By Nature on Coventry offers healthy convenience

Cleveland-area natives Paul and Bonnie Ursetti are the owners of By Nature, a new shop on Coventry Road that provides healthy, convenient food, beverages and snacks.

Opened in September, By Nature is still expanding its inventory, offering what Paul Ursetti describes as “conscious convenience”—a variety of food items, each with a natural, organic and environmentally responsible focus.

“We were attracted to Coventry by its diversity,” Paul said, “and the forward-thinking folks of all ages, who are conscious of what they do and eat, and the effect on the environment.”

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Volume 3, Issue 11, Posted 5:09 PM, 10.21.2010

Behind the scenes at Dobama is a box office gem

Dobama Theatre’s 2010-11 season has gotten off to an intense, thought-provoking start. While "the play’s the thing," no one enters without a ticket and so Charlotta Enflo’s face is the very first one you will see at each production.

Enflo, who joined Dobama in December 2009 as box office manager and development associate, points out that meeting the Heights theatergoers is the best part of her job. "They know that each Dobama production will be a unique experience," she says, "and they are very vocal about it."

She feels the excitement and anticipation in each exchange. A recent graduate of Goldsmiths, University of London, England, with a master’s degree in arts administration, Enflo sees each ticket purchase as an opportunity for building a relationship, which is vital to Dobama’s future.

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 9:49 PM, 09.20.2010

Overcoming the odds

My name is Cameron Williams and I was born with an “abnormal dysformative” condition that made me face a lot of challenges. I had surgery after surgery, which led to many hospital stays. My condition was rare and it baffled a lot of doctors. I have had more than eight surgeries from the age of six weeks old until the present. I am 17 years old.

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Volume 3, Issue 9, Posted 9:06 AM, 08.03.2010

From martyrdom to hope

Nasser Abufarha, scholar, writer and founder of the Palestinian Fair Trade Association (PFTA) and Canaan Fair Trade (CFT), will be visiting Northeast Ohio this month to discuss how his research on suicide bombers led to the founding of the largest fair trade producers’ union in Palestine. Dr. Abufarha will be speaking at John Carroll University’s Lombardo Student Center on Thursday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. and at Oberlin College on Friday, Sept. 17, at noon in West Hall. His talk is titled "Insisting on Life."

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Volume 3, Issue 9, Posted 4:53 PM, 07.28.2010

A remembrance by Harvey Pekar's 'personal' reference librarian

Comic lovers everywhere are mourning the death of writer and local legend Harvey Pekar. He was found dead by his wife, Joyce Babner, at his Cleveland Heights home just before 1 a.m. on Monday, July 12. Though the exact cause of death of the 70-year-old is still being investigated, Pekar had a history of poor health including lymphatic and prostate cancer, high blood pressure, asthma and - most famously - clinical depression. It was his melancholy outlook on everyday worries that gave Pekar’s comics their distinctiveness. Pekar's American Splendor comic book series, which was first published in 1976, illustrated his cynicism regarding daily life in the aging neighborhoods of Cleveland. In 2003, the series inspired a critically acclaimed film adaptation of the same name, with Paul Giamatti portraying Pekar. 

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 10:43 AM, 07.22.2010

Blush Boutique: new chic on the block

Have you noticed the changing window displays at Blush Boutique, Coventry Road’s newest fashion-forward shop for women? Step inside and co-owners Gina Dudik and Laurie Warshawsky patiently let you browse. “I don’t like to hover,” says Warshawsky. But she does hope you’ll request help.

“Older customers, they’ll buy our jewelry, but don’t even think to look around.” A recent walk-in was convinced she wouldn’t find anything among the hip, eclectic collections, until Warshawsky showed her their Treehouse28 line of sophisticated organic cotton dresses and tops. “I called her when a new shipment arrived. She bought more!”

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 2:01 PM, 07.16.2010

Interview with Tim McCormack, candidate for new top County post

Here, in response to questions posed by The Observer, Tim McCormack – candidate for the position of Cuyahoga County Executive – shares some of his thoughts on the new county government and the challenges that lie ahead:           

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 12:15 PM, 06.16.2010

Harvey Pekar dies

The Plain Dealer reported that comic-book author and Cleveland Heights resident, Harvey Pekar passed away. Pekar, 70, was found dead shortly before 1 a.m. today by his wife, Joyce Brabner, in their Cleveland Heights home. Read the Plain Dealer story.

He will be missed!

