Latest News

Cedar Fairmount welcomes two new businesses

Mural on the wall at Fawaky Burst Juice Bar and Cafe.

Muhammad Edwards has opened his third Fawaky Burst Juice Bar & Café in the Cedar Fairmount Business district, in the former Liquid Planet space at 12413 Cedar Road.

According to Edwards, “fawaky” is the Arabic word for fruit, which is the main ingredient in many of his smoothies. The café features a tropical mural depicting sliced fruit (making one think of an exotic Caribbean beach or someplace hot), wooden barrels and driftwood-like table tops, and is Wi-Fi accessible.

Originally from New Jersey, Edwards became a clean-eating advocate while playing basketball throughout college in Miami. After college, Edwards moved to Cleveland with a few fraternity brothers who were looking to invest in real estate. He soon found out that being a landlord wasn’t what he’d hoped, although he did fall in love with the city, using it as home base for his developing line of "action" juices.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 11:04 AM, 05.22.2018

Latest News Releases

Attention Families with Preschool-Age Children
- Fairmount Presbyterian Church, May 21, 2018 Read More
National Science Foundation awards John Carroll University a $640,000 STEM grant that will fund scholarships for Fall 2018 freshman class: APPLICATIONS DUE APRIL 4
- JCU, March 27, 2018 Read More
- City of Cleveland Heights, March 20, 2018 Read More
University Heights names Rogers Interim Police Chief
- City of University Heights, March 14, 2018 Read More
- CH-UH Schools, February 13, 2018 Read More

View more news releases

Heights High robotics teams place first and second

The Heights High Robotics Club.

Heights High teams won first and second place at the April 28 regional Battle Bot Robotics competition at Lakeland Community College, in which 20 high school teams from Northeast Ohio competed.

This year Heights High fielded two teams; Team Black placed first and Team Gold placed second.

Team Black defeated Beaumont School in the semifinals—an upset that set the stage for Heights High’s Team Gold to vie with Team Black for first place. Beaumont took third place.

“Beaumont was a tough team to beat, as always, they are well prepared and have great design,” said Heights High Robotics coach Greg Nachman.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 8:41 PM, 05.21.2018

City manager and council member address CRC

CH City Manager Tanisha Briley at the May 17 CRC meeting.

How effective is the council-manager form of government in Cleveland Heights compared to governments led by a popularly elected mayor?

That was the principal question addressed by CH City Manager Tanisha Briley and CH Council Member Kahlil Seren at the Charter Review Commission (CRC) meeting on May 17.

Seren said that he favors changing the form of city government in Cleveland Heights from the current council-manager government to a mayor-council government that is led by a popularly elected mayor, and supported by a professional administrator appointed by the mayor and approved by council.

He said that the current form of government tends to be too timid and too cautious, resulting in relatively few bold ideas and innovation. “Caution can be debilitating,” he said.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 4:49 PM, 05.19.2018

CH's Karen Jaffe receives Parkinson's Visionary Award

Karen and Marc Jaffe.

On April 16, Cleveland Heights resident Karen Jaffe received the 2018 InMotion Parkinson’s Visionary Award, presented biennially to an individual or family that has shown excellence in the Parkinson’s community by championing the fight against Parkinson’s disease through advocacy, research, volunteerism, or financial support.

The award was presented at “More than Motion, a Visionary Event” on April 16, at Jones Day in Cleveland. The sold-out event attracted more than 250 attendees and raised more than $85,000 (net) to benefit InMotion—a nonprofit Parkinson’s wellness center in Warrensville Heights.

Jaffe retired from a 24-year career as an OB/GYN shortly after being diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s, and dedicated herself wholeheartedly to the Parkinson’s community, where she quickly became a trailblazer.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 11:10 AM, 05.15.2018

Get ready to 'Run Like It’s Recess'

The RoxEl Run, a fun-filled, community, and inter-generational family event benefiting Roxboro Elementary School, takes place Saturday, May 19 at 9 a.m. The race begins at the Roxboro Middle School track, 2400 Roxboro Road, and loops through the Cleveland Heights neighborhoods surrounding the school.

The race options include 4-mile and 2-mile runs, or a 2-mile walk that begins shortly after the run start time and follows the same route. The Kid’s Fun Run, for the youngest elementary-age children, begins at 10 a.m. and takes place inside the middle school track. Last year’s event drew 350 participants and raised over $5,000. Everyone is encouraged to attend regardless of fitness level.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 11:17 AM, 05.15.2018

Noam Zion will be scholar-in-residence May 18 and 19

Israeli scholar Noam Zion returns to Greater Cleveland May 18 and 19, Shavuot weekend, for a scholar-in-residence event co-hosted by, and taking place at, two synagogues, Beth El-The Heights Synagogue (BE-THS) and B’nai Jeshurun.

Zion will teach Friday night and Saturday morning and afternoon at BE–THS, then walk the five miles to B’nai Jeshurun, where he’ll be the keynote speaker at its annual Tikkun Leyl Shavuot, spearheading a roster of rabbis and educators from at least 16 shuls and institutions.

Zion has taught in Cleveland many times, beginning as far back as 1989. He has taught at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem for more than 30 years, and is the author of best-selling haggadot, A Different NightA Night to Remember, and A Day Apart: Shabbat at Home.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 9:20 AM, 05.15.2018

Vendors wanted for 'We are Noble' flea market

Are you an artist, craftsperson, entrepreneur or collector? The Noble Flea wants you as a vendor for the May 19 Noble Flea Market.

