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Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 9-28-2021

SEPTEMBER 28, 2021 - work session


  • Third reading of policies, group A
  • Hiring bus drivers and substitute teachers


Present were members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Jodi Sourini. President James Posch was out of town and Beverly Wright was unwell and participated remotely. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was brief, lasting five minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 3:02 PM, 10.20.2021

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Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-20-2021

SEPTEMBER 20, 2021- regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • City Hall still closed
  • Budget legislation postponed
  • Council member comments


Present were Kahlil Seren, council vice president; Craig Cobb; Melody Joy Hart; and Michael N. Ungar. Jason Stein, council president; and Davida Russell were absent.

Also present were Susanna Niermann O’Neil, city manager and Amy Himmelein, clerk of council and finance director. The meeting was 15 minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 2:59 PM, 10.20.2021

A letter from a CH voter that we declined to publish

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Cleveland Heights resident Bonnie Dolezal after the October print issue had been printed and distributed. The Heights Observer declined to publish it online. Reaction to this decision has threatened to distract from the important issues the community faces at the end of this busy, local election season. Therefore, we have decided to publish the original letter along with the feedback we provided to Dolezal via e-mail. Further—for those who might say, yes, but the writer revised the letter, and the Heights Observer still didn’t publish it—we’re also including the revised letter, and the e-mail we sent to the writer in response.

School Board 'Hit Piece' Mailer, by Bonnie Dolezal:

There is a Political Action Committee (PAC) who is opposing the Drake-Lynn-Rennert School Board slate. This PAC has gone to new levels of incivility. They have now published a nasty sinister mailer trying to portray these candidates as radicals who want to undermine the public schools. It isn’t even clear if this information about them is true.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 4:11 PM, 10.18.2021

A letter from a BOE candidate that we declined to publish

The following letter to the editor was submitted by CH-UH school board candidate Maureen Lynn after the October print issue had been printed and distributed. The Heights Observer declined to publish it online. Over the next few days, reaction to this decision began to distract from the important issues the community faces at the end of this busy, local election season. Therefore, while the reason for our initial decision hasn't changed, we are publishing the original letter and ensuing correspondence that explains our thinking behind the decision.  

Clarification on Masks & the Library, by Maureen Lynn:

With all of the slander, malice and un-truths out there, I wanted to clarify my position. I am NOT anti-science, NOT anti-masks and NOT anti-vaccinations. The peaceful protest at the library was to stand in solidarity with a friend who is disabled and has a legitimate Medical Exemption. Simply put, she is disabled and cannot wear a mask. She home-schools her children and the Library is a necessary part of their education. Receiving books ‘curb-side’ is not a sufficient educational experience for these children.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 4:11 PM, 10.18.2021

Cleveland Heights mayoral debate to be livestreamed Oct. 12

A debate between Cleveland Heights first-ever mayoral candidates Barbara Danforth and Khalil Seren will stream live on YouTube on Tuesday, Oct. 12, from 7-8:40pm.

Presented by FutureHeights and the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland (LWVGC), and with support from Heights Libraries, the event will be moderated by John Carroll University political science professor Sara Schiavoni.   

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:10 AM, 10.12.2021

48 Heights High students and graduates named AP scholars

James Huff III and Nathaniel Tyler, AP Scholars with Honor, were recognized by the CH-UH Board of Education.

The College Board has recognized 48 members of Cleveland Heights High School’s classes of 2021 and 2022 for their outstanding performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams. The College Board, which administers the AP tests, honors students across the country who score at a consistently high level on its annual exams.

The board named 28 Heights High students as AP Scholars for earning scores of 3 or higher on three or more exams. Those students are: Vincent Bellini, Vanner Bochik, Isabella Bradley, Patricia Chen, Adele Dooner, Patrick Dooner, Maria Fehn, Zak Ferguson, Emmet Fluharty, Braedan Gallagher, Grant Gober, Claire Hall, Andrew Heintz, Ella Herr, Nathan Keller, Leo Kenealy, Derek Korane, Eryn Lawson, Leela Manne, Nathalie Nicol, Elly Obondo, Wolfe Pehowic, Julian Postak, Gabrielle Price, Joseph Russo, Michaela Schomisch, Rowan Trammell, and Meridith Vandall.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 3:36 PM, 10.11.2021

Seren endorses Mattox Jr. for CH City Council

I enthusiastically endorse Anthony Mattox Jr. for Cleveland Heights City Council. Anthony brings people together, he uplifts, and he educates. He has earned my trust and admiration as an engaged civic leader and advocate working for the health and safety of our community.

Anthony already serves our city in an advisory capacity as a Cleveland Heights Planning Commissioner. His six years of continuous service reviewing and approving projects, assisting with development and planning, and partnering with residents and businesses to improve their properties makes him incredibly knowledgeable and an ideal choice for tackling economic development moving forward. 

