Latest News

Reaching Heights names Penick new director

Ericka C. Penick

Reaching Heights is excited to introduce the newest addition to its leadership team, Erica C. Penick, who joins the organization as executive director.

Penick brings with her a wealth of experience and a commitment to equity, community, and service, and is no stranger to the world of nonprofit management and leadership. With a proven track record as a C-Suite professional and advisor, Penick has expertise in revenue generation, donor cultivation, funding alignment, strategy, branding, and communications.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 1:49 PM, 05.12.2024

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May 18 flea market to feature 'table top treasures'

Are you an artist, with handcrafted wonders you'd like to sell? Have you collected fascinating items that are now itching to find new homes? Are you looking for new treasures for your home or office?

Sellers and buyers alike are invited to the inaugural Noble Road “Table Top Treasures” Flea Market on May 18, 10 a.m. to noon. The Monticello-Noble flea market has been planned to celebrate the community and support the “We Are Noble” event, taking place May 17–19.

The Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) at 2520 Noble Road has opened its parking lot to accommodate the set up of 10 tables of wares.

Seller participation is thus limited to the first 10 vendors who sign up.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 4:50 PM, 05.12.2024

Memorial Day parade celebrates 'A Better Tomorrow'

Young spectators await the start of last year's University Heights Memorial Day Parade. [photo: Doug Tayek]

The University Heights Memorial Day Parade not only commemorates those we lost in service to our country, it celebrates the freedoms we enjoy.

This year’s parade will again step off at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day, May 27, with a memorial ceremony immediately following. This year’s theme is “A Better Tomorrow.”

The city of University Heights has proudly held an annual Memorial Day Parade since 1966 (with the exception of 2020, when it was canceled due to the pandemic). It is the longest-running east-side parade in Greater Cleveland

“This is not only the oldest and largest parade on the east side, it’s also the best,” said University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan. “The community is invested in the event. They want it to be successful, and it is.”

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 1:17 PM, 04.29.2024

CH council appoints Jim Posch to fill vacancy

At a special meeting of Cleveland Heights City Council on Thursday, April 25, the six council members appointed Jim Posch to fill the council vacancy created when Janine Boyd resigned on March 18.

The vote was 5-1, with Council Member Anthony Mattox Jr. voting no.

According to an April 26 press release from CH Council President Tony Cuda, the city’s law director, William Hanna, swore in Posch on Friday morning.

“Vice President Russell and I are pleased to welcome Mr. Posch to our team,” Cuda stated.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:40 PM, 04.27.2024

Noble Neighborhood Library's grand opening is June 2

A view of the patio under construction outside the new children's area.

Heights Libraries is celebrating two big events on Sunday, June 2: The grand reopening of the Noble Neighborhood Library and the kickoff of its summer reading program.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to welcome the community back into the expanded and renovated branch,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “Our Noble branch neighbors have been so patient and supportive of this big project, so we really want to celebrate in a big way. Luckily, the timing was perfect for these two big events to begin on the same day.”

The expanded building will offer roughly double the space of the original building and will feature four public meeting rooms, a technology learning center, a drive-up window and a storytime room. The new adult area will be on the opposite side of the building from the new, expanded teen and children areas.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 1:14 PM, 04.29.2024

Register now for summer music camp

Students from the middle grades have an opportunity to shine musically this summer by attending the Reaching Heights Summer Music Camp. This music-immersion week starts June 10 and ends with a public performance on June 15, when the inter-generational orchestra shares the music it's shaped during 11 rehearsals.

Instrumental music students completing grades six through eight this school year, who are residents of the CH-UH school district, are eligible to participate in this joyful and demanding week. Registration by May 15 is appreciated and recommended. Space is limited.

The camp experience has been carefully designed to emphasize collaboration and growth in the context of fun. Silly hats and theme days, popsicles, and recreation breaks add a light touch to the week.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 1:09 PM, 04.29.2024

Plans underway for May 18 Tiger 5K and Fun Run

A drone view of the starting line. [credit: Adam Dew]

Lace-up your running shoes—it’s time for the 3rd Annual Tiger 5K, benefitting all seven CH-UH elementary schools. The community event will kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the Cleveland Heights High School track.

The race will begin and end on the Heights High track. The certified 5K is open to all ages and abilities. Walkers are welcome!

In addition to the 5K, the CH-UH elementary school PTAs will also host a 10 a.m. Fun Run for younger runners, which will also take place at the high school track.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 1:11 PM, 04.29.2024

Quilt show opens May 10 at Sophie La Gourmande

This quilt, Stretch Pants Must be Controlled,  is Lind's response to the national debate over obesity stigmas and prejudice. 

Barb Lind’s narrative quilts will be the focus of a solo exhibition at Sophie La Gourmande, May 10 through mid-July. The opening reception is planned for Friday, May 10, 6–9 p.m.

Proceeds from the sale of Lind’s quilts will be donated to refugee relief. 

