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Monday, June 26, 2017

Margaritaville Officially Opens in Cleveland July 11

Posted By on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 11:40 AM

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Update: Alright, for real this time.

After multiple delays, Margaritaville will finally and officially debut in the east bank of the Flats on July 11. A soft open is scheduled for July 3.

***

(Updated 5/19/17): The date is set. Clevelanders can officially get wasted away at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville when it opens in the Flats East Bank Tuesday, June 27.

For those looking to work at the highly-anticipated island-themed chain restaurant, a hiring event is set for May 22-24 at the Aloft Cleveland Hotel. In a press release the company said they were looking to hire 200 new employees. 

Find out more information at margaritavillecleveland.com

***

(Original story 5/5/2016): Well, they are rumors no more. On Cinco de Mayo, no less, Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville has confirmed that Cleveland will be the site of one of its iconic restaurants. The island-themed chain, with two dozen locations, will take over the spot in Flats East Bank originally earmarked for Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill.

Margaritaville, which launched in Key West, Fla. in 1987, is now a global brand inspired by the “carefree” lifestyle of singer, songwriter and author Jimmy Buffett. The festive restaurants strive to evoke the sort of tropical escapism Buffett characterizes in his music.

The expansive complex will be comprised of a full-service restaurant, multiple bars, a performance stage and retail store – all of which will be at home on Cleveland’s waterfront.

“We are thrilled to bring the Margaritaville experience to the Flats in Cleveland and to continuing to work closely with our great partners from The Wolstein Group and Fairmount Properties,” said David Crabtree, President/CEO of International Meal Company U.S., the operator of Margaritaville Cleveland. “We look forward to bringing escapism to the city and becoming active members of the Cleveland community.”

The approachable menus are loaded with casual fare like fish and chips, coconut shrimp, fish tacos, and, yes, Cheeseburgers in Paradise. Of course, most of the patrons are there for the margaritas and “boat drinks.”

Look for the Cleveland location to open later this year. 

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Friday, October 14, 2016

FBI Still Has No Solid Leads on Man Connected to Cleveland and Elyria Child Abductions Earlier This Year

Posted By on Fri, Oct 14, 2016 at 10:55 AM

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The FBI is still looking for a man connected with an abduction and attempted abduction in Northeast Ohio earlier this year.

Despite video surveillance footage (which you can watch below), a description of the car (dark colored 2002 or 2003 Chevy Malibu with a front lighter panel) and a composite sketch blasted out on billboards and media across the region, the 325 incoming tips haven't led to a concrete suspect or lead.

A six-year-old girl was abducted in Cleveland by the suspect back in May. An FBI spokesperson acknowledged to Cleveland.com this week that the suspect did assault the girl. "He didn't take her to have a tea party," FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson told Cleveland.com. "He did things to her that we're not going to go into. But she was harmed. We're happy she's alive but they didn't play Barbies."

The other incident happened back in February when the suspect tried to pull a 10-year-old girl through her bedroom window in Elyria. He had entered the home the night before and unlocked doors and windows. He was seen multiple times in the week leading up to the May abduction near the victim's house.

The composite sketch, Anderson said, isn't entirely helpful, saying it looks like half the men in Ohio.

Now the FBI is hoping that people in smaller townships and villages in Northeast Ohio recognize him. They're specifically re-directing their efforts in Lorain County, where the first known attempted abduction happened on Feb. 25.

"We're wondering if we're just targeting the right audience," FBI spokeswoman Kelly Liberti said. "When we went out to North Ridgeville to see if there was a connection with an attempted abduction out there, they had no idea what we were talking about."

A $20,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the suspect's identification and arrest. Anyone with information is urged to call the FBI tipline at 216-622-6824.

***

(Updated 6/1/16): Authorities released a composite sketch this morning of the suspect wanted in connection both with the abduction of a 6-year-old girl in Cleveland (who is now safe) and attempted abductions in Lorain and Elyria. Forensic evidence from the Cleveland crime scene tied the suspect to at least one previous incident in February in Elyria when a 10-year-old girl said a man tried to pull her through her open bedroom window. Police also believe the same man could be tied to three other attempted abductions in Lorain that happened the same day as the Elyria incident.

