Latest News

Alan Freed memorial celebration set for Lake View Cemetery

Alan Freed. Photo courtesy: Hulton Archive/Getty Image.

A memorial celebration honoring the life of Alan Freed, the Cleveland disc jockey who coined the term “rock 'n' roll” and who put on the nation’s first rock concert, will take place at Lake View Cemetery on Saturday, May 7, at 1 p.m. Freed died in 1965 at the age of 43, and his ashes will be interred at Lake View on the day of the ceremony. The public is invited to attend the event.

Steven Van Zandt of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band will deliver the keynote address at the ceremony. The Drifters, a soul group that scored such hits as “Money Honey,” “Such a Night,” “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Under the Boardwalk,” will perform at the ceremony. In addition, Little Anthony, of Little Anthony and the Imperials, is expected to perform, as is Jimmy Clanton, a rock singer from the 1960's. Famous disc jockey and rock historian Norm N. Nite will serve as the emcee at the event.

Freed came to fame in the early 1950s, when he was a DJ for WJW radio in Cleveland. In 1952, he produced the first Moondog Coronation Ball at the Cleveland Arena. That show is widely regarded as the very first rock 'n' roll concert.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 9:44 AM, 05.03.2016

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- CIFF, March 31, 2016 Read More
Annual Clean-up and Invasive Plant Pull of Doan Brook to be held during Earth Week, 2016
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- Doan Brook Watershed Partnership, March 23, 2016 Read More

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Culture comes to Cedar Lee corner

Inside the new Culture store on Lee Road.

A new Cleveland Heights store opened in mid-April, at 2150 Lee Road, on the southwest corner of Cedar and Lee roads. Called Culture Footwear and Apparel, the store is located in the space that had been occupied by Abrash Gallerie for 11 years. Abrash closed on Sept. 7, 2015.

Culture sells a variety of urban apparel for both men and women, including sporting clothes and athletic boots and shoes. The Cleveland Heights store is the third Culture location to open in Greater Cleveland within the past year. The first Culture store opened last June in the Fifth Street Arcade in downtown Cleveland, and a second store opened in April, at 16832 Chagrin Blvd. in Shaker Heights.

Morad Ali, a 33-year-old who grew up in Westlake and currently lives in downtown Cleveland, owns all three stores.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 1:19 PM, 04.30.2016

Pacific East owners open new fusion restaurant

Pacific Grill restaurant at Cedar Center North offers Burmese-inspired flavors from the owners of Pacific East. Photo by Bob Rosenbaum.

Freeman and Susan Ngo, owners of the popular Pacific East restaurant in Coventry Village, have opened a new restaurant in the Cedar Center North shopping plaza in South Euclid, at 13911 Cedar Road.

Named Pacific Grill, the new restaurant is not just another location of the original. It features “Asian fusion” cuisine and, to the best of Susan Ngo’s knowledge, is the first in the region to offer Burmese-inspired dishes such as tea leaf salad, catfish chowder in ginseng broth, and grilled whole red snapper.

“It’s a cross between fast casual and more formal sit-down dining,” Freeman Ngo said. “I started with the vision that a fast casual restaurant is not just burgers, burritos and fried chicken. It can be healthier, better quality food, cooked to order.”

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:59 PM, 04.30.2016

FutureHeights presents 'The Bloodless Jungle'

Peter Lawson Jones

Peter Lawson Jones’s new play, "The Bloodless Jungle," tells the story of State Senator Ethan St. John, a rising political star who is running for a pivotal seat in Congress. In the midst of the campaign, his best friend from high school is accused of a serious crime and St. John is faced with a daunting choice: does he abandon his friend, whom he believes may be innocent, and focus on winning the election, or risk jeopardizing the campaign by supporting his friend? The play centers around the decision he makes and its consequences.

FutureHeights will present a staged reading of the play to benefit its Heights Community Development Alliance (HCDA) program on Sunday, June 5, at Ensemble Theatre. The two-act drama, directed by Terrance Spivey, former Karamu House artistic director, features a diverse cast, including veteran Cleveland TV news anchor and reporter Leon Bibb.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:48 PM, 04.30.2016

Ten Thousand Villages plans anniversary celebrations

Artist Higo Gabarronordorica Muñozflores created this cupcake to celebrate Ten Thousand Villages' 13th year in Greater Cleveland, and its 5th year in Cleveland Heights. 

This year, Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights is celebrating five years in the Cedar Fairmount district. Originally located in downtown Cleveland, Ten Thousand Villages has been bringing fair-trade handicrafts to the Greater Cleveland area for 13 years. Named “Best Place to Buy a Gift” in the 2013 FutureHeights Best of the Heights Awards, Ten Thousand Villages has become a mainstay for unique, handcrafted items.

Ten Thousand Villages supports more than 130 artisan groups in developing countries, such as Burkina Faso, Chile, Pakistan and others. Each item represents fair wages, healthcare and education for its artisans, especially women. As a nonprofit organization, Ten Thousand Villages prides itself on serving the Cleveland Heights community through educational outreach, such as school visits and community partnerships.

Over the past five years, Ten Thousand Villages has donated more than $10,000 to organizations, including the Cedar Fairmount Special Improvement District, The Music Settlement and the Dougbe River School of Liberia. The store is able to do this through community shopping nights in which a percentage of sales benefit a nonprofit's mission.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 1:12 PM, 04.30.2016

Images by CH artist keep viewers looking

Four Observers by Stephen Calhoun.