Lind is a longtime Heights resident whose quilts have been featured at The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Ohio Craft Museum, and Firelands Association for the Visual Arts, and are in the corporate collections of Cleveland State University’s College of Law, and McGregor Home.

More than 40 years ago, Lind, a native of Cleveland’s industrial inner city, married into a Mennonite family from rural Kansas. Creating a quilt together—Lind’s first—provided common ground on which to build a relationship with her new mother-in-law.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 1:08 PM, 04.29.2024

Dobama announces upcoming season

Dobama Theatre announced its upcoming 2024/25 season on April 2. It comprises a lineup of five new plays—all Cleveland, regional, or world professional premieres.

The season will kick off on Oct. 4, 2024, with “POTUS Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive” by Selena Fillinger, directed by Carrie Williams. In the play, the President of the United States unwittingly spins a PR nightmare into a global crisis. The show was a star-studded hit on Broadway; an all-female farce nominated for three Tony awards.

During the holiday season, Dobama audiences will be able to visit a Neverland like no other. “Peter/Wendy,” Jeremy Bloom’s inventive adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s story, is suited for all ages.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:38 AM, 04.29.2024

Celebrate 'We Are Noble' May 17–19

We Are Noble—the celebration of the people and places in the Noble Road neighborhoods of Cleveland Heights—kicks off on Friday, May 17, 6–8 p.m., with NobleFest, the Noble Elementary School family fun fair held on school grounds. There, kids can enjoy games, food and activities with friends and family.

The weekend schedule for May 17–19 is unfolding at www.nobleneighbors.com. There, one can find information about participating—holding a yard sale, for example, or joining as a business or institution. Cleveland Heights residents from other neighborhoods are invited to join in the celebration and discover new features of this neighborhood; explore its parks, business districts and eclectic houses; and meet new people.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:02 AM, 04.29.2024

We don’t need another grocery store

To the Editor:

We have lived in Cleveland Heights as homeowners since 1991. We are opposed to any actions by the city of Cleveland Heights to offer financial support to help open a grocery store in the Cedar Fairmount area.  

Grocery stores have never been profitable businesses at the corner of Cedar and Grandview. Over the years, we saw a procession of grocers in the space—Russo’s, Giant Eagle, and Dave’s. Grocery stores make profits on a low-margin basis, and the space is too small and the competition too great for any grocery to make a profit at the site. Would Dave's have moved out if the location was profitable? Any funding provided by the city would truly be “throwing good money after bad.”

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:31 AM, 04.29.2024

Murder in the Heights

The Lowe-Rice estate in a photo from around 1950, shortly before the mansion was torn down.

“What about the murders?” 

Several people have said those, or similar, words to me since reading my column in the April Heights Observer, about interesting factoids of Cleveland Heights history.

And, yes, there have been some murders in Cleveland Heights. Most of them have been mundane, but a few have had a little historical significance.

The first big one was that of Willian Lowe Rice, in 1910, when Cleveland Heights wasn’t quite a village yet, but mainly a collection of giant mansions, plus a huge golf course, at the top of Cedar Hill. The developing area was still known as Euclid Heights.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:35 AM, 04.29.2024

Why Cedar Fairmount grocery space merits $1 million city subsidy

The Cedar-Fairmount community and neighborhood blogs have been abuzz with discussions surrounding the proposed $1 million [city] subsidy to secure a Grocery Outlet in our neighborhood. The information outlined here is intended to address some misconceptions and shed light on the critical need for this subsidy.

Modernization is imperative: The Cedar-Grandview Building is 100 years old. Times have changed, and so have the requirements of businesses, especially grocery stores. The time-honored business model for grocery stores across the U.S. is to make major capital re-investments every 15–20 years in order to be competitive. When the grocery store was Russo’s, we did major renovations in 1951, 1961, 1969, 1985 and 1992. After Giant Eagle acquired the store, they did a modest remodel in 2001, followed by the mostly cosmetic changes made by Dave’s. Thirty years of incremental updates by our tenants to the grocery space—and the current three-level infrastructure, designed a century ago—plain and simply isn’t conducive to modern grocery operations.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:26 AM, 04.29.2024

Officer West memorial fundraiser set for May 19

Gift baskets, like this one, will be part of the raffle to raise funds for the Officer Jason D. West memorial scholarship.

Boss Dog Brewing Company, at 2179 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, will host this year’s Mega Raffle Event to benefit The Officer Jason D. West Memorial Fund, which provides scholarships for cadets in the Cleveland Heights Police Academy. 

The family-friendly event is planned for Sunday, May 19, 5–8 p.m., and will include games for kids and adults. The event is free. Attendees will partake of finger food and a chance to vie for silent-raffle prizes donated by area businesses.

