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Cedar Fairmount district plans summer of activities

Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District is changing is summer programming from a one-day event to an all-season celebration.

The Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District (SID) is moving away from its traditional one-day festival to instead offer an entire summer of activities, from June through August.

The district hopes to renew its pre-COVID vitality by encouraging more people to walk to Cedar Fairmount, dine at its restaurants, raise glasses and celebrate in its bars, discover the many unique items in its stores, and support its services.

The summer’s plans and activities include Food Truck Tuesdays, Music Thursdays, and Family Arts/Entertainment Saturdays.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 9:32 AM, 06.08.2021

Latest News Releases

New Volunteers Needed Volunteer with Hospice of the Western Reserve!
- Hospice of the Western Reserve, June 14, 2021 Read More
Heights Libraries wants public input on PEACE Park improvements
- CH-UH Library, June 14, 2021 Read More
Legal Aid Further Extends Eviction Prevention into Cuyahoga County Suburbs
- Legal Aid, June 8, 2021 Read More
Cleveland Water's 2020 Water Quality Report Now Available
- Cleveland Water, May 3, 2021 Read More
Heights Libraries shares vaccine information
- Heights Libraries, April 17, 2021 Read More

View more news releases

Testing and a missed opportunity

What a year this has been for educators. Teachers moved from virtual instruction to hybrid to in-person teaching. Educators were asked to adapt at a moment's notice. Some of our students lost their original teachers and had to build relationships with new ones. After all the chaos, the last thing any educator wanted to hear was that the Ohio state tests were required as usual. 

Ohio state testing was not optional for our district. Parents could opt out for their children, but schools were still required to administer these tests. This seems especially misguided considering that some students lost access to their regular learning opportunities due to circumstances beyond their control. Why these tests were deemed necessary remains a mystery, but we do know that the scores will be used to judge and rank our schools and our teachers. 

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:24 AM, 06.15.2021

University Heights remembers the fallen on Memorial Day

Commander Rick DeChant delivered the featured remarks at UH's Memorial Day ceremony.

On Memorial Day, University Heights residents gathered at Walter Stinson Community Park to commemorate and remember those who have fallen in service to their country.

“Today we remember the men and women that made this nation possible,” said University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan in his opening remarks. “We remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and sanctified with their blood the cause of freedom.”

In the featured address, Commander Rick DeChant reminded the audience of the cost of freedom. “We who survive these heroes must always remember the price they paid,” he said, “and that freedom, indeed, is not free.”

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 8:47 AM, 06.08.2021

Western Reserve Chorale presents online concert June 4–6

Since last September, the Western Reserve Chorale’s (WRC) artistic director, and pianist Sara Smith, have been meeting in a large space at Church of the Saviour every Tuesday night. They are the only two in the room while all other WRC members tune in for rehearsal via Zoom.

While many music ensembles put their seasons on hiatus this past year, WRC found a way to continue to connect with one another and create music together. This effort is culminating in a virtual concert, available on YouTube June 4–6. Links for the concert can be found on the ensemble’s website,

WRC invites the community to listen to and watch its upcoming concert. “In Her Voice” celebrates the contributions of female poets, including Emily Bronte, Maya Angelou, Elizabeth Barret Browning, Sara Teasdale, and Ysaye Barnwell.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 11:45 AM, 06.02.2021

RTA service changes coming to CH and UH

The stretches of RTA's bus network shown in yellow will lose service on June 13.

On June 13, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) will introduce its NEXT GEN service revisions, which will bring major changes to Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

In 2019, RTA hired Jarett Walker and Associates to assist with redesigning its route network to improve service frequency and connectivity within the constraints of its financial resources. This type of streamlining has become common in the transit industry, with complete network redesigns in Houston and Columbus among the most notable.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:11 AM, 05.27.2021

UHFD delivers COVID vaccinations to the homebound

Homebound residents have struggled to get out for their COVID-19 shots. Now, the vaccine is coming to them, courtesy of the University Heights Fire Department and Chief Robert Perko.

The UHFD is teaming up with the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging and local health departments to assist in the administration of the vaccine to homebound individuals in University Heights.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:30 AM, 06.01.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-24-2021

MAY 24, 2021 – special meeting

Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb; Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, clerk of council and finance director, and Law Director William Hanna. 

A one-hour executive session was held prior to the special meeting to cover “claims or disputes involving the public body and review of labor contract negotiations.” The special meeting lasted ten minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 9:56 AM, 06.14.2021

Forest Hill Church celebrates Juneteenth

Elégie members Caleb A. Wright, Michael Hives, Mist’a Craig and Brian Barron. [photo by Aireonna McCall]

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Forest Hill Church Presbyterian has continued to press forward with services, programs and traditions. The church’s food pantry has tripled its service to families in need. Co-pastors John Lentz and Veronica Goines have delivered sermons digitally to the community and beyond, via YouTube, for more than a year.

