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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Politifact Says Mike DeWine's Attack Ad on Richard Cordray's Untested Rape Kits is Misleading

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 3:31 PM

  • Wikimedia Commons
Campaigns for the November elections are starting to heat up, and after reporting that both gubernatorial candidates, Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray were both running positive campaigns, DeWine recently dropped a television ad accusing Cordray of letting thousands of rape kits go untested.

"While Richard Cordray was Attorney General, 12,000 rape kits like Allyssa's were left untested," said DeWine’s TV ad narrated by rape survivor Allyssa Allison. "Cordray's failure left serial rapists free to strike again. Then Mike DeWine became attorney general. He tested all 12,000 rape kits. Now hundreds of rapists are behind bars."

The "Snopes for political statements" website Politifact released their official fact-check on DeWine's claims, and the results were that his accusations are only half-true. While DeWine places the blame squarely on the shoulders of Cordray, Politifact declares that he is not the sole responsible party for the backlog. Local police departments played a factor, and the site also notes that the ad fails to recognize that Cordray began to address the backlog as it drew more attention in the summer of 2010, when he had little time left in office.

The ad claims that while Cordray was attorney general, 12,000 rape kits were left untested. "They were not sitting around his office," Poltifact author Amy Sherman writes. "That number reflects those that were sent in by police departments across the state once DeWine took over."

The backlog of untested rape kits was an overwhelming issue in a multitude of states when Cordray first took office as attorney general in 2009, because the value of rape kit testing had not yet been fully understood, and adequate resources and funding had not been allocated. An unfortunate reality is that the national backlog is still horrendously behind schedule.

During the summer of Cordray's last term as attorney general, Cleveland Police said they had found in their possession more than 6,000 rape kits going back to 1993, some of which had already been tested. By mid 2011, Cleveland began submitting untested kits in small batches to the state for testing.

According to Sherman, "While Cordray was attorney general, Ohio — like much of the country — had no consistent testing policy. Each law enforcement agency decided whether and how to test rape kits, which could be done at local labs or sent to the state. Cleveland police decided whether to test kits on a case by case basis."

Later that year, Cordray called for lawmakers, law enforcement officials and victim advocates to study best practices for testing and develop a statewide protocol. This lead to the formation of the Ohio Sexual Assault Kit Testing Commission and Cordray announced that the state would receive six new DNA-testing robots to speed up testing.

Cordray then lost to DeWine and was no longer serving as attorney general.

After DeWine took office in January 2011, he restarted the rape kit test commission after the Cleveland Heights police department misplaced evidence tied to Anthony Sowell, a serial killer and rapist.

DeWine absolutely deserves credit for tackling the backlog, but he didn't do so alone. Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty's office worked with Cleveland police to inventory rape kits, which resulted in identifying thousands of untested rape kits that were submitted to the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation in 2014.

Just as Cordray wasn't the exclusive cause of the backlog, DeWine was not the sole reason the backlog was addressed.

In a counter ad from Cordray's campaign, Shelby County Sheriff and republican John Lenhart is shown declaring that Cordray put the technology in place and "fixed" the backlog that had stretched for decades. While Cordray did begin the process of addressing the problem, he was not in office to truly "fix" it.

The unfortunate reality is that local law enforcement agencies are still causing an issue, as Cleveland police failed to send hundreds of rape kits for testing over the course of three years, directly violating a 2015 Ohio law requiring kits to be sent in within 30-days of testing.

The final word from Politifact is that "The ad is on firmer ground when it gives credit to DeWine for his efforts to clear out the backlog. But it omits that it took him several years to do it. The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important context."

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Akron Drivers Are Way Better Than Cleveland Drivers, New Allstate Report Reveals

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 2:04 PM

  • Scene Archives Photo
Despite what you may believe about the ability of Cleveland drivers — as no one here seems to know how to use a blinker, merge, go the speed limit or stop texting for one damn minute — the newest Allstate Best Driver's Report reveals that Clevelanders could be much worse when they get behind the wheel.

