Latest News

Strong mayor or city manager will be sole CH charter issue this fall

Attendees at the July 29 city council meeting.

The fight over competing ballot issues to decide whether to keep or change the structure of Cleveland Heights City government was growing increasingly contentious. But CH City Council took a step back from the brink on July 29, when it voted to place only one issue on the ballot in November.

The city’s voters will be asked, yes or no, do you want the city to switch to a form of government led by a popularly elected mayor. That means a second issue, containing a passel of other proposed changes to the city charter, will not come before voters this year.

City council’s action was a victory for Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM), the grassroots campaign that had gathered signatures from 4,000 registered voters to place a referendum on the ballot.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 12:17 PM, 07.30.2019

Latest News Releases

Free performance of Verb Ballets' Mowgli's Jungle Adventures this Friday
- Verb Ballets, June 24, 2019 Read More
HRCC Annual Business Expo Celebrates 25 Years of Connecting Local Businesses and Strengthening The Communities They Serve
- Heights Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce, May 8, 2019 Read More
Two Distinguished Female Leaders Will Deliver Commencement Addresses in May
- JCU, May 6, 2019 Read More
Attention families of preschool-age children: Fairmount Cooperative Preschool is now enrolling
- Preschool Info., April 29, 2019 Read More
Five CH City Council members sign letter to Governor DeWine expressing their concern with SB 23, the "Heartbeat Bill"
- City of Cleveland Heights, April 25, 2019 Read More

View more news releases

Season finale concerts to rock UH in August

Cleveland's Breakfast Club.

Cleveland’s Breakfast Club and Yiddishe Cup will conclude the University Heights Summer Concert Series this month at Walter Stinson Community Park.

An '80s-music cover band, Cleveland’s Breakfast Club will play Aug. 8. Yiddishe Cup (aka Funk A Deli) will bring its klezmer/funk/rock show to The Walt on Aug. 15. Both shows start at 7 p.m.

Cleveland Hot List voted Cleveland's Breakfast Club "Best Local Band." The group has opened for acts that include Coolio, Nelly, Bret Michaels, and Lita Ford.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:42 PM, 08.01.2019

Strong-mayor systems risk conflict and cronyism

Why uproot Cleveland Heights’ long-standing collaborative, professional government in favor of creating a one-person, political power center to face off with city council?

Proponents [of change] claim we need “checks and balances”—as if our seven separately elected citizen council members need to be “checked” or “balanced” by some other elected person who wields veto power and appoints (and removes) all city administrative personnel, including the very highest officials. As we see all around us, it is often a prescription for conflict, waste, and civic paralysis. A few nearby examples demonstrate the point.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:02 PM, 08.01.2019

Politics and the proposed change in CH government

Proponents of getting rid of the manager-council system of government in Cleveland Heights want a full-time elected mayor who will appoint a full-time professional city administrator. They believe this will result in a partnership between an administration focused on efficiency and an elected official focused on the big picture. But they ignore how poorly this system necessarily would work in practice because of politics.

The proponents want one supervising administrative official, hired by a mayor, to organize daily activities of government. At first, this sounds like not much of a change from the professionalism of the present manager-council system. But a city manager (CM) works for an entire city council. No one council member can fire a CM. The proposed new system instead would substitute a city administrator (CA) working only for one person. This CA would be a mere instrumentality of the mayor’s sole exercise of power. A CM will have the true formal education, training and experience of a public administrator. A CA, as a purely political hire, might not have any of that. What is proposed therefore would be very different from what we have now. City government would become more political and less professional.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:01 PM, 08.01.2019

Burning River Baroque opens eighth season

Photo by Alex Belisle.

Thoughtfully crafted programs inspired by the current social climate are once again at the heart of Burning River Baroque’s upcoming season, which will shed light on unconventional 17th-century women and issues surrounding mental health. The group, known for both  socially motivated programming and dynamic interpretations, will open its eighth season with a performance of A Mad, Burning Desire on Aug. 22 in Cleveland Heights.

The program highlights the extraordinary accomplishments of the first English actresses who gained the legal right to take the public stage in the early 1660s. Many of them capitalized on early modern society’s fascination with mental illness and catapulted themselves to fame by portraying characters who descended violently into lovesick madness on the Restoration stage. English philosophers and medical experts alike began to think of psychological maladies as medical conditions requiring treatment by doctors rather than as spiritual deficiencies to be handled by religious authorities over the course of the 17th century.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:46 PM, 08.01.2019

Lee Road Dog Grooming provides style and care

Lee Road Dog Grooming owner Linda McFadden with her dogs Yaya (black) and Stormy (white).

Linda McFadden, who loves dogs and Ohio, has brought her advanced grooming skills to Cleveland Heights, where she opened Lee Road Dog Grooming, at 2246 Lee Road, in September 2018.

Born in Glasgow, McFadden grew up among show dogs in Jersey, Channel Islands, where her mother was a dog show judge. McFadden came to the U.S. to show dogs. First stop, Medina. Then she had a dog grooming shop in California’s Bay Area for more than 20 years. But she missed Ohio, and saw opportunity in Cleveland Heights.