The sketch is below. A $20,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the suspect. Anyone with info is asked to call the FBI tip line at 216-622-6842.

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***

(Updated 5/26/16) Cleveland police released additional photos and video yesterday of the suspect wanted in connection with the abduction of a 6-year-old girl over the weekend. Specific details of what the girl remembers of him/his house below, but police also released photos of him and his car, as well as a short surveillance video that captured him walking. 

Anyone with information is asked to call 216-622-6842.

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***

(Original story 5/24/16): Cleveland police today released surveillance video that captured a suspect carrying a 6-year-old girl from her house on West 104th St. on Saturday morning. She was later dropped off at a home on Lyric Avenue. She has since been released from the hospital after being reunited with her family.

The girl was able to provide a ton of details regarding the suspect and the home that he took her to. Police are asking for your help in finding him.

- A white man, 5'10", light brown hair, trimmed beard, wearing a red or maroon hoodie at the time.
- She says he took her to a red brick home with a white door. 
- Inside his room, there was a painting or mural or wallpaper of a moose or deer with grass.
- There were two dogs in the home, one brown and one white.
- There were two other people at the home (who did not know she was there, she says). One of them, a woman, was cooking while the girl was in the bedroom.

Police ask anyone with tips or information about the identity of the suspect to call 216-622-6842. There's a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.


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Friday, August 26, 2016

Ramon Rivas' Half-Hour Special on Comedy Central Airs Tonight

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 11:40 AM

EMANUEL WALLACE
  • Emanuel Wallace
UPDATE:

Ramon Rivas hits the comedy stage tonight (eeearly Friday morning, to be exact) at 12:30 a.m. on Comedy Central.

The Half Hour highlights some of the funniest up-and-coming stand-up acts around the country.

***

Comedy Central announced this morning the 17 comics who will get half-hour specials on the network's The Half Hour, a series devoted to up-and-coming standups. Included on that list is Cleveland's own Ramon Rivas. The shows will tape in New Orleans between June 1 and 4 at the Civic Theatre.

We caught up with Ramon to talk about the big news.

What's this opportunity mean to you? You've watched how many of these sets on Comedy Central and then the network comes calling for you. What's that immediate reaction like?

It definitely means I want more free sandwiches when I'm home in Cleveland. It's a very surreal experience. As an unsigned, unrepped artist I constantly am told the only way to get on TV is to get a manager or agent to help guide me into those things. I used to download the old Comedy Central Presents (with the trumpet) on Kazaa/Limewire when I was a kid. I've watched lots of friends get them the last few years. They called me while I was in Chicago sleeping on friends' couches doing free gigs. My immediate reaction was: "Can I tape it in Cleveland?". But they're doing them all in New Orleans this year so I get to go down there for the first time.

When you take stock of the last however many years and what you've done with the Accidental Comedy Club and Festival, what's the reaction when you sit and think about it for a minute?

I'm definitely happy that the energy and effort I've put into bringing people together has finally started to gain momentum within the city. To see people go from audience members to performers themselves is enriching. I'm thankful every single time People come out to see some dumb accidentalcomedy.com production the group puts on. I hope as I'm gone more and more, the group continues to help comedians professionalize themselves while also building the arts community in Cleveland through comedy.

Your checking account bounced the same week or so that you brought Hannibal Buress to Cleveland (which you announced both onstage and on social media). What's it like to be in that position financially and professionally?

I'm normally very good at balancing my checking account to the cent, but a renewal of my squarespace account (needed for professional life) caused the overdraft. After a year of trying comedy I decided to treat it like a full time, non paying job. It still mostly is. Sometimes, people donate money at shows and I'm able to spread a few bucks around to comics for gas and myself for living, but paid work can be scarce. Hopefully things pick up with the special, but I'm real good at being poor so I'm about to crush having a lil bit of money!

What's the set going to look like? Fresh stuff? Some hits?