Now, the church’s Black History Education Committee plans to present the church’s first public event since the pandemic began. Forest Hill Church’s annual Juneteenth celebration has been a widely attended event for the past five years, though it was held digitally in 2020.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:08 AM, 05.27.2021

CH Green Team springs to action

CHGT's founders (from left) Catalina Wagers, Natalie Elwell and Alex Sitarik at Forest Hill Park doing a cleanup on Earth Day.

Have you ever wondered if you are recycling correctly? Have you ever felt compelled to learn about, and promote, more environmentally sustainable practices in the Heights, but do not know where to start? You are not alone. The newly formed Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) is a community volunteer organization focused on working with residents and local advocacy groups to identify opportunities and solutions intended to promote healthier and more sustainable environmental practices.

The group’s three founders met while attending a Recycling Ambassador seminar offered by Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District in January. 

“As we introduced ourselves to the class, [I] learned that two other participants were also Cleveland Heights residents. We decided to connect and explore ways to work with Heights residents to help improve recycling practices,” said Natalie Elwell.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:04 AM, 05.27.2021

Library offers memory kits for those with dementia

1940s-themed memory kit materials.

Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia that result in memory loss impact many in our community. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and more than 11 million provide unpaid care for people with dementia.

In June, all Heights Libraries branches will begin circulating memory kits to support community members living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and their caregivers.

Library staff developed the kits after attending a Dementia Friends training in fall 2020, hosted by the Benjamin Rose Institute, which described ways people and spaces can be made more welcoming to those with dementia.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:53 AM, 05.27.2021

Heights Arts presents 'Random Acts of Art'

A performance from the 2020 season. 

Heights Arts is proud to announce the return of its Random Acts of Art LIVE! music program for this summer and fall. The concert series was born during the pandemic, when local musicians found that their usually steady summer work was no longer available due to the shutdown of many, if not all, performance opportunities. Concerts went virtual, and artists were inspired to write and create new music addressing current issues and challenges. The Random Acts of Art LIVE! series allowed for continued live performances, bringing friends and neighbors together, while remaining socially distanced.

"There is something magical about hyper-local pop-up events like this, especially after some of the isolation we felt in the last year,” said Arleigh Savage, music coordinator at Heights Arts. “I always witness spontaneous conversation and excitement shared with listeners at these concerts, with everyone walking away feeling energized with the connection the event fosters."

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 12:02 PM, 05.27.2021

Severance should be candidates' top priority

Severance Town Center is a shell of its former self. Its troubles are obvious to anyone who visits the property and sees the vacant storefronts, the closed Regal Cinema and I-Hop, the massive empty building that once housed a Walmart, and expanses of asphalt that were once filled with the cars of shoppers.

The question now facing Cleveland Heights is this: How can Severance Town Center be redeveloped so that it again becomes a productive asset for Cleveland Heights—providing needed services and generating tax dollars to help relieve the tax burden on residents?

As Cleveland Heights prepares to elect its first mayor, it is my hope that its citizens will demand that all candidates for mayor, and for city council, address this issue.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:37 AM, 05.27.2021

It's time for fair school funding

The following is a shortened version of the testimony I gave to the Ohio State Senate’s K–12 Education Committee on May 5, in support of HB-1:

Like you, I think my community is pretty amazing. We in the Heights pride ourselves on our racial, economic and religious diversity. We believe that diversity is our strength. Yet, when you [talk to] someone who has looked for a home here, the most common [comment] is, “I love Cleveland Heights and University Heights, but the taxes are so high.” Residents agree, and some may think it is because their tax dollars aren’t used well. 

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 12:03 PM, 05.27.2021

Dobama releases anti-racism policy in new document

The Love and Respect document is available at

In 2019, Dobama Theatre was recognized for its efforts toward equity, diversity, and inclusion with the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award. On March 8, Dobama’s Board of Directors renewed the theater’s commitment [to those principles] when it unanimously adopted its Love and Respect document. In a statement, the Dobama Theatre team noted it was “continuing to learn about each other's life experiences, engaging with and supporting colleagues, and challenging injustice when we encounter it will help us create the community we seek."

The living document is a plan for anti-racist action, and building a culture of authentic inclusivity at Dobama Theatre, focusing on the intersections of race with sexuality, gender, disability, religion, and other oppressed identities.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:59 AM, 05.27.2021

LEI offers in-person and virtual camps

Lake Erie Ink staff.

