Latest News

Cleveland Heights residents monitor city's search for water solutions

Approximately 40 Cleveland Heights residents crowded into city council chambers on July 13, as City Manager Tanisha Briley presented a detailed update on the city’s troubled water department. Most in the audience sported stickers reading, “Public water? Yes!” created by writer and activist Joyce Brabner, and distributed by Cleveland Heights Citizens for Safe, Affordable Water.

Present at the Committee of the Whole meeting were Mayor Dennis Wilcox, Vice Mayor Cheryl Stephens, and council members Jeff Coryell, Kahlil Seren and Melissa Yasinow. Council members Mary Dunbar and Jason Stein were out of town. Flanking Briley were Utilities Commissioner Colette Clinkscale and other city staff members.

In a presentation that lasted more than one-and-a-half hours, Briley reported on both short-term measures to curb financial losses, and the city’s efforts to find long-term solutions to the water department’s looming deficit and decaying infrastructure.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:41 AM, 07.28.2015

Latest News Releases

Cleveland Heights Police Department issues statement about death of Ralkina Jones
- City of Cleveland Heights, July 27, 2015 Read More
Doan Brook Watershed Partnership sponsors Blue Rock Spring Hike on July 25
- Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, July 7, 2015 Read More
Doan Brook Watershed Partnership host 14th annual Family Fishing Day on Saturday, July 11
- Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, July 7, 2015 Read More
Howson Gallery presents 'Barbara Stanford Life Forms" exhibition, July 10 through Aug. 23
- Judson, July 7, 2015 Read More
- City of Cleveland Heights, July 2, 2015 Read More

View more news releases

Heights welcomes new basketball coach with BBQ fundraiser

Jeremy Holmes, new head coach of CH-UH boys varsity basketball.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District will welcome Jeremy Holmes, new head coach of Cleveland Heights boys varsity basketball, at a BBQ fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 1. While the Heights basketball program has always been strong, the district is especially excited to begin a new era with Holmes, who is a former Heights student and star player.

Holmes has long been involved in youth basketball. He has worked closely with the Heights Basketball Academy over the years and in close cooperation with the program’s executive director, Damon Stringer, another former Heights student and star player.

Stringer has been working with kids in the Heights over the last few years, putting in countless hours to provide group and individual training programs, resources, tournaments, mentoring and coaching to hundreds of kids—many of whom will be heading Holmes’ way on the courts. Stringer has been striving to develop these young adults, in the hope that they will reach their full potential, on and off the court.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 11:22 AM, 07.28.2015

Teachers union president offers back-to-school tips for parents

As schools gear up for a new school year, CH Teachers Union President Ari Klein offers back-to-school tips for all parents:

The new school year always comes quicker than anyone anticipates. Before summer break slips by, there are small things that parents and guardians can do to help their children transition successfully back into a school routine. 

For children entering a new school, as well as younger children, getting familiar with the school grounds and location can be very helpful in allaying some natural anxiety about going to school. If there is a playground on the school property, it might help younger children adjust to the school just by being on the grounds and taking some ownership through gaining a sense of familiarity.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:35 AM, 07.28.2015

Artful plans August and fall fundraisers

Artful members (from left): Brady Dindia, Kevin Khayat, Rachel Williams, Eric Mundson, Sarah Curry, David King, Shannon Morris. Not pictured: Hillary Lyon and Louise Khayat. [photo courtesy Stephen Cutri (]

In last month’s edition of the Heights Observer, James Henke introduced local artist Shannon Morris and Artful, a new, start-up Heights nonprofit.

Artful is a community effort, intent on creating an Artful space in the Heights. The founding committee consists of artists, educators, and local business owners, all with strong ties to the area. Artful (which, as ARTFUL LLC, is a registered nonprofit in the state of Ohio) has been approved by Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts to receive free legal assistance as committee members move ahead with the project. Another beneficial development has come in the form of an anonymous challenge grant of $25,000. While this requires that the committee raise $25,000, members are hopeful that, with community support, they will raise enough funds to receive the matching grant.

Artful’s first fundraiser, called playFUL, will be a kickball tournament to be held on Aug. 9, 3:15–7 p.m., at Denison Park. According to Sarah Curry, Artful’s artists and education advocate, the intention is to “encourage the community to come together to be playful,” while helping Artful secure the funds it needs to develop the project and make it a reality.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:32 AM, 07.28.2015

August bicycle rides feature gardens, ice cream and art

Join the Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) and community members for fun and relaxing bike rides in August. Cycling is a great way to expand your world, meet new people and have fun. All ride participants are asked to sign waivers; helmets are mandatory and bike locks are encouraged. You’ll need a bike light if you are pedaling in the dark.

Aug. 1, 10 a.m. to noon: Back to the Farm, Back to Nature.

This ride begins at the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Arch, at the southeast corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, and will feature rain gardens, bioswales (rain collection areas), permaculture (sustainable growing practices), community gardens, “Food not Lawns,” and an opportunity to meet a new generation of gardeners. [Rain date: Aug. 2, 1–3 p.m.]

