Latest News

Photographs by CH's Daniel Levin tell story behind Violins of Hope

A photograph by Daniel Levin in his exhibit, Amnon's Workshop, which documents the man behind the Violins of Hope project.

An exhibit of photographs by Cleveland Heights resident Daniel Levin documents an Israeli man’s lifelong mission to preserve violins played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust.

The exhibition—Amnon’s Workshop—features 75 large-scale prints and is on display at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, 25701 Science Park Drive, in Beachwood.

The photographs detail the work of master violinmaker Amnon Weinstein, the man behind the Violins of Hope project. Weinstein lovingly restores and gives new voice to stringed instruments that survived the horrors of the Holocaust, even when their owners perished.

Levin—an associate professor of photography at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C)—traveled to Israel in early 2015 to capture intimate images of Weinstein and his work, which conveys a story of endurance and resilience through the power of music.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 6:38 PM, 10.05.2015

Latest News Releases

CH resident Stella Singer joins Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland as manager of corporate and foundation relations
- Non-Profit & Groups, October 6, 2015 Read More
League of Women Voters to hold holds Oct. 14 forum with CH City Council and CH-UH Board of Ed candidates
- League of Women Voters, September 11, 2015 Read More
League of Women Voters to hold holds Sept. 29 forum with UH City Council and CH-UH Board of Ed candidates
- League of Women Voters, September 10, 2015 Read More
Cuyahoga County Report Says University Heights Residential Property Values Up 2%
- City of University Heights, September 8, 2015 Read More
City of CH receives award from Auditor of State for financial reporting for 2nd consecutive year
- City of Cleveland Heights, September 2, 2015 Read More

View more news releases

Library board chooses direction for University Heights Library renovation

View of a possible new exterior of the University Heights Library, from Cedar Road looking southwest. 

At its Sept. 28 meeting, the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees announced the direction and scope for the 2016 renovation of the University Heights Library.

The meeting included a detailed presentation by Cleveland-based architecture firm CBLH Design Inc., which included conceptual renderings of the interior and exterior of the proposed design. Residents and library staff had opportunity during the meeting to examine the drawings, ask questions of the board and architects, and offer feedback.

“The design we’ve selected seeks to best accommodate the wishes of our residents and patrons, such as more parking, a rear door off the parking lot, a fully functioning elevator, first floor bathrooms, and designated areas for children and teens,” said Rob Fischer, Heights Libraries board president. “The University Heights branch is the library's second-most heavily used building, after Lee Road, and these changes and additions will make it an even more functional resource for the Heights community.”

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:36 AM, 10.05.2015

CH-UH school district welcomes new communications coordinator

Scott Wortman

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District has named Scott Wortman its new coordinator of communications. Wortman joined the district staff on Sept. 28, replacing Angee Shaker, director of communications and community engagement for the district, who left in August for a position with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

“I am very excited to join such an exceptional team serving this wonderful school district,” said Wortman. “I’ve learned already that this community is remarkably vibrant, amazingly diverse and committed to its children. It’s clearly a special place and I can’t wait to be a part of it. I am committed to making sure parents and community members are fully informed about our schools, and that CH-UH schools are recognized for the excellent education they provide to all students.”

Most recently, Wortman served as the director of athletic communications at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Volume 8, Issue 11, Posted 9:34 AM, 10.05.2015

Oct. 24 literary event to benefit women’s education

Local mystery writer Sam Thomas will speak at the fourth annual “An Afternoon With . . .” literary event, which will take place on Oct. 24, 2 p.m., at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd.

The Cleveland Heights Chapter Q of P.E.O. International is hosting the event, which will benefit the organization’s scholarships, grants and awards for the educational advancement of women. Tickets are $15.

Thomas, who teaches history at University School, is the author of The Midwife’s Tale, The Harlot’s Tale, The Witch Hunter’s Tale and, due out in March, The Midwife and the Assassin. His books reflect his historical knowledge and perspective.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:20 AM, 10.02.2015

Learn about paints and interiors with HRRC on Oct. 6

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC), the nonprofit based in Cleveland Heights, will offer a free presentation on Oct. 6, on Paints & Interiors in 2016. Sheila Tiddle, color consultant at Sherwin Williams, will offer tips and pictures to inspire homeowners to revamp their indoor spaces. She'll also answer questions about how to use color, what paint products to use, and how to work with professionals to help achieve the desired look.

Part of HRRC's HouseMender University Series, the program will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 7 p.m. at the new Mayfield Library, 500 SOM Center Road, Mayfield Village. The talk is free, but reservations are requested; e-mail or phone 216-381-6100, ext. 16.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:11 AM, 10.02.2015

State, County and Municipal issues for the Nov. 3 election

The League of Women Voters has compiled information for each of the issues that Heights voters will be voting on in November.

For your information:

  • The title listed for each issue is the official title assigned by the Ohio Ballot Board.
  • Summaries of each issue immediately following the official ballot wording originated from material issued by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections or, in the case of Issue 53, citations from the resolution submitted to the Cuyahoga Board of Elections by the Cleveland Heights City Council. 
  • LEAGUE PLAINSPEAK summaries of the state and county ballot issues were prepared by members of the League of Women Voters of Ohio Education Fund and The League of Women Voters - Cuyahoga County.
  • The pros and cons listed for each issue are abbreviated versions of the arguments put forward by the respective issue campaigns.

