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Friday, March 15, 2013

Fake Veterinarian Convicted of Killing, Injuring Animals: UPDATE

Posted By on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 12:20 PM

[UPDATE, March 15:] Brandi Tomko was sentenced to 18 months in prison today based on charges of identity fraud, animal cruelty, drug possession, forgery and practicing without a license.

[Feb. 8:]

A woman who had posed as a veterinarian in Akron was convicted today on eight counts relating to animal cruelty.

WEWS reports that her sentencing will take place next month. Here's more from reporter Sarah Buduson:

Prosecutors said (Brandi) Tomko pretended to be a veterinarian at C&D Animal Hospital in Akron, Ohio. They said she drew blood, wrote prescriptions and performed surgeries on animals, including spaying cats and neutering at least one dog.

Prior to this case unfolding, Tomko had been convicted several times for possession of heroin and cocaine. When C&D Animal Hospital in Summit County closed and other veterinarians left, she stayed behind and continued operating illegally.

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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Irish Maven in town to promote DVD release of Breaking Dawn Part 2

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 11:14 AM


In advance of the DVD release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, which arrives in stores on Saturday, three cast members from the film came to Cleveland today to talk to TV reporters and radio personalities and promote the release. They flew in from Los Angeles last night and leave for St. Louis this afternoon. On Friday night at midnight, they’ll make a special appearance at “a WalMart somewhere in Missouri” to be on hand for a pre-release event for the disc.

Patrick Brennan, Marlane Barnes and Lisa Howard — the trio who play the “Irish maven” in the film — only appear in the franchise’s final film. They were, as Brennan puts it, “the new kids at school” when they arrived on set. But don’t think their characters, which are only in the movie for a matter of minutes, are insignificant. “I go around and do these conventions and all these great fans come out, so I’ve been living it for the past couple of years,” says Brennan, who was joined by Barnes and Howard at the Renaissance Hotel for a quick breakfast before heading off to an interview with Fox 8’s David Moss. Brennan has his own fan club and some fanatic followers have even constructed a web site dubbed The Patrick Brennan Experience that’s devoted to the star. “It’s so strange,” he says, “because we have small parts but these fans embrace all the characters.” Barnes agrees. “It’s fun to be a rallying point for a much bigger thing,” she says. “You have to think not much about it. You have to go along with it. It’s not about me. It’s about this bigger thing and you have to let it wash over you.”

Continue reading »

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School Rating System To Be Dumped

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 10:25 AM


The Ohio school rating system will immediately dispense with its wordy rubric — "Academic Emergency," "Continuous Improvement," "Excellent with Distinction," etc. — and move toward a standard scorecard, one that features grades.

The PD reports that by 2015, districts and schools will be graded from A to F — "just like their students" — and will likewise be graded on the individual categories which make up the composite grade — "just as students are graded in different subjects." (Just in case it wasn't crystal clear.)

The changes were mandated by the state as districts prepare for more rigorous testing in 2015. Lawmakers say the letter grades will make districts more accountable.

Tom Gunlock, the chairman behind the redesign committee, was on point when he said that nobody had any idea what those stupid current ratings signified.

"For years, I always said this was ridiculous," Gunlock told the PD. "It doesn't mean anything to anybody."

Gunlock's got a point, but the veil was likely a beneficial one for schools who'd only recently emerged from the "Academic Emergency" basement. Just a hunch, but we probably won't see too many banners trumpeting "Continuous Ds."

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What's Fresh At: Cleveland Pickle

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 10:13 AM


There is no arguing that the regular lineup of sammies at Cleveland Pickle ( has been successful, but that doesn't mean chef-owner Josh Kabat and partner Kiaran Daley can't find seasonal inspiration.

When Old Man Winter comes a knockin', the pickle pair turn to Thai basil. Not only does it provide a much-needed flavor boost when fresh produce is slim pickings, but it also helps maintain the bottom line when business is lean.

"The shelf life of my fresh produce comes into factor a little more than in the summer," explains Kabat. "I started using Thai basil because lasts much longer than traditional basil."

Kabat sources his Thai basil from the Vietnam Market at Detroit and W. 54th Street — his favorite supplier of Asian foodstuffs. In addition to the extended shelf life, the more exotic basil provides a deeper flavor that works well with higher temperature foods like soup, notes Kabat.

"It still has the characteristics of traditional basil, so it can be used in Italian and European based foods," he says. "But it's also great if I want to easily add an Asian flare to something."

Case in point: The Thai Asian basil tomato soup, which utilizes hoisin, five spice, Thai basil and a garnish of bean sprouts to create what Kabat calls an "almost delicate tomato pho."

From a sandwich perspective, the East Sider offers another good example of how this winter-friendly herb pumps up the flavor quotient.

"By using Thai basil, it is like a BLT on steroids," Daley says of the popular sammie. The sweetness of the Thai basil marries perfectly with the beefsteak tomato, the caramelized pancetta and the balsamic reduction.

Kabat and Daley don't leave the basil at work when they close up shop. The real life couple brings it home to use in their personal pantry as well. When they have the time to cook, they enjoy making Vietnamese-style pho — which begins with a hearty, homemade beef stock and a spice packet from the Vietnam Market. After a couple hours of simmering, they add hoisin, been sprouts, jalapenos, and a good amount of Thai basil. They complete the dish with tapioca glass noodles instead of the traditional rice noodles.

"We feel they hold up better and we personally enjoy the texture," says Kabat.

