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Monday, March 8, 2021

Ohioans 50 and Older Will Be Eligible for Covid Vaccine Beginning Thursday

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 2:48 PM

  • Maryland National Guard/FlickrCC
Gen-Xers, rejoice! Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday afternoon that due to excess supply of the coronavirus vaccine, the pool of eligible recipients will be expanded Thursday.

Starting on that day, all Ohioans aged 50 and older and those with Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease can begin to get their Covid shots.

The announcement came shortly after DeWine and federal officials announced that the CSU Wolstein Center would open as a mass vaccination site, operated by FEMA, on March 17. The site will be one of 15 mass vaccination sites statewide and one of at least 18 FEMA sites across the country. 

Last week, Ohioans 60 and older, along with with those in certain professions (including law enforcement officers and funeral home workers) became eligible for the vaccine. Medical providers advised Gov. DeWine, though, that there were vaccines left over. Thus, the expansion.

There are close to 2 million Ohioans aged 50-59, a quarter of a million with end-stage kidney disease and about 170,000 with Type 2 Diabetes.

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Fully Vaccinated People Can Now Rage Indoors Together Without Masks, CDC Says

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 1:27 PM

  • Dr. Fauci receiving the Moderna vaccine/ NIH photo
Scream, swap spit, and unmask your deepest desires, because the time has come for fully vaccinated folks to be able to hold and attend indoor gatherings with fellow fully vaxxed people without masks.

That's right — fully vaccinated people (meaning people who have waited two weeks after having received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson's) can now gather indoors together without wearing masks, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Monday.

Fully vaccinated people can also gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, so as long as those in the household are not considered high risk for COVID-19. And if you've been around someone who is COVID-19 positive, you no longer have to keep clear of others or get tested, as long as you have received all recommended doses and have waited two weeks following the final dose.

The CDC notes that despite being fully vaccinated, people who live in a group setting — like a correctional facility or group home, and have been exposed to others who have contracted COVID-19 — are advised to still quarantine for 14 days and get tested, with or without symptoms.

But don't get too excited, as the CDC also addresses everything that has not changed for those who have vaccinated. It's still recommended that fully vaxxed people maintain social distancing and mask-wearing in public and at the workplace, and should continue to avoid crowds, poorly ventilated spaces, and gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from more than one other household.

It's also suggested to note any possible COVID-19 symptoms regardless of vaccination status, because as the CDC states, we're still learning how effective these vaccinations are in preventing the spread of the virus and how long vaccines are effective.

For more information regarding CDC recommendations, see

And remember — rage responsibly.

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By the Grace of God, No Guitars in 2022 Cleveland NBA All-Star Game Logo

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 12:37 PM

The NBA 2022 All-Star Game primary logo.
  • The NBA 2022 All-Star Game primary logo.

The NBA and the Cleveland Cavaliers have unveiled the official logos for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. The event and its associated festivities will be held at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland on Feb. 20 next year.

The game will be significant as the NBA will be celebrating its 75th year. And unlike last night's Covid-affected All-Star event in Atlanta, the All-Star game will next year likely revert to its multi-day extravaganza format, with thousands of expected visitors and hours of national media exposure. That's why it was touted so aggressively as a selling point for public subsidies during the Q Deal debate.

The good news for locals, Monday morning, is that neither the 2022 event's primary logo nor its secondary spinoffs contain a guitar. Instead, the simple graphic design features a star merged with Cleveland's Terminal Tower. The colors and typefaces are the Cleveland Cavaliers'.

The absence of the guitar has been greeted with relief by those on social media who have grown weary of Cleveland's reliance on guitar imagery to celebrate Cleveland as a rock and roll capital.

Guitars featured prominently in the logos for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game, the 2016 Republican National Convention, the 2007 NCAA Women's Final Four, and the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, the last time Cleveland hosted the NBA event.

The Terminal Tower motif is a small but crucial psychological step forward, according to this view.

One of the NBA 2022 All-Star Game's secondary logos.
  • One of the NBA 2022 All-Star Game's secondary logos.

