Latest News

Motorcars expands into donut business

A drawing of the interior of Daylight Donuts, set to open this month at Motorcars collision center, on Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights. [RSA Architects]

In 2016, Motorcars’ owner Chuck Gile made Cleveland Heights home to the world’s first carbon-neutral car dealership.

This year, Motorcars is bringing another first to Cleveland Heights—though not as environmentally significant as the installation of its 1,240 solar panels—opening the region’s first full-service donut and coffee shop to be located on the grounds of a car dealership.

Daylight Donuts, located at the front of the former Pontiac building at 3077 Mayfield Road, just east of Motorcars Honda, is scheduled to have its grand opening on Jan. 26, with a soft opening the day before.

The donut shop will offer inside sit-down space as well as a drive-up window. Plans call for it to be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, and the Gile family expects that Daylight Donuts will employ about 18 full- and part-time employees.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 2:12 PM, 01.16.2018

Latest News Releases

- Non-Profit & Groups, December 6, 2017 Read More
- City of Cleveland Heights, November 15, 2017 Read More
Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission To Hold Inaugural Meeting
- City of Cleveland Heights, November 9, 2017 Read More
Jarvey, McLaughlin Named to FFHL Honor Roll: Honorees to Be Recognized for Opening Doors and Opening Minds
- CH-UH Library, October 30, 2017 Read More
Library accepting applications for new board members
- , October 26, 2017 Read More

View more news releases

Swensons opens in University Heights

UH Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan (far right) reads a proclamation declaring Jan. 8, 2018 "Galley Boy Day" to Swensons staff, including CEO Jeff Flowers.

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan declared Jan. 8, 2018, to be “Galley Boy Day” in University Heights, to celebrate the grand opening of Swensons. (The Galley Boy is a popular Swensons burger.)

That morning, Swensons CEO Jeff Flowers, Swensons staff, Mayor Brennan, and Bill Aurelius—the grandson of former University Heights mayor Earl Aurelius—cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Swensons on Cedar Road.

The University Heights Swensons is the first location in eastern Cuyahoga County and the biggest yet of the Akron-based business’s eight locations.

Swensons hired more than 50 employees to staff its new location, including students from John Carroll University.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:03 AM, 01.16.2018

Charter Review Commission surveys city council and staff

Following its second meeting, held on Jan. 4, the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission sent a list of four questions to city council members, the city manager, city department directors and chairpersons of its boards and commissions.

The 15-member citizen commission prepared the questions as a way to learn about needed changes to the city charter from the perspective of the city’s elected officials and top administrators.

The questions were:

  1. What parts of the Charter should be considered by the Commission, without necessarily implying that you believe a change should or should not be made? 
  2. For each part identified in Question 1, explain briefly, (a) why the item should be considered and if you think a change may be warranted, then (b) what the change should be and why.
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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:13 AM, 01.16.2018

MetroHealth opens new hospital at Severance Circle

Hospital Medical Director and Cleveland Heights resident Dr. Johnbuck Creamer (at left), Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha Briley, MetroHealth Board Chairman Thomas McDonald and MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros cut the ribbon for the new 12-bed hospital.

On Jan. 3, leaders from Cleveland Heights and MetroHealth cut the ribbon on a new 12-bed hospital at Severance Circle in Cleveland Heights.

The hospital is located on the second floor of the building where MetroHealth has operated an emergency department and medical clinic since 2016—shortly after Healthspan (formerly Kaiser Permanente) dissolved its medical practice and vacated the building.

MetroHealth spent about $12 million to build the hospital, and its total investment in Cleveland Heights now stands at about $25 million, according to Dr. Akram Boutros, president and CEO of The MetroHealth System.

Across the nation, hospitals are opening sophisticated satellite facilities like this one in an effort to increase their patient base.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 3:58 PM, 01.15.2018

HRRC offers January classes on plumbing, tile and electrical work

This month, Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) is offering its popular women’s Home How-To program’s six-week plumbing series. The plumbing classes will be held on Wednesday evenings, 7–9 p.m., Jan. 17 through Feb. 21, at the HRRC Teaching Center at 2520 Noble Road. The cost is $150; income-based discounts of 50 to 100 percent are available.

The goal of all four programs in the Home How-To series—plumbing, carpentry, electrical and exteriors—is to provide a sense of confidence and empowerment to the women who take the classes. Many former participants have reported back on all of the jobs they’ve tackled as a result of what they learned at HRRC.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m., a ceramic tile workshop will be held at HRRC. This class will give participants a chance to learn about the ins-and-outs of ceramic tile: how to install it, and how to grout.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 12:27 PM, 01.15.2018

Vote for Best of the Heights in 2018

John Zagara, owner of Zagara's Marketplace, holds the certificate for Best Neighborhood Partner in the FutureHeights 2017 Best of the Heights Awards. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for local businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2018 Best of the Heights Awards contest.

In 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit community development corporation—established the Best of the Heights Awards to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned Heights businesses, and their contributions to the local economy. Each year, residents cast their votes for their favorite businesses by nominating them for an award in a variety of categories.

FutureHeights’ Planning & Development Committee has selected 12 categories for this year’s ballot, including Best New Business and Best Heights Vibe.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:28 PM, 01.02.2018

V&E Hann Inc. seeks nominations for furnace giveaway

Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. co-owner Chris Hann (right), with Jon Holmes, who received a free furnace and installation from the company in 2017. 

For the second consecutive year, Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. will give away a furnace, including installation, to someone in need. Chris Hann, co-owner of the Cleveland Heights-based heating, cooling and plumbing contractor, is asking for nominations from the community.

