Thursday, July 17, 2014

Update: City Council Has Passed RNC Ordinance

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 9:55 AM

  • Sam Allard / Scene
Cleveland City Council will vote this evening on an ordinance which willl desginate $2.5 million for the Republican National Convention in 2016 and will provide assurances that the city will be spic and span and (one suspects) safe once the Republicans and their various media coteries arrive.

During a lengthy council session Wednesday morning, the city's Chief Corporate Counsel Richard Horvath outlined the provisions of the ordinance, which include: making available for use any city-owned property as a possible venue, expediting the city's elaborate permitting processes, creating comprehensive traffic and security plans and technology and telecommunications plans, and guaranteeing that all construction in Cleveland's central business district will be completed before the convention begins.

UPDATE: Council passed the ordinance (880-14) at a meeting Wednesday evening. 

"Streamlining our permitting process and having no orange barrels is worth $2.5 million alone," said Council President Kevin Kelley later in the meeting.

(That means, by the way, that the completion of Public Square by early summer 2016 is now no longer a fingers-crossed-type deal. It's a legal obligation. Later comments by Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, when Councilman Jeff Johnson brought up that sticking point, said she didn't envision the entire Public Square project happening all at once. She said it was possible it could be constructed one quadrant at a time).

Though Councilman Mike Polensek argued that he'd never seen legislation quite this broad — an ordinance which essentially hands over the city to the GOP — City Directors and former Plain Dealer publisher Terry Egger, now chair of the RNC host committeee, were nothing if not starry-eyed and bushy-tailed. They gushed to council members about the media attention and economic impact of an event this significant.

"Probably only the Olympics exceed the conventions in terms of scope," said Egger, who estimated that 12,000-15,000 journalists would be coming to town, reporters who would "reshape the narrative" of Cleveland. Horvath mentioned, on the media topic, that one current idea is to convert the Gateway East Garage into a dedicated media work space facility. 

Cleveland's director of economic development Tracey Nichols projected close to 10 billion media impressions.

"That's more than we could do...we don't have the budget to get that type of exposure," said Nichols. "That's one of the most significant things to me."

Kevin Kelley and Councilman Kevin Conwell both wanted assurances that Clevelanders would see benefits from an employment perspective. Though the RNC intends to work with local businesses, according to Horvath, Kelley suggested that there be a specific interface for local residents to be made aware of job opportunities associated with the convention. Other council members voiced concerns that city services might be affected, that traffic and parking would be a nightmare, and that neighborhoods outside downtown might not reap direct benefits. 

To that, Egger responded that sometimes there's "a little bit of potential sacrifice for a whole lot of good."

Egger said he's confident that the host committee will secure the $18-20 million they have left to raise — they've already received a $1 million commitment from the Haslam family, longtime GOP donors in Tennessee — and stressed again that this is an opportunity to be ambassadors for Cleveland, and to have the city's story told to the country the way we (or at least the host committee members) want it told.

But it will be one hell of an expensive party to put on:

One final complication is of course the 2016 NBA Finals, which weren't on anyone's radar until Saturday. Egger said that in 2016, the last possible NBA Finals game would take place on June 16. The RNC had been considering two dates for the Convention: June 28 and July 18. The RNC folks had hoped to have their convention earlier, but may be forced to step aside for the King. The Washington Post has reported that the convention may take six weeks or more to fully set up.   
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

20 Eerie Photos of the Old and Abandoned Euclid Square Mall

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 7:40 PM

The last thing we probably consider as we're perusing the stores in an obnoxiously overcrowded shopping mall is that it will someday be abandoned in an unusual, almost post-apocalyptic manner. Ever wondered what that would look like?

The now (mostly) abandoned Euclid Square Mall is an eerie example of such an occurrence. The mall, which opened in 1977, supposedly met its end at the hands of the nearby Richmond Town Square shopping center, which expanded throughout the 1990s, even snatching away Euclid Town Mall's Kaufmann's for its own. Meanwhile, Euclid Square Mall essentially...retracted. The loss of Kaufmann's was the catalyst of its downfall. The mall's last store closed in 2006.