The League of Women Voters is a national non-partisan organization that supports or opposes issues it studies, but does not endorse candidates.

To view LWV positions on current issues, visit

Click on each issue below to view information about each issue:

State Issue 1

State Issue 2

State Issue 3

County Issue 8

County Issue 9

Municipal Issue 53

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:31 AM, 10.01.2015

Cleveland Heights candidates for council at large


Term: 4 years          Salary: $9270 (Mayor - $11,840)              Elect 3



1.  What is the most important thing that city government must address to improve life in Cleveland Heights? How would you, as a member of City Council, work to make that happen?

2.  Discuss your opinion about privatizing city services, including, but not limited to, the water department.

3.  Considering recent cuts in state funding to local governments and the elimination of the estate tax, what are some creative ways to increase revenue? Please comment on the 0.25% income tax hike which will be on the ballot.

4.  How should the city approach new residential and commercial developement? What are your opinions about incentives to developers such as tax abatements and the use of city-owned land?

5.  City Council is a group of people who come together to address issues, conduct business, and create opportunities for the community. What skills and qualities do you bring to the table? Why do you want to serve on the Cleveland Heights City Council?

Click on the candidate name below to view the candidate's answers to the questions:

Keba Sylla

Mary Dunbar

Julie Love

Tas Nadas

Carol Ann Roe

Kahlil Seren

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:10 AM, 10.01.2015

Kids from other neighborhoods

One of the first Halloween costumes I can remember wearing was that of the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. I was in the second grade at Coventry Elementary School. Every year, on Halloween, students were allowed to wear costumes after lunch, for the rest of the afternoon. My Scarecrow costume was pretty close to the one Ray Bolger wore in the Wizard of Oz movie. But I insisted on dressing as the Scarecrow before Dorothy took him off his pole, when he had a broomstick, or something, through his sleeves to make his arms stick straight out at his sides. So my mother used a broomstick, minus the broom, for my costume.

But, of course, then I had to walk back to Coventry School, from Belmar and Mayfield roads, with my arms sticking straight out at my sides—and of no use to me—and then sit in class, with my arms sticking straight out at my sides. I began to lose the feeling in both of my arms, and my back and neck started hurting.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 8:47 AM, 10.01.2015

Heights Arts unveils 10th season of chamber music concerts

A Close Encounters performance. [photo by GM Donley.]

Chamber music has been described as a conversation between friends, a view that Heights Arts has embraced in its Close Encounters music series since 2005. Each season, Heights Arts presents four chamber music concerts performed by members of the Cleveland Orchestra and other high-level classical musicians, in an assortment of intimate settings throughout the Cleveland area. This unique combination offers a thrilling opportunity to experience the music as it was meant to be heard—in an intimate space by a small audience.

This season, Close Encounters artistic director Isabel Trautwein, also a Cleveland Orchestra violinist, has engaged some of her colleagues and their peers to curate their own programs, ranging from classical baroque and passionate gypsy music to the world premiere of a sextet for English horn and strings by Cleveland Orchestra member Jeffery Rathbun.

"As artistic director, I feel very lucky that my many musician neighbors and colleagues continually inspire the growth of this series with creative ideas on programming,” Trautwein said, “and, also, that Heights Arts has even expanded upon the original ideas. Looking back upon these 10 years and over 40 wonderful concerts, I can say without hesitation that we have all chosen a great community to love and call home."

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 8:44 AM, 10.01.2015

Heights Arts brings back poetic carnage with Oct. 10 Haiku Death Match

Past haiku masters, defending champions, and new contenders will be competing Saturday, Oct. 10, at Dobama Theatre, for glory, fame, and a not-so-cheesy trophy in Heights Arts' occasionally annual Haiku Death Match.

The Death Match is a live haiku poetry competition where audience votes determine the Haiku Master. Contenders, who come prepared with an arsenal of haiku poems, compete in pairs for a given number of rounds. Audience members judge the poems by raising color paddles to indicate their votes, while volunteer counters tally the votes. The emcee announces the score and keeps the crowds calm. The last poet standing is the 2015 Haiku Death Match Master.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:58 PM, 09.30.2015

Amanda Walsh returned to CH to perform and teach music

Amanda Walsh

Amanda Walsh started playing piano when she was seven years old. Now, 32 years later, music has become the focus of her life. She still plays piano, as a solo artist and as a member of two bands, and she also plays violin. In addition, the Cleveland Heights resident teaches piano, both at her house and at Motter’s Music on Mayfield Road in Lyndhurst.

Walsh, whose maiden name was Amanda Giesey, grew up in Cleveland Heights. When she was six years old, she wanted to learn how to play violin, but her mother, who played piano, suggested that she learn piano first. She started taking lessons from Ruth Edwards, who was on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Music. When she was eight years old, she started to study violin.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:53 PM, 09.30.2015

Celebrate Best of the Heights on Oct. 7

Best of the Heights is back! It’s an annual party celebrating the best businesses the Heights has to offer, as voted upon by readers of the Heights Observer. From May through August, readers voted for their favorite Heights businesses. Find out who came out on top at the Best of the Heights awards party on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Tucker Hall, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Each business nominated for an award receives one free ticket. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 216-320-1423 or visit

“We are fortunate to have so many independent businesses in our community that contribute to our quality of life,” said Richard Stewart, president of the FutureHeights Board of Directors, “The Best of the Heights is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate each of them and show our appreciation, and it’s always a lot of fun.”