Anthony’s background in municipal finance, risk assessment, loss mitigation, and process improvement will lend additional fiscal accountability and support to council, our city’s ultimate budgetary authority.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 4:21 PM, 10.08.2021

Seren endorses Moore in race to fill Dunbar’s vacant council seat

Josephine “Josie” Moore has my unequivocal support for Cleveland Heights City Council. I can’t think of a better choice to fill the vacancy left by my colleague Mary Dunbar. Mary championed environmental and health initiatives, working with me to find common ground on issues like sustainability and safe, multimodal transportation. Josie’s platform is forward-thinking, and sustainability focused because she knows that today’s decisions, large and small, impact future generations.

She believes that it is incumbent upon us as elected officials to thoughtfully gather information and ask questions before taking decisive action in the best interest of the people. Her service to our city on the Citizens Advisory Committee shows a dedication to positive and productive civic involvement that is not found in the other candidates.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 4:19 PM, 10.08.2021

Dew failed to disclose his school-district connections in his October opinion

The Heights Observer’s October issue featured an opinion by Adam Dew (“A MAGA school board coup is afoot in the Heights”), disclosing [that he is a promotional] partner of the publication, but without the complete picture.

In that fevered nightmare vision, Dew made deeply personal attacks on each candidate of the Lynn-Drake-Rennert school board slate. What wasn’t disclosed was that, since 2018, he sits on the school district’s Lay Finance Committee (LFC), with school board president James Posch and district CFO Scott Gainer. This means he is no mere citizen, since the LFC does not publish its meeting minutes and has not issued a report since 2019. This creates a conflict of interest, since Dew has been a commercial vendor for the district, making over $13,000 in 2019–20 alone from business between it and his video company.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 3:59 PM, 10.08.2021

Council-watchers endorse Seren for mayor

Having attended most Cleveland Heights City Council and Committee of the Whole meetings since 2015, we have seen Kahlil Seren in action several times a month for close to seven years. In disposition and demeanor, he is well-suited to public office.

We have witnessed Kahlil taking brutal and often undeserved criticism from certain council colleagues without reacting defensively. It’s a rare quality, and one that would well serve many elected officials and others in authority. When asked how he does it, he replied quietly, “Well, I meditate a lot.” And, he said at a meet and greet this summer, “I have learned to pick my battles.”

As a biracial man raised by a lesbian couple and married to a biracial woman, Kahlil understands and values the precious racial, gender, economic and social diversity of Cleveland Heights. He knows it is rare, even within Cuyahoga County.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 5:08 PM, 10.07.2021

Electing 'new core' team of CH council members is important

A new type of city council is required by the passage of Issue 26. Council will become a legislative body working with a directly elected executive mayor serving a four-year term. It no longer will act as a board of trustees that supervises a city manager it can fire at any time.

I served on city council in Cleveland Heights for eight years. I know the importance of council members who focus on truly important stuff, keep their egos on a leash, and know how to play well with others. I see the potential election of a new core group that could govern well.

Craig Cobb has admirable skills, both professional and personal. He is an experienced attorney and a cool head. He cares deeply about maintaining quality city services. He has been appointed twice to fill vacancies and serve on city council. He is respected by those who understand what the job will require, and he richly deserves election in his own right.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 12:00 PM, 10.06.2021

Stonewall Dems endorse Seren; say Danforth is misrepresenting her stance on LGBTQIA+ rights

During [Cleveland Heights mayoral candidate] Barbara Danforth’s interview, seeking the endorsement of the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats (CSD), she stated that she needed to confirm whether advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights would be popular with other constituent demographics in the community before being willing to take a stance as an advocate. 

Her answers in CSD’s candidate questionnaire, and the answers she gave in her interview with us, came from a place of not just ignorance, but animosity and shallow respect toward the LGBTQIA+ residents of Cleveland Heights. 

Danforth’s interview was so difficult that many of our volunteers wanted to stop it midway through, as she just wasn’t remotely open to education on LGBTQIA+ issues. She also argued with interviewers about the rights of trans and gender non-conforming people needing access to safe restrooms.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.05.2021

UH Fall Fest returns on Oct. 10

Custom wood items by Seeker WoodWorks.

University Heights Fall Fest, first held in 2019, returns to Walter Stinson Community Park on Sunday, Oct. 10, from 1 to 5 p.m.

The event will feature more than 50 artists and vendors from across Northeast Ohio, activities for the kids, circus performers, and a concert from '80s dance band Back 2 The Future. (And with the Cleveland Browns kicking off at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday, vs. the Los Angeles Chargers, one can attend all of Fall Fest and be back in plenty of time for the second half of the game.)

