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Gamblers Catch High School Fever

Another Browns pasting? Who cares! The hot betting action in town these days is on the high school gridiron, with the tournament victories of St. Ignatius and Walsh Jesuit closing out the most lucrative year yet for local bookies. Spurred by the Internet and overheated "Friday Night Fever" television coverage, wagering on scholastic studs now includes a point spread for nearly every game. "It's unbelievable, and it's getting bigger every year," enthuses one bookie. Another claims to have cleared $40,000 this year, thanks partly to one sucker who dropped $3,000 betting against the Wildcats in their 24-10 championship victory over Huber Heights Wayne. For the record: Ignatius, getting 71/2 points, easily beat the spread, but tanked the over/under, which was 48 points.

Another lawsuit? Could be! While Imperial Mayor Mike White makes the streets safe for Christmas shopping by evacuating the homeless, visions of legal briefs are dancing in the head of Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Director Brian Davis. Two years ago, City Hall reached a settlement in an earlier case filed by the ACLU that forbade transporting anybody against their will, even to homeless shelters. "I didn't think this was a violation," Davis says of the latest sweep. "But seeing the news coverage of homeless people being dropped off at places like St. Malachi's has made me concerned. That would violate the settlement." Davis will pick up the discussion with eager ACLU lawyers on Friday.

Meet Robert Redford? You bet! Next month's Sundance Film Festival will include the debut feature of Shaker Heights sisters Jenniphr, Greer, and Dana Goodman, a romantic comedy titled The Tao of Steve. Directed and co-written by Jenniphr, a Hawken grad now living in Santa Fe, the film stars Greer (Hawken) in the female lead and Dana (Shaker High), actresses living in New York. "We're very excited," says dad Richard, an executive recruiter with realistic expectations. "I'm going to Sundance, but I'm not sure I can get into the premiere. I'll probably see one of the subsequent screenings."

Pusillanimous politics? No problem! Former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder's ideological differences with ex-colleague Mary Rose Oakar (Patsy's pro-choice, MRO is not) are apparently forgotten. Schroeder, who will be in town for a December 17 City Club appearance, will also appear at a breakfast fund-raiser for Oakar. The $20 ticket helps fund Oakar's state rep race, but Schroeder doesn't miss a trick -- for another $15, you get a copy of her new book.

Apocalypse now? Maybe not! Some holiday cheer, first from elusive CPPA President Bob Beck, who is certain Cleveland police properly handled their end of the South High fiasco. "The mayor would have been better served waiting, letting the officers handle it before he made those incredible claims to the public. The finger ended up pointing right where it belongs -- at Sixth and Lakeside." And from Ohio National Guard Captain Neal O'Brien, these words of Y2K comfort: "There is no indication for the need to mobilize troops. There is certainly a heightened sense of concern because of all the hype. But we've told people to just take care of their own home and families." And ask questions later.

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