Latest News

Merchant of Happiness: Celebrating the end of an era at Big Fun

Steve Presser in an outfit "from Afghanistan," created by artist Debbie Apple-Presser, his wife.

“It is difficult when our iconic businesses move on,” said Suzanne DeGaetano, owner of Mac’s Backs-Books on Coventry, “but it’s also part of the business cycle.” This sentiment rings through from merchant to merchant, as retailers adjust to the idea of a beloved neighbor, Big Fun, closing.

Big Fun opened in 1991, first inhabiting the small building where Jimmy John’s is currently located. That little building had been vacant—actually quite dismal—for years.

“I knew it had to be on Coventry,” reminisced Steve Presser, owner of the beloved time capsule. “I transformed that place into something magical.” With alley lanes from Kinsman-Lee Lanes and card catalogs from the library, Presser’s collecting habits created a sanctuary of small pleasures. “It’s been a vessel—a place where people can make themselves feel better,” Presser said.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:27 AM, 02.13.2018

Latest News Releases

Local PTA Council Speaker Series presents program about how to support and understand children's brain development on February 26, 2018.
- CH-UH Schools, February 13, 2018 Read More
Local PTA Council Speaker Series addresses the opioid crisis on Tuesday, March 6
- CH-UH Schools, February 12, 2018 Read More
Rep. Boyd statement on passage of congressional redistricting reform bill
- State Rep. Janine Boyd, February 7, 2018 Read More
State Reps. Janine Boyd and Kristin Boggs unveil paid family leave bill
- Ohio House of Representatives, February 1, 2018 Read More
- Non-Profit & Groups, December 6, 2017 Read More

View more news releases

HCC appoints Dillenbeck as new executive director

The Rev. Eric Dillenbeck, new executive director of HCC.

The board of Heights Community Congress (HCC) has announced that Eric Dillenbeck is its new executive director. He assumes the role from Martha Goble, who is retiring. His first official day was Jan. 1.

Dillenbeck has been an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. for the past 15 years. He most recently served as associate pastor of Fairmount Presbyterian Church in Cleveland Heights. A veteran of the nonprofit world, Dillenbeck is currently the coordinator of community partnerships at Youth Opportunities Unlimited, where he works with nonprofits throughout the Cleveland area to provide workforce-readiness training and jobs for youths and young adults.

As HCC’s executive director, Dillenbeck will oversee HCC’s Fair Housing Enforcement audit program, and will be responsible for the agency’s diversity programming, its annual Heights Heritage Home and Garden Tour, and the volunteer management these activities entail. He will serve as HCC’s main public contact and liaison with other like-minded agencies.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 9:42 AM, 02.12.2018

Heights Libraries votes to accept Coventry property

Jack Valancy and Brady Dindia present the board with LOIs and peace symbol cookies from Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System voted to accept from the school district the transfer of the former Coventry school property, including the school building, playground and greenspace, at a special meeting of its board of trustees on Feb. 5.

James Roosa, library board member, introduced the resolution authorizing the library to execute an agreement to purchase the property and negotiate and sign leases with the tenants. The motion was seconded by Board Member Chris Metrek, and passed unanimously.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 1:29 PM, 02.06.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 1-2-2018

JANUARY 2, 2018

  • Installation of officials
  • Mayoral address
  • Announcement of appointments
  • Public comments
  • BZA ruling on unrelated occupants
  • Demolition permits
  • Medical marijuana operations
  • Medical marijuana applications moratorium
  • BZA ordinance revisions
  • Vacant buildings
  • Maintenance of parking place and surroundings
  • Catch basin and sewer cleaning
  • Emergency sewer repairs
  • Tree pruning and removal project

Present were Mayor Michael Brennan and council members: Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, John Rach, Michele Weiss, and Mark Wiseman. Councilman Steven Sims was absent. Also present were acting Law Director Michael Cicero, Finance Director William Sheehan, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7:15 to 10:12 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 1:15 PM, 02.13.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 1-2-2018

JANUARY 2, 2018

  • New council terms
  • New mayor and vice mayor
  • New municipal judge
  • Council member comments
  • Public comment—bottled water
  • Gas aggregation
  • Civil immigration law panel discussion
  • Development projects 


Council members present were Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein, Cheryl L. Stephens, Michael N. Ungar, and Melissa Yasinow. The meeting lasted from 7:34-8:53 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 3:06 PM, 02.06.2018

CH Council members see no need to change form of government

Four members of Cleveland Heights City Council, who spoke at Jan. 18 and Feb. 1 meetings of the city’s Charter Review Commission (CRC), all share the opinion that the city’s current council-manager form of government is working well, and there is no need to change the city charter to allow for a popularly elected mayor.

At each of the two meetings, CRC members interviewed two of the four council members—Mary Dunbar, Carol Roe, Mike Ungar and Melissa Yasinow—for 45 minutes. The Feb. 1 meeting was, in effect, a continuation of the Jan. 18 meeting. Council members Roe and Ungar were interviewed at the first meeting, and Dunbar and Yasinow were interviewed at the second. Prior to the meetings, each of those council members responded in writing to a questionnaire distributed by the commission. As of the Feb. 1 meeting, council members Cheryl Stephens, Kahlil Seren and Jason Stein had not returned the questionnaire.

CRC members asked the CH council members if they believe that a popularly elected mayor would be able to lead Cleveland Heights more boldly, more decisively, or with greater vision than the current system of a seven-member council and its appointed city manager.

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 10:53 AM, 02.06.2018

New ceramics by Sharon Grossman in the spotlight at Heights Arts

Tree House, by Sharon Grossman.

Opening Friday, Feb. 2, in the Heights Arts Spotlight gallery is a selection of new works by ceramist and founding member Sharon Grossman. While she is best known for her vessels, Grossman has created for this installation a suite of pieces that are all meant to be wall-hung.

Many of the works employ a technique known as pique assiette, that uses broken shards of dinnerware the create mosaic designs.

