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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Update: Following a Volume of 100 Songs He Released Two Years Ago, Cleveland Musician Releases Another 100 Songs

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2020 at 10:30 AM

  • Courtesy of Paul Francis
Update: Two years ago, local musician Paul Francis composed and recorded 100 audio tracks that he made available to local filmmakers, so they could use the tracks on the soundtracks to their films.

Dubbed Contribution, that project proved to be fairly successful, and Francis has now just released another 100 tracks.

“I call them soundscapes,” he says of the music. “They’re atmospheric mood pieces that I leave open, so they can be used for anything. They’re not meant to be used for anything specific. I was extremely satisfied with the outcome of the first project from all the connections I made. Networking was a big part of the project especially when I was starting out. I met some awesome Cleveland film folks. I was also able to show the community’s talent because a decent number of local artists were involved.”

His songs from the first volume appeared in several short films and in ads for restaurants. Some music appeared in a NASA documentary. A California filmmaker also used some tracks in a documentary about a famous snowboarder, and Francis's music is on the soundtrack to the Cleveland Clinic short documentary “Hawk’s Heroic Tale.”

Other artists involved include Bryan Robinson, Ryan Koppelman, Christine Lewis and Sierra Townsend.

Francis wrote and recorded all the new songs himself, and you can hear his music in a short film directed by Fernando Lopez.

You can hear all the new music here.

Contribution Vol. 2 from Paul Francis on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Topgolf Officially Opens in Independence This Friday

Posted By on Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 12:20 PM

  • Courtesy Topgolf

Update II: Well, the day is near. Come Friday, Topgolf Independence will be open for business. Check out their website for more info on pricing and hours.


(Update 10/9/19): If you've driven past the I-480/I-77 interchange, you've seen the massive Topgolf location in Independence taking shape over the past year... slowly at times, it seemed.

We're rounding the corner toward the finish, though.

Topgolf this week announced it'll hire about 500 employees for the location, and said it should be open for business come mid-December before the holiday season.

With more than a hundred climate-controlled stalls, the wintery weather won't matter, of course.

This will be Topgolf's third Ohio location.


(Original story 2/15/2018): All the details are now wrapped up: Topgolf will begin construction for a new facility in Independence (5800 Rockside Woods Blvd.) later this year with a projected opening of 2019. It'll be the company's third Ohio location.

“Adding Topgolf to the Independence business community is a significant win for us, as it broadens the Rockside area’s amenity mix,” Independence Mayor Anthony L. Togliatti said in a news release. “Its presence here will serve our families and corporate citizens alike with entertainment options that no one else in the region has.”

“We are so excited to continue our Ohio expansion with new venues in Cleveland and Columbus,” said Topgolf Chief Development Officer Chris Callaway. “We are looking forward to bringing Topgolf’s all-seasons entertainment for the local communities to enjoy.”

Topgolf, for the uninitiated, offers a year-round, climate-controlled facility where golfers hit microchipped balls at various targets. Players accumulate points based on distance and accuracy. Yes, it is mighty good fun.

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Aurelia, an American-Style Bistro, Now Open in Chagrin Falls

Posted By on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 2:09 PM

  • Aurelia IG
Update: Aurelia opened its doors last Friday in Chagrin Falls. Located in the former North Main Diner spot (16 North Main St.), Chef James Balchak is focusing on locally sourced foods with a tailored menu that features appetizers, four entrees and some desserts, each that will and have already rotated.

Check out their site here.

Aurelia is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., dinner Tuesday through Saturday beginning at 5 p.m., and brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


(Original story 2/22/18): After spending time in the kitchens of Park Tavern and The Blackbird in Asheville, NC, Northeast Ohio native Chef James Balchak has moved back home for a new venture: Aurelia, an American-style bistro slated to open this summer in Chagrin Falls in the spot most recently occupied by the now-shuttered North Main Diner (16 North Main St.).

The focus will be "food sourced from local farms, fisheries and suppliers"and a menu that follows the new restaurant's tagline of "honest food and drink."

More details to come as opening day nears.

It's the first restaurant for the newly created JB Restaurant Group.

Balchak is a graduate of Le Cordon Blue.

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Ohio BMV to Stop Issuing Same-Day Licenses Starting Today

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2018 at 10:02 AM

  • Photo via Wikipedia
Update: Joining 41 states, Ohio has officially made the move to send driver's licenses and other forms of ID through through the mail, rather than offering convenient same-day service.

The change, which starts today, is said to bring greater protections against counterfeiting and limit identity theft, according to state officials. 

You can now expect your new ID to arrive about 10 days after a visit to the BMV.

(Original post 2/28/2018): In the first inconvenience ever attached to paying a visit to the BMV, Ohioans will no longer be able to receive same-day drivers licenses.

Adjusted to meet new federal standards and implement greater security measures, any license issued or renewed starting July 2 will be mailed to the driver's home. From that point, Columbus Dispatch reports the licenses take about 10 days to arrive.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has announced it will issue temporary ID cards that indicate the driver has obtained and is waiting for their drivers license to arrive in the mail. The licenses will continue to cost $25.75.

