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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

RTA Pays $45,000 to Woman Who Sued for Unlawful Arrest, Assault

Posted By on Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 9:43 AM

Update: RTA has reached a $45,000 settlement with Jessica Ferrato, a Lakewood woman who sued the organization and a transit officer after a March 2015 incident during which the now-former RTA officer Jonathan Pacholke assaulted and arrested her.

An internal investigation after Ferrato posted her account to Facebook and was interviewed by local media concluded that Pacholke violated multiple RTA policies. RTA issued a public apology for his behavior and placed him on a year-long probation for  "viola[ting] departmental procedures" and "fail[ure] to control the situation that led to an escalation of the incident and a use of force, which may have been avoided."


Update (2/16/16): Jessica Ferrato has filed suit against RTA and the transit officer Jonathan Pacholke for the March incident described in our original stories below.

The gist: RTA, in an internal investigation, found the officer violated multiple policies in his interaction with Ferrato when she produced a valid pass. The officer allegedly told Ferrato he would taze her, issued her a citation, and placed her under arrest. Pacholke was placed on probation. RTA issued a statement saying, "[Pacholke] failed to control the situation that lead (sic) to an escalation of the incident, which may have been avoided."

Ferrato, represented by the Chandra law firm, alleges unlawful seizure, excessive force, false arrest and battery claims.

From the law firm's release on the suit:

The full suit can be viewed below.

2016-02-16 Complaint


(Update: 4/8/2015): RTA has placed patrol officer Jonathan Pacholke on probation following the investigation into an alleged disorderly conduct case involving Lakewood resident Jessica Ferrato. Pacholke was placed on probation for a year. 

Pacholke breached RTA policy on multiple fronts, according to RTA Police Chief John Joyce, including in his "fare enforcement duties" and in his use of force. "[Pacholke] failed to control the situation that lead (sic) to an escalation of the incident, which may have been avoided."

The officer will not be permitted to work solo for 60 days.

Read the earlier story below.

Continue reading »

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Euclid Man Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor After Egging Neighbor's House More Than 100 Times

Posted By on Fri, Sep 2, 2016 at 10:33 AM

  • Alleged serial egger Jason Kozan
Update: 31-year-old Jason Kozan, the man who terrorized an elderly neighbor by egging the man's house more than 100 times, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic. 

Sentencing in the bizarre case will go down on September 6.

The long and winding road to justice included, according to, "undercover stakeouts and neighborhood canvassing" by the Euclid police department and even the delivery of some of the eggshells in question to a crime lab.

A bright spot, in case you haven't been following the story: a company painted the old man's house for free after the egging's basically destroyed the previous paintjob.


(Updated 3/17/16): Last spring, we told you the sad tale of Albert Clemens Sr. (See full story below.) The man had lived in Euclid for just about his entire life in the same house he once shared with his wife. And then, in 2014, someone started egging that house. Over. And over. And over. More than 100 times in all.

What would possess someone to hurl breakfast at this kindly old gentleman's house? 

The answer to that question is still unanswered but Euclid police have the answer to another question: the alleged perpetrator.

Police arrested Jason Kozan, 30, on charges of vandalism in the case. Detectives investigated last year — seriously — and cracked the case (sorry for that one) after obtaining a search warrant for Kozan's house. The biggest piece of circumstantial evidence so far? The eggings pretty much stopped after Kozan moved away from Clemens.

A grand jury will hear the case. 


(Original story, 3/9/2015): 85-year-old Albert Clemens Sr. has lived in his Euclid, OH home for over 60 years; it's the property he and his late wife bought just after they married, and the house where he raised his family. "I would live and die in this house," he told recently.

There's just one problem: someone's been egging his home nearly every day for the last year.

Several times a week, Clemens and his live-in son and daughter find their front stoop pelted with eggs or other foodstuffs such as apples, oranges, or even canned goods, which have completely destroyed the aluminum siding and paint job. Clemens used to clean up the mess after each attack, but they've become so frequent he can't keep up. His insurance company isn't helping either: they won't pay for repairs until there's been an arrest made.

