Non-profit & Groups

FH awards mini-grants to eight Heights groups

The FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant program offers funding of up to $1,000 for neighborhood groups to pursue community-building programs, projects and initiatives. The Fall 2023 round of funding resulted in eight groups being awarded a total of $4,892.

Lake Erie Ink received $1,000 for “Explore and Connect,” a three-day, spring-break program in which students from Noble and Oxford schools will learn more about their neighborhood by conducting interviews with Heights leaders. Students will then write about their experiences and have their work on display around the neighborhood. Grant dollars will support program facilitation and supplies.

Noble Elementary School PTA received $1,000 for “Noble Pride – A Thoughtful Makeover,” in which PTA members will collaborate with students, school staff, and neighbors to give the school’s exterior a makeover. Participants believe that the perception of safety is tied to a sense of cleanliness and care for a space, and can have a ripple effect into the surrounding neighborhood.

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 5:44 PM, 11.25.2023

Coventry Holiday Fest and Lantern Festival returns Dec. 9

Get in the spirit of the holiday season with the annual Coventry Village Holiday Fest and Coventry PEACE Campus Lantern Festival, which returns on Saturday, Dec. 9.

This free event for all ages will feature crafts; meet-and-greets with Olaf, The Grinch, and Santa Claus; plus local, independently owned sip n’ shop opportunities throughout Coventry Village, starting at 11 a.m. and continuing throughout the day.

Coventry Village businesses will be open and offering discounts, interactive workshops, and more.

The Grog Shop and B-Side lounge will host 40-plus local vendors on two floors at the annual Jingle Bell Holiday Sip n’ Shop, taking place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 4:44 PM, 11.29.2023

Apply now for FH leadership workshop series

FutureHeights’ Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series (NLWS) provides Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents with the opportunity to gain skills and connect with other community change-agents.

Program participants examine leadership from the neighborhood perspective while using a strengths-based lens. Guest speakers are Heights-based leaders who share their own hyper-local perspectives and experiences, about past and current projects.

NLWS is held once a year. The 2024 workshop series will take place on Sundays, 3–6 p.m., Jan. 28, Feb. 11, Feb. 25, March 10, and March 24, at the Coventry PEACE Building. Applicants must commit to attending all five sessions in order to be considered for the program.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:54 PM, 11.29.2023

FutureHeights announces board changes

Julie Sabroff, former chair of the Board of Directors for FutureHeights (FH), a nonprofit community development corporation (CDC) for Cleveland Heights and University Heights, and publisher of the Heights Observer, stepped down from the board on Aug. 7, to help her family during a difficult period.

In the interim, Rhonda Davis Lovejoy and Chris Jacobs, both vice-chairs of the FH Board of Directors, will function as acting co-chairs of the board until it votes on a new chair.

During her tenure as board chair, Sabroff ushered the organization through the adoption of a strategic plan, an update to the organization’s bylaws, and the hiring of current Executive Director Kristine Pagsuyoin.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:52 PM, 11.29.2023

Vote for 2024 Crowdsourced Conversations topics

Crowdsourced Conversations wrapped up its four-part 2023 series and is set to return in 2024.

This public forum series, hosted by FutureHeights and community partners, puts the spotlight on community voices by emphasizing action-oriented small-group discussions on selected topics.

Throughout the month of December, Heights residents can cast their votes to select four topics for 2024. Previous Crowdsourced Conversations participants made the topic nominations; the top four vote-getters will comprise the 2024 Crowdsourced Conversations.

The deadline to vote is Jan. 2.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 3:17 PM, 11.29.2023

Cleveland Potter’s holiday sale kicks off Dec. 1

The Cleveland Potter’s Co-op will host its annual holiday pottery sale on two consecutive weekends, beginning Dec. 1.

The sale will comprise ceramic art made by co-op members, including mugs, bowls, planters, and much more.

The sale is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 1, 7–9 p.m.; Saturdays, Dec 2 and 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sundays, Dec. 3 and 10, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stop by to purchase hand-made holiday gifts, learn more about the co-op’s members and classes, and see the newly expanded studio.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 2:23 PM, 11.17.2023

Green Team and Made Cleveland co-host free gift-making event Dec. 2

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), in partnership with Made Cleveland, Cleveland Heights’ local-vendor marketplace, will host a community DIY holiday gift-making party on Saturday, Dec. 2, 1–4 p.m., at Made Cleveland, 1807 Coventry Road.  