Now, strangely enough, a plethora of church groups use the abandoned shops as their makeshift places of worship — nothin' like praisin' in front of a former Spencer's — and only a salon and Dillard's outlet remain as feasible moneymakers. The Dillard's is even sealed off from the inside of the mall, furthering the notion that you probably don't want to aimlessly wander the abandoned corridors...unless, of course, you're headed to the chapel or getting your nails done.

Check out these 20 creepy photos of what remains of the Euclid Square Mall. Thanks to our friends at Dead and Dying Retail for the photos.

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Local Cabaret Singer Invites Public to Live Recording Session

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM


Known for her throwing sandwiches at her audiences, local cabaret singer-songwriter/performance artist Miss Alexandra Huntingdon will record her first live album at Survival Kit Gallery (located inside the 78th St. Studios) at 8 p.m. on Friday, August 8, and she’s inviting local fans to attend the session. Tickets to the live performance are available at All proceeds will be used to offset the cost of album production. Check out the singer and her band the Gentlemen's Intermission performing at the Happy Dog and at Brothers Lounge in this YouTube clip.

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Local Rapper 'Sino Grams' Indicted on Federal Heroin, Gun Charges

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 12:06 PM

  • Sino Grams on Facebook

A 27 year-old Garfield Heights man named Deion Thompson was indicted yesterday in Cleveland's federal court on seven counts of heroin distribution and one count of illegal firearm possession. Thompson raps under the name "Sino Grams," an alias that was included in the federal indictment (embedded below). His birthday listed in court records matches the birthday listed on the Facebook page for Sino Grams.

Thompson/Sino Grams is accused of selling around a half gram of heroin six times from late May through early July, and attempting to sell a half gram on July 7 — the day he was likely arrested — while having a 9 mm pistol on him at the time. He previously had cases in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, including drug trafficking and weapons charges in 2008 and failure to comply with a police officer in 2005.

This time, the feds seized his 2008 Hummer, $5,430 in cash, his gun and ammunition.

On his Facebook page for his music career under the name Sino Grams, he describes himself: "Sino Grams from Cleveland Ohio 216 not your everyday hood cat. Eight6ent New Age Mafia we are the streets.. local rapper trying to get a check."

Continue reading »

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New Pupuseria in Old Brooklyn Brings Salvadoran Specialty Closer to Town

Posted By on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 9:49 AM


The only thing better than a warm, griddle-fried pupusa is a whole basketful of them. That’s why we can’t be more pleased that a new pupuseria has opened up in Old Brooklyn, which brings the total number of regional spots specializing in the Salvadoran mainstay up to four.

Two months ago, Pupuseria Katarina (4848 Broadview Rd., 216-331-6624) opened up about a half mile north of the Broadview-Brookpark intersection, joining three existing west-side joints: La Casa Tazumal, Pupuseria La Bendicion and El Arepazo y Pupuseria. Like the others, this one is super-casual, with a few tables filling up a bright but spare dining room.

The bulk of the concise menu is devoted to pupusas, inch-thick corn pancakes stuffed with various fillings and fried on a griddle. All the classic varieties are here, including straight-up cheese, one with cheese, refried beans and pork, and loroco, a Salvadoran green vegetable. Katarina also offers versions with chicken, jalapeno and one called pupusa loca, which is kind of like the “kitchen sink” variety, employing every ingredient on the menu. All pupusas are $2 each except the loca, which is $5.

Pupusas are always made and fried to order and served with curtido, a cool, bright and crunchy cabbage slaw that is the perfect accompaniment to the warm, doughy corn cakes. Also served on the side is salsa roja, a thin, mild tomato sauce. None of the above items are spicy, but there are bottles of commercial hot sauce on most tables.

The restaurant also offers larger plates like griddle-cooked steak ($12), whole fried fish ($10), and the Salvadoran Breakfast ($7.50), which is loaded with refried beans, fried eggs, cheese and sour cream. On the weekends, the kitchen prepares homemade empanadas.

Pupuseria Katarina is open every day but Monday.

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