Non-profit & Groups

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.

Read Full Story
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.

Read Full Story
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.

Read Full Story
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.)

Read Full Story
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.

Read Full Story
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.

Read Full Story
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.

Read Full Story
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 www.futureheights.org

“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.”

Read Full Story
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."

Read Full Story
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.

Read Full Story
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.”

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:12 AM, 07.29.2022

June 28 conversation will explore housing and neighborhoods

Crowdsourced Conversations is gearing up for its next discussion-based forum, which will focus on housing and neighborhood preservation. Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents are invited to attend this free community event on Tuesday, June 28, 7–8:30 p.m., at Forest Hill Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd.

This forum series utilizes responses from Heightswide surveys on the various discussion topics to inform the small-group conversations. This type of crowdsourcing introduces a wide spectrum of perspectives into each forum.

While many traditional 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 build community, while focusing on what is actionable by participants and other residents.  

The first session in the conversation series, in which participants discussed sustainability and earth-friendly practices, took place on April 27. The June 28 event is the second of four; the next two Crowdsourced Conversation forums will explore community safety and civic engagement.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 05.27.2022

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to 10 community projects

The spring 2022 round of funding for the FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant program received a record 21 applications, and has awarded a total of $6,950 to 10 community projects. The mini-grants are 100-percent funded by private donations.

This community-building initiative awards up to $1,000 for neighborhood-level projects in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. (The 21 applicants for spring 2022 all were from Cleveland Heights.)

Lantern Festival, coordinated by artists at Coventry PEACE Campus, received $1,000 to host the second in what is planned as an annual family event.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:35 AM, 04.29.2022

Heights Heritage tour returns as HCC marks 50 years

After three years of disruptions, Heights Community Congress (HCC) will again host its Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour in 2022, on Sunday, Sept. 18, from noon to 6 p.m. For more than 40 years HCC has featured 354 homes, along with several historic churches and local city landmarks, welcoming thousands of visitors from all over Northeast Ohio and beyond.

The popular weekend tour was abruptly cancelled in 2019 due to the major microburst storm that tore through parts of Cleveland Heights. That storm knocked out power for days, and damaged hundreds of trees and numerous properties, including three homes and two churches on the tour.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:36 PM, 05.01.2022

Plant sale debuts as part of We Are Noble

We Are Noble, an annual celebration of the people and places in the Noble Road neighborhoods of Cleveland Heights, will kick off on Friday, May 20, and run through May 22. To see the full schedule of events, and learn how to participate, visit www.nobleneighbors.com.

All residents of the area are welcome to host a yard sale at their residence. Businesses and institutions are also invited to participate, to showcase their products, services and missions to the Noble community by offering special sales, giveaways, food or performances. Real estate agents will hold open houses for residents and visitors to tour.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:39 AM, 04.29.2022

Heights volunteers support food pantry and clothing bank

Community members were recognized in April, National Volunteer Month, for their work at the Father Michael Wittman Ozanam Center (FMWOC), a food pantry and clothing bank located in East Cleveland that serves surrounding communities, including Cleveland Heights.

FMWOC volunteers represent 14 different churches, including Communion of Saints Parish and Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights. Weekly operations are conducted by the all-volunteer staff

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the dedicated volunteers who donate their time, services, and resources, FMWOC is able to provide assistance to those in need.

Church of the Saviour volunteer Pete Evangelista works with incarcerated individuals at Trumbull Correctional Institution, through Kairos Prison Ministry, where they knit hats on looms, then donate the hats to the clothing bank.

 

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:29 PM, 05.01.2022

Green Team and MedWish collect supplies for Ukraine

When the Cleveland Heights Green Team agreed to partner with MedWish International a couple of months ago, the war in Ukraine seemed almost implausible.

"We had been wanting to do a collection drive to provide a second life to discarded medical supplies and equipment as a means to repurpose rather than waste," said Alex Sitarik, co-founder of the grassroots environmental group.

The collection had been scheduled to take place in April as part of Earth Month in the Heights.

