Latest News

Charter Review Commission plans April 19 community meeting

Jessica Cohen, CRC member, speaking at the March 15 meeting.

The 15-member Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) plans to pose the following three questions to participants at its upcoming community meeting:

  • What type of government do you prefer for Cleveland Heights and why?
  • What other elements should be added or changed to improve local government?
  • What are the three most important qualities you want to see in local government?

The meeting is scheduled for April 19, 7–9:30 p.m., at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd. (at Mayfield Road).

The purpose of the meeting, as stated by the commission, is to provide information about the current Cleveland Heights charter, review common models of local government, and provide an opportunity for collaborative reflection on the current form of local government in Cleveland Heights and whether changing it would improve the quality of life in the city.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:17 AM, 03.20.2018

Latest News Releases

- City of Cleveland Heights, March 20, 2018 Read More
University Heights names Rogers Interim Police Chief
- City of University Heights, March 14, 2018 Read More
- CH-UH Schools, February 13, 2018 Read More
Local PTA Council Speaker Series addresses the opioid crisis on Tuesday, March 6
- CH-UH Schools, February 12, 2018 Read More
Rep. Boyd statement on passage of congressional redistricting reform bill
- State Rep. Janine Boyd, February 7, 2018 Read More

View more news releases

Sgt. Dustin Rogers named UH’s interim police chief

Sgt. Dustin Rogers

University Heights Mayor and Safety Director Michael Dylan Brennan has formally named Sgt. Dustin Rogers as interim police chief for the city of University Heights. Rogers began his post on Friday, March 16, replacing now retired Police Chief Steven Hammett.

According to the University Heights mayor's office, Sgt. Rogers joined its police department in August 2005, and in 2007 was voted in as the department’s union director.

In the last 13 years, Rogers was promoted first to corporal, then sergeant. He also revised the department’s field training manuala document adopted as a model by Northwestern Universityand managed the department’s field training program. 

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 1:19 PM, 03.20.2018

CH-UH students participate in National Walkout Day

Heights High students speak at their National Walkout Day demonstration.

Frigid temperatures were no deterrent for more than 1,000 CH-UH City School District students who chose to participate in National Walkout Day on Wednesday, March 14.

High school and middle school students walked outside at 10:00 a.m., joining the national movement to raise awareness for school safety and the impact of gun violence.

At Cleveland Heights High School, more than 700 students participated in a demonstration on the snow-covered football field. The event was student-led and voluntary. Many of the student organizers spoke at the demonstration to remember the victims of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, and to voice a call to action for stricter gun control.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:06 AM, 03.15.2018

Big Fun commemorative T-shirts benefit district

To purchase a limited-edition shirt, stop by Big Fun or order online via the Big Fun Facebook page.

Nothing says Big Fun like a commemorative T-shirt, with artwork by Cleveland Heights artist Jake Kelly.

According to Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun, the shirts are priced at $25 but are included in the store’s Big Final Sale, bringing the price down to $12.50 per shirt.

Presser will donate $2.50 of each T-shirt purchased to the Coventry Village Art Fund.

“We are thrilled and honored,” said Angie Hetrick, executive director of the Coventry Village Special Improvement District. “Steve has always been a wonderful supporter of the Coventry neighborhood and the arts.” 

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:44 AM, 03.20.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education highlights 3-6-2018

MARCH 6, 2018

  • Public comments
  • High school music
  • Model UN participation
  • Tiger Team Members of the Month
  • Top of the Hill project
  • Gun violence in schools
  • Ohio House Bill 512
  • Field trips and donations

President James Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon, Treasurer Scott Gainer, Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha Briley and Cleveland Heights Director of Economic Development Tim Boland. The meeting began at 7:08 p.m., after an executive session, and adjourned at 9:18 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 12:55 PM, 03.20.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 2-20-2018

FEBRUARY 20, 2018

  • Public comments
  • MLK Essay award winners
  • Tiger Team members
  • Donations
  • Coventry building
  • Middle schools renovation
  • ECOT, other charter school payments
  • Top of the Hill update
  • Students’ stand on gun control
  • Conference room naming
  • Citizen resolution on automatic rifle sales
  • Board goals and committee assignments

President Jim Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer. Prior to the open meeting, a Sunshine Laws Training was held at 6 p.m. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 10:45 p.m.


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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 1:45 PM, 03.20.2018

St. Paul's Cooperative Preschool finds new home in the Heights

St. Paul’s Cooperative Preschool has found a new home and chosen a new name for fall 2018. After the current school year ends in May, the preschool will move to Church of the Redeemer UMC, at 2420 S. Taylor Road, a little over a mile from its current location.

The co-op’s new name will be Heights Cooperative Preschool.

There will be two open-house sessions for interested families on April 23, at 9:30–10:30 a.m. and 6:30–7:30 p.m., at the preschool’s current location, 2747 Fairmount Blvd. For more information, call Deb Binkofsky, director of the co-op, at 216-932-0002.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:57 AM, 03.09.2018

CH-UH schools to host kindergarten info nights

Two Oxford Elementary School kindergarten students sit with their books during quiet reading time.

