Latest News

Proposed Cedar Coventry development concerns neighbors

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights Planning Department is considering a proposal from Kertesz Enterprises, a developer from Orange Village, to build a four-plex on the vacant lot at the corner of Cedar and Coventry roads. Neighbors have voiced a number of concerns about the impact that three significant zoning variances, which are required for the developer to move forward, will have on the neighborhood.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 10:19 AM, 04.15.2014

Latest News Releases

R.I.T.A. extends local tax filing deadline to Monday, April 21
- Regional Income Tax Agency, April 15, 2014 Read More
Cleveland Heights featured in WEWS News Channel 5's "Building Better Neighborhoods" campaign
- City of Cleveland Heights, April 14, 2014 Read More
CH's Revive launches its new fair trade collection, Journey, on April 11, 6 to 9 p.m.
- Revive, April 10, 2014 Read More
Cleveland Shakespeare Festival announces April auditions in CH for its 17th season of free outdoor theater
- Cleveland Shakespeare Festival, April 1, 2014 Read More
Vote by Mail and Early Voting open April 1 for the May 6 Primary Election
- Cuyahoga County, April 1, 2014 Read More

View more news releases

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-7-2014

APRIL 7, 2014

  • Yard waste collection
  • Fuchs Mizrachi site
  • Technical assistance grant
  • Belvoir Boulevard and new crossing
  • Memorial Day parade
  • JCU access drive
  • Mobile computers
  • Spring tree planting
  • Yard nuisance abatement
  • Sidewalk repair and replacement
  • Ethnic Intimidation
  • Construction
  • Recreation committee

All council members were present.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 6:54 PM, 04.16.2014

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-7-2014

APRIL 7, 2014

  • Public comments
  • Emergency purchases
  • Liquor licenses
  • Nuisance properties
  • Parks and recreation appointment
  • Council proclamations:
  • Community events announced:
  • Recycling news
  • Bonds for city expenditures
  • Public works purchases
  • State Issue 1 for infrastructure funding
  • Zoning board appeals
  • Loose-leaf pickup
  • Crumb rubber infill
  • Michael Benjamin

Council members Mary Dunbar and Jason Stein were absent.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 6:40 PM, 04.16.2014

Cleveland Heights selects candidate for full-time law director position

The City of Cleveland Heights announced on Friday, April 11, that Anthony Farris has been selected as the final candidate for the law director position. Farris, a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law, has spent the majority of his career in municipal law with the City of Youngstown. He has held several positions including chief assistant prosecutor, deputy law director and law director.

"The decision was made to hire a full-time law director to maximize accessibility, efficiency and consistency for the City", said City Manager Tanisha Briley "We took our time to find the right candidate and were impressed with the depth and range of legal and community issues that Mr. Farris has been involved in during his career."

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 11:06 AM, 04.14.2014

Heights community loses beloved teacher

Kate Smoker

On Monday, April 7, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District lost Ms. Kate Smoker, a cherished friend, colleague and music teacher. Smoker was only 35 years old, and leaves behind her husband and two young children.

"Smoker was renowned for her drive and passion. She tirelessly worked to positively impact her students and ensure their success, both in and outside of the classroom," stated Superintendent Nylajean R. McDaniel. 

“Kate always recognized the very best qualities in her students and worked hard to get them to recognize their own gifts,” said colleague Ida Bergson, an art teacher who often collaborated with Smoker.

Julie Lustic, the physical education teacher at Canterbury, said, “As an integral member of the Creative Arts Team at Canterbury, [Ms. Smoker] was always up for a challenge. She brought her enthusiasm, creative spirit, and willingness to embrace projects outside her area of expertise to all our collaborations. We will miss her not only as a colleague but as a close friend and confidant.”

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:38 PM, 04.10.2014

CH-UH superintendent search narrowed to three finalists

Superintendent candidates (left-right): Fred Bolden, Zheadric Barbra and Talisa Dixon.

After several hours of discussion on Tuesday evening, April 8, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Board of Education (BOE) narrowed its list of five semi-finalist superintendent candidates down to three finalists—Talisa Dixon, Zheadric Barbra and Fred Bolden. The chosen candidate will replace current superintendent Nylajean R. McDaniel, who will retire at the end of this school year.

“These were all very strong candidates; it was a struggle for us to narrow the list from five to three,” said Ron Register, board president. “We feel we have three really exceptional finalists to introduce next week to the staff and community."

During the week of April 14, each of the finalists will spend a day in the district touring schools, meeting staff and students, and completing a second interview with the BOE.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:24 PM, 04.10.2014

Eddy's Barbershop opens on Coventry

Chuck Falk and Eddy Maddox at the new Eddy's Barbershop.

