For a second year, Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights and Dress for Success Cleveland are partnering for a fun event that brings together fashion and fundraising. The event also combines a passion for fashion with the empowerment of women. It will be held on Aug. 15 at Nighttown, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Non-profit & Groups
In last month’s edition of the Heights Observer, James Henke introduced local artist Shannon Morris and Artful, a new, start-up Heights nonprofit.
Artful is a community effort, intent on creating an Artful space in the Heights. The founding committee consists of artists, educators, and local business owners, all with strong ties to the area. Artful (which, as ARTFUL LLC, is a registered nonprofit in the state of Ohio) has been approved by Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts to receive free legal assistance as committee members move ahead with the project. Another beneficial development has come in the form of an anonymous challenge grant of $25,000. While this requires that the committee raise $25,000, members are hopeful that, with community support, they will raise enough funds to receive the matching grant.
Artful’s first fundraiser, called playFUL, will be a kickball tournament to be held on Aug. 9, 3:15–7 p.m., at Denison Park. According to Sarah Curry, Artful’s artists and education advocate, the intention is to “encourage the community to come together to be playful,” while helping Artful secure the funds it needs to develop the project and make it a reality.
FutureHeights, in partnership with the City of Cleveland Heights, is launching a neighborhood mini-grant program for Cleveland Heights residents. FutureHeights will award grants of up to $1,000 to neighborhood-based groups.
“Our goal is to help neighbors leverage their many assets and provide tools to enable them to strengthen their neighborhoods,” said Richard Stewart, president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors. “Having a little bit of seed money for a project can make a big difference.”
With Cleveland’s roller coaster weather—It’s Spring! It’s Winter! It’s Summer! No, it’s Spring!—it might be hard to imagine the crisp days and cool nights of September, but that’s exactly what the Heights Heritage Home Tour team has been doing since early March. The team has been busy planning the always-popular tour, sponsored by the Heights Community Congress (HCC), and is in the midst of lining up another amazing roster of homes and gardens.
An Immersion Experience Program (IEP) with International Partners in Mission (IPM), an international nonprofit based in Cleveland Heights, is a life-changing opportunity to discover another culture, primarily by interacting with locals who are implementing initiatives focused on improving their communities.
IEPs are short-term trips to the places where IPM works. IEP participants, many of whom are from Northeast Ohio, will learn about the socio-economic, political, cultural and historic realities of these places.
In 2006, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, along with then-Cleveland Mayor Michael White, established a leadership training program for engaged neighborhood leaders. The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP) is a free, 15-session community engagement training program for residents of Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs who are working on projects within the City of Cleveland and who are determined to make a positive impact on their communities.
The Unity Center of the Heights celebrates the diversity of the Heights with a Civilization Transformation Forum on July 19 at 1:30 p.m. The forum is open to the public, and no registration is required.
Cynthia Rantala, founder and moderator of Civilization Transformation, and founder of Hershey Montessori School in Concord Township, Ohio, will moderate the forum and ask participants, “What is this world coming to? What is happening in this country with all these other religions coming into play here?”
“Understanding Policing in Cleveland Heights,” an open forum with Cleveland Heights Police Chief Jeffrey Robertson and other representatives of the CHPD, will be held 7–8:30 p.m., Tuesday, June 9, at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.
Hosted by FutureHeights, the event will help residents understand how the police department is evolving to protect and improve public safety in Cleveland Heights.
Topics will include the use of software and other technologies to track and prevent crime; improvements in data collection and analysis; management strategies that are being applied within the department; and activities to foster closer connections between the department and the community it serves. Ample time will be reserved for questions.
Gardeners are drawn to the restorative energy of soil, sunshine, sky, water, plants and, ultimately, eating the fruits and vegetables of their labor. However, gardening alone in one’s backyard can be isolating. The alternative: community gardening.
Here in the Heights, gardeners can connect with one another through GrowingHeights (formerly Heights Community Garden Network), where individual and community gardeners come together to share information, resources, food and friendship.
Samantha Provencio has been the coordinator of GrowingHeights for two years. During that time, she has combined her experience as a gardener and garden leader with her love of community-building, developing relationships with, and facilitating connections between, gardeners. Provencio has endeavored to make each community garden a gathering place, with the goal of becoming self-sufficient, with the network helping to achieve that goal.
