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Scandal: More and more of Ohio’s ‘pro fracking’ letters are from people who say they did not send them: Today in Ohio

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Nearly 150 letters sent to support fracking under state parks are signed with the names of people who say they did not authorize or send them.

We’re talking about the growing number of Ohioans who say they didn’t know their names were used on Today in Ohio.

Listen online here.

Editor Chris Quinn hosts our daily half-hour news podcast, with impact editor Leila Atassi, editorial board member Lisa Garvin and content director Laura Johnston.

You’ve been sending Chris lots of thoughts and suggestions on our from-the-newsroom text account, in which he shares what we’re thinking about at cleveland.com. You can sign up here: https://joinsubtext.com/chrisquinn.

Here’s what we’re asking about today:

The scandal is growing with letters sent to the state in favor of – in favor of – fracking under state parks. We reported a week ago on a couple of dozen people who said they did not authorize letters that are under their name. We’ve kept calling, and so have others. How many are we up to now?

The debate over installing seat belts in school buses is hot and heavy of late. After an Ohio student died in a bus crash, Mike DeWine appointed a committee to study the issue and Aherrod Brown proposed a national mandate. Reporter Hannah Drown took a look at the pros and cons – including some learnings from Northeast Ohio experiments — and came up with some interesting hurdles. What did she find?

We all know that words matter, but who would have thought the specific words used in a police report on a rape case could matter so much? What are the eye-opening findings of a study of the wording in police reports by a Cleveland State University criminologist, a study that used artificial intelligence to help in the analysis?

Mayor Justin Bibb minced no words on the Cleveland Catholic diocese new rules pretty much shutting down anything remotely supporting LGBTQ issues in schools and churches. What did he say, and how was he criticized by a state legislator for saying it?

After all that talk and the many kumbaya moments of celebration as Cleveland launched its aggressive program to eradicate lead paint hazards, how many rental units are actually complying? Is this program failing?

What percentage of the school districts that received top-level 5-start scores in the new report cards are in Greater Cleveland?

Cleveland leaders say they had a crisis as the NBA All-Star game approached last year, as the hospitality industry didn’t have enough workers. The city got through it, but Cuyahoga County then commissioned a study to figure out some solutions. What are the findings?

Another piece of art has been ordered seized by New York investigators over a looting claim. What is it, and where is it?

The barge that long was the home to Horatio Hornblower’s restaurant has been a fixture on the downtown Cleveland lakefront for as long as anyone can remember, serving recently as offices. Where has it moved to, and why?

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Read the automated transcript below. Because it’s a computer-generated transcript, it contains many errors and misspellings.

[00:00:00] Chris: Our readers are quite interested in the letters that have been sent in support of fracking of state parks in the names of people who say they did not authorize them, and we have more to talk about on that story. It’s Today in Ohio, the news podcast discussion from Cleveland. com and The Plain Dealer.

I’m Chris Quinn. I’m here with Lisa Garvin, Laura Johnston, and Laila Tassi. And Laura, let’s start with that scandal. It’s growing with the letter sent to the state in favor of fracking under state parks. I want to say that again, in favor of fracking under state parks, multitudes would not write letters this way.

We reported a week ago on a couple of dozen people who said they did not authorize the letters that are under their names. We’ve kept calling. So have others. How many are we up to now?

[00:00:49] Laura: Well, I’m betting that we’ve gotten more over the weekend, but as of Friday, we are at 137. And those are letters signed with the names of people who say they did not authorize or send them.

That’s [00:01:00] folks that our reporters talked to or got emails from. We reached out to a thousand people. We had four reporters on this. Or some environmental groups did the same. And they traced back to two different entities that wage advocacy and lobbying campaigns for the natural gas. Industry. So obviously have a dog in this bite.

Attorney General Dave Yost has vowed to investigate the Consumer Energy Alliance is refuted and saying they don’t use names without permission. They’ve challenged the accuracy, but everybody we talked to when you reach out to from a nine year old girl to an elderly woman who’s blind, they say, No, I didn’t.

I didn’t do this. And There might be some mechanism with the way that they collect the letters, you know, based on like a sweepstakes kind of thing on the Internet that people don’t know that’s what’s happening, but they don’t intend

[00:01:48] Chris: to well, okay, but this agency keeps saying we did not fabricate these letters, but it’s their system that has resulted in.

