Latest News

Local programs mark National Preservation Month

May is National Preservation Month, and four Cleveland Heights institutions are joining together to sponsor a series of local history programs that take place in May, and beyond.

The Cleveland Heights Historical Society, Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, Cleveland Restoration Society, and Heights Libraries kick off the first of five programs on April 25, and the series wraps up on June 1. All programs are free, and do not require registration.

Thursday, April 25, 7 p.m., Wood Windows: Repair or Replace?

“Buy 3 new windows get one free!” There are plenty of replacement window models, manufacturers, and deals on the market, but what is the truth about window replacement? If there were an ad about keeping original windows, it might read, “Keep all your windows for free and repair them for 50-percent less than replacement windows!” Margaret Lann, of the Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS), will review window efficiency, available window materials, appropriate architectural style, and provide a cost analysis of repair vs. replacement, with tips on how to tackle window restoration or replacement in an older home. [Noble Neighborhood Library, 2800 Noble Road.]

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:44 AM, 04.23.2019

Latest News Releases

Daffodil Week at Lake View Cemetery
- Lake View Cemetery, April 12, 2019 Read More
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SAVE The Date: April 27, 2019 to Help Change Lives!
- Charity Event, April 1, 2019 Read More
Apollo’s Fire Presents Bach B Minor Mass & Mini-Festival
- Apollo's Fire, March 19, 2019 Read More
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- City of Cleveland Heights, March 14, 2019 Read More

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Carts or bags? CH task force takes on trash

The Refuse and Recycling Task Force has six months to formulate major recommendations for Cleveland Heights, including whether to go to an automated cart system. (Left to right) Kelly Menaker, John Blackwell, Cathi Lehn, Carin Miller, and City Supervisor of Sanitation Tony Torres, who is acting as an advisor.

Blue bags or blue bins? Public or private trash collection? These are just two of the major questions the newly formed Refuse and Recycling Task Force has to answer for Cleveland Heights over the next six months.

At the first task force meeting on April 18, Director of Public Works Colette Clinkscale said the city’s aging system is at a tipping point. “Equipment is at a point where we need to make an investment, and we don’t want to make the wrong investment,” she said. Clinkscale is one of three city staffers who will act as non-voting consultants to the volunteer committee.

The 10-member task force (eight attended the initial meeting) is a diverse group that includes John Blackwell, professor emeritus from Case Western Reserve University with expertise in plastics; Cathi Lehn, coordinator at Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability; Jordan Davis, a music administrator with a commitment to recycling; Hope Wright, who described herself as a regular citizen with a background in communications; and realtor Susan Clement, who expressed concerns about trash issues and their effect on the community's image. 

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:18 AM, 04.23.2019

Project is underway to improve safety at busy CH intersection

The current intersection at Edgehill and Overlook roads.

Cyclists, pedestrians and motorists traveling between Cleveland Heights and University Circle will no longer need to navigate the daunting sea of asphalt and confusing traffic movements at the intersection of Edgehill and Overlook roads.

Construction is now underway to transform the excessively wide intersection into one that is safer for all travelers.

"The official completion date of the project is July 1," said project manager Joe Kickel. Access to properties will be maintained, with minimum impact to pedestrian and vehicular traffic anticipated.  

According to Cleveland Heights Planning Director Richard Wong, by removing excess pavement the project will shorten crosswalks, add landscaping, create two bioretention areas (rain gardens that hold stormwater), and tighten turning radii to improve traffic safety.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:17 AM, 04.16.2019

Every day is Earth Day at Fairmount Cleaners

Steve and Adam Grace at Fairmount Cleaners.

Earth Day is April 22. For the owners of Fairmount Cleaners, every day is Earth Day.

Steve Grace runs Fairmount Cleaners with his son Adam. They know that dry cleaning has a reputation for being damaging to the environment. That’s why they take steps to make their business as environmentally friendly as possible.

“Customers in the Heights have always been eco-sensitive,” Steve said. “We’re on the same page as our customers, and we are always making environmental improvements.”

Fairmount Cleaners’ solvent of choice, SOLVONK4, is now bio-based, and has been awarded the USDA BioPreferred product label. SOLVONK4 is the first and only bio-based solvent in the dry-cleaning industry.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:33 PM, 04.15.2019

Heights HVAC company picks recipient in annual furnace giveaway

Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc., the Cleveland Heights-based heating and cooling company, selected Heather Kwedder of Willoughby as the winner in its third annual Helping Hann Furnace Giveaway. The company provided her with a free furnace and installation, including labor and materials.

Kwedder’s 23-year-old son, Rick, is chronically ill and has been hospitalized on and off throughout his life. While her husband, John, is Rick’s full-time caregiver, Kwedder has had to take leaves of absence from her nursing job when lengthy hospitals stays require more attention than one person can provide.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 04.10.2019

Cleveland Heights announces new council member

To the editor:

Last week, I was very pleased, on behalf of City Council, to announce the selection of Cleveland Heights resident Craig Cobb to fill the unexpired term of former Councilperson Cheryl Stephens.

It was a truly rewarding process with over 30 residents applying for the position, and each one bringing a variety of experiences and interests to the table. We are thrilled to welcome Craig to the Council and believe he will be a great asset to us and to the city. Craig’s knowledge and experience with city government will be immediately capitalized on as we go forward with a number of important issues.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:27 PM, 04.09.2019

Annual alumni pancake breakfast is April 7

Patrons at a past pancake breakfast.

On Sunday, April 7, the community is invited to partake of an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, benefiting opportunity grants for every school in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

The Heights Schools Foundation (HSF) will host its annual pancake breakfast at Heights High, from 9 a.m. until noon. The menu will include gluten-free options and a fresh-fruit-toppings bar.

