Latest News

Heights Libraries offers free take-home COVID tests

This free test kit is available courtesy of Heights Libraries.

Heights Libraries is providing free, at-home, COVID-19 rapid testing kits to any adult in the community who needs one.

The kits, the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid COVID-19 Antigen At-Home Test Kit, were provided by the Ohio Department of Health. Gov. Mike DeWine’s goal is to make these rapid-testing kits available and accessible in every Ohio county, and Ohio’s public libraries, including Heights Libraries, will play a critical role.

According to the Ohio Library Council, “Testing alone is not going to end the pandemic, but public libraries can help make the kits easily accessible to their communities, and fight COVID-19.”

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 12:21 PM, 04.19.2021

Latest News Releases

Heights Libraries shares vaccine information
- Heights Libraries, April 17, 2021 Read More
Know Your Rights - Tax Credits and Free Professional Tax Preparation and Filing Opportunities
- Non-Profit & Groups, April 11, 2021 Read More
Applications now open for the Youth Opportunities Unlimited Internship Program
- Non-Profit & Groups, April 11, 2021 Read More
Connect to your Community! Volunteer with Hospice of the Western Reserve!
- Hospice of the Western Reserve, March 22, 2021 Read More
Heights Libraries providing free take-home COVID-19 tests
- CH-UH Library, March 22, 2021 Read More

View more news releases

Snodgrass announces CH council candidacy

Al Snodgrass

I am excited to share with you that I am running for Cleveland Heights City Council. I hope to earn your vote this November. 

I am honored to have earned the early support of Ohio State Sen. Sandra Williams; Ohio Senate Assistant Minority Leader Nickie J. Antonio; Ohio State Rep. Janine Boyd; Ohio State Rep. Terrence Upchurch; Cuyahoga County Council Vice President Cheryl Stephens; business owners Quintin Jones (Rudy’s Pub) and Tommy Fello (Tommy’s); community leaders Earl Pike, Sue Dean, Marquez Brown, Rhonda Davis Lovejoy, Jennifer Holland, and George Sample. I am also honored to receive the endorsement of surrounding local elected officials, including Mayor Annette Blackwell (Maple Heights), Mayor Georgine Welo (South Euclid), Shaker Heights Council Member Carmella Williams, and Brahtenahl Council President Pro Tem Keith Benjamin.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 12:20 PM, 04.19.2021

HRRC's May programs include tree giveaway

Cercis Canadensis (redbud), a native tree, is one of the varieties available in HRRC's tree giveaway.

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) is teaming with up Holden Arboretum for two early May events.

“Ask the Arborist, a free tree-care class, will take place on Tuesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom. Participants will have the opportunity to get answers about all that goes into choosing and caring for trees.

The first 65 registrants for the class will have an opportunity to choose a free tree on Saturday, May 8. Five varieties of trees will be available, and information about them can be found at  

On Tuesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m., HRRC will hold an online workshop, “Patio Pavers.” The program will cover the principles of creating a paver patio or walkway out of concrete or brick blocks.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 12:22 PM, 04.19.2021

Kirby to deliver State of our Schools Address April 15

Elizabeth Kirby, CH-UH schools superintendent.

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby will deliver the virtual 2021 State of our Schools Address on April 15.

Kirby will discuss strategic-planning updates, achievements and notable events from the past year, and the major new initiatives taking shape. The event will also feature musical performances and remarks from students.
"I'm looking forward to sharing the district's accomplishments over the past year, as well as how Tiger Nation came together to overcome the monumental challenges we faced with the COVID-19 pandemic," said Kirby.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 12:35 PM, 04.11.2021

Best of the Heights 2021 award winners

Tommy Fello (at left), owner of Tommy's restaurant, and (from left) employees Ian Anderson, Becky Dedenbach, Karla Zagari and Ivan Lemus, holding winner certificates for Best Curbside Pickup and Best Community-Conscious Business, and finalist certificates for Best Online Ordering, Best Socially Distanced Dining, Best Ecologically Friendly Takeout, Best Employee Pandemic Support and Best Pandemic Pivot. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

This winter, Heights residents cast their votes for Best of the Heights 2021, and 23 local businesses were named winners and finalists in this year’s contest.

FutureHeights, a nonprofit community development corporation and publisher of the Heights Observer, hosts this annual awards program to recognize the locally owned, independent businesses that serve Cleveland Heights and University Heights, and contribute to our local economy.

As in prior years, FutureHeights created a list of 12 unique categories, showcasing the wide variety of establishments that call the Heights home, and asked residents to vote by writing in the names of their favorites in each category.

This year’s categories, which included Best Curbside Pickup and Best Socially Distanced Dining, recognized that the global pandemic has upended everyone’s lives and forced local entrepreneurs to innovate as they struggled to stay afloat, while keeping customers and employees safe.

