Latest News

HRRC announces July class schedule

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights, will offer two classes in July:

July, 23, 7–9 p.m., Installing Ceramic Tile with Jim Kunselman

Let’s get to work! In this demonstration and hands-on workshop, you’ll measure, cut, lay  and grout tile. If you learn best by seeing and doing, then this is the class for you! The fee for this class is $25.

July. 30, 7–9 p.m., Hardwood Floor Refinishing with Tom Reznik

 

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 8, Posted 10:58 AM, 07.14.2024

Latest News Releases

Jam for Justice returns to The Beachland Ballroom for 2024
- Legal Aid, July 15, 2024 Read More
CH announces development agreement for Severance Town Center
- City of Cleveland Heights, June 27, 2024 Read More
Legal Aid helps clients struggling with legal issues regarding money
- Legal Aid, June 17, 2024 Read More
Americans Making Immigrants Safe to hold fundraiser June 15
- Non-Profit & Groups, June 12, 2024 Read More
Legal Aid provides help for clients struggling with mental health
- , May 8, 2024 Read More

View more news releases

Oxford is pilot site for vision screenings

Gov. DeWine with Oxford students. [photo courtesy the Office of the Governor]

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and First Lady Fran DeWine visited Oxford Elementary School on May 16 to meet students receiving new prescription eyeglasses through the work of Vision to Learn, a new CH-UH school district partner.

As the pilot site for the partnership, Oxford welcomed the Vision to Learn team in March. Team members screened each Oxford student and returned a few weeks later to complete follow-up exams. In all, 93 students were found to need glasses—nearly a third of all Oxford students. 

On May 16, the DeWines and Ohio Department of Health Director Bruce Vanderhoff met with Oxford students and staff and discussed the governor’s new Children’s Vision Strike Force. Vision to Learn also was on hand that day to fit 11 Oxford students for their new glasses. The rest of the students received their glasses on May 23.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:39 AM, 06.26.2024

Heights students take on food insecurity

Heights High students and MetroHealth staff preparing for a fresh-produce distribution event.

This past school year, The MetroHealth System’s School Health Program (SHP) invited students from Heights High to help develop a project to address food insecurity in the Heights community. The result is a monthly fresh-produce distribution to be held at the high school throughout the summer.

Heights High is one of three schools to participate in MetroHealth’s SHP Youth Advisory Councils (YAC) food insecurity initiatives. Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Garrett Morgan High School and Lincoln-West School of Global Studies also unveiled projects to support their communities in late May.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:36 AM, 06.26.2024

CH needs new approach to resolve grocery woes

There has been much discussion about grocery store issues in Cleveland Heights over the last few years, culminating around Sal Russo’s request for a $1 million city grant to update his vacant grocery store space at Cedar Fairmount.

The space was vacated when Dave’s bought out Zagara’s on Lee Road, shuttering the Dave’s on Cedar. Dave’s already operates another supermarket in the moribund Severance Circle, a mile away from its Lee Road location.

Meanwhile, northern Cleveland Heights, neglected as usual, has only a Save-A-Lot budget grocer.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:48 AM, 06.26.2024

Sweet Siren Bakery marks one year with community celebration

Sweet Siren Bakery owner Tiera Briggs.

Sweet Siren Bakery will celebrate its one-year anniversary on Saturday, July 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Owner Tiera Briggs—a "nearly lifelong Cleveland Heights resident"—invites the community to stop by the bakery, located at 2180 S. Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights, for a day of celebration, gratitude and fun.

“This anniversary celebration is not just a milestone for the bakery,” said Briggs, “but a heartfelt thank you to all who have made our success possible.”

Throughout the day, customers can partake of special discounts and surprise giveaways. Briggs and her team have planned a lineup of activities and giveaways for the whole family, including:

  • Cupcake decorating for kids: Little ones can unleash their creativity at the cupcake decorating station. All supplies will be provided, and staff will be on hand to assist.
Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:35 AM, 06.26.2024

The Observer and the Coventry PEACE fracas

What is to become of the former Coventry school building and the nonprofits that call it home?

It’s been a question since before 2018, when the CH-UH City School District turned over the building to Heights Libraries.

As the building’s owner, the library system has the ultimate right to decide; by its actions, it doesn’t seem inclined to work with the tenants it has.

The building’s tenants—known collectively as Coventry PEACE—have developed a community that they and their vocal supporters are trying to maintain.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:32 AM, 06.26.2024

Library offers six-month leases to PEACE building tenants

At its Monday, May 20, meeting, the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees voted to provide short-term lease options for nine PEACE Building tenants: Artful, Building Bridges, Cleveland Heights Teacher’s Union, Coventry PEACE Inc., FutureHeights, Grace Communion Church, Lake Erie Ink, Reaching Heights, and Singer’s Club.

