Latest News

CH resident Lessie Brown celebrates 110th birthday

Lessie Brown in her apartment in Cleveland Heights. Photo by James Henke.

Not many people make it to 100 years old, and even fewer make it to 110. Those who do reach 110 are called super-centenarians, and there are fewer than 300 of them in the entire world. In the United States, only about 20 people have reached that age, and one of them lives in Cleveland Heights.

Lessie Brown, who lives in the Concord Apartments near Severance Town Center, celebrated her 110th birthday on Sept. 22. Looking at her, one would never guess that she had reached such a milestone in her life. She looks great and is totally coherent.

Brown was born in Stockbridge, Ga., in 1904. “We lived on a farm,” she said. “I milked the cows, picked cotton and worked in the garden with my mother.” Then, in 1921, her parents moved to Cleveland. “My mom and dad just figured it would be better up here than down there,” she explained.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:49 AM, 10.31.2014

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Friends of Heights Libraries invites scholarship applications

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

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

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:43 AM, 10.31.2014

Heights High's IMD concert season opens Nov. 21

Maya Fields. Photo by Joy Henderson.

Maya Fields will be the featured soloist when Cleveland Heights High School's Instrumental Music Department (IMD) opens its 2014–15 season on Friday, Nov. 21, at 7:30 p.m., in the school's Dina Rees Evans Performing Arts Center, 13263 Cedar Road. Tickets, which will be available the day of the show, are $3 for students and $5 for adults.

The Heights High Concert Orchestra opens the program, followed by Symphonic Winds and Heights High Symphony. In addition, chamber groups will perform from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the school's Social Room, and jazz ensembles will perform at the post-concert reception.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:42 AM, 10.31.2014

Judge Matia's Drug Court offers alternative to prison

David Matia, Drug Court Judge

“What do you want to share?” “How are you handling your stress?” “Good luck in school!” “Do you need help with anything?” “You okay today? You’re looking a little low key.” “Seriously, do you need help with anything?” Perhaps these are not questions expected from a Common Pleas judge. But Cleveland Heights resident David Matia is not an ordinary judge, and Drug Court is not an ordinary court.

Drug Court, where defendants undergo treatment for addiction rather than go to prison, was first established in Cleveland Municipal Court in 1997. In 2008 it was expanded countywide through Common Pleas Court.

Matia became interested in the drug court concept after 10 years on the bench. Experience had shown him that addiction was a disease and that prison did not address the true driver of much criminal behavior: drug dependency. "There is nothing fulfilling about sending people to jail who have drug-dependency issues,” Matia has said. “We can serve society much better through treatment.”

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:28 AM, 10.31.2014

Welcome Home: Heights Authors was a blast

On the beautiful Sunday afternoon of Oct. 5, the Friends of the Heights Libraries, FutureHeights and Reaching Heights gave a wonderful event for newcomers to the Heights. Thanks to the host, Nighttown, and generous sponsors Simply Charming, Motorcars, realtor Susan Delaney of Howard Hanna, DVUV, and Keller National. Appletree Books and Mac's Backs, our local independent booksellers, helped FutureHeights organize this event.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:21 AM, 10.31.2014

Class differences in the Heights

We seem to embrace racial integration, ethnic integration and religious integration with much more effort than class integration. When families move to the Heights who are apparently middle class or above, we welcome them into our circles and invite them to join community groups, serve on committees, enjoy recreational activities and so on. But I haven’t observed the same type of hospitality and warmth offered to people coming from lower-class areas who might be trying to escape the dysfunction of poverty and provide a better environment for their families. There is no welcome wagon or integration process for them.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:20 AM, 10.31.2014

Noble Neighbors are on the move

In January 2014, in response to a random, violent attack on one of our neighbors while she was walking, Noble Neighbors was born. Thanks to Cynthia Griggins, who took the lead, and others, we began meeting in our homes and with local police and city representatives, as a show of support, and because we wanted to do something to reclaim our area as a beautiful, welcoming, inclusive community. We continue to grow in numbers and are partnering with local churches that are providing space for monthly meetings, which have already outgrown our living rooms.

Noble Neighbors is committed to doing our part to make this area an even better place to live, work and raise families. Efforts encompass attracting new homeowners, safety, beautification and community-building events. We realize this can only happen by reaching across our rich cultural boundaries for a common purpose—the revitalization of Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:18 AM, 10.31.2014

The year every child must be proficient has arrived

Susie Kaeser

In 1948 George Orwell wrote 1984, his famous indictment of the totalitarian state that made 1984 a dreaded year for me.

Another dreaded year is 2014. This time the cause of the dread is the U.S. Congress and its 1,000-plus-page No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), which became law in 2002.

NCLB required that, by 2014, every public school student be proficient in math and reading, or else. “The goal set by Congress of 100-percent proficiency by 2014 is an aspiration. It is akin to a declaration of belief. Yes, we do believe that all children can learn and should learn. But as a goal it is utterly out of reach,” observed Diane Ravitch in her 2010 book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System. No one has ever achieved it.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:15 AM, 10.31.2014

Senior Citizen Happenings

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

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:11 AM, 10.31.2014

Women's empowerment workshop to be held at Forest Hill Church Nov. 15

A workshop titled Release Your Inner Superwoman will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Nov. 15 at Forest Hill Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. Facilitated by three area experts, the workshop is designed to help participants optimize health of mind, body and environment, to develop their strengths and achieve their goals. 