As Lake Erie Ink (LEI) prepares for the start of in-person creative expression camps this summer, one cannot help but reflect back to last summer, when the idea of meeting in a physical space seemed impossible.

The story of LEI this past year is one of difficulty, as the entire organization scrambled to find ways to adapt.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:56 AM, 05.27.2021

What’s going on at your library?

Coventry Village Library

1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Monday, June 21, 7 p.m.

Matchmakers Midsummer Outdoor Book Talk. Looking for a great summer read? Join Matchmakers on the library's front lawn, where participants will share book suggestions. Bring your own chair or blanket, and look for the sign. This program follows CDC safety guidelines, and will be held weather permitting.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:54 AM, 05.27.2021

The nobility of Noble Neighbors

I love the gardeners market sponsored by Noble Neighbors at the Roanoke park. I have found new homes there for my crowded native perennials.

The park that finally occupies that space, after years of begging the city to allow citizens to create it, is wonderful and charming, all initiated by the early work of Noble Neighbors’ Beautification Committee.

Noble Neighbors’ May event is also tremendous, but I do wonder who actually plans it, since members never discuss [the plans].

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:49 AM, 05.27.2021

CH residents deserve a public hearing on Meadowbrook-Lee site

Cleveland Heights citizens have not been asked what they think about the city’s (sixth) attempt to develop [the site at] Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road.

My friends and I think that putting in an urban activity park (a space with a stage; an area to hold farmers markets, or food trucks; a water feature, etc.) is a good idea for the 1.07-acre space at Meadowbrook and Lee.

Many people agree—more than 668 have signed our online petition—and have joined with us to help make this happen.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:44 AM, 05.27.2021

Pride flag theft sparks worry, then joy

A screen shot from Channel 19 News' coverage of the flag bandit.

What looked at first to be a possible hate crime in University Heights turned out to be nothing more than a home-improvement project.

Last month, University Heights neighbors feared the worst when a gay-pride flag disappeared from a house on Edgerton Road. They were concerned the theft was a hate crime, and an attempt to intimidate and silence the LGBTQIA+ community.

Charlie Olivio turned to a Facebook discussion board to ask neighbors if they had any video surveillance of someone stealing the pride flag belonging to him and his husband, Tommy Chesnes. Olivio noted that the neighborhood has many homes that fly pride flags, and expressed concern that others may also have fallen victim to a thief.

Neighbors rallied to the couple’s defense, offering encouragement and shared frustration.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:06 AM, 05.27.2021

CH Community Development Block Grant applications open June 3

The city of Cleveland Heights encourages eligible residents and organizations to apply for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, available annually. This federal program, run by the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, allocates money to eligible municipalities to be used in the areas of economic development, housing rehabilitation, and programming that specifically serves low- to moderate-income persons and neighborhoods.  

In Cleveland Heights, CDBG funding has historically supported organizations that serve the aging, the disabled, and at-risk youth; wrap-around services; housing rehabilitation programming and assistance; and business development in eligible districts.

The application period for 2022 CDBG funding will open on June 3 and close on July 15. For more information about the program, and to access the online application, visit

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:02 AM, 05.27.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-3-2021

MAY 3, 2021 regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Legislation 
  • Council member comments


Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting lasted 50 minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:42 AM, 05.27.2021

Living in a 15-minute city

Recently we came across a hot new concept in city planning: the 15-minute city. As longtime Cleveland Heights residents we said, “Wait . . . this describes where we’ve lived for years!”

Residents of a 15-minute city can work, shop, learn and play within a 15-minute walk or bike ride from their homes, with good transit options for further destinations.

With the rapid expansion of work-from-home during the COVID-19 pandemic, this concept gained international currency. Carlos Modena, a professor at the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, championed the idea, and sold it to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. Hidalgo made it the centerpiece of her 2020 campaign, winning re-election to a second term.

Cleveland Heights is already a complex of overlapping 15-minute cities.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:21 AM, 05.27.2021

Heights pilgrims advocate for our community

On May 4, Elizabeth Kirby, CH-UH schools superintendent, made another pilgrimage to Columbus to urge the Ohio Legislature to improve the state’s investment in public education, and to directly fund vouchers and charter schools. The current funding of education choice has resulted in deep cuts in programs and personnel in the Heights schools, a steep increase in local taxes, and plenty of tension and anger as state policy puts the future attractiveness of our unique community in doubt.