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:27 AM, 07.28.2015

CHHS grad is new Heights High supervisor of athletics

Dwight Hollins

Dwight Hollins is the new Heights High supervisor of athletics. Hollins takes over the position following the departure of Kristin Hughes, former athletic director, who accepted the position of director of athletics for Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Dwight will help facilitate the transition of athletic programs in the midst of the Heights High construction over the next two years.

"I know the district well and am eager to get started. With the demolition and construction of the high school just starting to take place, I see this transition as a huge opportunity," stated Hollins.  

Hollins, a CHHS graduate himself, has extensive experience in athletics.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 9:12 AM, 07.28.2015

CH-UH BOE opts against placing levy on 2015 ballot; looks instead to 2016

Despite a significant need for additional operating funds to maintain current staffing and services, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Board of Education (BOE) has decided against asking voters to approve a new operating levy in 2015.

Scott Gainer, the district’s chief financial officer, detailed recent spending cuts that have been made, and next steps to offset the lost revenue from the May 2015 levy not passing, the loss of the Tangible Personal Property tax reimbursement from the state, and EdChoice vouchers. [The Educational Choice (EdChoice) Program provides students from underperforming public schools the opportunity to attend participating private schools. The EdChoice scholarship amount is currently $4,250 for grades K–8. When families opt to take advantage of this program, the district loses both the student and the state funding.]

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 5:10 PM, 07.23.2015

Felisha Gould is new CH-UH assistant superintendent

Felisha Gould, new CH-UH City School District assistant superintendent.

The Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District has named Felisha Gould as its new assistant superintendent. Her term will begin Aug. 1. Gould succeeds Andrea Celico, the new superintendent of the Bedford City School District, who came to the CH-UH district as assistant superintendent in July 2013.

Gould comes to the position with extensive experience and leadership skills. She began her career as a high school biology teacher in Akron Public Schools before being promoted to middle school principal and then high school principal.

Gould has received a number of awards, including Akron Urban League Educator of the Year, Akron Alliance of Black School Educators Outstanding Administrator, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators Middle School Principal of the Year, and the Ohio Alliance of Black School Educators Principal and Student Appreciation awards.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 3:29 PM, 07.22.2015

Trapped! opens on Coventry

Scott and Alan Applegate, the owners of Trapped!

Real-life escape rooms are booming all over the world. The rooms are based on video games, where the player is locked inside a room and must explore his or her surroundings in order to escape. Players must be observant and use critical-thinking skills to escape the room. The first real-life escape room opened in Japan in 2008. The rooms quickly spread across Asia, and then, a couple of years later, one opened in Budapest, Hungary, followed by many more in Europe. In 2012, the first North American escape room opened in San Francisco, and more soon opened, first in New York, then Toronto. Now, Greater Cleveland has its first real-life escape room.

Called Trapped!, the escape room opened on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights on July 17. Its owners are Cleveland Heights resident Alan Applegate and his brother, Scott Applegate. Alan first discovered the concept in Toronto in March, when he and his two sons—12-year-old Robbie and 14-year-old Tyler—were attending a film festival.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:07 AM, 07.21.2015

Heights artist wins illustration award

Christoph's award-winning illustration is featured in a children's book about Gordon Parks.

Heights illustrator Jamey Christoph received an Award of Excellence from Communication Arts for his work on the children’s book Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America. The publication’s 56th Illustration Annual features an illustration from the book, which depicts impoverished families living in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol. The international competition reviewed more than 4,300 applicants and awarded Christoph its top award for illustrations in published books.

Christoph, a resident of Cleveland Heights since 2002, currently resides in Grant Deming’s Forest Hill Neighborhood.

Information about his children’s books and illustrations are available at

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 11:28 AM, 07.21.2015

Heights team wins Pony League title

The "Green Machine" used the big inning to get ahead and stay ahead in the championship game. Photo by Melissa Rink.

In thrilling but ultimately convincing fashion, Cleveland Heights beat the South Euclid Indians 26-8 on July 17 to capture the 2015 Quad-City Pony League championship for the 14U age group.

The win did not come easily, as South Euclid claimed an early lead. Down by two runs with two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Heights scored 12 runs to take a commanding lead and never looked back.

Taking over for starter Justin Rink, pitchers Owen Lang and Jake Rzepka—backed by solid defense—held South Euclid to zero runs the remainder of the game.

Coached by Jeff Rink, the team finished the regular season with an 11-1 record and was seeded first in the post-season tournament. “I was really impressed with this squad, especially after they fell behind early," Rink said after the game. "A lot of these guys have been together for a long time, been competitive but have not won a championship until today. I am thrilled they ended their pre-high school careers on such a high note.”

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:58 AM, 07.21.2015

CHPD seeking applicants for 2015 Citizens Police Academy

The Cleveland Heights Police Department is accepting applications for the second class of the Cleveland Heights Citizens Police Academy.

Participation is free. The brief application process is open to anyone interested in learning more about how police are trained and how the CHPD operates.