Participants will be able to craft and personalize gifts using repurposed, recycled, and upcycled materials. Experienced crafters will be available to lend a hand.

Made Cleveland will provide all materials and tools, and CHGT members will share tips and ideas for minimizing holiday waste and saving money. 

While the event is free, registration is required. To register, go to

“We want to provide an opportunity for the Heights community to celebrate the holiday season while keeping the environment in mind,” Catalina Wagers, co-founder of CHGT.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 2:03 PM, 11.17.2023

Friends Mega Book Sale is Dec. 1-3, with Nov. 30 preview

The Friends of the Heights Libraries will hold its Winter Mega Book Sale at the Lee Road Branch Friday through Sunday, Dec. 1–3, with a members-only preview on Thursday evening, 5–8:30 p.m., on Nov. 30. Sale hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday; and 1–5 p.m. on Sunday.

The biannual mega book sales are major fundraisers for Friends of the Heights Libraries, which celebrated its 61st anniversary at its annual meeting in October.

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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 2:01 PM, 11.17.2023

Heights Tree People plants 1,000th tree

On Oct. 5, Heights Tree People (HTP) planted its 1,000th tree. The volunteer group, which began planting trees—for free—in Cleveland Heights and University Heights in 2019, planted the red oak at Cleveland Heights High School, near the corner of Cedar and Lee roads, inside the school property’s fence.

The location for this milestone tree was chosen intentionally. Henry Caine, great-grandfather of HTP co-founder Laura Marks, was a local leader who, in the early 1890s, supported the extension of the Cedar Road trolley line from Coventry Road to Green Road. However, at the corner of Cedar and Lee stood a large elm—six feet in diameter—that was slated for removal to make room for the trolley.

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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 12:02 PM, 10.30.2023

Border visit informs Oct. 14 immigration forum

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

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

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

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

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

CH resident offers tips on low-impact leaf cleanup

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

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

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

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

Heights Observer launches new Facebook page

The Heights Observer now has its own Facebook page,

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

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

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

Free Sept. 18 talk will explore thrumming music of nature

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

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

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

Crowdsourced Conversations launches final 2023 survey

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

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

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

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

FutureHeights benefit raises funds, honors Zagara

Despite the threat of storms, and a power outage just hours before the event, guests enjoyed a beautiful evening under the stars celebrating and raising funds for the community-building work of FutureHeights at the nonprofit's annual benefit party, "A Summer Night’s Dream," on Saturday, July 29, at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. 

The evening included live orchestral music from Opus 216, musical stylings by DJ Neilism, costumed performers from Robin VanLear and company, and a delicious selection of food and drink from The Fairmount, Quintana’s, and CLE Urban Winery. 

During the program, guests heard remarks from Kristine Pagsuyoin, FutureHeights’ new executive director. John Zagara, FutureHeights’ "Person of the Year," was honored for his commitment to Zagara’s Marketplace, and he spoke of his love for the Heights community.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 1:43 PM, 09.01.2023

Register now for Open Doors after-school programs

Open Doors Academy (ODA) has partnered with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District for more than three decades, offering a wide range of activities and support services. Its programs aim to provide young scholars with the tools they need to thrive academically, socially, and behaviorally.

Registration is open now for ODA's upcoming programs, which begin Sept. 5. Programming takes place at Roxboro and Monticello middle schools, and Heights High.

Middle-school and high-school students enrolled in ODA's after-school enrichment program gain access to a supportive community that is committed to their growth and success.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 9:49 PM, 08.28.2023

FutureHomes announces partner in Noble home renovation

FutureHomes has entered into a partnership with Yosemite Construction and Management to renovate the home at 901 Englewood Road.

FutureHeights established its FutureHomes program in 2009 to promote fair housing practices and increase owner-occupancy rates.

Since its inception, and with the generous support of the city of Cleveland Heights, the program has been able to renovate more than 20 vacant homes in the city and make them available to owner-occupants.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 9:39 PM, 08.28.2023

Millikin playground hosts free outdoor concert on Aug. 23

Renovare, a dynamic chamber ensemble, will present a free performance at the Millikin playground (1700 Crest Road) on Wednesday, Aug. 23 (rain date: Aug. 24), at 7 p.m.

The Millikin Neighborhood Group is delighted to host Renovare for a third year, as part of the group's community-building efforts. The event is funded through a 2023 FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant. While the event is free, the organizers encourage donations to the artists.

