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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Of Course the Kid Down the Street is Running a Million Dollar Drug Ring (Updated)

Posted By on Tue, Oct 23, 2012 at 11:51 AM

The innocent neighborhood drug dealer.
  • The innocent neighborhood drug dealer.

Update: 17-year-old Tyler Pagenstecher, the high-school drug czar, as he's come to be known, was sentenced to six months to three years in juvi Monday on charges stemming from his $20,000-a-month pot operation. The judge sent him to prison, but remarked that he's “a pretty fine young person that went down a bad trail.”

Pagenstecher spoke at the sentencing hearing, acknowledging that the stakes might have been higher than he thought. And his mom, well, she said what moms say. Via the AP:

“I understood that I would get in trouble but not to the level or extent this has become, and I sincerely regret all of this,” said the pale, bespectacled, soft-spoken teen. “If I could take it all back, I would.”

His mother, Daffney Pagenstecher, also spoke to the judge, saying her son “just thought he was using a recreational drug and selling it to his friends, and that was it.”

“He wasn’t out to become, you know, a big drug dealer,” she said. “He didn’t buy a new car. He didn’t buy fancy clothes. He wasn’t making the money that a drug dealer would make and flaunting it.”

See, it's OK, because he wasn't flaunting it. — Grzegorek


Ever been to Mason, just north of Cincinnati? It's one of those suburban no-places sitting off the interstate — housing divisions, chain restaurants, gas stations, repeat. And evidently pretty good turf for a precocious youngster to make his way in the drug slinging game.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Say Goodbye to Lago in Tremont and Hello to...

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 6:08 PM


It's been just a couple days since Lago (2221 Professor Ave.) owner Fabio Salerno shuttered his six-year-old Tremont restaurant, which closed this past Saturday. But the attractive space across the street from Michael Symon's Lolita has already been spoken for.

Market and Wine Bar Rocky River owner John Owen, along with partners Dave Rudiger and Sherman DeLozier, have signed a lease to take over the space.

"It will be a wine bar and cocktail lounge to compliment the neighborhood," says Owen.

He says we can expect a fall opening.

Meanwhile, fans of the Italian eatery Lago will only have to wait until spring of 2013, when Salerno reopens in the new Aloft Hotel on the East Bank of The Flats. Salerno is also opening an eatery called Town Hall in Ohio City.

"Lago had an integral role in building the restaurant culture in one of Cleveland’s oldest neighborhoods," Salerno said in a statement. "Lago also has played a vital role in helping build the Taste of Tremont."

More on the new wine bar coming soon.

Canton Morning Team Settles Lawsuit Against Former Station

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Charlotte DiFranco & Pat DeLuca are now online
  • Charlotte DiFranco & Pat DeLuca are now online

Chances are you haven’t followed the saga of former Q92 (WDJQ) morning team Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco against the station, because the Canton-based station’s signal doesn’t reach all the way up to Cleveland. But now, thanks to the station’s refusal to negotiate an acceptable new contract with the pair and a just-settled lawsuit, the whole world can listen to them online.

DeLuca and DiFranco had been doing morning drive for six years and earning stellar ratings when their contract expired early this year.

“[Our lawyer] worked for six weeks to come to an agreement,” says DeLuca. “We were not asking for a pay raise. Our contract was quite restrictive, and we wanted some of the restrictive clauses scrapped. Not only was there a sole employment clause, but also language that we weren’t allowed to have outside financial interests without the station’s written permission. We wanted consideration for the non-compete — if we can’t work, you have to pay us. We wanted the ability to better promote our show because the promotional budget had been slashed over years.”

In the end, he says, general manager Don Peterson gave them a take-it-or-leave-it offer, and when they left it, says DeLuca, he told their lawyer Steve Okey, “Your clients don’t have jobs.”

The team quickly regrouped, launching their Internet station within weeks. Just as quickly, they were sued by Q92, who claimed they were violating their non-compete clause, which prohibits them from directly competing with their former employer.

According to, “Okey argued that the Internet is completely different because it does not use the public airwaves, requires no FCC license, is not regulated by the FCC, and has no geographic limits like the radio station’s 60 mile transmission radius.”

Last week, Stark County judge Charles E. Brown Jr. agreed with Okey, establishing that Internet radio and broadcast radio are not direct rivals. (As a sweetener, he decided that Q92 must pay them for unused vacation time.) That leaves the air personalities free to build their new enterprise, which includes and They now broadcast 24/7, with their morning show also available on podcast and iTunes radio, and they've just signed a distribution agreement with stream aggregator Tunein Networks. And they’re bringing other live hosts into the mix in other day parts, going against the trend of broadcast radio.

“Last month we had 22,000 unique connections,” says DeLuca. “The average time spent listening is 60.5 minutes. We’ve grown incrementally every month.”

While Internet radio may be the wave of the future as broadcast radio loses listeners, things aren’t going so well back at Q92, according to DeLuca.

