Latest News

Zagara's hosts Harvest for Hunger fundraiser beginning March 9

In the spirit of combating hunger, Heights residents are invited to enjoy six days of delicious fundraising at Zagara’s Marketplace this March, to benefit the Harvest for Hunger and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

Beginning March 9 and 10, and continuing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for two subsequent weeks, three local specialty food purveyors will donate items to benefit the food bank. All items are generously donated by Joanne Lynch of Euclid Beach Popcorn, Bill Mitchell of Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates, and John Emerman of Stone Oven, and most can be purchased for $2.

The fundraising festivities will commence on Monday and Tuesday, March 9 and 10, noon to 7 p.m., with Euclid Beach Popcorn. Remember the sights, sounds and tastes of Euclid Beach Park with a bag containing those luscious taffy kisses and a popcorn ball (popped popcorn 50 cents).

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:28 AM, 03.03.2015

Latest News Releases

New community choir extends invitation to all singers and musicians
- Arts & Entertainment, March 3, 2015 Read More
Nature Center hosts variety of birding programs beginning March 6
- Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, March 2, 2015 Read More
Feb. 28 Bolt & Spool event to benefit local crafters and nonprofit groups
- Little Italy, February 25, 2015 Read More
Heights Arts accepting applications through March 1 for violin master class with Cleveland Orchestra's Amy Lee
- Heights Arts, February 23, 2015 Read More
Howson Gallery at Judson Park presents 'Patterns of Life' opening Feb. 27
- Judson, February 23, 2015 Read More

View more news releases

Jazzercise classes help keep Heights food center healthy

At their annual fundraiser, Jazzercise class participants from Cleveland Heights and South Euclid contributed more than 230 pounds of food and $800 in cash to the Heights Emergency Food Center, and raised another $1,350 for LifeAct (formerly the Suicide Prevention Education Alliance), which offers suicide prevention programming at area high schools.

Each year, the Jazzercise classes nominate organizations for the fundraiser, and selects the two that receive the most votes as beneficiaries. 

Class members raised money during each class by contributing to have a favorite routine added to the exercise set—or to have a less-than-favorite routine thrown out.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 9:27 AM, 03.03.2015

Serious crime in Cleveland Heights down by 22.4 percent

Violent crimes committed in Cleveland Heights, Jan. to Dec. (lower is better)

Year-end crime statistics from the Cleveland Heights Police Department indicate that, despite a few high-profile cases, serious crime was down 22.4 percent in the city in 2014. Serious crimes consist of violent crimes against people and major crimes against property. Less serious incidents, such as trespassing and OVI, are not included in these figures.

Violent crime was down nearly 27.8 percent, led by a 42 percent drop in robberies—from 95 in 2013 to 55 last year. Aggravated assaults decreased 10 percent, to 37 last year.

“I’m proud of those results,” said Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson. “We can always do better, but the data shows we’re moving in the right direction. We’re only a month-and-a-half into 2015, but so far we’re trending lower still for this year.” 

There were two murders in the city last year—the same as 2013; and 10 rapes compared to six the previous year. For the second consecutive year, no rape or murder went unsolved.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:05 AM, 02.24.2015

Kahlil Seren appointed to CH City Council

Kahlil Seren

Cleveland Heights City Council appointed Kahlil Seren to the unexpired term of Janine Boyd, newly elected Ohio State Representative, at its Feb. 17 meeting.

Kahlil Seren is a research and policy analyst for the Cuyahoga County Council. He had previously worked as a communications coordinator for the nonprofit Policy Matters. A five-year resident of Cleveland Heights, he grew up in East Cleveland and Beachwood, and currently resides in the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood. Seren has served on the city’s Citizens Advisory Committee, which advises council on the spending of Community Development Block Grants from the federal government.

Seren has a bachelor's degree from Cleveland State University and a Master of Science in urban studies from Cleveland State University.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 12:10 PM, 02.18.2015

Refugees find welcome at Noble library

Kathleen Scully (standing) presents an informal conversational English workshop at the Noble Neighborhood Library for members of the Bhutanese community.

On a cold, snowy evening in February, the Noble Neighborhood Library’s teen room was filled with Bhutanese refugees eager to learn conversational English. Kathleen Scully, an English Language Learner (ELL) instructor with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District and a volunteer with the Refugee Services Collaborative of Greater Cleveland, led the informal workshop. Asmita Samal, a student at Heights High and a member of the Bhutanese community, served as an unofficial interpreter for Scully.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 3:01 PM, 02.26.2015

How to contribute to the Observer—or at least have a beer

We’re having a party. Please join us.