Renovare, a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Cleveland, bridges divided communities and creates restorative experiences through music, stories, and conversation.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:11 PM, 08.19.2023

Millikin group hosts free hip hop dance class on Aug. 16

For the third consecutive year, the Millikin Neighborhood Group is bringing the award-winning dance group 10K Movement to the community.

The group's members will conduct a free Hip Hop Dance Class at the old Millikin school playground (1700 Crest Road) on Wednesday, Aug. 16, at 5 p.m. (The rain date is Thursday, Aug. 17.) Samuel McIntosh, founder and executive director of 10K Movement, will lead the class. He'll provide some history of the genre, and teach some basic moves for novices.

Millikin Neighborhood Group is funding the event through a 2023 Future Heights Mini Grant. While the 10K Movement event is free, donations to the performers are encouraged.

The mission of the nonprofit 10K Movement is to preserve, present and cultivate authentic hip hop and street dance culture in Greater Cleveland and beyond.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 2:34 PM, 08.14.2023

Neighborhood leadership training now open to UH and CH residents

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

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

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

Fall 2023 Mini-Grant deadline is Sept. 15

Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents are encouraged to apply for a FutureHeights Fall 2023 Neighborhood Mini-Grant. Through the program, community members can receive up to $1,000 in funding for their neighborhood-level projects and initiatives. The deadline to apply is Sept. 15. 

Since 2015, the Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program has funded 88 projects across the Heights, awarding, to date, a total of $61,038.

Qualifying projects must take place in Cleveland Heights or University Heights and demonstrate a community-building effort. For other criteria and to access the application, send an e-mail to, or visit

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Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 3:03 PM, 08.01.2023

Reaching Heights' Hawthorne plans 2024 retirement

After nearly 18 years with Reaching Heights—the organization that champions the excellence and opportunities of public education in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District—Executive Director Krista Hawthorne will retire in June 2024.

During Hawthorne's tenure, Reaching Heights has produced 17 community spelling bees, 15 summer music camps, and four Reaching Musical Heights concerts at Severance Hall (in 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019).

Hawthorne joined Reaching Heights as a communication assistant, then served as assistant director before becoming executive director—a role she has filled for nearly 10 years.

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Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 10:12 AM, 07.24.2023

West memorial fund awards scholarship to police academy cadet

The Officer Jason D. West Memorial Fund (OJWMF) awarded a $5,000 tuition reimbursement scholarship to Jermaine Smith, a June graduate of the Cleveland Heights Police Academy.

The $5,000 award honors Officer West, a member of the Cleveland Heights Police Department who lost his life on May 26, 2007, while responding to a disturbance call. 

“The board felt that Jermaine exemplifies all the qualities that endeared Officer West to the Cleveland Heights community and made him an exemplary police officer,” said Lita Gonzalez, OJWMF board president. "He will be an asset to whichever police department and community he chooses to serve.”

In his application, Smith wrote that he sees becoming a police officer as not just a job but a calling. He said he is passionate about helping people and making a difference in his community.

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Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 9:19 AM, 07.18.2023

Register now for free cigar box guitar workshop

Back for its third year, the Noble Cigar Box Guitar Project is again offering a free summer Cigar Box Guitar Workshop for middle-schoolers in early August. Registration is open now, and space is limited.

The workshop comprises four sessions, August 7–10, 1:30–3 p.m., to be held at Disciples Church, 3663 Mayfield Road, Cleveland Heights.

Participants will build their own three-string cigar box guitars from a kit that will be provided. They will learn how a guitar makes music, the basics of playing the guitar, and the origins of cigar box guitars.

The first rule of cigar box guitars is that there are no rules.

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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 3:54 PM, 06.29.2023

Lake Erie Ink cooks up creativity

Lake Erie Ink (LEI) is stirring up something special. Its 2022 community cookbook, Stirring Stories, has inspired another round of community, cooking and storytelling—reimagined. 

The 2023 iteration of Stirring StoriesStirring the Plot—aims to raise program funds for the nonprofit through community workshops and a culminating fundraiser. 

The first course of the project comprises a series of writing workshops led by an LEI teaching artist, held at restaurants around Greater Cleveland.

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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 3:57 PM, 06.29.2023

Cain Park volunteers support summer programs

Friends of Cain Park board members Gary Lustic and Eric Yarham have been spearheading volunteers who have been "cleaning and greening" Cain Park for the summer season.