McFadden knows best practices for each breed. “I’ve seen the best examples of different breeds, and try to give a pet version [of the style], maybe a bit modified so it’s easier to look after,” she said. She does all the grooming herself, serving only about four dogs a day, and prides herself in creating a relaxing experience. “I love it when people say ‘he doesn’t mind coming in here at all,’” she commented.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:27 PM, 08.01.2019

CH's Frank creates meaningful marketing campaigns

The "Public is for all" banner wrapped the fence throughout Heights High's renovation process.

Cleveland Heights resident Roger Frank is managing partner of Little Jacket, a branding and visual design firm that has created visual legacies for national, regional and Heights-based institutions.

Originally a Westsider, Frank and his wife, Heidi, considered moving to Cleveland Heights or Shaker Heights, “but kept being pulled to Cleveland Heights,” which they’ve called home since 2001.

“One of the things I love about the Heights is feeling like we live on an island,” said Frank. “You can park your car for the weekend and walk everywhere.” 

Venturing down the hill for work, Frank enjoys Little Jacket's studio space in Little Italy, a site of creativity and camaraderie that contains time capsules such as antique file boxes and marketing artifacts from past and current campaigns.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:31 PM, 08.01.2019

Heights Music Hop 2019 bands to be announced Aug. 16

Greg Bonanno (left) with former FutureHeights Board Members Patty Carlisle and Clare Taft.

The public is invited to attend a band lineup announcement event for the seventh annual Heights Music Hop 7–9 p.m. on Aug. 16 at the BottleHouse Brewery and Meadery, 2050 Lee Road. At the event, organizers will announce the acts for this year’s free live-music festival.

The three-day weekend of more than 60 musical performances will take place Sept. 12-14 in more than 28 venues across three business districts in Cleveland Heights. The event offers a variety of musical genres, such as classical, rock, rap, country, reggae, bluegrass and American roots.

Heights Music Hop began in 2013. Jeff Coryell, a former FutureHeights board member, believed that Cleveland Heights had the artists, musicians, resources, and public interest to warrant organizing a large-scale music festival. Other individuals, business owners, and partner organizations quickly joined the mix–including fellow board member Greg Bonanno. Although he has been stationed more than 7,000 miles away for the last several years, Bonanno is still an ardent supporter.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:41 PM, 08.01.2019

Cleveland Heights - University Heights Board of Education meeting 7-2-2019

JULY 2, 2019 


  • Public comments
  • Solar panel update
  • Food service agreement
  • Voucher impact
  • School resource officers
  • Cell phone policy
  • Canterbury trees
  • Adding public comment opportunities


President Jodi Sourini, Jim Posch, Dan Heintz, Beverly Wright and Malia Lewis were present. Treasurer Scott Gainer was also present.Superintendent Brian Williams was attending an educational trip in Egypt. The meeting began at 7:03p.m. and adjourned at 9 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:28 PM, 08.02.2019

Save the date for Sept. 15 home and garden tour

This 1918 Tudor home, built on the former 10th green of the Euclid Golf Club, will be a stop on this year's Heights Heritage Home & Garden tour.

The 42nd annual Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour, presented by Heights Community Congress (HCC), is planned for Sunday, Sept. 15, noon to 6 p.m. This year’s selection of homes will focus on the Coventry and Fairmount neighborhoods, and showcase several elegant and historic Cleveland Heights homes, built in the early 1900s, that were designed and built by the premier Cleveland architects and builders of the era. All of the homes have maintained their original essence, often combining an old-world feel with mid-century furnishings and updated kitchens and baths.

The traditional preview party for tour sponsors, patrons and special guests will be held Saturday evening, Sept. 14, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s majestic Tucker Hall. Party attendees will be greeted with a champagne cocktail, and have the opportunity to stroll through the Nicholson B. White art gallery, linger in the church’s lovely stone patio, and partake of some hearty appetizers. Lolly the Trolley will then transport guests on a sunset “sneak peak” of a select group of homes on the tour.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:00 PM, 08.01.2019

Library launches new learning resources for kids

On Aug. 19, Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District students will begin a new school year. With this year’s summer reading program winding down, Heights Libraries is gearing up its programs and services to support children and families with what can be a challenging back-to-school transition.

The first few weeks of school can be difficult for kids as they adjust to new classmates, teachers and expectations in the classroom.

“One challenge that schools face is seeing children return from summer break with weaker academic skills,” said Sam Lapides, Heights Libraries youth services manager. This widely documented phenomenon is called “summer learning loss” or “summer slide.”

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:08 PM, 08.01.2019

Library staffers are matchmakers

Is there anything more satisfying than finding a book, movie, or piece of music that speaks to the soul? One you find yourself begging your friends and family to read, watch, or listen to? The Heights Libraries Matchmakers love that feeling, too, and they want to help library customers experience it as often as possible.

Matchmakers is a group of library staffers whose mission is to help customers find materials that reflect their interests, passions and needs, that they just can’t seem to locate on their own.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:13 PM, 08.01.2019

What’s going on at your library?

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

Tuesday, Aug. 13, 4:30 p.m.

