Latest News

Coventry Holiday Fest and Lantern Festival returns Dec. 9

Get in the spirit of the holiday season with the annual Coventry Village Holiday Fest and Coventry PEACE Campus Lantern Festival, which returns on Saturday, Dec. 9.

This free event for all ages will feature crafts; meet-and-greets with Olaf, The Grinch, and Santa Claus; plus local, independently owned sip n’ shop opportunities throughout Coventry Village, starting at 11 a.m. and continuing throughout the day.

Coventry Village businesses will be open and offering discounts, interactive workshops, and more.

The Grog Shop and B-Side lounge will host 40-plus local vendors on two floors at the annual Jingle Bell Holiday Sip n’ Shop, taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:44 PM, 11.29.2023

Latest News Releases

Family Connections Strengthens Its Mission with New Partnership
- Family Connections, November 30, 2023 Read More
Unlock the Potential of Your Scholar with Open Doors Academy’s Afterschool Program
- Open Doors Academy, November 30, 2023 Read More
Legal Aid will host Annual Meeting with special keynote panel and award honorees
- Legal Aid, November 14, 2023 Read More
Library will begin PEACE Park renovation in November with playground demolition
- CH-UH Library, October 20, 2023 Read More
Mayor Seren selects Danny R. Williams to serve as the next Cleveland Heights City Administrator
- City of Cleveland Heights, August 4, 2023 Read More

View more news releases

Holiday string-light and power-cord benefit recycling drive kicks off Dec. 2

Rachel Weller, of the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, dropping off lights last year.

Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), in partnership with the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and the Lee Road and Coventry Village branches of Heights Libraries, will collect broken, burned-out string lights, extension cords and power strips, to benefit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Lights for Lions program.

The Heights string lights recycling drive will begin Dec. 2 and run through Jan. 31.

Drop off bins are located at the parking lot entrance of Heights Libraries Lee Road branch, Heights Libraries Coventry Village branch, and in the Nature Center’s lobby.

“Recovered lights and cords are collected and shipped to recycling facilities where the parts are separated into plastic, glass, and copper,” explained Dan Dobres, metal buyer at Demilta Iron and Recycling Company in Willoughby.

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 5:47 PM, 11.25.2023

Rediscovering a piece of CH's past

The once disposed of 19th-century millstone has found a home.

Some 20-plus years ago, city of Cleveland Heights employee Carlo Melaragno spotted a large millstone in Dugway Creek near Cumberland Park. The stone was pulled from the creekbed and moved to a Cleveland Heights storage facility, where it remained.

The stone likely was a relic from 19th-century Cleveland Heights (Fairmount) village times. It was determined that the stone was probably from a mill operated by Fred Silsby when Mayfield was a plank road. In early days, sorghum for molasses was pressed there; later primarily apples for cider.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, mention of the stone was made at a Cleveland Heights Historical Society meeting. A newspaper article about Cleveland Heights history was produced, showing an aged Frank Cain with the stone, on display in Cumberland Park in the 1960s.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:41 PM, 11.29.2023

Heights Arts announces 2024 music season

An ARTbar performance at Heights Arts.

Heights Arts has announced its 2023–24 music season. A blend of three unique series—Close Encounters chamber music, Gallery Concerts, and ARTbar events—the season reflects the uniquely creative community Heights Arts calls home.

With the help of its Music Community Team, Heights Arts has selected a talented lineup of musicians for both its Gallery Concert and ARTbar series.

For Close Encounters, artistic director Dane Johansen has gathered talent from the globally recognized Cleveland Orchestra and other acclaimed artists in the community.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:22 PM, 11.29.2023

Winter Show on view at St. Paul's gallery

Incoming, by Vic Weizer.

The Winter Show at the Nicholson B. White Gallery of St. Paul’s Church will be on view until early March.

The exhibition features copper enameled jewelry, woodcut prints, wildlife photography, and oil and acrylic paintings by four artists from—or with ties to—Cleveland.

Each artists exhibits mastery and control in their chosen medium. 

Robin McIntosh paints with careful attention to detail in her landscapes and animal portraits. Her work is inspired by time spent in Ohio and Canada. 

Michaelle Marschall strives to imagine and create atmospheric, underwater views in her unique wood-block prints. In creating her abstract impressions, Marschall draws on her experiences in a form of scuba diving. 

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:20 PM, 11.29.2023

Library tutors offer after-school help and continuity

Goshen Heard was a member of the library's book club at Fairfax Elementary School. He made a video review of the book Dog Man by Dav Pilkey.

Nine-year-old Goshen Heard is a student at Fairfax Elementary School and an enthusiastic library user. His mom, Loretta Heard, said she and her son are at the library most weekdays—reading, attending programs, and checking out lots of books. That’s how they learned about the library’s afterschool tutoring program at the Lee Road branch.

“When Ms. Ericka told us about the tutoring program, it was a no-brainer for us,” said Loretta Heard. “We jumped right on it.”

