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Textbook trouble; A mayoral docudrama; Moron of the week.


To save students from casual contact with Satan, the Mayfield Heights school district has banned teachers from using Harry Potter in the classroom. The move was prompted by a mother who, while attending an open house, witnessed a teacher -- gasp! -- reading a Potter book to children. According to a magazine article the mother had read, Harry is linked to the Theology of Darkness.

Students can still check out the books at the library and read them silently in class, but teachers are strictly prohibited from reading aloud or assigning Lucifer's texts to children. "We're trying to meet the needs of both groups of people," says one administrator, who bravely requested anonymity. "We responded to the parent concerns immediately." In an unrelated matter, Mayfield Heights is petitioning to become a suburb of Alabama.

Since spring, Mayor White's office has been faxing out lists of Plain Dealer public records requests to the rest of the North Coast media. Recently, mayoral frontman Brian Rothenberg rose further above the call of duty by faxing a flow chart, complete with specific reporter requests and dates of request, to all Cleveland media. A cynic might assert that White, no friend of the paper, is playing hardball by alerting competitors to PD stories in the works. Rothenberg claims the measures are simply White's reaction to criticism that documents are produced at tortoise pace.

"So far this year, we've received 132 requests from The PD and given them 37,897 pieces of paper," he says. By notifying other news agencies, clerks can gather info for everyone at once. Call it efficient governance. But asked if a grudge might still be involved, Rothenberg responds with a knowing chuckle, "I respect the law."

Moron of the Week: Today's honoree is Chip McConville, political director of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, whose crude and misleading ad campaign to defeat Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick backfired. Astonishingly, McConville says similar ads will likely be used again. What The Edge wants to know is, has anyone told this clown he lost? . . . In related weirdness, sources say The PD has a new ethics policy requiring entertainment reporters to buy tickets for events they cover. The paper presumably feels its writers can be bought off with a $20 concert ticket.

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