Previously in her creative life, Grossman was a woodworker and furniture maker, and that background informs her approach to ceramics.

“I have always loved carving,” Grossman said, ”and a lot of my work includes carved or inlaid elements. To me, this body of work really combines those interests that led me first to make furniture and then to take up ceramics."

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Volume 11, Issue 3, Posted 6:25 PM, 02.01.2018

Senior soloist to perform Mozart flute concerto in CHHS concert

Senior soloist Corinne Nicol.

The Heights High Symphony, under the direction of Daniel Heim, will feature senior soloist Corinne Nicol as part of the the Instrumental Music Department’s (IMD) Midwinter Concert Festival II on Friday, Feb. 16, at 7:30 p.m., in the Heights High Auditorium. Nicol and the Symphony will perform Mozart's Flute Concerto No. 2 in D Major.

Nicol knew she wanted to make music from the age of 6. She begged her parents to let her learn a variety of instruments, including the violin, harp, guitar and accordion. Wisely declining all of her requests, her parents instead decided to start her on the piano, with lessons from her mother. She continued on piano until she was 9, when she switched to flute. At age 10 she began taking private flute lessons with Linda Miller.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:02 AM, 01.31.2018

Motorcars expands into donut business

The city of Cleveland Heights held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open Daylight Donuts on Jan. 25. (from left) Amber Gile, Courtney Gile, CH Economic Development Director Tim Boland, CH Mayor Carol Roe, Chuck Gile, Matt Gile, Trevor Gile, Mike Purcell and Evan Belfiore. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

In 2016, Motorcars’ owner Chuck Gile made Cleveland Heights home to the world’s first carbon-neutral car dealership.

This year, Motorcars is bringing another first to Cleveland Heights—though not as environmentally significant as the installation of its 1,240 solar panels—opening the region’s first full-service donut and coffee shop to be located on the grounds of a car dealership.

Daylight Donuts, located at the front of the former Pontiac building at 3077 Mayfield Road, just east of Motorcars Honda, is scheduled to have its grand opening on Jan. 26, with a soft opening the day before.

The donut shop will offer inside sit-down space as well as a drive-up window. Plans call for it to be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, and the Gile family expects that Daylight Donuts will employ about 18 full- and part-time employees.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 2:12 PM, 01.16.2018

MetroHealth opens new hospital at Severance Circle

Hospital Medical Director and Cleveland Heights resident Dr. Johnbuck Creamer (at left), Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha Briley, MetroHealth Board Chairman Thomas McDonald and MetroHealth CEO Dr. Akram Boutros cut the ribbon for the new 12-bed hospital.

On Jan. 3, leaders from Cleveland Heights and MetroHealth cut the ribbon on a new 12-bed hospital at Severance Circle in Cleveland Heights.

The hospital is located on the second floor of the building where MetroHealth has operated an emergency department and medical clinic since 2016—shortly after Healthspan (formerly Kaiser Permanente) dissolved its medical practice and vacated the building.

MetroHealth spent about $12 million to build the hospital, and its total investment in Cleveland Heights now stands at about $25 million, according to Dr. Akram Boutros, president and CEO of The MetroHealth System.

Across the nation, hospitals are opening sophisticated satellite facilities like this one in an effort to increase their patient base.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 3:58 PM, 01.15.2018

Charter Review Commission surveys city council and staff

Following its second meeting, held on Jan. 4, the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission sent a list of four questions to city council members, the city manager, city department directors and chairpersons of its boards and commissions.

The 15-member citizen commission prepared the questions as a way to learn about needed changes to the city charter from the perspective of the city’s elected officials and top administrators.

The questions were:

  1. What parts of the Charter should be considered by the Commission, without necessarily implying that you believe a change should or should not be made? 
  2. For each part identified in Question 1, explain briefly, (a) why the item should be considered and if you think a change may be warranted, then (b) what the change should be and why.
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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:13 AM, 01.16.2018

Heights Observer readers weigh in

On April 10, the Heights Observer will be 10 years old. When we launched the newspaper 10 years ago, some thought we were crazy. Print was dead; everything should be online. Well, I don’t know about you, but even though I spend a fair amount of time in the digital world, I find the real one much more satisfying; and 10 years in, I enjoy seeing my neighbors holding the Heights Observer in their hands at the local coffee shop. It’s a fiscal affirmation that this community matters.

As we approached this 10-year milestone, we wanted to check in with our readers and find out how they thought we were doing. We conducted an online readers’ survey over several months in 2017, received 75 responses, and wanted to share them with you.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:19 AM, 01.31.2018

Mister Brisket adds dine-in space

Hank Kornblut, James Hickman and Bir Katwal at Mister Brisket's counter.

Mister Brisket customers will soon have the option of dining in, as the business is poised to complete its first-ever physical expansion in its—so far—44 years of business at 2156 S. Taylor Road.

Since early December, construction has been underway to expand the butcher and sandwich shop’s space into an adjacent storefront, 2154 S. Taylor Road, last occupied by a precious-metal dealer. The new space, which has a target opening date of sometime in mid-February, will feature tables and seating for 25.

Hank Kornblut, who runs the business that his stepfather, principal owner Sanford Herskovitz, opened in 1974, said he had been weighing an expansion for years—“every time space on either side turned over.”

The addition will add 1,000 square feet, effectively doubling Mister Brisket’s space.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:41 AM, 02.01.2018

'Jelly Belly' makes regional premier at Ensemble Theatre

Award-winning playwright Charles Smith will once again see his work on the Ensemble stage.

One of the earliest plays by renowned playwright Charles Smith will get its regional premier at Ensemble Theatre this month, when “Jelly Belly” opens on Feb. 9.

In the play, Cleveland actor Lashawn Little plays Mike, who finds himself at a crossroads in his life after being passed over for a promotion at his construction job. Frequent Ensemble collaborator Greg White (“Thurgood,” “Death of a Salesman”) plays Jelly Belly, just released from prison and looking to get the gang back together.

