Latest News

Three new businesses bring new life to Cedar Lee corner

Shawn Nutting (left) and Tony DeRigo in the new Lucky Sparrow Tattoo shop.

The Douglas Fine Arts Building, on the northwest corner of Cedar and Lee roads in Cleveland Heights, is seeing an influx of new businesses. Lucky Sparrow Tattoo opened on Feb. 4, and two takeout restaurants are coming soon. Tarita’s Wet Burritas is slated to open by the end of February, and the owner of Fresh & Meaty Burgers hopes to open his restaurant no later than early April.

Lucky Sparrow Tattoo has opened at 2128 Lee Road (216-505-5885), in the space previously occupied by Heights Guitars. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m., and accepts walk-ins as well as advance appointments.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 9:52 AM, 02.09.2016

Latest News Releases

Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center Offers Pickleball
- Class or Workshop, February 3, 2016 Read More
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS ANNOUNCES PUBLIC MASTER PLAN MEETING
- City of Cleveland Heights, January 22, 2016 Read More
Cleveland Heights Announces Next Police Chief
- City of Cleveland Heights, December 28, 2015 Read More
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS HOLIDAY STROLL ON DECEMBER 12
- City of Cleveland Heights, December 2, 2015 Read More
City of Cleveland Heights Thanksgiving Schedule
- City of Cleveland Heights, November 25, 2015 Read More

View more news releases

Center Mayfield Building faces possible demolition

The Center Mayfield Building has been mostly vacant for several years. This photo was taken in 2013 by FutureHeights intern Kendra Dean during a survey of vacant storefronts conducted by the organization in 2013.

The Center Mayfield Building may be demolished if the property owner does not find a buyer who is willing to preserve this historic building at the eastern gateway to Cleveland Heights.

Circle K representatives have submitted an application to Cleveland Heights City Council to rezone two residential properties on Vandemar Street. In addition to demolishing the houses, Circle K intends to tear down the Center Mayfield Building, which includes a former movie theater and spans Mayfield Road from Vandemar to Noble roads, to build a 16-pump gas station and Circle K convenience store on the property. The footprint for this development would be significantly larger than the BP gas station and convenience store located just one block east on Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 12:22 PM, 02.02.2016

GCC identifies key challenges facing Cleveland Heights

Khalilah Worley, associate organizer of GCC, talks to the crowd at St. Paul's Episcopal Church.

More than 80 Cleveland Heights residents came together on Sunday, Jan. 31, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Fairmount Boulevard, to identify what they consider to be the biggest challenges facing Cleveland Heights.

Called the “Cleveland Heights Listening Session,” the program was initiated by Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC), an organization representing 40 different religious congregations in the Cleveland area, as well as partner organizations in Cuyahoga County. GCC comprises diverse groups of Catholic and Protestant churches; the Islamic Center of Cleveland; Jewish synagogues and temples; and Unitarian Universalists.

Members of both St. Paul’s and Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, located at the intersection of Monticello Boulevard and Lee Road, organized the program. Khalilah Worley, associate organizer of GCC, moderated. Two representatives from Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish's staff attended the event.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 11:30 AM, 02.02.2016

DATE CORRECTION: Beaumont School to host speaker series for parents starting Feb. 3

Beaumont School will kick off its Saint Angela Merici Speaker Series for Girls and Families on Wednesday, Feb. 3. This two-part speaker series, which continues on April 19, will highlight two essential questions relevant to young women today, and offer expert responses to those questions from the keynote speakers. 

On Feb. 3, Katherine Jackson—a professor and psychotherapist who focuses on innate personality traits nurtured in early childhood and how they impact adulthood—will focus on the essential question “What is my life’s purpose?”

Jackson’s half-hour talk will begin at 7 p.m., followed by small group discussion 7:45–8:30 p.m., in which parents will share tools and wisdom, and build community. Young women in grades 9–12 will meet separately with the keynote speaker.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 2:07 PM, 01.31.2016

Roxboro eighth-graders celebrate hope over hate

Roxboro eighth-graders performed at Severance Hall.

Hate is a powerful force, capable of transforming people’s lives and defining the fate of entire nations. But, as Roxboro Middle School’s eighth-graders recently learned, hope is even stronger.

Through an interdisciplinary unit created by Zakiyyah Bergen, humanities teacher, and Nicole Clouser, instrumental music teacher, students at the school spent six weeks exploring the role of music in Jewish tradition before, during and after the Holocaust.

From readings in their language arts and social studies classes to musical compositions in their orchestra class, students were exposed to a sometimes overlooked piece of history: the role music played in fostering community, resilience, resistance, and especially hope throughout World War II.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 10:51 AM, 02.01.2016

Heights High midwinter concert features soloist Emma Zordan

Emma Zordan

Emma Zordan, concertmaster of the Heights High Symphony, will perform Antonio Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in F minor, "L'Inverno" (Winter), on Friday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m., in the auditorium of Cleveland Heights High School (on the Wiley campus at 2181 Miramar Blvd. in University Heights). Zordan is one of two senior soloists selected to perform this year as part of a 70-year tradition of musical excellence at the high school. 