Each of the nine tenants had an option to extend their lease for an additional 18 months after their current lease expired on June 30, 2024.  The deadline for exercising the lease option was April 1, 2024, but none of the nine exercised that option by the deadline.

The board voted to offer a six-month lease to each of the nine tenants, renewable on a monthly basis after that, while the board gathers information and studies options for viable use of the building.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:22 AM, 06.26.2024

Library board mistreats community speakers

My name is Fern Haught, and I write as a member of the Cleveland Heights art community and a resident artist at ARTFUL.

On Monday May 20, the Heights Library Board of Trustees met and voted to decline the 18 month lease extensions for the current nonprofit tenants in the Coventry PEACE campus. They instead voted to offer a six month short-term lease. Their reasoning stated is mainly financial, speaking about the burden of the building. They have offered 18 month leases beginning June 1 to new tenants like Dance Cleveland. It is unclear how removing all of the existing nonprofits and losing the consistency of their rent payments in six months lessens the financial burden on the library and the taxpayers.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:18 AM, 06.26.2024

Some facts re: the Coventry PEACE Building

None of the current nine tenants met the April 1, 2024, deadline to renew their leases for a new 18-month term. Their just-expired leases covered the 18-month period of Jan. 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. Tenants were required to exercise their option to renew for another 18 months by providing written notice “at least 90 days prior to the end date”—i.e., April 1.

Three new tenants have signed leases for an 18-month term, July 1 through Dec. 31, 2025.

The Coventry PEACE Building needs $2.8 million in repairs. 

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:20 AM, 06.26.2024

'Paint the Town' to support a better Heights

The Heights' own Apostle Jones will provide live music for "Paint the Town."

I’m a relative newbie to the Heights, but I’ve quickly learned to love it here. Why? Because the community is genuinely a community. 

The vast majority of businesses here are locally owned, the neighborhoods are close-knit, and the level of social engagement by residents is truly impressive. That community spirit—along with reaching a point in life where I had time to volunteer for things—motivated me to find a way to try to give back. 

This is how I found myself as a volunteer for FutureHeights, meeting awesome new people and helping plan a very cool event: The Future Heights “Paint the Town” fundraiser, taking place on Saturday, July 13, 5–9 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:02 AM, 06.26.2024

Why I voted no on Nobility Court

On May 20, I voted against Nobility Court, developer TWG’s proposed 52-unit affordable apartment building development on Noble Road. I hope I’m proven wrong.

While development is critical for economic growth, affordable housing should be strategically placed around our city, not concentrated in one geographical area. It must be approached with a holistic perspective, focusing on long-term sustainability and the well-being of our residents.

Noble Road stretches from Mayfield Road to the border of East Cleveland, and is already home to 67 affordable apartment buildings. Sadly, these properties are in poor condition and have many vacancies.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:13 AM, 06.26.2024

The band I've planned for half a century

New Long Road (from left): Celia Hollander Lewis (guitar, Celtic harp, banjo, vocals), Linda White (flute), Julie Myers King (cello), Robin Stratton (ukulele, vocals) and David Budin (guitar, vocals).

When I was 3, I decided I wanted to grow up to become a musician and comedian. So, I did. But I started early, with all kinds of music lessons, beginning at age 6 and continuing through high school; reading books about comedy by comedians, starting at age 10; playing in my first “band” at age 9; and starting to play professionally in my teens.

I was always in at least one rock band; plus, I was in the same folk group from sixth grade till the end of high school. I left Heights High in the spring of 1967, and soon after, in December, I got an idea for a different kind of group: one with guitars and singers, but also including a flute and cello. And then I started that group—a few months ago, or, in other words, 56 years later.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:25 AM, 06.26.2024

Questions abound regarding ARPA

One of greatest tests faced so far by Mayor Kahlil Seren and the current Cleveland Heights City Council is the management of a $38.8 million federal grant under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA is meant to help communities recover from setbacks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Council must approve how ARPA funds are allocated.

When a local government lacks in-house skills or sufficient staff for a particular project, hiring an outside consultant can make sense. There is, however, something predatory about this burgeoning industry, much of it owned by private equity, to which local, state and national public entities can outsource virtually any government function.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:26 AM, 06.26.2024

Boosters plan carnival kickoff to fall sports season

Heights Athletic Boosters will host an Aug. 3 carnival.

We may all be basking in the glow of summer, but Heights Athletic Boosters is already looking ahead to the start of the fall sports season. With a record-breaking football team about to return to the gridiron, and new coaches at the helm of several other fall sports teams, the possibilities are endless.