In 12 classes conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings over six weeks beginning Aug. 11, students in the Citizens Police Academy will receive survey-level instruction on the same topics taught to full-time cadets who train there. Each topic is covered by an academy instructor who is knowledgeable, highly trained and active in the field. 

The instructors speak from substantial, personal knowledge and experience, according to members of the 2014 Citizens Police Academy, and were open to dialogue while providing straightforward answers to questions.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:07 AM, 07.21.2015

Heights business plans local events for Tibetan monks

The monks visit Cleveland Heights, November 2014

Cleveland Heights-based Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki is planning events for the Cleveland leg of a national tour for a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks. The events will be held throughout the Cleveland area Sept. 21–26. Presentations are non-religious, and are suitable for people of all faiths and traditions.

Judith Eugene, a Cleveland Heights native and the founder of Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki, is seeking businesses, schools, churches and other organizations that are interested in holding events at their facility. Eugene organized a similar tour last fall. The events were well attended, and most sold out.

Events include lectures, debates, healing rituals, and empowerment ceremonies. School programs for grades K–12 include discussions, chanting demonstrations and performance of traditional Tibetan instruments. The monks are also available to create beautiful works of art including sand mandalas, butter sculptures and calligraphy. They also perform blessings of homes, businesses, and public buildings. There are suggested donations for each event, but no one is turned away for inability to pay. All donations are tax-deductible.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 12:13 PM, 07.21.2015

New vocal music teacher named for Heights High

Jesse Lange, new Heights High vocal music teacher.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has hired Jesse Lange to be the new vocal music teacher at Cleveland Heights High School.

“I am excited Jesse Lange is joining our Tiger Nation family,” said Superintendent Talisa L. Dixon. “Mr. Lange is an accomplished vocal music teacher and will help continue our tradition of excellence in the high school’s vocal music program. While we will miss the irreplaceable Craig McCaughey, who served in this role for 15 years, Mr. Lange brings his own unique experience and outlook to the program. I look forward to seeing him in action.”

Lange previously worked as the vocal music director at Cuyahoga Falls High School. In this role, he was tasked with facilitating the successful retention and recruitment of vocal music students to build a flourishing program.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 6:51 PM, 07.20.2015

Heights High hires two basketball head coaches

Karen A. Battle

Two new head basketball coaches will be at the helm of Heights High basketball this fall. Karen A. Battle will be the new girls basketball coach and Heights High graduate Jeremy Holmes will coach the boys’ team.

Holmes returns to his alma mater after coaching this past season at Cleveland Central Catholic, where he led the Ironmen to a 24-5 record and the Division II state title game. Holmes had been an assistant coach for the Heights High boys basketball team for three seasons, prior to being hired by Central Catholic.

Battle is a familiar face to the Lady Tigers at Heights High, where she most recently served as assistant varsity women’s basketball coach. Battle also is a licensed intervention specialist at the high school.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 6:50 PM, 07.20.2015

City dedicates Forest Hill Park ball field in honor of Jim Brennan

Players warm up for a Co-Ed Softball game after the Brennan Field dedication ceremony. Photo courtesy City of Cleveland Heights.

On Saturday, July 11, the City of Cleveland Heights dedicated Ball Field #5, the main field at Forest Hill Park, in honor of Jim Brennan, the former owner of Brennan’s Colony on Lee Road who was murdered last year.

"Jim Brennan was an enthusiastic supporter of our recreation programs for over 20 years," said Mayor Dennis Wilcox. "He sponsored softball teams and held many an after-game celebration at The Colony. This dedication celebrates and honors the energy and commitment Jim brought to our Cleveland Heights community."

A dedication ceremony was held prior to the All-Star softball games, which are traditionally held the second weekend in July each year. The city also declared that, from now on, the weekend will be called the Brennan All-Star Weekend. In 1999, Brennan was inducted as a member of the Cleveland Heights Softball Hall of Fame, because of his sponsorship of many softball teams over the years.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 11:40 AM, 07.14.2015

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 7-13-2015

JULY 13, 2015

  • Heights Jewish Center (HJC)
  • Kollel Yad Chai Mordechai
  • Ciuni and the tennis court project
  • Workers comp management
  • Bonds issued
  • Permit parking near Wiley
  • Tower leases
  • Tax budget
  • Paving change order
  • Public park

All council members were present. Councilwoman Pamela Cameron arrived after roll call so was officially listed as excused.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 7:23 PM, 07.20.2015

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 7-6-2015

JULY 6, 2015

  • Public comments
  • Parks and recreation department
  • Police vehicle purchases
  • Nuisance designations postponed
  • Zoning appeals
  • Master Planning Steering Committee appointments
  • Upcoming community events:
  • Bonds issued
  • Tax budget
  • Municipal income tax proposal
  • Sewer overflow control
  • City garage repairs
  • “We are a Colony”

Council Member Mary Dunbar was absent.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 11:14 AM, 07.16.2015

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-15-2015

JUNE 15, 2015

  • Public comments
  • First Energy
  • University Square
  • City’s symphonic band
  • Zoning variance
  • Electronic signage
  • Compmanagement contract
  • Issuance and sale of bonds
  • Resident permit parking near Wiley
  • Street resurfacing

Councilman Phil Ertel was absent.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 2:22 PM, 07.15.2015

CH City Council announces members of Master Plan Steering Committee

At its July 6 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council announced the names of residents appointed to serve on an 11-member committee to oversee the development of a master plan for the city.