HSF will offer maps for self-guided tours of the school, and there will be a Heights Tiger gear pop-up shop. There will also be an auction, with options at every price level and for every interest, including Heinen’s and Zagara’s gift certificates, and a tour and tasting for 10 people at Mitchell’s Ice Cream’s Ohio City facility.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:01 AM, 04.03.2019

Lusty Wrench closes after 40 years

Sam Bell, owner of The Lusty Wrench, holding his 2015 Best of the Heights award for Best Customer Service. 

Cleveland Heights has many intelligent, knowledgeable, skilled, dedicated and civic-minded entrepreneurs. Sam Bell, who has been one such local treasure for nearly 40 years, made the decision to close his business, The Lusty Wrench, as of mid-March.

Bell started The Lusty Wrench in 1979, after having taken his own car to be serviced before a road trip. Despite the “trip check”, the car broke down en route. The frustration of having just paid a professional to attend to the car to prevent such misery and inconvenience spurred Bell to wonder, “Is it feasible to run an auto repair shop based on competence, honesty and integrity?” He opened The Lusty Wrench the next week.

Bell said of his business, “Our goal has always been to provide excellent mechanical repair and maintenance services to all our automotive customers. We’re in the service business, so our job is to say, ‘Yes.’”

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 2:18 PM, 04.01.2019

Beaumont students need athletic fields

It was with great interest that I read Colin Compton’s opinion, “In opposition to Beaumont’s plans to demolish the Painter Mansion." As the president of Beaumont School, I’d like to add additional perspective on this issue.

The Painter family sold the building in 1942 to the Ursuline Sisters, who found the house in severely deteriorated condition when they assumed ownership. Most of the interior had been stripped bare, including wood paneling, the electrical system and even the doorknobs. While the Ursulines invested heavily to try and restore the property, it was a structure that required significant expenditures simply to maintain in habitable condition as a convent. Even before Beaumont assumed ownership in 2009, outside experts provided the opinion that the cost to renovate the building and convert it back to an academic use would be cost-prohibitive.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 2:08 PM, 04.01.2019

Paws CLE and Lox, Stock and Brisket are 2019 'best new businesses'

Anthony Zappola (right), owner of Lox, Stock and Brisket, 2019 Best New Restaurant or Bar winner, with employee E.J. Keating.

In the 2019 Best of the Heights Awards contest, readers of the Heights Observer honored outstanding businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights by voting, Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, for their favorites in 12 categories. Lox, Stock and Brisket, a contemporary Jewish deli in University Heights, is the winner in the Best New Restaurant or Bar category, and PawsCLE, a doggy daycare and boarding facility in Cleveland Heights, is the winner in the Best New Business (other) category.

Lox, Stock and Brisket, 13892 Cedar Road, is owned by Chef Anthony Zappola, a Cleveland native who returned to his hometown after starting a successful Asian fusion restaurant in Las Vegas. Zappola, who is of Italian heritage, is tickled that the restaurant has become so popular after only 10 months in business. “I didn’t expect it,” he said. “I thought perhaps we would attract the hipsters, but I’m thrilled that the locals like us so much.” The restaurant, which is closed Mondays, is open for breakfast and lunch, serving Jewish deli favorites with a contemporary twist.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:15 PM, 04.01.2019

Heights residents aid asylum seekers at ICE facility in Ga.

Mumps is among the documentatary drawings Kelsey completed while Cagan (depicted front right) translated for detainees as they met with their pro bono attorneys. 

“I never thought that I would do this type of work,” said Mary Kelsey, who recently returned from a week of volunteer service at ICE’s Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga. Steve Cagan, a fellow Cleveland Heights resident and volunteer, commented, “The most important praise I ever get is when people say, ‘What you’re doing is so important to us.’”

On a trip to the center in February, Kelsey sketched consultations between volunteer attorneys and their refugee clients, while Cagan interpreted for Spanish-speaking ICE detainees and their volunteer attorneys.

Through Cagan’s journal entries, shared with friends, and through Kelsey’s drawings, these Cleveland Heights residents are shining a light on the reality of immigration detention.

“They’re not criminals,” said Kelsey, “and they’re being treated like it. Most came in at a legal port of entry and requested asylum.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:31 AM, 04.02.2019

Cleveland Heights- University Heights Board of Education regular meeting highlights 3-19-2019

MARCH 19, 2019


  • Awards and recognitions
  • Middle school renovations
  • Board president’s report
  • Time to Teach, Time to Learn board resolution
  • Heights High swimming pool


President Jodi Sourini, Vice President James Posch, Dan Heintz, and Malia Lewis were present. Beverly Wright was absent. Interim Superintendent Dr. Brian A. Williams and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. The meeting began at 7:03 p.m. and adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:38 AM, 04.15.2019

In opposition to Beaumont's plans to demolish the Painter Mansion

The demolition of the Painter Mansion, on the grounds of Beaumont school, will go before the CH Planning Commission on April 10.

Stewardship is defined in many ways. Environmentalists may classify it as actions taken to protect natural resources. In financial terms, it could mean prudent supervision. A religious person (a nun, for example) may interpret it as responsibility to care for the world in order to leave it better off than how one found it. In a broad sense, Merriam-Webster defines stewardship as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”

Careful and responsible.

To these definitions, I’d add that stewardship is equally applicable to the ownership of historic buildings. The owner is a caretaker, not a sole beneficiary. This is why I oppose Beaumont School’s proposed demolition of the Painter Mansion.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:04 AM, 03.26.2019

What I got from her

The author's parents, Joe and Greta Budin, shortly after getting married in Los Angeles during WWII, when they were 21 and 19, six years after writing a song together.