Despite the pandemic, several new businesses opened in the Heights. The winner of this year’s Best New Bar or Restaurant was Doug Katz’s Chimi, while Zhug, Foodhisattva, and Voodoo Brewery were finalists in this category.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:37 AM, 04.01.2021

CH charter limits signing of candidate petitions

With at least four candidates already having declared for Cleveland Heights’ first mayoral race, plus four Cleveland Heights City Council seats on the Nov. 2 ballot, residents should be aware that there are limits to the number of candidate petitions they can sign for those two races.

According to the Cleveland Heights City Charter (Section VII-3), “No elector shall sign more nominating petitions for different candidates for a particular office than there are positions to be filled for that office at the election for which the petition is signed. If he does so, his signatures on all petitions which postdate his signing the permissible number of petitions shall be invalid.”

That means Cleveland Heights residents can sign only one candidate petition for mayor, and no more than four would-be council candidate petitions.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.01.2021

Free native trees available on Earth Day

A redbud tree on Bradford Road. [photo: Peggy Spaeth]

This Earth Day, April 22, The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will offer a limited supply of seedlings of three native tree species. They’ll be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Friends Pavilion, at 2600 South Park Blvd. If seedlings remain at the end of the day, those will be distributed on Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The bare-root 12- to 15-inch seedlings will be accompanied by planting instructions. The three native species are:

Cercis canadensis, redbud, is one of the first spring flowering trees in Northeast Ohio, blooming simultaneously with Cornus florida, white flowering dogwood, creating a pink haze in the landscape.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:30 AM, 04.01.2021

Honoring graduating seniors, and explaining a decision about candidates

We introduced “Senior Shout Outs” last year to provide an opportunity to recognize the high school seniors who couldn’t do anything but watch as the pandemic ruined every anticipated senior-spring rite of passage—from prom to skip day to commencement itself.

It was a last-minute idea that allowed parents and friends to shine the spotlight on 2020 graduates whose big moment had been overrun by current events.

The class of 2021 has had a strange and disappointing year, too, and we’re offering Senior Shout Outs again, in the June issue, so you can give public recognition to the graduating senior(s) in your bubble.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:28 AM, 04.01.2021

CH celebrates Arbor Day with plantings and cleanup

Volunteers at work in the new park at Noble and Roanoke roads.

On April 30 at 10 a.m., Cleveland Heights’ forestry crew will lead an Arbor Day celebration at the city’s new park, at Noble and Roanoke roads. The celebration will mark Cleveland Heights’ 43 years as a Tree City USA.

City foresters will plant two trees on the tree lawn, and Heights Tree People will plant three trees inside the park. Noble Neighbors’ garden patrol will lead spring cleanup work, including weeding, mulching, and planting new native pollinator plants. 

Heights community members are welcome to attend and participate, and are asked to wear a mask and observe 6 feet of social distancing.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:21 AM, 04.01.2021

Park restoration group seeks volunteers

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies are among the many native species that benefit from native plants.

Friends of the Walt is a volunteer organization of University Heights residents who are beautifying and maintaining the Walter Stinson Community Park on Fenwick Road, to benefit people and wildlife. Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan organized a volunteer workday last August, after which several participants decided to form an organization to continue the effort.

Bird and insect populations and diversity have declined over the last century, especially the last 30 years, due to habitat loss and fragmentation (unlinked patches of undeveloped land), climate change, pesticide use, and pollution. Invasive exotic plant species have started to dominate natural parklands here in Northeast Ohio. There is a growing national movement to start restoring communities and yards to ecological health.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:20 AM, 04.01.2021

GardenWalk CH returns in July

The Kious "Corona Cottage" will be featured on GardenWalk Cleveland Heights 2021.

The third annual GardenWalk Cleveland Heights garden tour will be held Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18. The free, self-directed tour will feature private yards, community gardens and public spaces, with more than 20 spots expected to be included in the event.

Because of the pandemic, the 2020 GardenWalk was held as a virtual tour of more than a dozen local gardens. This year’s GardenWalk returns to its in-person “roots” (pun joyfully intended), with leisurely outdoor browsing and visiting. 

Each year GardenWalk spotlights the creativity Heights residents infuse into their outdoor spaces. A new structure that is sure to be a crowd pleaser was built by Janet Kious and her family.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:17 AM, 04.01.2021

Mental health seminar open to teens and caregivers

At 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, the Youth Department at First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland will host a special event for parents and students on the increase of mental health issues among young people, and how to recognize signs of opioid and other addictions.

The interactive seminar recognizes the impact of pandemic-related isolation that many teens have experienced this past year. It will provide the opportunity to ask questions, connect with resources, and find out more about mental health issues in young people.

Panelists are LoToya Logan, LISW-S, founder and executive director of Project LIFT Services; and Ayme McCain, LSW, OCPC, associate director of Prevention, Wellness & Community Outreach for Recovery Resources.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:15 AM, 04.01.2021

Fair housing ensures strong communities

At Heights Community Congress (HCC), we believe an open and fair housing market results in inclusive communities and neighborhoods. Since the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act in 1968, fair housing practices in renting and selling homes has been the law, but we know it is not always practice.

