Latest News

Heights' Got Talent takes place Aug. 17

On Sunday, Aug. 17, Motorcars Honda and Toyota will present Heights’ Got Talent at Cain Park’s Evans Amphitheater. Like its reality-TV namesake, the local talent show will feature a variety of acts competing for prizes. The difference will be that the performers could be your friends and neighbors.

Motorcars is hosting the event to enable Heights residents to showcase their talents and bring the community together, and the company is giving away up to $10,000 in cash and prizes, both for participants and for audience members.

“The Heights is artistic and diverse,” said Trevor Gile, general manager for Motorcars Honda. “We know there are a lot of talented people in the Heights, and we thought this would be a fun way to celebrate that.”

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:17 AM, 07.29.2014

Latest News Releases

University Heights to host community forum on safety
- City of University Heights, July 23, 2014 Read More
City of CH to mail satisfaction survey to residents
- City of Cleveland Heights, July 17, 2014 Read More
Doan Brook Watershed Partnership hosts annual Family Fishing Day on July 12
- Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, July 10, 2014 Read More
Nature Center at Shaker Lakes Celebrates Art this Summer
- Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, July 10, 2014 Read More
Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library to Seek Operating Levy in November
- CH-UH Library, June 26, 2014 Read More

View more news releases

Micheller leaves school district after 17 years; replacement named

Dr. Joseph Micheller

Joseph Micheller, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District’s director of curriculum and instruction, will leave the district at the end of July, to become executive director of new school development for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. Sandy Womack will replace Micheller. 

Micheller has been with the district for 17 years. Prior to taking on the responsibilities of curriculum and instruction, Micheller held the positions of director of educational services, interim assistant superintendent, and director of special programming and compliance.    

“Dr. Micheller managed to be both the district historian and futurist. His contributions to this district have been enormous and the initiatives he put into place will continue to have a terrific impact on our students for decades to come. We will miss him very much,” said recently retired former superintendent Nylajean R. McDaniel.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:42 AM, 07.29.2014

Zucca is new CH economic development chief

Greg Zucca assumed his new role as CH economic development director on June 9. [photo courtesty City of Cleveland Heights]

Greg Zucca, the new economic development director for the City of Cleveland Heights, doesn’t bring direct experience in leading suburban development efforts, but he does have extensive background in economic development focused on the technology sector.

Zucca, whose first day on the job was June 9, spent the past nine years at the Cuyahoga County Department of Economic Development—most recently as fund manager for the county’s Western Reserve Fund.

Before that, he was a strategic program officer with responsibility for design and implementation of programs to support entrepreneurship in the technology sector. He also served as a finance analyst, evaluating potential business development investments.

Before going to work for the county, Zucca was a researcher at Battelle Memorial Institute. There, he focused on technology-based economic development, and was involved with Ohio’s tech-oriented Third Frontier program.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:59 AM, 07.29.2014

La Tea Dolly unveils Little Free Library Aug. 2

Monica Davis shows off the newly donated Little Free Library that she will transform and unveil on Aug. 2.

La Tea Dolly, a children’s tea shop located at 1637 Lee Road, is the first Cleveland Heights business to host a Little Free Library on its premises. The shop will hold an unveiling ceremony and grand opening of the library on Saturday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m.

Owner Monica Davis received a donated Little Free Library box from Margaret Bernstein of the Literacy Cooperative ( “She secured the donor for my box and I agreed to become the steward,” said Davis. “I am responsible for engaging the community, keeping the library full, promotions—and, of course, I’m redecorating it.” Davis will reveal the new design for the box on Aug. 2.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:27 AM, 07.29.2014

Family Connections orients kids to kindergarten

Do you have a child who will be attending a Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District kindergarten this fall? 

Family Connections and the CH-UH City School District invite you and your child to attend Kindergarten Kickoff, where your child can get a jumpstart on kindergarten at the elementary school he or she will attend.

Families will have the opportunity to meet with school staff, tour the school building, make ice cream sundaes and meet new kindergarten friends.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:56 AM, 07.29.2014

Heights Zen meditation group offers introductory workshop

The zendo (meditation room) is designed to help calm the mind. 

The Cleveland Zazen Group, a Zen meditation group that has been in Cleveland Heights for more than 40 years, is offering an Introduction to Zen Meditation on Aug. 2, at 1813 Wilton Road. The group practices in the tradition of the Rochester (N.Y.) Zen Center, founded in the 1960s by Roshi Philip Kapleau, author of The Three Pillars of Zen.

The one-day introductory workshop is aimed at providing a useful introduction to Zen Buddhism, demystifying the religion and giving basic instruction on how to practice zazen (Zen meditation). It’s a unique opportunity to learn firsthand from seasoned practitioners.

The group is made up of lay people from all walks of life—from college professors and students to the unemployed—and of all ages—from 20-somethings to seniors. Some sit on cushions on the floor; others sit in chairs.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:53 AM, 07.29.2014

The heart of Cleveland Heights is lit again . . . by kids

Participants enjoy HYC's 2014 Taste of the Heights.