This summer, Provencio is moving to Virginia with her family, and GrowingHeights is looking for a new coordinator.
There are more musicians per capita in the Heights than anywhere else. That's what people say. Come and find out if that's true on Tuesday, May 19, as Heights-based nonprofits FutureHeights, Friends of Heights Libraries and Reaching Heights present Welcome Home: Heights Musicians, the third in a series of events highlighting the interesting people who live in the Heights.
Welcome Home: Heights Musicians takes place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Rockefeller’s restaurant, 3099 Mayfield Road.
On May 26, 2007, Cleveland Heights Police Officer Jason West responded to a routine disturbance call and was shot as he was getting out of his car. His death shocked and angered the community. In response, Cleveland Heights residents, together with West's family, friends, local business owners and fellow officers, established a scholarship fund in his memory. This year, 11 graduating seniors from the Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement program at Cleveland Heights High School have applied for the scholarship.
To help raise money for the award, the scholarship committee is hosting its Annual Great Cleveland Heights Mega Raffle on Sunday, May 3, at the New Heights Grill on Lee Road. Tickets for the raffle are $2 and can be purchased at several local businesses: Quintana’s Barber & Dream Spa on Taylor Road, Shawn Paul Salon on Lee Road, New Heights Grill on Lee Road, and Blush Boutique on Coventry Road. Tickets are also available from any committee member and on the night of the event. Last year’s Mega Raffle raised more than $8,000 for the scholarship.
Aren’t you curious when a neighbor’s house sprouts a “For Sale” sign? What a surprise one of Heights Community Congress’s (HCC) board members experienced when he went online to look up a neighbor’s house that was for sale. He discovered that the house, on the Multiple Listing Service, had a big red #3 in its description. The red #3 was a rating of the local elementary school in the neighborhood. The question he asked was simply, “Where does this rating come from?”
Thus began a year-long quest by HCC’s Fair Housing Committee to research the school rating numbers that appear on many national real estate websites and in some television advertising.
What do you love about your neighborhood? What does your neighborhood need to make it a better place for you and your neighbors?
On April 21, FutureHeights, the nonprofit community group that publishes the Heights Observer, will announce a new opportunity for Cleveland Heights residents to learn more about their neighborhoods and learn how to use community resources to work collaboratively to make their neighborhoods better: the Community Capacity-Building Program.
FutureHeights will make the announcement at its annual meeting on Tuesday, April 21. Bill Traynor, a nationally known community development expert will give the keynote address.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 7 p.m. at Motorcars Honda, 2953 Mayfield Road. Attendees will also get a chance to see Motorcars’ solar canopy installation, which the company says will provide up to 70 percent of its energy needs, and hear about other planned investments along the Mayfield Road corridor.
How well can you spell? You are invited to come and find out at the Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee. The 24th annual edition of this campy yet competitive community event takes place April 15 at 7 p.m. at Cleveland Heights High School. Admission is free and all are welcome.
Unlike the youth version, this spelling bee is a team event. Three spellers work together to write down the letters in the word given to them, and then send a teammate to the microphone to read out the team’s best guess. Teams are encouraged to dress in costumes that represent their company, school or organization, or other fun themes. This year the organizers look forward to welcoming returning competitors such as the Ms. Spellers (Roxboro Elementary and Middle school PTAs), the Episco-spellians (St. Paul’s Episcopal Church), and Upper Case (Case Western Reserve University), who come to this seriously fun competition dressed in graduation caps and gowns.
The Cleveland Heights Community Center was abuzz on Sunday, March 15—abuzz with generosity, kindness and courage. More than 165 men, women, boys and girls shaved their heads to raise money for St. Baldrick’s, the national foundation that funds more childhood cancer research than any other organization in the world, except the U.S. government.
This year’s local event, now in its fourth year, was held in memory of Rebecca Meyer of Cleveland Heights, who died from a brain tumor on her sixth birthday last June. It also was held in honor of Roxboro Middle School student Garrett Gulden, who recently finished cancer treatment, and Fairfax Elementary School second-grader Austin Gallagher, a two-time survivor of kidney cancer.