Originally produced by Chicago’s Victory Gardens in 1990, the play comes from a real-life meeting Smith had with a Chicago gangster named Jelly Belly.

“What shocked me was not that Jelly Belly had very calmly and openly admitted to murdering several people on several occasions, many of whom had been his friends,” wrote Smith in the opening to his play. “What shocked me was the fact that each time he had been convicted of murder, he had spent no more than six months in jail.”

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:54 AM, 02.01.2018

FutureHeights Small Business Workshop Series kicks off with Social Media & Retail

Chris Smith

Politicians like to say “small businesses are the future.” In the Heights, this isn’t just a tagline. Our community welcomes many local entrepreneurs who are brave enough to blaze their own trail and meet the needs of their community.

Retail today is a more difficult venture than it was in the past. Large companies with armies of employees and stockpiles of goods seem to be everywhere, and their gravity is strong, pulling in even the most locally conscious and loyal people. Online retail enables consumers to shop without leaving the comfort of their homes. How can small businesses adapt?

In association with the Ohio Small Business Development Center, FutureHeights is hosting a series of six free workshops in 2018, intended to help small business owners increase their knowledge of current trends and give them new skills to thrive in today’s environment.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:50 AM, 02.01.2018

Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 12-18-2017

DECEMBER 18, 2017

  • Ron Holland
  • New library board members

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

[The League observer was unable to attend this meeting, but was able to write up the following report from the meeting audiotape provided on the Heights Library website:]


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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 5:14 PM, 02.14.2018

A taste of Coventry

The author, sitting in the CoventryYard courtyard, around the time he started working at Rocco's Market (and, thus, stopped being a starving artist), with the original Mad Greek in the background.

I was a real “Coventry” kid: I was born and grew up on a street nearby, and my mother started taking me shopping on Coventry from the time I was born (well, maybe a few weeks later . . . ). I walked up and down that street to and from Coventry Elementary School every day for seven years. Then I hung out on Coventry during my early teens, before the place was cool. And then, when it became a hippie haven, I was just the right age for that, so there I was.

Then I worked on the committee for those giant Coventry Street Fairs of the late ‘70s (I booked all the musical artists for a few years). I lived in seven or eight apartments on or around the corner from Coventry. And I worked at Rocco’s Market.

Rocco’s was situated in the courtyard of the former CoventryYard building, for a couple of years, starting in 1976, when it opened. CoventryYard, the building that now houses the Grog Shop and Inn on Coventry, was home to Tommy’s, the Light of Yoga Society restaurant, the original Mad Greek restaurant and the original Arabica coffee store—a tiny space from which Carl Jones only sold roasted coffee beans, before he moved the business to a much larger space upstairs and turned it into a sit-down coffee shop. There were also boutiques and art galleries in the building, before the 1978 fire that forced most of the businesses to either close or reopen elsewhere.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:56 AM, 02.01.2018

Corporations should have free-speech rights

To the Editor:

I need to respond to the misguided or untruthful notions about the Citizens United case from Carla Rautenberg and Deborah Van Kleef in the [January] Heights of Democracy column.

Nothing is scarier to me for our democracy than left-wing ideologues trying to amend our Constitution to limit free speech. The Citizens United case involved a group that produced an anti-Hillary Clinton movie, and Democrat supporters sought to stop the film and/or punish the producers. The Supreme Court upheld the free speech rights of citizens, whether in a group organized for-profit, not-for-profit, labor, news, politics or anti-politics to express their opinions. When government uses its power to maintain useless or harmful regulations, to oppose reforms, to expand bureaucratic excess, and to quash new products, medicines, innovation and services, I want our corporations, representing millions of people and shareholders (including 401(k) and pension participants) to have a vigorous right to speech. The majority on the Supreme Court could not see why one corporation (say, Google, Yahoo, The New York Times, CBS or Koch Industries) for-profit or non-profit would have more free speech rights than another. But, I doubt your columnists have actually read the Supreme Court opinion. Unions and the Sierra Club are corporations, too.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:21 AM, 01.31.2018

Let the sun shine in

When times are prosperous, neighborhoods are harmonious, and public services are delivered without interruption, we assume municipal government is working well. If roads are crumbling, storm sewers are backing up, and crime seems to be increasing, our local government must be at fault, right?

Of course, it’s never that simple. When state and federal governments cut off major streams of funding, municipalities must scramble to fill the gaps by cutting services or raising taxes and fees, or often by a combination of both. Other than looking to increasingly scarce sources of local news, and consulting the city’s website, how can residents know what their elected and appointed officials are up to?

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:25 AM, 01.31.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 12-19-2017

DECEMBER 19, 2017

  • Public comments
  • Recognition of master teachers
  • Tiger Team members of the month
  • Board approvals for policies, field trips, donations
  • Middle school facilities approvals
  • Comments by outgoing board members


Board President Ron Register, Vice President Kal Zucker, Jim Posch, Eric Silverman and Beverly Wright were present. Superintendent Dr. Talia Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. The meeting began at 7 p.m. and ended at 9:05 p.m. Prior to the meeting, a reception was held to honor outgoing board members.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 2:20 PM, 02.06.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 12-18-2017

DECEMBER 18, 2017

  • Public comments
  • Bellefaire/JCB request for demolition
  • Hadleigh Road request for demolition
  • Demolition permits
  • County public health services
  • Medical marijuana operations
  • Medical marijuana applications moratorium
  • BZA ordinance revisions
  • Vacant buildings
  • Customer parking at Swensons
  • Resolution honoring Mayor Susan Infeld

Present were Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, and council members Pamela Cameron, Philip Ertel, John Rach, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Councilman Steven Sims arrived after roll call. Mayor Susan Infeld and Councilman Mark Wiseman were absent. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7:03 to approximately 9:05 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 1:58 PM, 02.06.2018

CH-UH schools: always innovating

In 1988, I was hired by Principal Pat Ackerman to teach math at Taylor Academy, an alternative high school that CH-UH had opened the previous year. Taylor was “ a small school,” serving students who were not quite ready for the high school, or ninth-graders who were lagging behind.

