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Cleveland Heights becomes a 'Welcoming City'

At its Feb. 6 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council declared the city to be a “Welcoming City” by a 6-1 vote on Resolution 15-2017.

Council members considered whether to declare Cleveland Heights a “Sanctuary City” but decided, instead, to declare it a Welcoming City.

In a press release, the city stated, “There had been some discussion regarding the concept of Sanctuary City. After further research, it was determined that Sanctuary City does not have set definitions and has no official government designation. Recent announcements that federal funds could possibly be withheld from these cities made Council look for other alternatives. The goal was to affirm a designation that would uphold the spirit of Cleveland Heights without jeopardizing in any way the financial strength of the City.”

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 4:57 PM, 02.20.2017

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Cleveland Heights proposes zoning code update

Because the city’s zoning code requires no review of proposed building demolitions, the Center Mayfield Building was demolished without any opportunity for public comment. Photos by Bob Brown.

Gas stations, car washes, auto sales and auto repair businesses could no longer be built along some segments of Taylor, Cedar, Mayfield, Lee, and Noble roads and Euclid Heights Boulevard under one of a series of proposed zoning code amendments being considered in Cleveland Heights.

Specifically, these auto-oriented businesses would no longer be permitted uses in the city’s C-2 Local Retail Business Districts and S-2 Mixed-Use Districts. The businesses would still be permitted uses, with conditions, in the city’s other main commercial district, the C-3 General Commercial District.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 12:25 PM, 02.20.2017

LEI hosts fifth annual Kids' Comic Con

Lake Erie Ink will host its fifth annual Kids' Comic Con on Saturday, March 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this all-day event, young people will have the opportunity to attend workshops with well-known comic creators.

The event features professional writers and illustrators, with Terri Libenson, cartoonist for the internationally syndicated comic strip "The Pajama Diaries," giving the keynote address.

Workshops will cover the two aspects of comic creation—drawing and writing—and will include the ever-popular “create your own comic character in clay.”

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 5:05 PM, 02.20.2017

Dobama presents Pulitzer Prize-winner 'The Flick'

Kernels of stale buttered popcorn, sticky soda spills, and the occasional sandwich wrapper keep three underpaid employees of a run-down movie theater busy in “The Flick” by Annie Baker. Its regional premiere runs March 3–26 at Dobama Theatre, and is directed by Nathan Motta, Dobama’s artistic director.

In awarding “The Flick” the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Pulitzer committee cited it as “a thoughtful drama with well-crafted characters . . . rendering lives rarely seen on the stage.”

The play’s unconventional setting situates the audience where the screen would be in a movie theater, facing rows of seats and aisles with a projection booth above.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 5:03 PM, 02.20.2017

Barbershoppers earn award of Excellence

The Barbershoppers: William Aiken, Rangana Bartlett, Tedd Byers, Will Davis, Michael Garrett Jr., Remi Godard, Nareus Hardin, Dontay Hardnett, Grant Heineman,  Berlyn Phillips, Gerald Shazor, James Smith and Garrett Vandall.

The 13-member Heights High Boys Barbershoppers earned an Excellent rating and the prestigious Presenter’s Award at the Barbershop Harmony Society's International Youth Chorus Competition in San Antonio, Jan. 19–22.

At the conference, students attended master classes, joined other vocalists in a chorus rehearsal and performance, attended performances by groups of youth and senior citizen singers, and performed for audiences and judges. They also received instruction from renowned musician Francisco J. Núñez, founder of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, international guest conductor and founder of the Social Change Through the Choral Arts Initiative.

Among the skills they honed in the master classes were using breath support and posture to emphasize specific lyrical content.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 4:58 PM, 02.20.2017

Heights High senior artist wins portfolio award

Shannon Berr with one of his portfolio pieces that received a Gold Key Award.

In the 2017 Cuyahoga County Scholastic Art Competition, Heights High senior Shannon Berr won a Gold Key award for his eight-piece portfolio, as well as five Silver Key and four Honorable Mention awards.

Six other Heights High student artists also won awards. Linnea Covault won a Gold Key and an Honorable Mention, Jenna Dent won a Silver Key and an Honorable Mention, and David Matia, Tylar McDowell, Lisa Ware and Gilda Weinstock won Honorable Mentions.

“Shannon’s Gold Key Award for an entire portfolio is a fantastic accomplishment,” said his art teacher Nancy Eisenberg. “This is a significant award and we are very proud of him!”

Berr enjoys working on large-format multimedia pieces as well as three-dimensional sculptures, using wood and other materials.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 12:24 PM, 02.20.2017

Beaumont is first Cleveland-area all-girls school to earn IB status

Beaumont School has been officially authorized as an International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme World School by the IB organization in Geneva. Beaumont is the only all-girls school, and only the second Catholic school, in Cleveland to earn this international distinction. The program will be offered to students beginning in fall 2017. Beaumont will offer the IB Diploma Programme (DP), which is specifically for students in grades 11 and 12.

IB aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. It encourages students across the world to become active, compassionate and lifelong learners who understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 5:05 PM, 02.20.2017

V&E Hann selects homeowner to receive new furnace

Cleveland Heights resident Jon Holmes (left) with Chris Hann, co-owner of Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc.