“Fall Fest is another way we are building a sense of community here in University Heights,” said Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 11:07 AM, 10.05.2021

Russell will continue to enact positive change

To the Editor:

As a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights, I have seen our community undergo some wonderful changes in the past year and a half, because of Davida Russell’s service on city council. That is why I am urging voters to re-elect her on Nov. 2.

Davida is helping to create stronger neighborhoods that attract young families and retain retirees, as well as targeting investment to our commercial corridors.

I am confident Davida will follow through on her promise to keep Cleveland Heights moving forward.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:47 AM, 10.05.2021

NextDoor can be helpful or hurtful

It was the day after my 69th birthday. I asked myself—why am I here? 

It was an ordinary day. I got in the car to do errands. I passed the elementary school and turned left on Canterbury Road, heading toward Meadowbrook. I was driving down a hill. Something caught my eye. There was a young child pedaling quickly down the hill on the sidewalk. 

A thought came into my mind. Something is not right! This child should not be pedaling quickly downhill. I drove slowly, alongside him. Maybe my unconscious mind was offering protection.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:45 AM, 10.05.2021

Protest co-organizer expresses support for Russell

As co-organizer of the Protest For Peace at city hall in June 2020, I support the re-election of CH City Council Member Russell.

She walked up to me before the march began and asked to march alongside me, then did. At this protest she promised a crowd of over 500 locals a town hall to express their concerns, and she delivered. She organized an audience with myself and [a peer] with the Cleveland Heights Chief of Police to discuss our concerns and next steps, then proceeded to plan and deliver on another town hall meeting where the police department and my peers were present. She even provided me and my colleagues an opportunity to sit down and talk history and change with Mr. William Lucy, a notable right-hand man for Nelson Mandela.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:44 AM, 10.05.2021

2021 Voters Guide to local candidates and issues

The League of Women Voters has created a guide to local candidates and issues for the Nov. 2 election. Click on the links below to access information for candidates and issues. Candidate questions were selected by the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, and all candidate information and answers were submitted by the candidates themselves.  

A print version of the guide is available as an insert in the October issue of the Heights Observer, available for free at numerous locations around town.

The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 4. Eligible voters may register, or update their registration, by visiting Early, in-person voting begins Oct. 7 for Cleveland Heights and University Heights. (Note: This is two days after the county's early-voting date because both communities held September primaries.)

The deadline for Board of Elections (BOE) receipt of Vote by Mail (VBM)/Absentee ballot applications is Oct. 30. The last day to mail a VBM/Absentee ballot is Nov. 1. Ballots must be postmarked on or before Nov. 1, and received by the BOE by Nov. 12. Voters can hand deliver their VBM/Absentee ballots to a drop box at the board of elections building (corner of Euclid Avenue and E. 30th Street) up until the polls close on election day (i.e November 2, 7:30 pm). They can return to the drop box their own ballot and that of an immediate family member, but no one else’s. 

General Election Day is Nov. 2, 2021. Polls are open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.


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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 7:57 AM, 10.02.2021

A look at the races and issues on Heights ballots Nov. 2

Kahlil Seren (left) and Barbara Danforth are the two remaining candidates vying to become Cleveland Heights' first directly elected mayor.

In the Sept. 14 primary election, Cleveland Heights residents cast votes for one of three mayoral candidates. The top two primary finishers, Barbara Danforth and Kahlil Seren, will now face off in the race for Cleveland Heights mayor, in the general election on Nov. 2.

Voter turnout for Cleveland Heights' first mayoral primary election was low, with votes cast by fewer than 7,000 of the city's approximately 33,967 (as of Sept. 1) registered voters.

Mary Dunbar’s resignation from Cleveland Heights City Council on Aug. 16, effective immediately, created a vacancy for her unexpired term, which runs through Dec. 31, 2023.

After initially announcing that CH City Council members would appoint someone to the vacant seat, council later authorized a special election for the unexpired term, to be held on the same day as the general election.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:36 PM, 10.01.2021

Halloween festival is planned for Cedar Lee

On Saturday, Oct. 23, Dobama Theatre will present the inaugural Heights Halloween Festival, in collaboration with Wizbang!, the city of Cleveland Heights, and the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District. 

This new, free, family-friendly event will take place 4–7 p.m., in the Cedar Lee Business District on Lee Road. The traditional Cedar-Lee Kids Candy Crawl will be incorporated into the festival, so participants are encouraged to bring their goodie bags and be ready to trick-or-treat at businesses along the route. 

The centerpiece of the event will take place at the green space at the intersection of Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road. There will be a variety of activities to watch and do, such as character meet-and-greets, where families will have an opportunity to take photos with well-known and beloved characters, and juggling circus performers.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:28 PM, 10.01.2021

New book recounts Heights girls’ wild quest to meet the Beatles

Cleveland Heights was at the center of one of the most unusual Beatles fan stories ever, although few people remember it today.