How do you “feel” the community of Cleveland Heights? How about through music, laughter and delicious food, as residents found June 11 at Taste of The Heights. Here, the whole Cleveland Heights gamut joined the staff and board and kids of the Heights Youth Club (HYC) at a festival of fun that benefitted its youth. Taste of the Heights, HYC’s annual fundraiser, was a brilliant success for all involved.

Twenty Cleveland Heights restaurants were the key to its success as each donated the best of their menus to produce a generous smorgasbord of selections for guests. This at a time when the local restaurants of our community were voted the third best in the whole state!

Dorothy King, new HYC board member, was inspired seeing the result of the staff and board’s hard work to make this worthwhile event happen, and to see Heights residents support it so wholeheartedly.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:51 AM, 07.29.2014

UH council meeting July 28 includes vote on $1.8 million park bond issue

University Heights City Council will hold a special meeting on Monday, July 28, 7 p.m., in council chambers.

The meeting agenda includes a resolution "determining to proceed with the submission to the electors of the question of issuing $1.8 million of bonds for the purpose of improving the city's park and recreational facilities by constructing and equipping a public park area and related improvements, and declaring an emergency."

The deadline for council to send the bond issue to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, for it to be placed on the ballot this November, is Wednesday, Aug. 6.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 8:54 AM, 07.28.2014

Brennan's Colony plans to reopen today

Brennan's Colony, 2299 Lee Road.

Less than a month after the tragedy that took the life of Jim Brennan on June 30, his neighborhood restaurant, Brennan's Colony, reopens its doors Tuesday, July 22 at 4 p.m.

According to the Brennan's Colony FaceBook page, the restaurant will initially serve drinks only, but patrons are encouraged to bring in food from any of the surrounding local restaurants. On the evening of Friday, July 25, the restaurant plans to reopen the kitchen with a limited menu. Those interested in learning more about the menu options can consult the restaurant's FaceBook page at

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 11:01 AM, 07.22.2014

We Are A Colony: Why we give and why we trust

On July 18, The Plain Dealer ran a letter to the editor from a Cleveland Heights resident (Cedar Lee Merchants are Trying to Profit off Jim Brennan’s murder) expressing shock “that the Cedar Lee Merchants Association has seen fit to turn the death of bar/restaurant owner Jim Brennan into a financial windfall (which they are calling a fundraiser) for the organization.”

I write today to clarify that every element of community organizing that has taken place in the weeks since Jim’s murder has been conducted with goodwill, love, compassion—and in collaboration with Jim’s grieving family. To underscore the degree to which these efforts are supported by the Brennan family, the “We Are A Colony” Facebook page on July 12 carried this post: “Please don't let a rumor dampen the wonderful work you are doing. It has helped lift the spirits of my sister Kathy Murphy and the rest of our family.”

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 11:23 AM, 07.22.2014

UH to put park bond issue on November ballot

University Heights City Council passed Resolution 2014-12 at its July 14 meeting, which will enable voters to determine whether the city can issue $1.8 million in bonds to improve the city’s parks and recreation facilities. The bond issue would fund construction and equipment for a new park and related improvements on the site of the former Fuchs Mizrachi School, bordered by Fenwick and Saybrook Roads.

Council must approve the ballot language at a special City Council meeting on July 28 in order for the issue to be placed on the Nov. 2 ballot. The deadline for council to send the bond issue to the board of elections is Aug. 6.

Councilman Mark Wiseman cast the only dissenting vote.

Mayor Susan Infeld has compared the costs associated with the new park to the cost of building the Purvis Park pool 20 years ago. That bond issue, which added $25 in property tax for each $100,000 in home valuation, will be paid off in December 2014.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 1:23 PM, 07.22.2014

St. Paul's Episcopal Church names interim rector

The Rev. Dr. Harold T. Lewis begins as interim rector at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights, on Aug. 3.

The Rev. Dr. Harold T. Lewis will become interim rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, beginning Aug. 3.

Lewis recently retired as rector of Calvary Church in Pittsburgh, a congregation of similar size to St. Paul’s. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he holds a bachelor’s degree from McGill University, a master’s of divinity from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and a doctorate in theology from the University of Birmingham (England).

Lewis has distinguished himself as a scholar and an author, and has taught at the George Mercer School of Theology, General Theological Seminary, New York Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and Anglican seminaries in the Congo, South Africa, Mozambique and Barbados. In 1996, Lewis’ doctoral dissertation from the University of Birmingham was published. Yet With a Steady Beat: The African American Struggle for Recognition in the Episcopal Church was the first book about the history of black Episcopalians since George Freeman Bragg’s History of the Afro-American Group of the Episcopal Church in 1922. A pianist who enjoys accompanying soloists, several of Lewis’ hymns appear in Lift Every Voice and Sing II and other hymnals.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 1:02 PM, 07.22.2014

Milestones to offer autism training at Canterbury

Participants in a Milestones workshop.

Milestones Autism Resources will host Milestones School Team Training on Aug.4-8, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Canterbury Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. While all districts are encouraged to attend, first-ring-suburb school personnel can register at a deeply discounted rate, thanks to a grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation presented to Milestones.