There were 13 staff members, who worked to advance students academically, and help with their social-emotional issues. Taylor provided a close-knit, intimate environment where we knew one another. It was an experimental school that I believe helped many students who would have been lost in the large high school. Taylor Academy continued for several years, until Small Schools, another experiment, emerged as the new model.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:32 AM, 01.31.2018

Diversity is essential to greatness

To gather energy for a new year, I read John Lewis’s 2017 book, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America. Civil rights icon Lewis is committed to democracy and human equality. For him, “Freedom is not a state; it is an act.” A more just society depends on continuous action by every generation. The work of democracy is never done. It is for all of us to do.
In describing our most recent national election, Lewis observes, “The intolerance of difference got even worse. It became a rallying cry in code words, ‘Make America Great Again,’ as though diversity had damaged, not uplifted, our civilization.”

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:34 AM, 01.31.2018

Swim Cadets demonstrate their 'Girl Power'

This year's Swim Cadets are excited to perform in Heights High's brand new pool.

The Cleveland Heights High School Swim Cadets, a 16-member synchronized swimming team, have announced that their 2018 annual show is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 22, 23 and 24. The school’s oldest extracurricular club has chosen the theme “Swim Cadets Present: Girl Power,” and songs that highlight female empowerment. Clare Peppler, the club’s vice president, noted, “I’ve been surrounded by an amazing group of girls who motivate and influence me to be the best version of myself every day. This year we chose the theme ‘Girl Power’ to show how even in a society that isn’t always fair to women, we can persevere together.” 

Since 1939, the Swim Cadets have been a part of Heights High’s rich history, putting on an extensive show choreographed to music and lights, complete with costume changes. There are traditions that have carried on over the decades, and it is not uncommon for the girls to be second- or even third-generation Swim Cadets. Current club members include daughters and nieces of former club members.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:22 AM, 02.01.2018

Heights High’s Tyreke Smith commits to Ohio State

Heights High senior Tyreke Smith.

Heights High senior standout Tyreke Smith committed to play football at The Ohio State University during the Under Armour All-American game on Jan. 4, in Orlando, Fla. One of the most highly recruited football players in the country, Smith chose the Ohio State Buckeyes over Penn State and a host of other top collegiate programs.

Smith, a 6-foot-4-inch, 260-pound defensive end—who only started playing football as a Heights High junior—finished his senior year with 11 sacks, 23 tackles for loss, 22 QB pressures, 6 passes batted down, and 52 solo tackles. Previously, Smith had only played basketball, which he continues to play as a member of the Heights varsity squad.

On the gridiron this past fall, Smith was named All-Ohio Division I Co-Defensive Player of the Year and was selected as the Defensive Player of the Year for 2017.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:25 AM, 02.01.2018

UH names two as 2017 Citizen of the Year

At the Dec. 4 University Heights City Council meeting, Mayor Susan Infeld named Bonnye Klein and Sarah Staples, co-chairs of the City Beautiful Commission and its Beautiful Home Awards, Citizen of the Year.

Each year, the mayor of University Heights chooses a resident to honor as the city’s Citizen of the Year for his or her outstanding accomplishments and contributions to civic pride. As co-chairs of the City Beautiful Commission, Klein and Staples are charged with promoting civic pride and improving the appearance of the city and its homes. To help accomplish this, each year the commission recognizes residents’ home beautification efforts with awards in six categories: Curb Appeal, Best Front Door, Sit a Spell, Best Kept Secret, 2 in a Row, and 3 in a Row.


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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 12:18 PM, 01.23.2018

Library board to hold special meeting about Coventry property

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board will hold a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lee Road branch to consider an agreement with the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education to acquire the Coventry School property, including the school building and surrounding six acres of land. 

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:04 AM, 01.30.2018

CH City Council identifies priorities for 2018

At its Jan. 22 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council discussed priorities for the 2018 year. Although the members of council did not change as a result of the 2017 election, council did elect a new mayor and vice mayor at its first meeting of the year on Jan. 2, perhaps signaling a change in direction.

Cleveland Heights has a council-manager form of government, which means that the mayor and vice mayor are the president and vice president of city council, and are elected every two years by their peers on council, rather than by the public. A professional manager, who serves at the will of city council and is not elected by the public, operates the city.

Carol Roe, the city’s new mayor, is a registered nurse and licensed attorney who lives in the Noble neighborhood. She was elected to council in 2015, and is chair of council’s Administrative Services Committee.


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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:14 AM, 01.30.2018

Library launches local history resource

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System has launched a local history Web page, designed to provide members of the community with access to local history information and resources, both online and physical.

The Web page,, is the culmination of years of work that began in 2015, when the library created the local history librarian position to focus resources on preserving local history—especially the library’s, as it prepared for its 2016 centennial by digitizing its own organizational records, news articles and photographs.

“The library’s centennial gave us a logical place to start our local history collection work,” said Jessica Robinson, who took over the local history librarian position in 2017.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:38 AM, 02.01.2018

BOE swears in three new members

Front row (from left): BOE members Dan Heintz, Jodi Sourini, Beverly Wright, Malia Lewis, Jim Posch. Back row (from left): CH City Council Member Michael Ungar, CH Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, CH Mayor Carol Roe, UH Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, UH Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, CH Council Member Mary Dunbar.

Three new members of the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Board of Education were sworn in during the board’s annual organizational meeting on Jan. 9, in University Heights.

Newly elected board members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Jodi Sourini each took the oath of office, which was administered by the district’s treasurer, Scott Gainer.

After the swearing-in ceremony, the board elected its president, vice president and treasurer pro tem for 2018. Returning board member Jim Posch is the board’s new president, and newcomer Sourini was elected vice president. Another returning board member, Beverly Wright, was chosen as treasurer pro tem, which means she would fill in for Gainer if he were absent from a board meeting. All three officers were unanimously elected.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:20 AM, 02.01.2018

Noble Neighbors celebrates four years

Young participants in 2017's "We Are Noble" event.

