Latest News

Elected-mayor petition drive exceeds goal

Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) delivered to the city 3,962 signatures on petitions to put a charter amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot that, if approved, would create the office of a full-time elected mayor in Cleveland Heights for the first time since the city was chartered in 1921.

Susanna Niermann O'Neil, city council acting clerk and assistant city manager, accepted the petitions on June 17 from members of CEM. The grassroots local ballot issue committee had planned to collect at least 3,200 signatures to help ensure it reached the 2,200 valid signatures needed.

“This fast and impressive show of support assures us that citizens eagerly want to be able to elect their own mayor,” said Tony Cuda, CEM campaign manager. “We look forward to the issue being placed on the ballot and working with volunteers to ensure it passes.”

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 9:36 AM, 06.18.2019

Latest News Releases

HRCC Annual Business Expo Celebrates 25 Years of Connecting Local Businesses and Strengthening The Communities They Serve
- Heights Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce, May 8, 2019 Read More
Two Distinguished Female Leaders Will Deliver Commencement Addresses in May
- JCU, May 6, 2019 Read More
Attention families of preschool-age children: Fairmount Cooperative Preschool is now enrolling
- Preschool Info., April 29, 2019 Read More
Five CH City Council members sign letter to Governor DeWine expressing their concern with SB 23, the "Heartbeat Bill"
- City of Cleveland Heights, April 25, 2019 Read More
Cleveland Heights City Council Member Kahlil Seren Introduces Legislation to Condemn Ohio’s Abortion Ban: Resolution Requires Law Department to Submit Amicus Brief in Court Challenge
- City of Cleveland Heights, April 24, 2019 Read More

View more news releases

David Budin and the Heights Observer win statewide honors

For the second year in a row, the Heights Observer won second place in Ohio’s largest journalism competition for the title of Ohio’s best non-daily community newspaper.

David Budin’s “Songs and Stories” column, which has appeared in almost every Heights Observer issue over the past decade, was honored with second place as well in the category of best column.

While the Heights Observer was judged against other non-daily newspapers, Budin was judged against columnists from every type and size publication in the state.

The awards were announced June 7 at the 2019 All-Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards, presented at the House of Blues by The Press Club of Cleveland.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:29 AM, 06.11.2019

CH to host tax abatement workshops on June 12

The city of Cleveland Heights will host two "Tax Abatement 101" informational sessions on June 12: 8–9:30 a.m. in Council Chambers at CH City Hall, and 6–7:30 p.m. at the CH Community Center.

The sessions will each cover the new Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) program that offers property tax abatements to residential and commercial projects throughout the city. The same material will be covered at both the morning and evening sessions, which are being offered to accommodate diverse schedules.

These free events are open to real estate brokers (residential and commercial), developers (residential and commercial), home builders, residents, and other stakeholders interested in learning more about this new program, which dramatically increases the impact and reach of the city's CRA.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:30 AM, 06.11.2019

Youth lacrosse camp registration is open

A focus on game fundamentals including sticks skills and ball technique in 2018.

Heights Lacrosse will host the 2019 Heights Youth Summer Lacrosse Camp July 9 through Aug. 1, at Canterbury Elementary School. For boys and girls, the camp offers participants an opportunity to try out the sport and perhaps develop into future lacrosse players.

No experience is necessary, and the camp is open to any student who will enter second grade through ninth grade in fall 2019.

The four-week camp will take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, 6:30–8 p.m.

Terry Saylor, Heights High’s girls lacrosse coach, and Youth Coach Rachel Petrey will supervise, and Heights High lacrosse players will coach the kids.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:31 AM, 06.11.2019

Gearity is district's second STEM elementary school

CH-UH became the first school district in NE Ohio with two STEM-designated elementary schools after Gearity Elementary received the designation last month.

Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District became the first district in Northeast Ohio with two STEM-designated elementary schools after Gearity Professional Development School was selected to join the Ohio STEM Learning Network in late April. Gearity had been STEM-focused for years before receiving the official designation. Boulevard Elementary School earned the designation in 2018.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education provides students with a deep understanding of STEM subjects while incorporating inquiry-based learning and design thinking in all subjects.

“Congratulations to Gearity on earning this important designation,” said CH-UH Interim Superintendent Brian Williams.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 1:14 PM, 06.10.2019

Elected-mayor proponents seek signatures to place issue on ballot this fall

Volunteers will be fanning out across Cleveland Heights on Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, inviting residents to support putting a city charter amendment on the Nov. 6 ballot that, if approved, would create the office of a full-time Cleveland Heights mayor, directly elected by citizens.

Since May 17, more than 40 volunteers for Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) have collected more than 2,000 signatures. To place the charter amendment on the ballot, just over 2,100 signatures of registered voters are needed—10 percent of the number of voters in the last election.

CEM plans to collect at least 3,200 signatures before submitting them for verification. If the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections certifies enough signatures, city council [will] approve an ordinance to put the proposed amendment on the ballot.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 2:34 PM, 06.07.2019

Bands take the summer stage in UH starting in June

The Kahuna Kings. [photo courtesy of The Kahuna Kings, Anthony Scott Photography]

Surf Rock, Bruce Springsteen songs, and traditional patriotic anthems will be featured in June as part of the University Heights Summer Concert Series.

The series kicks off on June 13 at Walter Stinson Community Park (2313 Fenwick Road, University Heights) with a surf rock show by the Kahuna Kings and the Lava Ladies. “The Kahuna Kings are a fun throwback,” said University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan. “They’re a retro party dance band. They’re the perfect lead-off band for our summer concerts.”

