Letters To The Editor

'Puncture the Silence-Stop Mass Incarceration' movement forms in Cleveland Heights

To the Editor,

I am part of a new movement in Cleveland, Puncture the Silence-Stop Mass Incarceration. Inspired by Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow, and the “Stop Stop and Frisk” movement in NYC, eight women sitting in a living room in Cleveland Heights last April unanimously endorsed the Stop Mass Incarceration Network’s (SMIN) call for a month of mass resistance to mass incarceration, police terror and the criminalization of generations this October. We set about helping to build a new social movement against all of the injustices in the criminal “justice” system, and received a very good response.

We had been appalled by the murders of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, and the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 11:02 AM, 08.19.2014

Cedar Lee merchants mourn death of Jim Brennan

To the Editor:

The merchants of the Cedar Lee District offer their united sympathy upon learning the news that Jim Brennan of Brennan’s Colony Tavern & Restaurant was shot while at his business. 

Jim was a great friend to many in the neighborhood. He will be missed for more than just his skills as a local and independent businessman. Jim created a “go to” place for great food and drink and, most especially, a place where you could socialize with Jim and his neighbors on a Friday or Saturday night.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 5:46 PM, 06.30.2014

Who is it we entrust with our safety?

To the Editor:

The City of Cleveland Heights’s decisions regarding the Turkey Ridge project planned along Edgehill Road have evoked a lot of emotions in me: resentment regarding the 15-year, 100 percent tax abatement given the developer, Visconsi Companies; and irritation at the suggestion of a Turkey Ridge Community Reinvestment Area (CRA), when there is no blight among the several $400,000 to $1,000,000 buildings.

Now, I feel alarm. It turns out the hillside along Edgehill Road is prone to landslides. Yet our leaders at City Hall are unconcerned.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 7, Posted 2:32 PM, 06.30.2014

Residents react to council vote on Cedar-Coventry housing project

To the Editor:

At its May 5 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council voted 5-2 to confirm the variances granted by the CH Board of Zoning Appeals to Kertesz Enterprises, a developer from Orange Village, for a four-unit complex at the vacant lot at Cedar and Coventry roads. Council members Jeff Coryell and Melissa Yasinow voted against the measure.

At its May 14 meeting, scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. at CH City Hall, the city's planning commission will consider a conditional use permit for a planned residential development on the lot.

Neighborhood residents and others have expressed concern over the proposed development since it was announced in March. They point out that the size and mass of the building is out of scale with the property and detracts from the unique and historic character of the area.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 6:36 PM, 05.12.2014

Proposed Cedar Coventry development would fill a need

To the Editor:

Kathleen Tark's informed comments [Proposed Cedar Coventry development threatens historic neighborhood character] on the development of the Cedar-Coventry intersection's southwest property give everyone a desirable goal in the area's development. At the same time, Tark gives us no tangible and imminent means to [reach] that goal. Additionally, [her letter] ignores the existing situation with respect to the immediate area along Cedar Road where properties are being used as transient, multifamily, rentals.

The proposed development is designed to accommodate multiple families on a compact property where there is, obviously, a need that the adjacent properties are filling.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 4:01 PM, 05.12.2014

Loose garbage in Cleveland Heights

To the Editor:

I recently sent the following letter to the CH Public Works Department, and I am sending a copy to the Observer as well, in the hopes that this issue doesn’t get lost.

Dear Cleveland Heights Refuse and Recycling Department,

I really appreciate the service and hard work that you folks do on a daily basis. However, I want to bring it to the city's attention that the method of refuse collection is perhaps not the most appropriate for taxpayers' needs. I've seen the trucks collect with the mechanical arm, and it's cool-looking. But because it prevents the use of covered garbage cans—which exposes thin or improperly tied bags to weather, animals and other messy factors—my otherwise gorgeous street is constantly covered in trash.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 11:03 AM, 03.25.2014

I applaud Coryell's dissenting voice

To the Editor:

Because I haven’t paid attention to any discussion about development schemes for Cleveland Heights’s Turkey Ridge, I was unaware that on March 3 CH City Council decided 6-1 to establish a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) along Turkey Ridge. I read in the April issue of the Heights Observer City Council Member Jeff Coryell’s explanation for his lone dissenting voice.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:17 PM, 05.05.2014

CH tax-abatement policy could lead to future problems

To the Editor,
 
This letter is in response to the article in the April edition of the Heights Observer regarding the Turkey Ridge CRA.
 