Founded in 2003, Milestones Autism Resources helps individuals with autism throughout Northeast Ohio reach their unique potential and is the first call for help at each transition of an individual’s life. Milestones focuses on educating and coaching family members and professionals in evidence-based practical strategies. Its conferences, workshops, professional development, referral calls and online resources connect the autism community with vital information, and each other.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 4:08 PM, 07.16.2014

North American Bitcoin Car Giveaway to visit Lee Road

The North American Bitcoin Car Giveaway Tour (NABCGT) will visit Lee Road’s Bitcoin Boulevard US on July 19 and 20. The tour, which is hosted by Kryptoz Inc. and, is yet another way in which Lee Road businesses expect to benefit from becoming early adopters of the digital currency.

Between June 6 and Dec. 6, participants can obtain free entries in the giveaway of the Bitcoin Car—a brand new 2014 Kia Soul—or $10,000 in Bitcoins by “liking” the Facebook page,, and signing up at

The Bitcoin Car will be on display outside of the following Bitcoin Boulevard US locations on July 19, from 5 to 10 p.m.: Revive, 2248 Lee Road; The Tavern Company, 2260 Lee Road; Shawn Paul Salon, 2265 Lee Road; The Wine Spot, 2271 Lee Road; Mitchell’s Chocolates, 2285 Lee Road; and Sweetie Fry, 2307 Lee Road.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:59 AM, 07.15.2014

Gearity receives Straight A grant

Gearity Professional Development School in University Heights.

Gearity Professional Development School earned a Straight A grant award for $484,608 from the Ohio Department of Education, pending state controlling board final approval on July 28. Gearity’s project, DigiLit (Digital Literacy), will transform the look and feel of the elementary school classroom to engage students and significantly improve student achievement.

“This will be an exciting opportunity for the Gearity staff to teach in a new and innovative way to motivate students while learning,” reported Kristen Abdow, lead literacy teacher.

John Carroll University’s (JCU) Department of Education and School Psychology is a key partner in this innovative project. The team lead is Kathleen Roskos, Ph.D., who conducts reading research and is widely published on literacy development and reading education topics.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:55 AM, 07.12.2014

Dobama's emerging actors program performs 'Lord of the Flies'

DEAP—Dobama Theatre’s Emerging Actors Program—is coming to a theatre near you (on Lee Road) this month. Now in its fifth season, DEAP is a summer acting program for high school students and college undergraduates. It features technique-based courses that culminate in a production. This summer, students are working on “Lord of the Flies,” a stage adaptation of the popular William Golding novel, in which a plane crash leaves a group of schoolboys stranded on a desert island.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:06 AM, 07.11.2014

District announces new principal for Gearity Professional Development School

Katrina Hicks is the new Gearity Professional Development School principal.

With the input and participation of staff and parents, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has announced that Katrina Hicks will be the new principal of Gearity Professional Development School. Hicks takes over from the previous principal, Michele Evans, who accepted a position with the Wadsworth City School District. 

Hicks has worked in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) since 1993. She began as a classroom teacher and later served as a program manager at the Emile DeSauze Enrichment Center. She subsequently worked as an assistant principal and then principal with CMSD. Most recently, as principal of H. Barbara Booker Elementary School, she increased the school’s performance index from 66.1 to 74.0 over a two-year period.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:29 AM, 07.10.2014

New administrative principal named for Cleveland Heights High School

Zoraba Q Ross is the new Heights High administrative principal. 

The Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District has announced Zoraba Q Ross is the new administrative principal of Cleveland Heights High School. Johnetta Wiley, the former administrative principal, now serves as the district’s Director of Special Programs & Compliance.

Ross has worked in the South-Western City School District as assistant principal and athletic director at Central Crossing High School. In this role, Ross assisted the principal in supervision and evaluation of all personnel, and he was also responsible for management of the athletic department. Prior to joining South-Western, Ross served as a principal and assistant principal in the Groveport Madison Local Schools. Ross holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and a master’s in education from Ashland University.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:20 AM, 07.10.2014

Community rallies in support of Brennan's employees and family

A memorial to Jim Brennan began to appear outside of Brennan's Colony on the evening of June 30. Photo by Rebecca Taylor-Norton.

In the week since Jim Brennan was shot at his Lee Road restaurant, the Heights community has rallied to honor his memory, and in support of his family and employees.

An impromptu memorial of flowers and messages has grown outside of Brennan’s Colony since news spread of the June 30 shooting, and Brennan’s subsequent death, and an estimated 1,200 gathered in a community candlelight vigil the following night.

At Brennan's memorial service, held at Church of the Gesu on July 5, Mike Elliott, his best friend from their years together at Gilmour Academy, shared words of remembrance. Elliott quoted a line from a poem his brother sent to him, titled "J.B.", that resonated with those in attendance: "They stole from us something they could have had for free"—referring to Brennan's welcoming smile. In lieu of flowers, the family encouraged contributions to Rose-Mary Center or the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

A GoFundMe account, created on July 2 by Rebecca Smolenski with the goal of raising $25,000—enough to cover two weeks of wages for Brennan’s Colony staff—has so far raised $47,648, almost double its original goal. More than $33,000 was donated in less than 24 hours, with 877 donations made to date.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 1:42 PM, 07.08.2014

Share your thoughts with the Heights Observer

The senseless death of Jim Brennan on June 30 has touched us all. We want to hear your thoughts and feelings, and will share them in the August print issue of the Heights Observer.

