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Jill Barr remembered for her kindness and compassion

Jill Barr. 

Jill Barr’s smile was legendary. Spreading from her mouth to her eyes, that smile was quick to be offered to anyone who needed it. Her gentle kindness, her bottomless well of generosity, marked a life that was much too short.

The University Heights mother of three died from complications of pneumonia in early March, at the age of 47. But Barr’s legacy lives on in the community that she touched with her grace, selflessness and authenticity.

“I think Jill had a genuine connection with every person she met,” said friend Kristen Sears. “She did things quietly, but she impacted so many people in so many different ways.”

From her work as special projects coordinator at Cleveland Heights’ Church of the Saviour (CoTS), to her fierce advocacy of CH-UH public schools, to her role as honorary mother (and chauffeur) to countless people’s children, Jill “did the work of five people, at least,” said Sears.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 10:20 AM, 04.17.2018

Latest News Releases

National Science Foundation awards John Carroll University a $640,000 STEM grant that will fund scholarships for Fall 2018 freshman class: APPLICATIONS DUE APRIL 4
- JCU, March 27, 2018 Read More
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS TOP OF THE HILL PROJECT RECEIVES TAX APPROVALS AND ADVANCES TO DESIGN STAGE
- City of Cleveland Heights, March 20, 2018 Read More
University Heights names Rogers Interim Police Chief
- City of University Heights, March 14, 2018 Read More
Local PTA Council Speaker Series presents: BUILDING A CHILD'S BRAIN FROM BIRTH THROUGH ADOLESCENCE
- CH-UH Schools, February 13, 2018 Read More
Local PTA Council Speaker Series addresses the opioid crisis on Tuesday, March 6
- CH-UH Schools, February 12, 2018 Read More

View more news releases

Business owners Zagara and Presser speak to CH Charter Review Commission

John Zagara speaking at the March 29 meeting of the CH Charter Review Commission.

Bud Hilf, a member of the city of Euclid’s Charter Review Commission, John Zagara, owner of Zagara’s Marketplace on Lee Road, and Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun on Coventry Road, spoke to the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) at its March 29 meeting.

Hilf told the CRC that Euclid’s commission voted 6-3 in favor of changing that city’s current form of government, led by a popularly elected mayor, to one led by a city manager. He explained that Euclid’s city council subsequently chose not to place that charter amendment proposal on the ballot.

Regarding Euclid’s charter review process, Hilf noted that there was virtually no public input and, in his opinion, some of the council-appointed commission members seemed to be pursuing their own personal agendas.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:56 AM, 04.03.2018

HRRC's free Home Remodeling Fair is April 14

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) will hold its annual Home Remodeling Fair on April 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Cleveland Heights City Hall. This marks the 18th consecutive year that Heights-based HRRC has produced this free event, open to residents of all cities.

Dozens of experts and contractors from diverse fields will be on-hand to answer questions, talk about what they do, and provide advice on any upcoming projects you may be considering for your home or yard.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.09.2018

A decade of news and views in the Heights

FutureHeights published the first issue of the Heights Observer 10 years ago, on April 10, 2008. To commemorate this 10-year anniversary, members of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee will take a look back at the stories that appeared in the last 10 issues for each month. I get to start us off by looking back at the 10 April issues we have published. We envisioned the Observer as a forum for Heights residents to share information about issues that were important to them. And, many of the issues we were talking about in 2008 we are still talking about, 10 years later.

The top story of the April 2008 issue mused about the future of the former Coventry school property. The school district had closed the elementary school in 2007, the building was sitting vacant, and neighbors were concerned about it attracting crime and driving down property values. A group formed to study the possibility of the site becoming an arts center. Today, April 1, 2018, the future of the Coventry property looks brighter as it is rebranded Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System officially takes possession of it, with the intention of preserving the park, the green space and the building that is now home to several arts and culture organizations.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:58 AM, 04.03.2018

Heights High Symphony concert will feature two senior soloists

Eva Bambakidis

Two Heights High graduating seniors, Eva Bambakidis and Matthew Fields, will perform with the Heights High Symphony, under the direction of Daniel Heim, in the CHHS Instrumental Music Department's (IMD) Season Finale Concert II, on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. Bambakidis will play the third movement of Dmitri Kabalevsky's Concerto No. 3 in D for Piano and Orchestra. Fields will perform the first movement of Concerto No. 9 in B Flat for Violoncello and Orchestra by Luigi Boccherini.

The Heights High IMD’s spring concert series will begin on Wednesday April 25, with Season Finale Concert I at 7:30 p.m., featuring the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and the Concert Orchestra. The series continues on Friday, April 27, with Season Finale Concert II, featuring the two soloists, as well as the Symphonic Winds and the symphony.

Both concerts will be held in Heights High’s auditorium, and will be preceded by performances by chamber ensembles at 6:30 p.m. A reception will follow the April 27 concert, with entertainment by the jazz ensembles.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:18 AM, 03.31.2018

Heights High musicians meet alumnus and Super Bowl champion Jason Kelce

Junior trumpet player Xavier Thomas with Heights alumnus Jason Kelce, who is wearing his Heights High letter jacket. [Photo courtesy CH-UH city school district.]