Cleveland Heights City Council, in concert with the City Planning Department, is offering tax abatement as a mechanism to spur development in the city, but I believe the process has serious flaws. First of all, I must state that I fully support the concept as a method to encourage development of housing stock within the community.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:15 PM, 05.05.2014

Thank you all from Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park

To the Editor:

Believe it or not, we had beautiful weather for the Saturday, April 12, work day at the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park. The reward is a playground with equipment that has been repaired, and gardens weeded and mulched. A special thanks to Zoss the Swiss Baker and Phoenix Coffee on Coventry, which provided breakfast to get the volunteers started, and to Tommy’s restaurant, which provided a delicious lunch so they would have energy to finish the work. These generous individuals have contributed to the park cleanup for many years.

The hard-working volunteers were from CHHS's Project Build, Lake Erie Ink, Coventry Village SID, Cub Scout Pack #11 from Church of the Saviour, Heights High students and parents, and alumni of Coventry Elementary School.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:13 PM, 05.05.2014

Proposed Cedar Coventry development threatens historic neighborhood character

To the Editor:

The Cedar Coventry neighborhood sits at the intersection of three of the great Cleveland Heights historic districts—Calhoun’s Euclid Heights, Grant Deming’s Forest Hill, and the Euclid Golf District—and is punctuated by the tower of the historic landmark, St. Ann Church. Property on southwest corner, at one of the most visible and memorable intersections in the city, is in danger of being rezoned to accommodate a four-plex. 

Variances requested are not minor. If granted by the CH Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) at its meeting on Wednesday, April 23, at the CH Community Center, variances will allow building, drives and walkways to cover more than 57 percent of the site and accommodate 11 parking spaces.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 9:02 AM, 04.22.2014

Proposed Cedar Coventry development concerns neighbors

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights Planning Department is considering a proposal from Kertesz Enterprises, a developer from Orange Village, to build a four-plex on the vacant lot at the corner of Cedar and Coventry roads. Neighbors have voiced a number of concerns about the impact that three significant zoning variances, which are required for the developer to move forward, will have on the neighborhood.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 10:19 AM, 04.15.2014

CH-UH Board of Education response to Mosdos letter

This is a statement from CH-UH Board President Ron Register, responding to an open letter from Alan Rapoport, attorney for Mosdos Ohr Hatorah, regarding negotiations for the Millikin School property:

We are mystified by this letter. We’ve worked very hard for several years to reach an agreement with Mosdos that protects our community’s interests. We have been flexible, creative, compromising and patient, but in every instance we have eventually been rebuffed.

The proposal that the Board most recently received from Mr. Rapoport, on behalf of Mosdos, was to purchase both parcels of the Millikin property through an installment sale arrangement under which Mosdos would pay the Board $150,000 up front and $150,000 annual installments over the following three years. 

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 10:53 AM, 03.07.2014

Why I voted against establishing the Turkey Ridge CRA

To the Editor:

At the Cleveland Heights City Council meeting on March 3, I voted "No" on Ordinance No. 8-2014, establishing a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) in the Turkey Ridge area. Due to the late hour, I gave only a shortened version of the remarks I had prepared about the ordinance and my opposition. The following is the complete version:

When I ran for City Council, I pledged to the voters that I would act upon my belief that, in fairness to our residents and in recognition of the high value that we in Cleveland Heights place upon supporting our public schools, property tax abatements would be used sparingly and only when clearly justified by compelling need.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 11:45 AM, 03.04.2014

A salute to a community

To the Editor,  

At last, now that my health issues have become familiar, and no longer troublesome, I can try to extend all my daily thank-yous to countless people, both in and out of the Cleveland Heights community.   

The rallying support and the on-going chatter that erupted, did reach my hospital room within days. I was flabbergasted, lifted, and so deeply moved by all the attention then, as I still am now. 

