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Mayor-elect Brennan sets forth his plans for University Heights

University Heights Mayor-elect Michael Dylan Brennan.

A day after he defeated University Heights' two-term incumbent, Mayor-elect Michael D. Brennan put forward a vision of an innovative entertainment and nightlife scene where the moribund University Square shopping center stands at the intersection of Cedar and Warrensville Center roads.

A lawyer in private practice, for whom the mayoral election was a first step into politics, Brennan will take office on Jan. 2, having won a close election with an unofficial winning margin of less than 60 votes (1,546 to 1,492) in a city of approximately 13,000 residents.

Brennan said he did not see a common thread in the decision by University Heights voters to replace an incumbent (UH Mayor Susan Infeld ran without opposition for reelection four years ago) and the election loss by six-term incumbent Mayor Merle Gordon, in neighboring Beachwood. "I think each city has its unique issues," commented Brennan. "For University Heights, our election was about the power of good ideas and the power of collaboration as a way of going about government."

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 1:38 PM, 11.13.2017

Latest News Releases

- City of Cleveland Heights, November 15, 2017 Read More
Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission To Hold Inaugural Meeting
- City of Cleveland Heights, November 9, 2017 Read More
Jarvey, McLaughlin Named to FFHL Honor Roll: Honorees to Be Recognized for Opening Doors and Opening Minds
- CH-UH Library, October 30, 2017 Read More
Library accepting applications for new board members
- , October 26, 2017 Read More
- City of Cleveland Heights, October 18, 2017 Read More

View more news releases

Heights High swimming and diving teams host alumni meet Nov. 21

The Cleveland Heights High School swimming and diving teams will host their annual Black & Gold Meet on Tuesday, Nov. 21. Traditionally an inter-squad meet that serves as practice prior to the competition season, this year’s event will feature a celebration of the opening of the school’s new natatorium and a reunion for team alumni.

The meet will begin at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony and recognition of alumni, current team members, and participants in the youth program. Alumni are invited to swim in the meet, and non-swimming alumni are encouraged to attend, as well, as the program seeks to reconnect with former team members.

Members of the Heights Tigersharks, the Cleveland Heights Recreation swim team, are also invited to swim, as the 2017 Black & Gold Meet showcases the past, present and future of competitive swimming in the Heights.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 10:39 AM, 11.13.2017

Brennan bests Infeld in UH mayoral race

Michael Dylan Brennan

Michael Dylan Brennan defeated incumbent Susan Infeld in a closely contested race to become mayor of University Heights on Nov. 7. In unofficial election results posted on the Cuyahoga County Board of Election website, Brennan received 1,546 votes, 50.9 percent of the total, giving him a narrow win over Infeld, who received 1,492 votes.

In addition, Cleveland Heights and University Heights voters elected three new members to the CH-UH Board of Education: Dan Heintz, Jodi L. Sourini and Malia Lewis.

In other area contests, James Costello secured a six-year term as Cleveland Heights Municipal Judge with 5,075 votes, representing 49.1 percent of the total. Incumbents in both the Cleveland Heights and University Heights city council races retained their seats.

See local election results here.

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Volume 10, Issue 12, Posted 4:32 PM, 11.08.2017

Gift guide puts focus on the Heights

Carolers serenade holiday shoppers in Coventry Village in 2015.

The Heights community is full of unique, independently owned businesses, and the holiday season is the most important time of year for them. For most, holiday sales determine if they are in the red or black for the year—and, for some, if they can continue to operate.

Studies show that holiday shopping at locally owned, independent businesses generates far more economic benefit in local communities than money spent online, at chains, or at businesses outside of the community.

A strategic planning firm, Civic Economics (, calculated that every $100 spent at a local business in one Chicago neighborhood re-circulated $68 in the local economy, compared with just $43 for $100 spent at a chain store in the same neighborhood.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:51 PM, 11.01.2017

Northsiders celebrate Noble resurfacing

Noble Neighbors celebrates the completion of the Noble Road resurfacing project.

Noble Neighbors celebrated the re-opening of Noble Road on Sept. 20 with a whimsical gathering. Residents wore orange clothes and shared orange-colored snacks—carrots, cheese crackers, and cone-shaped candy corn—to bid farewell to the orange barrels that had characterized their summertime travels. Signs thanking the project crews were waved in front of a newly out-of-commission road-closed sign, and thank-you signs were taped to orange barrels and machinery. Residents were joined in enjoying the smell of the new asphalt by Rich Orosz and others from the Cuyahoga County Department of Public Works, Investigator Quintero Mack of the Cleveland Heights Police Department and Cleveland Heights City Council Member Carol Roe.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:49 PM, 11.01.2017

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to three CH projects

FutureHeights held the fifth round of its Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program this fall, approving $1,700 in grants to support three projects in Cleveland Heights.

