Latest News

Childhood friends reunite on Compton

Bob Topp, Jim Hooper, and Tom Bake--all grown up.

On Sept. 8 and 9, a Cleveland Heights neighborhood hosted a reunion of those who grew up on Compton Road, between Mayfield Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, in the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.

Compton-roaders think of Compton Road as being like no other—it seemed special. Kids grew up together, played together, walked to school together, took part in Girls’ Army and Boys’ Army. Parents socialized together and parented other people’s children—lunches, sleepovers, etc. The street had woods behind it and a creek running through it—lots of places for adventure and exploration.

Maybe Compton Road was not so unusual for its time. Most mothers didn’t work; there was only one car, and that car was absent during the day; kids walked to school and played outside. Perhaps there were other streets like Compton.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.29.2023

Latest News Releases

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Heights EcoFest - May 27
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Noble Neighbors hosts CH council candidates Oct. 10

Noble Neighbors will host an election forum on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 7–9 p.m., at Disciples Christian Church, 3663 Mayfield Road. Candidates for Cleveland Heights City Council have been invited to present their positions and engage in conversations.

The forum’s focus will be on issues that impact the Noble Road neighborhoods, all of which impact the city of Cleveland Heights as a whole.

All voters (and young voters-in-training) are invited to attend. Those who live outside the Noble Road neighborhoods are invited learn the particular concerns of Noble residents, and the priorities and solutions the candidates offer.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:38 AM, 09.29.2023

Dobama presents Halloween Fest

Trick-or-treaters and their familes at the 2022 Halloween Fest.

Witches! Warlocks! Wizards! Lend us your ears—

On Saturday, Oct. 21, 4–7 p.m., Dobama Theatre will present its third annual Heights Halloween Festival, in conjunction with the city of Cleveland Heights and the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District.

The free, family-friendly event will extend along the  Cedar Lee Business District, and will include the traditional Candy Crawl, where participating businesses will hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.

The festival's center of events will be located in Lot #18the small parking lot just across Meadowbrook Boulevard from Callaloo Cafe.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:37 AM, 09.29.2023

UH's fall festival is back for fourth year

The stars of Fall Fest every year are the artists, including University Heights resident Dontty Lakina.

Generous financial support from the Ohio Arts Council, as well as Dollar Bank, will result in more live entertainment at this year’s University Heights Fall Fest.

The fourth annual festival returns to Walter Stinson Community Park on Sunday, Oct. 15, from noon to 5 p.m.

Award-winning singer and songwriter Jason Patrick Meyers will headline Fall Fest this year. Other performers include Wizbang Circus and Heights Poet Laureate Siaara Freeman.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:36 AM, 09.29.2023

Join a community of volunteers

When we choose to volunteer, we expose our inner voice to the world: I believe in this cause; I support this candidate; I believe my neighborhood needs this service. Doing so naturally connects you with others who feel the same way. And just like that—you’ve built a community.

You meet new people or see others in a new light. You uncover local history and meet civic and business leaders. Your understanding of the Heights as a living, growing entity becomes clearer. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll soon be thinking, “What next?”

Through FutureHeights’ Crowd Sourced Conversations, you’ve told us that you feel invested in this community. I would like to challenge you to develop a deeper sense of belonging in the Heights through volunteerism.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:35 AM, 09.29.2023

A triumph of harmony: 10th annual Heights Music Hop

The crowd for AJ and the Woods at Voodoo Brewery. [photo: Sarah Wolf]

The 10th annual Heights Music Hop proved an unequivocal success, uniting music lovers of all ages for a night of exceptional performances.

With the streets alive with melodies and a diverse crowd in attendance, the event showcased the unifying power of music in a vibrant community.

FutureHeights extends its deepest gratitude to the city of Cleveland Heights and to all of the Music Hop sponsors for their invaluable contributions, acknowledging that the event's resounding success would have been impossible without the wholehearted participation of cherished local businesses.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:34 AM, 09.29.2023

Cleveland Heights City Council needs change

I am adding my voice to [those of] other Cleveland Heights residents who have expressed frustration with a city council that is failing procedurally and substantively.

The council president’s lack of leadership has resulted in council operating without formal rules or procedures, voting on legislation without sufficient information, refusing to address major issues facing the community, and exhibiting uncivility.

CH City Council doesn’t have formal processes for meeting, or researching, drafting, and discussing legislation. Former council member Josie Moore took the initiative to write and circulate a draft of policies and procedures for council to discuss and work from. The draft is thoughtful, logical, and sensible.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:32 AM, 09.29.2023

Cleveland Heights council president urges unity

This council has been a very productive council. In 2022, we passed about 183 legislations and we are on track this year for about the same amount. This council has moved the city forward quickly in many ways and has a good legislative and budgetary record.