The workshop will be led by Cleveland Heights residents Judith Eugene of Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki, and Jeannine Gury of Freshwater Coaching; and Lyndhurst resident Christina Hidek of Streamlined Living. Eugene will discuss achieving strength and balance through simple stress-relief techniques. Gury's presentation will concentrate on internal thought work, unleashing and enabling one's life. Hidek will highlight alignment of one's external environment with the internal self.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:08 AM, 10.31.2014

Cleveland Heights resident to lead AAOA

Dr. Steven Houser, new president of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy. 

Cleveland Heights resident Steven Houser, M.D., became the new president of the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) on Sept. 20.

Otolaryngologists—head and neck surgeons—diagnose and treat disorders of the ear, nose, throat, and related structures of the head and neck.

Director of Rhinology, Sinus and Allergy for The MetroHealth System, Houser will lead a national group of approximately 1,700 ear, nose and throat doctors, with 2,300 members overall.

Houser will be president of the AAOA for one year, during which he’ll help the academy respond to allergy issues, such as insurance coverage and government validation of allergy treatment. He will also provide leadership to the AAOA in its mission of supporting its membership “through education, research and advocacy in the care of allergic patients.”

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:05 AM, 10.31.2014

Gigi's expands and starts new program to benefit nonprofits

Gigi's owners Jim and Gia Patsch in front of the new addition to their restaurant.

Gigi’s on Fairmount, a restaurant located in the Fairmount Taylor Business District in Cleveland Heights, has started a new program to benefit area nonprofit organizations. Called Magnificent Mondays, the program kicked off in July and has raised more than $1,300.

Each month, the restaurant selects a beneficiary for the program. Then, every Monday of that month, Gigi’s donates 10 percent of its gross sales to the organization.

“We’ve been so overwhelmed by the support of the community that we were looking for a way to give back,” said Gia Patsch, who came up with the idea and who owns the restaurant with her husband, Jim.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:49 PM, 10.30.2014

A bit of history, alive and singing

Jackie Washington, aka Jack Landrón, today.

You’ve never heard of one of the most important people in history. Probably. A tiny percentage of the people who read this article will recognize the name Jackie Washington (though some of those might be thinking of one of the two other semi-famous Jackie Washingtons). The Jackie Washington I’m talking about is performing at Nighttown on Nov. 11, which I find amazing, because he's historic, and because it is such a rare appearance.

Here’s why, in a ridiculously simplified overview, I think Jackie Washington is historically significant: The late-'50s and early-to-mid-'60s folk music scene encompassed the Folk Revival and the original singer-songwriter movements. Following the Kingston Trio’s million-selling single “Tom Dooley,” on Capital Records, which took everyone by surprise in 1958, all of the other labels signed a few folk artists, hoping to cash in on what they determined was a folk music fad.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:43 PM, 10.30.2014

2014 Heights Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking stuffers ($10 or less)

Wine Spot Gift Certificates.

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorite stocking stuffer gift suggestions:

Buddy Biscuits, Orijen, Grandma Lucy, Primal, Crumps, and Fruitables: All-natural, healthy treats for dogs and cats ($3.50-$9.95, Animal Zen).

One "Baby & Me" Session. This informal weekly program encourages new parents to get acquainted, share experiences, find support and gain information from one another and staff members ($5.00, Family Connections).

CLE Collective Letterpress Greeting Cards: celebrating the good, the quirky and the authentic in Cleveland ($5.00 each, Heights Arts Holiday Store).

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:38 PM, 10.30.2014

2014 Heights Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts Less Than $50

Wrought Iron Bookends. Ten Thousand Villages.

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorite gifts for $50 or less:

Bird Plate ($12.00, Appletree Books).

Giant Wine Glass. Holds an entire bottle of wine, for when one glass of wine is suggested/recommended ($12.50, Big Fun).

One Yoga Class ($15.00, Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki).

Chevron Mugs ($16.00 each, Revive).

Goldie Blox. Construction toys made especially for young girls—and boys, too.  Voted Best New Toy (Parade Float, $19.95; Spinning Machine, $29.95; Big Fun).

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:35 PM, 10.30.2014

2014 Heights Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts $50 to $150

Children's Package. Simply Charming.

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorite gifts priced from $50 to $150:

Children’s Package: onesie, crown headband, book and socks for babies up to six months old ($50.00, Simply Charming).

Close Encounters Chamber Music Tickets. Hear world-class musicians from the Cleveland Orchestra play chamber music in spectacular Heights homes and other unique venues ($50.00, Heights Arts Holiday Store).

Knit Poncho ($52.00, Blush Boutique).

One Reiki Treatment for You or Your Pet ($60.00, Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki).