“People like order, finding patterns, seeing archetypes” said Stephen Calhoun, a 61-year-old self-trained artist from Cleveland Heights.

The Grasp of Order, a show of 15 of Calhoun’s large, colorful digital works—described as “psychedelic still life”—will be on view at The Gallery at Gray’s (within Gray’s Auctioneers and Appraisers, 10717 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, 216-226-3300, until this fall. An opening reception will take place on Friday, May 6, 5–8 p.m.

Calhoun produces the images, some as large as 4 by 6 feet, using an ultraviolet curable inkjet large format printer at Vista Color Imaging in Cleveland. Unframed, the pieces are printed onto aluminum, brushed aluminum, or the underside of clear optical acrylic. 

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:55 PM, 04.30.2016

Corner the market

I thought of a good business to open: a dollar store. I think it would be good because I was driving around one day and I noticed a corner that didn’t have one.

Remember when almost every corner had a drugstore—I guess it was in the 1980s. A Gray Drugs on one corner of an intersection, a Revco on another, a Medic on yet another. The concept was to build your store right near the other ones and just hope you’d be the eventual winner. And that was building them from the ground up, not taking over an existing space. It was a big gamble, especially when you multiplied it by, say, 100 stores around the region.

Before that, all those corners held gas stations. You know the intersection of Coventry and Mayfield, where there are two gas stations? Once there were three, the third standing on the south-west corner, where the convenience store is located now. That one was heavily damaged in the early ’70s by a car bomb intended for a friend of legendary Cleveland mobster Danny Greene. The guy had become an enemy of Greene’s, and evidence indicated that Greene himself detonated the bomb from a block away. The intended victim was not killed, but the garage was destroyed and then replaced by a new building housing stores. (A couple of years later, Greene was killed by a car bomb in Lyndhurst after a dentist appointment. That’s why I never go to a dentist. You just never know.)

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:08 PM, 04.30.2016

Choral Arts Society presents Cleveland premiere

“The light shines in darkness and the darkness has not overpowered it.” So begins the choral masterwork Luminosity by contemporary British composer James Whitbourn. Choral Arts Cleveland, under the direction of Cleveland Heights resident Martin Kessler, will perform the Cleveland premiere of this celebration of light and hope. 

The concert, Light and Shadow: Bodies and Voices in Motion, will take place at Christ Episcopal Church, at 3445 Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights, at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 22. Rounding out the performance will be music by Alexandre Gretchaninoff, Morten Lauridsen, Gabriel Faure and Keith Hampton, all centered on the theme of light. The concert is funded in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

An innovative choral piece, “Luminosity” is a multi-media, multi-faceted experience. A salient feature of the work is the dance accompaniment that Whitbourn has made an essential and integral part of his composition. Dancers for the Choral Arts performance will be members of Cleveland’s Verb Ballets, with choreography by company member Terence Greene. Choral voices and dance movement—“bodies and voices in motion”—will be accompanied by organ; viola; tam-tam, a large gong; and tanpura, a long-necked, four-stringed instrument found in various types of Eastern Indian music.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:04 PM, 04.30.2016

Communion of Saints School presents 'James and the Giant Peach'

Communion of Saints students rehearsing. From left: Mark Heltzel (Earthworm), Susan Nwoke (Spider), Marlon Washington (Grasshopper), Charlie Wilson (James) and Bailey Fischer (Centipede).

"Come with me and you will see the most amazing things," declares Ladahalord, the narrator of the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel James and the Giant Peach. With Lydia Chanenka's direction and set design, this production at St. Ann Church will entertain audience members of all ages during its two-night run, May 13 and 14.  

Students from kindergarten through eighth grade at Communion of Saints School are eager to share their talents with the audience.

Adapted for the stage by Timothy Allen McDonald, the play tells the story of James, whose parents are tragically killed in a freak zoo accident. He goes to live with his horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life is no fun until the boy accidentally drops some magic crystals near the old peach tree and strange things start to happen.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:38 AM, 04.30.2016

Fourth annual RoxEl Run is June 4

Registration is now open for the RoxEl Run on June 4.

The RoxEl Run, a community foot race now in its fourth year, will take place on Saturday, June 4 at 9 a.m. Starting at the Roxboro Middle School track, 2405 Roxboro Road, the race loops around the school's surrounding neighborhoods. Proceeds raised benefit Roxboro Elementary School PTA programs for students in grades K–5.

First organized in 2013 by Roxboro Elementary School PTA members to encourage healthy habits and physical fitness for elementary-age students, the race has grown into a popular competitive event that is fun for all ages. All students, parents, staff, alumni and neighbors within the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District are welcome to attend. Last year's event drew 231 runners and raised $3,000.

More than 300 participants are expected at this year's event. As in the past, events begin at 9 a.m. with a 4-mile and 2-mile run, followed at 10 a.m. by a Kid Fun Run around the middle school track for elementary-age children. New in 2016 is a 2-mile walk, which begins shortly after the run start time and follows the same route. 

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:06 AM, 04.30.2016

Shop and sell at the Canterbury community yard sale on June 4

Spring cleaning means finding no-longer-needed stuff that could become great finds for someone else.

The Canterbury Elementary School PTA has an ideal outlet for unwanted items—its community yard sale. On June 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., sellers can earn cash and shoppers can seek out treasures. A bake sale is also planned, and possibly tours of the school. If the weather is bad, the sale will move inside to the gym.