The members are Michael Ungar, chair of the city’s Planning Commission; Howard Maier, co-chair of the city’s Transportation Advisory Committee; Jeanne Diamond, a member of the city’s Commission on Aging; Ken Dowell, a member of the city’s Recreation Advisory Board; Allison McCallum, a member of the city’s Citizens Advisory Committee; Bill Mitchell, owner of Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates in the Cedar Lee Business District, representing city merchants; Saroya Queen-Tabor, a CH-UH City School District parent and chair of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee, representing education stakeholders; Julia Kious Zabell, a member of the FutureHeights Board of Directors; and residents Kristin Hopkins, Yovan "Lou" Radivoyevitch and Chuck Miller. Hopkins is a principal planner with CT Consultants and lives on Bellfield Avenue. Radivoyevitch is vice president of sales for RAD Graphics Inc., a tactical marketing firm, and lives on Dartmoor Road. Chuck Miller is a principal with Doty & Miller Architects and lives on Mayfield Road.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 11:38 AM, 07.14.2015

Appletree Books celebrates 40 years of independent bookselling

Inside Appletree Books.

This July, Appletree Books celebrates 40 years of selling books in the same location on Cedar Hill. Bill Rubin opened the bookstore in 1975, and, in 1990, Jane Kessler became its second owner. In July 2014, Lynn Quintrell and Alice Webster became the store's new owners, carrying on the bookselling tradition at 12419 Cedar Road.

On Friday, July 17, 5–8 p.m., Appletree is hosting an anniversary open house, featuring prosecco and hors d’oeuvres, to celebrate those 40 years. No reservation is required, and everyone is welcome to attend the event.

"Please join us as we celebrate both our history and our future!" said Quintrell.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:45 AM, 07.14.2015

Heights student attends congress of future scientists

Alex Gillooly (right) with Shree Bose, one of the speakers at the congress.

Alex Gillooly, a rising sophomore at Cleveland Heights High School, attended the Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders, held in Boston, June 28–30.

The congress is an honors-only program for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). Its purpose is to honor, inspire, motivate and direct the top students in the country who aspire to be scientists and technologists, to stay true to their dream and, after the event, to provide resources to help them reach their goals.

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, science director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, nominated Gillooly to represent Cleveland Heights High School, based on Gillooly's academic achievement, leadership potential and passion for science and technology. Gillooly enjoyed Aldrin's Q&A with congress participants. 

During the three-day congress, Gillooly joined students from across the country and heard Nobel laureates and National Medal of Science winners talk about leading scientific research. He was inspired by fellow teen science prodigies; and learned about cutting-edge advances and the future of science and technology.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:40 AM, 07.14.2015

Cleveland Heights proposes income tax rate increase

Cleveland Heights City Council is proposing an increase in the city’s income tax rate. If approved by voters in November, the quarter-percentage-point increase would take effect on Jan. 1, 2016. It would be the first rate increase since 1979.

In introducing the proposed increase on first reading at the city council meeting on July 6, Vice Mayor Cheryl Stephens cited cuts in state funding as the cause of the city’s budget woes. She explained that the rate increase from the present 2 percent of income to 2.25 percent would not apply to retirement income. The current half-percentage-point credit for income earned outside of Cleveland Heights would remain in effect.

After Stephens formally introduced the ordinance authorizing the tax hike, Mayor Dennis Wilcox explained why the increase is needed. He reiterated the effect of reductions in state funding of local governments, which have included significant cuts to the Local Government Fund and the elimination of the inheritance tax.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:39 AM, 07.14.2015

New Heights High assistant principal is former CHPD officer

John Fullerman

The Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District has named John Fullerman as a new assistant principal of Cleveland Heights High School. Fellow assistant principals are Jane Simeri, Alisa Lawson-McKinnie, and Joseph Nicklos (former Oxford Elementary School principal), with Zoraba Ross as head principal.

Fullerman was previously the principal of Summit Academy Secondary School in Canton, where he was also head coach of the basketball team and director of student council. Prior to entering the education field, initially as a teacher, Fullerman served as a Cleveland Heights police officer, 2003–09.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:58 AM, 07.10.2015

Oxford Elementary names Brigitte Pronty new principal

Brigitte Pronty

The Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District has hired Brigitte Pronty as the new principal of Oxford Elementary School. Pronty succeeds Joseph Nicklos, the previous principal, who has accepted the position of assistant principal at Cleveland Heights High School.

