Latest News

Tommy's restaurant celebrates 50 years

On Friday, Jan. 14, Tommy’s restaurant will celebrate its 50th year in business. (Fifty years? How is that possible? Tommy must have been a kid when he opened the business!)

In fact, Tommy Fello was just a teenager when he began working as a soda jerk and stock boy at a drug store and soda fountain on Coventry Road. And he was just 19 when he purchased the business from the former owner in 1972 and opened Tommy’s restaurant. Its original location on Coventry had only seven seats. It now seats 125, and has become one of the most-loved businesses in Cleveland Heights.

The restaurant announced that, starting Monday, Jan. 10, it would kick off its anniversary celebration with daily trivia, and merchandise and gift card giveaways, leading up to its 50-year celebration on Friday, Jan. 14.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 10:30 AM, 01.11.2022

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CH Clerk of Council certifies ballot initiative on park

A citizen-led proposal to designate the city-owned site at Lee Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard as a public park is one step closer to appearing on the May 3 primary ballot.

At the Jan. 10 meeting of Cleveland Heights City Council, CH Finance Director and Clerk of Council Amy Himmelein certified that an initiative petition for an ordinance to require a public activity park be created on 1.07 acres of city-owned land at the corner of Lee Road, Tullamore Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard had obtained sufficient signatures for inclusion on the ballot.

A group of Cleveland Heights residents, led by Ralph Solonitz, Garry Kanter, Lee Barbee, Albert Oberst and Frances Mentch, had submitted the petition to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Nov. 29, but had been told to collect additional signatures by Dec. 27.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 10:25 AM, 01.11.2022

Show some love for local businesses with Best of the Heights

Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for locally owned, independent businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2022 Best of the Heights Awards contest.

To help support Heights businesses during this challenging time, FutureHeights will create four prize packages by purchasing gift certificates from local businesses, and each ballot will be entered for a chance to win one of the packages.

“Our local businesses make the Heights a great place to live,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “The global pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges to local businesses, and yet many of them have been resourceful and innovative. Their individual personalities and unique products and services add to the diversity and vitality of our community. We want to see them not just survive, but thrive, and it's important for the community to show their support.”

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:02 AM, 01.01.2022

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 1-3-22

JANUARY 3, 2022 – Regular Meeting

 

  • Clerk of council report
  • Council action
  • Council member comments

 

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, and council members Craig Cobb, Tony Cuda, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Anthony Mattox, Jr. Council Member Josie Moore was excused. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. Council met for about one and a quarter hour.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 12:03 PM, 01.11.2022

CH City Council receives 22 applications for Seren's seat

With Kahlil Seren, a Cleveland Heights City Council member, set to become the city's mayor in January, his council seat will become vacant upon his resignation, which was expected to be tendered on Dec. 31.

On Nov. 29, a special meeting of the Cleveland Heights Council Committee of the Whole brought together some current council members, as well as those who will begin serving on council in January, to discuss “vacancy-filling procedures in anticipation of vacancy resulting from Kahlil Seren’s election as [m]ayor.”

Subsequent to the meeting, the city announced that council would accept applications from residents interested in being considered for the council vacancy.

The deadline to apply was Dec. 17, and there were 22 applicants. Since the January issue of the Heights Observer went to press, the applicants' names and applications have been posted on the city's website. Because one of the applicants dropped out, there are 21, not 22, names and applications posted online.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:35 AM, 01.01.2022

A debrief of CH council candidates identifies city's top issues

There were 13 candidates running for Cleveland Heights City Council in 2021. Because most went door to door, and attended block parties and other civic events, I thought it might be instructive for us to get together and share our experiences in talking with residents. Maybe we could identify common issues/solutions, and share that information with our new mayor and city council.

Seven of the 13 candidates filled out a questionnaire, and five of us spoke via Zoom to expound on what we learned. What follows is a summary of the written and discussion responses from city council candidates Lee Barbee, Craig Cobb, Tony Cuda, Garry Kanter, Robert Koonce, Josie Moore and James Williams.

The top four issues that emerged in the candidates' responses are: housing, taxes (tied for second), crime/traffic violations (tied for second), lack from responsiveness from council and the city.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:06 AM, 01.01.2022

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 1-4-2022

JANUARY 4, 2022, Organizational and Regular Meeting

 

  • Oath of office and election of officers
  • OSBA Membership 
  • Testimony before the state board
  • Student reports
  • Public comments
  • COVID update
  • School calendar 
  • Policy readings
  • Treasurer’s report

 

Present were President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. Dr. Paul Lombardo, assistant superintendent, attended virtually. The meeting lasted two hours and 55 minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 8:44 AM, 01.18.2022

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 12-21-2021

DECEMBER 21, 2021 -  Regular Session

 

  • Community comments on safety 
  • Sexual assault concerns
  • Pandemic update
  • Announcements

Present were President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Jodi Sourini. Ms. Wright was absent. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted 20 minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 12:06 PM, 01.11.2022

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 12-20-21

DECEMBER 20, 2021 – Regular meeting

 

  • Public comments
  • City manager’s comments
  • Council actions
  • Council members’ comments

 

Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Josie Moore, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. Melody Joy Hart was home due to COVID and, while unable to vote, participated in the discussion by phone. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. Council met for about one and a quarter hour.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 11:51 AM, 01.11.2022

Friends of Heights Parks plans Lower Lake walk

A chilly November walk in Forest Hill Park.

photo: Peggy Spaeth

The newly formed Friends of Heights Parks (FHP) invites all to discover more about our parks by joining a Walk in the Park at Shaker Lakes’ Lower Lake, on Jan. 22.

