CHGT hosts free screening of 'Blue Vinyl: The World's First Toxic Comedy'

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), in partnership with Beyond Plastics and Heights Libraries, invites the community to an April 11 screening of “Blue Vinyl” (2002), a documentary film that explores the environmental impact of vinyl manufacturing. “Blue Vinyl” won the Excellence in Cinematography Award at Sundance, and is an Emmy-award-winning documentary film.

The free screening, followed by a brief Q-and-A, will take place on Thursday, April 11, 6:30 p.m., at Heights Libraries Lee Road Branch. An RSVP is recommended, to ensure a sufficient number of seats are available.

In “Blue Vinyl”—with humor, chutzpah, and a piece of vinyl siding firmly in hand—Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director Daniel B. Gold travel to America’s vinyl-manufacturing capital and beyond, in search of the truth about vinyl.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 2:53 PM, 04.06.2024

CHGT helps navigate Earth Month

Throughout Earth Month, communities worldwide come together to celebrate and advocate for environmental conservation and sustainability. From grassroots initiatives to global campaigns, the month of April serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the planet for future generations. 

“Amidst the challenges posed by climate change and environmental degradation, there is a growing call for increased community participation in addressing these pressing issues,” said Gail Larson, Cleveland Heights council member and chair of its Municipal Services and Environmental Sustainability Committee.

“The ‘Earth Month in the Heights’ initiative answers that call by inviting residents of all ages and abilities to engage in organizing and participating in ‘green actions.’ These activities have a tangible impact on our local environment and also foster a sense of shared purpose that inspires meaningful change in the choices we make.”

Earth Month in the Heights kicks off on April 3 with “Make and Take,” a free community party hosted by Made Cleveland on Coventry Road.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:32 AM, 03.28.2024

UH Sustainable Home Fair comes to Wiley April 21

University Heights residents, and those from other communities, are invited to celebrate Earth Day by learning how to become more energy efficient at the first-ever University Heights Sustainable Home Fair, on Sunday, April 21. The free event will take place at the Wiley school building, 2181 Miramar Blvd., 1–4 p.m.

“The concept of thinking globally and acting locally was never more important than it is today,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, chief of staff for the city of University Heights. “This applies to our homes and yards, our various means of transportation, the items we purchase, the food we consume, how we handle solid waste and more. We should all learn various ways to become more sustainable.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:47 AM, 03.28.2024

Holiday string-light and power-cord benefit recycling drive kicks off Dec. 2

Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), in partnership with the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and the Lee Road and Coventry Village branches of Heights Libraries, will collect broken, burned-out string lights, extension cords and power strips, to benefit the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Lights for Lions program.

The Heights string lights recycling drive will begin Dec. 2 and run through Jan. 31.

Drop off bins are located at the parking lot entrance of Heights Libraries Lee Road branch, Heights Libraries Coventry Village branch, and in the Nature Center’s lobby.

“Recovered lights and cords are collected and shipped to recycling facilities where the parts are separated into plastic, glass, and copper,” explained Dan Dobres, metal buyer at Demilta Iron and Recycling Company in Willoughby.

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 5:47 PM, 11.25.2023

Tackling climate change one tree at a time

Last summer, Susan Miller, a longtime Cleveland Heights resident and environment advocate, gave the Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) an infrared thermometer.

“She asked us to measure the mid-day temperature at some of the city’s heat islands, such as Severance, and neighborhoods north of Mayfield Road, and compare them to temperatures in parks and neighborhoods with significant tree coverage,” recalled Catalina Wagers, CHGT's co-founder. “She wanted us to see both the inequality and the need for better tree canopy distribution across the city."

A study published by the research institution Resources for the Future indicates that highly developed urban areas can experience mid-afternoon temperatures 15–20 degrees Fahrenheit higher than surrounding vegetated areas.

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Volume 16, Issue 9, Posted 10:13 PM, 08.28.2023

Fairmount Presbyterian Church achieves another environmental milestone

Each year, the Cleveland 2030 District and the NEO Local Leadership Team of USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) Ohio host a friendly green building challenge to recognize exemplary new green construction and renovation projects in this region. In May, the winning entries were announced and—among recipients such as Oberlin College, the Progressive Insurance Campus, and the Maltz Performing Arts Center—Cleveland Heights Fairmount Presbyterian Church (FPC) was recognized for its work in achieving a 50% electricity use reduction.

This milestone is one of FPC's many environmentally responsible improvements, rooted in the congregation’s understanding of the connection between environmental issues and social justice, manifested in part in addressing and implementing solutions to environmental concerns, including equitable access to clean air and water, and a healthy environment for all people.

