Latest News

Hundreds march for a safer Heights

Participants marched through the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Arch at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park.

On Sunday, June 14, another peaceful and powerful rally brought hundreds of Heights residents together in unity with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Organized by Safer Heights, a grassroots activist group, the event began with speakers at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park who then led leagues of chanting and sign-carrying participants through Coventry Village, down Mayfield Road to Superior Road. The march paused outside of Christ Our Redeemer AME Church, where participants took a knee for a moment of silence. Then several speakers shared stories about their experiences as black members of the Cleveland Heights community, and called for systemic changes in policing.

The march then continued down Superior Road, looping back to Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park, where organizers addressed the large and enthusiastic crowd, thanking community partners and volunteers who helped make the day a success. 

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:40 AM, 06.16.2020

Latest News Releases

- City of Cleveland Heights, June 25, 2020 Read More
Heights Arts Says Goodbye to Damien McClendon, 9th Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights
- Heights Arts, June 2, 2020 Read More
Ray McNiece New Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate
- Heights Arts, June 1, 2020 Read More
CH-UH Schools To Lose $1.4 Million In State Funding Before End of School Year
- CH-UH Schools, May 12, 2020 Read More
The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland Calls for Pro Bono Help Amid COVID-19 Pandemic
- Non-Profit & Groups, April 30, 2020 Read More

View more news releases

TOH breaks ground in June 24 ceremony

From left: Mayor Jason Stein, Council Member Melody Joy Hart, Economic Development Director Tim Boland, City Manager Tanisha Briley, Council Member Davida Russell, Council Member Mike Ungar, school district Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby, Vice Mayor Kahlil Seren. [Courtesy Mary Trupo]

The city of Cleveland Heights and development partner Flaherty & Collins held a ceremonial groundbreaking event on June 24 for the newly underway Ascent at the Top of the Hill (TOH), a mixed-use development.

Cleveland Heights City Council members, city officials, the developer, and representatives from the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district participated in the event.

The four-acre project site is located on Cedar Road and Euclid Heights Boulevard, just up the hill from University Circle.

Construction is expected to be completed within an 18- to 24-month single-phase construction cycle. The general contractor on the project is Cleveland Construction.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 7:54 AM, 06.30.2020

University Heights enacts anti-discrimination law

For the second year in a row, the rainbow flag flew outside University Heights for the entire month of June.

For members of University Heights City Council and Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, enacting an anti-discrimination law pertaining to sexual orientation wasn’t just important. It was personal.

At the June 1 council meeting, Council Member John Rach said he hopes to see other cities follow the lead of University Heights. “I hope this resonates across the country,” Rach said, “so that I, too, one day can work anywhere in the country and not feel the pressure of one day losing my job because of who I am.

“I can tell you as a gay man, in most places across the country, I can be fired for who I am, and that will not be the case in University Heights with this ordinance.”

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 7:52 AM, 06.30.2020

Nighttown announces July 1 re-opening

Nighttown will be open for lunch, brunch and dinner starting July 1.

Brendan Ring plans to re-open Nighttown on July 1 at 3 p.m.

Five days before Gov. DeWine's March 15 order that closed all Ohio restaurants that evening, Ring, Nighttown’s owner, made the decision to shut down. He closed for the health of his employees, friends and patrons. There was no takeout. There were no deliveries. The music stopped.

As of July 2, Nighttown will be open again on Thursday, Friday and Monday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., for lunch and dinner. On Saturday and Sunday, Nighttown will open at 10 a.m., with brunch served until 3 p.m., and dinner served 3–9 p.m.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 11:54 AM, 06.30.2020

Food pantry serves 300 families weekly

Abundance Food Pantry volunteers unloading boxes of food from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. [photo: Kermit Lind]

Every Tuesday morning for the last seven years, dedicated volunteers from Forest Hill Presbyterian Church and the surrounding neighborhood have gathered at the church to unload trucks and vans full of donations for Abundance Food Pantry. For six hours, these hardworking volunteers pack about 60 pounds of food per family into bags and boxes, which currently are distributed to about 300 households each week.

In 2019, these donations provided enough groceries for 420,000 meals. By working with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Abundance Food Pantry has been able to reduce its cost to 4 cents per meal, and offer many healthy choices, with more than 35 percent being fresh produce.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:28 AM, 07.03.2020

CH council appointee decision tabled until July

After the June 22 Cleveland Heights City Council meeting, Mayor Jason Stein stated that council had not yet selected anyone to fill the council vacancy.

Noting that each of the four finalists, Craig Cobb, Anthony Cuda, Robert Koonce, and Anthony Mattox Jr., had a good interview with the six current council members, Stein said, “We will take time to reflect and continue the discussion at the July 6th meeting.”

The sole agenda item on the June 22 Cleveland Heights Council Committee of the Whole meeting, which took place in executive session, was “[t]o consider the appointment of a public official.”

