Non-profit & Groups

HCC announces new project, contract and location

Heights Community Congress (HCC) enters its 41st year in serving the Heights community, and is excited to announce several recent developments that will positively impact Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

HCC has enlisted the expertise of researcher Ralph Day, who has joined its fair-housing team. Day is analyzing information from past testing audits to determine whether racial housing discrimination still exists in the suburban housing market, and whether the face of discrimination has changed since 1972. That was the year the St. Ann Audit found that racial steering was rampant in Cleveland Heights and neighboring communities.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 12:59 PM, 03.28.2013

Balanced transportation and urban reinvestment are focus of HBC meeting

The public is invited to hear an important address by Grace Gallucci, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA), on NOACA and its regional planning efforts. Gallucci will speak following a brief annual meeting of the Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC). This event will start at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at The Open Office, 2843 Washington Blvd., Cleveland Heights. 

Because of its responsibilities for transportation and environmental planning, NOACA plays a vital role in the economic development of the Heights and Northeast Ohio in general. NOACA’s Ten Goals ( include establishing a more balanced transportation system and fostering reinvestment in urban core areas. NOACA includes Cleveland Heights and all of its neighboring communities in the urban core.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 1:19 PM, 03.28.2013

Church of the Saviour hosts community recycling event

Church of the Saviour (COTS) in Cleveland Heights, in partnership with ENVIRO Recyclers, will host a community wide recycling event on Saturday, April 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the church's North Parking Lot.

This is a great opportunity for Heights residents to clean out basements, attics or garages, and recycle unused consumer electronics and scrap metals.


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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 1:35 PM, 03.28.2013

HRRC offers classes for prospective home buyers who have less than perfect credit

Low credit scores or lack of credit often prevent the purchase of a home. Many people with low credit scores assume they can never buy a home and instead turn to renting.

Before deciding that home ownership is not possible, it is a good idea to investigate what credit requirements are necessary and order a credit report to discover ways to improve a credit score. A free credit report can be obtained online at many sites, including and

Prospective homebuyers with less than perfect credit may qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage, which are insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Because lenders have less risk with these mortgages, requirements are not as restrictive as conventional loans.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 9:49 AM, 03.20.2013

Nature Center at Shaker Lakes hosts 8th annual Pestival on April 12

Pestival, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes' most unique event, will be held on Friday, April 12 from 6–9 p.m. at the Nature Center, 2600 South Park Blvd. This annual cocktail-style reception features delicacies made by local chefs from the invasive, but edible, garlic mustard pulled from the Nature Center grounds.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 11:19 AM, 03.28.2013

Plan your garden with HRRC and Bremec on the Heights

Show your support for Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) of Cleveland Heights and spruce up your yard at the same time by shopping for all your lawn and garden supplies at Bremec on the Heights Garden Center, located at 13410 Cedar Road.

For the fifth year, Bremec’s will donate a portion of every purchase made between Monday, April 22, and Sunday, May 5, to HRRC. For shoppers who prefer to select their plants and supplies later in the season, gift cards purchased during the event will also benefit HRRC.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 11:10 AM, 03.28.2013

Heights Dems to hold forum on gun violence

The Cleveland Heights Democrats will hold a panel discussion on reducing gun violence on Thursday, Feb. 14, at the Cleveland Heights Community Center,

“Since the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., our country has begun a very emotional and wide-ranging dialogue seeking to identify practical and effective steps we can take to curb senseless gun violence in our society,” said Mike Gaynier, secretary of the group. 

Panelists will include Susanna Niermann O’Neil, acting city manager of Cleveland Heights; Jeffrey Robertson, Cleveland Heights Chief of Police; Tom Schmida, teacher and former president of the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union; Jeffrey Bendix, journalist and senior editor of Medical Economics magazine; and a Jim Reese, a volunteer with the Buckeye Firearms Association.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 12:23 PM, 02.07.2013

FutureHeights to host spring programs

FutureHeights, a nonprofit dedicated to building a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights through civic engagement, will host two community programs this spring.