That's not to say police aren't looking for suspects; they are, but so far their canvasses have come up empty. Folks with any information on the egging are kindly asked to contact the Euclid Police Department at  (216) 731-1234. A $1000 reward is also on the table.

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Update: L.L. Bean Opens at Legacy Village Today

Posted By on Fri, Nov 13, 2015 at 11:30 AM

  • Photo via redjar, Flickr Creative Commons
Update II: Locals seeking outdoor and sports wear, rejoice. Lakewood-based Geiger's opened in downtown Cleveland yesterday, and today retail giant L.L. Bean swings open at Legacy Village. 

The new store is located near L.A. Fitness and Soma Intimates in a sprawling 16,000 square foot facility.

While the Legacy Village location is the company's first Ohio store, a second L.L. Bean outlet is slated to open in Columbus next week.

Update: L.L. Bean is, in fact, looking to fill some 100 positions for its Legacy Village location.

Now through Oct. 8, the outdoor goods and apparel giant is accepting online applications for a handful of positions — from snow shoe instructors to merchandising.

Interviews will be held the following week at the DoubleTree in Beachwood, WKYC says.

Sadly, we didn't see any Bootmobile Driver position listed.

Originally posted: March 23, 2015 at 1:09 p.m.

Retail giant L.L. Bean announced last week plans to open its first Ohio store at Lyndhurst's Legacy Village.

The outdoor goods and apparel retailer — known among millennials for its rubber and leather boots — is slated to claim the current Talbots storefront this fall; Talbots will relocate within the Legacy compound.

“It’s very exciting to be opening our first Ohio store, giving the Cleveland-area residents the opportunity to experience our brand in 3-D," Ken Kacere, L.L. Bean's senior vice president and general manager of retail, said in a press release. "Our stores are where the L.L. Bean catalogs and web site come to life for our customers and we know Legacy Village is going to be a great home for us.”

The new store is expected to generate around 100 jobs; we certainly hope Bootmobile Driver is one of them.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jury Awards Plaintiffs $392,750 in Sexual Abuse Cover-Up Case Involving Chagrin Falls Nanny School

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 12:45 PM

Update: A jury in the case against the English Nanny and Governess school found for the plaintiffs this week, awarding $392,750 plus attorneys’ fees for Christina Cruz and Heidi Kaiser ($150,000 compensatory and $168,750 punitive for Cruz, and $20,000 compensatory and $54,000 punitive for Kaiser). The ENGS is owned and operated by Sheilagh Roth and Bradford Gaylord.

The details of the case are grisly (the school retaliating against Cruz, who was a student, and Kaiser, who was an employee, for bringing to the attention of the school's owners a case of sexual abuse involving a client and his daughter. (More on that in the original story below.)

“The jury’s verdict affirms the importance of the strict standard for reporting child abuse,” said the plaintiffs’ attorney Peter Pattakos. “If you see something, say something. This case shows why we are called to such a high standard. As we’ve seen here, and in other high-profile cases across the country, it can be all too easy to look the other way when a child’s safety is at risk.”


(Original story, 3/31/2015): A Chagrin Falls "nanny school" that trains nannies before placing them with rich families is in court this week, three and a half years after a former student and former employee filed a lawsuit, saying the school’s owners retaliated after the student reported she saw a wealthy client sexually abuse his daughter in 2011.

The English Nanny and Governess School and its unsurprisingly-named owners Bradford Gaylord and Sheilagh Roth are accused of trying to suppress a report made by Christina Cruz, an ENGS student, who said she witnessed a wealthy Philadelphia-area businessman sexually abuse his 9-year-old daughter while she was on a three-day "extended interview" with the family following her completion of the school's three-month program. Gaylord and Roth urged Cruz not to say anything — emphasizing that reporting child abuse “can ruin lives” and that her “her career prospects would suffer if she made the report, including by communicating that her access to job opportunities through their placement service would be contingent on whether she made the report or not,” Cruz's lawyers say. They were worried about losing business of "high-caliber clientele" and the public image of the school if she went through with it.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Update: CIFF in Running for 'Best Film Festival' Award

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 1:02 PM

  • Photo courtesy of CIFF

Update: San Jose's Cinequest Film Fest has risen to the number one spot in USA Today's Best Film Fest Poll, bumping the Cleveland International Film Fest down to number two.