The law must be constantly monitored, upheld and protected. April is Fair Housing Month, and a perfect opportunity for the city of Cleveland Heights and its residents to recommit to upholding fair housing in our community.

A key element of Cleveland Heights’ commitment to fair housing is testing, which organizations such as HCC do for the city. Testing consists of sending two people, matched on factors such as age and gender, to inquire [separately] about renting or buying a home.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:25 AM, 04.01.2021

Two pools are better than one

We share so much—schools, libraries, friends, and more. Why can’t we also share our pools? Wouldn’t it be nice to double our communities’ swimming pools without the effort and expense of building? 

Wouldn’t it be nice for your kids to go to the pool with their school friends? Wouldn’t it be nice to have more single-sex swimming nights, and also to have another pool to use as a family on the nights designated for single-sex use? All this, and more, is possible.

Both the Cumberland and Purvis pools have amenities that benefit all residents. For example, Cumberland offers an established summer synchronized swimming team that might appeal to many UH residents. Purvis has 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards, which might attract a diving team.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 04.01.2021

Add your support to Cedar Lee park efforts

The Meadowbrook-Lee development site. [From]

We all want to use the city-owned land at Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road to help our city do better. We all share the same concerns about our community: high taxes, schools, keeping our wonderful local businesses, supporting the arts and our brand as an arts community, and having housing that will attract and keep residents.

Cleveland Heights city officials have tried, unsuccessfully, four times before—in 2011, 2013, 2018 and 2019—to have the Meadowbrook-Lee land developed as some sort of apartments/mixed-use project. They are now trying for the fifth time with the same kind of project.

Isn’t it time for the city to try something new?

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:07 AM, 04.01.2021

New CH mayor must protect environment

Severance Forest is not vacant land.

On the first Earth Day, 51 years ago, our eyes were opened to the realization that we are part of the Earth, not just visitors roaming the surface. Everything we do, every decision we make, affects everyone and everything on this planet, our home.

The world is in crisis—environmental, social, economic, and healthwise. We can act to resolve this crisis, or we can worsen it. Cleveland Heights has the opportunity to improve, rather than further degrade, our world. As we look at candidates for our first elected mayor, we need to ask how they will lead us in doing our part locally in solving this crisis.

Severance Forest is a rare treasure, a mile-long corridor of woods and wetlands at the headwaters of Dugway Brook.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:05 AM, 04.01.2021

Housing stock is CH's main asset

I don’t think anyone would disagree that our housing stock is our main asset. Without good housing we would not be able to afford schools. City government could be diminished by 25 percent. To maintain city services, we must maintain or increase property values.

I walked the Noble area twice with Greater Cleveland Congregations. We picked Noble because that was the neighborhood hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. We looked for vacant and blighted houses because on any block where there is such a house the values of homes on the block diminish.

Don’t get me wrong—Noble is a wonderful neighborhood. The city contains solid housing. We are not in imminent danger of [not] having enough funds to provide services.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:03 AM, 04.01.2021

Can the Ohio Constitution save public education?

“Two hundred years ago our Founding Fathers gave us two gifts. Both were relatively unknown in the world. The first was democracy. The second was public education. These gifts were inextricably intertwined.” So begins Derek Black’s book, Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy, the focus of a March 10 discussion sponsored by the Heights Coalition for Public Education. More than 75 participants joined the first session of a three-part conversation. 

Black, a constitutional-law scholar at the University of South Carolina, public school advocate, and unapologetic defender of democracy, kicked off the evening. He explained that he set out to write about testing and privatization, but soon realized he needed to take a step back and look at the relevance of education in our history and in our democracy. He likened undermining public education to attacking voting rights. As Black put it, this “is not about policies, it is about our values.” 

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:11 AM, 04.01.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education 3-16-2021

MARCH 16, 2021 Work Session


  • Full five-day reopening
  • Update: board strategic planning 


Present were Board President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, Beverly Wright, Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby, and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 9:38 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:29 AM, 04.13.2021

Cleveland Heights University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 3-15-2021

MARCH 15, 2021


  • Financial and investment report
  • Contract amendments
  • Technology expenditure
  • Service updates
  • COVID test kits
  • Public service report
  • Purchase Approval


Present were President Dana Fluellen, Vice President Gabe Crenshaw, Patti Carlyle, Max Gerboc, Annette Iwamoto, Tyler McTeague, and Vikas Turakhia.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:32 AM, 04.13.2021

Be an influencer about our public schools

Your opinions shape the narrative about your public schools. Maybe you’ve read an article, or heard a story, about a student attending a local public school. And maybe you then shared that story with your neighbor. Good news about inspiring teachers and successful students is expected and quickly forgotten, but bad news travels fast and lingers long. 