"The drive was intended to emphasize recycling, reusing, repurposing alternatives as a mechanism to divert waste from the landfill. But sadly, that war has occurred, and instead we will be collecting supplies to distribute to relief organizations,” Sitarik explained.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 9:28 AM, 03.29.2022

Coventry PEACE brings back chili cook-off

Coventry PEACE Campus will host its third-annual chili cook-off on Sunday, March 20, 4–7 p.m., at the Coventry PEACE Building, 2843 Washington Blvd.

Tickets are $5 per person (or $20 per family) and include chili tastings, fixings, sides, water, and one vote for "favorite chili." Families will receive three votes for their entrance fee. Attendees who wish to vote for more than one chili can purchase extra votes for $5 each, or six for $20. Desserts and beverages will be available for purchase. This year’s event will also feature family games and live music.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 10:59 AM, 03.08.2022

FutureHomes program brings vacant houses back to life

In 2019, FutureHeights, in partnership with the city of Cleveland Heights and the Cuyahoga County Land Bank, initiated FutureHomes, a housing rehabilitation program focused on bringing vacant homes in Cleveland Heights back to productive use; and improving the economic, social, and environmental conditions in their respective neighborhoods. 

Since its inception, and despite the challenges created by the pandemic, FutureHomes so far has managed the rehab of 20 properties.

“Homes have luckily sold quickly, but we haven’t been able to showcase the good work through open houses because of COVID restrictions,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “We’re looking forward to that changing.”

The program originally focused on the "center city" area, comprising the block surrounding Heights High, in order to leverage the public investment in the school’s renovation.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 2:17 PM, 02.28.2022

Green Team seeks ideas for Earth Month events

“Earth Month in the Heights” is a collaborative effort led by the Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) in partnership with Heights Libraries to affirm that all have the responsibility and power to protect the environment, live healthier lives, and create an equitable, prosperous green economy for all.

CHGT is issuing an open call—a “community crowdsourcing” initiative—to Heights residents, businesses, schools, and government entities, inviting them to organize and participate in Earth Month events, aimed to engage, inform, and inspire transformational community action. CHGT seeks to generate ideas and organize activities that promote environmental awareness and remind us that we can be advocates for the planet in our everyday lives.

The registration deadline is Sunday, March 13.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.28.2022

Simna to lead 2022 Heights Music Hop team

FutureHeights has announced the selection of a new manager for its 2022 Heights Music Hop festival. Eric Simna, principal of A440 Sound, will lead this year’s planning committee.

As the primary sound provider for the festival over the last six years, Simna brings an intimate knowledge of the event to the position. “Whether it comes to connecting with business owners, making sure performers are comfortable, or ensuring that the patron experience is top-notch, Eric has had a hand in every aspect of the festival,” said FutureHeights Executive Director Deanna Bremer Fisher. “His passion and dedication were evident as he worked to help put together the best festival possible during the COVID-19 pandemic last year.”

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 10:46 AM, 03.01.2022

Heights string-light recycling benefits zoo

From Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, Heights residents were invited to recycle damaged holiday string lights and extension cords to benefit the Cleveland Zoo’s Lights for Lions conservation program.

“Our residents' response was extraordinary,” said Joe Kickel, Cleveland Heights’ assistant public works director. “We collected close to 1,200 pounds of lights, far exceeding any expectations.”

The Cleveland Heights Green Team organized the collection drive in partnership with Heights Libraries and the Cleveland Heights Department of Public Works. Collection boxes were placed at all four libraries in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, and at the Cleveland Heights Service Center on Superior Road.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 11:20 AM, 02.28.2022

Friends of Heights Parks plans Lower Lake walk

The newly formed Friends of Heights Parks (FHP) invites all to discover more about our parks by joining a Walk in the Park at Shaker Lakes’ Lower Lake, on Jan. 22.

Walkers will hit the trail at 11 a.m., meeting at the parking lot on South Park Boulevard near Leighton Road in Shaker Heights. The walk is a little more than a mile around the lake, with options for rugged or level terrain.