To date, the community development corporation has awarded 18 grants for a total of $12,384. The grants are intended to spur small, grassroots projects to improve quality of life and build community. 

FutureHeights mini-grants fall 2017 grants are: 

Bikur Cholim of Cleveland was awarded $325 for its Hannukah – Light Menorah Party project. The organization is hosting the event in Cleveland Heights to bring special-needs children and their families together in celebration of Hannukah, and help create a strong support system within the community.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:37 PM, 11.01.2017

UH Senior Happenings

Senior Happenings, sponsored by the city of University Heights, are open to all senior citizens. Events take place on Thursdays at 2 p.m. at the University Heights Library. To receive the monthly schedule by e-mail, call 216-932-7800, ext. 205, or send an e-mail to

Nov. 2: Karen Gahl-Mills, chief executive officer and executive director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, will reflect on the organization's first decade. In 10 years, 2007-2017, it has distributed $158 million in public funds to 350 community organizations.

Nov. 9: Rachel Kribbs, Cleveland Institute of Music's director of community programming, will intoduce instrumentalists and vocalists from the school, who will perform.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:40 AM, 11.02.2017

Library establishes teen council

Circulation Assistant Payton Meeks facilitates a Teen Library Council meeting.

New this fall to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System is the establishment of a Teen Library Council. The council is open to all teens and seeks to increase teen participation at Heights Libraries, strengthen teen library programming and give teens an opportunity to positively impact the community.  

The council first met on Sept. 6 and meets the first and third Wednesday of every month, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., at the Lee Road Library’s Levey Room. Council meetings are open to all teens, and participation can count toward volunteer requirements students may need to graduate.  

The council hit the ground running in its first three meetings. Though primarily focused on coordinating hurricane relief efforts, it also planned a number of teen library programs and is organizing a food and clothing drive for local homeless shelters. It has also worked to establish a Black fiction section in the Teen Room of the Lee Road Library.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:52 AM, 11.02.2017

The Heights: training ground, for better or worse

The author in 1965, dressed like a Beatle, and with his then-ever-present cigarette.

November 1965. I had just started 11th grade at Heights High, though I wasn’t involved or engaged in school very much. I just showed up in the morning and left in the afternoon. In the morning I smoked a cigarette right up to the school’s property line; in the afternoon, I lit up a cigarette the second I hit Lee Road. In the morning I hitched a ride to school from Mayfield and Superior roads. After school, I walked down Washington Boulevard to Coventry Road and stopped at one of the three bakeries there to get a sweet roll to eat on the rest of the way to my house on Belmar, just off of Mayfield. I skipped school a lot, and often cut classes on days I did show up.

So, in other words, I spent that formative time learning bad habits—and I haven’t mentioned several others.

One particular early-November weekend that year, my friend, whom I’ll call Stuart, and I started out Friday evening at his mother’s apartment on Hampshire Road, writing a song—a fairly weak pretend-Beatles song—sitting on two beds in his room, each with a guitar, facing each other and hammering out the music and lyrics.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:46 AM, 11.02.2017

Some thoughts on voting

In a democracy, “We the People” are sovereign—not “we the judges,” “we the corporations,” or even “we the elected officials.” In a monarchy, the monarch is sovereign. In a democratic republic, the primary way most of us can express ourselves as a free and sovereign people is in the voting booth. No wonder Americans have fought to expand the franchise since the early days of the republic, when only white male landowners could vote.

Of course, voting is not only a right, but a responsibility, and that entails much more than getting to the polls. As voters we are responsible for learning as much as possible about candidates and issues before marking our ballots. With a corporate media pandering for the apparently unlimited sums of money now routinely spent on political ads, that’s a real challenge.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:19 PM, 11.01.2017

Incumbents should run on their records

To the Editor:

As a resident of the Boulevard area, I noted the recent article by Diane Hallum, and specifically her remarks about the responsiveness (or lack thereof) of members of [Cleveland Heights City] Council. While her point is well taken, a related issue from my perspective is accountability.

In the case of incumbents, one might imagine they would focus less on their apparent vision, and speak to what they have actually accomplished during their tenures. As election day approaches we will hopefully hear more from the candidates in this regard. However, let it suffice to say that at present, the picture is less than impressive.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:31 PM, 11.01.2017

Take the time to research candidates—and vote

To the Editor:

Hey Cleveland Heights neighbors, are you electorally aware of the candidates who have been and will be knocking at your doors? Have you read their campaign literature, noticed the signs bearing their names proliferating [on] lawns and [in] shop windows? Did you attend candidate forums?
The opening of our new high school, holidays, and calamitous world news may have relegated your awareness of and interest in our city's local elections to the back shelves of your daily lives, but it's time to begin thinking about the election scheduled for Nov. 7.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:29 PM, 11.01.2017

Vouchers are bad for most

I have two adult children that I love more than anything in the world and always have. They went to Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools and received an imperfect but great education. I worshiped some of their teachers, tolerated others, thought some administrators knew what they were doing and didn’t care for others. All in all, CH-UH schools and my family were a good fit. I never thought about sending them to a different system.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:26 PM, 11.01.2017

FutureHeights grant benefits refugee-outreach efforts

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System has received a FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant in the amount of $875 to help pay for its Driver’s Education Scholarships for Refugees program at its Noble Neighborhood branch.

