Letters To The Editor

CH-UH superintendent thanks community for passing Issue 109

To the Editor:

I first want to say a heartfelt thank you to the CH-UH community for supporting our schools. We are obviously thrilled with the result of Issue 109, and we appreciate the trust that the voters have in our public schools.

The work doesn't stop here, however. We must continue to earn the support and the trust of our community and strive toward our goal of academic excellence for each and every student. Our five-year strategic plan clearly sets us on this path to success—we have seen improvements in district operations already and expect to realize even more positive results moving forward.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 6:08 PM, 12.01.2016

Steering committee member thanks community for supporting schools

To the Editor:

I would like to personally thank every single person who volunteered their time and energy to campaign with Citizens for Our Heights Schools on behalf of the school levy. Your passion and your faith in our district made an enormous difference to residents.

And I would like to thank every single person who voted in favor of Issue 109. This victory allows the district to continue offering a high-quality, well-rounded education to our community's children, and sends a clear message about the value we place on opportunity and access. 

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 6:07 PM, 12.01.2016

Why I'm voting 'no' on Issue 109

To the Editor:

The following facts are reported on the Ohio Dept. of Education website at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Finance-and-Funding/Finance-Related-Data/Education-Fiscal-Data-Project which measures the CH-UH school district versus the other districts in Cuyahoga County (and statewide averages):

  1. Total expenditure per pupil: CH-UH $19,671.49 vs. $14,445 average for all other districts in Cuyahoga county;
  2. Classroom teachers average salary: CH-UH is $73,708 vs. $68,848 for other Cuyahoga County districts;
  3. K–12 pupil-to-teacher ratio: CH-UH 11.6 vs. Cuyahoga County average of 14.7 pupils per teacher.


What emerges from this report is a picture of a school system plagued by out-of-control spending, excessive overstaffing, and overpaid faculty.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 2:53 PM, 11.07.2016

Taking ownership of what schools don't do well enough

To the Editor:

I was at a joint meeting of University Heights City Council and the CH-UH school board on Sept. 14. Superintendent Dixon said at the meeting (paraphrased):

  1. Our district's administration owns up to the reality that too many of our students are not achieving to a level essential for their future life success.
  2. Teaching for mastery in each subject is the way for us to change that, no matter what state tests look like.

I have seen no school leader openly state this strategic awareness in my 30-plus years of watching our district. I can only take my hat off to such clarity.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 1:09 PM, 11.01.2016

Private school families support CH-UH schools and Issue 109

To the Editor:

We are writing as parents of school-aged children living in Cleveland Heights or University Heights. As East Siders, we are blessed with a wealth of options in deciding where our children will be educated. While each of us has chosen to send our own children to independent or parochial schools (or to home-school)—for reasons that include instilling religious values, maintaining family traditions or meeting the specific social or educational needs of our children—we nonetheless recognize the vital role a strong public school system plays in our community.

Heights schools have a challenging mission—to provide enriching academic, artistic and athletic programs for all students, regardless of background or ability; to provide a meaningful learning experience for students with disabilities; and to provide effective interventions and appropriate programming to maximize the potential of an at-risk population.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 1:06 PM, 11.01.2016

Reasons not to vote for school levy

To the Editor:

Recently an article in the Heights Observer explain[ed] a new food giveaway program for Heights residen[ts]. Evidently a substantial [number] of friends and neighbors can’t afford to feed their own families.  

There are an increasing number of residents who are becoming tax delinquent because of our increasingly higher tax rate.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to sell homes in the area for fair market value.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:43 PM, 11.01.2016

Parent wants all children to have more opportunities

To the Editor:

It’s one of those parenting clichés that we all want our children to have better lives and greater opportunities than we had ourselves. My children already have.

My daughter Amber, a senior at Heights High, is currently taking a full course load at Cleveland State University while simultaneously attending classes at Heights. She will finish high school with her entire freshman year of college under her belt. I cannot even begin to describe what this means to me financially and emotionally. For her to start college without the worry of being burdened by crippling debt is a huge weight off my shoulders.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:35 PM, 11.01.2016

Vote 'yes' to invest in our community

To the Editor,

By now, readers are likely to be aware of these basic facts about the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school budget and levy: The requested tax increase is the smallest ask in about 30 years; our district has lost about 33 percent of its state funding due to EdChoice and charter school programs, and this loss has been increasing every year; once inflation is taken into account, teachers are working for less pay than they did five years ago; the district has not gone this long without a levy passing for at least 20 years; the district cut more than 50 teaching positions this spring.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:32 PM, 11.01.2016

How we chose the public schools

To the Editor:

In 2012, choosing an elementary school for our daughter felt like a matter of subtraction. We aren't Catholic, so we crossed religious schools off our list. I was working part time as a community college English professor, so we crossed the more expensive private schools off our list. I knew my patience limit enough to know that home-schooling was never on the list. After all of these subtractions, the local public school was the only one left.