Regular menu items, beer and other beverages from the bar will be available for purchase.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 9:45 AM, 04.29.2024

CH should not fund Russos' remodel

In January an opinion in the Heights Observer praised Sal Russo as a landlord and member of the community, and stated he would be bringing a new grocer to Cedar Fairmount. In February, Mr. Russo announced Grocery Outlet Bargain Market as Dave’s replacement at a city council meeting. In March he hosted a meeting for the neighborhood, to introduce Grocery Outlet. He stated then that a city subsidy of $1 million would be required to make necessary repairs to the building, to lease the space to Grocery Outlet. When asked if he could apply for a loan, he did not respond. He asked the meeting attendees to engage in a letter-writing campaign to members of city council to [support funding] the remodeling.

I believe that, as owner and landlord of the Cedar Grandview building, he is responsible for its maintenance and repairs. I do not think it is fair that taxpayers be asked to fund its remodeling to meet the needs of a prospective tenant.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:30 AM, 04.29.2024

Rangers take CH50+ hockey championship

Standing (from left): Rob Laurich, Kassie Humr (with trophy), Glen Wilson, Matt Bachovchin, Bob Dobrowsky, John Zeleznik (leaning forward), Eric Ernsberger, John Grill. Kneeling (from left): Chuck Mengel, Andy Bragalone, goalie Mark Sieger, Greg Smith. Not pictured: Mike Sharon, Glen Stevens, Donald Fix.

The Cleveland Heights 50+ hockey league closed its 2023–24 season with the league championship game on Friday, March 22, at the Cleveland Heights Community Center North Rink.

The league’s four teams—the Blues, Leafs, Lightning and Rangers—had battled through a season that began in late September and finished up early this March. Only the Blues and Rangers were left standing after the semifinals, and the table was set for the two teams to meet in a one-game winner-take-all final.

The final was a spirited contest that ended with the Rangers on top. The Rangers, led by team captain Bob Dobrowsky, jumped to a 1-0 lead in the early minutes of the first period. The Blues, led by captain Colin Johnson, tied the game 1-1 in the second period. The Rangers scored the final (and unanswered) goal in the third period to break the tie and take home the championship trophy.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 9:42 AM, 04.29.2024

Disabled are unwelcome in CH

It is illegal for the city to create barriers to the disabled, according to Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The city of Cleveland Heights did, however, bar this disabled person from ready, easy and respectful entry to a city meeting of its Noble Road study module on March 19.

I had notified city staff I required assistance accessing the handicapped entryway for the preceding module held at Oxford Elementary School a month before. They complied.

The March 19 module notice claimed the front door of Monticello Middle School was handicapped accessible. Unfamiliar with the renovated school, I believed that claim.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:23 AM, 04.29.2024

CH City Council is being silly again

Cleveland Heights City Council is at it again.

I do not recall any of its members campaigning for election by advertising their foreign policy expertise. But now that they have been elected, they are all committed to expressing official opinions about foreign policy. The most recent example is a watered-down resolution passed unanimously calling for, among other things, a cease-fire in Gaza.

It seems fitting that this resolution was adopted on April Fools’ Day.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:21 AM, 04.29.2024

Consider lifecycle of CH-UH schools

The CH-UH school district has an aging building inventory. Excluding the fully renovated high school, the average building age in the district is 77 years. Even well-maintained buildings eventually need to be gutted, rebuilt, or replaced to continue to effectively serve their intended function.

Most buildings, depending on the quality and care of construction, have a lifecycle of 25 to 50 years. Good maintenance can extend the life of a building, some building systems last longer than others, and some systems are easier to maintain and replace. Old heating systems are inefficient and sometimes dangerous. (Anyone still have a coal furnace?) Electrical systems installed 50 years ago are insufficient to support current demands. Changes in code requirements can also lead to costly improvements.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:19 AM, 04.29.2024

Do the right thing

Early 20th-century developers envisioned Cleveland Heights as an upper-class “garden suburb.” Given real-estate market realities, however, mansion districts soon gave way to subdivisions with smaller lot sizes, varied dwelling types and lower prices. By 1921, when Cleveland Heights received its city charter, housing stock determined that we would be an economically mixed suburb.

In 21st-century Cleveland Heights, "diversity" most often refers to the city's mix of races, religions and LGBTQ+ residents. Economic class is something of an elephant in the room, all the more so since income disparity has grown; in 2023, 16.2 percent of our residents lived in poverty. Wealthy, middle-class, moderate-income and low-income residents tend to be segregated by neighborhood.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:15 AM, 04.29.2024

CH Charter Review Commission to host May 21 public meeting

The 2023 Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) will hold a public information and input meeting—for comments on its report and proposed charter changes—on Tuesday, May 21, 6 p.m., at the Lee Road Library.

The CRC began meeting in July 2023 to consider possible changes to the CH City Charter.

Videos of the meetings are available on the city’s YouTube channel. Links to the videos, as well as the CRC's meeting schedule, agendas and minutes, are posted on the city’s Web page for the commission (www.clevelandheights.gov/875/Charter-Review-Commission).