Zordan began taking violin lessons at the Fairmount School of Music at age 6. She studied first with Hannah Frey, then with Emily Cornelius. In middle school, Zordan became a member of the Preparatory Youth Orchestra at the Cleveland Institute of Music (CIM) and the concertmaster of the Youth String Camarata, and participated in CIM's Chamber program. She is a three-year member of the International Youth Symphony Orchestra of Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. This summer will be her second year as its concertmaster.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 6:02 PM, 01.31.2016

Crime continues to drop in Cleveland Heights

All violent crimes and serious property crimes reported during the first 11 months of each year since 2011.

Crime data through November from the Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD) shows a continued decrease in crimes in all categories since the current method of collecting crime data was implemented in early 2011.

The information is compiled by the CHPD according to federal standards defined by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting system, and is published in a different format on the Cleveland Heights city website. It represents serious offenses defined as "Part I" crimes. It does not include "Part II" minor offenses, such as trespassing or DUI—which the FBI does not seek from local agencies because it would be too costly to report with the same level of detail.

For more information about how the CHPD collects and validates crime statistics, and why the Observer publishes them regularly, see the original article in this series by scanning the QR code or visiting http://tiny.cc/chcrimestats.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 12:40 PM, 01.29.2016

Library celebrates black voices in series of events

February is Black History Month, but, if you’ve ever been to the library, you’ll know that it celebrates black history and black writers all year. The University Heights Library holds West African dance classes; the Lee Road Library Youth Services Department celebrates the birthday of Anansi, a character from West African folklore; and the Noble Neighborhood Library has held Soul Stories storytime featuring picture books by African-American writers, and later this year will host an extensive series of programs around Jacqueline Woodson’s book Brown Girl Dreaming in its “On the Same Page” series.

This winter, Heights Libraries will host a Black Voices Matter series that celebrates African-American writers and literature. This series is timely not only because it falls partially during Black History Month, but as a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement against violence toward blacks and inequality in the criminal justice system.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 2:25 PM, 01.31.2016

Deadline approaches for Kids' Playwriting Festival at Dobama

Scene from previous Marilyn Bianchi Kids' Playwriting Festival performance.

Photo credit: Steve Wagner Photography

The Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival, an annual event at Dobama Theatre, is entering its 38th year of producing plays written by young people. The festival is scheduled for June, and the deadline to submit plays is March 1.

Bianchi, an actress, teacher, director and co-founder of Dobama Theatre, died of cancer in 1977. The festival was created in her name to carry out her wish to help Cleveland-area children discover their own voices and creativity through theater.

The festival’s mission is to provide a platform for children to express their thoughts, hopes, dreams and creativity through the writing of original plays.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 6:37 PM, 01.31.2016

Heights Arts highlights February events

On Thursday, Feb. 11, at Heights Arts, regional artisans Doug Meyer of Rustbelt Rebirth; Kevin Busta; and David Meyers of Rustbelt Reclamation will share insights about the challenges and inspirations of working with salvaged and repurposed industrial and residential materials.

The three create custom furnishings and innovative household objects using such materials as shopping carts, windmills, factory machinery, and wood from razed houses, and their work is currently on view in Heights Arts’s Remade in Cleveland exhibition.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 6:07 PM, 01.31.2016

Heritage Chorale in concert at Church of the Saviour

The Heritage Chorale performs at Church of the Saviour on Feb. 21.

Arts in the Cathedral announces that the Heritage Chorale will appear in concert on Sunday, Feb. 21, 3 p.m., at Church of the Saviour (2537 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights). This concert, part of the church’s celebration of Black History Month, is free and open to the public. A free-will offering will be accepted to benefit the Heritage Chorale.

The Heritage Chorale was founded by the late Sylvia L. Perry in 2002. Since then, the group has followed a mission of bringing sacred music, especially Negro Spiritual and Gospel music, to audiences locally and internationally. Besides performing throughout Ohio, the group has appeared in Vienna, Rome (including at St. Peter’s Basilica), and Florence, Venice and Varese, Italy.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 6:22 PM, 01.31.2016

Dan and Nancy Maier share deep love of music

Nancy and Dan Maier.

Dan and Nancy Maier have both been playing piano since they were about eight years old. Now, more than five decades later, music still is the focus of their lives.

Dan, 62, is a member of several Cleveland-area bands, including the North Coast Jazz Collective and ProgNation, a relatively new progressive-rock group that covers songs by such bands as Yes, Genesis, and Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Nancy, 63, is the associate artistic director of the Musical Theater Project, an organization that presents classic American musicals in Greater Cleveland. She is also a part-time music director and vocal coach at Baldwin Wallace University’s Conservatory of Music.

The Maiers, who have lived on Meadowbrook Road in Cleveland Heights since 1992, are the parents of a daughter, Hannah, a 19-year-old freshman at Baldwin Wallace.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 6:51 PM, 01.31.2016

What’s going on at your library?

For a complete list of library programs, and to register, visit www.heightslibrary.org.

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

Thursday, Feb. 11, 7 p.m.

Step Out of Time: Introduction to Pranic Healing with Greg Soltesz. Learn how to use Prana/Life force to accelerate your body’s ability to heal itself. You will also have the opportunity to experience intense peace, stillness and bliss through the Meditation on Twin Hearts.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 5:22 PM, 01.31.2016

Ensure good physical health in retirement

For baby boomers who are planning to retire in the near future, good physical health is essential for being able to fully enjoy this next phase of life. Being proactive about maintaining good health can help us thrive in our “golden years.”