In September 1964, two 16-year-old Heights girls became international news for weeks when they ran away to London, England, in search of the Beatles. Eventually apprehended and returned for a public punishment, they never spoke of their adventure again. Until now.

Janice Mitchell tells her story in a new book, My Ticket to Ride: How I Ran Away to England to Meet the Beatles and Got Rock and Roll Banned in Cleveland. It’s a vivid, firsthand account of the early days of Beatlemania.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:25 PM, 10.01.2021

Library presents renovation options for Noble branch

Rick Ortmeyer of Bostick Design Partnership presents preliminary design ideas for the Noble Neighborhood Branch renovation.

On Wednesday, Sept. 8, Heights Libraries held an open house at its Noble Neighborhood Branch to present rough renovation ideas for the 84-year-old location. A crowd of approximately 30 residents watched a presentation by Rick Ortmeyer from Bostick Design Partnership, the firm hired by the library to create preliminary designs and conduct public meetings to gather feedback on those ideas. 

“Rick’s firm has lots of experience designing libraries, and a great track record on effectively gathering and using public feedback in building designs," said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. "So we knew they’d do a great job with these first, broad steps.” 

Ortmeyer’s presentation included several options for increasing space for library users of all ages by building an expansion where the Noble Road Presbyterian Church building and surrounding 1.3 acres of property currently stand.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:19 PM, 10.01.2021

UH library encourages creativity with new traveling sketchbooks

The traveling sketchbooks can be found in the children's area at the University Heights branch of Heights Libraries.

Heights Libraries University Heights branch is encouraging kids to share their creativity—with the library and with one another—by way of a new traveling sketchbook collection.

Throughout the months of October and November, young people can come in and draw in a sketchbook at one of the library's tables, or sign out a sketchbook and take it home to draw in, and then return.

At the end of the project, the library hopes it will have a collection of local young artists’ work that it can share with the community.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:07 AM, 10.01.2021

Electing Clopton-Zymler to BOE is a win for arts and diversity

To the Editor:

I have known Mario Clopton-Zymler for 10 years, as a fellow musician, a colleague in the Heights schools, and as a friend. His breadth of experience will serve all stakeholders in our school district—above all, our children.

CH-UH is, or ought to be, THE destination district for the arts. Having Mario on the CH-UH Board of Education can only strengthen that position. Why the arts? Its education teaches the whole child and is demonstrably linked to better outcomes in the traditionally academic subjects. It is a strength of our community that we are home to so many arts professionals, from poets to playwrights, painters, and musicians.

Clopton-Zymler is also the only Black candidate for school board in a district that is over 70% African American.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:15 PM, 10.01.2021

Don't waste any school board votes

In this year’s school board election, you will be asked to vote for your top three candidates from a pool of seven, and the top three “winners” will take the three open school board seats.

As a 13-year Heights resident and father of a Noble Elementary School fourth-grader, I implore you to vote your entire ballot in the school board election; please vote for three pro-school candidates.

This seems like an inherently odd request. Vote for three pro-school candidates for school board? Who wouldn’t? But in this election, in my view as a dedicated parent and resident, there are four “pro-public school” candidates and three “anti-public school” candidates.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:13 PM, 10.01.2021

CH's future depends on maintaining city's existing homes

To the Editor:

For those who say new construction, such as Top of the Hill, is “building the tax base of Cleveland Heights,” I offer a bit of perspective. The value of the city’s property tax base is roughly $2.4 billion. Top of the Hill is adding $83 million, or 0.036% of what exists. Change in the income tax base will also be minor. 

In spite of the scant impact new construction has on our tax bases, Cleveland Heights needs all the new construction it can get in order to add new residents and patrons for local businesses. The strength of our tax bases is entirely dependent on the condition and attractiveness of the city’s massive quantity of existing homes and apartments. The more they deteriorate, the more tax revenues suffer.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:11 PM, 10.01.2021

In CH mayor, we need a leader—not another manager

As we venture into unfamiliar territory in local government, our choice for Cleveland Heights’ first elected mayor comes down to one question: Who can LEAD our city on this journey in a way that makes the most out of this opportunity?

My opponent will tell you that what’s important is having someone who would run government like a business, with experience answering to a board of directors. I think she’s setting the bar too low. If the answer to our challenges was just competent management, we could have stuck with a city manager. We deserve—and should expect—more from our mayor.

Being mayor isn’t just the technical job of managing public employees as a cautious corporate caretaker. Mayors have to LEAD. Leadership means standing in the vanguard and fighting for progress.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:02 PM, 10.01.2021

Danforth thanks CH voters

Thank you, Cleveland Heights voters, for your heartwarming support in the recent mayoral primary election!

Over the last few months, I knocked on thousands of doors. I’ve heard your hopes, dreams and frustrations. And I am more committed than ever to work to address them. 