The band’s album, Who Wants to Party with The Kahuna Kings, is available at

The first 100 kids in attendance at the concert will receive a free University Heights beach ball.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:09 AM, 06.03.2019

Heights Libraries goes green with yellow receipts

Computer passes, check-out receipts, and hold covers are now printed on BPA- and BPS-free paper that uses vitamin C to create an image.

Customers at Heights Libraries may notice that the check-out receipts, computer passes, and hold-item covers look a little sunnier lately.

“It’s the vitamin C,” said Circulation Manager Ty Emerson, pointing out the lemon-yellow tone of the paper.

Vitamin C is a key component of the new BPA- and BPS-free thermal paper that the library started using in March as part of its ongoing efforts to make healthier and more environmentally-friendly decisions part of its every-day operations. Receipts and other paper items created with thermal printers don’t require ink or toner and instead rely on heat and chemicals on the paper to create an image. The new paper at Heights Libraries uses vitamin C as a developer to create the letters on the paper instead of phenol-based chemicals like BPA and BPS that have been linked to health problems, including cancer.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:53 AM, 06.03.2019

Dobama presents world premiere musical

June 27 through July 14, Dobama Theatre presents the world premiere of “33⅓,” a new musical about coming of age and coming out.

Matthew Wright is the director of Dobama’s production, which will feature choreography by Holly Handman-Lopez and music direction by Matthew Dolan.

The book, music and lyrics are by Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli, co-writers of eight musicals. 

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:14 AM, 06.03.2019

Heights Music Hop returns in September

The seventh annual Heights Music Hop festival will take place Sept. 12-14, in three Cleveland Heights districts: Sept.12 in Coventry Village, Sept. 13 in Cedar Fairmount, and Sept. 14 in Cedar Lee.

Heights Music Hop showcases local live musical talent, performing in local businesses and unique locations to promote the Heights as home to the arts, while also helping to support the local economy and celebrate the community’s diversity, walkability and great quality of life.

The 2019 festival will showcase new musical talent from all genres, including jazz, rock, R&B, classical, rap, indie, Americana and folk.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:12 AM, 06.03.2019

One-woman play will benefit memory-care programs

Molly McFadden

Net proceeds of the June 14–16 performances of “Living on the Moon,” a one-woman play written and performed by Molly McFadden, will benefit memory care programs managed by Benjamin Rose Institute and its affiliates. The performances take will take place at Ensemble Theatre, 2843 Washington Blvd., in Cleveland Heights.

The one-act play explores the bittersweet journey McFadden shared with her mother, after her mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in the 1980s. Drawing on a lifetime of producing, acting and singing professionally, McFadden’s play brings meaning and light to her late mother’s story.

Locally renowned pianist Vince Robinson will accompany McFadden during performances of the show, directed by Christina Courtenay.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:07 AM, 06.03.2019

Former pop-up Foodhisattva brings vegan-Asian to South Taylor

Josh Sias, Frances Cheng, and Jude the cow at the LASA Sanctuary.

Six years ago, Joshua Sias and Frances Cheng began offering pop-up vegan fare—first, from a chocolate shop in Lyndhurst, then at various other locations in Greater Cleveland, including The Bottlehouse in Cleveland Heights. These themed dining experiences were a way to bring new cuisine to the area and show that great food can be made without harming animals—something important to Sias and Cheng. What started as little more than a hobby has led the couple to establish their own Asian-themed restaurant in Cleveland Heights.

The two, partners and spouses, are looking to a June opening for Foodhisattva, their vegan Asian restaurant at 2158 South Taylor Road.

“We were the first in the area to have a vegan pop-up,” Sias said. “And after a while, people started asking us to do it again.” When their semi-regular pop-up nights at The Bottlehouse on Lee Road became increasingly popular, the couple realized there was a demand for vegan food on the East Side. “It was a long time coming,” Sias said. “And the natural evolution of a pop-up is a restaurant.”

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:04 AM, 06.03.2019

'I lived there'

The Manor, the Tudor building with gargoyles guarding the entrance, where I lived in the unit the custodian believed was called the "deficiency."

I once opened a Long Road show at Nighttown by saying, “Thank you. It’s great to be back in Cleveland Heights. Well . . . I was in South Euclid this afternoon . . .”

I have lived in 30 places in Cleveland Heights. I have also lived outside of Cleveland Heights, of course—in the Cleveland area, I’ve lived in a total of 31 places. For about a year, mostly in 1972, I lived in a house on Magnolia Drive, in University Circle. But while I lived there, I spent almost all of my time in Cleveland Heights, mainly on Coventry, eating at Tommy’s every day.

When I was born, my family lived on Belmar, two streets east of Coventry, in the first house after the apartment building on the corner of Mayfield. When I was 15, we moved to the house next door. When people asked my father why, he said, “It’s just the gypsy in us.”

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:15 AM, 06.03.2019

Roxboro Elementary installs unique vending machine

Roxboro Elementary students make their selections from the new vending machine.

Many schools across the country have been phasing out vending machines in the interest of student health. But Roxboro Elementary School has just installed one.

This is no ordinary vending machine, however. Instead of soft drinks and chips, it is stocked with books. 