Noble Neighbors marked its fourth anniversary with a party at the Victorian Condominiums on Jan. 2. Attendees recounted the year’s activities and accomplishments over a potluck community meal.

The Triangle District, the business district bounded by Warrensville Center, Mayfield and Noble roads, was a focus of attention in 2017. A group of Noble Neighbors joined with FutureHeights to gather data about every business in the area. They surveyed and interviewed every shop-owner and gleaned their perspectives on the district. Nearby vacancies were included in the inventory. This data is being recorded into a database that will serve future planning.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:42 AM, 01.31.2018

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

Feb. 1: Jacklyn Chisholm, president, and Douglas Bennett, vice president, will discuss the work of the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland. Among the services it offers is the largest Head Start program in Ohio, a home energy assistance program, family development workshops, job and career planning, and neighborhood opportunity centers.

Feb. 8: Amy Kim Kyremes-Parks, director of Fairmount Presbyterian Church, will present a 24-minute, award-winning documentary. “Locked in a Box” traces the lives of people who fled their homelands in search of safety and freedom, only to end up in U.S. prisons in a system run by Immigration Customs and Enforcement. The film strips away political rhetoric to show the human cost of detention.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:33 AM, 02.01.2018

CH Senior Center News

In the age of technology and touch screens, old-fashioned board and card games are making a comeback.

The benefits of this simple group activity are well documented and can include: increased memory formation and cognitive skills; decreased risk for disease; an improved immune system, and improved coordination and dexterity; and increased opportunies to socialize, laugh with others and have fun, which can lower blood pressure.

At the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC), games are a part of everyday programming. Groups gather each week to play Bid Whist, Bridge, Pinochle, Rummikub, Mah Jong and Scrabble. Check SAC’s newsletter or call for specific dates and times.

Starting on Monday, Feb. 5, at 11 a.m., SAC will add a new program, Chess with Leo.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:31 AM, 02.01.2018

Start Right Church

Start Right Church on Caledonia Avenue. [courtesy the city of Cleveland Heights]

Originally Church of the Cross, a United Methodist congregation, this lovely church in the Caledonia neighborhood was completed in 1926 and became a Cleveland Heights Landmark in 2007.

In the 1990s, it was renamed Community of Living Hope, and in 2009, the Start Right congregation took over this church, which looks like no other in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:47 AM, 01.31.2018

Beth El to hold Purim at Ohio City's Mitchell's

Beth El – The Heights Synagogue will hold its Purim evening service and Megillah (Book of Esther) reading at Mitchell’s ice cream factory, 1867 West 25th Street in Ohio City, on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The service will begin at 7 p.m.

Why at Mitchell’s? For several reasons: (1) Historically, Jews seem to travel for many holidays, so why not? (2) More fun! It’s amazing to see “behind the scenes” at an ice cream factory, and Mitchell’s has glass walls so visitors can view the whole process. (3) Ice cream! Part of the deal here is that everyone gets a free scoop of Mitchell’s ice cream, in addition to Beth El’s own hamentaschen (traditional triangular pastries with tasty fillings). (4) Outreach. This is a long-shot, of course, but there are unaffiliated Jews living on Cleveland’s West Side, and Beth El wants to meet them.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:51 AM, 01.31.2018

Forest Hill church hosts Black History Month programs

The Honorable Janine Boyd, State Representative, Ohio District 9, will speak at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Feb. 11.

As part of its ongoing efforts to promote better interracial relationships, Forest Hill Presbyterian Church is again offering an active, entertaining and educational  series of programs in honor of Black History Month in February:

Sunday, Feb. 4 - Visit a Black-Owned Restaurant Weekend: We encourage everyone to eat at a Black-owned restaurant or use a Black-owned caterer or deli for their Super Bowl parties, as an expression of financial justice and to appreciate a positive aspect of African American Culture: hospitality expressed through welcome and good food. For a list of more than 50 Black-owned restaurants, caterers, delis, and takeout places,

Sunday, Feb. 11, 12:30 p.m. – Lunch with the Honorable Janine Boyd, State Representative, Ohio District 9: Rep. Boyd will speak with us about what Melissa Harris-Perry, in her book Sister Citizen, calls “standing straight in a crooked room,” i.e., living as a Black woman who is claiming her own power. A light luncheon will be served.


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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:20 AM, 01.30.2018

Jackalyn Fehrenbach is named director of Heights Youth Club

Jackalyn Fehrenbach

Jackalyn Fehrenbach, a Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland (BGCC) staff member for eight years, has been named the new director of Heights Youth Club (HYC) in Cleveland Heights—the organization where her career began.

HYC is currently the only BGCC affiliate, of 15 clubs, located outside the city of Cleveland.

Fehrenbach, a 2004 graduate of the University of Toledo who is currently working on her master’s degree at Malone University, started her BGCC career at HYC, then moved on to Saint Luke’s Club in Cleveland when that location opened in 2013. Most recently, she served as director there.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 12:01 PM, 01.31.2018

International scholar to address modern Jewish issues at Heights seminar

Shulamit Magnus

Shulamit Magnus will present a scholar-in-residence program at Beth El - The Heights Synagogue (3246 Desota Ave., at Euclid Heights Blvd.), Feb. 2, 3 and 4. In three sessions, she will address “Who Was a Jew? Views from History on Jewish Boundaries, Boundary Drawing, and Identity.”

Magnus, professor emerita of Jewish Studies and History at Oberlin College, and now teaching at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, will explore the question of Jewish identity in different periods and places in Jewish history, from antiquity to the present. She will look at why, how, and by whom lines of belonging and exclusion have been drawn, and long periods in Jewish history when no such lines were drawn and the question that is so controversial now was, literally, not a question.



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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 12:28 PM, 01.23.2018

Library adopts hedgehog mascot

Heights Libraries' new mascot, Quilliam the Hedgehog, seems to be a fan of the Harry Potter series.