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:07 AM, 04.29.2024

CH council leaders report on first 100 days

As the newly elected president (Tony Cuda) and vice president (Davida Russell) of Cleveland Heights City Council, we would like to present our report detailing our first 100 days in office. Since assuming our new roles on council, we have held four neighborhood meetings, changed the legislative process, changed the legislative schedule to give council members more time to prepare for meetings, and passed some very important legislation.

We listened carefully to residents’ concerns about safety issues, including crime, lack of police presence, and rampant speeding and running of stop signs. We also heard a lot about the lack of code enforcement in our residential neighborhoods, as well as the condition of some of our ailing business districts. There was also much angst about the general maintenance of our streets and parking garages.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 9:53 AM, 04.29.2024

MetroHealth CH provides acute stroke care

MetroHealth's Cleveland Heights campus.

The MetroHealth Cleveland Heights Medical Center Emergency Department is certified as a Stroke Ready facility by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care Inc.

The Emergency Department staff at Cleveland Heights is recognized for the level of initial care it provides stroke victims. The advanced teams can rapidly recognize the signs of stroke, diagnose a stroke and begin treatment, providing the highest level of acute stroke care to patients close to where they live and work.

Heart disease and stroke kill more people in the United States than all types of cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease combined, according to the American Heart Association.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 9:39 AM, 04.29.2024

CH launches 'engagement phase' of climate action plan

During June and July last year, wildfires in Canada gave Cleveland Heights a small taste of the threat posed by climate change; poor air quality forced residents inside and created health issues for many.

The city of Cleveland Heights is on a mission to plan and prepare for the effects of climate change through its inaugural Climate Action and Resilience Plan (CARP). This effort is being spearheaded by Andy Boatang, the city’s first Sustainability and Resilience Coordinator, who was appointed by Mayor Kahlil Seren in August 2023.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 9:59 AM, 04.29.2024

Let's celebrate our graduates

In May, another crop of Heights High seniors will collect their diplomas and complete their public-school careers. Watch for those golden “Class of ‘24” balloons decorating graduation parties, and yard signs proclaiming the homes of 2024 graduates.

It’s an exciting moment for the seniors and their families, and it should be for all of us in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. These are our kids, too. We helped make this moment possible, and we welcome our newest voters and citizens.

While they did the work and the learning, we are the ones who benefit. This has always been the thinking behind our system of public education.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:17 AM, 04.29.2024

CH court ensures compliance in housing violations

In 2023, the city of Cleveland Heights filed 97 criminal housing violation cases with the CH Municipal Court. Like all criminal cases, the city has complete discretion in deciding whether to bring a criminal charge and the nature of the charge to bring. Once that discretion is exercised, however, the control of the case shifts from the City to the Court. In a criminal case, if a finding of guilt is made, it is the judge’s responsibility to determine the appropriate sanction.

The severity of the maximum penalty depends on the nature of the charge and how it is charged. For the code violation cases filed by the city last year, the maximum penalty for an individual was a $1,000 fine and six months in jail, and the maximum penalty for an entity was a $5,000 fine. Although punishment may be warranted, [as CH Municipal Court Judge] I emphasize compliance with code requirements as the primary goal of criminal prosecution; we, as a community, are best served when properties are repaired, rehabilitated, and maintained.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 9:47 AM, 04.29.2024

Over 2,500 gather at The Walt for the eclipse

Viewing the eclipse at The Walt.

More than 2,500 gathered at Walter Stinson Community Park on April 8 for the total solar eclipse.

University Heights and the Heights Libraries, in cooperation with Destination Cleveland, hosted “A Black Out to Remember” to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime event, as University Heights was in the path of totality.

Party guests enjoyed the spectacular show in the sky, as well as children’s activities, Odd Dog Coffee, and music provided by disc jockeys Zachary Sinutko and Emily Davala of WJCU 88.7 FM.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:10 AM, 04.29.2024

Gather Well seeks to connect CH

Gather Well Cleveland Heights is a new organization with a mission to build bridges and help establish more connections in the community. Its founders believe proximity is a start, but establishing true community relationships will be the key to strengthening Cleveland Heights further.

For Julie Walker, this idea sprang from a true passion for her community and years of service as a parent, teacher and volunteer. As a lifelong resident and current teacher and parent in the CH-UH school district, Walker has deep knowledge of this community's leaders and organizations, and wants to help community champions better work in partnership with one another rather than in isolation. She sees the incredible potential of the people and resources in the CH community, and wants to ensure they benefit residents in all corners of the city.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:05 AM, 04.29.2024

FH names Stone Oven's Rehn and Emerman 'persons of the year'

John Emerman and Tatyana Rehn. [credit: Jack & Jim]

Nearly 30 ago, Tatyana Rehn and John Emerman founded The Stone Oven Bakery Café in Cleveland Heights. It became a beloved Lee Road institution. Now, the co-founders have passed the torch.

FutureHeights will honor Rehn and Emerman as FutureHeights’ Persons of the Year at its annual benefit celebration on July 13, 5–9:30 p.m., at the Dolan Center for Science and Technology at John Carroll University. 