Booth registration is open to the public until May 25. A space with a table and chair is $30; space with just a chair is $25. Sellers can bring their own tents, tables or racks, as space permits. An optional donation pickup for unsold items will be available after the event

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:32 AM, 04.30.2016

Midwest tour stops at Urban Oak

Judy Erb visited Urban Oak School to talk about her Waldorf education experiences.

Creative play, artistic expression, individualized learning and nature-based experiential learning are buzzwords used to describe Urban Oak School. This small, independent school, inspired by these Waldorf education principles, is located in the former Coventry Elementary School building.

Urban Oak has been open in Cleveland Heights since 2013, but there has been local interest in the Waldorf philosophy for more than 20 years.

On Feb. 21, Urban Oak hosted Judy Erb, a regional leader of the Waldorf School movement. As part of a Midwest tour, Educating the Whole Child, Body, Mind & Soul, Erb was eager to share stories of the growing educational movement, as well as how the Waldorf approach to learning affects a child’s life.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:44 AM, 04.30.2016

Skating club presents ice show May 7 and 8

U.S. Figure Skating Sectional Dance Competitors Maria Brown and Marius Driscoll, representing Pavilion Skating Club, compete in the November 2015 Midwest Sectionals in Strongsville.

The Pavilion Skating Club has been a part of Cleveland Heights for more than 35 years. As a member of the U.S. Figure Skating Association, the club offers practice ice, testing, competitions, shows, camps and other activities, to support both the competitive and casual skater.  

This spring, the club, along with the City of Cleveland Heights, will present its Spring Ice Show, Viva Las Vegas, May 7 and 8, at the Cleveland Heights Community Center.

The show will highlight the city's learn-to-skate program as well as some of the community's best skating, including performances by regional, sectional and national competitors. Skaters of all ages—tots, teens and adults—will perform, and the featured guest skater, Katie McBeath, a nationally ranked Senior Ladies Freestyle competitor.

The show will be approximately two hours long, with an intermission. On May 7, the show will begin at 7 p.m.; the May 8 show will start at 2 p.m.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 8:49 AM, 04.30.2016

Sober Living Cleveland raises funds by 'Raising the Roof' on May 21

Singer/songwriter Rachel Brown will perform at Raising the Roof for Recovery.

Sober Living Cleveland presents Raising the Roof for Recovery on Saturday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. The event at the Dunham Tavern Barn will raise funds to provide a house in Cleveland Heights for women in recovery from substance abuse. Presented by the Heights Music Shop, proceeds will support the nonprofit's mission to empower people in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs by providing safe, affordable sober housing, support for healthy habits, and a foundation for a better life. 

Cleveland Heights resident Rick Szekelyi, co-owner of the Heights Music Shop on Lee Road, selected some of his favorite local singer/songwriters to perform:


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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:43 PM, 04.29.2016

Jason West scholarship fundraiser is May 22

On May 26, 2007, Cleveland Heights Police Officer Jason West responded to a routine disturbance call and was shot getting out of his car. His death shocked the community. In response, local residents, West’s family and friends, business owners and fellow officers established a scholarship fund in his memory. Each year, graduating seniors from the Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement program at Cleveland Heights High School can apply for the scholarship.

To raise money for the fund, the scholarship committee is holding its annual Mega Raffle on Sunday, May 22, at the New Heights Grill on Lee Road. Tickets for the raffle are $2 and can be purchased at several local businesses: Quintana’s Barber & Dream Spa on Taylor Road; and Shawn Paul Salon, New Heights Grill and Parnell’s Pub on Lee Road. Tickets will also be on sale at Zagara’s Marketplace on May 14. Last year’s raffle raised more than $8,000.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 8:19 PM, 04.29.2016

Local author offers advice for family caregivers

Harriet Tramer is no stranger to the stress that can come with caring for an aging family member. The Cleveland Heights resident has written a book about the experiences she went through while caring for her aging mother.

Tramer wrote Growing Up as She Grows Old to offer advice and helpful resources to others who are caring for aging family members. She hopes that reading about her experiences and the lessons she learned will help make the process easier for readers.

Citing statistics from The Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), Tramer said she was prompted to write the book “because this issue is so pervasive.” The FCA stated last year that approximately 34.2 million Americans had provided unpaid care to at least one adult age 50 or older in the preceding 12 months, and 82 percent of them provided care for two adults.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:45 AM, 04.30.2016

Senior Citizen Happenings

Senior Citizen 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 5: Kevin Richards, founder of the Fairmount School of Music and the nonprofit Roots of American Music, has been a key figure in the Heights music scene for several decades. He'll discuss the work of his music school, which employs more than 15 instructors and offers lessons for a variety of instruments, as well as his nonprofit work to bring music into schools and senior citizen centers, thereby broadening the community's appreciation for music.

May 12: Accompanied by glorious clips from the best of traditional operetta and musical theater, Laura Neill, executive director of Ohio Light Opera (OLO), will unveil the lineup for OLO's 38th summer season: "Kiss Me Kate," "Annie Get Your Gun," "The Mikado," "Have a Heart," "La Vie Parisienne," "The Dancing Years" and "The Little Dutch Girl." OLO performs June 18 through Aug. 13, at the College of Wooster.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:49 AM, 04.30.2016

CH Senior Center News

The Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (SAC), located in the CH Community Center at 1 Monticello Blvd., offers a wide variety of programming for Cleveland Heights residents 60 and older.

May is Older Americans Month, and SAC will offer many special programs, including:

Thursday, May 5, 1 p.m.: Sing along to familiar folk tunes as SAC’s guitar and ukulele group hosts a spring sing-along.