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Cleveland Bagel Co. and Bialy's Land on Food and Wine's List of the 50 Best Bagel Shops in America

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 11:44 AM

A big old bag of Bialy's bagels - PHOTO BY DOUG TRATTNER
  • Photo by Doug Trattner
  • A big old bag of Bialy's bagels

"A funny thing happened, while New York began settling for mediocrity: a new generation of American bakers figured out just how easy it was to get into the game. Best of all, most of them have their own ideas about what a modern American bagel should look like."

So says Food & Wine, which this week rolled out its list of the best bagels in the country. And while New York, naturally, can lay claim to multiple entries in the rankings, so too does Cleveland, where fans don't need to be told by a national food magazine that some of the best bagels being made can be found at Bialy's and the Cleveland Bagel Company.

Still, the recognition is nice.

Here's what Food & Wine had to say about the local champs.


The story goes something like this: Back in the 1960s, a Brooklyn-born baker in search of an untapped market decided on Cleveland, picked up a phone book, scanned it for Jewish-sounding last names, and started calling around, asking where he should open up shop. For more than thirty-five years, Terry Skolnick, and later on his descendants, ran the best bagel shop around—a shop that twin sisters Rachel and Sarah Gross grew up visiting frequently, visits that inspired them to open their own place. That never happened, which was all for the best, because in 2017, they ended up buying Bialy's, carrying on a tradition of making some of the best New York bagels west of the Allegheny. The everything (here, known as a Mish Mosh) and sesame especially aren't just dead ringers for the original article—they're often better.

And Cleveland Bagel Co.:

The direct route from New York to Cleveland is over seven hours of mostly lonely, mostly bagel-less road, and yet, stepping into either of Dan Herbst and Geoff Hardman's heavily-subscribed shops on a weekend morning, you feel as if you have covered almost no ground at all. (Herbst lived in New York long enough to know how a classic bagel shop looks and acts, and it shows.) Bagels here are made the classic way—no bull, nothing overly fancy, just good technique. 

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Pandemic Hasn't Slowed Egyptian Comedian Bassem Youssef, Who Performs This Week at the Funny Stop

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 10:16 AM

Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef. - COURTESY OF JEFF ABRAHAM
  • Courtesy of Jeff Abraham
  • Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef.
Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef hasn’t let the pandemic get in the way of his standup tour. Just this year, he’s played gigs in New Jersey and Florida.

He’ll appear at the Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls from Thursday through Saturday. Tickets to Youssef's shows are on sale now.

Youssef, a surgeon who was offered a job at the Rainbow Children’s Hospital shortly after he graduated from medical school some ten years ago, entered the world of political satire when he launched a show on YouTube that led to the most popular political satire show in the Middle East, Al-Bernameg. While doing that show, Youssef was arrested and interrogated; he eventually fled the country for the States just in time to see Donald Trump elected President.

Currently, Youssef, who just published his first children’s book, The Magical Reality of Nadia, is working with Powerhouse Animation Studios to adapt the book as a television series. Youssef also stars in the web series Plant B that explores how diet can radically improve one’s health. The series features information from some of the world’s most respected doctors, researchers, and individuals who successfully changed their lives after following a plant-based diet.

Youssef recently spoke about his career and what to expect from his standup shows during a call from Los Angeles International Airport, where he was waiting to board a flight to Dubai.

Most touring has been on hold. I’m wondering what kind of reaction you typically get when you tell people you’re hitting the road during the pandemic?
Half of them tell me I’m crazy, but the other half tell me they’re excited to come. We’re performing with limited capacity and with safety precautions. People are glad that they’re coming out to laugh.

Where do live now?
I’m in Los Angeles, where I’ve been for the past four years. I love it here. You know, I almost ended up in Cleveland. I was heart surgeon, and I passed my exams and got accepted for a fellowship in Cleveland at the Rainbow Children’s hospital. I specialized in pediatric heart surgery. I was waiting for the papers. The revolution happened, and I started doing the media stuff and it went off from there.

