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Thursday, April 30, 2020

Cuyahoga County Reminds Residents All Communities Besides Cleveland Still Actually Recycling

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 10:10 AM

Republic Services Recycling Center, (5/18/19). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Republic Services Recycling Center, (5/18/19).

On the heels of a frank admission by the mayor of Cleveland that the city, while sending separate trucks to pick up residents' curbside recycling, is actually dumping those cans, bottles and cardboard directly in the landfill alongside regular garbage, the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District wanted to remind county residents who live anywhere but Cleveland that their recyclables are in fact still being sorted at separate facilities.

"There have been recent media reports about the issues with the City of Cleveland's recycling program and recyclable materials being landfilled," a Thursday morning press release read. "The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District wants Cuyahoga residents to know that this situation pertains to the City of Cleveland only. Curbside recycling collected in the other 57 communities in the county are sent to three northeast Ohio material recovery facilities to be processed."

Municipalities are responsible for their own contracts.

The global market for recyclables has cratered in recent years, and where cities used to turn a profit on contracting with companies that would eventually send the materials to China, they now break even or simply pay to live up to the sorts of practices and promises necessary to take care of the environment and be something approaching a Green City on a Blue Lake.

In Cleveland, market dynamics, Jackson said this week, have taken priority.

Improper residential sorting directly contributes to part of the problem — driving up the price, complicating sorting, etc. That's not a uniquely local problem, and municipalities have been fighting to get residents to recycle properly so that the process is cheaper, easier, and more efficient.

Cleveland, it seems, can't seem to do it.

"The problems experienced by Cleveland were due in large part to residents not recycling properly," the Solid Waste District's statement read. "Proper recycling reduces the cost of recycling by reducing the amount of non-recyclable material that has to be removed from the marketable materials."

Which doesn't let the city off the hook. In fact, quite the opposite. If it's true, and it undoubtedly appears to be, that Cleveland residents aren't especially mindful of sorting their recyclables, then the city should help them. It should be transparent. It should, through its leadership, speak to residents — gasp — directly.

Education and outreach can help solve those problems and drive resident recycling rates to those seen in neighboring communities like Cleveland Heights, Chagrin Falls, Bedford, Garfield Heights and just about every other Cuyahoga County municipality except East Cleveland and North Randall.

Because no, it's probably not ideal nor a coincidence given who's in charge that the largest city in Northeast Ohio is third to last in its own county for recycling rates, according to the Solid Waste District's annual report in 2018.

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Seven percent.

The Ohio statewide residential average, according to a 2018 EPA report, was 29.7%.

Cincinnati diverts (recycling + composting) at a 22.5% rate as of 2019 and Franklin County, home to Columbus, recycles at a 49.1% rate and is pushing hard through advocacy and education campaigns to hit 75% by 2032, if you're looking for statewide, big-city comparisons to Cleveland.

As we noted yesterday, to blame residents and pricing is a predictable but nevertheless sad abdication by city of its role and an admission that its environmental goals are important only when they're profitable.

"In a practical sense, there is no recycling," Jackson admitted.

In a practical sense, there is also no mayor.

Meanwhile, the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District wants to remind Cleveland residents that "recycling is as important as ever," and that there are dropoffs for aluminum cans, mixed paper and cardboard throughout the city. Find a location here.

Below, the city's official explanation, a month after the fact, of what happened.
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In Place of a Postponed Reunion Show, the Mike Farley Band to Release a Collection of B-sides and Rarities

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2020 at 10:00 AM

The Mike Farley Band, back in the day. - COURTESY OF MIKE FARLEY
  • Courtesy of Mike Farley
  • The Mike Farley Band, back in the day.
Back in the '90s, the Mike Farley Band was ubiquitous on the local music scene. The group has since disbanded, but it had planned to play a 20-year reunion show next month at Brothers Lounge.

Because COVID-19 derailed those plans, the group has postponed the show until 2021 at the soonest.

In place of the reunion show, the band will release an album of B-sides and rarities.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Lakewood Truck Park Still on Track to Open this Summer

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 5:09 PM

JUSTIN COSTANZO
  • Justin Costanzo
Before the coronavirus slammed the brakes on the local food and drinks scene, Dan Deagan and partner Justin Costanzo were inching ever closer to opening day for the ambitious and unique Lakewood Truck Park. Located at the corner of Detroit and Edwards, the 19,000-square-foot lot was to be home to a year-round courtyard coupled with an indoor bar, rotating food trucks and al fresco entertainment.