The first is a panel discussion on community organizing. On Thursday, March 14, FutureHeights will host “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” at the Bottlehouse Brewing Company, 2050 Lee Road. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and will feature panelists Pete Titas of Cain Park Neighborhood Association; Sarah Wean of the Grant Deming’s Forest Hill Historic District in Coventry Village; Jason Stein, member of Cleveland Heights City Council; and Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. The event is free and open to the public; however, a courtesy RSVP is requested by going to

The second program is the FutureHeights annual meeting with guest speaker Peter Pula, founder and CEO of Axiom News, a Canadian-based community news agency that practices generative journalism, a new method of reporting and storytelling that builds on a community’s strengths, rather than focusing on its weaknesses.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 12:17 PM, 02.28.2013

Local events this week celebrate and commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

The 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. holiday will be observed on Jan. 21. To follow is a listing local events from the Heights Observer online calendar that will celebrate and commemorate Dr. King's life.

Jan. 16: Cleveland Height's Annual Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The public is encouraged to attend Cleveland Heights's annual celebration of the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Wednesday evening, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Boulevard.  Awards will be given for the winning entries in the city's essay, poetry and poster contests.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.14.2013

AFS: working for peace, one student at a time

The Heights High AFS Club recently welcomed David Ford, an American Field Service ambulance driver in World War II, to speak on the topic “Peace is More Than a Good Idea—AFS Past, Present and Future.” In addition to sharing his war experiences, Ford talked about the early years of the international exchange organization. Thirteen AFS exchange students who currently attend Brush, Shaker Heights, Solon and Cleveland Heights high schools, their host families, past exchange students, local AFS volunteers, and school administrators listened to Ford’s comments.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 12:02 PM, 01.31.2013

Panel to speak on neighborhood organizing

FutureHeights will host “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” a program about neighborhood organizing, at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, at The Bottlehouse Brewing Company, 2050 Lee Road. The event will feature panelists Pete Titas of Cain Park Neighborhood Association; Sarah Wean of the Grant Deming’s Forest Hill Historic District in Coventry Village; Jason Stein,  member of Cleveland Heights City Council; and Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 11:54 AM, 01.31.2013

UST assists refugees here in the Heights

US Together Inc. (UST) is a nonprofit refugee resettlement agency with a branch in Cleveland Heights. An affiliate of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), UST resettles refugees from all over the world—irrespective of religion or ethnicity—who are forced to seek refuge in another country. All resettlement cases are referred by HIAS.

UST was founded in 2003 in Columbus, where it is headquartered, in response to the needs of refugees and immigrants in central Ohio. In 2008, UST opened an office in Beachwood, and in 2010 moved to an office in Cleveland Heights, at 2940 Noble Road.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 11:41 AM, 01.31.2013

Introduction to Zen Buddhism at Feb. 9 workshop

Learn about Zen Buddhism at an introductory workshop on Saturday, Feb. 9, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The program will feature a lecture about Zen practice and how it differs from other forms of Buddhism, a demonstration and guided meditations. A discussion of how to integrate practice with daily life will follow.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 11:48 AM, 01.31.2013

Holistic Moms Network launching chapter on Cleveland’s East Side

The progressive underground of moms on Cleveland’s East Side is well established, and the Heights may well be the mothership. In the past, it was surprisingly difficult to gain entry to the green, holistic underground. Lately, the signs have been clearer, with cloth diapers flapping on now-legal clotheslines, workshops on edible lawns, and CSA delivery in every parking lot. Green is about to get even more mainstream.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 11:32 AM, 01.31.2013

Lake Erie Ink hosts writing workshop for all ages

Lake Erie Ink (LEI) will host a writing workshop this Saturday, Jan. 26, from 10 a.m. to noon at its location in the former Coventry Elementary School. James Renner, author of It Came From Ohio, will host the travel and adventure writing workshop. He will describe how he tracked down stories of ghosts, aliens, frogmen and more to write his book, and participants will have an opportunity to write their own nonfiction story.