Ms. Ericka is Ericka Hogan, known to the kids as just “E.” Hogan oversees the tutoring program at the library’s Lee Road Youth Services Department.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:17 PM, 11.29.2023

Dobama presents new take on 'Little Women'

Theo Allyn is one of the performers in Dobama's production of "Little Women."

Dobama Theatre will produce a new adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s timeless novel Little Women this holiday season. Performances begin Dec. 1 and will run through a New Year’s Eve matinee.

In this fresh approach to the story, four actors in an attic retell Alcott's classic, creating scenes of love and loss amidst the ever-glowing warmth of the March family hearth. Jo goes on a journey of artistic self-discovery and coming-of-age as she struggles to become the writer she longs to be. Amid triumphs and troubles, it is through a sense of play that Jo and her sisters find themselves—making up fairy stories with witches and heroes, or spending an evening reciting the articles written for their beloved imaginary newspaper. However, it is through tragedy that Jo finally finds her voice as an artist and moves into adulthood with the knowledge that, while families change and grow, the ones we love are always close at heart.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:25 PM, 11.29.2023

Seven Heights High students earn National Merit honors

Heights High's National Merit Scholar Semifinalists (from left): Niko Bell and Caleb Green.

Heights High seniors Niko Bell and Caleb Green have been named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists in the 2024 competition, and now have the opportunity to advance to the finalist level and qualify for National Merit Scholarships.

Natalie Bier, Laurel Buescher, Sean Egbert, Marcus Holland and Mason Spieth were named 2024 Commended Students, placing among the top 5 percent of the students who entered.

More than 1.3 million students entered the National Merit Scholarship qualifying competition by taking the PSAT test in the fall of their junior year. Nationally, 16,000 semifinalists were recognized, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, and there were 34,000 commended students.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:02 PM, 11.29.2023

Colopy is new Roots of American Music director

Michele Colopy

Roots of American Music (ROAM), the Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit organization that uses traditional American music as a tool for education, social change, and community building, welcomes Michele Colopy as its new executive director.

Colopy brings 27 years of nonprofit leadership experience, and a master’s degree in arts administration from the University of Akron, to her new role.

“I am honored to join ROAM and continue the legacy of its founder, Kevin Richards,” said Colopy. “I look forward to working with the staff and teaching artists to provide music education and creative opportunities for the community in Northeast Ohio.”

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:29 PM, 11.29.2023

Made Cleveland plans grocery expansion

Donations to support Made Cleveland's grocery expansion qualify supporters for raffle tickets and other "rewards."

Made Cleveland, a Coventry Village store that features locally made goods by area artisans, has launched a fundraising campaign to expand its grocery offerings, to meet the needs of the community. 

The plan for the space includes a cooler/freezer section for dairy/dairy alternatives, ice cream, fresh pasta, and proteins. There will also be a grab-and-go section for salads, sandwiches, breakfast options, pastries and breads, and an array of choices for all dietary considerations and needs.

The updated grocery section also will include bulk goods: locally milled flour, grains, legumes, coffee, tea, spices, olive oil, vinegars, and sweets.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:59 PM, 11.29.2023

Tisch performs IMD concert violin solo

Nathaniel Tisch

Nathaniel Tisch was the featured senior soloist at the Heights High Instrumental Music Department's (IMD) Concert on Nov. 15. He captivated the audience, performing the violin solo for Beethoven’s Romance in F with the Heights High Symphony.

Tisch has been playing violin since the age of 5, and has been active in the school district’s music program since second grade, when he joined the Gearity school orchestra under Robert Adamson.

Tisch was one of three senior soloists selected to perform in the IMD’s concerts this year.

Daniel Heim, director of orchestras for Heights High, commented, “I first worked with Nathaniel during the 2016 Reaching Heights Summer Camp. It was then that I discovered our mutual love of the ‘Star Wars’ movie franchise in the form of funny movie-related T-shirts Nathaniel wore to camp.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:04 PM, 11.29.2023

Apply now for FH leadership workshop series

NLWS 2023 [photo: Sarah Wolf]

FutureHeights’ Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series (NLWS) provides Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents with the opportunity to gain skills and connect with other community change-agents.

Program participants examine leadership from the neighborhood perspective while using a strengths-based lens. Guest speakers are Heights-based leaders who share their own hyper-local perspectives and experiences, about past and current projects.

NLWS is held once a year. The 2024 workshop series will take place on Sundays, 3–6 p.m., Jan. 28, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, March 10, and March 24, at the Coventry PEACE Building. Applicants must commit to attending all five sessions in order to be considered for the program.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:54 PM, 11.29.2023

FutureHeights announces board changes

Julie Sabroff at FutureHeights' annual event this past summer. 

Julie Sabroff, former chair of the Board of Directors for FutureHeights (FH), a nonprofit community development corporation (CDC) for Cleveland Heights and University Heights, and publisher of the Heights Observer, stepped down from the board on Aug. 7, to help her family during a difficult period.

In the interim, Rhonda Davis Lovejoy and Chris Jacobs, both vice-chairs of the FH Board of Directors, will function as acting co-chairs of the board until it votes on a new chair.