"We've planted hundreds of plants throughout the park," said Lustic. "Up along Goodnor, by the box office and along the paths. We got plants donated, used a generous $1,000 [grant] from FutureHeights and, with the help of many volunteers, we've been cleaning, digging and planting our hearts out."

For more than 30 years, Friends of Cain Park has been raising money in support of Cain Park's programming, including providing artist prizes at the annual Cain Park Arts Festival, and stipends for Alma Theater actors.

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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 3:48 PM, 06.29.2023

School supply drive honors Height High alumnus

The Power of 3 Foundation is hosting a back-to-school supply drive in memory of Larry (Laurence) Hurt, a 2012 Cleveland Heights High School graduate, who died of heart complications.

Supplies needed include notebooks, paper, folders, pens, pencils, crayons, markers and binders.

Donations will be collected through Aug. 1, and can be dropped off at the U.S. Post Office at 1568 South Green Road in South Euclid. The supplies will be distributed to students in various Greater Cleveland school districts on Aug. 5.

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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 10:36 AM, 06.27.2023

FutureHeights will celebrate John Zagara on July 29

The Zagara family name was synonymous with quality grocery stores in the Cleveland area for more than eight decades. In late 2022, John Zagara made the difficult decision to retire from the grocery business, but the impact he and his family had on the community will be long remembered. This month, FutureHeights will honor John Zagara as Person of the Year at the nonprofit's annual benefit.

John Zagara's grandfather, Charles (Pa) Zagara, was an Italian immigrant and WWI veteran who settled in Cleveland after he returned from the war. Bricklaying turned to bar ownership post-Prohibition—a business Zagara expanded into a neighborhood bodega.

Zagara transitioned a print advertising business in Sav-Mor into his first larger-scale grocery in 1936.

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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 9:50 AM, 06.27.2023

CH scouts clean up PEACE Park

May 6 was “Trash the Trash” day for the global scouting community, charging scouts worldwide to clean up their communities. Thousands of scouts participated, from Germany, Kenya, India . . . and Cleveland Heights!

More than a dozen scouts and their leaders gathered at Coventry PEACE Park to do their part in the effort. Boys and girls from local Cub Scout Pack 11 and Scouts BSA Troop 620G received a quick briefing from Coventry Village Library Branch Manager Maggie Kinney, before arming themselves with gloves and trash bags for the cleanup. The diligent group of scouts worked for more than an hour, picking up trash in the main playground area and the green spaces around it.

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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 10:11 AM, 06.20.2023

Organizers cancel 2023 GardenWalk Cleveland Heights

GardenWalk Cleveland Heights (GWCH) 2023, planned for July 15 and 16, has been cancelled. 

The organizing committee is grateful to the gardeners who had planned to open their gardens to the public, and to the sponsors and vendors who provided and pledged support.

Two factors led the committee to its decision to call off this year's event.

The weather, wet and cool in April and early May, became a near drought in late May and early June. Several of gardeners expressed concern that their ornamental displays might not be tour-ready by mid-July.

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Volume 16, Issue 7, Posted 12:19 PM, 06.13.2023

Horseshoe Lake supporters demand cities save it

On April 20, Friends of Horseshoe Lake (FOHSL) issued demand letters to Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, claiming that the cities have failed to follow the terms of the lease agreement for Horseshoe Lake and make necessary repairs to restore the dam and lake.

FOHSL is working with the law firm Mansour Gavin to keep the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) from destroying the dam and lake.

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Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 10:33 AM, 06.01.2023

FutureHeights' July 29 benefit to honor John Zagara

FutureHeights will celebrate 21 years of service to the community at its 5th annual benefit party, A Summer Night’s Dream, on Saturday, July 29, 6–9:30 p.m. 

FutureHeights’ annual benefit celebrates the nonprofit's ongoing efforts to energize the economic and community development of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, and raises critical operating funds for the organization. 

This year’s event will take place at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, where guests will partake of music, dancing, and a selection of delicious food and drink from some of the Heights’ top culinary establishments. With enchanting live performances and art from local artists, including Robin VanLear, there are sure to be delights and surprises around every turn.

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Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 9:21 AM, 06.01.2023

FH awards $10,500 to 13 Heights projects

The FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grants program has awarded $10,500 to 13 Heights groups in its spring 2023 round of grantmaking.