The program is geared for all ages, and the cost is $5, unless the participant is already registered in another LEI program. Pre-register at or by calling 216-320-4757. Lake Erie Ink's Weekend Ink programs are supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.22.2013

Nature Center offers winter family fireside nights

The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes welcomes winter with two fun and affordable Family Fireside Nights to be held on Friday, Jan. 11 and Friday, Feb. 1, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“The Nature Center is a winter wonderland this time of year,” said Kay Carlson, executive director. “Plan to join us at one or both of our Family Fireside Nights, to enjoy the beauty of the season and catch up with friends around a roaring fire."

On Friday, Jan. 11, Mr. Paul, the magician, and his puppet friends Rocky the Raccoon and Milton the Bird, will take center stage for an evening of “Puppets and Pajamas.”

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 2:59 PM, 01.10.2013

House writing project tells a generation’s story of foreclosure and abandonment

A week before Halloween, students at Lake Erie Ink’s Ink Spot after-school program were asked to write a description of a house on three-dimensional foam panels. The goal was to teach the concept of personification, giving human traits to nonliving objects. The results surprised the staff.

The project was the idea of Lydia Munnell, an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Northeast Ohio Literary Corps stationed at Lake Erie Ink, a Heights-based nonprofit co-founded by Amy Rosenbluth and Cynthia Larsen that provides writing opportunities for young people.

“I expected spooky houses full of vampires and ghosts,” said Munnell. “What I didn’t prompt or expect was for every description to be a realistic and heartbreaking sketch of an abandoned house.”

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 11:55 AM, 01.02.2013

Chili Cook-Off raises $1,700 for CH youth recreation fund

The Cleveland Heights Division of Parks and Recreation and the Recreation Advisory Board hosted its first-ever Chili Cook-Off on Nov. 3 at the Cleveland Heights Community Center. Eight local restaurants participated: Cedar Lee Pub, Inn on Coventry, Tommy’s restaurant, New Heights Grill, O'Rielly’s Pub, Rockefellers, Zagara’s Marketplace and Barle Soup & Sandwich. Whole Foods, Starbucks and On the Rise provided artisan breads and pastries. 

Entries were judged by a panel of community members, including Joel Borwick, former owner of Seitz-Agin Hardware and president of the Heights Youth Center’s board of directors.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 11:17 AM, 12.11.2012

FutureHeights hosts Cleveland Heights Cash Mob on Nov. 30

FutureHeights, a nonprofit committed to promoting a thriving and sustainable future for the Heights, has decided to support the local economy in a new way: by hosting a Cash Mob. 

A Cash Mob is similar to a Flash Mob, except that it takes place in a retail setting. Cash Mobs, which were started here in Cleveland by Andrew Samtoy, are known for bringing the community together while helping out a locally owned independent business.

Samtoy’s Cash Mob website specifies three simple rules:

  1. Spend at least $20
  2. Interact and socialize with others
  3. Have fun!!
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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:28 AM, 11.20.2012

Dec. 7 is deadline for Reaching Heights grants

As teachers throughout the Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools strive to implement new standards, update teaching methods and deliver high quality instruction, Reaching Heights supports their efforts through a competitive grant program. The 2012–13 Innovation in Education grants are designed to fund K–12 projects that help redefine what innovation and excellence look like in CH-UH schools.

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 3:33 PM, 11.30.2012

Leader of Middle East nonviolent resistance movement visits Cleveland

Iyad Burnat, head of the nonviolent Popular Committee of the West Bank Palestinian village of Bil’in, will be speaking at River’s Edge on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. (3430 Rocky River Drive, Cleveland) and at Cleveland State University (CSU) on Monday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. (Student Center at 21st and Euclid, Room 313). The presentations, accompanied by photos and videos, are free and open to the public.  

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:05 AM, 11.30.2012

International Human RIghts Day at Saint Alban's

The United Nation’s General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the first global proclamation of its kind, on Dec. 10, 1948. Each year, people around the world gather to celebrate International Human Rights Day (IHRD), and this year the people at Saint Alban Episcopal Church have decided to host two events in its honor.