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 12:45 PM, 06.24.2020

Lee Road gym hosts 'I Can't Breathe' tribute-fundraiser

Jewell Johnson runs in the "I Can't Breathe" workout. [photo credit: Gabe Schaffer]

On Saturday, June 13, CrossFit I/O on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights hosted a fundraiser and tribute workout dedicated to George Floyd and his family. More than 75 all-ages athletes participated in the socially distanced event, held in the gym’s parking lot. 

The more than $1,700 raised will be matched by a corporate sponsor and distributed equally to these nonprofits dedicated to racial equity: Audre Lorde Project Inc., Black Lives Matter Foundation Fund, Race Forward, and the National Urban League. 

Angelo Rogers, a first-responder in Norfolk, Va., created the “I Can’t Breathe” workout “as a positive way to channel the pain and emotions so many of us are feeling as we witness the continued injustice so many of us still face today.” 

The workout went viral when an online platform, WODwell, added it to its list of memorial workouts. Michael and Jodi Melistrup, owners of Crossfit I/O, acted quickly to turn Rogers’ idea into a Heights community event.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 3:03 PM, 06.22.2020

Black and white summer

In summer 1966, I painted every ceiling in this Overlook Road apartment building.

See that apartment building? It’s on the north side of Overlook Road, about halfway between Kenilworth Road, to the east, and where Overlook meets up with Edgehill Road and goes down the hill to Little Italy/University Circle, to the west.

It’s big for a Cleveland Heights apartment building. It’s all one building, but it has three separate entrances, with a total of 37 apartments.

During the summer of 1966, when I was between 11th and 12th grades, I spent some time in every one of those apartments. It wasn’t because I was that popular; it was because I had the job of painting every one of their ceilings.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:39 AM, 07.03.2020

New zine features pandemic art

In April, it became clear that the annual Pekar Park Comics and Art Festival, a summer tradition in Coventry Village, would have to be canceled or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. While disappointing, the cancelation gave Adult Services Librarian John Piche and Adult Services Associate Kate Atherton an idea.

“We thought it would be really interesting to see how the shutdown would be interpreted by our artist friends and colleagues,” said Piche, who draws a comic strip, “Magnesium Sisters.” “Let’s see how our local artists are handling this pandemic, and ask them to tell their quarantine stories in comics form.”

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:38 AM, 07.03.2020

Heights Arts hosts virtual opening and by-appointment gallery visits

For GP, 2005, by Matthew Kolodziej.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Heights Arts came up with an evolutionary idea: artists who had previously been included in Heights Arts exhibitions would show one work from the period during which they first exhibited, and one from the present, thus showing how their work has evolved over time. The resulting exhibition, Evolution, runs July 10 through Aug. 23 at its 2175 Lee Road gallery.

A “virtualopening” reception using Zoom is scheduled for Friday, July 10, at 7 p.m., featuring exhibition images and artist comments. Sign up to get the link for the opening by e-mailing In-person exhibition visits will be by appointment only, beginning July 11, with a limited number of visitors per time slot.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:37 AM, 07.03.2020

Russell launches 'You Talk, I Listen' series

Cleveland Heights City Council Member Davida Russell

On June 6, Cleveland Heights City Council Member Davida Russell hosted the first in a series of Town Hall listening sessions with residents of the Noble and Taylor roads community. A group of 10 Zoom participants comprised residents, business owners, and members of the faith community. More than 100 others listened on Facebook Live. Two more meetings are planned, for late June and July.

The objective of the first Town Hall was to identify concerns and issues that impact the health and growth of this area of the city, and to create a process to develop solutions.

“I live in this community and I have my own thoughts about what it needs,” Russell said, “but I feel it is important to hear what others think about what would enable the neighborhood [to] grow and prosper.”

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 3:01 PM, 06.22.2020

Library foundation seeks literacy award nominees

2019 Honor Roll Literacy Award winners (from left) Charniece Holmes and Amy Rosenbluth.

The Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries (FFHL) is currently seeking nominations for its 2020 Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries Honor Roll. Winners will be chosen by the FFHL board, and celebrated at a virtual event this fall.

The honor is a lifetime achievement award, recognizing those who have made a sustained, outstanding contribution to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights community by promoting literacy or by educating through literacy.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:34 AM, 07.03.2020

Teacher honors English-language learners

Ola Esmail and Kathleen Scully.

[Photo by CHUH staff]

Ola Esmail learned a new English word recently: bittersweet, referring to leaving high school and a beloved teacher.

“I felt so happy when Ms. Scully came to visit me at my house,” said the 2020 Heights High graduate who came to the United States as a refugee from Yemen. “But I also feel sad because I might not see her again.”

Kathleen Scully feels the same way. The Heights High teacher of English Language (EL) was so impressed by the accomplishments of her four graduating seniors that she drove from Summit County to personally visit their homes, deliver gifts, and express her pride in their accomplishments.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:31 AM, 07.03.2020

Friends start work to preserve and restore Bradford path

Some Bradford path volunteers (from left): John Barber, Emma Shook, Eran Shiloh, Donald Vicarel, Deb Franke, Gary Franke.