Two Heights residents have already weighed in. Read Bob Rosenbaum’s blog post here and Greg Donley’s post in Belt Magazine here.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:08 PM, 07.08.2014

Services for Jim Brennan to be held July 5

Jim Brennan

The Cedar Lee Special Improvement District announced arrangements for Jim Brennan: Family will receive friends at the Schulte & Mahon-Murphy funeral home, 5252 Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst, on Thursday, July 3 from 2 to 7 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 5 at Church of the Gesu, 2470 Miramar Blvd. in University Heights.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to Rose-Mary Center, 19350 Euclid Ave., Euclid, Ohio 44117, or to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, 15500 Waterloo Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44110.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 5:15 PM, 07.02.2014

Community mourns Jim Brennan

Jim Brennan (right), whose Brennan's Colony was recognized as Best Bar, Pub or Tavern in the 2013 Best of the Heights awards, with emcee Fred Griffith. [Photo by Cedar Center Motophoto.]

Cleveland Heights will hold a community candlelight vigil on Tuesday, July 1, at 7 p.m., to honor the memory of Jim Brennan, who died on June 30 after being shot during an attempted robbery at his Lee Road restaurant, Brennan's Colony.

The vigil will take place at the corner of Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road, and will include brief remarks by Mayor Dennis Wilcox and members of the Heights Interfaith Council. The Reverend John Lentz of Forest Hill Church Presbyterian will lead the community in singing "We Shall Overcome." There will be free parking at Cedar and Lee roads after 6 p.m.

Jim Brennan had owned Brennan's Colony for more than 20 years. Brennan's was known, and loved, for its classic all-American cooking. A frequent Best of the Heights winner, Brennan's most recently was voted Best Bar, Pub or Tavern in 2013, and was a runner up for Best Patio.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:11 PM, 07.01.2014

Lee Road business owner Jim Brennan shot and killed on June 30

A memorial to Jim Brennan began to appear outside of Brennan's Colony on Monday evening. [Photo by Rebecca Taylor-Norton.]

On Monday, June 30, Jim Brennan, owner of Brennan’s Colony, was shot at his Lee Road restaurant in an attempted robbery.

At approximately 1 p.m., Cleveland Heights police responded to 911 calls reporting that shots had been fired. Paramedics attended to Brennan and transported him to MetroHealth Medical Center, where he later died.

Police are seeking two suspects, described in the CH Police Department's news release as black males between the ages of 17 and 21, who fled on foot from the rear of the restaurant, east on Silsby Road. The suspects are still at large. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police department at 216-321-1234 or 216-291-5010.

On Monday evening, the City of Cleveland Heights posted a statement on its website, mourning “the senseless shooting of The Colony’s Jim Brennan.”

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:13 PM, 07.01.2014

Cedar Lee merchants mourn death of Jim Brennan

To the Editor:

The merchants of the Cedar Lee District offer their united sympathy upon learning the news that Jim Brennan of Brennan’s Colony Tavern & Restaurant was shot while at his business. 

Jim was a great friend to many in the neighborhood. He will be missed for more than just his skills as a local and independent businessman. Jim created a “go to” place for great food and drink and, most especially, a place where you could socialize with Jim and his neighbors on a Friday or Saturday night.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 5:46 PM, 06.30.2014

Breaking News: Owner of Brennan's Colony is shot

Several residents report that Jim Brennan, owner of Brennan’s Colony, 2299 Lee Road, was shot today around 1:15 p.m. during a suspected robbery. The suspects fled on foot and police are still looking for them.

Brennan is in critical condition at MetroHealth Medical Center.

Cleveland Heights Police officers are looking for the suspects and are canvassing side streets. Residents are asked to stay indoors and report anything suspicious to CHPD at 216-291-5010.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 3:37 PM, 06.30.2014

District outlines next steps in CHHS project

[Editor’s Note: Angee Shaker, director of communications for the CH-UH City School District, provided the following update on the Heights High project. Three upcoming public meetings, where community members will have a chance to see plans and ask questions, are scheduled for July 15, Aug. 19 and Sept. 16. At the Sept. 16 meeting, the final design will be presented and construction managers will present a cost estimate.]

The high school project has now moved into the Schematic Design Phase which includes floor and site plans, the exterior design concept and cost estimates.

The Board of Education (BOE) approved the Program of Requirements (POR) at the June 17 board work session. The POR is a document that lists the spaces and sizes of spaces required to be included in the building as well as notes and other information necessary to begin the design of the floor plans such as how the spaces should relate to each other. The square footage allocations are subject to change as the plans are finalized.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 9:58 AM, 07.01.2014

Heights historical photo of the month

photo credit: City of Cleveland Heights

A Fourth of July parade makes its way down Sycamore Road (then paved with bricks) in the 1920s. 