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.18.2014

CH police are doing a fine job

To the Editor:

I am writing a reply to Joshua Schaffer's letter about Cleveland Heights police not following traffic laws (Heights Observer, January 2013). [He stated] that the CH police park illegally, run lights and use their sirens when there is no emergency. . . . I have lived in Cleveland Heights for more than six years and have had two or three interactions with the police. They have always been professional and treated me with respect. So what if they park in a no-parking zone or use the siren. They are the police! It comes with the job. . . . Our police force is doing a fine job.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 4:35 PM, 01.30.2014

Mosdos remains interested in Millikin property

To the Editor:

Mosdos Ohr Hatorah has learned that the CH-UH Board of Education proposes to convert its long-abandoned Millikin property into something other than a school. Mosdos is disappointed that negotiations with the board have so far been unsuccessful. It remains willing to negotiate further if and when the board changes its mind and agrees to sell the entire Millikin property without excluding the old stables. Otherwise, Mosdos could not develop a reasonable land use plan with adequate recreational area for children.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 4:35 PM, 01.30.2014

No Mart, Bart!

The closing of Walmart at Severance and opening of Walmart at Oakwood brings back memories. Back in the day (the 1980s, I believe), the developer Bart Wolstein wanted to buy Oakwood and put Cleveland's first Walmart there.

The neighborhood—the whole city—was, expectedly, up in arms and formed a Stop Walmart group headed by a Heights High teacher, Allan Wolf.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 2:38 PM, 01.02.2014

Police should follow traffic laws

I have traveled all over the county, and the state, and I have never seen law enforcement with such disregard of the law than the Cleveland Heights police. Let me begin by saying that I have the highest respect for people who put their lives in danger to protect others. Over many years, I have seen police in Cleveland Heights park illegally, run red lights, even write tickets to legally parked vehicles. I have posted pictures and videos of all my accusations at saferheights.wordpress.com.

Read Full Story
Volume 7, Issue 1, Posted 2:34 PM, 01.02.2014

The future of Cleveland Heights?

To the Editor:

There is something wrong in Cleveland Heights and it needs to change.  I have some ideas.

When I began my group, Citizens Leadership, five months ago, the biggest complaint was the unresponsiveness of city hall and reduction in services. I thought attending council meetings would enlighten me on city hall machinations. I also wanted to learn about the decision-making process on issues that affect my existence as a resident of Cleveland Heights. My hopes were to share what I learned with my fellow residents and to offer some suggestions should I or my cohorts have any. The idyll was an informed citizenry working arm-and-arm with city hall. Silly girl!

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:46 AM, 12.02.2013

Heights Arts announces a double adoption

Heights Arts and the City of Cleveland Heights have new additions to our families. This summer, Heights Arts participated in the Play Me, I’m Yours street piano project, thanks to the generous donation of an upright piano by Cleveland Heights residents Faith and Brendan Gill. The piano was placed in the mini park beside our gallery on Lee Road for passers-by to play. As the seasons changed, we knew that the piano would need a new home before the weather took its toll, and as its original purpose was to spark imagination and creativity outdoors, it was not a viable option for our indoor performance needs.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:44 AM, 12.02.2013

Cleveland Heights voters proclaim corporations are not people, money is not speech

To the Editor:

Cleveland Heights voters decisively passed a local ordinance on Nov. 5, instructing the city to inform federal and state elected officials that Cleveland Heights voters want a U.S. constitutional amendment ending constitutional rights for corporations and overturning the legal doctrine of money being considered equivalent to speech.

The measure, Issue 32, passed with more than 77 percent of the vote. More than 3,000 citizens signed petitions circulated by Cleveland Heights Move to Amend volunteers to place the grassroots initiative on the ballot.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:42 AM, 12.02.2013

CH-UH community elects a new school board member

To the Editor:

Congratulations to Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education members Ron Register, current board president, who has served on the board since January 2002; and Kal Zucker, who has served on the board since January 2006; on their re-election to serve on the board.

Eric Silverman was elected to serve a new four-year term starting January 2014. He previously served as a board member from January 1994 to December 2011.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:26 AM, 12.02.2013

Walmart's throw-away attitude

To the Editor:

It is nice of you all to put a positive spin on the news feed about the new Walmart, but to me it is simply chilling. I think it is almost obscene for Walmart to put out this claim about how energy efficient [its] new store is when actually in reality it is just another drain on what has become our throw-away attitude about our society and our earth.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:25 AM, 12.02.2013

Lift the overnight parking ban

To the Editor:

It is time to change Cleveland Heights's overnight parking ban.