In the next month, each Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District elementary school will host a Kindergarten Information Night for incoming and prospective families. 
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the schools’ principals and teachers, ask questions, and tour the buildings. Several of the schools will offer dinner and childcare or playtime services.
To find the school that corresponds to your place of residence, use the district’s interactive boundary map.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:56 AM, 03.09.2018

Correction to Jan. 23 LWV CH-UH Board of Education meeting highlights

The League of Women Voters’ column in the March issue of the Heights Observer, "Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights," for Jan. 23, contained incorrect information about the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposed for the Top of the Hill project. This incorrect information also appeared in the online version of the story, “Cleveland Heights makes progress on economic development initiatives,” by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Scott Wortman, coordinator of communications for the CH-UH City School District, provided the correct information in an e-mail: "At present, the schools receive $21,000 annually on the vacant properties, which they will continue to receive through the life of the TIF. In addition, the district will receive an additional $400,000 annually as soon as the project is completed until the 30-year TIF expires. At the end of the 30-year TIF the district will receive 100 percent of property taxes on the value of the project. Additionally, the district will receive 100 percent of any new levies passed after the project is completed."

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 12:35 PM, 03.13.2018

CH Charter Review Commission plans community forum

On April 19, the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) will hold a community forum to invite broader citizen participation in the process of considering changes to the city’s charter.

The CRC made this decision at its March 1 meeting, its sixth, and plans to determine the time and place of the forum at its regular meeting on March 15.

Also at the March 1 meeting, Les Jones, Forest Hill Home Owners president, and Tom Wagner, Lakewood Charter Review Commission member, spoke.

Jones, a 40-year Cleveland Heights resident, told the CRC that the Forest Hill Home Owners association has worked well over the years with the city government. He said, though, that he favors changing the charter to allow citizens to elect the mayor directly, and would support changing the current at-large council to include some members elected by ward.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:21 AM, 03.06.2018

Boss Dog is Best New Business

Jason and Josh Sweet, owners of Boss Dog Brewing Company, which was voted Best New Business in the FutureHeights 2018 Best of the Heights Awards.

In the 2018 Best of the Heights Awards contest, readers of the Heights Observer honored outstanding businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights by voting, Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, for their favorites in 12 categories. In all, 174 businesses were nominated.

Boss Dog Brewing Co. (2179 Lee Road), a craft brewery and gastropub owned by Josh and Jason Sweet, prevailed over finalists Barrio and Zoma Ethiopian Restaurant to win Best New Business. The brothers opened Boss Dog in the former Lemon Grass space in November 2017 after more than 15 months of extensive renovations.

“We are doing well,” said Josh Sweet. “The community has been very supportive, and we appreciate that.” The brothers are looking forward to the spring when they can complete the rear patio. “It may look like there is a lot more still to do, but we are all ready to go. We just need to finish up the fence and get the tables and chairs out there.”

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:03 PM, 02.27.2018

Third annual Coventry Kids Day is March 11

It’s that time of year. Arctic temperatures. Black ice. Snow days. Vortex days. The trifecta of snow, ice and mud. Households get a little squirrelly after a few too many wintry weeks indoors. Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID), as part of its mission to make Coventry Village a wonderful place in which to live, work and play, has a plan to combat the stir-crazy nature of winter in Greater Cleveland. And it’s all free of charge.

On Sunday, March 11, noon to 4 p.m., the third annual Coventry Kids Day will create a party atmosphere throughout the district.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:59 PM, 03.01.2018

Cain Park Bicycle expands and looks to the future

Gary Schumacher behind the parts counter at Cain Park Bicycle.

For generations of Americans, the local bicycle shop was a fixture of the neighborhood, a place where a kid could gain freedom and self-sufficiency by getting a bike, and where adults could continue their own involvement in cycling through commuting, recreation and competition. 

Some of those storied local shops in the Heights are gone now—think Pee Wee’s Bike Shop on Coventry or Al’s on Lee Road—but those that remain, thanks in part to the region’s increasing attention to cycling-friendly infrastructure, can be in a position to contribute to the quality of life in our communities and enjoy healthy business in the process.

One such shop is Cain Park Bicycle at 1904 Lee Road, just south of Superior Road. Owner Gary Schumacher opened the shop in 2006 in the same location that had housed Hi-Tech Cycles (whose owner, Marvin Rosenberg, had earlier owned Pee Wee’s).

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:54 PM, 03.02.2018

Help, before my car falls apart or I have a collision!

To the Editor:

I'm talking about Coventry Road running north and south between Euclid Heights and Larchmere Boulevards. General road surface degradation here, worsened by increasingly deep, invisible (till the last instant) new potholes, has converted this stretch of Coventry Road into a daily demolition derby for my expensive, vulnerable, late-model automobile.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:49 AM, 03.06.2018

Merchant of Happiness: Celebrating the end of an era at Big Fun

Steve Presser in an outfit "from Afghanistan," created by artist Debbie Apple-Presser, his wife.

“It is difficult when our iconic businesses move on, and we will deeply miss Big Fun, Steve and his staff,” said Suzanne DeGaetano, owner of Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry. "Big Fun is unique and irreplaceable, and it created important family memories for a whole generation. Its closing is part of the business cycle we will have to adjust to." This sentiment rings from merchant to merchant, as retailers adjust to the idea of a beloved neighbor, Big Fun, closing.

