February talk previews April's total eclipse

The total solar eclipse of Monday, April 8, will be unlike anything experienced here in Northeast Ohio in our lifetimes. At 3:13 p.m., the moon will be visible as a velvety black shape obscuring the bright face of the sun.

Partial solar eclipse phases happen frequently, but the last total solar eclipse over Ohio was in 1806. This was the pioneer era of the Western Reserve; the “pre-history” of the Heights.

Then, the future site of Cleveland Heights was a primeval woodland. A mere 10 years after Moses Cleaveland arrived, there were only a handful of settlers in Cuyahoga County.  Maj. Lorenzo Carter, the first permanent settler of “Cleaveland,” lived in a log cabin along the Cuyahoga River.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 4:27 PM, 01.30.2024

Heights residents excel at Accelerate

Cleveland Heights residents Myesha Watkins and Keenan Williams were among the top winners at “Accelerate 2023: Citizens Make Change,” the annual civic-pitch competition presented by the Cleveland Leadership Center (CLC) in partnership with Citizens Bank and other organizations.

Watkins and Williams were among the six finalists selected from 32 pitches, each focused on making a meaningful impact in the Cleveland area. More than 550 people attended the Feb. 23 event at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland.

Judges selected Watkins and Williams as finalists in their categories. Each received $2,000, membership in the Economic and Community Development Institute (ecdi.org)—a small-business support organization—and an opportunity to pitch at Northeast Ohio SEA Change (seachange.org).

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:47 AM, 04.02.2023

Seniors enjoy 'Writing in the Gardens'

With lifetimes of stories to tell, and the opportunity to gather with the guidance of a professional writing teacher, eight seniors let their tales unfold during a Literary Cleveland class held in the library of the Council Gardens apartment complex in Cleveland Heights.

The topics they chose to address could be timely or timeless. One writer, who attended the class session the day after the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, chose to explore how the reign of the UK's longest-serving monarch paralleled much of the lifespans of the generation represented in these classes. The Council Gardens residents enjoyed the subsequent conversation, sparked by the piece about the Queen, that revealed various perspectives about the future of the British monarchy and its role in society.

Another senior writer used the opportunity to explain how one could write about nothing, since after all "nothing is something."

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Volume 15, Issue 12, Posted 1:40 PM, 11.30.2022

UH's Hoffman updates 'Aging wiith a Plan'

University Heights resident Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University, has published the second edition of Aging with a Plan: How a Little Thought Today Can Vastly Improve Your Tomorrow (First Hill Books, 2022).

Describing it as a comprehensive resource for people who are middle-aged and beyond, to help prepare for the challenges of aging, and caring for elderly relatives, Hoffman said, “The book grew out of a very difficult period in my life. During 18 months in 2013 and 2014, both my parents died, my mother-in-law died, and my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 55. As I endured these experiences, I learned a lot about growing older, getting sick, and facing the end of life. I wanted to share all that I had learned and put it to good use helping others. Writing this book seemed like a natural next step.”

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:23 AM, 04.29.2022

CH residents reach finals in civic pitch competition

The 8th annual Accelerate: Citizens make Change civic-pitch competition took center stage on Feb. 24, with exciting live pitching, live voting, and an in-person crowd of 300 attendees.

Sponsored by Cleveland Leadership Center and Citizens Bank, Accelerate gives Greater Cleveland entrepreneurs the chance to win seed money to enable them to launch their ideas to make the region a better place. A panel of judges and community leaders selected six finalists, with the live audience voting for the grand prize winner. Two Cleveland Height residents were among the finalists.

Michael Bustamante is Case Western Reserve University’s director of diversity and strategic initiatives. A first-generation college graduate of Mexican heritage who hails from Laredo, Texas, Bustamante lives in Cleveland Heights. He was a finalist in the Authentic Cleveland Experiences and Technovation categories.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:36 PM, 04.01.2022

Leggings boutique opens on South Taylor

On Oct. 15, Charlie Brown, a former barber, and his brothers opened a leggings boutique at 2174 S. Taylor Road. Called

Ella Tiene Piernas (She Got Legs), the shop offers a variety of legging styles, sizes and materials, for women and girls, with prices starting at $9.99.

The store is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The phone number is 216-331-2736.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 7:10 AM, 12.02.2021

CH residents to pitch visions for CLE

Two Cleveland Heights residents are among those who will present 32 ideas to improve Greater Cleveland at Accelerate: Citizens Make Change, a civic pitch competition, Feb. 22–25.

Presented by the Cleveland Leadership Center in partnership with Citizens Bank, the event will be virtual for the first time since its 2015 debut. It has launched dozens of initiatives that impact everyone from pre-kindergarteners to seniors.

The Cleveland Heights presenters are:

Jing Lauengco, Other Brown Girl: Lauengco's initiative is a social-impact storytelling platform that uses conversation, literary and creative arts, technology, and mentoring to create deeper awareness, understanding and appreciation of multiculturalism.

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 11:31 AM, 01.28.2021

Grog Shop and partners team up for COVID-safe concert June 27

Due to COVID-19, Cleveland Heights' Grog Shop has been closed for three months and counting, with no return to regular operations for the foreseeable future. Grog Shop staff wanted to find a way to bring live music to the Heights, and owner Kathy Blackman thought, who better to bring the community together than local musician Carlos Jones and his P.L.U.S. Band?

That was the impetus for the Grog to Go concert, planned for Saturday, June 27, 7 p.m.