Pronty began her career in the CH-UH district as a teacher at the former Coventry Elementary School, 2002–07. She then moved to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District where she served as an assistant principal before becoming a principal in 2010. Pronty holds a B.S. in elementary education from the University of Akron, and certification from Ashland University in administration, as well as curriculum and instruction.

“We were looking for a leader who is going to inspire more family and staff engagement to help meet the needs of our students in the Oxford community. We feel Ms. Pronty’s passion, dedication and focus on engaging instruction is just what is needed at this time,” said Superintendent Talisa L. Dixon.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:39 AM, 07.09.2015

Annual Grant Deming's Forest Hill neighborhood multi-home garage sale planned for July 18 and 19

Grant Deming's Forest Hill neighborhood will host its annual garage sale July 18 and 19.

The third annual Grant Deming's Forest Hill Historic District Neighborhood Garage Sale Days will take place on Saturday, July 18, and Sunday, July 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A map of the 20-plus homes participating in the sale will be posted on July 17, at, and available at participating houses on July 18 and 19.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:21 AM, 07.09.2015

Delisle Options Center contractor is Heights High graduate

Ralphael Hill, owner of R.L. Hill Management and 1989 Heights High graduate.

Ralphael Hill, a 1989 graducate of Heights High, has been awarded a contract to do construction work at the Delisle Options Center, as part of the High School reconstruction project. It’s like a homecoming for Hill, who attended Taylor Elementary School, which later became Taylor Academy and is today the Delisle Options Center.

“It’s rewarding to be granted this opportunity to work at the school where I once attended,” Hill said. “When we did the walk-through of the building, they almost had to kick me out of there.”

Delisle houses the Options Program for high school students, registration and career tech programing that includes cosmetology, auto tech, clinical health services and pharmacy tech.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:25 AM, 07.09.2015

HRRC offers remedies for wet basements

Despite starting off the spring with lower-than-average rainfall, Northeast Ohio had more than double-the-average rainfall during the first half of June. For many homeowners, that means dealing with water in places it doesn’t belong. Whether it comes from spring rains, melting snow, or both, Northeast Ohio homeowners are no strangers to soggy yards and wet basements.

What’s a homeowner to do when the rain outside becomes water inside? First, consider why water is getting inside your house. During a heavy rain, go outside and look at what is happening to the water coming off your roof, driveway, patio, and even across your yard. Armed with that information, you can plan how to get your house dry again—and keep it dry.

Check your gutters. If you see a washed-out area beneath the gutter line, it’s likely that water is cascading over the top of the gutters, or pouring behind them, where it can work its way through the basement wall. Securing the gutters and aligning them properly will enable them to contain the water and direct it into the downspouts as they are designed to do.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 9:43 AM, 07.07.2015

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Darryl "DMC" McDaniels to perform at the Grog Shop

Darryl "DMC" McDaniels

Innovator, motivator, philanthropist, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels changed music and made history 25 years ago with his legendary band Run-DMC. 

Today, 30 million record sales later, and nine years after the untimely death of his band mate Jam Master Jay, DMC still continues to create, inspire and motivate.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 and is co-author of the critically acclaimed autobiography King of Rock; Respect, Responsibility and My Life with Run-DMC (2001). In 2006, DMC released an award-winning solo album, “Checks, Thugs and Rock ‘n Roll.” His solo performances have graced stages around the world.

On Saturday, July 18, DMC will perform an intimate set at the Grog Shop, along with openers Doxxbaby, Ahptimus and Case Barge. Doors will open at 8 p.m., and the show will start at 9 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:15 AM, 07.06.2015

Early applicants will save on women’s plumbing classes

Early applicants can receive a discounted tuition rates for Plumbing & Heating, the next module in Home Repair Resource Center’s (HRRC) women’s home repair course. Regular tuition for the module is $120 for Cleveland Heights residents, and $150 for non-residents; a $20 “early bird discount” will be offered for applications received by July 13. (Low-income applicants are eligible for reduced tuition rates; call for details.)

The module will run from July 29 through Sept. 16, with classes held each Wednesday, 7–9 pm at HRRC's Teaching Center, 2520 Noble Road. Classes will include:

  • Intro to plumbing
  • Toilet repair and installation
  • Faucet repair and installation
  • Drains, traps and sewers
Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:14 AM, 07.06.2015

New Heights High includes sustainability designs

Heights High design rendering.

Students, staff and the community will welcome, two years from now, a new Heights High, designed with sustainability characteristics, including being in the top 5 percent of energy-efficient schools nationwide. “The new Heights High is going to be a high-performing, energy-efficient building," stated Nancy Peppler, CH-UH Board of Education.

Peppler noted that, while students and staff will have to get used to doing things differently in terms of sustainability practices, it could be more difficult for staff members to make changes as adults. "The district needs to focus on behavioral changes over the next two years and these behavioral changes should start at Wiley, the temporary high school,” said Peppler.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:12 AM, 07.06.2015

FutureHeights to offer neighborhood mini-grant program

FutureHeights, in partnership with the City of Cleveland Heights, is launching a neighborhood mini-grant program for Cleveland Heights residents. FutureHeights will award grants of up to $1,000 to neighborhood-based groups.

