Reverse Course

Myers University finally confesses to its dire finances.

Myers University Minority set-asides The Flats Ohio University
Earlier this year, when Scene wrote about the financial peril at 150-year-old Myers University ["Mired University," February 28], President Dick Scaldini claimed we were living in the past. The school was in the black, he said. Things were looking up.

But Scaldini must have since found some crumpled invoices in an old pair of slacks. At a meeting with students last week, the president announced that the school would cancel its sports program, leaving athletes to scramble for transfers. Scaldini also said that Myers is on the verge of either closing or being bought by another school.

After Scaldini's optimistic response to Scene's February article, his announcement caught students off guard. Fearing their credits may soon be as valuable as Duane Kuiper's rookie card, they peppered Scaldini with angry questions. The president reacted just as loudly.

"I couldn't believe it," says Mike Forchione, a 21-year-old soccer player. "He was going crazy."

Myers, which counts John D. Rockefeller among its alum, survived for years by offering business-related classes to first-generation and mid-career students. But in the early 2000s, the school adopted the First Punch Approach to Financial Planning: Buy now, and hope you remembered to sign up for overdraft protection later. It moved into a mansion, started a sports program, and tried to recruit students from China. Meanwhile, students from Cleveland got fed up and dropped out. It took a multi-million dollar bailout from local big shots to keep it from shuttering in January.

Scaldini did not return several calls from Punch and eventually told us, through his secretary, that he refused to comment. Board President Mike Herzak, a passionate Myers alum, also wouldn't say much. The school is in "ongoing talks" with potential buyers, he said, but wouldn't elaborate.

Frank's folly
Last week, Mayor Frank Jackson huffed and puffed about trucking companies that are using vacant lots in Central as illegal dumping sites. What he didn't mention is how city money has propped up one of those companies.

Granger Trucking has worked extensively on publicly funded projects -- from Hopkins airport to the RTA to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Granger also happens to be a front company for a white-owned business, according to former Port Authority monitor Bob Dean ["Lone Ranger," April 11]. Dean discovered that while Granger claims to be minority-owned, it's housed in the same building as C&K Trucking, a company run by Frank Bianchi.

But this being a city where it's always better to huff and puff than to actually do anything, Granger remains on the city's list of approved minority contractors. And the company recently teamed up with Kokosing Construction on a $49 million Ohio Department of Transportation contract.

Kokosing, it turns out, just landed a $40.7 million runway-construction contract at Hopkins airport. Wonder which minority subcontractor it will hire?

Beer: The miracle cure
Recently, Michelle Arthur, a 45-year-old employee at Discount Drug Mart in Medina, started having a panic attack at work. The panic only increased when she realized she didn't have any medication with her. She tried to work through it, but she couldn't. So she turned to a cheap, convenient remedy: Bud Light. "It had worked before," she says. "I knew it would again."

And it did. The panic attack stopped.

Unfortunately, managers didn't find her makeshift remedy nearly as innovative as Punch did. They called the police, who cited her for having an open container in a public place. Then they fired her.

Nature in the Flats
Cleveland artist Don Harvey wants people to see the natural beauty of the Flats. The area features more than strip joints, fine particulate dust, and some of the country's best locations to dump a body, he says.

On a recent evening, some 100 people gathered for Harvey's nature walk. At stops along the tour, which started at Sokolowski's University Inn and ended at the Cuyahoga River, Harvey pointed out some of his favorite "green spaces," which host dozens of wildflowers and birds. You just have to look really hard.

"I know when you look at this, you think you're looking at a pile of weeds and some garbage," Harvey said as the group peered over a guardrail at a pile of weeds and some garbage. Then he picked a leaf from a scrubby mugwort plant, said to produce vivid dreams when placed under your pillow (that's nature lingo for "load up your bong").

Harvey's goal is to convince the city to protect these spots from construction. "If people don't know these places are here, somebody can just back over them with a bulldozer."

Under a string of power lines, over the roar of passing dump trucks, Harvey explained the evolutionary defenses of purple loosestrife, which won't bloom until June. But the real attraction was across the street at a glass recycling plant. A few hikers strayed from the pack to engage in a spirited game of smashing glass against a brick wall. Soon, Harvey and the rest of the group were far out of sight.

"Look," announced one nature-walker, bending over to pick up an interesting specimen. "It's a crack vile!"

Hammered Mom U.
Last year, The Princeton Review ranked Ohio U. the nation's sixth best party school. It's a reputation that doesn't please many parents, who've rallied the university to curb binge drinking and underage consumption. But not all parents are turned off by the debauchery, as Punch discovered over the Cinco de Mayo weekend.

Mexican Independence Day just happened to coincide with the school's "mother's weekend." That's when mothers flock from across the state to check in on their not-so-little ones -- and get really hammered.

Blame it on Cuyahoga County, which provides more hammered students -- and mothers -- to the rolling hills of Athens than any other county in the state. Along the main party drag, the skirts were never so short, and the tequila shots never so plentiful.

On Saturday night, porches swelled with middle-aged women celebrating beer-pong victories as the 12th round of Jell-O shots arrived. Students roamed the streets sporting T-shirts that said "This Is Why I'm Hot," with an arrow invariably pointing toward a lady in Capri pants shouting "woo-hoo!"

As the bars announced last call, one sombrero-clad mother summed up the night when she stumbled out of Pawpurrs, a bar best known for its potent $2 pints of pure booze delight. "I'm trashed!" she screamed.

Mother-child bonding has never been so festive.

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