The annual Heights High Instrumental Music Department’s (IMD) Spring Tour (Feb. 21–24) featured an athletic element this year, as band members had a chance to meet with Jason Kelce, Heights High alumnus (2006) and Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Champion. As a student, Kelce played baritone saxophone in the school’s jazz band.

Last fall, when Band Director Brett Baker learned that the spring tour would be in Philadelphia, he texted Kelce to see if they could catch up for a few hours during the band’s visit to Central High School in North Philadelphia.

A few weeks before the visit, Baker asked Kelce if he would like to play baritone saxophone with the jazz band during its visit.

 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 03.29.2018

Heights Arts presents first-ever members' show

Visitors congregate outside the gallery during a Heights Arts exhibition opening. Elisa Meadows photo.

This spring Heights Arts, the nonprofit community arts organization located at 2175 Lee Road, will present its first artist members’ show. The exhibition opens Friday, April 27, with a community reception 6–9 p.m., and runs through June 10.

The Members’ Show is an outgrowth of Heights Arts' mission to support the community by providing opportunities for artists and art audiences to discover one another. As a multi-disciplinary arts organization, Heights Arts taps into the potential of the region’s creative residents to enrich community life. The non-juried exhibition comprises works by current Heights Arts working artist members.

“One of the missions of Heights Arts from the beginning has been to encourage Heights residents to become involved in the arts, not only as audiences but as active participants,” said Greg Donley, chair of the Heights Arts Exhibition Committee

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:20 AM, 03.31.2018

RoxArts benefit supports school arts programs

The annual ROXARTS community fundraiser, supporting arts enrichment for all CH-UH City School District students in kindergarten through eighth grade, will be held on Saturday, April 28, at the B-Side in Cleveland Heights.

The night will start grooving at 7 p.m. with a disco-themed benefit that will include food from local eateries, complimentary beer and wine, a tabled auction with more than 30 items up for bid, and a live auction. Attendees are urged to dress in disco attire.

At 9 p.m., the B-Side and Grog Shop will transform into a Silent Disco. In lieu of a speaker system, the silent disco broadcasts music via radio transmitter into wireless headsets worn by the guests. Experience live DJs and dancing, like never before.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:00 AM, 03.31.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 3-20-2018

MARCH 20, 2018

 

  • MSAN report
  • Middle school discipline and security

 

President Jim Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) students and administrative staff from the middle school also attended.The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and was adjourned at 9 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 12:05 PM, 04.17.2018

Ensemble Theatre continues 'Angels in America' production

Director Celeste Cosentino brings "Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika" to Ensemble Theatre this month.

Ensemble Theatre continues its production of both parts of Tony Kushner’s masterpiece, “Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes,” with “Part Two: Perestroika” opening April 27 at the Cleveland Heights theater.

“Part One: Millennium Approaches” had its Ensemble run in January, beginning the story of a group of characters living and surviving during the rise of the AIDS epidemic in 1980s New York City. “Part Two” picks up right where “Millennium Approaches” left off—with the character of Prior (Scott Esposito) being visited by the Angel (Inés Joris).

It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity for fans of theater to be able to see a full production of “Perestroika,” especially in conjunction with “Millennium Approaches.”

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:08 AM, 03.31.2018

The Second Sunday Brunch

Here's a typical Sunday brunch. Not ours, but somebody's. I found this picture on Pinterest and it looked nicer than ours, so I thought I'd use it.

Someone recently asked my wife and me how we met, and my wife and I both answered, in unison, “Over food.”

It’s true. It was at a Sunday brunch at the home of mutual friends in the spring of 1978. If that sounds like it was a long time ago, that’s because it was. Forty years. I did that math in my head—with the aid of four fingers. The 8 on the end helped.

A couple whom we both knew had bought a house in Cleveland Heights. They were the first of our friends to buy a house. They had a house-warming potluck brunch, to which they invited family and friends. As the day wore on, their family members left, but a group of friends stayed, and continued eating all the food that everyone had brought.

At some point, toward the end of the day, someone suggested doing this again, and everyone agreed. The next Sunday that everyone would be available was one month away, the second Sunday of the following month. So, we met again for a potluck brunch.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:22 AM, 03.31.2018

CH judge provides municipal court update

On or before the last day of March each year, municipal courts throughout Ohio submit a report of their operations during the preceding calendar year to the legislative authority and to the board of county commissioners of each county within their territory. The report shows the work performed by the court; a statement of receipts and expenditures of the civil and criminal branches; the number of cases heard, decided, and settled; and any other data that the supreme court, the secretary of state, the legislative authority, and the board of county commissioners requires. As I prepared the data for the report for 2017, which occurred before I took office, I found myself reflecting on the first two and a half months that I have been in office.