Consider picking up a bunch or fresh Thai basil to add to your own soups, sandwiches and dishes to give them a subtle Asian flavor boost.

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Aqueous at Beachland Tavern: Concert Review

Posted By on Thu, Feb 28, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Aqueous at Beachland Tavern
  • Aqueous at Beachland Tavern
Buffalo-based, groovy-as-all-hell jam band Aqueous showed up at Beachland Tavern last night to play to small but dedicated crowd.

The band is currently on a thorough tour of the region, reaching east toward New York City and back west to the likes of the Beachland and Grog Shop. They stopped in Cleveland back in December and they'll return April 3 and April 19.

The interplay onstage among band members is incredible. It's worth a ticket into the show on that merit alone. Even with a startling technical issue early in the set and minimal-at-best lighting, the four musicians offered up a complex whirlwind of a show.

Like fellow jam band contemporaries, Aqueous puts on a different show every night. (You can follow along with their setlist catalog online.) Shows feature original tunes, of which there's a growing roster, and a slew of diverse covers. Those in attendance last night got a slick take on The Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" right in the midst of two funk-laden tunes. Later on in the night, a fellow fan noted that Aqueous had dished up the greatest rendition of "Gangster's Paradise" ever to be heard by human ears.

Vaulting from throttling, bass-led rock 'n' roll into stratospheric ambient washes, each band member showcased a startling versatility on their individual instruments. And there was a healthy dynamic of open-ended improv balanced against some really complex compositional work.

The jam scene today, which differs wildly from the Dead's heyday or even the ascension of Phish in the mid- to late-90s, is replete with a lot of mimicry and, let's say, *electronic Umphrey's spinoff soup* turn a phrase. Sub-genres have formed and blossomed and rotted away all within the past decade and there remains no clear heir to whatever jam throne one wishes to talk about. And so it's unclear what sort of future lay up the road for Aqueous, but one thing is certainly true: They're not here to imitate anyone else. Their sound, which obviously draws on many different strains of music, is wholly unique and unrepentantly exciting.

Funktapuss, hailing from Cape Cod, opened the evening with fervor. They're another jam-friendly, high-energy band that knows their way around a slap-bass throwdown. Frontman Latez Crawley belted song after song, lending the upbeat music an air of magnificence and joy.

A Spotify stream of Aqueous' latest album is available at the bottom of this page.

Dave Loss on guitar
  • Dave Loss on guitar

Mike Gantzer on guitar
  • Mike Gantzer on guitar

Nick Sonricker on drums
  • Nick Sonricker on drums

Evan McPhaden on bass
  • Evan McPhaden on bass

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mom Duct Tapes Son's Face, Charged by Police

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:01 PM


Shit seems funny when you're a cool mom, right? Hey, I'll just run this roll of duct tape (hopefully Duck Brand, pride of Avon, OH) around my son's face, text that picture over to his dad, and he will just laugh and laugh and laugh.

Take Tiffany Ennis's word for it, via a police report, via the Sandusky Register:

“(The mother) sent a picture to (the father) of their child … with his eyes and mouth covered with duct tape,” the report said. “She advised it was funny.”

See! Funny! (Though we have a suspicion the officer did not agree.)

Oh, why was there a police report? Because Ennis and another unnamed adult duct-taped two kids' faces, and when that picture of her son made its way to his father, good ole pops wasn't too pleased. In fact, he called the cops, and Ennis is now charged with two counts of child endangering.

As always, parents, stick with Scotch Tape.

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The Blunt Truth: This Week In Pot Busts and Drug Czars

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 6:15 PM

  • Image: Columbus Dispatch

Last night police officers in Alliance busted “the largest indoor marijuana growing operation in Alliance Police Department history,” which isn’t exactly saying a lot, since their last big bust was some 20-year-old college student with a couple of scales in his dorm room (the student’s trafficking count was escalated to a felony because it took place—horrors!—on college property, a sinister and rare aberration in the history of drug-dealing hubs).

Alliance resident Robert Baumgartner, 41, was charged with illegal cultivation, trafficking and possession after the Alliance Police Special Investigations Unit served a search warrant and found 260 marijuana plants, some “as large as six feet high,” an “elaborate” lighting and ventilation system, proceeds from weed sales, and packaging and shipping materials. If it's any consolation, Baumgartner also won the Scene's Best Of Cleveland Award for "Most Adorably Benign Mugshot That Kind of Makes Suspect Look Like Kevin Smith Minus Showers."

In related news, Kevin Sabet, "legalization's biggest enemy" and former senior advisor for the Obama administration’s Office of National Drug Policy, spoke at a Statehouse conference in Columbus today to protest two statewide petition-driven medical marijuana amendments proposed for the November ballot. The event was—we shit you not—billed as “The BLUNT Truth About Marijuana 2013."

In today's press conference, Sabet seemed most concerned about people using “smoked marijuana under the pretense of medicine" and medical marijuana legalization advocates “putting on white coats and pretending to have compassion for the sick and dying."

Sabet just launched a hilariously backwards anti-legalization group called Project SAM, or Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which seeks to prevent a chimerical being he dubs the "Big Marijuana establishment" from marketing weed to children, among other hallucinatory non-issues.

In case you were wondering, Sabet is not a grandpa from the 1950s. He's 34 and went to UC Berkeley, where he cried himself to sleep every night because his classmates wouldn't stop "using smoked marijuana." And that's how drug czars are born, kids.

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