A few accomplishments include:

  • Unprecedented budget hearings over five days resulting in a more diligent process, resulting in a more thorough understanding by council.
  • We passed major legislation such as the Pay-to-Stay extension; Cedar Lee Meadowbrook Development and the starting of construction; the lead-free homes initiative; making city fringe benefits fairer for LGBTQIA+ employees; banning conversion therapy; enacting and seating a Charter Review Commission.
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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:31 AM, 09.29.2023

Border visit informs Oct. 14 immigration forum

In Matamoras, Mexico, Pastor Abraham Barberi speaks with refugees. [photo: Gary Lustic]

When something feels very important, even if it’s very far away, one sometimes has to see it in person. That’s why 15 members of Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian (FHC), flew to El Paso, Texas, in February, to discover what immigrants encounter at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The trip was a profoundly impactful experience for all of us,” said Stephen Sedam, a member of the church’s Immigration Task Force. A week-long stay revealed realities that made the visitors “toggle between despair and hope,” he added.

Hosting the group was Caly Fernandez, executive director of Puentes de Cristo (Bridges of Christ), in Hidalgo, Texas. Fernandez’s energy, leadership and compassion endeared her to the group so much that they invited her to FHC.

There, on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2–4:30 p.m., Fernandez will share her first-hand border experiences in a community forum, “Compassionate Justice for Immigrants Now!”

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:30 AM, 09.29.2023

Cleveland Heights needs servant leaders like Hart

When I first met with Melody Hart in 2021, to learn more about her run for mayor of Cleveland Heights, she struck me as less a politician and more of a servant leader.

I knew she was involved in many social justice issues, including canvassing in the Noble neighborhood with volunteers from Greater Cleveland Congregations in a successful effort to call banks to account for at-risk properties they owned on otherwise well-kept streets. I was also aware of her work with her husband, Gary Benjamin, in rescuing a Haitian refugee from detention at a local ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) refugee center and hosting him in their home until he was able to secure employment and housing. 

Melody’s calm and unassuming presence might make one wonder what she is doing in the sometimes rough-and-tumble world of city government. Yet, Melody has proven her mettle as Cleveland Heights City Council president.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:29 AM, 09.29.2023

Cleveland Heights residents deserve good governance

From the moment I got involved with Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) in 2019, I have been thinking about what makes a good city council, a productive municipal government, an efficient city hall.

I know there are educated professionals who spend their professional time contemplating and learning about these things; people who seek Master of Public Administration degrees, study municipal government, and generally do actual professional work in this area.

I am a Cleveland Heights resident with none of those specific professional degrees or concentrated studies—but I’m a resident who thinks our city government can strive to meet best practices for good governance.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:30 AM, 09.29.2023

Jaycox pens his story of hope; donates proceeds

Cleveland Heights resident Kemp Jaycox has published his memoir, A Race Against Time: A Memoir about MS, Love, Loss and Life Lessons. Sales of the book will benefit the Forest Hill Presbyterian Church Environmental Sustainability Fund, and the Accelerated Cure Project for MS.

Jaycox, age 50, was busy leading an active life of sports, travel, volunteering and working in his environmental/sustainability career. Then, a bout with a stomach virus caused his immune system to overreact, resulting in a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis at the age of 30. Now, 20 years later, in a race against time as his body shuts down and makes the simplest task impossible, he is intent on telling his life story to offer hope to others.

“Everyone has different challenges in their lives,” said Jaycox. “The most important message I hope to convey to readers is to persevere despite your challenges and circumstances.”

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:26 AM, 09.29.2023

Community comes first

To say that Cleveland Heights Mayor Kahlil Seren has not, to date, embraced community involvement in civic matters would be an understatement. Locked office doors and a police officer at the reception desk in City Hall were early warning signs. Withdrawal of administrative staff support for resident volunteers serving on various boards and commissions was another red flag. The Cleveland Heights Green Team, Heights Tree People, Severance Action Group, and various groups in the Noble and Caledonia neighborhoods are just a few examples of community members whose civic efforts have been rejected or ignored by the mayor.

In last month's column, “Who owns Cleveland Heights?” we suggested that a community land trust (CLT) could protect certain parcels for specified community purposes in perpetuity. Property could be acquired from the county land bank, through tax foreclosure, purchase, or even donation.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:25 AM, 09.29.2023

'Fire Dog' illustrator to appear at UHFD open house

Paul Combs, illustrator of the Sprinkles the Fire Dog series, will sign books at the UHFD.

Paul Combs, the illustrator of the Sprinkles the Fire Dog book series, will read and sign books at the 2023 University Heights Fire Department Open House on Sunday, Oct. 8.

The open house will run from noon to 3 p.m. at the Fire Department, attached to UH City Hall, and will include tours of the station, food, and fun family activities.

Combs will read the book to attendees at 12:30 p.m. and again at 2:30 p.m. The books Sprinkles the Fire Dog and Sprinkles the Fire Dog 2—Making a Difference will be available for purchase at the event.

The theme of national Fire Prevention Week 2023 is “Cooking safety starts with YOU.” At the open house, attendees will learn about fire safety in the kitchen and at outside grills.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:24 AM, 09.29.2023

Candidates should endorse SAG's vision for Severance

Namdar Realty purchased Severance Town Center in 2016, and, like many other struggling and distressed malls that Namdar owns, Severance’s occupancy and condition has continually declined—except, notably, for the independently owned Dave's Market and the Home Depot. Otherwise, the face of Severance is one of many empty storefronts and buildings (most notably the former Walmart and Regal Cinema buildings) and a sea of pothole-filled parking lots.