Cleveland Heights’ Noble neighborhood is home to roughly 300 legally resettled refugees, the majority of whom are Nepali speakers from Nepal and Bhutan. The library already offers support services to the community through a variety of programs such as English classes, citizenship classes, and the drop-in Welcome Hub, which offers refugees and immigrants an informal space where they can find resources and fellowship.

“Since I started working with the refugee community here at Heights Libraries, I’ve heard from the community’s representatives that a lack of access to transportation holds the group back in many ways,” said Stephen Sanders, adult services librarian.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:48 AM, 11.02.2017

Balancing individual needs with state requirements is not easy

It seems to me there is a fundamental conflict between differentiating instruction for students and, at the same time, ensuring that all students are prepared to take the next big state test. How can teachers take a classroom full of students who might be grade levels apart and make sure that everything in the curriculum is taught and learned by all by a specific time?

I feel the same way about the pacing charts that are in use throughout the district. For example, all fifth-graders are expected to complete a particular unit at the same time. Lock-step learning makes little sense to me. Teachers end up skipping important information, or some students end up frustrated because they may need extra time to master a concept.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:22 PM, 11.01.2017

Public school advocacy: passing the torch

I’ve been a public school activist since 1976. That’s a long time. 
Each year it gets harder to go to meetings—the bread and butter of any grassroots engagement! So, when the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Council of PTAs-sponsored candidates’ night for the CH-UH Board of Education rolled around on Oct. 3, I didn’t want to go. 
The meeting was right up the street at Boulevard Elementary School, so I had no excuse. This is my school. I’ve been a volunteer there since my daughter started kindergarten in 1988. It has always been my most authentic source of connection to public education and inspiration about the work that teachers do every day, and it was hard to ignore the invitation to attend from fellow Boulevard enthusiast Kristi Bidinger. I headed up to school.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:15 PM, 11.01.2017

Studio How-To brings handmade to the holidays

Inside Studio How-To.

Studio How-To owner Sarah Nemecek hopes to help people enjoy the holiday season even more by offering special gift-making classes. In her studio at 2140 Lee Road, Nemecek provides instruction on how to make things for friends and family, both for the pleasure of gift giving and for the experience of learning and socializing with others while creating.

Nemecek’s goal is to remove the stigma of the handmade gift, replacing the weird-colored, ill-fitting handmade sweater with cool, modern, useful handmade gifts that anyone would be thrilled to receive, proud to give, and capable of making.

For the past several years, Nemecek has been making and exchanging handmade gifts, activities and tools with her family and friends.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:56 AM, 11.02.2017

'The Hairy Ape' opens Nov. 17 at Ensemble

Director Ian Wolfgang Hinz directs Eugene O'Neill's "The Hairy Ape" at Ensemble Theatre.

Cleveland Critics Circle award-winning director Ian Wolfgang Hinz will again take on a Eugene O’Neill masterpiece when he directs Ensemble Theatre’s production of “The Hairy Ape” this month.

Opening Nov. 17, the play is about a hard-working man, Yank, who has a bit of a crisis of identity when confronted by the daughter of a rich industrialist. Hinz won the award for Best Direction for Ensemble’s 2013 production of O’Neill’s “The Iceman Cometh.”

“O’Neill is asking the questions many of us in our polarized society are asking,” Hinz said. “Mainly, ‘where do we belong?’”

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:44 AM, 11.02.2017

Heights High names four National Merit Scholars

Heights High's 2018 Merit Scholars: Rosalind Madorsky, William Hopkins, Mary Jane Reinhardt and Melanie Graham.

Heights High seniors Melanie Graham and Mary Jane Reinhardt have been named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists in the 2018 competition, and now have the opportunity to advance to the finalist level and qualify for National Merit Scholarships. William Hopkins and Rosalind Madorsky were named 2018 Commended Students, placing among the top 5 percent of the students who entered.

Nationally, 16,000 semifinalists were recognized, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, as were 34,000 commended students. More than 1.6 million students entered the National Merit Scholarship qualifying competition by taking the PSAT test in the fall of their junior year.

Graham is enrolled in Ohio’s College Credit Plus (CCP) and takes physics and English literature at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and statistics at John Carroll University. Her Heights High courses are AP calculus and symphony. She plays violin in the Heights High Symphony and the Cleveland Youth Orchestra, and mellophone in the marching band.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:34 AM, 11.02.2017

Gesu dedicates new STREAM center

Members of the Gesu school community gathered for the decication of the new STREAM center.