Walkers will hit the trail at 11 a.m., meeting at the parking lot on South Park Boulevard near Leighton Road in Shaker Heights. The walk is a little more than a mile around the lake, with options for rugged or level terrain.

FHP is hosting walks to showcase each unique park in Cleveland Heights, and inspire fellow park lovers to join together to support programs, improve habitat, and shepherd this historic park system into a healthy, sustainable future for the whole community.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:21 AM, 01.03.2022

Lake Erie Ink offers playwriting workshops

A 2018 LEI playwriting workshop participant, at Dobama Theatre. 

In partnership with Dobama Theatre, Lake Erie Ink (LEI) will kick off the New Year with Playwriting, a workshop for writers at all levels, in grades two through 12. Participants will have the opportunity to work on their storytelling skills with support from local professionals. 

Julie Fisher, local playwright, director, and actor, will lead the workshops and help participants write their own original plays.

“This experience allows kids' imaginations to come to life,” Charisse Bailey, curriculum director at Lake Erie Ink, said of the workshops. “It’s a way for children from different backgrounds and different experiences to come together and share those experiences.”

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:39 AM, 01.03.2022

Jan. 25 program honors MLK and legacy of resistance

Author Susie Kaeser. Photo courtesy Cleveland Landmarks Press

Cleveland Heights was not always the inclusive community it is today. From the 1920s through the early 1960s, it was unwelcoming and even hostile to non-whites. Through a variety of tactics, the city was kept almost exclusively white.

On Tuesday, Jan. 25, to commemorate the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the Black Caucus and the Racial Inequality Repair Committee—both of Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian—will host a Zoom conversation, 7–8:30 p.m., with Susan Kaeser, author of Resisting Segregation.

Her book, available at Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry, documents the struggle to end segregation and integrate the city of Cleveland Heights. It chronicles the history of ordinary citizens who demonstrated that creativity and like-mindedness can bring about dramatic and substantial change.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:28 AM, 01.01.2022

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 12-15-2021

DECEMBER 15, 2021, Work Session

 

  • Work session purpose
  • December social media threats 
  • Student walkout concerning sexual misconduct allegations 
  • COVID-19 concerns 

 

Present were President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Ms. Lewis attended virtually, and Ms. Wright arrived five minutes after the consent agenda was approved. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted one hour and 15 minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 11:55 AM, 01.11.2022

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 12-13-21

DECEMBER 13, 2021 – Special Meeting

 

  • Public comments
  • Desota Avenue infill construction

 

Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Josie Moore, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. Melody Joy Hart was absent due to illness. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. Council met for five minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 12:09 PM, 01.11.2022

Applications open for spring Neighborhood Leadership series

On the heels of the fall 2021 round of the FutureHeights Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series, the program returns to its regularly scheduled spot on the spring calendar. 

This program is ideal for any Cleveland Heights resident who is looking for a way to get more involved in the community, or who has an idea for a neighborhood-based project and is seeking to build skills to help bring an idea to life.  

Workshop participants explore topics that include individual leadership, strengths-based approaches to community-based work, and how to gather information about a neighborhood to better understand its history. They also learn how to access data and craft narratives to enable them to find funding, to help make their dream neighborhood projects come to life.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:51 AM, 01.01.2022

Dobama continues its season with 'Hurricane Diane'

Dobama Theatre’s 2021–22 Mainstage season continues with the Cleveland premiere of the 2019 Obie Award-winner "Hurricane Diane." The play, by Pulitzer finalist Madeleine George, will run from Jan. 21 through Feb. 13.

The Diane of the title is a permaculture gardener with supernatural abilities. Owing to her true identity—the Greek god Dionysus—she has returned to the modern world to gather mortal followers to restore the earth to its natural state. Where better to begin than by seducing four housewives in a suburban New Jersey cul-de-sac?

In this award-winning comedy with a twist, George pens a hilarious evisceration of the “blind eye” we all turn to climate change, and the impending storm of catharsis that awaits us all, even in our own backyards.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:37 AM, 01.03.2022

Heights Arts gets the 'Rust' out to start 2022

Unhinged, by Adrian DesJardins.

Heights Arts starts off 2022 a little bit rusty . . . 