Eddy Maddox, the owner of Eddy’s on Coventry salon, has taken over the space down the street that previously was occupied by the Laura Lee Salon. In its place, he has opened Eddy’s Barbershop, specializing in men’s haircuts.

“There was a niche to be filled over here,” Maddox said. “Not every guy wants to go to a unisex hair salon. So for the guy who doesn’t want to go to one of those places, we’re here.”

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 1:04 PM, 04.08.2014

"Know Knothings" upset defending champions in Reaching Heights 23rd annual adult community spelling bee

Champion spellers, the "Know Knothings" representing Heights High PTA receive the coveted Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee trophy from former executive director Patrick Mullen, in yellow.

Pictured from left to right are Jim Wright, Anne Kugler, Patrick Mullen and Fran Lissemore. Photo by Jennifer Vinson.

The “Know Knothings” team, representing Heights High PTA, upset the defending champions, the Barratrous Orthographers, to win the 23rd Annual Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee at Wiley Middle School on April 2.

The winning team comprised eight-time participant Anne Kugler and seven-time participants Fran Lissemore and Jim Wright. The “Know Knothings” are two-time champions, last winning the Bee in 2009.

The champions seized victory in the seventh round, correctly spelling the word “dieffenbachia,” a genus of poisonous tropical American plants named after Ernst Dieffenbach, a 19th-century German horticulturist.

The “Know Knothings” narrowly defeated three teams that shared second place: “Barratrous Orthographers,” a team of lawyers representing Squire, Sanders & Dempsey—Bonnie Bealer, Becky Bynum and John Lazzaretti; the “Ms. Spellers,” a team of parents representing Roxboro Elementary and Middle Schools—Malia Lewis, Andrea Lynn and Brenna Lisowski; and the Coventry Word Outlaws, bedecked in cowboy hats, boots and bandannas—Cynthia Larsen, Peggy Latkovitch and Joe Mendes.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 1:01 PM, 04.08.2014

School facilities discussion comes to libraries in April

In three April community meetings, the architect team and members of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District staff will share updates about, and gather more information for, the design phase of the Heights High School renovation project.

The meetings, scheduled for April 10, 17 and 24, will each take place at a different Heights Library branch, to make them convenient for all, and Heights residents are invlted to attend any of the the drop-in sessions.

The meeting dates and locations are:

  • Thursday, April 10, 6–7:30 p.m., Coventry Village Library, 1925 Coventry Road
  • Thursday, April 17, 6–7:30 p.m., University Heights Library, 13866 Cedar Road
  • Thursday, April 24, 6–7:30 p.m., Noble Neighborhood Library, 2800 Noble Road
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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 11:00 AM, 04.14.2014

HRRC celebrates Seniors Day on April 9

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) has planned an event specifically for senior homeowners, to assist them in managing home repairs and making better use of their homes.

“Celebrate Seniors Day” will be held on Wednesday, April 9, at the HRRC Teaching Center, 2520 Noble Road (two blocks north of Monticello Boulevard) in Cleveland Heights.

Seniors are invited to drop in any time between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. for refreshments and information on how HRRC can help them complete repair and renovation projects.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 9:29 AM, 04.08.2014

CHHS Alumni Foundation hosts annual pancake breakfast

The pancakes keep coming at the all-you-can-eat CHHS Alumni Foundation Pancake Breakfast, set for April 13.

The Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Foundation will host its 18th Annual Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Cleveland Heights High School cafeteria, 13263 Cedar Road.

Proceeds from the all-you-can-eat breakfast will benefit scholarship programs for Heights High seniors. The event is open to the public and will feature tours of Heights High.

"With major renovations planned for Heights in the next three years, this is an excellent opportunity to visit before construction begins," stated Eric Silverman, CHHS Alumni Foundation president.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.08.2014

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-17-14

MARCH 17, 2014

  • Public comments
  • Fair housing audits
  • Housing council appointments
  • Nuisance bar
  • Employee compensation
  • First Suburbs Development Council
  • St. Baldrick fundraiser
  • Fair Housing Month
  • Community announcements
  • Capital improvements
  • Denison Park field project
  • Public works purchase

All council members were present.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 1:40 PM, 04.08.2014

District's Kindergarten Information Night set for April 10

Students in Ms. Duhanich's Canterbury Elementary School kindergarten class.