On Sept. 10, Gesu Catholic School hosted a Mass of Thanksgiving and Dedication of the new Gesu Educational Center for STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Arts and Math) Learning. Pastor Fr. Karl Kiser, SJ, Principal Lucy Iemmolo, STREAM Coordinator Marjorie Gessner, and eighth-grader Annie K. Koppitch all spoke to the donors and guests about the new STREAM center and the opportunities it is providing the 630-plus students at Gesu.

The $1.1 million renovation project and STREAM initiative began about three years ago and, with the funds raised, the school began construction in fall 2016. The construction occurred in three phases, with phase one including a new science lab. In phase two, the largest renovation, the old religious education center transformed into a modern STREAM Center featuring two maker spaces, a classroom, two offices and a renovated chapel.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 9:37 AM, 11.02.2017

Schools now have a bike fleet to teach safe cycling

Canterbury Elementary School students enjoy riding bike fleet bikes during a physical education class.

To make the most of its limited Safe Routes to School funding, Cleveland Heights looked to the example of the Chagrin Falls Safe Routes to School program. Its founder said that assembling a bike fleet to teach students safe cycling was the single best thing their program had done.

With that endorsement, Cleveland Heights city employee Jennifer Kuzma worked to purchase a trailer to convey bikes and other gear from school to school. The fleet includes 24 bikes, plus helmets and a compressor to fill tires.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:08 PM, 11.01.2017

Forest Hill church hosts annual bazaar

If the closing of Cleveland Heights’ fair trade stores Revive and Ten Thousand Villages has left you searching for local, fair trade gifts this holiday season, consider attending Forest Hill Presbyterian Church’s annual fair trade bazaar on Sunday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 2:00 PM, 11.01.2017

St. Paul’s offers new adaptive worship service for families

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is offering a new experience of ecumenical worship, All God’s Children, that is designed to appeal to families with children of any age, and is especially appropriate for people with special needs. The community is invited to gather in the church’s Tucker Hall at 5 p.m. on Nov. 19. Services will be held on the third Sunday of the month thereafter.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 1:56 PM, 11.01.2017

Heights lacrosse coach Terry Saylor is honored

Coach Terry Saylor (center) with Eve Tranchito ('07), Lauren Iott (Heights High senior), Kelly Jones ('11) and Zoe Jones ('07).

The North Coast Ohio Chapter of US Lacrosse has honored Terry Saylor, Heights High’s girls lacrosse coach, for his outstanding contributions to the sport of lacrosse in the region, and his accomplishments as head coach at Cleveland Heights High School.

The organization inducted Saylor him into its Hall of Fame at a Sept. 15 ceremony held at the Urban Community School in Cleveland, the site of the new Lacrosse Communities Pilot Project.

Two Heights alumnae, Eve Tranchito (‘10) and Zoe Jones (‘07), presented the award to their former coach. Also in attendance were Heights alumna and former lacrosse player Kelly Jones ('11), and current Heights senior Lauren Iott, captain of the 2017–18 Heights lacrosse team.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 1:47 PM, 11.01.2017

Forums and guides provide information on Heights candidates

As the Nov. 7 Election Day approaches, Heights voters can access several resources to become informed about local candidates and issues.

One such resource is the 2017 Voters Guide, sponsored by the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters (LVW) and FutureHeights. The guide was a special insert in the October issue of the Heights Observer. Additional copies of the printed guide are available at Heights libraries and other locations around town.

An online version of the guide, available at and, contains additional questions and answers from each candidate, as well as a link to videos from the Oct. 18 LWV/FutureHeights Candidates Forum.


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:23 AM, 10.31.2017

Kensington Pub to open in former TavCo space

Brad Po stands with the 87 chairs he helped repaint.

Longtime Cleveland Heights residents and restaurant enthusiasts Brad Po and Jeff King took their time shopping around for the perfect spot in which to open their own pub and eatery. When the two storefronts at the corner of Lee and Kensington roads, formerly occupied by The Tavern Company (before that business moved across and down Lee Road), became available, both men saw it as an opportunity to revive the iconic, local space as a neighborhood hangout.

Friends for more than 20 years, Po and King worked together previously at local and regional establishments, including Johnny's Little Bar, Red, and Moxie. King currently manages La Cav du Vin in Coventry Village.


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:55 AM, 10.31.2017

CH Senior Center News

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness month. On Nov. 9, 1:30–3:30, the Center 4 Brain Health will offer free memory screenings, by appointment, at the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC).

Memory screenings are not used to diagnose memory impairments, but are an initial step toward finding out if further medical testing might be beneficial. Memory screenings are also appropriate for individuals who want a baseline measure to which they will be able to compare future memory performance.