I moved to Cleveland Heights in 2012 and was surprised to find this ban in place, which limits the ability of out-of-town family and friends to conveniently visit.

My fiancée also lives in Cleveland Heights, and every time I visit her for a night I need to call the police for parking permission. These phone calls are inefficient. The officer in charge handwrites the note and cars are frequently ticketed even after calling for clearance.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 11:22 AM, 12.02.2013

Rohal brothers served UH for a combined 69 years

To the Editor:

It has been a long run, and a good run. On October 24, 2013, Patrolman Dennis W. Rohal retired from the University Heights Police Department with 28 years of dedicated, professional service.

This closed the book on nearly 44 years of continuous service by the Rohal brothers, starting in 1970. James B. Rohal, former deputy chief, retired in 2011 after 41 years with the department.  

It was an honor and privilege to serve the fine citizens of this city. University Heights was like our second home.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 10:25 AM, 11.05.2013

Unique Heights people

To the Editor: 

I’ve been meaning to submit a contribution to your newspaper ever since you called for volunteers to tell readers about unique Heights people.

In the 1980s, I owned a home near Noble and Mayfield, and enjoyed the neighbors and activities. When my company left town and I could no longer pay mortgage and taxes, I had to sell. I moved to Hessler Road where I met and worked with—on the Hessler Street Fair—many interesting and unique Heights characters. I think a bit of historical lore about Heights residents would enhance [its] reputation as a creative cauldron for those, past and present, who [have contributed to] Greater Cleveland.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 12:51 PM, 10.31.2013

Schools should be palaces

To the Editor:

I am a young Cleveland Heights homeowner. My wife and I bought our home near Cedar Lee almost five years ago. We love our home, our neighbors and our neighborhood. We spend almost all of our disposable income at the businesses on Lee Road. When we have children, we are unquestionably sending them to public schools. We don’t know yet if we love our schools and the academic community around them. In other words, we are exactly who the city and school district should be working to attract and keep in the district. We want to stay here.  In the hopes of beginning to develop a relationship with the schools, I toured Heights High on Sept. 10. There is no question that it is in disrepair and needs investment.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 1:13 PM, 10.01.2013

Issue 81: chump change?

To the Editor:

I believe strongly in good education and have been frustrated by the inadequacies in our district, as well as annoyed by the board’s constant harping in veiled words about the percentage of poor black students that makes our system so “special.”

What bothers me most about Issue 81 is that it is not about education. But I am not inclined to present my opinion based on my feelings. I prefer a proper analysis, which is what I have done after reviewing reams of records.

The telling documents that, to me, contain the “smoking gun” with regard to this issue and the plan it is supposed to fund are those referenced by the supporters of Issue 81 and the board: the state’s report.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 1:04 PM, 10.01.2013

Vote Yes

To the Editor:

I grew up in Cleveland Heights, I live here and now I own a business here. Like many young people, I left the region at the first chance. My job took me around the country and our personal travels took us around the world. I spent extended time in many communities, and although I enjoyed visiting most of them, very few had the personality of Cleveland Heights.

When my career offered us the opportunity to live wherever we wanted, we jumped at the chance to move back to 44118.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 12:57 PM, 10.01.2013

Reaching Heights board endorses Issue 81

To the Editor:

The Reaching Heights Board of Directors enthusiastically endorses Issue 81. The plan was developed by CH and UH citizens after a year long effort and thoughtful analysis of district physical infrastructure needs. Issue 81 reflects the values of the Heights community—preserving the past, while preparing for future generations. 

Reaching Heights’s focus is excellence in public education. District buildings, especially the high school, have reached a point where they hinder rather than promote quality education. The costs to maintain these aging structures have become an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 12:36 PM, 10.29.2013

Issue 81 and handicapped accessibility

To the Editor:

While there are numerous reasons to support Issue 81, the bond issue to fund renovations of CH-UH’s middle and high schools, I would like to highlight one very important aspect: handicapped accessibility.