On April 22, 6–8 p.m., the Heights Observer is hosting an informal get-together at the Bottlehouse Brewery, 2050 Lee Road. There, you can talk with many of the people who are involved with the Observer on a day-to-day basis—the editor, publisher, volunteers, members of the Observer Advisory Committee and anyone else who walks in the door.

The purpose is to have a beer and talk about our favorite subject: our community. Please join us to understand the Observer better, ask questions, float ideas or just chew the fat.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:56 PM, 02.26.2015

CH group plans March 12 pop-up dinner at the Alcazar

We Are Cleveland Heights, a group that seeks to promote living and working in Cleveland Heights, is holding a pop-up dinner on March 12 at the historic Alcazar, 2450 Derbyshire Road, which was recently purchased by Montlack Realty.

Planting the Seed, a five-course dinner prepared by fire food & drink, SoHo Kitchen & Bar, Marotta's, FarmShare Ohio, Luna Bakery Café and On The Rise will take place on Thursday, March 12, 6:30–9:30 p.m. Drinks will be provided by The Wine Spot, La Cave du Vin, Parnell's Pub and Phoenix Coffee. Entertainment will be provided by The Grog Shop, and table decorations by Four And Twenty Mercantile. Tickets are $75 per person and are available online at or at Luna Bakery Café. Valet parking is included.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:54 AM, 02.27.2015

Rick Szekelyi invites you to play

Rick Szekelyi

There’s something very special happening Sunday afternoons at Stone Oven Bakery on Lee Road. Musicians from near and far come together for an open mic presented by Rick Szekelyi. Each plays three pieces for an audience of faithful listeners, other musicians, and those who just stop in for the daily soup or a sweet afternoon treat. 

Szekelyi, a twinkle-eyed 60-something, is an operational and financial management consultant for companies experiencing difficulties. His father, an accountant like himself, was a professional musician who bought him his first guitar at age 8. Szekelyi taught guitar in high school and college, and played in bands throughout, but while raising a family played only occasionally for himself. He recently picked up his guitar after a hiatus of several decades and began writing songs again.

Last summer, he attended a Steve Earle workshop near Woodstock, N.Y., and for the first time ever performed in public at an open mic. “It went okay and I didn’t die,” he reported. “I liked it.”

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:45 AM, 02.27.2015

Serendipity is striving to make the world a better place

Ray Lesser and Sue Wolpert inside Serendipity on Lee Road.

Serendipity Space, located at 2174 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, just south of Cedar Road, is truly unique. It was designed as a place where people can build connections, relationships and community and, in the process, change the world. Sue Wolpert had the idea for Serendipity a little more than a year ago. “I wanted to develop a place where people could discover ideas and create positive change through their ideas,” she said, “a place that will help us all have the life we want to have.”

After coming up with the concept, Wolpert organized a couple of events at Negative Space Gallery, which is located at East 38th Street and Superior Avenue. Then, one of her friends, Joan Greenwood, wanted to do a program called LovingKindness Week. Because it was a weeklong event, Wolpert realized she would need her own space.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:51 AM, 02.27.2015

CH native owns home-based yoga and Reiki center

Judith Eugene in the yoga studio at her home in Cleveland Heights.

Judith Eugene opened Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki in her house at 2959 Hampshire Road in Cleveland Heights in January 2011. Since then, the yoga studio and Reiki center has become very successful. Last year it won the Best of the Heights Award for Best Home-Based Business.

Eugene, 52, is a Cleveland Heights native. She grew up on Kenilworth Road and attended Coventry Elementary School, Roxboro Middle School and Heights High. She then went to Kent State University, where she majored in architecture. After graduating, she could not find a job in the Cleveland area, so she wound up moving to New York City and, later, northern Virginia.

“I always felt like Cleveland was my home,” she said. “And I kept coming back to visit.” She moved back to Cleveland Heights in 2010.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:48 AM, 02.27.2015

'Home to the Arts'

Cleveland Heights calls itself “Home to the Arts.” All the reading I’ve done about the city shows that this has always been true for at least a century, possibly because of its proximity to Severance Hall, the home of the Cleveland Orchestra; the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Music School Settlement; the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art; the Cleveland Play House; and others of the city’s great arts institutions that began in the early 1900s—and the fact that many of those organizations’ participants lived in Cleveland Heights.

From the time I started kindergarten at Coventry Elementary School and all the way through Heights High, there were always children of Orchestra members, of CIA and CIM instructors, and of others in my classes. And most of my own training took place right here as well.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:40 AM, 02.27.2015

Pianist Joe Hunter's lifetime in music

Joe Hunter at his house in Cleveland Heights.

Joe Hunter is one of Cleveland’s most highly regarded jazz pianists. A Cleveland Heights native, he began playing piano when he was eight years old, and now plays several shows every week around Northeast Ohio.