Rick Hanson, psychologist and author, explains that “negative experiences tend to have more urgency and impact than positive ones,” and that human beings are “naturally designed to internalize them.” Our brains have a “negativity bias” to help us survive.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:01 AM, 04.01.2021

CH mixes messages on tree canopy

To the Editor:

Reading recently of Shaker Heights’ application for a Cuyahoga County Healthy Urban Tree Canopy grant, to plant nearly 150 trees in their community, I'm reminded that Cleveland Heights received the same grant in 2019. At that time, we received a $50,000 grant for an ash tree mitigation program. The plan was to replace about 150 mature ash trees affected by the emerald ash borer.

It’s becoming increasingly evident that the tree canopy is shrinking across our region. In 2011, Cuyahoga County’s tree canopy stood at 37%. Six years later, in 2017, it fell to 35%.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:56 AM, 04.01.2021

Join Monticello Middle School in honoring community members

To the Editor:

Monticello Middle School has been selected to participate in the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) with Johns Hopkins University.

As part of this partnership program, Monticello is kicking off its "It Takes a Village" initiative, honoring the school’s families, children, local businesses and the entire community—from churches to nonprofit organizations, and more.

As we continue to rise above recent challenges, what better way to honor and celebrate one another than through recognition.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:54 AM, 04.01.2021

CWRU offers vaccine clinics to Ohio residents April 9 and 10

Case Western Reserve University will be offering first doses of two of the approved COVID-19 vaccines to any Ohio resident over the age of 16 or 18 (depending on the vaccine) on Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10.

Moderna doses are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 9. Recipients must be at least 18 years of age.

Pfizer doses are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 10. Recipients must be at least 16 years of age.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 1:30 PM, 04.08.2021

Cleveland Heights is home to sports

To the Editor:

With COVID-19 finally slowing down, it is important to remember that Cleveland Heights is the home of sports in Northeast Ohio. With locations such as Forest Hill Park, Denison Park, Cain Park, Cumberland Park, Barbara Boyd Park, many smaller parks, and the community center, we are second to none.

We have nine excellent ballfields; 18 lighted tennis courts; five outdoor full-court basketball courts; two high-school-size full-court indoor basketball courts; numerous indoor and [outdoor] pickleball courts; an indoor volleyball court; two indoor ice rinks, for hockey, figure skating, speed skating and open skating; numerous indoor and outdoor running and walking trails and tracks; a fitness center, Jazzercize and martial arts programs; and the largest outdoor swimming pool in Northeast Ohio.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:53 AM, 04.01.2021

Court dismisses civil complaint against CH City Council

To the Editor:

The complaint I filed in January with the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas has been dismissed.

The city had filed a motion to dismiss my writ of mandamus, which asked the court to compel city council to fill the council vacancy that had existed since March 2, 2020.

The court agreed with city council that, absent a deadline, council had no obligation to perform an act the CH Charter specifically says they "shall" do.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.01.2021

Heights Libraries purchases Noble Road Presbyterian Church

Heights Libraries Noble Neighborhood branch. The Noble Road Presbyterian Church can be seen in the background, at right.

The Heights Libraries Board of Trustees has approved the library’s purchase of the Noble Road Presbyterian Church building and surrounding 1.3 acres of property, at 2780 Kirkwood Road in Cleveland Heights. The church is located next to the Noble Neighborhood branch of Heights Libraries.

The library board voted on the purchase on March 15, at its regular meeting, and the Noble Road Presbyterian Church board approved the sale at its own board meeting on March 22.

The $315,000 property purchase will enable Heights Libraries to expand the Noble branch building, to broaden the services it offers to the surrounding community. Heights Libraries has already budgeted funds for the work, and will not need to assess any extra taxes or bonds to renovate the branch.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 2:19 PM, 03.24.2021

First Baptist Church hosts free online Easter egg hunt

First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland will hold a free online Easter egg hunt for young children at approximately 11 a.m., immediately following the scheduled Easter Sunday worship service, on April 4.

Modeled after "Blues Clues," the hunt is designed to be interactive and includes a visit from the Easter Bunny. With each clue, a First Baptist Church member will lead participants to a different part of the First Baptist Church facility and provide a fun fact about Easter. Topics to be addressed include why we have an Easter Bunny rather than an Easter Chicken, why we hunt for eggs, and why so many people are obsessed with marshmallow Peeps.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 8:10 PM, 03.29.2021

Novel celebrates LGBTQ+ life and Coventry's unique culture

Doug Henderson

Award-winning author Doug Henderson has had a long-term love affair with Coventry Road. It’s the setting of his forthcoming novel, The Cleveland Heights LGBTQ Sci-Fi and Fantasy Role Playing Club, which focuses on a group of, in his words, “D-list gays,” who haven’t been well represented in modern fiction. These are characters who, Henderson notes, deserve acknowledgement, recognition and inclusion in the larger sphere of LGBTQ+ life and culture.

Why Coventry? Why Cleveland Heights?

Henderson recalls the first time he visited Coventry in its 1990s heyday, and the “vibe” about the neighborhood, which “bubbled up” as he explored its bustling shops and services. “I knew I would write about it someday,” he said. “The novel is a love letter to Cleveland. Every time we visited family, I would return to Coventry to refresh my memory, see the changes, see what stayed the same.”