But school choice isn't a subtraction problem where the public school is the last answer. After four years in the public schools, I understand that our choice was actually a matter of addition.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:30 PM, 11.01.2016

Fourth-generation Heights family supports school levy

To the Editor:

I am voting for the CH-UH school levy this November.

In the past few months, I visited two schools, including the high school, and met with a variety of school administrators and teachers. I witnessed schools that were well-run even after years of cuts in operating expenses, limited payroll increases, teacher layoffs and the elimination of teacher and staff positions.  

One of the primary concerns for me and for many in the community is the graduation rate.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:28 PM, 11.01.2016

This parent will vote with pride for Issue 109

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district spends a lot of money on its students. Some people point to this as a reason not to support public education. I actually think it’s a fact about which we should all be proud.

We spend this money because our community values opportunity, equity and access. We believe that children should be introduced to foreign languages in elementary school. We believe that fourth-graders should have the chance to learn musical instruments, regardless of their parents’ ability to afford private lessons.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 12:25 PM, 11.01.2016

Clarifying the amount of school levy, Issue 109

To the editor:

We have gotten some questions from voters about the amount of the Issue 109 CH-UH levy and we want to clear up some confusion caused by an oddity of Ohio law. The ballot describes the levy as "5.5 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to 55 cents for each one hundred dollars of valuation." What the ballot does NOT explain, however, is that in Ohio, the "valuation" applied to tax levies is only 35 percent of the market value of your home--the law requires this.

The Cuyahoga County treasurer explains it like this:

"Property tax bills are calculated on the assessed value of property, which equals 35 percent of the Fiscal Officer's appraised value. For instance, a home with an appraised value of $100,000 will be taxed on a value of $35,000."

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 1:23 PM, 10.25.2016

Please vote against the school levy, excess and opaqueness

To the Editor,

Cleveland Heights, University Heights and South Euclid voters should vote against the school levy that will be on the ballot on Nov. 8, 2016.

I support this statement with the following data from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Comprehensive Annual Financial Report For The Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2015.

The district and the levy campaign will fail to mention these, as they are, as always, putting all responsibility for another tax increase on HB 920:

  • Between 2006 and 2015
    • General Fund Expenditures increased by 32.3 percent.
    • Student Enrollment decreased 13.5 percent.
    • The Cost per Student per Year increased 53 percent, to $20,534.
  • Between 2006 and 2013, the Graduation Rate decreased by 17 percent.
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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 11:53 AM, 09.30.2016

Voting yes for the CH-UH school levy makes 'cents'

To the Editor:

In November, there will be a levy on the ballot for Cleveland Heights-University Heights schools. As opposed to the school levy passed in 2013, which can only be used for renovations, this levy is only for school operations. 

It is a fair question to ask why the CH-UH Board [of Education] periodically turns to voters asking for more money for our schools’ operating expenses. In 1976, HB 920 was passed in Ohio. Under this law, the dollar amount of taxes collected by a school district can only increase with the passage of a levy. When a levy passes, the dollar amount (NOT the tax rate) is frozen until a new levy is approved.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 11:42 AM, 09.01.2016

Zagara's thanks the community for its support after power outage

To the Editor:

Thank you to those who helped organize this unforgettable day. Thank you to everyone who visited, shopped and offered hugs and good luck wishes to me, my family and my employees. Thank you to my employees who work hard every day to make sure Zagara’s Marketplace serves our community as best it can.

Zagara’s Marketplace experienced an unforgettable day on Saturday, Aug. 20. The sun shone bright. Customers smiled wide. Big hugs were offered. Hearty handshakes were given. And a few tears welled up in some eyes, including mine.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:07 AM, 08.23.2016

Teachers need leaders in tough times

To the Editor:

In the June Heights Observer, Ari Klein (“We must retain and attract school district employees”) and Susie Kaeser (“Intrinsic motivation, not accountability, produces excellence”) spoke to difficulties facing teachers. While I am inclined to their perspective, the helpless tone was discouraging to me.