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

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 9:24 AM, 07.02.2014

Our famous local poet George Bilgere

George Bilgere

Poet George Bilgere, who began college as a pre-med biology major and played professional racquetball after grad school, has read his poetry on “A Prairie Home Companion” more times than his good friend Billy Collins, poet laureate of the United States from 2001–3. But who’s keeping score? (“Billy is very bitter about it,” reports Bilgere.)

Born in 1951, Bilgere grew up among book-covered walls in St. Louis. He remembers walking to the library to fill a wagon with books on summer weekends and becoming a voracious reader of novels. He had some thoughts about writing, but, having done well in biology in high school, entered the University of California, Riverside, as a pre-med student. Unfortunately for medicine, Bilgere “had a problem with chemistry.” His advisor told him to drop the course for an elective, a “no-brainer such as creative writing.”

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 7:19 PM, 07.01.2014

Independent bookstores thrive in Cleveland Heights

Jane Kessler and Lynn Quintrell at Appletree Books.

Despite the fact that book sales have been plummeting for the past few years, Cleveland Heights is home to two successful independent book stores, Appletree Books on Cedar Road near Fairmount and Mac’s Backs on Coventry. And, as of this month, Appletree has new owners: Jane Kessler, who is 93 years old and has owned Appletree since 1990, sold the store to Lynn Quintrell and Alice Webster.

Quintrell, who has lived in Cleveland Heights for 30 years, has worked at Appletree for the past eight. She plans to close the store for two weeks in August so she can make what she calls “cosmetic changes” to the interior.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 7:31 PM, 07.01.2014

2014 CH Coop Tour is a success

Chicken Coop Tour: Kira Cicerchi holds one of the Smith family's hens, while  her brother, Jonas, feeds the hen a piece of cracked corn.

Ten Cleveland Heights families opened their backyards to the public on June 21 to show off their chicken coops. All photos are by Gabe Schaffer. See more photos at

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 9:22 AM, 07.02.2014

Antrobus Designs features unique hand-crafted jewelry

Melissa and Peter Antrobus in their jewelry store.

Antrobus Designs, a jewelry store at 2247 Warrensville Center Road in University Heights, is unique. Owned by Peter and Melissa Antrobus, the store sells handcrafted and custom-designed jewelry, most made by Peter. It also carries jewelry created by other local artists.

The store originally opened across the street, above Geraci’s Restaurant, in the spring of 1999. It moved to its current location in May 2008.

Peter, 56, grew up in Wilmslow, England. When he was 14, he saw a television documentary about a silversmith. “I immediately decided that was what I wanted to do,” he said. Two years later, he left school and began a three-year apprenticeship with a goldsmith.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 7:24 PM, 07.01.2014

Linda Miller retires after touching thousands of young lives

Linda Miller is crowned with a floral tiara at The Music Settlement’s Early Childhood Ice Cream Social and Linda Miller Retirement Festival. [Photo by Barbara Krivanka]

Linda Miller has had an impact on the musical lives of many children: 12,000 of them, by her best estimate.

A Cleveland Heights resident since 1978, Miller was hired as a music specialist at The Music Settlement (TMS) in 1986, and retired from her post in May 2014.

In addition to her work at TMS, Miller taught kindergarten in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District for about 25 years. "Pretty much all of my students have been under the age of six,” Miller said. “I have totally loved what I’m doing. It was a hard decision to retire because it’s fun, just a joy to work with these little kids. I’ve been very lucky to have that opportunity.”

Miller was feted at TMS in an event called the Early Childhood Ice Cream Social and Linda Miller Retirement Festival. “My friend Diana Johannessen [of Cleveland Heights], whose children attended The Music Settlement’s preschool, said she wanted to do something for me," said Miller. "I said that the people who value most what I do are the parents and the kids. That’s all I had to say; she took it and ran with it.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:49 PM, 07.01.2014

CH artist's ancient technique is showcased in Judson exhibition

Untitled, by Pam McKee.

Through July 27, the Howson Gallery at Judson Park is featuring shibori artwork by Cleveland Heights artist Pam McKee.

Shibori—from the Japanese verb shiboru, which means to wring, squeeze, press—is an ancient shape-resist dyeing technique in which cloth or paper is bound, sewn, clamped, folded, or twisted and then dyed. The part that is protected resists the dye. When opened, the material retains the memory of the process, and texture is created, thus a two dimensional piece can become three dimensional.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:41 PM, 07.01.2014

20 songs about death adds up to one fun afternoon

Long Road, a 1960s-style folk group, will perform a concert in Lake View Cemetery on July 20.

Last summer, my folk group, Long Road, played a small number of concerts, on occasions that included the National Senior Games and the grand opening of Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging. It appeared that a pattern was forming, and I couldn’t help but wonder where we would go from there and where we would play this summer.  I got my answer: Lake View Cemetery.

It seems like a natural next step—not that I feel ready to take that next step in real life. But show biz is another thing.