Heights Coalition for Public Education members Robin Koslen, Toni Thayer and Joan Spoerl, along with Jayne Geneva, a longtime member of the district’s lay finance committee, also spoke before the Senate’s primary and secondary education committee, during hearings on the state’s biennial budget. The Legislature must approve an operating budget by June 30, and fixing school funding is a big-ticket item in the budget.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:27 AM, 05.27.2021

Requiem for city council and a form of government

Cleveland Heights City Council has ceased to function in a productive manner. Come Jan. 1, 2022, its duties will be drastically minimized by the change to a mayor-council form of government.

"City council" is both the rules under which it operates, and the people whose duty it is to carry out those rules. It's hard to define the exact date, but some of the people on the current council stopped carrying out the rules in good faith at least six years ago.

The hypocrisy and mendacity of these council members, including Ungar, Dunbar and Stein, is undeniable.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:18 AM, 05.27.2021

Basic services must remain a priority for new mayor

Cleveland Heights soon will elect a mayor for the first time since the 1920s. As former CH City Council president with the official title of mayor, I worked closely with city managers. I understand the wide scope of activities conducted by local government. I know the important role a new mayor will play. An entirely new system of government must be created for our city without guidance from tradition or experience. At stake is nothing less than the health, welfare and safety of all Cleveland Heights residents.

Our community must choose wisely. It must elect the candidate to lead a municipal corporation with a $50-million budget, and hundreds of employees. That choice should be based on credentials. It should not be based simply on the usual vague political statements about hopes and dreams.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:32 AM, 05.27.2021

Elected officials must protect CH's green assets

To the Editor:

A recent stroll by the Top of the Hill project led me to also check out what has been called the "collegiate edition" of Top of the Hill, on Euclid Heights Boulevard. This is a student-housing project located directly across from Buckingham condominiums, to be marketed to Case Western Reserve University students.

Both the Planning Commission and Architectural Board of Review seem to have mandated the preservation and incorporation of an existing 5,200-square-foot house and adjoining carriage house into the project, due to their historical significance. An excellent decision, which stands in stark contrast to the elimination of virtually every mature tree—literally anything green—between Overlook Park apartments and Margaret Wagner House. It would seem green space holds no historical significance.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:58 AM, 05.27.2021

CH resident urges voters to stay informed; endorses Danforth

To the Editor:

After more than four years of waiting for political noise to subside, three major political races come to our backyard. The 11th District U.S. Congressional race to replace Marcia Fudge, the Cleveland mayor's race to replace 16-year incumbent Frank Jackson and, most significant to Cleveland Heights residents, the first directly elected mayor's race in the city's 100-year history.

While federal-level officials can impact issues that affect American lives, city mayors can make executive changes that affect residents' daily lives. For that reason, the Cleveland Heights mayor's race is a rare opportunity for residents to have a say in the future of our city.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:56 AM, 05.27.2021

Hart is the leader we need for CH

To the Editor:

I urge my fellow residents to join me in supporting Melody Hart for mayor because she has demonstrated the kind of leadership Cleveland Heights urgently needs, to address a range of challenges and opportunities we face.

As a Cleveland Heights council member, Melody has made it a priority to really listen to residents’ concerns; respond, and actually get things done; and do that by helping bring people together to solve problems we all care about.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:50 AM, 05.27.2021

Former Cleveland mayor endorses Danforth

As a former Ohio state representative (1985–1997) and Cuyahoga County commissioner (1997–2001) I worked with a lot of mayors. Serving as mayor of Cleveland (2001–2005) was the highest honor and hardest and most important work of my life. Soon, Cleveland Heights will directly elect a mayor for the first time in almost 100 years. I appreciate from my own experience how difficult this job will be.

There’s no ducking responsibility when you’re the mayor. Cleveland Heights has an almost $45-million budget and nearly 400 employees. The new mayor must inspire the existing workforce to serve with excellence, and bring in talented leadership to manage the city.

The buck always stops with the mayor.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:29 AM, 05.27.2021

What leadership means to me

A mayoral campaign is all about leadership, this time within the context of the Cleveland Heights community. Effective city leadership involves a three-legged stool, and our city’s first elected mayor needs to have strengths in three areas—civic engagement, experience in city government, and executive finance and managerial skills. 

Civic engagement: My years of involvement with Greater Cleveland Congregations Cleveland Heights Housing Committee includes direct engagement with the neighborhoods most affected by the housing crisis, and advocacy for housing equity and reform. A longtime supporter of Heights Friends of Immigrants, I have sponsored a Haitian immigrant who is now a working, productive member of our community. Serving as a board member and treasurer for the past three years, I have been a member of Cleveland Heights Democrats since 2005.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:15 AM, 05.27.2021

Heights High's Buescher named U.S. Presidential Scholar

Maple Buescher is a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar.