Saint Alban's invites the public to take part in a simple community meal on Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. Vegetarian and non-vegetarian options will be available and the dinner is free. This is an opportunity to meet others who are interested in human rights and social justice issues.

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 7:38 PM, 11.29.2012

Nov. 26 Restaurant Tour and shopping event benefit FutureHeights

On Nov. 26, join FutureHeights for dinner and shopping. Two events in the Cedar Fairmount neighborhood of Cleveland Heights will support FutureHeights as well as two participating Heights businesses.

FutureHeights will host its monthly restaurant tour at The Mad Greek, 2466 Fairmount Blvd., from 5 p.m. on, in conjunction with—and proximity to—a holiday shopping event at Ten Thousand Villages, 12425 Cedar Road, from 6 to 8 p.m.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 1:10 PM, 10.31.2012

Holiday boutique at Judson Park in Cleveland Heights

Judson Foundation will host a holiday boutique on Wednesday, Nov. 14, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Judson Park, 1801 Chestnut Hills Drive, Cleveland Heights. Proceeds will support Judson's 2012 Annual Fund and Creative Arts Fund.

The Judson Holiday Boutique will feature vendors selling purses, accessories, books, pottery and hand-knit items. Peterson Nut Co. and Malley’s Chocolates products will be available at the boutique, and Colonial Coin and Jewelry will  be on site, buying back gold, silver, diamonds and coins, and selling jewelry.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:16 PM, 10.31.2012

Advent Festival features holiday gifts; benefits charities

The Church of the Saviour’s annual Advent Festival is sure to solve many holiday shopping dilemmas. The festival will take place on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and all proceeds will benefit local and global mission projects. 

Among the festival’s vendors are Ten Thousand Villages and Esperanza Threads. Ten Thousand Villages offers handmade crafts, with all proceeds going back to the Third-World artisans who make the bowls, jewelry, bags, rugs and other items. Esperanzathreadsoffers organic cotton apparel and goods.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 11:04 AM, 10.31.2012

Heights Emergency Food Center hosts benefit

Heights Emergency Food Center (HEFC) is hosting a benefit to support its mission of providing food to people in emergency situations.

The benefit, sponsored by The Equal Food Fund, will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on
 Saturday, Nov. 10 at the B Side Lounge, 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd.

Tickets are $25 and may be purchased in advance at or at the door the night of the event. Tickets include food, beer and wine. There will be a basket raffle and 50/50 raffle.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 12:22 PM, 10.31.2012

Heights Youth Club travels to El Salvador

The board of directors and the members of the Heights Youth Club (HYC) offered their thanks to the Sheffler family for sponsoring a second International Partners in Mission (IPM) immersion experience to Central America. Five HYC delegates, and two chaperones, traveled to El Salvador in August for a one-week visit to that country. All parties connected with the trip agree that the experience will have a lasting impact on the young travelers.

While in El Salvador, the teens met a group of women who had campaigned to bring well water to their community of 96 families. One of the women, Conchita, told the group that when they finally struck water, everyone cheered and hugged and cried tears of joy together.

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 2:24 PM, 10.03.2012

FutureHeights announces Best of the Heights on Oct. 17

From May through August, Heights residents voted for their favorite Heights businesses in 20 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 independently owned businesses in the Heights, and their contributions to the local economy.

View the 2011 award ceremony at

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 1:30 PM, 10.03.2012

Rockefellers to host Scrabble tournament

The third annual Scrabble Tournament Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Oct. 27. The event benefits the Waiting Child Fund and its efforts to find permanent families for children in foster care.  

The tournament will run from 3 to 6 p.m. at Rockefeller's Restaurant, 3099 Mayfield Road. Vikki and Todd Webster, residents of Cleveland Heights, are the hosts. The $40 ticket includes appetizers, drinks, and a chance to test your Scrabble skills and win fun prizes.

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 2:49 PM, 10.02.2012

Heights families to raise money for children's cancer research in Sept. 29 CureSearch Walk

On Saturday, Sept. 29 at 9 a.m., hundreds will gather at Wade Oval Park in University Circle for the CureSearch Walk to celebrate and honor children from across Northeast Ohio who have or have had cancer, while raising money for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit which funds children’s cancer research.

