THE NOT-SO-PLAIN DEALER

Work, wit and wisdom from Ohio's best visual team

Tommy, can you fix me?

Sports, June 1, 2014

Andrea Zagata, designer

Only one-third of the way through the 2014 Major League Baseball season, 20 pitchers have already had Tommy John surgery.

Our view: This is Zagata’s first meaty assignment since joining the not-so-plain staff. It won’t be her last. And she won’t throw her arm out, either.

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Deadly force.

June 1, 2014

David Kordalski, Josh Crutchmer, designers.

In a follow-up to the indictments of six Cleveland police officers, reporter Jim McCarty detailed all incidents of police shootings since 2000.

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137 bullets, six indictments

May 31, 2014

Josh Crutchmer, designer; William Neff, graphics; Lonnie Timmons III, Lisa DeJong, John Kuntz and Marvin Fong, photographers

In the aftermath of a massive Nov. 29, 2012 police chase that ended in Cleveland police firing 137 rounds into the car of two unarmed suspects, a Cuyahoga Grand Jury handed down indictments — including two counts of voluntary manslaughter — to a patrol officer and five supervisors involved.

Read about it here.

Our view: This marks the debut of the Crutchmer era at The Not-so-plain … which means that big news is going to be the norm, as it follows him everywhere he goes.

Should be fun.

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Johnny (Cleveland) Football.
May 9, 2014.
John Kuntz, photographer; David Kordalski, designer
With the 22nd pick of the NFL draft, Johnny Manziel brought instant relevance to a long-downtrodden and once-proud franchise. The Browns are already the beneficiary of the Johnny Football Bump.
Our view: With a string of 20 failed starting QBs, your not-so-plain blogger is obligated to take a wait-and-see approach, but with hope and some overdue good luck, the excitement will last for a decade or more. In the meantime, enjoy the ride, Cleveland!
To see more of John Kuntz’s fantastic fan reaction shots to the Browns first-round draft picks, go here.
For plenty more Browns draft coverage, and all Johnny, all the time, go here.
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Johnny (Cleveland) Football.

May 9, 2014.

John Kuntz, photographer; David Kordalski, designer

With the 22nd pick of the NFL draft, Johnny Manziel brought instant relevance to a long-downtrodden and once-proud franchise. The Browns are already the beneficiary of the Johnny Football Bump.

Our view: With a string of 20 failed starting QBs, your not-so-plain blogger is obligated to take a wait-and-see approach, but with hope and some overdue good luck, the excitement will last for a decade or more. In the meantime, enjoy the ride, Cleveland!

To see more of John Kuntz’s fantastic fan reaction shots to the Browns first-round draft picks, go here.

For plenty more Browns draft coverage, and all Johnny, all the time, go here.

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Feast for the eyes.

Friday Magazine special edition, April 25, 2014.

Andrea Levy, illustrator; Jane Mitchell, designer

Andrea and Jane teamed up to make these two delicious covers for the fifth annual A-List of 100 restaurants every Clevelander should try.

Tasty.

And the restaurants are, too. Find the full list here.

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Trading places, NFL style

Sports, April 20, 2014

Tony Briggman Lariccia, designer; Chris Morris, illustrator

The 1974 NFL draft radically altered the fortunes of two franchises … perennial loser Pittsburgh picked up four future Hall of Famers, while longtime (although waning) powerhouse Cleveland drafted a guy who never played a down in the NFL.

It’s a pattern that has been repeated year after year after year after year, with the Steelers becoming a model of stability and smart choices, and the Browns becoming, well, the Browns as we know them today.

Tom Reed’s wonderful story details the roots of this real-life trading places tale. Read it here.

Our take: Tony and Chris provided the only smile your not-so-plain blogger (and long-suffering Browns fan) ever got from the folly of the 1974 draft.

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Sweet pictures. Sweet page.
North Coast, April 13, 2014
Gus Chan, photographer; Jane Mitchell, designer
As part of our ongoing Sense of Place series, Gus looks at the sweet science of maple syrup making in Northeast Ohio through the eyes of an Amish family in Middlefield. 
Nothing saccharin or sappy about the difficult work. Gus writes:

From sunup to near sundown, John Gingerich’s team of Belgian draft horses makes its way along the well-worn paths that cover 65 acres, with the men going tree to tree, dumping pails of sap into a gathering tank that rolls along on four wheels. While the majority of the men are out gathering, one or two always remain in the sugar house to tend the wood-burning evaporator that boils the sap into syrup.

Jane’s photo edit and display is picture-perfect.
Read the whole piece and see a slideshow of additional pictures here.
For other stories in our Sense of Place series, go here.
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Sweet pictures. Sweet page.

North Coast, April 13, 2014

Gus Chan, photographer; Jane Mitchell, designer

As part of our ongoing Sense of Place series, Gus looks at the sweet science of maple syrup making in Northeast Ohio through the eyes of an Amish family in Middlefield.