The Bradford Cinder Path is buzzing with activity. Strollers and dog walkers, joggers and families all share the path. It’s the perfect place to learn to ride a bicycle. During a normal school year, it’s a great shortcut to get to school. 

A group of neighbors, Friends of the Bradford Cinder Path, have come together, united in the desire to prepare the path for its second century. [See the related June 2020 Heights Observer article, “A look back and ahead at the Bradford cinder path,” by Marian Morton and Peggy Spaeth.]

The volunteers plan to partner with the city and its neighbors to preserve the path’s mature trees and replace invasive plants with carefully selected native trees and shrubs. They intend to retain the path’s shady beauty, and create a long-term plan for the maintenance of this much-loved path.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:25 AM, 07.03.2020

2020 CH GardenWalk will be virtual tour

GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, a free, self-guided tour of private and public gardens in the city, began in 2019. This year, due to the coronavirus, the tour will be conducted virtually.

Throughout the summer and fall, gardeners in Cleveland Heights are invited to upload videos (five minutes or less) or photographs of their gardens, both flower and vegetable, to the Cleveland Heights Garden Walk Facebook page (

Gardeners are invited to share pictures of works in progress, small areas of special creativity within a larger space, unique plants, water features—anything that will show off what they have done, and bring joy to others.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:25 PM, 07.01.2020

Library’s summer reading program moves online

Due to service restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Heights Libraries has moved its 2020 summer reading program, Spark Your Creativity, online.

“We know how important summer reading is to our community, especially the school-age kids, so after we closed our buildings in March, we began looking for alternatives to our in-person program,” said Youth Services Manager Sam Lapides. “Luckily we found an online program called Beanstack that is easy to use, is fun, and allows kids to track their reading time and participate in prize raffles, just like they’ve always been able to in the past.”

Prizes include LEGO sets, headphones, and gift cards to local businesses.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 3:02 PM, 06.22.2020

How we move forward together is in our hands

Four hundred and one years ago, the first Africans arrived to this continent. Brought here in chains.

As children we are taught the mythology that the Pilgrims, Puritan, English and other colonists came to America for freedom. But that is far from the whole story. The freedom of the colonists was made possible by the labor of the enslaved.

This nation was founded claiming certain self-evident truths, that we are all created equal, and endowed by our creator with unalienable rights: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. Lofty words written by a man who owned 609 slaves over the course of his life. The paradox of this equality was that it was not for everyone.

That has changed over time, but not enough.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:47 PM, 07.01.2020

CH demonstrates inequitable attention to housing problems

In San Francisco or New York, a $480,000 teardown replaced by a more up-to-date home in a gentrifying area would not be unusual. That barely buys a run-down bungalow in those markets. But in Cleveland Heights, many residents were dismayed when the meticulously well-maintained 6-bedroom, 5-bath, 4,743-square-foot century home at 2224 Devonshire Drive in the Ambler Heights Historic District, which sold at that price, was demolished less than a year later. 

The city’s Architectural Board of Review has approved plans for a large contemporary house to replace it. Residents are still scratching their heads at how Cleveland Heights could have crowed about finally passing a landmark ordinance last year, then approved the demolition of a unique, historic structure.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:43 PM, 07.01.2020

Communion of Saints teacher keeps students engaged

Teacher Adam Cottos with student Gavin Foss.

Ending the school year with three months of virtual learning is not what any teacher intended. At Communion of Saints Catholic School in Cleveland Heights, Adam Cottos went above and beyond for his fifth-grade students.

Though he was not able to teach his class in person, he managed to keep all of his 28 students engaged in daily remote learning, through Facebook presentations and hosting weekly Kahoot game nights for the fifth-grade families. He even drove to each of the students’ homes and hand delivered a personalized end-of-the-school-year gift.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:32 AM, 07.03.2020

Teachers union changes leadership

Cleveland Heights Teachers Union's spring election of officers resulted in Karen Rego, first vice president for the past four years, and I changing places. Rego was elected president, and I will serve as first vice president beginning July 1. Rego will be the fourth president of our local since 1970. Glenn Altschuld, who died earlier this school year, served from 1970 to 1990; Tom Schmida served from 1990 to 2012. I was president for the last eight years. 

Rego has been teaching in our district for 18 years. She has limitless energy and has forged close relationships with our members. Most of her career was as a kindergarten teacher at Oxford, though she taught many other grades as well. Rego began her CH-UH career at Wiley, and is now at Monticello. She served as building steward at Oxford for many years. She is dependable, hard-working, and leads by example.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:41 PM, 07.01.2020

CH Senior Center News

Senior center staff have been working hard to continue to provide services while the building is closed. Social work outreach and nutrition support remain a focus, but programming is also an important component of the center’s offerings. Employees are working to develop online content, knowing that low-tech programming is important.