The Mayo Clinic recommends that we educate ourselves about the natural changes that are common during this period of our lives, and be as proactive as possible in preventing changes we may prefer not to go through. Preventing these changes will help enable us to continue living independently at home, continue driving safely, and reduce the risk of dangerous falls.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 5:28 PM, 01.31.2016

CH Senior Center News

Some members of the CH Senior Activity Center's arts and crafts group.

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.

Participation in the arts has proven to be an integral part of successful aging. SAC offers many arts programs; classes in music, language, dance and the applied arts are available at low or no cost.

One such program, the arts and crafts group, meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, 1–3 p.m.  Project ideas come from the group and its leaders, Susan Roberts and Leone Lee.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 5:46 PM, 01.31.2016

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 info@universityheights.com.

Feb. 4: Members of Heights High's Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, Robert Cronquist (Class of 1947) and Bernice Shanker (Class of 1946) will speak about their achievements and experiences. Cronquist has conducted various orchestras, and is music director for the acclaimed Cleveland Women’s Orchestra. Shanker has dedicated her life to education, teaching in local public schools.

Feb. 11: Instumentalists and vocalists from the Cleveland Institute of Music will perform a concert.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 5:50 PM, 01.31.2016

Noble mentoring program provides role models for boys

Diablo Harris-Tate, Deshawn Hairston and O’Mari Woods at the introductory session of their mentoring group, led by Bob Dawson (not pictured). 

According to Fatherhood.org, boys who lack positive male role models become four times more likely to live in poverty, face an increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse, and have more trouble academically.

Harder to measure is the effect of positive male role models on those same boys. How can one quantify the bad things that don’t happen?

Beginning in January at Noble Elementary School, 36 fourth- and fifth-grade boys were matched with mentors. Noble's Gents to Gentlemen Mentoring Program is a result of Principal Rachael Coleman’s vision for a mentoring program for boys. In a letter to rising fourth-grade parents, Coleman wrote, “The school feels that your child will greatly benefit from having another positive male adult role model in his life and hopes that the relationship will lead to increased academic performance, self-esteem, and emotional development.”

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 1:38 PM, 01.31.2016

Learning comes alive in Gearity Maker Space

A welcome sign made out of corrugated cardboard on the laser cutter.

Picture a group of young scientists collaborating on a high-tech design challenge: they huddle around computer screens, discussing and designing scientific tools that will be printed out on 3D printers and then tested for accuracy and reliability.

Sounds like something going on in a prestigious high school lab, or maybe at an engineering college, right?

Wrong. This is the Maker Space at Gearity Professional Development School, where children as young as five are mastering technology and manipulating equipment that many adults have never seen.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:37 AM, 01.31.2016

Celebrate your neighborhood school on Feb. 17

The Heights Coalition for Public Education is sponsoring a community rally on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 8:30 a.m., at each of the CH-UH school district’s seven elementary schools. The public is invited to join in the brief but heartfelt thank-you to district teachers and staff, and celebrate students and their education.

Billed as “More than a Score,” the event will recognize that Ohio’s standardized tests do not measure education quality, nor should they define a community or its children. Participants are encouraged to express what they value about our schools and thank teachers for their work.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 8:57 AM, 01.31.2016

HCDA updates community on progress

Heights Community Development Alliance (HCDA) presented its quarterly progress update to about 50 stakeholders on Jan. 20. HCDA, now a program of FutureHeights, is focusing on three initial project areas within Cleveland Heights: cross promotion of events; economic development, particularly addressing storefront vacancies; and marketing the city.

The group announced a new partnership with CoolCleveland.com and an upcoming Cleveland State University Market Study of the Cedar Lee Business District. It also discussed the results of its citywide survey regarding promotional efforts among Cleveland Heights businesses. HCDA conducted research into successful programs addressing commercial vacancies, and shared options for targeting vacancies here. FutureHeights will host a Cleveland Foundation intern for 11 weeks this summer, who will help develop HCDA programs and funding sources.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:15 AM, 01.31.2016

Forest Hill Church announces Black History Month events

Bakari Kitwana, author and political analyst, will lead the discussion on Feb. 21.

Forest Hill Church Presbyterian is beginning Black History Month by inviting the community to a panel discussion of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s groundbreaking work “A Case for Reparations,” on Sunday, Feb. 21, 1–3 p.m.

Bakari Kitwana, author, political analyst and activist, will lead a panel of experts, including Amilcar Shabazz, Deadra Farmer-Palleman and local policy experts and advocates. A breakout session will follow.

Kitwana, whose commentary on politics and youth culture has been heard on NPR and seen on CNN, C-Span, and “The Tavis Smiley Show,” is currently senior media fellow at The Jamestown Project, a diverse action-oriented think tank at Harvard Law School. He is also CEO of Rap Sessions: Community Dialogues on Hip-Hop, which facilitates discussions throughout the country on the issues facing the hip-hop generation.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 12:26 PM, 01.29.2016

HCC's World Café explores racial divide

Heights Community Congress (HCC) is an advocate of social justice, a monitor of fair-housing practices and a facilitator for building strong, diverse communities. Even now, in 2016, after monumental strides in racial equality, racial division still exists in the United States. Hcc is working to diminish that racial divide, right here in the Heights.

