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June 19, 2019
CLEVELAND — Fifty years after the Cuyahoga River's most infamous fire helped spawn the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, artists and entrepreneurs have turned old jokes into inspiration and forged decades of embarrassment into a fiery brand of Cleveland pride.
“Everybody knows Cuyahoga County for the burning river. That happened how many years ago?” said Johnny Rowan, manager of Burning River Coffee in nearby Lakewood. “It was a big joke of the country — heck, the world — for how long? And now people look at us with pride. We've taken it, we've owned it and we've turned it into something positive.”
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