This deteriorating property in the center of Cleveland Heights has begun to adversely impact surrounding areas and to attract vandals, most recently those who trashed the interior of the former Walmart store.

True to its business model, Namdar profits from the rent paid by the remaining businesses, spending as little as possible on maintenance, and nothing on creative redevelopment planning that would attract additional businesses and residents to the community.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:23 AM, 09.29.2023

Use your local arts resources

Artist Brinsley Tyrell created the sculptural fences in Coventry Village. The public art project was managed by Heights Arts. [photo: Michael Weil]

In the past month or two, Crain’s Cleveland Business published no fewer than four articles and opinions about the importance of arts to the future of Greater Cleveland: "Investments in artists pay dividends for regional economy," by Jeremy Johnson; "Businesses that value innovation should support creativity of local arts scene," by Fred Bidwell; "To thrive, Greater Cleveland needs to integrate art into all aspects of life," by Jennifer Coleman; and "Region buoyed by abundance of talent, creativity," by Grant Segall.

Many lifelong residents take for granted our vibrant arts and music scene, or, worse, don’t take advantage of it at all. Cleveland has arts institutions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland Orchestra that have few peers on the planet, yet it is a medium-sized and livable city in which gaining access to these institutions is enviably easy, and where the moderate cost of living lets a broader population enjoy the “finer things” (as well as the delightful gritty things).

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:21 AM, 09.29.2023

Primoz on Cedar creates Cooper-themed pizza

Joseph Jordan prepares the first-ever "Mr. Cooper" pizza, much to the delight of its namesake.

Since I came to life at UH City Hall in 2019, I have been dreaming of this moment. Thanks to my new friends at Primoz Pizza. I now have a pizza named after me.

The “Mr. Cooper” is available at the Primoz Pizza location in University Heights, at 13890 Cedar Road. Drop by in person to order one, or call 216-273-6704. If you’re super tech savvy, like me, you can order online at

What does my namesake pizza taste like? Like University Heights itself, the Mr. Cooper pizza is a rich mosaic of many different ingredients. The sum is greater than the individual parts. And it’s delicious.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:20 AM, 09.29.2023

Start Right is a CH success story

Cleveland Heights has problems. It has vacant storefronts. There is chaos at city council meetings. Taxes are high. But, sometimes, there are solutions. Top of the Hill is happening. Lee/Meadowbrook is underway. Taylor Commons has received approvals. Hoorays are in order.

Not as apparent are small and significant success stories. Some involve the renovation of distressed housing stock. Kudos to FutureHeights, the Cuyahoga Land Bank, and the Home Repair Resource Center for their efforts. Additional successes are projects to build new housing undertaken by Start Right Community Development Corporation (CDC), a nonprofit organization.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:19 AM, 09.29.2023

Heights Libraries seeks new board member

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library is accepting applications for an open board position, with applications due by noon on Friday, Nov. 17. The new board member will replace Max Gerboc, who is rolling off the board after serving his term.

“Our library is such an integral part of our community,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “Serving on the library board is one of the best ways a citizen can serve the Heights community, by helping guide the vision of the public library. It’s a commitment—service is seven years—but the rewards are also big. It’s a chance to make a positive, long-lasting impact on one of the greatest public service agencies in the area. Public libraries offer necessary and free services to all, and being a part of that is incredibly rewarding."

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:17 AM, 09.29.2023

Author and Disney animator credits CH upbringing

Geiger with the Walt Disney Company.

My career in the arts and animation has taken me from Cleveland to China. Although I reside half a world away in Taipei, my upbringing in Cleveland Heights continues to influence my life and inform my work.

Growing up in Cleveland Heights came with many advantages that I once took for granted but increasingly appreciate with time and distance. One of my favorite things is to show my overseas friends satellite views of our family home on Corydon Road, where all you can see are trees. Nothing was more wonderous than simply stepping outside into nature within an urban environment.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:14 AM, 09.29.2023

Budget victory doesn't guarantee public school funding

Public schools in Ohio are funded by the state and with local resources raised from voter-approved tax levies. For nearly three decades this important state-local partnership has been out of whack. The legislature has not held up its end of the deal—it is underfunding the public system, forcing increases in property taxes and making private education a funding priority. Public schools and private schools are in the same line item in the state budget and are in direct competition for public funds.

Fortunately, public education scored a victory in the state biennial budget that took effect on July 1. Lawmakers retained the Fair School Funding Plan, a cost-based approach to defining state spending needs, and increased its investment in the plan by about $1.6 billion over two years. If they make the same investment in the next budget, school funding could finally pass constitutional muster.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:16 AM, 09.29.2023

Library kicks off reading program for kids

Library directors and young reading fans kicked off the Cuyahoga Reads Campaign at the Great Lakes Science Center. From left: Shaker Public Library Director Amy Switzer, Cleveland Public Library Director Felton Thomas, Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin, and Euclid Public Library Director Kacie Armstrong, along with some young readers. [courtesy Shaker Public Library]

On Aug. 5, more than 3,000 Northeast Ohio library fans, and library staff from the nine Cuyahoga County library systems, packed the Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) to officially kick off the countywide Cuyahoga Reads reading challenge campaign.