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:49 PM, 09.30.2015

'Selling' Cleveland Heights: a competitive strategy view

Our city boasts ethnic diversity, eclectic neighborhoods, cosmopolitan commercial strips and traditional residential charm reflected in a diverse housing stock. Plus, we have a fabulous recreation center, Cain Park, Dobama Theatre, dedicated teachers, a beloved library and houses of worship, and more.

Despite the city’s gems, we’re confronted with vital questions around maintaining the quality of life for all residents (multi-generational and new arrivals), delivering city services when budgets are tight, and sustaining property occupancy. Of course, these are factors facing cities across the nation. But how does Cleveland Heights respond?

Fortunately, this is not a “build it and they will come” proposition. Cleveland Heights already has a wealth of assets that other places are struggling to build; once we recognize and appreciate what we have, we can protect and sustain it.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:48 PM, 09.30.2015

Library expands online services with texting and eMedia card

According to the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of Americans currently have broadband Internet connections at home, compared to roughly 50 percent in 2000, and nearly two-thirds of Americans now own smartphones. As more of its customers are turning to these online options, Heights Libraries is ready to reach them with two new services: text alerts for holds and an online-only eMedia card.

The text alerts are not, technically, new—they have been available since 2010. Recent technical changes behind the scenes have made it a much easier process. “So many of our customers have turned their phones into great organizational and informational tools—it is natural that they would prefer to be informed about their hold materials in this manner,” said Ty Emerson, Heights Libraries’ circulation services manager.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:44 PM, 09.30.2015

What’s going on at your library?

“We’re all mad here,” at the library—mad about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
 Heights Libraries celebrates the 150th anniversary of this classic tale, with programs throughout the month of October. For more information, and to register, visit

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

Sunday, Oct. 25, 2 p.m.

Poets’ Journey in Wonderland. 
In honor of the 150th anniversary of Alice’s journey into Wonderland, this open reading invites local poets to share tales of journeys and poetry.

Lee Road Library
2345 Lee Road, 216-932-3600

Thursday, Oct. 8, 6–8 p.m.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:39 PM, 09.30.2015

Zagara’s new Tiger Snack Pack to benefit Heights High

John Zagara, president of Zagara’s Marketplace, and Zoraba Ross, Cleveland Heights High School principal, have announced a partnership in support of Heights High.

Zagara’s, the long-standing, family-owned grocer in Cleveland Heights, is introducing the Tiger Snack Pack, a package filled with tasty, nutritious snacks to enjoy at Heights High football games this season. For every $4.99 snack pack purchased, Zagara’s will donate $3 to Heights High programs.

“Having been a part of Cleveland Heights since 1936, it makes perfect sense that Zagara’s would support such a fine and beloved institution as Heights High,” Zagara said. “Like the rest of the Cleveland Heights community, we care about our city and its youth, and always root for Tiger Nation.”

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:36 PM, 09.30.2015

Reaching Heights brings groups together in support of elementary schools

According to Lisa M. Hunt, assistant director of Reaching Heights, “Behind every great student is a great community!” Reaching Heights, a nonprofit support organization to Heights public schools, is launching a new project called Community Care Teams, to build collaboration among service providers to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights elementary schools.

Family Connections, PTAs, LINK Parent Ambassadors, Heights Libraries, and Reaching Heights programs—Many Villages Tutoring, Role Models, and ECAG (Exceptional Children’s Advocacy Group)—are among the many nonprofit organizations and community groups that provide enrichment services to each of the seven elementary schools in the CH-UH City School District. Reaching Heights is seeking to work with these organizations to increase the success of their efforts through better communication and mutual understanding.

“Our hope is to work smarter together and discover better ways to support each other. We want to remove any mystery about who we are, the work we do, and how the community can join us in our efforts to boost student achievement,” said Hunt.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:34 PM, 09.30.2015

Heights High opens on Wiley campus

Students in the older part of the temporary Heights High, at class change, working their way to their next classes.

The temporary Heights High in University Heights opened for the first day of school on Aug. 31. The building, the former Wiley Middle School on Miramar Boulevard, will house Heights High students for two years while Cleveland Heights High School, at the corner of Cedar and Lee roads, is partially demolished and rebuilt.

A tremendous amount of work went into preparing the Wiley building to meet the needs of high school students, including adding modular classrooms, plus a music wing and a gymnasium, that are all connected to the school.

After students were dismissed for the year on June 12, truckloads of classroom and office furniture and equipment, library books, computers, the auditorium stage props, cafeteria equipment and other materials were moved to the temporary Heights High.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:30 PM, 09.30.2015

CH-UH Board of Education opposes state takeover law

Democratically elected boards of education are a hallmark of the American tradition of public education. At its Sept. 1 meeting, the CH-UH Board of Education (BOE) went on record affirming the importance of local governance of public schools, and criticized the Ohio legislature’s takeover plan for the Youngstown City School District that gave control of this urban district to an appointed CEO.

The Ohio Legislature approved HB 70 in June, without public input. It lays the groundwork for state control of other districts that fail to meet Ohio’s state test performance goals—the latest high-stakes consequence tied to testing. The law takes effect in October and is being challenged in court.

The Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA) opposes the law and invited local boards of education to endorse a resolution calling for the legislature, governor, and superintendent of public instruction to restore local board responsibility.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:26 PM, 09.30.2015

Changing your Medicare coverage during open enrollment

Medicare insurance is health insurance that is provided by the federal government for people who are age 65 or older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease.

Medicare plans are divided into four parts. Part A covers hospital insurance, Part B covers medical insurance, Part C is a subset of Parts A and B and allows private companies to provide subscribers with Medicare insurance, and Part D covers prescription drug insurance. Parts A and B are called “Basic” or “Original” Medicare, and Part C is called “Medicare Advantage.” There are also Medicare Supplement Insurance plans available, called “MediGap,” that help pay healthcare costs that Parts A and B don’t cover.

You can apply for Medicare coverage whenever you become eligible, regardless of the time of year.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:22 PM, 09.30.2015

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

Oct. 1: Philip J. Metres III, poet, essayist and professor of English at John Carroll University, will talk. He is the inaugural recipient of the George W. Hunt, S.J. Prize for Excellence in Journalism, Arts & Letters.

Oct. 8: Lowell Perry Jr., director of Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood, will describe the work of the nonprofit, to transform the educational and developmental outcomes of its children, closing gaps in achievement and creating cradle-to-career supports for all youth.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:18 PM, 09.30.2015

CH Senior Center News

The Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center, located in the CH Community Center at the corner of Mayfield Road and Monticello Boulevard, offers a wide variety of programming for CH residents over 60. October highlights include a new class—Argentine Tango—and a talk on “Aging with a Plan.”

A social dance based on a natural gait, tango can be enjoyed and danced by adults well into their 90s. Participants will learn the basics of tango along with information about its history and the culture in which it developed. Tango is scheduled on Friday mornings, 9:30–11 a.m., through mid-November. The fee is $25 for eight weeks. Seniors are invited to try it once for free, to see if the class is for them. (No partner is necessary.)

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:16 PM, 09.30.2015

FutureHeights auction kicks off in November

The 11th annual FutureHeights Online Auction will take place in November. The auction will feature hundreds of items, ranging from one-of-a-kind experiences to gift cards from many area merchants.

“Our local merchants have unique items that you won’t find anywhere else,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. Residents can preview auction items beginning Oct. 7, and bidding runs Nov. 6–22 at www.biddingforgood/futureheights.

"The auction is a lot of fun," said Rebecca Price, co-chair of the FutureHeights Online Auction Committee. “Bidders can get some amazing bargains on gift certificates to local restaurants and shops, handmade jewelry, tickets to sporting events, and unique getaways. Local business donors receive terrific online presence throughout the auction's run, and a tax deduction.”

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:12 PM, 09.30.2015

Sruti Basu joins FutureHeights staff

Sruti Basu

On Aug. 31, FutureHeights welcomed Sruti Basu as director of community-building programs, a new staff position at FutureHeights. Basu will provide one-on-one mentoring to support neighborhood community builders, nurture new neighborhood organizations, meet with community stakeholders to assist local government in addressing problem areas, and organize and attend community meetings.

She holds a Master of Public Administration from the Bernard Baruch College at City University of New York, and a Master of Science in Social Administration from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. She has worked for the Greater Houston Community Foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, Neighborhood Connections and Slavic Village Community Development Corporation.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:07 PM, 09.30.2015

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education candidates


     4 year term         Salary:  0          Elect 2



1.  Describe the most important things the Board of Education must address to improve the CH-UH schools and student performance. How would you, as a board member, try to accomplish them?

2.  What is your opinion of the state policy that labels school districts based on a report card using test scores?

3.  What is your understanding of current school funding in the state of Ohio? Do you think the funding allocations for public vs. charter schools are fair? If not, how would you address the issue?

4.  What do you expect to be the most significant educational improvement outcome from the reconstruction of Cleveland Heights High School?

Click on the candidate names below to view their responses:

James Posch

Katura Simmons

Beverly R. Wright

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 2:50 PM, 09.30.2015

University Heights candidates for council at large


4 Year Term           Salary:  $9100       Elect 4



1.  What do you see as the top two or three issues/opportunities facing University Heights? How would you, as a member of City Council, work on these issues?

2.  City Council is a group of people who come together to address issues, conduct business, and create opportunities for the community. What skills and qualities do you bring to the table? Why do you want to serve on the University Heights City Council?

3.  What do you see as the impact on the community of using the former Wiley Middle School as a swing space for the next few years?

4.  Considering recent cuts in state funding to local governments and the estate tax, what are some creative ways to increase revenue?

Click on the candidates names below to view their responses to the questions.

Michelle Weiss

Steven Simms - Candidate did not respond.

Pamela T. Cameron - Candidate did not respond.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 2:37 PM, 09.30.2015

Group hopes Oct. 6 candidate forum will spotlight Noble neighborhood issues

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, the Noble Neighbors community organization is hosting a Meet The Candidates forum at 7 p.m., at Noble Road Presbyterian Church, 2780 Noble Road. Candidates for both Cleveland Heights City Council and CH-UH Board of Education have been invited to participate. While the forum will focus on issues that impact Cleveland Heights's Noble neighborhood, residents from all neighborhoods are welcome at the forum.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 2:22 PM, 09.30.2015

Cedar Lee merchants optimistic despite vacancies

A stretch of empty storefronts along Lee Road. Photo by James Henke.