Both articles concerned themselves with a portrayal of what is happening to teachers as though they were unwilling or unable to do anything to influence their own future. The authors wrote from the perspective “this is what is happening to us,” as though constraints and requirements fully explained teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom, and determined their satisfaction with work.

By omission, the authors implied that teachers either cannot or will not work to influence outcomes in the classroom, and that they have little responsibility for results.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 6:42 PM, 07.28.2016

Democracy (not!) in Cleveland Heights

To the Editor:

For 90 years, Cleveland Heights council elections were open affairs. That changed four years ago. Since then, [CH City] Council chose three of our council representatives using a now-abused section of our city charter that empowers it to fill empty council seats. Intriguingly, all three appointees are close friends and/or cohorts of [Mayor] Cheryl Stephens.

It is no surprise [to] this observer of council activities that these appointments took place behind closed doors—no meeting minutes reflect any discussion or weeding out of applicants who would be our representative.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:46 AM, 05.30.2016

A CH-UH district parent's view of Ohio EdChoice

To the Editor:

In the ongoing dialogue concerning the use of public funds for private education, incoming FutureHeights board member Matthew Wilson recently argued in favor of this practice. Mr. Wilson contends that there are many private-public partnerships for which taxpayer dollars are allocated. While this may be true, that does not necessarily make it right. I object to the use of public funds for private education on several grounds. However, here is my main objection: private schools are not obliged to enroll everyone.

Private schools admit and dismiss children from their schools based on behavioral issues, academic ability and special needs. Public schools cannot do so. Public schools must educate everyone.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:45 AM, 05.30.2016

Parent advocates for school choice

To the Editor:

We're lucky to have people like [Ari] Klein in our city and in our school system. His passion for education is evident. However, as a parent who opted out of the public system, I see a few details differently.

My view is that, in general, parents are the best advocates for their children. Parents that opt out are not draining resources, or "starving children," in Mr. Klein's dramatic words [Heights Observer April 2016 issue]. They're being conscientious parents! Without these [opt-out] programs, when parents aren't satisfied, the only other choice might be to move away.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 5:06 PM, 04.29.2016

Retired teacher seeks answers from BOE

To the Editor:

I felt the need to write after attending the CH-UH school board meeting of April 5. The board was voting on proposed cuts for the next school year. 

I listened to all of the people who spoke before the board and thought each and every one of them spoke thoughtfully and with passion. The commitment of this community to its schools was on full display that evening.

That is why I was astonished that Superintendent Dixon did not take a minute to thank those who spoke [of] their concerns. This district has students who speak eloquently of their teachers and classes, teachers who live and work dedicatedly here for many years, and parents who value and want to safeguard their children's fine education.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:09 PM, 04.12.2016

CH should reject Vandemar rezoning application

To the Editor:

I write to urge that Cleveland Heights City Council reject Circle K’s application to rezone two residential properties on Vandemar Street to enable yet another gas station—this one with 16 pumps and a convenience store that will clearly encroach on a residential neighborhood, likely with lights and traffic well into evening hours. I have lived in this community long enough to remember when you could not come out of the parking lot with a rental movie and make a right hand turn onto Vandemar. It is a residential street after all. Let’s keep it that way!

My objection to this project goes beyond the obvious impact on the residential neighborhood. Cleveland Heights needs economic development, for sure, but a 16-pump gas station within feet of another gas station is not my idea of the kind of development that will jump-start this community and strengthen the area north of Mayfield Road, that suffered most from the predatory lending/foreclosure crisis which has resulted in vacant, deteriorated properties and deteriorating property values in these neighborhoods.

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Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 11:59 AM, 03.01.2016

Those planning Severance's future should read book by Kunstler

To the Editor:

The people involved with planning the future of Severance Center might want to read The Geography of Nowhere: the Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape, by James Howard Kunstler.

To quote from the back of the paperback: the book ”traces America’s evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots.”

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Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:19 AM, 01.29.2016

Liberty Oaks tree markers merit explanation

To the Editor:

Re: the Liberty Oaks—a few years ago the Observer published an article that answered my question about the markers at the base of trees that surround Horseshoe Lake. Though I don’t recall them being called Liberty Oaks, the article said they were planted and labeled in honor of WWI soldiers who had lost their lives. A lovely memorial, but one with no explanation, not even a date, just a person’s name. I hope when they put signage up, as mentioned in the current article [Heights Observer, December 2015], they will remember the trees around Horseshoe Lake.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:28 AM, 12.31.2015

City should consider fewer parking restrictions to attract more visitors

To the Editor:

Those of us that live in the Cleveland Heights/University Heights area know what wonderful restaurants and "mom and pop" stores are available here. I love telling people of all the places we have within walking distance of almost every area in the two cities.