Help CIFF reclaim the top slot by voting for them once daily until Tuesday, April 13.

Vote now!

Originally posted: Mach 27, 2015 at 11:06 a.m.

If you haven't been able to tell from our coverage this month, we're huge fans of the Cleveland International Film Fest. 

And you should be too: the 10 day event, which wraps up this Sunday, is chock-full of top-notch short and feature films, as well as filmmaker panels, forums, and boatloads more, all of which have helped CIFF earn a reputation as one of the best film fests in the country.

In fact, CIFF is currently in the running for USA Today's Best Film Festival award with 19 other national fests and — as of today — we're in first place.

Folks interested in helping CIFF take home these honors can cast their votes once daily right here.

Voting end on April 13.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Updated: Local Band Seafair One of Four Bands Competing for a Slot at Bonnaroo

Music News

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 10:27 AM

While the men's college hoops teams for Duke, Wisconsin, Kentucky and Michigan State are all competing in the Final Four this weekend, local rockers Safair have also made it to the Final Four. They're in the middle of a competition to play at this year’s annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. We blogged about the competition last month and after making it through a few rounds, the group has now moved on to the Final Four and is competing against three other bands. The contest ends on April 6. You can cast your votes at Voters will be eligible to win two tickets to the festival.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Another Disappointing Book About Ariel Castro and the Girls

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 4:02 PM

  • St. Martin's Press
New York Times bestselling author John Glatt has penned a book — another in a seemingly endless series —  about Ariel Castro and the captivity and rescue of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. 

The Lost Girls, (336 pgs., St. Martin's Press), complete with an "incredible true story" subtitle, will arrive on Amazon and your nearest bookstore in mid-April. 

And don't hold your breath. 

Glatt, a "veteran crime scribe" who has written books about abduction before, guides readers through Ariel Castro's back story and the sordid details of the captivity itself. And much like other true-crime "guilty pleasures," the breakneck pace leaves little room for interpretation (or even investigation) of facts. It's merely a surface-level tour through the quotes and headlines of a bizarre and horrifying story that captured the nation's attention.

The real hook and coup of the book, we're assured in the press materials, is that Glatt got exclusive access to a former girlfriend of Ariel Castro's, a woman named Lillian Roldan.

"Over an emotional lunch in Cleveland," Glatt writes in his prologue, "Lillian broke down in tears as she spoke about her feelings for Castro, who she had once hoped to marry." (Sic)

But the 'Lillian" chapter in the book is a mere four pages in length, without any real insight into Castro's character other than Roldan's somewhat baffling admission that he was a "considerate lover" and that their sex life was "completely normal." That chapter's disconnected climax occurs when Castro takes Lillian into his basement (before the girls were captive there), beyond a padlocked door, and shows her a bag of "dried up" weed, which Lillian decides she doesn't want to smoke.

It's frustrating that most of the book's chapters fail to transcend the level of transcription. Glatt merely paraphrases Charles Ramsey's signature interview with John Kosich, for instance, and of the three girls only managed to speak to Michelle Knight directly. He lifts quotes from prior interviews with Gina and Amanda and only occasionally cites his source.  

Sourcing wouldn't be a problem — I'd be content to trust him — if the rest of the book felt thoroughly (or even compassionately) researched. Perhaps, as locals, it's because we lived through the original media frenzy — a frenzy which erupted nearly two years ago, if you can believe it — that it's so easy to spot minor inaccuracies, and so difficult to listen to outsiders characterize the city and the story in ways that ring false.

Here's Glatt on Cleveland's near west side: "At night, drugs and prostitution run rampant, as drivers exit off I-90 to get whatever they need."

He calls Seymour Avenue "scarred by race riots" in the 1960s and "ground zero" for a crack epidemic in the early 90s, making it "one of the most dangerous places in Cleveland."  

Ultimately, Seymour Avenue was one of the most dangerous places in Cleveland, but Glatt's discursive (almost schizoid) compilation is hardly the volume Clevelanders need to recall and process the danger.  A good book on this subject might still be a few years away.

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