A cafe is a simple thing, yet over the years Stone Oven has become a home for many, woven into the fabric of our unique Cleveland Heights community. That is both rare and beautiful, and worthy of celebration.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:08 AM, 04.19.2024

What's going on at your library

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

Monday, May 6, 7 p.m.

Cleveland Alzheimer's Association Presents: Effective Communication Strategies. Join the Cleveland Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association in exploring how communication takes place when someone has Alzheimer's, learn to decode the verbal and behavioral messages delivered by someone with dementia, and identify strategies to help connect and communicate at each stage of the disease.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 9:38 AM, 04.29.2024

UH State of the City addresses University Square, recycling

Mayor Brennan presented this year's State of the City address at the University Heights Library on April 11.

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan shared good news about University Square and curbside recycling, and proposed a year-round recreation facility, in his 2024 State of the City Address on April 11 at the University Heights Library.

University Square update. Early in his speech, Mayor Brennan recapped the recent news about University Square:

“Look. Perseverance and teamwork got this deal done. It doesn’t happen without that. As the old sayings go, ‘politics is the art of the possible,’ and ‘politics is about relationships.’ None of that happens without the relationships we have cultivated together: our team at City Hall, our partners in county government, and the school district, and our city council.”

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:03 AM, 04.19.2024

FutureHeights announces director's departure

On April 10, the FutureHeights Board of Directors announced that Kristine Pagsuyoin is no longer the executive director of FutureHeights nor the publisher of the Heights Observer, effective immediately.

She held the positions for just over one year. The Board wishes her well in her future endeavors.

The Board of Directors and staff will work hand in hand to restructure leadership and to continue existing programming in support of the communities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 11:08 AM, 04.13.2024

CH celebrates nine 'amazing' women

CH City Council members and five Women's Day Celebration honorees: Jim Petras, Anthony Mattox Jr., Davida Russell, Astrid Burkle, Blanche Valancy, Sarah Wolf, Jayla Scruggs, Bridget Thibeault, Craig Cobb, Gail Larson, Tony Cuda. [photo: Jack Valancy]

On March 21, during Women’s History Month, Cleveland Heights City Council held its third annual Women’s Day Celebration, recognizing nine “inspirational and amazing” women who call the city home.

The celebration began with opening remarks by CH City Council President Tony Cuda, followed by a joyous performance by the Cleveland Heights High School Women’s Barbershoppers. 

The event honored the nine women in three categories: Inspirational Young Women, Women in Business, and Amazing Women of Cleveland Heights.

The honorees were selected from nominations submitted to council by friends, colleagues, teachers, families and other residents, declaring the ways in which the honorees are exceptional in the CH community.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:33 PM, 04.05.2024

Church flea market, April 25–27, will benefit missions

The United Women in Faith at Church of the Saviour (2537 Lee Road) will host a Spring Flea Market April 25–27.

All proceeds of this popular event benefit local and global missions.

Pay $10 to shop the first hour of the sale, Thursday, April 25, 3–4 p.m. Admission is free 4–8 p.m. on Thursday; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 26; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 27.

In addition to the variety of flea-market items, plants, soup, and baked goods to-go also will be available for purchase.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 8:51 AM, 04.14.2024

CHGT hosts free screening of 'Blue Vinyl: The World's First Toxic Comedy'

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), in partnership with Beyond Plastics and Heights Libraries, invites the community to an April 11 screening of “Blue Vinyl” (2002), a documentary film that explores the environmental impact of vinyl manufacturing. “Blue Vinyl” won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at Sundance, and is an Emmy-award-winning documentary film.

The free screening, followed by a brief Q-and-A, will take place on Thursday, April 11, 6:30 p.m., at Heights Libraries Lee Road Branch. An RSVP is recommended, to ensure a sufficient number of seats are available.

In “Blue Vinyl”—with humor, chutzpah, and a piece of vinyl siding firmly in hand—Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director Daniel B. Gold travel to America’s vinyl-manufacturing capital and beyond, in search of the truth about vinyl.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 2:53 PM, 04.06.2024

HRRC announces April classes

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), located at 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights, is offering two classes in April:

  • April 22, 7–9 p.m., Organic Lawncare. This class is free. 
  • April 24, 6–9 p.m., Women's Home How-To Carpentry Series. This is the first of a series of six classes in which participants will learn the basics of carpentry. The fee for the series is $150.