Cleveland Heights resident Jon Holmes received a free furnace from Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. as part of the company’s Helping Hann Free Furnace contest.

An Army veteran, Holmes was nominated by his sister and brother-in-law, Jean and Don Lash of South Euclid.

Holmes lives in the Forest Hill neighborhood, in a house that’s been in the family since 1942. The old furnace was installed in 1951 and had to be oiled every day—a difficult task for Holmes, who suffers from a nerve disability.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 10:02 AM, 02.14.2017

Storefront barber retires after 57 years

Dominic Giammaria, owner of Dominic's Barbershop for 57 years, retired Dec. 31, 2016. Photo by Lee Batdorff.

“The barber school thought I was 16 years old and I started training,” said Dominic Giammaria, 87, who retired this past Dec. 31 from cutting hair at his Dominic’s Barbershop at 1908 Lee Road.  

He has 72 years of hair cutting experience. Just after he completed ninth grade at Observation School (now the location of the Cleveland High School of the Arts), and 14 years old, he pursued a certificate in Barber Science. After graduating from the old Cleveland Barber College in 1944, he started cutting hair with Joseph Marx in the Cedar-Taylor area. Giammaria's father Joseph died at age 51, when Dominic was about 20 years old—and was six years a barber.

Then his mother Josephine dated Charles Fanna, who was a barber entrepreneur with several shops around town. “Charles was like a father to me and gave me a few tips,” Giammaria said.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:45 AM, 02.14.2017

New owner takes over Coventry Panini's

Michael Mercer inside the Coventry Panini's.

The Panini’s restaurant franchise on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights has a new owner, Michael Mercer, who purchased the restaurant last November.

Mercer, 58, lived in Cleveland Heights for much of his life; as a child, he lived on Demington Drive for many years. His father, Robert Mercer, started the children’s hospital at the Cleveland Clinic.

Mike Mercer attended Roxboro Elementary and Junior High schools, and Heights High. At Kent State University, he majored in business and law enforcement, then worked for the Department of Safety and Security in the Cleveland Public Schools for eight years.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 10:48 AM, 02.14.2017

Gesu School community builds giant tetrahedron

This large tetrahedron was constructed with the help of hundreds of Gesu School students, teachers, parents and alumni.

On display at Gesu School’s STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Math) Showcase and Open House on Jan. 29 was a nearly 15-foot-tall tetrahedron, made up of more than 4,000 individual 2-inch tetrahedrons.

The project began in October, when two sixth-grade reading classes taught by Josie Jones, read All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall. The novel is based on a true story about a seventh-grade math class on Cleveland’s East Side that set out to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for constructing the largest multi-stage tetrahedron.

The Gesu sixth-graders asked if they, too, could try to build a multi-stage tetrahedron. The director of Gesu’s STREAM program joined forces with Jones, to help the students undertake and complete the project.

After much calculation and deliberation, it was determined that it would take several thousand small tetrahedrons to build the largest multi-stage tetrahedron that would fit in the school.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 9:37 AM, 02.14.2017

Letter: Top of the Hill is a tremendous opportunity worthy of discussion

To the Editor:

By now, most of us who live, work, or recreate in the City of Cleveland Heights are probably aware of the redevelopment proposal for the Top of the Hill property in the Cedar Fairmount District. A developer has been selected, negotiations are underway, and highly anticipated planning and economic development details should soon be available for public view.

FutureHeights supports a mixed-use development project at Top of the Hill. Development of underutilized properties in Cleveland Heights will increase population, add to the tax base, and decrease the tax burden among current residents. A high-quality mixed-use development at the top of Cedar Hill will also enhance the reputation of the city, appropriately increase density to support existing businesses, and improve the quality of life for existing residents by providing goods and services that they need, including the addition of new for-rent and for-sale housing options.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 1:10 PM, 02.06.2017

Limited-edition Luna cookies to benefit Heights Arts

February sales of Coventry-themed Luna Bakery cookies will benefit Heights Arts.

Luna Bakery & Café has collaborated with Heights Arts to create six cookie designs inspired by the public art benches of Coventry Village.

Each design adorns Luna Bakery’s signature sugar cookie base, and the cookies are available only during the month of February.

The cookies are being sold individually, for $3 each, with $2 of each cookie purchase benefiting Heights Arts’ community arts programs.

The cookies are available at Luna Bakery, as well as at the Heights Arts gallery, during the nonprofit art organization's February events. (To view Heights Arts’ February calendar, visit www.heightsarts.org/events.)

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 3:08 PM, 02.03.2017

What’s going on at your library?

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

Thursday, Feb. 16, 7–8:30 p.m.

Caregiver Bootcamp: Home Safety and Housing Options. Mindi Thal, of the Visiting Nurse Association, will discuss home safety awareness and provide an overview of where to shop and how to find the available tools, equipment and home modifications to enhance home safety and ease. Thal will also provide information about the housing options that are available if home care is no longer possible.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 2:44 PM, 02.03.2017

Disciples Christian Church Christmas Choir welcomed voices from the community

Community choir members rehearse.

As the 2016 Christmas season approached, Amanda Powell, music director at Disciples Christian Church, had a vision—to bring together a choir that would promote, through singing, a sense of community and connection.

