TV news loves sex scandals, but the general goal is to make sure the tawdry action doesn't involve your own staff.
Not so in Youngstown last week. Catherine Bosley, a 10-year news anchor at WKBN, resigned from her job after photos of her baring all at a Florida wet T-shirt contest became must-see TV on the internet.
The photos show Bosley teasing the crowd as she is hosed down with water. By the end, she has shed all her clothes, revealing some serious anatomical splendor. (Since Scene is part of the Catholic-controlled media, we're bound by God and sexual repression to show only one of the tamer shots here. But perverts can find the full gallery at glumbert.com.)
Bosley, alas, regrets her behavior. She had just recovered from a deadly lung disease and wanted to celebrate life at the Florida event, which sounds like a pretty good excuse to Punch. Unfortunately, such reasoning doesn't always sit well in television news, where female anchors are required to play the really-good-looking-girl-next-door role.
"I felt like I disappointed myself," she said. "I felt like I disappointed God."
Prisons are brimming with guys claiming to be innocent, but few have a photo to prove it.
As Scene reported more than a year ago ["The Photograph," October 9, 2002], Theodore Georgekopoulos was a successful Greek immigrant convicted of killing his fiancée, Olga Suhre. Georgekopoulos maintained that Suhre shot herself as he tried to wrestle the gun away from her. His family offered suicide notes that the woman had penned and stories of her unbalanced behavior.
But the most compelling evidence was a crime-scene photo that showed gun-powder burns on both of Georgekopoulos's hands. As independent investigators pointed out, it would be impossible to get such burns on the hand that pulled the trigger. And the only hand that lacked gunpowder burns was Suhre's.
So how could a jury ignore such compelling evidence? Easy. Jurors were never shown the photo. The family only discovered it two years ago during a meeting with prosecutors, who had apparently withheld the photo at the time of the trial.
Earlier this month, a judge tossed out Georgekopoulos's 1997 murder conviction.
But his cell door hasn't been unlocked yet. Prosecutors will have to decide whether to try him again, arrange a plea, or simply drop the charges. At least framing him is no longer an option.
Shelter boss gets bumped
Director Glenn James was fired last week from the Summit County Animal Shelter. County Executive James McCarthy finally decided that a guy who kills cats and dogs for fun probably shouldn't draw a government paycheck ["House of Horrors," October 22].
Ironically, James wasn't booted because of evidence that he's a really sick bastard. Former workers say his employees held dogfights with animals in their care, and animal-welfare activists produced evidence that he ordered mass kills of cats about to be adopted. Instead, he was fired for record-tampering and insubordination. It seems that someone got creative with the Wite-Out and made massive alterations to drug records at the shelter.
But it's hard to say whether anything will change. The acting director is Craig Stanley, James's former supervisor. And Stanley wasn't exactly a model of supervision.
The Canton traitor
Seattle, leading sociologists have long posited, is a place where flannel and leather are defiled by art-school punks. Where angst is considered a professional sport. Where coffee costs more than a Tremont townhouse. Fact is, it's really just a sun-deprived diorama of California, with all of the Botox and vanity, but none of the movie roles.
So perhaps it's no surprise that when Seattle Weekly ran a column devoted to New Year's resolutions, it boiled down to this: Be glad you're not Cleveland.
Writer Andrew Bonazelli spent a week here over the holidays. Among his observations:
· The Grog Shop and Peabody's have moved to sleek, spacious new buildings. This is bad.
· Speak in Tongues, the indie-rock flophouse that smelled of stale beer by day and urine by night, is gone. This, too, is bad.
· Our radio stations don't play enough Joy Division.
· The column also included such wonderful lines as "Cleveland has the color, aroma, and spirit of an oat bran bowel movement."
Now it just so happens that Bonazelli is from Canton. We presume that he managed to get a trust fund, dreadlocks, and the ability to speak at length about how oppressed he is in order to meet Seattle's residency requirements. But after being called out as the traitorous bastard that he is, Bonazelli is contrite.
"The column may have come off as a little more contemptuous than it should have been," he concedes. "People are responding accordingly. It's sort of become a guillotine."
Telemarketing. The word conjures images of lowlifes. Sweaty men in bad suits, with varmint-like features, sweet-talking old ladies out of their retirement savings.
Politicians understand this, and since few people score higher on the Scumbag Meter than they do, they've delighted in scoring points by kicking telemarketers squarely in the groin, over and over again. State Senator Robert Spada (R-North Royalton) is the latest.
