Juvenile detention center and daycare services get beefed up while chickens get a hall of fame

The Exorcist
On Saturday, members of the Black Women's Political Action Committee kept Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim McCormack, a participant in its political forum, at the microphone long after his two minutes were up. On the topic of the juvenile detention center, McCormack spoke frankly, calling the current facility a "terrible dungeon." McCormack said the new center, which would be built on a contaminated site at East 93rd Street and Quincy Avenue, would be thoroughly cleaned and safe. Sensing the skepticism of the group, McCormack explained, "It's the only site the City of Cleveland gave us to build on. That's the reality." On the topic of day-care services, McCormack pledged to improve availability by instituting a 24-hour emergency hotline for people moving from welfare to work. He said the initiative predates the tragic death of Charles Knight III, the unsupervised toddler who fell from a ninth-floor balcony while his mother was at work. Apparently, McCormack has been working on instituting the hotline for six weeks, after he had a negative experience with the system. McCormack said he had tried to access services for an acquaintance and couldn't get immediate help.

Hang on to your hens -- educator, county fair judge, and chicken man Jim Burnette, owner of Burnette's Petting Zoo in Olmsted Township, is in the process of putting together Ohio's only Poultry Museum. The museum will house his personal collection of more than 2,000 chicken items, and that's not including the chickens, of which he has hundreds -- some of them as tame and fluffy as cocker spaniels. The memorabilia includes turn-of-the-century incubators and feeders, and many chicken works of art, including a painting of an indeterminate breed by a Brazilian church artist who was inspired by God to paint a chicken. "He was selling it for $20,000, but he gave it to me for two dollars," says the genial Burnette, who's tamed chickens since he was a baby. According to Burnette, chicken museums abound in Europe, but there's only one in the States, in Bonnard, Kansas. Cleveland deserves a chicken museum, he says, because the world's largest incubator was located on West 25th Street until a decade ago (it moved to Medina), plus the state produces more eggs than any other. The museum, which will cost $80,000 to $100,000 to build (he's in the process of fund-raising), will reportedly also include a wing devoted to pigeons.

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