Hunter, who will be 55 this April, said there was always music around his house when he was growing up. “My parents were big music lovers,” he said. “They hired piano players when they had parties, and they had a wonderful record collection that included music by Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, the Weavers, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and many, many others.”

His mother, Sara Hunter, was a municipal judge in Cleveland Heights for 18 years, and was the first female judge in the city. She also played accordion. His father, also named Joe Hunter, was the regional director of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, and he played washtub bass.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:20 AM, 02.27.2015

Multi-media art show explores impressions of nature at St. Paul's

Dahlia Magic, photograph, by Lori Diemer.

The Nicholson B. White Gallery at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd., announces its spring show, Nature’s Impressions. The show opens with an artists’ reception on Friday, March 6, 5–7 p.m., where participating artists will be in attendance to greet guests and discuss their creative processes. The show runs through May 29.

Featured artists are James Brindle (wood, alabaster), Lori Diemer (photography), Eileen Dorsey (oil landscape) and Leonard Trawick (prints).

Brindle’s woodturnings are both functional and non-functional. The simplicity of his turnings, combined with flowing gracefulness in design, are attempts to expose nature’s inherent beauty of wood, which is further enhanced through various finishing techniques. Brindle has won several ribbons at woodturning competitions and has been published in Woodturning Design magazine.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:34 AM, 02.27.2015

Heights Arts exhibition explores changing urban landscape

Euclid Avenue, a photographic diptych by Darlene Beiter.

Over the last year, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Travel + Leisure, Fodor’s and The Wall Street Journal are among the national publications that have sung the praises of the changes transforming Cleveland and its environs. In this spirit, Heights Arts’ new exhibition, Impermanence, explores the nature of change within the city's environment of civic architecture, streets and residences.

Organized by guest curator and photographer Daniel Levin, Impermanence celebrates place, use and time in the Heights, University Circle, Little Italy, Ohio City and downtown Cleveland through pairing photographs that show the same view of a site at different historical times. This “then-and-now” perspective enables the viewer to notice both dramatic and subtle changes that have occurred to some of our iconic community institutions and streetscapes, and to more commonplace subject matter, such as home interiors. The exhibition includes some unexpected images of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Arena District and Coventry neighborhoods, which are sure to trigger a flood of memories in long-term Cleveland residents, and delight newcomers.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:32 AM, 02.27.2015

Mamaí plans benefit performance

On the heels of its critically acclaimed second season, Mamaí Theatre Company is presenting Rockaby, a rarely seen 14-minute play by Samuel Beckett, on Sunday, March 29 at Dobama Theatre on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

The March 29 benefit event begins at 7:30 p.m. with a dessert reception, followed by the performance. After the play, host Dee Perry, of WVIZ-TV and WCLV Radio, will moderate a Q&A with Rockaby actor Dorothy Silver and members of Mamaí, and the evening will end with raffle winners collecting fabulous gift baskets donated by Big Fun, Dobama Theatre, fire food and drink, Nighttown and Quintana’s Barber & Dream Spa.

In Rockaby, a one-act, one-woman play, directed by Curt Arnold, a woman dressed in an evening gown sits in a wooden rocking chair with no other props or scenery on stage. She sits totally still with the chair seeming to rock of its own accord, creating an eerie atmosphere.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:28 AM, 02.27.2015

Two musical groups perform 'Carmen'

With its close proximity to Severance Hall, the Heights has long been home to many Cleveland Orchestra musicians and concertgoers. Life in the shadow of one of the Big Five orchestras has certainly influenced the study and enjoyment of music in the Heights, and we are fortunate to have an abundance of excellent musicians in our community, ranging from tuxedo-clad professionals to backyard banjo players to pick-up jazz groups.

Two community music-making groups with close ties to the Heights—Choral Arts Cleveland and Suburban Symphony Orchestra—will join forces to celebrate 100 combined years of music making with the complete concert version of Bizet’s opera Carmen on March 15.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:14 AM, 02.27.2015

Western Reserve Chorale performs Ohio premiere of oratorio

The Western Reserve Chorale (WRC), under the direction of David Gilson, will perform the Ohio premiere of composer Karl Jenkins’ new oratorio, The Peacemakers, on Friday, March 20, 7:30 p.m., at the Cedar Hill Baptist Church (12601 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights). The concert will be repeated on Sunday, March 22, at 4 p.m., at Mary Queen of Peace Church (4423 Pearl Road in Old Brooklyn).   

The Peacemakers, composed in 2011, is a collage of melodic and expressive settings of pleas for peace by messengers of peace, representing a range of cultural and religious traditions.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:18 AM, 02.27.2015

HYT presents 'The Little Mermaid Jr.'

Local cast members rehearse for the upcoming performances of The Little Mermaid Jr. at Monticello Middle School.