Clearly, we must improve the delivery of city services, without raising taxes. Ensuring that we all feel safe and secure in our homes and businesses is essential. And, building on our reputation for equity and inclusion must continue as a top priority.  

Public safety and attacking crime: Safe neighborhoods are the foundation of a thriving community. That requires well-equipped, highly trained safety forces.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:01 PM, 10.01.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 10-5-2021

OCTOBER 5, 2021, regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • Recognitions 
  • Student Cadre report
  • Shared facilities update
  • Joint boards and councils meeting
  • Coalition
  • Board comments


Present were President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and was adjourned at 9:18 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 2:56 PM, 10.20.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-4-21

OCTOBER 4, 2021, regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • Council actions
  • Council discussion of Start Right


Present were Council President Jason Stein, Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. Also present were Amy Himmelein, clerk of council and finance director; and William Hanna, law director. City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil attended the committee of the whole but not the public meeting. The public meeting lasted a little over an hour and commenced after an executive session that adjourned at 9 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 2:53 PM, 10.20.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-13-21

SEPTEMBER 13, 2021 – regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • Lifesaving Award
  • Energy rate agreements
  • Council actions
  • Council member comments


Present were Jason Stein, council president; Kahlil Seren, council vice president; Craig Cobb; Melody Joy Hart; and Michael N. Ungar. Davida Russell was absent. Also present were Susanna Niermann O’Neil, city manager; Amy Himmelein, clerk of council and finance director; and William Hanna, law director. The meeting was about one hour and ten minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 2:58 PM, 10.20.2021

CH boutique owner praises Russell's support for business

To the Editor:

As owner of Chemistry 11 on Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights, please join me in voting for Davida Russell, sitting CH council member.

Davida has worked collaboratively with others to keep Cleveland Heights moving in the right direction. As a result of her leadership, my business and others now have access to grants and resources to help our businesses thrive. In addition, federal dollars are being directed to the Noble and Taylor areas, to help stabilize these business districts.

Davida has achieved so much for our businesses in her short time; that is why I am voting for her in the upcoming council election.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:54 AM, 10.01.2021

Resident supports BOE incumbents

To the Editor: 

Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Jodi Sourini have my endorsement for the three seats in the CH-UH Board of Education election.

As a team, they have represented our district in the fair-school-funding debate, which will improve funding for our district while reducing our property tax burden.

As a parent who has sent children through CH-UH schools, I trust them to make decisions that are in the best interest of students and taxpayers.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:52 AM, 10.01.2021

Why I'm running for UH mayor

My name is Phil Atkin. I am running for mayor of University Heights.

I have lived here 30 years amidst a sea of beautiful family homes. I am not a politician.

All those years I watched major issues remain unaddressed, only worsen. We have one of the highest property tax rates in the country. We support a failing public school system at a cost that is over twice the state average, and growing.

Miraculously, four years ago the state inaugurated the voucher program for failing school systems. Everything changed. People started moving here to take advantage of the program.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:49 AM, 10.01.2021

Moore will value sustainability on CH City Council

To the Editor:

Cleveland Heights residents are privileged that Josie Moore wants to represent us on city council with her talent for building civilized discussion and her embracing understanding of sustainability.

Moore listens masterfully, creating respectful, inclusive conversation to address diverse needs that leads to encompassing solutions.

Moore will work to ensure principles of sustainability are built into the decision-making process at City Hall. These principles will guide every plan and every action to be greener and more equitable.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:45 AM, 10.01.2021

Sign the petition to put Cedar Lee park on the ballot

I am circulating a petition to put the Lee Meadowbrook park on the ballot.

As most residents know, a big development project is planned for Cedar Lee. Many of us would like to reduce this project by about 25% in order to preserve the vacant lot on Lee Road, between Tullamore and Meadowbrook. We want a park there. Over 900 people signed a petition appealing to the city to preserve this green space. Nonetheless, city council is moving forward quickly and, we believe, without sufficient consideration.

Putting the park initiative on the ballot gives us a voice. Even if you are not sure how you feel about the park, you may feel as I do: The citizens should have a say in this.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:43 AM, 10.01.2021

Don't sit out the school board election

The November election could not be more important for the Heights community. The future direction of municipal government and the school district will be defined by whom we elect.

As a public school advocate, I am focused on the seven candidates who are running for three seats on the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education.

They have vast differences in values, motivation, experience and priorities. There are stark contrasts in their styles, involvement with our schools, and commitment to public education. There are real choices to be made that will affect student experiences and our community’s identity.

Please get informed about this lineup and then vote on Nov. 2. We have a significant opportunity to shape our collective future and reaffirm our commitment to the common good.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:39 AM, 10.01.2021

Clopton-Zymler will move CH-UH school district forward

To the Editor:

I first met Mario Clopton-Zymler through our shared love of performing. His beautiful voice, warm smile, and strong work ethic made him a perfect castmate. His talent is only rivaled by his commitment to making positive change.