Garden Pizza Party. The party will start off with a tour of the library's garden, identifying herbs and vegetables that we can eat. We'll make pizza sauce and pesto, then add cheese and other vegetables (hopefully some from the garden!)

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:24 PM, 08.01.2019

Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 7-15-2019

JULY 15, 2019


  • Financial report 
  • Service and Administrative Policies
  • Lee Road chiller rental
  • Parking lot improvements
  • Summer reading 
  • Sports equipment for Coventry PEACE Park
  • New monthly podcast
  • Summer lunch program


Present were President Chris Mentrek, Vice President James Roosa, Annette Iwamoto, Susan Moskowitz and Vikas Turakhia. Dana Fluellen and Max Gerboc were absent.

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Volume 12, Issue 9, Posted 1:38 PM, 08.02.2019

Heights High students train as first responders

Mike Sieman of Cleveland Heights High School runs a hazmat exercise at the Tri-C Summer Public Safety Academy. He said the program inspired him to consider a career as a firefighter.

Two Cleveland Heights High School students, along with a few dozen students from other districts, learned how to fight fires and respond to emergencies at the Cuyahoga County Community College Public Safety Training Center during a two-week program in June. Students learned how to hose down a controlled car fire, conduct a search and rescue operation and respond to a hazmat incident.  

During a hazmat exercise, Mike Sieman, who will be a Heights High sophomore in the fall, played the role of scene commander. Wearing full fire gear, he relayed information to a dispatcher on a radio handset as a hazmat team surrounded a car at the far end of a parking lot. “We have a hazmat team entering the hot zone,” he told the dispatcher.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 1:04 PM, 08.01.2019

Lower dam done; Horseshoe unlucky

A lone snapping turtle slogs across the mud flats of Lower Shaker Lake in early July, headed for one of the remaining pools of water. The lake was drained to restore its earthen dam. Nearby Horseshoe Lake will remain empty for at least the next year.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) said work at Lower Shaker Lake dam is complete for now, but Horseshoe Lake will remain drained at least through next summer, while engineers try to solve structural problems with its dam. Both dams are categorized as Class I by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) because their failure would result in “probable loss of life.”

Contractors began draining Lower Shaker Lake in June, leaving 4-foot-deep pools of water for fish and turtles. When the lake started to refill in early July, people reported seeing dead fish.

Jeff Jowett, senior watershed team leader for NEORSD, said a fish survey taken before the project showed an overwhelming majority of the fish were carp and goldfish, considered invasive species, but any fish deaths were unintentional.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:39 AM, 08.01.2019

Of mayors, city managers, and history lessons

In his opinion in the July Heights Observer, “History proves council-manager plan works well,” former Cleveland Heights council member and one-time mayor Alan Rapoport profiled Frank Cain, the city’s first mayor, who held the office for 32 years. After being directly elected himself in 1914, when Cleveland Heights was a village of 3,000, Mayor Cain led the charter commission that ultimately called for seven council members elected at large, and an appointed city manager. (In 1914 and in 1921, when the new charter was approved, only men could vote.)

Surely no one ever was more confident than Cain that his fellow council members would select him to be mayor, as they did for the following three decades. By all accounts, he did a great job. He also benefited from being in the right place at the right time, leading a wealthy suburb of the booming city of Cleveland during the Roaring ‘20s.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:02 AM, 08.01.2019

TOH drawings lack details and warn of quality issues

The Flaherty & Collins (F&C) Top of the Hill (TOH) drawings (dated 6/21/19) available for citizen scrutiny at Cleveland Heights libraries are schematic design drawings, not construction documents.

What is missing is a construction document called “outline specifications” (outline specs), which will call out the quality of the major building materials in the project.

In order to make a value judgment on what's being proposed, the CH Architectural Board of Review (ABR) must insist that the architects provide outline specs along with their schematic drawings.

Construction documents are what everyone else is required to provide for the ABR.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:07 AM, 08.01.2019

Big crowd expected for Carlos Jones show at The Walt on Aug. 1

Carlos Jones (Photo courtesy Carlos Jones)

Carlos Jones and the Plus Band are mainstays on the Greater Cleveland concert circuit. They’ve drawn huge crowds at Wade Oval Wednesday, Edgewater Live, and the Tri-C Jazz Fest.

Jones and his band make their University Heights debut on Aug. 1, at 7 p.m., at Walter Stinson Community Park. If Facebook RSVP’s are to be believed, city officials are expecting more than 2,000 people to attend.

Carlos Jones has been entertaining audiences for more than 35 years throughout the eastern half of the United States, first as a member of the roots reggae group I-Tal, and then with the legendary First Light, before pursuing a solo career with his current group—the Peace, Love, Unity Syndicate (aka “The P.L.U.S. Band”).

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 12:13 PM, 07.30.2019

Four problems CH voters should think about

Cleveland Heights voters will soon decide whether to replace our council-manager form of government with a mayor-council model.

If voters approve changing to an elected mayor this fall, the city’s first directly elected mayor would not take office until January 2022. During a time when Cleveland Heights is facing accelerating competition from its neighbors, and other daunting challenges, a caretaker government would run the city for more than two years. That’s a problem.