Talk about making the transition from surgeon to political satirist.
I had no idea what I was doing. It just happened. Now, I’m doing another reinvention because I’m doing standup for an audience that doesn’t know me. It’s interesting to find myself in the middle of Maryland where people don’t know who you are. It’s been interesting but amazing.

Looking back on it, do you have some sense of what would’ve led you to embrace political satire?
I don’t know. The opportunity presented itself during the marginal freedom we had during the revolution. It’s been amazing since then. You get to do something that nobody else has done. With all that’s going on, it offers an incredible amount of material everyday.

Can you summarize the three seasons of Al-Bernameg? What was that time period of your life like?
I was arrested and had my show cancelled twice under the military. I don’t know if you can even call it three seasons because sometimes it would end after just one episode. It was all very interesting.

You came to the U.S. in 2015 and then served as a resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the John F Kennedy School of Government for one semester. What was that experience like?
America was in the turmoil of the 2016 election. People were looking to [Egypt] for guidance or as a cautionary tale. I was in a unique position. That’s where my interest in standup comedy. I started doing standup comedy in different languages. It’s not like regular standup comedy, but it’s more like my life story. The first act is me and the second act is me coming here under Trump. I tell stories about being misunderstood in both acts.

You also appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Talk about your friendship with him.
He is amazing. People focus on the fact that I was on his show four times, but he came to my show in Egypt. That, to me, was validation. He was someone I looked up to and my idol. He came to see my work. When he came on stage, he had a standing ovation for a few minutes and people were going crazy for him. I remember him telling me after the show that I could’ve never imagined that a short Jewish guy from New Jersey would be received that way in Egypt.

Talk about your children’s book.
It was inspired by my daughter. It’s about empathy and courage and friendship. It is an incredible story of magic and history and time travel. I enjoyed writing it.

Do you have other projects in the works?
You’re in Hollywood, so you’re always pitching ideas. I have an idea for an animated series. I’m also hoping for a standup special, and I have another show that talks about immigration in America that I pitched to HBO.

Do you think things will get better now or are we stuck with Trumpism even though Trump isn’t president?
I don’t think things will get better in the absolute sense. Some things will get worse, but some things will get better. We didn’t get rid of the effect that Trump has had on politics, but at the same time, more and more people are coming to more awareness and understanding. You can’t have an absolute result.

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New Opportunities to Connect College Students to SNAP in Ohio

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 9:21 AM

  • AdobeStock

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hunger is an unfortunate reality for many Ohio college students, but there are new opportunities to help connect more students to food assistance.

The USDA is allowing new flexibility so low-income "traditional" students temporarily can qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Betsy Suver, bureau chief of SNAP, cash policy and technical assistance for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, explained two changes, the first of which involves eligibility for work-study students.

"It used to say 'participating in a work study,' but now all they have to do is be eligible to participate in a work study," Suver outlined. "And the second one is completely new; and this is students with an expected family contribution or EFC of zero."

That means eligible students must have filled out a zero EFC on their financial-aid application.

A survey conducted at the start of the pandemic found 44% of students at two-year colleges and 38% of students at four-year colleges were food insecure.

The changes were part of the CARES Act passed in December.

Suver noted the maximum SNAP benefit also was boosted by 15% during the pandemic.

"So even if someone would normally just qualify for $100, they will get the $234 while we're eligible for what are called emergency allotments," Suver observed.

Food insecurity is more prevalent among non-traditional students; those age 25 and older and those who are parents.

Randy Gardener, Chancellor for the Ohio Department of Higher Education, said campuses need to ensure the academic success and wellness of the "whole student" is supported.

"Higher education must be about supporting and respecting the whole student. You've got health-care challenges, you've got unemployment issues and trying to maintain a semblance of education during this difficult time just means we have to do everything we can," Gardener stressed. "We have to do as much as possible."

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and The Ohio Department of Higher Education are working with The Center for Community Solutions and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks to help colleges and universities raise awareness about the new opportunities for food assistance.