FHP is hosting walks to showcase each unique park in Cleveland Heights, and inspire fellow park lovers to join together to support programs, improve habitat, and shepherd this historic park system into a healthy, sustainable future for the whole community.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:21 AM, 01.03.2022

Applications open for spring Neighborhood Leadership series

On the heels of the fall 2021 round of the FutureHeights Neighborhood Leadership Workshop Series, the program returns to its regularly scheduled spot on the spring calendar. 

This program is ideal for any Cleveland Heights resident who is looking for a way to get more involved in the community, or who has an idea for a neighborhood-based project and is seeking to build skills to help bring an idea to life.  

Workshop participants explore topics that include individual leadership, strengths-based approaches to community-based work, and how to gather information about a neighborhood to better understand its history. They also learn how to access data and craft narratives to enable them to find funding, to help make their dream neighborhood projects come to life.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:51 AM, 01.01.2022

Legal Aid award honors CH resident Bailes

The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland awarded Ashley Bailes, a Cleveland Heights resident, its 2021 Access to Justice Award.

The award was presented at the society’s livestreamed annual meeting, on Dec. 9. It is bestowed annually to recognize significant contributions to advancing the mission of the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland through pro bono commitment.

Bailes is an associate in the lltigation group at Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, where she focuses on complex civil litigation in state and federal courts. She felt compelled to begin volunteering with The Legal Aid Society during the pandemic, when she recognized that people with low incomes were losing their homes and struggling disproportionately.

Read Full Story
Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 11:27 AM, 01.03.2022

Coventry PEACE Lantern Festival is Dec 11

The public is invited to attend the Coventry PEACE Campus Lantern Festival, a celebration of light, on Saturday, Dec. 11.

The festival will begin with a lantern-making workshop, 2:30–4:30 p.m., at Coventry PEACE Campus, 2843 Washington Blvd. Artful artist Jacqui Brown (Studio Cat) and Art Acts artist Tanya Gonzalez will guide participants of all ages in the creation of their own lanterns. In addition, Lake Erie Ink will host a workshop for writing solstice-themed stories and winter-themed haiku.

At 5 p.m., workshop participants can share their creations with the community during a Lantern Procession that will step off from the building’s front entrance and wind its way through Coventry PEACE Park and the Coventry Village Business District.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:14 PM, 12.01.2021

Heights scouts look back on unforgettable adventure

This past summer, eight boys and four adults from Boy Scout Troop 22, based at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, finally had the adventure of a lifetime, backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, N.M. “Finally” because previous attempts had been canceled—by a massive fire in 2018, and by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. These were the only two canceled seasons in Philmont’s long history of hosting scouts.

Philmont Scout Ranch (www.philmontscoutranch.org/) is the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) largest National High Adventure Base, covering 140,177 acres of rugged mountain wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains, in northeastern New Mexico. The scout ranch operates 35 staffed camps and 55 trail camps across rugged terrain that ranges in elevation from 6,500 to 12,441 feet. More than one million scouts, venturers, and adult advisors have experienced the adventure of Philmont since its first camping season in 1939.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:00 PM, 12.01.2021

FutureHeights hosts virtual celebration of mini-grant awards

On Wednesday, Dec. 8, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., FutureHeights will turn on the applause sign for all of the recipients of its 2021 neighborhood mini-grants. All are welcome to attend this virtual gathering that will offer an overview of the program, explain how to participate, and spotlight the innovative and outstanding projects created and led by Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents over this past year.

Projects supported by the FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grants program include neighborhood gardening and beautification efforts, youth engagement programs, creative placemaking endeavors, and community outreach work. In 2021, it awarded grants to its first University Heights recipients, as the program became available to residents of that city this past year.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 1:13 PM, 11.30.2021

Campaign sign recycling drive runs through Nov. 14

Like many items, campaign signs come with no end-of-life plan. They usually end up in the trash.

In an effort to divert waste from the landfill, and promote reusing, upcycling, and recycling, the Cleveland Heights Green Team, in partnership with Cuyahoga Solid Waste District (CSWD) will be collecting campaign signs Nov. 3–14.

