Latest News

LEI expands programs for teens

Teens work on black and white comics at Lake Erie Ink

Fall in the Heights is in full swing as schools and students are buzzing. Busses streak the streets with yellow and parades of kids in backpacks have become a regular sight. Lake Erie Ink (LEI) is bursting with creativity and excitement for all that fall has to offer, which includes new creative writing program offerings for teens. This fall, LEI is expanding its after-school programming for 6th-12th graders. For youth eager to get their hands on a fresh notebook, daydream jumbles of words into stories and observe their world with open eyes, LEI has an array of programs available.

In addition to its longstanding "Evening Ink" drop-in creative writing workshop on Wednesday nights, youth writers have two more exciting opportunities for creative expression. Among these, LEI’s "Stage Write: Comedy Club" takes place on Monday nights and allows youth to explore the funny side of theater. Creative arts teacher Nicole Rossa, who earned her living as a stand-up comedian and emcee before joining the LEI team, leads this fun-filled program that teaches students how to write a joke and deliver it through improv games, monologues, stand-up and sketch comedy.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 11:40 AM, 09.18.2018

Latest News Releases

Heights Libraries brings YA authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely to Ensemble Theatre
- CH-UH Library, September 14, 2018 Read More
Local Filmmaker Addresses Mental Health Bullying and Suicide in New Documentary
- Arts & Entertainment, September 2, 2018 Read More
Not all heroes wear capes: Joshua Marshall meets the heroes who teamed up with his wife to save his life
- City of University Heights, August 17, 2018 Read More
Make Memories Today with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture
- Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, August 16, 2018 Read More
Burning River Baroque Announces their Upcoming Performance of Destructive Desires
- Arts & Entertainment, August 16, 2018 Read More

View more news releases

Two CH-UH schools earn national PTA distinction

Canterbury Elementary School.

Canterbury Elementary School and Heights Middle School each have been awarded the two-year National PTA School of Excellence distinction for their commitment to inclusivity of families and enriching the educational experience for all students.

The national program helps PTAs become partners in identifying and implementing school-improvement initiatives based on PTA's National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. To qualify, each school had to enroll, conduct a survey, load data, and create an action team and an action plan based on that data—all of which would support the school-improvement process. Each school then had to submit its plan and, finally, deploy a summative survey and narrative that showed improvement.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 11:30 AM, 09.18.2018

Mayor Brennan sets forth fall legislative agenda

Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan

At the Aug. 27 joint meeting of University Heights City Council and the CH-UH Board of Education, UH Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan outlined the city’s fall legislative agenda:

  • In housing, the city is revising its ordinance on rental property inspections and rental permit applications. It plans to hire up to two new inspectors and add another clerk to the office staff, establishing a more-robust building and housing program.
  • The city has introduced legislation to create a CIC, a Community Investment Corporation, much as South Euclid and Lakewood have done, to provide an additional avenue for promoting residential development and redevelopment. This is in committee now, and should be up for a vote by mid-fall.
  • The city will be implementing CitizenServe, a program piloted in South Euclid and Lakewood, to streamline building and housing services, among others, to residents. Transactions that previously required a special trip to the building department will soon be doable online by credit card.
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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 11:05 AM, 09.18.2018

Family Connections hosts Sept. 28 clam bake benefit

Family Connections of Northeast Ohio, a nonprofit dedicated to serving families with young children, with facilities in both Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, will host its annual benefit at Dino's, at Cleveland Metroparks’ Acacia Reservation, on Friday, Sept. 28.

The public is invited to enjoy an open bar, silent auction, and a family-style clam bake. The casual evening will begin at 7:30 p.m. for those purchasing the regular $100 tickets. Patrons who reserve $200 tickets will receive program recognition and reserved seating, and be welcomed at a special patron reception beginning at 7 p.m.

The benefit will feature the presentation of the Carolyn Grossman Award to an individual who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to strengthening families and helping parents prepare young children for success in school and in life.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 10:59 AM, 09.17.2018

Four Coventry shops celebrate milestone anniversaries

Celebrating Coventry milestones together, from left: Suzanne DeGaetano, James McSherry of Mac's Backs; Stuart Attenson, Christina Attenson of Attenson's Antiques; Robert Laird, Ann Oswald-Laird of Passport to Peru; and Rob Pryor of Record Revolution.

On Sept. 29, four beloved Coventry merchants—Record Revolution, Passport to Peru, Mac’s Backs and Attenson’s Antiques—will, together, celebrate milestone anniversaries in the popular Cleveland Heights shopping district. The street will be abuzz from noon to 6 p.m. that Saturday, with musicians, face painting, balloon twisting, tarot card readings, origami book-making, in-store discounts, and more. All of the businesses will offer specials on that day, and some will offer ongoing sales or promotions.