We want to attract people from outside our area, and make shopping and eating here available to all. So what do we do—put in parking meters that only accept quarters and have paid parking from morning through evening.

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:53 AM, 12.07.2015

Cedar Lee restaurants seek fast-track approval for parking plan

To the Editor:

As owner of Tavern Company and an active member of the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District, I’m particularly interested in the economic sustainability of the Cedar Lee Business District. After observing the area and analyzing online reviews placed by visitors to Cedar Lee, it has become clear that parking during the weekend is a major concern. If visitors experience difficulty or are unable to find parking, they are inclined to keep driving and patronize another businesses district elsewhere.

I and several other Cedar Lee business owners have developed a plan to improve the visitor experience on Lee Road through the addition of a valet parking zone along the street.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 1:39 PM, 11.17.2015

Article failed to mention Lee Road businesses that have opened

To the Editor:

I am perplexed by the article [in the October issue] which spelled out the businesses that have closed on Lee Road.

The article did not mention that new and interesting businesses have opened up.

  • The sandwich shop Black Box Fix replaced Sweetie Fry.
  • Momo's Kebab replaced Phiner Bistro.
  • Joey’s Italian Bistro replaced Jimmy O’Neal’s Pub.
  • In addition, the Buddhist Center is occupying a large space that has long been an eyesore since the pet store left.
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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 11:40 AM, 10.30.2015

Candidates should follow law on political sign placement

To the Editor:

I recently concluded attendance at the Cleveland Heights Citizen’s Police Academy. What a wonderful learning opportunity this experience was. My mind was stretched as I gained an understanding of the work of our police department.

At the first class of the academy, we were taught the definition of “crime.” A crime is anything that breaks a law. Things are legal or they are not legal, based on statutes in the criminal code and ordinances.

Citizens are held to the standard of following laws. One does not need to know specific legality of an issue to be required to obey all laws. Laws are created in
response to a specific situation. Once a law is written, compliance is mandatory.

This brings me to the issue of political signs in Cleveland Heights. The statute addressing temporary signs states in part “. . . All yard signs must be placed parallel to the street adjoining the yard upon which they are placed and must be set back at least 20 feet from the nearest edge of the sidewalk . . .”

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 3:16 PM, 10.26.2015

CH City Council candidate Julie Love deserves consideration

To the Editor:

I’ve been a Cleveland Heights resident for over 35 years, and this year is the first time that I’ve noticed such general interest in a city council race. I would like to thank all of the candidates who are offering to serve our city. I’ve attended several events where candidates offered their views on how to advance Cleveland Heights. We are indeed fortunate to have so many candidates devoted to our city. 

I conclude that candidate Julie Love more than deserves our serious consideration. She analyzed CH financial statements and recommended a different choice for voters. Using her training as a certified public accountant, she offers us a viewpoint that is unique. Unlike all of the other candidates (or existing council members), she opposes an income tax increase at this time. She has taken a courageous stand, since it will be CH voters who will make the final decision in November, not city council. I agree with her that a tax increase will not be effective at “protecting” the city, as some people have argued.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 11:39 AM, 10.21.2015

Citizens share concerns about council candidate Julie Love

The voters of Cleveland Heights tend to be an educated bunch. We like to move beyond political slogans and yard signs, dig deeper, and find out what a candidate really stands for. Over the past week, the blog of city council hopeful Julie Love was circulated widely over social media. Residents were initially taken aback by both its provocative name, "Redneck Rants: A country girl with two children shares her views on life in the inner-city," and its equally provocative domain address: redneckmominthehood.blogspot.com.

Voters, hoping to move past Ms. Love’s broadly appealing message of lower taxes, decided to see for themselves who this woman really is and what she stands for. As more and more residents visited her site and then expressed their shock and concern on Facebook and Twitter, Ms. Love began slowly removing her most controversial posts, hiding her words from the public instead of owning up to them.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:21 AM, 10.16.2015

LWV endorses Cleveland Heights tax increase

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Greater Cleveland has voted to endorse the quarter percent income tax increase that Cleveland Heights voters will consider on Election Day.

If you are a budget follower, you have probably noted that Cleveland Heights has kept its operating budget basically the same since 1998. It has become increasingly difficult to do this.