There will be five collection points across the city: Dave's in Cedar-Fairmount, Dave's at Severance, Zagara's Marketplace on Lee Road, Heights Libraries Coventry Village Branch, and Save-A-Lot on Noble Road. A drop box for the signs will be clearly marked and conveniently located at the front of each store.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 10:41 AM, 11.04.2021

Join Friends of Heights Parks for a Nov. 13 walk

If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s to embrace the outdoors. Here in the Heights, we’re surrounded by more than 135 acres of parks, but many don’t take advantage of them. Some community members want to help change that. They believe Heights parks are unique and valuable assets, and they are planting the proverbial seeds. 

Still in its infancy, Friends of Heights Parks (FHP) has many ideas, but first on its agenda is opening up the conversation. (Or as they say these days, “expanding their friend group.”)

FHP comprises volunteers from Forest Hill Park, Friends of Cain Park, and Friends of Lower Lake, and is in the early stages of bringing community together to make every park a destination for residents, and a true reflection of our community. At the forefront is the question: How can we help preserve our parks and natural environment while fostering the values of caring about the earth and each other?

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 11:44 AM, 10.29.2021

HRRC has served homeowners for 50 years

This autumn, the Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) will mark its 50th anniversary.

Formed by a group of socially conscious parishioners at Forest Hill Church, the agency was known as the Forest Hill Church Housing Corporation at its outset.

In those early years, the organization’s members sought to address deteriorating housing stock, income inequalities, and racial inequities by taking on projects such as the original conversion of a double- into a single-family dwelling, and the creation of the still-active Challenge Fund, to provide low-interest loans to Heights residents who typically can’t obtain conventional home repair loans.

Through their work, a diverse mix of thousands of homeowners have utilized HRRC programs over the past half-century.

Today, HRRC continues its commitment to preserving this community’s housing stock, increasing the number of people able to purchase their first homes, providing financial assistance to homeowners needing important repairs, and working to reduce the number of unnecessary foreclosures.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 11:26 AM, 10.29.2021

FutureHeights awards four mini-grants

In October, the FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grants Committee awarded a total of $4,000—$1,000 each—to four community projects.  

Cleveland Heights Green Team received funding for its Green Space Beautification and Sustainability Education project, which includes programming and the distribution of educational materials. The group plans to host a series of community events, and FutureHeights' $1,000 mini-grant will help cover the cost of materials, including art supplies, printing, and community clean-up items.

Fairfax Community Garden received funding to replace deteriorating border boards along the pathway of the garden, which comprises nine individual plots on the grounds of Fairfax Elementary School.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 11:39 AM, 10.29.2021

United Way appoints Surratt community investment chief

August Napoli, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland, announced the appointment of Cleveland Heights resident Kenneth Surratt as vice president of community investment and chief investment officer, effective Oct. 18.

"Ken is an accomplished, forward-thinking and highly respected strategist, and the right leader at the right time to carry forward United Way of Greater Cleveland's important community investment vision,” Napoli said. “Ken's more than 25 years of experience working across government, nonprofit and for-profit organizations to create and execute strategies, programs, and partnerships has proven invaluable in driving meaningful, lasting results across the organizations and communities he has served.”

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 11:03 AM, 10.29.2021

Leadership program applications due Aug. 15

The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP) is a free community-engagement training program. It’s for residents of Cleveland and its inner ring suburbs who are working on projects within the city of Cleveland, and who are determined to make a positive impact on their communities.

NLDP is currently accepting applications, due Aug. 15, for its 2021 program.

NLDP has helped emerging neighborhood leaders reach their potential by expanding their knowledge base and personal development through education, coaching and ongoing interaction with their peers and other leaders. Participants and graduates have ongoing access to the services of a program coach, who will give advice and support tailored to the needs of the participant.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 10:15 AM, 08.03.2021

RoxArts event to benefit the Tamir Rice Foundation

Tamir Rice was one of the community's own—a former fourth-grader at Roxboro Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. In 2014, he was struck down at the young age of 12 by a Cleveland police officer. 