I have written a lot about my mother in this column, because she grew up in Cleveland Heights. I’ve told about the time, when she was a teenager, living with her mother and baby brother during the Great Depression in an apartment two stories above Uberstine Drugs on Coventry Road (now the site of Hunan Coventry), when the building caught on fire and their only remaining pre-Depression valuables—a Steinway grand piano and her late father’s Stradivarius violin—burned up, and my mother ran back into the burning building to retrieve the box with all of their money in it.

My mother and father both attended Roosevelt Junior High and Heights High. But they actually met at Euclid Avenue Temple. They were both members of the temple’s junior choir. My father wrote some music that he thought the choir might sing. The director asked if someone in the group could write lyrics for it and my mother volunteered, because, she told me a few years ago, she thought my father was cute. Interesting that two of their sons—me and my brother Noah—became professional singer-songwriters.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:03 PM, 04.01.2019

New University Heights law raises tobacco-purchasing age to 21

University Heights City Councilwoman Michele Weiss introduced the city's anti-tobacco legislation.

On March 19, University Heights City Council unanimously passed legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21 years old.

In doing so, University Heights became the 21st local government in Ohio to pass such legislation. Later that same evening, Lakewood became the 22nd.

Councilwoman Michele Weiss introduced the legislation in response to the increase in vaping. “The vaping epidemic has moved our country back decades in the fight against nicotine addiction,” she said. “I feel this ordinance is a prime example of why I ran for office—to make meaningful impact in the community for the betterment of our residents.”

Prior to the vote, council heard from Rick Novickis, director of Environmental Public Health Services at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and Wendy Hyde, the Tobacco 21 director for Ohio and Michigan.

“Since more than 95 percent of addicted smokers start before the age of 21,” Novickis said, “implementing legislation like this will help minimize the number of kids who will actually start smoking.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:40 PM, 04.01.2019

Making democracy work

A couple of years ago, a group of Cleveland Heights residents began agitating for a change in the city’s form of government. Specifically, they wanted to switch from a largely ceremonial mayor chosen by city council to a full-time chief executive elected by citizens. This change would require an amendment to the city charter and approval by the voters. News of these stirrings prompted CH City Council to appoint a Charter Review Commission (CRC) for the first time since the 1980s.

The CRC recently completed its work and presented to council a First Amended Charter. Council members will now determine which elements of the proposed amended charter to accept, modify, or reject. Unless council rejects the CRC’s work in its entirety, the adoption of the First Amended Charter will be on the November 2019 ballot for the people to vote up or down.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:07 AM, 04.02.2019

Heights native reports from front lines of social movements

Multimedia journalist Michael Nigro at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in 2016, documenting protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“I want to get the stories out there,” said Cleveland Heights native and multimedia journalist Michael Nigro, over a cup of coffee at Phoenix on Coventry.

From Occupy Wall Street, Standing Rock, Charlottesville, the Poor People’s Campaign, and refugee camps at the U.S.-Mexico border, Nigro has dedicated his career to embedding himself with social movements so that he can share their stories through his photography and reporting.

In 2016, Nigro spent a total of one month (two junkets) embedded with protesters resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. “I learned so much—how to treat people, the role of a journalist, how social movements work—and how they can collapse,” reflected Nigro.

On Aug. 12, 2017, while covering the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Nigro captured the moment a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring 35 and killing one. The car clipped Nigro, smashing his other camera as it drove past him. (A photo essay from that afternoon can be viewed on Truthdig's website,

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:22 PM, 04.01.2019

CHHS soloist to perform Barber concerto in season finale concert

Heights High senior Maria Tarnay will perform at the school's IMD Season Finale Concert on April 26.

Graduating senior Maria Tarnay will perform with the Heights High Symphony, under the direction of Daniel Heim, in the CHHS Instrumental Music Department's (IMD) Season Finale Concert, on Friday, April 26, at 7:30 p.m. Tarnay will perform the first two movements of Samuel Barber's Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, opus 14 (Allegro and Andante).

Tarnay began studying music when she was 3 years old, her interest sparked by the talents of her older brothers, who played clarinet and trumpet. Tarnay began taking private violin lessons at an early age, studying with Hannah Fry for about a year before switching to Emily Cornelius, with whom she has studied ever since.

Tarnay has performed on the violin with the Heights High Symphony for four years, achieving Principal Second in her freshman year and serving as Concertmaster her junior and senior years.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:30 PM, 04.01.2019

Concert celebrates the common good

More than 550 students in grades 3-12 performed onstage at Severance Hall for Reaching Musical Heights on March 5. Pictured here are the Heights High Orchestra and Choirs performing the concert finale, "Anvil Chorus" from Il Trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi, conducted by Daniel Heim, Instrumental Music Director for the CH-UH City School District.

Every four years, Reaching Heights, a community-based organization that supports our public schools, mounts an all-district musical extravaganza, Reaching Musical Heights, at Severance Hall. The concert features vocal and instrumental performances by children from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights elementary and middle schools, and Heights High. On March 5, nearly 600 young musicians graced the stage of the elegant hall and ignited joy, pride and hope.

Severance Hall communicates dignity, excellence, tradition and reverence for music. Reaching Musical Heights properly positions our community’s children within that milieu.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:18 AM, 04.02.2019

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-18-2019

MARCH 18, 2019


  • Public comments
  • Mayor’s comments
  • Tobacco sales to minors
  • 2019 Budget
  • UH City Beautiful Corporation
  • Grants received
  • City-issued credit cards
  • Cuyahoga County Employment Collaborative


Present were Mayor Michael D. Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Pamela Cameron, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Phil Ertel was excused. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director James Goffe, and Clerk of Courts Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:25 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:27 AM, 04.15.2019

Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 3-18-2019

MARCH 18, 2019


  • Purchase of computers
  • Financial report
  • Suicide prevention training
  • CIFF partnership
  • Lee Road space utilization study
  • Mobile pantry at Coventry
  • Report on elimination of overdue fines
  • UH Branch Library Sunday events
  • Youth services


Present were President Chris Mentrek, Vice President James Roosa, Secretary Dana Fluellen, Max Gerboc, Annette Iwamoto, Suzanne Moskowitz, and Vikas Turakhia.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:32 AM, 04.15.2019

Ensemble to celebrate 40 years with April 13 gala benefit

Lucia Colombi as Josie Hogan and Robert Hawkes as James Tyrone Jr. (at left) in Ensemble's 1986 production of "A Moon for the Misbegotten." Lara Mielcarek as Josie Hogan and Mitch Rose as James Tyrone Jr. (at right) in Ensemble's 2019 production of the same play. Hawkes returned as Phil Hogan for the recent production.