Many current residents never saw the city of steel and industry that once drew people from all over the world to live and work in Greater Cleveland. Many of those facilities were already crumbling decades ago. The industrial era is unfamiliar to many, generations later. Instead, abandoned warehouses seem only lost ruins, housing mysterious corroded parts that may as well be artifacts from crashed UFOs. There’s a fascination with urban decay that lives in people from the industrial Midwest. It’s commonly characterized by an affinity for coarse textures and tarnished hues that hold decades of depth.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:34 AM, 01.03.2022

String-lights recycling drive to benefit zoo

Non-working string lights will be collected through Jan. 31, at the four Heights Libraries branches. [photo Kim Sergio Inglis]

The success of the Cleveland Heights Green Team's (CHGT) post-election yard-sign collection prompted the group to plan a post-Christmas Heights Holiday String Lights Collection Drive.

From Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, Heights residents can drop off broken, non-working, or used strings of lights and extension cords at any of the four Heights Libraries branches in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

“Broken string lights and damaged extension cords cannot be recycled through the curbside recycling program," explained Nikki Newman, a member of the CHGT. "They should not be mixed in a blue bag or recycling bin. We know our residents want to do the right thing by trying to recycle them, but they will end up in the landfill if not recycled correctly."

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:06 AM, 12.21.2021

Ohio historical marker unveiled at Curtis-Preyer house

Members of Cleveland Heights Historical Society; the Wheeler family, who currently own the house; and community members attended an unveiling ceremony on Oct. 23. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Cleveland Heights’ Curtis-Preyer Stone House, at 14299 Superior Road, received the city’s first historical marker from the Ohio History Connection.

Constructed of Berea sandstone found on the property, the house was built sometime between 1820 and 1835, making it the earliest existing structure so far identified in Cleveland Heights, and a valuable link to the city’s early history.

The home takes its name from the Curtis and Preyer families who were early residents in the area.

The Curtis family bought property in "Turkey Knob" and harnessed power from Dugway Creek for a cider and grist mill. They sold quarried stone and felled timber. The house was built of 18-inch stone walls, with a roof of ax-hewn tree timbers.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:48 AM, 01.01.2022

What am I, chopped liver? Maybe

This was the restaurant everyone called Benky's, in 1938, about 20 years before it became Irv's. The building, constucted in 1923, still stands, though the delis are long gone. [photo courtesy the Cleveland Heights Historical Society]

I mentioned here, once, long ago, a part of a conversation I had with my father when I was in 10th grade at Heights High. I was eating dinner with him at Irv’s deli on Coventry Road. That was unusual on at least a couple of levels: First, by that age, I rarely did anything with my father, especially including talking. Also, it was shortly before the era when Irv’s changed from a bona fide restaurant, a family place, to a hangout for hippies, a clubhouse for misfits. I spent a lot of time there then, too—often in deep discussion, but not with my father.

The conversation with my father began with him opening the menu and exclaiming, “A dollar-thirty-five for a corned beef sandwich!? I remember when they cost fifteen cents.” I said, “Fifteen cents? Why did they even bother to charge anything, at that rate?” But then, about 10 years later, I was looking at the menu at the Carnegie Deli in Midtown Manhattan, and I found myself saying, “Seven-fifty for a corned beef sandwich? I remember when they cost a dollar-thirty-five.”

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:32 AM, 01.03.2022

Local leaders can bolster trust in government

The election is over. As 2022 begins, the victors will be sworn in and take up the work of the people.

I am grateful to all of the candidates for wanting to serve, and to those who will take on the important responsibility of using the tools of government to contribute to the health and well-being of the communities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

This feels like a really important moment for local government. According to the Pew Research Center, public trust in government is eroding nationwide, and has been since 2007. Local government, however, is seen as the most trustworthy.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:13 AM, 01.01.2022

Library’s Matchmakers offer new online service

Adult Services Librarian Andrea Lynn helps customers find great books.

The Heights Libraries Matchmakers, a group of librarians who specialize in helping customers find materials, will mark its 10th anniversary in 2022, and is celebrating by launching Match Me Up, a new service for customers.

Match Me Up is an online form that elicits pertinent information from customers that can help staff find materials to their liking, and put them on the holds shelf at the library branch of the customer’s choosing.

Previously, customers could e-mail or talk to the Matchmakers, but the new form streamlines and simplifies the process.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:30 AM, 01.03.2022

10th annual author event features Janice Mitchell

Janice Mitchell

Author Janice Mitchell will be the guest at the P.E.O. International Cleveland Heights Chapter Q 10th Annual Author Event. The free, virtual event will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29, 1–2 p.m. 

Mitchell‘s memoir, My Ticket to Ride: How I Ran Away to England to Meet the Beatles and Got Rock and Roll Banned in Cleveland (A True Story From 1964), relates her adventures as a 16-year-old who, with a friend, ran away from Cleveland Heights and traveled to England at the beginning of Beatlemania.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:29 AM, 01.03.2022

Legal Aid award honors CH resident Bailes

Ashley Bailes, of Cleveland Heights, received the 2021 Access to Justice Award from The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland awarded Ashley Bailes, a Cleveland Heights resident, its 2021 Access to Justice Award.