Cleveland Heights resident Ralph Solonitz (artist/writer) was born in 1947 in Munich, Germany, the son of Holocaust survivors. He began doodling very early on, first in German and a few years later in his new language. His father gave him motivational advice:"stop your doodling, you are vasting time and vill amount to nutting". Fast forward 55 years, thousands of dollars in therapy and he still can't stop doodling.

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 1:12 PM, 07.12.2010

Bicycle coalition formed for a more bicycle friendly Cleveland Heights

Did you know that:

  • Cleveland Heights ranks in the top 10 percent nationally for the number of residents that commute to work by bicycle,
  • Since 1961, our city has offered Safety Town and other programs to educate our children to navigate sidewalks and roads safely on foot or by bike, and
  • Every one of our business districts and libraries and almost every school has one or more bicycle racks?

Neither did I, until I completed an application in February for Cleveland Heights to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. In May, I learned that the application garnered an Honorable Mention. That means that we have a solid base on which to build for an award in the next year or two. The awards remain in effect for four years and range from platinum and gold to silver and bronze.

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 10:20 AM, 06.22.2010

The show must go on--despite June 17 Street Fair fracas

On Thursday, July 1, the Coventry Village Summer Music & Movies Series continued with clear, cool weather, several hundred participants and no disruption like the kind that occurred just two weeks before at the end of the June 17 Coventry Street Fair.

The free entertainment series, hosted by the Coventry Village Special Improvement District and Coventry P.E.A.C.E. (which built and maintains the unique playground at the former Coventry Elementary School) features music and an outdoor movie every Thursday throughout the summer. On July 1, music was provided by the band Blue Lunch and the featured movie was "Best in Show."

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 9:28 AM, 07.04.2010

Revive: A local store with international reach

Amid a unique selection of clothing and accessories, there are thousands of stories inside Revive, Cleveland Heights’ Fair Trade boutique.

One story describes the work of Mercado Global, a group of artists in Guatemala, whose skillful crafting of jewelry and textiles is helping to break the cycle of poverty for their daughters. Another story belongs to Gloria, a single mother in Central America, who supports her family with a line of crocheted handbags sold at Revive.

All of the stories are linked together by Lisa Dunn, Revive’s owner, who founded the Lee Road store in 2006, and has since expanded to a second store in Legacy Village. Dunn and her staff make sure the tag on each item includes information about the artisan who created it. “We put a lot of work into the description, making sure there is a story,” says Dunn. 


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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 9:51 AM, 06.22.2010

The Parent tarp

Where her boss saw remnants of baby’s breakfast, Meredith Ferguson saw opportunity. The 35-year-old Cleveland Heights resident and advertising executive remembers the exchange that triggered her inner entrepreneur.

“Meredith,” her boss said nearly three years ago, “Seems like every day, you’ve got something new on your clothes.” And she didn’t mean that as a compliment. First, Ferguson was humiliated, then annoyed.

“Every morning, I was trying to do so much--nurse my youngest daughter before work, get myself ready, pack a lunch, think about client meetings I had coming up, and get out the door,” she recalls. “And then without fail, I’d manage to soil my clothes without realizing it, no matter how hard I tried to cover up.”

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 10:31 PM, 06.21.2010

Dobama previews 51st season

It was less than 24 hours after the lights went down on the extended run of the season’s biggest hit at Dobama. The set had already been struck, so you might think it would have been a good opportunity for the troupe to do a little resting on its laurels. Think again.

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Volume 3, Issue 7, Posted 5:20 PM, 06.11.2010

Organizing 'beyond block parties' is topic of FutureHeights forum

Concerned about public safety in areas with vacant and abandoned homes, people in Heights-area neighborhoods are beginning to organize for change in a way unseen since the 1970s. In recognition of that, the FutureHeights annual meeting this year will feature two community organizing professionals for a frank discussion titled “Beyond Block Parties: Building Safe, Livable Neighborhoods in the 21st Century.”

The meeting will take place  on Wednesday, June 30 at 7 p.m. at the Heights Rockefeller Building, at the corner of Mayfield Road and Lee Boulevard. It is free and open to the public.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 4:12 PM, 05.26.2010

Workshop launches Sustainable Heights

Sustainability was the theme of a meeting of Cleveland Heights and University Heights movers and shakers at Forest Hill Church on a recent sunny afternoon, the last Friday of April. Limited to 50 invited guests, the workshop brought together a diverse mix of individuals and organizations for a half-day meeting designed to launch Sustainable Heights.