On Saturday, April 13, Ensemble Theatre in Cleveland Heights will host a benefit gala to celebrate 40 years of providing Northeast Ohio with professional theater.

The gala fundraiser will include live music, select preview performances from the upcoming season, silent auction items, and food from local sponsors, including The Fairmont, Nighttown, Luna Bakery and Café, The Stone Oven, and Poison Berry Bakery.

Founded in 1979 by Lucia Colombi, Ensemble Theatre was started in the spirit of producing American classic plays, including those of Eugene O’Neill, of whom Colombi was particularly fond. Among its many award-winning productions over the years was the “Panorama of African-American Theatre” series, which was filmed by PBS, syndicated nationally and chosen for the network’s “First View Award” as one of the top 25 educational programs in the country.

Celeste Cosentino, Colombi’s daughter, took over as executive artistic director after Lucia’s passing in 2009. The theater has been a huge part of her life for the past 40 years. “I was born in October of ’78 and Ensemble was created in the summer of ’79, so we are both 40 this year,” Cosentino said.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:50 PM, 04.01.2019

A view from the bench: CH court cut budget and added cases in 2018

In 2018, the Cleveland Heights Municipal Court cost taxpayers almost $70,000 less than in 2017, while hearing about 1,500 more cases, according to our just-released annual report. The court managed the savings while improving its Web access and providing more services for defendants, thanks to good planning and management by our capable and dedicated staff.

Part-time magistrates replaced a full-time magistrate. Other cost savings in 2018 included reducing the number of vehicles from two to one, and spending less on books, because the same information was already available on existing electronic research services.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:37 PM, 04.01.2019

EdChoice vouchers more available as public school test performance dips

Alyson Miles from School Choice Ohio spoke at the Feb. 26 meeting.

About 60 residents met at the Lee Road Library on Feb. 26 to learn about the EdChoice Scholarships that are becoming more available for students in Cleveland Heights, as state test results for Heights High have fallen to the “underperforming” category.

At the request of residents, Americans for Prosperity Foundation invited Alyson Miles, board chair of School Choice Ohio, to explain eligibility and the application process. School Choice Ohio ( is an independent not-for-profit that offers to assist parents in navigating the program. The Ohio Department of Education provides information about the program on its website:

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 9:55 AM, 04.02.2019

CH-UH district loses 34 percent of state money to vouchers in 2019

About 45 people gathered at Lee Road Library on March 14 for a LWV forum on the local effects of the state's school voucher program.  (From left, at the front of the room) Moderator Jayne Geneva (at podium), Susie Kaeser of the LWV Education Lobby Corps, CH-UH BOE V.P. James Posch, Ohio State Board of Education member Meryl Johnson and CH-UH CFO/Treasurer Scott Gainer. (Photo Fred D'Ambrosi)

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District estimates that, by 2025, it will be losing about $13.5 million a year in state money to school vouchers. This year, vouchers received more than $7.3 million in state funding, 34 percent of the district's allocation.

Speakers at the March 14 League of Women Voters (LWV) forum on the local effects of Ohio’s school voucher programs had a consistent message: vouchers are draining state money from public schools based on an unfair testing system and laws increasing voucher eligibility.

Most of the audience of about 45 people at the Lee Road Library listened politely and applauded at times. All questions were submitted in writing. There were no pro-voucher panelists.

Panelist Susie Kaeser, who researched the issue as a LWV Education Lobby Corps member and co-convener of the Heights Coalition on Public Education, explained the four voucher programs under state law.

Vouchers allow public funds to be transferred to existing private and parochial schools. Vouchers cannot be used to attend charter schools because charters are free to students. However, the state deducts money from a district’s allocation for each student attending a charter school.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 9:38 AM, 03.26.2019

University Heights Symphonic Band in concert April 14

The UH Symphonic Band

On Sunday, April 14, at 3 p.m., the University Heights Symphonic Band will perform a concert in the Dolan Science Center Atrium at John Carroll University (1 John Carroll Blvd., University Heights).

The event is open to the public, with a $5 suggested donation at the door, and ample free parking is available next to the venue.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:54 PM, 04.01.2019

District's specialty staff provide important services to students

Most members of the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union—around 76 percent—are classroom teachers. Another 8 percent are guidance counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and social workers. Close to 6 percent of our membership comprises ancillary positions—those who work in our media centers, alternative learning environments (formerly known as in-school suspension), and security monitors. 

The remaining 10 percent is specialty staff. Nine of these staffers work as speech and language pathologists (SLP), occupational therapists (OT), and physical therapists (PT). I had several opportunities to meet with these extraordinary people  and learned much about the important work they do with our students.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:05 AM, 04.02.2019

CH City Council narrows candidates for open seat to four

On March 14, the city of Cleveland Heights sent out a news release stating: Cleveland Heights City Council has been reviewing candidates to fill the currently vacant seat on the Council. The seat vacated late last year has meant that Council is currently operating with six rather than the full seven members.