Drop-In Play Sessions for parents/caregivers and their young children. Enjoy a family playroom with a wide variety of quality toys and a large "muscle room" for climbing, running and jumping. Each session enhances learning through play and provides opportunities for families to meet and share parenting experiences. (Three-month pass, $70; Annual pass, $140; Family Connections).

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:32 PM, 10.30.2014

2014 Heights Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts more than $150

Baby blanket by Elizabeth Mather. Heights Arts Holiday Store.

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorite gifts priced at more than $150:

Handwoven, 100-percent Cotton Baby Blanket by Elizabeth Mather, dyed with organic indigo in the shibori method ($150.00, Heights Arts Holiday Store). 

Plaid Coat with detachable faux-fur collar ($160.00, Blush Boutique).

Firefly Bracelets, designed in Los Angeles and created by hand in Central America (by fair-trade artisans). Each Swarovski piece is set by-hand (Around $165.00 each, Simply Charming).

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:31 PM, 10.30.2014

2014 Heights Holiday Gift Guide: For the person who has it all

Brent Kee Young glass vessel. Heights Arts Holiday Store.

Find something for everyone on your list at the many independent merchants in the Heights. Most will gift wrap or ship your items, too. Here are some of our favorite items, for the person who has it all:

Swim Upstream Teak Cutting Board ($36, Revive).

Cleveland Heights Gift Baskets. Choose from the Wine Spot/Mister Brisket Basket, which includes two steaks, a great bottle of wine, cheese, and a wine spot corkscrew; Wine Spot/Restless Coffee Basket; Wine Spot/Big Fun Basket; Wine Spot/City Buddha Basket and Wine Spot/Grog Shop Basket. Can be shipped nationwide. (Prices vary, Wine Spot) 

Cast and Hand-forged Steel Bottle Opener. Nothing celebrates Cleveland like opening a bottle of local craft beer with Stephen Yusko’s bottle opener ($72.00, Heights Arts Holiday Store).

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:28 PM, 10.30.2014

Heights Arts Holiday Store offers expanded selection and family workshops

Glass piece by Earl James.

The term “shop local” is nothing new for Cleveland Heights. In 2001, a group of arts lovers converted a vacant Lee Road storefront into a pop-up gallery for the holiday season. Heights-area artists and artisans offered works for sale, and the community enthusiastically gathered to purchase local, handmade art and gifts. Heights Arts has been a presence on Lee Road ever since.

This month, Heights Arts celebrates its 13th Annual Holiday Store with an opening reception on Friday, Nov. 7. More than 80 regional artists are represented in the show, with works ranging from industrial-inspired jewelry and clutches created from repurposed paintings to innovative, contemporary glassware. Participating artists also volunteer to staff the gallery during Holiday Store hours, so shoppers can meet them in person and learn more about their work.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:57 PM, 10.30.2014

Memento Memorials launches heartfelt Hatchfund

"Sand Pail" style infant cremation urn in black walnut with laser engraved details and hand carved footprints in a maple lid. Photo by Memento Memorials.

Chris and Shelley Harvan understand that losing a loved one or a pet is a difficult part of life. Since 2003, their woodworking business in Cleveland Heights, Memento Memorials, has evolved to serve grieving families by creating handmade cremation urns, memorial sculptures and other remembrances.

Working in their home-based studio, the Harvans began by making small keepsake boxes and hand-drawn portraits. When close friends suffered the loss of an unborn child, according to Chris Harvan, "we found ourselves frustrated by the available options for cremation urns, and knew there had to be other people who felt the same way."

The grieving couple had playfully referred to their son as "The Squid" during pregnancy, and the Harvans used that as inspiration to sculpt a cremation urn out of walnut and holly that looks like a friendly, child-like squid.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:47 PM, 10.30.2014

Grog Shop show to benefit School of Rock

A benefit concert featuring all female artists will take place at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights on Monday, Nov. 10. The show is a fundraiser for the School of Rock, the organization that provides guitar, bass, keyboard, drum and vocal lessons to students of all ages and abilities. The concert was put together by Hear in Colors, a local group that was founded by Cleveland Heights resident Elliot Nash and Nathan Chojnacki. Hear in Colors publishes a national and international music blog and also manages concert booking and promotion.

“Having a healthy outlet for today’s youth is of extreme importance,” said Lauren Aseff, a Cleveland Heights resident who is involved with Hear in Colors. “After talking to people who have worked with School of Rock, we wanted to do something for them.”

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:39 PM, 10.30.2014

The Wrights are a family focused on music

Jordan Wright of the Wright-Reynolds Project. Photo by Caleb Wright.

Caleb Wright, who’s 23 years old, grew up in a musical family. Back in 1978, his family formed the Wright Family Singers, a 10-person choir that sings gospel and spiritual music. Then, in 1993, his aunt, Toyia Wright-Reynolds, and his uncle, Eric Wright, formed the Wright-Reynolds Project, a group that plays jazz, and rhythm and blues.