Let me begin by stating that it is an honor to serve Cleveland Heights as its judge. It has at times been trying, for example, setting bail for an accused who is pulled over and allegedly found to have a small amount of drugs, but also a loaded, unlicensed, semi-automatic handgun in the vehicle. The preeminent purpose of bail is to ensure that an accused appears at all stages of the criminal proceedings. It is also necessary to take into consideration the potential danger to the community of the accused. All this has to occur while affording the greatest degree of fairness to the accused, who is just that, accused, and innocent until proven guilty.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:22 AM, 03.29.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-2-2018

APRIL 2, 2018

 

  • Public comments
  • Liquor permit request
  • CDC Partnership
  • Event announcements
  • April proclamations
  • Mayfield Road signalization
  • System for ranking schools
  • Rejection of House Bill 512
  • Immigration task force
  • Cedar Fairmount plan
  • Mayor’s report

 

Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Cheryl L. Stephens and Michael N. Ungar. Jason Stein was absent. The meeting lasted from 7:36 to 8:26 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 10:10 AM, 04.17.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council regular meeting highlights 3-19-2018

MARCH 19, 2018

 

  • Swearing in of safety forces
  • Public comments
  • Community Center fitness equipment
  • Bike path striping project
  • Liquor license
  • Top of the Hill property tax agreement
  • Event announcements
  • Vacant properties and foreclosures
  • Homestead discount rates
  • Staff compensation
  • Open meetings and public records laws
  • New standing committee names
  • Beyond essential operations of city government
  • Executive sessions
  • Mayor’s report 

 

Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein and Cheryl L. Stephens. Michael N. Ungar was absent. The meeting lasted from 7:50-8:25 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:30 AM, 04.17.2018

A popularly elected, accountable mayor would be better for Cleveland Heights

As a 26-year resident of Cleveland Heights, I took great interest in community issues and learned a great deal about them through my stints as a city of Cleveland Heights Housing Service consultant; as one of a number of concerned citizens who rallied around quality of life and city planning issues by creating FutureHeights in 2000; and as a volunteer in Grant Deming’s Forest Hill Historic District.

My experiences have led me to the conclusion that Cleveland Heights has not been well served by its current council-manager form of government. This structure may have worked well in the early 20th-century Progressive-era view of government needing to be placed on a business footing, but today’s challenges require a new approach.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:09 AM, 03.29.2018

FutureHeights workshop will focus on signage and merchandising

FutureHeights, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and US Bank, will host a branding, signage and merchandising workshop for business owners on Friday, April 13, 9:30–11:30 a.m., at SBDC, located on the second floor of the Lee Road Library (2340 Lee Road).

Speakers Brad and Judy Swimmer, of AlphaGraphics, will talk about the importance of having a foundation, understanding your target market, creating a strong brand identity, the value of compelling signage, and budgeting for signs and other marketing materials. They'll present ideas for generating creative ways to help your business stand out; developing skills that will help you market yourself, your brand and your product; and creating storefront signage that boosts awareness among potential customers.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:58 AM, 03.31.2018

Political ideology is not a substitute for educational principles

“Keep your eye on the ball!” Those were my Dad’s words of wisdom as he coaxed me to improve my tennis game.
 
This is also sound advice for those advocating for great public schools. It’s important to keep your eye on the ball—the right ball!

Privatization and the accountability movement have cast long shadows over everyday life in our schools. The goal is to cripple public institutions. They are selling a political ideology, not a philosophy of education. They justify these policies as levers to improve schools through competition, but they don’t work. It’s been a distraction from paying attention to what does!

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 8:54 AM, 03.30.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-2-2018

APRIL 2, 2018

 

  • Public comments
  • Planning commission
  • Rain barrel workshop
  • Backyard composting
  • Coop ordinances pass
  • General fund transfer
  • Rental property taxes
  • Economic development director
  • School board resolutions
  • Demolition funding
  • Ambulance purchase
  • Road salt
  • Yard waste disposal
  • Silsby Road resurfacing
  • Executive session

 

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Sue Pardee, and council members Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 10:32 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 11:53 AM, 04.17.2018

University Heights City Council special meeting highlights 3-26-2018

MARCH 26, 2018

 

  • 2018 budget
  • Mayor’s spending limits

 

Present were Mayor Michael D Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Pamela Cameron, Phil Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 7:15 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 12:16 PM, 04.17.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-19-2018

MARCH 19, 2018

 

  • Public comments
  • Rental property ordinance
  • Faded pavement markings
  • Concerns about spending
  • Joint meetings with school board
  • Bellefaire/JCB construction approved
  • Rogers sworn in
  • Coop ordinances tabled
  • Mayor’s spending limit increased
  • 2018 City budget
  • Server project
  • Silsby Road resurfacing
  • Executive session

 

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and council members Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan, Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. Vice Mayor Sue Pardee was absent. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:58 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 11:39 AM, 04.17.2018

Houser seeks to retain county council seat

Michael J. Houser

Cuyahoga County Council District 10 has two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the May 8 primary, current Councilman Michael J. Houser and Cleveland Heights Council Member Cheryl Stephens. The winner will face Republican Angela Bennett in the November election.

Houser was appointed to fill the county council position when Anthony Harrison was elected to Cleveland City Council. Houser won the party endorsement for the seat in January.