Tuesday, May 10, 11 a.m.: SAC’s third annual Local Food Day will feature presentations and discussion on the topics of Food not Lawns, local farm markets and food scarcity. A healthy box lunch will be available following the program for those who reserve and pay in advance.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:53 AM, 04.30.2016

Library's centennial is focus of its summer reading programs

Summer will be here soon, which means summer reading will, too. The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System's summer reading programs start June 1, and this year’s theme, 100 Years of Stories, celebrates the library’s centennial. Summer reading programs will take readers ages 0–100 through each decade of the past 100 years with book lists, events and prizes.

“The timeline for summer reading is the perfect way for us to celebrate our centennial all summer, and to personalize summer reading for our community,” said Sam Lapides, youth services manager. “It’s also the most inclusive initiative we do all year: every branch has something for every age group in our community.”

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:33 AM, 04.30.2016

Library seeks deeper, broader understanding of the community

This spring and summer, as part of its strategic planning process for 2016–17, the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System will be gathering information from community members regarding their aspirations for themselves and their community.

“Instead of asking people what they think of the library, we are instead asking them to focus on themselves: What are their hopes, dreams and goals? What kind of community do they want to live in?” explained Kim DeNero-Ackroyd, Heights Libraries deputy director, who is managing the strategic planning process. “We want to find out what our community wants—not from the library, but from their lives, their community. We’re looking for information that will give us a deeper, broader understanding of the people we serve.”

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:27 AM, 04.30.2016

What’s going on at your library?

This month, Heights Library programs celebrate the library's first hundred years. For a complete list of events, and to register, visit

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

Wednesday, May 4, 7 p.m.
Cedar-Coventry Author Series: Looking Back, Looking Forward: Coventry Village Through the Decades. Marian Morton, Cleveland Heights historian and author, and Bob Brown, photographer, city planner and Heights resident, explore the evolving character and potential of Coventry Village. A book signing will follow the presentation.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:40 AM, 04.30.2016

Students and staff attend Heights High topping out ceremony

Students signing the topping out beam (from left): Graham Ball, Emma Zordan and Akash Bartlett. 

Cleveland Heights High School (CHHS), at the corner of Cedar and Lee roads, has been topped out.

On March 22, 13 students, two teachers, a guidance counselor, two board of education members, Principal Zoraba Ross and Superintendent Talisa Dixon signed the final, ceremonial white beam before it was raised and placed at the top of the building.

The students who attended the ceremony were student council representatives; the Superintendent’s Cadre, students who meet regularly with Dixon; and members of the video production class, who recorded the event.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:23 AM, 04.30.2016

Noble Neighbors weekend celebration set for May 13–15

The northeast quadrant of Cleveland Heights will celebrate during the weekend of May 13–15. The neighborhoods and business districts north and east of Mayfield and Taylor roads will be vibrant with yard sales, real estate open houses, music, food and art-making activities.

Noble Elementary School’s NobleFest and Noble Road Presbyterian Church’s Urban Line Dance will kick off the weekend on Friday evening. On Saturday and Sunday, Kid Hubs will feature activities for children, and Denison and Caledonia parks, with their playgrounds and athletic fields, will offer organized activities.

On Saturday, the Oxford Elementary School Carnival will feature games, food and a flea market. Realtors are funding Rocket Car rides launched near the Oxford Community Garden, and Disciples Christian Church is hosting a family fun day. Noble Neighborhood Library will hold a book sale and activities showcasing its kids’ and teens’ facilities. Home Repair Resource Center will sell tools.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 4:20 PM, 04.29.2016

FutureHeights events to focus on Heights business districts

“Strong business districts with a vibrant mix of retail and services are vital to our ability to attract new residents, maintain property values and sustain the long-term health of our community,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “We’ve identified a growing need to support our districts by working to ensure that existing businesses remain strong and actively recruiting new businesses and new uses for vacant spaces.”

FutureHeights, the nonprofit that works toward a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights, will host two events that focus on Heights business districts.

The first is a presentation of a Market Study of Cedar Lee by Viking Planners, a graduate-level class from the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University (CSU). Heights Community Development Alliance, a program of FutureHeights, hired the class to conduct a study of the Cedar Lee Business District during its spring semester. The students examined various aspects, including parking, safety, retail mix, and potential redevelopment and infill sites. They will present their findings on Monday, May 9, 4–6 p.m, at the Cedar Lee Theatre (2163 Lee Road). 

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 3:50 PM, 04.29.2016

CH celebrates Preservation Month in May

Front porches, prevalent throughout Cleveland Heights, are the focus of a May 12 talk.

May is National Preservation Month. In Cleveland Heights, as in communities across the country, this month celebrates our rich architectural and natural history. Since 2002, the City of Cleveland Heights and its partners have observed Preservation Month with lectures and tours, and this year holds special significance as Heights Libraries celebrates its centennial.

Preservation Month programs provide residents with the opportunity to learn the nuts-and-bolts of porches; the history of our library, city and school buildings; and explore Cleveland Heights’s neighborhoods and natural features.

CH Preservation Month 2016 co-sponsors are the Cleveland Heights Historical Society, the Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission and Heights Libraries.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:21 AM, 04.26.2016

May 21 walking tour explores 'deep history' of Quilliams Creek

William Quilliams house (1867) is a Cleveland Heights landmark. Photo courtesy: Dave Lawrence.

How does a neighborhood landscape come to be? What does nature provide? Can humans live in ways that honor the gift?