Caleb, who lives on Whitethorn Road in Cleveland Heights, is now a member of both groups, which are still performing around the Cleveland area. He grew up in Cleveland Heights and graduated from Heights High in 2009. He also attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. He is thinking about returning to New York and the academy, possibly next spring. Caleb began singing when he was about 16 years old. “Growing up, there was always somebody playing something or singing something or going to see someone else perform,” he said.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:36 PM, 10.30.2014

Library board member invites applicants to fill vacant seats

Rick Ortmeyer is a current trustee of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library.

Rick Ortmeyer joined the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees in 2012. Ortmeyer is an architect, which doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a library expert, but he has actually been building libraries for more than 20 years.

“It’s been a great privilege to work with libraries and I’ve been able to really learn what libraries do for their communities,” said Ortmeyer. “In order to make a building that is best suited for its purpose, I need to know what happens in that building.”

The board is officially responsible for guiding library functions, and a big part of that is ensuring fiscal responsibility. “We talk a lot about how services are funded, where services are funded, including how long libraries are open, which days they’re open, and where we choose to spend our money in terms of collections,” he added.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:29 PM, 10.30.2014

Heights Coalition for Public Education sponsors community forums

The Heights Coalition for Public Education will sponsor a free community forum on Monday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Social Room at Cleveland Heights High School. The public is invited to join the conversation about current state and federal education policy that emphasizes testing and the privatization of public education.

The forum—titled The Myth of Failing Public Schools—will feature Rob Weil, national director of field programs for the American Federation of Teachers. Weil’s presentation will cover the history of the current test-and-punish culture, and take a closer look at misleading international comparisons based on test scores. Small group conversations will follow his presentation.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:25 PM, 10.30.2014

New grant to support Holocaust education at Heights High

Stephen Hoffman, president of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland (back row, left) with Mark Sack and honorees Leatrice Rabinsky (front, left) and Gita Franke.

The Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Foundation received a $5,000 annual renewable grant for Holocaust education at Cleveland Heights High School from the George F., Stephanie M. and George L. Traub Fund of The Cleveland Jewish Federation.

Stephen Hoffman, president of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, presented the grant to Lessons of the Holocaust teacher Mark Sack at a ceremony on Sept. 29 at the federation.

The funds will be used for field trips and guest speakers, and also to support two local scholarships for Lessons of the Holocaust students. 

The scholarships will honor two women who have been instrumental in Holocaust education at Heights High for many years.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:22 PM, 10.30.2014

Canadian scholar explores 'How the Zohar Came to Be' at Nov. 15 lunch

Renowned Canadian Jewish scholar, Ira Robinson, will address the topic, How the Zohar Came to Be, at a Lunch and Learn event at Beth El – The Heights Synagogue, on Saturday, Nov. 15.

Kabbala (Jewish mysticism) is one of the most significant ways of understanding Judaism that developed in medieval times. It started out as the expression of a closed circle of scholars and transformed itself in the 16th century to become a popular movement. One of the ways this happened is through the emergence of the Zohar as the primary Kabbalistic text.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 4:47 PM, 10.30.2014

Fairmount Presbyterian's Women's Guild celebrates a century of service

Guild women in the early years.

The Women’s Guild of Fairmount Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. For the last century, guild members have been meeting for fellowship, study, charitable giving and service.

To honor this milestone, the guild has invited the Rev. Larissa Kwong Abazia, vice-moderator of the General Assembly—the ruling body of the Presbyterian denomination—to lead the church’s worship services at 8:30 and 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 9. The services will “lift up” the gifts of women to the church.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 4:45 PM, 10.30.2014

How to keep the 'old ticker' ticking

Statistics show that the chance of suffering a heart attack greatly increases over the age of 55, for both men and women. Fortunately, there are some simple things one can do to limit, and even prevent, the chances of having a heart attack.

A heart attack happens when a part of the heart muscle dies or becomes damaged due to reduced or blocked blood supply. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), risk factors for having a heart attack include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, smoking, physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet, and a family history of stroke, obesity or diabetes.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 4:43 PM, 10.30.2014

Lake Erie Ink launches fall workshops

Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication, beginning as an oral tradition and eventually bringing us to a digital age in which stories are consumed through every possible media outlet. After all, who can resist a good story?

Cleveland Heights's Lake Erie Ink (LEI) kicked off its fourth fall session with a creative writing workshop on the power of storytelling, featuring Cleveland resident and author Jack Ricchiuto. This workshop is one of many that will take place throughout the year as part of Lake Erie Ink’s Weekend Ink program.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:48 AM, 10.30.2014

Cumberland gardening team wins two awards

Bridget Katholi, Maeve Ialacci and Kira Cicerchi prepare corn.

On Sept. 22, five members of the Cumberland gardening team, of Cleveland Heights, participated in the Freshtoberfest Youth Garden Cook-Off. Dee Jay Doc Harrill, who runs the Fresh Camp youth garden program in Cleveland (, planned the event, which took place at Dunham Tavern Museum on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.

The Cumberland gardeners, Kira Cicerchi, Maeve Ialacci, Bridget Katholi, Jackson Walker and Ella Watterson, made zucchini-corn fritters with the assistance of Chef Eric Wells. They enjoyed the chance to meet other young gardeners and taste their culinary creations. The Cumberland gardeners were excited to win the judges' prize for "Freshest Taste" and also "The Crowd Favorite" award.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:44 AM, 10.30.2014

Heights historical photo of the month

Photo courtesy City of Cleveland Heights.