The state used to distribute a substantial portion of its tax revenues back to the municipalities in the form of local government funds. In recent years, however, the state has been keeping a larger and larger share of those funds in state coffers, forcing cities and towns to cut services or find other ways to pay for them.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 10:24 AM, 10.12.2015

Council Member Seren's comments intentionally taken out of context

To the Editor:

To those residents who are “shocked and inflamed” by CH Council Member Kahlil Seren’s comment at The Wine Spot’s candidate forum, you are entitled to your opinion, but don’t distort what he actually said.

When asked how he would attract non-residents who choose not to live in Cleveland Heights because of our current tax levels, he replied that he isn’t sure that it is worth it to him to attract people who don’t think our city’s assets and quality services are worth contributing to. Blindly offering tax incentives to business doesn’t help a city remain strong; offering whatever it would take to attract people who choose their home based on tax levels is also unsustainable for our city.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:02 AM, 09.29.2015

CH council member's comment to taxpayers was out of line

To the Editor:

As most Cleveland Heights residents know, there are Whistlestop meetings being held at The Wine Spot on Lee Road to discuss the issues that affect Cleveland Heights residents. I have watched the video from Whistlestop #3 a few times and, more specifically, the remarks made by Cleveland Heights Council Member Kahlil Seren.

It is incomprehensible to me that a person who was appointed to council to fill a vacant seat and who is now running for council on his own merits would make the statement that if anyone [does] not like the proposed income tax increase he does not feel that he wants them or needs them living here.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:04 AM, 09.22.2015

Seren's comment on taxpayers offends

To the Editor:

I am concerned about comments made by a candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council. At at a recent candidates night presentation known as the Whistlestop, Kahlil Seren stated that he is not entirely sure that he wants people opposed to high taxes to move into this community and that "we don't need them." I find Mr. Seren's comments shocking and inflammatory! As a 41-year taxpaying homeowner in Cleveland Heights, I feel that I have paid more than my fair share of taxes and greatly resent Mr. Seren's statement!

Kahlil Seren was appointed to his current position on city council by our council members and now is seeking an elected full term, making important decisions about our city.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:42 PM, 09.14.2015

CH-UH district's transportation appeal process yields no results

To the Editor:

In May, we submitted a transportation appeal for our daughter. I cannot be more unimpressed, dissatisfied and frustrated over the process and the outcome. We received a letter within a week to tell us that we would hear the result in 30 days. By the first week of August, we had heard nothing. I contacted the CH-UH City School District Transportation Department and was told the committee would be having the meeting in two days and I would be notified. If I hadn’t contacted them, would my appeal ever have been heard? In fact, was my appeal actually considered or was the “denied” form letter simply sent?

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:17 AM, 09.03.2015

Why the levy failed: finding reasons closer to home

I found Sarah West’s piece, “The Inequity of Social Spaces in the CH-UH School Community,” (published in the June 2015 Heights Observer), disturbing—not for its descent into academic nomenclature or its application of cookie-cutter sociological concepts onto one section of our community—but for the lack of research about pre-existing conditions, local conditions and other contributing factors.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:41 PM, 06.29.2015

A correction to Motorcars article in June issue

To the Editor,

For the sake of accuracy, Motorcars is the largest private-sector employer in Cleveland Heights. The City of Cleveland Heights is the largest employer in the city, with more than 300 full-time employees. If you include seasonal and part-time, the city employees more than 400 people.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:34 PM, 06.29.2015

Bob Cheshier brought Little Free Libraries to Cleveland

To the Editor:

I was quite pleased to see the article regarding the Little Free Library in the June 2015 issue, but was dismayed that mention was not made of the late Bob Cheshier, who was responsible for bringing the Little Free Libraries to the Cleveland area. Bob was an ardent advocate for the advancement of libraries and associated reading skills. I know Bob would have been very pleased to see yet another Little Free Library.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:33 PM, 06.29.2015

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

To the Editor:

The Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Playground and Gardens work day on May 16 was a partial success in some ways and a great success in all other ways.