The Disney classic “The Little Mermaid” tells the story of mermaid princess Ariel’s dissatisfaction with life under the sea, and her curiosity about, and adventures in, the human world. The lyrical score features beloved songs such as "Part of Your World" and “Under the Sea.” In March, Heights Youth Theatre (HYT) will present a  family-friendly production of The Little Mermaid Jr., directed by Pierre-Jacques Brault, with music directed by Stacy Bolton.

The Little Mermaid Jr. features 60 talented students in grades 1–12, many of whom reside in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:09 AM, 02.27.2015

Westminster Abbey organist in recital at St. Paul’s

Organist James O'Donnell.

James O’Donnell, the organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey in London, will perform a solo organ recital at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights) on Friday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m.

Formerly master of music at Westminster Cathedral, O’Donnell was appointed organist and master of the choristers at Westminster Abbey in 2000. In addition to a full schedule of daily choral services, his responsibilities have recently included directing the music for a service in the presence of Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in April 2011, and the recent service to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation. The Abbey Choir has toured the Far East, the United States, Australia, Denmark, Germany, Russia, Spain, Hungary and Rome, where, in 2012, it participated in a Papal Mass with the Sistine Chapel Choir at the invitation of the Pope.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:02 AM, 02.27.2015

Community conversation on public education continues March 24

The Heights Coalition for Public Education will hold its third community conversation, The Myth of Failing Students, on March 24 at 7 p.m. in the Social Room at Heights High. The event will explore the failure of state and federal testing and accountability policy to improve student achievement and to address many of the issues that are part of the education equation.

The public is invited to participate in this free community event. Local public education advocates and educators will report on the complex issues that affect students and schools.  

Co-sponsors of the public event include the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union AFT Local 795, CH-UH PTA Council, Reaching Heights and FutureHeights.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:35 AM, 02.27.2015

New programs bring education philosophy to the library

Arjun Dutta with his Lego creation.

Are you a Heights parent with a budding engineer or mathematician in the family? If so, the library has programs that may pique your child's interest. Saturday, March 21 at 2:30 p.m. is STEAM Saturday at the Noble Neighborhood Library, and Tuesday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m. is Kid Engineering at the University Heights Library.

STEAM Saturday is based on the new philosophy in many schools of focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. The theory is based on the idea that encouraging American students to focus on these core areas will foster innovation and make them more competitive and successful as adults, which will in turn continue to keep America competitive on a global scale.

STEAM was originally STEM (with no A for art), but art and design were added with the idea that they can help support engagement and creativity, and enhance a student's understanding.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:41 AM, 02.27.2015

Friends of Heights Libraries invites scholarship applications

Between March 1 and April 1, Friends of the Heights Libraries will accept library education scholarship applications from residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, as well as non-resident employees of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

The $750 scholarship is designed to encourage careers in librarianship by providing financial assistance toward the pursuit of a graduate degree in library science from an ALA-accredited library school.

Anyone living in Cleveland Heights or University Heights for at least one year prior to application, or anyone who has been an employee of the CH-UH Public Library for at least one year prior to application, is eligible to apply.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:40 AM, 02.27.2015

What's going on at your library?

In March, the library kicks off its Springtime in Paris series, with programs exploring Parisian history, arts and culture. Visit to see the full list of programs, and to register for select events.

Coventry Village Library
1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Monday, March 16, 4 p.m.

Kids Upcycle. Keep our landfills a little lighter by repurposing materials that might otherwise be thrown away. This week, participants will learn how to make T-shirt bracelets. Registration is not required for this event, and all children, parents and caretakers are welcome.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:43 AM, 02.27.2015

Is a reverse mortgage right for you?

A reverse mortgage is a home loan that you do not need to pay back until you move from your home, no matter how far in the future that may be. You may use the proceeds from the loan for anything you choose, such as daily living expenses, home improvements, paying off debts or traveling. The amount you can borrow from a reverse mortgage depends on several factors, including the value of your home, the equity you have in it, the type of reverse mortgage you choose and the interest rate.

To be eligible for a reverse mortgage you must be at least 62 years old, own the home, and the home must be your primary residence.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:46 AM, 02.27.2015

Senior Citizen Happenings

Senior Citizen Happenings, sponsored by the City of University Heights, are open to all senior citizens. Events take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the University Heights Library. For information, and to suggest program topics, contact the UH Office for Senior Services at 216-397-0336 or To receive the monthly schedule by e-mail, call 216-932-7800, ext. 205, or send an e-mail to

March 5: In their previous visit to Senior Citizen Happenings, students at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) performed beautiful arias from the beloved operas of Giuseppe Verdi. Today’s performance will feature the work of another esteemed composer as the students celebrate the 95th anniversary of the founding of CIM, acclaimed for its superior music programs for both undergraduate and graduate students.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:48 AM, 02.27.2015

Two Heights High singers perform with OMEA All-State Choir

Heights High's Johnna Marotta (left) and Arianna Murray performed with the OMEA All-State Choir on Feb. 6. [photo by Tamara Murray]

Heights High students Arianna Murray and Johnna Marotta represented the CH-UH City School District at the Ohio Music Educators Association (OMEA) on Feb. 6. Murray and Marotta performed at the Cleveland Convention Center with the OMEA All-State Choir. More than 1,000 students from across Ohio auditioned for the choir, but only 81 students were selected for this honor.