Established by Peter Schliewin, Record Revolution is a Midwest hub of counter-cultural lifestyle. Celebrating 50 years of business, the shop is one of the nation’s oldest independent record stores. Originally filling three full storefronts, the shop’s footprint downsized in 2007. Current owner Rob Pryor noted that the business is known for its diverse and unique product base—ranging from collectible vinyl and posters to clothing, incense and alternative medicines. The shop continues to purchase records, welcoming selections in rock, jazz, R&B, punk, reggae, and hard salsas.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:47 PM, 09.03.2018

Heights Libraries' programs will explore refugee experience

This fall, Heights Libraries will explore the experiences of refugees around the world in On The Same Page, a community-wide initiative aimed at fostering conversations through a shared reading experience. On The Same Page will feature a series of community events, book and film discussions, and related programs aimed at raising awareness of the global refugee crisis and celebrating the cultures and contributions of Northeast Ohio’s refugee population.   

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:43 PM, 09.03.2018

10 Septembers: looking back on a decade of the Heights Observer

September means the start of the school year, but in the Heights it’s also the start of theater seasons, and many arts and cultural programs, as families return from vacation and settle back in to community life.

It’s also when the political season starts in earnest, especially every two years when candidates for city council and school board—and local issues—appear on the ballot. In September 2008, University Heights was in the midst of a debate on whether or not it needed a Charter Review Commission. Several UH City Council members were interested in investigating changing the charter to a city manager system, or at least a city administrator system, and had decided that a charter review process would be the way to accomplish this. Then-UH Mayor Beryl Rothschild vetoed a charter review process. Several UH citizens used the Observer to express their concerns about the process.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:37 PM, 09.03.2018

Was the CRC process a democratic one?

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) had a meeting on June 21. I believe it was at that meeting that the decision was made to keep our city manager form of government.

It was published in the Heights Observer that, at a meeting in April, 53 of the people who attended indicated that they were in favor of changing to an elected mayor, while 31 favored staying with our current city manager form of government.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:35 PM, 09.03.2018

Reduce, reuse and recycle CH trash

To the Editor:

Residents have submitted different opinions on trash collection to the Observer recently. I agree with Tom Diamond that we can do better.

As a dog walker, I am up close and personal with trash. It’s not a pretty site. Trash bags are ripped open every single week by cats, possums, skunks, raccoons and rats. Our hard-working trash collectors do not rake up the mess, and to make matters worse, neither do some residents. Garbage sits on tree lawns indefinitely. Plastics find their way to the sewers marked “Lake Erie starts here.”

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:34 PM, 09.03.2018

CH is a city of choice

To the Editor:

I read that Cleveland Heights will start a branding campaign, and I think I have a good tagline: City of Choice. Starting with the fact that many residents and newcomers make an active choice to live here (regardless of the high taxes), where others default to more generic communities, consider how many choices we have: School and education choices—private, public, parochial and home, both K–12 and college. Lifestyle choices. Housing choices. Religious choices. Entertainment and food choices. Transportation choices—bike, walk, bus and car. Access to a metropolitan job market for work choices.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:32 PM, 09.03.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-4-2018



  • Public comments
  • Updates by Mayor Brennan
  • IT package
  • Fall temporary labor
  • Cedar Green crosswalk project
  • 3950 Silsby Road
  • Fund transfers
  • Streetlight, sewer and tree assessments
  • Public safety grants
  • Budget Commission tax certification
  • Fingerprint ID
  • Garbage collection purchase
  • Sidewalk snow plow purchase
  • Vehicle purchase
  • Tree pruning and removal bids


Present were Mayor Michael D Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Pamela Cameron, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Acting Law Director Mike Cicero and Finance Director James Goffe. The meeting was held from 7 to 10 p.m. at which time council went to executive session.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 12:14 PM, 09.17.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-4-2018



  • Public comments
  • Bond counsel
  • Branding initiative
  • PassportParking app
  • Cedar-Lee SID public services plan
  • 2018 Taxes
  • Forestry and street expense assessments
  • September observances
  • Taylor Road-Superior Park Drive historic district
  • Community Improvement Awards
  • Heights Community Congress tour
  • Mayfield multimodal plan
  • University Circle shuttle
  • Community Center fitness equipment
  • Top of the Hill project design meeting
  • Immigration task force
  • Charter review commission
  • Mayor’s report


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein, Cheryl L. Stephens and Michael N. Ungar. The meeting lasted from 7:35 to 8:17 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 11:56 AM, 09.17.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 8-21-2018

AUGUST 21, 2018


  • Middle school facilities cost
  • Technology plan update
  • Board approvals


President Jim Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz and Malia Lewis were present. Beverly Wright was absent. Superintendent Talisa Dixon, Treasurer Scott Gainer, IT Director Frank Cikach and IT staff were also present. The meeting opened at 7:05 p.m. and adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 10, Posted 12:20 PM, 09.17.2018

Some things take time

On the evening of July 9, Lolly the Trolley threaded its way through Cleveland Heights’ Noble neighborhood, stopping every few minutes in front of a vacant and dilapidated house. The trolley’s passengers were not tourists. They were Cleveland Heights City Council members and staff, hosted by Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC), an ecumenical social justice organization.