Big Fun opened in 1991, first inhabiting the small building where Jimmy John’s is currently located. That little building had been vacant—actually quite dismal—for years.

“I knew it had to be on Coventry,” reminisced Steve Presser, owner of the beloved time capsule. “I transformed that place into something magical.” With alley lanes from Kinsman-Lee Lanes and card catalogs from the library, Presser’s collecting habits created a sanctuary of small pleasures. “It’s been a vessel—a place where people can make themselves feel better,” Presser said.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:27 AM, 02.13.2018

Coventry property will transfer to Heights Libraries

Heights Libraries Coventry branch is next to Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education (BOE) and the CH-UH Public Library System (Heights Libraries) have reached an agreement on the future of the former Coventry school property. On Feb. 5, the library board voted to accept from the school district the six-acre property, including the school building, playground and greenspace; on Feb. 20 the school board voted to transfer the property to Heights Libraries for $1. The transaction will close on March 31.

In 2017, upon learning of the school district’s desire to sell the property, current tenants of the building formed Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus and presented a unified vision for an arts and educational center. The library’s Coventry branch abuts the property at the corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, and provides the only free parking for the branch.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 2:00 PM, 03.01.2018

Cleveland Heights makes progress on economic development objectives

The city of Cleveland Heights is moving forward with its plans to redevelop two large vacant parcels within the city: the Top of the Hill site and the Lee/Meadowbrook site.

Tim Boland, the city's economic development director, presented a draft RFQ/RFP for the 1.07-acre Lee/Meadowbrook site to CH City Council at its Feb. 12 Committee of the Whole meeting, and requested council’s authorization to move forward.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:31 PM, 03.01.2018

An ode to Big Fun

To the Editor:

I wrote this poem in response to the article you published about Big Fun's closing:


I heard that BIG FUN is done
So where will I get another potato gun?
Don't tell me that fun is over and done
Just tell me the good guys have won

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:55 PM, 03.01.2018

Thinking about Big Fun's going-out-of-business sale

In the days after people learned the store would close, the crowds inside Big Fun have been larger than usual. [photo by Bob Rosenbaum]

Big Fun is about childhood—revisiting our own, enriching our children’s, and then watching our children discover nostalgia for themselves.

Big Fun is about commerce. It’s a tourist attraction in an unlikely place, and an anchor for Coventry Village and Cleveland Heights—reliably drawing more than its fair share of traffic. Its presence has probably enriched other businesses more than it’s enriched the owner, Steve Presser.

Big Fun is about community. Steve is everybody’s close friend, whether he knows you or not. I’m not sure he’s ever turned down a reasonable request to support a local cause.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:54 PM, 03.01.2018

Some things that matter

A postcard from the 1940s of Chin's Pagoda, on Lee Road, between Berkshire Road and Washington Boulevard, another recurring topic.

I’m the administrator of a Facebook group called Growing Up in Cleveland Heights. I didn’t start the group. I joined the group. And my friend Jim and I used to complain, to each other, about things that people were posting. Then Jim started complaining to the founder and administrator of the group. After a while she asked him if he would take over as administrator. He did. Then he asked me to be co-administrator with him. I did. After several years, Jim died, unexpectedly. So now I’m the sole administrator. But I’ll be handing that off in the near future.

One thing that has been fascinating—and frustrating—is that the same topics keep coming up, over and over. Before people join, we ask them to look through past posts, to avoid bringing up topics that have been discussed a lot already. They don’t. Someone joins and immediately posts, “Does anyone remember Cumberland pool?”

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:23 PM, 03.02.2018

Concert honors retiring choral master Martin Kessler

Martin Kessler invites musicians and vocalists to take a bow at the end of a recent concert. [courtesy Choral Arts Cleveland]

Cleveland Heights-based Choral Arts Society of Cleveland continues its 43rd season with an examination of classical expressions of folk art. In a performance that director Martin Kessler calls “one chorus, two pianos, three percussion, and four hands," Choral Arts will treat its audience to a performance that is rollicking, sassy, heartwarming, upbeat and moving, all in one entertainment package.

The concert, on Sunday, March 11, 7:30 p.m., at Disciples Christian Church in Cleveland Heights, will have added significance as Choral Arts singers honor Kessler before he retires from full-time, active directing at the end of this performance season. 

Kessler, a lifelong Cleveland Heights resident, has spent the past 50 years as an educator and musician, honing and channeling the artistic abilities of students, instrumentalists and singers.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:00 PM, 03.02.2018

February letter contained misguided views about Citizens United

To the Editor:

Just when I thought my level of bewilderment has peaked in regard to the political beliefs of fellow citizens, I read Robert Schwab’s attempt at "educating" readers on his interpretation of Citizens United v. FEC. I’m not sure where his political or business interests lie, but to believe that this 2010 Supreme Court decision benefits democracy in our country for rank and file citizens? My amazement has reached a new level.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:53 PM, 03.01.2018

February letter is full of 'red herring'

To the Editor:

This letter is sent in response to a letter I read in the February 2018 issue, "Corporations should have free speech rights." The author is offensive in his introduction, calling some friends of many misguided and untrue. Frankly, the adage "people that live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" strongly applies here.

