10 Decembers: looking back on a decade of the Heights Observer
December is the height of the holiday season, when hope and excitement for the future are in the air. The community has processed and pondered the meaning of November election results, with either hope or trepidation for the coming year. For local business owners, the holiday season is make-or-break time. The strength of holiday shopping sales often determines if they will remain a going concern or close up shop come January.
The December 2008 issue celebrated the opening of two new businesses in Cleveland Heights: Cleveland Violins at 2917 Mayfield Road and Taste at 2317 Lee Road. Cleveland Heights residents had just voted down an income tax increase proposal, and resident Toby Rittner reported on the various cuts to government services that would result and the need for economic development of “the top of the hill.” In an effort to help local retail businesses, the Heights Observer debuted its first-annual Holiday Gift Guide, a one-page listing of offerings from local businesses.
December 2009 featured University Heights Mayor Beryl Rothschild reflecting on her lengthy public service career as she prepared to retire in January, while the city’s vice mayor, Adele Zucker, also announced her retirement.
December 2010 featured the heartwarming stories of Mister Brisket sending salamis to U.S. armed forces in foreign lands and the Make-A-Wish Foundation building a treehouse for a local cancer survivor. The city of Cleveland Heights named Howard Thompson its first economic development director, and the CH-UH City School District announced that it would lease space in the Coventry Building to Ensemble Theatre.
December 2011 announced that Heights Libraries had won a top rating from Library Journal for three out of the four years since the journal began publishing the rating in 2008. The library also announced its hiring of Kim DeNero-Ackroyd as its new deputy director. Voters passed a CH-UH school levy handily, but results of the CH City Council election were still too close to call when the issue went to press on Nov. 29. Votes for candidates Phyllis Evans, Mary Dunbar and Jeff Coryell were so close that they triggered an automatic recount.
The December 2012 issue featured a story about a demonstration garden on the lawn of Grace Lutheran Church and celebrated the life of CH resident Vivian Rogers who had just turned 106 at the time. Two opinion pieces urged residents to “shop local” during the holiday season (The Heights Observer’s annual Holiday Gift Guide had moved to the November issue, recognizing that holiday shopping starts before Dec. 1).
December 2013 brought the news that CH-UH schools would close Wiley Middle School as a first step following the passage of a bond issue to enable the renovation of the district’s high school and two remaining middle schools. Coventry Village Special Improvement District announced plans for a holiday festival, FutureHeights encouraged residents to “shop local,” and Gigi’s on Fairmount opened its doors.
The December 2014 issue featured Coventry Village’s independent business owners, and two local business owners wrote letters encouraging residents to “shop small.” Janine Boyd won her bid to become the Ohio House District 9 Representative, while UH voters passed a bond issue to create a new city park, and Heights residents voted in favor of a Heights Libraries levy to enable the restoration of hours and renovations at the system’s branches.
December 2015 featured a joint holiday stroll for three CH business districts and election results. CH resident Bob Rosenbaum offered his hopes for changes in the city as a result of voters passing an income tax increase.
In the December 2016 issue, Noble Neighbors invited residents to Light Up Noble in conjunction with the annual holiday lighting display at GE Lighting, Heights voters passed a school operating levy and Heights Libraries won its eighth consecutive five-star rating.
In the December 2017 issue, UH Mayor-elect Michael Dylan Brennan announced his plans for proactive economic development and cultural change at city hall. Both CH and UH retained their incumbent city council members, while voters elected three new CH-UH Board of Education members and a new CH municipal judge. And Boss Dog Brewery opened on Lee Road.
Deanna Bremer Fisher
Deanna Bremer Fisher is executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer. To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Heights Observer, we are taking a look back at stories that appeared in these pages from 2008 through 2017.