Along with Jones, a standout on the Cleveland Music Scene for 38 years, Grog Shop also has teamed up with Cleveland Heights chef Doug Katz, to host the event outside the diner at 1975 Lee Road that is home to both Katz's Fire Catering business and Rising Star Coffee.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:37 AM, 06.16.2020

Project inspires hope, one letter at a time

Cleveland Heights resident Allison Meyer is not one to give up.

She wants to help others find the kind of hope that sustained her after her mother’s untimely death, and through a career change, law school and anxiety about telling her story.

Meyer created Never, Ever Give Up Cleveland as a storytelling and inspirational platform where people can describe how they persevered through life’s challenges. The project collects and shares anonymous stories, all responding to the prompt: What is the hardest thing you ever had to do?

“If you don’t tell people what’s going on and let someone help you carry the burden, you’re left to carry it yourself and it can get really heavy,” said Meyer. “The courage to share about your hard times might just help someone else find hope.”

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:30 AM, 06.02.2020

Compost services expand to the Heights

It happens to most of us—forgetting that container of leftovers at the back of the fridge until it’s too late. Finding mixed greens wilted and slimy, or the remains of another partially eaten sandwich is . . . well, yucky.

Food waste may not seem like a huge deal but, according to scientists, once it’s in a landfill all those scraps release dangerous methane gases into the atmosphere. In fact, if global food waste were its own country, it would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases on earth, after the United States and China.

What to do? Backyard composting is great in theory, but actually pretty difficult. City ordinances require that compost bins be located a specific distance from structures and property boundaries, making placement a hassle. Furthermore, meat and dairy products can attract vermin, other animals and worms.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 5:02 PM, 01.31.2020

Heights Observer remembers Jim Henke

Jim Henke, a prolific contributor to, and volunteer with, the Heights Observer, died on July 8 from complications related to dementia, according to media reports. He was 64.

Henke began writing for the Heights Observer in 2013, following an illustrious career that included covering music for Rolling Stone magazine and 15 years as a curator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

A Cleveland Heights resident, Henke served as co-chair of the Heights Observer media project for several years, until 2017.

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 8:50 AM, 07.16.2019

Heights home and school garner restoration honors

On May 22, the Cleveland Restoration Society and the American Institute of Architects granted 12 awards to significant restoration projects in Northeast Ohio at their annual Celebration of Preservation ceremony at Playhouse Square. Two were awarded to prominent Cleveland Heights restoration projects. Cleveland Heights High School received an award for Community Impact, and Harcourt Manor, a residence in the Chestnut Hills neighborhood, received the Craftsmanship Award.

Cleveland Heights High School, designed in 1926 by Franz Warner and W.R. McCormack, was dramatically altered through the years.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 12:22 PM, 06.24.2019

Happy 5K/10K gears up for October race

The fifth Happy 5K/10K race is planned for Sunday, Oct. 6. In the spirit of the race’s motto—“Come for the run, stay for the fun!”race  coordinators are enthusiastically working to increase participation, expand sponsorship and scholarship donations, and make the after-party even bigger.

The first Happy race, in 2015, comprised 400 runners. Each year since, the number of registrants has grown, with 600 participants in 2018. In a region that has ample 5K opportunities, that is “unusual growth,” according to coordinator Adam Fleischer, owner of The Wine Spot. “Each year we have more runners, more merchants, and more running teams,” Fleischer said. 

Runners give the event high praise. Kevin Sovacool of Lyndhurst said, “It’s such a fun race in a really great community. Everybody comes together.” Nick Becker of Cleveland Heights said he especially likes the community vibe. “Everyone on the block gets involved and cheers the racers on,” Becker said.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:40 AM, 06.03.2019

CH SIDs kick off May with Bike the Heights

May is Bike Month, and the Cedar Fairmount, Cedar Lee and Coventry Village special improvement districts (SIDs) will be celebrating in a big way with the introduction of their first collaborative Bike the Heights weekend, Friday to Sunday, May 3 to 5.

Recognizing the increasing popularity of bike riding in the districts, leaders of the three SIDs determined an event was in order. In addition to rides, special offers will be available at select merchants in each of the districts.

The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) is taking an active part in the weekend with a family-friendly ride on Saturday, May 4, at 3 p.m., originating and ending at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park. Since Saturday is May 4 ("May the Fourth be With You!") Coventry Village will tip its hat to "Star Wars." Crank Set Rides asks everyone to arrive in "Star Wars" costumes to become eligible for prizes as part of its Star Wars Bar Crawl Ride through Cedar Lee, Cedar Fairmount and Coventry Village.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:52 AM, 04.30.2019

Heights residents aid asylum seekers at ICE facility in Ga.

“I never thought that I would do this type of work,” said Mary Kelsey, who recently returned from a week of volunteer service at ICE’s Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga. Steve Cagan, a fellow Cleveland Heights resident and volunteer, commented, “The most important praise I ever get is when people say, ‘What you’re doing is so important to us.’”

On a trip to the center in February, Kelsey sketched consultations between volunteer attorneys and their refugee clients, while Cagan interpreted for Spanish-speaking ICE detainees and their volunteer attorneys.

Through Cagan’s journal entries, shared with friends, and through Kelsey’s drawings, these Cleveland Heights residents are shining a light on the reality of immigration detention.

“They’re not criminals,” said Kelsey, “and they’re being treated like it. Most came in at a legal port of entry and requested asylum.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:31 AM, 04.02.2019

Heights native reports from front lines of social movements

“I want to get the stories out there,” said Cleveland Heights native and multimedia journalist Michael Nigro, over a cup of coffee at Phoenix on Coventry.