During her tenure as board chair, Sabroff ushered the organization through the adoption of a strategic plan, an update to the organization’s bylaws, and the hiring of current Executive Director Kristine Pagsuyoin.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:52 PM, 11.29.2023

Vote for 2024 Crowdsourced Conversations topics

A small-group discussion at the Nov. 2 Crowdsourced Conversations forum. [photo: Sarah Wolf]

Crowdsourced Conversations wrapped up its four-part 2023 series and is set to return in 2024.

This public forum series, hosted by FutureHeights and community partners, puts the spotlight on community voices by emphasizing action-oriented small-group discussions on selected topics.

Throughout the month of December, Heights residents can cast their votes to select four topics for 2024. Previous Crowdsourced Conversations participants made the topic nominations; the top four vote-getters will comprise the 2024 Crowdsourced Conversations.

The deadline to vote is Jan. 2.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:17 PM, 11.29.2023

Support local this holiday season—and all year long

While striving to shop local/eat local is a mindset worth maintaining year 'round, supporting small businesses throughout the month of December is a must.

Small businesses not only provide residents with needed goods and services, they provide community space and help define a neighborhood's character.

While the convenience of online retailers might beckon, Heights residents can help build camaraderie and strengthen their neighborhoods by investing their dollars into the lifeblood of the Heights—and any—community: mom-and-pop shops, other local retailers, and restaurants.

While the surest way to support local is through spending money in Heights business districts, there are other ways to get the entire neighborhood involved.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:38 PM, 11.29.2023

Planning beats politicking

The last thing Cleveland Heights needed in our most recent city council election was “Democrats” trying to “out-Democrat” each other. But we got it anyway.

Six candidates were vying for three seats on CH City Council. Last summer, when the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party endorsed two, and the Cleveland Heights Democratic Club gave the nod to two others, a season of drama and political nastiness ensued.

Both bodies, by the way, require a 60-percent vote threshold of those present at the endorsement meeting for an individual to win. That was ironic: at the time, most of these dedicated Democrats were fighting hard to defeat the Issue 1 that was the subject of the August special election cooked up by statehouse Republicans.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:14 PM, 11.29.2023

The future history of music here

A moment from last year's concert. Somehow, the only kid you can really see happens to be related to me. All the children participated in the movements Mrs. Gray taught them, but the kid next to my relative really got into it. One more verse and he might have knocked her off the risers. 

I take my grandson, Baxter, to his piano lessons. He wants me to watch his lessons. I wouldn’t if he didn’t. But when he started, nine months ago, when he was 5, he wanted me in there, and that hasn’t changed yet.

He’s always been very musical, and I thought he might start music lessons when he was 6, which is when I started. But he began asking if he could take piano lessons when he was 5, and though I thought he might be too young, I also believe that the time to start kids on music lessons is when they want to. So, I asked his parents if I could start taking him to piano lessons and that was fine with them. Also, kids are older now than they were when I was a kid; so at 5, he was probably where I was at 6.

Baxter’s taking lessons at Musicologie—on Fairmount Boulevard, just east of Taylor Road—which used to be the Fairmount School of Music, started, 35 years ago, by my former bandmate Kevin Richards.

Like most kids, Baxter doesn’t love practicing. But what scares me, a little, is that he usually plays MUCH better in his lessons than he ever does when practicing.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:27 PM, 11.29.2023

Science of reading informs reading education

Lift your arm and reach for an imaginary apple. Bring it to your mouth and make a slurping sound as you take a bite. Then quietly utter the short “a” sound, followed by the word “apple.”

This is one of 26 hand motion-sound prompts that literacy volunteers like me have been sharing with kindergartners at Boulevard Elementary School for the last 15 years. This practice builds what is known as phonemic awareness, and it is an essential first step on the path to becoming a reader. Understanding symbolic language is no simple task, but its mastery is key to the treasures of the written word. And mastery takes work and time.

Repetition is key to building the neuropathways that pay off in reading.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:11 PM, 11.29.2023

Cumberland pool should be open all summer, every summer

Cumberland Pool.

Susie Kaeser described Cumberland pool in her October 2022 Heights Observer column:

“It is where we get to hang out together and encounter friends and strangers who share our interests. This is a public space, and the public uses it! I love the sounds of splashing water, youthful horsing around, and quiet conversations. It’s the best place to cool off, exercise, watch the clouds and feel like I’m part of our community.”

Cumberland embodies much of what we love about our community, and learning that it might be taken from us, even temporarily, caused a great deal of angst. 

At the Sept. 18 Cleveland Heights Council Committee of the Whole meeting, Mayor Seren surprised many by introducing an organization tasked with investigating the feasibility of creating both new outdoor and indoor swimming pools in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:36 PM, 11.29.2023

CH needs more pedestrian-friendly initiatives

As a father of two young children, I was excited to attend the Heights Halloween Festival on Oct. 21. The day before, event organizers advertised in an official e-mail newsletter that "a portion of Lee Road will be closed." Upon arriving, however, I was disappointed to find only a few hundred square feet of Meadowbrook Boulevard converted for pedestrian use. Lee Road remained open, leaving hundreds of kids and caretakers to jostle along sidewalks while cars zoomed by a few feet away. This is not only disappointing but also dangerous.