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Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 1:19 PM, 07.31.2023

Native plants are focus of June 3 sale

This spring, a sale of native plants for your backyard will take place practically in your own backyard.

On Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Heights residents can venture just a short distance to purchase plants at a sale that will bring four far-flung nurseries to Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd., Cleveland Heights.

The sale is presented by the Friends of Heights Parks and its popular sidekick, the Heights Native Pollinator Path (HNPP). HNPP is an effort to link native habitat, literally providing a path of native species from yard to yard in Cleveland Heights and surrounding residential neighborhoods.

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Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 9:44 AM, 05.02.2023

Heights EcoFest moves to May

The third annual Heights EcoFest will take place on May 27 at Coventry PEACE Park, noon to 4 p.m. The event aims to raise awareness about local resources available to support and encourage greener and healthier practices.

The EcoFest is organized by Heights Libraries' Coventry Village Branch and the Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) in partnership with the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID) and FutureHeights, and is sponsored by Amplify Dispensary on Coventry Road.

“The Heights EcoFest will continue to build on the success of last year’s Sustainability Fair and Eco Fair, but with warmer weather," noted Maggie Kinney, director of the Coventry Village Library.

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Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 1:52 PM, 05.01.2023

Month-long bag drive aims to reduce plastic waste

More than one trillion plastic bags are used annually worldwide, with an estimated 100 billion used by U.S. consumers. That equates to about 1,500 bags per family each year. Cuyahoga County estimates that 99% of the bags end up as litter or hauled to a landfill.

The state of Ohio has passed legislation that prohibits cities and towns from passing their own bans or fees on plastic bags. Any existing local laws on this topic are preempted by the state law.

Undeterred by the state legislation, Cuyahoga County's departments of Consumer Affairs and Sustainability are actively working with retailers and residents to curb the use of single-use plastic bags in the county.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 10:42 AM, 04.02.2023

Heights centers offer strategies for coping with eco-anxiety

The beginning of a new year is often a time for reflection and hope. For some, the new year can intensify anxious thoughts, rooted in the notion of a planet in distress.

A 2018 survey by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that “almost 70% of people in the United States are worried about climate change, and around 51% feel helpless.” Researchers call this state of mind “eco-anxiety”—chronic or severe anxiety related to humans’ relationship with the environment.

Most levels of eco-anxiety can be addressed through personal action and lifestyle adjustments. Two centers located in Cleveland Heights offer strategies and ideas.

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Volume 16, Issue 1, Posted 10:13 AM, 01.02.2023

Heights art students upcycle trash into treasure

Visitors to the Heights Eco Fair on Oct. 8 had the opportunity to view more than 100 works of art created by 10th- and 12th-grade Heights High students, and vote for their favorite pieces.

With the exhibit, From Trash to Treasure, art teachers Sarah Cooper and Nancy Rich-Drehs saw an opportunity to channel their students’ creativity through an awareness of the environment.

“We had already done some upcycled artwork in previous years," Cooper explained, "but a meeting with members of the Cleveland Heights Green Team helped give context to the work and inspired a movement that impacted the [school] building as a whole.

“Instead of just utilizing found materials, we tasked students with developing systems for acquiring items we could use. Our artists made phone calls, sent e-mails, and created collection bins that we plan to continue using for future upcycled projects. With this approach we were able to acquire the raw materials we needed while reducing the amount of waste leaving our school building for a landfill. It was an amazing opportunity for Heights’s artists to experience art as activism.”

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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 4:17 PM, 10.25.2022

Heights Eco Fair is Oct. 8

The second annual Heights Eco Fair will take place on Oct. 8, noon to 4 p.m., at Coventry PEACE Park.

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) again has partnered with Heights Libraries, FutureHeights, and the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (CVSID) to host the fair.

“The Heights Eco Fair was conceived as a space where we could connect Heights residents with all of the amazing resources that we have in the area to support a more environmentally friendly lifestyle,” explained Natalie Elwell, CHGT co-founder. “The fair is designed to raise awareness about issues and solutions, opportunities to volunteer and contribute to ongoing efforts, and to spark ideas for new collaborations.”

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 11:29 AM, 10.01.2022

Green Team sponsors e-media recycling drive Oct. 18

From Oct. 1 through Oct. 8, the Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), in partnership with Heights Libraries, will be collecting all types of compact discs (CDs); video games; DVDs; Blu-ray discs; 3.5” and 5.25” floppy disks; Zip and Jaz disks; and media cases.

Large blue recycling bins for the items will be located inside the lobbies of all four Heights Libraries branches—Coventry Village, Lee Road, Noble Neighborhood, and University Heights.

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District (CCSWD) recently partnered with GreenDisk, a company that provides secure disposal of intellectual property stored on electronic media and other techno trash. 