From Occupy Wall Street, Standing Rock, Charlottesville, the Poor People’s Campaign, and refugee camps at the U.S.-Mexico border, Nigro has dedicated his career to embedding himself with social movements so that he can share their stories through his photography and reporting.

In 2016, Nigro spent a total of one month (two junkets) embedded with protesters resisting the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock. “I learned so much—how to treat people, the role of a journalist, how social movements work—and how they can collapse,” reflected Nigro.

On Aug. 12, 2017, while covering the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., Nigro captured the moment a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters, injuring 35 and killing one. The car clipped Nigro, smashing his other camera as it drove past him. (A photo essay from that afternoon can be viewed on Truthdig's website, www.truthdig.com.)

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:22 PM, 04.01.2019

Synagogue and church congregations explore 'Common Roots' in two-part series

Park Synagogue and Cory United Methodist Church invite the community to a free, two-part series on the theme “Common Roots: Facing Our Past, Building Our Future.” The first program is planned for Sunday, Feb. 24, and the second for March 31.

The two congregations share a history of persecution, as Jews and as African Americans. They are coming together to learn more about their histories, and discuss what they and others can do to make positive changes in our society.

In part one of the series, “Ballots & Bullets—Black Power, Politics & Urban Guerrilla Warfare in 1968 Cleveland,” Cleveland author James Robenalt will discuss the racism, political climate and lack of opportunities for African Americans in Cleveland that led to the Glenville riots in 1968.

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Volume 12, Issue 3, Posted 10:50 AM, 02.19.2019

'Community of activists' supports Haitian asylum seeker

Ansly Damus recounts his migration journey and quest for asylum with warmth, with gentle humor. The former electrical engineer and professor charms with his radiant smile, intellect, and storytelling. Periodically, he checks his phone because it is his sole connection with his family back in Haiti. It’s hard to picture him sitting in a county jail for two years without sunlight. 

Damus would still be in the dark without the untiring efforts of the ACLU, his immigration attorney, and an involved Cleveland Heights community that includes an immigration activist, an empty-nest couple, and families who have provided friendship and support.

Damus crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. in October 2016 after a two-year trek that took him from Ecuador to Brazil and through Central America. His border crossing was an asylum request, which meant immediate detention.

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Volume 12, Issue 2, Posted 10:23 AM, 02.01.2019

Buddhist monks bless Spirit Corner

On Aug. 18, a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks chanted, prayed, and consecrated the land as part of a blessing ceremony at Spirit Corner in Cleveland Heights. Lobsang Yeshey, spokesperson for the monks, said the prayers were dedicated to all of the residents of the city, “That they may have immeasurable happiness and be free of suffering, attachment and hatred.” The monks visited as part of a two-year tour of the United States. Religious refugees from Tibet, they are raising funds to support more than 1,500 monks who live in the Gaden Shartse monastery in southern India. For more information visit www.sacredartsoftibettour.org. For information about another group of monks who will be visiting in October, contact Judith Eugene at judith@lovinghandsgroup.com or 216-408-5578.

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Volume 11, Issue 9, Posted 2:06 PM, 09.03.2018

Peace Lutheran offers free day camp

Peace Lutheran Church, carrying on the tradition of Hope Lutheran, one of its predecessor congregations, will offer its 18th annual Christian Day Camp June 18–22. The camp is free of charge and runs daily, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the church, 3740 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights.

As part of Lutheran Outdoor Ministries of Ohio, three professionally trained counselors will serve as the main staff, organized under the guidelines of the American Camping Association.

Activities include daily Bible study discussions around this year's theme, Jesus Makes All the Difference. Children will participate in sports and games, arts and crafts, singing, storytelling, and nature education. They can also expect visits from the Cleveland Heights Police and Fire departments.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:29 AM, 03.27.2018

Brennan bests Infeld in UH mayoral race

Michael Dylan Brennan defeated incumbent Susan Infeld in a closely contested race to become mayor of University Heights on Nov. 7. In unofficial election results posted on the Cuyahoga County Board of Election website, Brennan received 1,546 votes, 50.9 percent of the total, giving him a narrow win over Infeld, who received 1,492 votes.

In addition, Cleveland Heights and University Heights voters elected three new members to the CH-UH Board of Education: Dan Heintz, Jodi L. Sourini and Malia Lewis.

In other area contests, James Costello secured a six-year term as Cleveland Heights Municipal Judge with 5,075 votes, representing 49.1 percent of the total. Incumbents in both the Cleveland Heights and University Heights city council races retained their seats.

See local election results here.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 4:32 PM, 11.08.2017

local election results in new UH mayor, BOE members and judge

On Nov. 7, Michael Dylan Brennan defeated incumbent Susan Infeld in a closely contested race to become mayor of University Heights. In unofficial election results posted on the Cuyahoga County Board of Election website, Brennan received 1,546 votes, 50.9 percent of the total, giving him a narrow win over Infeld, who received 1,492 votes.

In addition, Cleveland Heights and University Heights voters elected three new members to the CH-UH Board of Education: Dan Heintz, Jodi L. Sourini and Malia Lewis. Cleveland Heights voters elected James Costello to be its next municipal judge with 5,075 votes, representing 49.1 percent of the total. Voters in both cities retained incumbents in their city council races. Cleveland Heights reelected Cheryl Stephens, Jason Stein, Mike Ungar and Melissa Yasinow for its city council, while University Heights voted to retain Phillip Ertel, Susan D. Pardee, John Rack and Mark Wiseman.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 11:35 AM, 11.30.2017

Heights Music Hop adds venues, releases preliminary schedule

Heights Music Hop, a free festival of live music, will take place in three Cleveland Heights business districts. Performances are staggered and feature a wide variety of musical genres. Visitors are encouraged to “hop” around to various locations to sample performances, and enjoy food, drinks and special offers from local merchants. The Hop begins on Thursday, Sept. 7, in Coventry Village, continues Friday, Sept. 8, in Cedar Fairmount, and culminates Saturday, Sept. 9, in Cedar Lee.