Implemented to reduce the occurrence of counterfeit IDs and identity theft, drivers can also obtain a license emblazoned with a star. The star marker is being offered in accordance with new travel security guidelines, which require the symbol, and are set to take effect in October 2020.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Hatfield's Goode Grub Express Now Open in Old Cleveland Pickle Spot

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 4:30 PM

  • Yelp

Hatfield's Goode Grub Express opened its doors in the old Cleveland Pickle spot last week and is now serving up southern-infused sandwiches and sides from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Check out the menu here.


(Original story 2/19/18): It didn't take long for a new tenant to scoop up the spot occupied by Cleveland Pickle until last month.

Come April, that location will be a Hatfield's Goode Grub Express, a semi-scaled down version of Hatfield's Goode Grub in Westpark.

"We actually just signed the lease," Ken Hatfield told Scene this morning.

"The space doesn't have a hood, so I won't be able to do burgers," Hatfield says, "but I'm formulating an insanely good sloppy joe, and we're still going to do our pulled pork, our hillbilly philly and we'll do a bunch of southern twists on different sandwiches."

Hatfield's Express will also feature a roster of deli favorites — chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, potato salad — all spiced up with a southern twist, of course. Hatfield is still figuring out the exact menu and hours but says the shop will probably be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"We're already established with our food truck which is at Walnut Wednesdays, so we want to take what all those people enjoy at our truck and have them come over any day of the week," he says. "We're really looking forward to it and we want to get open as soon as possible."

There's also news on the food truck front: Hatfield's is launching a second truck, Hatfield's Goode Grub Sweet Tooth. Malts, milkshakes, cookies, pies and cobblers will be served from a vintage 1976 ice cream truck. Look for that to start rolling this spring.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Update: The Choir to Reunite and Play the Beachland

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 4:07 PM

Update: An iconic Cleveland band from the '60s, the Choir will reunite to perform a special show at the Beachland Ballroom on Nov. 3.

The group is reforming to play its long lost and previously unreleased album, Artifact: The Unreleased Album, with the original 1969 lineup featured on the recording.

Original Post: The locally based power-pop act the Choir had a hit right out of the gate in 1967 with its debut single, “It’s Cold Outside.” While the band would quickly implode after a couple of short years, it left a lasting impression.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Update: RTA Board Votes to Postpone August Fare Hike

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2018 at 10:30 AM

Transit advocates on Public Square Saturday. (Councilman Zack Reed and ATU Local 268 Prez Ron Jackson front and center.) - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Transit advocates on Public Square Saturday. (Councilman Zack Reed and ATU Local 268 Prez Ron Jackson front and center.)

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority board of trustees voted at its Tuesday meeting to postpone a fare hike scheduled for August. The vote is in keeping with a February recommendation by the RTA's Operational Planning and Infrastructure Committee. RTA also announced that it would initiate quarterly meetings to discuss service changes and engage riders.

The local transit advocacy coalition Clevelanders for Public Transit (CPT) released a statement applauding the decision and calling for increased funding.

"The high cost of fares was cited as the leading concern for over 550 daily riders surveyed by Clevelanders for Public Transit, and rider engagement can only improve as a result of quarterly service change meetings," CPT wrote. "While these are positive steps, RTA’s Board of Trustees must act by putting a local levy on the ballot this year to escape the death spiral by addressing the funding crisis. Since 2007, fares have nearly doubled while service has decreased by nearly 25 percent."

Original Story (2/20/2018):

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) announced Tuesday that a fare increase scheduled for August will likely be postponed a full year while a study is completed.

The hike would have increased single-trip fares from $2.50 to $2.75, all-day passes from $5.50 to $6.00 and monthly passes from $95.00 to $105.00, an even more extreme cost burden on riders who already pay a larger share of their income for transit service than riders in any mid-sized city in the United States.

The RTA Board of Trustees, which met this morning, is likely to ratify the recommendation to postpone the hike at its meeting next month, a press release said.

“We need to take a look at the possibility of modifying our fare structure to best assure fairness and equity to our customers,” said RTA CEO and GM Joe Calabrese. “It’s critical that we study if there is a way to join with community partners to offer lower fares for our customers with lower incomes."

Calabrese noted that the biggest reason for the system's reduced ridership — which has declined dramatically over the past decade — is fare affordability.

Joining with community partners to find additional revenue streams (or to work toward more affordable fares) was in fact an explicit recommendation made by Clevelanders for Public Transit. The advocacy group presented a report on fare equity at Tuesday's board meeting.

"Clevelanders for Public Transit applauds the recommendation to delay and study the approved 2018 fare increases to ensure affordability and fairness for all riders, which was cited as the leading concern for over 550 daily riders surveyed in our first act as an organization," CPT wrote Scene in a statement on the decision.

"We now look to the full GCRTA board, who should approve this critical recommendation. We remain committed to escaping this death spiral by addressing the roots of the funding crisis, and partnering with RTA's board and staff to avoid further service cuts and fare hikes."

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