The event is sponsored by The Central Bible Baptist Church, FutureHeights and The Old Vaudevillian as part of the “We are Noble” community celebration.

Help bring life to the vacant lot of the former McDonald’s on Noble Road. Each 10’ x 10’ space is free to vendors, but spaces are limited.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 9:28 AM, 05.15.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-7-2018

MAY 7, 2018

  • Public comments
  • City audit extension
  • Hiring continues
  • Office space rental
  • Pool opening
  • Memorial Day parade
  • Heritage home program
  • Rain barrel workshop
  • Fair housing commission
  • Planning commission meetings
  • Rental permits
  • Capital improvements
  • Community policing
  • Leaf and brush pickup
  • Firefighters contract
  • Service department contract
  • Executive session

Present were Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, Vice Mayor Sue Pardee, and council members Pamela Cameron, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Councilman Philip Ertel was absent. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director William Sheehan, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 8:50 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 1:56 PM, 05.15.2018

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-16-2018

APRIL 16, 2018

  • Public Comments
  • Interim Finance Director
  • Rental properties regulation
  • New emergency rescue equipment
  • Support of State Issue 1
  • 2018 road improvement program
  • Water main replacements
  • New internet service plan
  • “On emergency” rationale for zoning ordinance
  • Tree pruning seminar
  • Firehouse improvements
  • House demolitions
  • Rental permits
  • Tax abatement
  • Ice cream tricycle
  • City hall elevators and chair lifts
  • Executive session

Present were Mayor Michael D. Brennan, Vice Mayor Susan Pardee, Phil Ertel, John Rach, Steven Sims, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Pamela Cameron arrived after roll call. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Interim Finance Director Michael Frederick and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7 to 8:50 p.m., at which time council moved to executive session.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 2:21 PM, 05.15.2018

Developers speak at CH Charter Review Commission meeting

Architect Paul Volpe (left) and developer Peter Rubin spoke at the CH Charter Review Commission on May 3.

How does Cleveland Heights compare to other local communities in attracting development?

Developer Peter Rubin and architect Paul Volpe addressed that question, and others, at the May 3 Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) meeting, where the two shared their opinions with commission members and others in attendance. Tom Malone, former Cleveland Heights finance director, also spoke at the meeting.

Rubin said that he considers Cleveland Heights to be a “post-maturity” city that now faces two choices. “One would be to manage decline,” he said, “and the other would be to create and execute a new vision, one that puts the community on a positive trajectory.”

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 12:22 PM, 05.08.2018

CH celebrates 16th annual preservation month

The site of the long-gone Glen Allen Estate, owned by Elisabeth Severance Allen, is a feature of the May 12 walking tour (reservations required).

The Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, Cleveland Heights Historical Society and Heights Libraries are collaborating again this May to present a series of programs to celebrate National Preservation Month here in the Heights.

Spanning the month of May, a series of tours and lectures will explore the ways in which preservation is important to this community, and will delve into its history. Programs will explore parks, a secret stream, Cleveland Heights’ connection to the Shakers and Shaker Heights, and will celebrate Cain Park's 80th birthday with a behind-the-scenes tour.

A description of programs is listed below. [Note that reservations are required for the May 12 and June 2 tours.]

Tuesday, May 1, 7 p.m., Cleveland Heights’ Emerald Necklace: Parks, Property, and Politics

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 12:08 PM, 04.30.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-7-2018

MAY 7, 2018

  • Public comments
  • Rock salt
  • Sanitary Sewer Overflow Control
  • Street resurfacing
  • Gun laws
  • Police radios
  • Service assessments
  • Cedar Fairmount SID
  • Complete and Green Street Policy
  • Bike Month and National Preservation Month
  • Outdoor dining lease
  • Caledonia Park playground
  • Sale of city property
  • Robert Klein
  • CHHS Alumni Hall of Fame
  • Municipal broadband
  • Police bike auction
  • Announcements
  • Immigration task force
  • Mayor attends meetings


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein, Cheryl L. Stephens and Michael N. Ungar. The meeting lasted from 7:33 to 8:25 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 1:32 PM, 05.18.2018

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-16-2018

APRIL 16, 2018


  • Public comments
  • Street improvement bids
  • Marketing and branding
  • City’s strategic plan
  • Zamboni purchase
  • School rankings
  • Bond sale
  • Mayor Roe’s report


Council members present were Cheryl L. Stephens, Carol Roe, Mary Dunbar, Jason Stein, Melissa Yasinow and Kahlil Seren. Michael N. Ungar was absent. The meeting was called to order at 7:32 p.m. and adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 2:13 PM, 05.17.2018

Backyard chickens now legal in University Heights

University Heights residents may now keep chickens in their backyard. Photo by Bob Brown.

Like their neighbors in Cleveland Heights, residents of University Heights can now keep chickens in their backyards, legally.

After considering the arguments of many proponents and opponents of backyard chicken keeping, University Heights City Council voted 5-2 on April 2 to approve regulations allowing up to 25 residents to keep up to four chickens in a backyard. Councilmen Steven Sims and Phillip Ertel voted against the ordinance.

The ordinance, which was amended 13 times in response to issues raised in the discussions, requires any resident seeking to keep chickens to apply for a special use permit from the city’s building department. The permit must be renewed each year, following an inspection by the city’s building department.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:54 PM, 04.30.2018

CH residents share views on charter review at public forum

Participants at the charter review public forum were able to share their views with commission members.