Income-based discounts of 50 to 100 percent are available for those who qualify.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:32 PM, 04.05.2024

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

APRIL 2, 2024 regular meeting

  • Recognitions and awards
  • T-Mobile contract 
  • Policies group C, first reading 
  • Summer programs
  • Early childhood program
  • Superintendent comments 
  • Treasurer’s report
  • President’s report

Present were President Jodi Sourini, 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 7 p.m. and adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 11:50 AM, 04.30.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

APRIL 1, 2024 regular meeting

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

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren and council members Tony Cuda (council president), Craig Cobb, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., and Jim Petras. Also present were Clerk of Council Addie Balester, Law Director William Hanna, and City Administrator Danny Williams. Davida Russell (vice president) was excused. The meeting ran for one hour and 20 minutes.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 11:50 AM, 04.30.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights

APRIL 1, 2024 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • City department 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 for about two and three quarter hours.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 11:49 AM, 04.30.2024

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

MARCH 18, 2024

  • Dobama Theater
  • Board actions
  • Director’s report
  • Public service report

Present were Vikas Turakhia (board president), Annette Iwamoto (vice president), Patti Carlyle (secretary), Dana Fluellen, Tyler McTigue, Melissa Soto-Schwartz, and Hallie Turnberrez. The meeting lasted one hour.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 11:49 AM, 04.30.2024

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting

MARCH 18, 2024 regular meeting

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

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Michele Weiss, and Council Members Christopher Cooney, Brian J. King, Threse Marshall, John P. Rach, Sheri Sax, and Win Weizer. Also present were Kelly Thomas, clerk of council; Luke McConville, law director; Dennis Kennedy, finance director; and Brenda Mockbee, city engineer. The meeting ran for one hour and 55 minutes.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 11:48 AM, 04.30.2024

CHGT helps navigate Earth Month

Caledonia Elementary School students help plant a tree on Arbor Day.

Throughout Earth Month, communities worldwide come together to celebrate and advocate for environmental conservation and sustainability. From grassroots initiatives to global campaigns, the month of April serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the planet for future generations. 

“Amidst the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation, there is a growing call for increased community participation in addressing these pressing issues,” said Gail Larson, Cleveland Heights council member and chair of its Municipal Services and Environmental Sustainability Committee.

“The ‘Earth Month in the Heights’ initiative answers that call by inviting residents of all ages and abilities to engage in organizing and participating in ‘green actions.’ These activities have a tangible impact on our local environment and also foster a sense of shared purpose that inspires meaningful change in the choices we make.”

Earth Month in the Heights kicks off on April 3 with “Make and Take,” a free community party hosted by Made Cleveland on Coventry Road.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:32 AM, 03.28.2024

Best of the Heights: Nominate your favorite Heights business

Since 2005, FutureHeights has conducted the Best of the Heights Awards to recognize the unique attributes of businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, and their contributions to the local economy. The categories for awards, time of the year and process have varied over the years; however, the main purpose of the Best of Heights Awards remains the same to highlight local businesses in the Heights and to promote the importance of shopping local.

This year, FutureHeights is expanding to try to increase the visibility and variety of nominations across all Heights business districts, increase awareness of shopping local, and raising funds to help grow and strengthen our Local Business Outreach & Support program.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:29 AM, 03.28.2024

Senior soloist Muller to perform April 26

Sophia Muller [photo: Robert Muller]

This April, Cleveland Heights High School will present the Instrumental Music Department’s (IMD) finale concerts. On April 25, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Concert Orchestra, and Philharmonic Strings will perform. April 26’s concert will feature Symphonic Winds, Heights High Symphony, and senior soloist Sophia Muller. Both concerts will take place at 7 p.m. in the school’s auditorium.

Muller formally began studying violin when she was 4, but has always been surrounded by music. Laura Shuster, her mother, and a Heights alumna, is a professional violist and was her first teacher. Muller recalled telling her mom, when asked to choose an instrument, “I want to play the violin,” adding, “I'm sure I thought that a violin was a viola, but I had a limited vocabulary, so she got me started on the violin.”

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:24 AM, 03.28.2024

Rehabbing vacant homes is a FutureHeights priority

The renovations of two homes generously given to FutureHeights by the city of Cleveland Heights are almost complete.

Late last year, FutureHeights embarked on partnerships with Frank Kuhar of Revived Housing Partners and Michael Leonetti of Yosemite Construction to completely renovate the homes located at 2124 Rossmoor and 901 Englewood roads. Both contractors are local to Cleveland Heights: Kuhar lives in Cleveland Heights with his daughter, and Yosemite’s office is newly located on Taylor Road.

Both homes had been vacant for a number of years and required complete renovation. Each home has all new mechanicals, including new roofs, HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems. The kitchens and bathrooms have been completely gutted and feature new cabinets, appliances, ceramic, and granite.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:40 AM, 03.28.2024

UH Sustainable Home Fair comes to Wiley April 21

University Heights residents, and those from other communities, are invited to celebrate Earth Day by learning how to become more energy efficient at the first-ever University Heights Sustainable Home Fair, on Sunday, April 21. The free event will take place at the Wiley school building, 2181 Miramar Blvd., 1–4 p.m.

“The concept of thinking globally and acting locally was never more important than it is today,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, chief of staff for the city of University Heights. “This applies to our homes and yards, our various means of transportation, the items we purchase, the food we consume, how we handle solid waste and more. We should all learn various ways to become more sustainable.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:47 AM, 03.28.2024

'Please apply here . . .'