Because GreenDisk partners with a nationwide network of for-profit and non-profit companies, the formerly almost-impossible-to-recycle materials can be dropped off for eco-friendly processing.

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 10:02 AM, 09.20.2022

Five ways to celebrate World Clean Up Day

On Sept. 17, the Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) encourages Heights residents to participate in World Clean Up Day, when volunteers and partners worldwide work together to clean up litter and mismanaged waste from neighborhoods, parks, beaches, rivers, forests, and streets.

The World Clean Up Day Organization reports that in 2021 more than 8.5 million people in 191 countries participated in the effort.

"We know our community is ready to embrace this opportunity," said CHGT co-founder Alex Sitarik.

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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 11:06 AM, 08.31.2022

CH Green Team hosts July 20 local-action climate forum

The Cleveland Heights Green Team invites Heights' residents—and all who are concerned about the impact of climate change, and looking for a path to localized action—to attend its July 20 forum, "What is a Climate Action Plan?" 
The forum will take place at Forest Hill Church, at 3031 Monticello Blvd. in Cleveland Heights, 7–8:30 p.m., and will also be broadcast live, via Zoom.

The event, moderated by Brian Siggers, advocacy director for the Ohio Environmental Council, will explore how three cities in Northeast Ohio—Oberlin, Shaker Heights, and Cleveland—are working to mitigate the impact of climate change and build climate resiliency in their communities.  

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 10:44 AM, 07.17.2022

Green Team plans July reusable-bag drive

After a series of delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuyahoga County's ban on single-use plastic bags went into effect on Jan. 16, 2022.

Some large chain stores, such as Giant Eagle and CVS, have already eliminated plastic bags.

"The county is actively working with stores to help them transition from using single-use plastic bags at the checkout ahead of any enforcement action,” explained Sheryl Harris, director of the county's Department of Consumer Affairs. “Retailers are not facing fines yet, but are being actively encouraged and supported by the county to switch to paper bags and reusable bags before enforcement is enacted.”

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 5:28 AM, 06.30.2022

CHGT encourages businesses and residents to go plastic free in July

The Plastic Free Foundation established Plastic Free July in 2011 to encourage the reduction of plastic consumption through changing habits and building community.

To participate in the Plastic Free July challenge, all one must do is make a commitment to use less plastic during the month.

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT) invites Heights’ residents to join the challenge by giving up some of the single-use plastic items they use every day, such as plastic water bottles, coffee cups, and straws, and by bringing reusable bags on shopping trips.

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 12:39 PM, 06.27.2022

Recycling beyond the blue bin

Cleveland Heights’ new recycling and waste bins have residents talking trash, literally, and Carin Miller, education specialist at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, couldn’t be happier.

“With Cleveland Heights’ transition to automated waste collection, recycling dos and don’ts, as well as other guidelines for proper trash disposal, are receiving a whole lot of attention,” said the recycling expert.

“Most residents have been comfortably following the same patterns and choices when it comes to how they manage their everyday waste, separating their recyclables in blue bags and going the extra mile by choosing to compost. But the new blue bins came with guidelines, and the guidelines shed new light on well-intentioned, yet misguided, wish-cycling habits.”

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 12:09 PM, 05.23.2022

Students join forces with Noble Litter Busters

Students, family and staff from CH-UH district schools in the Noble neighborhood joined Noble Litter Busters to clean up school grounds in late April.

Susan Clement, leader of the Litter Busters and organizer of the school grounds pickups, met with students to encourage their participation and share the importance of keeping neighborhoods litter free. The principals of Noble Elementary, Oxford Elementary and Monticello Middle schools are enthusiastic about promoting litter awareness among their students.

Noble Litter Busters began in 2018 with the support of a FutureHeights mini grant.

Approximately 15 on-the-move neighborhood residents combine litter pickup with their regular exercise walks. They often can be spotted along Noble Road and throughout the neighborhood, in blue Noble Litter Buster vests.

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 12:08 PM, 05.23.2022

Heights Earth Month events invite residents to take action

Throughout Earth Month, April 1–30, Heights organizations and individuals will offer a range of activities and events designed to inspire awareness, action, and advocacy for a healthier and greener Heights.

"We provided a platform for our community to take action, and the community responded in force," said Catalina Wagers, co-founder of the Cleveland Heights Green Team, which organized the month-long initiative. "We are incredibly pleased with the number and variety of events, providing everyone in the Heights with access to transformational action on behalf of our environment, our health, and the health of the community at large".

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:23 AM, 04.02.2022

String-lights recycling drive to benefit zoo

The success of the Cleveland Heights Green Team's (CHGT) post-election yard-sign collection prompted the group to plan a post-Christmas Heights Holiday String Lights Collection Drive.