Our lack of a mayor-council government isn’t a problem, but the pervasive lack of understanding of our current council-manager government is, especially when the presence of an informed and involved citizenry is a hallmark of our city’s narrative.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:09 AM, 08.01.2019

Change or status quo?

Thanks to a loose coalition of nearly 4,000 Cleveland Heights voters who signed petitions this spring, all CH voters will be entitled to vote on whether to add an executive mayor to city government. An effort of this scale done in just a few weeks is itself an encouraging show of the vitality that characterizes the community.

Cleveland Heights provides residency for people of many different walks of life and heritages. It has highly regarded public facilities—think of the library system, exceptional public safety and emergency services, great parks and multiple recreation venues, and the arts. Its demographic profile reveals a rich mix of races, religions, cultures and levels of wealth. 

These valued features are all results of change, and the community’s sustainability depends on adapting to more change. 

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:12 AM, 08.01.2019

Powerful-mayor model carries risks

I lived in Cleveland Heights from 2006 to 2014. Moving here from a small town in the Pacific Northwest, I could not believe my good fortune in winding up in a community where there were more progressive, ethical leaders running for city council than open seats.

Cleveland Heights has a long history of engaged citizens and robust nonprofit organizations fighting for open housing, nondiscriminatory practices and preservation of the community’s unique character.

So there seems something off to me in the characterization of Cleveland Heights as a town in dire need of an immediate change in government structure.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:17 AM, 08.01.2019

New superintendent to meet community this month

Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby

On Aug. 1, Elizabeth Kirby takes on her new role as the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District superintendent.

All community residents and district families are invited to attend informal get-to-know-you gatherings with Kirby, beginning Aug. 5:

  • Monday, Aug. 5, 6–7:30 p.m. – A dinner chat with the superintendent at Whole Foods Market, 13998 Cedar Road.
  • Thursday, Aug. 8, 7:30–9 a.m. – A coffee chat at On the Rise Artisan Breads, 3471 Fairmount Blvd.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 13, 3–4:30 p.m. – A playdate at Noble Elementary School, 1293 Ardoon Street.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 14, 3–4:30 p.m. – A playdate at Boulevard Elementary School, 1749 Lee Road.
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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:38 AM, 07.30.2019

National Night Out returns to Purvis Park Aug. 6

University Heights Police Officer Ben Feltoon with young residents at last year's National Night Out event.

After a successful inaugural event last year, National Night Out returns to University Heights on Aug. 6, 5–8 p.m., at Purvis Park.

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make neighborhoods safer and more caring places in which to live.

This year’s University Heights event will offer free food, music, inflatables, games and finger painting. Police and fire department vehicles will be on hand, and residents will have opportunities to meet police officers and dispatch center staff. Everyone who attends will be eligible to win door prizes.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:37 AM, 07.30.2019

Strong-mayor advocates omit details

In letters for a proposed ballot issue for a directly elected mayor, Citizens For an Elected Mayor (strong-mayor advocates) leave out important details about changes to our current form of government in Cleveland Heights.

In our current form we pay each of our democratically elected, part-time council persons a whopping $9,270 per year. Our council president earns an additional $2,570 per year to be a public face of council and to herd council members toward consensus, just like the speaker of the house for the Ohio House and the U.S. House of Representatives.

For the privilege of being council president, democratically elected by members of council, the city charter allows that person to be called the mayor. The mayor has a single vote on council, just like the other council members. We already democratically elect our ceremonial mayor.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:23 AM, 08.01.2019

CH and the strong-mayor dilemma

The room where it happens; The art of the compromise; Hold your nose and close your eyes; We want our leaders to save the day; But we don't get a say in what they trade away; We dream of a brand new start; But we dream in the dark for the most part.

—”The Room Where It Happens,” by Lin-Manuel Miranda

On June 11, reported that Citizens For An Elected Mayor (CEM), which seeks to transform the governmental structure in Cleveland Heights to a strong-mayor model, met the signature quota required to place its initiative on the Nov. 5 ballot (“Citizens For Elected Mayor exceeds petition goal for possible November ballot initiative in Cleveland Heights”). This initiative will counter the city’s proposal to retain a city-manager model. If the move to a strong mayor passes, an entirely new organizational structure for city government will have to be created. It’s a resource-heavy undertaking that deserves discerned deliberation.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:27 AM, 08.01.2019

CH development projects should await November vote

Cleveland Heights is a community defined by its citizens' engagement and leadership. This is especially true in times of transition and even crisis. The citizens of Cleveland Heights look to the future and will, when needed, challenge conventional wisdom by speaking truth to power through words and action.

  • In the 1960s, members from Cleveland Heights’ churches and temples organized and led efforts to stop “block busting” real estate sales in Cleveland Heights. The subsequent work of the Heights Community Congress beginning in 1972 became a model for community stabilization and restoration.
  • Also in the 1960s, “the ladies in tennis shoes” from Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights and Cleveland led the effort to stop the planned Clark, Lee and Heights freeways, which would have run through the heart of the North Park Shaker Lakes area, and the Cedar Lee, Coventry and Mayfield Lee neighborhoods.
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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:32 AM, 08.01.2019

CH Senior Center News

Martha Young (left) with quilter Jodi Taslitz.