The meeting was an outgrowth of Cleveland’s sustainability summit last August. An ad hoc group of Heights leaders who attended the Cleveland summit decided to plan a similar process for the CH-UH community. The workshop titled "Sustainable Heights: An Appreciative Inquiry" was a first step.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 12:26 AM, 05.21.2010

Swimming in the secret pool

Depending on where you live in the Heights, the existence of Forest Hill Swim Club may be breaking news to you. It took me 30 years to find it.

I grew up in the Fairfax neighborhood and learned to swim in the high school pool. When it was time for my children to learn to swim, we started at the city wading pools and progressed to Cumberland Pool. But the limited hours and many rules required for a large public pool didn’t suit us. I was looking for a pool where we could hang out all day, or have a picnic supper after work and relax until dark.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 6:28 PM, 04.29.2010

Green Mapping is coming to the Heights

Looking for a community garden? Can't find fair trade clothing? Need Meals on Wheels for your elderly aunt? The Green Mapping movement is coming to the Heights with solutions.

"You'll be able to find the answers to those questions, and more, using the Cleveland Heights and University Heights Green Map,"said Gina Cheverine, president of FutureHeights. With help from community groups and online input from the public, FutureHeights will oversee the creation of the map.

The Open Green Map system is a global program that provides communities with the tools to chart green living, nature and culture. The map will be available on the Internet, through iPhone and mobile applications, and accessible for printing. For more information, go to www.greenmap.org.

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Volume 3, Issue 6, Posted 10:16 AM, 05.21.2010

CHHS grad honored for work on Hubble telescope

Dr. Rodger Evans Doxsey will be among those inducted into the Cleveland Heights High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame on May 6. Doxsey, an astronomer known by his colleagues as "the heart and soul of the Hubble," was a 1965 graduate of CHHS.

His interest in mathematics and physics took him to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned his doctorate as prelude to a lifelong career in guiding the Hubble mission to explore far distant galaxies from the Space Telescope Science Institute near Baltimore. 

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 12:51 PM, 04.10.2010

Grant aids Fairmount Group expansion

Entrepreneur Dawn Hanson’s company, The Fairmount Group, will be going global with much greater ease because of a grant from British Airways.

Fairmount group received one of the 100 Business Opportunity grants given out by British Airways. It will enable Hanson to travel to Europe, meet with clients and expand her business from her small office in Cleveland Heights to cities in Finland and Denmark. The company conducts market research, manages brands and plans special events.

The grant includes airfare for 10 round-trip business class flights, fiveglobal shipments with British Airways World Cargo and $1,000 in hotel accommodations at Courtyard by Marriott. 

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 11:17 PM, 04.22.2010

JCU's Nonprofit Masters Program: Degree helps students pursue dreams of helping others

In these times of layoffs and cutbacks, you can’t avoid the advertisements and stories suggesting that now is the perfect time to go back to school. However, it's not quite that simple: it could mean incurring large amounts of debt, taking away time from job hunting and networking, or eating up the remaining time you have with your family. But it is possible to find the right program for you. Jana Longsworth Nassif, currently a knowledge center manager for a global mergers and aquisitions firm, did just that.
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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 11:46 AM, 03.15.2010

For almost 100 years, Heights Hardware draws customers with location and service

Founded in 1911, just eight years after Cleveland Heights was incorporated as a village, and ten years before it would become a city, Heights Hardware still occupies its original location, at 1792 Coventry Road.

Owner Tom Gathy credits that consistent location with much of his store’s success, and says, “I believe it is the oldest hardware store in the Cleveland area to still be in the same location.”

In its first century, Heights Hardware had just four owners, starting with the Weiskopf brothers. It has been a family business—albeit an extended one—since Gathy’s second cousin, Oscar Elton, purchased the store from the Weiskopfs, after returning from World War II.

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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 9:53 AM, 03.23.2010

Remembering Officer Thomas Patton

For the second time in recent years, Cleveland Heights police donned black ribbons, this time to mourn the loss of fellow officer Thomas Patton.

Just three years ago, officer Jason West died in the line of duty.

On March 13, Patton responded to a call at Marc’s on Coventry Road and assisted other officers in pursuit of a suspect. At Glenmont and Mayfield roads, Patton bent over, rested his hands on his knees for a moment and then continued running. He collapsed and was transported to Huron Hospital where he was pronounced dead a short time later. The Cuyahoga County Coroner’s office said Patton died of a cardiac incident.

Patton, 30, had served nine years as a Cleveland Heights police officer. He was the only son of State Senator Tom Patton. He is survived by his fiancée Tricia Sindelar and his four-month-old daughter, Kayleigh Evelyn Patton.