GCC determined in 2016 that “ongoing decay of many Cleveland Heights houses and buildings” was one of the “most pressing issues” facing our city. Now the organization was highlighting 19 problem properties in the north end of town. GCC members wanted officials to see the peeling paint, sagging steps, missing shingles, listing garages, piles of trash, uncut grass and overgrown shrubbery—unmistakable signs of blight.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:30 PM, 09.03.2018

Accountability should be built on trust

It’s back-to-school time, with all the excitement that comes with new beginnings. Sadly, test dread is waiting in the wings.

In the name of accountability and to force educational improvement, state-mandated testing is used to shame and punish children, teachers and whole school districts.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:27 PM, 09.03.2018

Opinion: CDC: what does it stand for?

I would expect that when most folks think of what “CDC” stands for, they would think of Centers for Disease Control. But, for many of us who have had the opportunity to enjoy life in an established urban neighborhood, our response might more likely be “community development corporation” (CDC). So, what is a CDC, and why do we care?

Well, as the name suggests, the word “community” indicates a gathering and engagement of people with a common agenda or purpose—in this case, improving a place by taking action to remove or prevent deterioration, blight and decline.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:24 PM, 09.03.2018

Opinion: Tiger Nation wants you

Tiger Nation yard signs are available for $10 and can be purchased from any PTA in the CH-UH school district.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has a tiger as the district mascot and is known as Tiger Nation. Current and past students and school staff are fondly known as Heights Tigers. Are you a Heights Tiger, too?

If you live within the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, your property taxes fund the public schools. You are a Heights Tiger. If you work for or own a business within the CH-UH school district, your business taxes support our public schools. You are a Heights Tiger, too.  

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:22 PM, 09.03.2018

Opinion: Iím a proud member of the Forest Hill crank club

After 10 years of watching the alarming rise of vacant foreclosures in Forest Hill, I can no longer stomach our homeowners’ association’s (HOA) excuses for inaction. 

Anybody who lives in Forest Hill sees the vacant houses that sit and rot, impacting our quality of life and property values. If our HOA is “nurturing the historic serenity of this area” as it claims, why is it ignoring the eyesores at 1024 and 1315 Hereford Road, 15780 Cleviden Road, 15472 Brewster Road, 1400 Forest Hills Blvd., and 3045 Monticello Blvd.?

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:18 PM, 09.03.2018

University Heights declares no room for hate

A local man who pled guilty to making hateful and anti-Semitic calls to local synagogues was sentenced recently to six months in jail.

Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan said the defendant left threatening voicemails at East-side temples, including two voicemails here in University Heights. “The defendant got two six-month sentences, running concurrently, only the second sentence is suspended,” Brennan said. “That means he will be on community control to the court even after he serves time.”

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:15 PM, 09.03.2018

UH resident Joshua Marshall meets rescue team that helped save his life

It was all smiles at the University Heights Fire Department on Aug. 17, as Joshua Marshall met the heroes who teamed up with his wife to save his life earlier this summer. Marshall suffered a heart attack on June 2. His wife, Cathy Marshall (right), called 911, and Heights Hillcrest Communications Center (HHCC) dispatcher Lisa Sottosanti (left) coached her on performing CPR. Sottosanti’s coaching and Cathy’s performing of CPR saved Joshua’s life. Upon their arrival, members of the UH Fire Department assumed care of Marshall and provided advanced cardiac life support treatment. Marshall’s family, fire department staff, UH Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and HHCC dispatch staff attended the Aug. 17 celebration.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:10 PM, 09.03.2018

Buddhist monks bless Spirit Corner

Photo by Geoffrey Pankhurst

On Aug. 18, a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks chanted, prayed, and consecrated the land as part of a blessing ceremony at Spirit Corner in Cleveland Heights. Lobsang Yeshey, spokesperson for the monks, said the prayers were dedicated to all of the residents of the city, “That they may have immeasurable happiness and be free of suffering, attachment and hatred.” The monks visited as part of a two-year tour of the United States. Religious refugees from Tibet, they are raising funds to support more than 1,500 monks who live in the Gaden Shartse monastery in southern India. For more information visit For information about another group of monks who will be visiting in October, contact Judith Eugene at or 216-408-5578.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:06 PM, 09.03.2018

Unique acts, free parking at Heights Music Hop

Look for this to find official Heights Music Hop venues in each district.

To welcome visitors to the 6th annual Heights Music Hop, Cleveland Heights is offering free parking, 3–10 p.m., in each business district on the day the event is held in it: Thursday, Sept. 13, in Coventry Village; Friday, Sept. 14, in Cedar-Fairmount; and Saturday, Sept. 15, in Cedar Lee.