He’s done just that as a community organizer, an arts educator in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District and beyond, and as an activist.

His lived experience and professional career give him a unique perspective into how CH-UH can truly support all teachers, families and students. His heart is sincere, and his hands are ready to work.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:32 AM, 10.01.2021

Change is coming to Cleveland Heights City Council

With four newcomers and two incumbents running for four CH City Council seats, and seven more candidates vying to complete the unexpired term of the recently retired Mary Dunbar, a substantial shakeup is in the offing for Cleveland Heights’ city council. Personnel changes, however, are only the beginning. The transition to mayor/council government on Jan. 1, 2022, will subject council to structural and functional changes as well. Some of these are easily foreseen; others will become evident only with time.

The charter amendment passed by voters in 2019 establishes that, with the citizens electing a mayor, council will no longer hire and oversee the city executive. This change creates the opportunity for a true separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches of city government.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:29 AM, 10.01.2021

Why I'm running for school board

I am a graduate of Height High, and two daughters graduated from Heights.

In a recent news article, three career academic math scholars, from NYC, Georgia Tech and Princeton, gave a stern warning about the “deplorable” state of math education in the United States. They said U.S. schools prioritize social justice and diversity over merit, thereby allowing China to successfully advance as the world leader in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This is their opinion; I believe educating our students to compete in the 21st century should be the number one objective of this district. This is the reason I am running for the CH-UH Board of Education (BOE).

I previously wrote about the largess paid to the principals, administrators, treasurer and superintendent, only to witness the board penalize the teachers; not the administrators, treasurer or superintendent.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:27 AM, 10.01.2021

Lynn on why she is a candidate for BOE

I am seeking election for the CH-UH school board because I believe that our public schools and the students are essential for a strong, thriving and successful community.

As seen throughout the country, communities without strong public schools see the population decline, home values decrease, and poverty increase. No one wants to see this happen in CH-UH. I want to be a part of the school board to ensure that the schools are exceptional for children of all backgrounds and abilities. 

It is well known that the CH-UH school district is generously funded and has the highest tax rate in the entire state of Ohio. Many in the community have been asking the school board to [request] a state performance audit by Ohio’s state auditor.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:21 AM, 10.01.2021

CH Eco Fair planned for Oct. 9

The first Cleveland Heights Eco Fair will take place on Oct. 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Coventry PEACE Park, 2843 Washington Blvd.

The fair, hosted by the Cleveland Heights Green Team, in partnership with Heights Libraries Coventry branch, and FutureHeights, will provide residents and businesses with information and resources that promote and encourage greener, healthier choices and behaviors.

Green Team Co-founder Natalie Elwell said of the festival, "We believe that each one of us can make better or different choices that can help support the environment while also increasing personal well-being. Our mission is to work with the community to reduce and better manage our impact on the environment through advocacy, education, and stewardship. We are committed to bringing issues related to a more sustainable future into the spotlight."

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:14 AM, 10.01.2021

Oakwood Club subdivision added to National Register

Julius and Carrie Feiss were the original owners of 1672 Oakwood Road.

Earlier this year, Cleveland Heights gained its 15th district on the National Register of Historic Places, when the Oakwood Club Subdivision Historic District was listed for its historic and architectural significance.

Founded in 1905, on Warrensville Center Road, the Oakwood Country Club served as a social and recreational center for some of Cleveland’s most prominent Jewish families.

After building a beautiful clubhouse and completing the 18-hole golf course, club leadership turned its attention to developing a private street of grand homes for its members, along the red brick Oakwood Drive.

The families hired prominent Cleveland architects to design their homes.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:12 AM, 10.01.2021

A long road

The entrance to Rock Court, off of Hampshire Road, looks exactly the same today as it did when I was a kid.

I used to walk up my street, Belmar Road, to where it ends at Mayfield Road; illegally run across Mayfield; go to the opening in the old stone wall; and walk up a long flight of old stone steps. At the top, a gravel path led between two houses to the top of Hampshire hill, above Coventry Road. Across the street, just south of Cadwell Avenue, was the entrance to the mysterious Rock Court. 

The dark walk up that dirt road, through a tiny forest and past a few spooky houses, led to a big hill that, toward the bottom, passed the back of a Pick-N-Pay supermarket (now Marc’s); a loud, foul-smelling kosher chicken market (wait—I mean fowl-smelling); and a few not-so-scary houses. The road ended at Euclid Heights Boulevard, across the street from the original Coventry Elementary School.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:16 AM, 10.01.2021

Heights Arts' next Haiku Hike is Oct. 30

Cleveland Arts Prize-winner Ray McNiece
shares a poem on a recent Haiku Hike.
[Photo: R. Bernstein]

Enjoying nature in all forms became especially popular during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, with folks getting out for walks, hikes and bike rides, even in the cold of winter.