Houser’s grandparents lived in the Heights, and he has seen the challenges and successes of this area firsthand over the years. He has combined this knowledge with his experience at the state, federal and county levels to develop and work on programs that will benefit all areas. 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 9:11 AM, 03.30.2018

A month of testing (or April is the cruelest month)

People generally look forward to spring as a time of renewal after a long, dark cold spell. In Ohio, April brings thoughts of a different kind to many public school teachers, because it is when students are required to take state tests. Many of my colleagues dread this time of year, and non-school folks can probably guess the reasons. I will focus this article on the lost potential that occurs when we are mandated to give state tests.

At the high school, there are four end-of-course exams given to ninth- and 10th-graders. Each test has two parts, and each part takes 90 to 110 minutes to administer. The state allows for a one-month period, usually beginning in April, for districts to give the tests.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 4:22 PM, 03.29.2018

Library showcases student art

Library staff hang artwork for last year's Creative Heights District-Wide Art Show.

For the third consecutive year, Heights Libraries is partnering with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Visual Arts Department to host the Creative Heights District-Wide Art Show at the library’s Lee Road branch. The show runs April 17 to May 18, with an opening reception and awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 17, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

The exhibit will features hundreds of pieces of art created by children in kindergarten through grade 12, in media ranging from pencil and chalk, photography, sculpture, pottery and painting, to papier-mâché, printmaking and metal.

The show’s pieces were selected by district art teachers and judged by a jury of community artists. Awards for first place, second place and honorable mention will be given for each school, and one award for best in show will be given for elementary, middle and high school level art.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:53 AM, 03.29.2018

Making the Heights Home is topic of April 24 FutureHeights public forum

Coinciding with Fair Housing Month, FutureHeights invites residents to attend a free public forum, Choosing to Make the Heights Home, on Tuesday, April 24, 7–8:30 p.m., at The BottleHouse Brewing Company, 2050 Lee Road.

Speakers will include experts on current housing trends, as well as residents who have recently purchased homes in Cleveland Heights. The panel will lead an open and candid discussion about the decision-making process of buying a home.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 9:05 AM, 03.30.2018

Heights bicycling is on a roll

This mural at Cain Park demostrates that bikes can be art. Coincidentally, Heights Bicycle Coalition is holding its annual meeting at Heights Arts. 

The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) encourages all to come to its annual meeting for an update on progress in 2017, and plans for 2018, to make the Heights more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. The meeting will take place on Sunday, April 8, 4–6 p.m., at Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Road.

HBC President Steve Reinhardt will give an overview of the advocacy group’s programs and plans to fulfill its mission “to educate and encourage Heights community members to use bicycles as a sustainable and healthy form of transportation and recreation.”Reinhardt will also introduce committee chairs, including Deb Franke, activities and events; Evan Guar, safety; and Jamie Babb, communications.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:20 AM, 03.29.2018

Courage and persistence

In a democracy, and yes, in a democratic republic, real victories small and large are only won when we, the people, stand up for our rights. Elected officials do not hand us such victories; we must claim them ourselves, over and over again. Participation in a democracy can be difficult, messy, inconvenient, frustrating and even boring. Often, we take three steps forward and two steps back (and sometimes, unfortunately, vice versa). But without our active involvement, there can be no democracy at all.

In the past several weeks we have seen dramatic examples of democratic action in response to crises, as high school students in Parkland, Fla., and public school teachers throughout West Virginia have stood up to authority and demanded action.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 3:49 PM, 03.29.2018

Recapping a conversation on civil rights

“What was your first experience of prejudice?”

That was the question posed by representatives of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) at a dinner held at Nighttown in Cleveland Heights on Feb. 22.

One participant described his terror listening to a sermon in his church that predicted that homosexuals were going to hell. Only nine years old at the time, the participant already knew he was gay.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 9:15 AM, 03.30.2018

Annual alumni pancake breakfast is April 15

Child eating pancakes at the 2017 pancake breakfast.

On Sunday, April 15, the community is invited to enjoy tours of the new Heights High, and a delicious pancake breakfast benefiting opportunity grants for every school in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

The annual Community and Alumni Pancake Breakfast will run from 9 a.m. until noon. Tickets, sold at the door, are $8 for standard admission, $5 for seniors (65 and older) and kids ages 4–12. Children 3 and younger are free.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:42 AM, 03.29.2018

Heights High celebrates 60 years of international exchange

Heights High AFS students: Swalehe Mbagga (Kenya), Carolyn Pavel (AFS Club advisor), Mercy Sakayian (Kenya) (L-R, fourth row). Mariama Kabia (Sierra Leone), Luciano Delmonte (Argentina), Roberto Pastorelli (Italy) (L-R, third row). Zainab Said (Tanzania), Emmanuel Saah (Ghana), Almira Udjan (Philipines) (L-R, second row). Olwethu Zungu (South Africa), Marianella Guerrero (Paraguay), Nadia Faisal (Malaysia) (L-R, first row). Not pictured: Thitaporn (Parn) Satetapinyo (Thailand).

The Cleveland Heights High School AFS International Exchange Program has been an active part of the Heights community for 60 years. Since 1957, Heights High families have hosted AFS international exchange students or sent their students abroad.