"With an engaged community such as Cleveland Heights, it is no surprise we had 35 applicants for this important position," said Mayor Carol Roe. "We reviewed each candidate's application and video interview and brought in four exceptional candidates."

The candidates selected are Cleveland Heights residents Craig Cobb, Tamika Martin, Melody Joy Hart and Davida Russell.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:22 AM, 04.02.2019

Forest Hill aims to give new residents a warm welcome

A modern version of a “welcome wagon” is being put in place to greet new residents of the Forest Hill neighborhood.

Marlene Perez, the new vice president of Forest Hill Home Owners (FHHO), is developing a new welcoming package of information, including a map of the area, homemade cookies and jellies, and courtesies from local businesses and organizations.

A welcoming team plans to visit new residents three times, to ensure that they are comfortable in their new neighborhood and have found any resources they may need.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:26 AM, 04.02.2019

LEI invites kids to celebrate poetry month

April is National Poetry Month, and Lake Erie Ink is celebrating with a Pocket Poems workshop on Saturday, April 27, 10:30–12:30 a.m., at Mac’s Backs Books on Coventry.

Kids of all ages are invited to attend, and create and share their own pocket poems.

Parents are invited as well, and only need to pay a fee for participating children. Admission is $10 at the door. Reservations also can be made in advance online, at, where sibling discounts and scholarships are available for those eligible.


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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:01 PM, 04.01.2019

Baseball boosters seek vendors for art and small-business fair

The Cleveland Heights High School Baseball Boosters will host the Home Run Market, a pop-up art and small-business fair on Saturday, May 11, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The fair will take place in the natural-light-filled cafeteria of the beautifully renovated Heights High building, and will feature sales of fine art, photography, jewelry, clothing, baked goods, cosmetics, and other specialty items. Held the day before Mother’s Day, it’s a perfect opportunity to buy gifts for that special someone.

Artists and small-business owners are welcome to sign up as vendors.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:34 AM, 04.02.2019

Un-romantic comedy 'This' opens April 26 at Dobama

Dobama Theatre will wrap up its 2018–19 mainstage season with the regional premiere of “This” by Melissa James Gibson, running April 26 through May 26.

Directed by Nathan Motta, Dobama’s artistic director, “This” is a smart, witty, un-romantic comedy that captures the uncertain steps of a circle of friends who are backing their way into middle age. Jane is a promising poet without a muse and a single mother without lessons to pass along. With her dating life in shambles, she goes to a friend’s dinner party where she’s set up with a handsome French doctor. But after the meal and a few glasses of wine, a party game goes wrong and everything in her life becomes more complicated.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:59 PM, 04.01.2019

April at Heights Arts features third iteration of Emergent

Work by Davon Brantley

Opening Friday, April 26, at Heights Arts gallery, 2175 Lee Road, is the third iteration of the well-received exhibition Emergent, which shines a light on artists who have recently graduated from area colleges and universities.

First presented in 2015, Emergent celebrates the strength of the Northeast Ohio region as a training ground for the great artists of tomorrow. Numerous artists who appeared in previous Emergent exhibitions at Heights Arts are now well into established careers as working artists in the Cleveland area and elsewhere, including Jerry Birchfield, Abbey Blake, Robert Coby, Amber Ford, Matthew Gallagher, David Masters, Nathan Prebonic, and Rachel Shelton.

For Emergent 2019, the Heights Arts exhibition community team selected 11 artists who create in a variety of media, from institutions that include the Cleveland Institute of Art, Kent State University, the University of Akron, and Oberlin College. The artists are Emily Brannan, Davon Brantly, Kimberly Chapman, Kylie Demkowicz, Sydney Givens, Alyson Hollobaugh, Danielle Muzina, Alex Overbeck, Noelle Richard, Jeni Stovicek, and Yskandar.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:56 PM, 04.01.2019

Library hosts districtwide student art show

From the 2018 show, work by sixth- , seventh- , and eighth-grade students.

For the fourth consecutive year, Heights Libraries is partnering with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District’s Visual Arts Department to host the Creative Heights District-Wide Art Show at the library’s Lee Road branch. The show will run April 15 to May 15, with an opening reception and awards ceremony on Monday, April 29, 6–8 p.m.

The exhibition will feature hundreds of pieces of art created by students in kindergarten through grade 12, working in diverse media, including pencil and chalk drawings, photography, sculpture, pottery, painting, papier-mâché, printmaking, and metals (jewelry).

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:52 PM, 04.01.2019

What’s going on at your library?

Coventry Village Library

1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Wednesday, April 3, 7 p.m.

Cedar-Coventry Author Series: Wild Ohio. Deborah Fleming's new book, The Resurrection of the Wild: Meditations on Ohio's Natural Landscape, explores Ohio's unique and beautiful environment. Fleming has lived in rural Ohio and cared for its land for decades. She blends her own experience with scientific and literary research.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:40 PM, 04.01.2019

Library grant will fund staff and community mental health training

This spring, Heights Libraries will offer two new behavioral health programs at its Lee Road branch: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and Gatekeeper QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training for suicide prevention. Thanks to a $6,500 grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, awarded by the State Library of Ohio in January, these programs will be open to the public, free of charge.

“We are excited to be able to open training sessions to the public and long-standing community partners, such as city departments and public schools,” said Maggie Kinney, special projects librarian at Heights Libraries. “With this ‘it takes a village’ approach, the library will be able to support community members with mental health issues outside of our four walls and positively impact the community as a whole.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:38 PM, 04.01.2019

Heights Co-op Preschool hosts April 24 open house

Experimenting with color and density.

Heights Cooperative Preschool, currently enrolling students for the 2019–20 school year, will host a two-part open house on April 24, 9:30–10:30 a.m. and 6–7 p.m.

In the morning, room parents will lead tours, and in the evening, teachers will answer questions and show visitors around the school.