Admission to GLSC was free that day, and representatives from every Cuyahoga County library system, including Heights Libraries, were on hand to explain the program, sign up young readers for the challenge, and distribute nearly 5,000 free books to families.

“We had a great time, and it was so fun and inspiring to see so many kids getting excited about reading, especially in the book giveaway line,” said Kaela Sweeney, Heights Libraries strategic projects manager, who coordinates the literacy program at Heights Libraries along with Youth Services Department staff.

Heights Libraries’ version of the campaign, called Heights Reads, will continue for more than a year, through December 2024.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:12 AM, 09.29.2023

Kessler marks 44 years of school involvement

To the Editor:

At 70, I’ve been teaching/tutoring/guiding students in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District for 44 years!

I am still active as a substitute teacher at Cleveland Heights High School. I enjoy the daily mix of being with young people and experienced teachers, who continue to amaze me with their in-depth knowledge of complex subject matter, and their facile way of expressing it to hungry, young minds.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:12 AM, 09.29.2023

'Eyes on the street' in Cleveland Heights

A favorite saying of Jane Jacobs, author of the 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, was “eyes on the street,” which is the activity taking place in city streets that keeps the movement and security of the street intact. 

A recent incident on the sidewalk in front of the house next door to mine has shown that my immediate area has eyes on the street. 

One late morning I went out the front door to unhook our dog, Jax, who was in the backyard, and return him indoors via the driveway and front door. Though I had just left the house the same way a couple minutes earlier, this time there was a toddler alone on the sidewalk in front of our east-side neighbor’s house. I halted and held Jax firm on the leash. For a few moments I stood wondering what to do about this little boy on the loose.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:10 AM, 09.29.2023

CH resident offers tips on low-impact leaf cleanup

Fall leaves add color to landscapes and nutrients to the soil at this Cleveland Heights home. [photo: Fadi Kdayssi]

In the fall, Heights neighborhoods fill with noise, dust, and invisible toxic emissions as crews or residents use gas-powered equipment in an attempt to remove every fallen leaf.

Some residents, however, are finding ways to reduce carbon emissions and noise, in keeping with the city of Cleveland Heights' commitment to climate action.

Fadi Kdayssi owns an historic home on nearly one acre, set 100 feet back from Fairmount Boulevard. Mature oaks buffer the home from weather and traffic noise. Its brick walls are two-feet thick, with triple-layer windows set in stone trim. Yet, even with windows closed, leaf-blower noise intrudes from hundreds of feet away.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:06 AM, 09.29.2023

Surrealist small talk: the art of collaboration

Nature is Constructive in Spite of All, by Deborah Cooper-Asberry, Meryl Engler, and Bob Walls. [courtesy Heights Arts]

Through Oct. 15, visitors to Heights Arts have the opportunity to view a collaborative artistic effort, CollaborageInspired by surrealism, Collaborage was produced through the collaboration of four groups of multidisciplinary artists.

A brief conversation with two of the artists, Alison Miltner Rich and Meryl Engler, who worked on separate teams—and with poet Vince Robinson, who participated in a September poetry event inspired by the exhibition—provides a look at the collaborative process behind the work, in the artists’ own words:

“[My team] worked in mixed media,” said Miltner Rich, “so we all could collaborate in a way we felt comfortable.”

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:05 AM, 09.29.2023

Heights Observer launches new Facebook page

The Heights Observer now has its own Facebook page,

The main goal of the page is to establish an online community that connects with Heights Observer readers and Heights residents. By following the Heights Observer, residents will connect to local stories, events, and perspectives.

The Heights Observer has always been dedicated to keeping Heights residents informed and engaged; its Facebook page is intended to be an additional tool to promote and support community connections.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:03 AM, 09.29.2023

Resident initiative takes on CH's vacant home problem

Do you ever imagine what it must be like to live next to a vacant, dilapidated, and rat-infested home for years and, in some cases, a decade or more?

Walk in that neighbor’s shoes for a minute. For years, they've called the city for help. They’ve attended council meetings and complained, only to be thanked for their concern. They’ve received endless campaign literature addressing the “housing problem." They even voted for Mayor Seren, hoping for the change that was promised.

But that abandoned house still sits there. To make matters worse, the neighbor gets a city violation notice telling them to fix their uneven sidewalk.

Since 2008, the city of Cleveland Heights has addressed the housing problem with no actionable plan in place. It’s endless studies and listening campaigns. Meanwhile more than 500 vacant houses continue to fester in our city, property values drop, and tax dollars are lost to the tune of $2 million (500 homes x $4,000 in average property taxes) per year.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:01 AM, 09.29.2023

What we love about Cleveland Heights (according to you)

A tree in the Cleveland Heights part of Lake View Cemetery last autumn.

There are at least three Facebook groups focused on Cleveland Heights, and of which I’m a member. In one of the groups, another member asked, “What do you love about Cleveland Heights?” And, answering her own question: “I'll start: I love my neighborhood. The people are great, the housing is interesting to look at, and I can walk for so many errands!”