Murray and Marotta had competed in the OMEA Solo and Ensemble Competition on Jan. 24, and both students received the highest possible score of Superior in the soloist competition. Two other students, Michael Carder and Ian Teunissen, were also selected for the choir, but could not attend the performance because of other vocal music obligations.

“I am so very proud of all four of the musicians,” said Craig McGaughey, Heights High vocal music director. “Performing with a group of this caliber is a great experience for students. Arianna and Johnna came back to school full of energy and enthusiasm for performing.”

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:32 AM, 02.27.2015

How to deal with the foreclosure crisis

When Maureen O'Neil became chief code official and neighborhood improvement coordinator in Youngstown a few years ago, she noticed many homes were blighted and in desperate need of repair. She and her staff found that, in many cases, the former owners were behind in their mortgage payments and were evicted by the lenders, who failed to complete the necessary foreclosure forms. These were referred to as “zombie foreclosures.” Thus, the city assumed the vacant parcels were still the property of the former owners. The city had to perform basic maintenance, such as lawn mowing, snow shoveling and minor structural repairs, which on a citywide basis totaled about $100,000 per year, and assume the cost.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:54 PM, 02.26.2015

Keep our community strong by protecting Heights schools

Most people who live in the Heights will agree that this is a special place. Our communities, with their focus on the arts and culture, and their commitment to diversity and integration, are unique among American suburbs.

One of our great strengths is a populace that values education and that invests in the education of all of its young people. Our community’s commitment to our schools has been clearly demonstrated in recent years by the strong support shown for critically important levies and issues that fund the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:52 PM, 02.26.2015

Heights historical photo of the month

Photo courtesy City of Cleveland Heights.

Don't fret—it will soon be time to get back in the pool! Indeed, whether in the midst of a deep winter freeze or merely waiting for the end of rest period, as the children are in this photograph from around 1930, Cumberland Pool has beckoned city residents ever since it first opened in 1927.

This photo was selected by the Cleveland Heights Historical Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to discovering, preserving and promoting the heritage of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. For more information, and to view additional historical images, visit or

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:47 PM, 02.26.2015

Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church

Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church, shown here in 1915, was originally built for Cleveland Heights Methodist Episcopal Church, the forerunner of Church of the Saviour.  City of Cleveland Heights. Cleveland Heights Historical Center at Superior Schoolhouse.

In the summer of 1981, the choirs of St. John's and St. James A.M.E. churches, two historic African-American congregations on Cleveland's East Side, joined together in the octagonal sanctuary at the inaugural service of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church. Named after the African Methodist Episcopal motto, "God our Father, Christ our Redeemer, and Man our Brother," this sacred landmark was originally dedicated as Cleveland Heights Methodist Episcopal Church on Sept. 18, 1904. The clapboard- and shingle-sided Gothic Eclectic building, distinguished by its rare (for its time) octagonal sanctuary plan and battlemented corner tower overlooking Superior and Hampshire roads, is the oldest standing house of worship in Cleveland Heights, and has been a designated Cleveland Heights Landmark since 1995.

Cleveland Heights Methodist Episcopal Church arose from efforts of the Nottingham-Glenville Circuit of the Methodist Church, which erected an earlier brick church near the old Superior Schoolhouse, in 1878. At that time the surrounding area was still derisively dubbed "Heathen Heights" because of the notorious weekend carousing of the area's stone quarry workers.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:43 PM, 02.26.2015

A dogged crime-fighting team at the CHPD

Jax, an 18-month-old German Shepherd, is the fourth dog to join the CHPD's K-9 unit. Photo by Bob Rosenbaum.

At the end of a long, 12-hour shift, the youngest member of the Cleveland Heights Police Department is ready to go home. To make the point, he quietly nudges his partner. When that doesn't do the trick, he begins to whine.

His partner, Officer Tom Harris, describes it as rookie behavior. But it's understandable; the rookie is only 18 months old. His name is Jax and he's a German Shepherd.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:41 PM, 02.26.2015

Social innovator Ruth DeGolia brings her story home to the Heights on March 11

You may wonder what the label Mercado Global is in a garment you have bought from Anthropologie, J. Crew or Urban Outfitter’s. 