Last year’s event attracted about 7,500 people and delivered economic impact estimated at $200,000, according to organizers. This year’s event features roughly 65 musical acts plus a few non-music entertainments, and organizers hope it will be bigger and better than ever before.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:56 PM, 09.03.2018

Peace Lutheran hosts free monthly meals

Peace Lutheran Church

Peace Lutheran Church will begin serving once-a-month hot meals for the community starting on Thursday, Sept. 20. The meals will take place on the third Thursday of each month, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and are free and open to everyone.

The organizers hope that whole families will join them, as they believe that family dinners build relationships, and help kids do better in school.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:51 PM, 09.03.2018

Friends of Lower Lake volunteers restore native habitat

Postcard of The Canoe Club c.1920

The Shaker Parklands, a green oasis in the midst of suburbia, span Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights. The boundaries are North Park Boulevard on the north; Eaton Road on the east; Martin Luther King Boulevard on the west; and an irregular line following Fairhill Road, South Park Boulevard into West Park Boulevard, South Woodland Road, and South Park Boulevard on the south and southeast. The main artery is Doan Brook, which spills into Lake Erie. Everything that happens in the Parklands doesn’t stay in the Parklands. Everything that happens ultimately impacts the Great Lakes, the largest body of freshwater in the world.

The Parklands contain four lakes. The Shakers first deforested the area 200 years agao by damming Doan Brook for lumber and flour mills, creating Horseshoe and Lower lakes.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:12 PM, 09.01.2018

September rides showcase homes, gardens and art

Looking for a way to get some exercise with like-minded people, while seeing many of the great sights the area has to offer? The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) frequently hosts group rides, including the two September rides below. Hop on your bike and join in the fun!

Sunday, Sept. 16 - Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour by Bike

A great way to enjoy the Heritage Home and Garden Tour is by bicycle. Parking is easy when all you need is a patch of grass! Join Heights Community Congress and HBC for an afternoon of biking and touring.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:17 PM, 09.01.2018

Art at St. Paul's contemplates light and color

 A painting by Marilyn Farinacci.

September arrives and so does a new show at the Nicholson B. White Gallery, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Four talented artists from Cleveland’s East Side—Marilyn Farinacci, Ben Hauser, Ruthe Stone and Catherine Davies Paetz—are featured in Contemplating Light and Color. The public is invited to attend the artists’ reception, which opens the show, on Friday, Sept. 7, 5–7 p.m.

Farinacci's vibrant paintings are stunning and complex. She creates visual concepts on canvas using layering, color and form in a unique way. Her contemporary paintings give the illusion of a three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.

Hauser refers to himself a photographic artist.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:57 PM, 09.01.2018

It's a night on the town

Though Nighttown has expanded seven times since it opened in the mid-'60s, customers still enter through this door, and, it appears, will continue to do so for many more years.

Last September, I attended the first public meeting for the Top of the Hill Project, the development of the plot of land where Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard come to a point, at the apex of Cedar Glen Parkway, which we all call Cedar Hill. The meeting took place at the Community Center. About 150 people attended and expressed about 237 ideas and opinions. One thing that everyone seemed to be in agreement on, however, was that Nighttown should be left alone. No one wanted to see it go.

But why? What’s the big deal? It’s just a restaurant, and Cleveland Heights is home to tons of restaurants. Well, it’s also a nightclub. But, again, there are a lot of places here that offer live entertainment.

But . . . it’s also the biggest restaurant in Cleveland Heights, and probably on the whole East Side of Cleveland, which must mean it’s good, if it has needed to expand so much—seven times, so far—to accommodate so many people.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:02 PM, 09.01.2018

'Alabama Story' opens Ensemble's new season

Kenneth Jones' "Alabama Story" will have its Ohio premiere on Sept. 7 at Ensemble Theatre.

Cleveland Heights’ Ensemble Theatre is set to begin its 39th consecutive season, offering it’s signature mix of classic American plays and definitive contemporary works.

"This coming season's theme, ‘The Future is Bright,’ is filled with meaning," said Ensemble’s Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino. "With the culmination of continuity of our space and location, to collaborating and creating a vision for the future of this corner, each one of our upcoming shows speaks to that sense of community and outlook to the days ahead."

The season opens with Kenneth Jones’ historical play “Alabama Story,” which will make its Ohio premiere on Ensemble’s Main Stage on Sept. 7.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:54 PM, 09.01.2018

Dobama presents Ohio premiere of 'Sunset Baby'

Dobama Theatre opens its 2018–19 Mainstage Season with the Ohio premiere of “Sunset Baby,” by Dominique Morisseau. The play, directed by Justin Emeka, will run Sept. 7–30.

In “Sunset Baby,” Morisseau, a writer on the Showtime series “Shameless,” calls into question the ways in which we love one another and what we choose to forgive.