Rocks and Waters walking tours seek to answer such questions by visiting local stream courses. This year, the series explores the people and places of Quilliams Creek, in Cleveland Heights’s Noble Neighborhood. A May 21 Nine Mile Creek tour is part of Cleveland Heights’s Preservation Month activities. [For more information and to register, see article "CH celebrates Preservation Month in May." 

How does the Quilliams Creek walking tour relate to issues of environmental health and preservation?

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 7:05 PM, 04.29.2016

Noble Road Presbyterian welcomes neighbors to its spring and summer activities

Recognizing that summer, now just around the corner, is a great time to get outside and meet one’s neighbors, Noble Road Presbyterian Church will offer several opportunities for its congregation and the church’s neighbors to get to know one another better during the next few months.

The church will participate in the May 13–15 Noble Neighbors community event, hosting urban line dancing on Friday at 7 p.m., and a Saturday program—from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—that will include a plant sale and bake sale, and a craft activity for the young and young at heart.

On Friday, June 3, 6–8 p.m., Noble Road Presbyterian will host its 25th annual strawberry festival. The free event will feature strawberry shortcake and live music by Squirrel Jam.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 10:06 PM, 04.29.2016

Engaged learning does wonders for students

After 18 years of teaching in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school system, I took a year's leave of absence to rejuvenate my teaching enthusiasm by exploring ways to engage students with meaningful, hands-on learning experiences.

I taught special education at Heights High for most of my career and, regrettably, saw firsthand the problem of student disengagement. I also saw that outdoor, hands-on activities engage and motivate students. When I take a class outdoors for a lesson, learning comes alive and students become more engaged in learning. Outdoors, the learning experience becomes more real and more accessible. I believe the Heights community can be the catalyst to enable our schools to embrace hands-on outdoor learning experiences.    

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 5:30 PM, 04.29.2016

Forest Hill Park

John D. Rockefeller's summer estate stood in present-day Forest Hill Park until it burned in 1917.  [Library of Congress.]

Forest Hill Park is a diamond in the rough. Its National Register of Historic Places designation calls attention to its historic merit, but does not guarantee its preservation. Its upkeep has been a challenge for years, in part because more than half of its acreage is in East Cleveland, a struggling municipality with virtually no budget for maintenance.

Designed by Cleveland Heights native A. D. Taylor, the park reflects the landscape architect’s prior work in the firm of Warren H. Manning, who worked with Frederick Law Olmsted, the father of American landscape architecture.

Taylor had a hand in designing several Cincinnati parks and the grounds of several notable estates, including Stan Hywet in Akron. Taylor’s Forest Hill Park plan included a number of Olmstedian nods: inward-looking vistas framed by wooded fringes, curvilinear lanes that lent a pastoral effect, a picturesque lagoon and boathouse, and a stone footbridge spanning a valley traversed by a parkway.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 8:10 PM, 04.29.2016

An argument against standardization in education

When I started teaching math in the CH-UH school district in 1988, the requirements for graduation included one, then two, math classes, neither of which had to be Algebra I. Some kids took the Algebra I (geometry through calculus) courses, but others chose Basic Math, Applied Math, or Business Math. In Ohio today, the lowest level of high school math is Algebra I, and all students must take four years of math, including Algebra II. The assumption from the great state of Ohio is that every child should be ready to attend a four-year college, if they so choose.

I have often wondered why it is that everyone needs so much formal math (strange coming from someone who actually likes math and teaches Algebra II). I wonder how many people actually use Algebra II skills in daily life or in their jobs. My wild guess is that it is probably a small percentage of the population.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 5:45 PM, 04.29.2016

'Number sense' necessary to assess impact of school-funding policies

“Number sense” is an important part of learning math. If you know what a number represents you can use it to make sense of the world. I remember my kids collecting pop-top rings to take to school to help them understand 100 and 1,000. I don’t think they tackled 1 million—too hard to collect that many rings in one year!

The number I am trying to understand now is $5.5 million. This is the money the state of Ohio owes to our school district but withheld this year in order to fund private and religious education through vouchers, Peterson grants and charter schools. This number is too big to represent with pop-tops.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 6:39 PM, 04.29.2016

Parent advocates for school choice

To the Editor:

We're lucky to have people like [Ari] Klein in our city and in our school system. His passion for education is evident. However, as a parent who opted out of the public system, I see a few details differently.

My view is that, in general, parents are the best advocates for their children. Parents that opt out are not draining resources, or "starving children," in Mr. Klein's dramatic words [Heights Observer April 2016 issue]. They're being conscientious parents! Without these [opt-out] programs, when parents aren't satisfied, the only other choice might be to move away.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 5:06 PM, 04.29.2016

When writers have a personal interest in the articles they submit

Anyone in Cleveland Heights and University Heights who is willing to meet some basic standards of civility is invited to write for the Heights Observer.

That means our pages are filled with articles by people who have a personal interest in the events and organizations they’re covering.

That’s supposed to be forbidden at a traditional newspaper. But the Observer has never paid for anything it publishes; it couldn’t exist without volunteer contributions. So at the bottom of each article, we run a biographical statement that aims to disclose any pertinent information about the author’s connection to the subject matter. We believe you're smart enough to take it from there.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 4:34 PM, 04.29.2016

Beth El presents talk on fostering civil discourse

Rachel Eryn Kalish

Rachel Eryn Kalish will speak on the topic of Fostering Dialogue in the Jewish Community at a Lunch and Learn at Beth El – The Heights Synagogue after services (approximately 12:15 p.m.) on Saturday, May 14. A vegetarian-friendly lunch will be served, and the public is invited. The event is free of charge, but attendees should call 216-320-9667 to make a lunch reservation.