Cleveland Heights should prioritize the safety of its residents and visitors, particularly during community events like the Halloween festival and the recent Music Hop (which was plagued by similar safety concerns). If ever there was a time to experiment and try new things that benefit the community, this was it.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:39 PM, 11.29.2023

Lake Erie Ink's 'Stirring The Plot' celebrates our creative culinary community

In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, Lake Erie Ink, a community organization dedicated to fostering creativity in young writers, has launched its latest project: the "Stirring The Plot" community cookbook. This compilation of recipes & writings promises to not only tantalize taste buds but also warm hearts with its mission to support local non-profit efforts.

The cookbook, a labor of love from the Lake Erie Ink community, features a diverse array of culinary creations contributed by students, staff, supporters, and local chefs. From cherished family recipes passed down through generations to innovative concoctions that reflect the creativity and vibrancy of the organization, "Stirring The Plot" offers a tapestry of flavors for all palates.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 12:26 AM, 11.27.2023

Stars shine bright at UH Civic Awards

With an assist from Cooper, JCU grad and 19 News reporter Rachel Vadaj hosted the 2023 University Heights Civic Awards.

Music, applause, hugs, and laughter—as well as many University Heights residents—filled John Carroll University’s (JCU) Jardine Room on Nov. 15 for the 2023 UH Civic Awards.

In his opening remarks, Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan said, “We brought back the Civic Awards in 2018 because it is important to take time to celebrate our community, and give recognition where it is deserved, to amplify and tell the story of the people who make a difference in the community. 

“So much of life is ephemeral and impermanent. We pause to remember tonight, in hopes that we may never forget.”

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 5:45 PM, 11.25.2023

FH awards mini-grants to eight Heights groups

The Coventry PEACE Lantern Festival, pictured here in 2022, is one of eight FH mini-grant recipients. [photo courtesy Robin VanLear]

The FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant program offers funding of up to $1,000 for neighborhood groups to pursue community-building programs, projects and initiatives. The Fall 2023 round of funding resulted in eight groups being awarded a total of $4,892.

Lake Erie Ink received $1,000 for “Explore and Connect,” a three-day, spring-break program in which students from Noble and Oxford schools will learn more about their neighborhood by conducting interviews with Heights leaders. Students will then write about their experiences and have their work on display around the neighborhood. Grant dollars will support program facilitation and supplies.

Noble Elementary School PTA received $1,000 for “Noble Pride – A Thoughtful Makeover,” in which PTA members will collaborate with students, school staff, and neighbors to give the school’s exterior a makeover. Participants believe that the perception of safety is tied to a sense of cleanliness and care for a space, and can have a ripple effect into the surrounding neighborhood.

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 5:44 PM, 11.25.2023

Cleveland Potter’s holiday sale kicks off Dec. 1

The Cleveland Potter’s Co-op will host its annual holiday pottery sale on two consecutive weekends, beginning Dec. 1.

The sale will comprise ceramic art made by co-op members, including mugs, bowls, planters, and much more.

The sale is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1, 7–9 p.m.; Saturdays, Dec 2 and 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, Dec. 3 and 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stop by to purchase hand-made holiday gifts, learn more about the co-op’s members and classes, and see the newly expanded studio.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 2:23 PM, 11.17.2023

Have a 'Classy, Brassy Christmas' with WRC

The Western Reserve Chorale (WRC), a community choir of 90 voices from across Northeast Ohio, invites you to enjoy "A Classy, Brassy Christmas" on Dec. 3, at 3:30 p.m., when the ensemble offers its 32nd-annual holiday concert. It will be held at the WRC’s new home, Church of the Saviour, on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. The concert is free and open to the public, with donations encouraged.

"A Classy, Brassy Christmas" will feature two longer works for chorus and brass with local, professional instrumentalists. The first, Christmas Cantata, will honor the 100th anniversary of composer Daniel Pinkham’s birth. This piece, subtitled “Sinfonia Sacra,” is a 20th-century homage to the Baroque, recalling the brilliance of the Venetian school of chorus-and-brass music, particularly as embodied in the works of Giovanni Gabrieli.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 2:10 PM, 11.17.2023

What’s going on at your library?

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

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7 p.m.

A Grandmother’s ABC Book: An Evening with Kathy Ewing. Ewing presents her latest book, A Grandmother’s ABC Book. Entertaining and inspiring. this is a book about looking ahead—to the excitement of grandchildren, to the promise of a joy-filled future, and to the thrill of sharing one’s life and stories with the next generation. A book signing will follow. Registration is required at

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 2:08 PM, 11.17.2023

Green Team and Made Cleveland co-host free gift-making event Dec. 2

Ash O'Connor, founder of Made Cleveland, at her Coventry store, where CHGT will host its Dec. 2 event.

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), in partnership with Made Cleveland, Cleveland Heights’ local-vendor marketplace, will host a community DIY holiday gift-making party on Saturday, Dec. 2, 1–4 p.m., at Made Cleveland, 1807 Coventry Road.  