“Our goal is to help neighbors leverage their many assets and provide tools to enable them to strengthen their neighborhoods,” said Richard Stewart, president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors. “Having a little bit of seed money for a project can make a big difference.”

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 4:26 PM, 07.01.2015

CH-UH assistant superintendent named Bedford superintendent

Andrea Celico

Andrea Celico, Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District's assistant superintendent, recently accepted the superintendent position for the Bedford City School District, located in southeast Cuyahoga County. The Bedford School Board approved her contract at its June 25 meeting. Celico has served as the assistant superintendent for CH-UH City School District since July 2013. Celico had been assistant superintendent in the Euclid School District in the four years prior.

“Dr. Celico has accomplished a lot during her short tenure in our district. She has led the Ohio Improvement Process, which is an established framework for internal communication, as well as shared best practices that we will continue to use moving forward. We wish her the very best in her new role,” stated CH-UH superintendent Dr. Talisa L. Dixon.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 10:33 AM, 06.30.2015

Heights artist hopes to open Artful new studios and gallery

Shannon Morris

If Shannon Morris gets her way, Cleveland Heights could become home to a new art gallery, studio and retail store. “The idea has always been in the back of my mind,” said Morris, who is 42 and lives on Kingston Road in Cleveland Heights. “The bottom line is that I want to provide affordable studio space on the East Side of Cleveland.”

According to a recent study, nearly 20 percent of all of the artists in Cuyahoga County live in Cleveland Heights. “I want to create a space where people feel comfortable, an environment where people can create and collaborate,” Morris said. To accomplish her goal, Morris has formed a new organization called Artful.

Morris grew up in Cleveland Heights. After graduating from high school, she moved to New York City, where she studied photography at New York University. After getting her degree in 1995, she remained in New York until 2002, when she returned to Cleveland Heights. She opened a shop on Lee Road called There’s No Such Thing as a Non-Artist.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 10:02 AM, 07.01.2015

Heights couple creates unique works of art

Pam Argentieri and Matthew Hollern in their Cleveland Heights home. Some of their creations are on the mantle behind them.

Two Cleveland Heights residents—Matthew Hollern and Pam Argentieri—are well-known around the world for the jewelry and other art they create using metals and other materials. Some of their work is in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C., and in the Vatican Archives in Italy.

Hollern and Argentieri have been making artwork together since they first met in 1990 at the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA). Two years later, they got married, and have lived on Kingston Road in Cleveland Heights since 1992. In addition to creating works of art together, Hollern and Argentieri both do individual projects as well.

Hollern, 51, grew up in Madison, Wis. He got into art as a young child. “I remember doing art projects in the first and second grade,” he said. “I was really into carving and ceramics. Then, in high school, my homeroom was a jewelry classroom, and I really got into that.”

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:56 AM, 07.01.2015

Celebrate National Day of Dance at Cain Park July 25

What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a party and dancing? That is just what DANCECleveland is doing when it celebrates its 60th Anniversary season, beginning with its co-presentation of New York City-based Parsons Dance at Cain Park’s Evans Amphitheater, on July 25 at 8 p.m.

DANCECleveland—started by visionary Heights-area women in 1956, and first known as Cleveland Modern Dance Association—is one of the oldest dance-only presenters in the United States. This year, the organization returns to Cain Park after a 10-year hiatus.

Named "one of the great movers of modern dance" by The New York Times, Parsons Dance seemed like the perfect company for the occasion—a favorite in Northeast Ohio, and known throughout the world since 1985 as a family-friendly, uplifting dance company.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:45 AM, 07.01.2015

Free healthcare screenings for seniors

Taking advantage of free healthcare screenings is a smart and affordable way to keep track of your health and detect potential problems early. The Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC), located in the Community Center at 1 Monticello Blvd., offers several free screenings throughout the year, including vision screenings on July 14, conducted by Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute. There is no cost, but appointments are necessary.

Other screenings to be offered at the SAC include bi-monthly blood pressure checks administered by Case Western Reserve University medical students; vision, hearing and balance screenings administered by Cleveland Clinic; and flu shots administered by Rite Aid and Walgreens. The SAC also hosts an annual health fair that includes screenings for glucose, cholesterol and body mass index.

For a schedule of SAC screenings, to schedule an appointment, and to arrange for low-cost transportation to the screenings, call 216-691-7377.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:26 AM, 07.01.2015

Senior Citizen Happenings

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

July 2: Joanie Kaufman, who provides the delightful piano music for the popular High Tea served every Wednesday afternoon at the Cleveland Clinic, will celebrate Independence Day by performing a medley of patriotic hymns and the best of Broadway’s hits.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:24 AM, 07.01.2015

Campfire Storytelling Series lets teens share their experiences

Traditions are often passed down in the form of stories and myths. Framing experiences in a storytelling narrative makes them more accessible to others and easier to remember. While the concept is as old as humanity, live storytelling is having a resurgence. For example, The Moth: True Stories Told Live is a New York-based nonprofit dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. The Moth’s podcast has become one of the top ten most popular on iTunes.