“Last year, it was our honor to install a new furnace for someone so deserving," said Hann. "Again, we want to share our good fortune by continuing to give back to the community. We are hopeful people in our community will raise their hand to let us know if they or someone they know is in need of a new furnace.”

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:24 PM, 01.02.2018

CH Charter Review Commission to make recommendations in time for November 2018 ballot

The Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission held its first official meeting on Dec. 7. Cleveland Heights City Council appointed the 15-member commission to review all aspects of the city’s charter and make recommendations for changes. City council will then decide which items to place on the ballot for residents to vote on.

The commission expects to submit its recommendations to council by May 2018, in time for council to place the revisions on the November 2018 ballot.

The first item the commission will address is the city’s form of government. Cleveland Heights is currently governed by a seven-member city council, with all members elected at large (citywide), and by a city manager, who is appointed by council.

Of Cuyahoga County’s 57 municipalities, only Cleveland Heights and Bedford Heights are governed without a popularly elected mayor.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:35 AM, 12.12.2017

Heights Arts presents a month of music and metal

Materialized: Seven Artists Working in Metal opens Jan. 19.

There’s no reason to stay home and hibernate in January—Heights Arts offers a number of community-friendly events to kick off 2018.

On Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m., visiting Minnesota quartet Zeitgeist joins Cleveland’s No Exit ensemble for an evening of music from the unique repertoire of each group, as well as collective performances of new music. The free community concert promises a diverse assortment of avant-garde sounds, including music that explores the possibilities of the electro-acoustic medium.

Opening Friday, Jan. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m., is Materialized: Seven Artists Working in Metal, curated by Heights Arts exhibition committee member Pamela Argentieri. “Northeast Ohio has a long tradition of sculptors, blacksmiths, silversmiths and designers working in metal,” said Argentieri. "This community and its institutions continue to support the careers and education of its artists."

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:54 AM, 01.03.2018

St. Paul's Cooperative Preschool seeks new home

St. Paul's preschool is hoping to find a new home soon.

St. Paul's Cooperative Preschool (SPCP) is about to lose its home of 61 years. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, that built the nursery school wing in 1956, has decided, as of Nov. 29, not to renew the preschool’s lease. Now, the cooperative is faced with the challenge of finding a new home for next year so that it can continue to serve its students. The co-op currently has 54 of its 58 possible student spaces filled. SPCP is rushing to find a place before January, when preschool registration begins for the 2018–19 school year.

SPCP’s top priority is to continue to offer affordable preschool access for the 2018–19 school year. "We are looking for a space, ideally located close to the current location [2747 Fairmount Blvd.] so that we can continue to serve the local community’s families and children," said Deb Binkofsky, director of the co-op."Research continues to come out about how important preschool can be for future academic success. If we were to close, which we are determined not to do, that would leave Cleveland Heights with just one cooperative preschool.” That school, Fairmount Cooperative Preschool, is currently at capacity, serving 44 students.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 7:43 PM, 12.07.2017

Drum majors reflect on marching band's fall season

Drum majors Alex Gillooly and Glennis Covault lead the Heights High Marching Band onto the field. 

Alex Gillooly and Glennis Covault are the drum majors for the Heights High Marching Band, under the direction of Brett Baker of the Instrumental Music Department (IMD). This past fall, the marching band performed pre-game and half-time shows during four scheduled home football games. As junior drum major, Covault worked closely with the more experienced Gillooly, who serves as senior drum major.

The central role of the drum majors is to coordinate and implement Baker's vision, which means being ready for anything. As Covault put it, “Mr. Baker once said that our job as drum majors is to make him `useless.' We act as the eyes, ears and hands of Mr. Baker at every level. This has inspired me to constantly be thinking ahead.”

Both Gillooly and Covault agree that their most important responsibility is the steady conducting of the music. “Out in the field," Gillooly said, "the main concern is to make sure that we direct with a very consistent tempo, maintaining eye contact with the percussion and with each other to keep the band together.”

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:43 AM, 01.03.2018

Seeking clarity on statement in December column

To the Editor:

Your "About the Observer" column states that "If you're writing a news article it should be clear and factual." That is the basis for my question regarding the "Heights of Democracy" article [in the December issue].

Regarding the proposed legislation, the article contains the statement: The ordinance would not violate state or federal laws.

Although this article is on the Opinion page, the above statement seems to be stating a fact. Neither of the authors is a lawyer or a judge, so what is the basis for the statement?


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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 11:52 AM, 12.18.2017

The backstory to Democracy Day

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Cleveland Heights City Council will convene the city’s fifth annual Democracy Day, and you, dear reader, are most cordially invited.

For the uninitiated, Democracy Day gives the public an opportunity to address council about how the political influence of corporate entities, added to obscene amounts of money spent in the political process, is degrading the democratic institutions of our city, our state and our nation. Following the hearing each year, a letter stating the reason for the event and summarizing citizens’ remarks is sent by council to our U.S. senators, our U.S. congress member, and the presidents of the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House. That letter, the full text of the petition, plus written minutes and a video, can be viewed on the city’s website under Government, Archived Agendas and Minutes, Public Hearings.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:14 PM, 01.02.2018

Local accountability fosters common good

The Internet makes it easy to gain access to events that you don’t attend in person. I recently spent several evenings on the CH-UH City School District’s website, viewing recordings of board of education meetings going back to 2012. I recommend it. To view the recordings, go to and select “Board of Education” from the “About” menu. 
The board meetings provided a body of evidence about our district’s history and the role of the school board for a project I have been working on. They were fascinating!

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:03 PM, 01.02.2018

Shop local. Learn local. Choose public.