In the San Francisco Bay area, when the topic of Israel threatened to rip apart the Jewish community, leadership teamed up with Kalish, a visionary mediator/facilitator to create The Year of Civil Discourse. A little more than a year later, the area became a model of civil discourse. At this time of political polarization, this talk will explain how it was done, and provide some of the basic tools.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 8:55 PM, 04.29.2016

Phairphax Spellerz win Reaching Heights 'Silver' Spelling Bee

Krista Hawthorne (left) presents the Reaching Heights Spelling Bee trophy to the Phairphax Spellerz: Julia Powell, Kirsten Parkinson and Kate Macleod.

The Phairphax Spellerz, representing Fairfax Elementary School, clinched the coveted plastic bee trophy in the ninth round of the 25th annual Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee on April 20. Winning team members Kate Macleod, Julie Powell and Kirsten Parkinson correctly spelled the word “perovskite”—a mineral comprised of an oxide of calcium, titanium and rare earth elements. Honoring the 25th anniversary of this fundraising event, the “Silver Bee” included a visual history projected onscreen, silver-themed spelling words, and two costumed “silver bees” who shared silver-wrapped candies with contestants and audience members.

The competition started strong with a perfect first round in which every team spelled its first word correctly. All but two of the original 21 teams held on through round three—the Musical Round—in which teams could advance in spite of one incorrect, missing or extra letter, provided they sang the spelling of their word.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:58 AM, 04.26.2016

May is Bike Month in Cleveland Heights

Ride of Silence participants last year.

Cleveland Heights will again celebrate National Bike Month this May, with various events that will take place throughout the month, including a Bike to School Day and a Bike to Work Week. 

Cleveland Heights City Council first declared May as Bike Month in 2011. Two years later, in 2013, Cleveland Heights was declared a Bicycle Friendly Community—one of only 13 in Ohio—by the League of American Bicyclists. The other cities in Northeast Ohio that have been so designated are Cleveland, Lakewood, Oberlin and Akron.

Cleveland Heights Bike Month is organized by the Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC), a nonprofit organization that formed in the spring of 2010 with the goal of making the Heights more bicycle-friendly.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:26 AM, 04.26.2016

Performances and poetry accompany openings at Heights Arts

Cleveland chamber music ensemble Time Canvas.

Heights Arts has lined up a number of free events for arts lovers during the month of May. On Thursday, May 5, at 7 p.m., hear Cleveland-based chamber music ensemble Time Canvas present its third and final program of the 2015–16 concert season.

The program showcases 20th-century chamber music with strings, featuring Leo Brouwer’s Quintet for Guitar and String Quartet (1958). Other works on the program include Sergei Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins op. 56 (1932), and Allen Krantz’s Trio Op. 27 for violin, cello, and guitar (2003). The ensemble will be joined by special guests Aniela Eddy on violin and Sarah Poe on viola. 

Time Canvas’s musical curiosity has culminated in performances throughout Northeast Ohio, where its members reside, and in performance spaces across the East Coast of the United States and in Bangkok, Thailand. Music clips can be heard at

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 10:58 AM, 04.26.2016

Equestrian athlete headed to nationals

Madison Rheinheimer clears a fence at a recent competition. [photo: the Rheinheimer family]

Madison Rheinheimer, a Heights High freshman, will compete in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association National Competition April 20–24 in Lexington, Ky. To qualify for the national competition, she placed in the top three at several regional competitions.

Rheinheimer is a member of the Double Deuce Farm Equestrian Team in Painesville. At nationals, she will compete in an individual event and two team events. Her individual event is the flatting competition, in which she will be judged on her performance riding the horse at a walk, trot and canter, and on her body position in the saddle. As a team member, she will compete in both the flatting and jumping competitions. The jumping event requires the rider and horse to clear eight two-foot-high fences.

Horse riding has been part of Rheinheimer's life for as long as she can remember. “I have been riding since I was eight years old,” she said. Both of her parents work in the equestrian field, and her father is one of her trainers.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 10:59 AM, 04.19.2016

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights [online 3-21-2016]

MARCH 21, 2016

  • City [of Cleveland Heights] recognizes library’s 100th anniversary
  • Library board and school board share strategic plans
  • Family Connections update
  • Lynda Library subscription extension
  • Public Library Association Award for Colin Tomele
  • Lee Road Library circulation desk improvements
  • ALA opposes unlocking smart phones
  • February public service report highlights

All board members were present.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:11 AM, 04.22.2016

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / University Heights City Council meeting highlights [online 3-21-2016]

MARCH 21, 2016

  • March 7 minutes
  • Master planning survey
  • Free tax preparation
  • Water main break
  • Tree trimming
  • Payroll service
  • Mayor’s spending limit
  • Disposition of city property
  • Purvis Park
  • Library expansion
  • Purchase of Ford Escapes
  • Pavement marking
  • Utility refuse vehicle
  • Coyote sightings
  • Senior recreation program
  • Cedarbrook Road
  • Summer camps

Councilman Steven Sims was absent.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:05 AM, 04.22.2016

Montford Community Garden seeks new members

Raised beds in Montford Community Garden.

Now in its fourth year of operation, the Montford Community Garden (MCG) is seeking gardeners for the 2016 growing season.

Located in the heart of the Noble neighborhood, at the intersecion of Montford and Windsor roads, MCG serves residents of the area—which comprises Montford, Windsor, Englewood, Cambridge, Roanoke, Lowell and Northampton roads—as well as residents of other parts of Cleveland Heights, as space permits. Unlike other area community gardens, MCG does not currently have a waiting list.