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:55 AM, 03.31.2021

Into the woods

“Cleveland Heights will be an environmentally sustainable community that uses green infrastructure to capture and slow stormwater . . . 

“The City will be required to contain additional stormwater as part of the ongoing efforts for environmental compliance . . . to promote green infrastructure investments that keep stormwater out of the City’s sewer system and treated via natural means like trees and native plants.”

So reads the Cleveland Heights Master Plan, adopted March 20, 2017. Unquestionably, the city has made progress in sustainability. Just one example is the award-winning Complete and Green Streets Policy. But policies are not actions, and only actions count.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 8:17 PM, 03.29.2021

CAEP offers guide to nearby arts programs

Bill Wade, Robin VanLear and Celeste Cosentino talk about the benefits of collaboration for CAEC. [photo: Judith Ryder]

Those seeking art experiences nearby need look no further than Cleveland Arts Education Consortium’s (CAEC) Ready To Go Arts Programs booklets. Two distinct volumes are regularly reviewed and updated twice a year. January 2021 editions—one for online programs, the other in-person—are available to download from CAEC at

All kinds of activities and resources, for all ages, are offered by Heights-based consortium members, which include Ensemble Theatre, Heights Arts, Reaching Heights, and Sing and Swing Cleveland.

Those curious about music can look for Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra’s Virtual Music School; City Music Cleveland Chamber Orchestra’s puppetry and live music in Daniel and the Snakeman; or Roots of American Music’s People on the Move program, which reflects on the ways that people of different races, backgrounds and cultures came to the United States and settled throughout the country.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:21 AM, 03.31.2021

Preservation Month starts early with Heights history programs

Stadium Square's northern building , at Taylor Road and Superior Drive, in the 1930s.

In the lead up to National Preservation Month, in May, several Heights institutions are joining together to sponsor a series of local history programs that kick off on April 12, and wrap up on May 26.

The Cleveland Heights Historical Society, Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, Cleveland Restoration Society, and Heights Libraries are the series’ sponsors.

All programs are free and will be presented remotely, through Heights Libraries, via Zoom. To register for any or all of the programs, sign up on the Heights Library’s events page, at

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:02 AM, 03.31.2021

Some things do change

I was sitting with friends at a playground one summer night in 1967, when this house on E. Overlook was bombed. We ran over to it and got there just as the fire trucks arrived. (Photo from

Our next-door neighbor was going to be singing on the Gene Carroll Show on a Sunday morning in 1958. We were excited because the teenager would be competing for some kind of prize and the opportunity to perform on the program again. So, my mother bought 100 postcards—printed with postage worth 3 cents each—and made us all fill them out with the kid’s name on them and address them to WEWS Channel 5 to vote for him.

Our 100 postcards weren’t enough. The next-door neighbor kid lost, though he had performed well. But he had sung “I Believe,” an inspirational ballad. “I believe for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows,” it begins. The song had been a hit in 1953 for Frankie Laine, and then covered by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Pat Boone, and many others.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 03.31.2021

Heights Arts celebrates Poetry Month

An Ekphrastacy performance from early 2020.

Poetry has a way of elevating the meaning of simple words and phrases, while simultaneously allowing readers to create their own interpretations of the art form. The nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman, and her speech at the inauguration of President Joe Biden, reminded the nation of the power words. April is National Poetry Month, and Heights Arts will present its popular Ekphrastacy: Artists Talk and Poets Respond event in conjunction with its current group and Spotlight exhibitions.

During this program, artists talk about their inspirations and processes for the work on display, and poets respond to the work in poetry they have written, inspired by those works of art. The series title comes from the Greek word “ekphrasis,” meaning the description of a work of art produced as a vivid, dramatic, verbal description of a visual work of art, either real or imagined.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:20 AM, 03.31.2021

Library book bike rides again

The Heights Libraries book bike is set to head back out into the community.

After putting its book bike program on hold in 2020 due to COVID-19, Heights Libraries is ready to bring the bike out of quarantine and hit the road this spring and summer, offering outdoor library events in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

A gift from the FRIENDS of Heights Libraries, the book bike is a sturdy touring-style bike that pulls a custom-made trailer that can hold and display roughly 200 books for customers to take. These free books are also provided by the FRIENDS, who comb through their book donations to find books that will appeal to children and teens.

“It’s a small library on wheels,” said Isabelle Rew, community engagement associate, who manages the bike and is its primary rider. “The only difference is that customers don’t have to return these books—they get to keep them, which is especially important for our kids.”

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:13 AM, 03.31.2021

Reaching Heights announces 30th annual spelling bee

Fairfax Founding Fathers team had fun singing the spelling of their word in the musical round of the 2019 Reaching Heights Community Spelling Bee. This year's bee will again be held remotely, as it was in 2020.

Reaching Heights' Community Spelling Bee is going virtual for the second consecutive year. 