One such effort is the formation of Stronger Together, an aptly named journaling group. Starting in May, members received a personalized journal, pen and topic. Participants meet, via a Webex call, on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m., to share experiences and anything written during the week. The talk is lively, and the social connection is appreciated.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 7:59 AM, 06.30.2020

Hard times for schools are here

For whatever reason, I weep at parades. Predictably, my tears began to flow as a police-led parade of public school teachers turned right off of Taylor Road onto Euclid Heights Boulevard, where I was cheering, at an acceptable distance, with seven Monticello Middle School students who missed their school and missed their teachers.

It was the last day of an eerie, remote, and separate two months of learning and teaching from home. The end of a school year is a moment to celebrate hard work, progress, relationships, trust, freedom, and the future. This year was different, more subdued, with an overlay of worry and uncertainty. But we did it nonetheless—from the safe distance of automobiles decked out with balloons, signs, pink flamingos, and the Heights tiger. 

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:38 PM, 07.01.2020

Resident recalls interactions with CH police

in 2014, my partner and I were headed home on the East Shoreway when two packs of Cleveland Police cruisers zipped by us at frightening speed.

The following morning’s radio news told of more than 20 police cruisers chasing a speeding car into East Cleveland, ending up in a middle school parking lot, with an unarmed couple inside the car killed by 137 bullets. A newspaper photo of the windshield, with dozens of bullet holes in it, tagged with numbers, still haunts me.

Later, I read a newspaper story about Cleveland Heights police chasing a speeder far enough to record his license plate number.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:45 PM, 07.01.2020

Local animals show support during pandemic

A spokesanimal presents the LAPH statement.

Although I wouldn’t consider myself a humorist, I do appreciate a good laugh and often favor satire as a way of adding levity to a heavy situation. This is what prompted me recently to write a short story to post on NextDoor. It was a success, with many neighbors appreciating the humor, but creating the piece was equally satisfying.

 After writing a first draft, I started to get a bit of interest from my wife and daughter, but the idea wasn’t grabbing them. The story needed the right visual to make it click. I started with the Internet, hoping to find an image of an animal standing at a podium; no luck. Not being a Photoshop expert, I decided to capture my own photo. 

I quickly put together a “podium,” roughly sizing it to the intended user. My daughter created the podium’s medallion. Setting the prop in our backyard, I loaded it with sunflower seeds, aimed a remote-controlled camera, and waited. After a surprisingly long time, given the attractiveness of the bait, my subject arrived and became the star of my story.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:35 PM, 07.01.2020

Communion of Saints students receive high school scholarships

Communion of Saints School is proud to announce the names of four eighth-grade students who received scholarships to Beaumont School.

Beaumont School awarded Camryn Mango its Lozick Scholarship, and Samaya Triggs received the school’s Howley Scholarship. Sophia Pesta received Beaumont’s Merit Award, and Beth Manning received its Presidential Academic Achievement Award.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 3:04 PM, 06.22.2020

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

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

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

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

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

University Heights celebrates Pride Month

Mayor Brennan looks on as the Pride Flag is raised outside of UH City Hall.

For the second year in a row, the Pride Flag flies outside of University Heights City Hall.

Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan declared June 2020 to be Pride Month in University Heights via proclamation. The rainbow flag, also known as the gay pride flag, will be flown throughout the month of June to symbolize the city’s celebration of diversity and support for LGBTQIA people.

At its June 1 city council meeting, University Heights considered, on second reading, historic legislation to protect the rights of the LGBTQIA community.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 12:59 PM, 06.02.2020

Friendly competition between Cleveland Heights and University Heights encourages Census participation

UH Councilmember Barbara Blankfeld (left) and CH Councilmember Davida Russell get ready to "race" for the most Census participation in their cities. 

On Saturday, May 29, Cleveland Heights Councilmember Davida Russell challenged University Heights Councilmember Barbara Blankfeld to the “Battle of the Census”: a competition to see which city can grow its 2020 Census response rate by 20 percent during the month of June. 

Both council members stressed that everyone will benefit regardless of who "wins" the competition. 

According to U.S. Census tracking, as of June 1, 69.8 percent of University Heights residents have responded, compared to 63 percent of Cleveland Heights residents. 

Many people may ask: Why do I need to complete the Census? Why is it important to count all of us? Why should I take the time? There are many reasons to complete the Census, and accurate demographic data is critical.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 12:54 PM, 06.02.2020

Some Heights businesses reopen as restrictions are lifted

As the state eases coronavirus restrictions, some Heights businesses are starting to re-open; others remain temporarily closed. Most businesses continue to make adjustments to their hours or practices, in an effort to help stem the spread of COVID-19.

The Heights has a large number of independently run, locally owned businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. 

In an effort to encourage support for businesses that are open, the city of Cleveland Heights announced that it would waive all parking fees at meters in city-owned lots and garages, until further notice.

The Heights Observer compiled the following partial list of changes that Heights businesses made to their services due to the outbreak. The list is not comprehensive.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 11:28 AM, 06.02.2020

Neighbors create new mini-park on Noble

Laura Marks and Barb Sosnowski create a new space in a vacant lot at Noble and Roanoke roads. [photo: Brenda H. May]

A new mini-park is shaping up at the corner of Roanoke and Noble roads in Cleveland Heights, where Laura Marks of Heights Tree People, and Barb Sosnowski of Noble Neighbors Gardeners, are turning a vacant lot into a place of beauty and delight.