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Closed Since 2018, Beloved Dive Venue Pat's in the Flats Has Now Been Sold

Posted By on Mon, Mar 8, 2021 at 9:12 AM

Patricia Hanych in front of Pat's in the Flats the day she handed over the keys - PHOTO BY SHAWN MISHAK
  • Photo by Shawn Mishak
  • Patricia Hanych in front of Pat's in the Flats the day she handed over the keys

It was a bittersweet farewell for Patricia Hanych as she handed over the keys to legendary live music venue, Pat’s in the Flats, last week, just days before her 81st birthday. Hanych closed up shop and decided to put the building up for sale a couple of years ago due to health reasons. The business had been in her family since her father, William Hanych, purchased it in 1945.

It operated first as Pickles before a name change to Anne’s Lunch in 1951, after Hanych’s mother. Hanych worked there since she was in high school with a brief hiatus when she went to Ohio State University.

In the beginning the business was a full-service restaurant and bar tending to the needs of staff from the local incinerator plant and other industrial workers.

“In the summer time, the guys would be working in the garbage plant and they’d come in for lunch,” says Hanych. “The stench they would bring with them because they worked with all this garbage was so that they kind of filled up the business along with the smell at the same time.”

Haynch has many treasured memories over the decades from milestones large and small.

On her 21st birthday, “I was down there and the guys that were working at the sewer department brought me cake and then my aunt and uncle came down at lunch time and brought me another cake and then after work that night, there were some more cakes so that was busy day not mention all the drinks that were involved in-between all those cakes but none the less that was one to remember.”

Not all the memories are happy though.

It was a dark day in January of 1969 when her brother William, named after their father, was shot and killed in one of the three hold-ups that happened at the venue over the years. Her father took her mother to Florida to get her out of her “funk,” as Pat describes it, before her father passed away from a heart attack. Pat thinks the grief of the death of her brother was partly to blame for her father’s demise.

“It made me mad about how this had happened to my family. My mother wanted to sell right away as soon as my dad died,” explains Pat. “I said give me five years, I think I deserve that much. So she said okay. We were doing alright, so I said give me another five years."

Fast forward to 1987 when a local act called Pat’s Hot Knights needed a place to play. Pat allowed them to play there and before long more bands got wind of the bar being a place for original live music and thus began the metamorphosis from Anne’s, simply a blue-collar restaurant and shot-and-beer joint, to one of the most fabled underground music venues in Cleveland history, including hosting the White Stripes for one of their first shows outside of their hometown of Detroit.

Among her favorite local bands over the years she lists the mid-2000s Cleveland power pop-darlings Machine Go Boom, because she said she was able to sing along to their songs.

“Pat's in the Flats was a place I could seek refuge from the boring nightlife and see genuine music played live,” says Michael Baranick, Machine Go Boom's principal songwriter. “I remember seeing The White Stripes opening a show there when they were still figuring themselves out — the headliner (The Hentchmen) were much better that night. Over the years of playing in bands I was lucky enough to form a bond with Pat. She was always the sweetest person to me and sometimes I wished she was my aunt or something. I'll always hold that club, and Pat near and dear to my heart.”

Pat wishes she could have continued going with the club for longer but ultimately it was health issues which made her give the business up.

“My head says I could, and my body says forget it,” says Hanych.

She’s happy to be home and says she has plenty to keep herself occupied as she cooks for and looks after her four-year-old hound dog, Brutus. When I asked her what she might like to convey to all of the patrons and musicians she’s connected with over the years, she said,  “I miss them. I wasn’t happy the way this all turned out in the end for me and I never expected it to be a health issue but you don’t know in life. I had hoped we could go out in a different way. I had a good time and I couldn’t have asked for a better job, for me, for what I like to do, which is talk a lot and make friends.”

New owner Aaron Westerburg says he’s uncertain of the plans for the building, which he closed on for a mere $60,000. Westerburg was born and raised in Cleveland and now lives in Hudson with his wife and kids. He realizes the rich history of the building and is open-minded to investment opportunities or concepts for the property.

“I definitely want to bring this thing back to something that people will enjoy and use in the future for many years to come,” says Westerburg. 

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