The good news is that construction is on pace to wrap up next week, says Deagan.

“Short of the remaining inspections and getting stuff in, we could open,” he says.

“Could” being the operative word. Discussions about going forward with a modest opening with a few food trucks and a scaled-back bar business were raised but quickly tabled.

“The more we thought about it, we decided that we would rather people see it for the first time when it’s fully open and doing what it’s supposed to be doing,” Deagan adds. “So we’ll probably end up waiting.”

If and when the Governor gives bars the green light – even if it’s at half-capacity – Deagan says they intend to open the doors.

“I think people will be more comfortable at the Truck Park, with it basically being an open-air, mostly outdoor venue, so that could very much benefit us,” he notes. “It’s essentially an 8,000-square-foot patio.”

Deagan also reports that he’s currently shopping for an east-side location to open a similar truck park concept.

Meanwhile, Humble Wine Bar opened last week for pick-up and delivery, but Deagan’s remains closed until further notice.

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Three 6 Mafia and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony to Engage in a Live Rap Battle on Instagram

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 2:08 PM

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Earlier this week, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, the hip-hop group that has deep ties to Cleveland, and Three 6 Mafia announced that they’d engage in a rap battle that’ll take place live in Instagram.

Since neither act can tour at the moment due to COVID-19 concerns, it seems like a decent way to keep fans engaged and interested.

Swizz Beatz and Timbaland started the trend earlier, and Ne-Yo, Johntá Austin, the-Dream and Sean Garrett, Hit-Boy and Boi-1da have also engaged in battles.

"Celebrating over 50 combined years of hits," said Krayzie Bone on Instagram as he made the announcement and hyped the event. He’ll represent BTNH and DJ Paul will represent Three Six Mafia.

The livestream will happen at 8 tomorrow night. Predictably enough, the acts will sell exclusive merch related to the event.

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Mayor Frank Jackson Confirms: All Cleveland Recyclables are Going to a Landfill

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 1:46 PM

Republic Services Recycling Center, (5/18/19). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Republic Services Recycling Center, (5/18/19).
Mayor Frank Jackson admitted Tuesday that all the recyclable material gathered each week as part of the city's curbside waste collection program is going to a landfill, right alongside residents' trash. Jackson said that the market had "fallen out of" recycling and that despite multiple attempts to secure a new contract, the city received only one bid.

"It came in at around $200 per ton," Jackson said in a teleconference Tuesday. "For [Cleveland], that's about $7 million."

Jackson said the financial goal of the municipal recycling program was merely to break even, but that Cleveland had in fact turned a profit for years, when recyclable goods were hot commodities overseas. That's no longer the case.

The city plans to continue shipping recyclable materials to the landfill until they receive a more "reasonable" bid or until such time as the market improves. Jackson had no idea when they might be.

"In a practical sense, there is no recycling," he said.

The Mayor advised, though, that Cleveland residents should still go through the motions of separating their recyclable material from their garbage — rinsing milk jugs and folding cardboard boxes and placing these items, loose, in the blue city carts. He noted that once a habit is broken, it's often difficult to return to them.

Though Fox 8 broke the story last year that much of the city's recycling was already going to a landfill — they placed GPS tracking devices in recyclable goods to confirm — yesterday's confirmation from the Mayor himself that recycling no longer exists came as a shock for both residents and leaders.

Ward 3 City Councilman Kerry McCormack, for example, told Scene that he heard the news from a resident who'd seen the Fox 8 story after the Mayor's conference call with the media. 

"Even when it's bad news, it's always worth it to proactively communicate it," McCormack said. "Even if you have to tell the whole city or neighborhood bad news, it's better to tell people what's up. You might get blow back, but at least you've been transparent. I understand there are dynamics globally at play here, but if we're really struggling to find a [recycling] partner, then tell people that."

Council President Kevin Kelley hadn't been aware of the specifics either. He appeared on a City Club virtual forum Friday morning and was asked about the truthfulness of the Fox 8 report. Kelley said he could not confirm — he had not seen the story — but he echoed Jackson's comments about the global market. 

"What we as a community need to be ready for is that recycling is different than when it started," he said. "The value of recycled goods has diminished tremendously. There was a point, when we started our recycling program, where companies would pay us to take our recycling. Now, we probably have to pay people to take it. We have a community education issue as well. Only about 15 percent of Clevelanders properly recycle."