Among the beautiful and historic cemetery’s many wonderful features, it offers a summer concert series, now in its second year. The free concerts will be held on certain Sunday afternoons from 4 to 6 p.m. near the James A. Garfield Monument.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:38 PM, 07.01.2014

Disciples Christian Church wins church choir festival

Music Director Adam Kukuk with the Church Choir Festival first place trophy.

The Chancel Choir of Disciples Christian Church (DCC) in Cleveland Heights was named the winner of the WCLV Jubilation - the Elizabeth Stuart Church Choir Festival.

As one of three finalists in WCLV’s competition, the choir had the honor of competing live on the air on the Cleveland classical radio station on May 8. WCLV broadcast the festival from the beautiful, historic sanctuary of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in downtown Cleveland. 

DCC competed against the St. Joseph VLQ (Very Large Quartet), the Trinity Lutheran Church Choir from Lakewood, and an all-male choir from Avon Lake. Adam Kukuk, DCC music director, chose a varied repertoire ranging from the spiritual “My God is a Rock” and Olivier Messiaen’s “O Sacrum Convivium,” to two pieces from the Sacred Harp that showcased Shape Note singing. Westlake Christian Church’s music minister, Jake Briggs, accompanied the DCC choir on the piano and organ.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:53 PM, 07.01.2014

Fun with Trucks Day in Cleveland Heights

Fun With Trucks Day: (from left) Yaakov, Moshe, Aharon and Avi Stein with Investigator Jeff Mecklenburg and K-9 Officer Argos of the Cleveland Heights Police Canine Unit. Photo by Council Member Jason Stein.

The City of Cleveland Heights hosted a Fun with Trucks Day at City Hall on June 21. Residents could interact with police officers, fire fighters and sanitary workers—and their vehicles.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 9:18 AM, 07.02.2014

Plentiful options for senior living communities in the Heights

The Alcazar courtyard gardens.

The Heights offers many options for seniors considering downsizing or needing additional assistance.

Built in 1923, The Alcazar, on Derbyshire Road in Cleveland Heights, is a beautiful Spanish-Moroccan building offering independent senior apartments. All apartments have full kitchens and some have balconies overlooking courtyard gardens. Breakfast is served daily in the dining room, and educational and cultural events are plentiful. The elegant ballroom hosts many special events. The Alcazar also offers bed and breakfast rooms, and extended-stay suites that cater to out-of-state and international visitors. As one resident said, “The world comes to The Alcazar.”

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:28 PM, 07.01.2014

Senior Citizen Happenings

Senior Citizen Happenings, sponsored by the City of University Heights, are open to all senior citizens. Events take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the University Heights Library. For information, and to suggest program topics, contact the UH Office for Senior Services at 216-397-0336 or

July 3: There is no program scheduled for this week.

July 10: Nylajean R. McDaniel, the outgoing superintendent of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, will reflect on her distinguished career in education as she prepares to retire on July 31.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 6:30 PM, 07.01.2014

UH Memorial Day Parade

Photo by Virginia Stewart.

Summer in the Heights kicked off with the University Heights Memorial Day Parade.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 9:21 AM, 07.02.2014

Library offers new digital streaming service

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library is offering a new, free streaming digital service for mobile and online access. Called Hoopla Digital, the service offers library card holders instant access to thousands of movies, television shows, music albums and audiobooks.

Customers can instantly stream or temporarily download material to smartphones, tablets and computers.

“More and more of our customers are getting used to streaming digital media with services like Netflix, Pandora and Spotify, just to name a few,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “Hoopla offered us an easy way to keep up with their changing needs.”

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:03 PM, 07.01.2014

Running the numbers: big data not just for big companies

Data compiled from 2013 program surveys shows where participants heard about the programs they attended.

In August 2012 and April 2013, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library conducted major studies of community demographics and customers’ experiences. The library used data from those studies to make decisions about library services.

The information, such as which neighborhoods have the highest number of young children, and which branches have the highest circulation rates per capita, has been used to make decisions about children’s programs and the allotment of branch hours.

What some might not know is that, in addition to those large studies, the library gathers data constantly, utilizing door counters, program attendance, surveys, website visits, e-blast reports, Web link clicks and circulation statistics.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:05 PM, 07.01.2014

What's going on at your library?

Heights Libraries has the summer covered, with programs offered every day of the week, all summer long. For a complete calendar listing of events, and to register for selected programs, visit

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

Thursday, July 24, 2 p.m.
Instrument Petting Zoo. Explore the wonders of stringed instruments with students from the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM). The "zoo" offers a unique opportunity for children to touch and feel a variety of stringed instruments under the guidance of CIM students, and a string quartet will perform. This program is open to the whole family.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:14 PM, 07.01.2014

July tours include Park Synagogue

Park Synagogue is located on Mayfield Road.

The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) continues its series of Freewheelin' Wednesday Rides with a kid-themed ride on July 2, a pub-crawl ride on July 16, and a special visit to Park Synagogue on July 30. All HBC Freewheelin’ Wednesday rides start at the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Arch at 6:30 p.m. Bring a helmet.

The Park Synagogue ride combines a bit of outdoor recreation with information about history and architecture. Ellen Petler, membership and program director at the synagogue, will show the group around. Families are welcome.   