Because many people are unable to commit to a full year of singing, the commitment would be for the Christmas season only, comprising the three Sundays prior to Christmas.

Powell hoped that church members who were not part of the choir would join the current choir members, and that members of the community that had no connection with Disciples Christian Church would participate as well. People of all musical abilities would be welcomed.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 11:25 AM, 02.02.2017

CHHS concert features violinist Daniel Fields

Student violinist and Heights High Symphony concertmaster Daniel Fields.

The Heights High Symphony will feature senior soloist Daniel Fields during the Instrumental Music Department’s Winter Concert on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m., at the Wiley Campus. Fields, who plays the violin, was a winner of the department’s 2016 Senior Solo Competition.

In addition to being a member of the Heights High Symphony, Fields, 17, is in his third season with the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra and is also a member of the orchestra's Advanced Performance Seminar. He also serves as an intern in orchestra operations with the Cleveland Orchestra.

Fields began his violin studies at the age of 4, and has studied with Callista Koh, Eugenia Poustyreva, and Peter Otto, his current instructor. He has also participated in master classes with the artists such as James Ehnes, Sonja Braaten Molloy and Lembi Veskimets.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:30 PM, 01.31.2017

Two Beaumont students to present robot at L.A. conference

Margaret Schiffer '17, and Rosie Sirk '19, are headed to Los Angeles to present their work as part of the Beaumont School Robotics Team.

Two Beaumont School students will showcase their work as part of the school’s Robotics Team during the upcoming SolidWorks World Conference in Los Angeles, Feb. 5–8. Beaumont senior Margaret Schiffer and sophomore Rosie Sirk will present their robot, Stobor, during the conference. They are the only Cleveland-area students to take part in the event.

Schiffer and Sirk will represent the National Robotics League (NRL) at the conference. NRL will conduct a mini-competition during the conference, which will take place in front of 5,000 people at the conference general session on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

In addition, Schiffer and Sirk will have the chance to showcase their robot and computer-aided design (CAD) drawings at an exhibit booth during the four-day conference.

As members of Beaumont’s Robotics Team, Schiffer and Sirk work with mentors at Christopher Tool and Manufacturing in Solon, meeting every Saturday morning, 7–11:30 a.m. Their coaches are Beaumont faculty members Stephanie Moran, Yvonne Schiffer and Gretchen Santo.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 10:33 AM, 01.27.2017

Forest Hill Church invites community to celebrate Black History Month

“Speaking of Race: Black Lives Matter Here” is the theme of Forest Hill Church’s month-long Black History Month celebration, featuring entertaining, educational and musical events. All events are free and open to the public, with donations to the church’s food pantry or other free-will offerings welcome.

The series of programs kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 5, 12:30–2 p.m., with a presentation by Rev. Dr. Catherine Borchert exploring the 19th-century history  of race relations in the Presbyterian Church in Northeast Ohio. She will discuss how this history laid the foundation for race relations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Refreshments will be served.

During the weekend of Feb. 11–12, members of the church will be engaged in a direct action to support financial justice. Small groups plan to eat at black-owned restaurants throughout Greater Cleveland, and reflect together on the importance of supporting black-owned businesses.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:04 PM, 01.30.2017

Noble Neighbors celebrates three years of accomplishments

Chalk art (and artist) at Noble Neighbors' back-to-school celebration

Thirty-five people gathered at Christopher’s Pub on Jan. 3 to look back at Noble Neighbors’ achievements for 2016, and there were many:

  • Carol Roe, a neighborhood resident, began her term on CH City Council in January 2016, bringing representation for the neighborhood to City Hall.
  • Noble Neighbors asked RTA to assess the 41 bus route on Noble Road, and it was determined that ridership on the route—the only line to offer 24-hour service in Cleveland Heights—justified an additional bus shelter, which was installed in late spring.
  • Vandemar Street residents successfully organized in opposition to the rezoning of two residential properties to accommodate a large convenience store and 16-pump gas station.
  • Noble Neighbors distributed flyers in a neighborhood ward urging residents to deny a bar permission to sell alcohol on Sunday, and permission was voted down.
  • The organization also participated in the Cleveland Heights master planning process, volunteered at schools and attended every city council meeting.
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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:23 PM, 01.31.2017

FutureHeights offers community-building workshops and mini-grants this spring

FutureHeights is offering several tools to help Cleveland Heights residents leverage their neighborhoods’ assets and enable creative projects to improve their quality of life through its Community Capacity-Building Program, including a series of workshops for neighborhood leaders and small grants to support neighborhood projects. 

Since the program’s launch in 2015, FutureHeights has awarded approximately $10,000 in mini-grants to support 13 projects in Cleveland Heights. Residents can apply for up to $1,000 for citizen-led neighborhood projects, events and activities. In addition, 25 residents—from several neighborhoods, including Noble, Forest Hill, Cain Park, Boulevard, Severance, Cedar Fairmount, Coventry and East Fairfax—have completed the workshop series, which takes place over several months each spring.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 5:44 PM, 01.31.2017

What CH city service will be privatized next?

In 2015, the city of Cleveland Heights moved to privatize its water department, but backed off in the face of community opposition. Despite that strong negative response, last summer the city privatized its building department, turning it over to SAFEbuilt, a Colorado-based company now owned by the private equity firm Riverside.