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:48 AM, 10.31.2017

Peace Lutheran Church will host two fall events

Peace Lutheran Church, the consolidation of Hope Lutheran and Bethlehem Lutheran churches, is planning two fall events—Permaculture Day on Saturday, Nov. 4, and Novemberfest on Saturday, Nov. 11.

The church's garden committee is offering a free half-day permaculture session on Nov. 4, led by Tom Gibson, a local expert in sustainable and self-sufficient agricultural ecosystems. The committee plans to use the principles of permaculture to lay out planting beds for the church’s new memorial garden. The class starts at 9:30 a.m. Coffee and other beverages will be provided. 


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:41 AM, 10.31.2017

Heights Arts seeks next CH poet laureate

Poet Laureate Christine Howey (right) with Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin.

Heights Arts has begun the process of selecting the ninth Cleveland Heights poet laureate, who will serve from April 2018 to March 2020. The term of the current Cleveland Heights poet laureate, Christine Howey, ends March 31, 2018.

Poets from across Northeast Ohio are encouraged to apply. Candidates are not required to live in Cleveland Heights, but must demonstrate a strong connection to the city.

Heights Arts will accept online applications through Dec. 31. Detailed information about the responsibilities of the Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate are available on the Heights Arts website,


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:51 AM, 10.31.2017

Heights artist Bob Jones exhibits paintings at Lee Road Library

Bob Jones visits with a painting in his show at the Lee Road Library.  

Cleveland Heights resident and artist Robert (Bob) Jones, is exhibiting a selection of paintings at the Lee Road Library through Nov. 6. The show features lush, oil-on-canvas landscapes depicting colorful skies, clouds, rich foliage, water and dramatic mountains.

The works on exhibit span 25 years of Jones’ life, with a concentration of paintings done in the 1990s, a time when Jones was most prolific, painting late at night in the basement of his home.

A self-taught artist, Jones works from memory and quick pencil sketches made during frequent trips to North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia and Pennsylvania. “I draw what I see,” said Jones, who grew up drawing. His father used to write stories to accompany his drawings.

As a young adult, Jones made charcoal portraits of his family and friends. Besides completing an 18-month correspondence course in art, Jones’ only other training came from television host and famed art instructor Bob Ross, who inspired him to pick up oil painting. Jones never looked back.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 4:21 PM, 10.29.2017

CH appoints 15 to charter review commission

At its Oct. 16 meeting, members of Cleveland Heights City Council named 15 appointees to the city's Charter Review Commision. They are: Patrycia Ajdukiewicz, Jessica Cohen, Craig Cobb, Michael Gaynier, C. Randolph Keller, Howard Maier, John Newman Jr., David Perelman, Carla Rautenberg, Vince Reddy, Maia Rucker, Allosious Snodgrass, Katherine Solender, James Vail and Sarah West.

Cleveland Heights voters originally adopted the city's charter in 1921. The document defines the organization, powers, functions and essential procedures of the city's government.

In 1972, an amendment to the charter set forth that "Council shall, at least once during each ten-year period, by ordinance or resolution, determine whether to appoint a Charter Review Commission to review the entire Charter. The first ten-year period shall end December 31, 1982. Thereafter each successive ten-year period shall commence on the date of Council's ordinance or resolution making such determination." The last time the city convened a charter review was in 1982.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:16 AM, 10.24.2017

'Shrek, The Musical' is Heights High's fall show

Lead actors in Heights High's fall show are (front row, from left) Malcolm White, Hannah Gilson, Lilly Kerr-Jung, Alyssa Smith, (back row, from left) Grant Heineman, Tedd Byers, Isabella Marotta and Sophie Gilson.

The Heights High annual fall production, "Shrek, The Musical," takes place Nov. 2, 3 and 4, at 7 p.m., and Nov. 5, at 4 p.m.

The show, which will be presented in the renovated Heights High auditorium, will include more than 200 high school students performing in the two casts and the pit orchestra, and managing backstage operations. Nearly 175 elementary school students and 60 middle school students will sing in the chorus.

The show’s theme of friendship and acceptance is relevant to the lead performers, who spoke about the show recently. “The finale song ["This Is Our Story"] is really the theme of the show,” said senior Hannah Gilson, who plays Fiona, as does her twin sister, Sophie. “The chorus is ‘we are different and united, you are us and we are you, this is our story,’ That describes Heights High and the Vocal Music Department.” 


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 11:12 AM, 10.24.2017

Heights students create mural at Lee and Meadowbrook

Elementary school students spruced up a vacant lot at Cedar Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard by painting a mural on a concrete retaining wall. Photo by Ranen Reichstein.

Fifth-graders from Fairfax and Boulevard elementary schools helped beautify the Cedar Lee Business District this fall when they painted a mural on a blank wall at the vacant lot at Lee Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard. The students first learned about the architectural styles prevalent in Cleveland Heights, and then made their way to the wall, which had been painted a pale-blue, creating a canvas upon which they painted their images for the public.