On April 19, approximately 80 Cleveland Heights residents participated in the first community forum held by the city’s 15-member Charter Review Commission.

The meeting began with a presentation that described the current council-manager form of government in Cleveland Heights, in which seven part-time city council members are elected on an at-large basis and are assisted by a full-time city manager, whom they appoint.

The presentation also described other forms of municipal governance, including the one most common in Cuyahoga County, in which there is a popularly elected mayor, and a city council to which some or all members are elected by ward.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:40 AM, 04.24.2018

May is Bike Month in the Heights

Volunteers from Hirobel, Two One Fix Bicycle, and Heights Bicycle Coalition provide the mechanic services for the Coventry Bike Tune-Up Day, coming on June 2.

Since 2010, Cleveland Heights has joined with cities nationwide to celebrate May as National Bike Month.

Activities take place in and around Cleveland Heights and University Heights throughout the month, including Bike to Work Week from May 15 to 18, and the Ride of Silence—a memorial that honors those injured or killed while riding their bicycles—on May 16.

"Biking has been on the rise in the past few years in our community and across Northeast Ohio," said Steve Reinhardt, Cleveland Heights resident and head of Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC), which plays a major role in organizing Bike Month in Cleveland Heights. "Bike Month is one way we can spread the word about the safety of cycling, the health benefits of riding and the fun that biking can provide."

On May 9, all Cleveland Heights-University Heights public schools and some private and parochial schools will take part in Walk or Bike to School Day.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:17 AM, 05.01.2018

Annual 'We Are Noble' weekend to showcase Heights musicians

Face painting at Noble Elementary School's NobleFest.

We Are Noble, the annual celebration of the neighborhoods along Noble Road, will take place Friday through Sunday, May 18–20.

Preparations are underway for Noble Elementary School’s NobleFest, a family fun night hosted by the Noble PTA on Friday evening, and nearby Noble Road Presbyterian Church will host a movie night on the same evening. Oxford Elementary School will participate with attractions that include a new art installation by its fifth-graders near the school’s main driveway entrance on Quilliams Road.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:41 PM, 04.30.2018

Peace Lutheran hosts 'We Are Noble' events

Peace Lutheran Church, 3740 Mayfield Road, will host several activities in support of Noble Neighbors’ We Are Noble weekend in mid-May.

On Saturday, May 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., guests will be welcome at a cookout lunch in the church’s front yard. The light lunch will be free and open to anyone participating in the weekend events throughout the community.

At the same time, the congregation will open its "baby shop" to young families. They will be invited to choose free clothing items for their children up to size 6X. The baby shop is also open every Tuesday morning from 10 a.m. to noon, but more clothing will be made available on this special Saturday.

On Sunday, May 20, following its 10 a.m. worship service, the congregation will host the annual Oxford Elementary Art Show in its upper lounge.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:05 AM, 05.01.2018

Talks of merger, change inspire appreciation for the past

With a declining population in the region generally, and in our inner-ring suburbs specifically, it should be no surprise that consolidation was a common theme in the 2008–17 May issues of the Heights Observer. “Four parishes may be one. Merger plan means Saint Louis in Cleveland Heights will most likely close,” was the headline for the May 2008 issue’s top story. Two Cleveland Heights churches, Saint Ann (at Cedar and Coventry roads) and Saint Louis (on North Taylor Road), merged with two East Cleveland churches, Christ the King and Saint Philomena, to become Communion of Saints Parish in 2010.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:30 PM, 04.30.2018

Friends of Cain Park raffle offers free season tickets

What’s better than going to a show at the Evans Ampitheatre at Cain Park? Going to every show—for free.

Friends of Cain Park is raffling two free season tickets in a fundraiser for its activities to support Cain Park. Each raffle ticket costs $50, and sales are limited to just 100 tickets.

Tickets are available through May 31 at Tickets will also be available on Saturday, June 2, at Residents Day at Cain Park, when the ticket booth opens for sales to Cleveland Heights residents only.

Friends of Cain Park is a non-profit founded in 1995 to support artist prizes for the July Arts Festival, music and dance performances, actor stipends and college scholarships for Cleveland Heights High School.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 3:30 PM, 04.30.2018

Dobama’s “Appropriate” runs through May 20

From the writer of Dobama Theatre’s 2016 hit, “An Octoroon,” comes a play that asks a question for which there is no easy answer: how does the past affect what we think and who we become?

“Appropriate,” winner of the 2014 Obie Award for Best New American Play, is running now through May 20 at Dobama Theatre. Written by 2016 MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and directed by Dobama Artistic Director Nathan Motta, this play appropriates the white family drama to make whiteness racially visible at all times.

In “Appropriate,” the patriarch of the Lafayette clan has just passed away and the family is forced to descend upon its crumbling Arkansas homestead to settle accounts.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:11 AM, 05.01.2018

Ungar's remark muddies the waters

To the Editor:

At its April 2 meeting, Cleveland Heights City Council unanimously approved the creation of an Immigration Task Force. The measure was proposed by Mayor Carol Roe, in response to issues raised by the "civil immigration enforcement" legislation introduced last fall by Council Member Kahlil Seren. Seren’s ordinance would lay out what police and other city officials can and cannot do regarding undocumented immigrants. Those violating its strictures could be charged with a misdemeanor.

City Manager Tanisha Briley and Police Chief Annette Mecklenburg objected to that part of the legislation, and also preferred that the guidelines take the form of a departmental policy, rather than carry the force of law. Seren offered to remove the section criminalizing certain police actions. 