As state governments have squeezed funding to cities in recent years, the trend toward privatizing municipal services has accelerated. With the Republican sweep to control all branches of the federal government added to that party’s control of 32 state legislatures and 33 governorships, pressure to privatize can only be expected to intensify.

In our July column, “Take Back the CH Building Department,” we outlined some specific concerns about privatizing a municipal service that has been a net revenue generator for the city for many decades. There may be time to reverse this: Cleveland Heights can withdraw from its three-year contract with SAFEbuilt on July 1, 2017, giving 120 days notice.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:07 PM, 01.31.2017

Silence is not an option

What do you do when you don’t agree with the direction your elected officials are taking you? When you know their goal is to destroy something you value deeply, should you observe with disdain or act?

Is it sour grapes to disagree? Is it a violation of the principle of majority rule? Is it disloyal or unpatriotic or a waste of time?

Or is it the most important thing you can do as a citizen?

I’m taking the last option! Our voices are our most powerful political tools. You simply have to speak up if you disagree. When people are silent it implies indifference or consent, and it perpetuates compliance.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:01 PM, 01.31.2017

A wiser alternative for University Heights?

In the closing months of 2016, neighbors posted on Nextdoor.com, a social media site, that they heard gunshots. One resident posted: “Hats off to the police that were here immediately.” University Heights police found shell casings, corroborating resident posts.

On Nov. 6, posts by the neighbors discussed their personal experiences concerning safety and enforcement of city ordinances. One post recalled a conversation with Mayor Susan Infeld about the challenges of enforcing ordinances of homes owned by non-resident owners.

On Nov. 6, Mayor Infeld wrote her own post: “The ordinances are enforced . . . regarding the maintenance of a property, and criminal nuisance ordinances regarding noise, illegal behavior . . . rental property inspections, number of unrelated adults, etc."

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 5:52 PM, 01.31.2017

Suggestion for a conversation to have with your kids

To the Editor:

Have you ever had little conversations with your kids about perspective on life? Have you ever shared the realization that their K–12 education is the largest free gift they will ever receive in life, other than perhaps from their family?

You can have any number of perspectives on how good or bad the education is, but the dollars spent and the number of people spending lots of hours caring about them will never happen again in their life.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:10 PM, 01.31.2017

Family Connections has helped Heights parents and kids connect for 35 years

Pictured here as Baby & Me pals, Eloise Davies and Dietrich Hange are now 3-years-old. Friendships that last a lifetime begin with simple play during Baby & Me sessions at Family Connections.

When meeting new friends, it’s not unusual for a Cleveland Heights parent to realize that their paths have already crossed. “I think I recognize you. Did you use the Little Heights playroom at the library when your kids were little?” “Oh, I know you! We were in Baby & Me together.” When asking school-age families how they know one another, the winding roots often go back to one of these early moments.  

Little Heights and Baby & Me are community institutions that Cleveland Heights residents often take for granted. The programs nurture families, serving as a welcoming place to bring babies and toddlers during the long, lonesome and joyful days of early childhood. Families collect friendships, parenting advice and relief before moving on to other hubs as kids inevitably evolve.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 5:41 PM, 01.31.2017

GirlForce 2017 offers free fitness classes to girls 12–18

Jazzercise in Cleveland Heights has launched a new initiative for 2017 to support the growth and development of young women by offering free classes to girls ages 12–18, accompanied by a paying adult.

Dubbed GirlForce, the program aims to empower young women by giving them a place to get fit, learn healthy habits, and find a place [where] they belong in their communities.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 1:36 PM, 01.31.2017

2017 HCC programs explore diversity and community

In a time of deep division in our nation, Heights Community Congress (HCC) continues to look for ways to come together as a community. By understanding and celebrate differences, HCC strives to strengthen community bonds. For 40 years, HCC has been an advocate for social justice, a monitor of fair housing practices, and a facilitator for building a strong, diverse community. The theme of this year’s programming from HCC is “Hands Across the Heights: Bridging the Gaps and Moving Beyond.”

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 1:32 PM, 01.31.2017

New principal leads push to open Communion of Saints preschool

Gerry Whiteley is the new principal at Communion of Saints School. Photo courtesy Communion of Saints School.

Communion of Saints School, which offers kindergarten through eighth-grade Catholic education, plans to open a new preschool program next fall, with classrooms for 3-year-olds and 4- to 5-year-olds.

“Shortly after joining Communion of Saints School as the principal this past July, the parents approached me with the idea of opening a preschool,” said Principal Gerry Whiteley. “The more I researched the possibility and learned about our facility, the more I became convinced that we needed to open a preschool. The excitement of the parents was infectious; their mission became my mission—to offer a Catholic-based preschool program to augment our existing . . . offerings.”

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 1:02 PM, 01.31.2017

Boulevard students demonstrate mastery of science curriculum

Second-graders build dams.

Photo by Krissy Dietrich Gallagher.

When children are able to explain to others what they have learned, they are demonstrating their mastery of the material. This is what happened at Boulevard Elementary School last December, when students presented their Capstone STEM projects for the first trimester.

