Non-profit & Groups

Russell and Costello to host Legal Aid advice clinic June 29

In a press release, Cleveland Heights City Council Vice President Davida Russell announced that she and Judge J.J. Costello will collaborate with the Legal Aid Society (LAS) of Cleveland to host a LAS Brief advice clinic on June 29, as part of the Russell’s ongoing Tenant Landlord Series. The event aims to offer tailored legal guidance and support to individuals facing civil legal issues.
The clinic will take place on Saturday, June 29, 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the newly reopened Heights Libraries Noble Neighborhood Branch.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:55 AM, 05.29.2024

It’s bicycling season in the Heights

Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) and its community partners hosted and supported several events during National Bike Month in May, including Bike to Work Day fueling stations, the annual Ride of Silence, community forums, bike and pedestrian counts, and community rides. The city of Cleveland Heights issued a resolution declaring May as Mary Dunbar Bike Month.

With warmer weather and longer days, June is an excellent time to build on that momentum. HBC is hosting and supporting several events this month, and invites everyone to come out to ride.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 9:15 AM, 05.29.2024

Hawthorne retires from Reaching Heights

After 18 years at Reaching Heights, and the last 10 as its executive director, Krista Hawthorne has embarked on her well-deserved retirement.

“Krista has led Reaching Heights with a clear and intuitive understanding of our role in our community and alongside our public schools," remarked Board President Josie Moore. “She brought a steady hand, kind heart, and thoughtful perspective to every service performed, relationship nurtured, and connection forged.”

“Krista is a champion for our schools, students and families,” said CH-UH school district Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 10:18 AM, 05.29.2024

Reaching Heights names Penick new director

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

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

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

Register now for summer music camp

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

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

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

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

Officer West memorial fundraiser set for May 19

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

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

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

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

Gather Well seeks to connect CH

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

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

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

Rehabbing vacant homes is a FutureHeights priority

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

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

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

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

Heights Tree People receives $18,000 grant

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

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

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

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

Forest Hill Church celebrates America's indigenous peoples

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

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

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

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

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

Register this month for May 5 compost seminar

Mark your calendars for International Compost Awareness Week, taking place May 5–11. 

University Heights will take part in this global effort, kicking off the week with a free Backyard Composting 101 seminar on May 5, 1:30 p.m., at the University Heights Branch Library. Registration begins on April 23, at

Carin Miller, education specialist for the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, will present the one-hour seminar. "This program will provide you the information and basic tools you'll need to start a simple, hands-off backyard composting system,” said Miller.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 9:55 AM, 03.28.2024

'Match Madness' tips off for Coventry PEACE Park

The Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL) has launched a “Match Madness” campaign to help pay for the basketball half-court in the new Coventry PEACE Park.

An anonymous donor will match up to $25,000 in donations received by FFHL between March 17 and April 8, coinciding with the men’s NCAA basketball tournament (aka "March Madness"). 

The half-court will feature a graphic representation of Dugway Brook, which flows beneath the playground, a basketball hoop, and a concrete retaining wall that can be used for developing other ball skills.

On March 27, Cilantro Taqueria in Coventry Village (at 2783 Euclid Heights Blvd.) will support FFHL’s Match Madness campaign by donating 20% of receipts from customers who mention “Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries” when ordering. These funds also will be matched by the donor.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 6:15 PM, 03.17.2024

Add your Earth Month event to CHGT's calendar

Are you planning a “green” event in April in the Heights? If you are, or if you know of one, tell the Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT).

CHGT is compiling an Earth Month in the Heights Events Calendar. The purpose of this crowdsourced initiative is to inspire action and to remind everyone that every effort on behalf of the environment counts.

Submit information about an event here. CHGT will add it to the calendar and share it with the community, inviting everyone to participate.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:04 AM, 03.09.2024

Crowdsourced Conversations launches car-less-living survey

The survey for 2024’s first Crowdsourced Conversations topic, Living Less Car-Centric in the Heights, launches March 1 and will remain live through March 31. The survey, and additional information, can be found at

Crowdsourced Conversations is a forum series hosted by FutureHeights with the support of partner organizations Home Repair Resource Center, Cleveland Heights Green Team, Heights Libraries, and Heights Biking Coalition, as well as many volunteers from across the community.

A community-building initiative, the series invites all Heights residents to the table to share their experiences, with the aim of finding ways to take meaningful action and supporting the ongoing work in our neighborhoods and across Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 3:05 PM, 02.28.2024

LWV presents Feb. 19 program on 'Preserving Democracy'

On Presidents Day, Feb. 19, 6:30–8:30 p.m., the CH-UH Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, in partnership with Heights Libraries, will present “A Citizen’s Guide to Preserving Democracy.”

Comprising a documentary video and subsequent discussion, the event will be held at the Lee Road Library, in meeting rooms A and B. 

The video presents an interview/discussion between politician and author Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and PBS correspondent Hari Sreenivasan.

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 10:16 AM, 02.12.2024

Heightswide vote selects 2024 Crowdsourced Conversations

The residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights voted, Dec. 1 through Jan. 5, to determine four topics for the 2024 Crowdsourced Conversations forum series. From a list of more than 30 community-suggested possibilities, the top four vote-getters were: 

  • Looking at Severance Town Center as a Case Study: How Can Heights Residents Become Meaningfully Involved
  • Turning the Noble Neighborhood & Business District Into a Destination
  • Our Public Parks
  • Active Transportation Planning: Living Less Car-Centric in the Heights

Voting on the 2024 topics saw an increase of 229% over the previous year.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 5:08 PM, 01.30.2024

Forest Hill Church celebrates Black history and culture

Black History Month is an annual celebration of Black culture which aims to eradicate discrimination and encourage racial equality. Again this year, as it has done for the past 13 years, Forest Hill Church (FHC) proudly presents a full month of Black History Celebration events.