Some things never change! Kids having fun on the playground at Canterbury Elementary School in 1933.

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

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:43 AM, 10.30.2014

Cleveland Heights announces Turkey Ridge development project will not proceed

[Editor's note: On Oct. 28, the City of Cleveland Heights announced in the following news release that the development project at Turkey Ridge will not go forward.]

The City of Cleveland Heights announced today that the Visconsi Companies Ltd. project, Ridgeview Homes, intended for Edgehill Road between 2351 and 2375, will not be developed. The project had called for a 10-unit residential development and had received the necessary approvals from the City's Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.

As the project moved through the final phases of design, it was determined that site development costs would significantly exceed original estimates. Combined with the updated cost to build the quality of homes Visconsi Companies sought to provide, the project as proposed became unfeasible. 

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 12:02 PM, 10.29.2014

Katz Diner owner hopes to rebuild

Chef Doug Katz estimates that it may take six months to re-open the Katz Club Diner.

Photo credit: The Form Group

Two weeks after an early-morning arson fire engulfed the bar car of the Katz Club Diner, owner Doug Katz said, “We definitely hope to rebuild,” but estimated it would be six months before his business will be able to move back into the building. “It's unknown as far as what dates or when I can reopen,” said Katz. “It’s just too early.”

On Oct. 7, fire crews responding to a call at the Katz Club Diner found the bar car on fire. Within 20 minutes, fire fighters had extinguished the fire, but the bar car sustained extensive damage. The state fire marshal soon ruled that the fire was deliberately set, and the Cleveland Heights Police Department quickly made an arrest in the case, announcing the next day that James T. Warholak, a Cleveland Heights resident and former diner employee, was in custody and charged with aggravated arson.

Commenting on the arrest, Katz said, “I’m happy that he’s in custody and he’s been indicted and there’s a process to it. It’s my want to sort of stay out of that aspect of it. I don’t want to have my life absorbed by it or taken over by that. I’d rather look at the positive side, where we’re working with the insurance company to rebuild.”

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 11:05 AM, 10.28.2014

All-district production of 'Guys and Dolls' features students of all ages

Wyatt Sudduth, Michael Carder (back row, from left), Johnna Marotta, Miranda Coble and Evan Adeen (front row, from left) play lead roles in Heights High's production of "Guys and Dolls."

More than 550 CH-UH City School District students will play a part in the eighth annual all-district musical, a production of “Guys and Dolls,” Nov. 6–8, 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 9, 4 p.m. Performances will take place in the Heights High Auditorium. Call 216-320-3015 for ticket information or visit the Heights High Web page, Ticket prices are $6 (orchestra and balcony) and $10 (dress circle and mezzanine).

More than 550 students will perform in two casts, and participants include 250 high school singers, dancers, and pit orchestra and stage crew members; 100 middle school singers and dancers; and 215 elementary school chorus members.

Craig McGaughey, the show’s director and Heights High’s vocal music director, selected “Guys and Dolls” for this year’s show because this year’s group of students is strong in both singing and dancing. “This show is a great way to use our amazing lyric sopranos, tenors and baritones,” he said, “and our dance talent is just phenomenal!”

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 11:49 AM, 10.28.2014

Nov. 1 Chili Cook-Off to benefit youth scholarship fund

Cleveland Heights will present its annual Chili Cook-Off, benefiting the Youth Recreation Scholarship Fund, on Saturday, Nov. 1, 6–8 p.m. The event brings together challengers from a variety of Heights eateries to compete for chili superiority.

All proceeds go to the Cleveland Heights Youth Recreation Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to young people participating in city-sponsored sports and recreation programs.

Attendees will sample chili from the competitors and vote for their favorites. For a suggested donation of $10 per person or $30 for a family of four, guests will receive a variety of chilis, sides, desserts and beverages. This year’s event will also include raffle items, a special children’s menu, and access to a children’s playroom and an adult gym.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 11:17 AM, 10.28.2014

Film screening Nov. 2 to help fund Heights High alum's next movie

Brandon Spring

Brandon Spring, a 2008 Cleveland Heights High School graduate, has had a longtime love affair with film. As a finalist, out of 200 Greater Cleveland students, in the 2008 Scenarios USA scriptwriting contest, Spring knew that writing, directing and filmmaking were in his future. Six years later, Spring is literally minutes away from Hollywood and pursuing his dream.

Spring earned an associate degree in business from Cuyahoga Community College, and now attends Biola University in La Mirada, Calif., where he studies and works in cinema and media arts production. As a writer and director, Spring has created several short films over the years, and is currently taking on his biggest film project yet, “Two Pink Lines,” a film that will explore love and romance between a husband and wife living in a futuristic utopian society.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 12:15 PM, 10.28.2014

New windows may not be the best choice

As temperatures plummet and heating bills start to rise, homeowners can be tempted by ads for replacement windows. Whether they promise dramatic reductions in heating costs, or new, low prices on products, window suppliers suggest that replacement windows will significantly reduce a home’s energy usage. That is simply not true.