Heights High and the Greater Cleveland AFS program will celebrate this history at the AFS Heights High Gala on Saturday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 per person, and include appetizers. Beginning March 31, tickets will be available for purchase at Zagara’s Marketplace.

The April 21 benefit event will celebrate the long history of international exchanges and cultural learning at the school, and will include displays from current Heights High AFS students and performances by Heights High vocalists. 

AFS was started after World War II by volunteer ambulance drivers who transported wounded soldiers to safety from both sides of battle (thus, the original name, American Field Service, or AFS). They established the AFS exchange program to promote understanding among nations and build cultural awareness.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:38 AM, 03.29.2018

Beth El luncheon will explore Buddhism and Judaism

Ellen Posman, comparative religion professor at Baldwin Wallace University, will lead a luncheon discussion on Buddhism and Judaism at Beth El – The Heights Synagogue, on Saturday, April 28, after morning services (approximately 12:15 p.m.).

The talk will examine some past interactions between Buddhists and Jews, consider the ways in which Judaism and Buddhism can enter into fruitful dialogue or be at odds, and pose questions regarding whether or why Jews should know something about Buddhism.

One may not think of Buddhism as having much to do with Judaism, yet there are areas in which the two religions intersect.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 9:24 AM, 03.30.2018

CH Senior Center News

Jan Bruml and  Drinda Kiner. [Amy Jenkins, 2017]

This spring, performing artists Jan Bruml and Drinda Kiner return to the Senior Activity Center (SAC) with a dramatic arts class, Page to Stage, that looks at character development. Class discussion will focus on how an actor creates a role, how to bring a character from a script to the stage, how to make a character believable, and more. There will be play reading and monologues, with no need for memorization.

This class is free and held on Wednesdays, beginning April 18, 1:30–3 p.m. Advance registration is required.

Women out Walking (WOW), a fitness initiative sponsored by the Cleveland Heights Parks and Recreation Department, returns for it’s third year this April.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:55 AM, 03.31.2018

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 info@universityheights.com.

April 5: Peter Knox, Case Western Reserve University professor of history and director of Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities, will chronicle the development of the Baker-Nord Center, especially its Cleveland Humanities Festival, which explores the challenges and opportunities caused by the movement of people. In the history of every nation, demographic shifts (exile, immigration, deportation, migration) become part of the fabric of civic and cultural life.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:52 AM, 03.31.2018

What's going on at your library?

University Heights Library
13866 Cedar Road, 216-321-4700

Monday, April 2, 1–9 p.m.

Peeps Diorama Contest. Recreate a movie, book, or anything else you can imagine using the classic candy. Deadline for submissions is April 2, and winners will be announced one week later. Prizes will go to the top three creations. All dioramas will be on display at the UH Library. For kids in kindergarten through grade 12.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:50 AM, 03.31.2018

Fairfax announces IB event

Fairfax Elementary School is on a path to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. Parents, students, and community members are invited to the school on Thursday, April 19, to learn about, and celebrate, what it means to be an IB school. Fairfax Elementary School is located at 3150 Fairfax Road, in Cleveland Heights.

The International Baccalaureate program aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:30 AM, 03.29.2018

Beth El plans Earth Day neighborhood cleanup

Earth Day has been around for almost 50 years. (The scary part is that many of us remember that first Earth Day. We were young. We were excited. We thought that we would change the world. We wore funny clothes.) While one’s impact on the world may have some limitations, the impact is far greater when one works locally.

This Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, Beth El – The Heights Synagogue (BE-THS) invites you to participate in the celebration by cleaning up the Boulevard neighborhood, of which BE-THS is part.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:23 AM, 03.29.2018

PTA program will provide guidelines for children's technology use

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights PTA Council will host the last program in its 2017–18 Social & Emotional Speaker Series, "Guidelines for Managing Children's Use of Media & Technology," on Monday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Heights High mini-auditorium.

The program will feature child therapist Karen Farley, who has worked for 30 years as a mental health worker with children ages 5–18. and as an adjunct faculty member at Cuyahoga Community College and Kent State University. She is an associate therapist at Jay Berk, Ph.D. and Associates.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:35 AM, 03.29.2018

Renovations begin at Monticello and Roxboro middle schools

On hand for the beginning of renovations to the Monticello Middle School building were (front row, from left) BOE Vice President Jodi Sourini; students Isaac Godfrey, Cameron Goins, Jada Strother, Toni Trent, Jervon Cole and Kenji Sakaie; BOE member Malia Lewis; (back row) Superintendent Talisa Dixon, Monticello Principal Jeff Johnston, Roxboro Principal Patrick McNichols, and BOE member Beverly Wright.

Renovations at Monticello and Roxboro middle schools are officially underway as Turner Construction assumed control of the sites on March 12.

Turner will be renovating the buildings over the course of the next 15 months with the expected completion date sometime in the summer of 2019. Middle school students will begin the 2019–20 school year in the renovated buildings, after spending two years at the Wiley campus.

The focus of the renovations is on improving the instructional space in each building. Once complete, every classroom in each building will have new heating and air conditioning, paint, flooring, ceilings, lighting, fire alarms, a sound reinforcement system, a short throw projector, and a whiteboard.

New heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems will be installed throughout both buildings, including the auditoriums, along with new lighting. Administrative areas will receive facelifts, with new carpet, paint and reception desks. 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 03.27.2018

Pocket gardens planned for Noble neighborhood

Sandy Thompson, Mani Pierce and Tom Gibson plant a plum tree in the Oxford Community Garden. [photo by Barbara Morgan]

Can concentrations of pocket gardens help rejuvenate neighborhoods? That’s the question a coalition of Cleveland Heights partners is trying to answer. They are working with neighbors on Langton Road, just off Quilliams Road in the Noble neighborhood, to install 10 pocket gardens this spring. The gardens will consist of either native perennials or a tree surrounded by Russian comfrey and other plants that suppress weeds and provide extra fertility.

“We want to provide sustainable beauty,” said Barbara Sosnowski, who heads the beautification committee of Noble Neighbors, a local activist group. “That means that any garden we plant should look as attractive after four years as it does after one.”

If the effort succeeds, the group intends to take the Langton Road model and apply it elsewhere in the neighborhood. “The exciting thing about this project,” Sosnowski added, “is that it is intended to be scalable. If we succeed with 10 private residences, we can succeed with 50, and so on.”

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:23 AM, 03.27.2018

Mac's Backs hosts April 7 type-in

Typewriters. Maybe you have one you never use. Would you like to fix it up? Maybe you have one you use all the time. Would you like to meet other typewriter enthusiasts? If so, join them at Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry on April 7, 3–6 p.m., for a type-in.

A type-in is a celebration of these wonderful machines, where aficionados can connect to others who are interested in typewriters without the aid of social media or algorithms.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:32 AM, 03.27.2018

Spelling bee will benefit Reaching Heights

Heights High students representing the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) posed for a team photo before the silly yet serious spelling competition at the 2017 Reaching Heights Community Spelling Bee. [photo by Jen Vinson]

Join in the fun at the annual Reaching Heights Community Spelling Bee on Wednesday, April 18. This year’s bee will take place on the big stage at the newly renovated Cleveland Heights High School auditorium.

Come watch your neighbors—attorneys, professors, city council members, business owners—as they participate in a serious spelling competition to benefit Reaching Heights’ public education programs.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for this free, family-friendly event. Prior to the beginning of competition at 7 p.m., raffle tickets and refreshments will be available for purchase.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:31 AM, 03.27.2018

Haiku Death Match returns April 21

2017 Haiku Death Match contestant Dianne Borsenik delivering her 17-syllable poem.

On Saturday, April 21, at 7 p.m., eight haiku poets will meet on the Ensemble Theatre stage to battle for audience approval and the 2018 Haiku Death Match Master title. This year marks Heights Arts’ sixth Haiku Death Match, held in April to celebrate National Poetry Month, which raises funds for Heights Arts’ literary activities.

“The fame of the Death Match is spreading,” said Rachel Bernstein, executive director of Heights Arts. “Last year, the event sold out, and this year, we have new contestants from all over Northeast Ohio—some from as far away as Toledo! We’re thrilled this event is getting so popular because everybody has a good time, and it helps fund Heights Arts’ literary programs, like Ekphrastacy and the Cleveland Heights poet laureate.”

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:25 AM, 03.27.2018

Peace Lutheran offers free day camp

Campers painting T-shirts.

Peace Lutheran Church, carrying on the tradition of Hope Lutheran, one of its predecessor congregations, will offer its 18th annual Christian Day Camp June 18–22. The camp is free of charge and runs daily, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the church, 3740 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights.

As part of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Ohio, three professionally trained counselors will serve as the main staff, organized under the guidelines of the American Camping Association.

Activities include daily Bible study discussions around this year's theme, Jesus Makes All the Difference. Children will participate in sports and games, arts and crafts, singing, storytelling, and nature education. They can also expect visits from the Cleveland Heights Police and Fire departments.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:29 AM, 03.27.2018

Charter Review Commission plans April 19 community meeting

Jessica Cohen, CRC member, speaking at the March 15 meeting.

The 15-member Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) plans to pose the following three questions to participants at its upcoming community meeting:

  • What type of government do you prefer for Cleveland Heights and why?
  • What other elements should be added or changed to improve local government?
  • What are the three most important qualities you want to see in local government?

The meeting is scheduled for April 19, 7–9:30 p.m., at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd. (at Mayfield Road).

The purpose of the meeting, as stated by the commission, is to provide information about the current Cleveland Heights charter, review common models of local government, and provide an opportunity for collaborative reflection on the current form of local government in Cleveland Heights and whether changing it would improve the quality of life in the city.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:17 AM, 03.20.2018

Sgt. Dustin Rogers named UH’s interim police chief

Sgt. Dustin Rogers [Photo courtest of city of University Heights]

University Heights Mayor and Safety Director Michael Dylan Brennan has formally named Sgt. Dustin Rogers as interim police chief for the city of University Heights. Rogers began his post on Friday, March 16, replacing now retired Police Chief Steven Hammett.

According to the University Heights mayor's office, Sgt. Rogers joined its police department in August 2005, and in 2007 was voted in as the department’s union director.