In celebration of Black History Month, and to kick off a new program year for HCC, a World Café discussion will take place at the Lee Road Library on Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 12:19 PM, 01.29.2016

HBC invites filmgoers to enjoy bicycling as spectators on Feb. 4

Riders from around the world participated in the TransAm Bike Race, the subject of a film to be screened on Feb. 4.

Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) is sponsoring a showing of “Inspired to Ride,” a stunning documentary about the inaugural TransAm Bike Race, held in 2014 on the TransAmerica Trail. The film will screen at Case Western Reserve University’s Strosacker Auditorium on Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m.

The movie follows a handful of cyclists in the 2014 race, a 4,233-mile cross-country race from Astoria, Ore., to Yorktown, Va.

The riders are entirely self-supported—they have no crew, no follow vehicles and no prize money waiting at the end. They ride 300 miles a day and rely solely on their fitness, meticulously chosen gear and mental fortitude.

The athletes climb the Rockies, face winds in the Great Plains and switchbacks in the Appalachians—all for a pat on the back, potential bragging rights and a cold beer when it’s over.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:56 AM, 01.29.2016

Volunteer Match

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

Submit your organization’s volunteer needs by e-mailing Sruti Basu at sbasu@futureheights.org or calling the FutureHeights office at 216-320-1423.

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

Herps Alive: This nonprofit is dedicated to saving, rehabilitating, and caring for unwanted, neglected and abused reptiles and amphibians, finding new homes for them, and educating the public about these animals.

 

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:53 AM, 01.29.2016

FutureHeights announces second round of community-building workshops

FutureHeights is proud to launch the second round of its Community-Building Workshop Series, a multidisciplinary neighborhood leadership development program designed for individuals enthusiastic about positively contributing to the community in which they live, work and play. Participants will develop leadership skills as well as gain knowledge and tools to help make their community strong, safe and vibrant.

Last spring, 14 residents from several neighborhoods, such as Noble, Forest Hill, Cain Park, Boulevard and Severance, completed the first series of workshops.

The program is funded by the City of Cleveland Heights through Community Development Block Grants and by individual contributions to FutureHeights.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:49 AM, 01.29.2016

Noble Neighbors celebrates two years

Momentum characterized Noble Neighbors’ second year as a volunteer group focused on the northeast quadrant of Cleveland Heights.

Students from Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences conducted a survey of the neighborhood in the spring. Paired with residents of the district, several serendipitous outcomes surfaced. Both residents and students noted the neighborhood’s architectural variety and the excellent condition of most of its homes. Some students declared that they would like to move to the area when they graduated. With its schools, library, churches, playgrounds, parks and backyard play spaces, Noble was identified as a “kid-friendly” area. The report also affirmed goals that Noble Neighbors already has in motion to diversify its membership through increased participation by renters and households with school-age children.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:47 AM, 01.29.2016

Overlook Condominiums

El Canon Apartments before conversion to condominiums in the 1970s. [Wayne W. Wood, Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage.]

Built as El Canon Apartments in 1916, and later renamed Overlook Place Condominiums, the iconic Prairie School multi-family building at 2577 Overlook Road matches the scale if not the architecture of a street dominated by grand apartments.

El Canon and its neighbors appeared in the wake of Euclid Heights developer Patrick Calhoun’s failure to fulfill his vision of building an affluent allotment of large single-family homes. Succumbing to financial hardship in 1914, Calhoun saw hundreds of unsold lots go on auction. This watershed moment enabled the eclectic neighborhood we know today, with its mixture of single- and multi-family residences, and commercial buildings. 

El Canon conjures Spanish associations, mirroring a trend of popular affection for Mediterranean imagery in the early 20th century, but its name is also an exotic extrapolation of a more pedestrian origin. Its developer, after all, was a man named Edson L. Cannon.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:38 AM, 01.29.2016

Standardized tests don't measure education quality

Standardized tests are the cornerstone of Ohio’s education “accountability system.” Test results are the dominant measure used to create report cards that judge the quality of education offered in Ohio’s schools and school districts and to shame and blame low performers.

Last year the state switched to the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests to measure school quality. The tests are aligned with the controversial Common Core standards. In July, the state rejected Common Core and jettisoned the PARCC tests. The 2015–16 measuring stick will be standardized tests created by the American Institute of Research (AIR).

There is still no report card for 2014–15.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:30 AM, 01.29.2016

Making the case for Tiger Nation

I was probably one of the biggest skeptics when the CH-UH school district starting using “Tiger Nation” for everything. At the time I didn’t think anything needed fixing, or that there was a need for a unifying brand. I have deep roots in the community and it seemed like an affront at first. My family has been sending students to the Heights schools since the 1920s. My wife and I are both graduates, along with both of my parents and now our daughters. With all of that history, as well as working in the school system for more than 25 years, it took me a while to warm up to the whole Tiger Nation initiative. 