MCG's mission is to create an organically sustainable sanctuary that provides opportunities for community growth, encourages healthy lifestyles, and supports diversity thru social interaction, education, exercise and neighborhood beautification.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:45 AM, 04.19.2016

Ten Thousand Villages launches campaign to plant 10,000 trees

Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights, a fair trade retailer at 12425 Cedar Road, will participate in a nationwide campaign to plant 10,000 trees in national forests. The program, which starts April 21 and runs through May 1, invites customers to donate $1 to plant a tree through the Arbor Day Foundation.

Ten Thousand Villages in Cleveland Heights, one of more than 390 Ten Thousand Villages shops throughout the U.S., hopes its customers will contribute, to help plant 150 trees on behalf of the Heights community. Ten Thousand Villages corporate offices based in Akron, Pa., will donate 1,000 trees.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:40 AM, 04.17.2016

Cleveland Heights City Council appoints Michael Ungar to vacant seat

Michael Ungar. [photo courtesy  Ulmer & Berne LLP]

On April 8, Cleveland Heights City Council announced the appointment of Cleveland Heights resident Michael Ungar to fill the unexpired term of former Council Member Jeff Coryell, whose resignation was effective Dec. 31, 2015. Ungar will officially be sworn in as a council member at the next CH City Council meeting, on Monday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m.

According to an April 8 news release from the City of Cleveland Heights, Ungar is a longtime resident of the city who has served on its planning commission since 1993, and has chaired the commission for 16 years. Prior to that, Ungar was a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee.

Ungar is a partner in the law firm of Ulmer & Berne LLP, where he is chair of the firm’s litigation department and a member of the management committee.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:42 AM, 04.12.2016

PetPeople opens UH store with Cleveland Kennel benefit

PetPeople will open a new University Heights location on April 15.

PetPeople, a Columbus-based pet supply retailer, will open a new University Heights location on Friday, April 15, at 13932 Cedar Road in the Cedar Center South Shopping Center.

The store, PetPeople’s eighth in Northeast Ohio, carries natural pet foods, treats and supplies, and features two self-service dog wash/bathing areas.

As part of its grand-opening celebration, from Friday, April 15 through Sunday, April 17, the University Heights store will donate 10 percent of its sales to Friends of the Cleveland Kennel, supporting the City Dogs Cleveland program.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:02 AM, 04.12.2016

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights [online 3-21-2016]

MARCH 21, 2016

  • Liquor license transfers
  • 2015 CH Police Department report
  • Zoning variances
  • HOME funds
  • Women Out Walking (WOW)
  • Special assessments
  • Bond sales
  • Purchases
  • Pedestrian and bicycle transportation for schoolchildren
  • RNC cooperative public safety services
  • Heights Libraries 100th anniversary

All council members were present.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:48 AM, 04.15.2016

CH hosts second annual Happy 5K and Fun Run on Oct. 2

Participants race in the 2015 Happy 5K.

This October, for the second consecutive year, Cleveland Heights will host the Happy 5K and one-mile Fun Run, as well as a one-mile family walk—new this year. The races will take place on Sunday, Oct. 2.

Last year, the event attracted 514 people, with about two-thirds of the participants coming from outside of the Heights. This year, the organizers—the City of Cleveland Heights, the Cedar Lee Special Improvement District and Western Reserve Racing—hope to draw 1,000 participants.

This year’s route will be the same as last year’s, passing through Cedar Lee, Coventry Village and several other Cleveland Heights districts.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:37 AM, 04.12.2016

Retired teacher seeks answers from BOE

To the Editor:

I felt the need to write after attending the CH-UH school board meeting of April 5. The board was voting on proposed cuts for the next school year. 

I listened to all of the people who spoke before the board and thought each and every one of them spoke thoughtfully and with passion. The commitment of this community to its schools was on full display that evening.

That is why I was astonished that Superintendent Dixon did not take a minute to thank those who spoke [of] their concerns. This district has students who speak eloquently of their teachers and classes, teachers who live and work dedicatedly here for many years, and parents who value and want to safeguard their children's fine education.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 12:09 PM, 04.12.2016

CHHS alumni host April 17 pancake fundraiser

Attendees at the 2013 CHHS Alumni Pancake Breakfast.

The Cleveland Heights High School Alumni Foundation will host its 20th annual Scholarship Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, April 17, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

With Heights High under construction, the breakfast will take place at the temporary Heights High on the Wiley campus, at 2181 Miramar Blvd. in University Heights. This event is open to the public, and will feature tours of the building, to show how it is serving as Heights High’s temporary home.

Proceeds from the all-you-can-eat breakfast will benefit scholarship programs for Heights High seniors. Last year, more than 500 alumni, students, families and friends enjoyed all-you-can-eat pancakes.

Admission is $7 for adults, and $5 for kids and seniors.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 10:25 AM, 04.11.2016

CH residents open fitness club on South Taylor

Michael and Jodi Meilstrup in front of CrossFit I/O. 

A new fitness club opened on Jan. 15 at 2086 South Taylor Road, next to Cafe Tandoor, near Cedar Road. Called CrossFit I/O, it’s owned by two Cleveland Heights residents, Michael and Jodi Meilstrup.

At CrossFit, members work out with other members. “You work out as a team,” Jodi said. “We work out in a way that our bodies naturally move, to become stronger and more fit. You use your entire body for almost every exercise. For example, if you are rowing, you use your legs, your back, your stomach and your arms.”