To kick off the season, Heights Athletic Boosters will host a carnival on Saturday, Aug. 3, at Heights High. While the cross-country team will be running miles from 7 a.m. that morning until 7 a.m. the next, in the team’s annual 24-hour relay, most events for the public will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:44 AM, 06.26.2024

An option for replacing school district offices

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education building (BOE) was built in 1960. Due to increases in staff over the last half century—necessary to address the increasing complexity of complying with state mandates, as well as supporting a best-in-class educational system—the building’s office space (currently 31,903 square feet) is insufficient for the administrative staff currently employed by the district.

The district has made it work by housing some district staff in school buildings and the Delisle Options Center. As a result, district staff no longer works together at a centralized location.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:15 AM, 06.26.2024

People have the power to impact their environment

Neighbors received a University Heights Beautiful Home Award for creating a sustainable pollinator garden to replace most of their front lawn.

It was a sunny and mild Sunday on Glendon Road in University Heights, and I watched various neighbors using electric leaf blowers and/or lawn mowers on their lawns and gardens throughout the day. The loudest sounds were from the Northern Cardinals singing their familiar song. I decided to ask a couple of my neighbors what led them to change from gas-powered lawn care to electric yard tools.

The first neighbor and I spoke for some time over our picket fence. He shared his feelings about keeping a natural, chemical-free yard, citing the safety of grandchildren and animals. "I can live with some weeds," he said. This neighbor composts in his backyard and uses an electric leaf blower and trimmer. 

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:08 AM, 06.26.2024

This partnership is real

This summer, 93 children, most of whom attend our public schools, registered to participate in the Heights Summer Music Camp. They spent seven hours a day, for a week, learning about and making music, pushing themselves, and responding to new challenges and high expectations. They worked hard, mastered new content, made new friends, learned about the joys of collaboration, and made music that bolstered their confidence, motivation and commitment.

I’ve been the camp’s director since it was started by the nonprofit Reaching Heights (www.reachingheights.org/) in 2005. I’m proud of our work and our contribution to instrumental music in our school district and in the lives of our children. This camp would not exist, however, if it were not for our exemplary partnership with the Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District. There is a lot of talk about partnerships, but this one is the real deal.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:51 AM, 06.26.2024

Dobama showcases young actors

Director Kelly Elliott.

This July, Dobama presents free performances at its Dobama Emerging Actors Program (DEAP) Showcase, featuring aspiring actors in high school and early college.

DEAP Showcase performances will take place July 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m., and July 28 at 2:30 p.m. The free tickets are available first come, first served.

The black box-style production will present scenes from “Fuenteovejuna,” a classic play by Lope De Vega, showcasing the skills that the students have acquired and refined during Dobama’s summer intensive program. 

Now in its 13th year, the four-week, technique-based, process-centered program provides young actors with a high-quality, college-conservatory curriculum taught by area professionals in an exciting, experimental environment.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 AM, 06.26.2024

CH must address vacant commercial spaces

In the April issue of the Heights Observer, Don King lamented the vacant commercial space at the new Top of the Hill construction, citing the lack of convenient parking as one explanation. The top of Cedar Hill has always been a drive through for traffic to and from downtown, to Cedar Avenue or Euclid Heights Boulevard and outer areas. There is no street parking at the corner of Cedar and Euclid Heights Boulevard. Also, the vacant shops are elevated above the peripheral vision of pedestrians and are at the fringe of the more lively Cedar-Fairmount intersection.

Perhaps the lack of commercial residency has to do more with the high rental rates, as noted by merchants who have been approached to relocate from their present shops in the area. If this practice is successful, it will only cannibalize the neighborhood, creating vacant spaces in one of the city’s most viable neighborhoods.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:00 AM, 06.26.2024

Lake View concert celebrates 'forgotten' Black composer

On Sunday, July 7, at 3 p.m., Lake View Cemetery will present the second concert in its Classically Lake View chamber music series, “Cleveland's Forgotten Composer, Guitar Hero, and Abolitionist, Justin Holland.”

The concert will take place at the cemetery’s Community Mausoleum, and will feature Damian Goggans (guitar), a rising senior at Oberlin Conservatory, alongside Cleveland Orchestra members Liyuan Xie and Isabel Trautwein (violins), Eliesha Nelson (viola), and Tanya Ell (cello), with Jennifer Coleman, program director for Creative Culture and Arts at the  Gund Foundation, as the evening's emcee.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:28 AM, 06.26.2024

Hot fun in the summertime continues with UH's July concerts

The Sunrise Jones

The University Heights Summer Concert series heats up this month, with three artists making their Walter Stinson Community Park debut, plus a return engagement with the city’s Symphonic Band.

