Non-profit & Groups

Ohio Dems Pepper and Turner to present new strategic plan on Feb. 10

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."

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 10:49 AM, 02.09.2015

CH group plans March 12 pop-up dinner at the Alcazar

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 or at Luna Bakery Café. Valet parking is included.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:54 AM, 02.27.2015

Social innovator Ruth DeGolia brings her story home to the Heights on March 11

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:31 PM, 02.26.2015

Go bananas at LEI's third annual fundraiser

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:28 PM, 02.26.2015

IPM sponsors life-changing trips to Colombia and Wyoming

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 2:17 PM, 02.26.2015

Peppler named executive director of nonprofit training organization

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 9:49 AM, 02.10.2015

City Club announces high-school essay competition

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?”

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 6:27 PM, 01.29.2015

Annual meeting for Heights gardeners is Feb. 17

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 11:25 AM, 01.29.2015

HCC presents original play to mark MLK holiday

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 11:05 AM, 01.13.2015

Fourth-grader plans book drive for Little Free Libraries

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 10:20 AM, 01.13.2015

Service day benefits local nonprofits

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.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 4:21 PM, 12.12.2014

Sustainable Heights Network to host meet and greet Nov. 12

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 9:39 AM, 11.06.2014

Second annual music festival keeps Lee Road hopping

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

For other questions or inquiries, e-mail

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 1:55 PM, 10.21.2014

Literary event to benefit women's educational nonprofit

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 9:55 AM, 09.30.2014

Mark your calendars for fall Friends events

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 9:28 AM, 09.30.2014

Building a city of neighbors in Cleveland Heights

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 2:50 PM, 09.29.2014

10th Annual Online Auction supports FutureHeights

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

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 2:25 PM, 09.29.2014

IPM trip stirs memories of Sister Kazel

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 2:20 PM, 09.29.2014

Find out who’s Best of the Heights Sept. 23

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 10:36 AM, 08.29.2014

IPM's 40th anniversary will draw experts and celebrities from around the world

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 10:17 AM, 08.29.2014

Sept. 13 clam bake to benefit HRRC

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 9:38 AM, 08.29.2014

Heights Youth Club encompasses scholarship, fun and responsibility

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.”

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 9:22 AM, 08.29.2014

Heights Music Hop seeks volunteers for Oct. 11 event

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 9:13 AM, 08.26.2014

Authors to share their thoughts on living and working in the Heights at Oct. 5 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.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 10:34 AM, 08.29.2014

Wayne Mortensen to speak at FutureHeights annual meeting

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 11:50 AM, 07.31.2014

Bob Cheshier Memorial Little Free Library installed at St. Paul's

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:32 AM, 07.31.2014

Nonprofit yoga service organization sponsors online benefit auction

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 11:46 AM, 07.01.2014

HRRC Director Kathryn Lad to retire

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."

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 11:12 AM, 05.27.2014

HRRC searches for new leader

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 1:42 PM, 06.30.2014

Cleveland leadership program seeks applicants for 2014

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.”  

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Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 1:26 PM, 06.30.2014

Sunday at Cain Park

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

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 11:24 AM, 05.30.2014

FutureHeights and Reaching Heights move to Coventry Village neighborhood

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. 

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 11:19 AM, 05.30.2014

Heights foodies to speak at welcome event on June 26

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 11:06 AM, 05.30.2014

Kick off the summer at HYC's Taste of the Heights June 11

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 10:50 AM, 05.30.2014

HRRC annual meeting is June 3

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 9:38 AM, 05.30.2014

Vote for Best of the Heights

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

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 4:40 PM, 06.02.2014

Nonprofit FracTracker Alliance plans May 22 fundraiser in Cleveland Heights

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

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 10:36 AM, 05.16.2014

St. Paul's Reading Camps are making a difference

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 12:04 PM, 05.05.2014

Parents invited to unite for children at Mama Summit on May 7 in Columbus

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 11:01 AM, 05.05.2014

RoxArts benefit celebrates the Roaring ‘20s

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 6:46 PM, 05.01.2014

Forest Hill Park offers garlic mustard-related events for spring, beginning April 26

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.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 11:37 AM, 04.25.2014

Krista Hawthorne to lead Reaching Heights

Reaching Heights has selected Krista Hawthorne as the next leader of the 25-year-old citizen support organization for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools. Hawthorne has been on the staff of Reaching Heights since 2006, most recently as assistant director. She will assume her duties as executive director on April 15.