While there are legitimate reasons to replace individual window units—for example, if a wooden frame is deteriorated beyond repair—investing in all-new windows is not best way to save on energy costs. There are many less expensive measures that will have a much greater impact on one’s monthly heating bill.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:01 AM, 10.27.2014

Heights synagogue hosts free Nov. 1 talk and lunch on challenges of aging

Beth Wachter and Judie Amsel will speak about “The Challenges of Growing Older” at Beth El – The Heights Synagogue, after services on Saturday, Nov. 1. The Lunch and Learn event is open and free to all.

Wachter, who has a bachelor’s degree in gerontology from Miami College and a master’s in social work from Smith College, will address challenges of aging, including the issues of cognitive decline and dementia; safety concerns and the risk of falls; caregiver issues and resources; the importance of social engagement and mental stimulation; the need for physical activity and exercise; and the necessity of good nutrition.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 9:32 AM, 10.27.2014

Second annual music festival keeps Lee Road hopping

Volunteers stand in front of Joey's Pizza, one of the many venues on Lee Road that offered free live music performances at the Heights Music Hop. Photo by Janet Century.

FutureHeights extends its thanks to the many individuals and organizations who contributed time money and energy in support of the second annual Heights Music Hop. More than 1,500 people turned out to the district to enjoy great music, craft beer and local merchants on Oct. 11.

The group is seeking feedback on the event to help in its planning for next year. Take the survey at

For other questions or inquiries, e-mail

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 1:55 PM, 10.21.2014

Heights High celebrates homecoming Oct. 24

Gearity Tiger Cubs take part in the district's 2013 homecoming parade.

Tiger Nation’s 2014 Homecoming is set for Friday, Oct. 24, and festivities include community celebrations, a parade, a football game, and crowning of the homecoming king and queen.

Homecoming activities begin at 4:30 p.m. with a student council-sponsored pre-parade celebration in the Delisle Center parking lot, 14780 Superior Ave. Snacks, beverages and Tiger Nation accessories—think black and gold pom-poms!—will be for sale.

The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Delisle Center parking lot, and then proceed down Washington Boulevard to Cleveland Heights High School, where a family-friendly tailgate will take place. The tailgate will feature an inflatable obstacle course, face painting, and arts and crafts, and the Tiger mascot will be on hand to pose for photos. Concessions will be open and Tiger Nation gear will be available for purchase.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 9:55 AM, 10.21.2014

Mitchell's Fine Chocolates celebrates 75th anniversary

In celebration of its 75th anniversary, Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates in Cleveland Heights has partnered with more than a dozen Greater Cleveland restaurants to give away fine chocolate. Every weekend through Dec. 20, featured restaurants will be giving away limited-edition Mitchell’s chocolates.

Each Friday during the promotion, Bill Wills will announce that weekend’s chocolate giveaway restaurant locations on Newsradio WTAM 1100. The locations will also be announced on Mitchell’s Facebook page. Each restaurant patron will receive a complimentary Mitchell’s chocolate.

“It’s our way of saying ‘Thank You’ to our customers and to Cleveland for 75 years of success in doing what we love,” said Bill Mitchell, owner of Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates. “Over the years, customers kept coming back for my dad’s signature dipping chocolate—a 52 percent cacao signature dark semisweet chocolate. So, we made a special size with special packaging to give away in gratitude.”

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:41 AM, 10.21.2014

Heights announces National Merit Scholarship semifinalists

Cleveland Heights High School seniors Thomas Pharis, Abraham Mendes and Isaiah Pressman (from left).

Cleveland Heights High School seniors Thomas Pharis, Abraham Mendes and Isaiah Pressman are semifinalists in the first round of the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

More than 1.4 million students nationally take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as juniors, and the 50,000 with the highest scores can qualify as semifinalists. The semifinalists are eligible to apply to become finalists, a designation that includes scholarship opportunities.

Mendes is a committed musician and writer. He is sergeant of the Marching Band trombone section, first chair trombone in the Jazz Ensemble, and plays in the Brass Quartet and Symphonic Winds. He also recently helped start a board game club. Mendes plans to attend a liberal arts college to study creative writing, as he is interested in storytelling and hopes to write for TV someday. His top college choices are Bennington College in Vermont, Carlton College in Minnesota and Reed College in Oregon.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:49 AM, 10.21.2014

Dobama presents play about likable hit men

It’s rare to find the terms nice and hit men in the same sentence, but that is how Dobama Theatre describes the central characters in its upcoming production of “The Norwegians.” In fact, Dobama describes them as “really, really” nice hit men!

The play, by C. Denby Swanson, is about two not-so-nice women who hire the Norwegian underworld figures to whack their former boyfriends. The women—Olive, a sweet Texas belle, and Betty, a hard-living broad from Kentucky—are unprepared for the long and cold Minnesota winter. They are also surprised to find themselves falling in love with the two “funny, kind, sweet . . . and homicidal” would-be thugs. This “Fargo-esque” dark comedy would make the Coen brothers smile.