Several years ago, fiber artist Martha Young decided to share her talents with the seniors at the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center, introducing them to the fine art of quilting. She provided her expertise and all the materials needed to begin a basic quilting project. Most of the folks who participated were new to quilting and all of them completed the initial project—a quilted table runner.

Since then, the group has continued to grow, friendships have developed and some fantastic artwork has emerged.

Projects from the quilters will hang on the walls of the SAC for the months of July and August. In September, the quilting group will begin meeting again on the first, second and third Thursdays of the month, at 1:30 p.m. Quilters of all levels of experience are invited to participate.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 12:05 PM, 07.30.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 7-1-2019

JULY 1, 2019


  • Recognition
  • Public Comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Liquor control
  • Storefront renovation
  • Top of the Hill parking plan
  • National Parks and Recreation Month
  • Fourth of July safety
  • Bond ordinances
  • 2020 Tax Budget
  • Public walks and walkways
  • Mayor’s report


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein and Michael N. Ungar. The meeting lasted from 7:34 to 8:17 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 9:15 AM, 08.02.2019

CH mayor and Ensemble director attend national placemaking workshop

Participants in the Local Leaders’ Institute on Creative Placemaking. Cleveland Heights Mayor Carol Roe and Ensemble Theatre Director Celeste Cosentino are in the front row, third and fourth from left. Photo by Brian O’Doherty.

Cleveland Heights Mayor Carol Roe and Ensemble Theatre Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino traveled to Washington, D.C., in mid-July to attend the inaugural Local Leaders’ Institute on Creative Placemaking. They were among six teams, each comprising a local arts leader and a government official, representing small, medium and rural communities that were selected to participate from among 148 applicants.

Cosentino spearheaded an effort last year to apply for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant for the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus project. Though she did not receive a grant, she was invited to apply for the workshop.

“I learned so much about how integral arts and culture are to community cohesion and how there are courageous ways to think outside of the box to solve civic issues,” said Cosentino about her experience at the institute.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 11:03 AM, 07.23.2019

Heights Arts kicks off August with diverse lineup

Poets compete to the "death" at the annual Heights Arts Haiku Death Match.

As the summer winds down, cool events are happening at Heights Arts.

August kicks off with Show Off, an exhibition curated by Heights Arts’ Heights High interns Ava Collyer and Mia Miller, featuring art by Heights High students. Show Off’s opening reception is Friday, Aug. 2, 6–9 p.m., and the show runs through Aug. 25.

On Saturday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m., Heights Arts hosts a fight to the death in 17 syllables—the annual Haiku Death Match. It’s bigger than ever this year, moving to the larger stage of Cain Park’s Alma Theater. Eight poets, including 2018 defending champion Cordelia Eddy, go head-to-head, vying to win the title of Haiku Death Match Master.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 10:51 AM, 07.23.2019

The water's fine, or so I hear

The view of the big pool from under an umbrella at the baby pool.

I was sitting at Cumberland Pool recently, under a big umbrella, so it was cool (in the shade). I hang out at Cumberland sometimes, not to swim, but to watch my grandchildren. I used to go there to swim, but it’s been a while . . . like, since I was 9.

My mother took me to Cumberland’s baby pool (which was located in a different part of the park then) for my first six years, and then I started hanging out at the big pool with friends. I always felt as though something was wrong, though, and it took me a couple of years to figure out what it was. I finally realized: It was that I hated swimming. Everything about it.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 10:47 AM, 07.23.2019

UH community safety meeting set for Aug. 13

University Heights Fire Chief Robert Perko will discuss the city's fire prevention bureau at the community meeting.

University Heights Mayor and Safety Director Michael Dylan Brennan invites all residents and business owners to the city's annual Community Safety Meeting on Aug. 13, 6–7:30 p.m., at the University Heights Library on Cedar Road. Light refreshments will be served.

Fire Chief Robert Perko, Police Chief Dustin Rogers, City Prosecutor Michael Astrab, and Law Director Luke McConville will make presentations to the community, and then take questions from the audience.

Among other topics, Perko will discuss the newly reinstated fire prevention bureau, while Rogers will discuss the city’s annual crime report.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 10:40 AM, 08.01.2019

Follow Cooper on Instagram

Cooper (left) makes a friend at Walter Stinson Community Park during a recent concert.

Cooper the Chicken, the brand ambassador for the city of University Heights, is now on Instagram. He can be followed at “cooperchicken.”

In his role as brand ambassador, Cooper celebrates all things University Heights—from parades and concerts, to lemonade stands and local businesses.

Cooper originated as a nameless stuffed toy chicken wearing a T-shirt bearing the new University Heights logo, distributed at last year’s University Heights Civic Awards. A “Name That Chicken” contest soon followed, with the name “Cooper” being submitted, independently, by Clare Nolan and Jackson Lovato.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 10:42 AM, 07.23.2019

Church invites community to free block party

Central Bible Baptist Church will host its annual community block party on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The free event is open to the entire community, and will take place at the church, located at 2285 Noble Road.