To celebrate all that nature has to offer, Heights Arts now offers Haiku Hikes, led by Ray McNiece, Cleveland Heights poet laureate and Cleveland Arts Prize winner.

The art of haiku poetry dates back to ancient Japanese culture, where poems were written in three sentences, with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:15 AM, 10.01.2021

Baldwin Wallace students find new venue at Beaumont

Baldwin Wallace musical theater seniors will perform Disney songs at Beaumont on Oct. 4.

For more than a decade, Nighttown in Cleveland Heights was an important resource for Baldwin Wallace University’s (BW) music theater program, giving students the opportunity to perform in a nightclub setting similar to what they would experience as working artists.

When Nighttown closed last year, it looked as though these budding theater professionals might lose the opportunity to hone this aspect of their performance skills; but, luckily, those students have found a new venue at Beaumont School.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:14 AM, 10.01.2021

Scorpacciata takes over diner's ghost kitchen

Scorpacciata, owned and operated by Cleveland Heights native Peter Reuter, is bringing pizza to the north side of the Cedar Lee Business District. Operating as a “ghost kitchen,” in the same former diner where Rising Star Coffee is located, Scorpacciata offers carryout only, and takes orders by phone. Scorpacciata’s pizza is a hybrid of New York and Neapolitan styles. Reuter’s focus is creating innovative menus inspired by local and seasonal harvests. Patrons are welcome to dine on the patio just outside of the building, or take their meal down the street to enjoy at another Cedar Lee business, such as The Wine Spot or CLE Urban Winery.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:10 AM, 10.01.2021

What’s going on at your library?

Coventry Village Branch

1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Thursdays, Oct. 7, 14 and 21, 4 p.m.

Chemistry of Clean. Why do ordinary household products have extraordinary cleaning powers? It's all about the chemistry! Learn how to make safe and environmentally friendly bath bombs and cleaning products with cleaning expert Brandi Smith. Help make the environment safe by using basic home materials and the power of STEAM. For ages 12 to 18; younger children allowed, with supervision.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:08 AM, 10.01.2021

RoxEl PTA celebrates literacy with first read-a-thon

The Roxboro Elementary School (RoxEl) PTA held its first read-a-thon in September. The event followed more than five years of PTA and school partnerships designed to encourage literacy, and expanded on Roxboro's 2021–22 school-year theme: #RoxREADS. 

The 10-day event encouraged students to pledge to read for at least 20 minutes each night—with the schoolwide goal of reaching 46,000 total reading minutes during the event. RoxEl students surpassed that goal, reading a total of 72,035 minutes, or 1,200 hours. The top reader for the school, fifth-grader Oliver Costello, read for 2,160 minutes. Students who read and logged their reading minutes were rewarded with raffle tickets for prize baskets. Prizes were also awarded to the top readers in each grade; to Costello, as top reader for the school; and to seven additional students who each read for more than 1,000 minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:06 AM, 10.01.2021

'Top 10' reasons to support Cuda for CH City Council

10. Tony Cuda led the successful campaign in 2019 to change Cleveland Heights’ charter to an elected mayor form of government.

9. Tony is laser-focused on housing issues and will collaborate with the mayor, his fellow council members, and the community on a strategic plan to protect and expand our housing stock.

8. Tony’s experience teaching and working in government will be invaluable during this critical transition period.

7. Tony and his wife, Sandy, live on Fenley Road in the Oxford/Noble neighborhood. Council would certainly benefit from the perspective of another member who lives north of Mayfield Road (where, currently, only one council member lives).

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:06 AM, 10.01.2021

Silverman cites experience in run for CH council

This November the city of Cleveland Heights will see big changes with the direct election of our mayor. In January, there will be at least three, maybe four, and possibly five new members of city council. I believe it is important for us to have at least one new member with previous elected experience. For this reason, I am running for the two-year unexpired term on council.

I firmly believe that experience matters. We have seen on a national level what happens when we elect those with ZERO experience. In this race, I am the only candidate with local elected experience, having been elected three times to the CH-UH school board (1993, 1997, 2013), as well as being appointed to a seven-year term on the CH-UH library board.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:03 AM, 10.01.2021

Danforth might discard essential housing preservation tools

Cleveland Heights’ first elected mayor will have to rebuild the city’s housing department and programs. The need is especially critical for those neighborhoods that have long suffered blight and disinvestment.

A candidates’ survey by the Greater Cleveland Congregations Cleveland Heights Housing Team ( provides a useful glimpse into the thoughts of Barbara Danforth and Kahlil Seren on housing policy.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:00 AM, 10.01.2021

Resident grateful for public schools and their advocates

Despite Cleveland Heights’ many challenges, I often feel like I live in a utopia, especially when engaging in public-school activities.  