Shavees from Shaker schools, CH-UH schools and Gesu School, among others, competed against, and cheered on, one another during an afternoon of marathon head-shaving. Team Fairfax—25 current Fairfax students and one teacher—raised the most money, bringing in more than $32,000.
Another pilgrimage has been planned by Forest Hill Church, this time to Detroit on Saturday, April 25. The deadline for registering is March 20.
The one-day trip will include a stop at the First Congregational Church for the Underground Railroad Living Museum "Flight to Freedom" tour. The tour includes a re-enactment of the original Underground Railroad passage that operated 1840–63. Visitors will be shackled with wrist bands at the entrance of the tour and begin their experience by entering through the "Door of No Return" in Africa, before becoming passengers on the Underground Railroad on a journey to the First Congregational Church and freedom.
The trip also includes a visit to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the world’s largest institution dedicated to the African-American experience.
In the spirit of combating hunger, Heights residents are invited to enjoy six days of delicious fundraising at Zagara’s Marketplace this March, to benefit the Harvest for Hunger and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
Beginning March 9 and 10, and continuing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for two subsequent weeks, three local specialty food purveyors will donate items to benefit the food bank. All items are generously donated by Joanne Lynch of Euclid Beach Popcorn, Bill Mitchell of Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates, and John Emerman of Stone Oven, and most can be purchased for $2.
The fundraising festivities will commence on Monday and Tuesday, March 9 and 10, noon to 7 p.m., with Euclid Beach Popcorn. Remember the sights, sounds and tastes of Euclid Beach Park with a bag containing those luscious taffy kisses and a popcorn ball (popped popcorn 50 cents).
At their annual fundraiser, Jazzercise class participants from Cleveland Heights and South Euclid contributed more than 230 pounds of food and $800 in cash to the Heights Emergency Food Center, and raised another $1,350 for LifeAct (formerly the Suicide Prevention Education Alliance), which offers suicide prevention programming at area high schools.
Each year, the Jazzercise classes nominate organizations for the fundraiser, and select the two that receive the most votes as beneficiaries.
Class members raised money during each class by contributing to have a favorite routine added to the exercise set—or to have a less-than-favorite routine thrown out.
David Pepper, new Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) chairman, and Nina Turner, former state senator and ODP chair of political engagement, will detail their “Main Street Initiative” on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m., at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.
The initiative is the ODP’s new strategic plan to provide direct support to local candidates and staff, including financial investments to targeted races, messaging, voter contact, fundraising training, and access to cutting-edge technology and data.
According to Pepper, “This strategy and fund represent our commitment to build this party from the local level, where it all begins.”
Turner said, "As Democrats, it’s our responsibility to care about the welfare of all Ohioans, and our Main Street Initiative is an opportunity to put our values into action."
We Are Cleveland Heights, a group that seeks to promote living and working in Cleveland Heights, is holding a pop-up dinner on March 12 at the historic Alcazar, 2450 Derbyshire Road, which was recently purchased by Montlack Realty.
Planting the Seed, a five-course dinner prepared by fire food & drink, SoHo Kitchen & Bar, Marotta's, FarmShare Ohio, Luna Bakery Café and On The Rise will take place on Thursday, March 12, 6:30–9:30 p.m. Drinks will be provided by The Wine Spot, La Cave du Vin, Parnell's Pub and Phoenix Coffee. Entertainment will be provided by The Grog Shop, and table decorations by Four And Twenty Mercantile. Tickets are $75 per person and are available online at www.eventbrite.com or at Luna Bakery Café. Valet parking is included.
You may wonder what the label Mercado Global is in a garment you have bought from Anthropologie, J. Crew or Urban Outfitters.
On March 11 you can find out about this ethical fashion brand and social enterprise at a fundraiser called, Fashioning Change: Harnessing the Power of Markets for Women in Guatemala. It will be held from 6:30–8:30 p.m. at The Wine Spot, 2271 Lee Road. Proceeds will support Mercado Global’s educational and market access programs.
Lake Erie Ink (LEI), a writing space for youth, is hosting its third annual fundraiser for people of all ages to showcase their quick, creative wordplay skills during a Giant Bananagrams Tournament. The event will take place on March 21, 2–5 p.m., in the Cleveland Heights High School Social Room, making it one of the community's last opportunities to enjoy the space before construction on the historic school begins this summer.