Heights High senior Maple Buescher has been named a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar. She is one of 161 high school seniors in the country, and one of three in Ohio, to receive the award. U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the names of the scholars on May 13.

Each year, the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars selects the students “based on their academic success, artistic and technical excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service, leadership and demonstrated commitment to high ideals.”

“I am thrilled that Maple has received this great honor. She has always been committed to education, serving her community and learning as much as she can about the world," said CH-UH City School District Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 10:06 AM, 05.25.2021

GardenWalk CH is July 17 and 18

Gardens large and small will be featured on GardenWalk Cleveland Heights' self-guided tour. [photo by Paula Darte]

As a Cleveland Heights newcomer, Mary Hosier wandered into one of the Heights’ favorite bookshops, said she needed to make new friends, and asked about local gardeners. The recommendation was to go find Jan Kious. This launched a decade-long friendship, and Hosier joined the planning committee of GardenWalk Cleveland and, more recently, GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, founded by Kious.

This year’s Cleveland Heights event ( will be held on Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, noon to 5 p.m. each day. 

GardenWalk Cleveland (, which features nine Cleveland neighborhoods, will be held one week earlier, on Saturday, July 10, and Sunday, July 11, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:31 AM, 05.25.2021

UH community remembers Pete Bernardo

The late Pete Bernardo, pictured at University Heights' Memorial Day Ceremony in 2019.

For decades, Pete Bernardo dedicated his life to his country, his community, and to John Carroll University (JCU). Bernardo died on May 14, at the age of 75. He is survived by his wife, JoAnne, and three sons.

“To describe the loss of Pete Bernardo and what he meant to this community is almost beyond words,” University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan said. “He was a model of service and dedication to our community and to our country. All of us who worked with him are honored to have done so.”

A decorated Vietnam War veteran, Bernardo was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and three Purple Hearts for his heroic efforts in the line of duty for the U.S. Army. 

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:25 AM, 05.25.2021

Boulevard Neighbors recaps recent projects

Members of Boulevard Neighbors and Beth El - The Heights Synagogue participated in a neighborhood trash pickup this spring.

Boulevard Neighbors is a growing network of residents who live in the neighborhood near Boulevard Elementary School, bounded by Cumberland, Taylor, Mayfield and Berkeley roads. Among the projects the group has undertaken this spring are:

  • Identifying a need for more trees in the neighborhood. Members are reaching out to neighbors and collaborating with Heights Tree People to plant trees in front yards, for free. For more information, send an e-mail to
  • Building and installing a Little Free Pantry in front of Beth El – The Heights Synagogue, on Desota Avenue, where neighbors can donate non-perishable food items for use by those in need. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for May 23 at 4 p.m., followed by a walk to Compton Road to discuss the potential Compton Greenway with Cleveland Heights City Planning Director Eric Zamft. For more information and to participate, contact Elaine Price at
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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 9:28 AM, 05.17.2021

Rust Belt Riders offers food-scrap drop-off service in CH

Buckets and bags of soil for purchase at Coventry Village's Phoenix Coffee.

Rust Belt Riders Neighborhood food-scrap drop-off program will be available in the city of Cleveland Heights beginning Monday, May 17. Bins will be located in the parking lot of the Coventry PEACE Campus, off of Euclid Heights Boulevard, and will be available 24/7/365 for the collection of household food scraps. 

Participation in the food-scrap recycling program requires participants to sign up online Members pay $10 per month and may bring as many or as few food scraps as they produce. 

Rust Belt Riders recommends using a five-gallon bucket lined with a BPI-certified compostable bag or a brown paper bag to collect the scrap, and encourages weekly dropoffs.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 9:27 AM, 05.17.2021

Cleveland Heights Girl Scout receives Medal of Honor

Cleveland Heights resident Ellie Costanzo points to her new medal.

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) awarded Elizabeth (Ellie) Costanzo, a Girl Scout Brownie, its Medal of Honor for saving the life of a family friend last year. The Girl Scout Medal of Honor is presented to Girl Scouts who have performed acts of heroism beyond the degree of maturity and training expected for their age. 

Jane Christyson, CEO of Girl Scouts of North East Ohio (GSNEO) presented Costanzo with the award, along with a congratulatory letter from GSUSA, in a ceremony at Church of the Gesu in University Heights, on May 3. 

While visiting her grandparents’ lake house last summer, Costanzo was standing on the dock with her siblings and two family friends. Her brother was fishing on the dock and had a bite on his line; but soon after the fish bit, it swam under the dock. One of the friends, who was 3 at the time, bent down to look at the fish and fell into the water.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 9:16 AM, 05.14.2021

CH resident and bakeries give 'sweet' thank you to Wolstein vaccinators

Debra Franke and Brigadier General Rebecca O'Connor at the Wolstein Center.