The fifth-graders were assisted by the Heights High Art Club's Londyn Crenshaw and Mila Zelic, who designed parts of the mural and spent many hours before and after school working on it. 


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 11:08 AM, 10.24.2017

Heights Arts Holiday Store opens Nov. 3

Heights Arts annual holiday store.

What began as a tiny Lee Road pop-up with a few local artists in 2002 has blossomed into the 16th annual Heights Arts Holiday Store, featuring creative items by about 100 Northeast Ohio visual artists and artisans, writers and musicians. “We’ve been planning this year’s store since June, and are fortunate to have intern Megan Jones, a student at the Cleveland Institute of Art, help us identify new and exciting artists for the expanded Holiday Store,” said executive director Rachel Bernstein. “Megan is collaborating with manager Courtney Young to make this the best Holiday Store in our history!”

Visitors will find new giftable art from many of their favorite makers, plus an impressive curated selection of items by artists new to the store. 



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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 11:11 AM, 10.24.2017

JCU to host UH mayoral candidates forum on Oct. 26

John Carroll University (JCU) will host a University Heights mayoral candidates forum, co-sponsored by the University Heights Democratic Club and the University Heights Republican Club, on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m.

JCU students will be moderators for the event, in which Susan Infeld, the incumbent University Heights mayor, and Michael Dylan Brennan, the challenger for the office, will discuss issues important to the city’s voters and participate in a question-and-answer session with the audience.

The forum will take place at the university’s Dolan Center for Science and Technology.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 10:28 AM, 10.23.2017

School district's Career Technical Education programs are essential

To the Editor:

Ari Klein’s September column, Needed: more students taking career technical classes, has a lot to say about the current status of the Career Technical Education (CTE) Consortium, and skilled labor in general. CH-UH is the host district of the consortium, so CH-UH has both the need and responsibility to guide the CTE program. With the completion of renovation to Heights High there is a new energy about CTE.

Here are some of the things that I believe the participating school districts got right in creating that positive energy:

They got it right when they listened three to four years ago when the community wanted to be involved in the planning of the new high school for CH-UH. This led to the formation of several working groups during the 2013–14 school year. One of these working groups was to support CTE. This group held monthly meetings as well as other sessions and, in the 2014–15 school year, produced a document that was submitted to the superintendent and the Board of Education. It was a revised hierarchy and flow chart for the entire CTE program.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 10:56 AM, 10.23.2017

Cedar Fairmount Fall Family Festival scheduled for Oct. 22

The Cedar Fairmount Fall Family Festival, offering free entertainment for adults and children, is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 22, noon to 5 p.m. The event will celebrate the completion of the Cedar Fairmount Streetscape.  

This year, many festival activities will take place in the parking lot behind the Heights Medical building. Many popular events, musicians and entertainers who have appeared at past festivals are slated to return. Attendees can enjoy music with Monkey Kats, Get Back Duo, Old Boy, Mark Goldman, and Alex Trawon throughout the day. The Fairmount Cocktail Bar will host a beer garden, with Old Boy scheduled to perform at 5:30 p.m. Local artisans will display their wares in tents around the Heights Medical parking lot, offering handcrafted jewelry, pottery, glass, clothing and more.



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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:01 PM, 10.17.2017

Heights voters have multiple opportunities to hear from local candidates

With the Nov. 7 election day approaching, a number of local community organizations have scheduled events in which voters have the opportunity to meet and hear from local candidates.

It's a busy election year for local contests, with three candidates running for the open Cleveland Heights Municipal Court Judgeship, five vying for Cleveland Heights City Council seats, four running for the Board of Education, two for University Heights Mayor, five for University Heights City Council at Large, and two for University Heights City Council 2-Year Unexpired Terms. Additionally, there are two state issues and two county issues on this fall’s ballot.


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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 1:46 PM, 10.10.2017

Heights High's homecoming celebration embraces community

The Fairfax Elementary School contigent marching in the Heights High Community Homecoming Parade.

The Heights Homecoming Celebration, Oct. 6–8, featured a high-energy pep rally, a community parade down Lee Road, discounts at Lee Road businesses, a football game, a high school open house, and the annual Happy 5K & 10K Fun Run.

On Friday, Oct. 6, Heights High’s school day culminated in an all-school pep rally organized by student council. The event recognized all of the fall-season athletic teams and many clubs, and included an award presentation by American Family Insurance to senior football player Tyreke Smith, who has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American game in January.

The homecoming court was presented to the student body, and a DJ from 107.9-FM emceed a dance off, playing popular music that had many students singing along and bleacher dancing.

A few hours later, the homecoming parade set off along a new route that started at Fairfax Elementary School and proceeded down Lee Road toward the high school.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 1:37 PM, 10.10.2017

CH council candidates address Noble neighborhood concerns

Noble Neighbors sponsored a Cleveland Heights City Council candidates forum on Oct. 3, at Noble Road Presbyterian Church. Incumbent candidates Cheryl Stephens, Melissa Yasinow and Michael Ungar participated, as did T. Nadas, who is running for a first term. Council Member Jason Stein, who is seeking re-election, was unable to attend and was represented by Council Member Carol Roe.