Clearly, our district does a fantastic job of educating its students, sending scores of graduates to first- and second-tier universities every year, and its extracurricular offerings are extensive and impressive. Our schools also meet the needs of every student regardless of physical limitation, abiding by the laws and requirements to provide all children with free, appropriate public education. But the physical structure of our buildings hinders the ability of the schools to meet the physical needs of those students with mobility issues, including those with physical and/or developmental disabilities and students (and staff) with acute, medical issues, such as healing from back or leg surgery, as well as disabled parents and grandparents who wish to participate in or view school programs.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 10:51 AM, 10.22.2013

We are the owners

To the Editor,

I am a graduate of Heights High, and parent of three kids in CH-UH schools, currently at all levels—elementary, middle and high school.

I am committed to our CH-UH school district in all its complexities, strengths and weaknesses. It is a remarkable and special place.

I have been involved, since the beginning, with the schools facilities process. Now, after three years of work, we have a plan and a bond issue (81) on the table. There are many reasons I know this is the right thing to do, from [maintaining] appropriate temperatures in classrooms to the importance of spaces that reflect the value we place on education and the potential of our youth.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 10:10 AM, 10.15.2013

Student performance trajectory is positive

The most upsetting argument against CH-UH’s Issue 81 is the claim that our schools are failing. This is frustrating because it ignores the obvious physical needs of our buildings, but also because it simply isn’t true. The schools are thriving. Our teachers are teaching and our students are learning.

Here’s the reality: Our district serves poor children. This isn’t an excuse, nor a shift of blame. I happen to be proud that we serve poor children and believe that fact should be celebrated. But, as research shows, children raised in poverty come to school less ready to learn, already behind their peers on the first day of kindergarten. They often have smaller vocabularies, shorter attention spans and few of the preliteracy skills required for learning to read and write. These problems continue throughout their educational careers, which are often disrupted by frequent moves in and out of schools and districts.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 10:07 AM, 10.15.2013

LWV endorses school facilities bond issue

To the Editor:

The League of Women Voters supports the $134.8 million bond issue that the CH-UH Board of Education has placed on the November ballot. These funds will support the implementation of the first phase of a comprehensive K–12 plan, carefully developed with extensive citizen involvement.

The plan will overhaul the core operating systems and upgrade the learning environment of our school facilities to better meet educational needs for the next 50 years. The first phase will take Heights High down to its bones, replacing all operating systems with up-to-date and energy-efficient solutions, and will substantially renovate  Monticello and Roxboro middle schools.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 1:53 PM, 10.01.2013

Economic concerns weigh on residents considering facilities bond issue

To the Editor:

I attended the meeting on Sept. 11 about the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district’s proposed bond issue to fund major renovation and updates of the district’s school buildings. Supporters of the bond issue made a compelling case to no longer delay this long-overdue renovation of our school buildings. It seemed, at least for the majority attending the meeting, that there was no disagreement on this point. 

However, during a “sidebar” conversation with another resident outside of the actual meeting, it became clear to me that, for at least some of the citizens of the district, the need to rebuild and upgrade the school facilities is not the central issue. They understand and agree that the need exists. The real issue for these citizens is and will be an economic one, pitting the cost of long-term financing of the facilities plan against the continued need to fund school district operations at the same time.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 1:47 PM, 10.01.2013

Public schools are for everyone

To the Editor:

I had a hard time deciding whether to move to Cleveland Heights in 1996. A combination of factors led me to make the move. The flashes of city life I saw on Coventry reminded me of my years in Chicago, and the occasional hillside brought back pleasant childhood memories. Also interesting were the city’s claims to diversity and its strategies for maintaining racial integration. Because I don’t have children and because I had most recently lived in a place with a viable urban school system, the public schools didn’t catch my attention at first.

After living here for a while I noticed how our public schools contribute to our collective everyday life. I lived near Coventry Village at first and the presence of Coventry School struck me as the key to it seeming like a complete city in its own right.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 11:08 AM, 09.24.2013

How to pass the CH-UH facilities bond issue

To the Editor:

“What will change?” This is the question the education leaders of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District have to clearly and concisely answer if the facilities bond issue has any possibility of approval by the voters. The need to rehabilitate, refurbish and restructure the district’s buildings and infrastructure is apparent. This effort should have been initiated years ago. The leadership of the district has failed to connect the fulfillment of the facilities plan with a clearly articulated and creditable plan to improve the education program of the district. I believe that this failure puts the passage of the bond issue out of reach.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 11:13 AM, 09.24.2013

Persuaded by touring Heights High

To the Editor:

Last Tuesday I had an eye-opening experience. On a tour, I saw sections of Heights High that, as a satisfied parent of two successful graduates, I had never seen before. Beyond the restored auditorium and the functional social room that are most often seen by the public, there is an old building with dysfunctional infrastructure that is expensive to operate and difficult to maintain. I had no idea!