This past December, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System acquired a mascot: an African pygmy hedgehog.

The hedgehog, dubbed “Quilliam” by customer vote, lives in the teen room at the Lee Road branch, in a large habitat that includes an exercise wheel, blankets for burrowing and sleeping, and a small plastic shelter to hide in.

“He’s incredibly popular,” said his handler, Youth Services Librarian Sarah Rosenberger. “We have whole families coming in to see him, and when I take him out I am surrounded by people asking questions and eager to take a peek at him.” 

Library staff has also provided a fact sheet about Quilliam for curious customers, and Rosenberger takes him out periodically to allow people to get a close look at him, and to ask questions.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 9:54 AM, 01.30.2018

Still Point gallery relocates to Cedar Fairmount

A photo of Still Point gallery, by Geoff Baker, photographer and co-owner.

After opening Still Point in Little Italy’s Old Schoolhouse nine years ago, Kate and Geoff Baker have now relocated their gallery to Cedar Fairmount.

Over its first nine years, the gallery continually outgrew its space, and three times moved to larger suites in the schoolhouse. The owners attribute their decision to move Still Point to Cedar Fairmount as one that addressed more than just the physical requirements of their expanding business.

“The Cedar Fairmount Business District has been on our radar for several years," said Kate, “and provides not only more gallery area and parking, but also gives us proximity to our existing customers and a larger market. We see it as a vibrant area that’s being invigorated with upscale shops, restaurants and arts venues.” 

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 10:25 AM, 01.30.2018

Library invites patrons to Explore Space

Maggie Kinney, special projects manager at Heights Libraries, shows off the traveling exhibit Explore Space: A Cosmic Journey in the Lee Road branch art gallery

Where did we come from, and are we alone? Through March 9, Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System invites the community to ponder these questions—and others—in Explore Space: A Cosmic Journey, a traveling museum-style exhibition and program series about the fascinating world of space and astronomy.

Funded by a 2015 STAR_Net grant, Explore Space will kick off on Jan. 25 with an opening celebration featuring hands-on space-themed activities for all ages.

Programs will take place at all four of Heights Libraries’ branches.

“This is a really special opportunity for Heights Libraries and the communities of Cleveland Heights and University Heights,” said Maggie Kinney, special projects manager at Heights Libraries. “Our wonderful librarians have planned over 20 programs for the public, including space-themed storytimes, art and craft programs, book discussions, and after-school STEM programs for children in grades K–12.”

Heights Libraries has partnered with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on two of these programs. The first, Understanding the Universe, to be held on Jan. 24, will feature a discussion of the past, present and future of our university with Jason Davis, the museum’s planetarium manager. The second, set for March 6 at Heights Libraries’ Coventry Village branch, will be a family program at exploring Starlab, the portable planetarium from the museum’s Educational Resource Center.


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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:59 AM, 01.23.2018

Jan. 24 community meal will benefit Reaching Heights

It was a full house at the Bottlehouse as the community enjoyed the Soup and Bread Experiment in November.

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, the BottleHouse Brewery and Meadery, at 2050 Lee Road, will host Northeast Ohio’s first Soup and Bread Experiment (SBE) of 2018. The event will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., or until the soup runs out. The event is free to the public, with donations requested, but not required, for the hot meal. Money raised will benefit Reaching Heights, the nonprofit that supports the Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools.

At the last SBE fundraiser, in November, Krista Hawthorne, executive director of Reaching Heights, was so impressed she wanted to plan an SBE event for her own organization.

“The soups were delicious!” said Hawthorne. “They ran the gamut from exotic coconut vegan curry to hearty deconstructed stuffed cabbage stew. The drinks available for purchase from the BottleHouse were as exciting as they were warming. The bartender navigated me through the world of meads, sours and bitters to find the perfect accompaniment to my meal. I even squeezed in a game of pinball at the BottleHouse’s mini arcade. The best part of the evening, however, was the opportunity to break bread with other Heights community members for a good cause.”

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:15 AM, 01.21.2018

Reaching Heights presents annual awards

Geizel Canady-Ashford (right) accepts the Friend of Public Education award from Krista Hawthorne, executive director of Reaching Heights.

In December, Reaching Heights held its annual meeting in the Platinum Lounge of Motorcars Honda in Cleveland Heights. Each year at this event, Reaching Heights welcomes members and the community to review of the year’s highlights, to thank outgoing board members and welcome new board members, and to recognize caring community members and local businesses for their contributions in embracing a shared responsibility for the successful education of all students attending CH-UH public schools.

Reaching Heights members, board and staff thanked Darrin Gamble for serving for three years as board treasurer and overall “financial guru” for the nonprofit.

The Reaching Heights Board of Directors voted to accept Ditte Wolin, Tiera Briggs, Lance Godard and Kim Skillern-Samuels as new board members.

Geizel Canady-Ashford received a Friend of Public Education award for her many contributions, including serving as a tutor to many students, as a PTA member at Noble Elementary and Monticello Middle schools, and as PTA vice president at Heights High.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:49 AM, 01.21.2018

Swensons opens in University Heights

UH Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan (far right) reads a proclamation declaring Jan. 8, 2018 "Galley Boy Day" to Swensons staff, including CEO Jeff Flowers.

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan declared Jan. 8, 2018, to be “Galley Boy Day” in University Heights, to celebrate the grand opening of Swensons. (The Galley Boy is a popular Swensons burger.)

That morning, Swensons CEO Jeff Flowers, Swensons staff, Mayor Brennan, and Bill Aurelius—the grandson of former University Heights mayor Earl Aurelius—cut the ribbon at the grand opening of Swensons on Cedar Road.

The University Heights Swensons is the first location in eastern Cuyahoga County and the biggest yet of the Akron-based business’s eight locations.