In the last 13 years, Rogers was promoted first to corporal, then sergeant. He also revised the department’s field training manuala document adopted as a model by Northwestern Universityand managed the department’s field training program. 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 1:19 PM, 03.20.2018

CH-UH students participate in National Walkout Day

Heights High students speak at their National Walkout Day demonstration.

Frigid temperatures were no deterrent for more than 1,000 CH-UH City School District students who chose to participate in National Walkout Day on Wednesday, March 14.

High school and middle school students walked outside at 10 a.m., joining the national movement to raise awareness for school safety and the impact of gun violence.

At Cleveland Heights High School, more than 700 students participated in a demonstration on the snow-covered football field. The event was student-led and voluntary. Many of the student organizers spoke at the demonstration to remember the victims of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, and to voice a call to action for stricter gun control.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:06 AM, 03.15.2018

Big Fun commemorative T-shirts benefit district

To purchase a limited-edition shirt, stop by Big Fun or order online via the Big Fun Facebook page.

Nothing says Big Fun like a commemorative T-shirt, with artwork by Cleveland Heights artist Jake Kelly.

According to Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, the shirts are priced at $25 but are included in the store’s Big Final Sale, bringing the price down to $12.50 per shirt.

Presser will donate $2.50 of each T-shirt purchased to the Coventry Village Art Fund.

“We are thrilled and honored,” said Angie Hetrick, executive director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District. “Steve has always been a wonderful supporter of the Coventry neighborhood and the arts.” 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:44 AM, 03.20.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education highlights 3-6-2018

MARCH 6, 2018

  • Public comments
  • High school music
  • Model UN participation
  • Tiger Team Members of the Month
  • Top of the Hill project
  • Gun violence in schools
  • Ohio House Bill 512
  • Field trips and donations

President James Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon, Treasurer Scott Gainer, Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha Briley and Cleveland Heights Director of Economic Development Tim Boland. The meeting began at 7:08 p.m., after an executive session, and adjourned at 9:18 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 12:55 PM, 03.20.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 2-20-2018

FEBRUARY 20, 2018

  • Public comments
  • MLK Essay award winners
  • Tiger Team members
  • Donations
  • Coventry building
  • Middle schools renovation
  • ECOT, other charter school payments
  • Top of the Hill update
  • Students’ stand on gun control
  • Conference room naming
  • Citizen resolution on automatic rifle sales
  • Board goals and committee assignments

President Jim Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer. Prior to the open meeting, a Sunshine Laws Training was held at 6 p.m. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 10:45 p.m.

 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 1:45 PM, 03.20.2018

St. Paul's Cooperative Preschool finds new home in the Heights

St. Paul’s Cooperative Preschool has found a new home and chosen a new name for fall 2018. After the current school year ends in May, the preschool will move to Church of the Redeemer UMC, at 2420 S. Taylor Road, a little over a mile from its current location.

The co-op’s new name will be Heights Cooperative Preschool.

There will be two open-house sessions for interested families on April 23, at 9:30–10:30 a.m. and 6:30–7:30 p.m., at the preschool’s current location, 2747 Fairmount Blvd. For more information, call Deb Binkofsky, director of the co-op, at 216-932-0002.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:57 AM, 03.09.2018

CH-UH schools to host kindergarten info nights

Two Oxford Elementary School kindergarten students sit with their books during quiet reading time.

In the next month, each Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District elementary school will host a Kindergarten Information Night for incoming and prospective families. 
 
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the schools’ principals and teachers, ask questions, and tour the buildings. Several of the schools will offer dinner and childcare or playtime services.
 
To find the school that corresponds to your place of residence, use the district’s interactive boundary map.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:56 AM, 03.09.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-5-2018

MARCH 5, 2018

  • Public comments
  • Committee assignments
  • Cedar Lee plan
  • NOPEC electricity aggregation plan
  • NE Ohio Sewer District easement
  • City employee salaries

Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein, Cheryl Stephens and Michael Ungar. The meeting started at 7:39 p.m. and ended at 8:06 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 2:03 PM, 03.26.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-20-2018

FEBRUARY 20, 2018

  • Public comments
  • Meadowbrook and Lee site
  • Public safety report
  • Ohio Fairness Act
  • Replacement of traffic signals
  • Top of the Hill
  • Mr. Brisket loan
  • New council committee structure
  • Mayor Roe report

Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Cheryl L. Stephens, Jason Stein and Michael N. Ungar. The meeting lasted from 7:32 to 9:10 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 2:12 PM, 03.26.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-5-2018

MARCH 5, 2018

  • Public comments
  • City budget
  • Summer employment
  • Parade committee
  • Gun control
  • Police chief honored
  • Chicken coop ordinances
  • Pool chemicals
  • Point of sale ordinance
  • Traffic box damaged
  • Firehouse repairs
  • John Carroll partnership
  • Waterline valve leaks
  • Silsby Road resurfacing
  • Chairlift
  • Executive session

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, and council members Pamela Cameron, Phillip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas were also present. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:04 p.m.