This year’s theme is “Black Women: Crowned with Glory.” This year, FHC’s Black History Education Committee has chosen to recognize 10 exceptional Black womxn who exemplify the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness/generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

All events are free and open to the public—though some events offer sweets and treats for sale. 

Feb. 4: Family Fun Movie Night, 4–6 p.m. Join FHC for a free screening of “The Little Mermaid” (PG). Bring the whole family to enjoy this modern take on a childhood classic. Grab some popcorn and Kool-Aid for just a buck.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 5:05 PM, 01.30.2024

Help elevate the Heights—join the FH board

Are you filled with ideas and energy for improving our community? Can you give your time and talent to make the Heights an even better place in which to live?

FutureHeights (FH) is seeking candidates for its board of directors, to fill seats as current members’ terms expire. New board members will serve a three-year term. Applicants should be members of the Cleveland Heights or University Heights communities. Applicants should have a vested interest in the organization and the communities it serves, and have the time and talent to donate to the success of the organization and its programming.

Applications can be found at, and are due by Feb. 29. Interviews will be conducted shortly thereafter.

About FutureHeights

FH is a nonprofit community development corporation whose mission is to facilitate an equitable, prosperous, and vibrant future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 1:11 PM, 01.30.2024

Celebrate 2023 mini-grants on Feb. 6

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant program administered by FutureHeights had its biggest year ever in 2023, awarding 21 projects a total of $15,392.

All community members are invited to a celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 6, 6–7:30 p.m., where award recipients will talk about their impactful community-building efforts and initiatives in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. The event will be hosted virtually via Zoom. 

To register, visit the FutureHeights website,

The Neighborhood Mini-Grant Program offers up to $1,000 in funding for neighborhood-level projects.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 12:55 PM, 01.30.2024

Friends of Cain Park seeks new board members

Friends of Cain Park (FCP), an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that supports Cain Park by raising funds and awareness, is seeking new members to join its board of directors. Applications will be accepted until Feb. 28.

Since 1991, the Friends have provided more than $200,000 to help fund Cain Park’s programming, and promote and preserve the park as an historical, artistic and educational resource for Northeast Ohio. FCP funds live music and other performances, art festival awards, stipends for non-union actors, and park beautification projects.

Community members interested in furthering FCP’s mission are invited to apply to join its volunteer board. Each board member is asked to make an annual contribution in an amount of their choosing, because the board asks other individuals and foundations to support staff, programs and projects.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 4:33 PM, 01.30.2024

Meals on Wheels needs CH volunteers

The Cleveland Heights Meals on Wheels program delivers two meals—one hot and one cold—four days a week to about 20 homebound senior citizens.

The organization is looking for additional volunteers to help one day a week, from approximately 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

To volunteer, or to request the meal service for yourself or a family member, contact the Cleveland Heights Office on Aging by phone (216-691-7342) or by e-mail (

The city’s Meals on Wheels program is operated by volunteers, with some staff support from the CH Office on Aging.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 4:34 PM, 01.30.2024

HRRC's electrical series for women begins Jan. 17

Beginning Jan. 17, Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), located at 2520 Noble Road in Cleveland Heights, will offer its six-week Home How-To Electrical Series for Women.

The classes take place on Wednesday evenings, 7–9 p.m., and will cover the basics of electricity. The weekly classes run through Feb. 21.

The fee for this series is $150. Income-based discounts of 50 percent to 100 percent are available for those who qualify.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 11:13 AM, 01.13.2024

Lake Erie Ink seeks volunteers and board members

For more than a decade, Chris Garson has been a steadfast presence at Lake Erie Ink (LEI), driven by a passion for writing and a profound desire to foster literacy among young minds. His journey began with a chance encounter at a coffee shop, where he overheard a conversation about LEI’s mission to support youth in finding their voice through creative expression.

Initially drawn by his love for writing and the organization’s commitment to empowering youngsters through literacy, Garson’s role evolved over the years. He transitioned from volunteering in-person at Ink Spot to adapting to virtual spaces during the pandemic. Through Zoom classes and full-day events, he witnessed the incredible imagination and creativity of the 11- to 13-year-olds he mentored.


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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 11:25 AM, 12.28.2023

Reaching Heights seeks new director

Reaching Heights is a vibrant, local nonprofit whose staff and volunteers are passionate about public education, racial equity, and supporting the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools. For the past 10 years, Reaching Heights has been led by Krista Hawthorne, who will retire at the end of this school year.

The Reaching Heights Board of Directors is now undertaking a search for a new executive director who will continue to build on Hawthorne’s excellent work. The successful candidate will be committed to the Heights public schools and community engagement.

To learn more about Reaching Heights and the job posting, visit

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 11:23 AM, 12.28.2023

A message from our publisher

Dear Heights Observer Supporter,

One of my favorite roles is serving as the publisher of the Heights Observer. You may already know that the Heights Observer is an award-winning newspaper, but did you know we are in our 16th publishing year! The Heights Observer is a very good source of local news, views, events, and other information for residents of Cleveland Heights and University Heights. It is a well-run publication with editors and a sales team who are intentional in supporting writers and local businesses, along with a graphic design team that makes us look great. It takes a significant amount of time and dedication to produce a monthly print issue. I'm very proud of our staff and their commitment to creating a quality community paper.

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 4:18 PM, 12.16.2023

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