The Thursday night series resumes on July 11 at The Walt, with Afi ‘n the Mix. If you love the blues and love to groove, you will definitely want to be in the audience when Afi Scruggs and her band plays. A native of Nashville, Scruggs sings, and plays bass and piano. In addition, she’s a singer-songwriter as well as a producer.

Afi 'n the Mix is a family-friendly band that plays blues, rhythm & blues, soul and other grooving music. The group has played at several local festivals, including the South Euclid Food Truck Park, Public Square, Waterloo Arts Festival, and at the Beachland Tavern.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 11:20 AM, 06.23.2024

Disabled-access advocates encourage respect

To the Editor:

In reference to the opinion in the May issue, in which Diane Hallum described accessibility difficulties at Monticello school, we would like to address the misleading and belligerent comments made against Brian Iorio. Brian has served with us on the board of MaxHousing (formerly MAHO) for several years. He is a fierce advocate for accessibility and his work to advance this cause is unsurpassed.

We understand that lack of accessibility is frustrating. However, those of us in the disabled community do not resort to rude and disrespectful comments.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:29 AM, 06.26.2024

Recognizing realtors' gift to Noble library

To the Editor:

On June 2, I had the privilege of attending the reopening of the Noble branch of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library.

Among the many great attractions and additions to the library is the stained-glass window on the first floor, located outside the “Storytime” Room. This gorgeous piece of artwork was donated to the library by the realtors who do business in the Noble neighborhood.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 8:27 AM, 06.26.2024

Building design should be compatible with neighborhoods

A recent Facebook commentary by Ken Goldberg shows how important the Cleveland Heights Architectural Board of Review (ABR) can be.  Ken has a master’s degree in art history, and his observations were thoughtful.

Ken criticized the design of the new addition to the Noble Road public library building.  He questioned whether a priority for exterior compatibility had been “thrown to the winds.”  He saw no connection with the original building in [the addition’s] brick color, window design or proportions, height, or roofline. He complained that the addition “has no real style and is without trim, while the original Walker & Weeks building is delightfully Georgian Revival.”

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:49 AM, 06.26.2024

University Heights seeks senior services coordinator

The city of University Heights is searching for a part-time senior services coordinator to develop programs to meet the needs of older residents. This position was last held by the late Walter Stinson, who retired in 2020.

The city is also seeking residents to serve on the Citizens Advisory Committee on Aging. 

“The latest census shows that 11.3% of University Heights residents are 65 or older,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, who handles special projects for the city, including senior services. “Older adults often face challenges due to living with chronic conditions, and the city seeks to support them by providing opportunities to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:46 AM, 06.26.2024

Judge's report reveals state of CH housing

Heights Observer readers should take special notice of the report on housing code enforcement by Judge J. J. Costello published in the May issue. In it, the judge reports facts and figures that reveal not only what happens in his courtroom, but what is happening in Cleveland Heights neighborhoods.

Here are some highlights:

  • 97 criminal cases were filed by the city in 2023 to punish housing code violators.
  • The policy of the court is to prioritize compliance over punishment because fixing housing serves the community more than punishment of property owners.
Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:57 AM, 06.26.2024

Whatís going on at your library?

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

Thursday, July 25, 4 p.m.

Garden Gatherings: Wind Chimes. Join us in the Coventry PEACE Park to help tend to our collaborative garden through DIY science experiments, art projects, and explorative play. Wear clothing that can get dirty! Call ahead in case of inclement weather. For children up to age 11 and their caregivers.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:40 AM, 06.26.2024

Free camp surveys diverse dance forms

Blakk Jakk Dance Collective's free camp is for kids ages 10–14.

Blakk Jakk Dance Collective will offer dance instruction to 10- to 14-year-olds at its free summer dance camp, Aug. 12–16, to be held at the Cultural Arts Center at Disciples Christian Church (DCC). The camp’s theme is “Dance forms throughout the years.”

The five-day camp will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday though Friday. While the camp is free, space is limited. Register online at www.discipleschristian.org. Campers will need to provide their own lunches and snacks.

Blakk Jakk Dance Collective regularly offers programs for young people and adults at the Cultural Arts Center.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 11:00 AM, 06.23.2024

Register now for Noble Cigar Box Guitar Workshop

The 2022 workshop participants.

Back for its fourth year, the Noble Cigar Box Guitar Project is again offering a free summer Cigar Box Guitar Workshop for middle-schoolers. 