Park Synagogue was designed by architect Eric Mendelsohn, who grew up in Germany and designed some of the modern Berlin department stores that were bombed during World War II.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 11:57 AM, 07.01.2014

Grant Deming's Forest Hill neighborhood plans multi-home garage sale July 19

Bargain hunters enjoyed an array of goods at the 2013 Grant Deming's Forest Hill garage sale.

The Grant Deming's Forest Hill Historic District in Cleveland Heights will host its second annual neighborhoodwide garage sale on Saturday, July 19, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. More than 40 homes participated in last year’s sale, and again this year, bargains and treasures await.

Maps will be available online and at all participating houses—just look for balloons marking sale locations. 

Grant Deming's Forest Hill Historic District is bordered by Coventry, Lee and Cedar roads, and Lincoln Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. For more information about the sale and the neighborhood, and for a map of participating homes, visit

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 11:50 AM, 07.01.2014

Free summer meals for kids

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District is participating in the Ohio Department of Education’s Seamless Summer Feeding Program. Through Aug. 13, free breakfast and lunch is available for any child 18 or younger, at the following locations and times:

Boulevard Elementary School, 1749 Lee Road: 8:30–9:30 a.m., and 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cleveland Heights High School, 13263 Cedar Road: 7:30–9 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cleveland Heights Recreation Center, 1 Monticello Blvd.: 8:40–9:10 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 12:05 PM, 07.01.2014

Nonprofit yoga service organization sponsors online benefit auction

North American Gurukul (NAG), a Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit organization, is sponsoring its sixth annual Connect, Discover, Serve online auction. The auction runs through July 12.

For the fourth consecutive year, a portion of the auction proceeds will benefit the Heights Emergency Food Center. The auction also helps to support NAG’s yoga service programs for recovery centers, halfway houses, prisons and inner city schools.

Beverly Singh, founder and director of the Atma Center on Lee Road, founded NAG in 2004, to support awareness and growth of Satyananda yoga throughout North America.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 11:46 AM, 07.01.2014

HRRC's electrical repair course for women begins in July

2013 participants Ann McCulloh and Jacquelyn Yancey watch instructor Jim Cline wire a switch.

Some people are afraid of electricity. Past participants in Home Repair Resource Center's (HRRC) Home How-To women’s repair course, however, have found that by understanding the “mystery” of electricity, and learning how to remain safe when doing electrical work, they can be confident trying basic repairs.

Women are invited to enroll in the upcoming Electrical Repairs course module, consisting of eight workshops held on Wednesday evenings, 7–9 p.m., July 30 through Sept. 17. Participants will learn to replace switches and outlets, run wires through walls, install 3-way switches and GFCI outlets, put up ceiling fans, and more. The classes offer ample opportunity to practice using the tools and techniques required for many common electrical projects. No previous experience is required.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 10:01 AM, 07.01.2014

Moonisa Halim is first CH Teen Poet Laureate

Moonisa Halim

At 17 years old, recent Heights High graduate Moonisa "Nia" Halim is the first Teen Poet Laureate for the City of Cleveland Heights.

Her selection was announced at the Cleveland Heights Poets Laureate Reunion, held June 19 at Dobama Theatre, which honored the six poets laureate who have served the city since the program was created in 2006: Loren Weiss, Mary Weems, Meredith Holmes, Gail Bellamy, Cavana Faithwalker and Kathleen Cerveny.

The office of Teen Poet Laureate was the brainchild of Cerveny, the reigning Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate. She convinced members of Cleveland Heights City Council and Amy Rosenbluth, director of Lake Erie Ink (LEI), a nonprofit that offers writing opportunities for young people, to create and oversee the position in order to elevate the art form of creative writing among the city’s youth.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:49 PM, 06.30.2014

UH weighs bond issue to fund new park

Approximately 50 University Heights residents, along with the city’s mayor and seven council members, came together for a June 17 town meeting on a proposed $1.8 million bond issue to fund a new public park on the former site of the Fuchs Mizrachi school.

Opinions at the meeting ranged from skeptical to supportive. The largely free-form dialogue between council members and residents covered a range of topics, including the amount of the bond issue, the city’s ability to appeal to young families, and a looming Aug. 6 deadline—the date by which council must send the bond issue to the board of elections for it to be placed on this November’s ballot.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:47 PM, 06.30.2014

Get Observer news each week by e-mail

Every month, nearly 10,000 copies of the Heights Observer are distributed at more than 250 locations around Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

With the possible exception of The Plain Dealer—which doesn’t provide city-by-city detail of its circulation—no other publication can claim that each issue is seen by as many people in these two communities as the Heights Observer.

But the Observer's contributors—community members like you—send in articles all the time, and you don’t have to wait until the beginning of each month to see them.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:40 PM, 06.30.2014

About the Heights Observer

The Heights Observer is a nonprofit community publication written by community members, and focused on the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

The Observer has no writing staff. The articles the Observer publishes are written by volunteer writers who submit stories about the Heights news, personalities, events and issues that interest them.