The program invites groups to apply for up to $1,000 in funding for neighborhood-level, community-building projects, programs, or initiatives in Cleveland Heights or University Heights.  

Artful’s project, This Art is for the Birds, received $1,000 to support arts workshops directed by Robin VanLear that will result in an outdoor Greek theater-style production to take place in Coventry PEACE Park this summer.

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Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 1:14 PM, 05.01.2023

April 15 community meeting will consider environmental health and the community

On Saturday, April 15, at 10:30 a.m., Cleveland Heights Council Member Davida Russell will host a "You Talk, I Listen" Town Hall meeting, inviting the Cleveland Heights community to discuss how pollution and loss of trees is impacting neighborhoods on the north side of Cleveland Heights.

The meeting will explore the preventative steps available to lessen storm flow, prevent erosion, restore natural habitats, and reduce litter pollution.

It also will highlight the condition of Caledonia Ravine, a branch of Nine Mile Creek that runs through the Caledonia neighborhood. The creek provides an example of how litter pollution and illegal dumping, along with erosion and loss of trees, are having significant negative effects on the health of this natural environmental asset, and the surrounding community.

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Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 10:29 AM, 04.10.2023

Celebrate Trails Day on April 22

Celebrate Trails Day, a national celebration established by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in 2013, encourages people to get outside and enjoy the country's trails and trail systems. Observed on the fourth Saturday in April, Celebrate Trails Day shares a date this year with Earth Day—April 22.

Here in Cleveland Heights, on April 22, 1 p.m., Boulevard Neighbors is hosting an all-ages hike of a two-mile section of Forest Hill Park. Built in 1938, as part of John D. Rockefeller's estate, the historic urban park encompasses 235 acres—a mix of woods and fields, as well as a large lagoon.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:44 AM, 04.02.2023

Register now for Reaching Heights' benefit 'Bee'

Does seeing misspelled words make you cringe? Do you sometimes suppress the urge to spellcheck your coworkers’ emails? Or, are you an average speller but a phenomenal supporter of the Heights community and its public schools?

The annual Reaching Heights Spelling Bee is a perfect way to support Heights public schools while also having fun. This spelling bee for adults is silly, campy, and nerdy in the best possible ways.

Registration is now open for this year's Bee, to be held on Wednesday, May 10, at the Heights High auditorium.

At the Bee, teams of three work together to correctly spell one word in each round, while also taking part in fun traditions that make the annual event a "honey-sweet" time for spellers and spectators alike.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 9:19 AM, 03.28.2023

Community conversation will explore 'Our Public Schools' on April 26

Heights community members, including students, parents, and district alumni, teachers and staff, are invited and encouraged to participate in the first Crowdsourced Conversations forum of 2023, on the topic of “Our Public Schools.”

The event, organized by FutureHeights and Reaching Heights, and in partnership with other community groups and organizations, will take place on Wednesday, April 26, 7–8:30 p..m, at Heights High (13263 Cedar Road).

Attendees will participate in small group discussions geared toward discovering what actions (small, medium, or large) everyday residents can take to "be the change they wish to see" in the community, especially related to public education.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:41 AM, 04.02.2023

Join forces with FutureHeights at May 4 open house

FutureHeights, Cleveland Heights' nonprofit Community Development Corporation, will showcase its recent updates and upcoming programs at an open house event on Thursday, May 4, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Many will recognize the special significance attributed to May 4th—May the fourth be with you—by the iconic line from "Star Wars"—“May the force be with you." 

Kristine Pagsuyoin, executive director of FutureHeights, explained that, for this even, the “force” relates to the mission and values of FutureHeights, in "representing the strength or energy exerted to cause motion or change." 

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:13 AM, 04.02.2023

Coventry Living Room Project coming this summer to Pekar Park

The Coventry Living Room Project is a placemaking initiative that seeks to create an interactive, welcoming, outdoor gathering space for the community in a spot that is currently underutilized—Harvey Pekar Park, at the corner of Coventry Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard.

Led by neighborhood resident Cole Ware, in partnership with the Coventry Village Special Improvement District and the Coventry Neighborhood Group, planning began in fall 2022 and continued through winter 2023.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:35 AM, 04.02.2023

SAG re-forms as independent citizens' group

FutureHeights is honored to announce the formation of the Severance Action Group (SAG) as a newly independent citizens’ activity group dedicated to advocating for the redevelopment of the Severance mall property.  