Another example is the once-a-month storytelling event called “Keep Talking” at The Happy Dog in Cleveland. Hosted by two stand-up comedians who choose a broad theme, it invites participants to come prepared to stand and tell their stories. The only rule is that the story has to be true.

This is where Monica Wilson, Heights Libraries youth services associate, got the idea to start Campfire Storytelling Series, a storytelling program for teens.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:13 AM, 07.01.2015

Heights Libraries names new finance manager

Deborah Herrmann

Heights Libraries has named Deborah Herrmann as the system’s new finance manager. Herrmann will begin her new job on July 1, and succeeds Jana Nassif, who left the position in April.

Prior to joining Heights Libraries, Herrmann, who lives in University Heights, served as treasurer of Strongsville City Schools. Before that, she worked as treasurer for Cuyahoga Heights School District, Kirtland Local School District and Richmond Heights School District. She also served as Geauga County’s chief deputy auditor and was a tax administrator in the Medina County Auditor's Office.

“Deborah brings with her a wealth of government experience, in public school districts, and city and county governments,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:11 AM, 07.01.2015

What’s going on at your library?

Explore your inner hero with these library programs focused on fictional and real-life heroes.

Coventry Village Library
1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Thursday, July 9, 2:30 p.m.

Music Heroes. It takes guts and grit to follow one's dreams and that is just what these Music Heroes are doing. Join us for an afternoon performance from Cleveland Institute of Music students.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:09 AM, 07.01.2015

Renaissance principal James Reed retires

Principal James Reed at the senior picnic with picnic organizers Imani Smith, student council president (at left) and Emily Vinson, senior class president.

James Reed, Heights High Renaissance School principal, will retire after 27 years of service in the CH-UH City School District. A social studies teacher at Wiley Middle School for 11 years, he moved to the high school in 1999 to be a unit principal, responsible for a class of students as they progressed through the school. In 2003, he became a member of the Small Schools design team and was the founding principal of the Renaissance small school.

One of the guiding tenants of the small school model was an emphasis on strong relationships between students and staff as a basis for instruction and leadership. “One of the most rewarding aspects of working here has been getting to know students,” said Reed. “When I could spend the time to understand students, it made it easier to guide them.”

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:07 AM, 07.01.2015

Oxford Elementary first-grade teacher Betty Miller retires

Betty Miller with Tom Schmida. [photo by Karen Rego]

All great teachers dedicate their lives to teaching, challenging and loving their students. Betty “Oxford” Miller has been a standout in this regard. She is retiring after 40 years as first-grade teacher at Oxford Elementary School.

With undeniable dedication, Miller has tirelessly advocated for both her students and her colleagues in education. She has done everything possible to challenge her students and see them succeed. Miller has helped generations of Oxford children and their families, often working through lunch and after school.

Throughout her time as an educator, Miller has worked hard for teachers’ rights and better working conditions in Heights schools. She has been an advocate of issues and candidates focused on the needs of students.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 9:05 AM, 07.01.2015

Fairfax school community collaborates on playground projects

Students enjoying the main adaptive play piece. Photos by Dallas Schubert.

Three heartfelt and child-centered innovations to the outdoor area of Fairfax Elementary School, two years in the making, were completed this spring.

Early in 2013, members of the Fairfax PTA entered a national video contest sponsored by Big Lots. Their video, which highlighted the need to accommodate students with physical disabilities during recess, won the $20,000 grand prize. 

That money, with additional funds raised by the PTA, paid for three pieces of adaptive-play equipment that were installed in the spring of 2014.

More recently, the school community was brought together by the addition of some finishing touches. A Buddy Bench was installed as part of the Fifth Grade Legacy Project. Antwuan McKeller, recently promoted fifth-grader, created the sign on it. He also received the school’s Awesome Artist award. The bench was the culmination of an idea that was proposed more than 18 months ago.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:58 PM, 06.29.2015

Peggy Spaeth takes on a new challenge

Peggy Spaeth and her daughter Rosey Coburn.

When Peggy Spaeth retired from Heights Arts two years ago, she thought she would spend her time gardening and walking her dog.  

She had founded the lively arts hub on Lee Road and ran it successfully for 13 years.

But Spaeth is a woman of boundless creativity and resolve. Pretty quickly she turned her attention to developing something new: a program to help addicts in recovery. You might say, that’s a far cry from Heights Arts, but actually it’s pretty close to Spaeth.

“Addiction seems to touch every family. I know it has mine. Today my beautiful daughter has been clean and sober for five years. But there was a time when I feared I would lose her as so many others have...[lost their loved ones],” wrote Spaeth in the beginning of a fundraising letter.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:51 PM, 06.29.2015

Why the levy failed: finding reasons closer to home

I found Sarah West’s piece, “The Inequity of Social Spaces in the CH-UH School Community,” (published in the June 2015 Heights Observer), disturbing—not for its descent into academic nomenclature or its application of cookie-cutter sociological concepts onto one section of our community—but for the lack of research about pre-existing conditions, local conditions and other contributing factors.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:41 PM, 06.29.2015

Heights Observer 2015 local elections candidate policy

With the November election approaching, the Heights Observer is publishing its policy for contributions by candidates for local office.