Students had spent the fall months responding to an essential question as part of their science curriculum. Fourth-graders studied how native Ohio plants and animals survive. Second-graders investigated how animals and the environment interact with one another.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 1:01 PM, 01.31.2017

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. in Council Chambers at University Heights City Hall. To receive the monthly schedule by e-mail, call 216-932-7800, ext. 205, or send an e-mail to info@universityheights.com.

Feb. 2: Mary Sue Tanis has, for 40 years, headed Youth Challenge in Cleveland. She'll describe the work of this nonprofit organization that partners teenage volunteers with physically disabled children for sports, games, arts, plays and more.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 12:56 PM, 01.31.2017

CH Senior Center News

Preventing falls is a major focus for seniors, and the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC) has programs to help.

Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 7, and continuing every Tuesday, 9–11 a.m., through March 28, SAC will offer a course called Matter of Balance. The class will provide information and advice, along with exercise and group discussion.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 12:54 PM, 01.31.2017

Heights Libraries offers drop-in tech support

Heights Libraries technology trainers (from left) Ann MacMamara, Joseph Kaiser, Jackie Mayse and Alyse Giannotti.

Though technology is everywhere, not everyone is comfortable using it. Just ask Jackie Mayse, technology librarian at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

Heights Libraries has offered free computer classes and individual tutorial sessions for years, but Mayse said staff recently decided they could do even more to put tech help within reach of customers who need it most. She and her fellow technology trainers have started offering a new service at each branch: Ask a Tech Trainer. 

“Ask a Tech Trainer is a service that we started a few months ago,” said Mayse. “We were looking for a training option that was more flexible than our classes. This is a walk-in service so a customer can just walk right in, no appointment necessary, and get help on the spot.”

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 12:51 PM, 01.31.2017

Apollo's Fire goes around the world and Bach again

Apollo's Fire performs. Photo courtesy Apollo's Fire.

Apollo's Fire will feature J.S. Bach's music in its 25th-anniversary season as an homage to this master of the Baroque style. This winter, Apollo's Fire performances will demonstrate the widespread reach of Bach’s music in two programs, "Virtuoso Bach" and "Sacred Bach."

From the sunny Orchestral Suite No. 1 to the darkly brooding Oboe Concerto in G minor, the principal musicians of Apollo’s Fire shine in "Virtuoso Bach: an Instrumental Extravaganza."

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 12:48 PM, 01.31.2017

Bakery expands the Fix brand on Lee Road

Robert Craig, who owns Sweet Fix with his wife, Allison Craig.

Robert and Allison Craig are the co-owners, along with Eric Rogers, of Sweet Fix Bakery, at the corner of Lee and Silsby roads. The bakery occupies the space that previously housed Rogers’ restaurant, Black Box Fix, which moved to 2195 Lee Road and is now called the Fix Bistro.

Rogers originally intended to open Sweet Fix Bakery himself, but changed his plan when Robert Craig, Rogers' wife's cousin, expressed an interest in opening a bakery.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 12:14 PM, 01.31.2017

Maybe you heard me

In February 1980 I was working at WBBG-1260 AM. Nicknamed “Super Gold,” it was the AM sister to the rock station WWWM-FM, better known as M105. WBBG played oldies and employed popular Cleveland radio personalities from earlier eras, like Lou “King” Kirby and the legendary Bill Randle.

During the year prior to my working there, I had been an occasional comedy guest on two shows at the station—Willio & Phillio’s morning show on WBBG, and M105’s morning show, “Benson’s Bozo Breakfast Club,” hosted by Joe Benson (now a popular radio personality in Los Angeles).

Willio and Phillio left town toward the end of 1979, and at the beginning of 1980 I was hired to handle WBBG’s promotions and public relations. But my job immediately expanded.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:10 PM, 01.30.2017

Music takes center stage at Heights Arts in February

Close Encounters chamber series performs at the historic Dunham Tavern. [photo courtesy GM Donley]

As an antidote to the winter doldrums, Heights Arts has planned three free music performances during February in the nonprofit's gallery on Lee Road, plus the second concert of its popular Close Encounters series, which features members of The Cleveland Orchestra performing programs of their own design.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, at 8 p.m., the public is invited to join No Exit New Music Ensemble for an intimate evening of music that will spotlight three of the ensemble’s musicians: violinist Cara Tweed, percussionist Luke Rinderknecht, and pianist Nicholas Underhill. These virtuosi will be performing as a group and as soloists, bringing to Heights Arts the engaging performances that Clevelanders have come to expect from No Exit. Included on the program will be music from early-American avant-garde composer, pianist and inventor George Antheil, and the world premiere of a new work by Emily Koh.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:24 PM, 01.30.2017

Heights High grads—and brothers—to play in NFL Pro Bowl

Travis Kelce

In December, Travis Kelce, a 2008 Heights High graduate and tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, was named a starter in the 2017 National Football League (NFL) Pro Bowl, to be played this Sunday, Jan. 29, 8 p.m., in Orlando, Fla. This will be Kelce’s second appearance in the Pro Bowl.