As we walked, we experienced amazingly uneven climate control. The auditorium was chilly but most of the building was sweltering. The ancient air circulation system makes such a loud hum in the music room that tuning instruments is a challenge. Lighting is poor in many areas, and we learned that the electrical systems have no capacity to incorporate additional technology. Student learning is compromised by such an environment!

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 11:04 AM, 09.17.2013

Public education matters

To the Editor:

Public school education matters.

We can say what we want about education, but our country’s future hangs on how well our children are educated. Public school education is the pathway whereby more than 90 percent of us learned to be social, economic and cultural citizens participating in the Great American experiment.

It is fairly well established that wealth creation, or, said another way, what an individual earns in his or her lifetime of work, directly correlates to the quality of education received and individual school performance. Those who perform better do better. Irrespective of the growth in school-choice options, the vast majority of Americans are, and will continue to be, educated in public schools.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 12:23 PM, 09.16.2013

CH needs a better public records policy

To the Editor:

Cleveland Heights should have a public records policy of which it can be proud. There is room for improvement.

The city’s public records policy is difficult for the average person to find on its website. One must locate the link to the codified ordinances and then run a search query.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 3:16 PM, 10.01.2013

Coventry-Overlook traffic signal schedule seems a hazaard

To the Editor:

In the past six months or so, it seems the traffic lights at the intersection of Coventry and Overlook roads have gone from green-yellow-red in each direction, all day and all night, to green-yellow-red in each direction during the day and flashing red on Overlook and flashing yellow (caution) on Coventry 24 hours a day.

This makes it very difficult to cross Coventry anywhere between Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, if not really between Fairmount and Euclid Heights boulevards. At all times, except the very wee hours of the morning graveyard-shift time, it is a challenge to scoot across Coventry between cars that are coming in both directions. When going west across the intersection on Overlook, the trees on the east side of Coventry to the south of the intersection block visibility in that direction, making it hard to see if there is a car just 50 feet away.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 3:15 PM, 10.01.2013

Beware if you are passing by this intersection

To the Editor:

There is a big patch of poison ivy at the intersection of Kenilworth and Mayfield roads; the exact address is 2555 Kenilworth Road.

Now, that might not sound like a big deal, and for many people it would not be. However, some people experience severe allergic reactions to poison ivy, [and] even end up in the hospital after they come into contact with it. So, this patch should be eradicated by the city or whoever else might be responsible. That is particularly the case because this poison ivy is located adjacent to a bus stop and many people either walk or bike past that intersection every day.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 1:57 PM, 10.01.2013

School district scheduling of an event for parents creates obstacles

To the Editor:

I have a concern about the CH-UH school district's poor communication about a major change to a traditional event for the 2013-14 school year.
 
I'm a Roxboro Elementary parent and have a full-time job. This year, the district scheduled Curriculum "Night" for 4:30 p.m. on a weekday (Monday, Aug. 26). The date and time were communicated to parents about two weeks prior to the event. This left insufficient time for me to arrange for time off from work to attend, and I was only able to be there for the last 20 minutes of the session. I have spoken to a few other working parents who encountered the same obstacle.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 12:46 PM, 09.13.2013

Citizens Leadership meeting attendees dedicated to Cleveland Heights

To the Editor:

I am glad to see an article about our group, Citizens Leadership, and its first meeting ["Cleveland Heights citizens meet to discuss leadership and concerns," Heights Observer July 2013].

However, I have an issue with the inference made in the paragraph that begins, "Not everyone present expressed dissatisfaction with the city." The pride of place attributed to two citizens in that part of the article was in fact shared by all in attendance.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 1:20 PM, 08.30.2013

Clarifiying the mission of Revolution Books, and a correction

To the Editor:
 
I deeply appreciate the story you published on Revolution Books in the July 2013 Heights Observer. The writer prominently conveyed that the mission of Revolution Books is to contribute to changing the world in the interests of humanity. I particularly liked that he mentioned that we work cooperatively with other people wanting a better world. We are very pleased that more people have visited the store since the article was published.
 