Dozens and dozens and dozens of letters [00:02:00] going in under the names of people said, Wait, I didn’t authorize that. So there’s something wrong with their system. Their attack on the reporting their attack on us is pathetic. They’re just swinging away and it’s not going to help them. The whole Earth is crumbling under them.

Dayton Daily News did their own calling of people from Dayton who put these letters in, found a bunch. You said, wait, I have no idea about this. I think this group has managed to get through this three times previously when it was discovered letters that they had organized. It went in under people said, wait, I didn’t send it and they’ve skated through each time.

I don’t think they skate this time. I think Dave Yost is going to be on them. I think the state is going to be on them this time. They’ve got some real explaining to do and to attack us wrong way to go. It’s not a smart move.

[00:02:48] Laura: Yeah, no. And what Amanda Birmingham of Cincinnati said, she said, I searched the Internet for a credit card.

That doesn’t mean I gave them permission to use my name, which I think kind of sums it up. So there is [00:03:00] another organization that we didn’t include in the first story. It’s registered out of a parcel store in Virginia that shared, um, They organize a public comment drive as well. About half of those authors who responded denied anyone using their name.

So that’s a little bit different. But I mean, there’s still a lot of letters there with people’s names on it. And we actually published a story on Friday. It was your idea, Chris, that said, Hey, do you want to know if your name is being used? Like, here’s Here’s the portal to go

[00:03:26] Chris: check. Yeah. And I got some complaints about that thing.

You know, you got to read through eight different PDFs. Can’t you put them all together for us? So we can control that. Just control that search. Yeah, they want their, their people want to know if their names are in there. I just think this is going to build and hopefully at the end of this, wherever we get.

A system that exists to have letters go in under the names of people who don’t authorize it will come to an end. It’s sleazy. It shouldn’t be happening. Anybody affiliated with it should be brought to the curb. Then hopefully Dave Yost will do that. [00:04:00] You’re listening to Today in Ohio. The debate over installing seatbelts in school buses is hot and heavy of late.

After an Ohio student died in a bus crash, Mike DeWine appointed a committee to study the issue and Sherrod Brown proposed a national mandate. Reporter Hannah Drown took a look at the pros and cons, including learnings from some Northeast Ohio experiments, and came up with all sorts of hurdles to this that are legitimate.

Layla, what did she find?

[00:04:27] Leila: Well, specifically, we were interested in Avon Lake City Schools, which ran a pilot program using two buses that had seat belts for the 2019 2020 school year. We had heard that after trying the belts on, on these two buses, the district eventually decided not to move forward with upgrading the rest of their fleet to include the belts.

And given the current debate, you know, the recent fatal bus crash and this DeWine task force, and, and. Sherry Brown’s proposal. We really wanted to know what happened to the Avon Lake pilot. [00:05:00] So when Hannah Drown spoke to the district’s transportation director, Sue Cole, she learned about some of issues with the way buses are designed to accommodate seatbelts that ended up making them.

a problem. And in some cases, they were their own kind of safety hazard. For example, once a student’s backpack zipper got caught in the seat belt when she tried to get off the bus at her stop, and she couldn’t free her backpack without the help from the bus driver who had to walk to the back of the bus while the bus was parked on a busy street.

And that’s against the rules and apparently kind of dangerous. The driver had to break the seat belt and the zipper to free this backpack. Also, it seemed that belts were, are not adjustable to make sure they fit smaller kids properly. And in at least one case, the belt was causing a rash across. A smaller girl’s neck and the parents reported that to the district.

But if the belt is cutting across the neck of a child, that’s a safety problem too in [00:06:00] itself. That’s, that’s why they sell booster seats for cars so that the seatbelt crosses the child’s body at the shoulder, not the neck. But probably the most prevalent problem was how the seats on these buses fit.

bigger kids. Accommodating the seatbelt mechanisms mean that there are two inches less space from one seat back to the next. And that also meant the seats are shallower. So bigger kids and teens and adults who are riding with their teams to go. to sport events and stuff like that were very uncomfortable with their knees jammed up against the seats.

Also, each seat has three buckles and belts, but the buckles are only about a foot apart. So bigger kids would often have to skip the first buckle and buckle into the buckle their belt into the second buckle in their seat. But that took up a lot of space that meant that. pretty much the, that was the only kid who could use that seat while buckled in.