For more than 10 years, the church has hosted the block party to engage, educate and empower adults and children of all ages. This year’s event will feature words of empowerment, food, music, games, crafts, special performances, a clothing drive, face-painting, cooking demonstrations, free Christian books and resources, and a puppet show.

There will also be free health screenings and educational materials focused on important health issues.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 10:27 AM, 08.01.2019

Noble Neighbors keeps it going

Volunteer gardeners tend to the perennial garden at Monticello and Belvoir boulevards.

Noble Neighbors is planning activities and events for the summer and the rest of 2019.

Already underway is the inaugural season of the Noble Gardeners' Market, which takes place on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon at Noble and Roanoke roads,through Sept. 21. Backyard and community garden growers sell their fruits, vegetables, flowers and plants, and sellers and buyers have been exchanging more than greenery at the market. Gardeners are sharing growing tips, community gardens are finding new growers for their plots, and new friendships are sprouting among neighbors.

Sellers may sell freshly grown produce and plants but may not sell processed food or non-plant items. Notably, sellers are not required to live in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 10:25 AM, 08.01.2019

Teachers often worry about time away from classrooms

I have a memory of when I was in first grade and my mom and I went to my teacher’s apartment on Superior Road, near Forest Hills, with a gift for her new baby. I do not recall my teacher being absent from school, so perhaps she gave birth at the beginning of summer. 

I have heard negative comments from parents and students about teacher absences, largely because things are never the same with a substitute. As part of our union’s work in arranging leaves of absence for teachers for various reasons, I can tell you that most teachers are concerned about what happens when they are not in the classroom. In fact, just today I received an e-mail from a teacher who will be on an extended leave beginning at the start of the upcoming school year. She is concerned because she has not yet seen a job posting for her position. 

This teacher is worried about her students.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 10:57 AM, 08.01.2019

Music camp promotes learning and growth

The struggle is real, and it is good.

This was the theme for the Heights Summer Music Camp held June 10–15 at Cleveland Heights High School. This was the 15th camp season and, like the other 14, it was a great week of exploration, growth, engagement and success.

Reaching Heights, our local community support organization for the Heights schools, sponsors the camp that provides fifth- through eighth-graders who are residents of the Heights school district with the chance to engage in an intense week of playing their instruments in chamber groups and an orchestra. They also explore music in choirs, jazz groups or ukulele ensembles, and they learn about musicianship.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 10:56 AM, 08.01.2019

CH court and BMV offer license reinstatement fee assistance

The Cleveland Heights Municipal Court, in collaboration with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), will offer a reinstatement fee amnesty clinic for those with suspended licenses on Thursday, July 25, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Cleveland Heights Municipal Courtroom, 40 Severance Circle. 

According to a press release from the court, "qualified participants may receive [either] amnesty or a reduction in BMV reinstatement fees." Those who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) are eligible for the complete waiver, and only the first 100 participants will be served.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 9:48 AM, 07.22.2019

Heights Observer remembers Jim Henke

Jim Henke

Jim Henke, a prolific contributor to, and volunteer with, the Heights Observer, died on July 8 from complications related to dementia, according to media reports. He was 64.

Henke began writing for the Heights Observer in 2013, following an illustrious career that included covering music for Rolling Stone magazine and 15 years as a curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

A Cleveland Heights resident, Henke served as co-chair of the Heights Observer media project for several years, until 2017.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 8:50 AM, 07.16.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-17-2019

JUNE 17, 2019


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Director of finance/clerk of council’s report
  • City-owned property transfer
  • Top of the Hill parking
  • CDBG agreements
  • Public recreation financing
  • Wireless communications facility
  • Joint meeting
  • Council meeting suspension in August
  • Issuance of bonds
  • Mayor’s announcements
  • Council members’ announcements


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren and Jason Stein. Michael N. Ungar was excused, but listened on the telephone.

Prior to the regular meeting, there was a police officer promotion and swearing in ceremony for seven officers. Chief Mecklenberg stated that this brings the CHPD to 102 officers, just three short of fully staffed.

The meeting lasted from 7:40 to 8:29 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 9:03 AM, 08.02.2019

Weil captures rare moonlit images of Lake View

Black Moon Light, 2018 © Michael Weil

Cleveland Heights photographer Michael Weil first began to think about making nighttime photographs in Lake View Cemetery almost 10 years ago.

“Lake View was part of my growing up,” said Weil. “As a child I would go with my father to visit the gravesite of his parents. Even as a child it struck me as not the typical cemetery where you’d hold your breath as you drove past.”

That early connection has developed into a two-part photographic presentation, Moonlight in the Gates: 150 Years of Lake View Cemetery in a New Reflective Light which will be on view in a special installation throughout the cemetery from July 22, 2019, through October 2020. Meanwhile, prints from the series also will be on view at Weil’s Foothill Galleries in Cleveland Heights, July 23 through Aug. 31.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:40 PM, 06.27.2019

Where did we go?