Boulevard Elementary School, 1749 Lee Road, will host the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District’s Kindergarten Information Night on Thursday, April 10, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Boulevard Principal Shelley Pulling and District Superintendent Nylajean McDaniel will welcome families to the event, and kindergarten teachers from each of the district’s seven elementary schools will be present, to provide information and answer questions. Activities and information to be shared at the Information Nights include:

  • Registration packets for incoming kindergarten students.
  • Virtual school visits: Each of the seven elementary schools will have a room that parents can visit, to learn more about their neighborhood school.
  • Heights Library resources: Library representatives will display books about kindergarten and resources for parents, and will have library card applications available.
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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 4:03 PM, 04.04.2014

Heights High spring concert season highlights senior soloists

This year's Heights High senior soloists are Josh Perelman-Hall on tenor sax and Ben Sperl on double bass.

The Cleveland Heights High Instrumental School Music Department (IMD) spring concert series includes eagerly awaited performances by senior soloists, a tradition that started in 1929. Ben Sperl and Josh Perelman-Hall showcase the breadth and depth of the music program at Heights High. Both are experienced musicians. 

On Friday, May 2, double bassist Ben Sperl will perform “Fantasy on Themes from La Sonnambula” by Giovanni Bottesini. He will be accompanied by the string section of the Heights High Symphony, under the direction of Daniel Heim.

“[Fantasy] is probably one of the most challenging pieces for bass,” said Sperl. He selected the piece because “it’s flashy and fun, and really melodic and singing with lots of fast notes.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 11:39 AM, 04.04.2014

Mickie McGraw, pioneering art therapist

Mickie McGraw

Mickie McGraw had no plans to be a pioneer. Nevertheless, not by putting one foot in front of another but by the sheer momentum of her life on wheels, she became one.

As McGraw puts it, she’s been on wheels her whole life. Growing up on the East Side of Cleveland she was a tomboy, always on a bike or roller skates. In 1953, at the age of 11, she contracted polio and has wheeled in a chair ever since.  

McGraw was tutored at home through high school. Through the Society for Crippled Children, now more aptly named The Achievement Centers for Children, professional artists volunteered to come to her house. Painter Martha Horvath, enamelist and photographer John Puskas, and a ceramic artist she remembers as Mrs. Boorse nurtured McGraw’s innate talent and interest. As a result, she embarked on an arts-centered life and enrolled in the five-year Bachelor of Fine Arts program at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where strong young men would lift McGraw and her wheelchair into the building.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:22 AM, 04.03.2014

Register in April for May preservation month events

Carroll Drug once occupied the Hunan Coventry space at the corner of Coventry and Hampshire roads.

May is National Preservation Month and this year’s theme, chosen by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is “New Age of Preservation: Embark, Inspire, Engage.”

The annual May event is observed by small towns and big cities across the country, and the 2014 theme, according to the National Trust, “is meant to excite current supporters and introduce new audiences” to the work being done to enrich and preserve what makes a community special.

In Cleveland Heights, the Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, the Cleveland Heights Historical Society and the Heights Libraries partner to present the city’s preservation month. This year, five programs are designed to inform attendees about the history of this community and Greater Cleveland, and provide information on how to protect and preserve the architecture and homes that make the Heights special.

The events are free, but space is limited, and advance registration is required for all events.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:01 AM, 04.01.2014

School district shares Wiley site plans with UH officials

Preliminary plans for the Wiley site. Courtesy CH-UH City School District.

The CH-UH City School District Board of Education shared its preliminary plans for use of the Wiley Middle School property as “swing space” at a public meeting with University Heights City Council on March 17. The district plans to use the school to house Heights High students and then middle school students while the high school and Roxboro and Monticello middle schools are renovated.

Heights residents passed a $134.8 million bond issue in November 2013 to help fund the first phase of a master plan to renovate all of the district’s facilities. This included about $11.7 million for modifications to the Wiley property, to enable it to be used as swing space for the first phase of the plan.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 8:55 AM, 04.01.2014

FutureHeights seeks to engage residents through public forums and speakers

In addition to publishing the Heights Observer, FutureHeights encourages civic engagement by hosting speakers and facilitating public forums.

On April 1, FutureHeights will host a public forum entitled “Snow, Sidewalks and Shovels.” In the past, we’ve published articles about keeping our sidewalks clear for pedestrians during the winter, and many residents have weighed in on the importance of doing so given our commitment to being a walkable community. This year, however, record snowfalls have brought the issue to the forefront.

How can we keep our sidewalks clear, efficiently and cost effectively? Whose responsibility is it to do so: the homeowner’s or business owner’s, the city’s, or a combination? Join us for a discussion on April 1, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at The Wine Spot, 2271 Lee Road.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 8:53 AM, 04.01.2014

Cedar Taylor merchants study streetscape improvements

The Cedar Taylor Business District is taking a proactive role in creating the next great neighborhood commercial district in the Heights.

In 2013, after several years of planning, the Cedar Taylor Development Association (CTDA) was incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. CTDA's first initiative has been to undertake a streetscape study to identify a range of initiatives aimed at creating a more cohesive neighborhood district.