As a parent, I’ve been blessed to work with a vast array of wonderful people to support our schools and uplift all, advancing the common good.  

Those wonderful people include CH-UH Board of Education incumbents Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini and Dan Heintz, and CH City Council candidate Josie Moore.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:59 AM, 10.01.2021

AFL-CIO, Sen. Brown endorse Russell in CH council race

The campaign to re-elect Davida Russell to Cleveland Heights City Council has received an extensive list of endorsements.

Already endorsed by U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, state Rep. Janine Boyd, state Sen. Sandra Williams, Cuyahoga County Council Vice President Cheryl Stevens, the Cleveland Heights Democratic Club, and the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, Russell recently added the North Shore AFL-CIO to that list.

“Organized labor supports me because I’ve been a steward of labor and an advocate of the people my whole life,” Russell said. “Together, we will continue to work on community/neighborhood investments, work closely with our police force to increase safety, support our schools, and improve resources and programs provided to youth and senior populations.”

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:59 AM, 10.01.2021

Three BOE candidates have worked against public schools

All are welcome here. It's our city's slogan, and an ideal I believe in. We are a community whose residents represent a wide array of backgrounds, races, religions, socio-economic classes and lived experiences. We also have residents with varying political views, though it is clear we are predominantly a Democratic, progressive city. 

While all are welcome here, and all are welcome to share their views, argue for or against certain issues, and speak up in public forums, I strongly believe that when people seek to serve in an official capacity, where they are charged with making decisions and setting policy on behalf of other people, they should at least share those people’s values.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:58 AM, 10.01.2021

Our school district needs Sourini, Lewis and Heintz

Boards of education across the country have faced some of the toughest decisions they have ever faced over the last two years. When we think about what board members are needed for the decisions of today, and for the years to come, we believe in Jodi Sourini, Malia Lewis and Dan Heintz to do the work on behalf of our students. We have valued their advocacy to obtain fair funding for our district, which is work that will need to continue beyond this election. 

We have been in the CH-UH school district since our son, currently a junior, entered kindergarten at Boulevard Elementary School. Our daughter, a fourth-grader, is currently at Boulevard, with her four cousins.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:56 AM, 10.01.2021

Sen. Brown, others endorse Snodgrass for CH council

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, who has represented Ohio in the U.S. Senate since 2007, has endorsed Al Snodgrass for Cleveland Heights City Council.

"Al Snodgrass is a leader who will fight for affordable housing, economic development, and to expand vaccination efforts and help Cleveland Heights recover from this pandemic. A long-time community organizer, Al understands that the Dignity of Work is not just a slogan, it's how we govern—that's why I'm proud to endorse Al Snodgrass for Cleveland Heights City Council,” said Brown.

Snodgrass said of his candidacy, “We can’t wait another four years to elect next-generation council members who will work to drive economic growth, invest into our housing stock, and streamline council operations that help us better serve residents.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:56 AM, 10.01.2021

Lynn's divisive behavior makes her an unfit BOE candidate

I read with disbelief and disgust Maureen Lynn’s opinion in the September Heights Observer, "Parents question library's mask requirement." According to reports, she chose to ignore Heights Libraries’ COVID mask rules, and subsequently engaged in a loud and threatening confrontation with librarians so serious that police had to be summoned. Our Heights librarians are among the most laid-back, helpful and nicest people around. Bullying them as a publicity stunt is inexcusable.

Worse, her statement that masks “impede oxygen to the brain” would be laughable if not so deadly serious. Virtually every medical expert agrees that wearing a mask helps prevent the spread of COVID, especially among the most vulnerable—children too young to be vaccinated. Ignoring science and endangering children to make a political point is unconscionable. (Thank you, Sheryl Banks, for your article in the September Heights Observer, "Library's mask policy protects visitors," quoting evidence-based guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.)

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:55 AM, 10.01.2021

Heintz, Lewis and Sourini deserve four more years on school board

In the upcoming CH-UH Board of Education election, I’m voting to re-elect Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Jodi Sourini for many reasons. Here are three:

First, they are committed to running the district in a fiscally sustainable manner while maintaining educational quality. Reasonable public-school advocates recognize that the desire to fund our schools must be balanced against the high tax burden we face in CH-UH. Heintz, Lewis and Sourini each have real-world business experience, know how to balance a budget, and will get us the most educational bang for our property tax buck.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:53 AM, 10.01.2021

Russell gives CH residents a voice

To the Editor:

I urge Cleveland Heights voters to re-elect Davida Russell to city council this November.

Council Member Russell created “You Talk, I Listen” forums, several of which I attended, giving residents a voice. Topics included affordable housing for seniors, racial equality, and safety in our neighborhoods.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 10:53 AM, 10.01.2021