Swensons hired more than 50 employees to staff its new location, including students from John Carroll University.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 11:03 AM, 01.16.2018

HRRC offers January classes on plumbing, tile and electrical work

This month, Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) is offering its popular women’s Home How-To program’s six-week plumbing series. The plumbing classes will be held on Wednesday evenings, 7–9 p.m., Jan. 17 through Feb. 21, at the HRRC Teaching Center at 2520 Noble Road. The cost is $150; income-based discounts of 50 to 100 percent are available.

The goal of all four programs in the Home How-To series—plumbing, carpentry, electrical and exteriors—is to provide a sense of confidence and empowerment to the women who take the classes. Many former participants have reported back on all of the jobs they’ve tackled as a result of what they learned at HRRC.

On Tuesday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m., a ceramic tile workshop will be held at HRRC. This class will give participants a chance to learn about the ins-and-outs of ceramic tile: how to install it, and how to grout.

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Volume 11, Issue 2, Posted 12:27 PM, 01.15.2018

Vote for Best of the Heights in 2018

John Zagara, owner of Zagara's Marketplace, holds the certificate for Best Neighborhood Partner in the FutureHeights 2017 Best of the Heights Awards. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

Beginning Jan. 1, Heights residents can show their appreciation for local businesses by voting for their favorites in the FutureHeights 2018 Best of the Heights Awards contest.

In 2005, FutureHeights—a nonprofit community development corporation—established the Best of the Heights Awards to recognize the unique attributes of locally owned Heights businesses, and their contributions to the local economy. Each year, residents cast their votes for their favorite businesses by nominating them for an award in a variety of categories.

FutureHeights’ Planning & Development Committee has selected 12 categories for this year’s ballot, including Best New Business and Best Heights Vibe.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:28 PM, 01.02.2018

V&E Hann Inc. seeks nominations for furnace giveaway

Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. co-owner Chris Hann (right), with Jon Holmes, who received a free furnace and installation from the company in 2017. 

For the second consecutive year, Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc. will give away a furnace, including installation, to someone in need. Chris Hann, co-owner of the Cleveland Heights-based heating, cooling and plumbing contractor, is asking for nominations from the community.

“Last year, it was our honor to install a new furnace for someone so deserving," said Hann. "Again, we want to share our good fortune by continuing to give back to the community. We are hopeful people in our community will raise their hand to let us know if they or someone they know is in need of a new furnace.”

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:24 PM, 01.02.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 12-5-2017

DECEMBER 5, 2017

  • Issuance and sale of bonds
  • Library board of trustees interviews and appointment

Board President Ron Register, Vice President Kal Zucker, Jim Posch and Eric Silverman were present, as were as Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer. Beverly Wright arrived in time for the interviews. The meeting opened at 6:15 p.m. and ended after 9:30 p.m., at which time the board went into executive session to discuss district land issues.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 11:48 AM, 01.30.2018

CH Charter Review Commission to make recommendations in time for November 2018 ballot

The Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission held its first official meeting on Dec. 7. Cleveland Heights City Council appointed the 15-member commission to review all aspects of the city’s charter and make recommendations for changes. City council will then decide which items to place on the ballot for residents to vote on.

The commission expects to submit its recommendations to council by May 2018, in time for council to place the revisions on the November 2018 ballot.

The first item the commission will address is the city’s form of government. Cleveland Heights is currently governed by a seven-member city council, with all members elected at large (citywide), and by a city manager, who is appointed by council.

Of Cuyahoga County’s 57 municipalities, only Cleveland Heights and Bedford Heights are governed without a popularly elected mayor.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:35 AM, 12.12.2017

Heights Arts presents a month of music and metal

Materialized: Seven Artists Working in Metal opens Jan. 19.

There’s no reason to stay home and hibernate in January—Heights Arts offers a number of community-friendly events to kick off 2018.

On Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 p.m., visiting Minnesota quartet Zeitgeist joins Cleveland’s No Exit ensemble for an evening of music from the unique repertoire of each group, as well as collective performances of new music. The free community concert promises a diverse assortment of avant-garde sounds, including music that explores the possibilities of the electro-acoustic medium.

Opening Friday, Jan. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m., is Materialized: Seven Artists Working in Metal, curated by Heights Arts exhibition committee member Pamela Argentieri. “Northeast Ohio has a long tradition of sculptors, blacksmiths, silversmiths and designers working in metal,” said Argentieri. "This community and its institutions continue to support the careers and education of its artists."

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:54 AM, 01.03.2018

St. Paul's Cooperative Preschool seeks new home

St. Paul's preschool is hoping to find a new home soon.

St. Paul's Cooperative Preschool (SPCP) is about to lose its home of 61 years. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, that built the nursery school wing in 1956, has decided, as of Nov. 29, not to renew the preschool’s lease. Now, the cooperative is faced with the challenge of finding a new home for next year so that it can continue to serve its students. The co-op currently has 54 of its 58 possible student spaces filled. SPCP is rushing to find a place before January, when preschool registration begins for the 2018–19 school year.

SPCP’s top priority is to continue to offer affordable preschool access for the 2018–19 school year. "We are looking for a space, ideally located close to the current location [2747 Fairmount Blvd.] so that we can continue to serve the local community’s families and children," said Deb Binkofsky, director of the co-op."Research continues to come out about how important preschool can be for future academic success. If we were to close, which we are determined not to do, that would leave Cleveland Heights with just one cooperative preschool.” That school, Fairmount Cooperative Preschool, is currently at capacity, serving 44 students.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 7:43 PM, 12.07.2017

Drum majors reflect on marching band's fall season

Drum majors Alex Gillooly and Glennis Covault lead the Heights High Marching Band onto the field. 

Alex Gillooly and Glennis Covault are the drum majors for the Heights High Marching Band, under the direction of Brett Baker of the Instrumental Music Department (IMD). This past fall, the marching band performed pre-game and half-time shows during four scheduled home football games. As junior drum major, Covault worked closely with the more experienced Gillooly, who serves as senior drum major.

The central role of the drum majors is to coordinate and implement Baker's vision, which means being ready for anything. As Covault put it, “Mr. Baker once said that our job as drum majors is to make him `useless.' We act as the eyes, ears and hands of Mr. Baker at every level. This has inspired me to constantly be thinking ahead.”

