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Friday, March 23, 2018

Appeals Court Rules Tamir Rice Grand Jury Transcripts Shouldn't Be Released

Posted By on Fri, Mar 23, 2018 at 8:22 AM

Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty on Dec. 28, 2015 - WEWS STILL
  • Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty on Dec. 28, 2015
The Ohio Eighth District Appeal Court ruled unanimously this week that the grand jury transcript from the Tamir Rice case should remain entirely sealed.

The Cleveland NAACP had sought an unprecedented release of portions of the transcript. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy R. McDonnell ruled last March it should remain secret and that releasing it would set a precedent for the future that would "eviscerate the historical practice of guarding the secrecy of grand jury proceedings." The organization had appealed her decision.

The Eighth district sided with McDonnell but also delivered some harsh criticisms of former county prosecutor Tim McGinty, who publicly released selected reports from the investigation before the grand jury had reached a decision.

"The fact that the office of the former prosecuting attorney disseminated selected portions of the evidence presented to the grand jury under the guise of 'transparency' was inappropriate," Judge Eileen Gallagher wrote in the opinion.

The NAACP had specifically requested portions of the transcript that would show whether or not McGinty made a recommendation to the grand jury before asking them to vote whether the shooting was justified or not.


(Original story 7/28/17): The Cleveland NAACP officially filed its appeal to the Ohio Eighth District Court this week in its quest to have a limited portion of the Tamir Rice grand jury transcripts released publicly.

The organization had filed a notice of appeal in April of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy R. McDonnell's ruling in March in which she said that while the case had received "an enormous amount of media coverage" releasing the transcripts would set a precedent for future releases and "eviscerate the historical practice of guarding the secrecy of grand jury proceedings."

New Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley made his support for a limited release of the proceedings part of his campaign last year; his office made good on that pledge this year, filing a motion saying he wouldn't oppose the Cleveland NAACP's efforts.

For its part, the organization argued that previous Prosecutor Tim McGinty had voluntarily released multiple reports that were presented to the grand jury on his own before recommending that no charges be filed. In the scope of the appeal, they're looking specifically for what McGinty said to the grand jury before asking the members to vote whether the shooting was justified or not. As per McGinty's policy on police deadly use-of-force cases, criminal charges would not be considered by the grand jury unless a vote found the action was unreasonable, which the Tamir Rice grand jury did not.

“What we want to know is, was there a recommendation to the grand jury," Michael Nelson of the Cleveland NAACP told Ideastream. "What was the reaction by the grand jury to that recommendation if there was one? And if there wasn’t a recommendation to the grand jury, what was said to the grand jury to justify a lack of a recommendation?”

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers Could Soon Open in Strongsville

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 4:42 PM

  • Photo via RaisingCane's/Facebook
Update: Northeast Ohio is closer to getting its first Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, after the Strongsville City Council unanimously approved the rezoning of the 1-acre plot of land marked for the restaurant's construction last week.

Now changed from a general business district to a restaurant-recreational services district, Raising Cane's would be allowed to build on the property sitting at the corner of Pearl Road and Pierce Drive, reports.

The city had previously pushed back the rezoning decision in July (see below).

(Original Post 7/20/2017): Northeast Ohio could soon have more fried chicken choices, as Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers makes plans to open a Strongsville location.

Wednesday, the city of Strongsville acknowledged on Facebook that a developer has asked to rezone a vacant parcel of land on Pearl Road from general business to restaurant/recreational services. The developer wants to build a Raising Cane's on the property.

While there are Raising Cane's restaurants currently in Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus, this would be the Louisiana fast food chain's first location in the Cleveland area.

But all you chicken lovers will have to wait, as the city won't make a decision on the rezoning until late summer or fall.

Here's what the city of Strongsville had to say in full:

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Friday, August 25, 2017

An Amazon Fulfillment Center Officially Comes to Former Randall Park Mall Site, Needs Workers

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 12:01 PM

Inside an Amazon Fulfillment Center - PHOTO VIA MARYSULLI/INSTAGRAM
  • Photo via marysulli/Instagram
  • Inside an Amazon Fulfillment Center
Update: is officially taking over the former Randall Park Mall site with a new fulfillment center, and with the move comes more than 2,000 new jobs.

We first heard about a proposed plan for the site earlier this summer (see below).

While we don't yet have details on how to apply for the jobs, which will entail packaging small items like books and electronics for customers, a company news release did go over benefits:
Full-time employees at Amazon receive highly-competitive pay, health insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings plans and company stock starting on day one. The company offers up to 20 weeks of paid leave and innovative benefits such as Leave Share and Ramp Back, which give new parents flexibility with their growing families. Amazon also offers hourly employees its Career Choice program which helps train employees for in-demand jobs at Amazon and other companies so they can prepare for the future and take full advantage of the nation's innovation economy. The program pre-pays 95% of tuition for courses in in-demand, high-wage fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a future career at Amazon. Over 10,000 employees have participated in Career Choice and more are signing up every day.

It's still unclear when the new center is set to open.