This defeatist market pragmatism sure doesn't sound like the rhetoric we should expect from elected leaders in The Green City on a Blue Lake, leaders who for years have sermonized on the importance of sustainability. In addition to the flagrant transparency issues here, both Kelley's and Jackson's remarks lend the impression that Cleveland only cares about sustainability when it's profitable to do so.

It goes without saying that this revelation is a kick in the teeth to the 15 percent of residents who recycle properly, but it's also an insult to all those who have tried to do so genuinely, who have recognized that small individual actions can make a difference on the environment when we all act together.

***
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Ohio City Mainstay Soho Eyes Early Summer Reopening with New Menu and Format

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 1:20 PM

SCENE ARCHIVES
  • Scene Archives
Much to the chagrin of countless diners, SoHo Chicken + Whiskey (1899 W. 25th St., 216-298-9090) has been shut tight since March 15, when the Governor ordered all restaurants to close their doors to dine-in customers. Unlike countless other eateries, this one did not pivot to carry-out and delivery business because doing so did not feel right to chef and owner Nolan Konkoski.

“For us, it felt like it had never been part of our identity as far as what we have been doing on a daily basis for years, so to shift it to that felt desperate – and we didn’t feel desperate at that point,” he explains.

But a crisis, as we know, often yields opportunity, and that’s precisely how Konkoski and partner Molly Smith looked at the situation.

“We were actually planning a second, more casual biscuit concept that would have been more breakfast and lunch focused, so we're trying to view the current challenge as sort of a way to introduce that,” says Konkoski. “There would be a Southern spin to both, but there would be an obvious difference in what one does versus the other.”

The original plan called for opening the second concept at a different location or at the current location in Ohio City following the construction of a small addition in the rear that would allow the new business to piggyback off the existing kitchen, restrooms and liquor license. Now, the plan is to roll out the new concept in the existing space alongside a modified Soho format and menu.

“We kind of look at this as an opportunity to do what we do at Soho, while we interject some of what we were planning on doing, and kind of fusing the two and fine-tuning over the next several months and seeing what the response is,” Konkoski notes.

The month of May will be used for menu planning and light construction, which will facilitate the transition of Soho from a full-service restaurant to a fast-casual one. The bar will be converted to a counter with menu board, order and pick-up stations. Tables, albeit fewer of them, will be located inside and out for dine-in business if and when that is reintroduced.

The menu will evolve from Southern-styled breakfast tacos and biscuit sandwiches in the morning to fried chicken, chicken sandwiches and a streamlined bar menu come lunchtime.

“A smaller, more concise, more easily executed menu of a bunch of favorites from Soho, but also some new variations on that kind of stuff,” the chef explains.

For now, the tentative reopen date will be in early June, but that is subject to change and to the state of Ohio.

“It’s weird and it’s kind of crazy and it’s kind of scary, but it’s also fun to get creative,” says Konkoski. “We’ve been thinking about doing something like this, so to actually execute it is a neat opportunity and our employees are excited about doing something new.”

But the chef stresses that this next phase – call it Soho 3.0 – is temporary. Down the road, the plan is to spin off the breakfast and lunch concept and return Soho to its normal function as a full-service, finer-dining restaurant.

“That’s what we do, that’s what we do best and that’s where our passion is,” Konkoski says. “To not do that would be really, really odd for us. We have put so much into turning that restaurant into what it is that to never go back to that would be really sad for us.”

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Rewind: 47 Years Ago This Week, Scene Interviewed Steve Miller

Posted By on Wed, Apr 29, 2020 at 1:16 PM

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This July, Cleveland Scene will turn 50 years old, and in advance of the occasion, we've decided to dig into the archives on a weekly basis to republish something that appeared in the paper on that date (or thereabouts) during Scene's first decade.

This interview with singer-guitarist Steve Miller by Derek Van Pelt appeared in the issue that came out on April 26, 1973. It featured the headline, “'I’m no superstar,' the Space Cowboy says."

* * *

Steve Miller gave a great rock and roll concert at the Allen last Thursday. Unfortunately, only a little over half a house saw him — and many of those had come for the opening act, Rick Roberts. Roberts was pleasant (with all the sinister connotations of that word), coming out of his post-Burrito country thing, and was no kind of warmup for the Miller Band’s high pitch excitement.

