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Student Shuffle Hits Snafu

Be true to your school! South High students Timothy and Tabatha Braddock, who were suspended but not charged in the wake of the make-believe massacre, are refusing their reassignment to a new school. The Braddocks got letters over the weekend notifying them they've been "involuntarily transferred" to a school in Maple Heights, according to lawyer Dan Shields, who says the only place his clients are going is back to South High. "No one has shown me these kids should be subjected to any punishment," says Shields. Cleveland schools spokesman Bill Wendling says the Braddocks were given a fair hearing and reassigned to an "appropriate" facility. But attorneys for the school system better sharpen their pencils, warns Shields. "My two kids want to return to South High, and they are fighters." Maybe there'll be a homecoming court after all.

Meanwhile, the conspiracy case against the students continues to be tried mostly in The Plain Dealer, which, on Sunday, blamed the apparent lack of evidence on a "botched" investigation. "That's ludicrous," insists mayoral spokeswoman Nancy Lesic, who says she heard no such complaint "prior to the [PD] reporter inquiring about it." Flawed or not, the investigation is still ongoing, which hasn't prevented The PD from leaking details about the case that haven't even been delivered to the prosecutor's office yet. Such leaks are characteristic of City Hall, but Lesic insists the opposite is true in this case. "I contacted an editor at The Plain Dealer [after the first story]," she says, "and told him, be careful your sources are not exaggerating." So who's orchestrating the leaks? As the conspiracy deflates, that's becoming a more intriguing question than the legitimacy of the phantom shoot-out.

In the wake of a Scene story exposing the questionable business practices of a ring of East Side computer dealers, the companies are disappearing faster than an Indians lead. Both Micro Time and Micro Trends have reportedly pulled the plug, with the fast talkers at New Age Micro rumored to be on the cusp. Stick around, boys, or you'll miss the indictments.

Among the congratulatory calls new Council President Mike Polensek received was one from former councilman and mayor Dennis Kucinich, who said he'd like to stop by for a confab with the Council caucus. "The door is always open to a former colleague," Polensek told him. Kucinich says he wants to discuss constituent services and such, and won't belabor the obvious: "Mr. Polensek understands that Council is a coequal branch of government."

When former Council President Jay Westbrook took a dive, the finger of blame first pointed at a cabal of conniving councilmen. Then it swung around to Democrats 2000, the emerging group of mostly white, mostly suburban power brokers. "Westbrook is blaming everybody but himself," retorts County Recorder Patrick O'Malley. "It didn't happen like that. The votes were there. Nobody from our group attempted to influence anyone." The PD story had the D-2000 plot allegedly being hatched in the kitchen of a West Side restaurant, neglecting to mention that another 70 to 80 Dems were in the dining room, listening to Senate hopeful Reverend Marvin McMickle. "Little-known East Side black U.S. Senate candidate meets with a group of white West Side officials, and they agree to back him," O'Malley helpfully recaps. "That was the story." Next time, check with the chef.

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