D&S Vending, located in downtown Cleveland, refurbishes old vending machines for unique purposes. The Roxboro PTA paid for the custom machine and an initial set of books to fill it, taking advantage of the discount earned as a result of using Mac’s Backs - Books on Coventry for the school’s book fair. The PTA also received a  grant of $600 from Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit organization that promotes children’s literacy, to purchase additional books.

“We’ll eventually accept used and donated books,” said Mary Pat Jolivett, a PTA member “But we wanted to start with nice spanking-new books.”

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:51 AM, 06.03.2019

CH Senior Center News

Innovative programming, in cooperation with University Circle’s Distance Learning Department, continues at the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC) on Tuesday, June 11, 11 a.m., with a videoconference lecture, “Japanese Art: Humble and Bold.”

In this program, viewers are introduced to Japanese art in a variety of media, including ceramics used in the tea ceremony, enamelware, and folding screens made from paper and wood. The aesthetics range from earthy and subtle to colorful and luxurious. The discussion will focus on the formal qualities of these works, as well as their practical uses. Participants are encouraged to look at the works of art as indicators of Japanese social values and tastes.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:48 AM, 06.03.2019

First Baptist summer services will feature multiple themes

Hat Day at First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland.

The First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland, 3630 Fairmount Blvd., is expanding on its successful summer worship format. Beginning with the 10 a.m. service on Sunday, June 9, services will be preceded by fellowship time at 9:30 a.m., where coffee, tea, juice and food will be provided. Late arrivers will be invited to bring their refreshments into church.
Each service will include a mix of traditional and contemporary music typical of the church’s separate traditional and contemporary services held during other seasons. For example, on one Sunday a powerful organ prelude will start things off; on another, the church’s talented praise team and band will assume the opening role.

Anyone interested in giving singing in a church choir a try is welcome to join the church’s Sometime Sunday Singers, a group of regular choir members and congregation volunteers who meet at 9:15 a.m. to learn a simple song that is then sung during that day’s service. No audition is required.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:46 AM, 06.03.2019

Happy 5K/10K gears up for October race

Participants in the 2018 Happy 5K/10K costume contest.

The fifth Happy 5K/10K race is planned for Sunday, Oct. 6. In the spirit of the race’s motto—“Come for the run, stay for the fun!”race  coordinators are enthusiastically working to increase participation, expand sponsorship and scholarship donations, and make the after-party even bigger.

The first Happy race, in 2015, comprised 400 runners. Each year since, the number of registrants has grown, with 600 participants in 2018. In a region that has ample 5K opportunities, that is “unusual growth,” according to coordinator Adam Fleischer, owner of The Wine Spot. “Each year we have more runners, more merchants, and more running teams,” Fleischer said. 

Runners give the event high praise. Kevin Sovacool of Lyndhurst said, “It’s such a fun race in a really great community. Everybody comes together.” Nick Becker of Cleveland Heights said he especially likes the community vibe. “Everyone on the block gets involved and cheers the racers on,” Becker said.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:40 AM, 06.03.2019

CH soccer player's trip sparks philanthropic alliance

Nate Ford, 12, with many pairs of soccer cleats the Ohio Premier Futbol Club has donated to children in Honduras. Ford started Project Pitbull after seeing kids playing barefoot during a trip there this spring.

When 12-year-old Nate Ford arrived in Roatan, Honduras, in March, he was looking forward to a brief respite from the Cleveland winter. Ford, from Cleveland Heights, figured he’d spend a lot of time swimming, snorkeling and exploring this Caribbean island, about 40 miles off the coast of the mainland. Little did he know that a chance encounter in a remote Honduran village would spark an idea for philanthropy, close to his heart.

During a cultural tour of the island, Ford visited Crawfish Rock and was introduced to groups of Honduran children by Denise Mazu of Clearwater Adventures. He had the opportunity to see their school, share a meal in a local family’s home, and learn about the challenges many of these kids face.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:36 AM, 06.03.2019

CH voters may face competing charter revisions in November

Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM), a grassroots campaign to change the structure of Cleveland Heights’ government, has been collecting signatures since mid-May to put a voter referendum on the ballot this November. The proposal would revise the city charter to allow residents to elect the mayor directly.

In the current system, in place since the original city charter in 1921, citizens elect seven part-time city council members, who in turn hire a full-time city manager to run the city. A so-called “weak mayor” is a member of council, chosen by council as a first among equals.

Meanwhile, the Charter Review Commission (CRC), appointed by CH City Council, has spent 18 months assembling a wide-ranging set of proposed charter revisions—but declined to include the change to a strong mayor.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:31 AM, 06.03.2019

Heights Middle School team competes nationally

Members of the Heights Middle School team that competed nationally in Chicago are, standing (from left): Tony Jolivette, Nathaniel Tisch, Kenji Sakaie, Laurel Buescher, Natalie Bier, Nikolai Bell, Noah Sears, Arthur Schmiedl, Ella Watterson; kneeling: Malcolm McPherson, Charlotte Benham.

Could you name the biological domain composed of all cells that have membrane-bound organelles, in less than two seconds, without using Google? (Keep reading for the answer.) The Heights Middle School Academic Team can.

Over Mother’s Day weekend, they competed at the National Championship Tournament in Chicago, tying for 49th place among 176 teams from across the nation. 

The Heights team, comprising seven students from Monticello and six from Roxboro middle schools, qualified for the tournament after strong showings locally, including two first-place finishes in 20-team competitions. Eleven of the 13 team members made the trip to the national tournament.