Playwright Swanson is a graduate of Smith College, the National Theatre Institute, and the University of Texas Michener Center for Writers, where she was a fellow in playwriting and screenwriting. Her work has been commissioned by the Guthrie Theater, Macalester College, and The Drilling Company, and featured in the Southern Playwrights Festival and the Women Playwrights Project. She won a 2008 Susan Smith Blackburn Special Prize for her short play “The Potato Feast,” which was also nominated for a 2008 New York Innovative Theater Award. She is a former artistic director of Austin Script Works and on the faculty at Southwestern University.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:55 AM, 10.21.2014

CH-UH CFO named finalist for Crain's 2014 CFO of the Year award

Scott Gainer, CFO for Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools.

Crain’s Cleveland Business recently recognized the outstanding work of Scott Gainer, Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District chief financial officer and treasurer, by naming him a 2014 Finalist for the CFO of the Year award. Crain’s CFO of the Year award is dedicated to recognizing the contributions and accomplishments specific to CFOs in Northeast Ohio. The award is the only one of its type in the region and is recognized as a true distinction for the area's fiscal officers.

“Every day we witness Scott’s experience, vision and leadership.” said Talisa Dixon, superintendent. “The continued validation of Scott’s effort and hard work by outside organizations is immensely rewarding to see. I am incredibly proud to have him as a member of our team. He is a true asset to this community.”

As reported on, Kal Zucker, who is nearing the end of his third term on the district's board of education, said he has worked closely with Gainer “in some capacity for at least 15 years.” During that time, what has stood out most to Zucker is Gainer's calming influence.


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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:15 AM, 10.21.2014

CH-UH principals participate in education policy and leadership program

Andrett Calloway (left), Fairfax Elementary principal, and Erica Wigton, Canterbury Elementary principal.

Andrett Calloway, Fairfax Elementary School principal, and Erica Wigton, Canterbury Elementary School principal, recently enrolled in the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP). This 10-month professional development program is designed to cultivate strategic, visionary leaders who have the capacity to create and implement public policy to improve the educational outcomes of children and young people.

“I am proud to see two of our principals taking the initiative to better their ability to serve our students,” Talisa L. Dixon, superintendent.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 9:59 AM, 10.21.2014

Two Lee Road businesses to close this week

A passerby reads the notice of Sweetie Fry's closing posted on the window. Several customers have shared their thoughts on sticky notes placed on the shop's window. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Two days after the 2014 Heights Music Hop, which brought hundreds of people to Lee Road, two of its well-loved businesses—Cedar Lee Pub and Grill, and Sweetie Fry—announced that they are closing up shop.

At 1:51 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 13, a Cedar Lee Pub and Grill staff member posted on Twitter, “We regret to inform you we are closing permanently. Thank you all for your support. We've had some great memories.” The pub had been a music venue for the hop on Saturday, Oct. 11.

As of Tuesday morning, Oct. 14, nothing had been posted on the business’s Facebook page nor at its physical location at 2191 Lee Road. The owners could not be reached for comment.

Keith Logan, owner of Sweetie Fry, posted a letter announcing the closing of his business at its storefront at 2307 Lee Road, and on its Facebook page, on Monday, Oct. 13.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 2:17 PM, 10.14.2014

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-6-2014

OCTOBER 6, 2014

  • Muscular dystrophy collection
  • Renovation meeting
  • Leaf pickup
  • Hazardous waste
  • Bond issue
  • Library levy
  • First Energy
  • Rezoning application
  • Grant acceptance
  • Insurance
  • Financial assistance
  • Master plan
  • Other cities’ grants
  • Ambulance sale
  • Legislation for administrative expenses
  • Vendor contracts
  • Auxiliary police
  • Minute Men Staffing
  • Direct deposit
  • Tree service
  • Street repaving
  • Tree planting bid
  • Garage lighting

All council members were present.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 3:58 PM, 10.20.2014

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-6-2014

OCTOBER 6, 2014

  • Public comments
  • Law director appointed
  • Lacona Drive
  • CHP honor guard
  • Cedar Lee Candy Crawl
  • Awareness declarations 
  • Garage repairs change order
  • Tree lawn pick up
  • Zoning variances
  • Outstanding Neighbor of the Month
  • LBGT discrimination protection
  • Firefighter equipment

All council members were present.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 5:58 PM, 10.19.2014

CH-UH district partners with refugee agencies to ease transition for students and families

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District is a member of the Refugee Services Collaborative (RSC) of Greater Cleveland. RSC helps families from other countries transition to life in Northeast Ohio. The district will be working with Global Cleveland, one of the collaborative’s partner agencies, to help families who are moving to the Heights.

On Oct. 18, Global Cleveland will open a Welcome Hub at the Noble Neighborhood Library, 2800 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights. The hub will be a place where families can obtain life skills information, to help ease their transition to life here in the Heights.

Kathleen Scully, English Language Learners (ELL) coordinator at Heights High, said that this partnership will help support teachers in the classroom.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:37 AM, 10.14.2014

Early morning fire engulfs Katz Club Diner's bar car

The remains of the Katz Club Diner's bar car, several hours after the fire had been extinguished.