The insurance company looked at the accident claims of drivers from the 200 most populous cities in the country to find which were most likely to get into car crashes. Cleveland ranked No. 90 on the list, with drivers citing a claim at an average of every 8.4 years.

Our neighbors to the south fared much better, however, as the report ranked Akron No. 35 in the country for safe drivers, with claims only called in every 9.8 years.

Sure, Northeast Ohioans don't command the road as safely as the people of Texas (see below). But at least Cleveland and Akron are nowhere near as bad as Baltimore, which came in dead last in the report (the average person there gets into an accident every 3.8 years).

Here are the Top 10 worst and best driving cities in America:

Best Drivers
1. Brownsville, Texas
2. Kansas City, Kansas
3. Boise, Idaho
4. Huntsville, Alabama
5. Madison, Wisconsin
6. Laredo, Texas
7. Midland, Texas
8. Cape Coral, Florida
9. Fort Collins, Colorado
10. McAllen, Texas

Worst Drivers
10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
9. Alexandria, Virginia
8. Providence, Rhode Island
7. Los Angeles, California
6. Springfield, Massachusetts
5. Glendale, California
4. Worcester, Massachusetts
3. Washington, D.C.
2. Boston, Massachusetts
1. Baltimore, Maryland

You now know which cities to avoid while driving this Labor Day Weekend. See the full report right here.  

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Local Indie Rockers Brandtson to Reissue Their Sophomore Album on Vinyl and Cassette

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 1:52 PM

A locally based band from the ‘90s, the emo-punk act Brandtson will reissue its sophomore album, Fallen Star Collection on Oct. 31 via Steadfast Records. Originally released on Deep Elm Records in 1999, the album has found a new home on the relaunched independent label operated by the band’s Matt Traxler.

To celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary, Steadfast Records will make the album available on vinyl for the first time in a limited edition that comes with a bonus CD that includes 10 previously unreleased demos as well as a 36-page lyric and a book consisting of photos from the era. Additionally, the album will be issued on limited edition cassette. The label is currently accepting preorders.

The reissue campaign will also include T-shirts, enamel pins and slip mats.

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Western Reserve Distillers and Distill Table Now Open in Lakewood

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 1:12 PM

Distill Table restaurant (14221 Madison Ave., 216-505-5188) quietly opened its doors this week in Lakewood, a year and a half after it was first announced. The “farm-to-glass, farm-to-table” restaurant shares space with Western Reserve Distillers (330-671-0347), a “grain-to-glass” organic spirits producer owned and operated by Kevin and Ann Thomas.

The two independently operated entities share a fully renovated 100-year-old building long known as the Fridrich building. The distillery started production in June and already is turning out vodka. Gin will begin to flow next week, with rum, rye and bourbon to follow. The distillery and tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Tours are offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Reservations are very strongly encouraged given the amount of requests.

Chef Eddie Tancredi, formerly of Adega at The 9, said that his vision for the restaurant aligned perfectly with that of the Thomases.

“I know a lot of the places I’ve worked have been high-end, but I’m from Cleveland; this is my hometown,” Tancredi explains. “When it comes down to it, what I really enjoy cooking is down-to-earth. Keep it simple but do it right. Everything on the menu, people will know what it is.”

The 99-seat restaurant features indoor and outdoor communal seating, a bar with two craft cocktail stations, and a chef’s kitchen counter.

“The restaurant is driven by a communal approach to dining as we encourage guests to socialize with one another and our staff as they sit back in our social gathering areas, enjoy dinner at long tables together, or take part in the action at the chef’s kitchen counter,” Tancredi adds.

The menu offers antipasti like citrus-marinated olives, grilled vegetables and dips platter, and boards starring Ohio cheeses, smoked seafood, and housemade charcuterie. Snacky items like crispy pork rinds with ranch dressing, fried mozzarella served with sausage cream dipping sauce, and chorizo gravy and egg topped poutine sound tailor-made for barflies.