The music Miller plays is simple, but it’s fully animated by the spirit of rock and roll — it’s bursting with energy and it’s accessible. And the band (Miller, guitar and vocals; Dick Thompson, organ; John King, drums; and Gerald Johnson, bass) has a good time playing it. Miller’s guitar work, more elaborate than on record, is outstanding for its precision, dynamic sense, and varying tone colors. He sings well, too.

Miller plays many kinds of music equally well. There was blues (“Blues with a Feeling” and “Rollin’ and Timeline,’" a guitar tour de force), funky-butt rhythm and blues, several folksy or country encores by Miller alone on acoustic guitar, and the unifying element, rock and roll (including the standards, “Space Cowboy” and “Livin in the USA,” as well as some righteous new tunes). It took him a while to rouse the sleepy audience as a whole, but after half an hour they were captured.

We talked to Steve Miller earlier that afternoon.

Scene: Has the success you’ve enjoyed brought about a separation between you and the people in your home town, in San Francisco?
Miller:
No. I’m no superstar. It’s no big flash scene. I’m like anybody else walking down the street in San Francisco. My audience has never been that huge. When I make a record, there are about 15Q or 200 thousand people who buy it.

Scene: Do you consider yourself primarily an entertainer, or do you feel a strong cultural identification with your audience?
Miller:
There are elements of both. You can’t forget that you’re a performer and that you’re there to entertain an audience. At the same time, I’m part of a musical and social community. I think our viewpoint is unusual for a mass audience — I don’t think we’ve ever catered to their basest desires. We don’t really consider ourselves “entertainers.” My audience is more special than larger ones. There’s about 200,000 people out there who are into more than Ripple and reds, who are better educated, more into music. I don’t feel I have to wear tight pants and shake my ass to get them off. They get off mainly on the music. And then there are political comments and a consciousness of the society w e live in! We make about six different kinds of music, so our audience must be pretty sophisticated.

Scene: What kind of audiences have you had lately?
Miller:
I haven’t liked San Francisco audiences much since the Fillmore became big business. I’ve played for some terrible audiences there — just five or six thousand people who want to get stoned and meet each other and have some music in the background. We had a great open-air concert in Raleigh. We had good audiences in Austin, Dallas, Colorado, Seattle; sometimes Boston gets it together, and New York is usually good. We had great audiences in England and in Amsterdam — very respectful, very patient. We’re like movie stars in Europe because we’re different, they don’t get to see us as often. We always get fantastic press coverage, we do national TV and radio. We rarely have a bad audience because we can control it, we can direct it into what we’re doing. 1 did give a fifteen-minute lecture to an audience on Long Island, at Stony Brook, that was all just zonked out on the floor, on sopors or whatever. I told them I consider myself a professional and that I wouldn’t even perform under those conditions, and they rallied and got it together.

Scene: Who are some of the musicians who influenced you when you were coming up?
Miller:
I went through the blues school — I lived in Chicago for two years and played the same clubs as all those guys. They were grown men playing electric instruments, as opposed to someone like Fabian or Frankie Avalon, which was what a lot of pop music was like then. Also, I came out of rhythm and blues, since 1 grew up in Texas, where it was top-40 music, what high school kids listened to. They ate up every record Little Walter released. It was the most mature electric music of the time. The Beatles influenced me a lot, and Simon and Garfunkel got to me pretty heavy when they first came out. Also, I was a Comparative Literature major at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Copenhagen, and I was into poetry. I listened to a lot of good jazz in my home through my father, and my mother’s side of the family were all musicians.

Scene: How did you get into electronics?
Miller:
I met Les Paul when I was five years old — he was a good friend of my father’s. That was when he was first working out his multi-track recording process, which was just a bunch of tape recorders hooked together somehow. There were tape recorders all over the house. Actually, all the electronics are sound effects. I was into sound effects, doing weird stuff with tapes, in 1960 — running it backwards, speeding it up, slowing it down, experimenting with textures. I got into Stockhausen, who legitimized all that stuff. And I always dug the old radio murder mysteries. You can do anything you want with sound effects — have somebody walking down a gravel path, opening a door, whatever. And that’s what those cats were into. Plus if you have a symphony orchestra you can do all kinds of things.