As a community newspaper staffed by volunteers and committed to equal access for everyone, the Observer is unique among publications in providing opportunity for any member of the Cleveland Heights and University Heights communities to raise and discuss issues of local interest.

At election time, however, this commitment creates a challenge in managing the finite space that is available for community members who are running for public office.

The policy, approved by the FutureHeights Board of Directors, is designed to address that challenge. It states the following:

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:37 PM, 06.29.2015

A correction to Motorcars article in June issue

To the Editor,

For the sake of accuracy, Motorcars is the largest private-sector employer in Cleveland Heights. The City of Cleveland Heights is the largest employer in the city, with more than 300 full-time employees. If you include seasonal and part-time, the city employees more than 400 people.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:34 PM, 06.29.2015

Bob Cheshier brought Little Free Libraries to Cleveland

To the Editor:

I was quite pleased to see the article regarding the Little Free Library in the June 2015 issue, but was dismayed that mention was not made of the late Bob Cheshier, who was responsible for bringing the Little Free Libraries to the Cleveland area. Bob was an ardent advocate for the advancement of libraries and associated reading skills. I know Bob would have been very pleased to see yet another Little Free Library.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:33 PM, 06.29.2015

Thank you from Coventry P.E.A.C.E.

To the Editor:

The Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Playground and Gardens work day on May 16 was a partial success in some ways and a great success in all other ways.

The great success shown that day was the dedication of community volunteers who came to help repair the playground equipment and spruce up the beautiful gardens.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:31 PM, 06.29.2015

Building for an unknown future

It’s official. Heights High is closed. A proud history that started in 1926 ended this June as a platoon of moving trucks pulled away from the school laden with remnants of a glorious public space that has changed many lives.

Now, shiny silver letters attached to the façade of the former Wiley Middle School spell out Heights High. They declare that change has arrived. This will be the fourth building since 1902 to provide a high school education to residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:07 PM, 06.29.2015

Light up Lee Road

On a recent beautiful early summer evening, my friend and I walked from our yoga class to the Stone Oven Bakery for a salad. Three adjacent blocks of Lee Road hosted tables filled with people from all over, dining at Taste, Anatolia, TavCo, Phoenix Coffee, Black Box Fix, or tasting at The Wine Spot. I am sure the patio behind the Colony was jumping, too. Just a few steps beyond this vibrant scene, there are storefront windows covered with paper and “for rent” signs. 

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:27 PM, 06.29.2015

Heights historical photo of the month

Courtesy City of Cleveland Heights

It wasn't just swimming that drew crowds to Cumberland Pool early in its history; there were also special events. One such event took place in August 1945, when Stubby Kruger put on his famous "water comedy" show. Kruger, an Olympic swimmer and diver in the 1920s, went on to work in Hollywood as an actor and stuntman. His traveling production featured diving and synchronized swimming stunts set to music in a variety-show format.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 3:05 PM, 06.29.2015

William R. Jeavons House

The Jeavons House. Photo courtesy of the City of Cleveland Heights.

The William R. Jeavons House at 2541 Arlington Road was built in 1910 and became a Cleveland Heights Landmark in 2000. Designed by prominent Cleveland architect Harlen E. Shimmin, the imposing beige brick home sits on a two-acre corner lot at the confluence of Arlington and Monmouth roads in the Shaker Farm Historic District.

Originally the core of the Van Sweringen brothers’ Shaker Village development, before the majority of it took shape in the city of Shaker Heights to the south, Fairmount Boulevard and the winding streets to either side, including Arlington, [featured] some of the most opulent homes in the emerging suburbs—so much so that Fairmount Boulevard was even called the Euclid Avenue of the Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:01 PM, 06.29.2015

Longtime resident leads community garden with wisdom and love

Phyllis Thomas

Phyllis Thomas is in charge of the 81-year-old Oxford Community Garden located next to the Oxford Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. It’s obvious why her predecessor chose her for the job. She is a straightforward woman who elicits respect through her warm and loving, no-nonsense approach to life and problems.

As the leader of the disparate group of gardeners, Thomas is tasked with enforcing the garden rules, recruiting gardeners, allocating plots and maintaining peace and communication among the gardeners.

“Oh, my goodness, if you had been here yesterday [when Tom Gibson and Elsa Johnson conducted a permaculture class] you would have seen all the different cultures and ages of people. Refugees from Nepal, a Vietnamese woman, blacks, a Russian woman, white people, about 30 people in total. I was so proud to see everyone together. We try to work together, sometimes we have problems communicating, but I love this garden,” she said.

Read Full Story
Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 1:52 PM, 06.29.2015