The Cedar Lee Business District has been going through some challenging times over the past couple of years. More than a dozen stores and restaurants have closed. Despite that, most of the area’s merchants are optimistic about the future.

“I don’t think that the closing of the retail spaces is a sign that our neighborhood is unhealthy,” said Sue Wolpert. “I think we have a very healthy and strong neighborhood.” Wolpert and her husband, Ray Lesser, own the building at 2174 Lee Road. Funny Times, a monthly paper that they publish, has its offices in the building, and Serendipity Space, which they also owned, was on the street level of the building. However, Serendipity has closed, and Wolpert and Lesser are currently looking for a new occupant for that space.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 2:12 PM, 09.30.2015

Redlining is taking aim at public schools

Real estate websites like are popular places to check out homes for sale. With every home listing, even provides a color-coded rating of nearby schools. Sounds helpful, doesn't it?

Heights Community Congress (HCC) took a deeper look into this practice and found that the ratings are provided to Zillow by a website called The ratings are based on [school] test scores, which research consistently has shown correlate highly with students' socioeconomic status rather than reliably measuring school "quality."

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:56 PM, 09.30.2015

Public schools suffer when students leave

Susie Kaeser

I like writing this column. The discipline of exploring complex ideas in 750 words or less helps me think and, I hope, gives the reader access to those thoughts in an engaging and informative way. I am grateful to the Heights Observer for providing me with a deadline and platform for sorting through issues that I find significant to my passion for democracy and the crucial role of the common good in a humane society.

Readers have been wonderful. They give me positive feedback at the grocery store or the swimming pool or when I’m walking my dog. Last winter, a complete stranger stopped to talk to me after whisking past on her skis. Feedback from teachers is often the most moving. They thank me for describing how the damage caused by testing has motivated several of them to leave their beloved profession.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:53 PM, 09.30.2015

Teacher shortages are predictable

I have a difficult time encouraging young people to enter the teaching profession these days. This was not always the case. I am proud to be a teacher, enjoy my students, feel invigorated by always trying to figure out ways of reaching young minds, and feel satisfied when I can offer counsel to students. Over the years, things have changed. It is not at all the same profession as when I started, close to 30 years ago.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:50 PM, 09.30.2015

Cleveland Heights crime down in most categories for first seven months of 2015

All violent crimes and serious property crimes reported during the first seven months of each year, since 2011.

Crime data from the Cleveland Heights Police Department for the first seven months of 2015 indicate a positive trend is continuing, as year-to-year crime rates declined in all but two categories. 

The only categories that didn't show a decrease in the number of crimes were murder and rape. Through July of this year, there has been one murder in the city—the same as last year during the same period. Four rapes were reported through July, compared with three the previous year.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:45 PM, 09.30.2015

Forum on Severance future is Oct. 21

The former Walmart space at Severance Town Center. Photo by Vince Reddy.

FutureHeights invites those interested in the future of Severance Town Center to attend a public forum on the topic on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 7 p.m., at the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd.

Attendees will hear about the history of the site, its current legal and ownership status, and the land use and zoning regulations affecting the property. Additionally, presenters will discuss examples of redeveloped properties on comparable sites in other cities, and provide a summary of thoughts gathered from local developers regarding the site’s potential. Participants will have the opportunity, both at the forum and afterward, to express their opinions on the future of this important community asset.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:41 PM, 09.30.2015

The Nutt House and Carriage House

The Nutt House, in an undated photo. [courtesy Communion of Saints Parish]

The Joseph R. and Elizabeth Nutt House and Carriage House, which later became St. Ann Convent, was landmarked in 2003. This massive English manor, located at 2285 Coventry Road, was built in 1910 for Joseph R. Nutt, vice president and director of Citizens Savings and Trust Company, and a vice president of the Union Trust Company.

Local architect Harlan E. Shimmin designed the house. Shimmin was a prolific residential architect who designed many structures that have been landmarked throughout Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:26 PM, 09.30.2015

JCU hosts Oct. 10 Ohio Fair Trade Expo

Celebrate Fair Trade Month at the Ohio Fair Trade Teach-In and Expo on Saturday, Oct. 10, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at John Carroll University (JCU). The event is free and open to the public.

Since 2005, the Ohio Fair Trade Expo has showcased socially and environmentally conscious consumerism with artisan demonstrations, speakers, workshops, family activities and a fair trade marketplace. Hosted by JCU, this year’s expo marks the school’s recent designation as the fifth Jesuit university to earn Fair Trade University status from Fair Trade Campaigns, a grassroots movement mobilizing consumers and advocates across the United States to increase the availability of fair trade products.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:22 PM, 09.30.2015

Coming to America 1969

Sarojini Rao

If you drive down Lee Road past Fairfax Elementary School in the summer, you are likely to see Sarojini Rao busy working in the community at the school, where she is the leader. Rao was born in a small town in South India called Udipi. Her father left service in the Indian army after World War II and was given an amount of money that he used to purchase four acres of land in Bangalore in Karnataka State. An engineer by profession, he loved to garden and spent much of his spare time growing things. Rao attributes her love of gardening to her father’s influence.

When Rao was 21, her mother “sent out feelers” to find a husband for her. Eventually, her parents arranged for her to marry the son of a couple who were part of their community. Sridhar Rao was a post-doc in the physics department at Case Western Reserve University. They married in 1969 and the couple moved to an apartment in Cleveland's Little Italy. Rao describes feeling very excited at the idea of moving to America, and her mother, she said, “Strutted around town telling people that her daughter was going to America.”