CTDA comprises residents, business owners and property owners who have a vested interest in the Cedar Taylor neighborhood that spans both Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.01.2014

April 5 is annual Home Remodeling Fair

Looking for home remodeling ideas and repair advice? Come to this year’s Home Remodeling Fair, presented by Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) in cooperation with the City of Cleveland Heights.

The fair will be held on Saturday, April 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Cleveland Heights City Hall, 40 Severance Circle. The fair is free, and is open to residents of all communities.

The air will feature “Ask an Expert” tables, where professionals from many repair specialties will answer questions and give advice. In addition, representatives from local banks, community organizations and the City of Cleveland Heights will be available to discuss how they can help homeowners complete renovation projects.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 3:24 PM, 03.31.2014

Annual Bremec fundraiser will benefit HRRC

Mike Gaynier of HRRC receives a check from Debi Jenks of Bremec on the Heights Garden Center.

After this very long, cold winter, yards and gardens here in the Heights will undoubtedly need some spring sprucing-up. Those in need of lawn and garden supplies—or just in search of something green—can support Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) of Cleveland Heights by shopping at Bremec on the Heights between Monday, April 21 and Sunday, May 4.

When shoppers present an HRRC voucher at the register, Bremec on the Heights Garden Center, 13410 Cedar Road, will donate a portion of those purchases to HRRC. Even those shoppers who may not yet be ready to take home plants and supplies can benefit HRRC by purchasing gift cards using a voucher during the two-week fundraising period. They can then use the gift cards at a later date.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 3:22 PM, 03.31.2014

Heights historical photo of the month

Photo courtesy the City of Cleveland Heights.

The view looking up the hill to Fairmount Boulevard from Cedar Road hasn't changed much since this photo was taken on a snowy day in 1919. The house, built by real estate developer Barton R. Deming in 1914, still stands today, though some adjoining structures are now gone. Also gone are the streetcar tracks running through the median. Bus service replaced the Fairmount Boulevard streetcar line in the late 1940s. 

This photo was selected by the Cleveland Heights Historical Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the diverse character and traditions of Cleveland Heights. For more information, and to view additional historical images, visit or

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 3:18 PM, 03.31.2014

Cleveland Heights programs encourage bicycling

Over the past several years, Cleveland Heights has become measurably more bicycle-friendly according to the League of American Bicyclists, which recognized the city as a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community in autumn 2013, up from an honorable mention grade in 2010.

In the future, the City of Cleveland Heights plans to continue improving infrastructure for bicyclists. The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) will encourage bicycling with group rides and other programs, while the city, the schools and HBC will educate Heights residents of all ages on bicycling and its benefits as a healthy and environmentally-friendly activity.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 3:15 PM, 03.31.2014

This fantasy is a nightmare!

Put on your rose-colored glasses and imagine this fantasy: 

When it comes to academic success, all children are immune to such factors as their parents' situation, access to food and health care, vision or hearing issues, early childhood education or enrichment experiences, stress, expectations for academic achievement, the number of times they move in a year, trauma affecting people they care about, the learning conditions in their schools, language barriers or their ability to concentrate.

In this dream world, every child—regardless of their economic status, educational setting or personal challenges—is expected to learn the same amount, at the same rate.

Using this fantasy as their basis, regulators have developed quick and inexpensive tools that can measure the depth and breadth of academic success.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 3:08 PM, 03.31.2014

Heights Auto Tech program provides hands-on learning

Teacher Jeff Porter, students Maxx Marshall and Michael Hancock, and Jay Hobbs, career and technical education coordinator (from left). Hancock is holding the damaged cart piece that was removed from a broken school utility cart. The repaired cart is behind the students.

When Heights High assistant head custodian Chris Canter needed to repair the school’s utility cart, he called on the Heights High Auto Tech program. Juniors Michael Hancock and Maxx Marshall, both auto tech students, volunteered to do the work. Canter secured the necessary parts and a donation from Southeast Golf Car Company, and the students did the rest—with the guidance of their teacher Jeff Porter.

“The utility cart is basically a golf cart that carries cargo,” said Porter. “Many of the systems are the same as cars, with some differences of course.”

While the auto tech students repair about 20 cars a month, they occasionally work on golf carts.

The front end of the school’s utility cart was damaged, including the headlight. “We removed the damaged parts, replaced the light, wired it in and replaced the front end,” said Hancock.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 3:01 PM, 03.31.2014

Heights resident publishes potty training book

Deb Lonzer reading to her son Noah.