(Original post 7/20/2017): A proposed Amazon fulfillment center could soon open at the former Randall Park Mall site, providing 1,200 new jobs to an area in need of an economic boost.

The North Randall project would take up the vacant 69 acres. But first, Seefried Industrial Properties Inc. must demolish the existing buildings on the site — a Burlington Coat Factory Store, a vacant automotive-maintenance facility, and a former department store turned into an Ohio Technical College's PowerSport Institute.

Developers would then build a $177 million facility, and lease it out for Amazon to use. also reports that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board will put up "$123 million worth of bond financing for the project."

Randal Park Mall closed in 2009 and was partly demolished in late 2014, but before its collapse Scene captured the building's final days.

Malls across America are slowly dying, with the L.A. Times publishing a report earlier this summer saying, "up to 25percent of U.S. shopping malls may close in the next five years."

The also-closed Euclid Square Mall remains standing and used by church congregations for worship, but Seefried is also working on a deal to acquire the building for another project.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Guitar Hero Marty Friedman Brings his Wall of Sound Tour to the Grog Shop

Posted By on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 5:07 PM

On his forthcoming album, Wall Of Sound, guitar hero Marty Friedman explores a wide range of music, offering a bit of Latin rock on “Whiteworm” and switching between electric and acoustic harmonies in "Miracle."

A former member of the speed metal group Megadeth, Friedman, who starts a headlining tour in support of the album this week and comes to the Grog Shop on Tuesday, Aug. 8, recently spoke to us via phone about his approach on the album.

Continue reading »

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The Total Solar Eclipse Will Pair Perfectly With These Spacey Classical Music Selections

Posted By on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 3:13 PM

Total solar eclipse, 1999, as seen from France.
  • Total solar eclipse, 1999, as seen from France.
After a century of waiting, the U.S. will be treated to the first total solar eclipse visible across the lower 48 on Aug. 21.

As the date approaches, you may think you’re doomed to hearing “Rocket Man" on repeat during a road trip to one of numerous viewing sites. (The closest spot to Cleveland for prime viewing that day will be the greater Nashville area, more or less.)

In fact, the music of the spheres is alive and well in the classical world, and there are a handful of celestial works besides Gustav Holst’s well known “The Planets” that are worth a listen.

We've included a Spotify playlist below.

Naturally, a piece of music attempting to capture space’s infinite depths should call for proportionally-sized forces. Charles Ives’ ambitious but unfinished “Universe Symphony” requires at least two orchestras in the performing editions that have been cobbled together since his death. Like other Ives works, the piece experiments with outdoor acoustics by recommending that the orchestras be placed on mountaintops and in valleys.

Danish composer Rued Langgaard also went big with his post-World War I piece, “Music of the Spheres.” Langgaard supplements a principal orchestra with a smaller “distant” orchestra (a satellite, if you will), along with a chorus, an organ, and a soprano soloist. The music uses calm, slowly-building tone clusters to evoke the vast expanse of the cosmos. It sounds very similar to György Ligeti’s “Atmosphères,” which broke into pop culture in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” However, Langgaard’s piece predates Ligeti’s by almost half a century.

Another experiment in spatial acoustics is Henri Dutilleux’s “Timbres, espace, mouvement,” which is subtitled “La nuit étoilée” after the famous Van Gogh painting. The instrumentation is heavily skewed toward the upper and lower reaches of the orchestra, leaving a vast, empty expanse in the middle. Twelve cellists are arranged in a half-moon at the front of the stage; there are no violins or violas. Whirlwind figures in the woodwinds mirror Van Gogh’s signature swirling brushstrokes. While the innovative staging doesn’t quite come through on recordings, a very good rendition by Yan Pascal Tortelier and the BBC Philharmonic is available.

“UFO” is a fun, 40-minute concerto for percussion and orchestra by American composer Michael Daughtery. It was written for and premiered by Evelyn Glennie in 1999 and sadly hasn’t been heard much since. Thankfully, Glennie made two recordings; one is the original version for orchestra, and the other is an arrangement for symphonic band. In the score, Daugherty even includes some optional staging and lighting effects. The third movement is a rippling vibraphone feature, serenely evoking a saucer floating through a dark void. At several points, including the last movement cadenza, Glennie simulates the wails of an alien creature by playing a bowed metal instrument called a waterphone.

Astro-philes looking for something a little more narrative can turn to Paul Hindemith’s five-act opera, “Die Harmonie der Welt” (“The Harmony of the World”). On its surface, it’s the story of German astronomer Johannes Kepler set to music. But the opera also says a lot about Hindemith’s own views on the inextricability of harmony, acoustics, and the universe. The opera is enjoying a revival of sorts this year, having just ended a run of performances in Linz, where Kepler penned his famous treatise on the link between planetary motion and musical harmony.

The same medieval ideas that inspired Kepler also had an effect on Aaron Jay Kernis, whose “Musica Celestis” exists in both a string quartet and a string orchestra version. There’s a uniquely spiritual dimension to the piece. The title refers to angelic choruses, though Kernis doesn’t believe in angels himself. Medieval-sounding passages played without vibrato and oscillating figures conjure the regally indifferent elliptical drift of the heavenly bodies.