Participants will be able to craft and personalize gifts using repurposed, recycled, and upcycled materials. Experienced crafters will be available to lend a hand.

Made Cleveland will provide all materials and tools, and CHGT members will share tips and ideas for minimizing holiday waste and saving money. 

While the event is free, registration is required. To register, go to

“We want to provide an opportunity for the Heights community to celebrate the holiday season while keeping the environment in mind,” Catalina Wagers, co-founder of CHGT.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 2:03 PM, 11.17.2023

Friends Mega Book Sale is Dec. 1-3, with Nov. 30 preview

The Friends of the Heights Libraries will hold its Winter Mega Book Sale at the Lee Road Branch Friday through Sunday, Dec. 1–3, with a members-only preview on Thursday evening, 5–8:30 p.m., on Nov. 30. Sale hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 1–5 p.m. on Sunday.

The biannual mega book sales are major fundraisers for Friends of the Heights Libraries, which celebrated its 61st anniversary at its annual meeting in October.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 2:01 PM, 11.17.2023

How the Heights voted

In the Nov. 7 election, Cleveland Heights voters elected a new council member to fill one of three seats. In University Heights, voters opted to return four incumbent candidates to UH City Council, and voters approved all six city charter amendments that were on the ballot.

In Cleveland Heights, where six candidates vied for three full-term (4-year) seats on council, voters re-elected Gail Larson (8,479 votes/23.07 percent), and elected incumbent mayoral appointee Janine R. Boyd (7,349/20 percent) and challenger Jim Petras (8,327/22.66 percent). 

Incumbent Melody Joy Hart (6,330/17.22 percent), who currently serves as council president, was not re-elected. The two unsuccessful challengers were Jeanne V. Gordon (3,604/9.81 percent) and Jon Benedict (2,661/7.24 percent).

In University Heights, nine candidates were on the ballot to fill four full-term (4-year) seats.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 1:25 PM, 11.14.2023

Larson expresses gratitude to CH voters

It is Friday, Nov. 10. The election results on Tuesday humbled me and filled me with gratitude. I am grateful for everyone who supported my campaign, including those who: circulated BOE candidate petitions, held Meet and Greets in their homes, put out yard signs, dropped literature throughout the city, called and texted and e-mailed their support during the campaign and after the results were in.

I could not have completed this journey without the support of the Cleveland Heights voters. Special thanks to Josie Moore; Karen Grochau; my daughter, Becca; Davida Russell, Tony Cuda; Sandy Moran; my wonderful friends Marty Artzberger, Kay Dunlap and Jean Sylak and Linda Striefsky. Jim Petras and Justin Karr were my heroes—they finished up the literature drops and stood with me at the Candy Crawls at Lee and Coventry.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 5:03 PM, 11.12.2023

Hart thanks Cleveland Heights residents

Melody Joy Hart

Thank you to our residents for your belief in me over the past four years. I am proud that I ran a good, positive campaign, and thankful for the substantial support from our residents. Now it is time for a new chapter in my life. 

I am pleased to have had the opportunity to help my beloved city. I have worked hard and am proud of my accomplishments on council, which include putting in place a successful diversion program for homeowners with housing violations to get help to repair their homes and stay out of court. I want to see that program continue. I proposed and passed legislation to help hold banks and landlords accountable, provided training for new council members with staff and with the Ohio Municipal League, allocated ARPA funds to help our businesses and residents, and put in place a robust budget process for council.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 5:03 PM, 11.12.2023

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights

NOVEMBER 6, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City council committee reports
  • Actions
  • Oct. 2 minutes

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Michele Weiss, and Council Members Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 10:20 AM, 11.28.2023

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights

OCTOBER 16, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City council committee reports
  • Council actions
  • Council Chambers
  • Staff reports 
  • Other agenda items

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Michelle Weiss, and Council Members Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 10:10 AM, 11.28.2023

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

NOVEMBER 6, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City administrator’s report
  • Council action
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the Whole

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, and Council Members Janine Boyd, Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox Jr., and Davida Russell. Council Vice President Craig Cobb was excused but watched remotely.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 10:15 AM, 11.28.2023

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

OCTOBER 16, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City administrator’s report
  • Racial Justice Task Force
  • Council actions
  • First readings, no vote
  • Committee reports 
  • Committee of the whole

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Janine Boyd, Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox Jr., and Davida Russell. Also present was Addie Balester, clerk of council. The meeting ran about two and one half hours.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 10:02 AM, 11.28.2023

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights

NOVEMBER 7, 2023 - regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Recognitions and awards
  • Board actions
  • Canterbury IB program
  • Taylor Tudor development
  • Superintendent’s comments 
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Board member comments

Present were Board President Beverly Wright and board members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, James Posch, and Jodi Sourini. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 10:26 AM, 11.28.2023

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights

October 17, 2023 - special meeting

Present were Board President Beverly Wright, Vice President Jodi Sourini, and board members Dan Heintz and Malia Lewis. James Posch was not present. 