From Dec. 26 through Jan. 31, Heights residents can drop off broken, non-working, or used strings of lights and extension cords at any of the four Heights Libraries branches in Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

“Broken string lights and damaged extension cords cannot be recycled through the curbside recycling program," explained Nikki Newman, a member of the CHGT. "They should not be mixed in a blue bag or recycling bin. We know our residents want to do the right thing by trying to recycle them, but they will end up in the landfill if not recycled correctly."

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:06 AM, 12.21.2021

Heights residents embrace sign recycling drive

From Nov. 3 to Nov. 14, Heights residents had the opportunity to recycle yard signs, old and new, by dropping them off at one of five collection points across Cleveland Heights.

The Cleveland Heights Green Team (CHGT), which organized the drive, estimates that approximately 1,500 signs were collected, of which about 1,200 were taken to the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District (SWD) for recycling. The balance was returned to four candidates who asked for them back.

"These are 1,500 signs that did not end up in the landfill," said Nikki Newman, who volunteered to collect the signs. "I was surprised to see how heavy and bulky they get. It took two full truckloads to transport them to the SWD. It just felt so good knowing that they are going to be used in some other form or shape."

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 10:49 AM, 12.13.2021

CH Green Team hosts council candidate sustainability forum

On Oct. 13 and 14, the Cleveland Heights Green Team hosted forums with five full-term CH City Council candidates, in which environmental leaders engaged candidates in a Q-and-A session exploring the concept of governing with a "sustainability lens." Questions were provided prior to the forum. Five out of the six candidates were available to participate, with Davida Russell unable to attend.

The five participating candidates agreed that updating the city’s master plan with clear and actionable sustainability guidelines should be a priority, and that a CH sustainability director should be appointed. 

Candidate Lee Barbee II explained that “the Cleveland Heights’ tree logo should serve as a metaphor for the city’s responsibility to develop and implement policies and processes designed to protecting green space and promoting more environmentally friendly practices.”

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:41 AM, 10.26.2021

CH Eco Fair planned for Oct. 9

The first Cleveland Heights Eco Fair will take place on Oct. 9, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Coventry PEACE Park, 2843 Washington Blvd.

The fair, hosted by the Cleveland Heights Green Team, in partnership with Heights Libraries Coventry branch, and FutureHeights, will provide residents and businesses with information and resources that promote and encourage greener, healthier choices and behaviors.

Green Team Co-founder Natalie Elwell said of the festival, "We believe that each one of us can make better or different choices that can help support the environment while also increasing personal well-being. Our mission is to work with the community to reduce and better manage our impact on the environment through advocacy, education, and stewardship. We are committed to bringing issues related to a more sustainable future into the spotlight."

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:14 AM, 10.01.2021

Free shuttle links CH to University Circle

With the lifting of Ohio’s stay-at-home order, many are resuming their work commutes. Others are starting to get out and about more, as Ohio reboots its economy, and warmer weather beckons. If getting around by means other than driving a car is possible, and appeals to you, consider the Heights-adjacent transportation options offered at, which include a free shuttle between Coventry Village and University Circle.

One of the Heights’ strengths is its location near University Circle, with that destination’s plethora of jobs and institutions in medicine, education, arts and culture, dining, and parks. University Circle also provides links to wider transportation networks, such as RTA’s trains, buses and Healthline, and bike lanes and trails to Downtown Cleveland, the cultural gardens and the lakefront.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:31 AM, 06.02.2020

County and solar co-op host July 25 meeting in CH

On Thursday, July 25, the Cuyahoga County Department of Sustainability and the nonprofit Solar United Neighbors will co-sponsor a free, informational meeting for home and business owners interested in going solar. The meeting will take place at the Lee Road Library (2345 Lee Road), at 6 p.m.

Topics will include the history of solar technology; financial incentives, such as the 30-percent Federal Solar Tax Credit; and financing options, including the low-interest Cuyahoga County HELP Loan Program.

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Volume 12, Issue 7, Posted 9:56 AM, 06.28.2019

SHN suggests sustainable tips for November

Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) advocates for evidence-based community actions and education that will result in a positive impact on our environment and quality of life. For more information, visit

Solid Waste: Pack-and-ship stores in the Heights and nearby will likely accept foam peanuts for reuse. Check with the store, or call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council (800-828-2214) to find a drop-off site.

Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground [material] and athletic flooring. The closest sneaker collection drop-off site to the Heights is Nike Factory Store in Aurora Farms.