On March 11 you can find out about this ethical fashion brand and social enterprise at a fundraiser called, Fashioning Change: Harnessing the Power of Markets for Women in Guatemala. It will be held from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at The Wine Spot, 2271 Lee Road. Proceeds will support Mercado Global’s educational and market access programs.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:31 PM, 02.26.2015

Go bananas at LEI's third annual fundraiser

Participants play Bananagrams during last year's tournament. Photo courtsey LEI.

Lake Erie Ink (LEI), a writing space for youth, is hosting its third annual fundraiser for people of all ages to showcase their quick, creative wordplay skills during a Giant Bananagrams Tournament. The event will take place on March 21, 2–5 p.m., in the Cleveland Heights High School Social Room, making it one of the community's last opportunities to enjoy the space before construction on the historic school begins this summer.

Inspired by the fast-paced, Scrabble-like word game, teams of two to four players will compete on a 30-by-30-foot Bananagrams board with 1-foot-square tiles in front of a live audience, with plays and words announced by a guest MC.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:28 PM, 02.26.2015

Noble churches serve neighbors

The Noble neighborhood of Cleveland Heights is home to several long-established congregations.

Situated next to Denison Park, Church of the Master, 4050 Monticello Blvd., traces its history to a merger of congregations, one of which included John D. Rockefeller. Rockefeller’s legacy continues in this newer congregation through the Cleveland Baptist Association. Rev. Rena Baker has pastored this church for 12 years and leads the services on Sundays at 10:45 a.m. Rev. Joyce Butler leads a Bible study and prayer service on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., and Rev. Julia Moses ministers to many of the boys and young men who play basketball in the park. Contact the church at 216-381-1001.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:18 PM, 02.26.2015

IPM sponsors life-changing trips to Colombia and Wyoming

A child at Ninos Trabajadores Project in Ibague, Colombia, at the end of a workshop.

International Partners in Mission (IPM), based in Cleveland Heights, works across borders of faith, culture and economic circumstance to create partnerships that build justice, peace and hope. The core program provides financial and technical support to 60 community-initiated programs in 20 countries. They include El Salvador, India, Kenya, Nepal and Nicaragua, and the focus is on women, children and youths.

IPM also organizes immersion-experience programs—short-term travel opportunities to the countries where it works. Participants, many from Northeast Ohio, learn about the history and culture of these countries, and walk in solidarity with the locals whose work IPM supports.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:17 PM, 02.26.2015

CH-UH school district requires scrutiny

In May 2015 we face yet another school levy, designated for “current operations.”

The county auditor’s website indicates that CH-UH City School District residents pay 15 different tax levies or bonds to support the district.

Of these levies, 12 are for "current operations." They total 145.14 mills and are “continuous,” which means the district can continue taxing us past the levy’s “end date.”

The remaining three taxes are the facilities bond, a library bond, and a "forever" tax levy for building maintenance. Together, these total 149.59 millages we pay to the CH-UH City School District.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 10:23 AM, 02.24.2015

CHHS student artists win awards

Heights High junior Hannah Smith's charcoal drawing won a Gold Key award in the Cuyahoga County Scholastic Art Contest.

Four Cleveland Heights High School juniors have won awards in two separate art competitions.

Hannah Smith received a Gold Key award for her charcoal drawing and Nih’jel Jones received an Honorable Mention for his coiled ceramic vessel in the 2015 Cuyahoga County Scholastic Art Competition. The local competition is part of the National Scholastic Art Competition. Smith and Jones were selected from more than 3,000 entrants from approximately 100 middle and high schools in Cuyahoga County. Each student whose work was selected for display received an award of Honorable Mention, Silver Key or Gold Key.

Gold Key award winners continue to the national competition held this spring in New York City, and are eligible for college scholarships. The awards were announced on Dec. 19 and winning pieces were on display at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:15 AM, 02.24.2015

Heights Libraries will restore hours to all branches in mid-May

Beginning in mid-May, Coventry Village Library will again be open on Fridays and Sundays.

Thanks to the passage of its operating levy in November 2014, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library now has funding to reinstate Sunday hours at the Coventry Village and Noble Neighborhood libraries, and Friday hours at the Coventry Village Library.

Beginning Friday, May 15, the Coventry branch will reopen on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., reinstating the Friday hours that were cut in January 2014. Beginning on Sunday, May 17, all branches will be open 1–5 p.m., reinstating the hours that were eliminated in 2009, when Ohio’s Public Library Fund was drastically cut by the state government.