Last week, Governor Taft signed into law a Spada bill that penalizes Ohio telemarketers who call residents enrolled on the national "Do Not Call" list (www.donotcall.gov). The feds already can nail list violators, but that won't win local elections. Kick, kick, kick.
Spada's law, like the federal version, also exempts -- surprise! -- politicians. States are allowed to be more restrictive with their own do-not-call laws if they choose, according to the Federal Communications Commission. But that didn't happen here.
Naturally, an aide to Spada blames the rest of the legislature. "He would have been fine with it being more strict," says Michele Hulse. "But we had a difficult enough time" getting it passed.
It's a hard, hard life
Last March, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas Moyer gathered political leaders from around the state to brainstorm ways to keep judicial elections from looking like WWE cage matches. After nine months of meetings, the results are what you'd expect: Naked self-interest has carried the day.
One of the committee's top recommendations: Pay judges more money. "By increasing compensation for the judges, it would attract an even higher caliber of candidates to the job," says Chris Davey, Moyer's spokesman.
This, of course, ignores the fact that jurists are already bringing down some hefty cheese. Starting salary for a municipal judge, the lowest kind of judge in Ohio, is $103,000. That's about double the median income of two-parent families in the state, according to local think tank Policy Matters. Moyer already takes home $138,000 a year.
"I don't call it a reform to say that judges need an increase in salary," says Catherine Turcer, a lobbyist for Ohio Citizen Action and a member of Moyer's committee.
The group also suggested lengthening judges' terms from 6 years to 10 or even 12. "By having judges spending less time campaigning and more time doing their jobs, the process would be depoliticized," says Davey.
But it would also make these rare elections more important. "Imagine the mudslinging," Turcer says. "It would be just nasty."
Look for the final report to include recommendations for discounted greens fees, a 10-hour workweek, and seaside condos in France.
Vanity be thy name
Dennis Kucinich is many things, but "understated" is not one of them. The elfin one came out swinging last week with the feistiest political ad in years.
Airing on hip-hop station 107.9, the ad starts with the K-man saying that civil rights, education, and health care "are not just for a privileged few. They are God-given human rights for everyone."
Next comes the announcer, who blasts President Bush's war in Iraq with a verbal bazooka: "The real weapons of mass destruction are right here at home. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Joblessness is a weapon of mass destruction . . ." -- as are poor health care, homelessness, discrimination, and racism.
Pretty strong stuff for a guy who won't eat hamburgers. "This is a strong candidate," says David Swanson, Kucinich's press secretary.
What's interesting is that the ads were airing in Ohio -- only days from the Iowa caucuses and two weeks before the New Hampshire primary. While Punch would never begrudge the little guy his scamming money from the nuts-and-berries crowd in Marin County and dumping it back in Cleveland, it's more evidence that Kucinich isn't actually running for president. He's just doing what he does best: promoting Kucinich.
Swanson takes umbrage at the thesis. "Contrary to common wisdom, this primary race is not going to be over in Iowa. This is likely to go right down to the convention."
Which means that the K-man is keenly poised to go neck-and-neck with another former race-baiter, Al Sharpton, for the highly sought Participation Award come convention time.
The smell that sells
For as long as people have worn patchouli, other people have wanted to strangle them. But thanks to a Chagrin Falls entrepreneur, now you can smell like the back of a VW van and keep your job at the same time.
It's called Patchouli Blend -- the creation of Valerie Allen, who began wearing the fragrance to her job at a Nordstrom makeup counter. Like all the best herbal concoctions, it was created for personal use only -- but that changed once shoppers got a whiff.
"I'd have people circling around me," Allen says of the smell, a mix of three oils. It's not the first patchouli perfume in the world, but it may be the best.
"People who don't like patchouli will like this. People who like patchouli will love this," says Suzi Smith, former buyer for the Coventry boutique High Tide/Rock Bottom, which stocks the unisex fragrance in quarter-ounce bottles that retail for $17.50. "Most people think patchouli is very pungent, but this is a softer patchouli. As soon as I smelled it, I was like, 'Wow -- that's gonna move.'"
And it has. Hundreds of bottles have sold since High Tide started carrying it. Other area retailers have since jumped aboard, and word-of-mouth has led to sales from Massachusetts to California. Even better: Patchouli Blend is close to securing the best publicity this side of Fritos sponsorship -- a gig on the Home Shopping Network.