The walk is spearheaded by co-chairs Stephen Crowley and Cynthia Van Lenten of Cleveland Heights, and Greg Plautz, M.D., of Shaker Heights. Plautz is chair of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at the Cleveland Clinic.

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 10:38 AM, 09.11.2012

Jake Weisblat sets Thunder Run course record

Jake Weisblat broke the Forest Hill Park Thunder Run record by more than a minute with his time of 17:29.1 at the 5k race held July 21. “It’s fun to win,” he said. “The course is nice and flat.”

The 16-year-old is a Cleveland Heights resident and a student at University School. This was his first Thunder Run, but his mother Gina Weisblat, who placed first in her age category, has run in each of the previous three events. “We heard about it a few years ago when our sons were playing baseball right here at Forest Hills,” she said. “I think it’s a really pretty course. It’s nice to run in your own community.”

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 12:38 PM, 07.24.2012

July 4 yoga fundraiser for Heights Emergency Food Center

The Atma Center invites you to help others on Independence Day. Join teachers and students from the Atma Center on Wednesday, July 4, for an all-levels yoga class to benefit the Heights Emergency Food Center. The class will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at Cumberland Park (near the Soldier’s Memorial at the north end of the park).

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 11:40 AM, 06.26.2012

AFS promotes world peace one teenager at a time

Krista Hawthorne and Adrienne Yelsky have nearly 60 years of combined volunteer service with the AFS Foreign Exchange program.

AFS places foreign students with local host families, and sends American students to foreign countries to attend school and live with families abroad. 

The purpose of AFS is to “provide intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.” In other words, “promoting world peace one teenager at a time,” according to Hawthorne.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 1:12 PM, 06.28.2012

Family and friends pay tribute to the memory of Hugh Williams

University Heights resident Hugh Richard Williams IV was laid to rest June 23 after a memorial service at Cedar Hill Baptist Church, where he had been a member. Williams was 43 years old and died after a battle with an aggressive form of cancer.

Williams was active in many community organizations and his children’s school, Gearity Professional Development School. He served on the boards of FutureHeights, Open Doors Academy and the Thea Bowman Center. He was a member of the 2008 Cleveland Bridge Builders Flagship Class.

Williams was the first University Heights resident to serve on the board of FutureHeights, which added the city to its service area when it launched the Heights Observer. “I’d like to see the area (including UH) become THE place to live for progressive-minded, intellectually stimulated people of all origins,” Williams wrote in his board application.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 12:09 PM, 06.26.2012

Slovakian mayor visits Cleveland Heights

Last month, after visiting with Cleveland’s Mayor Frank Jackson, Milan Ftáčnik, the mayor of Bratislava, Slovakia, and United States Ambassador Theodore Sedgwick came to Cleveland Heights. They were in town to see the Margaret Wagner House of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRI). 

Ftáčnik and Sedgwick met with Richard Browdie, president and CEO of BRI, to discuss issues related to the placement of Slovakia’s aging population. The visitors were given a tour of the campus, which consists of the Margaret Wagner Apartments for low-income seniors, Adult Day and Partial Hospitalization programs and McGregor PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly).

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 12:17 PM, 06.26.2012

Zoned for Green draws a crowd

The Sustainable Heights Network hosted Zoned for Green, a community networking event on June 5 at the home of Gus and Jan Kious. About 70 people gathered to hear Karen Knittel, a city planner for the City of Cleveland Heights, give a brief overview of the new green zoning codes that the city council approved last month. The network organized small discussion groups to share thoughts and ideas on such topics as geothermal heating, composting, outdoor lighting concerns, demolishing buildings, permeable paving and gardening. The event drew participants from the cities of Akron, Shaker Heights and South Euclid who were interested in learning more about Cleveland Heights’s innovative approach to sustainability. A tour of the Kious’ straw bale house, the gardens and chicken coops, was also part of the event.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 11:50 AM, 06.26.2012

Family Connections receives 'Toolbox for Education' grant from Lowe's

Family Connections, a nonprofit organization with facilities in both Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, has taken an active role of strengthening connections among families, schools and community resources for around 30 years. 