Maybe like many of you, I went through many emotional stages during this pandemic. It started with disbelief; then, disbelief turned to shock. Shock gave way to cautious optimism last spring and summer and fall, when we understood that we could be outside with others in a socially distanced kind of way. Cold weather and social isolation turned that optimism to a gray kind of emotion and lethargy. News of the vaccine brought equal parts hope and frustration. That’s where this story starts.

The vaccine, our way out of this mess, was an absolute blessing this winter. But the supply was limited, and the process of scheduling an appointment was fractured. With no central appointment system, senior citizens had to use many different websites to find an elusive appointment. For those with limited computer access or skills, it was difficult.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:56 AM, 05.04.2021

CH marks centennial with events and tours

Cleveland Heights will continue its centennial celebration throughout 2021. [photo courtesy city of Cleveland Heights]

The city of Cleveland Heights will celebrate its centennial with a series of learning opportunities and events in 2021. Residents and visitors are invited to learn about the city’s history, share their own stories, and explore Cleveland Heights’ many amenities. 

Cleveland Heights officially kicked off its centennial celebration last fall, with the launch of its “All Are Welcome” campaign. It has promoted the campaign throughout the city, with window displays, bus wraps, videos, and discussions on social media.

The city has launched a new microsite,, as a hub for centennial information. The site provides a detailed history of the city, accompanied by archival photos.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:23 AM, 04.30.2021

UH Symphonic Band resumes practices and performances

The UH Symphonic Band rehearsing outdoors, in a socially distanced small group, in September 2020. [photo: Mark Souther]

Last year, the University Heights Symphonic Band adapted to an unprecedented summer to share its love of music with the community. Outdoor rehearsals, social distancing, and all the other precautions put in place due to the pandemic proved well worth it, as the band capped the summer with several recording sessions at Walter Stinson Park.

Now, with declining COVID cases, a vaccine rollout, and summer again in our sights, the full band will be back together for the first time since March 8, 2020.

Starting May 6, band members will rehearse at John Carroll University every Thursday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Following CDC guidelines, the band will rehearse outside, be socially distanced, and musicians will play wearing special masks that minimize aerosol spread. 

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:07 AM, 04.30.2021

Heights High swim cadets present hybrid show

The 2020–21 Heights High School Swim Cadets (left to right, from front row): Lucia Mitchell, Serenity Parker, Ruby Blackman; Sophia Marotta, Anna Turner, Lily Fawcett-Dubow, Harper Walker, Rachel O’Keeffe;  Sophia Forniti, Ella Herr, Polly Routh, Clara Lyford, Ruby Tugeau; Zoe Burns, Clarissa Gorjanc, Estelle Covault, Arden Lindberg.

The 2020–21 Cleveland Heights High School Swim Cadets, a 17-member synchronized swim club, will present its annual show May 6–8, 7 p.m., at the Heights High pool, 13263 Cedar Road. The theme of this year’s show is Swim Cadets Undercover.

The club, led by determined young women who sacrificed many of their high school traditions during this pandemic year, did everything in their power to persuade the administration that the show “must go on.” 

To follow COVID safety protocols, and because seating is limited to maintain social distancing, only family members of the performers will be allowed to attend in person. Family members must purchase tickets directly from their cadet prior to the performance dates. Attendees must enter through the school’s west entrance for a brief health screening, and must wear a proper face mask to be admitted.

Other community members and students are welcome to view the show, for free, via YouTube livestream on Friday, May 7. Viewers watching from home are encouraged to make an online donation. Details on how to do so will be posted on the group’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:53 AM, 04.30.2021

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to 10 projects

FutureHeights awarded $6,452 in grants to support 10 projects in Cleveland Heights and University Heights in the spring round of its 2021 Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program.

University Heights Symphonic Band received $1,000 for its 50th Anniversary Celebration. The band plans to use grant funds to purchase new music arrangements that highlight various social issues and works by BIPOC and LGBTQ composers. For more information visit

Cedar Fairmount Arts received $1,000 to transform two vacant lots on Cedar Road, at South Overlook Road and Delaware Drive, into a park for community use, adding much-needed greenspace to the district.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:43 AM, 04.30.2021

University Heights stands against COVID-19

University Heights resident and nurse Kat Sigel at UH City Hall, filming her part in a new public service announcement.

A University Heights group is standing together in an effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all. Their message? “Get vaccinated. Your arm has the power to lift us all up.”