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:18 PM, 09.30.2015

The Heights was hopping at Heights Music Hop

Photo by Stephen Cutri.

Lee Road was hopping Sept. 19 at the third annual Heights Music Hop presented by FutureHeights. Participants enjoyed a variety of free music at 18 venues along Lee Road. Merchants offered food and drink specials, including a free pig roast at The Rib Cage. An afterparty at the BottleHouse capped off the evening, with music by The Admirables. FutureHeights thanks its hardworking Music Hop Committee—Dan Budin, Jim Henke, Greg Bonanno, Patti Carlyle, Jeff Coryell, Adam Fleischer, Jennifer Greene, Emily Hornack, Gillian Irwin, Mike Kinsella, Justin Markert, Susan Christopher Riethmiller, Kelley Robinson, Richard Stewart, Saroya Queen Tabor and Clare Taft—our volunteers and staff. And many thanks to our sponsors and partners: Cuyahoga Arts & Culture; Cedar Lee Special Improvement District; Simply Charming; Motorcars; The Wine Spot; Dewey’s Pizza; New Heights Grill; Cellar Door Records; City of Cleveland Heights; Realtor Susan Delaney, Howard Hanna; Keller National; Jakprints; Digizoom Media; Kimble; Brite Winter; Larchmere Porchfest; Beachland Ballroom; Grog Shop; WJCU; WRUR; Heights Arts; ARTFUL; and Greg Bonanno. See more photos at

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:08 PM, 09.30.2015

Young artists explore 'Big Feelings' to fight children's cancer

Artist Jodie Johnson talks with club members about using art to express an array of feelings.

When she told her parents that she wanted to form a club, seven-year-old Elizabeth Kikel might have been thinking about clubhouses. But, because her parents said that a club had to be something with a true purpose—“a thing you care about together”—Elizabeth ultimately created something that will have wide-reaching and long-lasting impact.

The We Hate Cancer Club was founded in the summer of 2015 by a group of Cleveland Heights kids ranging from in age from preschoolers to middle-schoolers. The criteria for membership are specific: (1) members must be kids; and (2) members must hate cancer.   

A few adults have asked to become members; the kids in charge thoughtfully rejected this idea. “There are a lot of things for adults,” Elizabeth said, “not for kids.” Parents are allowed to help with projects and sit nearby during club meetings, which have taken place at members’ homes and at Phoenix Coffee on Lee Road.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:48 AM, 09.29.2015

CH Council Member Kahlil Seren to introduce legislation to restrict the city’s use of executive session

Editor’s note: The Heights Observer received the following news release from Cleveland Heights Council Member and candidate Kahlil Seren, regarding legislation he plans to introduce. The initial discussion is scheduled to take place at the Sept. 30 Council Committee of the Whole meeting; the legislation is slated to be introduced at council’s Oct. 5 meeting. Both meetings are open to the public.

City Councilman Kahlil Seren has drafted and distributed legislation which would eliminate the local code section designed to allow Council to circumvent Ohio sunshine law and meet in executive session to discuss general matters. Currently, Chapter 107 of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland Heights deviates from state law by providing that “[n]ot more than four (4) times during each calendar year, Council or a board or commission of the City may meet in retreat to discuss general plans for the future, or general issues before the City.“


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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:48 AM, 09.29.2015

Inaugural Happy 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run is Oct. 4

The City of Cleveland Heights and its merchants invite residents to the inaugural Happy 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run on Sunday, Oct. 4, to celebrate all the good things happening in Cleveland Heights. The event, a collaborative effort of the city, the Cedar Lee and Coventry Village special improvement districts, and Western Reserve Racing, benefits the city’s Youth Scholarship Fund. The race is a fun run for all ages and abilities, as well as a timed race for the competitive runner. 

Organizers encourage participants to “come for the run and stay for the fun!” Walkers and runners will follow a flat 5K route through historic neighborhoods. See the course map here. The 1 Mile Fun Run event begins at 9:30 a.m. and the 5K at 10 a.m. Registrants are welcome to bring leashed dogs to join them on the course for both events. The races will be followed by a post-race block party and live music presented by the Grog Shop, as well as a "happiest costume" contest.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 10:48 AM, 09.29.2015

Council Member Seren's comments intentionally taken out of context

To the Editor:

To those residents who are “shocked and inflamed” by CH Council Member Kahlil Seren’s comment at The Wine Spot’s candidate forum, you are entitled to your opinion, but don’t distort what he actually said.

When asked how he would attract non-residents who choose not to live in Cleveland Heights because of our current tax levels, he replied that he isn’t sure that it is worth it to him to attract people who don’t think our city’s assets and quality services are worth contributing to. Blindly offering tax incentives to business doesn’t help a city remain strong; offering whatever it would take to attract people who choose their home based on tax levels is also unsustainable for our city.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:02 AM, 09.29.2015

UH Library manager to lead Painesville library

Aurora Martinez, outside the University Heights Library.

Aurora Martinez, University Heights Library manager, has been named director of Morley Library in Painesville.

Martinez joined the library’s youth services department in 2006 and has served as the library's manager since 2008. She previously worked in youth services at the Euclid and Geauga County public libraries. 