Family Connections recently became the recipient of a “Tools for Education” grant from the Lowe’s Home Improvement Corporation. The grant will support the expansion and enhancement of the parent resource center at Canterbury Elementary School with the addition of shelving, furniture, new parent lending resources (books, videos, games) and a wall mural. 

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 6:27 PM, 06.08.2012

Cleveland Peace Action presents public dialogue on Iran

Cleveland Peace Action Education Fund will present a public dialogue, titled “Dealing Effectively with Iran without War,” on Monday, June 12, at 7:30 p.m,. at Siegal College of Judaic Studies. 

The United States and Israel are fast approaching a choice: war, more sanctions, or more effective negotiations with Iran. Moderated by Brian Amkraut, Siegal College provost, this interactive conversation between Peter Beinart and Jamal Abdi will consider other alternatives that would provide verifiable and sustainable security in the region.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 10:47 AM, 06.05.2012

Stedman Smith receives the Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship

At the Senior Awards Ceremony at Cleveland Heights High School on May 30, Stedman Smith received the 2012 Officer Jason D. West Memorial Scholarship. Commander Robert Montgomery presented the award to Smith.

In addition to having a part-time job, and being co-captain of the lacrosse team, Smith found time to become involved with the Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN), and he was selected as a student representative to the National MSAN conference. Smith’s volunteer work has included participation in a project to package and ship medical supplies to needy people in Third World countries. He also participated in the Ohio State Patrol Cadet program and was a junior trooper for a week.

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 1:40 PM, 06.01.2012

New CH and UH police chiefs to speak June 20

FutureHeights will host Meet the New Police Chiefs, the latest event in its speaker series, on Wednesday, June 20, at 6:30 p.m. The event will be held at Myxx, 12459 Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights. 

The evening will feature two speakers, Jeff Robertson, chief of police for the City of Cleveland Heights, and Steven Hammett, chief of police for the City of University Heights. Both chiefs will discuss new initiatives they have been working on since taking their new positions, how their departments interact with other communities, and how the community can be more involved in keeping our cities safe.

The event is free, but registration is required. To RSVP for the event, go to, call FutureHeights at 216-320-1423, or send an e-mail to

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 1:51 PM, 05.30.2012

'Zoned for Green' event focuses on sustainable homes

On Tuesday, June 5, the Sustainable Heights Network and the City of Cleveland Heights will sponsor “Zoned for Green! Opportunities for Sustainable Home Practices in Cleveland Heights.” From 5:30 to 7 p.m., attendees will learn how changes in the zoning code have practical applications to their homes. The event will be held at 12541 Cedar Road in Cleveland Heights, at the home of Jan and Gus Kious.

Karen Knittel, Cleveland Heights city planner, will speak about the new sustainable zoning code amendment. “The sustainable zoning code provides our residents with the framework to incorporate sustainable practices into their daily lives through projects that are completed at their homes, including gardening, laundry, energy reduction and creation, permeable driveways, and the way we travel around town,” Knittel said.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 1:21 PM, 05.30.2012

Cleveland Heights resident Barbara Danforth receives YWCA Lifetime Achievement Award

On Monday, May 14, YWCA Greater Cleveland awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to Barbara Danforth of Cleveland Heights.

Danforth served as the executive director of YWCA Greater Cleveland from 1995-2007 and President and CEO from 2007-2010. She was one of many area women recognized for professional achievement at the 36th annual Women of Achievement Awards Luncheon.

Danforth is the fifth recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in the history of the organization’s Women of Achievement Awards.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 9:22 AM, 06.01.2012

Coventry Village tour launches Heights Historical mobile phone app

Mark Souther, associate professor of history at Cleveland State University and member of the Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, leads an app-enhanced walking tour of Coventry Village on May 19, using Cleveland Historical, a mobile phone app developed by CSU’s Digital Humanities Department.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 12:32 PM, 05.30.2012

Call for entries to Heights Battle of the Bands

FutureHeights will host a Heights-based Battle of the Bands on Aug. 31 at the Grog Shop in Coventry Village. All musical genres are welcome. To qualify, at least one member of the band must live in Cleveland Heights or University Heights. 