Potty training can be among the most stressful times for parents, according to longtime Cleveland Heights resident and pediatrician Deb Lonzer. At the request of one of her patients, Lonzer has published her first children’s book to help toddlers and parents view toilet training as a natural—and even fun—process. Lonzer collaborated with illustrator and Wickliffe native John Cairns, and said she wrote The Flushville Four “to help toddlers and parents relax a bit about potty training.”

“It seems to me that parents and kids can take potty training too seriously,” said Lonzer. “Potty training has become increasingly important, as parents try to train their kids as early as possible to get them into preschool, to save money on diapers, to reduce the weight of that diaper bag, or to keep up with neighbors who swear that their daughter was fully trained by 13 months. The truth is, I’ve never heard of a kid going to the prom in diapers.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:56 PM, 03.31.2014

Library programs for teen job seekers begin in April

With the national teen jobless rate at 24.2 percent last May, local teens looking for summer jobs this year will face stiff competition. They can get a leg up with Heights Libraries’ Teen Job Prep program, a three-part series offered at the University Heights Library, 13866 Cedar Road.

The series is the brainchild of Shenee King, Heights Libraries youth services associate. “When I first started working at the library, I helped a few teens fill out job applications,” said King. “I quickly realized they needed help with their job-hunting skills, especially the kids who need jobs to help their families.”

King will present the first program, "Gather Your Skills," on April 19 at 11 a.m. King will teach teens how to write effective résumés and accurately fill out job applications.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:43 PM, 03.31.2014

New library card will give all kids access to books

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library will celebrate National Library Week, April 13–19, by introducing a new library card just for kids age 12 and under, the "Three for Me" card.

Unlike a traditional library card, which requires a parent’s or guardian’s signature, the Three for Me card has no such requirement. Children 12 and under can get the card themselves with just an address and a birthdate, and check out up to three children’s books at a time.

“We understand that it is not always possible for a parent or guardian to come to the library to sign a library card application for a child,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “The Three for Me card ensures that all children are able to check out books, no matter what their circumstances may be.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:41 PM, 03.31.2014

Book Bike seeking more riders to fill demand

Believe it or not, the Book Bike has already made appearances in 2014; on a blustery February day, all-weather-warrior Eric Litschel rode to John Carroll University.

The Book Bike, a three-wheeled cart stocked with free books, was a common sight around Cleveland Heights and University Heights last summer, appearing at festivals and parades, on campus at John Carroll University and other locations in the area. The Book Bike was started in 2013 by Sam Lapides, special projects coordinator at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library. Tasked with finding creative ways to expand outreach efforts, Lapides got the idea for a human-powered outreach vehicle from the Pima County Public Library in Arizona.

“It felt like a nice fit with the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, both of which are manageable by bicycle and have a history of supporting ‘out there’ ideas,” said Lapides. He e-mailed the idea to Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director, who responded with an image of an old ice cream vending bicycle and the words, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:38 PM, 03.31.2014

What's going on at your library?

If April showers are keeping you inside, come to the library for refreshing new programs, including a monthlong celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. Visit for a full list of events, and to register.

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

Saturday, April 19, 2 p.m.
Coventry Baby Signs. Avoid frustration, and have fun communicating with your prelingual baby. Join Melissa O'Grady for an introduction to baby signs and the philosophy behind them. Registration begins April 5.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:21 PM, 03.31.2014

Internationally known gospel singer Willie-Mae Wright to perform

International gospel singer Willie-Mae Wright.

Cleveland gospel singer Mother Willie-Mae Wright will perform her first concert in more than 10 years at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 27, at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights.

The internationally known singer has been performing, and advocating for the poor, since the 1960s. She sang for Pope John VI at the Vatican in 1975 and has opened for many famous names in gospel music, including the legendary Mahalia Jackson. Wright is the matriarch of the Wright Family Singers, featuring seven of her eight children. The group performed for President Bill Clinton at the White House in 1994.

The 80-year-old Wright has lived a long and exhilerating life, singing, praising God and fighting to eradicate poverty. Her performance will combine her gift of song with personal stories of the trials and triumphs of her remarkable life.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:19 PM, 03.31.2014

Mamaí's second season: classic and innovative

Mamaí’s summer season includes "Stranded on Earth," a one-woman play by Cleveland Heights playwright Eric Coble (above). [photo credit: Betsy Molnar/Big Stills]

Following its award-winning inaugural season, Mamaí Theatre Company announces its expanded second year, which begins on June 16 with a benefit staged reading of the rarely performed James Joyce’s “Ulysses in Nighttown” at—of all places—Nighttown in Cleveland Heights.