During her time at the University Heights Library, Martinez participated in many civic, business and school issues. She worked closely with Walter Stinson, University Heights's senior services manager, collaborated with the city government and school district, and forged a relationship with Whole Foods and other local merchants and nonprofits for outreach services.

“She is a much-respected supervisor and colleague who always spoke up for customers young and old, disabled and able-bodied,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. “We will miss her very much, but know that the residents of Painesville are lucky to have such a wonderful library advocate in their midst.”

Martinez has been involved in state and national library associations, having served on the planning committees for the Ohio Library Council (OLC) and the Public Library Association’s annual conferences. She also helps with developing leadership skills in women who are pursuing library careers. In 2014, she presented a “Lean In To Your Future” program at the OLC annual conference, with plans to lead another session this year.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 10:24 AM, 09.29.2015

Nighttown hosts Oct. 4 friend- and fund-raiser for Syrian refugees

Do you watch in despair as thousands of men, women and children flee from the violence in Syria, hoping to find a place where they are safe from the Assad regime and ISIS? Have you been moved to tears by the goodness of 12,000 people in Iceland willing to open their homes to refugees in response to their government's suggestion that the country take 50, or the sight of Germans driving in their cars to pick up weary families?

Nighttown is hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 4, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., organized in response to the current Syrian refugee crisis, and donations will be used to help this group specifically. Representatives of the three refugee resettlement agencies in Cleveland will be present to describe the process of resettlement, from how the government decides how many refugees to accept, to what the agencies do once an individual or family arrives in Cleveland. Refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have made Cleveland home, will talk about their experiences.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 9:01 AM, 09.22.2015

CH council member's comment to taxpayers was out of line

To the Editor:

As most Cleveland Heights residents know, there are Whistlestop meetings being held at The Wine Spot on Lee Road to discuss the issues that affect Cleveland Heights residents. I have watched the video from Whistlestop #3 a few times and, more specifically, the remarks made by Cleveland Heights Council Member Kahlil Seren.

It is incomprehensible to me that a person who was appointed to council to fill a vacant seat and who is now running for council on his own merits would make the statement that if anyone [does] not like the proposed income tax increase he does not feel that he wants them or needs them living here.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 11:04 AM, 09.22.2015

Heights soccer captain leading team to strong season

Gabe Pewu is a senior captain on the Heights High Boys Soccer team, and a lead scorer.

Heights High's Senior Boys Soccer team captain Gabriel Pewu has emerged as one of the top scorers for Heights this year. At mid-season (Sept. 15) he had tallied 12 goals and five assists. Pewu is a four-year varsity starter, kicks for the football team, is a member of the National Honor Society and has a 3.5 GPA. As of mid-September, Pewu had helped his team to a 6-1-1 record, building on last year’s strong showing as a Sectional Finalist.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 10:45 AM, 09.22.2015

Exhibition by CH photographer Daniel Levin opens at Jewish Federation of Cleveland

The Jewish Federation of Cleveland announces the opening of Amnon’s Workshop, a photographic documentary featuring the work of Daniel Levin, celebrated Cleveland photographer, Cuyahoga Community College associate professor, and Cleveland Heights resident. All are invited to meet the artist at a free open house on Sunday, Sept. 20, 1–4 p.m., in the Roe Green Gallery at the Jewish Federation of Cleveland’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building, 25701 Science Park Drive in Beachwood. Gallery talks will be at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The exhibit follows Levin’s travels to Israel, where he documented the work of master violin maker Amnon Weinstein. Amnon’s Workshop captures intimate images of the man behind “Violins of Hope” as he lovingly restores and gives new voice to stringed instruments that survived the horrors of the Holocaust, even when their owners perished.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 3:30 PM, 09.18.2015

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-8-2015


  • Public Comments
  • Liquor license
  • Master plan process
  • Chipper purchase
  • Recycling
  • Lee Road streetscape
  • Coventry Road pavement
  • Meadowbrook waterline replacement
  • Water department
  • Nuisance properties
  • Citizen appointments
  • Architectural board of review
  • Next meeting

Council Member Melissa Yasinow was absent.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 5:53 PM, 09.21.2015

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 8-17-2015

AUGUST 17, 2015

  • University Hights Library parking lot expansion
  • Library board accepts gifts
  • Appointment of special projects manager
  • Balanced scorecard highlights
  • Library media coverage
  • Staff development day
  • Public Library Fund August distribution
  • July public service report highlights
  • Next regular meeting

All board members were present.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 3:55 PM, 09.21.2015

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 9-8-2015


  • Public comments
  • Road repairs
  • Housing crisis program
  • Dunkin’ Donuts zoning appeal
  • Backyard camps
  • Charitable donation
  • Kollel Yad Chem Mordechai
  • Nuisance properties
  • Recycling
  • Solid waste disposal
  • Sewer camera
  • City trees
  • Tennis courts
  • Special assessments
  • Solid waste services and recycling
  • Appointments

All council members were present.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 12:30 PM, 09.21.2015

Free music and entertainment festival expected to bring thousands to the Heights

The Heights Music Hop returns for its third annual festival this Saturday, Sept. 19. Join the fun as festivalgoers pack the sidewalks, restaurants, bars and shops of the Cedar Lee Business District for this live music event. More than 18 venues along Lee Road in Cleveland Heights will host live music of varying genres, including rock, folk, jazz, hip-hop, classical, funk, and just about everything in between. 