To enter, submit the band’s contact information and at least one musical selection via e-mail to, or by mail to: Battle of the Bands, c/o FutureHeights, 2163 Lee Road, Suite 103, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118. The deadline for entries is July 15. Fore more information, call 216-320-1423.

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Volume 5, Issue 6, Posted 1:36 PM, 05.30.2012

'Taste of the Heights' to be held June 14

The Heights Youth Club (HYC) will hold its fourth annual Taste of the Heights fundraiser on Thursday, June 14 from 6–9 p.m., at its club facility at 2065 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. The event will feature food donated by more than 20 local restaurants, a raffle, billiards tournament, and music by the band Hubb's Groove. Proceeds will benefit HYC.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 1:14 PM, 05.02.2012

Thunder Run to be held in Forest Hill Park

Forest Hill Thunder Run 2012 will take place at 8 a.m., on Saturday, July 21 in Forest Hill Park. This year’s 5k run/walk will benefit FutureHeights, a nonprofit that promotes a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights through innovative ideas and civic engagement.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 11:46 AM, 05.02.2012

Cleveland Foodbank benefit outreach program simplifies application process

The Cleveland Foodbank understands that times are tough and money is tight for many in Northeast Ohio. To help, the Foodbank started a new benefit outreach program to make the application process quick and easy for more than 20 programs including SNAP (food stamps), prescription benefits, child care vouchers, WIC, medical coverage, and other assistance programs.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 11:36 AM, 05.02.2012

FutureHeights trains future leaders

A free neighborhood leadership-training event will be held on April 28 at Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian. FutureHeights will help participants learn how to identify community issues, recruit neighbors and take action at the neighborhood level. Chris McKee from the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative (MVOC), and Trevelle Harp, of the Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH), will share their extensive knowledge about community organizing.

Most people, if not all, want a neighborhood that is inviting, desirable, beautiful, and accommodating to everyone’s needs. In addition to help from the community, it takes vision to make this happen. Neighborhood leadership and creating that vision are at the core of making a noticeable difference. As a Japanese proverb suggests, “Vision without action is a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare.”

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 6:17 PM, 04.04.2012

FutureHeights inducts 13 to Innovator's Circle

At its annual meeting on March 20, FutureHeights inducted 13 new members to the Innovator's Circle, an honorary group that recognizes the actions and dedication of individuals who give their vision and energy to make the Heights the best communities they can be.

“This year, FutureHeights chose to recognize leaders in the movement to ensure that Cleveland Heights remained a vibrant and integrated community,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “When African Americans began moving into the Heights in the 1960s and 70s, there was a lot of fear that our community would become resegregated and that our housing stock would deteriorate. These individuals, and many others, organized to work against fear and prejudice. It is through their efforts that we have the wonderful and diverse community that we have today.”

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 10:27 AM, 04.04.2012

Reversing disinvestment begins with changing residents' perceptions

About 10 years ago, Harvey Garrett purchased a house near the vibrant Elmwood commercial district in Buffalo, New York. But it was on the wrong side of Richmond Avenue. Prices of homes on one side of the street sold for upwards of $200,000, while on his side some homes sold for $2,000.

Garrett decided that he needed to do something. What he and his neighbors did was the subject of his talk, “Reversing Disinvestment in Our Community,” at the FutureHeights annual meeting on March 20. Garrett described how, in 10 years, the West Side Community Collaborative (WSCC), an unofficial coalition of individuals and organizations, tripled home sale prices and created the fastest-growing real estate market in Buffalo.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 11:56 AM, 04.03.2012

'Elegiacal' end to annual spelling bee

It only took three rounds to eliminate 17 teams from the 21st annual Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee on March 28. The next three groups went in succession in the fourth round, leaving just one team—Phyllis’s Phriends—and one word: elegiacal.