Nothing saccharin or sappy about the difficult work. Gus writes:

From sunup to near sundown, John Gingerich’s team of Belgian draft horses makes its way along the well-worn paths that cover 65 acres, with the men going tree to tree, dumping pails of sap into a gathering tank that rolls along on four wheels. While the majority of the men are out gathering, one or two always remain in the sugar house to tend the wood-burning evaporator that boils the sap into syrup.

Jane’s photo edit and display is picture-perfect.

Read the whole piece and see a slideshow of additional pictures here.

For other stories in our Sense of Place series, go here.

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Break those Lenten vowsin (Cleveland) style
Friday Magazine, April 18, 2014
Jane Mitchell, designer; Lisa DeJong, photographer
The day after Easter is no ordinary Monday – it’s Dyngus Day. And in Cleveland, thanks to proud Polish-American and Lakewood native D.J. Kishka, aka Justin Gorski, you can celebrate all day long. Laura DeMarco explains: 

While [Gorski] did not invent this post-Easter Polish holiday – a day to revel and throw off the restrictions off Lent – the host of the popular Polka Happy Hour at the Happy Dog is singlehandedly responsible for introducing it to Cleveland.

To read the rest of Laura’s story, go here.
For a list of things to do at this year’s Dyngus Day festival, go here.
Our view: The Cleveland Dyngus is fun and kitchy, but South Bend, IN, and Buffalo, NY, have been doing Dyngus Day for decades. Either way, Chodźmy się zabawić w poniedziałek! *
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* Let’s have some fun on Monday!

Break those Lenten vows
in (Cleveland) style

Friday Magazine, April 18, 2014

Jane Mitchell, designer; Lisa DeJong, photographer

The day after Easter is no ordinary Monday – it’s Dyngus Day. And in Cleveland, thanks to proud Polish-American and Lakewood native D.J. Kishka, aka Justin Gorski, you can celebrate all day long. Laura DeMarco explains: 

While [Gorski] did not invent this post-Easter Polish holiday – a day to revel and throw off the restrictions off Lent – the host of the popular Polka Happy Hour at the Happy Dog is singlehandedly responsible for introducing it to Cleveland.

To read the rest of Laura’s story, go here.

For a list of things to do at this year’s Dyngus Day festival, go here.

Our view: The Cleveland Dyngus is fun and kitchy, but South Bend, IN, and Buffalo, NY, have been doing Dyngus Day for decades. Either way, Chodźmy się zabawić w poniedziałek! *

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* Let’s have some fun on Monday!

Great. Blue.
North Coast, March 30, 2014
Lynn Ischay, story and photographs; Jane Mitchell, design
Part of our sense-of-place series, celebrating life in Northeast Ohio.
Here, Lynn documents the annual return of great blue herons to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It’s a testament to the efforts of environmentalists that the birds thrive on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, the very same river that caught fire decades ago.
Lynn writes:

Many of the herons return to colonies in the park, where wetlands and the nearby Cuyahoga River provide bountiful feeding grounds.Once the females arrive in early March, the courtship begins. If a female accepts a branch from a male, she will use it to build the foundation of their nest. The male will continue to gather branches, and the female will weave them into a bowl shape, sometimes as large as 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep. The pair will stay together, each incubating the eggs and tending to the young, for the season.

Read the rest of her story and see a gallery of images here.
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Great. Blue.

North Coast, March 30, 2014

Lynn Ischay, story and photographs; Jane Mitchell, design

Part of our sense-of-place series, celebrating life in Northeast Ohio.

Here, Lynn documents the annual return of great blue herons to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. It’s a testament to the efforts of environmentalists that the birds thrive on the banks of the Cuyahoga River, the very same river that caught fire decades ago.

Lynn writes:

Many of the herons return to colonies in the park, where wetlands and the nearby Cuyahoga River provide bountiful feeding grounds.
Once the females arrive in early March, the courtship begins. If a female accepts a branch from a male, she will use it to build the foundation of their nest. The male will continue to gather branches, and the female will weave them into a bowl shape, sometimes as large as 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep. The pair will stay together, each incubating the eggs and tending to the young, for the season.

Read the rest of her story and see a gallery of images here.

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Not easy being green
Forum, March 9, 2014
Mary Lou Sneyd, designer; Ted Crow, illustrator
A nice, simple illustration in a nice, simple frame. For an editorial saying that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District should revisit their decision to use a gray-water strategy of massive holding tunnels for sewer overflow instead of embracing potentially less expensive green options.
copyright 2014

Not easy being green

Forum, March 9, 2014

Mary Lou Sneyd, designer; Ted Crow, illustrator

A nice, simple illustration in a nice, simple frame. For an editorial saying that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District should revisit their decision to use a gray-water strategy of massive holding tunnels for sewer overflow instead of embracing potentially less expensive green options.

copyright 2014