Jeff Johnson at the Poles: Progressives Love Him, Others Want Him Out

Posted By on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 2:59 PM

Johnson announces that he's running for Mayor at the County Board of Elections. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Johnson announces that he's running for Mayor at the County Board of Elections.
Last week, the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus voted to endorse City Councilman Jeff Johnson in the Cleveland Mayoral race.

The endorsement is Johnson's second from a local progressive organization, his first being from the Service Employees International Union, and it has given Johnson additional ammo and cred as the "progressive" candidate in the race, one which is perceived as a battle between an entrenched incumbent (Frank Jackson) and the field.

CCPC was formed with about 300 members one year ago as an outgrowth of the local Bernie Sanders campaign effort. The organization is headquartered in Lakewood and has ballooned to nearly 3,000 members. CCPC's political director Steve Holecko attributes that rapid growth to the spirit of political activism in the wake of Donald Trump's election. Its members have organized and demonstrated around issues of wealth inequality, which locally include the fight for a higher minimum wage and opposition to the Q Deal.

Holecko estimated in a phone conversation with Scene that roughly 800 of the organization's members are Cleveland residents.

In addition to Johnson, CCPC endorsed eight Cleveland City Council candidates, none of whom are incumbents.
In its endorsement process, CCPC invited candidates who were interested in the endorsement to fill out two questionnaires. One was national and was provided by Our Revolution, a national progressive group, led by Nina Turner, of which CCPC is the local affiliate. The other questionnaire, called the "Cleveland Addendum," was locally focused. CCPC's membership voted on candidates based on their responses. In council races where only one candidate applied for the endorsement, Holecko said, CCPC members voted to approve or deny the candidate.

Only three mayoral candidates applied for the endorsement: Johnson, Brandon Chrostowski and Eric Brewer.

Johnson is himself a member of the Progressive Caucus, and Holecko said that the organization's steering committee was hopeful that Johnson would win the endorsement. Holecko said they made no efforts to tilt the results, but that roughly 70 percent of the Cleveland membership voted to endorse Johnson regardless.

"We're very closely aligned," Holecko said, of the group's platform and Johnson's.

The endorsement is good news for Johnson after a week of legal challenges. Last Monday, one of Johnson's competitors in the race, Eric Brewer, challenged his candidacy by suggesting he was actually a resident of Twinsburg. Brewer emailed Cuyahoga County elections Director Pat McDonald to make his case, but the complaint was filed too close to the election for the board to act.'s Robert Higgs reported that the elections board had already ruled on Johnson's residency. It dismissed an earlier complaint and ruled that Johnson's voting address was at his Glenville home.

Johnson has maintained that he lives in Cleveland — he is a "third-generation resident," of Glenville he says — but his wife and two stepdaughters do indeed live in Twinsburg, where the teenage girls attend Twinsburg City Schools.

On last week's Reporter's Roundtable on WCPN, the panel of journalists suggested that Brewer — who made news last week for not having voted since 2009 — was merely trying to stay relevant by challenging and/or distracting the race's top candidates.

Also last week, the Ohio Supreme Court dismissed a resident's legal challenge to Johson's candidacy after the challenger didn't bother to present any evidence. The challenge was an attempt to appeal the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections' unanimous ruling, in May, that Johnson was eligible to run.

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Cuyahoga County Fair on Track for Safe Opening in Wake of Ohio State Fair Accident

Posted By on Mon, Jul 31, 2017 at 2:45 PM

  • Photo via Cuyahoga County Fair/Facebook

The Cuyahoga County Fair kicks off next week starting on Monday, Aug. 7, and running through Aug. 13. Everything is going according to plan in the wake of the unfortunate accident at the Ohio State Fair last week, which killed one person and left seven others injured.

Regarding this year's ride safety and inspections, Cuyahoga County Fair spokeswoman Candyce Traci tells Scene:

"The Cuyahoga County Fair will continue to follow strict procedures in our cooperation with State, Local and Ride Companies to inspect and enforce all rides and fair activities. The State Inspectors provide the utmost caution with inspections that enforce all regulations. Cuyahoga County Fair will always do what is required and will monitor day by day throughout fair week to ensure we provide a safe family-friendly atmosphere."

Traci also confirmed that there will not be a Fireball ride or anything similar at the Cuyahoga County Fair. (It was the swinging and spinning Fireball ride that malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair, flinging 18-year-old Tyler Jarrell 50 feet into the air and killing him on impact.) After the accident, attendance to the fair dropped initially but made a comeback later in the week.

"This incident is a heavy burden for the entire Ohio Fair Industry," Traci added. "Until such time that accurate details can be shared as they pertain to this incident, the heartfelt thoughts and prayers of our Fair Board are extended to all individuals involved including the State Officials as they continue to investigate this tragedy at the Ohio State Fair."

You can find this year's Cuyahoga County Fair hours below:

Monday: 5:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday-Friday: Noon-11:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon-10:00 p.m.

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