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:28 PM, 04.30.2018

Studio How-To moves to Coventry

A class inside Studio How-To's new Coventry Village storefront space.

“We wanted a storefront so people can see all the fun that’s going on here!” said Sarah Nemecek. After a pilot year in a 3,000-square-foot space in the Douglas Fine Arts Building on Lee Road, Nemecek was excited to move into the Coventry Village neighborhood, adding a retail space where customers can access designer fabrics, yarns and crafting gear that correspond with studio classes. 

A shop and studio for "the modern maker," Studio How-To supports crafters of all abilities—from novice to seasoned. “Anything you can make with your hands, we are here to teach you,” said Nemecek.

Studio How-To hosted an open house and ribbon-cutting on April 7. Guests filled the studio, chatting about the arts and Cleveland, while they made pom-poms and other art together.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:04 AM, 05.01.2018

Slay the gerrymander: Vote Yes on Issue 1

Chances are you’ve been asked to sign a petition to stop the gerrymandering—drawing district lines to favor a candidate or party—of Ohio’s congressional districts. Spearheaded by the Fair Districts = Fair Elections coalition, this constitutional referendum effort culminated in successful negotiations with state legislators to put Ohio Issue 1—an alternative, but solid, solution—on the May 8 ballot.

Issue 1 has the full endorsement of the Fair Districts coalition (which includes the League of Women Voters of Ohio and Common Cause), the Democratic and Republican parties, and a growing list of organizations statewide.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:26 PM, 04.30.2018

Forest Hill can be the next Tremont

For Greater Clevelanders, it has been the best and the worst of times depending on the neighborhood you live in. Destination neighborhoods like Cedar Fairmount and Tremont are thriving with increased property values and the buzz of restaurants and retail.

Forest Hill as a neighborhood once enjoyed this status. No more. Now it is lumped into a collection of neighborhoods many call “north of Mayfield.” Instead of buzz, there is the ghost town called Severance Town Center and the only restaurants are fast food. Retail consists of Walgreen’s and The Dollar Store.

Forest Hill is at a crossroads. We can look west and connect to the vibrancy of Little Italy and University Circle. Or continue to plod along and stagnate.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:23 PM, 04.30.2018

Standing my ground

!960s student anti-war protest. (Photo courtesy of

I learned the Pledge of Allegiance early in elementary school. I learned it, but I never felt comfortable saying it, even as a little kid. I probably couldn’t have articulated this back then, but it seemed like something that shouldn’t have to be forced. That’s the way I felt about prayers in religious services, too: Either they should be natural and sincere, or you shouldn’t say them, because, I mean, what’s the point?

But during an assembly near the beginning of second grade at Coventry School, when we were supposed to be reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, an older kid standing next to me said, “All you have to do is say ‘watermelon, watermelon,’ and no one will know the difference.” So that’s what I did, for years, for the Pledge and for prayers.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:13 AM, 05.01.2018

Communion of Saints students bring 'Shrek' to the stage

More than 70 students are involved in Communion of Saints School's spring production.

In the mood for some ogre-sized family fun?

The Communion of Saints School Drama Program, now in its ninth year, will present “Shrek Jr. The Musical” on May 4 and 5, at 7 p.m., in Powers Hall at Communion of Saints School.

More than 70 students are involved in this year‘s production, on the stage and behind the scenes. Under the guidance of Lydia Chanenka, director and scenery painter, and Maria Botti-Lodovico, choreographer and musical director, the magic of the swamp is brought to life through music and magical scenery.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:06 AM, 05.01.2018

Dewey's Decimators again win Reaching Heights Spelling Bee

Dewey's Decimators Chris Mentrek, Victor Rosenberg and Susan Marshall proudly display the Big Plastic Bee Trophy, with Krista Hawthorne (at right), director of Reaching Heights.

The 27th Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee went eight rounds on April 18, on the Heights High auditorium stage. Dewey’s Decimators, representing Friends of the Heights Libraries, correctly spelled “chiaroscurist” to win the fun—but quite serious—spelling competition. Spellers Victor Rosenberg, Susan Marshall and Chris Mentrek were happy to bring home the team’s fourth victory, tying it with the OOPS team, representing the Cleveland Orchestra musicians, as the “winningest” in the history of the Bee.

Upper Case, representing Case Western Reserve University, was the fundraising champion again this year, collecting more than $1,700 to benefit the work of Reaching Heights.

Collectively, participating teams raised $11,000 for Reaching Heights. 

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Volume 11, Issue 6, Posted 10:50 AM, 05.01.2018

Support 'one of our own' in county race

To the Editor:

I write this letter to ask my fellow Cuyahoga County District 10 residents to support Cheryl Stephens in her bid to be our Cuyahoga County Council representative. I believe Cheryl is the most qualified candidate for the job. Her record of accomplishments is unmatched and her dedication to our community is beyond reproach.

I have known Cheryl for over 30 years. When I first met her, we were members of the mayoral administration of George Voinovich. She was a dynamic and impassioned economic development officer. She was very knowledgeable about the city and what it would take to create lasting, sustainable businesses to grow our community. I could hardly believe she had only been in Cleveland a few years. Her love for our city was something I thought could only be found in a “home-towner.”

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:25 PM, 04.30.2018

HCC decries proposed HUD mission statement change

Recently, Dr. Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), issued a statement that alarms Heights Community Congress (HCC) members, who feel it should alarm their neighbors as well. Carson said that HUD will amend its mission statement to remove, among other things, references to creating “inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.”