The tournament matches teams of four players who answer up to 24 “toss-up" questions on a variety of topics, including science, history, literature, current events and math.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:28 AM, 06.03.2019

CH residents should support our council-manager governance structure

The Heights Observer has published news articles and opinion pieces regarding Citizens for an Elected Mayor, a local group that advocates abandoning Cleveland Heights’ existing council-manager structure in favor of a “strong mayor-council” form of government. This position is inconsistent with the recommendation of the Charter Review Commission (CRC), which voted 10-2-1 (1 abstention) against adding a strong mayor, and 11-2 to retain our council-manager structure.

The CRC was tasked by Cleveland Heights City Council to answer the question: “What is in the best interest of the residents of Cleveland Heights?”

The CRC undertook an extensive 16-month study of our charter and best governance practices for Cleveland Heights, as we look toward our future.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:20 AM, 06.03.2019

A city manager form of government works well

A pending proposal seeks to change the Cleveland Heights city manager form of government to a strong mayor form, via a charter amendment proposed for the November 2019 ballot. Before any rush to judgment, we all should consider what our present form of government is.

The city manager system adopted in 1921 was a “good government” reform to put less emphasis on political decision-making. Our municipal corporation operates like a traditional corporation. Voters are “stockholders.” They elect a city council as a “board of directors.” Council members are elected at large, not by wards. This board elects one member as its presiding officer with the title of Mayor. It hires a city manager as the “chief executive officer.” Managers are chosen based upon qualifications and experience. Cleveland Heights has prospered with this system for almost 100 years.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:03 AM, 06.03.2019

Veteran and his family get mortgage-free home in CH

The Pepinrivera family at their new Canterbury Road home.

On May 18, a long-serving, decorated veteran and his family received a newly renovated, mortgage-free furnished home in Cleveland Heights, through an ongoing partnership between Citizens Bank and the Military Warriors Support Foundation.

The home was presented to U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Charlie Pepinrivera, who served his country for more than 24 years, with tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Bosnia.

Wounded during several military operations, Pepinrivera also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury as a result of his deployments. His service commendations include the Combat Action Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star Medal.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 8:45 AM, 06.03.2019

June 25 talk focuses on neighborhood revitalization

Members of Oxford Community Garden planting a tree together, spring 2018.

Can planting flowers lead to neighborhood revitalization? That is the question a FutureHeights-sponsored panel will discuss on June 25 at a public forum at the BottleHouse Brewing Company.

Speakers, including Tom Gibson, Phyliss Thomas, George Fleming and Jan Kious will discuss the macro level social implications that gardening, planting flowers, and beautification can have on a neighborhood, or, in some cases, an entire community.

They will consider such questions as: What positive impacts have other communities seen as a result of thoughtful and deliberate beautification?

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 8:34 AM, 06.03.2019

Final community meeting on Noble Road project is June 20

On June 20, 7 p.m., FutureHeights will host the last in a series of community meetings to share plans for, and gather input about, the Noble Road commercial corridor.

At the meeting, which will take place at Central Bible Baptist Church, 2285 Noble Road, project consultants Camiros LTD and The Riddle Company will present to the community their final iteration of research and ideas. This final presentation will encompass ideas and feedback gathered from the community over the past several months. 

Noble Road is the most significant street in the northeast section of Cleveland Heights, giving its name to an area known as “Noble neighborhood.”

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 8:40 AM, 06.03.2019

Lawsuits threaten housing code enforcement

If you have owned a house in Cleveland Heights or University Heights, at some point you may have received from your city housing department a list of code violations, with a deadline for correcting them. It might have arrived following a systematic (routine) inspection of your home or rental unit, or a point of sale inspection (POS). Regardless, it’s only human to grumble a little before getting down to the work of bringing our properties up to code.

Most of us understand, however, that code enforcement is key to protecting our greatest assets as older communities: safe, healthy, attractive and, in many cases, historically significant housing. In addition, regular inspections of rental properties can ensure the rights and well being of renters.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 8:51 AM, 06.03.2019

Students are more than the core

This piece was created in 2006 by Kaitlyn Waters, then a Boulevard Elementary School student.

When I was vice president of the teachers union, 2006–2012, one of my responsibilities was to select three pieces of student work from the annual CH-UH art show to purchase for display in our union office. The artwork that our students create is so personal and interesting that it always took me a long time to choose. Once I had selected, I’d contact the art teacher to find out if the art I had chosen was, in fact, for sale. Most students were happy to sell their work, but not always. 

If you visit our office at Lee and Mayfield roads, you will see that all of the art on the walls is from these student shows. It is a constant reminder of not only how important our students are, but also how important non-core academic courses are as a source of enrichment in our lives.

Students in the CH-UH schools are lucky to have the opportunity to take visual and performing arts classes. Many school districts see these classes as unimportant “fluff,” because they are not tested by the state.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 8:59 AM, 06.03.2019

Ohio LWV votes to reject high-stakes testing

Patience and perseverance have their rewards.

On May 12, at the annual policymaking meeting of the League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWV Ohio), delegates from across the state unanimously approved a resolution declaring test-based accountability to be a misuse of standardized tests. Advocating for the end of using tests as a means of holding schools accountable is now part of the organization’s action agenda.

LWV Ohio, a nearly 100-year-old defender of democracy and advocate of sound public policy, has more than 30 chapters and 3,000 members.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 8:49 AM, 06.03.2019

Thank you to Heights Libraries

To the Editor:

I'm a Cleveland Heights native, and I just wanted to say thank you to Heights Libraries for acquiring and preserving the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus.