The Half Hour special will be evergreen (non topical) material that has proven itself over time. I'll be spending the month work shopping the set at Mahalls (see blazerramon.com for dates), headlining Hilarities Sunday May 15 running an hour and getting a feel for what would work best in a shorter set, then Wednesday May 25 I'll run pretty much a finalized version of what I'll do on the special at The Cleveland Improv. Tickets for either of the club shows are only $10. I took door deals so I'm hoping they sell out so I can offset the cost of flying my mom/dad/sister and her 3 teenage kids down to New Orleans. I'm excited to share the experience with the people that have supported me most.

What's the process that led to this?

There was no one thing. Lots of little things added up. Doing shows with comics I'd worked with in Cleveland while I was traveling exposed me to some Comedy Central eyes. Then I was invited to do a comedy fest in Chicago called Breakout Comedy Fest, put on by NBCUniversal and Second City to find exceptional comedians of color. There, I met a few more Comedy Central folks. The one from New York said if I was ever in town let them know. I was going the next week. I walked into a meeting with 6 executives at CC and all of them had already seen me performing opening for pals I made in Cleveland. I invited them to last years Accidental Comedy Fest (this years is August 26-28) and though they were unable to swing it, they remembered to schedule me for a comics to watch audition. Then enough people had seen me and liked me to champion me thru to getting selected. Then they told me the deadline for submissions for this years specials and I barely made it. I recorded a 28 minute set in Chicago on my phone, edited it and uploaded it from my phone and emailed it. Then I forgot about it until they called me.

Who's the first person you told the news to and why?

I texted my family. A group text. My nephew said he was upset he was stuck on a text while he was at school. He didn't realize what was going in. I picked him and my youngest nephew up at school when I got back in town and asked if they'd wanna come to New Orleans to see me record my special. They said, "Nahhhh," then I said come on I'll fly you down. Then they said, "Definitely not. We just watched 'Castaway.'"

It took some convincing, but they're coming! 

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

California Delegation Team Members Hit with Norovirus in Sandusky

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 11:43 AM

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The California delegates can't catch a break with this one. Already peeved about their Sandusky accommodations (see earlier story below), the group is now dealing with norovirus — aka the "winter vomiting bug." Eleven planners for the delegates are being tested and are confined to their rooms at Kalahari, according to WKYC's Phil Trexler.

For us downtown, the RNC weirdness suddenly doesn't seem so frustrating.

***
Originally published May 2:

We've all known that various attendees of the Republican National Convention will be placed at odd locations — some may choose to rent out Jeffrey Dahmer's home in Bath, for example, but others don't have much of a say in the matter. Like California Republicans.

The CA GOP leadership is pissed about their Sandusky accommodations — 66 miles away from the fun in downtown Cleveland. 

"We're pretty bitter about that," Harmeet Dhillon, vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party, tells CNN. "It sucks to be California, we're like the ugly stepchild. They need us for our cash and our donors, they don't need us for anything else."

Continue reading »

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Sherwin Williams Announces LeBron Banner to Stay After Outrage From Cavs Fans

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 8:13 AM

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Update: After some public fury that you undoubtedly heard about, including a Change.org petition drive and approximately as many angry social media posts directed at Sherwin Williams as people that attended the Cavs victory parade, the company announced in a statement that the LeBron banner will in fact not be taken down for the RNC. Via Cleveland.com:

"In recognition of fan interest, the company will keep the now-famous LeBron James banner hanging from its global headquarters building," Sherwin-Williams announced early Tuesday.

Sherwin-Williams' President and Chief Executive John Morikis said in a statement Tuesday that "For 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has been proud to call Cleveland our home, and we're committed to doing the right thing for the people of this great city. For the last year, we've been planning to hang a celebratory banner outside our building during the summer months. 

"But what better way to celebrate our 150th year than with a NBA championship," he asked. "As a long-time supporter of the Cavs, and the entire community, we want the energy and excitement in this city to continue."

In addition, the company will donate $150,000 to the LeBron James Family Foundation.

The banner the company had proposed to swap out for the LBJ image during the RNC is below.

COURTESY FUSION IMAGING
  • Courtesy Fusion Imaging

***

(Original story 5/5/16): Say goodbye to LeBron James during the RNC.