On Jan. 23, his older brother, Jason Kelce, joined him on the 2017 Pro Bowl roster. Jason is also a Heights High grad, and plays center for the Philadelphia Eagles. This will be Jason Kelce’s second Pro Bowl appearance; he was previously selected for the 2015 roster.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 11:22 AM, 01.24.2017

Forest Hill Home Owners association enforces covenants and protects housing standards

The Forest Hill Home Owners association (FHHO) is a nonprofit founded in 1950. Forest Hill spans both Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, containing 991 single-family residences and a small number of apartment buildings. It’s important to understand that FHHO does not possess the mechanisms of a modern HOA—mandatory dues, the ability to make repairs and bill the homeowner, or the ability to easily attach liens to properties. FHHO does, however, have standards relating to siding, roofing, landscaping and general exterior maintenance that go beyond both Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland housing standards.

FHHO views its relationship with Cleveland Heights as a strong and productive one. Cleveland Heights has been responsive in assisting FHHO to address non-operational vehicles, broken streetlights and damaged fire hydrants.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 11:20 AM, 01.24.2017

Poets must apply by Feb. 10 to compete in Haiku Death Match

Heights Arts seeks contestants for its annual Haiku Death Match, the fun and irreverent event in which a Haiku Master is chosen by the audience. The event will take place this year on Saturday, April 8, at 7 p.m., at Dobama Theatre.

Poets who wish to compete and can firmly commit to the April 8 date must contact Heights Arts by Feb. 10 at heightswrites@heightsarts.org. Contestants will be accepted in order of application, and the eight chosen will later meet to review the rules and the structure of the event.

The number of competing poets is limited to eight this year, so that each may have more time to hurl syllable-sharp weapons, and so that the audience will have more performance evidence with which to measure the skill of each contestant.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:34 AM, 01.24.2017

Japanese martial arts school opens in Cleveland Heights

Instructors of the Cleveland Kendo Association.

After 30 years of renting space from local universities and gyms, The Cleveland Kendo Association decided it was time to establish a permanent location for its dojo. On Dec. 1, it opened a school in Cleveland Heights, at 2110 South Taylor Road.

The Cleveland Kendo Association provides expert instruction in the Japanese martial art of Kendo, which descended from traditional swordsmanship (kenjutsu) and uses bamboo swords (shinai) and protective armor (bōgu). "Ken" is from the character meaning sword; the character for "Do" includes the meaning of way or path—which translates as "the way of the sword."

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 9:27 AM, 01.24.2017

Atma Center celebrates 20 years

Atma Center founder and director Beverly Singh, pictured in crocodile pose, started the studio after experiencing for herself the healing power of yoga. [photo courtesy Atma Center]

Cleveland’s longest-running yoga studio, the Atma Center, is celebrating 20 years of health, education and community service in 2017.

Its director, Beverly Singh, worked at the Cleveland Clinic before opening the Atma Center on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. She had become seriously ill; her internist suspected Grave’s disease, fibromyalgia and lupus, and prescribed several medications.

While starting the regimen of prescriptions, Singh took a crash course of daily yoga from a friend, who flew all the way from Australia to teach her. After three months, Singh was off several of her medications and had reduced her dosages of the rest. She was sold on the healing power of yoga, and started teaching in her living room to share its benefits with others.

The Atma Center focuses on accessible stretches, breath techniques and meditations, and on the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Group classes, private sessions and workshops consistently prove the studio’s motto of providing “Yoga for Every Body.”

 

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 10:50 AM, 01.17.2017

CH resident Danny Williams takes new nonprofit health care post

Danny R. Williams

In January, Cleveland Heights resident Danny R. Williams became the new president and CEO of Eliza Bryant Village, the oldest African-American long-term care center in the United States. Located at East 72nd Street and Wade Park Avenue in Cleveland, Eliza Bryant Village is a nursing home, adult-daycare and independent-living center.

In taking the new position, Williams stepped down as executive director of the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland (now called Circle Health Services).

“I’ve been at the Free Clinic for 10 years now, and it has gone through a significant transformation,” Williams said. “I did a number of major things at the clinic, and I think the clinic is now at a stage where my departure would not be a challenge.

“I’ve been blessed to spend the bulk of my professional career working for organizations that promote health and inclusion and justice for vulnerable communities.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 10:37 AM, 01.17.2017

Forest Hill residents consider autonomy

With the recent recall of East Cleveland’s mayor and city council president, along with that city’s struggles to stay afloat, some residents in the neighborhood of Forest Hill are voicing support to secede from East Cleveland and Cleveland Heights in favor of forming an autonomous municipality, The Village of Forest Hill.

These homeowners believe the creation of a self-governing entity is needed to combat the growing number of neglected and abandoned homes that are plummeting property values and contributing to a negative perception of Forest Hill as a neighborhood on the brink.

A number of toxic houses, many of which have been vacant for years, continue to blight Forest Hill—a direct result of the 2008 housing crash, foreclosure crisis and incompetent oversight. 

One of the most egregious examples is the home at 15922 Forest Hill Blvd., in East Cleveland. This eyesore has sat vacant for more than a decade.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 10:35 AM, 01.17.2017

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

JANUARY 3, 2017

  • Road resurfacing bids
  • Liquor permits
  • Nuisance abatement update
  • Amendment to wage and salary ordinance
  • Amendment to public hearing ordinance

Council members Cheryl L. Stephens (mayor), Jason Stein (vice mayor), Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Kahlil Seren and Melissa Yasinow were present. Council Member Michael N. Ungar was absent.