Inspired by the fast-paced, Scrabble-like word game, teams of two to four players will compete on a 30-by-30-foot Bananagrams board with 1-foot-square tiles in front of a live audience, with plays and words announced by a guest MC.
International Partners in Mission (IPM), based in Cleveland Heights, works across borders of faith, culture and economic circumstance to create partnerships that build justice, peace and hope. The core program provides financial and technical support to 60 community-initiated programs in 20 countries. They include El Salvador, India, Kenya, Nepal and Nicaragua, and the focus is on women, children and youths.
IPM also organizes immersion-experience programs—short-term travel opportunities to the countries where it works. Participants, many from Northeast Ohio, learn about the history and culture of these countries, and walk in solidarity with the locals whose work IPM supports.
Nancy Peppler, Cleveland Heights resident and president of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education (BOE), will become the new executive director of Cornucopia/Nature’s Bin, a nonprofit that provides community-based employment training for people with disabilities.
Peppler will begin her new position on March 9. She will succeed Scott Duennes, who has served as executive director of Cornucopia/Nature’s Bin for 30 years, and who will retire effective March 20. Duennes and Peppler will work together through the end of March to effect a smooth transition for the organization.
“On behalf of the board of directors of Cornucopia, I am delighted to welcome Nancy Peppler as the new executive director,” said Tony Rospert, board president.
It’s that time of the year when the City Club of Cleveland announces The Hope and Stanley Adelstein Free Speech Essay Competition, an opportunity for students to explore the complexities of our constitutional right to free speech while building essential writing and critical thinking skills—and win prizes.
The Adelsteins have been lifelong residents of Northeast Ohio, philanthropists and environmental activists for decades, establishing the Free Speech Competition in 2012 as part of the City Club's centennial. Although Stanley died in December, their legacy continues.
This year, the competition is open to all high school students, not just juniors and seniors. Students in grades 9–12 in public, private, parochial, charter and home schools in Cuyahoga and surrounding counties are encouraged to submit an essay on the topic “How can teens utilize free speech to inspire change in their communities?”
Heights Community Garden Network (HCGN) will host its annual meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 17, at 6 p.m., in meeting room A at the Lee Road Library. HCGN was created to help Heights residents and community gardeners share information. The group offers an informative website and an e-newsletter, a small grants program for community gardens, technical assistance for new gardens, workshops and volunteer opportunities.
Heights Community Congress (HCC) will commemorate the Martin Luther King holiday by presenting “A Conversation After A Funeral,” an original play by Mary Weems, Cleveland Heights resident and former CH poet laureate. The event will take place on Jan. 21, at 7 p.m., at Hope Lutheran Church, 2222 North Taylor Road.
“A Conversation After a Funeral” is an imagined dialogue between two young people, Emmett Till and Anne Frank, set at the conclusion of Till’s funeral. Emmett Till (played by J’Vaugh Briscoe) was an African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi at age 14 after reportedly flirting with a white woman. Anne Frank (played by Miranda Coble) was a diarist and writer who went into hiding during the Holocaust and wrote about her experience.
Because his birthday lands during the week of the Martin Luther King holiday, Kenji Sakaie—a Roxboro Elementary School fourth-grader, Cleveland Heights resident, avid reader and Heights Library fan—along with his parents, wanted to recognize his special day with more than just sweets and treats. When thinking of an appropriate service project, a book drive seemed a natural for this family of book lovers.
Kenji will be collecting new and gently used books that he and his parents will distribute to the Little Free Libraries in the Heights and on Cleveland’s East Side. Any extras will go to Cleveland's Little Free Library program for its other sites around town. The book drive will run through Friday, Jan. 23.
While Kenji and his family especially want to encourage reading among children, they are accepting donations of any books donors want to share with others.
It was all about collaborating and giving back when Church of the Gesu in University Heights sent a group of families to team up with Youth Challenge (YC) participants and volunteers to create holiday ornaments and cards as part of its annual Service Day on Saturday, Dec. 6.
The ornaments they made will be sold at the Youth Challenge Holiday Show on Dec. 14 to benefit YC’s free programs. The cards will be sent to residents of the local L’Arche community. In addition, the YC kids brought toiletries to donate to L’Arche Cleveland.