It's not much bigger than today's cell phones, but all it did was broadcast AM radio shows—which was all we thought we needed then.

I’ve lived in my current house for 33 years. Our street has a block party every summer. The first time I attended one, I asked several people how long they had lived on the street. A few of them said they’d been here for 30-some years, and I thought, “What a loser.” Now younger new neighbors come up to me at the block party and ask how long I’ve lived here, and I say, “Oh . . . a while. . . .”

After I’d lived in this house for about 10 years, I ran into an old friend from junior high and high school at a Little League game at Forest Hill Park, where our kids were playing on opposing teams. I hadn’t seen him since high school. I asked where he lived and it turned out he’d been living one block east of me. For 10 years.

Two years ago, I attended my high school reunion at Nighttown and ran into another old friend from junior high and high school, whom I hadn’t seen in about 40 years. I asked him where he lived and it turned out he’d been living one block west of me. For 10 years.

And I’ve run into many other old friends who also live in the area, but whom I rarely see.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:37 AM, 06.28.2019

Movies and bands are coming to 'The Walt'

Carlos Jones

"E.T.," "Captain Marvel," and Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band are all coming to Walter Stinson Community Park, aka The Walt, as part of the continuing “Best Summer Ever” celebration in University Heights.

Steven Spielberg’s classic sci-fi movie "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" will be shown under the stars at The Walt on Tuesday, July 2. Pre-movie entertainment will be provided by RW Magic. All children in attendance dressed like a science fiction character will receive a University Heights frisbee.

Local favorites Otis and the Shoreway Saints will bring their rock show of originals and covers to The Walt on July 8. The eight-piece band will play original songs from its three studio albums, as well as covers from the 1960s through the present.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:36 AM, 06.28.2019

Blank Canvas CLE is new Lee Road arts center

Blank Canvas CLE's owner, Michael Newman, welcomes artists with a diversity of styles.

A hub of art-making, art-purchasing, and community-building, Blank Canvas CLE is a collective that opened in the Cedar Lee district in February. Owner Michael Newman, a University Heights resident, started the business because of his love of art and community.

With a range of products at every price point—from vintage baseball cards and graphic art giftables to wall art and custom framing—Blank Canvas CLE makes original artwork accessible to all. Newman invites local artists to approach him about exhibits and showcase events. “We will have monthly shows, with constant movement of works on display,” said Newman.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:27 AM, 06.28.2019

Heights High family brings 'Cheers'-like spot to hometown

The Loretz siblings, Bryan (left), Damon (right) and Lillian Williams-Loretz pose under the sign explaining the vision of Networkz Restaurant & Lounge, which they opened in October. All three are Heights High alums.

The three Loretz sibilings, all Heights High alums, wanted to bring a version of the TV-bar Cheers to their hometown. Bryan Loretz (class of ’84) said they didn't want to open another watering hole or a sports bar. "We wanted to create a place like 'Cheers,' where everyone knows your name. We wanted a place where patrons could come, feel safe, dance, meet friends and make new ones, have good food and drinks in an upscale atmosphere." His brother, Damon (class of ‘93), agreed, "If you close your eyes, we wanted you to think you were in Atlanta, New York City, or Chicago. That's the vibe we wanted to create."

After years of wishing, planning and hard work, Networkz Restaurant & Lounge (3560 Mayfield Road) opened last October. Sister Lillian Loretz-Williams (class of ’76) led the way.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:25 AM, 06.28.2019

Crime rate in UH dropped 32 percent in 2018

Chief Dustin Rogers at UHPD's first "Coffee with a Cop" event.

The crime rate continues to drop in University Heights, in part due to the hard work of the University Heights Police Department (UHPD).

Serious “Part I” crimes dropped by 32 percent in 2018, according to the UHPD’s annual report, as presented to UH City Council last month. Adult and juvenile arrests fell 12 percent.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:35 PM, 06.27.2019

Co-ed slow pitch softball league is open to all

A Free Play Softball post-game photo shows the diversity of participants. Photo by Steve Calhoun.

In the late 1980s, Dave Kolb and his wife, Alice—both professors in organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve University—played slow pitch softball in a league with various university departments. They eventually became uncomfortable with the level of competitiveness, so, in 1991, they took their department out of the league and started a Sunday morning pick-up softball game with an emphasis on having fun.

Today, 28 years after its formation, this group is called the Free Play Softball League. Dave and Alice recently retired and now live in Hawaii, but their dream of having fun playing softball is going strong.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:21 AM, 06.28.2019

B'nai B'rith Health Run is July 28

The 33rd B’nai B’rith Health Run, planned for Sunday, July 28, will showcase Walter Stinson Community Park in University Heights. Both registration and the award ceremony will take place at the park's gazebo, at 2307 Fenwick Road.

Both the 1-mile and 5K events start at the park’s entrance on Saybrook Road and end at its Fenwick Road entrance. The 1-miler has overall winners and youth division winners, while the 5K has overall winners plus winners in 13 age groups.