Nina, a tough, independent woman, is visited by her estranged father, a former revolutionary in the Black Liberation movement, who seeks to mend their broken relationship. As father and daughter circle one another, deep-rooted wounds are discovered, generational differences are exposed, and burning truths are laid bare. The play is a smart, entertaining, and moving story about family, survival, and the nature of liberation.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:44 PM, 09.01.2018

What's going on at your library?

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

Monday, Sept. 17, 5–6 p.m.

A Taste of Nepal. Learn about our Nepali neighbors by listening to Nepalese music, playing Bagh Chal, and sampling some delicious cuisine. This program is part of Heights Libraries’ On The Same Page initiative.

Lee Road Branch
2345 Lee Road, 216-932-3600

Wednesday, Sept. 26, 7–8:30 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:25 PM, 09.01.2018

HRRC's BoomerFest is Sept. 15

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), along with the Cleveland Heights Office on Aging, will host BoomerFest on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., at the Cleveland Heights Community Center. The event is free and open to residents of all communities, with light refreshments available.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:38 PM, 09.01.2018

CH Senior Center News

The Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC), located in the CH Community Center at 1 Monticello Blvd., offers a variety of programming for those 60 and older. A complete schedule of programs is published in the community center’s newsletter, and available online at

Here are just a few of the new and noteworthy programs SAC is offering in September:

Attend a Bead Weaving workshop on Wednesdays, Sept. 5 and Oct. 3, 1–3 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:29 PM, 09.01.2018

UH Senior Happenings

Senior 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. To receive the monthly schedule by e-mail, call 216-932-7800, ext. 205, or send an e-mail to

Sept. 6: Deidre McPherson, one of several team leaders who organize public programs at the Cleveland Museum of Art, will discuss her work staging CMA's Mix parties, endowed lectures, International Cleveland Community Day, Martin Luther King celebration, and exhibit-specific programs.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:37 PM, 09.01.2018

Heights business offers holistic healing

"I love every day that I get to do this," says Judith Eugene of her work with with older adults and those with disabilities.

Since 2010, Heights resident and Observer contributor Judith Eugene has been teaching yoga, arts and holistic healing to older adults and people with disabilities. “I love it. I love every day that I wake up and get to do this,” reflected Eugene.

Originally, the Loving Hands Group was a solo enterprise. Eugene then found that she wanted to offer a broader scope of services, to include massage therapy and the fine arts. Currently the studio has five additional instructors who are dispatched throughout the community, teaching adaptive classes that range from cooking and henna art to fiber arts and flower arranging. The company also offers supportive classes and services for caregivers.

The Loving Hands Group provides group and individual services.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:41 PM, 09.01.2018

Lessons learned: my internship with Lake Erie Ink

Thirty minutes into my summer internship with Lake Erie Ink, my boss asked if I could help with a printing issue. I hardly knew what to do, being an English major and economics minor. But we needed attendance sheets for that week’s camp. I learned my first important lesson about nonprofits while fiddling with the computer controls: people in nonprofits do whatever they can, wherever they can. Nonprofit staffers wear many hats, and I was eager to start wearing some of my own.

My collection of hats grew steadily over the course of the summer. In a single week, I might be a techie, a janitor, an office assistant and a data entry clerk. The next week, I might be a teaching assistant, a guest speaker, an artist or an editor. From my co-workers I learned new and unexpected skills: how to operate a commercial printer, unlock push bars, and set up a projector and speaker.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:42 AM, 09.05.2018

Volunteer Match

Heights Observer’s Volunteer Match column lists opportunities for residents to lend their time to worthy organizations in and around the Heights.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:20 PM, 09.01.2018

FutureHeights honors Steve Presser at benefit event

Steve Presser with Julia Kious Zabell.

Julia Kious Zabell, board president of FutureHeights, presented Steve Presser with the "Champion of Independent Businesses" award, hand-crafted by Cleveland Heights artist Shayna Roth Pentecost, at the 2018 FutureHeights benefit, Living is Big Fun in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 1:46 PM, 09.01.2018

Noble Gardeners' Market needs sellers Sept. 1 and 8

Photo courtesy of Brenda May. 

More than 40 people showed up at the first Noble Gardeners’ Market on Saturday, Aug. 25. They voiced a tremendous interest in buying produce from their neighbors, looking for tomatoes, zucchini, green beans—even corn.

Are you a grower? The market needs you on its next two market days—Sept. 1 and 8, 10 a.m. to noon. 

Flowers sold quickly, and perennials were a hit, too, but marketgoers begged for vegetables. It's OK if you only have a few extra vegetables to sell. Having you there will help everyone envision the market's 2019 season.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:43 AM, 08.28.2018

Home and garden tour spotlights Harcourt Manor

Harcourt Manor will be one of eight tour stops this year.

