Latest News

May 22 Soup and Bread Experiment will benefit Cedar Lee Mini-Park

Photo from the March 2018 Soup and Bread event at the BottleHouse, showcasing a variety of soups offered.

The CLE Soup and Bread Experiment’s next monthly event at the BottleHouse in Cleveland Heights will take place on Wednesday, May 22, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Donations from the evening will benefit the Cedar Lee Mini-Park Placemaking Project, which seeks to turn the Cedar Lee Mini-Park into a vibrant gathering space.

The CLE Soup and Bread Experiment is an all-volunteer organization that shares soup, breaks bread, and donates each month to a worthy cause. Volunteer soup makers bring hot soup to the event, local bakeries provide bread and, together, they make a meal. The meal is free, but participants are asked to contribute to the donation bucket, in support of a worthy cause.

Heights resident Simona Mkrtschjan learned about the Soup and Bread Experiment through a friend in Chicago, and decided that she wanted to bring it to her hometown. In existence for just over two years, the Cleveland group has evolved and grown. Events are now organized, curated, and led by Nicole Rossa, Kirstan Ryan and other Heights volunteers. “We chose soup because soup is more than soup—while nourishing and comforting, it also binds people together,” said Rossa.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 12:30 PM, 05.14.2019

Latest News Releases

HRCC Annual Business Expo Celebrates 25 Years of Connecting Local Businesses and Strengthening The Communities They Serve
- Heights Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce, May 8, 2019 Read More
Two Distinguished Female Leaders Will Deliver Commencement Addresses in May
- JCU, May 6, 2019 Read More
Attention families of preschool-age children: Fairmount Cooperative Preschool is now enrolling
- Preschool Info., April 29, 2019 Read More
Five CH City Council members sign letter to Governor DeWine expressing their concern with SB 23, the "Heartbeat Bill"
- City of Cleveland Heights, April 25, 2019 Read More
Cleveland Heights City Council Member Kahlil Seren Introduces Legislation to Condemn Ohio’s Abortion Ban: Resolution Requires Law Department to Submit Amicus Brief in Court Challenge
- City of Cleveland Heights, April 24, 2019 Read More

View more news releases

Dewey Decimators are three-peat spelling bee champions

Victor Rosenberg and Chris Mentrek of the Dewey Decimators team accept the coveted plastic bee trophy from Krista Hawthorne, executive director of Reaching Heights, after winning the Reaching Heights 28th Annual Adult Community Spelling Bee on May 1.

Congratulations to the Dewey Decimators, representing and sponsored by Friends of the Heights Libraries, for winning the Reaching Heights Adult Community Spelling Bee for the third year in a row. This year Chris Mentrek and Victor Rosenberg, missing their teammate Susan Marshall, battled through five rounds to win on the word “mnemonically,” the adverbial form of mnemonic, which means assisting or intended to assist memory.

More than a spelling competition or fundraiser, the Reaching Heights Spelling Bee is a community-building event in support of high quality public education.

Unlike traditional spelling bees, this is a team competition of at least two, and at most three, adults who put their heads together to determine their best guess of a word’s spelling.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:01 AM, 05.14.2019

Register now for Peace Lutheran's free day camp

Peace Lutheran Church, carrying on the tradition of Hope Lutheran, one of its predecessor congregations, will offer its 19th annual Christian Day Camp June 10–14. The camp is free of charge and runs 9 a.m to 3 p.m. daily at the church, located at 3740 Mayfield Road in Cleveland Heights.

The camp is open to all children who will have completed any grade from kindergarten through grade five as of the end of this current school year.

Registration is open now, with a June 3 deadline, and is limited to 30 campers.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:24 AM, 05.21.2019

A Heights resident shares the joy of her home garden

Early blooming lenten roses add color in early spring.

In Joan Mallek’s verdant home garden, one can see the results of a 40-year labor of love—growing beautiful plants.

A self-educated and self-trained gardener, Mallek designed her landscape through her own inspiration and ideas, experimenting over time. She spends three full weeks each spring preparing her yard, deadheading, amending the soil,and deciding if she wants to make any changes. After the harvest in the fall, she takes just as much time and care putting her garden to rest for the winter.

Mallek’s garden is one stop on this summer’s inaugural GardenWalk Cleveland Heights, planned for Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, noon to 5 p.m., The free tour will comprise multiple private yards and public gardens in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:59 PM, 05.08.2019

Forest Hill Swim Club—My summer home

Forest Hill Swim Club (Photo by Frank Mathias)

Most times when you hear people talk about spending the summer in Cleveland Heights, you hear the same remarks: “There’s nothing to do,” and, “When I’m older, I’m moving somewhere less boring.” Despite these common claims, I have never felt this way about my summer days here. This is because whenever I feel like I’m on the verge of being “bored,” I have a convenient place where I can go to change that. A place where I can spend my summer days and nights with my friends and family. A place where I can cool off, relax, and enjoy my dad’s famous grilled cheeseburgers. A place I call my summer home—more commonly known as, Forest Hills Swim Club (FHSC).

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:27 PM, 05.08.2019

May 7 LWV forum aims to help voters make sense of judicial elections

The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland (LWVGC) is hosting a forum, Making Sense of Local Judicial Elections, on Tuesday, May 7, 7–8:30 p.m., at the Lee Road Library, 2345 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights. 