On Saturday, Aug. 21, 7:30–10 p.m., RoxArts will partner with the Tamir Rice Foundation (www.tamirericefoundation.org) and SPACES (www.spacescle.org) to host an art-supply drive at an intimate backyard event in the Ambler Heights neighborhood of Cleveland Heights.

All event proceeds will support the mission of the foundation named in Rice's honor: investing in the growth and enrichment of all children through after-school programs in arts and culture, allowing them to express their truth to improve their lives as they grow into young adults.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:50 AM, 07.30.2021

FH to host community conversations for residents and businesses

FutureHeights will host three free events for the Heights community in July and August.

On July 27, at 6 p.m., FutureHeights will lead an in-person community conversation at Severance Town Center. The event is part of Cleveland Foundation’s Common Ground series, in which community conversations take place at locations throughout Greater Cleveland, on the theme "Growing Common Ground: People, Place, Shared Power."

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:46 PM, 07.01.2021

Forest Hill Church celebrates Juneteenth

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Forest Hill Church Presbyterian has continued to press forward with services, programs and traditions. The church’s food pantry has tripled its service to families in need. Co-pastors John Lentz and Veronica Goines have delivered sermons digitally to the community and beyond, via YouTube, for more than a year.

Now, the church’s Black History Education Committee plans to present the church’s first public event since the pandemic began. Forest Hill Church’s annual Juneteenth celebration has been a widely attended event for the past five years, though it was held digitally in 2020.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:08 AM, 05.27.2021

CH Green Team springs to action

Have you ever wondered if you are recycling correctly? Have you ever felt compelled to learn about, and promote, more environmentally sustainable practices in the Heights, but do not know where to start? You are not alone. The newly formed Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) is a community volunteer organization focused on working with residents and local advocacy groups to identify opportunities and solutions intended to promote healthier and more sustainable environmental practices.

The group’s three founders met while attending a Recycling Ambassador seminar offered by Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District in January. 

“As we introduced ourselves to the class, [I] learned that two other participants were also Cleveland Heights residents. We decided to connect and explore ways to work with Heights residents to help improve recycling practices,” said Natalie Elwell.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:04 AM, 05.27.2021

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to 10 projects

FutureHeights awarded $6,452 in grants to support 10 projects in Cleveland Heights and University Heights in the spring round of its 2021 Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program.

University Heights Symphonic Band received $1,000 for its 50th Anniversary Celebration. The band plans to use grant funds to purchase new music arrangements that highlight various social issues and works by BIPOC and LGBTQ composers. For more information visit www.universityheightsband.org.

Cedar Fairmount Arts received $1,000 to transform two vacant lots on Cedar Road, at South Overlook Road and Delaware Drive, into a park for community use, adding much-needed greenspace to the district.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:43 AM, 04.30.2021

FutureHeights' 2021 annual meeting is June 9

On June 9, FutureHeights will present its 2021 annual meeting on the outdoor patio of Boss Dog Brewing Company, 2179 Lee Road. The program will also be livestreamed for remote viewing.

FutureHeights, a nonprofit community development corporation, strives to engage Heights residents to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

This year’s meeting will focus on the unique neighborhoods in the Heights, and Cleveland Heights' 100-year history. FutureHeights will also report on its activities and accomplishments, as well as its vision for the future.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:57 AM, 04.30.2021

Heights Music Hop will return in 2021, issues call for musicians

After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, the eighth annual Heights Music Hop festival will take place on Saturday, Sept. 18, in the Cedar Lee Business District.

Heights Music Hop showcases local, live musical talent to promote the Heights as home to the arts, while also helping to support the local economy and celebrate the community’s diversity, walkability and great quality of life.