Noble Neighbors leader Brenda May opened the forum. She explained that questions had been sought from residents, winnowed down to three, and sent to the candidates in advance of the event. May noted that the area served by Noble Neighbors covers two of the city’s eight square miles and is home to more than a quarter of its approximately 44,000 residents. “The health of this part of the city is critical to the health of the city and school district,” she said.

Candidates were given time to make opening and closing remarks, and respond to the three questions: what they saw as assets and opportunities in Noble, how they would promote owner-occupancy, and how they would support the work already being done in the community.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 11:08 AM, 10.10.2017

Cleveland Public Theatre premieres new play by CH's Eric Coble

Cleveland Public Theatre’s (CPT) world premiere production of “The Family Claxon,” a new play by Cleveland Heights resident Eric Coble, is currently underway at CPT’s Gordon Square Theatre, 6415 Detroit Ave. CPT's production will run through Oct. 28.

“ ‘The Family Claxon’ is my first foray into true absurdist comedy,” stated Coble, “waving a not-so-fond farewell to reality even as I dig into greater, more disturbing truths beneath.”

As the play unfolds, Andrew is throwing a party for Grandad Claxon’s 150th birthday in a last-ditch effort to get the higher-ups to notice him. His plan for promotion might just work, as Grandad is the company’s founding father. If only Andrew’s wife would stop losing jobs and their daughter would stop blogging, while neighbors desperately flood into their home because of nearby rampages and plumbing explosions. And then there’s the Guatemalan Flu, that makes house pets spontaneously combust . . . .

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 11:30 AM, 10.09.2017

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-2-2017

OCTOBER 2, 2017

  • Public comments
  • Gearity needs volunteers
  • Concerns about Swenson’s
  • Cedar-Taylor gateway
  • Signal pole project
  • Special permit denied
  • Self-insurance pool
  • Public works grant
  • Joint project approved
  • Leaf collection

Present were Mayor Susan Infeld and council members Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Vice mayor Susan Pardee was absent. Also present were Luke McConville, law director; William Sheehan, finance director; and Kelly Thomas, clerk of council. The meeting was held from 7 to 9:45 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.16.2017

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 10-2-2017

OCTOBER 2, 2017

  • Public comments
  • Zoning code updates
  • Civil immigration enforcement
  • Small business grant program
  • Mayor Stephens' report

Present were Mayor Cheryl Stephens, Vice Mayor Jason Stein, and council members Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Kahil Seren, Michael Ungar and Melissa Yasinow. The meeting lasted from 7:55 to 8:25 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.16.2017

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education and Cleveland Heights City Council joint meeting highlights 9-25-2017

SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

  • City council updates
  • Board of education updates

School board members present were President Ron Register, Vice President Kal Zucker, Jim Posch, Eric Silverman and Beverly Wright. CH-UH City School District Talisa Dixon was also present.

City council members present were Mayor Cheryl Stephens, Vice Mayor Jason Stein, Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Kahlil Seren, Michael Unger and Melissa Yasinow. City Manager Tanisha Briley was also present.

The meeting was called to order at 6 p.m. and adjourned 8:15 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:58 PM, 11.16.2017

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 9-19-2017

SEPTEMBER 19, 2017

  • State report card update

President Ron Register, Vice President Kal Zucker, and board members Jim Posch, Eric Silverman and Beverly Wright were present, as were Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The public meeting began at 7 p.m., after an executive session, and ended at 8:20 p.m.

State report card update

Allison Byrd, director of data, research, and assignment, explained the latest state testing results. She reviewed the tests that students are required to take. All students must now take the SAT or ACT to graduate.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:56 PM, 11.16.2017

Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 9-18-2017

SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

  • Financial report
  • Strategic plan update
  • Expenditure transfer
  • Library Card Sign Up Month and amnesty
  • Materials and selection policy
  • Friends report
  • Farewell to the bookmobile

Present were President Ron Holland, Vice President Abby Botnick, Secretary Chris Mentrek, Suzann Moskowitz, Susan Beatty, Jim Roosa and Max Gerboc.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:56 PM, 11.16.2017

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-18-2017

SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

  • Public comments
  • Cleveland Heights Community Center
  • Road improvements delayed
  • Firehouse renovations
  • Adding agenda items
  • Amending definitions
  • Planning commission meetings
  • Tax levies
  • Road improvements
  • Nuisance property
  • All Geared Up

Present were Mayor Susan Infeld, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, and council members Pamela Cameron, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Councilman Philip Ertel was absent. Also present were Luke McConville, law director; William Sheehan, finance director; and Kelly Thomas, clerk of council. The meeting was held from 7 to 9 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:53 PM, 11.16.2017

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-18-2017

SEPTEMBER 18, 2017

  • New firefighters and police officers
  • Objection to liquor permits
  • National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • Welcoming City guidelines

Present were Mayor Cheryl Stephens, Vice Mayor Jason Stein, and council members Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Kahil Seren, Michael Ungar and Melissa Yasinow. The meeting lasted from 7:55 to 8:15 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 11, Posted 12:54 PM, 11.16.2017

Forest Hill is a 'sanctuary' church

Leonor Garcia speaks at the Sept. 12 press conference. Photo by Beth Cubbison Zych.