I have spoken to fellow residents, who are strong CH-UH school supporters, who don’t understand what Tiger Nation means and don’t feel it connects them to the schools.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:23 AM, 01.29.2016

Heights Arts puts spotlight on work by Valdivieso Troya

One of the pieces by Rafael Valdivieso Troya that will be part of the Heights Arts exhibition.

Heights Arts launches a new series of spotlight exhibitions on Jan. 29, with a show featuring works by Heights artist Rafael Valdivieso Troya.

Born in Ecuador and now a Cleveland Heights resident, Valdivieso Troya creates intricate compositions using pen and ink, wash, acrylic, and collage techniques. A single work might contain hundreds of figures or faces layered into imaginary spaces that evoke a sense of teeming wildness, and intertwine themes of human joy and struggle. Works in this exhibition range from smaller pen-and-ink drawings to a large muralistic painting.

Heights Arts invites the community to an opening reception with the artist on Friday, Jan. 29, 6–9 p.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 3, Posted 10:00 AM, 01.26.2016

Those planning Severance's future should read book by Kunstler

To the Editor:

The people involved with planning the future of Severance Center might want to read The Geography of Nowhere: the Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape, by James Howard Kunstler.

To quote from the back of the paperback: the book ”traces America’s evolution from a nation of Main Streets and coherent communities to a land where every place is like no place in particular, where the cities are dead zones and the countryside is a wasteland of cartoon architecture and parking lots.”

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:19 AM, 01.29.2016

Community invited to Feb. 23 CH master plan meeting

A community meeting to discuss the Cleveland Heights Master Plan will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 7 p.m., in the Cleveland Heights Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd.

The meeting will introduce county planning staff to the public, and provide an overview of the planning process. Current conditions will be reviewed, and the public will be asked to provide feedback and set priorities for Vision Statements and Strategic Development Areas.

As a follow-up to the public meeting, county planning will host an online survey that will mirror the information available at the public meeting.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 10:12 AM, 01.26.2016

Luna expands in Cedar Fairmount and beyond

Bridget Thibeault

Luna Bakery and Café recently underwent an expansion—its second since opening in June 2011. The restaurant, located in the Cedar Fairmount Business District, took over a portion of the space previously occupied by The Mad Greek. This expansion adds 500 square feet to Luna, enabling the café to add about 25 new seats.

When Luna originally opened, it could seat only about 15 people inside, though a patio offers additional seating in spring and summer. In the winter of 2011, the restaurant added a back room, increasing the number of indoor seats to about 35. With its latest expansion, the restaurant can now accommodate about 60 people inside.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:30 AM, 01.26.2016

Heights artists win awards in Cleveland Clinic competition

The Heights High eXpressions Art winners and their art teachers (from left): teacher Nancy Eisenberg, Michelle Posch, Kelly Moore, Jenna Dent, Londyn Crenshaw, and teacher Laura Skehan.

Four Heights High students won awards in the Cleveland Clinic eXpressions Art Competition: sophomore Jenna Dent and senior Michelle Posch won red ribbons, and sophomore Londyn Crenshaw and senior Kelly Moore won white ribbons.

The eXpression program invites high school artists to use art to explore science and medicine by translating research conducted by Cleveland Clinic high school interns into artistic interpretations of the science. A panel of art and science professionals used four criteria to evaluate the art: interpretation, presentation, creativity and initiative.

Dent, who painted an image of a heart inside a human chest with blue birds surrounding the body, said, “The blue birds represent happiness leaving because patients often suffer depression and anxiety.” Her piece was inspired by research titled Patient Awareness of Heart Failure.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:46 AM, 01.26.2016

Rudy's Pub opens on Lee Road

Amanda Elfers and Quintin Jones, owners of Rudy's Pub. The pub was named for Elfers' great-uncle, Rudolph Volger, in the photo behind them.

Rudy’s Pub, which had been on Van Aken Road near Warrensville Center Road in Shaker Heights for nearly a decade, has re-opened in the Cedar Lee neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. The restaurant is now located 2191 Lee Road, in the space previously occupied by the Cedar Lee Pub, which closed temporarily in October 2014, and then closed permanently in 2015.

Quintin Jones and Amanda Elfers, who are engaged to be married, own the pub. They closed the Shaker Heights location in October 2015 because of all of the construction and redevelopment going on in that neighborhood. Then, a couple of their regular customers told them about the Cedar Lee Pub space. Jones and Elfers came by, thought it would be a great spot for their restaurant, called the building’s owner and rented the space.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 10:23 AM, 01.19.2016

Outgoing library board president honors benefactor

Top: Rob Fischer dedicates the Lee Road Children's Room to Grace Brody. Bottom: Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director, presents Fischer with a resolution in honor of his board service.

On Dec. 21, Rob Fischer, Heights Libraries outgoing board president, called the library board to order for the last time. Fischer’s term ended in December, and one of his last acts as president was to dedicate and rename the Children’s Room at the Lee Road Library in honor of Grace F. Brody, library customer and generous benefactor.

Brody, who died in March 2014 at the age of 98, made Heights Libraries one of two recipients (along with the Cleveland Public Library) of the remainder of her estate, which is valued at approximately $1 million. Brody was a resident of Cleveland Heights and a retired faculty member of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. Brody did extensive research and writing in the area of family development and child rearing, and provided the funding for an endowed chair at Mandel, the Grace F. Brody Professor of Parent-Child Studies.