In addition to the many venues already announced, festival organizers have added an additional location in each business district: Vintage Apparel: Made in America, the pop-up shop located in the former American Apparel store in Coventry Village, 1782 Coventry Road; Nighttown in Cedar Fairmount, 12383 Cedar Road; and Parnell’s Pub in Cedar Lee, 2167 Lee Road.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 2:19 PM, 09.01.2017

Local images of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse

Brady Dindia captured a series of images of the eclipse in her University Heights back yard. The first image in the series is unfiltered; Dindia took the other nine by placing the lens of her eclipse glasses over the lens of her Fuji Finepix HS20 camera.

The eclipse attracted a number of people to the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. park for a clear view. 

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 5:35 PM, 09.03.2017

Free Christian day camp returns in June

In one of their last acts at Hope Lutheran Church’s current site, 2222 North Taylor Road, church members will offer to the community the 17th annual Christian Day Camp, June 26–30. The camp is free of charge and open to all children in grades 1–6. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

On-site registration begins at 8:15 a.m. on Monday, June 26. Residents who live near Hope Lutheran Church will receive a flyer and registration form delivered to their homes during the month of June. Anyone can request a registration form by calling 216-371-5252, and the church also welcomes advance registrations.

Activities offered at this annual free camp, which adheres to the guidelines set by the American Camping Association, include singing, storytelling, Bible stories, athletics, crafts, and one-on-one Christian mentoring. The church provides snacks and drinks. Each child should bring his or her own lunch, as well as a clean, white T-shirt for a tie-dye project.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 6:55 PM, 06.02.2017

Music benefit will honor two Hawken seniors killed in crash

The second Catch Meaning Music Fest will be held on Sunday, May 28, at the House of Blues in Cleveland. The concert is a benefit to honor Josh Weil and Alex Doody, the two Hawken School seniors who were killed in a car accident on May 14, 2015. Weil lived in Cleveland Heights.

The concert will raise money for the Catch Meaning Fund at the Cleveland Foundation, which was established by the Weil and Doody families.

According to Michael Weil, Josh's father and a lifelong Cleveland Heights resident, the purpose of the fund is "to identify organizations that would be of interest to young adults or that would have been of interest to Josh and Alex. We can then make donations to those organizations."

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 11:01 AM, 05.03.2017

St. Paul's lends support to Edwins' program for former prisoners

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights has undertaken a program designed to help support and further the work being done by Edwins Leadership & Restaurant Institute on Shaker Square.

Brandon Chrostowski is the CEO of both Edwins (“education wins”) restaurant and its associated institute; he opened both on Nov. 1, 2013. Prior to that, Chrostowski had worked at L’Albatros in University Circle.

Chrostowski had wanted to [run] a restaurant since he was a teenager. What sets Edwins apart from other traditional restaurants is that it is a nonprofit—one that supports people who have recently been released from prison, teaching them how to work in a restaurant and helping them get jobs.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 12:18 PM, 05.02.2017

Law professor's talk will explore bystander duty laws on April 27

Forest Hill Church is co-sponsoring a presentation by Amos N. Guiora on “Complicity: The Role of the Bystander in the Holocaust” in the auditorium of B'nai Jeshurun Congregation, on Thursday, April 27 at 7 p.m.

A professor of law and a child of the Holocaust, whose parents are concentration camp survivors, Guiora will address the bystander-victim relationship from both a personal and legal perspective. He examines not only the Holocaust but also campus sexual assault cases and other crimes where witnesses failed to come to the victims’ aid.

Complicity: The Role of the Bystander in the Holocaust, is also the title of Guiora’s new book, which considers whether society should impose a legal duty to act on bystanders who witness a crime, or simply rely on the bystander’s sense of moral responsibility.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 6:42 PM, 03.30.2017

Cleveland Heights doctor helps people regain movement

Cleveland Heights resident Ronald Triolo has spent much of his life trying to help people regain their ability to move around and walk. Triolo, 58, is executive director of the Advanced Platform Technology (APT) Center at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). He is also a professor of orthopaedics and biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU).

The APT Center is a national center for the development of all kinds of devices, primarily for disabled military veterans. Its employees focus onprosthetics and orthotics, neural interfacing (which involves technology for recording from the brain or nerves and injecting into the nervous system), wireless health monitoring and maintenance, and emerging enabling technologies.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 3:38 PM, 02.28.2017

New book recalls a 'magical' Heights childhood

In The South Overlook Gang, Rick Karges, who grew up in Cleveland Heights, tells the story of his childhood here, in the 1950s and ‘60s.

The South Overlook Gang is Karges’ first book. He decided to write it after thinking about how wonderful that era was, and how different it is from today’s world. The book’s title comes from the name of a group of kids that Karges hung out with until he went to college.