The P.E.A.C.E. Campus is dear to my heart. In 1976 my mother, Ro Eugene, started a "Coventry Kids for PEACE" movement in the wake of disturbing bullying incidents at the school. Parents and kids had several meetings together, and made a plan to be nicer and more accepting of each other. It worked.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:21 AM, 06.03.2019

HRRC offers hands-on ceiling class

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) will offer its first-ever ceiling installation class on Tuesday, June 11, 7–9 p.m., at its 2520 Noble Road teaching center.

The class will give participants the opportunity to learn about the different ceiling styles available, their advantages and disadvantages, and the supplies needed to do the job. Most importantly, students will get hands-on experience with hanging a ceiling.

The cost of the class is $25, with resident discounts available for Cleveland Heights residents, and income discounts also available for those who qualify.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 8:43 AM, 06.03.2019

Coventry launches Final Fridays

Coventry Village kicked off its inaugural monthly Final Fridays event on April 26. Merchants offered discounts, and artists and nonprofits hosted events. Coventry Village Final Fridays are slated to take place year round, on the last Friday of each month. The next will take place on May 31. For information on upcoming Final Friday programs, visit

Mallory Phillips, Coventry Village Special Improvement District’s executive director, said the concept was inspired by her experiences living in Los Angeles. “The downtown art walks would bring the small business districts alive with local artists, musicians, great food, and all sorts of shopping specials.” Phillips wanted to bring this lively community-centric vibe to Coventry. “It’s a great way to highlight all of the amazing dining, shopping and nightlife that is already there, while bringing in local artists to showcase their work and bring inspiration to the neighborhood in a new way,” said Phillips.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 12:36 PM, 05.28.2019

Cain Park ticket office residents day is June 1

Residents waiting for their number to be called in the ticket buying line at the 2018 Residents Day at the Cain Park Ticket Office.

The Cain Park ticket office opens to Cleveland Heights residents on Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., for the sale of tickets to the 2019 season from a specially held block of seats. The ticket office will open to the general public on Tuesday, June 4, noon to 9 p.m.

Residents need to bring a photo ID and two proofs of current residency (e.g., mail, utility bill, current CH Rec ID) to register with staff outside the main ticket office. After registering, each resident will get a number that represents his or her place in the ticket-buying queue. Or, residents can fill out a ticket-order form and leave it with staff to be filled at the end of the day, if seats are still available.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 11:46 AM, 05.28.2019

Coventry library becomes a mobile pantry site

On May 20, Heights Libraries’ Coventry Village branch became one of the newest sites for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s Mobile Pantry program. 

According to the Food Bank, a mobile pantry is defined as a truck full of food that is brought to a central location where clients can pick items up, just like they would from a regular pantry, with a focus on healthy, fresh produce: “Mobile pantries distribute the healthiest and most nutritious food at the Food Bank. A truck will usually contain 90 percent produce (fruits and vegetables), including apples, cabbage, greens, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, oranges, melons and more. The remaining 10 percent usually consists of bread, yogurt or another donated item.”

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 12:40 PM, 05.28.2019

WRC concert will be Poderis' last

Joanne Poderis

Western Reserve Chorale (WRC) will present the final concert of its season at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, June 2, at Church of the Gesu (2470 Miramar Blvd, University Heights).

The concert, "Sonic Sunrise," will be the final one with accompanist Joanne Poderis at the keyboard. Poderis, a founding member and longtime executive director of WRC, is stepping down from her roles with the Chorale. WRC invites all to celebrate Poderis' artistry and the conclusion of its 27th season.

The concert will feature Ola Gjielo’s Sunrise Mass as well as a celebration of the 125th anniversary of the birth of E.E. Cummings.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 11:55 AM, 05.28.2019

May 22 Soup and Bread Experiment will benefit Cedar Lee Mini-Park

Photo from the March 2018 Soup and Bread event at the BottleHouse, showcasing a variety of soups offered.

The CLE Soup and Bread Experiment’s next monthly event at the BottleHouse in Cleveland Heights will take place on Wednesday, May 22, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Donations from the evening will benefit the Cedar Lee Mini-Park Placemaking Project, which seeks to turn the Cedar Lee Mini-Park into a vibrant gathering space.

The CLE Soup and Bread Experiment is an all-volunteer organization that shares soup, breaks bread, and donates each month to a worthy cause. Volunteer soup makers bring hot soup to the event, local bakeries provide bread and, together, they make a meal. The meal is free, but participants are asked to contribute to the donation bucket, in support of a worthy cause.

Heights resident Simona Mkrtschjan learned about the Soup and Bread Experiment through a friend in Chicago, and decided that she wanted to bring it to her hometown. In existence for just over two years, the Cleveland group has evolved and grown. Events are now organized, curated, and led by Nicole Rossa, Kirstan Ryan and other Heights volunteers. “We chose soup because soup is more than soup—while nourishing and comforting, it also binds people together,” said Rossa.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 12:30 PM, 05.14.2019

Dewey Decimators are three-peat spelling bee champions

Victor Rosenberg and Chris Mentrek of the Dewey Decimators team accept the coveted plastic bee trophy from Krista Hawthorne, executive director of Reaching Heights, after winning the Reaching Heights 28th Annual Adult Community Spelling Bee on May 1.