Fischer is currently a research professor at the Mandel School and, while he did not have a chance to work with Brody, his current work complements her research, focusing on the evaluation of programs to improve the well-being of children. Since 2001, he has led the Mandel Center’s research on Invest in Children, a countywide early childhood initiative that includes home visiting, children’s health and childcare components.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 10:19 AM, 01.19.2016

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / CHUH public library board meeting highlights [online 12-21-2015]

DECEMBER 21, 2015

  • Board President Rob Fischer completes term
  • Rebecca (Becky) Katzenmeyer retires
  • Library fund co-sponsors time capsule
  • Cost-saving measures noted
  • Balanced scorecard review
  • Adult service librarian promotions
  • November public service report highlights

Board Members Susan Beatty and Chris Mentrek were absent.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 2:50 PM, 01.20.2016

Classical Revolution Cleveland performs Jan. 21 at Heights Arts

Classical Revolution Cleveland in performance. [Image courtesy Classical Revolution Cleveland]

Heights Arts is rolling out a robust series of free music programs in 2016, including a new series of master classes for young musicians and performances of classical music (both new and traditional) in the gallery. Hear the nonprofit art organization's first community concert of 2016 in the gallery on Thursday, Jan. 21, when Classical Revolution Cleveland performs American classics by George Gershwin, Aaron Copland and Philip Glass, plus excepts from the "American" quartet by Antonín Dvorák. 

Part of a growing international movement that is dedicated to bringing classical music to the people, Cleveland's own Classical Revolution project began in 2009. It is a loosely bound collective of classically trained, professional musicians, including violinists Ariel Clayton Karas and Lisa Kim, violist Julian Machala and cellist Andris Koh.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:16 AM, 01.19.2016

St. Alban Church presents Burning River Baroque concert on Jan. 23

Burning River Baroque performs in Cleveland.

Burning River Baroque will present Forces of Good and Evil: The Colorful Lives of Composers at St. Alban Episcopal Church (2555 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights) on Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is by freewill donation.

In a program that parallels the goodness found in music with the inevitable nefariousness that exists in the world, Burning River Baroque will explore music by composers whose lives were colored with drama and scandal, alongside of works by those who led more “honorable” lives. Regardless of whether their behavior is deemed questionable or virtuous today, the music of Purcell, Barrière, Merula, Forqueray and Stradella remains exquisite enough to stand the test of time.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 1:38 PM, 01.19.2016

Beaumont School students honored with Scholastic Art awards

Gold key-winning painting Blue Breeze by Alexa Abounader '16. 

Six Beaumont School students have garnered seven awards in the annual Cuyahoga County Scholastic Art Competition, which recognizes outstanding regional student artists in grades 7–12. Beaumont students won one gold key, two silver keys and four honorable mentions, with gold key artwork moving on to the national Scholastic Art and Writing Competition in New York City later this year.

Alexa Abounader ’16 won a gold key for her painting Blue Breeze, and also received an honorable mention for another painting. Rachel Bauman ’16 won a silver key for her painting Fat Food, as did Brooke DiPasquale '16 for her ceramic piece, Coil Pot. Claire Cary ’17, Elizabeth Poland ’16 and Annie Reagan ’16 earned honorable mentions for their work. Bauman is a resident of University Heights, and DiPasquale and Cary are residents of Cleveland Heights.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 2:08 PM, 01.19.2016

Options 'ambassadors' to visit English school

Options Global Ambassadors: Brian Williams, coordinator of alternative program; Darian Cruz; Nathan Jolly; Cherronn Hodges; and Claude Holland, Options teacher. 

Three Heights High Options Program students, Darian Cruz, Cherronn Hodges and Nathan Jolly, held a Skype meeting in December with three students at the Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, England.

It was one of many preparation activities for the Options students, who plan to visit the English school Feb. 19–26.

Brian Williams, coordinator of alternative programs and leader of the Heights High Options Program alternative school, is organizing the trip, to provide African American male students with an international experience that he hopes will significantly impact their lives.

The Options “global ambassadors” will represent all Options students when they travel to the South London school.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 4:38 PM, 01.18.2016

Communion of Saints School to host Jan. 31 community open house

Communion of Saints School, a ministry of Communion of Saints Parish, will host a community open house on Jan. 31, from noon to 2 p.m. The school is located at 2160 Stillman Road, in Cleveland Heights.

Communion of Saints School, a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence that educates children in grades K–8, creates a learning environment where each student’s success is encouraged both in and out of the classroom. By providing an excellent faith-based education, the school’s goal is to enrich the lives of all students by challenging them to excel in school and to value and respect their community and family.

“We strive to teach the importance of service and giving back to the community at an early age,” said Chrystal Manos, principal.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 10:43 AM, 01.14.2016

UH council appoints architect John Rach to fill open council seat

Newly appointed UH Councilman John Rach.

On Jan. 4, UH City Council voted to appoint John Rach to the city’s open council seat, which was left unfilled when only three candidates stood for four open seats in the November 2015 general election.