We are fortunate to have many locally owned businesses in our community. From grocery stores to bookstores, restaurants to beauty shops, there are many people invested in owning businesses in the Heights. My wife and I believe in supporting those independent businesses because, in many cases, the owners are people we know and trust. It’s also convenient to be able to walk to a nearby store instead of having to drive a distance away.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 1:57 PM, 01.02.2018

Dunn and Cavender open new fitness center

Tim Cavender and Lisa Dunn, co-owners of 216 Fitness, will host its grand opening celebration on Jan. 13. Photo credit: Kevin Kopanski.

After a year of planning, business partners Lisa Dunn and Tim Cavender—both professionally certified fitness instructors and Cleveland Heights residents—have opened a new strength-training fitness facility. Their new business, 216 Fitness, aims to help individuals build a fun, supportive community, empowered by strength and confidence. Located at 1415 South Belvoir Blvd., at the corner of Mayfield Road in South Euclid, 216 Fitness plans its grand opening celebration for Saturday, Jan. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Heights residents may know Dunn as the former owner of Revive, the fair trade boutique that had operated on Lee Road since 2006, but closed in April 2017.

While operating Revive, Dunn developed health issues that she sought to relieve through a strength-training regimen. This, in turn, led her to become a fitness trainer at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, where she met Cavender, director of personal training services, who has a degree in exercise physiology from Cleveland State University. 

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:48 AM, 01.03.2018

Cedar Fairmount's A.T. Wilson is nation's longest-serving letter carrier

Teddy Wilson delivering mail in Cedar Fairmount. [photo by Jack Valancy]

At the age of 80, Cedar Fairmount letter carrier Alfonzo (A.T. “Teddy”) Wilson is the longest-serving active letter carrier in the United States

On Nov. 17, the U.S. Postal Service honored him at a special ceremony, presenting him with a 60-year service pin and a table clock inscribed, “Thank You for Your 60 Years of Service.” His fellow workers held a buffet lunch and reception for him.

Current and former postal employees were among the more than 200 people who attended the ceremony in Wilson’s honor. Asked by Les Wolf, his current manager, how many managers he has had, Wilson replied, “I don’t know, but now you are number one.” 

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:12 AM, 12.12.2017

'Angels in America' spreads its wings at Ensemble Theatre

Ensemble Theatre Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino is directing of both parts of "Angels in America" this season.

Both parts of Tony Kushner’s masterpiece "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes" will be staged at Ensemble Theatre this year, with "Part One: Millennium Approaches" opening Jan. 5.

Ensemble's Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino is directing both parts of "Angels in America," with the follow-up, "Part Two: Perestroika," opening April 27 with the same cast of Cleveland actors. Both shows will run four weekends.

“I think it makes sense to produce both parts,” Cosentino said of the undertaking. “It’s really one big story, and I’m excited for the opportunity to provide audiences with the chance to watch the characters’ entire journey.”

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.03.2018

HYT continues season with 'Once Upon a Mattress'

Heights Youth Theatre (HYT), now in it's 64th year, starts 2018 off with an entertaining and meaningful musical, "Once Upon a Mattress." The production, which will be performed at Heights Middle School in University Heights, opens on Friday, Jan. 19, and closes on Sunday, Jan. 28.

The show is directed by Eugene Sumlin, music-directed by Stacy Bolton and stage-managed by Jack Ina. Included in the cast are 50 actors in grades 1-12. The lead cast includes Cleveland Heights residents Spencer Skok as Prince Dauntless, Charlie Proctor as the Minstrel, Julien Benchek as the Wizard, and Victoria Skok as Lady Larken. They are joined by Grace Wilkinson as Winifred, Keegan Polatz as Henry, Olivia Rood as Queen Aggravain, Brian Tuohey as King Sextimus the Silent, and Grace Hoy as the Jester.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:04 AM, 01.03.2018

If music be the food of love . . .

The author (foreground) backstage at a big rock festival in 1979, with the Cars' Ric Ocasek behind him, in—where else?—the food tent.

I ate a stranger’s dinner—on purpose—when he wasn’t looking. It was around 1975 and I was playing music at earth by april, the vegetarian restaurant at the corner of Cedar and Lee, a space into which the Cedar Lee Theatre eventually expanded. They spelled earth by april in all-lower-case letters because the name came from an E.E. Cummings poem, and that’s what he did.
I played and sang my songs at that place, by myself, many weekend evenings in the ’70s, when I was in between rock bands. I sat on a high stool against the long wall of the main dining room, about three-fourths of the way back.
This one freezing-cold January night, there were few diners and by about 10 p.m. there was only one customer there. He sat in the front of the room, the Lee Road end of it, as far away from me as possible. He ordered his dinner and waited for it, ignoring me (he wasn’t the only one who did that back then).

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:05 AM, 01.03.2018

Oxford fifth-grader is Cavs All-Star Kid

Mykaila Davis, the November Cavs All-Star Kid, with Cleveland Cavaliers player J.R. Smith.

Oxford Elementary School fifth-grader Mykaila Davis was the Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star Kid for the month of November.

Davis’ Spanish teacher, Juana Cuervo, nominated her for the award, stating, "Mykaila is involved in Student Council, Spanish Club and Reading Challenge. Mykaila is kind and supportive to other students and also helps tutor them. She is dedicated to her classwork, is willing to do whatever it takes to succeed and never gives up."

Davis was recognized at the Cavaliers' Nov. 17 game against the Clippers, at Quicken Loans Arena.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:37 AM, 01.03.2018

Task force to propose 'wrap-around' services model for district's schools

From the outside, Oyler School in Cincinnati looks like an ordinary building, but from the inside, it’s “breathtaking,” according to Beverly Wright, CH-UH Board of Education member. She and four other members of the district’s Community In Schools Task Force recently visited Cincinnati for an in-depth look at “the Cadillac of wrap-around schools.”