“Krista combines an exciting sense of the future for Reaching Heights with a deep awareness of the organization’s history, which she’s helped shape over the last eight years, most recently as assistant director,” said John Hubbard, Reaching Heights board president. “She brings a deep understanding of our community and a demonstrated ability to connect with a wide range of people. We were fortunate to interview other remarkable candidates, whom I’m confident will continue to share their gifts on behalf of excellent public education in our community.”

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:42 AM, 03.25.2014

Snow, sidewalks and shovels: FutureHeights hosts public safety forum on April 1

Spring is finally upon us, but this winter has proven especially memorable. Record snowfall, weather-related school closures, and discussions about civic responsibility dominated conversations and media for months. Lengthy and severe conditions have left some lingering questions: What can we do better? How can we plan more effectively? Where do city services end and residents’ responsibility begin? Can we cooperate as a community to maintain superior public safety for all of our residents and visitors? How can we align our civic policies and individual actions to look beyond clear roads for cars to create a safe and welcoming environment for everyone, traveling by foot, bike, bus or car?

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 12:39 PM, 03.24.2014

Brave, bold, and bald: Heights students shave their heads for St. Baldrick’s cancer fundraiser

On Sunday, March 16, from noon to 4 p.m., cancer survivors will gather with their families, classmates, friends, teachers and students from the Heights and neighboring communities at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd., where participants will shave their heads to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

This year’s St. Baldrick’s event is held in honor of three students from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District: Austin Gallagher, a first-grader and two-time survivor of kidney cancer; Becca Meyer, a kindergartener currently battling a brain tumor; and Garrett Gulden, a seventh-grader battling leukemia.

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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:00 AM, 03.13.2014

Mixing up drinks and generations on Feb. 9

ClevelandGives, a volunteer group for young professionals sponsored by NCJW/Cleveland, is teaming up with senior residents from Beachwood's Myers Apartment and The Katz Club Diner to sample and relive the 1940s.

On Sunday, Feb. 9, at 5:30 p.m., attendees will learn from chef/owner Doug Katz and mixologist Eric Mattimore how to craft (and taste) three vintage cocktails, sample classic small plates, and learn about that time period from residents of Myers. The event will take place in the Katz Club bar car, a cozy, refurbished 1940s-era former diner car.

“We spend so much time on the internet researching stories, but often we forget that our greatest historians and storytellers live a mile away from us,” said Andrew Doris, ClevelandGives board member.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 9:13 AM, 02.04.2014

March 5 is wrap-up session for communitywide book discussion

This winter, more than 115 people participated in three evening conversations about the future of public education and education reform. The focus of the communitywide discussions was the book Reign of Error, written by Diane Ravitch, an education historian who served as assistant secretary of education under President George H. W. Bush.

A follow-up session to discuss action steps will be held from 7–9 p.m. on Wednesday, March 5, at the Heights High Social Room.

Ravitch, whose own views have changed significantly as she has observed the impact of widespread high-stakes standardized testing on public schools, neighborhoods, cities, teachers and children, argues in her book that the privatization approach that educational reformers advocate threatens the future existence of public schools in the United States.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 10:33 AM, 02.28.2014

Reaching Heights to honor Bailey at 23rd annual Bee

On March 12, Reaching Heights will host its annual Adult Spelling Bee in Heights High auditorium. The event serves as both a fundraiser for the organization and a family-friendly event for the whole community.