Their plan includes enhancing the crushed brick on the park’s diagonal walkway by adding river rocks with fossilized ripples. A gathering area with a picnic table will be placed near the center of the walkway, and shade will be provided by ornamental trees planted by the city.

Sosnowski and Marks had separately considered how to transform the lot into a community-building asset. They shared their ideas with the Noble Corridor brainstorming group, a project initiated by Jill Tatem, in response to the Noble Road Corridor Planning process, led by FutureHeights last year.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:39 AM, 06.02.2020

CH crime rates drop for 7th year in a row

Overall crime trend in Cleveland Heights, 2011–2019

For the seventh consecutive year, the incidence of serious crime in Cleveland Heights continued to drop in 2019, hitting its lowest level since the police department began keeping credible statistics in 2011.

The 71 violent crimes reported in 2019 were a 24 percent decrease from the year before. Property crimes were down slightly, at 702 compared to 714 the year before.

The number of burglaries jumped last year to 114 from just 63 in 2018. But, that’s due to a change in the way incidents are being classified, according to Cleveland Heights Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:16 AM, 06.02.2020

Recognizing our graduating seniors

Who doesn’t remember the rite-of-passage rituals from senior year of high school? Prom, senior day for sports, senior skip day and, of course, commencement.

This year’s graduating seniors didn’t get any of that. Someday they’ll wear it as a badge of honor, but for now it just stinks.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:20 AM, 06.02.2020

Libray cuts budget by $2 million

At its May 18 meeting, the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees approved a cost-reduction plan designed to trim the library’s budget by $2 million in the second half of fiscal year 2020. The library’s 2020 budget is $11,585,412, and will hit the half-way point on June 1.

“The library is anticipating severe funding cuts in the near future,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. “Ohio’s Public Library Fund has been reduced by roughly 35 percent, and we are expecting property tax collection to fall sharply. The majority of our funding, over 80 percent, comes from these two sources.”

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:01 AM, 06.02.2020

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education regular meeting highlights 6-2-2020

JUNE 2, 2020


  • Recognition of retirees and Heights High swim team
  • Public comments
  • OSBA legislative platform
  • Five-year forecast
  • Superintendent’s report


The meeting, conducted remotely, was called to order at 7 p.m. and was adjourned at 7:58 p.m., after which the board went into executive session. Board President Jodi Sourini, members James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:01 PM, 06.22.2020

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education special meeting highlights 5-29-2020

MAY 29, 2020


  • Resolution to enter EdChoice lawsuit


After an executive session, the meeting was called to order at 4:10 p.m. and adjourned at 4:45 p.m. The meeting was conducted remotely, with each attendee joining the meeting from their individual homes. Board President Jodi Sourini, members James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. 

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 1:06 PM, 06.22.2020

Democracy is more than elections

“Vote them out!” We hear this all the time. It’s an exclamation we hurl in anger and frustration at every government office—and official—we feel isn’t working right, or isn’t working for us, or is raising taxes or cutting services. Or all of the above. During the recent Cleveland Heights-University Heights school levy campaign, strident cries of, “Vote them out!” were raised against school board members, despite the fact that, just a few months earlier, board members James Posch and Beverly Wright ran without opposition to retain their seats.

Without qualified candidates willing to give generously of their time and talents, who will citizens be able to “vote in”? Campaigns alone entail a significant investment of time, commitment, and probably some of the candidate’s own money. No wonder people prefer to be appointed to office!

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:58 AM, 06.02.2020

Cleveland Heights City Council regular meeting highlights 6-1-20

JUNE 1, 2020


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Executive session limits
  • Council voting legislation
  • Fair practices
  • Wireless infrastructure on public ways
  • Consent agenda
  • Police chief’s presentation
  • Council member comments


Council members present were Mayor Jason Stein, Vice Mayor Kahlil Seren, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell and Michael Ungar. Also present were City Manager Tanisha Briley, Clerk of Council Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting began at 8:37 p.m. and ended at 10:05 p.m.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 9:17 AM, 06.15.2020

Exchange students' year abroad ends abruptly

AFS students Joyce Tagne (Cameroon) and Diadji Diawara (Mali).

Photo courtesy of CHUH.  

Nadia Zampiere, an American Foreign Service (AFS) student at Heights High, knew the virus was coming. Her family in the northern Italian city of Tribano was hosting an exchange student from Greenland while Nadia was spending her year in Cleveland. When the international community decided that the students in Italy should return to their home countries, Zampiere was worried.

“I wasn’t sure what would happen to us,” she said of the AFS students at Heights High. “I was sure that the virus would come to America, too. But I still had hope.”

That hope was dashed when schools throughout Ohio closed in mid-March, flipping the worlds of students upside down in an instant. For the AFS students at Heights High, the global chaos and uncertainty was felt deeply and personally. 