The meeting was held from 7:37 to 8:21 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 5:42 PM, 01.17.2017

Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights

DECEMBER 19, 2016

  • Farewell and welcome
  • Employee benefits
  • Library revenues
  • Construction and renovation updates
  • Kudos
  • Food for fines
  • Heights libraries in the community
  • Library utilization

Board members Rick Ortmeyer (president), Ron Holland (vice president), Abby Botnick (secretary), Susan Beatty, Chris Mentrick and Jim Roosa were present. Board Member Suzann Moskowitz was absent.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:22 PM, 01.17.2017

Beaumont students garner art awards in regional competion

Beaumont School students won an impressive 23 awards in the 2017 Scholastic Art & Writing competition, in the Cuyahoga County region, capturing four Gold Key and five Silver Key awards, as well as 14 Honorable Mention awards.

Gold Key recipients are: Alexandra Andrus ‘17, Natalie Noble ‘19, Mathilde Tomter ‘19, and Kerrigan von Carlowitz ‘19.  Andrus’ award was for photography, while the other Gold Key recipients all won for drawing and illustration.

Silver Key recipients are: Christine Aumiller ‘18, drawing and illustration; Claire Carey ‘17, who won for both painting and drawing and illustration; Stephanie Mackay ‘17, photography; and Grace Martin ’18, painting.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 1:46 PM, 01.15.2017

Center Mayfield demolition is imminent

Construction fencing surrounds the Center Mayfield Building in preparation for demolition. Photos by Graig Kluge.

The building for which the Center Mayfield Business District in Cleveland Heights is named will soon be demolished. On Jan. 9, residents noted that construction fencing and heavy machinery had been put in place. That evening, Allan Butler, housing programs director for the city of Cleveland Heights, confirmed that a demolition permit had been issued to Independence Excavating on Dec. 14, 2016.

In the city of Cleveland Heights, if the owner of a commercial property wants to demolish a structure, he must file for a demolition permit and pay a permit fee of $100, plus $5 per $1,000 value of the property. No city board or commission must review the request before the permit is issued. Independence Excavating paid a permit fee of $128.75.

The Center Mayfield Building, 3907–3927 Mayfield Road, is the most prominent building located in the "Triangle”—the district bounded by Mayfield, Noble and Warrensville Center roads.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 12:24 PM, 01.10.2017

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights

JANUARY 3, 2017

  • Organizational meeting
  • Awards and recognitions
  • Reaching Heights event
  • Personnel items
  • Middle school renovation design
  • Quarterly contracts, donations
  • 2018 tax budget, staff cost comparison
  • Board president’s report
  • Combined committee meetings
  • Upcoming meetings

Board members Ron Register (president), Kal Zucker (vice president), Jim Posch, Eric Silverman and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer.

The meeting began at 7 p.m. and ended at 8:05 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 1:33 PM, 01.17.2017

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights

DECEMBER 20, 2016

  • Awards and recognitions
  • Field trips
  • Personnel items
  • Lease agreement, donations
  • High school renovation change orders
  • Middle school renovations
  • High school interior renovations
  • Finances, losses, voucher impact
  • Board president’s report
  • Application for share of mitigation funds

Present were board members Kal Zucker (president), Ron Register (vice president), James Posch and Eric Silverman. Beverly Wright was absent. Also present were Talisa Dixon, superintendent, and Scott Gainer, treasurer.

The public meeting began at 7 p.m., after a prior executive session regarding negotiations, and ended at 9:36 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 11:52 AM, 01.14.2017

University Heights City Council meeting highlights

JANUARY 3, 2017

  • Public comments
  • Synagogue sponsors food drive
  • Candlelight vigil at JCU
  • Cuyahoga Land Bank to acquire 3505 Tullamore
  • Heights-Hillcrest technical rescue team
  • Home address signs
  • Engineering services rate increase
  • Pension contribution for union employees

Mayor Susan Infeld and council members Susan Pardee (vice mayor), Pamela Cameron, Phillip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman were present. Also present were Luke McConnell, law director, and Kelly Thomas, clerk of council.

The meeting was held from 7:05 to 9:10 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 11:30 AM, 01.14.2017

University Heights City Council meeting highlights

DECEMBER 19, 2016

  • Jerry Jacobson named citizen of the year
  • Application for lot split, consolidation
  • Ordinances for 2016 expenses amended
  • City budget for 2017
  • Cedar-Taylor streetscape
  • Refuse vehicles purchased
  • Update on 3505 Tullamore Road
  • Fire truck repair
  • Finance director

Mayor Susan Infeld and council members Susan Pardee (vice mayor), Pamela Cameron, Phillip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman were present. Also present were Luke McConnell, law director; Larry Heiser, finance director; and Kelly Thomas, clerk of council.

The meeting was held from 7:05 to 9:35 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 11:28 AM, 01.14.2017

CH-UH Board of Education elects 2017 officers

CH-UH Board of Education President Ron Register.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Board of Education (BOE) selected new leaders for 2017 during its annual organizational meeting on Jan. 3, in University Heights.

BOE members unanimously voted longtime board member Ron Register as president, a role he previously held. Register was vice president of the board in 2016.

Also unanimously, board members elected Kal Zucker, the outgoing BOE president, as vice president.