The great success shown that day was the dedication of community volunteers who came to help repair the playground equipment and spruce up the beautiful gardens.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:31 PM, 06.29.2015

Zagara's event raised funds for food bank

To the Editor:

The efforts and generosity of Zagara's patrons and employees are to be applauded as the results of the Harvest for Hunger at Zagara's Marketplace, during the month of March, are revealed:

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 1:59 PM, 05.29.2015

City should invest in renewable energy

To the Editor,

As a proud citizen of Cleveland Heights, I love the culture of social and environmental consciousness which the city holds dear; however, I believe we can do better. We have made strides in recycling, support of local business, locally grown foods, and so on, but one aspect where we've neglected to pay much attention is renewable energy. Cleveland has been making progress in this important area and has gotten good publicity for it, but now I think it's time we join in to be a more eco-friendly, sustainable community.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 1:57 PM, 05.29.2015

Remembering Bill Lahman, former CH city manager

To the Editor:

Cleveland Heights lost a longtime resident at the beginning of February—William C. Lahman. He had been city manager from 1964 to 1975. I first heard of Bill when our family moved here in 1965; I didn't meet him then, but felt that he was an excellent city manager. He left to become secretary-treasurer of RTA and, in 1981, became its general manager. When he retired in 1985, I still had not met him but, because I was a regular RTA rider, I was aware of some of his accomplishments.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 1:22 PM, 05.01.2015

I will vote 'yes' on school levy

To the Editor,

I am writing to support the levy for the CH-UH schools. 

Our district:

  • Has waited four years between operating levies instead of the usual three. 
  • Has cut $3 million in spending, in addition to the $2 million cut by the state.
  • Agreed to give only minimal cost of living increases to all staff and administrators.
  • Is asking for the smallest increase for an operational levy in decades.
  • Plans to cut an additional $500,000 from its budget no matter what.
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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 11:34 AM, 04.29.2015

LWV endorses May ballot Issue 2

To the Editor:

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland (LWV) has voted to endorse Issue 2, the 5.9 mill operating levy for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District. The district has consistently been recognized for its careful stewardship of taxpayer money.

The LWV’s positions support the role of the local community in levying local taxes to assume a reasonable share of the financial burden to support local public schools.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 11:12 AM, 04.21.2015

Neighbors and businesses grateful for restored Coventry library hours

To the Editor:

On behalf of the many loyal patrons of Coventry Village Library we extend heartfelt thanks to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library Board of Directors and administration for their Feb. 16 decision to restore Friday hours to the library's schedule.

Combined with the recent restoration of Sunday hours to all branches, the Coventry Village Library will now be able to serve the community on a daily basis. This is good news for residents and also good news for the Coventry retail district, as the library plays an important role in attracting people to our neighborhood businesses.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 4:56 PM, 02.22.2015

A correction: Bill Rubin founded Appletree Books

To the Editor:

I was glad to read the article in the Heights Observer (December issue] about Appletree Books, with its new owners and renovation. The article contained an error though—Jane Kessler did not found the business.

Bill Rubin founded Appletree Books in 1985 (I believe that was the year). Frequently his mother helped in the store, and I knew her through PTA. I used to take the Monticello bus that went down to University Station and walk from Euclid Heights Boulevard over to the store and catch the next bus back. He started such a wonderful business!

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 12:03 PM, 01.05.2015

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

To the Editor:

A special thanks to the energetic volunteers who joined together to weed the gardens and repair the equipment at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park before winter sets in. The Saturday work day on Oct. 18 was cold and rainy, but the dedicated group of adults and kids did a wonderful job of completing the work.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 2:59 PM, 12.01.2014

Fairmount Taylor district parking causing dangerous situation

To the Editor:

The shops in the Fairmount/Taylor area are a welcome treat. Cleveland Heights is fortunate to have these establishments within our city.

Unfortunately, parking is troublesome at the corner of Queenston Road and Fairmount Boulevard, which is the most impacted area. I witnessed a motor vehicle driver come a hairline from causing severe injury to a child, who was attempting to cross the street to attend his music lesson. Likewise, I saw a bicyclist come close to suffering severe bodily harm.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 2:57 PM, 12.01.2014

UH voters need information to vote responsibly on park bond issue

To the Editor:

Thank you for featuring Anita Kazarian’s column on the University Heights Park Bond Issue [in the September print edition].

We in University Heights need to be informed, in order to vote responsibly. Your newspaper serves the need for all sides of this issue to be exposed.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 3:14 PM, 09.29.2014

Beating a dead turkey

To the Editor:

Yes, again, I write about the turkey of a project planned for Turkey Ridge along Edgehill Road.

I attended the Cleveland Heights Planning Commission hearing on Aug. 12 regarding the high-end condos planned for this parcel because of my intent to address, yet again, my concerns about the landslide potential of this hillside.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 1:50 PM, 08.28.2014

'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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 9:02 AM, 04.22.2014