Youth Challenge is a nonprofit that provides adapted sports and recreational opportunities to children with physical disabilities. Trained teen volunteers are paired one-on-one with participants to play, socialize and have fun. YC serves children throughout Northeast Ohio and has offices in Westlake and in Shaker Heights at the Hanna Perkins Center.
Heights residents may fondly recall Networking Nights hosted by the Sustainable Heights Network as a way to network with sustainability professionals, advocates and concerned citizens and to learn what is going on in this area. After a hiatus of a few years, the organization is bringing back the tradition. A brief program with an event on the new back patio at Nighttown from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 12.
With a theme of Sustainability in the Heights: Past, Present and Future, the evening will include a review of our sustainability legacy by Cleveland Heights Director of Planning Richard Wong, a presentation on current innovations in sustainability by Transportation Planning Director Chris Bongorno of University Circle, Inc. (who grew up in Cleveland Heights), and a discussion on the future of sustainability in the Heights led by community development expert Mark Chupp, Ph.D. of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and board member of FutureHeights.
FutureHeights extends its thanks to the many individuals and organizations who contributed time money and energy in support of the second annual Heights Music Hop. More than 1,500 people turned out to the district to enjoy great music, craft beer and local merchants on Oct. 11.
The group is seeking feedback on the event to help in its planning for next year. Take the survey at http://bit.ly/2014-hmh-survey.
For other questions or inquiries, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maria Doria Russell, an award-winning novelist and scientist, will be the featured local author at the third annual “An Afternoon With . . .” literary event and dessert reception, on Saturday, Nov. 1. The event, hosted by the Cleveland Heights Chapter Q of P.E.O. International, a philanthropic educational organization, will take place at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd., at 2 p.m.
Heights residents are invited to join the Friends of Heights Libraries for two special October events, and to mark their calendars for the Friends’ fall Mega Sale.
On Sunday, Oct. 5, in cooperation with FutureHeights and Reaching Heights, the Friends will co-host the semi-annual Welcome Home gathering for Heights residents, this time featuring a panel of Heights authors. Participants (at press time) include poet George Bilgere, youth author Tricia Springstubb, novelist Thrity Umrigar, and rock biographer James Henke. Join us at Nighttown from 2–4 p.m. to celebrate our community and its diverse treasures. Refreshments will be provided, and a cash bar will be available. Everyone is welcome, and new residents to the Heights are especially encouraged to come, meet neighbors, and learn what makes living and working in the Heights so special.
Welcoming Heights is a new initiative aimed at creating a “city of neighbors” in Cleveland Heights through activities and services that promote a welcoming environment for immigrants who have made the city their home. The initiative is based in the beliefs that all humanity is connected and that people discover their humanity by sharing their unique experiences with others.
The initiative is part of an effort to assist members of the immigrant and refugee community to integrate into life in Cleveland Heights and Greater Cleveland, and also to enrich the entire community through activities in which all residents are welcome to participate. On Sept. 9, in the first of a series of meetings regarding the project, participants endorsed the ideas of establishing a “welcoming hub” in a Cleveland Heights library and possibly setting up a Welcome Wagon for new immigrants and refugees living in the community.
FutureHeights is accepting donations for its 10th Annual Online Auction, which serves as a major fundraiser for the nonprofit organization.
The auction supports the efforts of FutureHeights to create a stronger community in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. FutureHeights engages volunteers to help produce the Heights Observer community news; provides fiscal agency to various neighborhood-based groups; hosts numerous community-building events and activities, such as the Best of the Heights Awards and the Heights Music Hop; and presents community forums, tours and speakers.
An online preview begins Oct. 11, and bidding begins Nov. 21 at www.biddingforgood.com/futureheights.
As a Beaumont School student, Alyssa Bovell had learned about Sister Dorothy Kazel, an Ursuline nun who taught at the school before undertaking missionary work in El Salvador, where she was murdered in 1980. Bovell's August trip to the Central American country, with International Partners in Mission (IPM), drove home the impact of Kazel’s sacrifice.
“To be there, to hear about the history of El Salvador and the civil war and see the challenges that people are still facing today, there aren’t words to describe that,” Bovell said.