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:21 PM, 04.30.2018

Community Reinvestment Areas: Buyer beware?

Property tax abatements are a controversial subject, and rightfully so. When Cleveland Heights residents dutifully pay our—notoriously high—property taxes, only to learn that neighbors purchasing units in some new developments will pay a mere fraction of their high-end home’s assessed value for up to a decade, we understandably bristle. It doesn’t feel like “equal treatment under the law”—a cornerstone of our democracy. It seems more like a subsidy to already wealthy people.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:18 PM, 04.30.2018

Protecting public education through local collective bargaining

As I write this article, teachers in Oklahoma and Kentucky are starting their second week of striking. [Teachers in Oklahoma ended their walkout on April 12.] Due to decades of neglect, conditions for students, faculty and staff in those states (and West Virginia, which recently settled its strike) are appalling. From out-of-date textbooks and unsafe buildings, to low wages for teachers, the tipping point for accepting those conditions was finally reached. 

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:16 PM, 04.30.2018

Lobbyists for the common good needed

As a true believer in democracy, I take my rights as a citizen seriously. 
These rights are a lot like muscles: Use them or lose them. Our democracy was set up to give citizens the power to make government accountable and useful. Because government appears to me to be veering off course, I am propelled to exercise a broader range of what is available to me as a member of a democratic society.
It is an almost religious experience to cast my vote. We will have that chance again on May 8. Big issues are on the ballot, including a vote on the system that defines how state legislative districts are drawn. Be sure to exercise your vote.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 4:12 PM, 04.30.2018

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to five Cleveland Heights projects

FutureHeights completed the spring 2018 round of its Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program, approving $3,577 in grants to support five neighborhood projects in Cleveland Heights.

To date, the community development corporation has awarded 23 grants—a total of $14,961. The grants are intended to spur small, grassroots projects to improve quality of life and build community.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 12:57 PM, 04.30.2018

FutureHeights hosts June 2 Cedar Lee Mini-Park visioning workshop

While the Cedar Lee Mini-Park sports some benches and flowers that make it pleasant to pass through, it has the potential to become a unique place that can help draw more visitors to the neighborhood.

FutureHeights invites Heights residents to share their ideas about how to make the Cedar Lee Mini-Park—which many people walk through on their way from the parking lot just east of Lee Road—into a special place. FutureHeights will host a visioning workshop on Saturday, June 2, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at CLE Urban Winery, 2908 and 2180 Lee Road.

Situated near Cleveland Heights’ newly renovated high school, the exceptional restaurants, bars and shops in the Cedar Lee Business District, and the Cedar Lee Theatre, the mini-park gets significant foot traffic. 

The community-development group FutureHeights and other stakeholders believe that the site has the potential to be much more than just a pass through. It could become a place where residents and visitors gather, converse and spend time. Through careful design, it could become as unique a place as the district itself, and positively impact its surrounding businesses and neighborhood.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 12:55 PM, 04.30.2018

Boss Dog hosts Officer Jason West scholarship fundraiser on May 20

Jason D. West

Boss Dog Brewery on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights will host the 2018 Officer Jason West Memorial Scholarship Mega Raffle event on Sunday, May 20, from 5 to 8 p.m. The annual event raises money for the Officer Jason West Memorial Scholarship. Raffle tickets are $2 and can be purchased from any committee member or at the event on May 20.

Officer Jason West, a Cleveland Heights police officer, was shot and killed on May 26, 2007, as he exited his patrol car when responding to a disturbance call. "When Jason was killed, this city lost not only a dedicated police officer, but also a very dear friend and neighbor," said Liz Radivoyevitch, co-chair of the Scholarship Selection Committee. "Officer Jason West was a hero, not because of the way he died, but because of the way he chose to live his life—as a devoted son and brother, and loyal friend; as a mentor and role model to young adults in the community; and as a dedicated police officer. Protecting and serving the city of Cleveland Heights was something that Jason did willingly each and every day he put his uniform on."

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 12:47 PM, 04.30.2018

Compassion or stigma: You choose

I read a comment on NextDoor in Cleveland Heights where a writer referred to another person as "the Tourette's guy." Based on the person’s behavior of having uncontrollable outbursts, apparently the writer assumed the person had Tourette’s syndrome (TS). I responded that TS is a genetic brain disorder and I doubt the person suffering from this disorder appreciated being categorized.

[TS is] usually symptomatic early in life. Can you imagine how young classmates treat a child diagnosed with Tourettes? 

That's not the only genetic brain disorder. I've been hearing from more and more people who’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. People diagnosed can suffer from uncontrolled mood changes, on the spectrum of depression to mania.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 10:59 AM, 05.01.2018

Heights teen helps other bereaved families

This image of her brother Josh (age 7), with souvenirs, reminds Carolyn Meyer (age 13) how a getaway helped her own family connect amidst bereavement. Photo coutesy the Meyer family.

Asked to describe Rebecca’s Gift, Heights eighth-grader Carolyn Meyer said, “It’s an organization that sends families on their first vacation after the death of a child.” Meyer and two classmates are currently doing an International Baccalaureate (IB) project to raise funds for Rebecca’s Gift. The project will culminate with an ice cream social fundraiser on Sunday, May 27, 5–8 p.m., at Ben & Jerry’s at Fairmount Circle, in University Heights.

This is not the first time that Meyer has raised funds for the nonprofit. In 2017, she raised $4,700 through her Bat Mitzvah project—enough money to pay for two bereaved families to reconnect through travel.