For 30 years, Reaching Heights has presented this competitive event to bring the community together for fun and to raise money in support of excellence in public education. This year, the spelling bee will take place on Wednesday, April 28. 

Teams of competitors from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights community, representing its public schools, local businesses, churches, colleges and universities, and The Cleveland Orchestra, are gearing up to compete for the coveted Big Plastic Bee Trophy. 

Although last year’s event was virtual, more than 400 people watched as the Dewey Decimators—staff members of the CH-UH libraries—captured the prize and maintained their multi-year winning streak.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:07 AM, 03.31.2021

Online neighborhood discussion planned for April 29

FutureHeights, the community’s nonprofit community development corporation, would like to hear from you about how you view your neighborhood. On April 29, at 7 p.m., FutureHeights will host “Shared Space: What Makes a Neighborhood?” via Zoom.

The forum will explore the various neighborhoods in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, what makes them unique, and how residents and neighbors can best help them thrive.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:05 AM, 03.31.2021

CH's Democracy Day presented powerful testimony

Cleveland Heights City Council members, speakers and virtual viewers called January’s 8th annual Democracy Day public hearing “inspiring,” “informative,” and “enlightening”—hardly the “waste of time” claimed by Robert Shwab in a letter published in the March issue of the Heights Observer.

Federal and state court decisions, and laws created by the president, governor, U.S. Congress, and state legislature directly impact our city government and residents. Those decisions and policies are increasingly influenced by, and disproportionately benefit, the super-rich and corporations.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:56 AM, 03.31.2021

Library appreciates 1619 Project interest and concern

To the Editor:

In a “request for reconsideration” in January, Robert Shwab asked that Heights Libraries’ 1619 Project program be balanced by information from “critical scholars and other Black voices.” He asked that the program’s moderator be removed, and that the program include curricula. Heights Libraries’ Board of Trustees discussed the request during its Feb. 1 board meeting. The board and library responded by e-mailing Mr. Shwab:

  1. A report by the originator of the program that included a program overview, rationale for the discussion group, and historical sources consulted.
  2. A three-page bibliography of the works the program moderator has studied to prepare for the 1619 Project programs. These are works by scholars who are recognized in their fields. The program moderator has worked hard to put together a scholarly and thought-provoking program that has been very popular with our community.
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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 1:18 PM, 03.24.2021

UH Mayor Brennan delivers State of the City address

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan delivers the 2021 University Heights State of the City address.

Despite detours in 2020 caused by the pandemic, University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan reported in his State of the City address that redevelopment is within sight, and more than $2.5 million in federal aid is on the way.

In his virtual address, delivered on March 18, Brennan announced, “Summer is back,” and outlined plans for a parade and summer concert series, and the reopening of the Purvis Park pool.

Brennan noted that the breakneck pace of progress in his first two years as mayor slowed in the third year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Our focus shifted nearly exclusively to crisis management, public safety, and survival,” Brennan said. “As a result, our work here is not finished.”

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 11:55 AM, 03.23.2021

FutureHeights supports mixed-use development in Cedar Lee

FutureHeights has become aware of a request by some in the community that all or most of the Cedar/Lee/Meadowbrook development site become green space or a public park, rather than a mixed-use development. FutureHeights fully understands and appreciates the value of public parks in our community as significant contributors to our quality of life, and believes that both the need for economic development and public access to green space can be accommodated in either of the two development proposals that are currently before the city. 

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:28 AM, 03.23.2021

Participant complains of 'falsehoods' in library's 1619 Project programs

The CH-UH library has sponsored and promoted a [series of programs about] The 1619 Project, a collection of essays compiled by a New York Times staffer about the role and impact of slavery in the U.S.

Shortly after the program [about the project] was distributed to schools and libraries in 2019, [some] prominent American history scholars condemned The 1619 Project for its bias and falsehoods about America’s founding and the role of slavery. Mary Grabar of the Alexander Hamilton Institute called it a "jumble of lies, half-lies, bad history and bad faith." Historian Robert Paquette of Hamilton College called it "dangerous rubbish."

The materials on the library’s 1619 Web page do not include any of the criticisms, and exclude the views of dissenting Black intellectuals. Kay Coles James, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that the dubious history of The 1619 Project hurts the cause of racial reconciliation by creating a "false narrative".

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 2:40 PM, 03.17.2021

CH City Council appoints Cobb

Craig Cobb

After more than a year, the stalemate is broken—and Cleveland Heights again has seven council members. At the March 15 Cleveland Heights City Council meeting, Council Member Davida Russell unexpectedly announced that she had concluded her preferred candidate would never be appointed and moved that Craig Cobb fill the vacancy on council.

Russell stated that she had not discussed the motion with any of her colleagues prior to the meeting, and had, in fact, decided during the meeting to make it. The regular council meeting followed a Council Committee of the Whole meeting, during which a lengthy discussion took place about a possible charter amendment regarding filling council vacancies.