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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 4:36 PM, 03.18.2010

Brew-N-Bistro on North Park is revamped

Mark Reich, owner of Brew-N-Bistro on North Park, now offers an expanded menu in a newly renovated setting. "We’re changing the business to bring in more customers," he explains, "And to keep them coming back."

In 1994, Reich opened an Arabica coffeehouse in the same location, in the Fairmount Circle Shopping Center. Over the years, as he expanded beyond standard coffeehouse fare, Reich changed the name. Now, the "bistro" designation reflects additions, such as wine and beer, and new sandwich offerings.

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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 10:30 AM, 03.23.2010

Walk aims to conquer childhood cancer

The first CureSearch walk in Cleveland, planned for May 8 at Wade Oval from 9 to 11:30 a.m., will raise awareness and funding for childhood cancer research.

Cancer is the leading cause of death for children, according to CureSearch. The organization, which works with the Children’s Oncology Group and National Childhood Cancer Foundation to fund research, will play a major role in the Northeast Ohio CureSearch Walk to Conquer Childhood Cancer, according to cochair Stephen Crowley.

Crowley and his wife, Cynthia Van Lenten, are organizing the walk. Posters advertising the event feature photographs of their daughter, Olivia, who was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2002. She was 7 years old.
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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 12:08 AM, 03.23.2010

EITC Coalition offers free tax assistance for low income families

Free tax assistance is currently available for low and moderate income families in Cuyahoga County who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or make less than $49,000 a year.

The Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Coalition provides free income tax preparation for those who qualify for the EITC, a refundable tax credit available to working adults. In the past, families with three or more children received the same EITC as families with two children. The federal stimulus created a new EITC category for families with three or more children and increased the credit amount for all EITC filers in 2009 and 2010. The maximum EITC will now increase to $5,657, and the average is roughly $2,000.

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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 10:10 PM, 03.08.2010

Remembering Andrea Robinson

Andrea "Rea" Robinson lived a short life, but she made a difference in that time.

Rea, a 2009 graduate of Cleveland Heights High School and a freshman at Ohio University, died Feb. 17 after being hospitalized for bacterial meningitis. 

While at Heights High, Rea was on the tennis and lacrosse teams, captain of the swim team, a member of the Heights Singers and a student in the Renaissance School. She was known for her friendly spirit, and was liked by many.

The day after her death, students at Heights High signed a banner in her memory, and members of the Heights Singers sang "For Good," from the musical “Wicked,” as a dedication.

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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 10:28 AM, 02.20.2010

Verne & Ellsworth Hann draw on four generations of experience

A fixture on Lee Road for 43 years, Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. has roots in the Heights community going back to 1907. Now Bill Hann and his brother, Chris, carry on the four-generation family tradition of heating and cooling service, begun over 100 years ago by their great grandfather, William Hann.

An inventor and pioneer in the heating industry, Hann codeveloped the first low-pressure steamheat system, working with architects, Harlan Shimmin and Meade & Hamilton, to install it in many of the large homes in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights.

“Prior to the development of the new system, heat was either on or off. My great grandfather’s invention kept noise to a minimum, and, for the first time, allowed radiator heat levels to be adjusted,” Chris Hann explains.

Today, 80 percent of Verne & Ellsworth Hann’s business remains in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, and 95 percent of it is residential.

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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 2:22 PM, 02.19.2010

Myth: Trusts are only for the rich

If someone had given you $100,000 on your 18th birthday, no strings attached, what would you have done with it? Would you have spent part on your college education, then saved the rest for a down payment on a house? 

More likely you would have thought, “I’m rich!” Then spent the money on a new fully loaded car or a vacation.

One common misconception is that trusts are only for the wealthy. But, not only can a properly executed and funded trust make the administration of an estate easier, it can ensure that children are provided for until they are adults.

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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 1:50 PM, 01.18.2010

CH filmmaker to show documentary at Lee Road Library

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library and the Northern Ohio Chapter of the Society for Industrial Archeology (NOCSIA) will sponsor a showing of local filmmaker Valda Lewis’s 52-minute documentary, "Devil's Oven: The Fire in the Heart of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds." Following the screening at the Lee Road library on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m., Lewis will discuss the making of the film and answer questions.
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Volume 3, Issue 2, Posted 8:43 AM, 01.19.2010

Lakewood’s Mayor Edward FitzGerald First To Announce Intentions Of Running For New County Executive Position

This morning the Mayor of Lakewood, Ohio announced his intentions to run for the new County Executive postition. Here in an Observer exclusive, his speech...