June 16 has special meaning for Joyce fans. Bloomsday, as it’s called, celebrates June 16, 1904 as depicted in James Joyce’s Ulysses. The day is named for Leopold Bloom, the central character in the novel, and follows his life and thoughts from 8 a.m. to the early hours of the next morning. The benefit evening begins at 5:30 p.m. sharp with a three-course Joycean-inspired dinner, designed by Brendan Ring, Nighttown’s proprietor. The reading will follow. 

Also in June, Mamaí (pronounced Mah’ may) plans to host a rare theater event. Ten members of Actors Equity Association will gather to self-produce George Bernard Shaw’s “Heartbreak House.” A popular 20th-century masterpiece, this eclectic drama features an ensemble cast of unexpected visitors to an unusual home.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:13 AM, 03.31.2014

Healthy cooking for older adults

Older couples and single people living on their own often have trouble making nutritious meals for themselves. Understanding nurtritional needs and appropriate calorie intake can be confusing. Fresh ingredients are frequently sold in packages that are too large to finish before they go bad. Eating healthfully can also cost more, and the time required to cook sometimes doesn’t seem worth the effort. Following are some tips to help you eat in a healthy way without a lot of effort.

In 2011, the USDA updated the Food Pyramid of healthy eating guidelines and created a new initiative called Healthy Plate. The guidelines are based on the USDA publication “2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans” (DGA), and have been revised to make it easier to make better food choices. The guidelines suggest how to balance calories; add more healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, to your diet; and decrease the amount of unhealthy foods, such as those with high-sugar and high-sodium ingredients.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:25 AM, 03.31.2014

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

April 3:  Sanford Herskovitz, aka Mister Brisket, traces his unique odyssey, which includes Army service and stints as a stockbroker and teacher, as well as degrees in zoology, psychology and education. Nothing satisfied the white-bearded, gregarious world traveler like his family's meat business on South Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights, which his father founded and which he has maintained for 37 years.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:16 AM, 03.31.2014

Eighth-graders’ diorama project explores Anne Frank's story

Wiley Middle School ELA students learned about Anne Frank through reading and presentations.

Eighth-grade students from Anisha Mahone and Christy Lemanowicz’s English Language Arts (ELA) classes recently read The Diary of Anne Frank.

The Wiley Middle School students then created and presented visual displays, including dioramas, to their classmates, as part of a discussion of cultural biases, stereotypes and prejudices.

Anne Frank, who would later perish in a concentration camp, was roughly the same age as the Wiley eighth-graders when she wrote her diary, in hiding, during two years of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:07 AM, 03.31.2014

The Ohio Continuous Improvement Process at work

Heights High math teachers Rachel Martinez, Joyce Bukovac and Becky McDonald are using the Ohio Continuous Improvement Process.

The CH-UH City School District is using the Ohio Improvement Process (OIP) to identify areas that need improving, identify academic goals and define the work needed to reach the goals. With the support of the U.S. Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Education developed the OIP. The process is a unified state system intended to improve academic achievement for all students.

Teacher-Based Teams (TBTs) are using the process in the classrooms to ensure that students learn the concepts outlined in the curriculum, also known as the Common Core Standards. Heights High math teachers Becky McDonald, Rachel Martinez and Joyce Bukovac teach six sections of mathematical decision making for seniors.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:03 AM, 03.31.2014

Keystone Tigers explore teen issues at youth awareness fair

Keystone Tigers are (from left) Marcus Hilson, assistant director; Cameron Steele; Kyle Washington-Ross; Aaron Hemphill; Sheryl Kelley; Kylia Washington-Ross; and Brandon Delk, HYC staff.

The Keystone Tigers, the leadership arm of the Heights Youth Club (HYC), addressed depression and suicide at the Saving Us Youth Awareness Fair on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Several organizations serving Heights communities were present to introduce fair attendees to their programs. Participating organizations included: Avenues for Positive Changes, empowering girls and strengthening self-image; C.H.O.I.C.E.S., specializing in treatment for substance abuse and behavioral health; Jewish Family Services; Northern Ohio Recovery Association, offering adolescent substance use treatment; Ohio Guidestone, providing solutions for children, families and communities; Suicide Prevention Education Alliance (SPEA); and University Hospitals Discovery and Wellness Center for Children.

Three speakers addressed the audience of teens and parents.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:58 AM, 03.31.2014

Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival planned for Aug. 10

The Cedar Fairmount Business District's 14th Annual Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival is set to take place on Sunday, Aug. 10.

The popular neighborhood festival is a free event, and features family-friendly activities, including rides on the Euclid Beach Rocket Car, children's games, live music and an arts and crafts sale. Potential vendors and nonprofit groups who wish to participate in the festival are invited to visit or call 216-791-3172 for information.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:43 AM, 03.31.2014

Loose garbage in Cleveland Heights

Loose garbage on Hampshire Road.