Kathy Soltis, Lindy Burt and Tony Thayer, the three members of Phyllis’s Phriends, were crowned champions after spelling it correctly. Their winning word was apt. Representing the Noble and Oxford elementary schools' PTAs, the team was named in memory of Phyllis Albert, a beloved long-time teacher at Noble Elementary who died on March 1.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 6:39 PM, 04.02.2012

Reversing disinvestment is topic of FutureHeights annual meeting

If increasing numbers of vacant homes and commercial structures indicate a downward spiral of disinvestment driven by market forces, is it possible for individuals to reverse the trend?  

FutureHeights examines this issue at its annual meeting, “Reversing Disinvestment in Our Community.” The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20, at Grace Lutheran Church on Cedar Road, and is free and open to the public. Keynote speaker Harvey Garrett, founder and executive director of the West Side Community Collaborative in Buffalo, New York, will explain how, over 10 years, his organization transformed one of Buffalo’s most distressed neighborhoods into its fastest-growing real estate market.


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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 1:16 PM, 02.28.2012

Heritage Home Program announces changes

The Heritage Home Program is a unique home repair program that gives homeowners of older or historic homes the appropriate tools to maintain their houses and neighborhoods. Sponsored by Cuyahoga County, the Ohio Treasurer, and the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS) administers the program, offering technical assistance and low-interest, fixed-rate financing.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 11:22 AM, 02.29.2012

CRACC hosts Project Clean Lake meeting

Are you concerned about high water and sewer rates and wish you could do something about it? The Citizens Reform Association of Cuyahoga County (CRACC) is hosting a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 29 at the Lee Road Library, 2345 Lee Road, to explore this issue. The group will provide information and updates on the status of Project Clean Lake, and its anticipated impact on the Heights. 

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 11:26 AM, 02.14.2012

Pre-K children engage in interactive learning during this year’s SPARK group lessons

On Feb. 7, pre-kindergarten children and their parents will meet at Oxford Elementary School for an interactive group lesson. All are participants in SPARK (Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids), an in-home tutoring program that seeks to increase early-childhood literacy and school readiness.

Currently, there are 32 families enrolled in SPARK in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, and 30 are expected to attend the lesson. Activities will include reading, writing and singing, and all will encourage group interaction and help the children learn skills to prepare them for kindergarten. In 2011, three group lessons were held, in March, May and November.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 11:00 AM, 02.07.2012

Heights civic organizations host welcome event for new residents

Three Heights-area civic organizations will host a welcoming reception for new residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights this summer at the Lee Road Library.

The New Resident Welcome and Open House is scheduled for Sunday, July 1, from 2 to 3 p.m., at the Harvey & Friends bookstore on the second floor of the library, 2345 Lee Rd. All residents who consider themselves new to the community are warmly invited to enjoy light refreshments.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 10:28 PM, 02.05.2012

Kim Sergio Inglis is Observer editor-in-chief

FutureHeights is pleased to introduce the Heights Observer's new editor-in-chief, Kim Sergio Inglis. Kim has served as an enthusiastic volunteer editor and writer for the Observer for the last several years, and we are thrilled to have her on board in an official capacity. Prior to moving to the Heights in 2009, Kim lived in New York City and worked in the publishing and marketing fields. As editor, she will encourage volunteer writers, assign stories to volunteer editors, publish stories to the Web, publish the weekly e-news, and work with our graphic designers to layout the print issue each month.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 3:21 PM, 02.21.2012

FutureHeights to hold community-building events

Harvey Garrett, executive director of the West Side Community Collaborative in Buffalo, N.Y., will be the keynote speaker at the FutureHeights 2012 annual meeting. Garrett’s talk, Reversing Disinvestment in Our Community, will detail how his organization capitalized on vacant housing stock (much of it slated for demolition) and creative residents to turn one of Buffalo’s most distressed neighborhoods into its fastest growing real estate market.

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 11:20 AM, 01.31.2012