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Friday, August 29, 2014

Indians Sign Former Indian Russell Branyan, Assign Him to Columbus Clippers

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Russell Branyan's back, Cleveland. 

Today, the Cleveland Indians signed former Cleveland Indian Russell Branyan. The 38-year-old utility player returns to Ohio by way of the Toros de Tijuana of the Mexican Baseball League (.296, 19 home runs, y'know). He'll be playing Triple-A ball for the Columbus Clippers for now.

The move, despite its temporary geographic misfire, cements Cleveland's sports renaissance narrative. 

In a 2013 "Hey, Hoynsie!" piece, PD baseball writer Paul Hoynes had this to say about a reader inquiring into Branyan:
If you're into all-or-nothing swingers, Branyan would have to be an option. Branyan, 37, didn't play in the big leagues last year after signing a minor-league deal with the Yankees and coming down with back problems.

When you think of power hitters, you think of Branyan. He's hit 194 homers in the big leagues and 222 in the minors. One day at Baseball City, Kansas City's old spring training site in Florida, Branyan hit the longest homer I've ever seen. It cleared the right-field fence, a road behind the fence, and a fence behind the road before landing in a sand pile. 
Branyan was originally drafted by the Indians in 1997, and, frankly, we couldn't be happier to have the slugger back in the 

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This Craigslist Ad From Parma is So Parma

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Free shrubs, you guys. Free shrubs. 

"Just stop by, dig them out and fill the holes." 

Straight Parma. 

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Accused of Drugging and Raping Employee, A Put-In-Bay Bar Manager Is Finally Indicted

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Chris Blessing managed both Mr. Eds Bar & Grille and Mist pool bar
  • Chris Blessing managed both Mr. Ed's Bar & Grille and Mist pool bar

Chris Blessing, a 32-year-old Put-In-Bay bar manager, was indicted this week on two counts of rape, nearly four months after an employee accused him of drugging and raping her, the Sandusky Register reported today (see "Arrest made in alleged roofie rape" for the details). He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment yesterday in the Ottawa County Court of Common Pleas.

Blessing manages both Mr. Ed's Bar & Grill and Mist pool bar, where a number of women have been apparently drugged during the past several summers, according to EMS and police reports. Although we withheld Blessing's name in the story because he hadn't been formally charged yet, he was the manager we were referencing in our July 30 feature "Roofie Island: A Summer of Reported Druggings and Rapes on Put-in-Bay, Lake Erie's Party Destination." Here's an excerpt from that story about the manager and the alleged rape that he was just indicted for (page two of the story):

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Photo of the Day: Cleveland Police Know How to Tailgate Too

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Presented mostly without comment, here's a pic that's been making the rounds of a Cleveland police officer lending his hand in a tailgate beer bong. Reason No. 74 why we love tailgating in Cleveland.

Hat tip to redditer RamboNation for this one.

  • Photo via redditer RamboNation

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16-Bit Bar + Arcade Opens Today in Lakewood

Posted By on Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 10:27 AM


For the past three months, Stow native Troy Allen and his team have been hard at work converting the old Five Guys spot on Detroit (15012 Detroit Ave., 216-563-1115, into an adult-themed wonderland. And according to Allen, the 4,000-square-foot space came out better than he (and we) could have hoped for.

“We’re really happy with it,” says Allen, who also owns the Columbus-based brand strategy firm Elevate. “We wanted to take everything that was great about Columbus and kick it up a notch in Cleveland — and we’ve definitely done that.”

The Columbus location, coincidentally enough, opened one year ago today. It was voted Best New Bar in Columbus last year by the readers of Columbus Underground and it continues to be a top destination for fans of old-school arcade games and pinball. It does so thanks to its attractive, comfortable and contemporary setting.

“People are always shocked when they walk into our Columbus spot because it’s nicer than they expect,” Allen says. “It’s not dimly lit with that arcade-style neon carpet. And while Columbus is our baby, we’ve made Cleveland even nicer in terms of materials and finishes. We’re really proud of it.”

Allen says that he’s also made the layout more user friendly. There’s more room to move about, a bigger bar, and a sweet street-side covered patio on Detroit that can accommodate 35 people.