Energy Savings: Switch to electricity from renewable energy sources. In Ohio, 82 percent of electricity is generated by coal or natural gas; both are greenhouse gas sources that contribute to climate change.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 2:49 PM, 11.07.2016

Oct. 27 talk will cover new recycling guidelines

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District rolled out new recycling guidelines for county residents earlier this year. The district’s goal was to reduce confusion about what could and could not be recycled by creating a consistent countywide message about how to recycle properly.

Diane Bickett, executive director of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, will speak at the Lee Road Library on Oct. 27, at 6:30 p.m., and provide information on how Heights residents can become better recyclers.

Residents are throwing a lot of things in their recycle bins that should not be there—food, clothes, toys, engine blocks, garden hoses—even bowling balls. This causes problems, because sorting out these contaminants comes at a high cost.

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 11:32 AM, 09.30.2016

SHN suggests sustainable tips for October

The Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) offers monthly tips to help reduce your bills and environmental impact while making your life more comfortable. For more information, visit

Energy Savings: Autumn is a great time to weatherize your home. Why not begin by asking a professional to evaluate your home-energy use? The SHN steering committee recently interviewed Empower G&E and was impressed. Empower offers homeowners free one-hour inspections, focused on insulation, air leaks, lighting and thermostats. In addition, Empower will introduce homeowners to a team of vetted, local contractors, and inspectors to verify that the job is properly completed. Empower can also help arrange financing so that the loan payment each month is nearly equivalent to what the homeowner will save each month. Contact Empower at 937-830-3189 or visit

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 11:20 AM, 09.30.2016

SHN suggests September to-do list

Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) advocates for evidence-based community actions and education that will result in a positive impact on our environment and quality of life. This month, SHN suggests the following sustainable things-to-do:

Sustainable transportation: Fall brings cooler nights and more rain, so check tire wear. (Use a quarter to measure remaining tread depth, which should be a minimum of 1/8” for safe stopping in wet weather. If Washington’s hair doesn’t get cut, you need new tires soon.)

Recheck wipers and washer fluid. Think ahead to colder weather, and use fluid rated to at least  -20F.

Set up carpooling arrangements for school or work, and turn off your engine while you wait.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:46 AM, 09.01.2016

CH pesticide ban is a model for the nation

In 1995, Cleveland Heights became the first city in the nation to pass legislation banning the use of lawn pesticides on all public turf, including city, school, library and day care center grounds. This was a revolutionary decision.

The “why” is easy: pesticides are poisons. Although they are approved by the EPA, approval does not connote safety, even when used as directed. Thus, Cleveland Heights became the first city to formally recognize that people (especially children), pets and the environment should not be unnecessarily exposed to these toxic materials. Indeed, some pesticides have been associated with an increased risk of acquiring asthma, and an EPA report (1996) states that childrens’ developing organ systems make them more vulnerable and less able to detoxify these chemicals.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:39 AM, 09.01.2016

Sustainable Heights Network invites community to June 13 program

The first community event hosted by a revitalized Sustainable Heights Network will feature a presentation on Sustainable Cuyahoga: A toolkit of recommended best practices for cities in Cuyahoga County. The program will take place on Monday, June 13, 6:30 p.m., at the Lee Road Library.

Mike Foley, Cuyahoga County director of sustainability, in partnership with David Beach, executive director of GreenCityBlueLake Institute, developed the toolkit to provide best practices and resources for all 59 municipalities in Cuyahoga County. It includes recommendations for public officials to [enable them to] learn about sustainability issues, get help from local experts, and take action. It is also a resource for citizens who want to work with local government officials to improve their communities.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:33 AM, 05.30.2016

Disciples Christian Church hosts Earth Day celebration

The Heights Earth Day Celebration is for anyone interested in helping planet Earth, as well as learning about sustainable practices in the Heights and throughout Northeast Ohio. Disciples Christian Church, at 3663 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights, will host the celebration on April 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Attendees will have a chance to learn about the following organizations and services: City Fresh, a local community-supported agricultural (CSA) program through which participants buy locally grown produce in advance and then pick it up at a convenient location; Doan Brook Watershed Coalition and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District; the seed library at Coventry Village Library, and its mission to distribute seeds to gardeners; environmentally friendly cars from Motorcars Honda, as well as the solar project at Motorcars’ Cleveland Heights facility; solar-power consultant Ryan Walling; and Cleveland Heights’s Home Repair Resource Center.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 8:45 AM, 03.28.2016

Its time for a Time Bank in Cleveland Heights

Cleveland Heights residents are invited to a public meeting to discuss establishing a community “Time Bank,” Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A at the Cleveland Heights Main Library, 2345 Lee Road.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 12:08 PM, 01.30.2014

School tour and networking event to focus on Issue 81 and sustainability

On Wednesday, Oct. 2, the Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) will host a free tour of Heights High School and an after-tour community networking event at the Wine Spot on Lee Road. The purpose of the event is to provide voters the opportunity to walk through the high school and learn about the building's current condition and to discuss proposed facilities upgrades that include reaching LEED silver and possibly gold standard if Issue 81 passes.