The powers that be have a history of using positive articles like [the one written by Jim Henke] to mischaracterize revolution and communism. The story says, “Formed in 1975, the RCP [Revolutionary Communist Party] was founded on the belief that U.S. imperialism will never end peacefully and that the only way to liberate the world is through Communist revolution.” This statement could be subject to misinterpretation. In this country today, the authorities viciously try to destroy any voice that exposes the crimes of the government, and especially if it offers people a viable alternative. I ask that you print a clarification to make clear that the strategy of the RCP is not to start the “revolution” by advocating violence.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 1:18 PM, 08.30.2013

Disqualification of Jazzercise was arbitrary

To the Editor:

I wonder why Jazzercise at the Cleveland Heights Community Center has been disqualified from FutureHeights’s 2013 Best of the Heights awards. The official explanation is that Jazzercise has won too many times. Actually, Jazzercise has won only twice in eight years. However, Aladdin’s, Tommy’s, the Stone Oven, Quintana’s Barber and Dream Spa, and Nighttown all appear on the 2013 Best of the Heights ballot. All have won multiple Best of the Heights awards.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 1:09 PM, 08.30.2013

Changes to Cain Park signs may not be for the better

To the Editor:

I was both shocked and dismayed to be slapped in the face the other day by the new electronic signs placed at either end of Cain Park. I know there has been far too much money (taxpayer money?) spent to call for their removal, although correcting this mistake would be well worth the price. While I am well aware that Cleveland Heights is no quaint little New England village, neither are we Beachwood and certainly Cain Park is no Legacy Village.

While it appears that they have been designed to reflect some subtlety for what they actually are, their addition to the landscape has removed all of the charm to the entrances of one of our city’s most valued assets.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 12:46 PM, 08.30.2013

Cleveland Heights cares about democracy

To the Editor:

Cleveland Heights voters just showed they care deeply about democracy. And we hope they will have the opportunity to show it again in November.

More than 3,000 people in Cleveland Heights showed they cared by signing the Move to Amend initiative petition. Thanks to them, we passed an important milestone in the effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to firmly establish that individuals, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights. More than a symbolic gesture, passage of the initiative would instruct our U.S. and state representatives to take action on this issue.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 2:06 PM, 07.31.2013

A park at Meadowbrook and Lee?

One year, at a local holiday pottery sale, I bought my younger daughter a decorative plate; it is all black except for one corner where there is a rising yellow moon. Underneath the moon are the words, “The barn burned down, now I can see the moon.” I could never be that sanguine, but I am a firm believer that change creates opportunity. My point?  The Orlean Company’s plan to build apartments and retail on the city-owned property at Meadowbrook and Lee fell through. I don’t know why.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 10:38 AM, 05.21.2013

Brick streets are one of the city's many assets

To the Editor:

I am worried about one of the opinions expressed by Mary Dunbar in her article "Cleveland Heights road repairs" [Heights Observer, April 1]. Ms. Dunbar wrote, "Though charming, Cleveland Heights's few remaining brick roads can be cost prohibitive to maintain. Covering them with asphalt improves driving safety and makes repairs affordable."

This seems to me to be a curious statement from a member of Cleveland Heights City Council. Cleveland Heights is blessed with many charming homes, commercial buildings and parks. If we only consider cost, I guess it is true that all of our charming assets could be replaced with alternatives that would make them less "cost prohibitive to maintain," but then Cleveland Heights would be just another suburban clone community.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 10:20 AM, 05.14.2013

Date set for public records trial regarding Taylor Road rehabilitation project

A common pleas judge has rejected an attempt by the City of Cleveland Heights to block a public records case from going to trial.

[We], Cleveland Heights residents Douglas Whipple and Susan Tuck-Whipple, had submitted two public records requests to the city in 2011--before the project began. They sought records relating to the conduct of city council and the administration leading up to the rehabilitation of Taylor Road. The project narrowed South Taylor Road and allocated all of the resulting green space to the commercial east side of the street and none to the residential west side.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 4:34 PM, 05.10.2013

Gun violence and gospel values

To the Editor:

The issue of gun accessibility and gun control divides our nation. Most Americans agree that sensible gun control is a good thing. Getting specific about what that looks like, however, separates us into confused and suspicious camps. Good people and good friends disagree. Within the Forest Hill congregation there exists a variety of opinions, shaped by where one grew up, where one lives now, previous gun usage or ownership, and one’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.  