He’ll be signing copies of his book at Nighttown on Sunday, March 12, 2–4 p.m., in an event presented by Appletree Books.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 3:46 PM, 02.28.2017

CH resident Danny Williams takes new nonprofit health care post

In January, Cleveland Heights resident Danny R. Williams became the new president and CEO of Eliza Bryant Village, the oldest African-American long-term care center in the United States. Located at East 72nd Street and Wade Park Avenue in Cleveland, Eliza Bryant Village is a nursing home, adult-daycare and independent-living center.

In taking the new position, Williams stepped down as executive director of the Free Medical Clinic of Greater Cleveland (now called Circle Health Services).

“I’ve been at the Free Clinic for 10 years now, and it has gone through a significant transformation,” Williams said. “I did a number of major things at the clinic, and I think the clinic is now at a stage where my departure would not be a challenge.

“I’ve been blessed to spend the bulk of my professional career working for organizations that promote health and inclusion and justice for vulnerable communities.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 10:37 AM, 01.17.2017

Navy reservist Bricker helps provide health care to thousands

Some people spend their summer vacation poolside, at theme parks, or on the beach.

Not Cathan Bricker. She spent hers helping to fulfill the medical, dental, and eye-care needs of more than 4,000 residents of western Kentucky.

Bricker is a confidential administrative assistant of communications for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District. In 2010 she enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve and, since completing boot camp in 2011, she has spent one weekend a month and two weeks a year with her Akron-based detachment.

In summer 2015, Bricker took part in a war-games training, where people pretended to have injuries related to battle.

This summer, Bricker worked to create medical-care sites at three high schools in western Kentucky, providing free-of-charge health care for citizens in three counties.

The program was a partnership between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Delta Regional Authority, with care provided by members of the U.S. Navy Reserve and the Air National Guard.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:49 AM, 09.01.2016

Master plan committee member walks every city street

Lou Radivoyevitch was born and raised in Cleveland Heights. He returned to his hometown in 2000 and has lived here ever since. Even so, he felt that there was a lot more he needed to learn about the city. So, last year, after becoming a member of the Cleveland Heights Master Plan Steering Committee, he decided that he would walk down every street in the city, to gain more knowledge about Cleveland Heights and its needs.

“At the first meeting of our master plan committee, the city gave out big maps to everyone that was there,” he said, “and I realized that what I knew about Cleveland Heights was limited to the areas where I had lived. There were a lot of areas in Cleveland Heights that I had no idea about.”

Radivoyevitch began his walking program on Labor Day of last year, and he finished it this past July 24. “I did a good 50-plus miles in July,” he said.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 11:02 AM, 08.30.2016

Café Bon Appetit adds intimate whiskey bar

Coventry Village’s Café Bon Appetit has added a new whiskey bar and a performance space for musician. The new bar and music space are located in the basement of the restaurant, at 2767 Euclid Heights Boulevard, and officially opened on Aug. 20.

The bar space can accommodate about 30 people, though it seats just 16. Jay Novak, who owns Bon Appetit with his wife, Jade, said he wanted a bar that was “cozy and quiet, with acoustic music, and a little bit of a dress code.”

Novak recently turned 40, and said he was looking for a small, intimate bar where he could find a variety of whiskeys and hear some music. “I couldn’t find anything,” he said. “And we had available space, so why not open one here?” Novak said that he designed the bar for people about 30 years old and older.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 11:03 AM, 08.23.2016

BottleHouse introduces new food offerings and program to benefit local nonprofits

Four years after it opened, BottleHouse Brewery is expanding its food menu, which formerly comprised mainly sandwiches and charcuterie boards.

The brewery, located at 2050 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, is also instituting a new program to benefit nonprofit organizations.

“Cleveland Heights has given so much to us,” said owner Brian Benchek. “We wanted to give back to the community.”

Starting in July, for every pint of Community Pilsner it sells, BottleHouse will donate 50 cents to a nonprofit organization. The first donation recipient is Dobama Theatre, which will benefit from every pint sold from July through October. Every four months a new nonprofit organization will be selected to receive the money.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 10:37 AM, 07.12.2016

Cedar Fairmount plans free summer concerts and annual festival

The Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District (CFSID) has announced special programs planned for this summer. They include two free concerts, and the annual Summer Festival.

Both concerts will be held on the green west of Nighttown, 7–9 p.m., with the first planned for Thursday, June 16, and the second set for Thursday, July 21.

Cedar Fairmount restaurants will offer takeout food that attendees can eat on the green while watching the show. In case of inclement weather, the concerts will move inside to Nighttown.

On June 16, Moises Borges and Kenny Davis will perform. A native of Brazil, singer and guitarist Borges performs in the bossa nova tradition, interpreting classics by Jobin, Gilberto and others.

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 10:31 AM, 06.14.2016

CH hosts second annual Happy 5K and Fun Run on Oct. 2

This October, for the second consecutive year, Cleveland Heights will host the Happy 5K and one-mile Fun Run, as well as a one-mile family walk—new this year. The races will take place on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Last year, the event attracted 514 people, with about two-thirds of the participants coming from outside of the Heights. This year, the organizers—the City of Cleveland Heights, the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District and Western Reserve Racing—hope to draw 1,000 participants.

This year’s route will be the same as last year’s, passing through Cedar Lee, Coventry Village and several other Cleveland Heights districts.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:37 AM, 04.12.2016

Photography gallery to open in Cedar Fairmount

A new art gallery—Foothill Galleries of the Photo Succession—will be opening this month in Cleveland Heights’s Cedar Fairmount Business District. Michael Weil is owner of the new photography gallery, located at 2450 Fairmount Blvd.