Cobb said the motion came as a complete surprise to him. “I had the council meeting on in the background—not paying any attention—and then I heard my name mentioned,” he said in an e-mail.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:50 AM, 03.16.2021

Cuda announces candidacy for CH City Council

Tony Cuda

I am running for city council to serve our community and give something back to the city that has given me so much. If elected, I want to seize this unique opportunity to work with my fellow council members, the new mayor, and the community to set a bold vision for all of Cleveland Heights. 

My family moved here in 1960. My brother and I were raised on Desota Avenue, and later on Woodview Road, by the only single mom we knew of at that time. We went through the entire CH-UH school system and graduated from Heights High. I went on to become the first person in my family to graduate from college and get a master’s degree. Cleveland Heights, for me, is a place where dreams come true.

Now, I own a home on Fenley Road (in the Oxford neighborhood) with my wife, Sandy Moran. I have three stepchildren and eight grandchildren.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 2:19 PM, 03.08.2021

Two Heights seniors are national scholarship finalists

Maple Buescher and Xavier Routh, seniors at Heights High, are National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

Heights High seniors Maple Buescher and Xavier Routh have been named National Merit Scholarship Finalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

"Being named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist is a tremendous achievement,” said CH-UH City School District Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby. “I'm proud of Maple and Xavier and excited to see all that they continue to accomplish." 

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an annual academic competition for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships. Buescher and Routh qualified for the award because of their performances on the PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). They were named semifinalists in September.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 1:55 PM, 03.08.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education regular meeting 3-2-2021

MARCH 2, 2021


  • Recognitions
  • Public comments
  • Public reading, policy group A
  • Resolution to waive standardized testing
  • COVID monitoring and school reopening
  • Equity update
  • Elementary achievement trends
  • Fair School Funding Plan plank
  • Five-year forecast


Present were Board President James Posch, members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright, Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby, and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7:45 p.m. and was adjourned at 9:17 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 1:51 PM, 03.23.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-1, 3-3-21

MARCH 1, 2021


  • Public comments
  • City manager's report
  • Council actions
  • Consent agenda
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the whole meeting


Present at this regular meeting were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael Ungar. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting began at 7:50 p.m. and ended at 8:30 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 1:37 PM, 03.23.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council regular meeting highlights 2-16-2021

FEBRUARY 16, 2021


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Police chief’s report
  • Finance director’s report
  • Council action
  • First readings of new legislation
  • Committee of the Whole meeting


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

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:53 AM, 03.10.2021

Cleveland Heights University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 2-15-2021

FEBRUARY 15, 2021


  • Security services 
  • Recognition of retirement
  • Financial and investment report
  • Permanent appropriation
  • Director and fiscal officer salaries 
  • Building operation hours
  • Coventry Peace, Inc. board of directors
  • Consulting services
  • Touchless doors
  • Public services annual report


Present were President Dana Fluellen, Vice President Gabe Crenshaw, Patti Carlyle, Max Gerboc, Annette Iwamoto, and Vikas Turakhia. Tyler McTeague was absent.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:44 AM, 03.10.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education work session 2-16-2021

FEBRUARY 16, 2021


  • Student progress under virtual instruction
  • Performance audits


Board President James Posch and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright were present. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. This was the first "in-person" meeting of the board for the 2020-2021 year. It was held in the high school auditorium so members of the public could socially distance. Board President Posch and several administrative staff members attended virtually, which caused some minor audio issues. The meeting was also livestreamed on the district's YouTube channel.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:56 AM, 03.10.2021

South Taylor development project moves forward in UH

Artist depictions of the proposed South Taylor Place townhomes in University Heights, courtesy of Knez Homes and Sixmo Architects.

On Feb. 16, University Heights City Council approved the site plan for South Taylor Place Condominiums, a new development on Taylor Road in University Heights, just south and southeast of Deslisle Options Center.

The developer, Knez Homes, has proposed a 30-unit townhome development on the site, which it will market and sell to third-party buyers.

The site comprises seven parcels of land, of which three belonged to the city of University Heights, and four to the CH-UH City School District. At its April 7, 2020, meeting, the board of education (BOE) approved Resolution No. 20-04-033, transferring its four parcels to University Heights’ community investment corporation (CIC) at a price of $10.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:48 AM, 02.26.2021

We're partnering on a new podcast

By mid-February, there were four declared candidates for Cleveland Heights’ first-ever mayoral election. 

It’s going to be an interesting campaign, and the Heights Observer plans to cover it as we’ve covered previous elections. We won’t endorse candidates, and we’ll focus on giving air to the many reasonable and civil perspectives our readers are sure to offer.

But not all election issues are matters of opinion; they can’t be resolved by candidates’ statements and the back-and-forth of the opinion page. Some questions require context and subject-matter expertise. This is the kind of work the Heights Observer struggles with, given that we operate without any staff reporters.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:43 AM, 02.26.2021

MetroHealth expansion meeting to take place online March 4

The Nov. 2020 proposed expanion plan to the current Cleveland Heights MetroHealth campus.