Photo credit: Richard Stewart

Early Tuesday morning, Oct. 7, the Cleveland Heights Fire Department responded to a call at the Katz Club Diner, located at 1975 Lee Road. Fire crews arrived at approximately 4:30 a.m. and found the bar car on fire. Within 20 minutes, fire fighters had extinguished the fire, and there were no reported injuries, but the bar car sustained extensive damage. The vicinity was briefly blocked to traffic.

Owner Doug Katz arrived at the diner, after being alerted by police, to find the bar car engulfed in flames; by daylight it was a burned-out shell.

Commenting several hours later, at 8:30 a.m., Katz said that he felt “pretty shaken up and awful.” He noted, “It’s been a year and a half, and not only is this our busiest catering week of the year, but we were [preparing the] catering here.”

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 2:39 PM, 10.07.2014

Transforming Heights High inside and out

While work is progressing rapidly on plans to renovate Cleveland Heights High School, plenty of attention is also being paid to consistently improving the school’s academic programming. On Tuesday, Oct. 14, 6–8 p.m., the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District will hold a community forum in the Heights High Social Room, to discuss the need for academic program changes.

Currently, the school has three small schools in addition to Career Tech and Early College programs. The district wants to hear from parents, students and staff members about what’s working and what can be enhanced within the high school structure

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 11:21 AM, 10.07.2014

The roles of the County Executive and Council

This year, for only second time in the 200 years of Cuyahoga County, voters will elect a County Executive and half of the members of the County Council.  

Some people know that acting upon the decision of voters, we have changed our form of government to a Charter with a County Council and County Executive, while others might think we still have three County Commissioners.  Even those who are aware of the Charter may ask, “What are the roles of the County Executive and the County Council? What do they do? Why should I care?” 

As someone who has been part of the new Charter government these past four years and someone who is currently running for the position of County Executive, I will try to answer these questions.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 12:49 PM, 10.03.2014

Nominations open for Cleveland Heights Office of Poet Laureate

Cleveland Heights's sixth poet laureate, Kathleen Cerveny.

Heights Arts is accepting nominations for the 2015–17 Office of Poet Laureate. The purpose of the Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate—initially established by Heights Arts with the approval of the City of Cleveland Heights in 2005—is to celebrate and elevate the art form of creative writing for the benefit of the community’s residents.

Artist, poet, grant-maker and Cleveland Arts Prize-recipient Kathleen Cerveny currently serves as Cleveland Heights's sixth poet laureate. The next poet laureate will serve for a two-year period, beginning April 2015, and concluding at the end of March 2017. Poets must be residents of Cleveland Heights through the full two-year term of service if selected for the office.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 11:07 AM, 09.26.2014

Superintendent Dixon holds coffee klatches with local groups

Attendees at the Sept. 19 coffee klatch.

Talisa Dixon, Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District superintendent, welcomed representatives from Link4Schools as well as parent ambassadors for each of the district’s schools at a coffee klatch held on Friday, Sept. 19 at the Board of Education building. 

Link4Schools is a Cleveland-based learning organization formed by a committed group of educators. They partner with schools by engaging the entire school community in meaningful activities to bring about deep learning and positive outcomes for students.

The district’s parent ambassadors are a resource for district parents, providing information and support. They also serve as a link among parents, schools and the district, and represent the parents' perspective.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 11:06 AM, 09.26.2014

Three arrested in connection with weekend shooting at bar

Anthony Hunt

The Cleveland Heights Police Department issued a statement late on Wednesday, Sept. 24, that it had made three arrests in connection with the shooting death of Arrion Smiley. The shooting occurred shortly after 2 a.m. on Sept. 20, outside the Double R Bar & Grill, 1940 S. Taylor Road.

Jamahl Drake and Darius Wills have been charged with aggravated murder; bond for each has been set at $500,000. Anthony Hunt has been charged with complicity to aggravated murder, with bond set at $250,000.

The investigation is ongoing, according to the statement.

Reports indicate a fight had apparently taken place inside the bar shortly before the shooting. Several people were escorted outside, after which bullets were fired into the bar through the front window. Smiley and another woman were struck; the other woman is expected to recover. Neither was believed to have been involved with the initial disturbance.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 11:00 PM, 09.24.2014

St. Paul's former rector ordained as Massachusetts bishop

Alan M. Gates, his wife, and two sons wave to supporters after Gates' ordination and consecration as the 16th bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

Boston University’s Agganis Arena was transformed from sporting arena to sacred space on Saturday, Sept. 13, as the Episcopal Church ordained and consecrated the Rev. Alan M. Gates as the 16th bishop for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. Gates, 56, served as rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights from 2004–14.

More than 3,000 participants and guests from around the country and across the globe—including 28 bishops—attended the event. Among them were 115 supporters from St. Paul's Church.

The Rt. Rev. Mark Hollingsworth Jr., Bishop of the Diocese of Ohio, and formerly a priest of the Diocese of Massachusetts, served as the event’s preacher. Hollingsworth and his family reside in Shaker Heights.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 9:31 AM, 09.23.2014