The award was presented at the society’s livestreamed annual meeting, on Dec. 9. It is bestowed annually to recognize significant contributions to advancing the mission of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland through pro bono commitment.

Bailes is an associate in the lltigation group at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, where she focuses on complex civil litigation in state and federal courts. She felt compelled to begin volunteering with The Legal Aid Society during the pandemic, when she recognized that people with low incomes were losing their homes and struggling disproportionately.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:27 AM, 01.03.2022

Coventry PEACE Lantern Festival

Photo courtesy Robin VanLear.

Coventry PEACE Campus hosted a community celebration of light during the darkness of winter on Dec. 11. Earlier that day, Artful artists Jacqui Brown (Studio Cat) and Adam Brumma (Living Art), along with Art Acts artist Tanya Gonzalez, held a free lantern-making workshop for community members. Lake Erie Ink staff helped them write solstice-themed stories and winter-themed haiku. Then, at 5 p.m., participants joined in a lantern procession through Coventry PEACE Park and the Coventry Village Business District, led by illuminated musicians and dancers, and orchestrated by Robin Van Lear. Participants then headed back to Coventry PEACE Campus for cocoa and cookies, courtesy of FutureHeights and Reaching Heights, and caroling with the Singers Club of Cleveland. Learn more about Coventry PEACE Campus at www.coventrypeacecampus.org.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:18 AM, 01.03.2022

Noble Neighbors reflects on eight years of advocacy

A workday at Delmore Community Orchard.

Noble Neighbors (www.nobleneighbors.com) is celebrating its eighth year of advocacy for the neighborhoods along Noble Road. In 2021, another year marked by adaptation and creativity, Noble Neighbors found ways to gather and serve the community, while maintaining COVID protocols.

The new mini-park at Noble and Roanoke roads—developed as a gift to the community by Barb Sosnowski, Laura Marks and others—served as the site of various community activities.

In January, instead of holding the usual annual dinner celebration, Noble Neighbors gathered to create a temporary art display at the park. All residents were invited to express wishes for the upcoming year, which were then displayed on colorful tin-can wind chimes hung in the trees.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:56 AM, 01.01.2022

CH council should endorse democracy in filling vacancy

Congratulations to our newly elected Cleveland Heights mayor, Kahlil Seren, and to our newly elected CH City Council members. As our city transitions to a new form of government, with an elected mayor for the first time in its 100-year history, it will be for council and our first mayor to determine how that new form of government serves.  It might be helpful if, as part of this transition, council could operate at full strength.

With his election as mayor, Seren's seat on council will be vacated when he takes office in January. By ordinance it is now the task of council to appoint his replacement. 

When this last happened (2020) the process that unfolded was nothing short of an embarrassment for our city.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:17 AM, 01.01.2022

Resolutions for 2022 and beyond

Late in 2021 the Cleveland Heights Green Team mounted an enthusiastic and effective post-election campaign to keep political yard signs out of landfills.

Residents deposited almost 1,500 placards at designated collection points around the city. (Thanks to Dave’s, Zagara’s, Save-A-Lot and the Coventry Library!)

The Green Team then collected the signs, sorted them, and offered them to candidates for re-use in future campaigns—brilliant! The four who chose to retrieve their signs were Mario Clopton-Zymler, Tony Cuda, Josie Moore and Kahlil Seren. Members of the Green Team delivered the unclaimed signs to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District for recycling.

But here’s the rub: while the metal frames are fully recyclable, only a tiny amount of plastic collected for recycling ever actually is recycled.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:10 AM, 01.01.2022

Heights residents embrace sign recycling drive

One of the piles of signs CHGT transported to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, for recycling.

From Nov. 3 to Nov. 14, Heights residents had the opportunity to recycle yard signs, old and new, by dropping them off at one of five collection points across Cleveland Heights.

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), which organized the drive, estimates that approximately 1,500 signs were collected, of which about 1,200 were taken to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District (SWD) for recycling. The balance was returned to four candidates who asked for them back.

"These are 1,500 signs that did not end up in the landfill," said Nikki Newman, who volunteered to collect the signs. "I was surprised to see how heavy and bulky they get. It took two full truckloads to transport them to the SWD. It just felt so good knowing that they are going to be used in some other form or shape."

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:49 AM, 12.13.2021

Application deadline for CH council vacancy is Dec. 17

With Kahlil Seren, a current Cleveland Heights City Council member, set to become the city's mayor, his council seat will become vacant in January.

On Nov. 29, a special meeting of the Cleveland Heights Council Committee of the Whole brought together current council members, as well as those who will begin serving on council in January, to discuss “vacancy-filling procedures in anticipation of vacancy resulting from Kahlil Seren’s election as [m]ayor.”

Subsequent to the meeting, the city announced that council would be accepting applications from residents interested in being considered for the council vacancy.