Not only that, but sitting [00:07:00] with a buckle jamming into your back is uncomfortable. So those bigger kids would often stuff the extra buckles down into the seat, which meant that each morning the bus drivers would have to go through the bus and pull each buckle out again. So given those issues, they just couldn’t find a good use for these buses in Avon Lake.

They initially thought it’d be great to use them while taking kids to farther destinations like vocational school or sports events, because those are the kinds of longer drives that are more likely to result in a rollover crash than local driving. But those are the bigger kids who didn’t fit.

Comfortably in the seats. And in the end, they kind of bagged this idea. They still have those two buses in operation, but buckling up is now completely optional.

[00:07:43] Chris: Well, jamming the kids knees into the seats in front of them just prepares them for the future of air travel. So I’m not sure it’s a terrible thing.

What really came across from this. Is the idea that school buses serve kids of a huge range of sizes. The youngest kids, if they’re in their cars [00:08:00] are still required to be in child safety seats, let alone seatbelts. And then the next group is in booster seats and then they get into seatbelts and you can’t really design any system that goes from six year olds to 17 year olds, it’s just not going to work.

So I’m not sure what. What the solution is here. Nobody seems to have it. Although in other nations, they apparently do mandate it and don’t have these problems. I wonder what they do differently.

[00:08:26] Leila: Yeah, you had mentioned also in your note this morning that there’s some states also mandated and it would be very interesting to see how they’re implemented.

how they’ve grappled with these problems that were identified in this, or if there is somewhere out there a bus that’s designed thoughtfully with all of these issues in mind. Um, I, I’m not sure. I mean, at the, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires seat belts on school buses that weigh less than 10, 000 pounds, those smaller ones, but for the larger ones, they rely on that concept of compartmentalization, which that’s the idea that you’re protected by these [00:09:00] energy absorbing seat.

Backs and confined spaces. Like you said before, I think you mentioned it like your eggs in the egg carton

[00:09:07] Chris: and in a rollover. Right. It means nothing. You’re going to the

[00:09:11] Leila: ceiling. Exactly. I mean, in Chattanooga in 2016, a school bus rolled over and killed six kids. So, so the, you know, the national transportation safety board has been calling for seatbelts on all school buses for exactly that reason.

And that’s kind of the situation we’re in right now in Ohio.

[00:09:27] Chris: Well, it almost sounds like The only way you’d be able to do this is to reduce capacity of the school bus, to stretch it out and have different seats for different age groups, but who can afford that? True. That becomes ridiculously pricey.

[00:09:40] Leila: That means buying, buying more buses and hiring more drivers and yeah, yeah, you’re right.

[00:09:45] Chris: It’ll be interesting to see what Mike DeWine’s committee comes up with because I mean, this was a great story. It really puts the debate into a great perspective. On the other hand, you know, you can’t drive down the road with your kid in the car, Layla. [00:10:00] Yeah. It’s in a child safety seat. Uh, it seems like it’s still a weird double standard.

And his story is on cleveland. com. It’s worth reading to get fully informed on this debate. Check it out. You’re listening to today in Ohio, we all know that words matter. I mean, let’s face it with what we do, words are our business, but who would have thought the specific words used in a police report on a rape case could matter so much, what are the eyeopening findings of a study of the wording and police reports by a Cleveland state university criminologist, a study that used artificial intelligence to help in the analysis.


[00:10:36] Lisa: Yeah, this was interesting and they didn’t get the results they were expecting either. So CSU criminologist Rachel Lovell used a computer to analyze thousands of Cleveland police rape reports going back 20 years. Her study results were published in two separate articles in the September Journal of Criminal Justice.

So Lovell created algorithms that measured language in these reports for officer [00:11:00] bias and it was So adept at predicting which cases got prosecuted. She was amazed, but not in the way she thought. So objective language where they don’t, you know, it’s just objective, just the facts, ma’am. Very matter of fact, reports actually led to fewer prosecutions.

It seems that these reports failed to convey the brutality of the rape. And also if police don’t get details they need from somebody who’s in shock or who has shut down, they might be trained to think the assault didn’t occur. And so their language, you know, might feed into a rape myth. They will say things like saw, no bruises, clothing, clothing, not dirty or disheveled known prostitute and drug abuser.