A resident of South Euclid, Bovell began a two-year fellowship at IPM’s Cleveland Heights headquarters after graduating in May from the University of Dayton with a major in international development and political science.
From May through August, Heights residents voted for their favorite Heights businesses in 22 categories, including Best New Business. Each year, FutureHeights—a nonprofit dedicated to promoting civic engagement in the Heights through information, education, and advocacy, and the publisher of the Heights Observer community news—conducts the Best of the Heights survey to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned businesses here in the Heights, and their contributions to the local economy.
“Heights residents recognize how lucky they are to have such an amazing diversity of independent businesses in our community, and want to show their appreciation,” said Clare Taft, president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors.
What does a renowned television host and travel writer have in common with the mother of a 2014 Academy Award winner recently featured on a Vogue magazine cover?
Rick Steves, host of public television’s “Rick Steves’ Europe” and public radio’s “Travel with Rick Steves,” and Dorothy Nyong’o, director of the Africa Cancer Foundation and mother of Lupita Nyong’o of Kenya, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in “12 Years a Slave,” are among the speakers and panelists coming to Northeast Ohio in October to celebrate the 40th anniversary of IPM (International Partners in Mission). The nonprofit organization is headquartered in the historic Rockefeller Building in Cleveland Heights.
IPM works with women, children and youths across borders of faith, culture and economic circumstances to build justice, peace and hope.
Come and celebrate fall with a Clam Bake fundraiser for Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), the Cleveland Heights nonprofit. The event will be held on the grounds of the McGregor Home, 14900 Private Drive, East Cleveland, on Saturday, Sept. 13, 5–9 p.m. Patrons will enjoy a relaxing evening filled with fun and fellowship, festive music, an auction of unique items and enticing experiences, and—of course—a delicious, traditional clam bake.
The Heights Youth Club (HYC) offers Heights students in grades one through 12 a smorgasbord of after-school activities, five days a week, 3–7:30 p.m. The club’s young people aspire to excel in school, and bring their book bags to the club with plans to do their homework—with the help of volunteer tutors, if need be—during the club’s Power Hour.
Roscoe Morgan, executive director of HYC, stated proudly that 50 percent of those students who come to the club with serious intentions about school make the honor or merit rolls. Morgan, who leads with a firm hand and wearing a broad smile, said, “I have the honor of coming to work for the students. A privilege. I learn and grow every day.”
Do you enjoy music? Do you enjoy working with local merchants? Do you enjoy volunteering?
On Oct. 11, Lee Road will once again be filled with free music at the second annual Heights Music Hop, and volunteers are needed to welcome people to the Cedar Lee Business District, help bands move gear, staff tables, and help set up and tear down. Volunteer perks include a T-shirt and free admission to the official after-party at The BottleHouse.
The Heights Music Hop will serve as one of the kick-off locations for Cleveland Beer Week (Oct. 10–18), and includes more bands and venues than last year’s inaugural event.
Three Heights civic organizations will host Welcome Home: Heights Authors, the second in a series celebrating some of the amazing people who call the Heights home, on Sunday, Oct. 5, 2–4 p.m., at Nighttown, 12387 Cedar Road.
The free event will feature a panel discussion by Heights authors about why they like living and working in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.
Panelists include novelist Thrity Umrigar, whose latest book, The Story Hour: A Novel, is a LibraryReads pick; children’s book author Tricia Springstubb, whose What Happened on Fox Street was an Indie 2010 Pick of the Year; James Henke, a former writer and editor for Rolling Stone magazine and author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley; and poet George Bilgere, winner of a 2003 Cleveland Arts Prize and 2014 Creative Workforce Fellowship, whose work has been frequently featured on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” on National Public Radio.
Wayne Mortensen, director of design and development for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress and a Cleveland Heights resident, will deliver the keynote address at the FutureHeights annual meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at the former Pontiac dealership, 3077 Mayfield Road.
Not your typical annual meeting, FutureHeights will give a brief overview of its annual activities and will then lead an interactive discussion about the state of the community. FutureHeights will present data showing current trends. In his keynote address, Mortensen will challenge participants to leverage the community’s strengths to confront its current challenges. He will highlight how similar communities have responded to adversity by defining a preferred future.
Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha Briley will respond, as will Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd., is the site of the Bob Cheshier Memorial Little Free Library. Although Cheshier died just over a year ago, his legacy lives on in the Little Free Library movement that he brought to Cleveland.
The movement began in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wis., built a model of a one-room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading, and placed it on a post in his front yard with a sign that said, "free books." His friend Rick Brooks, a youth and community development educator, saw the potential of the idea as a way to achieve a variety of goals for the common good.
The resulting Little Free Libraries movement has the dual goals of promoting literacy and a love of reading, and building a sense of community through shared skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.
Ten Cleveland Heights families opened their backyards to the public on June 21 to show off their chicken coops. All photos are by Gabe Schaffer. See more photos at www.heights-chickeneers.com.
North American Gurukul (NAG), a Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit organization, is sponsoring its sixth annual Connect, Discover, Serve online auction. The auction runs through July 12.
For the fourth consecutive year, a portion of the auction proceeds will benefit the Heights Emergency Food Center. The auction also helps to support NAG’s yoga service programs for recovery centers, halfway houses, prisons and inner city schools.
Beverly Singh, founder and director of the Atma Center on Lee Road, founded NAG in 2004, to support awareness and growth of Satyananda yoga throughout North America.
Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), the Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit that provides tools and techniques for homeowners to maintain their homes, announced in a May 21 press release that its executive director, Kathryn Lad, will retire on June 13.
According to the release, since taking the helm of the organization in 2006, Lad has helped redefine HRRC as a respected regional resource with a healthy new base of support. Throughout this process, she remained committed to client service.
"The recent economic crisis continues to impact the homeowners of our community," Lad said. "In recent years, in response to the needs we saw among the people we served, we added special services for seniors—to help them deal with contractors, maintain their property, and maximize their chances of remaining at home even if their physical health declines. We also introduced a series of classes for new homebuyers, and services to help people threatened by foreclosure."
Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) has launched a search for an executive director to advance its long-standing focus on home maintenance for healthy and diverse neighborhoods. This is only the third time in 43 years that the Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit has changed leaders.
Rob Josey, HRRC board member, and Shouresh Amir-Tahmasseb, president of the HRRC Board of Directors, are co-chairs of the search committee, formed at the organization’s June 9 board retreat, to find an effective leader who embraces HRRC’s mission and core commitments to equity, empowerment and sustainability.
In 2006, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, along with former Cleveland Mayor Michael White, established a leadership training program for engaged neighborhood leaders. The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP) is a free, 15-session community engagement training program for residents of Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs.
“A large part of Cleveland’s future depends on the strength of its neighborhoods,” said Michael R. White, NLDP program director. “The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program identifies, engages and trains leaders working to improve their communities. Through an intensive, nine-month program, NLDP develops skills and abilities that will benefit its participants, their neighborhoods and the city for years to come.”
We Are Cleveland Heights, an organization that comprises both residents and business owners, is hosting a Sunday in the Park event at Cain Park on June 1, 2–4 p.m.
We Are Cleveland Heights encourages park visitors to bring their families, fly kites, play instruments, bring a picnic, read a book, meet neighbors, and enjoy time in the park with others.
For more information on this event, and about We Are Cleveland Heights, visit www.facebook.com/weareclehts.
Two Heights nonprofits—FutureHeights, the community-building organization that publishes the Heights Observer, and Reaching Heights, the organization that supports public education in the Heights—are the newest tenants at the Coventry Building, 2843 Washington Blvd., the former Coventry Elementary School. The two organizations have both moved in to Suite 105, formerly occupied by the Open Office.
Three Heights civic organizations will host Welcome Home: Heights Foodies, a reception to welcome new and potential residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, at The Wine Spot, 2271 Lee Road.
The free event will feature a panel discussion by Heights foodies and entrepreneurs about why they like living and working in the Heights. Panelists are Chef Jonathan Sawyer, owner of The Greenhouse Tavern and Noodlecat; Tommy Fello, owner of Tommy’s restaurant; Keith Logan, owner of Sweetie Fry; and Adam Fleischer, owner of The Wine Spot.