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 12:59 PM, 04.30.2013

Free parking shows that CH is pro-business

To the Editor,

I wish to commend Mayor Kelley and Cleveland Heights City Council for their recent action to provide free parking in all city lots on the last weekend of each month in 2013.

This is exactly the type of vote that sends a clear message that Cleveland Heights is pro-business. It encourages those of us who are already conducting business in Cleveland Heights, and helps attract new business. Indeed, in a conversation I had yesterday with a potential new business coming to Cedar Fairmount, it demonstrates that we are a good place to do business.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 10:58 AM, 01.24.2013

Coventry Library vital part of Coventry Village

To the Editor:

Though it offers a different kind of activity from the bustling eateries, taverns and shops just down the street, Coventry Village Library—a branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library system—is very much a part of the Coventry Village neighborhood. In fact, with its dignified English Medieval Vernacular (according to the library website) architectural style, and its noncommercial land use, the library helps ease the transition from Coventry’s mercantile strip to the residential areas down Washington Boulevard.

Read Full Story
Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 7:09 PM, 01.02.2013

Resident urges against spending estimated $200 million on new school facilities

To the Editor:

I was very disappointed in your editorial.

I attended a number of public meeting about the school facility "plan" and I spoke at a couple--mostly though, pretty ignored by arrogant SB and "academics" who are hellbent on taxing us to death to go $200 million into debt to build "fancy all new building."

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 3:28 PM, 11.29.2012

Spread the word: support independent businesses this holiday season

To the Editor,

It is holiday season for all of us, especially retailers. For the past few years, I have taken the letter below and added a paragraph or two (I guess you can call that creative reuse or self plagiarism). The issue of local independent businesses is near and dear to my heart and is so important to the viability and vitality of our neighborhoods. We must all make a conscientious effort to support local businesses, from the neighborhood bookstore and record store, which face the toughest battles of us "indies," to the locally owned music clubs that struggle to keep afloat.

It's been five years since I wrote my first letter—dated Holiday Season 2007. I believe that there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. Business is picking up! Most retailers are finally saying goodbye to the trend of decreased annual sales. Maybe it's the economy or maybe it's the community coming together to support local businesses. The bottom line is that it feels good, and we all say THANKS!

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 3:18 PM, 11.21.2012

Cuyahoga County Public Library Board plans sale of South Euclid's Telling Mansion

The Telling Mansion is for sale. 
 
The Telling Mansion has been home to the South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library since 1952. Quoting directly from the library’s website, “Mr. Fiske (Library Board President from 1946–54) recognized the potential of the Telling mansion, knew it was for sale, and felt the unique building should be preserved for use as a public library.” 
 
On Oct. 30, Robert Varley, the current library president, and Sari Feldman, the library director, put Telling Mansion on the market.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 5:29 PM, 11.12.2012

Heights performance of 'Phantom' was spectacular

To the Editor:

As a former resident of Cleveland Heights, I was delighted to be asked to attend the Saturday performance of “Phantom of the Opera” at Heights High. Having seen “Phantom” three times on professional stages and once at the movies, I was somewhat doubtful, in advance, of the quality of a high school performance. This is one of the most difficult of all Broadway shows—vocally and musically.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 7:29 AM, 11.12.2012

Promote safer bicycling and motoring

To the Editor,

Bike Cleveland is vying to win $10,000 worth of pro-bono communication services to develop a public awareness campaign to promote safer biking environments, in the Heights and across Greater Cleveland. Help Bike Cleveland win by going to Dix & Eaton's Facebook page and liking the Bike Cleveland entry before noon, Nov. 12.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 2:22 PM, 11.09.2012

Neither religion nor just hamstrings

To the Editor:

All of us at the Atma Center rejoiced after receiving news that we were named the Best Place to Express Your Spirituality in the 2012 FutureHeights Best of the Heights awards. Then we imagined some might wonder why a yoga school won in this category, dominated by nominations for churches and synagogues.

Read Full Story
Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 11:44 AM, 10.31.2012