A lifelong Cleveland Heights resident, Weil, 49, has been interested in photography since he was a child. He taught art history and photography as an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University, and is currently an adjunct professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art. “Over the last decade, I began focusing more and more on my own photography,” he said. “I became more serious about wanting to exhibit my own work, but there were no galleries in this area committed to photography.”

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Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 3:56 PM, 12.30.2015

Heights barbershoppers give back

As Cleveland Heights City Council Member Melissa Yasinow drove to work on the morning of Friday, Nov. 6, her mind was on her grandfather. Stuck in a hospital, hooked to machines, what would cheer him up? Blind for several years, he couldn't watch a Cavs game or enjoy a new book. What would bring some joy to this beloved old man’s day?

Meanwhile, across town, Cleveland Heights High School musicians were sitting in class, exhausted from weeks of intense rehearsals for the musical "Grease" and gearing up for a weekend with four full-length performances. If anyone had asked them to find an extra couple of hours in their day, the students would have thought they were crazy.

But then Yasinow was struck with an idea: Her Papa may not be able to see, but he could definitely hear. After a few quick phone calls, and the willing approval of school administrators, four members of the nationally recognized Heights Barbershoppers were pulled from their classes to rehearse for another type of show altogether.

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Volume 8, Issue 12, Posted 11:20 AM, 11.24.2015

New program offers yoga for disabled adults

The Loving Hands Group, a life-enrichment business based in Cleveland Heights, and Anytime Fitness, a University Heights fitness club, have teamed up to offer yoga classes for disabled adults. The yoga classes, which are free, began in August, and are held every Friday, from noon to 1 p.m.

“I call this ‘gentle yoga,’ ” said Judith Eugene, who runs both the Loving Hands Group and Loving Hands Yoga and Reiki, based at her house on Hampshire Road in Cleveland Heights. “We usually have about 10 people attend these classes, and members of Anytime Fitness can also attend.”

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 5:54 PM, 10.29.2015

FutureHeights and LWV to host candidates forums; publish voters guide

FutureHeights and the CH-UH Chapter of the Greater Cleveland League of Women Voters (LWV) will host two forums to introduce candidates for local elections to Heights residents.

A forum on Sept. 29 will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at John Carroll University’s Dolan Hall, and will feature candidates for University Heights City Council and the CH-UH Board of Education (BOE). An Oct. 14 forum will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, and will feature candidates for BOE and Cleveland Heights City Council.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 8:27 PM, 08.31.2015

Harvey Pekar honored with Coventry park

More than 100 people attended the dedication of Pekar Park on Saturday, July 25. The newly named park—previously the Coventry Outdoor Courtyard—is at the intersection of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, near the Grog Shop and the Inn on Coventry.

Harvey Pekar, well-known author, music critic and media personality, lived in Cleveland Heights for many years, until his death in 2010. He frequently hung out on Coventry, and loved the neighborhood.

Pekar is probably best known for his graphic novels, including the autobiographical American Splendor, which was released as a film in 2003; it starred Paul Giamatti as Pekar and Hope Davis as his wife, Joyce Brabner.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 4:16 PM, 07.31.2015

Buddhist center to open on Lee Road

The SGI-USA Buddhist Center is set to open at 2255 Lee Road on Aug. 9, in a portion of the space previously occupied by Petland, which vacated the space about six years ago.

SGI-USA is part of a worldwide Buddhist organization called Soka-Gakkai International, which has more than 500 chapters and 100 centers throughout the United States, and more than 12 million members in 192 countries and territories around the world. SGI has about 650 members in northern Ohio, from Toledo to western Pennsylvania. Based on core Buddhist principles, such as respecting the dignity of human life and the interconnectedness of self and the environment, SGI focuses on various peace activities, including human-rights education, abolishing nuclear weapons and efforts to promote sustainable development.

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Volume 8, Issue 8, Posted 11:36 AM, 07.31.2015

Peggy Spaeth takes on a new challenge

When Peggy Spaeth retired from Heights Arts two years ago, she thought she would spend her time gardening and walking her dog.  

She had founded the lively arts hub on Lee Road and ran it successfully for 13 years.

But Spaeth is a woman of boundless creativity and resolve. Pretty quickly she turned her attention to developing something new: a program to help addicts in recovery. You might say, that’s a far cry from Heights Arts, but actually it’s pretty close to Spaeth.

“Addiction seems to touch every family. I know it has mine. Today my beautiful daughter has been clean and sober for five years. But there was a time when I feared I would lose her as so many others have...[lost their loved ones],” wrote Spaeth in the beginning of a fundraising letter.

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Volume 8, Issue 7, Posted 2:51 PM, 06.29.2015

Coventry announces summer lineup of events

Numerous free events will be taking place along Coventry Road this summer, including movie showings on Thursdays and Fridays, and live music on Saturdays. Other special events include Skateboarding Saturday, a pop-up pinball party and a sidewalk sale.

The second annual Coventry Village Bike Tune-up Day will take place on Saturday, May 30, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., in the outdoor Coventry CourtYard, located on the northwest corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard. 

Bicycle mechanics and trained volunteers will be on hand to provide free bicycle safety inspections and make minor repairs.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 10:16 AM, 05.26.2015

CH's Jonathon Sawyer wins best chef award

Cleveland Heights resident Jonathon Sawyer has won the 2015 James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Great Lakes Region (Ill., Ind., Mich. and Ohio). Sawyer won for his work at his restaurant The Greenhouse Tavern, on East Fourth Street in downtown Cleveland.

The James Beard Foundation awards are considered the Oscars of the food world. They comprise scores of categories—from food writing and broadcasting to awards for restaurant design and best chefs in 10 regions.