Good morning, and thank you for attending.

It's always good to begin an effort like this with a sense of history, and a sense of place.

My great-grandfather moved to this neighborhood from Ireland 130 years ago, and started a small grocery store just down the road from here.

This county has been good to my family ever since that time. I love the Cleveland area, and I'm committed to it, and my wife Shannon and I decided to raise our four children here.

But we have to be honest about what this county is facing. We used to be one of the economic drivers of not just the state but the entire country. We were known all over the world as a center of innovation and economic progress. That's why so many of our families came here in the first place.


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Volume 2, Issue 12, Posted 12:18 PM, 12.17.2009

Heights citizens vote for the status quo

Citizens voting in both the Cleveland Heights and University Heights local elections affirmed the status quo.

Voters in University Heights rejected the charter ammendment that would have created the position of city administrator and redefined the roles and responsibilities of the mayor and city council. They also rejected the ammendment that would have made the Charter Review Commission a part of the city's charter and required it to periodically review the charter.

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Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 12:54 PM, 11.04.2009

Music Settlement announces Coventry project

Good things begin with an idea. And Peggy Spaeth’s idea to reach out to the Music School Settlement of University Circle, it turns out, was a very good thing, indeed. Last year, when the old Coventry Elementary School was being examined for new use, Spaeth, director of Heights Arts, called the Music School Settlement and asked them if they had an interest in a site up the hill.

It turns out they did.

The Music Settlement (they’ve recently dropped the “School”), speaking on October 13 to a crowd of government, library, and school officials, residents, merchants and neighborhood groups, officially announced their plan to build a new $16-$19 million facility on the Coventry Elementary School grounds, tentatively scheduled to open August 2013.

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Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 10:22 PM, 10.13.2009

University Hospitals to lease Coventry School

The Cleveland Heights Planning Commission has approved the short-term use of the former Coventry Elementary School for computer training by University Hospitals. UH will lease the building from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District to train hospital employees on a new electronic medical records system.

According to the district, the agreement will not interfere with its other agreement, to lease the building to the Cleveland Music School Settlement.

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Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 1:05 PM, 10.01.2009

Heights Observer's first local election issue

FutureHeights, the nonprofit that publishes the Heights Observer, mailed a questionnaire to each candidate running for the local offices of University Heights Mayor, University Heights City Council, Cleveland Heights-University Heights School Board and Cleveland Heights City Council. The following eight pages contain the candidates’ answers to two questions, one from the FutureHeights questionnaire and one from a questionnaire of the candidate’s choice. Candidates were limited to 200 words and all photos were provided by the candidates.
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Volume 2, Issue 10, Posted 1:27 PM, 10.02.2009

Heights moms unite to raise over $50,000 for local charity triathlon teams honor children with special needs

In 2008, Cleveland Heights resident Tania Younkin entered the Cleveland Triathlon to raise funds and awareness for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland (UCP) in honor of Elsie, her two and a half year old daughter. Elsie, —diagnosed with cerebral palsy and optic nerve atrophy which also leaves her legally blind—receives physical, occupational, and speech therapy at UCP.  Seeing the remarkable strides her daughter has made, Tania wanted to be sure that other physically challenged children could access the same essential and life-changing services regardless of their financial situation. In order do to so, last year she joined Team UCP, a group of families, triathletes, and recreational enthusiasts who unite to raise funds and awareness for UCP. With her best friend Trisha Tyson by her side, completed the grueling race.
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Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 3:52 PM, 08.17.2009

Nighttown serves entertainment and the community

Cleveland Heights residents know they have a treasure in Nightttown, Brendan Ring’s nationally renowned jazz club named for the Dublin red-light district in James Joyce's Ulysses. Nighttown dishes up fine food and cool jazz. What folks may not know is that Nighttown is dedicated to serving the neighborhood as well.

It’s no secret that Cleveland Heights has been affected by the economy, as has Nighttown. "Foot traffic is off by 10 percent," says Ring. "However, the economy has an upside as there are more fundraisers and benefits held at Nighttown and that business is up by 30 percent. We’ve had benefits for organizations such as El Barrio, the American Cancer Society, and United Cerebral Palsy—just to name a few."
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Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 3:07 PM, 08.17.2009

Union members protest at Cedarwood Plaza nursing home

Union protesters lined the sidewalk outside of Cedarwood Plaza nursing home on Cedar Road Monday, Aug. 3 for a one-day strike.