“We are as delighted about this as we hope our customers are, because we know that, for many in our community, Sunday is a perfect library day,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 4:58 PM, 02.22.2015

Neighbors and businesses grateful for restored Coventry library hours

To the Editor:

On behalf of the many loyal patrons of Coventry Village Library we extend heartfelt thanks to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library Board of Directors and administration for their Feb. 16 decision to restore Friday hours to the library's schedule.

Combined with the recent restoration of Sunday hours to all branches, the Coventry Village Library will now be able to serve the community on a daily basis. This is good news for residents and also good news for the Coventry retail district, as the library plays an important role in attracting people to our neighborhood businesses.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 4:56 PM, 02.22.2015

Feb. 24 HRRC talk explores kitchen updates for older homes

Remodeling an older kitchen can present special challenges. In addition to cost considerations, there are special issues involved when making changes to older homes. Homeowners thinking about updating their kitchen may feel dazed and confused by the products and design choices available.

Somrak Kitchens is offering a free Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) presentation to help those planning a kitchen update. Kitchen Design: Products and Design Trends for Older Homes will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. at HRRC’s Teaching Center, 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 4:54 PM, 02.22.2015

CHPD to deploy body cameras among officers

CHPD officers will begin using body cameras in March 2015. [Photo by Bob Rosenbaum.]

Before the end of March, officers in the Traffic Safety Bureau of the Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD) will begin wearing body cameras to record their interactions with the public.

The CHPD has enough cameras to equip all officers on duty, but they will be put into use in two phases, according to Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson.

The department has approximately 105 officers, one-third of whom are on duty at any given time. The Traffic Safety Bureau represents about 40 percent of the force.

The cameras will be deployed first among officers in the Traffic Safety Bureau because they are in most-frequent contact with the public, Robertson said. That is expected to take place by mid-March. The second phase, which hasn't yet been scheduled, will put the cameras on all remaining on-duty officers. 

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:03 AM, 02.17.2015

CH-UH resident educators all pass performance assessment

Among the CH-UH school district's resident educators are (front row, from left) Markita Thompson, Takisha Jackson, Tracey Tyrrell, Karin Faletic, Traci Adeen, (back row) Keith Vance, Josh Lutton, James Davies and Patrick Carpenter. Missing from photo are: Ben Ammon, Nicole Clouser, Emily Kairis, Max Kravitz and Tai Kuei-Fang.

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District’s fourth-year resident educators all recently passed the Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA)—a rigorous performance assessment that asks resident educators to showcase their teaching progress and demonstrate its impact on student achievement. All 14 of the district’s resident educators passed all five tests for a district passage rate of 100 percent.

In the state of Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Education, “about 56 percent of the 3,218 candidates who were registered as RESA candidates last year submitted all five tasks, and 67 percent of those candidates passed all five.” 

“I am so proud of the district’s resident educators and their facilitators,” said Talisa L. Dixon, CH-UH superintendent. “A district passage rate of 100 percent is truly an accomplishment to celebrate. Not only did all of the residents register as RESA candidates, compared to only 56 percent statewide; they all passed, compared to only 67 statewide. I would like to congratulate each of the resident educators—Traci Adeen, Ben Ammon, Patrick Carpenter, Nicole Clouser, James Davies, Karen Faletic, Takisha Jackson, Emily Kairis, Max Kravitz, Tai Kuei-Fang, Josh Luton, Markita Thompson, Tracey Tyrrell and Keith Vance.  Bravo to each of you!”

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:58 AM, 02.17.2015

HRRC seeks to spread word of its programs with Feb. 18 event

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) has scheduled a special event to increase awareness of its programs. On Feb. 18, at 7 p.m., HRRC will present You Can Do It! 10 Simple DIY Repairs at the Stephanie Tubbs-Jones Community Center, 3450 Lee Road in Shaker Heights. The event is free to residents of any city; to make a reservation (suggested), call 216- 381-6100, ext. 16.

Since 1971, HRRC has worked to foster diverse and sustainable neighborhoods by empowering and educating homeowners to repair and maintain their homes. Located and founded in Cleveland Height, HRRC provides program services throughout Northeast Ohio.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:08 PM, 02.16.2015

Middle school students win awards in creative writing competition

Monticello Middle School Power of the Pen winners at the district tournament.

Roxboro and Monticello middle school students took home several awards at the Power of the Pen district tournament on Jan. 10.

More than 200 seventh- and eighth-grade writers from the greater Cleveland area participated in the district-level creative writing competition held at Monticello Middle School.

Roxboro's Sophie Fleischer won first place and Best of Round 2 for seventh-graders, and Monticello’s Suvedini Ainkaran won Best of Round 2 for eighth-graders. The Roxboro seventh-grade team took fourth place overall.

Other district students who placed in the competition were:

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:07 PM, 02.16.2015

CHHS athletes commit to colleges on National Signing Day

Ten Heights High senior student athletes were part of National Signing Day on Feb. 4. Photo by Joy Henderson.