Well, these objective facts didn’t really help prosecution, but if you use. Subjective language, you’re more likely to result in getting a prosecution. It’s personalized. It’s victim centric statements like the victim was scared to death of her attacker. And they also searched for [00:12:00] word clusters. Now word clusters that seem to lead to better prosecutions or more prosecutions were like issued for rape.

Ohio revised code mail was charged. victim comes forward. These kind of things, these word clusters did seem to lead to more prosecutions. Now, what they call dead end reports, ones that don’t go to court, the victim did not, did not wish insufficient evidence, no further leads. These word clusters seem to lead to fewer prosecutions.

Also, these dead end reports were 61 words shorter, which can indicate an either a bias, usually unconscious. So AI level, you know, uh, came to the conclusion that it can help officers flag bias language and prompt them on rape statutes because using those seems to help. So chat, chat, GPT or robots can actually help draft some of the incident report language to avoid this bias.

Part of

[00:12:57] Chris: this was not surprising when police [00:13:00] are putting questions in about the, there’s clothes aren’t disheveled or the known prostitute. It does, we’ve known that that’s a bias. We had a big debate in our shop a year or two ago about whether we should include in our reporting on rapes that from the police report.

That the victim had been drinking. You might remember it was a very hot debate. Uh, I think Layla and Ted died and might’ve squared off on that. Um, but, but what this surprised me about was the length and the sterility of the words. If the police officer didn’t put some oomph into the report, it, it didn’t lead to a conviction.

And that was, that was. Pretty surprising. The, the lead anecdote that John Tucker used in his reporting was fascinating because it’s a woman that reported a rape. The cops clearly didn’t believe her. It sat on a shelf. They did the rape kit, sat on a shelf for years. Then later, when they went to do the backlog of rape kits, they found, oh, it was a serial rapist.

This woman was [00:14:00] telling the truth after all. Mm hmm.

[00:14:02] Lisa: And Lovell actually developed a pilot glossary of rape specific words and phrases, including those that would confer bias. And she’s hoping that this glossary becomes, you know, used by all police departments. And she does point out, which is true, officers don’t like to write reports.

They really don’t like to write sexual assault reports. So they may be skipping over some of the details and trying to be objective where really that’s not helping. Well, and they’re

[00:14:26] Chris: not recognizing that a rape victim likely won’t want to talk about the horrible things that happened to her or him by a stranger, and they misinterpret that lack of description as some kind of phoniness.

Instead of recognizing this person is traumatized. Layla, you did a ton of reporting on the rape kits and things back in your reporter and calm this days. What did you think of this?

[00:14:50] Leila: Well, it’s interesting to me that that Language that suggests the officer doesn’t believe the story of the victim is considered [00:15:00] objective.

[00:15:01] Lisa: That’s not objective

[00:15:02] Leila: to say, Oh, I didn’t, didn’t notice or, or known prostitute. That’s, that’s sure that that might be a fact, but the fact that it’s, it’s, it’s included in this report is not objective. That’s a subjective inclusion of that fact to the. You know, and of course, it’s going to skew the outcome of the case.

We actually did 10 years ago when we did our rape kit project, we did a big story on this exact topic where we analyzed and had experts look at the pile of cases that we that we had in hand. And, and looked through, combed through for these kinds of, of red flags that suggest that the officer did not believe the, the, the survivor of these cases and, and would, uh, you know, that how, how that would color the outcome of the case.

[00:15:51] Chris: Lisa, do you think this will lead to better training for police on how to take these reports?

[00:15:56] Lisa: I don’t AI [00:16:00] more heavily. to help draft these reports.

[00:16:03] Leila: You know, frankly, this should have been, this should have already led to better training. Because this was identified years and years ago in the aftermath of the Anthony Sowell case.

These problems came to light as part of that rape, you know, rape task force.

[00:16:18] Chris: We should point out, though, that her data set stretches back to before that. Right, 20 years,

[00:16:24] Leila: sure. But if you’re asking about, you know, should this lead to better training, we should already be there.

[00:16:29] Chris: Yeah, good point. It’s a it’s a fascinating story by john.