Because of family involvement, Heights Co-op is able to charge lower tuition than many other schools. Children participate in play-based learning that includes activities such as weekly yoga, daily reading, and enrichment classes. The school offers parents the opportunity to be invested and involved in their young child's education.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:37 PM, 04.01.2019

Meet Heights High AFS foreign exchange students

Heights High's AFS students and advisors, are (front row, from left) Judith Omendo, from Kenya; Adja Gueye, from Senegal; Fatoumata Toure, from Mali; Thomas Wurth, from Chile; Septeswa Jati, from Indonesia; (back row, from left) AFS Club advisors Becky McDonald and Melha Habajed-Woods; Joycelyn Ajike, from Ghana; Neomi Guadagni, from Italy; Mia von Knobelsdorff, from Germany; and Able Henry, from France. (Not pictured is Pannathorn Tanboonyue, from Thailand.)

For more than 60 years, Cleveland Heights High School and Heights families have hosted AFS foreign exchange students. Each year, the students come from Africa, Asia, Europe and South America, and they bring with them a global perspective that they share with their host families and classmates, as well as the community.

Each month, two to three AFS students from the Cleveland East area, which includes Heights High, make presentations at Church of the Saviour (2537 Lee Road). Interested community members are invited to learn about AFS, and meet the students, their host families, and AFS volunteers.

Upcoming monthly presentations are scheduled for April 2 and May 7, 7–8:30 p.m.

Families who may be interested in hosting a student for the 2019–20 school year, or applying to send a student abroad for a summer, semester, or school year, can contact Carla Bailey at, or visit

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:36 PM, 04.01.2019

MetroHealth to open clinic at Heights High

MetroHealth and CH-UH officials celebrate a partnership that puts a clinic in Heights High two days per month.

L-R: MetroHealth School Health Program Director Katie Davis, School Health Medical Director Vanessa Maier, Superintendent Talisa Dixon, Supervisor of School and Community Partnerships Nancy Peppler, BOE Member Beverly Wright, BOE President Jodi Sourini, BOE Member Dan Heintz, BOE Member Malia Lewis, BOE Vice President Jim Posch.

Cleveland Heights High School students will have access to primary health care in school beginning this fall at a clinic staffed by MetroHealth professionals two days per month. The pilot program was designed to help eliminate barriers to health care.

With parent/guardian consent, students can receive routine checkups, immunizations, sports physicals and screenings. The clinic will provide referrals for additional services including behavioral health. The pilot also includes an assessment of students' medical, mental health, wellness, and health literacy needs. The data will help researchers find ways to make it easier for students to access resources at community health centers and improve health care programs.

[Elementary schools in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District have an in-school health care program unrelated to the MetroHealth pilot. For the past two years, a Cleveland Clinic Mobile Health Unit has been visiting the same two schools every week.  As Krissy Dietrich Gallagher reported in a Heights Observer article last month (“CH-UH student receive healthcare at school”), the mobile unit will add two more schools to its route each week beginning this spring. Any CH-UH parents can bring their student to the mobile unit for care.]

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:32 PM, 04.01.2019

Caring for the earth at Noble Road Presbyterian

One congregation in Cleveland Heights has taken on the mission of caring for the earth. The members and friends of Noble Road Presbyterian Church, on the corner of Noble and Kirkwood roads, have studied and implemented small but important steps. The church’s earth care committee meets regularly, and environmental issues are a major topic of discussion among members of the congregation.

One way the church addresses environmental issues is by providing people in the community with nine plots in which to grow vegetables. Each spring, members of the church ready the beds for planting by, among other things, deploying cardboard and wood chips to provide resistance to weeds. One plot is reserved for growing vegetables for the Heights Hunger Center, and another serves as a composting spot. To assist with providing water for the garden plots, rain barrels have been installed, and, in the back of the property, a rain garden has been planted to control runoff and flooding. The water-loving plants in the rain garden absorb more water than most other plants.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:23 PM, 04.01.2019

HRRC's 19th annual home remodeling fair is April 27

On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., the Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) will hold its 19th annual home remodeling fair at Cleveland Heights City Hall, 40 Severance Circle. The free event will provide homeowners and others with an opportunity to get questions about remodeling, repairs, financing and other home-related topics answered by professionals.

This year’s fair, with the theme “turning a century,” will emphasize problems homeowners of older homes typically confront, but all homeowners, regardless of the ages of their homes, will benefit from learning about the options available to them as the home-improvement season kicks into gear. Topics that will be covered include masonry, lawn and garden care, roofing, plumbing, heating and cooling, concrete, painting, restoration, and window installation. At 11:30 a.m., there will be a special presentation on installing air conditioning in an older home.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 04.01.2019

CH GardenWalk seeks gardens for July tour

Many front yards in Cleveland Heights are very nice, but a walk around to the back might reveal all kinds of surprises. The first annual Cleveland Heights GardenWalk, a free event planned for Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, noon to 5 p.m. both days, aims to open up some hidden features of Cleveland Heights gardens and yards.

Efforts are underway to recruit gardeners in each Cleveland Heights zip code who have an interest in sharing the results of their labors. The goal of the event is to build community through gardening.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:17 PM, 04.01.2019

CH residents' free talk considers dangers of another 'silent spring'

Two Cleveland Heights residents, Laurel Hopwood and Tom Gibson, have put their heads—and energy—together, to work toward the goal of environmental sustainability. 

To honor Earth Day 2019, they will present a free program, "Next Silent Spring?" on Sunday, April 28, 2–4 p.m., at the Cleveland Museum of Art Recital Hall.

