7 August 2005
Alex the Avenger
Kid blasts neighbors' fence

Little Alex Orlando prepares to demolish a stockade enclosure on Diamond Drive

image courtesy of Jim "The Anvil"
Little Alex exacted some revenge for last week's mulch battle yesterday by blowing up the neighbors' stockade fence. Saturday morning, friends cheered on as Alex completely demolished the fence with an old-fashioned blasting detonator reminiscent of Wile E. Coyote. Built in 2002, the 9-foot structure was installed to prevent Orlando children from accessing the property. Vaporizing the fence and most of the surrounding vegetation, the blast was the equivalent of 1500 sticks of dynamite, or about 4,647,390,500 boxes of Bang Snaps. Where exactly Alex acquired the explosives is still unclear, but police have confirmed that an emblem of the Coal Dock was stamped on the underside of the detonator. Following the explosion, Alex and a slew of other children drove all over the formerly impassable yard on their bikes, popping wheelies and chanting "More fun for you! More fun for me! Up went the fence of Cin-deeee!"

Dissing Crystal
Woman's name disqualifies her for city job
An Ashtabula woman said she was denied the opportunity to submit her resume with the City because her name wasn't right for the job. After three weeks of trying to convince city administrators of her credentials, Crystal Meff of Forty Acres claims she is a victim of discrimination. Friday, two bailiffs and a restroom attendant escorted Meff out of City Hall, advising her not to waste any more time applying for a job recently advertised. Meff said city employee Dave Coast told her they could not have anyone "by that name" in the position. Coast, who has faced heavy criticism for his charismatic demonstrations of his British heritage, says he feels sorry for the woman. Meff told Martinis city officials suggested she legally change her name, or be disqualified for the job. Over the weekend, the story took a new twist when Youngstown civil rights attorney and former discrimination victim Ray Luudes volunteered his services.

Dear Martini
Dear Martini
I want to express my concern about the growing popularity of the degenerate sport of bar fighting. It seems like it's impossible to go out in Ashtabula anymore without seeing some testosterone-driven brawl. I'm sick of hearing that a place has been "taken over" by this group or that group and not to go there. What does that even mean? Why can't these places be taken over by people with a little class? When I'm out, I'm out for a good time. The last thing I want to do when I go out is get into some cheap physical confrontation with a bunch of lowlifes. My brother was even intimidated into giving up his food at Subway after a kid came up to him and yelled "Gimme a bite a that sloppy sandwich!" I'm tired of renting movies every weekend. Where can young adults go to relax and have a drink? I know it's a long shot, but is there any way I could get Little Alex to clean out some of these dives?
Sick of Staying Home

Dear Sick
Little Alex is not exactly for hire, but I'm sure if he gets ticked off enough those places will be history. Senseless fighting in bars is a large problem. To get into the reasons behind the hostility would be beyond the scope of this letter. But when you consider the instigators, look at where they came from. Many are raised in turbulent or broken households with poor role models. Others come from good stock, but have taken the wrong road. Some are new in town, some are transient. They have little knowledge of Ashtabula's past and couldn't care less about its future. Sure, a lot of these guys get beer muscles when they go out, but some of them are on drugs normally prescribed for horses. It may take generations to mend the city's gaping morality hole.
For young people, nice places to have a drink in town are few. Staying home doesn't mean you have to be alone. Surround yourself with good company. Invite people over. Nobody likes to be alone, but if it happens don't sweat it. I don't blame you for refusing to pour your life's savings into Ballbuster Video's pit of service charges. Try PBS. Better alone than in bad company.

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