Many congressmen, senators on both sides of the aisle, and the four dissenting judges involved in the case agree with Carla and Deborah [authors of the "Heights of Democracy" column]. Is everyone misguided and lying?

[The letter writer] says next that the ideologues on the opposite side of his ideology are trying to limit free speech. This is simply untrue, when you consider that their ideology  consistently states that corporations are not people, and money is not  speech.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:35 PM, 03.02.2018

CH should join in national discussion on gun violence

To the Editor:

In 1994 Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, a ban on the manufacture for civilian use of certain semi-automatic firearms defined as assault weapons and certain ammunition magazines. In 2004 the ban expired and was not renewed. In Ohio, some municipalities were able to withstand pressure from the NRA and the state of Ohio that was undermining local governments’ authority to continue the assault weapon ban until 2010, when the Supreme Court of Ohio and the attorney general were able to preempt and invalidate the local assault weapons ban.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:51 PM, 03.01.2018

Change the charter to directly elect CH mayor

I drafted a statement of my opinion and submitted it to the CH Charter Review Commission (CRC). I would encourage everyone write in and let your voice be heard.

I have attended two CRC meetings. At one, a resident stood up and said that he didn’t care who the elected council members wanted as mayor; he cared who he, as a voter, wanted as mayor. I thought this simple statement got to the heart of the debate between having a mayor directly elected by the voters as opposed to a “mayor” selected by four of the seven CH council members.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:48 PM, 03.01.2018

CH needs a full-time mayor

Cleveland Heights needs to elect a full-time mayor. Currently, our part-time city council elects a part-time mayor who has no executive power. The city manager (a full-time position) is hired by city council and runs the day-to-day operations of the city.

Our city has decent city services and a school system that is moving in the right direction. But the problems we have require a full-time elected mayor with the vision, the time and the skills to move our city forward. The problems are:

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:47 PM, 03.01.2018

A few more thoughts on Democracy Day

In our January column, we wrote about the history of Democracy Day in Cleveland Heights. Since we were writing for the Heights Observer, we kept our focus local. However, Robert Shwab’s letter to the editor in response to that column, published in the February issue, takes a national view. That letter contained some misconceptions, which several readers have asked us to address.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:44 PM, 03.01.2018

Silence is the enemy of change

Five years ago, I was among 160 people making their way through snow and cold on three consecutive Wednesdays to discuss Reign of Errors: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools, by public school advocate Diane Ravitch.
The book documents how wealthy ideologues captured education policymaking to promote privatization and accountability at the expense of the common good. Ill-conceived state policies that use tests to grade school districts and punish students, and which allow public funds to be extracted for unregulated charter schools and private-school vouchers, are widespread.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:41 PM, 03.01.2018

Learning and teaching in scouting

When I was a Cub Scout at Taylor Elementary School there was an enormous uproar because a woman wanted (was willing) to become the leader of our pack. This was new and different for the early 1970s. Once registered and trained, she did a great job, as we all expected. I stayed in scouting through high school and volunteered with a troop when I was in college.

A month after I started teaching in CH-UH, I was asked to become the scoutmaster for the troop in which I was an assistant. I accepted even though I had no sons of my own (and still don’t). Over the next 25 years as a scoutmaster, I believe that I did as much teaching in scouts as I did in school. I dedicate this column to my experience in this alternative education setting.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:36 PM, 03.01.2018

Spring show opens at St. Paul's.

Origins 2, by Debbie Vail.

With spring around the corner, it is time for a new show at the Nicholson B. White Gallery at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Visit the gallery between March 9 and early June to see Mindful, Colorful, Artful. This show pulls together the works of four talented local artists: a photographer, an oil painter, a printmaker and a glass bead maker. Meet the artists at a free public opening on Friday, March 9, 5 to 7 p.m. 

Bill Berris carefully selected an eclectic set of photographic works that are crisp and vivid with color, with subjects ranging from people to wildlife to landscapes. Each image has a story behind it: a moment in time or a human emotion. Berris resides in Solon, where he runs a photography service company with his wife. 

Working with oil paints on canvas is Debbie Vail, who paints primarily portraits.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:05 PM, 03.02.2018

Spring library programs celebrate classic movies

This spring, Heights Libraries will celebrate classic American films with film screenings, book talks, live movie music, and film talks by local experts John Ewing, Neal Hodges and Mark Dawidziak.

Original Voices Book Club: Hollywood Edition. [All programs in this series take place on Wednesdays, at 7:30 p.m., at the Lee Road branch, 2345 Lee Road.]

March 14: The Loved One: An Anglo-American Tragedy by Evelyn Waugh. Waugh’s fictionalized account of his time in Hollywood focuses on the strange and surreal practices of the mortuary industry. This biting commentary on American culture and the film community was called a “macabre frolic filled with laughter” and “fiendishly entertaining” by The New York Times.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:43 PM, 03.02.2018

Drawn Together explores Buddhist concepts

An image by Dana Oldfather, from the exhibition Drawn Together.

