Online forum goes live

The title of this column—Opening the Observer—has always had two meanings for me. The first has to do with transparency, as in opening the newspaper to the scrutiny of its readers. We tell you how we operate (primarily through the work of dedicated volunteers). We state our editorial policy (no political or other endorsements, just the facts). We provide information that affects our community, and a place to air your concerns.

The second meaning concerns the contents if each issue—what you can expect to see when you open an issue of the Heights Observer. We specialize in hyper-local news: school happenings, library events, and meeting highlights from the Cleveland Heights and University Heights city councils, the CH-UH school board, and the library board. We include articles about new businesses, cultural and religious events, and human-interest stories. We have several regular columnists and a few once-in-a-while writers.

The Heights Observer would not exist without you. We encourage your participation in several ways: register to receive the weekly e-newsletter, post your thoughts on the Observer blog site, write a news story about something happening in your neighborhood, or express your opinion in a letter to the editor.

We had an online forum a few years ago, but had to close it down for several reasons: incivility, lack of interest, and it wasn’t that easy to use. We’re changing all that.

We recently formed a partnership with the Civic Commons to piggyback on their excellent online forum. We created a FutureHeights profile on the Civic Commons website (

Many of you already know the Civic Commons for the success that organization has had in “turning talk into action.” For example, through conversations with residents, the Civic Commons helped the City of Cleveland create a representative board to map the future of the Flats. Currently, there's a petition on the Civic Commons website aimed at stopping the construction of a skywalk between the casino and the garage across the street.

Last month we started a conversation on the future of the school facilities in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. To ensure that our community gets the schools we need to sustain and grow our neighborhoods, we invite your input. (Thanks to those of you who have already responded.)

Joining the conversation is easy. Go to the Civic Commons home page ( Register for an account by clicking the link in the upper right-hand corner and following the prompts. Once you’re registered, log in, find the FutureHeights page and jump right in—the water’s fine! We look forward to meeting you on the Commons.

Jewel Moulthrop

Jewel Moulthrop is a Cleveland Heights resident, a member of the FutureHeights Board of Directors, and chair of the Heights Observer's Editorial Advisory Committee.

Read More on Opening the Observer
Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 3:01 PM, 11.29.2012