Then, more than 75 other people commented. I’m simply going to present some of the comments, with all names omitted, to remind us of what we like about the city. (I know there are people who have some less-positive opinions about certain aspects, too—but that wasn’t the question.)

“Cleveland Heights is a wonderful mix of people and variety of housing. It’s interesting to walk around and see the bustle of Coventry, Cedar/Lee, but then also see the beautiful residential areas tucked between. We have lots of parks near us and it’s close to downtown. I love Cleveland Heights.”

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 10:00 AM, 09.29.2023

CH Council votes no on Noble Station

A rendering of the proposed Noble Station development.

On Sept. 18, Cleveland Heights City Council voted 5-2 against Ordinance 143-2023, the proposed development agreement known as the Noble Station Apartments.

Council members Janine Boyd and Anthony Mattox Jr. voted to pass the legislation, while Craig Cobb, Tony Cuda, Melody Joy Hart, Gail Larson, and Davida Russell voted against it.

Plans for the Noble Station development called for a four-story, 52-unit, multi-family affordable housing facility, to be built on city-owned property—approximately 2.08 acres of parcels in the vicinity of Noble and Woodview roads.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 3:53 PM, 09.25.2023

Library presents Hispanic Heritage Month programs

Heights Libraries has received a $1,000 grant from local youth advocacy organization MyCom to support programming for National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 each year. The objective is to promote diversity, cultural understanding, and inclusivity by hosting live performers that showcase Hispanic dance and music—the grant money covers the cost of the performers.

“We hope that these programs promote cultural enrichment, community engagement, empathy, and respect,” said Youth Services Associate Felicia Mohammed, who obtained the grant. “We also hope these programs help challenge stereotypes. We are committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, and want to provide the community with programs that do so.”

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:15 AM, 09.11.2023

Olie’s Gift & Ship opens Sept. 7

From kimono clips to candles, Olie's offers a colorful variety of gift items.

A fresh approach to gifting and shipping has arrived in the Cedar Lee Business District, near the corner of Lee and Silsby roads.

Olie’s Gift & Ship, which combines a gift store with shipping services, will celebrate its grand opening Thursday, Sept. 7, through Saturday, Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with fun, festivities, and giveaways planned. All store items will be discounted 15% during the three-day event.

Owners Jason Davis and his wife, Anco Davis, brought the concept of a gift/shipping shop to Cleveland Heights, moving their online-only business from Atlanta in search of a better life for themselves and their toddler, Olie.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 3:09 PM, 09.03.2023

Coventry Village calls on residents to support urgent revitalization

As the sun sets over the iconic streets of Coventry Village, the once lively thoroughfare now reveals the shadows of vacant storefronts. The heart and soul of Cleveland Heights, Coventry Village is at a pivotal crossroads, with an alarming one in three of its commercial properties now empty.

We, the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID), alongside the passionate members of the Coventry Vacancies Working Group, are striving for revitalization.

I took on the role of executive director of CVSID with a deep appreciation for the district's unique charm and cultural significance. Today, I pen this call to action with a sense of urgency, appealing to the collective conscience of our community.

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Volume 16, Issue 10, Posted 11:35 AM, 09.03.2023

Heights Music Hop celebrates 10 years

On Sept. 23, the 2023 Heights Music Hop will celebrate its 10th year. Sponsored by the nonprofit FutureHeights, a community development corporation for Cleveland Heights and University Heights, this community event supports local artists and businesses while promoting the Heights to Greater Cleveland.

The Hop, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23, will be held at the Noble Gardener’s Market in the morning and in the Cedar Lee District Saturday that night. The event is free.

Kasia Bufford, manager of the Heights Music Hop, expressed excitement about the upcoming event, noting, “The Music Hop committee has created an event that will be diverse with lots of ways for people to participate.”

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:22 PM, 09.02.2023

Homecoming parade route extended

Boulevard Elementary School marchers at the 2022 Heights Homecoming parade.

The 2023 Heights Homecoming Parade, set for Friday, Sept. 22, is on track to be bigger than ever, with a parade route that has been extended thanks to the construction on Lee Road.

The parade will begin at 5 p.m. on Scarborough Road, near Fairfax Elementary School, and head north through the Lee Road business district. Instead of ending on Tullamore Road, as in the past, the parade will continue north, crossing Cedar Road—with police assistance, and only when the traffic light is green—then turning onto Washington Boulevard, behind the high school.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:00 PM, 09.01.2023

Carlos Jones headlines back-to-campus concert

Carlos Jones

University Heights City Hall and John Carroll University (JCU) are separated by only a few blocks. Sometimes, though, the distance can feel like miles. UH City Hall staff and DJs at the campus radio station are looking to do something about that—with a little help from a group of Cleveland reggae legends.

Carlos Jones and the PLUS Band will perform at the inaugural University Heights Back to School Concert on Thursday, Sept. 21, 6:30 p.m., on the JCU campus. Weather permitting, the show will be held outside at the Hamlin Quad. If it rains, the concert will take place indoors at Kulas Auditorium. All are welcome.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:07 PM, 09.02.2023

Church welcomes all to diverse arts community

Djapo presents drumming exercises at the Cultural Arts Center at Disciples Christian Church. [photo: Ron Werman]

The congregation of Disciples Christian Church (located at the corner of Mayfield and Yellowstone roads) is joyfully partnering with the arts community to share its 30,000-square-foot building.