The tour begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Washington Boulevard entrance to the school and features a behind the scenes look at the building's infrastructure and systems. On hand to answer questions will be Patrick Mullen, co-chair of Citizens for Heights Schools, and Steve Dzuranin, representative from Fanning Howey Architecture, Engineering, and Design.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 10:12 AM, 09.24.2013

CH and UH move up in their recycling rankings

The 2012 edition of the annual Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District report on residential recycling rates shows a significant upward trend for both Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

The survey measures 59 communities in the county in terms of total tons of solid waste deposited in landfills, tons recycled of both recyclables and organics, and each community’s recycling rate for 2012 and 2011. The recycling rate is the percentage of the total residential waste created by the community that is not delivered to landfills.

Cleveland Heights’s combined recycling and landfill waste decreased by over 1,100 tons from 2011 to 2012, while total recycling volume increased by more than 2,500 tons, and landfill waste dropped 3,600 tons. As a result, the city’s recycling rate jumped from 59.98 percent in 2011 to 66.98 percent in 2012.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 2:06 PM, 06.25.2013

Cleveland Heights residents flock to chickens

Eighteen families in Cleveland Heights have new additions to their households—hens.

Matt Wilson, who lives near the Lee Road Library, got his coop in June 2012 and owns four hens. He said that having a chicken coop has helped him meet a lot of his neighbors. "Some of them bring friends from outside the neighborhood to see our chickens," said Wilson, adding, "My son's like a celebrity at school, as the kid who owns chickens."

Cleveland is the only other city in Cuyahoga County that permits chickens. Cleveland Heights City Council approved the keeping of chickens for eggs in May 2012 as part of the city’s Sustainable Zoning Amendments. Chickens are conditionally permitted by the new code. The process of amending the city’s zoning code took almost two years and included reviewing the existing zoning code, hiring consultants, holding public and stakeholder meetings, writing documents, and reviewing zoning codes from other parts of the country.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 1:40 PM, 05.30.2013

May 16 public panel to explain and encourage community gardening

Community gardens are a tremendous asset to our community. In addition to providing a gardening opportunity to apartment dwellers and to homeowners who desire additional or better garden space, community gardens promote sustainable practices like food-waste recycling and local food production. They also improve community food security by enabling residents to grow their own food or donate what they grow for hunger relief, provide an engaging activity for youth and improve the appeal and property values of neighborhoods.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 1:09 PM, 04.30.2013

Growing a demonstration garden, and a community, on a church lawn

It was a brisk and overcast morning, but the enthusiastic volunteers were undeterred. Cleveland Heights’s newest community garden took its first action steps on Nov. 3, on the front lawn of Grace Lutheran Church on Cedar Road.

Volunteers from Food Not Lawns Cleveland joined forces with Grace Lutheran congregants and, with support from Asian Services in Action, prepared a 20 x 20 plot that will become a demonstration sheet mulch garden, to be farmed by local Bhutanese refugee families and other interested residents in the spring.

“The Bhutanese will be the primary farmers,” said David Ernat, pastor of the church, “but it’s actually available to anyone in the community.”

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:41 AM, 11.20.2012

Montford Community Garden prepares for first season

As winter weather sets in, members of the Montford Community Garden Association are busy preparing to open their new garden on a vacant lot at the corner of Montford and Windsor roads.

"Now is the time to get everything in place," said Pat Byrne, association president and resident of nearby Englewood Road. "When the weather warms up we need to be ready to hit the ground running."

The Montford group formed last spring, following the demolition of a rundown house on the property by the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation, commonly known as the Cuyahoga Land Bank.

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 3:29 PM, 11.30.2012

St. Paul's Episcopal Church on the map for sustainability

FutureHeights and Sustainable Heights began green mapping the sustainability assets and resources of Cleveland Heights and University Heights in 2010. Very few religious institutions are on the map, but St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has been featured since the very beginning.

The current map can be viewed at Icons identify the areas of support for community sustainability. Anyone can help build the map by submitting sites, as well as comments, pictures and video.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 10:43 AM, 10.31.2012

Free screening of 'Fresh' on Oct. 1

The community is invited to attend a Heights Local Food Week free screening and discussion of “FRESH, The Movie” on Monday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m., at the University Heights Public Library.