Opening March 9 in the Heights Arts main gallery, Drawn Together: Emotional Intelligence and the Vernacular of the Heart explores the Buddhist concept of the brahma-viharas, also known as the four divine emotions, through drawings by Northeast Ohio artists John Carlson, Suzanne Head, Tony Ingrisano and Dana Oldfather. The community is invited to the opening reception on Friday, March 9, 6 to 9 p.m.

Drawn Together looks at the emotions of loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), vicarious or sympathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (upekkha), through the expression of visual line and imagery in a wide range of materials, including paint, charcoal, and glass.

“Drawing is so effective and efficient in its ability to convey emotion that it seemed a most appropriate medium for this subject,” said Josh Werling, exhibition curator.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:18 PM, 03.02.2018

LEI brings together kids and professionals at Kids' Comic Con

A group of students from the 2017 Comic Con show off their costumes in Artists' Alley.

Lake Erie Ink (LEI) will host its sixth annual Kids' Comic Con on Saturday, March 17, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this all-day event, youths of all ages will have the chance to attend workshops with well-known comic creators.

Last year, this one-of-a-kind comic convention for young writers and artists drew nearly 150 kids and teens from across Northeast Ohio.

Workshops will cover the two aspects of comic creation—drawing and writing—and include the ever-popular activity “create your own comic character in clay.”  

Doors open at 9:30 a.m., and workshops begin at 10 a.m. Admission is $10 at the door, and scholarships are available.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:58 PM, 03.02.2018

HYT partners with Cain Park to offer musical theater summer camp

Heights Youth Theatre (HYT) is thrilled to make a summer return to the place of its origin, Cain Park. In a new collaboration, HYT will partner with Cain Park to offer a summer camp for teens who are passionate about musical theater.

The camp, open to those in grades 6–12, will take place June 11–29 at Cain Park (14591 Superior Road). No audition is necessary.

From audition techniques, scene work, character development, choreography and music intensives to interaction with professional actors, directors, tech people and stage managers, HYT campers will build a musical review in the professional setting of Cain Park, culminating with a performance on the Alma stage on June 30.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:14 PM, 03.02.2018

Western Reserve Chorale presents 'Mass = WRC2'

This concert title pun is based on Albert Einstein’s statement, “I get most joy out of music.” The Western Reserve Chorale [WRC] plans to bring joy in music to the Heights with a March 18 concert of two masses: Schubert’s Mass in G and John Rutter’s Mass of the Children.

The approximately 100-member WRC will be joined by soprano Marian Vogel, tenor JR Fralick, baritone Matthew Brennan, and the ladies of Voices of Harmony from Beaumont School, and accompanied by an orchestra.

The concert will take place on Sunday, March 18, 3:30 p.m., at Church of the Gesu in University Heights. WRC, in its 26th year, is grateful to have been so welcomed into its new home at Gesu. 

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:06 PM, 03.02.2018

Ensemble prepares for 2018 Colombi New Plays Festival

Ensemble Theatre will host its seventh annual Colombi New Plays Festival this month, showcasing new works by local playwrights. Among this year’s festival highlights is "Mama/Moon," a new work by Cleveland Heights playwright Tom Frattare.

“Mama” and “Moon” in the title refer to Mama Cass Elliot of The Mamas & The Papas, an immensely popular folk rock group of the late 1960s, and Keith Moon, the innovative and wildly eccentric and erratic drummer of the Who. Both died at age 32.

Frattare said the impetus for his play was the rash of talented artists dying at a young age—Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and others. “It's a play about sex, drugs and rock and roll,” Frattare said. “But it’s also about the whirlwind of celebrity, and the all-too-often side effects of loneliness and addiction on the road to redemption.”

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:02 PM, 03.02.2018

Barbershoppers receive ‘outstanding’ rating

The senior members of the Barbershoppers (from left): Azhara Robinson, Remi Goddard, Peyton Marshall, Evan Pitts, Malana Lovett, Tedd Byers, Mikaiah Truitt, Roberto Pastorelli, Clare Peppler, Gerald, Shazor, Lily Kerr-Jung and Grant Heineman. Not pictured: Kiarah Balfour.

If you’ve heard them you already know: The Heights High Barbershoppers are Outstanding. And now, it’s official. Both the Boys and Girls Barbershoppers received a rating of outstanding at the Barbershop Harmony Society International Festival in Costa Mesa, Calif. 

More than 600 students from 18 schools attended the event, Jan. 17 through 20. Barbershop music is unaccompanied (a capella) vocal music with four-part harmony.

This is the first year that the girls have attended the competition. The boys have attended for several years. The possible ratings of Good, Excellent, Outstanding and Superior are awarded by a panel of international vocal experts.

The Heights students performed without their director, Jesse Lange. “Our students were one of the few groups performing without a director,” said Lange. “That requires the singers to be more self-reliant and to depend on each other.”

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:39 PM, 03.02.2018

Library accepting applications for teen music program

Students Corinne Nicol (left) and Ela Passerelli  mix music in the Teen Media Lab.

Heights High students who are aspiring musicians can now apply for the second installment of Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library’s Teen Music Makerspace program. The library will accept applications from Heights students between the ages of 13 and 18 through March 18 for the program, which runs April 9 through May 18.