Intense coordination began among AFS, the U.S. State Department, representatives from the students’ home countries, and hundreds of facilitators in American school districts as they worked to safely return students to their families.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:45 AM, 06.02.2020

Resident foresees positive future for CH

As all of us who live in Cleveland Heights know, this is a unique, special city.

It has a diverse, progressive, open-minded citizenry; eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and commercial establishments; and stunning, historic architecture.

I have lived here for almost half of my life, and much longer than anywhere else I called home. I find it hard to imagine finding a more welcoming, livable, walkable city in Northeast Ohio, or the country.

Over the years, Cleveland Heights has suffered through many of the same problems as other inner-ring suburbs, as the housing stock continues to age, taxes increase to support the schools and city government, and the infrastructure continues to deteriorate.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:46 AM, 06.02.2020

Education funding is in crisis

It is amazing how adaptable people have been during this global pandemic. In our school district we are learning new ways to do our jobs, trying new ways to reach our students and their families, and adapting to changing parameters. We’ve had to be creative and flexible. It has been especially challenging for our union members who are caring for their own children at home, while working remotely, which, many teachers report is much harder than being in the classroom. 

We are currently considering several scenarios for opening school in August. It is impossible to know what will change between now and then, so the need for contingency plans is great. 

In all likelihood, school will be different from the past. Class size, for example, may be limited for everyone’s safety. Whatever happens, there will be a need for resources; not only for instruction, but for student health, as well.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 11:07 AM, 06.02.2020

Voucher costs deepen inequality

I used some of my time during the stay-at-home order to take a deep dive into data about which school districts lose funds to EdChoice vouchers—a state program that requires certain school districts to pay for private-school vouchers out of the district’s state-aid allotment. My hours buried in the Ohio Department of Education website confirmed in breathtaking terms my suspicions about the unfair impact of this misuse of public funds.

The EdChoice voucher program is expensive, affects some districts a lot more than others, and fuels inequality in education funding and opportunities. Most of the children enrolled in the districts hardest hit by vouchers live in poverty and are racial minorities. How much longer can policymakers ignore that their diversion of public-school funding to support private education discriminates against our neediest students?

The CH-UH district is among the hardest hit by this threat to educational opportunity. It is among the 22 of Ohio’s 612 school districts that together carried 90 percent of all of this year’s EdChoice vouchers.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 11:00 AM, 06.02.2020

New owner continues Atma Center's mission

Julie Schlemmer is the new owner of Lee Road's Atma Center.

On April 1, amidst the COVID-19 virus and stay-at-home orders, Cleveland Heights native Julie Schlemmer became the new owner of Atma Center, the yoga studio in the Cedar Lee district, at 2319 Lee Road.

The center opened in 1997 through the vision of former owner Swami Atmarupa (aka Beverly Singh), who wanted to establish a holistic wellness center that offered yoga, massage therapy, meditation, and a retail source for vitamins and physical wellness products.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:06 AM, 06.02.2020

CH resident pens book on fatherhood

CH resident Mark Welfley is the author of a new book about fatherhood.

Fatherhood in 60 Minutes or Less: 101 Humorous Observations, Rules of Thumb and Untold Truths for Fathers by any Definition, is the latest work by Cleveland Heights resident Mark Welfley, associate professor of practice at the University of Akron.

It’s a collection of humorous observations, rules of thumb and untold truths—each in a sentence or two. It weighs in on triggers that change child behavior, rules of thumb for dessert portions, what to add to any meal to make it more palatable to a child, what to include in a take-along survival kit for a child, and more.

“My young children have taught me much about myself, just as I have learned much about them, especially during this time of quarantine,” said Welfley. “The book will make you think, laugh, question and reminisce about fatherhood.”

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:53 AM, 06.15.2020

A look back and ahead at the Bradford cinder path

The columns in all seasons.

photo credit Peggy Spaeth

Bradford Road extends from Lee Road in Cleveland Heights to Edgerton Road in University Heights. A unique feature interrupts the street: a pedestrian path that connects two sections of the road. One-third of a mile in length, spanning four blocks, the path extends from South Taylor Road to Canterbury Road.

Four streets  have this path at their midpoints: Queenston, Kingston, Princeton and Canterbury. (Two landmarked farmhouses that belonged to the families who owned the land on which the streets were laid out are still occupied: 3497 and 3585 Fairmount Blvd.)

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:35 AM, 06.02.2020

Neighbors collaborate to create pollinator habitats

Ray, Diana and Morgan Danner, a Fairfax Elementary family, enjoyed planting their pollinator garden last summer.

If you went down Bradford Road last summer, you may have noticed some interesting tree lawn activity—and it wasn’t on trash night.

With guidance from residents Peggy Spaeth and John Barber, neighbors collaborated on a project—now the Bradford Pollinator Path—to beautify the street while helping the environment. Participating households agreed to dedicate a patch of their front yards or tree lawns to the planting of native species that are known to be supportive ecosystems for insects and birds. 

