Axios Cleveland

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February 21, 2024

πŸ“† Happy Wednesday. Today is National Sticky Bun Day. Add a large coffee for breakfast, and wait for the midmorning crash.

☁️ Today's weather: Increasing clouds with a high of 53.

🎧 Sounds like: "Ain't No Rock and Roll" by Five Times August

Today's newsletter is 934 words β€” a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: They won't rock you

Will Mariah Carey follow in Whitney Houston's footsteps as a Rock Hall inductee? Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images

What do Mariah Carey, Cher, Sade, Mary J. Blige and A Tribe Called Quest have in common?

  • They're among the nominees for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Class of 2024 despite not being traditional "rock" artists.

Why it matters: This year's ballot continues the contentious debate over what types of acts the Rock Hall should honor.

Catch up fast: The list of nominees also includes Dave Matthews Band, Eric B. & Rakim, Foreigner, Peter Frampton, Jane's Addiction, Kool & the Gang, Lenny Kravitz, Oasis, SinΓ©ad O'Connor and Ozzy Osbourne.

The intrigue: While there is plenty of rock to go around, half of the nominees fall into genres like hip-hop, pop and R&B.

  • It follows a trend of the Rock Hall honoring non-rock artists including Eminem, Missy Elliott, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson in recent years.

What they're saying: Rock purists like local music historian and former WMMS program director John Gorman aren't pleased.

  • "The Rock Hall's nomination system remains broken," Gorman wrote on social media. "There is a fallacy in linking popular music and rock 'n' roll as one in the same. They're not."

The other side: Since becoming chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in 2020, John Sykes has focused on expanding the traditional definition of rock 'n' roll as a guitar-driven genre.

  • "I saw an opportunity to really look back to the original genesis of rock 'n' roll and trace it to the present, which is where hip-hop and R&B and the music that's moving culture today all came from," Sykes told Billboard last year.

Troy's thought bubble: To Sykes' point, rock 'n' roll grew out of a variety of diverse genres like blues, country, jazz and folk.

  • The Rock Hall also has to deliver a show on Disney+ and ABC and names like Mariah Carey, Eminem and Dolly Parton are bigger draws than classic rock "snubs" like J. Geils Band, Boston and Bad Company.

What's next: The class of 2024 is scheduled to be announced (and infuriate some people) in late April.

πŸ—£οΈ Hit reply and tell us: Should the Rock Hall be inducting hip-hop, pop and country artists?

2. πŸ›Έ Mapped: Ohio's UFO hotspots

πŸ‘½ Reported UFO sightings per 100k residents
Data: National UFO Reporting Center, U.S. Census; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Area 51 is more than 2,000 miles away, but Ohioans have still reported seeing their fair share of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in recent years.

Why it matters: Discussion and reports of UFOs β€” or the more modern term, UAPs (unidentified anomalous phenomenon) β€” have become more mainstream in recent years as lawmakers and others push for answers.

Zoom in: Residents in the Cleveland metro area reported 678 sightings between 2000 and 2023, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.

  • That's 31.6 sightings per 100,000 residents, or just below the national rate (34.3).

The intrigue: 361 of those sightings were in Cuyahoga County.

  • The UFO capital of Northeast Ohio appears to be Portage County, with a whopping 78.2 sightings per 100,000 residents.

Flashback: Portage has a history with UFO sightings, including a famous 1966 police chase that inspired Steven Spielberg's film "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

3. The Terminal: Restoring your faith in local news

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

πŸ’Έ For $1,500 you can sponsor a prison cell as part of the restoration of The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. (News 5)

🎸 The lineup of 12 bands that will compete in the finals of the Tri-C High School Rock Off is set. (

πŸ€ The Cavaliers are adding four inductees to their Wall of Honor, including former players Terrell Brandon, Jim Chones and Mike Mitchell and statistician Chuck Broski. (Cleveland 19)

πŸ‘Š WWE has received a $1.6 million TV production tax credit in Ohio, fueling rumors that its SummerSlam event will take place in Cleveland. (Cleveland Scene)

4. Cavs Corner, Week 17: Money Merrill!

Spida showing Merrill some love during NBA All-Star Weekend. Photo: Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Mercifully, the NBA All-Star festivities are behind us, and we can get back to watching meaningful basketball.

Record: (36-17); Last week: (35-17).

Weekly slate: Win vs. Chicago (108-105).

The big picture: Donovan Mitchell and the Cavs stole one from the Bulls before the All-Star break, and they gallop into the season's homestretch ranked second in the Eastern Conference.

  • Yes, but: The next six-and-a-half weeks will test the Cavs' mettle, with a brutal schedule featuring seven sets of back-to-back games.

πŸ€‘ Weekly winner: Craig Porter Jr. The undrafted Wichita State guard had his two-way contract converted to a standard NBA contract last week, with $2.5 million in guaranteed money.

πŸ˜’ Weekly loser: Mitchell. While most of his teammates enjoyed a well-deserved week off, the star guard was in Indy for the All-Star Game.

One fun thing: Mitchell donned a "Money Merrill" jersey for the three-point contest Saturday to honor his sharpshooting colleague, Sam.

What's next: Tomorrow vs. Orlando; Friday at Philadelphia; Sunday at Washington; Tuesday vs. Dallas.

5. Solar eclipse shades

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Cleveland will find itself in the full path of a total solar eclipse on April 8, but don't wait until then to buy glasses.

What they're saying: "By mid-March 2024, we expect to start hearing reports about various sellers running out of stock," Richard Tresch Fienberg, a senior adviser at the American Astronomical Society, told Axios. "It'll get worse the closer we get to April 8."

Between the lines: To ensure safe viewing, you must wear eclipse glasses or viewers that meet international standard ISO 12312-2.

Be smart: Experts warn eclipse viewers that counterfeit products are flooding the market and you may not be able to tell if glasses are a scam.

  • Viewers should inspect eclipse glasses or handheld viewers before use and discard them if torn, scratched or damaged.

Zoom in: You can purchase eclipse glasses at NASA Glenn Research Center, Eclipse Over Ohio and Cleveland Metroparks' nature shops.

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Thanks to our editor Lindsey Erdody and copy editors Rob Reinalda and Yasmeen Altaji.

Our picks:

πŸ’°Sam is reading this local story about Zubair Al Zubair, a local swindler masquerading as a prince.

  • It's reminiscent of Sam's 2015 reporting on Mexican swindler Oscar Villarreal, who duped many of Cleveland's most prominent businessmen into investing millions.

🀷🏾 Troy has never seen a UFO but has watched the movies "Independence Day" and "Alien" dozens of times.