There are 40 games — 35 arcade and five pinball. All the games are original, in phenomenal condition, and set to free play (except pinball, which are more expensive to maintain, says Allen). Games are swapped in and out based on customer demand.

16-Bit serves no food but welcomes guests to bring in or order in (hint: Melt is two blocks away). The bar has 24 craft beers on tap plus canned beer and cocktails.

Check it out for yourself when it opens to the public today, August 29, at 4 p.m.

Next up for Allen and 16-Bit is Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which is slated to open Q1 2015.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

New Board Chairman Says Wilberforce Must "Create Entrepreneurs"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 4:38 PM

This afternoon, Wilberforce University, the historically black college (HBCU) near Dayton facing the loss of its accreditation, has announced a new chairman and vice chairman of its board of trustees.

Mark Wilson, President and CEO of eVerifile, a background check provider based in Atlanta, has been named chair. John Miller, President and CEO of Denny's, has been named vice-chair. The announcement comes as part of the university's "Force of Change" campaign, which will seek to reinvigorate the campus with upgraded facilities, new leadership, and increased financial support from alumni and partners. 

"Both Mr. Wilson and Mr. Miller have proven leadership experience in their respective industries leading two very successful companies," said Interim President Wilma Mishoe in a university press release. "We know that their knowledge and senior leadership will sustain and advance Wilberforce University’s mission, traditions, values and reputation.”

From eVerifile's offices in Atlanta, Mark Wilson confirmed his appointment and said that it is "with tremendous excitement" that he takes on this new responsibility. He's only been a board member for roughly a year, but advantageous connections within the corporate community and a fearless approach to tackling the university's current challenges made Wilson a natural fit for the position. 

Furthermore, Wilson attended Wilberforce himself. He was a student from 1978-82 and received his degree from the school's adult learning program (CLIMB) in 2009. He said that he knows personally what is possible at Wilberforce and has every intention of returning the school to its height, and then some. 


"We need to focus on creating entrepreneurs," Wilson said. "There's a lot of discussion at the board level about creating a curriculum to have that identity as a university, so we can have a chance at reducing generational poverty in the community that we serve.  More broadly, we have to be thinking with ingenuity about our curriculum and ways to make our school better." 

  • Sam Allard / Scene
Wilson acknowledged that first and foremost, the issues addressed in the Higher Learning Commission's Show-Cause Letter must be priorities. That letter focused on things like financial stability, leadership, and institutional ethics. 

"It's a lot," said Wilson. "But the core things right now are getting past the financial troubles and making sure that our infrastructure and facilities are above standard. I want to tackle the immediate priorities  and then get us on the cutting edge."

Wilson said that his 15 years with Dunn & Bradstreet,  and deep personal connection across the business community should yield positive results in fundraising and partnership strategy. 

"We'll be pursuing that aggressively," Wilson said. 

One of the most important priorities, of course, is the selection of the university's new president. And though Wilson couldn't give specifics, he did say that several candidates are currently being evaluated and that in the "not to distant short-term" they'll be able to make the announcement. 

Finally, Wilson mentioned that he owes much of his life's success to his time at Wilberforce and feels honored to be serving the university in this capacity. 

"It's just my responsibility and duty to lend whatever leadership and guidance I can back to the school to help it get back to a place where we all know it should be."

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Former Medina High School Basketball Player Sues After Getting Cut From Team

Posted By on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 3:02 PM


A 2013 graduate of Medina High School is taking to federal court because he feels he didn't get enough playing time on the varsity basketball team and that his First Amendment and due process rights were violated when he was finally booted from the team for taking to Twitter to complain about it.

Chase Johanson — now a high jumper at UNC-Wilmington — is suing the Medina City School District, Medina basketball coach Anthony Stacey, Medina athletic director Jeff Harrison, and Medina High School principal Bryan Farson. Johanson's asking for in excess of $75,000.

You can check out the full complaint below, but beware, you may want to headbutt your computer screen as you dive into the world of entitled high school athletes who call the coach, his boss, his boss’s boss, and their employers into court because of playing time.

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