Sawyer said he was honored to win. “It was really nice to have your mentors and peers validate you and tell you that you are doing the right thing and headed down the right path,” Sawyer said.

The award ceremony took place on May 4 at the Civic Opera House in Chicago, and Sawyer attended with his wife, Amelia, and 10 members of the Greenhouse staff. All of the other finalists in the Best Chef Great Lakes category were from the Chicago area.

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Volume 8, Issue 6, Posted 12:35 PM, 05.12.2015

Brent Kirby makes music full time

Cleveland Heights resident Brent Kirby has been playing music since he was three years old. Now 43, Kirby is a full-time musician. Over the years, he has played in several bands, including the Jack Fords, the New Soft Shoe, the Lost Fortunes, the Flashing 12’s and Hey Mavis. And he recently formed a new group called His Luck.

His father was a composer, and his family had a piano in their house. As a young child, Kirby played the piano and drums. By the time he was a teenager, he was a pretty accomplished pianist, and he began writing songs. His first song was about his grandfather, who had recently died. When he was 14 years old, he joined his first band and started playing in bars.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 6:40 PM, 04.30.2015

Heights milliner delights hospice patients with hat presentation

There are hats and then there are hats.

Hats make a statement, and the statement that milliner Cynthia Marek Lundeen’s hats made at a recent event at the David Simpson Hospice House was fabulous.

Lundeen not only gave a presentation on the romance and history of hats, she brought a collection of her elegant couture designs. Two of the hats, a pink and black, and a white and black feathered one, graced covers of special Kentucky Derby issues of the magazine I Am Today’s Woman. The slide presentation included an image of a creation that won first prize at the Kentucky Derby Hat Contest.  

As she led staff, volunteers, patients and family members through a slide show of hats in history—including tidbits from the 1700s and 1800s—a parade of participants modeled her creations. Two lucky volunteers got to wear the hats featured on the magazine covers.

The idea for the presentation came about when hospice staff admired the hats decorating the room of one of Lundeen’s family members at hospice house, said volunteer service manager Lori Scotese. The David Simpson Hospice House, which is a facility of the Hospice of the Western Reserve, is located at E. 185th St.

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Volume 8, Issue 4, Posted 1:08 PM, 03.30.2015

Pianist Joe Hunter's lifetime in music

Joe Hunter is one of Cleveland’s most highly regarded jazz pianists. A Cleveland Heights native, he began playing piano when he was eight years old, and now plays several shows every week around Northeast Ohio.

Hunter, who will be 55 this April, said there was always music around his house when he was growing up. “My parents were big music lovers,” he said. “They hired piano players when they had parties, and they had a wonderful record collection that included music by Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, the Weavers, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and many, many others.”

His mother, Sara Hunter, was a municipal judge in Cleveland Heights for 18 years, and was the first female judge in the city. She also played accordion. His father, also named Joe Hunter, was the regional director of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, and he played washtub bass.

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Volume 8, Issue 3, Posted 11:20 AM, 02.27.2015

UUSC congregants can now clearly "hear the word"

Despite wearing hearing aids, several congregants at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Cleveland labored to understand messages from the pulpit. Those hearing-impaired listeners can now experience new clarity due to the installation of an induction-hearing loop in the church sanctuary, said Rev. Joseph M. Cherry, minister at UUSC.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 12:34 PM, 01.29.2015

Area Cubans hope change will come to their native land

This past December, President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced that the United States and Cuba were beginning the process of normalizing relations between the two countries. The plan is to lift some of the travel restrictions, allow more U.S. companies to do business in Cuba and open a U.S. embassy in Cuba. The small group of Cuban immigrants in the Heights area is somewhat optimistic about the changes that may result from these negotiations.

Raudel Napoles, who lives on North Park Boulevard in Cleveland Heights, said, “I think it’s a step in the right direction to establish relations. Right now, you never see anything from the U.S. in Cuba.” Napoles, who’s 37 years old, left Cuba in 2004 and moved to Wyoming before coming to Cleveland in 2005. He’s a Pilates instructor at White Cloud Studios on Fairmount Boulevard.

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 11:10 AM, 01.29.2015

Beaumont School to host grand opening for $9.5 million STEM addition

Beaumont School will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for its building addition on Monday, Jan. 5 at 9:30 a.m. at the building’s entrance on North Park Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. The $9.5 million investment includes eight new STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) classroom labs and four lab prep rooms, which will propel Beaumont forward as a leading school in STEM curriculum.   

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Volume 8, Issue 2, Posted 7:25 PM, 12.31.2014

Pacific East expands its Coventry restaurant

Pacific East, the Japanese restaurant located at the north end of Coventry Road near Mayfield Road, has expanded. Last month, the restaurant took over the space previously occupied by Talmer Bank and Trust, which closed its Coventry branch last fall.

“We just didn’t have enough space,” said Freeman Ngo, who owns Pacific East with his wife, Susan. “There were always people waiting in line to get tables, and we couldn’t seat large groups.” With the new space, the restaurant can now seat about 100 people, while previously it could only seat about 70. This is the restaurant's second expansion; a couple of years ago, the owners took over the adjacent space on Coventry Road.

Ngo, who’s 45 years old, was born in Malaysia. He and his family moved to New York City about 29 years ago. Then, in 1999, he moved to Cleveland.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:21 AM, 01.05.2015

Heights community loses dear friend Tony Smith

Longtime Cleveland Heights resident Anthony E. "Tony" Smith, known for his involvement in the Heights community and his ownership of Cleveland-area Popeye's franchises, died in his Cleveland Heights home on Nov. 29, at age 53.

