Peed Off about the Rock Off: Authors usually stick with subjects they know, so Jeff Niesel was right at home on the subject of jerk-offs [Soundbites, February 1]. What would drive someone to write such a vicious review of an event that was obviously a big hit with everyone there? He complains that the kids all sounded like they were trying to imitate other bands. Give me a break. These are high school kids. They are all still learning about being musicians. Just like apprentices who learn by copying an experienced craftsman, these kids learn by copying the bands they hear and like. Expecting 16- and 17-year-olds to have their own sound is unreasonable. The kids learn from what they hear on the radio and see in the clubs, and that's the stuff they played -- and mostly played well.
Sorry about the proud parents and excited friends in the audience screaming for their bands. Who would think to bring families and friends to watch what was the probably the biggest day in these kids' lives? That was probably confusing to Niesel because, judging from the meanness of his article, I would guess that he probably has no friends.
You don't go to a high school play and expect great drama. You don't go to the High School Rock Off and expect to hear fresh, cutting-edge music. This was a chance for young musicians to show off, test their skills, and build a little confidence. Thanks so much for peeing all over this great event. Instead of beating on these kids, maybe you can find something else to beat next time.
Westlake police commend Burnett coverage: On behalf of the members of this department, the investigating officers, and the many victims of the Burnett family, I would like to thank Jacqueline Marino for her recent story ["Running With the Gap Gang," February 1] about the arrest of six members of the Burnett family and their prosecution by Westlake Police Department and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office. Your story accurately detailed the emotional and psychological impact that this group had on many innocent Gap salespersons.
We appreciate the time and effort Ms. Marino put forth to illustrate the complexity of the investigation, and for an honest depiction of the suspects' behavior in both the Westlake City Jail and the Common Pleas Court.
Police and the media unfortunately find themselves at odds on many occasions. We are grateful for the accurate portrayal of the facts of this case. We are equally satisfied with your reporting of the story.
Chief of Police
Westlake Police Department
There are more of them out there: I worked at the Gap in Elyria on and off for two-and-a-half years, and I experienced firsthand the utterly evil ways of the Burnett family. When I saw your cover story, I was so relieved that they had been caught and were out of the Gap's hair for a while. But as I flipped through your article looking for the criminals' familiar names, I only recognized two of them.
So many different people used to come into our store with the Burnetts and steal. The scariest part is that most of them are still out there. Some of the worst shoplifters who frequented our store with the Burnetts haven't been caught yet. The one who made my assistant manager cry wasn't caught. The one who told me, "I'll kick your fuckin' ass," wasn't prosecuted. The one who, during a return I was doing for her, reached around the counter and proceeded to tell me how to get the cash drawer open wasn't caught. The Gap isn't out of the proverbial woods yet, when it comes to that family, and I don't think it will be for a while.