The deadline to apply is Friday, Dec. 17. The application is available at www.clevelandheights.com/CouncilApplication.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 9:28 AM, 12.07.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 11-30-2021

NOVEMBER 30, 2021 – special work session

 

  • Calendar changes

 

Present were Board Vice-President Malia Lewis, Dan Heintz, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Board President James Posch was absent. Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. Part of the meeting was in executive session to discuss personnel issues. The public session lasted 16 minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:24 AM, 12.21.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 11-29-2021

NOVEMBER 29, 2021 – special meeting

 

  • Public comments
  • Cedar-Lee Meadowbrook resolution
  • Committee of the whole
  • Council vacancy

 

Present were Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Melody Joy Hart, Josie Moore, and Michael Ungar. President Jason Stein and Davida Russell were excused. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting was 18 minutes. 

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:14 AM, 12.21.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 11-22-2021

NOVEMBER 22, 2021 – special meeting

 

  • Public comments
  • City boards and commissions
  • NEORSD Horseshoe Lake proposal
  • Other council action

 

Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar.  Josie Moore was absent. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting ran for one hour and ten minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:08 AM, 12.21.2021

Taxpayers should not fund library's 1619 Project programs

I am concerned about the Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library System’s sponsorship of seminars on the history of race relations based on "The 1619 Project.”

Many qualified scholars believe The 1619 Project presents a highly questionable reading of history. They argue that it creates a false narrative out of racial grievance; and as a student of history, I agree with them. For this reason, I object to [Heights Libraries’] public seminar about The 1619 Project [presented] at taxpayer expense.  Such a seminar risks being a one-sided, biased, and ideological approach to an important social issue in a type of setting that makes that approach appear to many as more authoritative than it really is.

A library program on this subject cannot help but classify people based on the color of their skin rather than on the content of their character.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:24 AM, 01.01.2022

Coventry PEACE Lantern Festival is Dec 11

Mikaela Brown (at left), Story Rhinehart Cadiz (at center, in the Wizard puppet) and Kenya Woods. Costumes and puppets by Robin VanLear (Art Acts Studios).

The public is invited to attend the Coventry PEACE Campus Lantern Festival, a celebration of light, on Saturday, Dec. 11.

The festival will begin with a lantern-making workshop, 2:30–4:30 p.m., at Coventry PEACE Campus, 2843 Washington Blvd. Artful artist Jacqui Brown (Studio Cat) and Art Acts artist Tanya Gonzalez will guide participants of all ages in the creation of their own lanterns. In addition, Lake Erie Ink will host a workshop for writing solstice-themed stories and winter-themed haiku.

At 5 p.m., workshop participants can share their creations with the community during a Lantern Procession that will step off from the building’s front entrance and wind its way through Coventry PEACE Park and the Coventry Village Business District.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:14 PM, 12.01.2021

CH Mayor-elect Seren on election and government transition

Cleveland Heights Mayor-elect Kahlil Seren.

Thank you, Cleveland Heights.

I am immensely grateful for the faith that you have placed in me, and acutely aware of the responsibility I’ve been given as the first mayor elected in Cleveland Heights.

It’s been about one month since one of the most consequential elections in our city’s history. Our community answered this historic question of leadership with resounding support for my candidacy. This support provided a clear mandate to govern and to lead our city through the necessary changes that make progress possible.

Our first mayoral election is over; now the work of creating an administration begins.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:10 PM, 12.01.2021

UH Mayor Brennan outlines his second-term agenda

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan.

In the November election, the voters of University Heights sent a message. They elected new and energetic council representation with diverse skills. And they gave me a decisive win, with more votes than I received four years ago. 

The residents of University Heights were given a clear choice. They chose for me to continue with my agenda of progress, sustainability, and redevelopment. They elected to city council people who support that agenda. With the new council, I look forward to resuming the people’s business and implementing our agenda.

Residents would seem to prefer that the mayor and council get along. But what they really care about is meaningful progress and action. Moving forward. Making University Heights an even greater place to live, work, and raise a family.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:08 PM, 12.01.2021

City urges public involvement in Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook process

The redevelopment of Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook has been a long time coming. In the past 15 years Cleveland Heights has adopted new zoning, included the redevelopment in the city’s Master Plan, and sought development partners more than once.

Earlier this year, CH City Council selected and engaged with Flaherty & Collins (the “Applicant”) to redevelop the site with a four-story, mixed-use development containing a mix of residential units, commercial, and green and gathering spaces (the “Project”). Since that time, there has been significant engagement with the community, including many community meetings and the creation of a dedicated project Web page, www.clevelandheights.com/clm.

In my discussions with various individuals over the past few months, there was uncertainty about the review and approval process, including the roles of various city boards.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:07 PM, 12.01.2021

TeaSpot Tutoring offers STEM-themed workshops

"Adventures in Weird Science" at TeaSpot Tutoring. Courtesy Seneca Bankston.

Iteisha Bankston always loved science. Stereotypically, more boys than girls gravitate toward science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) subjects, but Bankston remained engaged and curious about STEM topics.

As an undergraduate, she majored in biology, then became a high school science teacher who made her classes hands-on and interactive in order to make the subject matter accessible, rather than intimidating.