Rebecca’s Gift was inspired by the way Meyer and her brother, Josh, reconnected with their parents during a trip eight months after their sister Rebecca died.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 12:40 PM, 04.30.2018

Blush Boutique hosts Sip & Shop fundraisers

Blush Boutique owner Laurie Klopper has helped raise more than $1,000 for local nonprofits.

Looking for a meaningful way to give back to the community, Blush Boutique owner Laurie Klopper recently launched a series of fundraisers that are a win-win for the nonprofit and for the merchant.

For each Sip & Shop event, Blush Boutique donates 20 percent of the evening’s proceeds to the designated nonprofit. The result is a financial benefit for the nonprofit organization that also introduces its supporters to a popular local merchant that has been part of the Coventry Village neighborhood for almost nine years.

Blush Boutique offers a pleasant venue that—during Sip & Shop events—features wine and cheese, along with a carefully curated selection of products that include clothing, jewelry and accessories.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:57 AM, 05.01.2018

Alum Taylor Pickens is new soccer coach

Taylor Pickens

Taylor Pickens, a Cleveland Heights High School alumna and two-time Lake Erie League (LEL) Player of the Year, is returning to her alma mater as head girls soccer coach.

“We are excited to announce the hiring of Taylor as our new girls soccer coach,” said Athletic Director Joe D’Amato. “Taylor brings a wealth of knowledge and experience across many levels in the sport. Her commitment to building a program within our community and the success she's had previously bodes well for the future of our girls soccer program. We are excited to welcome another Tiger alum back home!”

Pickens is a 2007 graduate of Heights High, where she starred on the soccer team 2003–06. A four-year starter, she earned LEL Player of the Year honors as a junior and as a senior.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:30 AM, 05.01.2018

Heights seniors earn peace officer certification

Ten Heights High seniors are OPOTA certified. Back row (from left): Darryl Collins, Jumal Fisher, Kyle Mattox, Jetayzia Lee and Rashawn Creer. Front row: Tajah Simmons, Marie Carstarphen, Maya Sparks, Maya Stevenson and Armonni Whittiker.

Ten seniors in the Heights High Criminal Justice program have received Ohio Peace Officers Training Academy (OPOTA) certification. Students also earned college credits from Tri-C Community College and Bryant & Stratton College.

OPOTA is part of Heights High’s Career and Technical Education program, and is taught by Commander Johnnie Lemons, a retired Ohio State Patrol trooper.

The certification qualifies students for employment in private security. Additional certifications earned by the students are in CPR, first aid, automated external defibrillator, and 12 sections of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:20 AM, 05.01.2018

Homeschool art show to benefit ARTFUL youth programs

On Wednesday, May 23, six homeschool artists will showcase their masterpieces at The Mary Proctor Project art show, hosted by ARTFUL Cleveland in its studios on the Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus, 2843 Washington Blvd. in Cleveland Heights. The event takes place from 1 to 7 p.m., and light refreshments will be provided.

The artists are Kaitlynn Bamler, Elise Bolton, Lennice Bolton, Chiara Koonce, Mary Proctor and Juliana Walther.

Proctor, a 12-year-old homeschooled Cleveland Heights artist, founded The Mary Proctor Project in 2014 to showcase young artists and their work within the Cleveland community, and to raise awareness and funds to directly benefit local nonprofits.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:09 AM, 05.01.2018

YWCA honors CH's McMaster

Mallory McMaster

The YWCA of Greater Cleveland has named Cleveland Heights resident Mallory McMaster a winner in its 2018 Distinguished Young Woman Awards, recognizing her as one of 50 women between the ages of 25 and 40 who are making a difference in Northeast Ohio.

McMaster and the other recipients will be profiled in the YWCA's annual Achieve magazine and honored at an upcoming private reception.

An accomplished nonprofit leader and community organizer, McMaster has experience in communications, marketing, engagement, storytelling and advocacy. She is a sought-after writer with an impressive portfolio of pieces published in national outlets such as Cosmopolitan, Teen VogueThe New York Times and Vice.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:01 AM, 05.01.2018

Students and others 'brave the shave' for cancer cure

Roxboro Elementary School third-grader Caroline Beard had no regrets about giving up her hair to help children with cancer. [photo by Dallas Schubert]

The Cleveland Heights Community Center was abuzz on March 25 as more than 200 men, women, boys and girls shaved their heads and donated their hair to raise money for St. Baldrick's Foundation.

St. Baldrick's is the largest private funder of childhood cancer research in the world, and a significant portion of those funds are raised here in Cleveland.

District parent Krissy Dietrich Gallagher, mother of two-time cancer survivor Austin, started the local event in 2012. It has since raised more than $710,000. This has been the most successful year yet, with $143,000 raised so far.

CH-UH students from Canterbury, Fairfax and Roxboro elementary schools, Heights Middle School, and Heights High were among those who generously stepped up to “brave the shave.”

The funds raised locally are donated to St. Baldrick's through the Rebecca Alison Meyer Memorial Fund, in memory of the Fairfax kindergartner who died in 2014, on her sixth birthday.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 9:15 AM, 04.24.2018

District receives Auditor of State Award

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has received the Auditor of State (AOS) Award with Distinction for the district’s “clean and accurate” financial record keeping.

Michelle Stys, AOS state liaison director, presented the award, for fiscal year 2017, to Treasurer Scott Gainer and his finance team at the April 10 board of education meeting.