Board member Jim Posch was appointed treasurer pro tem, which means he will serve in place of Scott Gainer, the district's chief financial officer, if Gainer is unable to attend a board meeting. The job of treasurer pro tem includes keeping meeting minutes and recording all votes, and is a position Posch filled last year as well.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 10:03 AM, 01.10.2017

Beaumont students share the holiday spirit

Beaumont students used an assembly line process to fill bags with personal care items as part of their holiday service project.

Students in Beaumont School’s FAME (Females Achieving Minority Excellence) Club took service to heart this holiday season.

Under the direction of instructor NaNetta Hullum, the students collected more than 100 gently used handbags, then filled them with socks, deodorant, soap, lotion, kleenex, shampoo and other personal hygiene items.

On Dec. 16, before the official start of their Christmas holiday break, the students delivered the purses to two local shelters, the City Mission and the Norma Herr Homeless Shelter.

Earlier in the holiday season, on Dec. 7, Beaumont students hosted the school’s annual Christmas on Campus event, attended by more than 100 kindergarten through third-grade students from the Urban Community School and St. Leo the Great parish in Cleveland.

Each child paired up with a Beaumont student “buddy” for the afternoon, going room-to-room throughout the school to play games, make crafts, decorate cookies, have their pictures taken with Santa, and get their faces painted.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 10:02 AM, 01.10.2017

University Heights names Jacobson 2016 Citizen of the Year

Jerome Jacobson, University Heights 2016 Citizen of the Year, receiving a proclamation from Mayor Susan Infeld at the University Heights City Council meeting on Dec. 19, 2016. [courtesy Patrick Grogan-Myers]

As 2016 drew to a close, the city of University Heights honored two individuals for their service to the city and the community.

At the Dec. 19 city council meeting, UH Mayor Susan Infeld presented Jerome (Jerry) Jacobson, a 60-plus-year resident, with the city’s 2016 Citizen of the Year award, in honor of his 40 years of service as a member of the UH Police Auxiliary Unit.

The city also recognized Patricia Meehan, administrative assistant for the UH Police Department, as its 2016 Employee of the Year.

Meehan joined the department in 2014. Announcing the honor, Mayor Infeld said, “Patti has been nominated by her peers for her outstanding commitment and service to the department and the community. Her dedication and kindness are felt by all. I have received many compliments from residents about Patti’s kindness and help when they call or visit the police department.”

UH Police Chief Steven Hammett said of Jacobson, “Jerry’s long service to the community and mentorship to his fellow auxiliary members has been invaluable to the smooth functioning of the Police Auxiliary Unit.”

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 12:01 PM, 01.03.2017

FH's Best of the Heights awards return in 2017

Since 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit that inspires and facilitates collaboration and empowerment in our community—has conducted the Best of the Heights awards to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned Heights businesses, and their contributions to the local economy.

FutureHeights asks residents to cast their votes for their favorite businesses by nominating them for an award in a variety of categories, such as Best New Business and Best Interior Décor. After a one-year hiatus, FutureHeights is bringing the program back with the theme Show Heights Businesses Your Love.

Beginning in January, residents can show their love for Heights businesses by voting for them in 12 categories.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 12:00 PM, 01.03.2017

Volunteer Match

Heights Observer’s Volunteer Match column lists opportunities for residents to lend their time and talent to the many worthy organizations and causes around the Heights.

Submit your organization’s volunteer needs by e-mailing Sruti Basu at sbasu@futureheights.org or calling the FutureHeights office at 216-320-1423.

Items submitted on or before the Heights Observer print issue's monthly story deadline will be considered for the next column. (To see past columns, visit www.heightsobserver.org, and search “volunteer match”.)

Reaching Heights: Reaching Heights’s Many Villages tutoring program, in its 11th year of service to the community, has open slots for a new after-school tutoring program at Gearity Professional Development School.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 11:46 AM, 01.03.2017

Heights Arts kicks off 2017 with two exhibitions and some Zeitgeist

Girls in the Garden, courtesy fiber artist Mary Ann Tipple, goes on view on Jan. 13.

A portrait is commonly considered to be a painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders. Considering that the human face is one of the first things babies recognize, just weeks after being born, one might think that the artistic process of creating a portrait would be easy. Yet a truly engaging portrait conveys more than just a likeness, as viewers will see in the first Heights Arts exhibition of 2017.

“Likeness,” which opens Friday, Jan. 13, brings together six Northeast Ohio artists who approach the portrait from different perspectives.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 10:31 AM, 01.03.2017

CH artist Kuehnle's interactive work is focus of Akron exhibition

Jimmy Kuehnle on one of the bikes he designed and created. Photos by James Henke.

Jimmy Kuehnle’s work frequently comprises huge, three-dimensional sculptural pieces, depicting bicycles, clothing and other items. Some of his work is also performance art—pieces he can ride or otherwise interact with physically.

Kuehnle, 37, lives in Cleveland Heights and is an assistant professor in the foundation department at the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). He has won many awards for his work, which he has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Kuehnle’s work is currently on view at the Akron Museum of Art, in an exhibition titled “Jimmy Kuehnle: Wiggle, Giggle, Jiggle,” open through Feb. 19.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 10:17 AM, 01.03.2017