“Some kids just like science but don’t want to become scientists,” Bankston said. “I wanted to show them that was OK—science was for everyone.”

Now Bankston is the co-owner of TeaSpot Tutoring (2065 Lee Road), a business she opened with her husband, Seneca Bankston, in November 2020. TeaSpot Tutoring provides academic and social-emotional learning support for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It also hosts a young men’s mentoring workshop and other programming, such as a series of STEM-focused workshops that aim to bring science to life. TeaSpot also offers hands-on STEM-themed kits for students to work on at home.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:17 AM, 12.02.2021

Heights Libraries opens local history room

The new Local History Room includes a Microfilm reader ScanPro 2200 and a 
Book scanner KIC Bookeye 4v2.

Heights Libraries is pleased to announce the opening of its new Local History Room at the Lee Road branch.

Located on the building’s second floor, the room is the culmination of years of planning that began in 2016 with the library’s centennial celebration. That year, staff began pulling together photos and documents to create an online historical timeline for the Heights Libraries system.

“Once we had the library’s history documented, we decided to start looking at ways we could help community members learn more about the history of the area, and do their own research,” said Jessica Robinson, local history librarian. “First, we added local history resources to our website. Then we began figuring out where we could put a local history room.”

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:04 AM, 12.02.2021

Heights alumnae bring health screenings to families

Drs. Jen and Jessica Macklin with Nurse Monique Carter (center). [photo: Meghan McMahon] 

When we think of blood pressure and burgers together, it’s usually not for a good reason. Two Heights High graduates put a positive spin on the combo, however, at an October health-screening event held at Monticello Middle School.

Twin sisters Jen and Jessica Macklin both had participated in the Career Technical Education program in pharmacology when they were students at Heights High. They graduated in 2003, and went on to earn doctorate degrees in pharmacy.

Partnering with the CH-UH City School District, the two women launched Hands-On-Health to provide information and health screenings to families enrolled in the district's "21st Century" grant-funded, after-school programs.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:12 PM, 12.01.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 11-16-2021

NOVEMBER 16, 2021 – special meeting

 

  • Financial reports
  • Substitute teachers

 

Present were Board President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The board met in executive session to discuss personnel concerns and financial reports for part of the evening and met for approximately 25 minutes in a public meeting.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:21 AM, 12.21.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 11-15-2021

NOVEMBER 15, 2021 - regular meeting

 

  • Josie Moore sworn in
  • Public comments
  • Legislation passed on emergency
  • Legislation presented with no vote
  • Council member comments

 

Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Melody Joy Hart, Josie Moore, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil,  and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting ran from 8:10 to 9:48 p.m.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:05 AM, 12.21.2021

Wrapping up a challenging year

Weather predictions to the contrary, Cleveland Heights enjoyed a sunny, if brisk, Election Day on Nov. 2, with rain holding off until shortly before the polls closed.

We are grateful to the candidates who ran in this historic municipal election. Democracy is not a spectator sport, and without viable candidates and dedicated elected officials, it cannot exist. The 13 candidates who competed for five city council seats, the seven who ran for three school board positions, and the two mayoral finalists made these campaigns highly competitive.

Congratulations to Cleveland Heights’ first-ever mayor-elect Kahlil Seren, new council members-elect Tony Cuda, Anthony Mattox and Josie Moore, returning council members Craig Cobb and Davida Russell, and returning school board members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Jodi Sourini.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:03 PM, 12.01.2021

Build the complex at Cedar Lee Meadowbrook

About the most ridiculous proposal during all my years of living in Cleveland Heights is for the building of yet another park on Lee Road, smack in the middle of what should be a vibrant district of shopping, restaurants, theater, and a public library! What a waste of prime property in a commercial zone! 

This has been my neighborhood for 36 years, and many pushing for the park don’t even live or work in the district. Besides the development complex’s long-term, great benefit for so many (prospective business owners, shoppers, residents), this is a personal issue for me, as I have grown extremely enthusiastic in the past 20 years about three mixed-use developments planned for the triangle, only to be devastated each time a plan dwindled down, then fizzled out altogether. How many times I’ve walked by that triangular wasteland and been disgusted—even uneasy when it’s dark. The flow of the entire district is spoiled.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:04 PM, 12.01.2021

State leaders reject equity; we must not

Meryl Johnson represents District 11 on Ohio’s State Board of Education. Her district covers 24 school districts, including ours, in Cuyahoga and Lake counties. Johnson, a retired 40-year public school teacher, is a visible and determined advocate for children, equity, public education and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District (CH-UH).

“I ran for the state board to make a difference. I wanted to make it more possible for children of color to have the same opportunities as white children,” said Johnson. She is in the first year of her second term on the board, which has 11 elected and eight appointed members.

The state board oversees the implementation of education policy in Ohio. During Johnson’s tenure, members adopted a five-year strategic plan to lift aspirations and to promote high-quality education practices throughout the state.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:02 PM, 12.01.2021

Leggings boutique opens on South Taylor

Charlie Brown, co-owner of Ella Tiene Piernas (She Got Legs).