To the Editor:

I recently sent the following letter to the CH Public Works Department, and I am sending a copy to the Observer as well, in the hopes that this issue doesn’t get lost.

Dear Cleveland Heights Refuse and Recycling Department,

I really appreciate the service and hard work that you folks do on a daily basis. However, I want to bring it to the city's attention that the method of refuse collection is perhaps not the most appropriate for taxpayers' needs. I've seen the trucks collect with the mechanical arm, and it's cool-looking. But because it prevents the use of covered garbage cans—which exposes thin or improperly tied bags to weather, animals and other messy factors—my otherwise gorgeous street is constantly covered in trash.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 11:03 AM, 03.25.2014

Play by CH's Eric Coble begins Broadway run on April 1

“The Velocity of Autumn,” a play by Cleveland Heights resident Eric Coble, begins preview performances on Broadway on April 1, and tickets are now available.

The play is headed to Broadway following its critically acclaimed run at Washington D.C.’s Arena Stage. The production’s two stars, Academy Award-winner Estelle Parsons ("Bonnie and Clyde", "Roseanne", “August: Osage County”) and two-time Tony Award-winner Stephen Spinella (“Angels in America,” “24”) will reprise their roles in the Broadway run of “Velocity.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:15 PM, 03.25.2014

Krista Hawthorne to lead Reaching Heights

Krista Hawthorne is the new Reaching Heights executive director.

Reaching Heights has selected Krista Hawthorne as the next leader of the 25-year-old citizen support organization for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools. Hawthorne has been on the staff of Reaching Heights since 2006, most recently as assistant director. She will assume her duties as executive director on April 15.

“Krista combines an exciting sense of the future for Reaching Heights with a deep awareness of the organization’s history, which she’s helped shape over the last eight years, most recently as assistant director,” said John Hubbard, Reaching Heights board president. “She brings a deep understanding of our community and a demonstrated ability to connect with a wide range of people. We were fortunate to interview other remarkable candidates, whom I’m confident will continue to share their gifts on behalf of excellent public education in our community.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:42 AM, 03.25.2014

Sweet Melissa opens first East Side restaurant in UH

Restaurant owner Matthew Ullom with his wife, Melissa.

Sweet Melissa, the restaurant that has become something of an institution on Cleveland’s West Side, finally has a location on the East Side. The new Sweet Melissa is on John Carroll Boulevard in Fairmount Circle in University Heights. It’s in the space previously occupied by the North Park Grill, and it opened on March 24.

The restaurant had a "soft" opening the weekend before its official opening, and on Friday night, the place was packed. 

Matthew Ullom, the owner of Sweet Melissa, said that the building’s owners wanted a restaurant in the space, and they thought that Sweet Melissa was a perfect fit for the community and for John Carroll University. “We always kept our eyes open in case the right opportunity came about,”
 Ullom said.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:34 AM, 03.25.2014

Snow, sidewalks and shovels: FutureHeights hosts public safety forum on April 1

Spring is finally upon us, but this winter has proven especially memorable. Record snowfall, weather-related school closures, and discussions about civic responsibility dominated conversations and media for months. Lengthy and severe conditions have left some lingering questions: What can we do better? How can we plan more effectively? Where do city services end and residents’ responsibility begin? Can we cooperate as a community to maintain superior public safety for all of our residents and visitors? How can we align our civic policies and individual actions to look beyond clear roads for cars to create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, traveling by foot, bike, bus or car?

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 12:39 PM, 03.24.2014

Heights St. Baldrick’s event far surpasses organizers’ goals

The Fairfax Team celebrates its new look. Photo courtesy of the CH-UH City School District.

According to Krissy Dietrich Gallagher, organizer of the Cleveland Heights St. Baldrick’s event, the Heights community banded together to raise nearly $109,000 for this volunteer-driven charity, far exceeding the original goal of $60,000. St. Baldrick’s funds the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long, healthy lives.

Gallagher encouraged students and teachers to participate as teams for the head-shaving event which took place on Sunday, March 16, at the Cleveland Heights Community Center. Boys and girls of all ages from CH-UH and Shaker Heights public and parochial schools joined the effort. Gallagher's son Austin, a two-time cancer survivor and a first-grader at Fairfax Elementary School, helped garner support for the Fairfax team, which led the pack in fundraising, with $25,495.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 2:25 PM, 03.18.2014

Postponed RH adult spelling bee set for April 2 at Wiley Middle School

The annual Reaching Heights Adult Spelling Bee has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m., and will take place at Wiley Middle School, 2181 Miramar Blvd.