What a difference a year makes. After Cleveland Heights City Council deadlocked on appointing a replacement for Josie Moore within 45 days of her December 2022 resignation, Mayor Kahlil Seren chose Janine Boyd to fill Moore’s former seat on Feb. 10, 2023.

Less than four months after winning election in November 2023 to a four-year term, Boyd has announced that she and her family will move to Virginia post haste, leaving council to fill her seat within the required 45 days, beginning March 18; if not, the appointment will again be made by the mayor. However, with newcomer Jim Petras on board (and absent former president Melody Hart), this is a new council. We doubt the current leadership team of President Tony Cuda and Vice President Davida Russell will have trouble finding four votes to make a timely appointment.

By the time this article sees print, the deadline to apply will be imminent or have passed.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:17 AM, 03.28.2024

An unofficial list of CH boards and commissions

For interested Cleveland Heights residents, the following is an unofficial list of the city's standing (i.e., continually operating) citizen boards and commissions.

Appointed by city council:

Architectural Board of Review
Board of Zoning Appeals
Citizens Advisory Committee
Climate & Environmental Sustainability Committee*

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:15 AM, 03.28.2024

Heights Tree People receives $18,000 grant

Heights Tree People volunteers Laura Marks and Bill Hanavan.

The Heights are about to get a little greener. On Feb. 28, Heights Tree People learned that the Ohio Division of Forestry had awarded an Urban Forestry Grant of $18,000 to the nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that plants free front-yard trees in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. By doing so, the group is working to restore lost tree canopy.

The grant, which comes from federal Inflation Reduction Act funds, will pay for planting 50 trees each season for three planting seasons—that covers 18 months. The program focuses on urban areas that are disadvantaged as measured by the federal government’s Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool and the EPA’s Environmental Justice and Screening Mapping Tool (EJScreen).

“Cleveland Heights as a whole qualifies, and with this grant, Heights Tree People will make a special effort to plant in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the city," said the group's president, Julie Gierke.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:44 AM, 03.28.2024

Teachers embrace honest history

Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love, falls in the middle of Black History Month. This year I got to spend part of it with fourth-graders at Boulevard Elementary, talking about the civil rights movement in Cleveland Heights.

There couldn’t have been a better day to talk about the courage, values and tenacity of citizens who, in the 1960s, challenged the hate-induced housing practices that made our community one of the all-white communities in a countywide and nationwide sea of segregation. Residents transformed our community into an integrated stronghold of activism, demonstrating that, when people work together, they can confront overwhelming odds and make a difference.

The invitation to speak came after Julie Walker heard my civil rights history presentation at a session of FutureHeights’ leadership-development program.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:11 AM, 03.28.2024

JCU and UH respond to Notre Dame College's closure

Local institutions, including John Carroll University, are stepping up to support Notre Dame College students.

With Notre Dame College closing at the conclusion of this spring semester, John Carroll University (JCU) is one of nine local institutions of higher learning to step up to support affected students.

JCU has entered into an agreement to serve as a teach-out partner. For all Notre Dame students who qualify, JCU will offer automatic admission, no lost credit, and net price matching.

“We are deeply saddened by Notre Dame College’s announcement of their upcoming closure,” JCU announced on its website, www.jcu.edu. “Our deepest condolences are with all who love this institution, which has served a mission of Catholic higher education in our community for more than a century.”

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan said the loss of Notre Dame College is felt not just in South Euclid, but in University Heights as well.

“Being a neighboring community of South Euclid, Notre Dame College is practically in our neighborhood,” Brennan said.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:36 AM, 03.28.2024

Where is the retail at Top of the Hill?

Fully one year into the opening of The Ascent at the Top of the Hill, there remains no retail establishment that has moved into the first floors of the complex.

From 2016 through its completion in 2023, community meetings were held, questions answered, and promises made that led the community to believe that this project would be a benefit for all of Cleveland Heights. "Density is Good" became an unspoken mantra, while neighbors were assured that no parking problems would ensue, and we could all take delight in the new shops and restaurants that would arrive. Plus, the extra taxes from those services and employees would provide a civic boost.

One year in: crickets.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:53 AM, 03.28.2024

Talk series explores 'bringing nature home'

The owner of this Heights yard mows not at all.

Northeast Ohio barely had a snowy winter, and spring is here with green shoots popping up everywhere. Also emerging in our neighborhoods is a movement to look at green spaces differently. Instead of feeding, weeding, and mowing lawns, some landowners are growing more and mowing less.

The movement is inspired, in part, by entomologist Doug Tallamy. His books, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants and Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation that Starts in Your Yard, are calls to action to restore biodiversity at home.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:31 AM, 03.28.2024

Theoretical 'Sharemow' concept has potential

In the March issue, I described my family’s journey from a “tidy” yard, to a lawn full of violets. I described how these violets feed rabbits, and how these rabbits feed red-tailed hawks. Thinking about lawn care inspired me to bring the topic to a 200-student class I teach at CWRU. In the class, students considered a theoretical business concept called “ShareMow." 