Cleveland Heights was in the national spotlight on Sept. 12 when Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian held a press conference announcing that it was granting sanctuary to Leonor Garcia, a single mother of four from Akron. The church is among a dozen religious institutions across the United States that are providing sanctuary to undocumented immigrants, and is the first in Northeast Ohio.

“My hope is to encourage more churches to declare themselves sanctuary and open their doors in hospitality to people who are in need,” said Forest Hill Church Pastor John Lentz.

Garcia came to this country as a teenager. “She was a homeowner, had a job, had absolutely no criminal record and had been checking in with immigration officials for years,” said Lentz. Then, when she checked in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in August, for a routine meeting, she was given an ankle monitor and told she would be deported on Sept. 14.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 2:25 PM, 09.29.2017

Klein/Mooney family mourns daughter

Kayleigh Mooney [photos courtesy of Klein/Mooney family]

Kayleigh Mooney could light up a whole room. “She was such a dynamo,” said her father, Kevin. “She has a big, big personality, almost too big for this world.”

He switches back and forth between present and past tense when discussing his 15-year-old daughter, who died on Aug. 17. While her physical self is gone, her presence is very much alive for those who loved her, including her father, her mother, Jessica Klein, and her 12-year-old brother, Nathaniel.

“I make it through each day by walking in her light,” said Kevin. “It’s the only thing that sustains me.”

Jessica described her daughter as gentle but super smart: “She was such a deep thinker. And really, really funny.”

“Parenting her was an amazing experience,” said Kevin. “She was so easy to love.”

Kayleigh’s friends feel the same way. Luisa Soreo, a sophomore at Heights High, met Kayleigh in seventh grade at Roxboro. “I was the new girl, and Kayleigh was surrounded by friends she’d had since kindergarten. But she took me in and was my first real friend. We bonded and could talk about anything.”

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 2:20 PM, 09.29.2017

What matters to you in our council members?

Our homes are our sanctuary from the world. But our contentment there can be hard fought.

We’re busy, consumed with thoughts about jobs, kids, repairs, bills and doctors’ visits. Pricking that contentment are outside issues as well. Streets with damaged trees; sinking sewer grates; broken curbs; cracked, crumbling surfaces; and empty storefronts and homes. But your calls to [Cleveland Heights] City Hall go nowhere. Council members don’t respond to your calls or e-mails.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 2:10 PM, 09.29.2017

The most important election?

Proportionally, our votes count most in municipal elections, yet that’s exactly when Americans are least likely to cast a ballot. For a project “Who Votes for Mayor?” Portland State University researchers analyzed 23 million voting records to understand participation in the most recent local elections in 50 U.S. cities. Among their key findings: 

  • When municipal elections are held in even-numbered years, and especially when they coincide with presidential contests, voter participation is much higher than in off-year elections.
  • In 10 of America’s 30 largest cities, turnout in municipal elections was less than 15 percent.
  • Voters 65 and older are 15 times more likely to cast a local ballot than those between the ages of 18 and 34.
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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 2:07 PM, 09.29.2017

2017 Voters Guide to Local Candidates and Issues

The League of Women Voters has created a guide to local candidates and issues for the Nov. 7 election. Click on the links below to access information for candidates and issues:

Cleveland Heights Municipal Court Judge

Cleveland Heights City Council

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education

University Heights Mayor

Shaker Heights Municipal Court Judge (Jurisdiction includes Beachwood, Hunting Valley, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights and University Heights)

University Heights City Council At-Large

University Heights City Council Two-Year Unexpired Term

State and County Issues

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 12:27 PM, 09.29.2017

Heights Observer local candidate policy

With the November election approaching, the Heights Observer is publishing its policy for contributions by candidates for local office.

As a community newspaper committed to equal access for everyone, the Observer is unique among publications in providing opportunity for any member of the Cleveland Heights and University Heights communities to raise and discuss issues of local interest.

At election time, however, this commitment creates a challenge in managing the finite space that is available for community members who are running for public office.

The policy, approved by the FutureHeights Board of Directors, is designed to address that challenge. It states the following:

  • The August-November issues of the printed publication will not carry any editorial contributions from known candidates for office.
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Volume 10, Issue 7, Posted 10:39 AM, 07.17.2017