In January 2020, SAG formed as a subcommittee of the FutureHeights Planning and Development Committee.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:37 AM, 04.02.2023

After 50 years, HCC ends its work

In a March 1 letter, Rev. Eric Dillenbeck, executive director of Heights Community Congress (HCC), announced that the nonprofit organization had closed its doors, effective Feb. 28. The letter stated:

After 50 years of committed service to the Heights Community and [N]ortheast Ohio the Board of the Heights Community Congress (HCC) made the difficult decision to close its doors, effective February 28, 2023.  

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

FutureHeights names Pagsuyoin executive director

After an extensive search process, the FutureHeights Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has named Kristine Pagsuyoin its new executive director.

In assuming the role, on Feb. 6, Pagsuyoin will now manage all day-to-day operations for FutureHeights, leading staff and programming, as well as marketing and fundraising efforts.

Pagsuyoin's leadership and housing background, combined with a passion for community engagement and community building, will further advance the mission of FutureHeights. She brings a breadth of experience to her new leadership role.

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 11:16 AM, 02.28.2023

March 2 forum introduces state legislators

The Heights Coalition for Public Education will host a forum on March 2, at Cleveland Heights High School, to welcome and introduce the newly elected state officials who represent the Heights.

The public officials invited to attend are state Rep. Juanita Brent (District 22), state Rep.  Daniel Troy (District 23), state Sen. Kent Smith (District 23), and state Board of Education (BOE) member Thomas Jackson (District 10).

Presentations will begin at 7:15 p.m., in the Heights High cafeteria. The forum's emphasis will be on public education. Community members attending the event will have the opportunity to ask questions, as will the public officials.

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 9:53 AM, 02.28.2023

2023 Crowdsourced Conversations start with March survey

FutureHeights is at the beginning phases of planning the 2023 edition of Crowdsourced Conversations, a discussion-based forum series that premiered in 2022. It was created in response to feedback that residents wanted more connection and follow up after a community event. Organizers initiated this series to provide Heights residents and stakeholders with a space in which to have action-oriented discussions about communitywide topics.

Participants and organizers alike enthusiastically agreed that Crowdsourced Conversations should continue in 2023, so FutureHeights asked for suggestions for topics.

Nearly 50 ideas emerged, and a Heightswide survey narrowed it down to the top four: Perceptions vs. Reality of our Schools; Re-Thinking the Roads as Community Space, Not Just for Cars; Rental Properties and Absent/Negligent Landlords; and Planning and Development in the Heights.

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 10:18 AM, 02.28.2023

Request a free tree for spring planting

Heights Tree People is beginning its fifth year as a volunteer organization, working to rebuild the tree canopy in Cleveland Heights and University Heights by planting trees in people’s front yards, free of charge.

The group is currently accepting tree requests for spring planting of trees, which runs April through May.

Requesting a tree now enables them to conduct a site visit prior to planting season, to find the right location and tree for a specific front yard.

Arborist and Heights Tree People founding member Laura Marks sums up the extensive benefits of trees, saying, simply, “People are happier and healthier when they live with trees. Trees civilize us. They clean our environment.”

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 11:19 AM, 02.21.2023

Apply by March 15 for a FH mini-grant

FutureHeights is now accepting applications for its spring 2023 Neighborhoods Mini-Grants program. Applications are due March 15.

Now in its eighth year, the program offers awards of up to $1,000 for community-building projects, programs, and initiatives at the neighborhood level, in Cleveland Heights or University Heights.

Applicants are not required to have 501(c)3 nonprofit standing to be considered. FutureHeights designed the program to enable neighborhood and grassroots-level groups to have access to funding that, without the nonprofit designation, otherwise can be challenging to acquire. 

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Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 10:50 AM, 01.31.2023

Police academy scholarships are new focus of West memorial fund

The Officer Jason D. West Memorial Fund (OJWMF) has a new focus: The nonprofit organization will provide tuition reimbursement scholarships to selected graduates of the Martin G. Lentz Cleveland Heights Police Academy.

The academy was closed for two years during the pandemic, and will reopen in 2023. Citizens 21 years of age and older can apply for the academy's January or July six-month session.

Tuition for the academy is $5,000. The OJWMF will select a limited number of academy graduates to receive a partial tuition reimbursement after each of the 2023 sessions.

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Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 10:41 AM, 01.02.2023

String light collection drive will benefit Cleveland Zoo

Last year, the Heights community recycled 1,200 lbs. of string lights and cords, benefiting the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Lights for Lions program. 