Scene: How do you put tunes together?
Miller:
I have a studio at home with a couple of keyboard instruments, some Indian instruments, and my guitars. 1 might have a lyric or some poetry I want to set to music, or a melody - I always have a hundred melodies running through my head. I might start with acoustic guitar. I always hear everything in four parts. Then I’ll play it on the organ or electric guitar and teach it to the other guys in the band. That’s one way. Then there are tunes that evolve when the band’s playing together, when we’re jamming. And I have a friend who’s a great lyricist, and I use his things.

Scene: Are you working on a record now?
Miller:
I’m working on three records. The first one will be a suite, with my lyricist friend Jason Cooper, about the American Indian. I’ve been working on that since November. Basically, this Caucasian goes camping in the desert. First, he’s impressed with the natural beauty of it. Then he finds he’s set up on an old Indian burial ground. He dreams he’s an Indian and has about four different visions. The second one is a Halloween record, which will just be a lot of fun, good grins, alot of sound effects. The third is an album of traditional Christmas carols, on acoustic guitar. Then we have all these great rock and roll tunes the band comes up with, and they’ll probably show up somewhere.

Scene: What other projects do you have in mind?
Miller:
I’m thinking of just taking a year off from touring to work on records. It gets pretty boring on the road — the only thing that makes it worthwhile is the two hours I’m playing. We toured fifty cities in two and a half months last fall, and twenty-five on this tour. But eventually I’d like to get Boz (Scraggs), the best people from both our bands, and put together a really great show and tour the States and Europe. When I was in London, I saw three friends who are really into writing, and that got me thinking again about a book I may do someday about this business of being on the road. I’m also writing a book on how to deal with record companies, how to go about the business of being a rock and roll band, since so many bands have come to me asking about whether they should take this or that deal. Finally, I may do a soundtrack for a big Hollywood movie, but that’s not confirmed yet.

Scene: Is there still any feeling of community among the bands in San Francisco?
Miller:
No, that all got destroyed by the national media — they just wiped it out. About all that whole thing did was to enable a few bands to get big record contracts so they could go on the road, play in places like Cleveland, and worry about being businesses. I saw Quicksilver in Indianapolis — I see them maybe twice a year. I saw Jorma (Kaukonen, of the Airplane) on the street in San Francisco and he didn’t know who I was. I used to play with him all the time: I haven’t seen the Dead in two and a half years. I’m home maybe three months out of the year and half of that I’m on vacation.

Scene: You’ve made some powerful social statements in your songs. Do you consider yourself radical?
Miller:
I’m still working on that. I haven’t made up my mind yet. Most of the real radicals I know have gone past the point of being intelligent about it. I don’t consider myself radical. I think there are plenty of things in my own area which be straightened. I don’t let my record company bullshit me. I dig the capitalist system — I don’t think I would have the opportunities I have now if I lived anywhere but the United States, to break out of that class society. I like making bucks for what I do. But at some point, you have to become socially conscious. I’m like the cats on the Whole Earth Catalog — I think all that information about running a band and dealing with record companies should be free. A lot of people try to tell me how to run my band; a lot of people make a living bullshitting you about what you’re supposed to do. I think all that information should be free. I’ve watched capitalism destroy itself through greed — all you have to do is look around to see that. What I’d like to see is some common sense use of resources: I’d like to see us spend that $200 billion from Viet Nam over here.

Scene: Where does the outlaw theme in your songs come from?
Miller:
I don’t know. I seem to have this thing with cops. I spent a night in jail two nights ago in Norwalk, Ohio — I was maced twice, hit over the head, and thrown in jail for telling a cop to cool out. I told him to stop shining his flashlight light in my face, to talk to me and stop threatening me. Actually, I think it started with “Gangster of Love” and went from there. I knew some burglars in Chicago who helped set me up in business. These were burglars who were also artists, real stone professionals. I was living on the street in Chicago for two and a half years, working seven hours a night. Those were the days. I was sitting around the apartment one day with them, smoking some joints and talking about how if I had some tape recorders and speakers I could so some multi-track recording. The next day there’s all this stuff sitting in my apartment, looking like it’s been ripped out of walls over the city. These guys came and visited me in my house in San Francisco later, and I had to ask them to leave because everybody was wondering where they were getting all this jewelry and stuff they were giving away to my friends. We’d get caught in the rain and they’d zip into a store and come out with a bunch of new raincoats. Everything was free to them.

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