Both Gillooly and Covault agree that their most important responsibility is the steady conducting of the music. “Out in the field," Gillooly said, "the main concern is to make sure that we direct with a very consistent tempo, maintaining eye contact with the percussion and with each other to keep the band together.”

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:43 AM, 01.03.2018

Seeking clarity on statement in December column

To the Editor:

Your "About the Observer" column states that "If you're writing a news article it should be clear and factual." That is the basis for my question regarding the "Heights of Democracy" article [in the December issue].

Regarding the proposed legislation, the article contains the statement: The ordinance would not violate state or federal laws.

Although this article is on the Opinion page, the above statement seems to be stating a fact. Neither of the authors is a lawyer or a judge, so what is the basis for the statement?


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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 11:52 AM, 12.18.2017

The backstory to Democracy Day

On Thursday, Jan. 25, Cleveland Heights City Council will convene the city’s fifth annual Democracy Day, and you, dear reader, are most cordially invited.

For the uninitiated, Democracy Day gives the public an opportunity to address council about how the political influence of corporate entities, added to obscene amounts of money spent in the political process, is degrading the democratic institutions of our city, our state and our nation. Following the hearing each year, a letter stating the reason for the event and summarizing citizens’ remarks is sent by council to our U.S. senators, our U.S. congress member, and the presidents of the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House. That letter, the full text of the petition, plus written minutes and a video, can be viewed on the city’s website under Government, Archived Agendas and Minutes, Public Hearings.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:14 PM, 01.02.2018

Local accountability fosters common good

The Internet makes it easy to gain access to events that you don’t attend in person. I recently spent several evenings on the CH-UH City School District’s website, viewing recordings of board of education meetings going back to 2012. I recommend it. To view the recordings, go to and select “Board of Education” from the “About” menu. 
The board meetings provided a body of evidence about our district’s history and the role of the school board for a project I have been working on. They were fascinating!

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 2:03 PM, 01.02.2018

Shop local. Learn local. Choose public.

We are fortunate to have many locally owned businesses in our community. From grocery stores to bookstores, restaurants to beauty shops, there are many people invested in owning businesses in the Heights. My wife and I believe in supporting those independent businesses because, in many cases, the owners are people we know and trust. It’s also convenient to be able to walk to a nearby store instead of having to drive a distance away.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 1:57 PM, 01.02.2018

Dunn and Cavender open new fitness center

Tim Cavender and Lisa Dunn, co-owners of 216 Fitness, will host its grand opening celebration on Jan. 13. Photo credit: Kevin Kopanski.

After a year of planning, business partners Lisa Dunn and Tim Cavender—both professionally certified fitness instructors and Cleveland Heights residents—have opened a new strength-training fitness facility. Their new business, 216 Fitness, aims to help individuals build a fun, supportive community, empowered by strength and confidence. Located at 1415 South Belvoir Blvd., at the corner of Mayfield Road in South Euclid, 216 Fitness plans its grand opening celebration for Saturday, Jan. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Heights residents may know Dunn as the former owner of Revive, the fair trade boutique that had operated on Lee Road since 2006, but closed in April 2017.

While operating Revive, Dunn developed health issues that she sought to relieve through a strength-training regimen. This, in turn, led her to become a fitness trainer at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, where she met Cavender, director of personal training services, who has a degree in exercise physiology from Cleveland State University. 

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:48 AM, 01.03.2018

Cedar Fairmount's A.T. Wilson is nation's longest-serving letter carrier

Teddy Wilson delivering mail in Cedar Fairmount. [photo by Jack Valancy]

At the age of 80, Cedar Fairmount letter carrier Alfonzo (A.T. “Teddy”) Wilson is the longest-serving active letter carrier in the United States

On Nov. 17, the U.S. Postal Service honored him at a special ceremony, presenting him with a 60-year service pin and a table clock inscribed, “Thank You for Your 60 Years of Service.” His fellow workers held a buffet lunch and reception for him.

Current and former postal employees were among the more than 200 people who attended the ceremony in Wilson’s honor. Asked by Les Wolf, his current manager, how many managers he has had, Wilson replied, “I don’t know, but now you are number one.” 

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:12 AM, 12.12.2017

'Angels in America' spreads its wings at Ensemble Theatre

Ensemble Theatre Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino is directing of both parts of "Angels in America" this season.

Both parts of Tony Kushner’s masterpiece "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes" will be staged at Ensemble Theatre this year, with "Part One: Millennium Approaches" opening Jan. 5.

Ensemble's Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino is directing both parts of "Angels in America," with the follow-up, "Part Two: Perestroika," opening April 27 with the same cast of Cleveland actors. Both shows will run four weekends.

“I think it makes sense to produce both parts,” Cosentino said of the undertaking. “It’s really one big story, and I’m excited for the opportunity to provide audiences with the chance to watch the characters’ entire journey.”

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.03.2018

HYT continues season with 'Once Upon a Mattress'

Heights Youth Theatre (HYT), now in it's 64th year, starts 2018 off with an entertaining and meaningful musical, "Once Upon a Mattress." The production, which will be performed at Heights Middle School in University Heights, opens on Friday, Jan. 19, and closes on Sunday, Jan. 28.

The show is directed by Eugene Sumlin, music-directed by Stacy Bolton and stage-managed by Jack Ina. Included in the cast are 50 actors in grades 1-12. The lead cast includes Cleveland Heights residents Spencer Skok as Prince Dauntless, Charlie Proctor as the Minstrel, Julien Benchek as the Wizard, and Victoria Skok as Lady Larken. They are joined by Grace Wilkinson as Winifred, Keegan Polatz as Henry, Olivia Rood as Queen Aggravain, Brian Tuohey as King Sextimus the Silent, and Grace Hoy as the Jester.

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Volume 11, Issue 1, Posted 10:04 AM, 01.03.2018