Oyler gained national recognition for its groundbreaking embrace of wrap-around services: full-scale health clinics (including mental, dental and vision care), child care, enrichment programming, one-to-one mentoring, and other services that meet a vast array of student needs.

The CH-UH district began looking at this model two years ago, led by Teachers Union President Ari Klein and Superintendent Talisa Dixon. The task force, comprising more than 30 district staff, community members, and representatives from potential partner agencies, began meeting last spring and plans to present a proposal to the school board by April.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:39 AM, 01.03.2018

Library again earns top national rating

For the ninth consecutive year, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System has received the highest possible rating in Library Journal’s Index of Public Library Service. The five-star rating is given to the top U.S. libraries each year.

Heights Libraries has earned five stars in nine out of the ten years that Library Journal—a national trade journal that reports news about the library world, emphasizing public libraries—has published its ratings.

Libraries are categorized by yearly expenditure and rated on five criteria: circulation, visits, program attendance, Internet terminal use (public computers), and eCirc (eMedia, such as eBooks).

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:34 AM, 01.03.2018

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture awards grants to Heights organizations

On Nov. 13, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) announced that it will invest over 12 million dollars in grants to a record-number 258 nonprofit organizations in Cuyahoga County through its 2018 grant programs. The grant awards include $376,459 to 20 Heights-based organizations, which may not be surprising given that the city of Cleveland Heights bills itself as “home to the arts.” 

Four of the 20 Heights organizations are based at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus: Lake Erie Ink, Ensemble Theatre, FutureHeights and Reaching Heights.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 11:52 AM, 11.21.2017

Beth El's food drive honors MLK's legacy

Beth El - The Heights Synagogue (BETHS) will sponsor a food drive in honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Sunday, Jan. 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All donations will go to the Heights Emergency Food Center.

In addition to food donations, checks made out to the Heights Emergency Food Center will be welcomed. Donations of money enable the center to purchase large quantities of food at a discounted cost. Donations of food are also appreciated, as they help meet a more immediate need.

Those wishing to make a donation should simply drive up to BETHS, at 3246 Desota Ave., any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Someone will be there to collect the donations—there will be no need to get out of the car, or be inconvenienced in any way.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 1:46 PM, 01.02.2018

School superintendents will discuss their challenges to state policy at Jan. 29 forum

When it comes to public education, Ohio state policymakers have passed laws that shrink resources for local schools, diminish local control, impose limiting graduation requirements, reduce the evaluation of the quality of education in a school district to a letter grade, and attempt to standardize education and outcomes. 
As the policies have taken hold, their detrimental effects are being felt across the state. School leaders from diverse school districts are beginning to challenge mandates that work against the best interests of their students and diminish public education. 

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 1:42 PM, 01.02.2018

Jan. 23 public forum to focus on civic engagement and neighborhood organizing

FutureHeights invites neighborhood residents who are interested in building a strong community through civic engagement and neighborhood organizing to attend a free public forum and workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 7-8:30 p.m., at The BottleHouse Brewing Company, 2050 Lee Road.

Attendees of the Community-Building for Change forum will participate in an interactive workshop that will cover topics such as civic engagement, effective organizing, and creatively solving challenges.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 1:41 PM, 01.02.2018

UH Senior Happenings

Senior Happenings, sponsored by the city of University Heights, are open to all senior citizens. Events take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the University Heights Library. To receive the monthly schedule by e-mail, call 216-932-7800, ext. 205, or send an e-mail to

Speakers for the January programs are listed below; for a full description, view the calendar at

Jan. 4: Michael Brennan, the new mayor of University Heights.

Jan. 11: Ann Porath, who manages the volunteer attorneys of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:32 AM, 01.03.2018

CH Senior Center News

Helping older adults successfully age in place is a shared goal of Fairhill Partners and Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC). For several years, the two organizations have teamed up to offer health workshops for seniors, to help participants better manage their health, reduce fear of falling, increase physical activity, and improve their quality of life.

In January, Fairhill Partners will bring a six-session Chronic Pain Self-Management (CPSM) workshop, developed at Stanford University, to SAC.

Chronic pain—pain lasting six months or more from a variety of causes—can cause one to feel irritable, tired, isolated, or helpless, and prevent individuals from doing things they enjoy. Workshop participants will learn proven techniques for safely and effectively managing pain, in sessions that will cover nutrition; managing medications; decision-making; communicating with family, friends and doctors; and evaluating new treatments.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:30 AM, 01.03.2018

Artful welcomes Studio Cat

Jacqui Brown inside Studio Cat.

Artful is excited to announce that its newest tenant, Studio Cat, has moved into Studio 4.

Studio Cat offers a wide range of classes for children and adults. Among the January classes are Winter Break Workshops for kids, including book making, printing and open studio; Mommy and Me Art Time, in which mothers get to work on an art project while their preschoolers are guided through a play-based art class; and a Vision Board Workshop for adults, to clarify their goals for 2018. 

Recent New York City-transplant Jacqui Brown founded the new studio, which she named Studio Cat in a “funny play on words for Studio 4 in French.”

Brown is excited by the energy and vitality of the local art scene here. Asked about her goals for the studio, Brown spoke of using art to build analytical thinking skills and helping adults and children de-stress. “Creativity is a tool for problem-solving while the process of creating is very relaxing,” Brown said. “Everything is changing with technology and global issues. The biggest advantage we can give our children, and ourselves, for the future is the ability to think and problem solve. The arts exercise and develop those tools.”