Picketers from Service Employees International Union, District 1199 were 30 to 40 strong outside the home that morning, waving as drivers honked in support and calling “Scabs!”  at the vans bringing non-union workers to facilities. SEIU represents 60 workers at Cedarwood.

According to Union Representative Danie Tarrow, SEIU members protested what they viewed as unfair terms Cedarwood’s management has offered during contract negotiations that started in April.
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Volume 2, Issue 8, Posted 3:22 PM, 08.04.2009

RTA community meeting answers questions, raises more

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority hosted their community meeting regarding the design of a new Red Line rail station at University Circle on Tuesday, June 9 to a crowd of riders and residents.

Mayor Edward J. Kelley opened the meeting, reminding the crowd that the new station is going to be “the gateway to Cleveland Heights.” He encouraged those who attended to be accepting of the current design but to also provide feedback to the planners and architect so that the station could better serve their needs.

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Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 11:41 AM, 06.17.2009

What's up at Horizon?

If you’ve walked by the Horizon Montessori School recently, you may have asked "What are they doing over there?" or perhaps you’ve wondered "Why is that crane at the school?" Well, here are the answers.

Horizon Montessori School is undergoing a major renovation of its exterior on both the Mayfield Road and Newbury Drive facades. Among the new features are a 15-foot shingled, pitched roof with an illuminated cupola and functional bell; a 27-foot shingle-covered entry at Newbury Drive; new siding and brickwork; and new, energy-efficient windows.

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Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 2:39 PM, 06.23.2009

NEORSD Speakers Bureau sends experts to educate audiences

When Gwen Parker of Judson Manor retirement community called look­ing for someone to speak to their residents about “chemicals in the water,” the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s public information specialist Jennifer Elting jumped at the opportunity.  

“We’re always looking to get our message out to our community,” said Elting.

Together, she and Parker chose Environmental Specialist Elizabeth Toot-Levy, a member of the sewer district’s speakers bureau who knows all about the impact of pharmaceuticals on water qual­ity.

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Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 10:34 AM, 07.28.2009

Cleveland Heights parents train for triathlon to honor daughter with cerebral palsy

Parents will do anything for their children, and Andrew Koonce and Tania Younkin are no exception.

This August, the Cleveland Heights couple will compete in the Cleveland Triathlon in support of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland as a tribute to their daughter, Elsie.

Married for seven years, the couple never dreamed they would complete a race like this together — but it is now common for neighbors to see them training, often with two kids in tow.
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Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 7:50 AM, 06.23.2009

Observer policy on editorial contributions by candidates for elected office

With the November election coming into focus, the Heights Observer is announcing its new policy for contributions by candidates for local office.

As a community newspaper staffed by volunteers and committed to equal access for everyone, the Observer is unique among publications in providing opportunity for any member of the Cleveland Heights and University Heights communities to raise and discuss issues of local interest.

At election time, however, this commitment creates a singular challenge in managing the finite space that can be made available for community members who are running for public office.

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Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 3:16 PM, 07.01.2009

Officials to speak on government collaboration at public forum

A public consensus seems to be emerging that local governments must figure out how to provide services at lower cost to taxpayers. However, opinion is all over the map on how to achieve this goal. Is the answer fiscal belt tightening, fewer services, better competitive strategies, consolidation of services, or something else?

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 17, the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga Area, Heights Chapter; FutureHeights; and the CH-UH Public Library will present a public forum titled “Does sharing help? The inside story on cooperative government,” at the Lee Road Library, 2345 Lee Rd.

Panelists are South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo, University Heights Councilman Kevin Patrick Murphy and Cleveland Heights Councilman Mark Tumeo. They will discuss how each has experienced inter-city governmental cooperation, and answer questions from the public. Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights, will moderate the discussion.

Post your questions in advance at www.heightsobserver.org/deck/.


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Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 11:28 AM, 05.22.2009

Home in the Heights sells first renovated vacant house

Home in the Heights, a recently created subsidiary of the Home Repair Resource Center, has sold its first renovated property: a formerly vacant, foreclosed home on Westover Drive in Cleveland Heights.

Publicity about the project brought inquiries from many interested buyers. The final purchasers, Mark Finkenbine and Nadelane Joseph of University Heights, say they loved the potential they saw in the home when they first visited, shortly after renovations began in March.

“We came in just as the house was being gutted and were able to pick and choose colors and tiles and floor coverings. It's a big, collaborative effort, and we’re really looking forward to getting it finished,” said Joseph.

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Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 3:13 PM, 05.22.2009

Chamber to host economic summit June 24

From our businesses and backyards to the hallowed halls of the U.S Congress, this is the year of belt-tightening.