Years ago, when Hopwood read about bees, she thought about how bees have their place in the universe. Yet she saw people shudder when bees were mentioned, fearing bee stings. She knew that bees just want to do their work. Other than making honey, one of every three bites of food we feed our families is available because of the primary work of bees—pollination.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:14 PM, 04.01.2019

Noble Gardeners’ Market seeks sellers for 2019 season

Susan Sanders sold plants and flowers at one of last year's Noble Gardeners' markets. [photo by Brenda H. May]

Noble Gardeners’ Market will take place each Saturday, July 20 through Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to noon, at the intersection of Noble and Roanoke roads. The market’s mini-park venue is one block north of Monticello Boulevard.

The Noble Gardeners’ Market will need many sellers to meet the demand experienced in 2018, in a three-week test launch of the market late last summer. People came from Cleveland Heights and nearby cities to learn how they could sell and buy excess fruits, vegetables and flowers. The greatest interest was from neighbors who wanted to buy fresh vegetables from neighbors.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:11 PM, 04.01.2019

Seventh-graders beat out professionals in design and build challenge

Arthur Schmiedl, Marcus Holland, Caleb Green and Ruby Tugeau. [Photo by Amy Statler]

When four Heights Middle School students, Arthur Schmiedl, Caleb Green, Marcus Holland and Ruby Tugeau, signed up to compete in the Feb. 9 Design & Build Challenge at Great Lakes Science Center, they and their Project Lead The Way (PLTW) teachers, Amy Statler and Dianna Neal, had no idea what to expect.

As it turned out, the seventh-graders found themselves competing against 18 youth teams from area middle and high schools, and another dozen corporate teams made up of professionals and college students.

And, it turned out that the Heights team earned first place—in both the youth category and overall—beating out teams from Parker Hannifin, Sherwin Williams and Case Western Reserve University.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:07 PM, 04.01.2019

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. tenants work toward ownership and independence

March 29, 2019, marks the one-year anniversary of Heights Libraries’ acquisition of the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus (CPC) property from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District for the cost of $1.

The sale came after months of debate over the fate of the property, beginning in May 2017, when the school district announced its plans to sell the campus to the city of Cleveland Heights for redevelopment. At the time, the building, the former Coventry Elementary School, housed several civic and arts-related nonprofits.

Heights Libraries stepped in to preserve the green space, playground, and parking lot, and to provide a supportive bridge for the tenants that will eventually lead to their ownership and independent operation of the building, slated for July 2020.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:00 AM, 03.26.2019

CH is using new tools to attract new businesses

In 2017 and 2018, Cleveland Heights welcomed 95 new businesses to the city. From law firms to doggy daycare, from craft breweries to art galleries, many small businesses are choosing Cleveland Heights as their home. With more than 500 small businesses, Cleveland Heights is an epicenter of small, locally owned businesses in Northeast Ohio.

The city has expanded the tools and incentives it uses to attract and retain businesses, helping to make Cleveland Heights a desirable location for entrepreneurs. The Economic Development Toolbox that Cleveland Heights offers can help meet the financing needs of the business community, including loan financing, grants, rebates and tax incentives.

The city’s Commercial Loan Program provides gap financing on a project, in conjunction with a bank loan and owner equity. In order to receive funding, projects must create at least one low- to moderate-income job for every $35,000 lent. The Commercial Loan Program assisted with financing Boss Dog Brewery’s brewing equipment when it opened on Lee Road in 2017, helping launch that  new business.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 9:45 AM, 03.26.2019

CH-UH BOE selects superintendent who won't push 'restart button'

Elizabeth Kirby has been selected by the Cleveland Heights-University Heights BOE as the district's next superintendent. She is expected to start Aug. 1. (Credit: Chicago Public Schools)

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously at a special meeting March 14 to offer the position of superintendent to Elizabeth Kirby, currently chief of school strategy and planning for Chicago Public Schools. Kirby has spent her 23-year career in Chicago schools as a teacher, principal and administrator. A native Clevelander who grew up in Shaker-Buckeye and graduated from the Hawken School, Kirby is scheduled to begin her new role on Aug. 1, pending contract negotiations.

"I'm very excited to have Liz Kirby joining Tiger Nation,” said Jodi Sourini, BOE president, via e-mail. “She understands both the challenges and opportunities in diverse districts like ours. During her day visiting our district, she really connected with our teachers, students, staff and community.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 9:12 AM, 03.19.2019

Heights-Hillcrest Chamber of Commerce announces online commercial property database

The Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce (HRCC), which represents the cities of Cleveland Heights, Lyndhurst, Richmond Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid and University Heights, announced last month that a commercial property database is now available on its website, at

"The database is a comprehensive listing of available commercial properties within our region," said Karen Schaefer, HRCC executive director. "We're so proud to partner with our cities to make this available."

Commercial brokers and businesses can access the database for information about the physical property, demographics, and the appropriate city representative's contact information. Brokers can visit each city's website for a listing of properties in each specific community, or can visit the chamber's website to see a listing of properties in all six communities.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:20 AM, 03.18.2019

CH seeks community input on new logo in survey open March 18–27

The city of Cleveland Heights continues to refresh and redefine its brand identity, in an effort to capture the true spirit of the community and what it means to live, work and play here. As part of the city’s ongoing initiative, residents are being asked to give their input on the creative output.

The city has conducted extensive research to identify and craft a “brand story” for Cleveland Heights. The city heard from more than 1,000 individuals through one-on-one meetings, focus groups and a community survey to inform the brand story, which can be viewed on the Cleveland Heights brand website,

Now, the city is seeking additional feedback from residents and business owners to help determine which logo and tagline best capture the narrative.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:03 AM, 03.18.2019

Burning River Baroque will perform at St. Alban on March 21

Cleveland Heights resident Malina Rauschenfels, soprano, and Paual Maust, harpsichord, artistic directors of Burning River Baroque. Photo courtesy of Alex Belisle.