The 41st annual Heights Heritage Home and Garden Tour, presented by Heights Community Congress (HCC), will be held this year on Sunday, Sept. 16, from noon to 6 p.m. The theme, Our FAIR City, honors the fact that this year, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark Fair Housing Act of 1968.

The tour will be special in another way, in that Harcourt Manor will be the featured home. This is the estate that many see driving up Cedar Glen Parkway, or riding bikes in the neighborhood, and many have watched the progression of the painstaking renovation of this magnificent house, and the spectacular landscaping that has evolved. The first floor of the home will be open, as well as its awe-inspiring grounds. The very generous owners are eager to share their new home with the community.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:32 AM, 08.28.2018

'At Table' again brings art and food to Heights Arts

Artist Lari Jacobson's painting is part of the installation inspired by Zoma and chef Zeleke Belete.

This September, 24 artists are partnering with some of Cleveland’s most creative culinary experts to transform the Heights Arts main gallery into four unique, themed installations that speak to the art of food and community through the materials we use to eat and drink. The exhibition, At Table: Cleveland Culinaria, opens on Aug. 31 and will run through Oct. 14.

In addition, on Sept. 14, 6–9 p.m., Heights Arts invites the community to the opening of a new exhibition in its Spotlight gallery, featuring the work of Cleveland Heights printmaker Paula Zinsmeister. 

At Table showcases the vision of chefs Douglas Katz of fire food & drink, Provenance, and the Katz Club Diner; Gerry Grim of Edwin’s Leadership & Restaurant Institute; Zeleke Belete of Zoma; and Karen Small of the Flying Fig. 

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:38 AM, 08.28.2018

Join the Western Reserve Chorale in its 26th season

Western Reserve Chorale's (WRC) 26th season begins rehearsals on Sept. 4. It welcomes new members to join in a community of singers who enjoy the process of working together as an ensemble to create a musical experience for the Greater Cleveland area. The Chorale has a roster of nearly 100 members, so no singer needs to fear having to carry a part on his or her own.

At Table showcases the vision of chefs Douglas Katz of fire food & drink, Provenance, and the Katz Club Diner; Gerry Grim of Edwin’s Leadership & Restaurant Institute; Zeleke Belete of Zoma; and Karen Small of the Flying Fig. 

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:50 AM, 08.28.2018

Macís Backsí DeGaetano is 2018 Cleveland Arts Prize honoree

2018 Cleveland Arts Prize-recipient Suzanne DeGaetano at Mac's Backs.

“Total shock” was the reaction of Mac’s Backs’ co-owner and manager Suzanne DeGaetano upon learning that she had been awarded a 2018 Cleveland Arts Prize. “I don’t deserve it,” was her next thought.

The Arts Prize trustees apparently disagreed, explaining in a statement their decision to award the 2018 Martha Joseph Prize to DeGaetano: “Within the Cleveland arts community, she has established herself as a patron saint among emerging and seasoned poets, writers and artists. She knows most by name. Her generosity and commitment to Northeast Ohio's literary community knows no bounds.”

“I think of the award as one that honors the local writers whose books we sell at Mac’s Backs,” said DeGaetano.

The Cleveland Arts Prize, established in 1960 by the Women’s City Club, is now the nation’s oldest municipal arts award. It recognizes local artists as well as those “community leaders who help regional arts flourish.”

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 12:20 PM, 08.21.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 8-7-2018

AUGUST 7, 2018


  • Board approvals and acceptances
  • Heights Schools Foundation activity
  • Request for public input


President James Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz and Beverly Wright were present. Malia Lewis was absent. Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. The meeting began at 7 p.m. and ended at 8:40 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 11:35 AM, 09.11.2018

Cleveland Heights - University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 8-6-2018

AUGUST 6, 2018


  • Financial report
  • New amended bylaws
  • Public service highlights
  • Library meeting rooms and free speech
  • Newly funded grants


Present were President Abby Botnick, Vice President Chris Mentrek, Secretary James Roosa, Dana Fluellen, and Vikas Turakhia. The meeting began at 7:30 p.m. and adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 11:42 AM, 09.11.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council special meeting highlights 7-30-2018

JULY 30, 2018


  • Objections to liquor license renewals
  • Community reinvestment area
  • Cedar Lee SID services plan
  • Cedar Lee SID assessment equalization board
  • Meadowbrook and Lee
  • Stadium Square
  • FutureHeights agreement
  • State Bicycle Route 80
  • Meadowbrook and Lee counsel


All council members were present: Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein, Cheryl L. Stephens and Michael N. Ungar. The meeting lasted from 7:38 to 8:10 p.m. 