The CrossFit chain was started in 2000, and there are now more than 13,000 affiliates around the world. “I believe that a new affiliate opens every nine days,” Michael said.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 9:52 AM, 04.05.2016

Communion of Saints School hosts April 6 Kindergarten Information Night

Communion of Saints School will host a Kindergarten Information Night on Wednesday, April 6, 6–7 p.m., for parents of children who will be starting kindergarten in fall 2016. Child care will be provided.

Parents will have an opportunity to learn about the school’s kindergarten program, daily curriculum, outstanding student achievements and enrichment programs, and to find out if students are eligible for an EdChoice scholarship. 

Communion of Saints School is a welcoming, inclusive community, rooted in Gospel values, nurturing spirituality, academic success and social responsibility. The school has served thousands of families, providing a faith-based education, combined with tradition and service. Its goal is to enrich students’ lives by challenging them to excel in school and to value and respect their community and family.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:38 AM, 04.04.2016

Teachers and supporters protest school district plan to cut staff

School district teachers, students and community members picket outside of the Board of Education building. Photo courtesy of Andrea C. Turner.

Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District teachers, students and community members began "informational picketing" outside of the CH–UH Board of Education building on March 21, to draw attention to the administration's proposed school staffing cuts, to take effect before the beginning of the 2016–17 academic year. The cuts would eliminate 52 staff positions: 17.5 teacher positions at Heights High; 12.5 teacher positions between Roxboro and Monticello middle schools; 15 teachers within the seven elementary schools; plus a total of seven administration and classified (non-teaching) positions.

In a March 18 news release announcing the cuts, the district stated that the reduction in force (RIF) is due to declining student enrollment, and is necessary to bring staffing numbers in line with actual and projected enrollment, saving the district $3.5 million annually in its operating budget.

According to the district, over the last nine years 900 fewer students have enrolled in district schools, with enrollment dropping from 6,300 in 2007 to 5,400 in 2016. Independent enrollment projections cited by the district suggest that district enrollment will decline by an additional 800 students over the next 10 years.

The picketers showed up each morning, Monday, March 21, though Thursday, March 24—the last day school was in session before spring break.

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:47 AM, 03.29.2016

CH crime tallies for 2015 show continued improvement

The number of serious crimes committed in Cleveland Heights last year declined by double-digit percentages. It was the third straight year crime was down in the city.

According to data compiled by the Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD) to standards established by the FBI, the number of violent crimes in the city was down 17 percent in 2015, compared to a 28 percent drop the year before. The number of property crimes dropped 16 percent last year, compared to a 22 percent drop in 2014.

The number of crimes committed in almost every category declined last year, except for homicide, which remained the same; there were two murders in the city in each of the last two years.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 9:43 AM, 03.28.2016

CH couple opens Amish furniture store on Fairmount

Angie and Ron Nandor, the owners of Eastwood Amish Craft Furniture, inside their new store.

A new furniture store has opened in Cleveland Heights. Called Eastwood Amish Craft Furniture, the store is located at 3451 Fairmount Blvd., at the corner of Fairmount and Taylor Road.

The space was previously home to Paysage, which also sold furniture and home-décor items.

The Eastwood store is different from other furniture stores in the area. Amish craftsmen from Ohio make all of the furniture the store sells. In addition, customers can request that the craftsmen create specific, customized furniture items, made to their specifications.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 2:05 PM, 03.28.2016

Cleveland Candle Company opening on Coventry

David Gin in his store in Mentor.

The Cleveland Candle Company, a business that is currently located in Mentor, plans to open a second store at the end of April on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights. In addition to selling a large variety of candles, the store also invites customers to create their own candles, choosing the scents, size and shape.

David Gin, co-founder and president of the company, owns the store along with Linda Turner and Tanya Bratten. Gin, who is 30 years old, was born in Chicago and spent many of his younger years in Indiana. He attended Indiana Wesleyan University, where he majored in finance and marketing. In 2011, he created a company called Real Frût to produce gourmet fruit juices. The company won the Best Juice in Cleveland award from Cleveland Magazine in 2013.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 2:01 PM, 03.28.2016

CTDA seeks proposals for public art installation

The Cedar Taylor Development Association (CTDA), with the support of FutureHeights, is holding a contest to commission an art installation for the Cedar Taylor Business District. The contest is open to any and all artists.

CTDA has a total of $3,000 to spend, and wants artists to propose what they want to do. Proposals could include, among other ideas, painting a mural on the side of a building, painting an abstract piece somewhere in the business district, or installing a sculpture. CTDA has no preferred medium, so creative proposals are encouraged, but it must be a permanent installation. It is up to entrants to determine what they can create for $3,000.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 2:03 PM, 03.28.2016

CH artists mount 'April Fools' exhibition

“Attempting Escape”, Catherine Butler, collage/monoprint (10 1/2" x 10 1/2")

Two Cleveland Heights artists, Catherine Butler and Julie Edberg, are part of a three-artist April Fools-themed exhibition on view at the Beachwood Library, 25501 Shaker Blvd., April 3–28. The opening reception is April 3, 2–4 p.m.

Edberg was looking for an exhibit venue and, thinking her text-covered sculptures would be perfect for a library, she asked Bill Rubin, who manages a county library. He forwarded her query on, and Margaret Reardon from the Beachwood Library replied. Edberg went to see the space and realized it could hold several peoples’ work. So she asked her friends Catherine Butler and Nancy Currier to join her.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 1:57 PM, 03.28.2016