Earlier in the meeting, three council members took oaths of office: re-elected council members Pamela Cameron and Steven Sims, and newly elected Michele Weiss. Council also re-elected Sue Pardee as the city’s vice mayor.

Rach, 31, is a registered architect who has lived in University Heights since 2011. He has served the city in various capacities since 2012, as a member of the board of zoning appeals, a committee member for the new master plan (ongoing), a steering committee member for the NOACA Pedestrian and Bike Friendly Lane Project, and a steering committee member for the new zoning code commission.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 10:33 AM, 01.12.2016

CH City Council announces application process to fill vacant council seat

In a Jan. 8 posting on its website, the City of Cleveland Heights announced that it is now accepting applications to fill the council seat left vacant by the resignation of Council Member Jeff Coryell, which took effect on Dec. 31, 2015.

Applications may be accessed online, at www.clevelandheights.com/council-app, or may be picked up at Cleveland Heights City Hall. The application deadline is Feb. 5.

Whomever council appoints will serve as a council member from the time of the appointment until Dec. 31, 2017. The seat will be up for election on Nov. 7, 2017, and whomever is elected then will serve a four-year term.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 1:20 PM, 01.11.2016

Annette Mecklenburg to become CH's first female police chief

Annette Mecklenburg, new CH police chief, with outgoing chief Jeffrey Robertson.

As of Feb. 2, the Cleveland Heights Police Department will have a new chief. On Feb. 1, Jeffrey Robertson will retire as police chief. The following day, Annette Mecklenburg will be sworn in, becoming the first female chief in the department’s history.

Robertson, 55, has served as chief for five years, and spent 34 and a half years on the force. Mecklenburg served as captain for a year and a half before being named chief. She has been on the Cleveland Heights police force for 25 years, and has lived in Cleveland Heights for more than 20 years.

The three candidates for chief underwent a testing process and interviews with city administrators. Cleveland Heights City Manager Tanisha Briley made the decision to name Mecklenburg the city's new police chief.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 12:26 PM, 01.11.2016

Heights High's Charles Conwell poised to join U.S. Olympic team

Charles Conwell heads to Rio de Janeiro in March, where he will compete for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Boxing team.

Charles Conwell, a senior at Heights High, may be headed to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August.

Conwell is very close to making the U.S. Olympic team as a boxer. The 18-year-old, who lives on Altamont Road in Cleveland Heights, has been boxing for the last eight years. “Once I started,” said Conwell, “I could never quit.”

Conwell, a 165-pound middleweight boxer, won his class at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Reno, Nev., in December. He beat two-time national champion Leshawn Rodriguez in his opening bout, and then went on to win his fights against world championship team member Anthony Campbell and 2015 national champion Chordale Booker.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 11:00 AM, 01.08.2016

CH City Council elects Stephens mayor; Stein vice mayor

Newly elected Vice Mayor Jason Stein and Mayor Cheryl Stephens hear prayers from clergy.

At its first meeting of 2016, Cleveland Heights City Council swore in its new and re-elected members. It also elected Cheryl Stephens as mayor and president of council, and Jason Stein as vice mayor.

The meeting began with the swearing in of Cleveland Heights City Council members Mary Dunbar, who was elected to a second term in November; Kahlil Seren, who was elected to council after having served, as an appointee, the remaining 10 months of an unexpired term; and newly elected Carol Roe.

The members of council (currently six, with the vacancy created by Jeff Coryell's resignation) then elected Cheryl Stephens as mayor and president of council. She is the second African-American woman to hold that office. Barbara Boyd, who had been elected to council in 1983, was the first.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 10:46 AM, 01.05.2016

University Heights names Geraci sisters its Citizens of the Year

Members of the Geraci family with the University Heights 2015 Citizens of the Year Award (from left): Patrick Brown, Greg Spoth, Martha "Marti" Spoth, Bucky Spoth, Frannie Geraci and Maggie Spoth. Not pictured: Toni Leonetti. [photo by Mayor Susan Infeld]

University Heights honored three members of the Geraci family, owners of Geraci’s restaurant on Warrensville Center Road, as the University Heights 2015 Citizens of the Year at the city council meeting on Dec. 21. “Their restaurant has contributed tremendously to the charm of University Heights,” said Mayor Susan K. Infeld. “They are a very warm and generous family.”

“The restaurant will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2016, and it’s really a staple of our community,” noted Infeld.

Michael Geraci and his wife, Frances, opened the restaurant on July 2, 1956. Both worked at the restaurant until they were well into their 80s. Michael died in 2013, at the age of 94, and Frances died on July 26, 2015, at the age of 93.

Their three daughters—Martha Geraci Spoth, Frannie Geraci and Toni Leonetti—who currently run the restaurant, received the award. “All three daughters are continuing in their parents’ footsteps,” Infeld said.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 2, Posted 9:38 AM, 01.05.2016

CH resident works to make wind a viable regional energy source

Sarah Taylor

Cleveland Heights resident Sarah Taylor is focused on making the world a safer, healthier place. In 2006, she formed Windustrious Cleveland. Its goal is to create a wind farm off the shores of Lake Erie and use wind power to replace fossil fuels as a source of energy in this region.