What effects do we see? What effects do we anticipate? What exemplary choices are being made now, on every level, that are stemming the tide and paving the way for stability and future growth?

The Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce is delighted to host what should be a stimulating public conversation, with three people who can answer these questions, each with a unique perspective. Join the chamber of commerce on Wednesday, June 24, for a special luncheon and economic summit with South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo, Cuyahoga County Planning Commission Director Paul Alsenas, and Director of the Cleveland Regional Office of the Ohio Secretary of State Christopher B. Nance.
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Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 1:21 PM, 05.20.2009

Elaine Coburn wins 2009 Paulus Award

The Gesu Women’s Guild presented its 2009 Alice Paulus Award to longtime parish volunteer, Elaine K. Coburn, of University Heights. Coburn received the honor on May 7 at the guild’s "Celebrate Spring!" dinner at Shaker Heights Country Club.

Named in honor of long-standing parishioner and dedicated volunteer, Alice Paulus, the award recognizes a woman who exemplifies Paulus’s willingness to serve Gesu Parish and reflects her spirit of faith and volunteerism.

Coburn and her husband, Don, have been members of Gesu for more than 50 years. They raised five sons and two daughters in the church.

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Volume 2, Issue 6, Posted 11:37 AM, 05.19.2009

Missing cat

Our large and wonderful marmelade cat, Robaire, who has been missing since May 1.  He is tall, and totally orange, just like the color of orange marmalade the slices of orange in it-- even his eyes and the pads of his feet are orange. The only place he isnt orange is his tail, which has white stripes, parrticularly one VERY white stripe up near the tip, like a beacon.

I'm hopeful that Robaire, who is very friendly and knows no fear, has simply made friends with somebody. And I'm hoping that Cleveland Heightsers being the kind of folks they are, someone will have befriended Robaire. Please give us a call.

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Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 2:42 PM, 05.06.2009

Heights Observer journalists win awards

Simone Quartell, a senior at Cleveland Heights High School and a regular reporter for the Heights Observer, is the recipient of this year’s Philip W. Porter Scholarship from the Cleveland Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The chapter also selected Heights Observer advisory board member Dr. Richard Hendrickson for its Distinguished Service Award. Hendrickson is a long-time SPJ member and former chapter president who is an associate professor at John Carroll University.

An awards luncheon will be held May 7 at the City Club of Cleveland, 850 Euclid Ave. beginning at 11:45 a.m. For more information, contact Tom Moore at tmoore56@msn.com or 440-454-3282. Prices are $15 for students, $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. 

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Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 10:06 AM, 05.04.2009

Miracles Happen 5K Run/Walk set for May 31

The first annual Miracles Happen 5K Run/Walk is set for Sunday, May 31 through the scenic streets of Cleveland Heights.

The event will benefit the Diana Hyland Miracle Fund, whose mission is to advance research for recurrent breast cancer - focusing on new theories, trials and treatments aimed at managing the cancer and extending lives. The fund was created in memory of Diana Hyland of Shaker Heights, who after recovering from her first bout with breast cancer more than 10 years ago, sadly lost her battle with the devastating disease of metastatic breast cancer on October 27, 2008.

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Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 12:14 PM, 04.21.2009

Heights residents trained as Bridge Builders

Leadership is something we sometimes lack in Northeast Ohio. Faced with problems this generation has never seen before, we are looking at a possible void of effective leaders who can take hold of the many issues and lead us far into a prosperous future. In the late 1990s, to try to counter this, a group of civic-minded young professionals had a vision to help foster communication and collaboration between aspiring leaders and established leaders in Northeast Ohio.

That vision became Cleveland Bridge Builders. CBB is now part of Cleveland Leadership Center, which formed in 2006 and includes four other programs: Leadership Cleveland, Cleveland Executive Fellowship, (i)Cleveland, and Look Up To Cleveland.

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 7:27 AM, 02.17.2009

SkunkFest ‘09 comes to the Heights

It’s a tradition as old as the hills. Every year during the first week of April, the participants appear as if from nowhere to partake in that fabulously fragrant phenomenon known as SkunkFest.

“It’s kind of like our own version of Mardi Gras,” says Anna Roma, marketing coordinator for the festival. “It takes your mind off those long months of holing up under the porch in a state of semi-hibernation, ya know? It’s good to get out and just shake your tail a bit.” It's estimated that, despite the down economy, as many as 700,000 skunks may visit the Heights area for SkunkFest ‘09, bringing an economic and olfactory impact that is hard to ignore.
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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 10:41 PM, 03.19.2009

Heights Observer is one year old

FutureHeights published the first print issue of the Heights Observer on April 10, 2008. One year later the group has published 545 stories in 12 issues. More than 300 volunteer citizen-journalists have signed up to write stories, 20 volunteers assist in the editing process and 20 “newsies” deliver more than 9,000 copies of  the paper to 176 locations throughout the cities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights. A nine-member advisory board provides advice on journalism and business issues.