This year, the Cleveland Heights Green Team is again partnering with other community organizations—the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes, the Millikin Neighborhood Group, and Heights Libraries—to collect broken, non-working, and used strings of lights and extension cords for recycling.

The recycling drive begins Dec. 13 and runs through Jan. 31.

Drop off bins are located at the Nature Center; the Lee Road Library; and in the Millikin neighborhood, at 1541 Maple Road. (Please don't include any bags or other packaging when dropping the lights and cords in the bins.)

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Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 10:49 AM, 12.13.2022

LEI offers creative December programs

December is full of opportunities for kids of all ages to create. at Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth (LEI).

Up first is Paper Making on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 4–5:30 p.m., followed by Lantern Making as part of the Coventry PEACE Campus Lantern Festival on Saturday, Dec. 10.

 A Puppets and Poems program will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 4–5:30 p.m.

And, during winter break, students in grades two through five can participate in Creative Play Day sessions filled with hot cocoa, creative activities, and craft making Dec. 28 through Jan. 4, from 9:30 a.m. till noon.

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Volume 15, Issue 12, Posted 2:08 PM, 11.30.2022

Cleveland Potters' Co-op hosts holiday sale

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Cleveland Potters' Co-op is again hosting a holiday pottery sale this December.

The sale, featuring ceramic art and objects made by co-op members—mugs, bowls, planters and more—will take place on Friday, Dec, 2, 7–9 p.m.; and on Dec. 3 and 4, and Dec. 10 and 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The potters invite the public to their studio during sale hours, to partake of light refreshments while shopping for holiday gifts. Visitors will also have an opportunity to meet co-op artists and learn about the classes they teach.

The Cleveland Potters' Co-op is a group of area potters who share the expenses of operating a ceramics studio and offer classes for the community.

The co-op is located at 3175 Kensington Ave. in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 15, Issue 12, Posted 8:54 AM, 11.29.2022

Apply now for 2023 Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series

FutureHeights is accepting applications for its 2023 Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series (NLWS). The program teaches strengths-based community-building skills in a cohort model that allows participants to connect with other engaged residents and stakeholders in Cleveland Heights.

The majority of program graduates go on to serve in leadership capacities in their neighborhood groups and other organizations across the city.

The deadline to apply for the 2023 cohort is Jan. 13. (The 2022 cohort filled up ahead of the application deadline, so don’t delay in applying, if you are interested.)

The workshops will take place on Sundays, Jan. 22, Feb. 5, Feb. 26, March 12, and March 26, 3–6 p.m. at Coventry PEACE Campus. Participants are expected to commit to all five sessions, both to get the most out of the program, and to build a strong cohort with their fellow participants.

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Volume 15, Issue 12, Posted 1:35 PM, 11.15.2022

FH rehabs 22 homes in three-plus years

“I was looking for a move-in-ready house on a quiet tree-lined street located close to my medical school job in University Circle,” said first-time homeowner Thomas Radford, who previously lived in Solon and Bainbridge. “This house checked all the boxes for me.”

Radford's house, on Elbon Road in Cleveland Heights' Noble neighborhood, is one of 22 vacant and foreclosed homes rehabilitated so far through work led by FutureHeights, the city's community development corporation (CDC). Each had fallen into disrepair, and some were facing possible demolition.

Until this year, FutureHeights sold each vacant house, prior to renovation, to a developer who then carried out the work and re-sold the renovated house to an owner-occupant. (One such renovation project was completed in May, just two doors down from Radford's home, in keeping with FutureHeights’ targeted approach to neighborhood investment and redevelopment.)

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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 9:41 AM, 11.01.2022

LEI cookbook stirs up community connections

Food and cooking bring people together, linking families and communities. They are an integral part of the stories we tell, and how we connect to others. In the spirit of such connections, Lake Erie Ink (LEI) has launched a Creative Community cookbook project that aims to bring people together through shared recipes and stories.

The cookbook is the latest iteration of an ongoing project that LEI launched in 2020—the Creative Community Challenge.

Originally conceived as a way to bridge social isolation during the quarantine, each challenge is open to all ages and all types of writing and art.

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 10:40 AM, 10.01.2022

Request a tree for fall planting

Heights Tree People, a volunteer organization working to rebuild the tree canopy in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, encourages residents to make requests for fall trees now. With its cool, moist weather, fall is a perfect time of year to plant trees. Fall tree-planting runs from the end of September through Thanksgiving, and Heights Tree People will plant trees for free in the front yards of homes in both cities.