A new public service announcement from University Heights City Hall begins with local nurse and University Heights resident Kat Sigel showing off her post-shot bandage. Also appearing in the PSA are University Heights Symphonic Band conductor Matthew Salvaggio; resident Joanna Homann; M-E Fenn of Odd Dog Coffee; resident Ketti Finneran;  school board member Jodi Sourini; Fire Chief Robert Perko and members of the fire department; resident Ron Collier; resident Giovanna Ventre; Libby Stineman from Milk & Cookies; Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas; and resident Gina Ventre.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:25 AM, 04.30.2021

Buckingham residents endorse Hart for mayor

To the Editor:

We’re sending this letter to announce our endorsement of Melody Hart for mayor of Cleveland Heights. In the information regarding her announcement to run, she emphasizes characteristics such as “responsive,” taking into account “citizens’ complaints,” and “transparency.” From our perspective as residents of the Buckingham Condominium—the lone, four-story, circa 1925 building in the very center of the Top of the Hill (TOH) project—Melody has been the one member of council who has consistently reached out to us in our many concerns.

Last May, just as ground was breaking for TOH, Melody and Davida Russell, another CH council member, went out of their ways on a Sunday afternoon to meet with [Buckingham] residents and listen to our concerns.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:47 AM, 04.30.2021

Residents ask candidates to embrace environmental policy platform

We are Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents with a vision for a healthy environment within our own political boundaries and beyond. We are requesting that mayoral, council, and school board candidates incorporate environmental policies in their platforms.

We are looking for elected leaders who are knowledgeable about, embrace, and apply an environmental overlay to all policy proposals and actions. Each decision affecting the people and lands of our cities should have a documented and transparent review of how this overlay is applied. The overlay should include the impact on natural resources, environmental equity, and climate change.

Our cities are an integral component of Greater Cleveland’s ecosystem.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:42 AM, 04.30.2021

Student interns curate 'Innate Environments'

Work by Heights Arts intern Zelda Thayer-Hansen.

Heights Arts is known for celebrating art in many forms at its longstanding Cleveland Heights gallery. That especially includes up-and-coming artists. This spring, Heights Arts presents Innate Environments, and a Spotlight showcase, both celebrating new talent. The concurrent exhibitions run Friday, May 21, through Sunday, June 13, at Heights Arts gallery, 2175 Lee Road.

Heights Arts interns Zelda Thayer-Hansen and Eryn Lawsonn curated Innate Environments. They created a show that acknowledges nature in its unsightly truths and inherent beauty, all while evaluating humanity’s existence within the natural world, through photography, graphic design, and mixed media. The two interns share the Spotlight showcase adjacent to the exhibition.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:06 AM, 04.30.2021

The shoppe on the corner

An ad in the East Cleveland Leader from Dec. 15, 1955.

My birthday is in May, and I’m thinking of one birthday in particular—my fourth. On that day, my uncle happened to be visiting his mother, my great aunt, who lived downstairs from my family, in the duplex she owned on Belmar. I was playing in the front yard when my uncle found out it was my birthday and said to me, “Let’s take a ride.” I climbed into his big black Cadillac and we drove about four blocks east to Snedeker’s Toy Shoppe, on the southwest corner of Mayfield and Superior roads.

Snedeker’s was not a huge place, but it had every kind of kids toy, game and trick you could want. My uncle, Danny Budin, who owned the then-famous Budin’s Delicatessen, was known for his generosity. Uncle Danny told me to pick out anything I wanted, for my birthday. I looked around and picked a teddy bear. He said, “Is that all you want? Get something else.” So, I got something else.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:04 AM, 04.30.2021

CH sculpture garden reopens for annual tour

A partial view of Fred Gearhart's sculptures in his Cleveland Heights garden. (Photo: Fred Gearhart)

For 12 years, Cleveland Heights artist Fred Gearhart has opened his studio and sculpture garden to visitors. Cancelled last year due to the coronavirus shutdown, the annual event returns on Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30, 1–7 p.m. This show attracts many Heights residents, as well as visitors from throughout the region, and is intended to provide enjoyment and respite on the Memorial Day weekend.

Gearhart has been a productive sculptor, working for 36 years in his home studio at 1609 Rydalmount Road. Because he works mostly in stone, the studio area is outdoors. Many finished pieces are on display on the property, ranging from fist-sized to 10 feet tall.

Subject matter includes figures and faces, abstract art, and functional work, such as fountains, birdbaths and bud vases. Some pieces are memory pieces about his life.

“Many people enjoy the humorous stone faces,” said Gearhart. “Browsers are welcome. I want my friends and neighbors to enjoy seeing what I make.”