Seed funding for the project was provided by the Katherine and Lee Chilcote Foundation, the Cyrus Eaton Foundation, the Dominion Foundation and the members of FutureHeights. Ongoing support is provided by local advertisers and subscriptions.

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 11:45 AM, 03.30.2009

At Phoenix Coffee, the sweet smell of success

While national coffee chains continue to close stores, Phoenix Coffee, a Heights area gourmet coffee venue continues to grow by keeping things local. It’s a trend that has some retail experts scratching their heads. Even with the down economy, the store is really busy for a Sunday afternoon. 

Jessie Mueller, a manager at the Lee Road store, is very enthusiastic about all things coffee, and tea for that matter. She notes that the company spends quite a bit of time and money training staff to insure that each customer has a great experience with Phoenix and its baristas.  She feels the store itself is a “unique environment for the community” with its decidedly uncorporate feel.

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 10:25 PM, 04.08.2009

Heights houses at risk: Demolition requires no city review

The street is typical of Cleveland Heights: tree-lined, picturesque, with beautiful houses built at the turn of the last century. This one happens to be in one of the city’s more upscale neighborhoods, but the story could play out anywhere in our city: A house is in foreclosure and neighbors worry that a purchaser could demolish it without notifying or consulting the community.

An investigation of city ordinances reveals that obtaining permission to demolish a building is as simple as obtaining permission to put up a fence. It requires only a $100 permit. There is no review by city planners. No notification to the neighbors. No opportunity for comment. No consideration of the impact on the neighborhood, either aesthetically or on property values.

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Volume 2, Issue 3, Posted 11:04 AM, 02.24.2009

FutureHeights to host Mayor's State of the City address

Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley will give his annual State of the City address on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd. (corner of Monticello and Mayfield roads).

Since 2006, FutureHeights, an organization dedicated to quality of life and civic engagement, has sponsored the address as part of its annual speaker series. "This is a unique opportunity to hear the mayor's plans for how we will move forward through these tumultuous times. It also gives the mayor a chance to hear what's on the minds of residents," said Gina Cheverine, president of the board of trustees for FutureHeights.

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Volume 2, Issue 3, Posted 4:31 PM, 02.20.2009

Heights community joins in the battle against cancer

Eighteen hours, dozens of tents, and hundreds of participants coming together behind one objective: the fight against cancer. The second annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life hosted by Case Western Reserve University is gearing up for a kickoff on April 17.
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Volume 2, Issue 3, Posted 5:19 PM, 02.18.2009

The czar of Starbucks

Anyone who frequents the Cedar-Fairmount Starbucks knows who Allen Friedlander is, either by name or sight: he's the cheerful man in the power chair.

He's a longtime Heights resident. In high school at Cleveland Heights High, Allen was stocky, muscular, and interested in all sports. In his 20s, he started taking weightlifting seriously and could bench press 400 hundred pounds. After college at Ohio State and CSU, Allen became a self-taught artist specializing in laboriously created freehand pencil-on-paper drawings of professional athletes. Eventually his artwork, rendered from historic photographs of the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Jim Brown, Lou Groza and others, became nationally famous. Each was sold as a signed and numbered lithograph.

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 1:58 PM, 01.19.2009

Cleveland Heights leader briefs Obama transition team in D.C.

President Obama and his transition team have asked for innovative ideas that will stimulate the U.S. economy. So in December, Cleveland Heights resident Toby Rittner briefed the Obama transition team on matters related to the proposed stimulus package.
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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 1:22 PM, 01.13.2009

Peaceful transfer of power witnessed by millions in D.C.

Many a resident of the D.C. area hosted friends from all over the country to witness the Inauguration of President Barack Obama.   My friend Barb and I were two of the fortunate ones and prepared for the festivities. With no tickets, we could not enter the Mall area, so we bundled up and found a sunny spot on Independence Street near Third Street.  It was a great vantage point of the Capitol Building. We could not see individual officials on the platform of the Capitol, but could see people moving as they starting taking their seats on the Inauguration level, and listened to the festivities on radios playing nearby.
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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 3:19 PM, 01.22.2009