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:57 AM, 09.11.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 7-24-2018

JULY 24, 2018


  • Roof repair contract approved
  • Middle schools renovation cost update


President Jim Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. After a 5 p.m. executive session about employment concerns, the board reconvened at 6 p.m. in open session. The meeting was adjourned at 6:45 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 11:29 AM, 09.11.2018

University Heights City Council special meeting highlights 7-23-2018

JULY 23, 2018


  • Tax abatements on new construction city-wide
  • 2018 alternative tax budget
  • Establishment of bike lanes
  • Small cell facilities
  • University Heights Community Improvement Corporation
  • Community Development Block Grant Funds
  • Bombardier sidewalk plow
  • Grant for the Silsby Road Park project
  • Video recording of council meetings


Present were Mayor Michael D Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Pamela Cameron, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville and newly hired Finance Director James Goffe. The meeting was held from 7 to 9 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 11:23 AM, 09.11.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 7-16-2018

JULY 16, 2018


  • Public comments
  • Second quarter Master Plan update
  • Community Center fitness equipment
  • Immigration Task Force
  • Barbara H. Boyd Park
  • Small cell wireless facilities
  • Community reinvestment area
  • 2019 Tax Budget
  • Cedar Fairmount SID
  • Assessment equalization boards
  • FutureHeights placemaking event
  • Taylor-Superior “Stadium Square” historic district
  • Mayor’s report


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein, Cheryl L. Stephens and Michael N. Ungar. Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow was absent. The meeting lasted from 7:38 to 8:56 p.m. It was preceded by a public budget hearing at which City Manager Tanisha Briley presented final details of the proposed 2019 budget.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.11.2018

A well-defined brand can enhance a city's image

Each of us is passionate about our community and committed to sharing the story of what makes Cleveland Heights such a wonderful place [in which] to live, work, eat, shop and play. Developing clear messaging and engaging graphics will help shape our conversation and enhance our ability to clearly communicate who Cleveland Heights is and what it offers. The city made the strategic decision to invest in discovering and defining the brand of Cleveland Heights and establishing new tools and resources to help effectively promote the city brand to others.

A brand is much more than a logo or tag line. It is the DNA of the city and speaks to what Cleveland Heights stands for and what it offers visitors, business owners and residents alike. By discovering and defining the brand, the foundation for tools and resources will be developed to help us effectively promote this unique community to prospective residents and businesses, current residents and visitors.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 12:31 PM, 08.21.2018

Cook takes on communications role for University Heights

Mike Cook (at left) with UH Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan. [photo courtesy UH City Hal]

In an Aug. 14 news release, University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan announced that Mike Cook had been hired to be the city's first communications and civic engagement coordinator. In that role, Cook will be responsible for the city's media, outreach, and constituent services, and promoting the city's quality of life.

Brennan stated in the release: "Mike brings experience, as well as energy and creativity, to City Hall. He will be working closely with me, our city department, and city council to help us raise the overall responsiveness of city government to our residents, and with that, the quality of life in University Heights."

Prior to taking this new position, Cook worked for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court; the Ohio General Assembly, where he was a legislative aid; and the American Red Cross, where he worked in communications and marketing.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 12:22 PM, 08.21.2018

Volunteers needed for the Heights Music Hop

Volunteer sign-up is open for the 6th Annual Heights Music Hop, which runs Sept. 13-15 in the Coventry Village, Cedar-Fairmount and Cedar-Lee business districts. 

Volunteers work in blocks of 2 to 3 hours, and serve as ambassadors for the event and community. Specific roles include:

  • Staffing music venues to answer questions and assist regular workers at the venue
  • Maintaining a presence throughout the business districts to answer questions and pass out maps
  • Helping with musician check-ins
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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 12:15 PM, 08.21.2018

Heights High students honored as AP scholars

The College Board’s AP program recognized 31 Cleveland Heights High School students as AP scholars for their outstanding performance and college-level achievement on Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

Class of 2018 graduates Melanie Graham and Mary Jane Reinhardt were honored as National AP Scholars. This, the program’s highest distinction, is granted to students who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams.

AP Scholar with Distinction was awarded to 15 Heights High students who received an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more exams.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 11:36 AM, 08.21.2018

Gardeners' market comes to Noble neighborhood

This perennial garden marks the site of the upcoming Noble Gardeners' Market, at Roanoke and Noble roads.

On three consecutive Saturdays, beginning Aug. 25, Cleveland Heights gardeners are invited to participate in the Noble Gardeners’ Market, to sell fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers that they’ve grown in Cleveland Heights community gardens and in their own backyards. (No processed foods may be sold at this market.)

The mini-park at Roanoke and Noble roads will be the site of the market, which will run Aug. 25, Sept. 1 and Sept. 8, from 10 a.m. to noon.

The mini-park, a reclaimed parcel one block north of Monticello Boulevard, was formerly occupied by a gas station.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:13 PM, 08.13.2018

Eliminating fines saves money for Heights Libraries

Circulation Manager Ty Emerson checks a customer's account.