On Oct. 15, Charlie Brown, a former barber, and his brothers opened a leggings boutique at 2174 S. Taylor Road. Called

Ella Tiene Piernas (She Got Legs), the shop offers a variety of legging styles, sizes and materials, for women and girls, with prices starting at $9.99.

The store is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The phone number is 216-331-2736.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:10 AM, 12.02.2021

Born in the '50s, we went to school in the '30s

This was one year after leaving Heights High. This guy would not have been allowed to go to that school (which would have been fine).

Heights High was overcrowded when I attended classes there—3,000 kids in just three grades cramming into the hallways and everywhere. That was one problem. Another was that in the mid-to-late ’60s the administrators were still clinging desperately to the institutions of the 1940's and ’50s. It was an era of great change in terms of such things as the concept of free speech. And in free expression, which included clothing and hair styles, music and other arts. The school’s administration was pretty repressive to begin with, but that magnified mightily with its reaction to the new thinking that swept into society in the mid-’60s.

The school still employed a ridiculously strict, detailed and long-winded dress code. No pants for girls, skirts and dresses had to come to a girl’s knees or lower (often demonstrated by a girl having to kneel on the floor to prove that the hem of her skirt went all the way down), no shorts for anyone, no T-shirts for anyone, no jeans, boys’ shirts had to have a collar, leather shoes only (no “gym” shoes, except in gym class, where they were the only shoes permitted).

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:20 AM, 12.02.2021

What’s going on at your library?

Coventry Village Branch

1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Dec. 1 through Dec. 15

Take and Make Chili in a Jar. Stop by the Coventry Village branch for a take-and-make soup kit containing the dry ingredients for a tasty chili. Just add water and tomatoes. Available until Dec. 15. Kids can make chili at home with adult supervision. Registration is required at www.heightslibrary.org. For ages 6 through 18.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:02 AM, 12.02.2021

Seeing the forest for the trees

Cleveland Heights has so many empty places where there ought to be large shade trees—as in our parks. Ever try sitting on a bench in the summer sun watching your child on playground equipment while baking uncomfortably because of a lack of shade? Not fun. This especially is strange in a city that has a tree in its logo.

Many large, old trees were lost in recent storms. Others, suffering from disease or pest infestation, have been taken down. New, large old trees do not just magically appear overnight. In olden days, our city cared about that. It planted trees that eventually would become big. Not dinky flowering trees, as on Fairmount Boulevard. And not sickly small trees, as on many of our tree lawns. Results often were quite visually striking. For instance, the view of large-growth trees as one drives down the Cedar Road hill toward University Circle is wonderful, especially as leaves turn color.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:06 PM, 12.01.2021

S'Wonderful Gifts is closing

Bill Wort in front of his shop, S'Wonderful Gifts. 

In early November, a business liquidator announced the news that, after six years, owner Bill Wort had decided to close his Cleveland Heights gift shop.

Wort opened S'Wonderful Gifts at 2254 Lee Road on Nov. 17, 2015. For 32 years prior to that, he had been a buyer for various museum shops.

In deciding to retire, Wort cited competition from online retailers as the main reason, COVID the second.

“What I will miss the most is my customers,” Wort said. “They’ve always been so supportive, and made the extra effort to support my shop and other local businesses. What I’m most proud of is when my customers voted the store “The Best Place For Unique Gifts In Cleveland Heights” [in the FutureHeights Best of the Heights awards].

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:08 AM, 12.02.2021

Heights scouts look back on unforgettable adventure

Troop 22 scouts and leaders at Philmont. Front row: Bear Janssen, Michael Price, Eamon Fischer, Philip Triolo, Rob Lupetini (Philmont guide and CWRU student), Mitchell Reinhardt, Mark Heltzel, Ben Thiltgen, Ryan Johnson. Back row: Chris Jacobs, Rob Fischer, Steve Reinhardt, and John Janssen.

This past summer, eight boys and four adults from Boy Scout Troop 22, based at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, finally had the adventure of a lifetime, backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, N.M. “Finally” because previous attempts had been canceled—by a massive fire in 2018, and by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. These were the only two canceled seasons in Philmont’s long history of hosting scouts.

Philmont Scout Ranch (www.philmontscoutranch.org/) is the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) largest National High Adventure Base, covering 140,177 acres of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains, in northeastern New Mexico. The scout ranch operates 35 staffed camps and 55 trail camps across rugged terrain that ranges in elevation from 6,500 to 12,441 feet. More than one million scouts, venturers, and adult advisors have experienced the adventure of Philmont since its first camping season in 1939.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:00 PM, 12.01.2021

GE holiday display to light up Noble beginning Dec. 3

GE Lighting's holiday display at its Nela Park headquarters is a 97-year tradition. Photo courtsey GE Lighting, a Savant company.

Continuing a long-held holiday tradition, GE Lighting, a Savant company, will illuminate its Nela Park headquarters, at 1975 Noble Road, with a festive display beginning Friday, Dec. 3. This is the 97th year the company will have created its light show. This year’s theme, Holiday Season is in the Air, will feature nearly one million LED lights, and stretch along Noble Road for several blocks. The display will stay illuminated 24/7, through Jan. 3.