Teen Music Makerspace is a 101-style course covering everything from the history of electronic music to recording instruments, and using computer programs to create and manipulate sounds.

The course, open to 11 students, will take place in the Teen Digital Media Lab, located in the Teen Room of Heights Libraries’ Lee Road branch.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:50 PM, 03.02.2018

Burning River Baroque to perform at three CH venues

Malina Rauschenfels and Paula Maust of Burning River Baroque in performance. Photo credit: Alex Belisle, 2017.

Early-music ensemble Burning River Baroque will return to Cleveland Heights with three performances of Suppressed Voices: Music of the Banished. The ensemble will perform on Wednesday, March 21, 7:30 p.m., at The Wine Spot (2271 Lee Road), and Saturday, March 24, 2 p.m., at St. Alban's Episcopal Church (2555 Euclid Heights Blvd.). Both of these concerts are free; free-will donations will be accepted.

An additional performance will be offered on Saturday, April 24, at 7 p.m., at a private residence in Cleveland Heights. A fundraiser for the ensemble, tickets will be $50. For reservations, e-mail (address of the venue will be provided upon receipt of RSVP).

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:20 PM, 03.02.2018

Fairhill Road Village Historic District

A 1961 image of Fairhill Road Village Historic District from the Cuyahoga County tax appraisal card. Courtsey Maize Adams.

Designed to emulate an English hamlet, the Fairhill Road Village Historic District is a special grouping of 13 buildings that straddles the cities of Cleveland Heights and Cleveland. These residences along Fairhill Road sit in front of the Ambler Park ravine.

The stucco and stone exteriors, slate roofs, leaded glass windows, large chimneys, and gables of multiple heights reflect the picturesque Tudor Revival style chosen for this development. The combination of architectural integrity and the uninterrupted natural setting that the property occupies made the residences eligible for National Register listing.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:27 PM, 03.01.2018

FutureHeights offers community-building workshops and mini-grants this spring

Graduates of the Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series.

FutureHeights offers several tools to help Cleveland Heights residents leverage their neighborhoods’ assets through its Community Capacity-Building Program, including a series of workshops for neighborhood leaders and small grants for neighborhood projects. 

Since 2015, FutureHeights has awarded approximately $13,000 in mini-grants toward 18 projects in the city. Residents can apply for up to $1,000 for citizen-led projects and events. In addition, 39 residents from neighborhoods across Cleveland Heights have completed the workshop series, which takes place each spring.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:22 PM, 03.01.2018

HYT celebrates home with 'The Wizard of Oz'

Follow the yellow brick road and join Heights Youth Theatre (HYT) for a performance of “The Wizard of Oz” at Heights Middle School (Wiley campus). The show opens on Friday, March 9 and runs through Sunday, March 18.

Treva Offutt directs the show, Stacy Bolton serves as music director, and Jack Ina is stage manager. One hundred Greater Cleveland students, in grades 1 through 12, comprise the cast. The lead cast members are Spencer Skok (Wizard), Victoria Skok (Dorothy), Brian Tuohey (Scarecrow), Keegan Polatz (Tinman), James Berner (Lion), Trinity Offutt Decker (Glinda), Grace Wilkinson (Witch), Grace Hoy (Miss Gulch), Margaretta Milgram (Auntie Em), and Joshua Mink (Uncle Henry).

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:13 PM, 03.02.2018

What's going on at your library?

Coventry Village Branch
1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Thursday, March 8, 7–8:30 p.m.

Local Author David Giffels. Celebrating our wealth of outstanding local authors, this monthly series is presented in partnership with Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry. In March, David Giffels reads from his heartfelt memoir, Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life. With wisdom and humor, Giffels confronts mortality, survives loss, finds resilience in his Midwest roots, and seeks a father's wisdom through an unusual woodworking project—constructing his own coffin. A book signing will follow.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:52 PM, 03.02.2018

HYC member is Youth of the Year finalist

Mercedes Klouda [courtesy Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland]

Mercedes Klouda, a four-year member of Heights Youth Club (HYC), is one of five finalists for Youth of the Year honors at Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. The winner will be announced on March 9.

Beverly Burgess, former Heights Youth Club director, said of Klouda, "[Her] work ethic, self-esteem and personal resilience traits are inspiring to the club staff and her peers. When faced with a challenge, she works tirelessly to achieve her goals and sets high expectations for herself.”

For the past nine years, Klouda has volunteered at the Ebenezer Food Pantry at Fairmount Presbyterian Church, spending thousands of hours serving meals to community members.

In 2016, she was part of a church group that traveled to the Dominican Republic and helped build a church in one of the most poverty-stricken regions of that country.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:13 PM, 03.01.2018

Penguins invade Gesu School

Mr. Popper and his penguin visited Gesu School to promote Gesu Reads Together.

At the end of January, Gesu School launched a new program, Gesu Reads Together. The school embarked on this project to promote family literacy and demonstrate connections between academic subjects across the curriculum.

During the months of January and February, students in kindergarten through fourth grade read the classic children’s book Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater, and class work connected to the themes of the book, covering topics such as penguins, Polar regions, and the water cycle.