In January 2018, Heights Libraries stopped charging overdue fees. The move was part of an overall shift in focus from restrictions and chastisement to forgiveness and easier access to materials and services.

“All we really want is for folks to return physical items so they can be recirculated,” said Circulation Manager Ty Emerson. “The elimination of fines makes that the focus of our interaction with customers with overdue items, as opposed to scolding and growing fines and fees, so they are more comfortable bringing the items back.”

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 9:47 AM, 08.14.2018

Summer should end with Labor Day

When I was growing up, the official end to summer in Cleveland Heights and University Heights was Labor Day. We had a pretty regular school calendar that started after Labor Day and ended in mid-June. This was the same for almost all school districts. In some states, this calendar is still the norm. As of the 2016–17 school year, CH-UH started back to school two weeks before Labor Day. Cleveland Schools start even earlier. South Euclid starts three weeks before Labor Day. Why do nearly all school districts in Ohio start school earlier and earlier in August?

No one will admit the real reason, but the only explanation is that beginning the school year earlier in the summer gives more instructional time before state testing.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:12 PM, 08.13.2018

Court holds that property manager breached its own contract

A Cleveland Heights property manager sued its client to recover management fees but the strategy backfired. Municipal Court Magistrate Gary Benjamin found that the property manager had breached its own property management agreement and rejected the company’s claim for compensation. Instead, the magistrate awarded damages to the property owner on his counterclaim.

The property manager, Transnational Property Investments, manages more than 350 properties out of its office on Fairmount Boulevard. A July 2016 property management agreement provided that Transnational would rent and manage a duplex in Cleveland owned by Rodolfo Encinas, a California resident. The agreement was terminated in October 2017 after both units had been vacant for ten months.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:51 AM, 09.05.2018

Students prepare for classes at Heights High's AP Success Camp

These Heights High students participated in the AP Success Camp in July.

The thought of taking Advanced Placement (AP) courses can seem daunting for many high school students. These courses, in which students can earn college credit through an end-of-year exam, are structured like college courses, with an increased rigor that includes extra work and oftentimes more stress.

Cleveland Heights High School and the CH-UH City School District sought to alleviate these worries for students with their second annual AP Success Camp, which was held in July at the high school.

A total of 23 students, in grades 9–12, attended the four-day camp in order to prepare for their upcoming classes in the 2018–19 school year. The majority of the students have at least one AP course on their schedule this year, but some, like rising freshman James Huff, were there to sharpen their study skills and see what AP is all about before diving in as a sophomore.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:42 AM, 08.14.2018

FutureHeights programs encourage front-porch culture

This sign in the Forest Hill neighborhood encouraged neighbors and passersby to stop and visit with one another.

On July 17, FutureHeights facilitated a public forum titled “Placemaking: How to Create a Front Porch Culture.” The event, in which four panelists discussed the ways in which they created front-porch cultures in their neighborhoods, took place at The BottleHouse Brewing Company, with more than 40 Heights residents attending. 

Dawn Arrington and Katharyne Starinsky spoke about their experiences helping to coordinate Larchmere’s Annual PorchFest, a free music festival that takes place on 30 different front porches in the Larchmere neighborhood. Through help from residents and volunteers, the event now welcomes more that 9,000 attendees.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 9:50 AM, 08.14.2018

Mayor Brennan names Susan Drucker as new UH economic development director

Susan Drucker

In a July 31 press release, Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan announced that Susan Drucker, former two-term mayor of Solon, had accepted the position of economic development director for the city of University Heights.

During her tenure in Solon, Drucker facilitated the redevelopment on the Solon Village Shopping Center—including bringing the first Market District Giant Eagle to Cuyahoga County—and the expansion of the Nestle Global Research and Development Center. Drucker, along with Solon's city council, spearheaded the 2011 rezoning initiative that helped Nestle expand its research facility.

Drucker served on the Cuyahoga County Economic Development Commission and the Mayors and Managers Economic Development Committee. Since leaving office, she has worked as a business management consultant and served on the county charter review commission.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 10:12 AM, 08.07.2018

CH City Council vote authorizes MOU for the Meadowbrook and Lee site

A page from the Cedar Lee Connection June 11 presentation to CH City Council shows the team's vision for the site.

At its July 30 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council voted unanimously in favor of Resolution No. 79-2018, which allows City Manager Tanisha Briley to negotiate a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Cedar Lee Connection, LLC, for the proposed development of the Meadowbrook and Lee site in the Cedar Lee Business District. The city recently selected the team’s RFP/RFQ response from two finalists, and council’s vote both formally names Cedar Lee Connection as the developer and initiates processes that will lead to a more detailed development plan.

Melissa Yasinow introduced the legislation and moved to vote on it. Mary Dunbar and Jason Stein seconded it, and all six eligible council members voted yes. Michael Ungar abstained from the vote because the law firm in which he is a partner does business with one of the principals involved in the project.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:53 PM, 07.31.2018