The premise: Why should every household purchase expensive yard maintenance equipment used for an hour or less a couple times per month? Could sharing quiet, emissions-free electric lawn mowers and leaf blowers be a viable alternative with multiple benefits to the community?

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:50 AM, 03.28.2024

Mark National Poetry Month with Ekphrastacy

Heights' Poet Laureate Siaara Freeman at an Ekphrastacy event.

As National Poetry Month unfolds, Heights Arts will present the latest event in its Ekphrastacy series—a fusion of visual art and poetic expression.

At the heart of Heights Arts’ April 18 event is the dynamic interplay between artists and poets, epitomizing the nonprofit’s commitment to fostering cultural vibrancy. Spearheading this artistic endeavor is Siaara Freeman, Heights poet laureate, who began her two-year term in April 2023.

She is a teaching artist for Center for Arts-Inspired Learning and a celebrated poet and performer. Freeman's collection of poetry, Urbanshee, released in August 2022, has garnered widespread acclaim, showcasing her ability to delve into the intricacies of urban life with grace and insight.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 03.28.2024

What's up with Wiley?

What is the CH-UH City School District’s plan for Wiley?

Wiley opened in 1954 and was used as a middle school for 60 years. In 2015, the district closed Wiley as a middle school and spent approximately $13 million for it to function as a “swing space” during the renovation of the high school.

The cost of the renovations at Wiley included the lease of temporary modular classrooms. All deferred maintenance and code issues were also addressed at that time. When the students moved out of Wiley, the building was in good condition. Yet Wiley has remained empty since the opening of the renovated middle schools in 2018.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:19 AM, 03.28.2024

Forest Hill Church celebrates America's indigenous peoples

Robin Pease in the traditional dress of her Native American tribe.

On April 27, Forest Hill Church invites the community to dive into the vibrant world of America's Indigenous Peoples! 

The church will host Robin Pease, artistic director of Kulture Kids and proud descendant of Indigenous Americans. as she brings Native American music, stories, and traditions to life in an immersive performance.

Doors to the event will open at 4 p.m., with the main program scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be provided. Forest Hill Church is located at 3031 Monticello Blvd., in Cleveland Heights.

Pease, who has a theater background from the Boston Conservatory and Case Western Reserve University, invites the audience to engage actively in the program, which offers an enlightening journey into the heart of indigenous heritage; one that honors and recognizes the enduring legacy and contributions of indigenous peoples, often marginalized and ignored.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:33 AM, 03.28.2024

Things you didn't know about where you live

This is Patrick Calhoun, who started what is now Cleveland Heights, went broke, moved to California, started the famous San Francisco trolley cars, got run over (by a car) and died.

I’ve given two talks on Coventry, on Coventry. Last November, and in December of the previous year, I spoke at the Coventry library about the history of Coventry. The presentation was about how Coventry Village came to be what it was and is. 

A lot of people showed up for those talks, but even more didn’t. In fact, most of the world did not. As a result, I’m always running into people who say, “Sorry I couldn’t make it to your Coventry thing. . . . So, how DID Coventry become what it was?” 

I can’t tell them the whole thing, because the story starts with the beginning of the city of Cleveland—and I mean with Moses Cleaveland. So, I usually tell them some things that I’m fairly certain they didn’t know about the history of their city. Like, first of all, if they know where I live, I point out that my house is approximately on the 9th hole of the golf course that used to cover a large part of the Cedar-Fairmount area. You’ve seen signs designating the area as “Euclid Golf,” right? That’s why.

And I tell them the course’s clubhouse, which was near where Derbyshire Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard are now, cost $50,000—at a time when average houses cost a few hundred dollars to build—and from it, you could see Lake Erie.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:27 AM, 03.28.2024

UH Symphonic Band salutes spring April 7

University Heights Symphonic Band (UHSB) will return to John Carroll University’s (JCU) Dolan Science Center Atrium on Sunday, April 7, 3:30 p.m., for a free concert—a salute to spring and to the next day's solar eclipse. 

Now in its 54th season, and under the direction of Devlin Pope, UHSB will play concert band music from Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, John Philip Sousa, Frank Ticheli and more at JCU.

Parking and admission are free, and the facility is ADA accessible.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:06 AM, 03.28.2024

Chamber Collective premieres 'Oath Breaker'

The newly reinvented Cleveland Chamber Collective takes the stage at Disciples Christian Church in Cleveland Heights for its inaugural concert on April 20, at 7:30 p.m.

The new lineup features some faces familiar to the Cleveland chamber music scene, including violinist Emily Cornelius, flutist Linda White, and pianist Eric Charnofsky. Also joining the band are up-and-coming performers, including violist Brian Slawta and cellist Trevor Kazarian, with returning percussionist Dylan Moffitt

The collective will premiere Oath Breaker, a piece that takes the audience on a 60-minute journey of anger, grief, and hope, “striving to come to grips with the events of Jan. 6 and the subsequent fallout.”

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:21 AM, 03.28.2024