Each child received a copy of the book, and the Gesu School Parent Teacher Organization arranged many activities, including a kick-off assembly featuring Mr. Popper (an actor with Great Lakes Theater Company) reading the first two chapters of the book to the student body.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:37 PM, 03.02.2018

Heights educators swim with the sharks

CH-UH educators participated in the Heights Schools Foundations's Shark Tank event on Feb. 9.

A group of 20 CH-UH educators “swam with the sharks” on Professional Development Day in order to quality for opportunity grants courtesy of the Heights School Foundation (HSF).

In an event modeled after the reality-TV show “Shark Tank,” HSF offered grants of up to $500 directly to teachers, who had to face a panel of sharks who determined if their proposals were investment-worthy.

Each teacher who submitted a proposal had two minutes to make the pitch, and then 60 seconds of back-and-forth with the panel. In the end, a shark had to make an offer to fund the proposal.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:41 PM, 03.02.2018

Heights Observer Volunteer Match

Heights Observer’s Volunteer Match column lists opportunities for residents to lend their time and talent to worthy organizations and causes around the Heights.

Submit your organization’s volunteer needs by calling the FutureHeights office at 216-320-1423 or e-mailing

Items submitted on or before the Heights Observer print issue's monthly story deadline will be considered for the next column. (To see past columns, visit, and search “volunteer match”.)

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:09 PM, 03.01.2018

UH Senior Happenings

Senior Happenings, sponsored by the city of University Heights, are open to all senior citizens. Events take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the University Heights Library. To receive the monthly schedule by e-mail, call 216-932-7800, ext. 205, or send an e-mail to

March 1: Terry Allan, health commissioner with the Cuyahoga Board of Health, will provide an overview of community and family services, environmental health and safety. He'll cover three pressing issues: healthy eating and active living, the opiate epidemic, and infant mortality rates.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:06 PM, 03.01.2018

HRRC offers women's electrical repairs series

In March, Home Repair Resource Center’s (HRRC) Home How-To Electrical Series is starting up again. Each Wednesday, March 7 through April 11, 7–9 p.m., attendees should get ready to be enlightened.

This series has been immensely popular in the past, and this time, HRRC is adding a little something different. Participants will learn how to wire a house, and thus gain a full understanding of how electricity and wiring works throughout the whole home. Switches, outlets, circuits and more will also be covered.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:02 PM, 03.01.2018

Heights High athletes commit to colleges

Heights High seniors signed their college letters of intent before a large audience in the school's gymnasium on National Signing Day.

On Feb. 7, 12 Cleveland Heights High School student-athletes signed their official college letters of intent at a National Signing Day ceremony held in front of a large crowd inside Heights High’s gymnasium.

The group comprised 11 football players and one girls lacrosse player who, combined, received more than $1.1 million in college scholarships.

The students were girls lacrosse standout Lauren Iott (Grand Valley State University), and football standouts Grayson Green (Central State University), Isaiah Higgins (Hocking College), Kylen McCracken (Ohio University), Mekhi Patterson (Thomas More College), Shamar Rhodes (West Liberty University), Peter Rouse (Erie Community College), LeMaro Smith (University of Buffalo), Tyreke Smith (The Ohio State University), Jared Wilson (Ohio Dominican University), Zaire Webb (Georgetown University) and Ahmad Webber (West Virginia Wesleyan College).

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:58 PM, 03.01.2018

March 19 fundraiser will benefit girls lacrosse

Heights High Girls Lacrosse kicks off its spring season with a fundraiser on March 19 at Lopez.

Heights Girls Lacrosse will host its annual fundraiser at Lopez Restaurant in Cleveland Heights on Monday, March 19, 5–9 p.m. Delicious food and drinks will be served, with all tips—along with proceeds from live raffle items and a 50-50 raffle—going to support Heights Lacrosse programs. For more information, go to Facebook and search Heights, Girls Lacrosse, Fundraiser.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:54 PM, 03.01.2018

Heights High re-dedicates Cappelletti Court

Hall of Fame coach Jim Cappelletti with current Heights High basketball players. Photo by Carl Jenks

Cleveland Heights High School dedicated its new basketball court in honor of legendary former coach Jim Cappelletti during a pre-game ceremony on Feb. 9. The Heights High gymnasium now has a “Cappelletti Court” insignia on each of the baselines.

The Tigers’ previous home court, replaced during the high school renovation, was also named in honor of Cappelletti, who spent 45 years in the CH-UH district, and won 539 games in his coaching career.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:51 PM, 03.01.2018

High School pool opens to public on March 5

The indoor swimming pool at Cleveland Heights High School.

The Cleveland Heights High School indoor pool will reopen for community access on Monday, March 5. The 2018 spring swimming schedule runs through May 25.

The Heights High pool is available to the public through the City of Cleveland Heights Parks and Recreation Department. All residents within the boundaries of the CH-UH School District may purchase swim passes, which are available at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:44 PM, 03.01.2018

Cheryl Stephens runs for county council

Cheryl L. Stephens

On May 8, Heights residents will vote in the primary election for the Ward 10 Cuyahoga County Council representative, which includes Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Bratenahl, East Cleveland and two wards in Cleveland’s University Circle neighborhood.

