Old Brooklyn residents have long been flaking out over graphite flakes that have showered from the skies for years, leaving residue on cars, lawn furniture, and everything else with the audacity to be located outdoors. Now, the city's public health department believes it's put an end to the pollution, having fingered a slag pit at the steel by-product processing plant Stein Inc. The flakes apparently flew up when molten metal was poured into an open-air cooling pit. When the silver flurries fell in late April, a dozen residents complained to the city, which sampled the flakes and found them a match to Stein's metals. Since the city got on Stein's case, the company has built a big shed over the pit. "People are very fearful," says Councilwoman Merle Gordon, who's seen the stuff in her own yard. "Let's hope it never happens again."
Cab driver/gonzo author Thomas Jasany continues his exposés of Cleveland's drunken underbelly with a website (clevelandcabby.com) full of customer chatter. The site carries on the mission of Jasany's self-published tomes, The Ultimate Cleveland City Guide and "A Fares" of a Cleveland Cabby, which blend tales from passengers with their own best-of lists. In May and June, he web-cammed wasted revelers in the Flats, yielding footage of partying bachelorettes offering chances to suck Life Savers off a bride-to-be, a melancholy drunk confronting the existential hollowness of Cleveland nightlife, and Jasany's own philosophizing. The customers authorize taping; many have seen HBO's Taxicab Confessions and are eager for their two minutes of fame. "Every week, somebody gets in the cab and says, 'Are we on tape?'" says Jasany. "When I say, 'Yeah, we're taping tonight,' they get all excited."