Many practitioners say that the first rule of cigar box guitars is that there are no rules. Cigar box guitars are versatile. They incorporate a range of materials—cigar boxes and cookie tins as bodies; paint-can lids or pie plates as resonators. They suit a range of musical styles—rock, jazz, folk, and blues. In the hands of creative people, cigar box guitars demonstrate how commonplace, throwaway objects can be re-purposed into impressive musical instruments.   

The workshop consists of four sessions over four days, Aug. 5, 6, 7, 8, 1:30–3 p.m., at Disciples Church, 3663 Mayfield Road, in Cleveland Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 10:54 AM, 06.23.2024

PEACE Park renovations to break ground July 7

A 1993 Coventry PEACE Builder button from the community construction of the original Coventry PEACE playground.

Coventry PEACE Park closed for renovation on June 17 and is expected to re-open in December. The community is invited to a celebratory groundbreaking event on July 7, at 2 p.m. 

When renovations are complete, the park will feature inclusive amenities designed to embrace people of all abilities. Accessible pathways will ensure easier navigation and encourage physical activity. New play areas will include a 20-foot cardinal-themed play structure, a dedicated toddler playground, a zipline, climbing walls, swings, and half-court basketball. A new stage will increase the park’s capacity to host community events, performances, and gatherings. More than 100 new trees and native plants will foster biodiversity and ecological balance.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 10:43 AM, 06.23.2024

Noble Library hosts reopening ceremony, then closes due to technical issues

The ribbon-cutting at the Noble branch featured, from left, Branch Manager Constance Dickerson; Cleveland Heights Mayor Kahlil Seren; Heights Libraries board members Dana Fluellen, Annette Iwamoto, and Melissa Soto-Schwartz; Heights Libraires Director Nancy Levin; University Heights Mayor Michael Brennan; and Heights Libraries board members Patti Carlyle, Vikas Turakhia, and Tyler McTigue.

On Sunday, June 2, more than 500 residents celebrated the expansion and renovation of the Heights Libraries Noble Neighborhood branch.

Due to unforeseen challenges with phone and Internet lines, the building had to close after the celebration to ensure that phones and computers would be up and running for customers and staff. The building was expected to reopen on Monday, June 17. A subsequent announcement posted on Heights Libraries' website indicates that the Noble branch now will be closed until July 8.

The renovation and expansion doubled the size of the heavily used branch. The design, by architecture firm Bostwick Design Partnership, took into account feedback and suggestions from residents, gathered 2021–22 through community meetings and surveys.

In her opening remarks, Heights Libraries’ Director Nancy Levin thanked residents for telling the library what they wanted, and needed, at the new branch. “We have given you what you asked for,” she said, and was greeted with a round of applause.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 2:27 PM, 06.15.2024

Cain Park presents 'Big Fish' June 20Ė30

Cain Park’s summer production of “Big Fish the Musical” is set to captivate audiences June 20–30, at Cain Park’s Alma Theater. Based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton, “Big Fish” promises an unforgettable theatrical experience that blends fantasy, romance, and heartfelt storytelling.

“Big Fish the Musical” follows the incredible life journey of Edward Bloom, a man with a penchant for telling larger-than-life stories about his adventures.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 1:42 PM, 06.15.2024

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

JUNE 4, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Recognitions and awards
  • Board action
  • Monticello Middle School principal
  • Superintendent’s report on goal alignment
  • Group C policies
  • Treasurer’s three things
  • State legislation
  • Monticello name change

Present were President Jodi Sourini and members Gabe Crenshaw, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Phil Trimble. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting began at 7 p.m. and ended at 8:45 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 10:00 AM, 07.10.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights

JUNE 3, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • Directors’ reports
  • Council actions
  • Committee reports

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and council members Michele Weiss (vice mayor), Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer. Also present were Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas, Law Director Bradric T. Bryan, Finance Director Dennis Kennedy, and City Engineer Brenda Mockbee. The meeting ran two hours and 34 minutes.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:56 AM, 07.10.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

JUNE 3, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • Mayor’s Action Center
  • Council actions
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the Whole

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Tony Cuda (council president), Davida Russell (vice president), Craig Cobb, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Jim Petras, and Jim Posch. Also present were Clerk of Council Addie Balester, Law Director William Hanna, and City Administrator Danny Williams. The meeting ran for two hours.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:55 AM, 07.10.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

MAY 23, 2024 special meeting

  • Council actions
  • Committee of the Whole

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Tony Cuda (council president), Craig Cobb, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Jim Petras, and Jim Posch. Davida Russell was excused. Also present were Clerk of Council Addie Balester and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting ran for 10 minutes.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:53 AM, 07.10.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights

MAY 20, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report 
  • Council actions
  • Staff reports
  • Committee reports
  • Agenda change

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and council members Michele Weiss (vice mayor), Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer. Also present were Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas, Law Director Bradric T. Bryan, Finance Director Dennis Kennedy, and City Engineer Brenda Mockbee. The meeting ran from 7:05 to 8:39 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:52 AM, 07.10.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

MAY 20, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City administrator’s report
  • Public works
  • Council actions
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the whole

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Tony Cuda (council president), Davida Russell (vice president), Craig Cobb, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Jim Petras, and Jim Posch. Also present were Law Director William Hanna and City Administrator Danny Williams. Clerk of Council Addie Balester was not present. The meeting ran for two and one quarter hours.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:50 AM, 07.10.2024

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

MAY 20, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Financial report
  • Board action
  • Personnel report
  • Director’s report
  • Public service report

Present were President Vikas Turakhia, Vice President Annette Iwamoto, Secretary Patti Carlyle, Dana Fluellen, Tyler McTigue, Melissa Soto-Schwartz, and Hallie Turnberrez. The meeting lasted one and a half hours.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:48 AM, 07.10.2024

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

MAY 9, 2024, regular meeting

  • Recognitions and awards
  • Student cadre report 
  • New curriculum coordinator position
  • Superintendent comments 
  • Policy revisions
  • Treasurer’s report – public records
  • State education issues
  • Monticello Middle School name change 
  • Free dental and vision services for students

Present were Gabe Crenshaw, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Phil Trimble. President Jodi Sourini was excused. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

 

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:46 AM, 07.10.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting

MAY 6, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comments
  • Mayor’s report 
  • Council actions
  • Staff reports
  • Committee reports

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and council members Michele Weiss (vice mayor), Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer. John Rach was not present. Also present were Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas, Law Director Bradric T. Bryan, Finance Director Dennis Kennedy, and City Engineer Brenda Mockbee. The meeting ran two hours, 20 minutes.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:44 AM, 07.10.2024

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

MAY 2, 2024 work session

  • Music root cause analysis report
  • Student transportation costs
  • Board comments

Present were Jodi Sourini (president), Gabe Crenshaw, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Phil Trimble.  Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. and adjourned at 8 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:42 AM, 07.10.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting

APRIL 15, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • Council actions
  • Staff reports
  • Committee reports
  • Other agenda items

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan and council members Michele Weiss (vice mayor), Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, and Win Weizer. John P. Rach and Sheri Sax were excused. Also present were Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas, Law Director Bradric T. Bryan, Finance Director Dennis Kennedy, and City Engineer Brenda Mockbee. The meeting ran for one and three quarters hours.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 9:40 AM, 07.10.2024

'Paint the Town' at FH's July benefit

FutureHeights invites everyone to celebrate its 22 years of community engagement at this year’s annual benefit party on Saturday, July 13, 5–9 p.m.

The party will embrace the Heights’ entertainment and restaurant scene, highlighting the theme Paint the Town! 

Set against the beautiful campus of John Carroll University and its Dolan Center for Science and Technology, the party will feature unique drinks and appetizers from The Fairmount and hors d'oeuvres from Saroj & Carlos. Along with specialty cocktails and delicious food, there will be music, dancing, a silent auction, a concert by Apostle Jones, and an opportunity to mingle with residents and leaders of Cleveland Heights and University Heights and celebrate efforts to improve our cities with neighbors from around the Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 8:29 AM, 05.29.2024

FutureHeights names Bailey and Brown interim leaders

Brenda Bailey

While FutureHeights restructures and develops its next strategic plan, the board of directors is pleased to announce that Brenda Bailey, currently FutureHeights' volunteer coordinator, has been named as the interim manager, and Robert (Bob) Brown, former FutureHeights board president, has agreed to serve as the interim executive director.

The board recognizes Bailey’s attention to detail and enthusiasm for the Heights—qualities that have been invaluable in building the nonprofit community development corporation’s volunteer and donor lists, and ensuring the monthly delivery of the Heights Observer to Heights businesses and institutions.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:50 AM, 05.29.2024

UH kicks off summer concert series June 13

Devlin Pope, conductor of the UH Symphonic Band.

“Do You Remember” is the first single off Lauren Lanzaretta’s new album, Soul Ties. Residents and visitors will be treated to a powerful performance—one they will long remember—at Walter Stinson Community Park when Lanzaretta makes her University Heights debut on Thursday, June 13, at 7 p.m.

Lanzaretta says concertgoers can expect to hear original songs from her three studio albums, as well as a handful of fun covers.