In the past, performances have occurred within local businesses; this year, FutureHeights will present the event on outdoor stages throughout the district, to ensure the safety of participants.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:55 AM, 04.30.2021

Free native trees available on Earth Day

This Earth Day, April 22, The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will offer a limited supply of seedlings of three native tree species. They’ll be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Friends Pavilion, at 2600 South Park Blvd. If seedlings remain at the end of the day, those will be distributed on Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The bare-root 12- to 15-inch seedlings will be accompanied by planting instructions. The three native species are:

Cercis canadensis, redbud, is one of the first spring flowering trees in Northeast Ohio, blooming simultaneously with Cornus florida, white flowering dogwood, creating a pink haze in the landscape.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:30 AM, 04.01.2021

CH celebrates Arbor Day with plantings and cleanup

On April 30 at 10 a.m., Cleveland Heights’ forestry crew will lead an Arbor Day celebration at the city’s new park, at Noble and Roanoke roads. The celebration will mark Cleveland Heights’ 43 years as a Tree City USA.

City foresters will plant two trees on the tree lawn, and Heights Tree People will plant three trees inside the park. Noble Neighbors’ garden patrol will lead spring cleanup work, including weeding, mulching, and planting new native pollinator plants. 

Heights community members are welcome to attend and participate, and are asked to wear a mask and observe 6 feet of social distancing.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:21 AM, 04.01.2021

Park restoration group seeks volunteers

Friends of the Walt is a volunteer organization of University Heights residents who are beautifying and maintaining the Walter Stinson Community Park on Fenwick Road, to benefit people and wildlife. Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan organized a volunteer workday last August, after which several participants decided to form an organization to continue the effort.

Bird and insect populations and diversity have declined over the last century, especially the last 30 years, due to habitat loss and fragmentation (unlinked patches of undeveloped land), climate change, pesticide use, and pollution. Invasive exotic plant species have started to dominate natural parklands here in Northeast Ohio. There is a growing national movement to start restoring communities and yards to ecological health.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:20 AM, 04.01.2021

Mental health seminar open to teens and caregivers

At 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, the Youth Department at First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland will host a special event for parents and students on the increase of mental health issues among young people, and how to recognize signs of opioid and other addictions.

The interactive seminar recognizes the impact of pandemic-related isolation that many teens have experienced this past year. It will provide the opportunity to ask questions, connect with resources, and find out more about mental health issues in young people.

Panelists are LoToya Logan, LISW-S, founder and executive director of Project LIFT Services; and Ayme McCain, LSW, OCPC, associate director of Prevention, Wellness & Community Outreach for Recovery Resources.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:15 AM, 04.01.2021

Reaching Heights announces 30th annual spelling bee

Reaching Heights' Community Spelling Bee is going virtual for the second consecutive year. 

For 30 years, Reaching Heights has presented this competitive event to bring the community together for fun and to raise money in support of excellence in public education. This year, the spelling bee will take place on Wednesday, April 28. 

Teams of competitors from the Cleveland Heights-University Heights community, representing its public schools, local businesses, churches, colleges and universities, and The Cleveland Orchestra, are gearing up to compete for the coveted Big Plastic Bee Trophy. 

Although last year’s event was virtual, more than 400 people watched as the Dewey Decimators—staff members of the CH-UH libraries—captured the prize and maintained their multi-year winning streak.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:07 AM, 03.31.2021

Online neighborhood discussion planned for April 29

FutureHeights, the community’s nonprofit community development corporation, would like to hear from you about how you view your neighborhood. On April 29, at 7 p.m., FutureHeights will host “Shared Space: What Makes a Neighborhood?” via Zoom.

The forum will explore the various neighborhoods in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, what makes them unique, and how residents and neighbors can best help them thrive.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:05 AM, 03.31.2021

Series to explore links between public education and democracy

The public is invited to attend a virtual, three-part series about School House Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy, to be held on Zoom on March 10, March 24 and April 7, 7–8:30 p.m. Author Derek Black, professor of constitutional law at the University of South Carolina, will kick off the March 10 meeting.

School House Burning documents how public education at public expense became embedded in every state constitution because an educated citizenry is essential to a successful democracy. 