Congratulations to the Dewey Decimators, representing and sponsored by Friends of the Heights Libraries, for winning the Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee for the third year in a row. This year Chris Mentrek and Victor Rosenberg, missing their teammate Susan Marshall, battled through five rounds to win on the word “mnemonically,” the adverbial form of mnemonic, which means assisting or intended to assist memory.

More than a spelling competition or fundraiser, the Reaching Heights Spelling Bee is a community-building event in support of high quality public education.

Unlike traditional spelling bees, this is a team competition of at least two, and at most three, adults who put their heads together to determine their best guess of a word’s spelling.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:01 AM, 05.14.2019

Register now for Peace Lutheran's free day camp

Peace Lutheran Church, carrying on the tradition of Hope Lutheran, one of its predecessor congregations, will offer its 19th annual Christian Day Camp June 10–14. The camp is free of charge and runs 9 a.m to 3 p.m. daily at the church, located at 3740 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights.

The camp is open to all children who will have completed any grade from kindergarten through grade five as of the end of this current school year.

Registration is open now, with a June 3 deadline, and is limited to 30 campers.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:24 AM, 05.21.2019

A Heights resident shares the joy of her home garden

Early blooming lenten roses add color in early spring.

In Joan Mallek’s verdant home garden, one can see the results of a 40-year labor of love—growing beautiful plants.

A self-educated and self-trained gardener, Mallek designed her landscape through her own inspiration and ideas, experimenting over time. She spends three full weeks each spring preparing her yard, deadheading, amending the soil,and deciding if she wants to make any changes. After the harvest in the fall, she takes just as much time and care putting her garden to rest for the winter.

Mallek’s garden is one stop on this summer’s inaugural GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, planned for Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, noon to 5 p.m., The free tour will comprise multiple private yards and public gardens in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:59 PM, 05.08.2019

Forest Hill Swim Club—My summer home

Forest Hill Swim Club (Photo by Frank Mathias)

Most times when you hear people talk about spending the summer in Cleveland Heights, you hear the same remarks: “There’s nothing to do,” and, “When I’m older, I’m moving somewhere less boring.” Despite these common claims, I have never felt this way about my summer days here. This is because whenever I feel like I’m on the verge of being “bored,” I have a convenient place where I can go to change that. A place where I can spend my summer days and nights with my friends and family. A place where I can cool off, relax, and enjoy my dad’s famous grilled cheeseburgers. A place I call my summer home—more commonly known as, Forest Hills Swim Club (FHSC).

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:27 PM, 05.08.2019

May 7 LWV forum aims to help voters make sense of judicial elections

The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland (LWVGC) is hosting a forum, Making Sense of Local Judicial Elections, on Tuesday, May 7, 7–8:30 p.m., at the Lee Road Library, 2345 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. 

Many Ohio voters skip the judicial portion of their ballot because they don't know who or what they're voting for. Forum panelists will explain the structure of the Ohio judicial system and the role local judges play in the lives of residents. The panelists will also provide the tools voters need to research candidates, enabling them to make informed choices on Election Day.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 4:47 PM, 05.06.2019

Living WWI memorial marks its centennial

Signs along North Park Boulevard in Cleveland Heights share the parkway's history with passersby.

This Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, marks the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Liberty Row Trees—a significant, yet little known, living memorial.

Planted along Rockefeller Parkway in Cleveland, and winding nine miles southeast through Shaker Lakes in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, this stretch of red oak trees was dedicated in 1919 to honor World War I soldiers from the Cleveland area who lost their lives during the war.

Greater Cleveland was one of the first communities nationally to envision a multi-mile chain of trees as a memorial to fallen soldiers. This memorial followed the suggestion of American Forests Association Board Chairman Charles Lathrop Pack, who, in November 1918, called for “a new form of monument—a memorial that lives.” American Legion posts, garden clubs, students, and families who lost loved ones promoted this concept of planting trees as a memorial.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:22 AM, 05.02.2019

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education regular meeting highlights 5-7-2019

MAY 7, 2019


  • Recognition of Academic Challenge teams and teachers
  • Superintendent’s Student Cadre update
  • Rejoining the Ohio Athletic Association
  • Board approvals
  • Building repairs and facilities renovation update
  • Reinstitution of local school board presidents’ meetings


President Jodi Sourini, Vice President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Also present were Acting Superintendent Brian Williams and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting began at 7:10 p.m. after an executive session and reception for tenured teachers and was adjourned at 8:50 p.m. 

Recognition of Academic Challenge teams and teachers

Superintendent Williams recognized the high school and middle school Academic Challenge teams.

Seven teachers were recognized for receiving tenure.

Superintendent’s Student Cadre update

Members of the superintendent’s 2018-2019 Student Cadre reported on their activities with a video presentation. The Student Cadre provides their insight on what it is like to be a student at Heights High and how to implement positive change and improvements in the district.

Rejoining the Ohio Athletic Association

Williams reported that the district had rejoined the Ohio Athletic Association.

Board approvals

The board unanimously approved donations exceeding a total of $10,000.

The board unanimously voted to adopt policy group B after the third reading.

Building repairs and facilities renovation update

Roof repairs: The board approved bids to repair the Nobel and Fairfax school roofs; the cost will be paid from the permanent improvement fund.

Middle school facilities renovations: The discussion focused on the science rooms. There will be two science rooms for each grade at both buildings. At the time of this meeting, the change orders are within the budget.

Reinstitution of local school board presidents’ meetings

President Sourini attended a meeting for the local school board presidents. This group is working to establish regular meetings after a hiatus of some years.

LWV Observer: Adele Cohn.