The Heights Music Hop is free and open to all. A ticketed after-party, ages 18 and older, will take place at 11 p.m. at The BottleHouse Brewery, featuring the music of popular local group, The Admirables. After-party tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:57 PM, 09.17.2015

Lee Road merchants offer food and drink specials for Heights Music Hop

Lee Road merchants are gearing up for the 3rd Annual Heights Music Hop, Saturday, Sept. 19, by offering food and drink specials for music lovers who populate neighborhood restaurants, bars and shops. Organizers expect the street to be flush with attendees for this year's free music festival. More than 2,000 hop-goers attended last year's event.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 1:05 PM, 09.17.2015

Noble Neighbors invites questions for candidates in advance of its October candidate forum

On Tuesday, Oct. 6, the Noble Neighbors community organization is hosting a Meet The Candidates forum at 7 p.m., at Noble Road Presbyterian Church, 2780 Noble Road. Candidates for both Cleveland Heights City Council and CH-UH Board of Education have been invited to participate. While the forum will focus on issues that impact Cleveland Heights's Noble neighborhood, residents from all neighborhoods are welcome at the forum.

All questions posed to candidates will concern issues that pertain specifically to Noble neighborhood. Audience members and residents are invited to submit questions in advance, by Sept. 17, via the Noble Neighbors website,

The questions presented to the candidates will be drawn from the common themes these online questions raise, and will likely ask candidates to consider the neighborhood’s economic development, housing value support, and the plan to close Noble Elementary School.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 8:58 AM, 09.15.2015

Arthur Miller classic now onstage at Ensemble Theatre

Arthur Miller’s meditation on the American dream, “Death of A Salesman,” is now running on Ensemble Theatre's Main Stage. The play explores the life and times of the iconic Lohman family, their tragic losses and unending quest for the next sale. In celebration of Arthur Miller’s centenary, Ensemble Theatre presents this American classic, directed by Celeste Cosentino and featuring Greg White as Willy Lohman.

Ensemble opens this two-act drama on a set designed by Ron Newell. The play kicks off Ensemble's 2015–16 season, the theme of which is A Rebirth of Wonder. According to Cosentino, the theme was borrowed from Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s poem “I Am Waiting”:

I am waiting for my case to come up/and I am waiting/for a rebirth of wonder/and I am waiting for someone/to really discover America/and wail . . .

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:55 PM, 09.14.2015

Lake Erie Ink begins fifth year of creative writing programs for youth

Ruffing fourth-grader Polly Routh records her observations during LEI's Community Connections camp. [photo: Amy Rosenbluth]

As a new school year begins, Lake Erie Ink’s (LEI) fifth year of writing programs for young people is underway as well. Registration is open for Ink Spot, serving fourth- through eighth-graders, and Evening Ink, for students in grade six and older. LEI’s first Weekend Ink: Telling Tales—a program about storytelling that is open to all ages—will take place on Sept. 19.

Located in the Coventry school building in Cleveland Heights, LEI has roots in the creative writing programs its founders provided for youth on the East Side of Cleveland.

During the 2010–11 school year, they facilitated four Library Writers Clubs for students in grades 4–12, as an expansion of the work they had been doing in the classrooms. The library clubs were a hit. Young writers continued to show up and ask for more.

Since opening its doors in 2011, LEI has worked with more than 3,000 young writers throughout Greater Cleveland, and has been involved in more than 20 different school communities throughout the region.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:44 PM, 09.14.2015

Seren's comment on taxpayers offends

To the Editor:

I am concerned about comments made by a candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council. At at a recent candidates night presentation known as the Whistlestop, Kahlil Seren stated that he is not entirely sure that he wants people opposed to high taxes to move into this community and that "we don't need them." I find Mr. Seren's comments shocking and inflammatory! As a 41-year taxpaying homeowner in Cleveland Heights, I feel that I have paid more than my fair share of taxes and greatly resent Mr. Seren's statement!

Kahlil Seren was appointed to his current position on city council by our council members and now is seeking an elected full term, making important decisions about our city.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:42 PM, 09.14.2015

First phase of Cedar Taylor streetscape improvements is installed

New banners grace the Cedar Taylor business distict. Photo courtesy Michelle Moehler.

The Cedar Taylor Business District has a fresh new look, thanks to the Cedar Taylor Development Association (CTDA), the vision of a handful of local creative professionals, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the City of Cleveland Heights. 

Colorful new street banners, modern benches, and eclectic bike racks now grace the intersection of Cedar and Taylor roads and the adjacent blocks on the western side of South Taylor Road. 

CTDA began planning for streetscape improvements in 2013. "Over the past two years, we've been awarded $21,000 from Cleveland Heights CDBG funds, and separately we've raised $6,000, for a total of $27,000 spent to this point,” said Kevin Smith, president of the board of directors of CTDA. “We've applied for next year's allotment of CDBG funds and continue to raise money from other sources."

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 10:47 AM, 09.08.2015

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 8-17-2015

AUGUST 17, 2015

  • Public comments
  • Cedar Lee Theatre liquor license
  • Recreation regulations for fall/winter
  • New parks and recreation director
  • Transportation committee appointment
  • Tele-Town Hall

All council members were present.

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Volume 8, Issue 10, Posted 6:21 PM, 09.09.2015