The Observer’s only reporters are those in the Heights community who take the time to write about some aspect of the Heights, and share it with others via the Heights Observer. Some Observer writers are regular contributors; others may submit an article once a year, or just once.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:34 PM, 06.30.2014

Who is it we entrust with our safety?

To the Editor:

The City of Cleveland Heights’s decisions regarding the Turkey Ridge project planned along Edgehill Road have evoked a lot of emotions in me: resentment regarding the 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement given the developer, Visconsi Companies; and irritation at the suggestion of a Turkey Ridge Community Reinvestment Area (CRA), when there is no blight among the several $400,000 to $1,000,000 buildings.

Now, I feel alarm. It turns out the hillside along Edgehill Road is prone to landslides. Yet our leaders at City Hall are unconcerned.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:32 PM, 06.30.2014

Lake Erie Ink connects people

Visit Lake Erie Ink’s website right now, and you’ll find a simple mission statement: Lake Erie Ink (LEI) provides creative expression opportunities and academic support to youth in the Greater Cleveland community. And insofar as the Coventry-based nonprofit has served more than 2,200 youths in its on- and off-site programs this past year, that’s true. Essential to what LEI does, but that is absent from its mission statement, is the an inevitable byproduct of what happens when youth feel supported and heard—Lake Erie Ink connects people.

When I came to Northeast Ohio to attend college, I was little more than a tourist here. While I had a sense that I wanted to know both Cleveland Heights and Greater Cleveland better, my understanding was peripheral. Outside the bounds of campus, I had no community. When I graduated in 2012 and was hired as an AmeriCorps member at LEI, I got my first glimpse at the kind of community LEI offered—one facilitated by the conviction that young people not only have something to say, but also want to hear others as much as they want to be heard.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:30 PM, 06.30.2014

Sharing leadership, finding solutions

Susie Kaeser

Leadership is looming big in my thinking these days as the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district welcomes a new superintendent and as three other organizations near and dear to my heart change their executive directors. Leadership is hard to get right.

In education, where so many individuals play a role in the success of our children, it is crucial for our leaders to be able to motivate and engage the team that is needed to achieve our developmental goals for them. School leaders need to be visionary and decisive, but they also need to be inclusive, respectful, engaged, patient and trusting. They need to be collaborative! The typical hierarchical style of big bureaucracies just doesn’t work when your job is to motivate.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:22 PM, 06.30.2014

UH hires community development coordinator

Elizabeth “Libby” Ellis, economic development coordinator for the City of University Heights.

Elizabeth “Libby” Ellis is the new community development coordinator for the City of University Heights. Ellis, whose first day on the job was May 19, said that the city has had similar positions in the past, but that hers is an expanded role.

“My goal is to advance the quality of life in University Heights,” she said. Her role includes both attracting new businesses to the city and cultivating and supporting the many small, local businesses that are already located there. She will work to cultivate financial support through grants and other means, represent the mayor at community functions, build relationships and develop new programs.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:19 PM, 06.30.2014

Discover Cedar Fairmount Festival is Aug. 10

Plans are progressing for Cedar Fairmount's 13th annual festival, to be held on Sunday, Aug. 10 from noon to 5 p.m. This year, the festival committee has added more entertainment and venues to the event.

The musical lineup includes Cleveland Heights groups Eclectic Vision, Blue Spruce Cats, The Spyder Stompers with Sister Sugar Pie and Get Back Duo.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:16 PM, 06.30.2014

University Heights summer concerts move to JCU

With the closing of Wiley Middle School, the longtime home of University Heights’s annual free Summer Concert Series, the city has moved this summer’s performances to John Carroll University, in front of Grasselli Library.

Concerts take place on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m., through Aug. 14, with the following performers scheduled for July and August:

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:07 PM, 06.30.2014

How Heights Youth Club got its start

Renie and Dave Smith, helped found the Heights Youth Club, continue their support as members of the HYC board of Directors. 

Irene, known as Renie, and Dave Smith have made an indelible and lasting contribution to the Cleveland Heights and University Heights community. The Smiths were two of the visionaries who, in 2004, decided that young people in the community needed a place to not only hang out and socialize but also to learn, and take school and themselves seriously, in a safe and nourishing atmosphere.  

Such a venture didn’t just happen. Louise Westfall, the former minister of Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights and co-founder of the Heights Youth Club (HYC), and Louisa and Bob Matthias, members of the church and co-founders of the club, had dreams for Cleveland Heights children and teens.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:05 PM, 06.30.2014

Helping children cope with loss

While adults experience grief as a prolonged, deep sadness that incorporates shock, disbelief, anger and acceptance (rarely in any orderly pattern), children experience grief in “bearable bits.” A child will seem to bounce from intensity to levity. Somehow, thankfully, children are self-propelled to keep being kids, even in the face of painful realities. 

Experts suggest following a child’s lead in terms of how deeply to talk about loss. The adult’s job is to listen more, talk less. If your child needs concrete answers, it is sometimes helpful to use a medical term to clarify the uniqueness of the situation and to reassure that other loved ones (and your child) are healthy and safe.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 1:48 PM, 06.30.2014