 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 2:39 PM, 03.26.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 2-20-2018

FEBRUARY 20, 2018

  • Public comments
  • Labor counsel recognized
  • Fair housing and planning committees
  • Solar United Neighbors
  • Village in the Heights
  • Medical marijuana
  • Vacant buildings
  • Chicken coops
  • CCTV maintenance
  • Video system improvements
  • Computer server installation
  • Uniform rental and laundry contract
  • Silsby Road pocket park
  • Nuisance properties
  • Phone service updates
  • Meeting with arborists
  • Heritage Home program

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and council members Pamela Cameron, Phillip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Vice Mayor Susan Pardee was absent. Also present were Amy Hamilton, sitting in for Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:26 p.m.

 

 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 2:26 PM, 03.26.2018

Correction to Jan. 23 LWV CH-UH Board of Education meeting highlights

The League of Women Voters’ column in the March issue of the Heights Observer, "Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights," for Jan. 23, contained incorrect information about the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposed for the Top of the Hill project. This incorrect information also appeared in the online version of the story “Cleveland Heights makes progress on economic development initiatives,” by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Scott Wortman, coordinator of communications for the CH-UH City School District, provided the correct information in an e-mail: "At present, the schools receive $21,000 annually on the vacant properties, which they will continue to receive through the life of the TIF. In addition, the district will receive an additional $400,000 annually as soon as the project is completed until the 30-year TIF expires. At the end of the 30-year TIF the district will receive 100 percent of property taxes on the value of the project. Additionally, the district will receive 100 percent of any new levies passed after the project is completed."

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 12:35 PM, 03.13.2018

CH Charter Review Commission plans community forum

On April 19, the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) will hold a community forum to invite broader citizen participation in the process of considering changes to the city’s charter.

The CRC made this decision at its March 1 meeting, its sixth, and plans to determine the time and place of the forum at its regular meeting on March 15.

Also at the March 1 meeting, Les Jones, Forest Hill Home Owners president, and Tom Wagner, Lakewood Charter Review Commission member, spoke.

Jones, a 40-year Cleveland Heights resident, told the CRC that the Forest Hill Home Owners association has worked well over the years with the city government. He said, though, that he favors changing the charter to allow citizens to elect the mayor directly, and would support changing the current at-large council to include some members elected by ward.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:21 AM, 03.06.2018

Boss Dog is Best New Business

Jason and Josh Sweet, owners of Boss Dog Brewing Company, which was voted Best New Business in the FutureHeights 2018 Best of the Heights Awards.

In the 2018 Best of the Heights Awards contest, readers of the Heights Observer honored outstanding businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights by voting, Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, for their favorites in 12 categories. In all, 174 businesses were nominated.

Boss Dog Brewing Co. (2179 Lee Road), a craft brewery and gastropub owned by Josh and Jason Sweet, prevailed over finalists Barrio and Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant to win Best New Business. The brothers opened Boss Dog in the former Lemon Grass space in November 2017 after more than 15 months of extensive renovations.

“We are doing well,” said Josh Sweet. “The community has been very supportive, and we appreciate that.” The brothers are looking forward to the spring when they can complete the rear patio. “It may look like there is a lot more still to do, but we are all ready to go. We just need to finish up the fence and get the tables and chairs out there.”

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:03 PM, 02.27.2018

Third annual Coventry Kids Day is March 11

It’s that time of year. Arctic temperatures. Black ice. Snow days. Vortex days. The trifecta of snow, ice and mud. Households get a little squirrelly after a few too many wintry weeks indoors. Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID), as part of its mission to make Coventry Village a wonderful place in which to live, work and play, has a plan to combat the stir-crazy nature of winter in Greater Cleveland. And it’s all free of charge.

On Sunday, March 11, noon to 4 p.m., the third annual Coventry Kids Day will create a party atmosphere throughout the district.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:59 PM, 03.01.2018

Cain Park Bicycle expands and looks to the future

Gary Schumacher behind the parts counter at Cain Park Bicycle.

For generations of Americans, the local bicycle shop was a fixture of the neighborhood, a place where a kid could gain freedom and self-sufficiency by getting a bike, and where adults could continue their own involvement in cycling through commuting, recreation and competition. 

Some of those storied local shops in the Heights are gone now—think Pee Wee’s Bike Shop on Coventry or Al’s on Lee Road—but those that remain, thanks in part to the region’s increasing attention to cycling-friendly infrastructure, can be in a position to contribute to the quality of life in our communities and enjoy healthy business in the process.

One such shop is Cain Park Bicycle at 1904 Lee Road, just south of Superior Road. Owner Gary Schumacher opened the shop in 2006 in the same location that had housed Hi-Tech Cycles (whose owner, Marvin Rosenberg, had earlier owned Pee Wee’s).

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:54 PM, 03.02.2018

Help, before my car falls apart or I have a collision!

To the Editor:

I'm talking about Coventry Road running north and south between Euclid Heights and Larchmere boulevards. General road surface degradation here, worsened by increasingly deep, invisible (till the last instant) new potholes, has converted this stretch of Coventry Road into a daily demolition derby for my expensive, vulnerable, late-model automobile.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:49 AM, 03.06.2018