It’s on cleveland. com. Check it out. It’s today in Ohio. Mayor Justin Bibb missed no words on the Cleveland Catholic Diocese. New rules pretty much shutting down anything remotely supporting L. G. B. T. Q. Issues in schools and churches. What did he say and how was he criticized by a state legislator for saying it?


[00:16:54] Laura: he said he’s a christian and that the diocese’s policy is shocking betrayal of the church teachings that have [00:17:00] shaped who I am Today, he said faith is about universal love and acceptance. This was a tweet. He sent out a statement He’s not the only politician who’s waded into this, but obviously he is the mayor of the biggest city in the diocese This is the diocese of cleveland and he took a stand on it Ohio senator nikki antonio of lakewood also attacked the directive.

She’s openly lgbtq and They did get some, some pushback from a Sandusky representative. His name is Gary Click, and he said, This is what the separation of church and state is all about, my friends. Churches don’t need clueless politicians telling them what the Bible teaches. He said it was clueless about genuine Christianity, which I’m sorry.

That’s the whole point, right? Love your neighbor. Be kind to one another. You know, this belief in the good in the world. Um, so I, I don’t think it’s, The end of what we’re going to hear about this

[00:17:54] Chris: the I wrote a column over the weekend about how we had such Decent civil [00:18:00] discourse about this issue. A lot of Catholics came out of the woodwork The the vast majority are against this policy They’re still very much believe in their faith and in Christianity, but they think the church erred here but but There was a group, uh, that feels very strongly that this is part of the teachings and the church isn’t a democracy and these are cafeteria Catholics trying to pick and choose, which is interesting because the church has constantly been evolving.

There isn’t some specific set of dogma. I received no end of emails this weekend for people trying to school me on the Christian or the Catholic doctrine, which was. I don’t know what the point was. I also got a couple that called me a commie pervert and you know, the commie part is just throws me in the sixties.

People called each other commies is some kind of pejorative, but it’s 2023. What is that? I just throws me [00:19:00] anyway. I was, it was interesting to see Justin Bibb do this. Lots of people are hurting because of this. Lots of people want to talk about it. They’re glad that we continue, uh, to explore it, but there is discord on what’s happening.

[00:19:13] Laura: Obviously bib is progressive, right? Like he is not a conservative, um, leader. He’s a progressive, but I think you’re right. Like, first of all, you know what you’re talking about. You were raised in, you went to Catholic school, you know, the doctrine probably better than a lot of people. Me, I wasn’t raised in.

It’s Catholic school, but I’ve been a Catholic my entire life and I went to church on Sunday and I was interested to see if this came up, it did not, but the reading was, the first reading was from Sirach, the book of Sirach, which apparently was a letter from a father to a son explaining like how to be true to his faith and it was stressing that golden rule of being, treating your neighbor as you’d like to be treated and that no one will forgive you in heaven if you don’t forgive your neighbor, like it was very much this love and acceptance and I just thought it was ironic that that’s The reading this week, and [00:20:00] obviously, you go through the readings.

You have A, B, and C. You have the whole year. It’s not like it was just picked for this week. But, um, yeah, it made me

[00:20:09] Chris: think. Well, several people told me that I should go back and watch a movie that was at the Cleveland Film Festival. in which they examine when the word homosexual was inserted into the Bible, and I think it makes the case that this happened in the 1940s, that it doesn’t go back several thousand years.

Anyway, it’s been an interesting week since this first broke. I had not heard from anybody who said that it was discussed in their church this weekend. I suspect that the bishop put out a directive saying, I don’t want you to discuss this in the church, but maybe not. You’re listening to Today in Ohio.

What percentage of the school districts that received top level five star scores in the new report cards are in Greater Cleveland? Lisa, we’re a smart region. Yeah,

[00:20:58] Lisa: one third of the [00:21:00] 75 public school districts getting five star ratings are right here in Greater Cleveland. That’s 25. Thirteen of them are right here in Cuyahoga County.

This is the first time that they’ve issued a report. using this five star rating system. So, um, 12 percent of the Ohio 607 school districts did get five stars in Cuyahoga. It was Bay Beachwood, Brecksville, Broadview Heights, Chagrin Falls, Cuyahoga Heights. Fairview Park, Mayfield, North Royalton, Orange, Rocky River, Solon, and Strongsville, and uh, Westlake.