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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 11:59 AM, 12.18.2017

Library eliminates overdue fines

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System customers have more to celebrate than just the New Year. As of Jan. 2, Heights Libraries will have joined a growing number of Ohio public libraries that have eliminated overdue fines for most late materials.

“Overdue fines are punitive, and can become a barrier to many people, especially young and low-income people who want to use the library but can’t afford to pay off their fines or are simply afraid that they’re no longer welcome,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “What we really care about is getting our materials back so everyone can use and enjoy them. As long as customers return our items, we no longer see a need to charge overdue fines.”

Customers will still see fines on their accounts, but those fines will disappear once overdue items are returned. Along with the elimination of most fines and fees, the library has also increased the number of times most items can be renewed, from five to ten times.


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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 11:55 AM, 12.18.2017

CH poet laureate applications are due Dec. 31

Heights Arts, in collaboration with the city of Cleveland Heights, is accepting applications from creative writers for the office of Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate.

The city’s ninth poet laureate will serve a 24-month period, beginning April 2018, and concluding at the end of March 2020.

The city and Heights Arts selected the city’s first poet laureate in 2005, making Cleveland Heights the first city in Ohio to appoint anyone to the position. The intention was to create programs to infuse poetry into community life.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:49 AM, 12.12.2017

Heights Lacrosse hosts Holiday Lacrosse Clinic for girls

Participants at the 2017 Heights Youth Summer Lacrosse Camp.

Heights Lacrosse will host its Heights Holiday Lacrosse Clinic Jan. 3–5, 9 a.m to noon, at Heights High. The clinic is open to girls in grades four through eight, and both new and experienced players are welcome.

The Heights High Girls Lacrosse team will lead the three-day clinic, assisted by the school’s coaching staff. Players will work on basic skills and techniques of the game in a fun environment.

The registration fee is $50 per student, and registration will be accepted through the holidays.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:28 AM, 12.12.2017

Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates showcases "sweet" art show

Happy Happy Joy Joy quilt, by Diane Bird (2016).

For the next three months, sweets of a different variety will be on view inside Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates in Cleveland Heights, at 2285 Lee Road.

Beginning Dec. 8, the long hallway leading from the back parking lot will showcase an array of quilts, embroidery and mixed media fiber art—all part of This Sweet Life—an invitational fiber art exhibit.

The show, which runs until March 1, will kick off with an opening reception on Dec. 8, 6–7:30 p.m. The community is invited to meet the artists and view their work. Many of the art pieces are for sale, in time for the holidays.

The participating Northeast Ohio artists have interpreted the theme of "this sweet life" in diverse ways. The artists include Diane Bird, Victoria Bocchicchio, Natalie Isvarin-Love, Roz Kvet, Katharine O’Connell, Margaret O’Reilly, Amy Reed, Melissa Richmond, Rima Tessman, Eugenia Vainberg, Nelly Vileikis, Violet Watterson and Marty Young.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 12:10 PM, 12.05.2017

Heights High hosts Dec. 21 open house and gospel concert

The restored, historic Heights High will be open to the community on Dec. 21.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District invites community members and alumni to visit the renovated Cleveland Heights High School on Dec. 21, 6–7 p.m., for a self-guided, open house tour.

Visitors will receive a map, and friendly docents will be stationed throughout the building to help guide the guests.

At 7 p.m., visitors are invited to attend a concert by Heights High’s Gospel Choir—an extracurricular club that performs traditional and modern gospel music at school and in the community.

Tickets for the concert, which will take place in the school’s auditorium, are $6.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:23 AM, 12.04.2017

Beth El hosts Dec. 17 Hanukkah mystery and dinner

Latkes and . . . larceny? This is not your usual Hanukkah dinner.

On Sunday, Dec. 17, beginning at 4:30 p.m., Beth El – The Heights Synagogue invites you to eat, shmooze and solve the “Mystery of the Missing Menorah,” as it hosts a unique Hanukkah Mystery and Dinner.

Throughout the dinner—a four-course kosher vegetarian meal, including latkes and other traditional Hanukkah foods—guests will work in groups to solve the mystery. Those gathered will light Hanukkah menorahs as a group, between courses.

According to event chair, Scott Wachter, “There are many Hanukkah parties in Cleveland. There are also mystery and dinner events. We believe that ours is the first Jewish mystery and dinner in the city. Participants will have a unique opportunity to celebrate the holiday while using their problem-solving skills to figure out who stole a special Hanukkah menorah.”

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:12 AM, 12.04.2017

Next Manly Monday shopping night is Dec. 11 at Heights Arts

Perry Zeigler and granddaughter Olive Young shop the opening night of the 16th-annual holiday store.

Ever wish you could create a list of special things made by local artists so that people would know what to give you for the holidays? Heights Arts has it figured out—with personal gift wish lists and some special shopping nights planned for its 16th-annual holiday store.

On Manly Mondays, idea-challenged shoppers (of all ages and genders) are invited to join Heights Arts to sip some local artisan brew and shop from their friends’ wish lists, or go beyond the lists and make their own creative shopping choices

The first Manly Monday was held in November, with an encore night planned for Monday, Dec. 11, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Complimentary gift wrapping is available to complete each package, so you may never again need to tape over a box from Amazon.

Shoppers should be sure to visit Heights Arts to fill out or update holiday store wish lists in advance of Manly Monday,so the lists are on file for your gift-giving friends and relatives.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:21 AM, 12.04.2017

Forest Hill Presbyterian presents Christmas opera

Henry Dyck as Amahl.

The classic Christmas opera Amahl and the Night Visitors will be performed at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 10, at 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Gian-Carlo Menotti's Christmas opera tells the story of Amahl, a disabled boy with a habit of telling imaginative tales. When Amahl and his impoverished mother are visited by three kings, faith and forgiveness lead to an emotional miracle.