Earlier this year, the opportunity to turn on the Nela Holiday Lights was auctioned off to the highest bidder, to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s Harvest for Hunger. For the first time ever, a special guest will step to the podium alongside GE Lighting President and CEO Bill Lacey, to flip the switch at approximately 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 3.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 1:04 PM, 11.30.2021

FutureHeights hosts virtual celebration of mini-grant awards

Heights Middle School Shorts, a summer program of Building Heights, was among 14 projects funded in 2021. Photo credit Building Heights.

On Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., FutureHeights will turn on the applause sign for all of the recipients of its 2021 neighborhood mini-grants. All are welcome to attend this virtual gathering that will offer an overview of the program, explain how to participate, and spotlight the innovative and outstanding projects created and led by Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents over this past year.

Projects supported by the FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grants program include neighborhood gardening and beautification efforts, youth engagement programs, creative placemaking endeavors, and community outreach work. In 2021, it awarded grants to its first University Heights recipients, as the program became available to residents of that city this past year.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 1:13 PM, 11.30.2021

Councilwoman Russell Announces Bid for Council President

Cleveland Heights Residents! Thank you for putting your trust in me and re-electing me to Cleveland Heights City Council. I am truly humbled and honored to have earned your vote and your trust. I vow to work every day for the betterment of ALL of our residents, and to maintain the trust you all have placed in me.

On Nov. 15, I announced my interest in becoming president of CH City Council in 2022. I thank Council Member Melody Joy Hart, who asked me “to think about being council president" when she was running for mayor.

In my short time on council, many things have been accomplished for our city. To start, I made the 2020 Census a top priority, ensuring our city’s numbers were accurate so that we receive the government funding we deserve. Next, legislation was created, in conjunction with Council members Hart and Ungar, denoting systemic racism as a public health crisis, and a community Racial Justice Task Force was created to address this issue.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 2:07 PM, 11.23.2021

Pop-up holiday market comes to Coventry Village

Larchmere Fire Works

Made Cleveland will open its Holiday Pop Up market on Friday Nov. 26, in the former City Buddha space, at 1807 Coventry Road.

The market will be open until Dec. 23, and will feature the work of more than 50 local creators, including home goods, greeting cards, jewelry, accessories, apparel, self-care products, and provisions. 

The large space enables Larchmere Fire Works, a partner with Made Cleveland, to offer live glass-blowing demonstrations, as in the photo above. 

Hours are noon to 7 p.m. For more information, visit madecleveland.com, or call 216-800-8420.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 1:41 PM, 11.23.2021

Elégie presents free holiday concert Dec. 18

Mist’a Craig, Michael Hives, Brian Barron and Caleb A. Wright. [Photo: Joshua C. Toombs]

Elégie will present a live holiday concert at the Wiley building (2155 Miramar Blvd., University Heights) on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 7:30 p.m.

Founded in 2014, the male vocal quartet comprises four classically trained soloists and professional musicians who are Heights High alumni. Michael Hives (second from left in the photo) and Caleb Wright (at far right in the photo) graduated in 2009; Brian Barron (third from left in the photo) and Mist'a Craig (at far left in the photo) graduated in 2011. All were members of the Heights Acapella Choir, Heights Singers, Heights High Barbershoppers, Heights Gospel Choir, and Heights Honors Ensemble.

They have performed at some of Cleveland's most notable venues, including Karamu House, Cain Park, Nighttown, and Jacob's Pavilion.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:27 AM, 12.02.2021

LEI creates communities in Cleveland Heights

Looking for a gift idea for a teen? Lake Erie Ink suggests its latest anthology of writing and art, On the Other Side.

Lake Erie Ink (LEI) believes it takes a community to foster a lifelong love of creative expression. This fall, as LEI cautiously restarted its programming for youth, the Cleveland Heights-based organization took steps to increase its community presence. LEI currently is partnering with more than 29 different community organizations, and is becoming involved with a total of 36 outreach and community programs, including local schools and libraries, and larger programs, such as the Maltz Museum’s “Stop the Hate” competition.

LEI hopes to continue this partnership trend by expanding relationships with other organizations to provide opportunities for creative expression and academic support for young people who may not otherwise have those opportunities.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:24 AM, 12.02.2021

Lee Road gift shop to close after 7 years

S'Wonderful Gifts' closing sale opens to the public on Nov. 11. [photo: Rachel Gordon Art]

Bill Wort, owner of S’Wonderful Gifts, has decided to close his Lee Road store.

Citing competition from online retailers as the main reason, COVID the second, Wort decided to retire after seven years of running the gift shop.

“What I will miss the most is my customers,” Wort said. “They’ve always been so supportive, and made the extra effort to support my shop and other local businesses. What I’m most proud of is when my customers voted the store “The Best Place For Unique Gifts In Cleveland Heights.”

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 10:04 AM, 11.08.2021