“Our last [ratings] book was the best book the station ever had,” he says. “We had a upwards of a 30 share in ten different demographics. The first book since we left just came out, and they lost half their audience.”

Concert Review: Florence+ the Machine at Jacobs Pavilion

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 11:40 AM


Two short weeks ago, Florence + the Machine were forced to cancel some shows because of a vocal injury to frontwoman Florence Welch. But at last night's performance at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, she sounds like she's fully recovered.

A barefoot Welch towered over the packed audience during her band's 90-minute set.

And she pulled out all the dramatic stops: posing and twirling around the stage while performing a mix of songs from her two albums, 2009's Lungs and last year's Ceremonials, including the haunting “Cosmic Love” and the way popular “Shake It Out.”

In addition to being heavy on theatrical drama, the concert was heavy on fan participation. Welch asked the crowd to dance, sing, and jump around. She even rewarding one very enthusiastic shirtless fan with a hug.

Even though she's often viewed as a dark and solemn performer, Welch proved to be anything but onstage last night. She let her guard down often, laughing, smiling, and dancing like a kid living for the moment. —Julia Eberle

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An interview with Big Time Rush, who play Blossom on Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 9:41 AM


Big Time Rush found their first foothold in Hollywood through Nickelodeon’s show of the same name, which debuted in 2009. The show is a fictitious comedy about the boy band’s rise to stardom and takes humorous stabs at the music industry along the way. This summer’s tour, which brings the band to Blossom at 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 1, will focus on last year’s Elevate. Expect to hear such popular songs as “Love Me Love Me” and “Music Sounds Better With You.” Band members had more say over the album’s musical direction, something singer Carlos Pena discusses in this recent interview. Tickets to the concert are $29.50-$79.25.

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LaTourette Retiring From Congress

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 9:18 AM


In a move that blindsided everyone, Congressman Steve LaTourette (Oh-14) is expected to announce his retirement from Congress at his Painesville office within the hour. LaTourette, who has served nine terms, represents Ohio’s northeastern corner, including Lake, Ashtabula, Geauga and, after next year, part of Cuyahoga County.

There’s rampant speculation about what’s behind LaTourette’s move. Although he’s a deeply conservative Republican, the party’s move to the far right leaves him stranded at its left fringe, appearing in many peoples’ eyes to be a moderate. So perhaps he felt out of step with his party today. Reports suggest he was sulking about his committee assignments. But it’s also quite possible that LaTourette, who is only 58, saw the opportunity to cash in as a lobbyist. And his disinterest in his district has been obvious for years. Since leaving his first wife for a young D.C.-based lobbyist eight years ago, he’s come back to Ohio only occasionally. He’ll probably need help finding Painesville today.

With the primary long past, Republican leadership in the district’s counties will replace him on the ballot. And while this swing district is considered a ripe pickup opportunity for Democrats — if only the popular LaTourette wasn’t running — it won’t happen this year. Given LaTourette’s regular margins of victory, the Democrats ceded the field this year to perennial candidate Dale Blanchard, who was crushed by LaTourette in 2002 and lost to other Democrats in four straight primaries from 2004-2010, finishing last in the field three of those times.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Redistricting Measure a Safe Bet for November Ballot

Posted By on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Nice League of Women Voters ladies — and their friends — want to fix Ohios electoral map
  • Nice League of Women Voters ladies — and their friends — want to fix Ohio's electoral map

With 750,000 signatures now turned into Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office, Voters First Ohio — the coalition of good-government groups like the League of Women Voters seeking a constitutional amendment to change Ohio’s seriously messed-up system for drawing legislative and congressional districts — is confident that the amendment will be on the ballot this November.

385,000 valid signatures are required to take a constitutional amendment to voters; the group turned in its first batch of 450,000 by the July 3 deadline. Fortunately, they kept collecting, as allowed by law. Less than 300,000 of the signatures were found to be valid, due to things like duplications, unregistered voters signing, and inability to confirm a signer’s registration.

Today Voters First Ohio filed another 300,904 signatures with the Ohio secretary of state for a total of 750,000. It’s unlikely that enough signatures will be disqualified to prevent Ohioans having the opportunity to vote on the measure.

The amendment replaces the current system — in which a small group of elected officials draws district lines — with a nonpartisan citizens commission: four Democrats, four Republicans, and four independents or third-party members. Anyone who isn't an officeholder, party official, lobbyist or major donor can apply; members would be chosen by a panel of judges. The amendment provides guidelines requiring districts to be compact, contiguous, and as competitive as possible, and to not break up communities unnecessarily. That means the district that pitted Toledo's Marcy Kaptur against Cleveland's Dennis Kucinich wouldn't be legal. Maybe Dennis would mount a comeback!

Those against it — primarily those politicians and political operatives who drew the current crazy-quilt maps — are already ramping up their campaign to defeat it. Expect to hear a lot of ads wailing that Voters First Ohio wants to steal Ohioans’ right to vote for the people who draw the districts — the politicians who do it as an incidental part of their job. Their real beef? It cuts politicians out of the loop entirely.


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