In keeping with Menotti’s request that Amahl always be played by a boy, not a young adult, 10-year-old Henry Dyck again will sing the role of Amahl, alongside his own mother, soprano Lara Troyer, as Amahl’s mother.

Troyer, a former associate artist with Cleveland Opera, is on the voice faculty at Kent State University, and her recent roles include solos with the Akron Symphony.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:10 AM, 12.04.2017

Coventry Village plans Dec. 9 Holiday Fest

Coventry Claus poses with a canine visitor.

The Coventry Village neighborhood encourages everyone to shop local and get in the holiday spirit with a full day of free holiday events.

The 5th annual Coventry Village Holiday Festival will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9, noon to 11 p.m. 

Among the many festivities scheduled are:

  • Photos with Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and The Grinch;
  • Ice-carving demonstrations;
  • Coventry Holiday Cash coupon machine;
  • Coventry merchant holiday window contest—take a stroll down Coventry Road and vote for your favorite;
  • Lolly the Trolley Holiday Light Tour (Proceeds to benefit Heights Emergency Food Center);
  • Winter storytime, holiday crafts, live music and karaoke;
  • Outdoor fire with community caroling, complimentary hot chocolate and coffee;
  • Holiday storytellers and poets roaming through the shops and sidewalks;
  • Ugly-sweater bar crawl, led by Coventry Claus; and
  • Istagram Scavenger Hunt—win prizes from your favorite Coventry spots.
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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 10:04 AM, 12.04.2017

Support district's businesses and earn Coventry Cash

This holiday season, shoppers can earn a $10 Coventry Cash Coupon for every $50 they spend on a single receipt at participating Coventry Village locations. The coupons can be used at participating locations in January.

The promotion will be offered on select weekend dates through the end of the year. Simply look for the Coventry Cash Coupon signs posted outside the parking garage on Coventry Road. 

Valid day-of-purchase receipts can be redeemed for Coventry Cash Coupons from noon to 6 p.m. with the Coventry Village Holiday Ambassadors, who will be stationed outside the main parking garage. (Please note, a limited number of Coventry Cash Coupons will be distributed.)

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 10:09 AM, 12.04.2017

Guns, records and charities

Elvis's record "Teddy Bear," one of the singles in my best present ever. Now I buy actual teddy bears for my grandchildren.

I got a gun. It was holiday present. It was plastic. And it was pink. And it shot rubber bands. I was 7 years old. The gun came with a target and I had fun shooting at it. Neither the gun nor the act of shooting it reminded me of the dozens of cowboy TV shows and films that had taken over the airwaves and the movie theaters at that time, the mid-1950s.

Many people who grew up back then are fond of saying, “Well, our generation played with toy guns and we didn’t grow up to be murderers.” Except for a couple of things they seem to have missed: Number one, yes we did, a lot of us; and number two, unlike today, until we were much older, there weren’t real guns everywhere and easily accessible to us.

But this isn’t about guns. It’s about Christmas and Hanukkah presents.

In this column one year ago, which was not about presents, I mentioned my favorite present ever, from Hanukkah 1957—a stack of about 35 records, the big hit singles of that time.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:25 AM, 12.04.2017

Transportation assistance is available to help local seniors

With inclement weather upon us, this can be a time of worry for seniors, who might be struggling to keep up with the cognitive and physical demands of driving, and their families .

According to the U. S. Department of Transportation's recently released statistics, fatal accidents involving senior drivers over the age of 65 increased by 8.2 percent in 2016.

Residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights are fortunate to live in a walkable community. But when bad weather or physical limitations make that too difficult, there are several transportation alternatives available.

The city of Cleveland Heights has a medical van that runs Monday through Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:20 p.m., and transports residents ages 60 and older to medical appointments, shopping trips and errands. Call 216-691-7377 for more information.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 10:41 AM, 12.04.2017

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus vision closer to reality after recent developments

This rendering shows what a dedicated entrance and marquee could look like for Ensemble Theatre as part of an improved and welcoming arts, culture and education center. Courtesy Paul Volpe.

The members of the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus team are pleased to report that all relevant parties are engaged in active discussions over the immediate future of the Coventry site and our proposal to build on its success as a center for arts, education and community gatherings.

On Nov. 20, the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees authorized Executive Director Nancy Levin to enter into negotiations with the P.E.A.C.E. Campus group about partnering to take possession of the Coventry property from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District. School districts are limited by law in how they can dispose of unused buildings and land; cities and libraries are two entities to which districts can transfer ownership. But this is not just a legal maneuver—the library’s formal involvement is a welcome and promising development.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:20 AM, 11.30.2017

What the Heights Observer is—and isn't

Bob Rosenbaum

When you’re involved with running a newspaper you learn there are some things that can never be said enough.

Such as: The Heights Observer is not an ordinary newspaper. In fact, if there were another word to use for it, I wouldn’t describe it as a newspaper at all. Here’s why:

  • No reporters. Every word we publish is submitted by volunteers in the community. If you call me with a great story idea, I’ll tell you the only way that story is likely to get written is if you do it yourself.  
  • Contributors are encouraged to write about people they know and organizations they work for. A traditional newspaper would view this as a conflict of interest. We believe it’s useful, as long as any relationship between the author and the subject of an article is disclosed.
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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:27 AM, 11.30.2017

CH Senior Center News

A recent article in The New York Times spoke to the benefits of dance for exercise, especially as one ages. The demands of learning new steps, the benefits of the movement, and the social engagement that occurs while dancing all contribute to increased health.

The Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC) offers a variety of opportunities to dance. Among them is a class on Argentine tango, a social dance based on natural walk that can be enjoyed and danced by adults well into their 90s. Ann Dobyns and Charles Scillia teach the basics of the tango, and a bit about its history and the culture in which it developed.

Wes Senseman teaches English Country Dance—traditional dance and music from the British Isles.

Line Dance, taught by Gladys McGlothin, promotes physical fitness through dance exercise and contemporary music.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 10:50 AM, 12.04.2017

UH Senior Happenings

Senior Happenings, sponsored by the city of University Heights, are open to all senior citizens. Events take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the University Heights Library. To receive the monthly schedule by e-mail, call 216-932-7800, ext. 205, or send an e-mail to

Dec. 7: Christopher Dawson, senior prospect researcher for University Hospitals, will highlight the 150-year history of this Northeast Ohio health care institution. It provides vital health care services, an academic medical center for advanced treatment options, and ground-breaking research and education for the next generation of clinicians.

Dec. 14: Matthew Clarboneau, chair of the Center for Music at The Music Settlement, will perform with Linda Allen and Cathleen Bohn. Their recital will feature “Music Gems from Past Eras,” a nostalgia-filled musical journey complete with the old “chestnuts” from the turn of the century and early 1900s.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 10:48 AM, 12.04.2017

Noble Road lights will complement Nela Park displays

GE Lighting's annual lighting ceremony in 2016. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Noble Road residents, businesses and institutions are being encouraged to “Light Up Noble! again this year. Noble Neighbors ( is inviting everyone with Noble Road frontage to illuminate their windows, creating a corridor of lights along one of the neighborhood’s main streets.

Each holiday season, thousands of visitors drive through the neighborhood to see the lighting display at General Electric’s Nela Park, 1975 Noble Road. Lighting the two-mile stretch of Noble between Mayfield Road and Nela Park will provide a welcome to these visitors and give them another way to discover the neighborhood.


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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 9:51 AM, 11.21.2017

local election results in new UH mayor, BOE members and judge

New CH-UH school board members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Jodi Sourini.

On Nov. 7, Michael Dylan Brennan defeated incumbent Susan Infeld in a closely contested race to become mayor of University Heights. In unofficial election results posted on the Cuyahoga County Board of Election website, Brennan received 1,546 votes, 50.9 percent of the total, giving him a narrow win over Infeld, who received 1,492 votes.

In addition, Cleveland Heights and University Heights voters elected three new members to the CH-UH Board of Education: Dan Heintz, Jodi L. Sourini and Malia Lewis. Cleveland Heights voters elected James Costello to be its next municipal judge with 5,075 votes, representing 49.1 percent of the total. Voters in both cities retained incumbents in their city council races. Cleveland Heights reelected Cheryl Stephens, Jason Stein, Mike Ungar and Melissa Yasinow for its city council, while University Heights voted to retain Phillip Ertel, Susan D. Pardee, John Rack and Mark Wiseman.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:35 AM, 11.30.2017

Mayor-elect Brennan sets forth his plans for University Heights

UH Mayor-elect Michael Dylan Brennan.

A day after he defeated University Heights' two-term incumbent, Mayor-elect Michael D. Brennan put forward a vision of an innovative entertainment and nightlife scene where the moribund University Square shopping center stands at the intersection of Cedar and Warrensville Center roads.

A lawyer in private practice, for whom the mayoral election was a first step into politics, Brennan will take office on Jan. 2, having won a close election with an unofficial winning margin of less than 60 votes (1,546 to 1,492) in a city of approximately 13,000 residents.

Brennan said he did not see a common thread in the decision by University Heights voters to replace an incumbent (UH Mayor Susan Infeld ran without opposition for reelection four years ago) and the election loss by six-term incumbent Mayor Merle Gordon, in neighboring Beachwood. "I think each city has its unique issues," commented Brennan. "For University Heights, our election was about the power of good ideas and the power of collaboration as a way of going about government."

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 1:38 PM, 11.13.2017

Sherlock Holmes inspires play and exhibit

The author of this article, Jay Rosen, uses the library's display to pose as Sherlock Holmes.

This December, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System and Dobama Theatre have joined forces to honor Sherlock Holmes, the legendary detective first penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887.

Through Dec. 30, Dobama will host the regional premiere of “Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars,” a show that focuses on “a gang of street kids” employed by Holmes to scout out missions and help solve cases. When Holmes mysteriously disappears and a young girl’s grandmother is abducted, the Irregulars work to track down the detective and settle an urgent mystery from their past. 

“We’re thrilled for the debut of this show,” said Nathan Motta, director of “The Baker Street Irregulars” and artistic director at Dobama. “It has classic elements from older Sherlock Holmes tales, but will still appeal to folks who are less familiar with the series. It also uses lights, projections and motorized elements in a unique and exciting way.”

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:34 AM, 12.01.2017

FFHL inducts two to honor roll

FFHL Honor Roll class of 2017 inductees Marilyn McLaughlin and John Jarvey at the Nov. 5 banquet in their honor. (Photo © 2017 Matthew Ginn)

One has reached thousands of students in the classroom. The other has handled thousands of books in the library basement. Both were inducted into the newly created Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL) Honor Roll on Nov. 5 at John Carroll University.

Marilyn McLaughlin was inducted as a “mind opener” for her long service teaching English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in the Heights, and John Jarvey’s countless hours of volunteering and leadership with the Friends of Heights Libraries earned him recognition as a “door opener.”

FFHL created the honor roll to recognize those who have made sustained, outstanding contributions to the community by enabling access to literacy or by educating through literacy. About 50 people braved the stormy weather to attend the inaugural FFHL banquet, which featured entertainment by violinist Ariel Clayton Karas.