MetroHealth will host a Zoom webinar to discuss the forthcoming expansion of its Cleveland Heights facility on Thursday, March 4, from 7-8 p.m.  

In Nov. 2020, MetroHealth announced plans to expand its behavioral health and addiction services by building on to its Cleveland Heights campus. Original plans included 110 treatment beds, a psychiatric urgent care, and specialized units.

Dr. Julia Bruner, MetroHealth's senior vice president for behavioral health operations, will discuss how the expanded facility will meet the need for increased mental health services in Cuyahoga County; and development and building team members will review the project's blueprint and timeline. A Q & A session will follow the presentations. 

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 11:16 AM, 03.01.2021

New podcast focuses on Cleveland Heights' first mayoral race

If you’d asked fourth-grade me in 1983 what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d have told you I wanted Phil Donahue’s job. I would have also considered taking over for Nev Chandler as voice of the Browns, or Peter Tomarken, the host of "Press Your Luck." 

Nearly 40 years later, I’m finally ready to chase the dream. I’ve determined that my most logical path to becoming "Press Your Luck" host begins with a twice-monthly podcast devoted to the place that made me, Cleveland Heights, and to the brave souls who hope to earn your vote and become our first-ever elected mayor.

Sign up for the Heights Observer’s weekly e-mail newsletter ( to make sure you receive the link to episode one, which is scheduled to debut on March 1. 

And you can always find it on the main menu of the Heights Observer website under "Podcasts". 

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:38 AM, 02.26.2021

The lights are on. Is anyone home?

After conscientiously correcting all violations cited in her home’s point-of-sale (POS) report, a new homeowner repeatedly calls the Cleveland Heights housing department to schedule a reinspection.

A building inspector approves new driveway construction with barely a glance.

While rehabbing formerly neglected houses, contractors routinely fail to post building permits—with no consequences.

A resident sees the vacant house next door being shown to prospective renters. She wonders, “Were permits completed for plumbing, electrical and garage work? Is there an occupancy certificate on file? Bottom line, is it safe to live in?”

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:20 AM, 02.26.2021

Resident files new complaint against CH City Council

To the Editor:

For years, Cleveland Heights City Council has been abusing Ohio's laws regarding executive session—holding meetings in private.

A couple of weeks ago, the Council Committee of the Whole went into executive session to discuss who will be appointed to the 25-member Racial Justice Task Force.

[According to Ohio law,] they can only do that when they're discussing appointing "a public employee or official".

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:22 AM, 02.26.2021

Resident shares design concept for Cedar Lee Park

The writer envisions a park on this Cedar Lee corner, rather than a new development.

The city of Cleveland Heights is in the process reviewing proposals to build a mixed-use development at the corner of Meadowbrook and Lee roads. Some previous developments had merit, and also have been a source of revenue for the city. However, the only consideration for the use of our city’s vacant land in the past decades has been residential development. Other uses of the land, such as improving the quality of life for residents, have not always been considered.

The one-acre parcel at Meadowbrook and Lee, in the middle of the Cedar Lee Business District, may be the last parcel of land to be developed. There has been conversation by the residents of Cedar Lee, on Nextdoor, about converting this piece of land into a park. I share their view.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:30 AM, 02.26.2021

CH's Issue 32 is a waste of time

To the Editor:

Since Cleveland Heights voters passed the Issue 32 ballot referendum [in 2013], every year the Cleveland Heights City Council must set aside [time] to consider citizens' views on a federal constitutional issue far outside the interests or purview of our local government. 

Various pro-government and anti-business radicals harangue our part-time, busy council with irrelevant complaints. Then, council is required to submit an Issue 32 report on the meeting to our elected representatives. At best, this is a waste of time, but it also sends a radical anti-business message to prospective commercial employers and taxpayers.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:23 AM, 02.26.2021

Cleveland Heights is (still) Home to the Arts

In the last month I’ve heard people express the opinion that “Cleveland Heights used to be Home to the Arts” and “Cleveland Orchestra members used to live in Cleveland Heights.” I don’t know where this misperception comes from. We are still, and have been for decades, Home to the Arts! Cleveland Heights was a home to the arts before we claimed the title!

This past summer, there were socially distanced pop-up “porchestra” concerts presented by several resident orchestra members and their colleagues. There is the annual Donut Day put on by bassist Tom Sperl and his family. We have robust orchestra representation in our city, as well as musicians of every genre.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:28 AM, 02.26.2021

New CH mayor should have say in police contract

To the Editor:

The union representing Cleveland Heights police officers is currently negotiating their contract, which expires on March 31. The negotiations are handled by the city manager and outside counsel the manager hires to represent the city. Though the current contract term is three years, members of Safer Heights urge the city to negotiate a one-year agreement.

The new mayor [to be elected on Nov. 2], as the new director of public safety, will have direct responsibility over police operations, but this may be limited if contract provisions are locked in for another three years.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:26 AM, 02.26.2021