Having transformed their own front yard and tree lawn into a biodiverse habitat, Spaeth and Barber, the co-founders of Friends of Lower Lake, wanted to increase the impact by expanding it on their street.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:23 AM, 06.02.2020

Free shuttle links CH to University Circle

ODOT signs on Coventry Road highlight the free and open-to-all BlueLink shuttle service that connects the Heights with University Circle destinations.

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

Project inspires hope, one letter at a time

Allison Meyer with the mailbox at Hart Crane Park, in summer 2019. (Photo courtesy of Canalway Partners)

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

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

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

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

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

Library launches '1619 Project' Web page

In May, Heights Libraries launched a new online resource featuring news, resources, and upcoming events related to the library’s ongoing 1619 Project discussion group. 

The group formed in September 2019 in response to high public interest in reading and discussing the "1619 Project" essays published by The New York Times Magazine, which reflect on the history of race and slavery, and its impact on American life over the last 400 years. 

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:57 AM, 06.02.2020

First Baptist hosts monthly mobile pantry

Volunteers stage pallets of food for pickup at the mobile pantry.

First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland is partnering with the Cleveland Food Bank again this summer, to serve as a mobile pantry for produce pickup. Dates for the church’s upcoming mobile pantries are June 6, July 11, and Aug. 1, from 10 a.m. to noon.

A mobile pantry is a Greater Cleveland Food Bank truck full of food that is brought to a location where clients can pick it up.

Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, distributions at the church (3630 Fairmount Blvd.), for the time being, will be drive-up only. Guests are asked to make room in their trunks prior to their arrival. A valid ID is required to participate.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:26 AM, 06.02.2020

The fruits of my labor

The b-side of the B Side, you might say. This is where Rocco's Market isn't. Part of the lot on which Rocco's sat is empty and part is the fenced-in patio of the B Side Lounge, which is downstairs of the Grog Shop, whose entrace is on Euclid Heights Boulevard, in the CoventrYard building. 

They built CoventrYard, the then-arty indoor mini-mall, out of an old apartment building, on Coventry Road, just as it’s starting to turn the corner and become Euclid Heights Boulevard. Then my friend Eugene Rocco, a builder and designer who loves good food, took over what had been the apartment’s garage and transformed it into a beautiful gourmet shop, Rocco’s Market, directly across the courtyard from the original Mad Greek Restaurant.

Rocco, at around that same time, the mid ’70s, also designed the Grum’s Sub Shoppe on Coventry, near Mayfield. It’s still there. The next time you’re in the area, look at it, starting on the outside and following your eyes inside. It’s very cleverly designed. As was Rocco’s Market.

Rocco’s sold unusual fruits, for its time; Amish cheeses and baked goods from Middlefield, Ohio; fresh fish and seafood; dairy products; and all kinds of deli meats—even cow’s tongue (it tastes sort of like corned beef)—which you could buy in bulk or get on sandwiches, which were made with bagels from Bialy’s.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:04 AM, 06.02.2020

Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 5-18-2020

MAY 18, 2020


  • Library patrons to wear face coverings
  • Procedures with infectious individuals 
  • Reductions in general fund appropriations
  • Staff reductions
  • Public service report
  • Summer reading program


Present were President James Roosa, Vice President Dana Fluellen, Patti Carlyle, Gabe Crenshaw, Annette Iwamoto and Vikas Turakhia. Max Gerboc was absent.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 9:17 AM, 06.08.2020

University Heights celebrates Class of 2020

Bryson Simpson is among the seniors participating in UH's Senior Spotlight. A cross-country and track and field star at Gilmour Academy, Simpson won many awards for his volunteer work. He will attend the College of Wooster this fall.

To put it mildly, senior year for the high school Class of 2020 has not gone according to plan. Students should be relishing their final weeks of classes with their friends and teachers. They should be enjoying softball games, concerts, and award ceremonies. There should be "promposals," there should be big commencement ceremonies, followed by graduation parties.

This pandemic derailed so much.

“We here at City Hall can’t fix any of that,” University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan said, “but we’d like to do something nice for the Class of 2020.”

All high school seniors living in University Heights are invited to participate in the city’s Senior Spotlight program. UH City Hall staff will produce write-ups on local seniors to share on social media accounts. The features on seniors are also available at

As many seniors as possible will be included in the July issue of Mosaic, the University Heights magazine. One senior, and his or her parents, will appear on the cover of the magazine.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 12:08 PM, 05.26.2020

Library prepares for partial reopening

Heights Libraries is preparing its four branches for a partial reopening, scheduled for June 2 at the Lee Road branch, and June 9 for the Coventry Village, Noble Neighborhood, and University Heights branches.

On Monday, May 18, the Lee Road branch began to offer three services: curbside holds pick-ups, phone reference, and homebound delivery.

The curbside holds pick-up service is initially only for (1) customers who had holds ready at the time of the library’s closure on March 13, and (2) customers who wish to order by phone and pick up items currently available in the Lee Road building.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 9:30 AM, 05.26.2020

CH narrows council search to 4 finalists

On May 21, in a Facebook post, Cleveland Heights Mayor Jason Stein announced that he and the other five current members of CH City Council had narrowed the field of applicants for the open council seat to four finalists, out of 22 who applied. The finalists are Craig Cobb, Anthony Cuda, Anthony Mattox Jr. and Robert Koonce.