To receive email postings of full reports, send an email to or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase. 

These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:44 AM, 05.22.2019

Cleveland Heights- University Heights Board of Education regular meeting highlights 4-16-2019

APRIL 16, 2019


  • Introduction of the NWEA MAP program


President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Vice President James Posch was absent. Interim Superintendent Dr. Brian A. Williams and Director of Data and Assessment Allison Byrd were also present. The meeting began at 6 p.m. and adjourned at 7:13 p.m.



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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:40 AM, 05.22.2019

UH Memorial Day parade honors and remembers those who sacrificed

The University Heights Memorial Day Parade kicks off on Monday, May 27, at 11 a.m. Photo by Caleb Schuster.

Summer kicks off in University Heights on May 27 with the annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade honors those who gave their lives in service to the United States, and also celebrates the sacrifices that our veterans made.

“Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer. For many of us, it is so much more than that,” said Rachel Mullen, the new special projects coordinator for University Heights. “It is a time to reflect and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.”

In July 1944, Mullen’s great-uncle was killed in France fighting the Nazis during World War II. “While my uncle died before I was even born, I was very aware of his sacrifice,” she said. “Like many Gold Star Families, this loss is one felt for generations.”

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:18 AM, 05.02.2019

Cleveland Heights crime continued to drop in 2018

Overall crime trend in Cleveland Heights, 2011–2018.

Serious crime in Cleveland Heights hit its lowest level last year since 2011, when the Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD) began reporting reliable statistics.

The 94 violent crimes reported in 2018 represented a 28-percent drop from the year before. Property crimes were down 19 percent, with 714 reported.

The biggest decrease in violent crime was in robberies. Rape and assault were down slightly, while there was one more murder in 2018 than in 2017.

Among property crimes, there were significant declines in burglaries and thefts, while the number of auto thefts and arsons rose slightly.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:15 AM, 05.02.2019

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. to host Burning Man co-founder May 31

Michael Mikel, co-founder of Burning Man.

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus will host a discussion with one of the founders of the annual Burning Man festival, an event that draws more than 70,000 people to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for a week of creative expression, at a fundraising event to benefit the campus on May 31.

The event, "The Art of Community: A Discussion with Burning Man Co-Founder Michael Mikel,” is a unique opportunity to learn about the “10 Principles of Burning Man” and how they can apply to permanent communities and placemaking.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:12 AM, 05.02.2019

Noble weekend festival begins May 17

A lemonade-stand entrepreneur during a previous We Are Noble festival.

We Are Noble, the annual celebration of the neighborhoods along Noble Road, will take place Friday through Sunday, May 17–19.

Festivities will begin on Friday, May 17, with NobleFest, a family fun night hosted by the PTAs of Noble and Oxford elementary schools, 6–8 p.m. at Noble school. Turns in the bounce house, games, face-painting, Tiger Nation gear and food will be available for purchase. It will be a good place for patrons to buy their first funnel cake of the summer carnival season. Free bicycle registration, a helmet giveaway and free photos will also be on offer.

Nearby, at 7 p.m., Noble Road Presbyterian Church will offer a free viewing of the movie, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” The film is about Fred Rogers’ impact on generations of young people, and a perfect theme for the weekend.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:06 AM, 05.02.2019

Concerns about Top of the Hill

While the design and massing for Top of the Hill (TOH) are extremely disappointing, what irks me to no end is the math behind the project and the answers I receive from City Hall.

What no one has been able to explain to me is why—with land that is ostensibly “free” at the most developable site in the city, with a parking structure that makes the project viable, paid for with taxes that would otherwise go to the public schools—the developer is unable to secure financing and the city is covering a funding “gap.”

No one at City Hall is able to tell me why there is a “gap,” why the city is covering $1.85 million of this “gap,” or what $1.85 million in public money is paying for. As the city does not have $1.85 million sitting around, it is going to borrow this money, which means the cost will be around $2 million with interest.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:52 AM, 05.02.2019

CH Branding Survey needs second round

[The writer sent the following as a letter to Cleveland Heights City Council on April 17. City Manager Tanisha Briley responded promptly, and a possible meeting is in the works.]

The most recent issue of Focus magazine provided a synopsis of Cleveland Heights’ self-appointed Brand Steering Committee’s branding initiative findings, and the committee’s plans for translating those findings into a new city logo and tagline.

While no one should fault the committee for its intentions, there are deeply concerning issues with its approach, most especially regarding how it sought respondents for its online brand survey and subsequently reported those responses.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:47 AM, 05.02.2019

Why elect a mayor?

Last month, we wrote that we support the objective of Citizens for an Elected Mayor to change Cleveland Heights’ form of government via charter amendment. Now, we want to explain why.

Our interest in the intricate workings of city government dates to 2015, when CH City Council and the city manager attempted to privatize our water service. Since then, between us we have attended well over 100 meetings of the committee of the whole—the weekly working sessions of city council—along with about 50 regular bi-weekly council meetings.

We have observed City Manager Tanisha Briley grappling with a host of problems created by her predecessor, Robert Downey, whose tenure lasted more than 25 years, until his sudden departure in 2012. Plainly speaking, he left behind a mess.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:42 AM, 05.02.2019

There's no rhyme or reason in school testing and funding

I recently watched the Heights High Drama Club perform “The Phantom Tollbooth,” the story of a bored young boy who travels to a different realm with two imaginary kingdoms. After a disagreement, the kingdoms banish the two princesses, Rhyme and Reason. Without these two royals the whole realm is in chaos, as you might expect. This all strikes a little close to home in our current era of national and state politics.