“Although the use of fossil fuels powered the industrial revolution, their time has now come and gone,” Taylor said. “We realize that we are inflicting tremendous harm on our atmosphere and climate with our continued usage of those fuels, and we should change course as fast as possible. The planet and its living organisms are being rapidly damaged, with some of those life forms already beyond repair.”

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:50 AM, 12.31.2015

Roxboro Middle School students walk for water

Roxboro's sixth-graders walked around the track on Nov. 24 to raise money for Water for South Sudan. [photo by Amanda Sell]

A child’s curiosity has the power to change the world.

That’s what happened in a case that started in the aisles of Whole Foods grocery store, setting off a chain of events that would eventually wind its way through the classrooms of Roxboro Middle School and end up in a village in South Sudan.

Years ago, Rosemary Pierce’s children were curious about an employee at Whole Foods. His accent was heavy and his skin so dark it looked like midnight. After hearing her children’s repeated questions, she suggested they ask him directly, and a conversation—and a friendship—began. The Pierce family listened to Akol Madut’s story of being one of Sudan’s Lost Boys, the child soldiers of the 1980s, left parentless and homeless during that country’s brutal civil war. Madut, now 35, spent months wandering the African countryside in search of shelter, before eventually becoming a commander in the rebel army in charge of 6,000 young boys. He was 12 years old.

After a dramatic escape coordinated by the International Red Cross and the U.S. Army, nearly 16,000 Lost Boys (and 300 Lost Girls) arrived in America 15 years ago. Madut was the first of 37 to settle in Cleveland.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:45 AM, 12.31.2015

Student refugees build new lives in Heights schools

I wanted to make my guests feel welcomed so I baked my mother’s ginger snaps. The cookies made my house smell good as five thoughtful high school students, Ruth, Ornela, Oshin, Tapash and Raja, chatted around my dining room table. They were accompanied by Carla Bailey, their cultural interpreter, advocate, coach, advisor, prod, driver and, at times, surrogate parent.

The students are refugees. The civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and religious persecution in Bhutan led their families to refugee camps in Namibia and Nepal. After several years, their families’ petitions to be permanently resettled were approved by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. US Together, a resettlement agency located in Cleveland Heights, supported the startup of their lives here, along with families fleeing the war in Iraq.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:32 AM, 12.31.2015

Form-based zoning code fosters revitalization of urban places

Can urban design terms like “walkability,” “place making” and “high-quality public realm” save our cities? The answer lies in our ability to harness their value.  

The other day, a friend described her husband’s aggressive but loving questioning of her day as “har-asking”—a blend of the words "harass" and "ask." It made me laugh, because it described my style of caring. It’s a good fit for this line of questioning.

Living in a first-ring suburb, we’re familiar with the challenges of our post-industrial cities: the downward spiral caused by accelerating infrastructure costs and a shrinking population. Fortunately for the Heights, an invisible asset was left behind by B.R. Deming (a founder and developer of Cleveland Heights) and it can be harnessed to pull us out of our descending path.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:23 AM, 12.31.2015

Teachers union promotes consumer awareness

Heights students Aviva Klein (left) and Gabriela Wolin model the new union-made Heights Tigers spirit shirt. 

T-shirts are often available for fundraising, group cohesion, and to show commitment to a common cause. Over the years, I have become choosier about the T-shirts I wear because sometimes the message on the shirt is overpowered by its origin.

When I look at the label on many T-shirts, I am uncomfortable with who might be making and assembling the fabric, and under what conditions, and who is printing the shirt. I know that it is virtually impossible to place these kinds of standards on everything I wear, but for me, and many people I know, trying to be socially conscious consumers of printed T-shirts is important.

The T-shirts that the Cleveland Heights Teachers Union designs are always printed at a union shop on a union-made shirt. Some argue that this practice is prohibitively expensive. That has not been our experience. Our T-shirts cost less than $8, even when we buy a small number of them.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:17 AM, 12.31.2015

Inner-ring suburbs create community development corporations

Community development corporations (CDCs) first emerged in the 1960s in the most distressed neighborhoods of central cities. They now number in the thousands. In the city of Cleveland, they took hold in the late 1970s in several neighborhoods, and now there are several dozen in Cleveland, all supported by the city.

Cities like Cleveland also have created economic development departments to retain and attract businesses to strengthen their tax bases and gain jobs for residents. Many suburbs, including Cleveland Heights, have followed suit. Currently, though, the Cleveland Heights economic development director’s position is vacant.

Some of the inner-ring suburbs have also created CDCs. These are nonprofit corporations with their own boards which work with their city government but also offer separate advantages.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:14 AM, 12.31.2015

Liberty Oaks tree markers merit explanation

To the Editor:

Re: the Liberty Oaks—a few years ago the Observer published an article that answered my question about the markers at the base of trees that surround Horseshoe Lake. Though I don’t recall them being called Liberty Oaks, the article said they were planted and labeled in honor of WWI soldiers who had lost their lives. A lovely memorial, but one with no explanation, not even a date, just a person’s name. I hope when they put signage up, as mentioned in the current article [Heights Observer, December 2015], they will remember the trees around Horseshoe Lake.

Read Full Story
Volume 9, Issue 1, Posted 10:28 AM, 12.31.2015