The church's Cultural Arts Center (CAC) welcomes local artists of all genres, and seeks to collaborate with community partners to create a safe, accessible place where young people can engage in artistic expression that reflects the community's diversity.

Over the last three years, congregation and community volunteers have transformed the entire building into flexible space to accommodate a diverse array of art experiences.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:19 PM, 09.02.2023

Crowdsourced Conversations launches final 2023 survey

Deidre McPherson speaking at Crowdsourced Conversations "Traveling Around Town" in June. [photo: Sarah Wolf]

Crowdsourced Conversations is a forum series that prioritizes action-oriented, small-group discussions on topics significant to the Heights community. Each topic begins with a Heightswide survey that helps to inform the discussion.

This September, a communitywide survey on the topic of "Planning and Development in the Heights," the final topic in this year's series, will be live. All Heights stakeholders and residents are encouraged to participate. All responses are anonymous.

The survey can be accessed online on the FutureHeights website, Details about the forum itself—now in the planning stages and slated for late October or early November—will be available soon.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:10 PM, 09.02.2023

Superman's creators once lived in University Heights

This fall, Cleveland will celebrate Superman, the world’s first comic book superhero, with Superman’s Cleveland, Sept. 6 through Nov. 2. Scholars, comic book lovers, and fans can partake of almost two months of Superman-focused book discussions, comics-making workshops, live interviews with creators, and more. 

The city of University Heights shares in the legacy. Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, Superman's creators, moved from Glenville to University Heights in the 1940s, as they began to achieve some success.

Shuster and Siegel created Superman in 1933, as high school students in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:06 PM, 09.02.2023

Free Sept. 18 talk will explore thrumming music of nature

Lisa Rainsong recording birdsong.

The late summer and early fall season brings a chorus of singing insects. That thrumming hum is the music of nature, as described by Lisa Rainsong, a longtime music theory professor at Cleveland Institute of Music and a professional naturalist who specializes in the music of Earth’s first musicians: birds, insects and amphibians.

On Sept. 18, 6:30–8 p.m., QuietClean Heights will host a free public program presented by Rainsong, “Birds and Insects are Listening,” to kick off a public awareness campaign across Cleveland Heights and its surrounding communities. The program will take place at the Lee Road Library, 2345 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 1:58 PM, 09.01.2023

Williams vetted out of sight

To the Editor:

I looked forward to watching the Aug. 14 Cleveland Heights City Council hearing with city administrator nominee Danny Williams. Williams had already reached out to individual members of council, which I saw as positive a first step toward building working relationships with them.

The hearing, however, turned out to be barely even pro forma. Since private one-on-one meetings with Williams gave council members a chance to query him, only one asked him any questions in this public setting. Thus, what seemed like a good idea in effect deprived residents of a window on the vetting process.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:03 PM, 09.02.2023

Authorities are deaf to motorcycle noise

To the Editor:

This summer, Cleveland Heights has seemed to let the scofflaws rule. Motorcycle noise, day and even late at night, has disturbed the peace usually enjoyed by taxpaying homeowners.

Major roadways, such as Lee, Taylor, Cedar, Mayfield and Monticello, have become favorite speedways as motorcycles fly by, over speed limits, often with music blaring in addition to their no-muffler vehicles.
Cleveland Heights DOES have a noise ordinance (509.03), but authorities seem deaf to it. At one time, Cleveland Heights residents lived in fear of being ticketed for an unruly muffler. Why is this noise being tolerated now?

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:02 PM, 09.02.2023

Loving the women of the Heights

To the Editor:

Fifty years ago, I was a pretty, young art student working on Coventry and causing romantic havoc wherever I went. All of my girlfriends were interesting and cute and also caused a lot of havoc. I hated the war and worked on ending it in between making jewelry and hanging out in the coffee houses and bars in Cleveland Heights and University Circle.

Now, I'm an elderly, crippled woman with no car. I do have a mobility scooter, though. Had to renew my ID at the DMV to vote because—another birthday. Durn, every year! DMV is several miles away. A little worried about the range I had with the scooter, but I did it. Rode up on Sparky all the way.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 12:00 PM, 09.02.2023

Longtime resident sees improvements in CH

To the Editor:

As a citizen of Cleveland Heights for 35 years, I would like to mention some cool things Sue (my wife) and I noticed as we walked, rolled, and biked around the Heights.

People are moving into the new apartments at the Top of the Hill. We see signs of life, like plants out on the balconies. Next door, Nighttown is looking good; the deep blue wall colors are quite attractive.

It's great to see Coventry Road getting resurfaced, and it will be so much smoother for bicycles when it's finished. The “bike the city” people rode past our house recently; it sounded like they were having fun.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:58 AM, 09.02.2023

CH might now have a good city administrator

Mayor Seren is making his second attempt to fill the position of Cleveland Heights city administrator. And he offered an excellent candidate—he nominated Danny Williams.