Well, not literally LeBron James, but Sherwin-Williams has plans to unveil a banner in place of the iconic LeBron banner across from The Q. The current banner is scheduled to come down June 20.

The new banner, if approved by the Cleveland City Planning Commission, will read "This Land is Our Land - 150 Years in Cleveland" and features one strip of red, a strip of blue and a white center.

If approved, the final design will be made in Utah then shipped to Cleveland in June where installation will take about eight to 10 hours to install. It's something, and at the very least, it's not this.
click image VIA REDDIT
  • Via Reddit

 

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Governor John Kasich Signs Medical Marijuana Bill

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 9:41 AM

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Governor John Kasich yesterday signed the medical marijuana bill that state legislators had passed last month. Ninety days after the bill officially gets filed with the secretary of state, the bill goes into effect. That puts us right around September.

Ohio becomes the 25th state to pass some sort of medical marijuana legislation, and it's among the strictest. And while, come September, those with valid prescriptions from doctors will avoid legal trouble if they're using a form of the drug allowed under state law (oils, edibles, etc.), it'll be a year before dispensaries are up and operational.

That's right, if you didn't know already, the bill prohibits smoking pot as a delivery device (and also growing it at home).

The list of afflictions that would qualify a patient:

HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Crohn's disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette's syndrome, traumatic brain injury and ulcerative colitis.


***

(Updated 5/25/16) The Ohio Senate approved a medical marijuana legalization bill with an 18-15 vote this evening. The measure now returns to the House, which must approve the changes that were made to a previous version of the bill. 

This legislation, however, has its critics. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana will continue to gather signatures in support of a ballot measure to be put to voters during the Nov. 8 election. (The ballot measure is, generally speaking, less restrictive. Where the state bill prohibits smoking medical marijuana, the ballot measure allows it, for instance.)

(Ohioans for Medical Marijuana ended up announcing they'd suspend their ballot campaign in the wake of the legislator's bill.)

***
Originally published at 11:50 a.m.

With summer recess right around the corner, state legislators are careening toward a deadline of sorts in passing their medical marijuana bill. A vote is expected on the Senate floor this afternoon. A committee approved the bill's language with a 7-5 vote this morning. Now, 17 affirmative votes are needed from the full Senate to move this thing along.

If the Senate passes the bill, which remains uncertain as of this morning, the House will need to approve various changes that had been made to the language. Gov. John Kasich has not specifically addressed whether he'll sign this bill into law. “I have to look at it,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.

As far as the word "deadline" goes, state legislators are about to go on "recess" and won't return to session until after the November election. By all accounts, a group called Ohioans for Medical Marijuana is on its way to gathering 305,591 valid signatures of registered voters by July 6, which will place its constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

That amendment would allow patients to smoke and grow their own marijuana for medical use. The state's bill does not allow that, opting instead to permit patients to "vape" marijuana prescribed by a physician. (That's one of the new changes that the House would have to subsequently approve; an older version of the bill allowed smoking.)

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana will continue its campaign even if the bill is signed into law.

We'll be keeping an eye on the statehouse proceedings from up here in Cleveland.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dashboard Confessional Returns to its Roots to Headline Taste of Chaos Tour

Concert Preview

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2016 at 4:07 PM

REYBEE INC.
  • ReyBee Inc.
Last summer, Dashboard Confessional toured with alternative rockers Third Eye Blind, a band whose catchy pop tunes appeal to a decidedly more conservative audience than Dashboard's. This summer, the band will hit the road with Taking Back Sunday, Saosin and Early November as part of the Taste of Chaos Tour.

So which is it? Does the band qualify as adult-oriented adult alternative rock or is it more aligned with emo and screamo acts?

“Last year was a roll of the dice really,” says Carrabba via phone from his Nashville home. We’ve opened for Bon Jovi and Beck and U2 and Weezer. So it’s not like we only play with bands from our scene. We did that co-headlining thing with Third Eye Blind because we’re mutual friends and it’s nice to get out of your comfort zone, and it worked. It made for a successful evening of music.”

Continue reading »

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