For 23 years, community members have formed teams of three to test their spelling skills and compete for the honor of having their team’s name emblazoned on the “Coveted Big Plastic Bee Trophy.” Teams represent organizations, such as parent-teacher associations from Heights schools, local religious institutions, universities, world-class orchestras, law firms, and city councils, or they comprise groups of friends. Some teams train extensively, others not so much, but all get into the spirit of the evening with creative costumes and cheering sections.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 4:34 PM, 02.27.2014

HCC hosts March 7 diversity awareness program

Heights Community Congress (HCC) will host a diversity awareness program on Friday, March 7, from 7–8:30 p.m. at the Lee Road Library. Advance registration is not required for this event, where participants will have the opportunity to experience the choices people made during the civil rights movement. Sometimes these choices meant the difference between life and death.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 4:14 PM, 02.27.2014

Join The Nature Conservancy for dinner at Tommy’s on Feb. 19

Last fall, The Nature Conservancy asked foodies in Cleveland, and across the country, to nominate their favorite green restaurants for its second annual People’s Choice Nature’s Plate Awards. Tommy’s Restaurant, 1824 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, garnered the most votes of the four nominated Greater Cleveland restaurants and so won the Conservancy’s 2013 Nature’s Plate Award for Cleveland.

On Feb. 19, the Ohio Nature Conservancy Meetup group will gather for dinner at Tommy’s, to celebrate the award and continue the conversation about food, conservation and The Nature Conservancy’s work with food producers. The public is invited to join in the dinner and the discussion.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 10:16 AM, 02.11.2014

CH Historical Society has new president

The Cleveland Heights Historical Society (CHHS) Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Ken Goldberg as the organization's new president.

A trustee since 1996, Goldberg serves on the Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission and spent many years as a member of the Cleveland Heights Improvement Awards Committee. He also is a former president of the Western Reserve Architectural Historians and was principal editor of AIA/Cleveland's Guide to Cleveland Architecture, 2nd edition. Many Heights residents are familiar with his articles, lectures, architectural walking tours, preservation consulting, and architectural color consulting. Goldberg holds an M.A. in art history from Binghamton University and an M.L.S. from Syracuse University.

Working with Michael Rotman, CHHS' new executive director, Goldberg hopes to strengthen the organization's core programs: producing "View from the Overlook," a publication featuring articles about local history; CHHS' website ( and related new blog; the organization's new Facebook page; and local history presentations; as well as fostering community outreach and cooperation with other historical organizations.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 12:10 PM, 01.30.2014

Dee Jay Doc gives new voice to students at Lake Erie Ink

For the third consecutive year, Lake Erie Ink welcomes Dee Jay Doc to Ink Spot, the creative writing afterschool program for students in grades 4 through 6. On Thursday afternoons, Doc will assist students in the creation of lyrics and beats (rhythmic soundtracks) with a positive message. He will also offer the Hip Hop Recording Project on Wednesdays for students in grades 6 through 12.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 11:50 AM, 01.30.2014

Award-winning bicycling movie coming to Cedar Lee Jan. 23

"Rising From Ashes," a joyous and uplifting independent film about the development of a Rwandan National Cycling Team, will be shown on Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Cedar Lee Theater, 2163 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights. The screening will benefit Heights Bicycle Coalition and Bike Cleveland.

Members of the Rwandan bike team were children during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Their pasts are painful.

Jacques ("Jock") Boyer, the first American to ride in the Tour de France in 1981, moved to Rwanda in 2006 to coach the Rwandan team's bicyclists. Both Jock and the team find new purpose as they rise from the ashes of their pasts through remarkable achievements, both big and small.

To view a trailer for this award-winning, visually stunning movie, go to

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 9:44 AM, 01.14.2014

Reaching Heights seeks new executive director

On Dec. 12, at the Reaching Heights Annual Meeting, Patrick Mullen announced that he will be stepping down as executive director of the organization in 2014.

Mullen and his family plan to move to New Zealand for a year, where his wife, Dr. Heather Mullen, will practice medicine.