“I love to connect with my audience—to go deeper and bring messages of hope and healing,” she said.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 8:35 AM, 05.29.2024

Celebrate middle-school filmmakers at June 16 screening

Cynthia Booker with students.

Building Heights, a cornerstone nonprofit in Cleveland Heights, proudly presents the fourth-season screening of Heights Middle School Shorts (HMSS) at the Cedar Lee Theatre on June 16 (Father’s Day), at 6:30 p.m. 

Initiated in 2020, HMSS is more than a film camp; it's a launchpad for young creatives in the Heights community. Supported tirelessly by the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District, HMSS has grown into a pivotal force in nurturing the filmmakers of tomorrow.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:04 AM, 05.29.2024

CH council approves Noble development

On May 20, Cleveland Heights City Council approved TWG’s affordable apartment development, Nobility Court (once known as Noble Station).

Since the community first learned about the development, it has been shrouded with controversy and opposition. This May 20 council meeting was no different. A packed room (the usual early opposers and first-time resident attendees) brought opposition statements, emotions, and disappointment on many levels and [for many] reasons. The intentional and orchestrated effort implemented to shut down this project came too late. Each council member's voting decision was made, after countless meetings, presentations, and discussions since 2023.

Intentionally, from the start, the project and process excluded engaging the community.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 8:46 AM, 05.29.2024

Noble by the numbers

This map orients viewers to the communities listed in the table.

Weather-wise, Greater Cleveland seems to avoid the extremes other places endure. Though we sometimes experience weather-related problems, like short-term travel limitations or skies that remain gray for weeks on end, we are unlikely to experience a storm like Katrina, or Buffalo’s Blizzard of ‘22.

Despite our great weather, however, we are not immune to other forms of disaster, and the foreclosure crisis that underlaid the Great Recession of 2007–9 is among the worst we have experienced. Though the crisis affected the entire United States, some places, including Greater Cleveland, were hit harder, and within those places, some neighborhoods suffered more than others.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:14 AM, 05.29.2024

Dobama presents annual Bianchi Kidsí Playwriting Festival

The 46th Annual Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival (MBKPF) will honor 24 young playwrights the weekend of June 7, 8, and 9. More than 250 students in grades 1–12 submitted plays to this year’s MBKPF, which is the oldest event of its kind in the nation.

MBKPF is the culmination of Dobama Theatre’s Young Playwrights Program, which teaches playwriting to students across Northeast Ohio. This year-round education program is taught by professional playwrights and theater artists. The wide-ranging resources available include classroom residencies, virtual workshops, instructional videos, and a fully adaptable curriculum based on grade level.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:39 AM, 05.29.2024

Consider smaller, upscale grocer for Cedar Fairmount

Growing up in Cleveland Heights, I have fond memories of shopping at Russo's Fairmount store. Like many longtime residents, I feel a sense of sadness seeing it vacant. Seeing it occupied by Dave's Supermarket, which doesn't quite cater to the local market around Cedar Fairmount, was disappointing to me. I don't mean to come off as a snob, but shouldn't we aim for an upscale grocer that fits into a smaller footprint, catering to the residents nearest to Cedar Fairmount?

As someone with experience as a former commercial real estate broker, I believe finding the right fit is crucial for ensuring a store's profitability and sustainability as a tenant in this space. An outlet grocery doesn't seem like the right fit here.

I disagree with the notion that the Heights doesn't need another grocery store.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 8:43 AM, 05.29.2024

Heard is library's first maker-in-residence

Summer maker-in-residence Alex Heard is a soft sculptor and performance artist.

This summer, Heights Libraries will host a maker-in-residence program in the Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center (HKIC) STEAM Lab at the Lee Road branch. The goal of the program, funded in part by a generous grant from the Cyrus Eaton Foundation, is to showcase local makers and to engage the community in a creative space where they can learn from creative experts and participate in the creative process.

The library’s summer maker, chosen from 37 applicants, is Alex Heard. Heard is a soft sculptor and performance artist working in Cleveland. Their colorful, plush costumes explore a variety of topics both absurd and sincere. They graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2020. Heard performs in the Cleveland area, and has exhibited throughout Ohio.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:26 AM, 05.29.2024

A desirable place to live

For decades, we’ve heard from Cleveland Heights officials that we need new, well-heeled residents to expand our population and, with it, the city's tax base. The current mayor and most council members have bought into this idea as well.

Cleveland Heights' population peaked in the early 1960s at a little over 61,000. Sixty years later, the 2020 census counted just 45,215 residents—due to smaller family sizes, loss of jobs in the region, and white flight, among other things.