Smith and his wife, Vanessa L. Whiting, opened their first restaurant in 1990, a Dock's Great Fish in Cleveland. Five years later, they became Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen franchisees and opened their first Cleveland location, eventually owning 16 locations in Northeast Ohio.

Smith’s children, Taylor, Lorin and Tony II, attended Roxboro Elementary and Roxboro Middle schools, and nephew Dan attended Heights High.  

“I have seen Tony’s generosity and kindness. He was a great advocate and supporter of the CH-UH schools,” said Katura Simmons, CH-UH PTA president.

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Volume 8, Issue 1, Posted 11:04 AM, 12.11.2014

Simply Charming offers unique array of clothing, jewelry and gifts

Elisabeth Gevelber, the owner of Simply Charming on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights, likes to say that her store features “baubles, bijoux and bibelots.”

That’s trinkets, jewelry and treasures. If you look around the store, you’ll see that’s a pretty accurate description.

Simply Charming is stocked with unique jewelry, clothing, greeting cards, pens, journals, sketch books, coffee cups, mugs and more. “I basically like to carry whatever my captures my fancy,” said Gevelber.

The store originally opened in 2007 on Lee Road, in the space now occupied by the Shawn Paul Salon. Two years later, it closed.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 6:03 PM, 12.01.2014

Thrive wants to make people happy

Thrive, a relatively new Cleveland organization, has one goal: to make people happier. Called a happiness incubator, Thrive was formed in January of 2012 by Jen Margolis, a Cleveland Heights resident, and Scott Simon, who lives in Pepper Pike.

“We wanted to design experiences, habits and spaces that increase happiness, both at work and at home,” said Margolis, who is 37 and lives on Wilton Road.

Thrive came about after Simon spent time with what’s called a “positive psychologist.” “Psychology as a whole looked at what’s wrong,” Margolis said. “Then Martin Seligman, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, flipped that. He thought it made more sense to see what’s working well and build from there.”

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 3:06 PM, 12.01.2014

CH resident Lessie Brown celebrates 110th birthday

Not many people make it to 100 years old, and even fewer make it to 110. Those who do reach 110 are called super-centenarians, and there are fewer than 300 of them in the entire world. In the United States, only about 20 people have reached that age, and one of them lives in Cleveland Heights.

Lessie Brown, who lives in the Concord Apartments near Severance Town Center, celebrated her 110th birthday on Sept. 22. Looking at her, one would never guess that she had reached such a milestone in her life. She looks great and is totally coherent.

Brown was born in Stockbridge, Ga., in 1904. “We lived on a farm,” she said. “I milked the cows, picked cotton and worked in the garden with my mother.” Then, in 1921, her parents moved to Cleveland. “My mom and dad just figured it would be better up here than down there,” she explained.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 10:49 AM, 10.31.2014

Acclaimed sculptor David Deming makes his home in Cleveland Heights

On Aug. 2, the Cleveland Indians unveiled a new statue of Jim Thome, the team’s all-time home-run leader, at Progressive Field. The statue was designed and sculpted by Cleveland Heights resident David Deming.

Deming, 71, has an international reputation as a fine sculptor, and has been involved in the art world for more than five decades.

He grew up in Lakewood and attended Lakewood High. While in high school, Deming focused on both sports—he was captain of the wrestling team and also ran track—and art. On weekends, he attended classes at the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA), and, after graduating from high school, got his bachelor of fine arts degree from the institute in 1967. Deming then taught classes at Boston University for a year, before moving on to the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where he earned a master’s degree in fine arts. “When it comes to sculpture, Cranbrook is like the Harvard or Yale of art schools,” Deming said.

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 2:05 PM, 08.28.2014

Coventry Village is a clothing mecca

The north end of Coventry Road, between Mayfield and Hampshire roads, is something of a mecca for people wanting to buy clothes. This short stretch of Coventry features six stores that specialize in clothing. There are three chain stores—American Apparel, Next and Avalon Exchange—and three small, specialty stores—Blush Boutique, Sunshine Headquarters Too and Heart and Sole. In addition, there’s also Attenson’s Books and Antiques, which carries a selection of vintage clothing. As Steve Presser, owner of the Coventry toy store Big Fun, said, “It’s the most eclectic clothing district in Cleveland. No other block has so much variety, from new and used to funk and junk.”

The largest store, American Apparel, is part of an international chain headquartered in Los Angeles. Founded in 1989, as a sweatshop-free manufacturer, the company opened its first retail store in 2003, and offers clothing for just about everyone—from toddlers and infants to men and women. The chain now has more than 260 stores worldwide, but the Coventry store, opened six years ago, is its only Greater Cleveland location. The chain manufacturers all of the clothing it offers.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 2:42 PM, 07.31.2014

Nighttown fashion show benefits two local nonprofits

On Saturday, Aug. 30, Dress for Success Cleveland, Ten Thousand Villages and Virginia Marti College of Art and Design are partnering to bring an afternoon of fashion and philanthropy to Nighttown, in Cleveland Heights. The event, Dressed to the Tens, features a fashion show produced by students from Virginia Marti College. Dressed to the Tens also supports two local nonprofits—Dress for Success Cleveland and Ten Thousand Villages—that work for the empowerment of women.

The mission of Dress for Success Cleveland is to promote the independence of economically disadvantaged women and to help them overcome barriers to employment. The organization provides professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

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Volume 7, Issue 8, Posted 10:39 AM, 07.31.2014