Rob Fischer, FFHL president, welcomed those in attendance, and Louisa Oliver, a volunteer and former president of the Friends of Heights Libraries, introduced Jarvey.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:16 AM, 12.04.2017

HRRC looks ahead to 2018 programs

To the Editor:

As we come to the end of another year at Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), and prepare for our 47th one, I wanted to give our neighbors a report on what we’ve been doing, and what we’re planning for 2018.

HRRC just concluded a series of classes in Old Brooklyn as we teamed with Old Brooklyn Community Development. Suffice it to say that all the participants were jealous of what we do here at our Noble Road offices.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:25 AM, 11.30.2017

Cleveland Heights crime statistics for the first half of 2017

Overall January-June crime trend in Cleveland Heights, 2011–17

The following charts present a year-to-year comparison of serious crimes reported in Cleveland Heights during the first six months of each year, 2011 through 2017. Full-year data will be reported here when it becomes available through the Cleveland Heights Police Department’s data-management process—typically around April. 

These crime reports are not subjective. Since 2011, the CHPD has emphasized consistency with the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) guidelines—a regimented, clearly defined set of rules for classifying and reporting crime that has been updated continually since being introduced in 1930.


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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 9:52 AM, 11.21.2017

What it's like to teach in the new high school

I knew my way around the old high school extremely well. I grew up a few streets away and remember hitting tennis balls against one of the gym walls, which then led to climbing all over the roof of the building to retrieve the balls. One time I got stuck while exploring the roof of the high school and ended up climbing in an open window to a room on the third floor. My other exploits included the times my sister and I went through lockers after school was out for the summer to collect supplies for the following year. It was like a treasure hunt.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:14 AM, 11.30.2017

Public education: essential but not invincible

Drip, drip, drip. 
Canyons, bluffs and barren hillsides attest to the power of slow, persistent attacks by the elements. Seemingly impenetrable spaces are shaped and reshaped subtly over time. 
I think public education and democracy are like mammoth landforms. When you look at them, they appear to be strong and enduring. They are a given. They define our reality and provide sources of security and comfort.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:09 AM, 11.30.2017

District hosts national conference on minority achievement

Jaylin Coleman, Jaylen Chesney and Christine Roberts (from left) were part of the MSAN conference's planning team.

Heights High seniors Jaylin Coleman, Jaylen Chesney and Christine Roberts were part of the 15-member Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) student leadership team that planned MSAN’s national conference. Hosted by the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, the conference took place Oct. 18–21 at a Beachwood hotel.

The leadership team worked with Heights High’s three MSAN advisors, O’Dasha Blue, Shawn Washington and Nate Williams; the district’s Educational Services Department; and MSAN national staff, based in Madison, Wis. They selected keynote speakers, outlined the action planning process and icebreaker activities, and organized the talent show and college visits to Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, and Kent State University.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:04 AM, 12.04.2017

Canterbury students send care packages to wildfire victims

Canterbury fourth-graders with a care package that they sent to a California school.

Fourth-grade students at Canterbury Elementary School were saddened to hear about the wildfires in California, and were shocked when their teachers told them 70 percent of the teachers and children at a fellow IB (International Baccalaureate) school in Napa, Calif., were now without homes. The students thought it would be nice to send them personal care packages, so they brought in toothbrushes, tissues, wipes, toilet paper, hand towels and other comfort items. 

The students sent handwritten notes of encouragement and two gift cards to the children at Bel Aire Park Elementary School. Students also brought in canned food and toys, which were donated to a local food drive and a women's shelter.

"Parents in CH-UH should be proud of the caring students we are all raising!" said Melissa Garcar, IB coordinator for the district.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:07 AM, 12.04.2017

Reaching Heights connects school and community groups

This colorful map represents the interconnectivity of 38 Heights school-community groups.

On Oct. 25, Reaching Heights brought together 58 people representing 38 community groups to discuss working more closely together on the common goal of public school success. The event, Improving School-Community Communication, took place in the cafeteria of the newly renovated Cleveland Heights High School.

The program began with the construction of a communications map. On the map were large circles labeled School District, Religious Institutions, City Governments, Heights Libraries, Non-Profits and Advocacy Groups, and Community Organizations.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:04 AM, 11.30.2017

Baby Gym reopens at Peace Lutheran

Peace Lutheran Church will reopen its Baby Gym on Saturday, Dec. 2. The gym offers a place where parents can play with their children and connect with other parents in a relaxed atmosphere.

The gym is free and open to the public on Saturday mornings, 10 a.m. to noon.  Children must be 6 or younger and accompanied by a parent or caregiver.

The gym offers slides, climbers and tunnels for the development of gross motor skills. A separate playroom features a kitchen set, tool bench, dress-up clothes, and other age-appropriate toys for dramatic play.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:26 AM, 12.01.2017

Creatures and Clay opens at St. Paul's gallery

Family Photos, by Julie Friedman.

On Friday, Dec. 1, St. Paul's Episcopal Church hosts an opening reception for a new show by four Cleveland artists, on view through Feb. 25 in the church’s Nicholson B. White Gallery. Creatures and Clay features the work of Maggie Denk-Leigh, Sarah Johnston Knoblauch, Julie Friedman and Greg Aliberti. The artists will be on hand at the opening, 5–7 p.m.

Maggie Denk-Leigh is an associate professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She works in the printmaking department there, and with the Morgan Conservatory. The processes she uses currently are lithography and screen-printing. In this show, Denk-Leigh presents new works on paper depicting animals inhabiting simple backgrounds, or in artistic décor around us. Some of her unique pieces draw from details within the space at St. Paul’s.


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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 12:22 PM, 11.27.2017