Co-sponsored by Heights Libraries and Sustainable Heights Network, with refreshments provided by Whole Foods, “FRESH” celebrates the farmers, thinkers and business people across America who are re-inventing the nation’s food system. Each has witnessed the rapid transformation of agriculture into an industrial model, and confronted the consequences: food contamination, environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, and morbid obesity. Forging healthier, sustainable alternatives, the film offers a practical vision for a future of our food and our planet.

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 10:25 PM, 09.26.2012

Celebrate local food in the Heights Oct. 16

During the first week of October, the Heights will celebrate sustainability with Local Food Week. The event is coordinated by the Sustainable Heights Network and will feature events throughout the week, as well as a festival on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Grace Lutheran Church, 13001 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights.

Enjoy local food dishes at Nighttown, Brennan’s Colony and Barle Soup & Sandwich every day from Oct. 1–5, and experience a “fresh mob” hosted by The Wine Spot and Farmshare Ohio on Friday, Oct. 5, featuring Ohio wines and farm-fresh produce. Other activities, such as a movie screening about the local food movement and local farmer’s markets, are happening throughout the week.

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 12:03 PM, 09.25.2012

Coit Road Farmers Market Taste of Autumn benefit Oct. 8

The annual Coit Road Farmers Market Benefit will be held on Monday, Oct. 8, 6–8 p.m. at The Beachland Ballroom. The event features live music and the taste of the local harvest form area farmers prepared by local chefs.

Tickets are $35, and are available at at the Coit Road Farmers Market or online at The market is open on Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from April to November, and is open on Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., year round. The market is at 15000 Wordworth Road (corner of Coit and Woodworth roads), East Cleveland.

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 10:45 AM, 09.25.2012

Support sustainability in the Heights: Ride for Miles on Sept. 16

Everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it. The recent mild winter and hot summer have convinced even skeptics that human-induced climate change is a reality. 

Although one climate event does not signal global change, scientists have been predicting global warming for decades. Northern Ohioans may be delighted to be living in a Carolina climate without migrating, but climate change is a global catastrophe.You can do something about it:

  • Drive the most fuel-efficient car you can afford.  Better yet, walk, ride a bicycle or take public transportation.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Modify your diet.  Production of protein from meat uses far more fossil-fuel energy than plant sources.
  • Become involved. The Sustainable Heights Network is a group of citizens promoting sustainability in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. Join them.
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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 10:38 AM, 09.02.2012

Local Food Week to promote locally produced foods

The first week of October will be Local Food Week in the Heights, a celebration of the benefits of eating food produced locally.

Coordinated by the Sustainable Heights Network, Local Food Week will feature programs and events Oct. 1–5, followed by a fun and educational Festival of Local Food on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Grace Lutheran Church, 13001 Cedar Road, Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 12:52 PM, 08.28.2012

2011 Residential Recycling Report

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District released its 2011 Residential Recycling Report, revealing the degree of participation in recycling programs by residents of the county’s 59 communities. The City of Cleveland Heights, which has encouraged its residents to observe sustainable practices with a renewed vigor since the unveiling of its 2011 Strategic Development Plan, claimed a top-ten spot on the list.

Disposing of 18,676 tons of solid waste but saving 27,988 tons from landfills, the city was able to report a total of 59.98 percent materials recycled. This amount is a slight improvement over the 53.16 percent recycled in 2010.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 11:40 AM, 08.10.2012

Heights High clubs value service and sustainability

Project Build and the Environmental Club focus on sustainability and community service, providing hands-on volunteer opportunities for students at Cleveland Heights High School. Senior Ariel Travis, a leader in both clubs, seeks to create more service opportunities at the high school. “Both clubs share the same vision and have similar goals. I believe we can do great things together,” Travis said.

Started in October 2011 by Travis and math teacher/club advisor Chris Sutton, Project Build has attracted over 100 volunteers and is one of the fastest-growing clubs on campus.

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 1:51 PM, 05.02.2012

Recycling batteries in University Heights

As a conscientious recycler, you may have been dropping off batteries, along with other recyclables, at the University Heights Recycling Center. Until March of this year, however, batteries were not recycled; they were thrown out.

As a result of the efforts of one concerned resident, the City of University Heights now recycles all types of batteries, through a program with The Big Green Box—the only company in Ohio that recycles batteries. 

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Volume 5, Issue 5, Posted 11:42 AM, 05.02.2012

Community input needed for transportation improvements

Connecting the Heights and University Circle by alternative modes of transportation (i.e., bicycling, walking or taking the bus or rapid transit) is an important initiative for both Cleveland Heights and University Circle.