Mayor Seren allowed this position to remain vacant for much too long. Daily tasks of local government require supervision by a talented professional.

The mayor previously hired Joe Sinnott as city administrator. But because Mayor Seren used him poorly, his talents were wasted. Sinnott resigned in April. Since then, the new form of government has not operated as designed.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:56 AM, 09.02.2023

No Mow May raises awareness

We will not really know whether we were able to increase the diversity and abundance of pollinators necessary for our plants to flourish this season by not mowing in May. This would make a good research thesis for some graduate student. But one of the main goals of the No Mow May movement is to get people thinking and talking about the maintenance of their yards from an environmental perspective. In that respect, Mayor Seren’s declaring Cleveland Heights a No Mow May community was a huge success.

Because of this movement, people around the country and here in the Heights have been made more aware of pollinator declines that will eventually lead to ecosystem collapse. Biodiversity loss is on the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report 2022 as one of the top three threats facing humans today.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:55 AM, 09.02.2023

School. Again

The old Coventry School. Nice building—but it felt like prison to me.

School has already started here in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. I think I might write this every September, but, if so, here it comes again: I hated the opening of the school year. Every year. Right from the start. I didn’t want to go to kindergarten. Or any grade thereafter, in all my years at Coventry Elementary, Roosevelt Junior High and Heights High.

My granddaughter, who’s starting third grade in a CH-UH school, loved kindergarten, and first and second grade. Which is wonderful. Her brother did kindergarten last year. I think he thought it was okay. Tolerable, at least. Which is better than my situation. I just wanted out.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:26 PM, 09.01.2023

Hart gets things done for CH

When considering candidates for Cleveland Heights City Council, we should look at what they have accomplished. Melody Joy Hart’s record over the past four years includes some impressive legislative successes for our city.

Among other things, Council President Hart collaborated with the Cleveland Heights court, prosecutor’s office, and Home Repair Resource Center to create a diversion program for homeowners with housing violations that keeps them out of court and helps them repair their homes.

She proposed legislation and collaborated with her fellow council members to approve permanent extension of pay-to-stay legislation for tenants so that their homes remain stable, amending foreclosure bonds, out-of-county registry and vacant building registry, giving [legislation] more teeth and adding a civil option for prosecution of fines; . . .

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:34 AM, 09.02.2023

CH is a tale of two cities

A tale of two cities will continue to be my tagline for and reference to Cleveland Heights until city council and the mayor take action on more equitable efforts, including development and resources for the north side of the city. After all, this was the mayor’s top priority—equitable investment in the neighborhoods. I’m still waiting.  

In the noise around the Noble Station project, supporters want to use the term "affordable housing" to distinguish it from "low-income housing"—as if "affordable" is better or different. It's pretty much the same thing, when some rents will be as low as $400.

At the Aug. 7 CH City Council meeting, residents of Noble neighborhood showed up to oppose the plan. Noble Road has more than its share of low-income, affordable apartments in a span of several blocks; one more is NOT needed.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:33 AM, 09.02.2023

The case for change on CH City Council

Things on CH City Council are not going well. The past 20 months have been marked by a constant struggle to get information from the administration, council’s failure to compromise on a replacement for Josie Moore, and council leadership’s inability to establish any rules or priorities after three retreats. The result has been a largely unproductive, unfocused, slow-moving, and sometimes adversarial city council.

There have, however, been moments where things have been calm and the business of the city moves forward as it should. The vast majority (98%-plus) of perfunctory legislation put forward by the administration moves ahead without incident.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:28 AM, 09.02.2023

Hart is the council president CH needs

The heart of a true public servant is hyper-focused on what is best for the people they serve. Melody Joy Hart is hyper-focused on the city of Cleveland Heights.

Hart has truly leaned into her position as city council president and has turned what is normally a part-time job into a full-time effort to successfully and gracefully lead our city through this time of change.

Being city council president is not an easy task! Under a lot of pressure, and sometime provocation, Hart leads her colleagues on council forward to the betterment of Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:26 AM, 09.02.2023

New theater company stages 'Jesus Christ Superstar' in CH

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s "Jesus Christ Superstar," which debuted in the 1970s, portrays the final days of Jesus of Nazareth as told through the eyes of Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 apostles. Judas worries that Jesus’ followers are heading in the wrong direction, Jesus and his movement will be destroyed by the Romans, and his message will be forgotten. The work was known for its contemporary attitude, use of contemporary slang in its lyrics, and ironic allusions to modern life.

A new production of this long-running rock opera will debut in Cleveland Heights this fall.

In a production by Willow's Edge Creations, a new Cleveland-based theater company started by longtime friends and creative partners Mary Miller and Denise Astorino, the show speaks to our current age.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:18 PM, 09.01.2023

Dobama announces new season of plays

Dobama, Cleveland Heights' own off-Broadway theater, kicks off its 64th season this fall.

Between October and May, Dobama Theatre will produce five plays by American playwrights in its Lee Road venue.