Board actions 

The board approved a consent agenda comprising personnel matters, two high school field trips (to Wisconsin and to France and Spain), the financial reports, and the purchase of a truck. The truck purchase was a Ford 550 dump truck, at a cost of $77,215, to be used for snow removal and other uses, to replace one that is no longer working.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 9:59 AM, 11.28.2023

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS/Cleveland Heights University Heights Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights

OCTOBER 16, 2023

  • Career services presentation
  • Financial report
  • Board actions
  • Personnel report
  • Director’s report
  • Public services report

Present were President Max Gerboc, Vice President Vikas Turakhia, Secretary Annette Iwamoto, Dana Fluellen, Tyler McTigue, and Melissa Soto-Schwartz. Patti Carlyle was not present. The meeting lasted 60 minutes.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 9:54 AM, 11.28.2023

Russell hosts Nov. 11 workshop for potential home buyers

On Saturday, Nov. 11, 1–3 p.m., Cleveland Heights Council Member Davida Russell will present a Pathway to Homeownership Workshop. The event will take place at Urban City Codes, 3096 Mayfield Road, in Cleveland Heights.

Offered twice yearly, the workshop aims to educate potential buyers on purchasing a home, and how to get a "yes" for home-loan preapproval.

The first hour will focus on buyer education, and the second hour will offer participants an opportunity to meet one-on-one with financial lenders and realtors.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 11:00 AM, 11.06.2023

Heights Tree People plants 1,000th tree

Bill Hanavan, Laura Marks, and Kathy Smachlo planting Heights Tree People's 1,000th tree.

On Oct. 5, Heights Tree People (HTP) planted its 1,000th tree. The volunteer group, which began planting trees—for free—in Cleveland Heights and University Heights in 2019, planted the red oak at Cleveland Heights High School, near the corner of Cedar and Lee roads, inside the school property’s fence.

The location for this milestone tree was chosen intentionally. Henry Caine, great-grandfather of HTP co-founder Laura Marks, was a local leader who, in the early 1890s, supported the extension of the Cedar Road trolley line from Coventry Road to Green Road. However, at the corner of Cedar and Lee stood a large elm—six feet in diameter—that was slated for removal to make room for the trolley.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 12:02 PM, 10.30.2023

Reporter and JCU alum to host UH Civic Awards

Rachel Vadaj will return to JCU on Nov. 15 to host the University Heights Civic Awards.

As an afternoon traffic anchor, host of the Emmy-nominated “Cleveland Now,” and roving reporter for “Friday Night Football Frenzy Game of the Week,” Rachel Vadaj of 19 News is indeed everywhere.

The John Carroll University (JCU) grad will return to campus on Wednesday, Nov. 15, to host the 2023 University Heights Civic Awards. A reception with hors d’oeuvres and live entertainment will begin at 6:30 p.m., with the award ceremony starting promptly at 7:30 p.m. in the Jardine Room.

“University Heights will always be a home in my heart. While I was a student here, I prayed to be where I am today,” Vadaj said. “To be welcomed back by my college town as your host is one of my highest honors.”

Each year, the UH Civic Awards honor those who are working hard to make University Heights an even better place in which to live, work, and raise a family.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:56 AM, 10.30.2023

CHGT and partners work to restore Caledonia ravine

Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland community and city leaders, Caledonia residents, representatives from NEORSD, TPL and Bluestone, and CHGT and CWRU volunteers at Caledonia's ravine tour and community cleanup in April.

In 1991, thanks to the dedicated efforts of then-council member Barbara Boyd, Cleveland Heights secured a 99-year lease on a neglected parcel—used, in part, as dumping ground—in the Caledonia section of the city and converted it into a park. Today, it’s known as Barbara H. Boyd Park.

The property straddles Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, with a southern border flanked by a stunning gorge carved by West Nine Mile Creek. Years of neglect and illegal dumping diminished the ravine’s health and resilience.

In May 2021, the Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) became aware of the ravine’s condition as it canvassed opportunities for green-space beautification within the city limits.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:52 AM, 10.30.2023

I'm talking about Coventry—again

This a picture of the backs of a lot of people's heads; and me, up in front, apparently trying to find my place in my notes, at last year's talk at the Coventry Village Library.

I was talking to a guy at a party, a couple of weeks ago, a guy who owns a business on Coventry Road. Someone else walked over to us, and the guy I was talking to introduced me to them, and said about me, “He writes for the Heights Observer about Coventry.”

I know that’s the perception some readers have, because I do write about some aspect of Coventry’s history (usually as it relates to my own) fairly often. And I guess that’s why the Heights Libraries’ Coventry branch asked me to speak about the history of Coventry last year, around this time.

Library staff originally thought that as many as 25 people would show up for my talk, so they planned to use a meeting room downstairs. Then, when reservations started coming in, they added a few more chairs.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:46 AM, 10.30.2023

At 100, architect Madison looks back

Chapter Q of P.E.O. International will present “An afternoon with Robert Madison and Leon Bibb” on Saturday, Nov. 11 (Veterans Day), 2 p.m., at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church. The program is free.

Madison and Bibb, who are veterans, authors and friends, will discuss Designing Victory, A Memoir, written by Madison, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, with Carlo Wolff.