And then the county’s average was about 4. 05 stars for all of the, all of the, the school districts in the area. In Greater Cleveland, it was Avon, Aurora, Avon Lake. Highland, Hudson, Kenston, Kirtland, Perry, Nordonia Hills, Revere, Twinsburg, and West Geauga. There were a couple of two star ratings in our area, uh, East Cleveland, Lorain, and Painesville.[00:22:00]

[00:22:00] Chris: It would be interesting, although probably wouldn’t be, to overlay average income in each of these cities. with what they got on the, the school report cards. I think it would be clear evidence that socioeconomics plays heavily into education and that kids growing up in poverty just have so many more challenges, which we have shown through a couple of series, but it still was surprising to see a third of them were in our area.

[00:22:29] Lisa: And we, we came in six. 16th out of 88 counties as far as the highest ratings in the school districts in each county. So that’s

[00:22:36] Chris: pretty good. We have all sorts of content about the report cards from the school districts to, to whatever way you want to parse it. And it’s all on cleveland. com. You’re listening to Today in Ohio.

Cleveland leaders say they had a crisis as the NBA All Star Game approached last year as the hospitality industry did not have enough workers. City got through it, but Cuyahoga County then commissioned the [00:23:00] study to figure out solutions. Laura, what are the findings?

[00:23:04] Laura: I think we’ve got to pay people more.

I mean, do you need a study for that to figure it out? But they’re going to develop. programs and policies to assist the hospitality industry. It is a big deal here. One in 10 jobs in Cuyahoga County is in the leisure and hospitality industry that includes restaurant bars, hotels, museums, sports, music and other attractions.

That’s actually down from 2019. We have 11 billion annually to the county economy that includes more than a billion dollars in federal, state and local taxes. But yeah, we are, we’re still Not recovered from the pandemic, which if you look at a restaurant, I would have bet we were back all the way. We have fewer hospitality workers, relative population than both Franklin and Hamilton County, and, um, it’s not just about that industry.

Balden Wallace, who put on the study, they said a vibrant restaurant nightlight scene is key to any growing and [00:24:00] prosperous community, and it’s about creating a thriving neighborhood. So think about if you want to attract people to Cleveland, we always do. do not just visitors, but people to live here. This is a really important segment of your economy.

[00:24:10] Chris: We keep seeing restaurants closed though, that, that I thought had been doing well over the weekend. It was paladar and the bomba and you wonder if it’s the restaurants that are living on the thinnest margins, they just can’t afford to pay more. So they go out of business because the competition for the workers is so fierce and you need to be an ultra successful restaurant to manage to be able to pay anybody.

Yeah, almost

[00:24:34] Lisa: all restaurants live on very thin margins. They do. And quite honestly, you know, if you’re going to pay waiters 15 an hour, expect to pay a lot more for your food.

[00:24:44] Laura: Right. That’s true. And even if you, you’ve noticed that we we’ve written about this before that the price of everything has gone up, right?

All of those grocery prices went up. So everything in a restaurant goes up and you all of a sudden you think you’re just going out for a burger and it’s, you know, 20 [00:25:00] that’s just. the way that the economy is. And so, um, Susan Glaser talked to some owners of restaurants. They want to see the city or county create an office of nighttime economy to support employers and employees in the hospitality industry.

Just basically giving them some help. They got some pandemic help, not a ton, but to recognize how important this industry is. And it’s not, you know, I feel like we’re always giving grants for like manufacturing and education for manufacturing. But this is really important to Well, and for

[00:25:28] Chris: a restaurant like Bamba, which lives off of tacos and taco bowls, you can’t really raise the price to astronomical numbers for tacos.

And so they, they get into a jam. Interesting study. I didn’t know it was happening until it was released. Susan did a nice job explaining it. You’re listening to Today in Ohio. Another piece of art has been ordered seized by New York investigators over a looting claim. Lisa, what is it? Where is it?

[00:25:58] Lisa: It’s a drawing called Girl [00:26:00] with Black Hair.

It was done in 1911 and the The artist is an Austrian artist, Egon Schiele, and it currently resides at Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum. Two other Schiele drawings, one at the Art Institute of Chicago and another at the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, were also ordered seized. Prosecutors in Manhattan are alleging that they belong to the three living heirs of Jewish art collector Fritz Grunbaum, who was a known anti Nazi activist.