In the play, one of the most interesting scenes is a banquet where the spoken word is taken literally, with “square meals” being some sort of square-shaped food. Students updated the “half-baked ideas” part of the dinner with their own reflections of current society. One pulled out a half-baked idea and read “the earth is flat,” which made everyone chuckle.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:35 AM, 05.02.2019

School board rejects high-stakes testing

I am grateful to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education for taking a stand on high-stakes testing. At its March 19 meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution titled “Time to Teach, Time to Learn,” which rejects “the overuse and misuse of standardized testing.”

For too long, public schools in Ohio have been tethered to a destructive judgment system that legislators said would ensure that all children succeed in school. This approach uses standardized tests to make consequential decisions that are supposed to motivate high achievement. The goal is admirable, but the strategy is misguided. High-stakes testing is a misuse of standardized tests.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:33 AM, 05.02.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-6-2019

MAY 6, 2019


  • Public comments
  • Abortion law resolution
  • City manager’s report
  • Meadowbrook Boulevard reconstruction
  • Selwyn Road
  • Liquor control
  • CAC appointment
  • Bike Month and Preservation Month
  • Small cell wireless facilities and structures
  • Water quality ordinances
  • Mayor’s report


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren and Jason Stein. Michael N. Ungar participated by telephone, but did not vote. The meeting lasted from 7:38 to 9:21 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:31 AM, 05.22.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council Meeting highlights 4-15-2019

APRIL 15, 2019


  • New council member Craig Cobb
  • Public comments
  • Council priorities update
  • Cedar-Lee and Meadowbrook project
  • Small-cell wireless facilities
  • Leaf collection
  • Hydrant flushing
  • Top of the Hill project
  • Ohio Senate Bill 23
  • Mayor’s report


Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein and Michael Ungar attended the meeting. The meeting lasted 1 hour and 21 minutes.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:17 AM, 05.22.2019

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to three CH projects

Heights Performing Arts Camp participants  performed at the Alma Theatre in Cain Park in 2017.

FutureHeights completed the spring 2019 round of its Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program, approving $2,415 in grants to support three neighborhood projects in Cleveland Heights. The grants are intended to spur small, grassroots projects to improve quality of life and build community.

FutureHeights awarded the Cleveland Heights Aging Well at Home Initiative $720. Residents of the Forest Hill neighborhood developed a guide of resources for Cleveland Heights residents who have chosen to age at home or who are living at home with disabilities. The group developed the guide to assist their neighbors in navigating service providers. To learn more and access the guide, visit

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:30 AM, 05.02.2019

New website considers 'great design' and current development projects

Several Cleveland Heights residents have created the Citizens for Great Design website,

In creating it, their intention is to raise community awareness about the design and architectural attributes of significant and important Cleveland Heights developments.

There are several development projects in the planning stage throughout the city. These are privately funded, or may involve city supported financing and/or tax support, such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Each project requires city approval through the planning/zoning and Architectural Board of Review process.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:23 AM, 05.02.2019

Dobama Theatre wins Actors Equity award

Dobama Artistic Director Nathan Motta accepts the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award for promoting diversity in theatre at a ceremony in Chicago on March 11. Presenter Tina Stump looks on.

Dobama Theatre was honored with a regional award by the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) for making non-traditional casting a priority all season long, and providing ongoing opportunities for underrepresented artists.

The theatre received the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award at the annual “Spirit, a Celebration of Diversity” event in Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater on March 11. Named after a former AEA Central Regional Director, the “Kathy” recognizes Dobama’s current 2018/2019 season, which features only women playwrights, including Dominique Morisseau, Annie Baker, Karen Zacarías, Alice Birch, Jennifer Haley and Melissa James Gibson.

Past winners of the award include Damron Russel Armstrong, founder the Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City; Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation; Ron Himes, the founder and producing director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater; Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and the Court Theatre.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:00 AM, 04.30.2019

CH council appoints Cobb as new member

Craig Cobb

On April 2, Cleveland Heights Mayor Carol Roe announced that Cleveland Heights City Council had selected Craig Cobb to serve as the seventh city council member. Cobb, a longtime resident of the city, fills the vacancy created in November 2018, when Cheryl Stephens resigned from CH City Council after being elected to Cuyahoga County Council.

“We are thrilled to welcome Craig to the Council,” stated Roe, “and believe he will be a great asset to us and to the city. Craig’s knowledge and experience with city government will be immediately capitalized on as we go forward with a number of important issues.”

Cobb, a branch legal office managing attorney for Farmers Insurance Exchange, served as chair of the city’s Planning Commission and a member of the recent Charter Review Commission.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:31 PM, 05.01.2019

Read your way through 'the great outdoors' this summer

Summer is just around the corner, and what goes hand-in-hand with picnics, beaches and parks? A good book, or—for many of Heights Libraries’ summer reading program participants—lots of them.

“With this theme we wanted to design a fun reading program that also encourages participants to get out and explore—whether it’s a local park or just their own backyard and neighborhood,” said Sam Lapides, youth services manager.

Children and teens will be invited to read books, update reading logs, and complete activities to earn raffle tickets to enter to win a wide array of prizes. Thirty days of reading are needed to officially complete the program, but participants are encouraged to fill out additional reading logs after they’ve completed the first.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:54 PM, 05.01.2019