The memoir captures a century of Madison’s personal stories, revealing American culture and his struggles to overcome racism while developing iconic structures in Cleveland and around the world. Madison recently celebrated his 100th birthday.

Born in Cleveland in 1923, Madison studied architecture at Howard University before serving in World War II.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:34 AM, 10.30.2023

The train wreck at Noble Station

The recent Noble Station train wreck is the result of failure on several levels. The proposed affordable housing development didn’t travel far, and its slow derailment was painful to watch.

The sequence of events started when an out-of-state developer, TWG Development, approached the Cleveland Heights administration with an offer to purchase city-owned land at the corner of Noble and Woodview roads to build a new 52-unit affordable-apartment building.

Cleveland Heights City Council, in December 2022, unanimously passed an ordinance authorizing the mayor to execute a purchase agreement with TWG.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:28 AM, 10.30.2023

Library celebrates a decade of clean finances

Kathryn Semo (center), Northeast Regional Liaison for the Auditor of State’s Office, presented the Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction to Fiscal Officer Deborah Herrmann (left) and Deputy Fiscal Officer Kimberly Austin (right).

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library received its 10th State of Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction for its 2022 financial audit. The award was presented at the Sept. 18 meeting of the Board of Library Trustees by Kathryn Semo, Northeast Regional Liaison for the Ohio Auditor of State’s Office.

The award is given to government entities that file an ACFR (Annual Comprehensive Financial Report) and other financial reports with the state of Ohio, and receive a clean audit report.

“The award is great news for us and for the taxpayers in our community,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “They can rest assured we have been spending money wisely and will continue to do so.”

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:26 AM, 10.30.2023

Heights Arts’ Holiday Store opens Nov. 3

Opening night at the 2019 Heights Arts Holiday Store.

From Nov. 3 to Dec. 30, the entire Heights Arts space at 2175 Lee Road will be transformed into a festive gift shop featuring the work of more than 120 artists, creators, musicians, and authors. The Heights Arts Holiday Store showcases the unique talents present in the Northeast Ohio region.

A nonprofit organization that has supported thousands of artists, musicians, and poets since 2000, Heights Arts is known for providing one of the most extensive collections of artist-made art and craft in the region. Many shoppers look forward to shopping this “big-box” alternative, where one can find one-of-a-kind items that make thoughtful gifts.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 9:38 AM, 10.29.2023

UH Symphonic Band wraps up year with free concerts

The University Heights Symphonic Band (UHSB) announces three free concerts for the remainder of 2023, including its annual free Fall Formal Concert at JCU's Dolan Science Center Atrium, on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 3:30.

UHSB, with Devlin Pope as music director, will perform the Nov. 5 concert as a salute to college Greek musical organizations, which provide high-quality music to the public and college communities. The program will include Michael W. Smith's concert band piece "To the Summit (Strive for the Highest)"; and Hue's flute concerto Fantaisie, for solo flute and winds, performed by the band's own Julianna Sabo. The band will also play music composed by Stamp, Sousa, Whitacre, Williams, and Chance.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 9:59 AM, 10.29.2023

Heights High presents 'Addams Family' musical

Lead actors in Heights High's fall show are (front row, from left) Mickie Lewis-William, Abs Burkle, Sofia Pehowic, Dametriana Blade, Harper Walker, Henry Dyck, (back row, from left) Clara Lyford, Anna Kenealy, Hugh Davis, Ruby Tugeau, Jaylen Rajeswaran and Jordan LaShore-Yelder.

Heights High will present performances of “The Addams Family - A New Musical Comedy” on Nov. 3, 4, 10 and 11, at 7 p.m., and on Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m.

The show will feature more than 200 high school students performing in two casts and in the pit orchestra, and managing backstage operations. Nearly 40 middle-school students will sing in the chorus.

The show’s themes of family, relationships, embracing individuality, and growing up are relevant to the lead performers, who spoke about the show recently.

“The musical is, for a lack of a better word, weird,” said senior Ruby Tugeau, who plays Alice Beineke. “But that’s why it’s so entertaining to watch! The audience will be completely enveloped in the Addams’ world as the characters manage to find love and acceptance despite their abnormal traditions.”

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 9:55 AM, 10.29.2023

CH council needs a Hatch Act

To the Editor:

CH City Council, sadly, needs a Hatch Act.

For those who are not familiar, the Hatch Act, a federal law passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal employees, including elected and appointed officials.

​The law’s purposes are to ensure that government programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect government employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that employees are advanced based on merit and not based on political affiliation.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:11 AM, 10.30.2023

CH should fund repairs on public property

I live in Cleveland Heights and received an advertisement for a water-line protection program for covered repairs, i.e., insurance. A diagram in the ad illustrates coverage from the edge of the homeowner’s property to the home, not from the water main to the home, which leaves me in a quandary.