The next step, according to Stein, is to individually, and remotely, interview the four candidates. In his Facebook post, Stein stated that next step, to take place "in the next week or so," would be an executive session (closed to the public) interview with council. After that, stated Stein, "[W]e will make a final determination and then plan for the swearing-in ceremony."

Of the 22 applicants, three withdrew; the other 19 each participated in a video interview process, conducted by the League of Women Voters. Those videos, as well as each candidate's application, can be viewed at


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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 3:12 PM, 05.21.2020

UH announces virtual Memorial Day lineup

Frank LaRose and his wife, Lauren, in 2006.

The COVID-19 pandemic won't stop University Heights from remembering those who have died in war this Memorial Day.

As previously announced, the city canceled it's annual parade, and will hold its ceremony online this year. The virtual ceremony will be broadcast on the University Heights YouTube channel on Monday, May 25, at 1 p.m. In addition, the ceremony will also be shown on the UH City Hall Facebook page.

Ohio Secretary of State, U.S. Army Green Beret, and Bronze Star recipient Frank LaRose will be the featured speaker.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 3:01 PM, 05.19.2020

CH promotes 'Shop Local Bingo' to support city businesses

The first "Shop Local Bingo" scorecard. 

As businesses reopen in-person services, the city of Cleveland Heights has come up with a gamified approach to encourage local shopping. 

"Shop Local Bingo," as described on the city's website, works just like the classic game. The scorecard, available for download, lists 24 CH businesses.

According to Mary Trupo, director of communications and public engagement for the city of Cleveland Heights, businesses were selected randomly, but "with emphasis put on diversity of locations." The first round features restaurants, bars and grocers. Trupo noted that other types of merchants will be included as more businesses reopen.

Following any line on the card, participants can purchase goods from these businesses online or in-store. They must then take pictures of themselves holding both their purchases and receipts. Per the city's instructions, "once you have a Bingo (horizontal, vertical or diagonal), send all of your pictures in one e-mail to, or send a direct message to Instagram (@clvhts), or our Facebook (@clevelandheightsoh) with all your pics. Be sure to attach your marked card as well!" 

Submissions will be entered into a weekly drawing to receive "a Cleveland Heights dinner/dessert/beverage/groceries experience on usa $50 value to your choice of featured businesstwo $25 gift cards," according to the site.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 12:49 PM, 05.19.2020

Yard signs celebrate Heights High seniors

Nearly 400 yard signs for Heights High seniors were installed in early May. 

Maybe you have seen them—nearly 400 Heights High Class of 2020 yard signs that sprouted up in early May, in the yards and windows of this year’s graduating seniors.

“Our seniors will not have the same end-of-year experience that they expected, and we feel so bad about that,” said Jane Simeri, Heights High’s senior class principal. “We want these signs to show the class of 2020 and our community that we are very proud of them.”

The yard signs were installed by the CH-UH bus drivers, using district vans, on May 6 and 7.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 3:47 PM, 05.18.2020

Zoom into UH with city backdrops

Sunset over University Heights is one of the Zoom backgrounds available.

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced many people to Zoom meetings. Whether it’s a weekly staff meeting, a quarterly book club, or an interview, Zoom has become part of the pandemic culture.

To enhance Zoom meetings with some University Heights civic pride, Zoom backgrounds depicting the city are now available for download on the University Heights City Hall Facebook page.

Backgrounds include Walter Stinson Community Park, John Carroll University (JCU) scenes, the University Heights Library, as well as Bialy’s Bagels, Los Arcos, and Jack’s Deli & Restaurant.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 3:47 PM, 05.18.2020

BOE should better manage school funds

Now that the election is over, I think it time FutureHeights and the Cleveland Heights League of Women Voters open their eyes to the internal management decisions of the CH-UH Board of Education (BOE). I, like almost all residents of the school district, want our district to succeed. But I am concerned that higher taxes are a deterrent to attracting young families to the Heights.

CH-UH BOE members, past and present, have done grievous damage to the school system they were elected to oversee [by failing] to manage the funds entrusted to them, for the benefit of our children, in a practical manner.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 3:47 PM, 05.18.2020

City of University Heights cancels summer events

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of all city-sponsored events in University Heights through Labor Day, including the Summer Concert Series.

Citing the health risks of holding large events during a pandemic, University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan announced on May 14 that all city-sponsored events will be canceled through Labor Day. In addition, he announced that the Beryl E. Rothschild Pool at Purvis Park will not open in 2020.

Among the canceled events in University Heights are:

  • The Summer Concert Series, including shows at Walter Stinson Community Park and at John Carroll University
  • Tennis lessons
  • Yoga Tuesdays at The Walt
  • Family Movie Nights at The Walt
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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 1:50 PM, 05.14.2020