The new season begins on Oct. 6, with Dobama's production of "Make Believe," written by Bess Wohl, and directed by Nathan Motta, Dobama's artistic director. "Make Believe" tells the story of siblings who use a popular childhood pastime, a game of make-believe, to recreate and reveal their family’s everyday lives, and the dark secrets that lie beneath the surface, as they grow up together. 

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:11 PM, 09.01.2023

Fall Show opens at St. Paul's gallery

Stormy Night at Blue Lake (detail), by Helen Murrell. 

The Fall Show at The Nicholson B. White Gallery at St. Paul's Episcopal Church will open on Sept. 8, featuring the diverse work of three Cleveland Heights artists—Helen Murrell, Brian Sarama, and Martha Shiverick.

The community is invited to the opening reception on Friday, Sept. 8, 5–7 p.m., featuring live music by Forest City String Band.

The show, on view until Sunday, Nov. 26, will feature handmade quilts, oil and acrylic paintings, and sculptural ceramics. The artists' themes include neighborhood and family, nature and the environment, and food and consumption. 

St. Paul's Church, at 2747 Fairmount Blvd. in Cleveland Heights, welcomes the community to its events and services throughout the year.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:22 PM, 09.01.2023

Heights Arts steps into the surreal

Surreal Reverie (Composition 2), by Jordan McConnell, Alison Miltner Rich, and Jim Pojman.

As a nonprofit arts organization, Heights Arts has long helped facilitate programming across disciplines, from music to writing to visual arts. Now, visitors to the Heights Arts gallery can experience an exhibition that entwines the three into one, with Collaborage.

Open through Oct. 15, the show celebrates surrealism at its purest; it's a celebration of expression.

“It's a great time to explore surrealism,” said participating artist Lacy Talley. “Surrealism sought to overthrow the oppressive rules of modern society by demolishing its backbone of rational thought. I believe the art scene in Cleveland and across the world is in a renaissance. Living artists are receiving more appreciation for their works, and the avenues to explore artistry are endless, especially with the evolution of technology.”

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:13 PM, 09.01.2023

Who owns Cleveland Heights?

Who owns Cleveland Heights? A glib answer would be: homeowners, commercial and residential landlords and, to some extent, the city itself. But to whom does municipally owned property really belong? We say it belongs to the people.

Much city government business involves controlling land use by modifying and enforcing zoning and building codes and courting economic development. Since the one-two punch of subprime mortgages and the foreclosure crisis starting around 2009, various Cleveland Heights administrations have grappled with the ongoing fallout.

Attempts to manage it have included contracting with two community-development corporations, FutureHeights and Start Right. Both have renovated and sold salvageable houses previously owned by the city. Start Right also is building new infill housing on city-owned lots in Caledonia. 

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:50 AM, 09.02.2023

LEI announces fall lineup for kids

Students at LEI's Fairytales in Bloom 2023 Summer Camp.

As kids head back to school this fall, Lake Erie Ink (LEI) is creating opportunities for youth to have happy and meaningful interactions with words. 

LEI’s programs encourage creative expression in an environment designed to bring out the fun. One student, who attended LEI’s Dungeons & Dragons program, said, “It was a really fun experience. It made Friday my favorite day of the week.”

This fall’s theme is Words Shine Bright, emphasizing the power of students’ words to have a positive impact on the world. LEI’s programs are centered on the voice and expression of youth. Students learn to write and perform poetry, craft comics, and tell stories that are meaningful to them.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:06 PM, 09.01.2023

Heights voters make me proud

I recently used this column to beseech readers not to sit out the Aug. 8 special election. Proponents of Issue 1, a constitutional amendment that would have made it more difficult to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot and then to pass it, hoped to sneak the noxious initiative through during a low-turnout summer election.

Cleveland Heights and University Heights voters, and others across the state, went to the polls in large numbers and defeated a bad idea. Nearly 19,000 Heights residents cast ballots.

I can’t resist data. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections website reports turnout numbers and the percentage of yes and no votes for every precinct. My dive into the data gave me a wonderful lift. Voters in the Heights came through big time and showed what democracy-loving towns we are.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 11:47 AM, 09.02.2023

HRRC announces September classes

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

Sept. 12, 7–9 p.m., Locks and Doors. Learn to repair and replace doors and locks. 
The fee for this class is $25

Sept, 19, 7–9 p.m., Drywall Basics. In this class students will learn the basics of hanging and repairing drywall. The fee for this class is $25.

Sept. 25, 7–9 p.m., Insulating and Weatherizing Your Home. Experts from Berry Insulation will provide information on preparing your home for the cold winter months. This class is free.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 1:53 PM, 09.01.2023

Neighborhood leadership training now open to UH and CH residents

The NLWS 2023 cohort. [photo: Sarah Wolf]

Applications for the 2024 cohort of FutureHeights' Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series (NLWS) open Sept. 1. This multidisciplinary, strengths- and skills-based program provides opportunities for both emerging and established grassroots leaders to take a deep dive into community-building tactics and resources that can help strengthen their neighborhoods.

For the first time, the 2024 program will expand to include University Heights residents in addition to Cleveland Heights residents. The deadline to apply is Jan. 12.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 1:51 PM, 09.01.2023