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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 3:27 PM, 09.01.2022

Officer Jason D. West scholarship fund restructures

The Officer Jason D. West Scholarship Fund was established by residents, business owners and Cleveland Heights police officers to honor the service and memory of Officer Jason D. West. He was a member of the Cleveland Heights Police Department who was killed in the line of duty in 2007.

The goal of the scholarship fund has been to encourage young men and women to consider a career in law enforcement, and to strengthen the relationship between young people and the police.

At its inception, the organization's committee awarded scholarships to Heights High seniors who had completed the two-year Criminal Justice Career Tech Program and were interested in pursuing additional education in criminal justice. In 2021, however, the school district discontinued the program. As a result, the scholarship committee is reevaluating its work.

One of the first things that the committee did in the restructuring process was to acquire tax-exempt designation from the state of Ohio and 501(c)3 status from the IRS. The organization is now The Officer Jason D. West Memorial Fund with its own board of directors. This step made the organization entirely separate from the school district.

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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 3:24 PM, 09.01.2022

FutureHeights celebrates 20 years on Aug. 20

FutureHeights will celebrate 20 years of service to the Heights community at its 2022 benefit party, "Swinging at the Rockefeller," on Aug. 20, 6–9:30 p.m.

The event will take place at the Heights Rockefeller Building, 3099 Mayfield Road, and its Proximity Golf Lounge. Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy music and dancing in the building's outdoor garden and courtyard, and partake of appetizers, desserts and drinks from some of the Heights' finest culinary establishments. Proximity Golf's simulators will also be available to guests, enabling them to tee off, albeit virtually, at championship golf courses.

To purchase tickets to the Aug. 20 benefit, and for additional information, visit

“We are proud of all that FutureHeights has done to strengthen the Cleveland Heights and University Heights communities,’’ said FutureHeights Board President Julie Sabroff, “and we look forward to even greater accomplishments in the coming years.”

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 11:03 AM, 07.29.2022

CH's Heyer is a 65-year OSU ticket-holder

Friends of Cain Park Board Member Judy Heyer is serious about Ohio State (OSU) football. She's so serious that she told her students during her 32 years on the faculty of Cleveland State University that they could call her anytime day or night, unless it was during an OSU game; that would mean instantly failing the class.

“I encouraged all my students to call me, up to midnight, but game day was non-negotiable,” said 88-year-old Heyer.

Not only were her students warned, one football Saturday a friend needed to tell her something important. “She knew better than to call me during a game, so she sent me a telegram,” laughed Heyer.

OSU football fever started for Heyer 65 years ago, when she was an undergraduate at The Ohio State University.
“For four years I loved every minute of my time there," recalled Heyer, "but most of all football Saturdays. You couldn’t help getting caught up in the hysteria. When I graduated my father said that I should get alumni tickets so he could use them for business."

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:51 AM, 07.29.2022

Aug. 31 Crowdsourced Conversation tackles community safety

Crowdsourced Conversations continues on Wednesday, Aug. 31, 6–7:30 p.m., with the third in a series of four discussion-based forums. The focus for the Aug. 31 session will be community safety.

Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents are invited to attend the in-person event at Denison Park’s picnic pavilion (1015 Quarry Drive).  

The conversation series utilizes responses from Heights-wide surveys on the discussion topics to inform the small group conversations. Crowdsourcing in this way enables a wide spectrum of perspectives to be considered during each forum.

While traditionally forums feature a panel discussion that allows for audience questions, the organizers of this series wanted to give Heights residents a chance to learn from one another and community-build while focusing on what is actionable by everyday citizens.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:40 AM, 07.29.2022

Green Team hosts speaker series on community climate action

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) believes that individuals and local governments have a responsibility to address climate change by developing and implementing a plan tailored to the specific needs of their communities.

At a May 28 brainstorming event on climate action, hosted by the Cleveland Heights Green Team, Heights residents concluded that the path to a climate-resilient community starts with the identification of a common set of data points and language as the foundation for any potential course of action.

According to Cleveland Heights resident Andrew Linebarger, “The most important outcome of the brainstorming session was highlighting the need for a more inclusive approach to determining what matters most to our community in the face of climate impact.”

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:12 AM, 07.29.2022