This historic journey that made "education the state's absolute and foremost duty," began with the Northwest Ordinance of 1785 and 1787. The critical role of public education was confirmed during Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 3:52 PM, 02.25.2021

School district employees start bike donation program

Between June and October of last year, Stephen Walker and Jerod Johnson gave away more than 100 bicycles to children who needed them; most lived in Cleveland Heights. The experience was so heartwarming, they want to keep it going.

It all started at the end of 2019 when Walker learned from a friend, Bill Pavilonis, that the Brecksville United Methodist Church had about 40 hand-me-down bicycles—largely kid-sized—that the church wanted to donate to children who didn’t have bicycles.

Walker has jobs with both the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district and the city of Cleveland Heights Recreation Department. He sees bicycles as a way to get children away from watching TV and into exercise, through an outdoor activity that sets them on the path to health and wellness. His jobs enabled him to identify children who would benefit from a bicycle giveaway, and to find people and resources to help.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 3:51 PM, 02.25.2021

Environmental series aims to educate and inspire

Beginning March 2, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and The Doan Brook Watershed Partnership will present a series of six free, live Zoom presentations designed to inspire the community to enrich habitat with native plant species. Register online at http://bit.ly/3cMa5gZ.

Both nonprofit organizations work in the Doan Brook watershed that drains into the Great Lakes—the largest freshwater system in the world—via Lake Erie. As caretakers of this ribbon of water that runs through the Heights communities, they work against the invasion of plant species introduced from other continents that escape garden cultivation.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 7:57 AM, 02.23.2021

FutureHeights expands Neighborhood Mini-Grants program to UH

The FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grants program is now available for projects in both Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

“We are excited to be able to support the grassroots work of our neighbors in University Heights,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “We support one another in many ways already, and share a school and library system. This is another opportunity to strengthen our interconnected communities.”

To date, the Neighborhood Mini-Grants program has provided a total of $30,386 to 47 projects in Cleveland Heights. Funded projects range from gardening and beautification, to community and social services.

“Projects are driven by residents and neighborhood groups who know their neighborhoods' needs and assets intimately,” said Fisher. “In 2021, we’d love to support more projects led by new voices, such as teens, young adults and those under 35.”

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 12:29 PM, 01.29.2021

Noble Neighbors reflects on a year of COVID creativity

Noble Neighbors responded to adversity with creativity in 2020. While COVID-19 necessitated restricted gatherings, it exposed overwhelming generosity.

Springtime planning for the annual "We Are Noble" festival was suspended with the Ohio stay-at-home orders. In those early days of the pandemic, restriction horizons were discussed as weeks or perhaps a month of inconvenience. When it became clear that Ohio might not open back up until the summer (so naive in hindsight), Noble Neighbors pivoted toward a creative approach for its annual neighborhood celebration.

Noting that the festival has two main goals—to enjoy one another as neighbors and to invite others to enjoy the Noble community—the celebration launched into COVID-safe expression along four themes: show, support, serve and savor. Neighbors showed they cared by decorating their front doors, storefronts and yards with signs of encouragement, congratulations for graduates, flags and holiday lighting.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 12:10 PM, 01.29.2021

Church members provide diapers to those in need

When families struggle financially and seek assistance obtaining essential items, community resources are generally available for free food and clothing. Diapers, however, are in constant demand, but often not offered through local pantries because they are expensive and “non-essential” in limited food budgets. Families with babies and toddlers are left with the significant challenge of obtaining this basic item.

Thanks to donations from the Metropolitan Ministry fund at Cleveland Heights’ Church of the Saviour UMC, the congregation has been meeting the demand for diapers for the past several years, distributing them at the Father Michael Wittman Ozanam Center, an East Cleveland food pantry and clothing bank serving Cleveland’s East Side.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 11:44 AM, 01.28.2021

Community groups plan elected-mayor public forum

FutureHeights, the community development corporation for Cleveland Heights, and Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM), the grassroots group that advocated for passage of Issue 26 in fall 2019, are co-sponsoring a public forum to help prepare voters to directly elect a mayor, for the first time, in 2021.