"With gratitude for the chance to lead this organization since the fall of 2007, and excitement about the adventure that awaits, I will step down as executive director of Reaching Heights in the spring of 2014," said Mullen.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 11:43 AM, 01.07.2014

Community groups to host communitywide public education book discussion

Several Heights-based organizations will host a communitywide discussion about the future of public education and educational reform this winter. The focus of the discussion is the book Reign of Error, written by Diane Ravitch, an education historian who served as assistant secretary of education under President George H. W. Bush, and whose views have changed significantly as she has observed the impact of widespread high-stakes standardized testing on public schools, neighborhoods, cities, teachers and children.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 1:39 PM, 01.02.2014

Reaching Heights receives $4,550 grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture

Reaching Heights, a community nonprofit in Cleveland Heights that supports excellent public education, has been awarded $4,550 by Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC) for the Heights Summer Music Camp, which will mark its 10th year in June.

Reaching Heights mobilizes local musicians and music educators to create a weeklong, affordable music-immersion experience for more than 90 10- to-15-year-olds who participate in the school district’s instrumental music program.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 1:32 PM, 01.02.2014

Free speech essay contest for juniors and seniors

The call is out to all high school juniors and seniors. The City Club of Cleveland is presenting The Hope and Stanley Adelstein Free Speech Essay Contest, a special opportunity for upper-grade students to shine, and to win generous cash prizes.

The Adelsteins, lifelong residents of Northeast Ohio, are philanthropists and longtime members of The City Club. Stanley joined The City Club in 1941 and served as president of its board of directors. Hope, a retired nurse, joins her husband in their support of free speech, justice and the environmental issues.

The Free Speech Essay Contest gives students an opportunity to explore the complexities of our constitutional right to free speech while building essential writing and critical thinking skills. The contest is open to all juniors and seniors in public, private, parochial, charter and home schools in Cuyahoga and the surrounding counties.

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 1:19 PM, 01.02.2014

Simply Charming teams up with the SPCA Dec. 5–7

On Thursday, Dec. 5 through Saturday, Dec. 7, Lisa Gevelber, owner of Simply Charming in Cleveland Heights, will donate 20 percent of all sales at her boutique to the Northeast Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

Gevelber, who describes her shop as “an eclectic, quirky little boutique, carrying a variety of goods such as greeting cards, jewelry, handbags, scarves, candles, picture frames, journals, and baby and kids items,” has a special connection to the SPCA.

“I’ve had many dogs from the SPCA,” said Gevelber. “Clementine, Simply Charming’s shop dog, is not from there—she was a puppy mill dog—but most of my dogs have come from the SPCA. It’s an important organization, and I wanted to show my support for its work."

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Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 10:27 AM, 12.05.2013

Heights group provides hope to women trapped in global sex trade

Although Sr. Anthonia Ugheighele has worked with Nigerian women caught in the horror of human trafficking and prostitution in Italy for 13 years, their suffering still brings her to tears.

In November, she took the podium to accept an award from International Partners in Mission (IPM). She began by describing her first encounter with the international criminal enterprise that promises jobs to impoverished girls and women in Nigeria, sends them on a harrowing passage across North Africa and the Mediterranean Sea, and then traps them in Europe’s sex trade.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 12:08 PM, 12.02.2013

Racial disparities In suburban housing market still exist

Martha Goble, interim director of the Heights Community Congress (HCC), said the organization released a new study, Racial Disparities in the Cleveland Suburban Home Sales Market, 2008–2013, at the Ohio Fair Lending Conference at Trinity Commons on Nov. 1.

Ralph Day, who prepared the study and presented its findings at the conference, said that the study draws on data compiled from real estate audits conducted by HCC from 2008 to 2013, and compares the results to those of the St. Ann Audit conducted in 1972 in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. The St. Ann Audit established that “steering” and other forms of differential treatment guided black home seekers into integrated neighborhoods, and white home seekers away from those neighborhoods.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:59 AM, 12.02.2013