In Cleveland Heights, the mayor maintains a “policy” that repairs are the homeowner’s responsibility to the curb, or, practically, from the mains to a home, for both water and sewer. This means that the lines on public property, between the edge of the homeowner’s property and main, are the homeowner’s responsibility. Thus, according to the diagram in the ad, they are not covered by its water-line protection program.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:08 AM, 10.30.2023

Russell joins state task force

Davida Russell, to the left of Gov. DeWine, with the other members of the School Bus Safety task force. [photo courtesy Davida Russell]  

Gov. Mike DeWine has appointed Cleveland Heights Council Member Davida Russell, a school bus driver, to serve on the newly formed Ohio School Bus Safety Working Group.

“I feel honored to be a voice for everyone who drives a school bus around the state,” said Russell, the only school bus driver appointed to the group.

DeWine announced the creation of the working group following the death of a Clark County 11-year-old who was killed when a vehicle collided with his school bus.

"There is always more that can be done when it comes to the safety of children, and I believe we have an obligation to take a holistic look at the safety of our school buses," said DeWine. "This group's review will be thorough, focusing on many different aspects of transportation safety."

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 4:17 PM, 10.21.2023

When is an 'emergency' actually an emergency?

In August, when Cleveland Heights Mayor Kahlil Seren proposed Ordinance 123-2023 creating a city arts commission, some resident artists and leaders of arts organizations reacted with alarm.

On first reading, the ordinance was referred to the Administrative Services Committee, which subsequently held a public hearing in October. There, the mayor described his vision of the commission, stressed that its role would be strictly advisory, and hinted at the possibility of city arts funding sometime in the future. By the end of the hearing, members of the public in attendance seemed mollified.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:18 AM, 10.30.2023

Hamilton is new UH City Hall receptionist

Lynnesha D. Hamilton

Lynnesha D. Hamilton. Her name is Lynnesha D. Hamilton. And there’s a million things she hasn’t done, but just you wait. Just you wait.

Staff at University Heights City Hall have been waiting for weeks for a new front desk receptionist to arrive, and on Oct. 16, Hamilton joined the team.

“We love the 'Hamilton' musical puns, and we love the fact that Lynnesha is here,” said Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan. “More importantly, University Heights residents are going to love having a live person answering the phones and greeting them at City Hall.

“Lynnesha is smart, she works hard, and she’s really personable. We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber on board in this new position.”

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 4:09 PM, 10.21.2023

HRRC classes will cover plumbing and winter prep

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), located at 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights, will offer the following classes in November:

Nov. 2, 7–9 p.m., Plumbing: Faucets and Pipes. Learn to repair faucets and how water pipes work. The fee for this class is $25

Nov. 8, 7–9 p.m., Plumbing: Toilets and Drains. In this class, students will learn toilet repair and how drains work. The fee for this class is $25.

Nov. 13, 7–9 p.m., Furnaces & Heating, Getting Ready for Winter. Class attendees will learn to prepare their furnaces for cold weather. This class is free.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 2:11 PM, 10.19.2023

A reset for EdChoice vouchers

In September the Ohio Department of Education issued the annual “report cards” that are supposed to inform the public about the relative success of each public school district. Private schools, though they receive public funds, are not graded.

Thanks to our teachers and students, our district had plenty of good news. One significant change is that no Cleveland Heights-University Heights school carries the unfair designation of “failing,” the status that triggers access to performance-based EdChoice vouchers.

This change of status means the state will not award any new performance-based EdChoice vouchers in our school district this year.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:14 AM, 10.30.2023

Mayor Seren should leave the Catholic Diocese alone

Mayor Seren proposes a Cleveland Heights government attack upon a religious institution. He wants government to do battle with the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. This battle would be intended to advance gay rights.

The Diocese has adopted new policies in its Cleveland Heights schools. They will bar LGBTQ expression, use of preferred pronouns, pride flags, and same-sex couples at school dances. Parents voluntarily place their children in these schools. They obviously prefer such policies; otherwise, they would place their children elsewhere. But Seren believes children need “protection” from these Diocese policies and from their own parents. So, he proposes to make the policies illegal.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:04 AM, 10.30.2023

All kids deserve safe schools

As a lifelong Catholic and an alumna of Catholic schools, I am heartbroken by the policy announced this month by the Cleveland Diocese [regarding sexuality and gender identity].

Kids deserve safe schools. Whether [kids] are just figuring out their own identity or have a family member who is trans or queer, these policies do nothing more than exclude and hurt them. Just hearing the news has re-injured so many former Catholics who already felt excluded, and it will be the last straw for others.

We have some wonderful Catholic schools in the Heights where loving, pastoral teachers educate students of all faiths and backgrounds. They’ve been put in a terrible position and it's important that all of us who grew up Catholic and care about the LGBTQ community speak up.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 11:01 AM, 10.30.2023

Change needed on CH City Council for Coventry

To the Editor:

I was raised in Cleveland Heights, attended Coventry Elementary School, and spent countless hours on Coventry Road. After a decade in North Carolina, I was excited to move back to Coventry Village. But things have changed, and the decline is sobering. 

It’s appalling to see the neglect of this historic, once vibrant neighborhood by our mayor and city council. Before this month, I had no idea who was on CH City Council or why there was no attention being paid to my neighborhood.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 10:35 AM, 10.27.2023