“Electing Our First Mayor: Moving Cleveland Heights Forward” will take place via Zoom, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., on Wednesday, Feb. 3.  

In preparation for the forum, the groups are asking citizens to complete an online survey to help identify the top issues that a new mayor will need to address in order to move Cleveland Heights forward. Visit https://conta.cc/2LSDmv3 to participate.

Read Full Story
Volume 14, Issue 1, Posted 11:08 AM, 01.01.2021

Heights Bicycle Coalition joins Bike Cleveland

Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) signed an agreement with Bike Cleveland to become a local chapter of that organization. The process started in February 2020, and the document was signed in August. HBC sees the partnership as one that will increase its capacity to advocate for bicycling safety and infrastructure, and streamline membership benefits for residents of Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Shaker Heights and South Euclid.

The chapter will be organized around four committees focused on advocacy, communications, events and rides. Heights community members are welcome to join any of these committees to contribute to these efforts. 

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 12, Posted 11:30 AM, 12.02.2020

'Friends' volunteer to maintain and restore natural habitats

The world locked down last spring. People could not gather, travel, sit in a coffee shop with friends, shop, hug, kiss a cheek, or breathe on each other. As guidance became clearer on how the coronavirus spread, the outdoors became a refuge. Outside, people could satisfy the need to be social without being physically close. People could share experiences, breathe fresh air and walk briskly.

Some noticed that, while they’ve spent much of their lives indoors, the outdoor world of plants, water, birds, insects and animals had been neglected. One retiree, Don Vicarel of University Heights, walked with his wife, JoAnn, as she recuperated from knee surgery. He posted a cranky note on Nextdoor: “If the city can cite us for unsightly lawns, can we cite the city for the unsightly Bradford path that runs from Canterbury to Taylor?” The octogenarian said he was feeling particularly irritable because pandemic isolation prevented him from volunteering in the nearby public school.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 12, Posted 8:46 AM, 12.01.2020

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. reaches agreement with Heights Libraries

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus (CPC) has reached an agreement with Heights Libraries on a 15-month lease of the former Coventry school building, which has been home to arts and community-service nonprofits for more than a decade. This agreement includes a path toward a 99-year lease, and allows CPC to sublet spaces to other nonprofits and build on its mission—to create a robust arts and culture center by supporting tenants through affordable rent and special programming.

An independent organization, CPC represents the building’s current tenants: Ensemble TheatreARTFULLake Erie InkFutureHeightsReaching HeightsCleveland Heights Teachers Union and Cleveland Arts Prize-winning artist Robin VanLear

Community residents founded Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Inc. in the 1990s, to build and maintain the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Playground. In 2017, the organization expanded its mission to pursue the vision of an integrated campus where everyone can “create, show, learn and grow.”

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 9:50 AM, 10.27.2020

FutureHeights awards small grants to five CH groups

FutureHeights, the community development corporation for Cleveland Heights, awarded a total of $2,825 in small grants to five groups through its semi-annual Neighborhood Mini-Grants program this fall.

“We are excited to help fund these projects that will have a positive impact on several Cleveland Heights neighborhoods,” said FutureHeights Executive Director Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Since the program’s inception in 2015, FutureHeights has awarded $30,386 to 47 groups based in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 6:24 PM, 11.01.2020

Lake Erie Ink embarks on its 10th year

Lake Erie Ink: A Writing Space for Youth (LEI) is beginning its 10th year. The Cleveland Heights nonprofit provides creative-expression opportunities and academic support for kids and teens, through community after-school programs, writing workshops, and other creative undertakings.

LEI offers a range of writing workshops for Greater Cleveland youths. This year, because of the pandemic, LEI has moved its workshops and events online. 

Its popular "Stories of Suspense" workshop will be presented via Zoom this year on Saturday, Oct. 24, 10:30 a.m. to noon. One of Cleveland’s own mystery-thriller writers, D.M. Pulley, will lead it.

Read Full Story
Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 3:25 PM, 10.23.2020