Burning River Baroque continues its seventh season with a series of thought-provoking performances, beginning Tuesday, March 19. The Other Side of the Story: Untold Perspectives on Familiar Tales has been crafted to connect baroque music to contemporary social issues.

The March performances engage audiences around the timeless issues of toxic masculinity and consent. Historic passages and tales have been interwoven with a broad range of musical compositions and related commentary. “We frequently get to experience history through the victor’s eyes,” said co-director Malina Rauschenfels. “We’re interested in hearing the other side of the story—from those populations that are often marginalized.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:33 AM, 03.19.2019

City of CH amends landmark ordinance, adds economic development tools

At its March 4 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council passed legislation amending its landmarks ordinance, and enabling the city to become a Certified Local Government (CLG) in the state of Ohio. In doing so, it joins 73 Ohio communities that already have CLG status. It also passed legislation creating a Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) that will assist the city with transferring property and facilitating economic development.

Council Member Michael Ungar introduced the landmarks ordinance, with Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow seconding. The legislation passed on emergency, with all five members in attendance voting “yes,” enabling the new legislation to go into effect immediately.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 8:08 PM, 03.11.2019

Foothill Galleries presents photomontages by CH artist Greg Donley

Haute-Savoie, composite photograph by G.M. Donley.

A montage of images and words, Greg Donley’s works—uniquely sized at 6 inches tall by 6 to 10 feet wide—seem to wrap the viewer within. Explaining the intentionality of the size, Donley said, “You can’t really take in the detail all at once. You have to move yourself past it, much as you have to move yourself through a landscape.”

“What I have tried to do with these photographs,” said Donley, “is explore the ways in which people experience places, and how they remember those experiences later.

An exhibition of Donley’s latest series of works, Annotated Grandeur: New photomontages by G.M. Donley, will open at Foothill Galleries (2450 Fairmount Blvd., Suite M291) on Wednesday, March 13, with a reception 6–8 p.m. The show will run through the end of April.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:04 AM, 03.08.2019

Heights Methodist clergy welcome all

To the Editor:

By now, many Heights residents will have read or heard that a body of The United Methodist Church recently voted to maintain its discriminatory position regarding same-sex marriage and ordination. We want you to be aware that not all United Methodists are like-minded.

As the United Methodist clergypersons serving in Cleveland Heights, we affirm our passion for, and commitment to, justice and covenant with all of God’s children. Our congregations, though diverse, share a calling to love God and neighbor, and to include all souls in our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:30 AM, 03.05.2019

Eastside Tigers hockey team wins league championship

The Eastside Tigers Bantam A2 team, after winning the CSHL playoff and championship titles on March 2.

The Eastside Tigers Bantam A2 hockey team clinched the 2019 Cleveland Suburban Hockey League (CSHL) Division and Championship titles on Saturday, March 2, at Strongsville‘s OBM Arena.

The team comprises 14 players, all ages 13–14: Evan Bleick, Jonathan Cheshier, Thomas Cheshier, Jaden Cosgrove, Andrew English, Will Garceau, Ben Hidek, Justice Ikehara, Brendan Lang, Niko Rios, Claes Roulet, Alex Rzepka, Lanell Sotiropoulos and Henry Turner. Among them are residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, including six players who attend Roxboro Middle School. Several of the players plan to play on the Heights High hockey team next season, as freshmen.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:28 AM, 03.05.2019

FutureHeights' 2019 annual meeting is April 10

On April 10, FutureHeights will present its 2019 annual meeting at the newly renovated Cleveland Heights High School, 13263 Cedar Road.

FutureHeights, a nonprofit community development corporation, strives to engage Heights residents in order to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

This year’s meeting will discuss the concepts of place-making and place-attachment as a sustainable means of community development and revitalization in the Heights, and in cities and communities everywhere.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 11:04 AM, 03.04.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-4-2019

MARCH 4, 2019


  • Public comments
  • Landmark Commission
  • City Community Improvement Corporation
  • Updated Solid Waste Management Plan
  • Salary schedules and benefits for city employees
  • Mayor’s report


Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein and Michael Ungar attended the meeting. Mary Dunbar was absent. Mayor Roe called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. and adjourned at 8:02 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:21 AM, 03.19.2019

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-4-2019

MARCH 4 2019


  • Public comments
  • Mayor’s comments on city finances
  • Rededication of the community park
  • Sale of nicotine products
  • 2019 budget
  • Finance update
  • Fences
  • Storefront improvements
  • Chicken houses


Present were Mayor Michael D Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Pamela Cameron, Phil Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director James Goffe, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 8:48 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 12:06 PM, 03.20.2019

Talk addresses problem of non-native plants

Plant this: Ilex verticillata (winterberry).

photo credit: Donald Cameron

Plants have been moving around the globe for millennia, hitching rides on mammals, traveling through avian digestive systems, and riding the wind. Explorers collected them on one continent for agricultural, medicinal and other uses on another.

Gardeners and nurseries have cultivated species to feed and delight us. The taste of a delicious Evercrisp apple and the fragrance of lilacs, native to Eastern Europe and Asia, are unquestioned pleasures.

But plant migration and cultivation have had unintended consequences throughout most of the world. Each continent struggles with non-native species that have become aggressive and invasive, and threaten healthy habitat and biodiversity. Many plants that we’ve invited into our gardens are now domineering, unwanted and dangerous guests in our native ecoregions.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 10:33 AM, 03.04.2019

University Heights unveils redesigned website

The home page of the newly redesigned University Heights website.

Rebranding continues in University Heights as the city has unveiled a redesigned website, intended to be more user friendly. The new is updated with the new city logo, new colors, new fonts and new photographs.

Launched on Feb. 13, the UH website includes new features, such as “contact us” forms and overnight parking requests.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 10:39 AM, 03.04.2019