He died in 1941 in the Dachau. Concentration camp. Oberlin spokeswoman, Andrea Samakis says they’re cooperating with the Manhattan DA, but, and they’re holding the drawing on behalf of the New York city court until something is decided, but she says, we are confident the work was acquired legally in 1958 and that we lawfully possess it.

[00:26:52] Chris: Yeah, I don’t know how you say that last part. Right? Because there’s a criminal investigation that may find this was looted and then [00:27:00] you don’t lawfully possess it because it’s stolen property. I’m surprised that Oberlin College of all places wouldn’t have said we’re mortified to hear about this. We’re awaiting the findings.

We’ve got it protected. The right thing will happen at the end instead of thrown down and saying it’s mine. It’s mine. It’s legally mine. Not the right thing. Not the right tone for a university that has their reputation. Yeah,

[00:27:24] Lisa: but curators at museums are put in a really tough place. I mean, they, they did buy it from somebody in 1958 and it’s just alleged to have been looted.

[00:27:36] Chris: So say that, say, look, we, we bought this through a legitimate means in 1958. We are waiting to see what the origin of this is before we know where it’s going to go. But instead, to say, we believe we lawfully possess it, well, the New York investigators clearly don’t agree with you and maybe it’s best to wait and see what the facts show.

[00:27:59] Lisa: [00:28:00] Well, they say they’re cooperating, I mean, to be fair, it’s not like they’re saying we’re not going to give it up, but they’re, you know, I think they’re trying to say that their provenance was clear.

[00:28:09] Chris: Okay, you’re listening to Today in Ohio. The barge that was along the home to Horatio Hornblower’s restaurant has been a fixture on the downtown Cleveland lakefront for as long as anyone can remember, serving recently as offices.

Laila, where has it moved and why?

[00:28:25] Leila: On Friday, it was moved to the Wildwood Marina in Cleveland Metroparks Euclid Creek Reservation. Reporter Courtney Estolfi actually just kind of stumbled on this on Friday when it was in progress. She noticed a bunch of folks had gathered to watch it happen and she went to check it out.

The Hornblower’s Barge was towed out of downtown from its former home near Brook Lakefront at around 9 a. m. and it took about five hours to make it all the way across the east side lakefront. Cruise finally put it down several feet from shore near the park’s concession stand and [00:29:00] shelter and everybody broke out into applause.

And so Metroparks owns this thing now. They bought it earlier this summer for 1. 3 million dollars, but they haven’t announced what they’re going to do with it. Some have speculated it might serve as a restaurant or bar again, or, or it could house Metroparks programming

[00:29:17] Chris: and events. It was a cool restaurant when it was a restaurant, and it gives you the chance to actually eat on the water, which is cool.

Uh, I would hope that they would take a serious look at that. Have you been on it? I

[00:29:30] Leila: don’t think I’ve been on it, but this is a, it’s a pretty ugly structure, isn’t it? I mean, it looks like a 1970s office building in a barge, but I don’t know. I

[00:29:40] Laura: don’t know that I’ve ever seen a pretty barge. I mean, the word barge is, yeah, very utilitarian.

I know. I did eat there, I think, around 2000, but then recently I was on it for Lean Dog, the offices of the company that started Rock the Lake, which we took on, so that was kind of cool.

[00:29:58] Chris: Yeah, I’ve been on it a few times as [00:30:00] offices as well. I just, how often do you get to actually sit? That close to the lake and and turning it into a restaurant.

It’s plenty big enough. I mean, it’s served as one for a long time. Interesting that Courtney caught onto it. It’ll be missing from the lakefront because of all the lakefront plans to right. Well, I mean, there’s Plenty of plans for that space. Yeah, that’s

[00:30:23] Leila: true. Yeah, you’re right. So, at least this, this thing will have a new life.

Um, I mean, it dates all the way back to 1892. So, there’s some history there to preserve. And, uh, we’ll see. It’s, it’s,

[00:30:34] Chris: it could be cool. Okay, that’s it for the Monday episode of Today in Ohio. Thanks, Lisa. Thanks, Laura. Thanks, Layla. Thanks to everybody who listens. We’ll be back Tuesday. Have

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