It’s time for Taste of the Heights, the annual Heights Youth Club (HYC) fundraising event that brings together great tastes from many local restaurants. The event takes place at the club, 2065 Lee Road, on Wednesday, June 11, 6–9 p.m.
Sample specialties from Anatolia Café, Barle Soup and Sandwich, the BottleHouse Brewery, Brennan’s Colony, Cafe Tandoor, Dewey’s Pizza, Joey’s Bistro, Katz Club Diner, Lopez, the Mad Greek, Mister Brisket, New Heights Grill, Nighttown, O’Rielly’s Irish Pub, Pacific East, Pizzazz, the Rib Cage, the Stone Oven, Sweetie Fry, the Tavern Company, Taste, Tommy’s and Zagara’s Marketplace.
The annual meeting of the Cleveland Heights-based, nonprofit Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), will take place on Tuesday, June 3, 7 p.m., at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd. The public is invited to attend this free event.
After a brief review of the past year and election of new HRRC board members, staff and clients will share stories of HRRC and the community it serves.
Residents can vote for their favorite Heights businesses in the 10th annual FutureHeights Best of the Heights awards program. The 2014 survey begins May 31 and runs through Aug. 31.
Since 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit dedicated to promoting civic engagement through information, education and advocacy—has conducted this public opinion survey to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned Heights businesses, and their contributions to the local economy.
Ballots for Best of the Heights awards will be available in the June, July and August issues of the Heights Observer, at the many Heights independent businesses and at http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e9dhoxk2hvtnec3j/start.
FracTracker Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to tracking, and enhancing public understanding of, the impacts of the global shale gas industry, will host a fundraiser in Cleveland Heights on May 22.
The event will take place at the Wine Spot, 2271 Lee Road, 6:30–9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person and include a wine and cheese tasting, a silent auction and a door prize. FracTracker board members and staff will be on hand, and there will also be a special exhibit of maps and art, to enlighten and inform guests. Space is limited. To order tickets go to www.fractracker.org/donate/oh-fundraiser/.
An article in the Plain Dealer on March 11 reported that Cleveland public schools are preparing for 1,000 third graders to attend summer school. These children are at risk for not advancing to fourth grade due to lack of progress in reading. One local congregation is working to boost reading skills through a unique summer camp for children in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights who are at risk for falling behind.
In June, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church begins its fifth summer of an overnight camp program, and is adding a day camp this year. Based on a model established in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, Reading Camp Cleveland offers a week-long camp free of charge to children identified by their teachers as needing a reading boost.
Have you ever wished you could be a lobbyist working on behalf of children? Even if you are not a paid lobbyist, you can still embrace your role in the democratic process and demonstrate that you are paying attention to the decisions our elected officials make that affect the health and welfare of children by attending Mama Summit 2014 on May 7 in Columbus.
Organized by Moms Clean Air Force, with various partners, Mama Summit offers a chance for organizations and individuals focused on children’s issues to come together in a nonpartisan setting to ask elected officials to consider our children's future when making energy, air quality and health related decisions in Ohio.
Step back into the 1920s at the 2014 RoxArts Auction & Benefit on Saturday, May 17, 6:30–10 p.m., at the B-Side Lounge, 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd.
The event will evoke a speakeasy, circa Prohibition, where participants can indulge in phenomenal food catered by The Katz Club and Bodega, as well as complimentary beer and wine, and enjoy music and dancing—perhaps the Charleston or Shimmy—popular dances of the era. Silent and live auctions will feature getaway packages, art and jewelry by local artists, sports and arts venue tickets, summer camp packages and more.
This annual benefit is the primary fundraiser supporting RoxArts, a nonprofit organization of parents and community members working to bring enhanced arts education to students at Roxboro Elementary and Middle schools. Now in its fourth decade, RoxArts has sponsored programs in performing and visual arts for thousands of Heights students.
Spring is finally here, which means garlic mustard is in full bloom at Forest Hill Park. Because of the late start to the spring season, the garlic mustard plant is just now popping up. An invasive species that compromises and overwhelms our native biological communities, garlic mustard should be pulled up. It can then be transformed into edible dishes. Pesto is the most well-known recipe made from the plant.
Garlic mustard negatively affects both flora and fauna, including the native cut-leaf toothwort and native West Virginia White butterfly.