Former Cleveland Heights mayor and current CH City Council Member Cheryl L. Stephens is running for the seat against Michael J. Houser, who was chosen by Cuyahoga County Democratic precinct committee members to fill the seat vacated by member Anthony Hairston, following his election to Cleveland City Council last November. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website also lists Angela Bennett, a Republican, as a write-in candidate for the seat.

Stephens stated that she is running because she believes the district needs someone who has experience working on the issues. Several key issues she pointed out are economic and community development, LGBTQ rights, supporting MetroHealth System, and ensuring strong finances.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:19 AM, 02.27.2018

Apollo's Fire presents free family concert on March 3

Amanda Powell

Cleveland Heights-based Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra will present a free family concert at Heights High on Saturday, March 3, at 2 p.m. The performance is part of a family concert series titled Wing It, featuring local songstress Amanda Powell with Apollo's Fire instrumentalists.

This interactive and lighthearted performance, which is open to the public, will explore the connection and similarities between jazz and Baroque music. Audience members will have an opportunity to try out the instruments, including the hammered dulcimer, percussion and guitar, during the post-concert “Instrument Petting Zoo.” The family concerts are part of the group’s new Community Access Initiative, which seeks to bring world-class music to diverse audiences throughout Northeast Ohio.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:27 AM, 02.27.2018

Churches work together to host Lenten Wednesdays

Four congregations in Cleveland Heights—Peace Lutheran, Noble Road Presbyterian, Disciples Christian, and Church of the Redeemer United Methodist—are working cooperatively to offer a creative form of fellowship and worship as Christians around the globe commemorate Lent. Beginning with Ash Wednesday, Lent marks an annual season to remember Jesus' life and death.

The gatherings are open to not only members of the four congregations, but also to all in the area who would like to deepen their spirituality at this holy time.

The four churches are sharing in what they call “Simple Soup Suppers.” Attendees gather at 6 p.m., attend a program at 6:45 p.m., worship at 7:30 p.m., and are on their way by 8 p.m. This year's program theme is the varieties of spiritual practices.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:32 AM, 02.27.2018

'The Effect' explores love and chemistry at Dobama

If love is a drug, can a drug make you fall in love? Lucy Prebble’s provocative new play, “The Effect,” directed by Laley Lippard and opening at Dobama Theatre on March 2, wowed U.K. critics and award panels with its fascinating questions about the mysteries of the mind and the true nature of love.

“The Effect” tells the story of Connie and Tristan, volunteers in a clinical drug trial, who begin a sudden and illicit romance. However, they must ask themselves: is theirs a palpable chemistry, or merely a side effect of the new antidepressant being tested? As their relationship forces the supervising doctors to face off over the ethical consequences of their work, the story begins to unwind in a script that plays like a thriller.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:30 AM, 02.27.2018

Mayors and citizens share views with Charter Review Commission

Shaker Heights Mayor, Earl Leiken, addresses the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission.

During a nearly three-hour meeting of the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission on Feb. 15, 12 citizens spoke of their interest in changes to the way Cleveland Heights elects its leaders.

Among those who spoke were John Zagara, owner of Zagara’s Marketplace; Bill Mitchell, former owner of Mitchell’s Fine Chocolates; Kermit Lind, an attorney and professor; Bruce Hennes, a communications consultant; and Paul Volpe, an architect.

Lind told the commission that the challenges facing inner-ring suburbs like Cleveland Heights have changed dramatically in the past 40 years. “Local governments now need to be more nimble, creative, collaborative and wary of external factors that cause instability and deterioration of the physical environment,” Lind said. He also stated that Cleveland Heights government is not as effective as it once was.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:00 PM, 02.20.2018

Kiwanis returns to the Heights

Kiwanis International has returned to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights community with a new club, Kiwanis of the Heights. It intends to continue the work that the old Cleveland Heights and Cedar Center clubs started years ago, providing service to the community’s children and adults with disabilities.

Spearheaded by the club president (the author), the new club achieved charter status last November. Yvonne Conner serves as treasurer, and Cassandra Swift serves as secretary. Dee Ann Long Marsky, Cindy Seaman and Eva Bekes serve as the club’s board.

Kiwanis of the Heights’ commitment to service will begin by establishing Key and Builders Clubs in the local school system, and an Aktion Club for disabled adults. These clubs should be fully active by fall 2018. The school clubs are designed to teach high school and middle school students about leadership, community and service in a structured program of self-government, fundraising, and volunteering for community projects. Future near-term plans include K-clubs in the various public elementary schools, appropriate clubs in the community’s private primary and secondary schools, as well as Circle-K Clubs at John Carroll University and Notre Dame College.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 12:43 PM, 02.20.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education highlights 2-6-2018

FEBRUARY 6, 2018

  • Master facilities plan update

Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Beverly Wright were present. President James Posch was absent. Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. Present for the master facilities plan presentation were Project Management Consultants LLC Senior Project Consultant Doug Myers, Bond Accountability Commission Vice Chair Debbie Herrmann, and Director of Business Services George Petkac. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and was adjourned at 7:40 p.m.



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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:30 PM, 02.21.2018