The award is given to those governmental entities that produce a voluntary Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and receive a “clean” audit report.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 10:40 AM, 05.01.2018

What's going on at your library?

Coventry Village Library
1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Wednesday, May 9, 7–8:30 p.m.

Cedar-Coventry Author Series: Terri Libenson. Terri Libenson, cartoonist, author and troublemaker, will read from her new graphic novel, Positively Izzy. Libenson is also the author of Invisibly Emmie and cartoonist of the internationally syndicated comic strip "The Pajama Diaries." A book signing will follow the reading.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:50 AM, 05.01.2018

Coventry library hosts children's author Terri Libenson

Terri Libenson and her books, Invisible Emmie and Positively Izzy

Local author and illustrator Terri Libenson will read from and discuss her new book, Positively Izzy, at the Coventry Village branch of Heights Libraries on Wednesday, May 9, at 7 p.m. The event is part of Heights Libraries’ Cedar-Coventry Author Series, in partnership with Mac’s Backs - Books on Coventry.

In the following Q-and-A, Libenson speaks about her writing process, favorite authors, and her upcoming book:

Q: How would you describe your new book, Positively Izzy? A: It’s a spin-off of Invisible Emmie. Both books are set in the same school and town, but this one stars two new characters: Brianna, Emmie’s best friend, and Izzy, a new character I’ve introduced. These girls have different personalities, kind of like Emmie and Katie. Bri is smart and bookish, while Izzy is a dreamer who loves playacting. Like Invisible EmmiePositively Izzy also takes place over the course of a day, but this time it focuses on the school talent show.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:47 AM, 05.01.2018

Jill Barr remembered for her kindness and compassion

Jill Barr. 

Jill Barr’s smile was legendary. Spreading from her mouth to her eyes, that smile was quick to be offered to anyone who needed it. Her gentle kindness, her bottomless well of generosity, marked a life that was much too short.

The University Heights mother of three died from complications of pneumonia in early March, at the age of 47. But Barr’s legacy lives on in the community that she touched with her grace, selflessness and authenticity.

“I think Jill had a genuine connection with every person she met,” said friend Kristen Sears. “She did things quietly, but she impacted so many people in so many different ways.”

From her work as special projects coordinator at Cleveland Heights’ Church of the Saviour (CoTS), to her fierce advocacy of CH-UH public schools, to her role as honorary mother (and chauffeur) to countless people’s children, Barr “did the work of five people, at least,” said Sears.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 10:20 AM, 04.17.2018

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

May 3: Jacki Bon, marketing and communications coordinator at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Eduational Foundation, will highlight the conservatory's unique workshops, including calligraphy, pulp painting, the piano-hinge book, folding origami corrugations, and introduction to letterpress.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:53 AM, 05.01.2018

CH Senior Center News

May is Older Americans Month, a time for older adults to join together with others in the community to learn, socialize and celebrate. Each year, the Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC) celebrates this designation on the last Thursday in May with an Older Americans Month Forum.

The forum will take place on Thursday, May 31, 1–3 p.m. Reservations are not necessary.

This years’ topic is Senior Safety, and the event will feature presentations by Annette Mecklenburg, Cleveland Heights police chief, and Janet Montoya, MetroHealth’s community health and fall prevention specialist. The program will begin with a reading by the Cleveland Heights poet laureate, and will conclude with light refreshments.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:52 AM, 05.01.2018

Project Lead the Way comes to CH-UH middle schools

Students evaluate each other's wallet designs.

According to its website, Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a national K-12 program designed to “engage students in hands-on activities, projects, and problems; empower them to solve real-world challenges; and inspire them to reimagine how they see themselves.” 

Recently adopted as a course for CH-UH middle school students, it is offered as an elective for seventh- and eighth-graders at Roxboro and Monticello middle schools. Because the two schools are currently operating under one roof, the PLTW classroom has combined as well, with Amy Statler and Dianna Neal team-teaching the classes.

According to Statler, PLTW takes a human-centered approach, and the projects are challenging. One recent assignment asked students to design an orthopedic shoe for a patient with cerebral palsy who has specific medical and lifestyle needs.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:40 AM, 05.01.2018

Volunteer Match

Heights Observer’s Volunteer Match column lists opportunities for residents to lend their time and talent to worthy organizations and causes around the Heights.

Submit your organization’s volunteer needs by calling the FutureHeights office at 216-320-1423 or e-mailing

Items submitted on or before the Heights Observer print issue's monthly story deadline will be considered for the next column. (To see past columns, visit, and search “volunteer match”.)

The CARE Program is a collaboration between four senior centers: Solon Senior Services, Cleveland Heights Senior Center, Maple Heights Senior Center and Community Partnership on Aging. It needs volunters to assist local, older adult homeowners complete tasks (yardwork, changing batteries and lightbulbs, kitchen cleaning, first floor and interior window washing, etc.) in and around their homes in order to help them maintain safety and independence.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:01 AM, 05.01.2018

Business owners Zagara and Presser speak to CH Charter Review Commission

John Zagara speaking at the March 29 meeting of the CH Charter Review Commission.

Bud Hilf, a member of the city of Euclid’s Charter Review Commission, John Zagara, owner of Zagara’s Marketplace on Lee Road, and Steve Presser, owner of Big Fun on Coventry Road, spoke to the Cleveland Heights Charter Review Commission (CRC) at its March 29 meeting.

Hilf told the CRC that Euclid’s commission voted 6-3 in favor of changing that city’s current form of government, led by a popularly elected mayor, to one led by a city manager. He explained that Euclid’s city council subsequently chose not to place that charter amendment proposal on the ballot.

