a reputation for its innovative approach to public safety. Last week, Scene detailed how the city put a shopping center on top of a landfill that harbors cancer-causing toxic waste. Longo says he left the environmental worries to the Ohio EPA, which is akin to setting a brick on your accelerator and then climbing into the passenger seat.

But Punch is still in favor of blowing up Wal-Mart -- as long as we can watch from a safe distance.

A day without Feran . . .
The Plain Dealer recently announced that Tom Feran will no longer write a column after six years on the job. The news came as a shock to many readers, who had no idea Feran wrote a column in the first place.

A check of the paper's archives shows he has, in fact, covered an array of important topics, including gift ideas from his friend Kevin. His final -- and perhaps fatal -- effort was last week's column criticizing colleague Sam Fulwood III, who, much to Feran's dismay, claimed that Clevelanders aren't funny.

It's believed that Feran, The Invisible Columnist®, writing about Fulwood, the Laziest Man in Journalism™, may have torn a hole in the universe.

Debbie Van Tassel, The PD's assistant managing editor for features, tells Punch that Feran will now report on pop culture as part of the paper's ongoing effort to drive away its remaining three readers under 60. Van Tassel says Feran also will focus on local personalities, especially TV and radio stars. His new office will be located in Carl Monday's mustache.

Strip joints for health
This week's Betterment of Humankind Award goes to the Crazy Horse Saloon of Bedford Heights, for its bold initiative to recast strip joints as lifestyle centers.

In February the club will start weekly Strippercise classes, a cunning move to demystify (or at least get chicks into) strip clubs and maybe -- just maybe -- recruit new talent.

"We want it to be really fun and exciting, and to have that club atmosphere," says Maureen Dempsey, who developed the program with fellow trainer Lindsay Preston. The Crazy Horse classes are the first of their kind, but the duo plan to expand the concept in strip clubs throughout the area.

Neither woman has previously stripped -- and they won't here either. Strippercise focuses on learning the sexy moves of exotic dancers, without all the chafing from dollar bills in your shorts.

The debut program is geared toward beginners; pole dancing and lap dancing, says Maureen, are graduate-level courses. Though the signup sheet thus far consists mostly of housewives, men are also welcome -- as are women of a higher calling.

"If anybody felt the need to strip," says Maureen, "I'm sure we could set up an audition."

Last week, Akron Mayor-for-Life Don Plusquellic announced he'll run for a sixth term. Victory is inevitable -- he's never won by less than 74 percent.

Still, Councilman Michael Williams is considering taking on the all-powerful Don.

Williams, a staunch Democrat with strong ties to the black community, has a reputation for not doing much, which makes him much better suited to be mayor of Cleveland. But he recently told The Akron Beacon Journal that he was "in prayer" about whether to enter the Akron primary.

Williams is expected to win support from the 5 voters who say they want change for change's sake, as well as the 200 people who've suffered one of the Don's infamous verbal beatdowns. Unfortunately, 80 percent of the latter are former boyfriends of Republican Party Chairman Alex Arshinkoff, who would never vote for a Democrat or a black guy.

Yes, prayer seems a rather appropriate strategy.

Dentistry DUI
A trip to the dentist is like an extended conversation with Bob Taft: excruciating. But imagine leaving the drilling to a hammered guy.

That's the allegation against Westlake dentist John Brooke. The Ohio State Dental Board received a tip in March that Brooke was blitzed on the job. The board sent out an investigator, who found the glassy-eyed dentist slurring his speech.

Last week, the board suspended his license for a year.
That left lawyer Matthew Hallett to bust out episode 345,675 in the long-running legal comedy Why My Guy Wasn't Hammered. Brooke was actually stone-cold sober, Hallett argued. The dentist had resolved to quit drinking after a recent DUI. And the glassy eyes and slurred speech? Those were merely symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, according to the barrister.

Apparently, being hammered and not being hammered produce the exact same symptoms. Who woulda thought?

"Dr. Brooke had voluntarily gone cold turkey," says Hallett, who's available for weddings and bachelor parties.

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