At Heights High’s National Signing Day event on Feb. 4, senior student athletes officially announced the names of the colleges they will attend next year. National Signing Day is the first day that Class of 2015 high school recruits can sign binding letters of intent with college programs.

In all, 10 Heights High seniors signed letters of intent. Their coaches introduced the students, each of whom then spoke about their high school careers and the many adults at the school who supported them. The students also thanked their families, who joined them on the stage.

Kristin Hughes, CHHS athletic director, welcomed the audience, comprised of the families and teammates of the student athletes.


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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:13 AM, 02.10.2015

Peppler named executive director of nonprofit training organization

Nancy Peppler

Nancy Peppler, Cleveland Heights resident and president of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education (BOE), will become the new executive director of Cornucopia/Nature’s Bin, a nonprofit that provides community-based employment training for people with disabilities.

Peppler will begin her new position on March 9. She will succeed Scott Duennes, who has served as executive director of Cornucopia/Nature’s Bin for 30 years, and who will retire effective March 20. Duennes and Peppler will work together through the end of March to effect a smooth transition for the organization.

“On behalf of the board of directors of Cornucopia, I am delighted to welcome Nancy Peppler as the new executive director,” said Tony Rospert, board president.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:49 AM, 02.10.2015

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-2-2015

FEBRUARY 2, 2015

  • Public comments
  • Storefront renovation program
  • Nuisance properties
  • American Heart Month  
  • African-American History Month
  • Upcoming events
  • County sewer services
  • Restaurant anniversaries
  • Greg Zucca

All council members were present.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 7:19 PM, 02.12.2015

New shop on Coventry features works by local artists

Jenny Goe, one of the owners of the new In the 216 shop on Coventry.

A new store that sells artwork and other items created by local artisans opened on the south end of Coventry Road on Jan. 23. Jenny Goe and her husband, Steve Goe, are the owners of In the 216, located in the space formerly occupied by Phoenix Coffee and, before that, Arabica Coffee.

Jenny, 49, is an artist herself, while her husband works for Progressive Insurance. The couple, who just got married in December, currently live in Highland Heights, but hope to move to the Cleveland Heights area soon. Jenny lived in Shaker Heights, off of Coventry Road, for about 10 years. The couple’s dog—a mixed-breed terrier and retriever named Heaven—can often be found in the shop.

Jenny said that she and her husband had often thought about opening a shop where they could sell items made by local artists. “Because I make and sell jewelry, it was a natural idea to open a store,” she said. “And Coventry was always a cool place to go and hang out. So when I saw this space, I thought it was a really good fit. I think our store really fits Coventry, which features small shops and handmade items.”

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:14 AM, 02.03.2015

Ensemble Theatre celebrates civil rights giant Thurgood Marshall

What better way to celebrate Black History Month than to spend the evening with one of the country’s pre-eminent Black Americans: Thurgood Marshall. Through Feb. 22, Ensemble Theatre presents “Thurgood,” which the Baltimore Sun called “one of the most frank, informed, and searing discussions on race you will ever see.”

Written by George Stevens Jr., “Thurgood” is a one-man show depicting the life of Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American justice of the Supreme Court, and his role in the historic decision in Brown v. Board of Education that outlawed segregation in public schools.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:23 AM, 02.02.2015

CH economic development director, Greg Zucca, resigns

The City of Cleveland Heights announced today that Greg Zucca, economic development director for the city, has resigned. Zucca has accepted a position with as the vice president of lending and lending operations for the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI). He had been in his position with the city since June 2014.

"Economic development is a top priority for the city," said City Manager Tanisha Briley. "Greg Zucca provided the city with strong analytical and financial skill and a keen ability to build partnerships. We are disappointed to see him go, but wish him great success in his new role at ECDI. We look forward to working with him and ECDI to strengthen and support our thriving small business community."


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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 4:00 PM, 01.30.2015

Understanding crime in Cleveland Heights: First in a series

Chart 1: Violent crime in Cleveland Heights: Jan.-Oct. (lower is better)

Source: Cleveland Heights Police Department

Late in 2014, the Cleveland Heights Police Department began posting information about local crime rates on the city’s website (

“Communication between the police and the citizens we serve is essential,” explained Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson. “Along with our Facebook and Twitter feeds, Meet Your Police meetings, and other community outreach efforts, such as the Citizen's Police Academy, the posting and ease of access to these statistics continues my commitment to transparency.”

Now, the Heights Observer is working with the police department to amplify and interpret the data to eventually foster a better understanding of public safety issues in Cleveland Heights.

Reports in this series will be published at least once per quarter—and perhaps more often, depending on time constraints at the police department and among Observer volunteers.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 12:17 PM, 01.03.2015