In addition to population shrinkage, since the 1980s cities like ours have experienced drastic cuts in federal and state funding. Thus, the past three decades have seen a tightening of municipal budgets and corresponding reductions in staff and programs.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 8:59 AM, 05.29.2024

UH welcomes 'Beautiful Home' nominations

This home won a 2024 Beautiful Home Award in the "Two-in-a- Row" category.

University Heights’ 2025 Beautiful Home Awards nominations are underway. Throughout the summer, and no later than Sept. 15, residents are invited to nominate homeowners who exhibit an outstanding investment in their property in a variety of award categories.

The Beautiful Homes Committee, a group of residents appointed by the mayor, reviews the nominees, and winners are announced at the annual University Heights Civic Awards in the fall. With the exception of current committee members, anyone can nominate a house for consideration, as long as it’s not for sale. Self-nominations are also welcome. 

“For more than 60 years, University Heights has recognized homeowners who have done an outstanding job in maintaining their homes, enhancing the city’s neighborhoods, and enabling a sustainable and vibrant community,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, chief of staff for the city of University Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 9:03 AM, 05.29.2024

Put Wiley to use

To the Editor:

John Janssen's opinion, “What’s up with Wiley?’ (Heights Observer, April 2024), is important.
 
Wiley School sitting essentially vacant does citizens no good.
 
Having recently been the beneficiary of a $13 million investment to function as swing space for high school students during the renovation of Heights High, Wiley can and should be put to more constructive use.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 8:45 AM, 05.29.2024

School district has a building glut

The CH-UH Board of Education (BOE) needs to develop a comprehensive facilities plan to efficiently manage its aging infrastructure. The CH-UH school district owns 14 buildings:

  • Heights High: renovated 2017, 372,334 square feet, 1,519 enrolled students (as of Jan. 13, 2023), 245 square feet per student.
  • Wiley: built 1954, 147,819 square feet, 0 students.
  • Monticello Middle: built 1930, 126,780 square feet, 526 students, 241 square feet/student.
  • Roxboro Middle: built 1931, 111,152 square feet, 576 students, 193 square feet/student.
Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 8:53 AM, 05.29.2024

Robinson curates Artful's Juneteenth exhibit

LaSaundra Robinson, an accomplished painter, curates the third annual Juneteenth exhibit at ARTFUL. The opening reception will be held June 15, 6–9 p.m., at Coventry PEACE Campus in Cleveland Heights. 

Robinson, who has had a studio at ARTFUL since 2017, recently answered some questions about her work and the Juneteenth exhibit:

What artist(s) most influence you? I wouldn't say that there are specific artists that influence my work directly, but there are definitely artists that inspire me. Henry Taylor, Kerry James Marshall, and Charly Palmer, along with countless YouTube and Instagram artists, keep me wanting to paint and try new things.

Can you describe how your style has evolved over the years? When I first started painting, I would just find a couple interesting images, put them together and try to make a story. I used a lot of mixed media then. I decided to focus on what I really wanted to paint and that was Black women.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:31 AM, 05.29.2024

Russell and Costello to host Legal Aid advice clinic June 29

In a press release, Cleveland Heights City Council Vice President Davida Russell announced that she and Judge J.J. Costello will collaborate with the Legal Aid Society (LAS) of Cleveland to host a LAS Brief advice clinic on June 29, as part of the Russell’s ongoing Tenant Landlord Series. The event aims to offer tailored legal guidance and support to individuals facing civil legal issues.
 
The clinic will take place on Saturday, June 29, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the newly reopened Heights Libraries Noble Neighborhood Branch.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:55 AM, 05.29.2024

Itís bicycling season in the Heights

HBC's Tuesday Bike Rides are a great way to explore neighborhoods and meet fellow cyclists.

Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) and its community partners hosted and supported several events during National Bike Month in May, including Bike to Work Day fueling stations, the annual Ride of Silence, community forums, bike and pedestrian counts, and community rides. The city of Cleveland Heights issued a resolution declaring May as Mary Dunbar Bike Month.

With warmer weather and longer days, June is an excellent time to build on that momentum. HBC is hosting and supporting several events this month, and invites everyone to come out to ride.

Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 9:15 AM, 05.29.2024

CH's community grants should be fully transparent

Cleveland Heights is not the only city where community development grants can be abused by developers and landlords for personal gain. This is a national issue. Other cities, however, have attempted to minimize this abuse by providing transparency to residents by instituting the following measures: 

  • Publish detailed information on the grant application process, eligibility criteria, and selection process. This allows residents to understand how grant decisions are made.
  • Create an online portal or database listing all community grant recipients, project descriptions, and award amounts. This provides public access to see how funds are allocated.
Read Full Story
Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:54 AM, 05.29.2024