Teams of three will complete for the “Coveted Big Plastic Bee Trophy” in this community event, now in its 23rd year, that raises funds to support academic and music programs in CH-UH public schools.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:50 AM, 03.18.2014

Rockefeller's adds music to its menu

Kevin Richards, Brad Smedley and Bryan Thomas of Hot Djang! performing at Rockefeller's. Photo by Rae Smedley.

If you’re looking for a place to hear live music, there’s a new venue in Cleveland Heights. Rockefeller’s, the restaurant in the historic Rockefeller building at the corner of Mayfield and Lee roads, now presents live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.

The focus is on jazz and blues, and some artists—including Hot Djang!, Anita Keys and Tom Letiza—appear every month. “We’re getting good turnouts for the music,” said Mike Adams, the restaurant’s owner. “There’s a nice eclectic mix of live music in Cleveland Heights, with the Grog Shop, the Wine Spot, Nighttown, and now us. It’s great for Cleveland Heights to have this mix of music.”

Adams, who is 43, opened the restaurant in 2011. Prior to that, he was an attorney for a medical-records firm. He grew up in New Jersey, then attended Kenyon College in Ohio. His wife, Mazie, grew up in Cleveland Heights, and after they married, they moved here. Adams said he has had a “lifelong interest in how restaurants operate.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:50 AM, 03.18.2014

Heights High student embarks on a year abroad

Heights High junior Emoni Brown-Bey will spend a year in Japan as an exchange student.

Heights High junior Emoni Brown-Bey always wanted to go to Japan. On March 16, with the help of the AFS Exchange Program and support of her family, Brown-Bey boarded a plane and set off for the Land of the Rising Sun. In Japan, she will live with her host family—a mother, father, and teenage sister and brother—in the eastern coastal city of Toyoshi.

Before she left, Brown-Bey said that while she was a little nervous about speaking Japanese, she was excited about the opportunity. “I am really interested in learning more about Japanese art, fashion and culture while I am there,” said Brown-Bey. She has spent the last several years researching and learning about Japan. A few months ago, she found an app that helped her to learn the Japanese language.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:13 AM, 03.18.2014

CH-UH Board of Education to present Wiley Middle School renovations plan to UH City Council March 17

Wiley Middle School reconfigured for use as the high school. Photo courtesy CH-UH BOE.

University Heights City Council will meet with the CH-UH City School District Board of Education at its Council Committee of the Whole Meeting, on Monday, March 17 at 6 p.m.

At the meeting, the district will present its plan for renovations at the Wiley Middle School property to Mayor Susan Infeld and city council members. Wiley will be used a "swing school" to accommodate students during construction at Heights High and, later, Monticello and Roxboro middle schools.

After the meeting with the BOE, University Heights City Council will hold its city council meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:39 AM, 03.17.2014

Weather-related school closing decisions are never easy

Superintendent Nylajean R. McDaniel, Ph.D.

This winter has tested the mettle of even the most winter-immune Northeast Ohioans. The frigid temperatures and frequent snow storms meant that CH-UH City School District administrators were faced even more often with that thorny decision: how bad must the weather be before school is called off? 

As much as parents and administrators would prefer hard-and-fast rules about when school closes due to weather conditions, such a rigid system isn’t being, and can’t really be, used. Every situation is different and has to be judged independently. Closing school is never an easy decision because every minute of instruction time counts.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 9:04 AM, 03.17.2014

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-3-14

MARCH 3, 2014

  • Memorial Day parade
  • Zoning and planning updates
  • New fire chief
  • JCU plaza renovation
  • JCU access drive proposal
  • Transfer of funds
  • Vehicle purchase
  • Tree planting
  • False alarms

All council members were present.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 12:27 PM, 03.18.2014

Brave, bold, and bald: Heights students shave their heads for St. Baldrick’s cancer fundraiser

On Sunday, March 16, from noon to 4 p.m., cancer survivors will gather with their families, classmates, friends, teachers and students from the Heights and neighboring communities at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd., where participants will shave their heads to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

This year’s St. Baldrick’s event is held in honor of three students from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District: Austin Gallagher, a first-grader and two-time survivor of kidney cancer; Becca Meyer, a kindergartener currently battling a brain tumor; and Garrett Gulden, a seventh-grader battling leukemia.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:00 AM, 03.13.2014

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-3-14

MARCH 3, 2014

  • Public comments
  • Turkey Ridge development and CRAs
  • Doan Brook Watershed Partnership
  • Mayfield Road traffic signal upgrades
  • School Travel Plan
  • Zoning variances
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP)
  • HOME agreement with HRRC
  • FEMA grant
  • Nuisance properties
  • Employee compensation
  • Citizen appointments
  • Red Cross Month

All council members were present.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 12:56 PM, 03.15.2014