Among the advantages of living in Cleveland Heights is its proximity to University Circle’s cultural attractions, its booming construction and job growth, and multiple transportation modes to downtown. But as University Circle continues to build, less space will be available for parked cars.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 11:56 AM, 03.22.2012

Volunteer at Forest Hill Park

The East Cleveland Parks Association (ECPA), the volunteer organization that cares for Forest Hill Park, wishes to thank Milan Wylie for his generous donation of $1,400, designated for the removal of several oak trees. These large oaks had fallen in the Great Meadow, leaving unsightly stumps and large debris, which has made the Great Meadow difficult to mow. Although birders may bemoan the loss of the stumps for bird habitat, they should be reminded that many other stumps remain in unmanaged natural areas of the park.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 12:25 PM, 03.20.2012

Sustainable zoning invites community input

For the past year, the City of Cleveland Heights Planning Department has been working on new zoning amendments that will make certain sustainable practices easier to implement without seeking special approvals. The proposed amendments include rain barrel placement, chicken coops, community gardens and urban agriculture, porous paving, commercial and residential construction, and lighting, among others.

The draft is ready for public input and final approval. There will be a series of three meetings that will enable residents to weigh in on the code changes, beginning with a planning commission meeting on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. in council chambers. A second public meeting will be held on March 26 at the community center at 7 p.m. The final opportunity to participate in this process will be the planning commission meeting on April 11. Council is expected to vote on the commission's recommendations on April 16.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 1:39 PM, 02.28.2012

Heights Community Gardens Network to meet March 13

Heights residents are abuzz with excitement about plans to support existing community gardens and grow new ones in our neighborhoods.

The Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) hosted a meeting to discuss community gardening on Jan. 24, and the response was overwhelming. More than 50 residents packed the meeting room to hear experienced community garden leaders explain how their gardens operate, and give residents an opportunity to describe their hopes and plans for the new gardens. Six local experts discussed resources available for community gardens.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 11:42 AM, 02.29.2012

Sustainable Heights Network promotes community gardens

The Sustainable Heights Network—an informal group created to connect people and ideas to help build a more sustainable future for the community—has launched an initiative to facilitate community gardening. Goals include locating sites that could be used for community gardens, providing a mechanism for people interested in community gardening to connect with one another, and accessing resources that support new community gardens.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 5:34 PM, 01.01.2012

Ten ways to reduce holiday waste

Cristie Snyder, program officer at the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Management District, offers these tips for reducing holiday waste this season:

Ohioans and other Americans traditionally put 25 percent more trash at their curbs in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years--mostly wrapping paper, ribbons, party decorations and mail-order catalogs. Overall, Americans generate about 1,000,000 extra tons of trash per week during that same time period, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Here are some tips for reducing the amount of trash you throw away this holiday season:

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 10:02 AM, 12.20.2011

New Generation Inspired by "Freeway Fighters"

On Oct. 26, the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes held an open house to welcome the "little ladies in tennis shoes"—a group of determined citizens who 40 years ago helped stop a freeway that would have carved through the Shaker Lakes. Now, these "Freeway Fighters" are the main characters in a new book that captures their stories through interviews done by students from the Intergenerational School. The book also features beautiful photographs of the parklands, reflections written by the students themselves, a dedication by Shaker Heights Mayor Earl M. Leiken, and pieces by sustainability expert David Beach and the co-founders of the Intergenerational School, Peter and Cathy Whitehouse.

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 4:23 PM, 11.13.2011

SHN challenges residents to No Impact Week

Cleveland Heights and University Heights have an opportunity to work towards a more sustainable and greener future. In October, the Sustainable Heights Network will host No Impact Week, a carbon cleanse challenge. Participants will receive a daily e-mail, giving them instructions on the week's challenges, which will feature eight core components of sustainable living. Local organizations will hold special events in conjunction with the day's theme. Participants are invited to blog on the Heights Observer's blog site,

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Volume 4, Issue 10, Posted 2:15 PM, 09.13.2011

Are you ready for the challenge? One week carbon cleanse in October

Join the Sustainable Heights Network and the No Impact Project from October 16-23, for a one-week carbon cleanse that could change your life, your community, and even the planet. During No Impact Week, you'll have the chance to participate on your own or create a team of neighbors and friends to take on fun and interesting challenges and competitions like eating locally, lowering your energy use, and meeting your neighbors. You'll be answering questions like:

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 2:36 PM, 08.23.2011

Legal battle rages over Oakwood greenspace

Nestled between Cleveland Heights and South Euclid, the former Oakwood golf course is a tranquil place. Several species of rare birds flit through its trees. One of the few aboveground portions of Nine Mile Creek bubbles gently through it. Oakwood’s classification is even gentle: it’s designated as a "passive recreation park," meaning only hiking and horseback riding are allowed on its grounds.

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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 12:32 AM, 08.29.2011