Saturday, January 16, 2016

Cincy Ushers in the New Year*

Dear George,
Having grown up in a small town of 10,000, I’m always astonished by events that crop up in big city news.  Cincinnati’s metro area is 200 times the size of Menominee, so there are 200 times more of everything, including weird happenings.  The New Year in Cincinnati hasn’t disappointed so far.  Here are some of the un-Menominee-like events that have transpired in the Queen City in 2016’s first two weeks.  

40 Days for Cursewords.  On Jan. 5 Jaclyn (“Cutie”) Pleatner was sentenced to 40 days in jail for “telecommunications harassment”.  Two years ago Pleatner and her husband signed a contract to buy a $1.2 million home in Cincinnati’s wealthiest suburb.  However, when they learned that their upcoming next door neighbor had previously been convicted of attempted murder, they backed out of the deal.  The house seller filed suit for $350K, and, in the course of the legal proceedings, Pleatner sent e-mails to him, calling him “a real SOB” and “a despicable specimen of mankind.”   That’s telecommunications harassment, the judge ruled.  Begging for lenience, Pleater’s lawyer said being incarcerated would be very hard on her since she lives in a mansion and has never been jailed before.  The judge was unmoved.  He did, however, reduce her initial 180-day sentence to 40 days and two years probation.  It still seems like a harsh penalty for offensive language.  (Cinc. Enq., 1-6-16) 

Cincinnati is Number Eleven.  Cincinnati has a long-standing reputation for being prudish, partly because of legal battles in the 1970’s with Larry Flynt and Hustler.  On the other hand, it is the home and national headquarters of Deep Romance*, the nation’s largest purveyor of adult sex toys.  Deep Romance rated Cincinnati the eleventh sexiest city in the U.S. in 2014, based on direct sales and online orders of its products. The firm began in 1993 in the owner’s suburban basement and expanded over the years to a national business which had $138 million in sales in 2014.  Deep Romance announced last week that it had acquired one of its competitors, Passionate Soirees.*  Now the firm will have 25,000 consultants who organize parties of friends and neighbors to sell products which I cannot even mention on this family-oriented blog.  (Cin. En., 1-11-16) 

Treats for Teach.  Eddie Cochinski, age 19 and a recent Springbarrow H.S. student, pled guilty to bringing brownies laced with hashish to school and giving a brownie to one of his teachers.  A hallway camera also caught Cochinski handing out intoxicating brownies to fellow students all day long at his locker.  One of the brownies contained 1.5 ounces of hashish, more than enough to incapacitate everyone in the school but the gym coach.  (Cin. Enq., 1-13-16) 

Gun-happy Ohio.  With a long rural tradition, Ohioans are enthusiastic about guns.  Recently the Republican-dominated Ohio House passed a bill which allows concealed handguns in day care facilities, police departments, private planes, airport terminals (before going through the metal detectors), and most other public places.  The bill is now pending in the Ohio Senate.  Handguns, of course, remain banned from the statehouse because that’s where the legislators actually work.  (Cin. Enq., 12-9-15) 

Fake Guns—At Your Peril.  Police associations and departments around the state are not enthusiastic about arming the citizenry, presumably because millions of guns lead to various catastrophes.  Even fake guns aren’t good.  One recent case involved a 45-year-old white guy named Richard Trenbink who was wearing blue pajama bottoms when he attempted to rob two stores in Cincinnati’s West Side using a Daisy BB pistol.  Police located him walking along Sunset Avenue and, when he reached toward his BB pistol, killed him with a shot to the head.  The mayor commented, “If you point a gun at a cop, they are going to shoot.”  (Cin. Enq., 1-12-16) 

Bad Aim.  Guns can also cause trouble when people aren’t very good at using them.  The other day an 18-year-old named Marlin Johnson was selling marijuana to two men in his West End home when the deal went wrong.  Johnson shot up everybody in the place — the first guy, the second guy, and himself as well.  Johnson is charged with felonious assault against his two victims, but fortunately he wasn’t charged with self-shooting.  (Cin. Enq., 1-13-16)

Really Bad Driving.  Handguns aren’t the only lethal weapons in Cincinnati.  19-year-old Carli Tamera got into an argument with her husband while driving their Nissan Sentra near downtown.  She smacked him in the head and deliberately crashed their car on his passenger side into a guard rail.  The car then swerved across three lanes of the road and collided head-on with a large tree.  Thanks to air bags, the unhappy couple survived, and Mrs. Tamera is charged with felonious assault.  You hear a lot about not texting while driving, but talking can be even worse. (Cin. Enq., 1-13-16) 

Poopy Ideas.  It turns out that Cincinnati’s waste incinerator is falling apart, and it will cost a small fortune to fix it or to build a new one.  However, it would cost only half as much to build a facility that converts human waste into fertilizer that could then be used on area farms.  The converter would smell pretty awful, but it would be enclosed in an air-tight facility.  Nobody seems to have asked farmers if they want to cover their land in human poops.  (Cin. Enq., 1-15-16)

Anti-Zombie Persecution.  Jon Walker Thwarner was found guilty and sentenced to three days in jail for using a megaphone in his protest to support zombie Xmas displays.  Suburban township trustees had banned a homeowner’s zombie nativity scene in December because it supposedly violated zoning restrictions.  Thwarner staged a protest of the township’s action at the Hamilton County courthouse, using a zombie puppet and other props.  The judge said he had a right to express his opinion, but the megaphone disrupted courtroom trials.  Thwarner had been arrested earlier when he promoted the comedy act of a wheelchair-bound teenager by asking passers-by in the park if they wanted “to laugh at the crippled girl.”  (Cin. Enq., 1-6-16)

Despite all this excitement, we’re still only two weeks into the New Year.  I expect there’s a lot more to come.  

*Pseudonyms used throughout. 

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