Participants receive a tie-dyed T-shirt with registration.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:22 AM, 06.28.2019

County and solar co-op host July 25 meeting in CH

On Thursday, July 25, the Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability and the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors will co-sponsor a free, informational meeting for home and business owners interested in going solar. The meeting will take place at the Lee Road Library (2345 Lee Road), at 6 p.m.

Topics will include the history of solar technology; financial incentives, such as the 30-percent Federal Solar Tax Credit; and financing options, including the low-interest Cuyahoga County HELP Loan Program.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 9:56 AM, 06.28.2019

Fifth annual Pekar Comic Book day is July 20

Heights Libraries' Coventry branch will host comic fest activities.

On July 20, the Pekar Park Comic Book Fest will return to Coventry Village for its fifth year. Since 2015, this free festival has honored the legacy of late Cleveland Heights resident and graphic novelist Harvey Pekar by offering a wide range of arts- and comics-themed activities for visitors of all ages.

“Harvey continues to be the most renowned comic writer from the area. He was a regular patron of Heights Libraries’ Lee Road branch, and wrote notable, relatable and internationally recognized comics,” said Kate Atherton, Heights Libraries’ adult services associate, ‘zine collection curator and lartist. “He set the standard that other Cleveland writers and artists could also be recognized, and that their stories could be shared through this unique format.”

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 9:58 AM, 06.28.2019

CH needs government that serves current needs

To the Editor:

This letter is a response to Alan Rapoport's opinion article, "A city manager form of government works well," published in the Heights Observer's June issue.

As a former mayor, Rapoport understandably likes Cleveland Heights' government structure, citing history, progress and a contrasting example.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:33 PM, 06.27.2019

What happened with CH government?

To the Editor:

A column by Deborah Van Kleef and Carla Rautenberg in the May 2019 Heights Observer called for changing from a city manager form of government to an elected full-time mayor for Cleveland Heights. The motivation for this call is stated as a poorly working city manager form of government. They state that CH City Manager Robert Downey "left a mess" and had a "sudden departure," in 2012.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:30 PM, 06.27.2019

City's original goals for TOH have been lost

What's refreshing about ascending Cedar Glen is that you're entering a new realm—a realm of greenery.

The city of Cleveland Heights and its Top of the Hill (TOH) developer have chosen to monetize the TOH land to the max by placing a confrontational wall-like structure at the city's most valuable and prominent property—a site which should be welcoming, not in-your-face.  

City council members, in desperation to get TOH done on their watch, somehow lost control of the design process and its original development goals. Goals included in April 2018, but now gone (or nearly so), were:

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:27 PM, 06.27.2019

Great? TOH design isn't even good

CH officials have repeatedly said that citizen input into the Top of the Hill (TOH) design is a matter of personal opinions and not worthy of serious consideration. They say design decisions should be left to credentialed architects and city planners who understand principles of good design. At the suggestion of a city official, I’ve read some key city planning texts. I found not only that the principles are easy to understand, but that the current TOH design violates at least four major principles of good design.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:24 PM, 06.27.2019

First Baptist is a summer mobile pantry site

Volunteers getting food ready.

This summer, First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland is partnering with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to become a mobile pantry produce distribution center. A mobile pantry is a food bank truck full of food that is brought to a central location where clients can pick up food, as they would from a regular pantry.

During First Baptist’s 12th year of Faith in Action, on Sunday, June 2, church volunteers kicked off of its summer food giveaway program, preparing and distributing the food, including potatoes, corn on the cob, watermelons, tomatoes, butternut squash, eggplant and zucchini.

For the remainder of the summer, First Baptist Church will distribute food on the first Saturday of the month—July 6, Aug. 3, and Sept. 7—from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:04 AM, 06.28.2019

Cedar Fairmount SummerFEST moves to Saturday

Cedar Fairmount SummerFEST organizers promise some new twists and changes for the upcoming festival, Aug. 10, 1–6 p.m.

The biggest change for merchants and shoppers? SummerFEST is on a Saturday this year.

"Many of our merchants are closed on Sunday and so requested a day change. We're accommodating them by moving SummerFEST to Saturday. We're also only closing a part of Lennox this year, so traffic may move smoothly down Surrey," said Sal Russo Sr., president of the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 10:02 AM, 06.28.2019

Supporting strangers strengthens community

“We need to pay more attention to the good news,” observed Jaqueline Blockson at a reception honoring two college scholarship recipients. Community members had gathered at Forest Hill Church to offer financial and emotional support to students and express confidence in their capacity to navigate the future. It was affirming and hopeful.

Blockson, a wonderful ambassador to the community and advocate for Heights High students, is the point person for connecting community donors who want to provide college scholarships with the students who need them.

This year, Heights High graduating seniors received $96,000 in scholarships from 45 different scholarship funds. Blockson was the matchmaker that made it work.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:22 PM, 06.27.2019

What we have lost

It is somewhat difficult to explain how education today differs from what it was 15-plus years ago. Much is the same, but the differences are both subtle and obvious. 

There are still textbooks, homework, tests, classes kids enjoy and those they don’t. Heights High has not changed as much as people might think. (Most of the building is new and we finally replaced the 1970s windows that allowed snow and rain to come inside.)

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:17 PM, 06.27.2019