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:04 AM, 04.30.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 4-20-2021

APRIL 20, 2021, work session


  • School-community partnerships
  • Noble community learning center
  • Performance audit update
  • COVID vaccine clinic
  • Tiger Camp


Present were board President James Posch; members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright; Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby; and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 8:22 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 9:05 AM, 05.11.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-19-2021

APRIL 19, 2021 regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • Chief of police report
  • Cedar/Lee/Meadowbrook
  • Council approvals
  • Consent agenda
  • Council member comments


Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. This was Mr. Cobb’s first meeting. 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 one hour long.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 8:59 AM, 05.11.2021

Library launches new tablet-lending program

Android tablets are available from the Lee Road branch of Heights Libraries.

Heights Libraries began an Android tablet-loaning pilot project in April at its Lee Road branch. If the program proves popular, it will be expanded to the library system’s Coventry, Noble, and University Heights branches.

The new lending program is a free service that allows cardholders to check out an Android tablet device for up to seven days.

It is one of the ways that Heights Libraries is trying to bridge the “digital divide,” the gap between necessary technology and those who have trouble accessing it.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:02 AM, 04.30.2021

Annual parade returns to University Heights

A parade will return to University Heights in 2021. This year only, instead of Memorial Day, the parade will be on the Fourth of July.

For one year only, the annual University Heights parade will be held on the Fourth of July.

For decades, every year, University Heights has held Northeast Ohio’s biggest and best Memorial Day parade—and Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan said the city plans to bring back the Memorial Day Parade in 2022.

Due to current pandemic concerns, however, it is uncertain if it would be safe to throw a full-fledged Memorial Day parade this year. Chagrin Falls and other cities in Northeast Ohio have decided against holding a parade over Memorial Day weekend. University Heights will err on the side of caution and hold a parade later in the summer.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:59 AM, 04.30.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education joint meeting with city councils and library board 4-12-2021

APRIL 12, 2021


  • University Heights City Council
  • Cleveland Heights City Council
  • Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library Board
  • Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education 
  • Discussion


From the board of education were President Jim Posch, Dan Heinz, Malia Lewis and Jodi Sourini. Member Beverly Wright was absent. Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer also attended. 

From the Cleveland Heights City Council were President Jason Stein, Vice President Kahlil Seren Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Hart, Davida Russell, and Mike Unger. City Manager Suzanna Niermann-O’Neil and Parks and Recreation Director Joe McRae also attended.

From the University Heights City Council were Vice Mayor Michele Weiss, Sandra Berry, Barbara Blankfield, Justin Gould, and John Rach; council members Phil Ertel and Sue Pardee were absent. Mayor Michael Brennan also attended.

From the library board were Library Director Nancy Levin, Board President Dana Fluellen, Patti Carlyle, Gabe Crenshaw, Max Gerboc, Annette Iwamoto, Tyler McTigue, and Vikas Turakhia. Fiscal Officer DeborahHerrmann and Deputy Director Kim DeNero-Ackroyd also attended.

Each group reported on the issues they were principally concerned with at this time; discussion followed the presentations.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:12 AM, 05.11.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 4-6-2021

APRIL 6, 2021 regular meeting


  • Recognitions 
  • Public comments
  • Board approvals
  • Instruction update
  • Financial reports
  • Alternative collective bargaining models
  • Lay Finance Committee
  • EdChoice concerns


Present were Board President James Posch; members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright; Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby; and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:09 AM, 05.11.2021

FutureHeights' 2021 annual meeting is June 9

On June 9, FutureHeights will present its 2021 annual meeting on the outdoor patio of Boss Dog Brewing Company, 2179 Lee Road. The program will also be livestreamed for remote viewing.

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

This year’s meeting will focus on the unique neighborhoods in the Heights, and Cleveland Heights' 100-year history. FutureHeights will also report on its activities and accomplishments, as well as its vision for the future.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:57 AM, 04.30.2021

Heights Music Hop will return in 2021, issues call for musicians

After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, the eighth annual Heights Music Hop festival will take place on Saturday, Sept. 18, in the Cedar Lee Business District.

Heights Music Hop showcases local, live musical talent to promote the Heights as home to the arts, while also helping to support the local economy and celebrate the community’s diversity, walkability and great quality of life.

In the past, performances have occurred within local businesses; this year, FutureHeights will present the event on outdoor stages throughout the district, to ensure the safety of participants.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:55 AM, 04.30.2021

In-person learning is back

The CH-UH school district is officially back to in-person teaching. It’s been a long time coming. 

Staying remote for as long as we did was the safest choice for our staff, students, and families. The decisions the district made became more controversial as the year progressed, but it made no sense to return in-person when COVID numbers were on the rise and a vaccine was months away.   

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:48 AM, 04.30.2021