Moving up the food chain finds beef, turkey, salmon and veggie burgers joined by carnitas sandwiches with black bean salsa. Pizzas come topped with roasted mushrooms and ricotta, pulled pork and bacon, or straight-up mozz and marinara. Entrees are built around salmon, pan-roasted chicken, and meaty "Sunday sauce." See the complete food and drinks menus below.

A public grand opening event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, September 8th.

Distill Table is open for dinner and weekend brunch.


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American Indian Activist Robert Roche Sentenced to Four Months in Prison for Embezzlement

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 12:44 PM

  • Scene Archives

The story of Robert Roche is fascinating, and one that Scene's Sam Allard did an excellent job of documenting in a story called "Native Cleveland: Robert Roche and the Origins of American Indian Activism in Cleveland."

Most recognize him as the American Indian staring down a man wearing Chief Wahoo face paint outside of Progressive Field, but Roche is also a man who embezzled $77,000 in grants made by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to the American Indian Education Center, in Parma, where Roche served as executive director.

Roche plead guilty last May to the charges, and was sentenced with four months in prison followed by four months of home confinement, a lesser sentence than previously predicted, on Wednesday. A judge also ordered him to pay $77,000 in restitution, the amount he was accused of stealing.

Philip Yenyo, the executive director of the American Indian Movement of Ohio, told the court that Roche's actions deeply hurt the public's view of Native American activists. Yenyo is also a prominent anti-Wahoo activist whom Roche tried to sue in a separate lawsuit in 2016 (it was later dropped). He told the judge that the American Indian community is just as much a victim as the federal government.

"We're all seen as the same now. That we're money grubbing," Yenyo said.

Still, reported that Roche's statement to the court on Wednesday focusing more about the good he has done for American Indians in Ohio rather than his criminal activity.

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Yes Singer Jon Anderson Talks About the Band's 50th Anniversary Tour That's Coming to Hard Rock Live

Concert Preview

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 12:30 PM

  • Kevin Nixon
Yes frontman Jon Anderson is always thinking about — and working on — new music. But as you’ll discover when speaking with the legendary frontman, he’s still got his ear to the ground and is constantly consuming new music as well. We’re talking about his desire to go to the “top of the mountain” with another Yes album, and he takes a detour to discuss Childish Gambino. “Is that a video? Or is that a video,” he exclaims with an excited tone, during a recent phone call in advance of a forthcoming 50th anniversary concert by Yes featuring Anderson, Rabin and Wakeman.

The tour lands at Hard Rock Live on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Continue reading »

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Pro-Gun Kent State Alumna Kaitlin Bennett Thwarted by Standard Protocol

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 11:49 AM

  • Kaitlin Bennett | Twitter
Kent State University has ordered recent graduate Kaitlin Bennett — she of the viral "come and take it" graduation photos — to cease and desist from advertising a planned pro-Second-Amendment rally on campus scheduled for Sept. 29. Bennett, Kent State said, "has not registered the event and obtained the approvals required by university policy."

In an official statement, Kent State said that Bennett had failed to obtain sponsorship from a registered student organization or faculty department, as mandated by the university. A counterprotest was likewise ordered to cease and desist. 

"Kent State upholds the right to free speech and values respectful dialogue from all points of view," the statement read. "Consistent with our core values, we encourage open dialogue, freedom of expression and respectful discourse in an inclusive environment."

Bennett herself, who has become a minor celebrity among 2nd Amendment enthusiasts (and now has nearly 100,000 Twitter followers), didn't take kindly to Kent's decision. She Tweeted that she will show up regardless and that Kent will not suppress the legal expression of her 2nd Amendment rights. She has stated that Kent's efforts to make her follow protocol are "so they can make us pay thousands for security and control who speaks."

In a video posted to Twitter last night, Bennett confronts some university officials in the hopes of setting up a meeting. She accuses an office administrator of being rude, unprofessional and biased after she said she "think[s] it's strange" that Bennett is "hanging around so much" after her graduation in the spring.   

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