Regarding Euclid’s charter review process, Hilf noted that there was virtually no public input and, in his opinion, some of the council-appointed commission members seemed to be pursuing their own personal agendas.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 8:56 AM, 04.03.2018

HRRC's free Home Remodeling Fair is April 14

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) will hold its annual Home Remodeling Fair on April 14, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Cleveland Heights City Hall. This marks the 18th consecutive year that Heights-based HRRC has produced this free event, open to residents of all cities.

Dozens of experts and contractors from diverse fields will be on-hand to answer questions, talk about what they do, and provide advice on any upcoming projects you may be considering for your home or yard.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.09.2018

A decade of news and views in the Heights

FutureHeights published the first issue of the Heights Observer 10 years ago, on April 10, 2008. To commemorate this 10-year anniversary, members of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee will take a look back at the stories that appeared in the last 10 issues for each month. I get to start us off by looking back at the 10 April issues we have published. We envisioned the Observer as a forum for Heights residents to share information about issues that were important to them. And, many of the issues we were talking about in 2008 we are still talking about, 10 years later.

The top story of the April 2008 issue mused about the future of the former Coventry school property. The school district had closed the elementary school in 2007, the building was sitting vacant, and neighbors were concerned about it attracting crime and driving down property values. A group formed to study the possibility of the site becoming an arts center. Today, April 1, 2018, the future of the Coventry property looks brighter as it is rebranded Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus and the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System officially takes possession of it, with the intention of preserving the park, the green space and the building that is now home to several arts and culture organizations.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:58 AM, 04.03.2018

Heights High Symphony concert will feature two senior soloists

Eva Bambakidis

Two Heights High graduating seniors, Eva Bambakidis and Matthew Fields, will perform with the Heights High Symphony, under the direction of Daniel Heim, in the CHHS Instrumental Music Department's (IMD) Season Finale Concert II, on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. Bambakidis will play the third movement of Dmitri Kabalevsky's Concerto No. 3 in D for Piano and Orchestra. Fields will perform the first movement of Concerto No. 9 in B Flat for Violoncello and Orchestra by Luigi Boccherini.

The Heights High IMD’s spring concert series will begin on Wednesday April 25, with Season Finale Concert I at 7:30 p.m., featuring the Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and the Concert Orchestra. The series continues on Friday, April 27, with Season Finale Concert II, featuring the two soloists, as well as the Symphonic Winds and the symphony.

Both concerts will be held in Heights High’s auditorium, and will be preceded by performances by chamber ensembles at 6:30 p.m. A reception will follow the April 27 concert, with entertainment by the jazz ensembles.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:18 AM, 03.31.2018

Heights High musicians meet alumnus and Super Bowl champion Jason Kelce

Junior trumpet player Xavier Thomas with Heights alumnus Jason Kelce, who is wearing his Heights High letter jacket. [Photo courtesy CH-UH city school district.]

The annual Heights High Instrumental Music Department’s (IMD) Spring Tour (Feb. 21–24) featured an athletic element this year, as band members had a chance to meet with Jason Kelce, Heights High alumnus (2006) and Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Champion. As a student, Kelce played baritone saxophone in the school’s jazz band.

Last fall, when Band Director Brett Baker learned that the spring tour would be in Philadelphia, he texted Kelce to see if they could catch up for a few hours during the band’s visit to Central High School in North Philadelphia.

A few weeks before the visit, Baker asked Kelce if he would like to play baritone saxophone with the jazz band during its visit.


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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 03.29.2018

Heights Arts presents first-ever members' show

Visitors congregate outside the gallery during a Heights Arts exhibition opening. Elisa Meadows photo.

This spring Heights Arts, the nonprofit community arts organization located at 2175 Lee Road, will present its first artist members’ show. The exhibition opens Friday, April 27, with a community reception 6–9 p.m., and runs through June 10.

The Members’ Show is an outgrowth of Heights Arts' mission to support the community by providing opportunities for artists and art audiences to discover one another. As a multi-disciplinary arts organization, Heights Arts taps into the potential of the region’s creative residents to enrich community life. The non-juried exhibition comprises works by current Heights Arts working artist members.

“One of the missions of Heights Arts from the beginning has been to encourage Heights residents to become involved in the arts, not only as audiences but as active participants,” said Greg Donley, chair of the Heights Arts Exhibition Committee

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:20 AM, 03.31.2018

RoxArts benefit supports school arts programs

The annual ROXARTS community fundraiser, supporting arts enrichment for all CH-UH City School District students in kindergarten through eighth grade, will be held on Saturday, April 28, at the B-Side in Cleveland Heights.

The night will start grooving at 7 p.m. with a disco-themed benefit that will include food from local eateries, complimentary beer and wine, a tabled auction with more than 30 items up for bid, and a live auction. Attendees are urged to dress in disco attire.

At 9 p.m., the B-Side and Grog Shop will transform into a Silent Disco. In lieu of a speaker system, the silent disco broadcasts music via radio transmitter into wireless headsets worn by the guests. Experience live DJs and dancing, like never before.

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Volume 11, Issue 4, Posted 11:00 AM, 03.31.2018

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 3-20-2018

MARCH 20, 2018


  • MSAN report
  • Middle school discipline and security


President Jim Posch, Vice President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Superintendent Talisa Dixon and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN) students and administrative staff from the middle school also attended.The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and was adjourned at 9 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 5, Posted 12:05 PM, 04.17.2018