Anyone who cares that the place where the Cuyahoga River pours out into Lake Erie remains undeveloped - one of the few areas where a person can walk along the shore and touch the water - owes a debt to the late Ed Hauser. There's no telling how many people he introduced to that scrap of land known as Whiskey Island, either by taking them on tours or by calling attention to the place during the many years he dedicated to preserving it. While the city of Cleveland duked it out with the county over control of the property, Hauser's was the loudest and most substantive voice arguing for its preservation as a park. With the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority coveting it for westward expansion, and the city fighting for control but making no promises about its future, Hauser fought against steep odds and eventually won. Whiskey Island, the peninsula bordered by the old river channel to the south, the Cuyahoga to the east and Lake Erie to the north, is now known as Wendy Park. Thanks to Hauser, it's going to stay that way. That was one of several battles Hauser took up in his 10 years of activism following his layoff from an engineering job at LTV steel.
Now we have an opportunity to return the favor in a small way. Hauser died of a heart attack November 14 at age 47. To help his family cover funeral and other expenses, the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd.) will host Citizens Vision, a benefit celebrating the life and legacy of "Citizen" Hauser, from 6-10 p.m. Sunday. The event includes live music, a DJ, raffles and auctions, and a slide show of Hauser's life. There's a minimum $5 donation at the door. You can also mail checks to: Citizens Vision, Ed Hauser Family Support Fund, P.O. Box 32700, Cleveland 44132-0700. Call 216.383.1124 for more information. - Michael Gill
YOU'RE NOT ON THE LIST
Downtown concert club Peabody's has split with the Jigsaw Entertainment Group, the Parma-based company that owns or operates three other clubs across the city.
JEG had been managing and booking shows at Peabody's since June. Peabody's partner Chris Zitterbart also booked shows at other clubs through Jigsaw Entertainment. But in recent weeks, Zitterbart had stopped booking shows at other clubs and concentrated on Peabody's.
Zitterbart declined to explain the circumstances that led to the split, citing possible legal fallout. "We didn't get out of the relationship what we thought we were going to get," he says. "We're not ready to get into details yet."
Jigsaw Entertainment founder Phil Lara confirmed the split, but also declined to give specifics.
With no previous nightlife experience, Lara's group purchased Parma's landmark Jigsaw Saloon and Stage in November 2007. In May 2008, he entered a deal to purchase Lakewood's small Hi-Fi Club. In October, the Jigsaw Group and the Agora announced a partnership to renovate the building at E. 50th and Euclid Avenue, and add a third club and recording studio ("Safety in Numbers," October 15). At the time, Lara explained the Jigsaw Group's long-term strategy as a new model for the music business, including opening "a regional network of clubs in select cities."
Despite the complications, Lara says the plan is still on track. "We still have our strategy," says Lara. "Some things don't work out."
Peabody's has been a presence in the city since the '70s under a series of owners. Zitterbart says the 600-capacity hard-rock club (which incorporates two additional performance spaces, the Pirates Cove and Rockstar Cleveland) will continue operating as before, though he is looking for a new location, away from its current spot across from Cleveland State University. Of the breakup with the Jigsaw group he says, "It's been quite a learning experience." - D.X. Ferris
WE'D CALL IT A CHANGE OF HEART, IF HE HAD ONE
Last week, Scene revealed some troubling signs that Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason is letting his power go to his head ("The Boss of You," December 3). Among other things, we reported that he is aggressively fighting open discovery, after claiming to support it before the election. Does he not know that we write stuff down? Or does he just not care? But Two-Face Mason is not alone in this ruse. Scene obtained and quoted from an e-mail sent to Mason by Delaware County Prosecutor David Yost, who also serves as the spokesman for the Ohio Prosecutors Association on the matter of open discovery. The e-mail made it plain that Mason and other prosecutors are only feigning willingness to share more evidence with defense attorneys during the pre-trial discovery phase. Yost asked Mason, "Do we have the political strength to block any changes?" Ian Friedman, president of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, is understandably pissed.
"We have devoted a lot of time [to] negotiating open discovery, in good faith, with [Yost] and the OPA," says Friedman. "Now we're curious if this has all been an exercise in delay."
Friedman is also disappointed that Mason will not accept the recent decision by Cuyahoga County judges to adopt open discover in their county; Mason has threatened to take it to the Ohio Supreme Court. "Really, with all these varying positions, he's appearing to be so disingenuous." We can think of a couple other words that also begin with D. - James Renner
YEAH, WELL, IT'S EVEN HOTTER IN HELL
A recent front-page Plain Dealer article revealed that Cleveland's top TV weathermen - André Bernier, Dick Goddard, Mark Johnson, Jon Loufman and Mark Nolan - all question the widespread belief that humans are causing global warming. The PD noted that it's part of a national trend, but gave no indication of what else might be going on in these guys' heads.
We wondered if faith might have something to do with it.
"My views on global warming are not influenced by my religion," writes Jon Loufman in response to our e-mail. OK, so far, so good. "But warm, cold or otherwise, I do believe that God is firmly in control of all of us, our planet and the universe."
So if we all stopped masturbating, could we get some sunlight down here?
"I'm a spiritual guy," writes Mark Johnson. "BUT [sic - he used A LOT of caps] when I'm examining weather or climate data to generate a forecast, religion is out of the picture." He went on to argue that global warming has become a POLITICAL issue, that CONSENSUS DOES NOT EQUAL FACT. He offered some evidence to the contrary and encouraged us to look up more on the Internet. (And we will, as soon as we get through all the evidence of this Mayan-calendar, world-ends-in-2012 business.)
André Bernier didn't respond to our e-mail, but he didn't have to - his website is a treasure trove of denial (he even refers to evolution as a "myth"). "For every student forced to watch Mr. Gore's film in school," he writes, "every teacher should also present the brilliant documentary … entitled: Global Warming: Doomsday Called Off." That film purports to show that global warming is natural and won't be so bad anyway. Bernier is a licensed minister of the Evangelical Church Alliance.
Mark Nolan could not be reached for comment, but we assume he is also very religious because a) he looks like an altar boy, and b) he works beside Abby Ham, who is so ridiculously hot, some divine force surely must be responsible.
"I know at least one of the meteorologists pictured on the front page of the PD does not believe in God," writes Loufman. Surely you don't mean Goddard? We heard he went to school with Moses. - James Renner