A confession: I'm guilty of smuggling. On a recent weekend, while driving home from Conneaut Lake in northwest Pennsylvania after an extended weekend getaway with my girlfriend and her family, I crossed the state line into the tiny hamlet of Kinsman, Ohio, with a trunkful of bootleg booze.

OK, I'm exaggerating. Instead of illegal moonshine, I'm talking about Yuengling, a popular brew based in Pennsylvania that has been unavailable this side of the border. No, it doesn't have anything to do with Ohio laws prohibiting a beer this delicious from flowing in the Buckeye state; rather, the brewery has, for the past 182 years, distributed exclusively to a select few states, primarily on the East Coast.

The most popular of its seven varieties is the amber lager: crisp with a subtle sweetness of caramel and malt. I remember the first time I had it was in Naples, Florida, which is why, to this day, I still associate it with the beach.

With the recent announcement that Yuengling (finally) will expand to Ohio-beginning distribution later this year-many Ohioans, myself included, will no longer be required to act as smugglers. And I can look forward to being at the beach here in Columbus.

NEWS

After only three months in business, Big Woody's-located in the space that previously housed the Lodge Bar in the Arena District-closed this summer. On June 21, the owner of the building, HP Land Development Ltd., filed suit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court against the bar operators, Vine Street LLC, seeking nearly $50,000 in unpaid rent and an additional $25,000 in damages and court costs.

The Upper Arlington City Council voted unanimously in June to designate nearly 40 acres of Lane Avenue as an entertainment district, allowing for the acquisition of more liquor licenses. The stretch, from just west of Northwest Boulevard to just east of North Star Road (including the Shops on Lane Avenue), will continue to boost the economic development of the suburb, says Mayor Frank Ciotola. As of early July, council was finalizing a comprehensive parking and traffic calming study. Ciotola says he hopes the area will begin seeing new development within the next year.

JAZZMAN

A day after playing a gig with his band at J. Liu in Worthington, saxophonist Carl Sally is munching on a salad at Villa Nova on North High Street, reminiscing about the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. "I go into my friend's shop on High Street, and everyone around the TV is deathly quiet, and Walter Cronkite-by the way, he's heard me play, Walter Cronkite. . . ."

And that's the way the conversation has gone, with stars like Muhammad Ali, Frankie Valli and Reggie Jackson getting tossed in nonchalantly. "I've had a wonderful, wonderful life," he says.

It's a life that has seen the Columbus native alongside many big names: Lionel Hampton, whom he played with at a young age; Chuck Berry, whom he toured with in the late 1950s, and President Jimmy Carter, whom he performed for at a private fundraiser while he was in office.

Sally's musical beginnings are traced to 1947, when he was in fourth grade. There was a hit song at the time by the name of "Open the Door, Richard," by Jack McVea. Returning from the restroom one day, Sally banged on the classroom door to be let back in. "Open the door, Richard!" he yelled. The students erupted with laughter. His teacher was not so pleased, however. " 'Since you know the song so well, why don't you sing it for the whole class?' " Sally recalls her instructing. So he did. Everyone applauded, and Sally's father was notified of the disruption by his teacher, who also pointed out that he should consider music lessons for the boy.

Sally's father, a tailor who lived in the Worthington area, pushed him to learn the saxophone. Now that he's 75, Sally, who was raised by his grandmother in Franklinton, calls Columbus home once again, after a whirlwind musical career that's taken him around the country.

His travels took him to New York City in his early days, then to Anchorage, Alaska, where he worked as an entertainment director for Sheraton Hotels, before heading south to Seattle. Then, Sally decided a change was needed. "I said [to myself], 'I've been playing onstage since I was 10. I'm gonna go home and take a rest and do things that I want to do,' " he says. This homecoming, he adds, "turned into a 20-year retirement," which has found him regularly gigging at J. Liu, La Scala in Dublin and a few other venues, while spending time with his family (a wife of 40 years and four grown children). Of the past 20 years, Sally says he couldn't be happier. "I'm like a kid in a candy shop."