Many Ohio voters skip the judicial portion of their ballot because they don't know who or what they're voting for. Forum panelists will explain the structure of the Ohio judicial system and the role local judges play in the lives of residents. The panelists will also provide the tools voters need to research candidates, enabling them to make informed choices on Election Day.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 4:47 PM, 05.06.2019

Living WWI memorial marks its centennial

Signs along North Park Boulevard in Cleveland Heights share the parkway's history with passersby.

This Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, marks the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Liberty Row Trees—a significant, yet little known, living memorial.

Planted along Rockefeller Parkway in Cleveland, and winding nine miles southeast through Shaker Lakes in Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, this stretch of red oak trees was dedicated in 1919 to honor World War I soldiers from the Cleveland area who lost their lives during the war.

Greater Cleveland was one of the first communities nationally to envision a multi-mile chain of trees as a memorial to fallen soldiers. This memorial followed the suggestion of American Forests Association Board Chairman Charles Lathrop Pack, who, in November 1918, called for “a new form of monument—a memorial that lives.” American Legion posts, garden clubs, students, and families who lost loved ones promoted this concept of planting trees as a memorial.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:22 AM, 05.02.2019

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education regular meeting highlights 5-7-2019

MAY 7, 2019


  • Recognition of Academic Challenge teams and teachers
  • Superintendent’s Student Cadre update
  • Rejoining the Ohio Athletic Association
  • Board approvals
  • Building repairs and facilities renovation update
  • Reinstitution of local school board presidents’ meetings


President Jodi Sourini, Vice President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Also present were Acting Superintendent Brian Williams and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting began at 7:10 p.m. after an executive session and reception for tenured teachers and was adjourned at 8:50 p.m. 

Recognition of Academic Challenge teams and teachers

Superintendent Williams recognized the high school and middle school Academic Challenge teams.

Seven teachers were recognized for receiving tenure.

Superintendent’s Student Cadre update

Members of the superintendent’s 2018-2019 Student Cadre reported on their activities with a video presentation. The Student Cadre provides their insight on what it is like to be a student at Heights High and how to implement positive change and improvements in the district.

Rejoining the Ohio Athletic Association

Williams reported that the district had rejoined the Ohio Athletic Association.

Board approvals

The board unanimously approved donations exceeding a total of $10,000.

The board unanimously voted to adopt policy group B after the third reading.

Building repairs and facilities renovation update

Roof repairs: The board approved bids to repair the Nobel and Fairfax school roofs; the cost will be paid from the permanent improvement fund.

Middle school facilities renovations: The discussion focused on the science rooms. There will be two science rooms for each grade at both buildings. At the time of this meeting, the change orders are within the budget.

Reinstitution of local school board presidents’ meetings

President Sourini attended a meeting for the local school board presidents. This group is working to establish regular meetings after a hiatus of some years.

LWV Observer: Adele Cohn.

To receive email postings of full reports, send an email to or join through Google groups using “lwv-chuh observer reports” as a search phrase. 

These reports contain member observation and selected highlights of public meetings and are not official statements of the Heights Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland. This disclaimer must accompany any redistribution of these reports.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:44 AM, 05.22.2019

Cleveland Heights- University Heights Board of Education regular meeting highlights 4-16-2019

APRIL 16, 2019


  • Introduction of the NWEA MAP program


President Jodi Sourini, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis and Beverly Wright were present. Vice President James Posch was absent. Interim Superintendent Dr. Brian A. Williams and Director of Data and Assessment Allison Byrd were also present. The meeting began at 6 p.m. and adjourned at 7:13 p.m.



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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:40 AM, 05.22.2019

UH Memorial Day parade honors and remembers those who sacrificed

The University Heights Memorial Day Parade kicks off on Monday, May 27, at 11 a.m. Photo by Caleb Schuster.

Summer kicks off in University Heights on May 27 with the annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade honors those who gave their lives in service to the United States, and also celebrates the sacrifices that our veterans made.

“Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer. For many of us, it is so much more than that,” said Rachel Mullen, the new special projects coordinator for University Heights. “It is a time to reflect and honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.”

In July 1944, Mullen’s great-uncle was killed in France fighting the Nazis during World War II. “While my uncle died before I was even born, I was very aware of his sacrifice,” she said. “Like many Gold Star Families, this loss is one felt for generations.”

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:18 AM, 05.02.2019

Cleveland Heights crime continued to drop in 2018

Overall crime trend in Cleveland Heights, 2011–2018.

Serious crime in Cleveland Heights hit its lowest level last year since 2011, when the Cleveland Heights Police Department (CHPD) began reporting reliable statistics.

The 94 violent crimes reported in 2018 represented a 28-percent drop from the year before. Property crimes were down 19 percent, with 714 reported.

The biggest decrease in violent crime was in robberies. Rape and assault were down slightly, while there was one more murder in 2018 than in 2017.

Among property crimes, there were significant declines in burglaries and thefts, while the number of auto thefts and arsons rose slightly.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:15 AM, 05.02.2019

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. to host Burning Man co-founder May 31

Michael Mikel, co-founder of Burning Man.

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus will host a discussion with one of the founders of the annual Burning Man festival, an event that draws more than 70,000 people to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada for a week of creative expression, at a fundraising event to benefit the campus on May 31.

The event, "The Art of Community: A Discussion with Burning Man Co-Founder Michael Mikel,” is a unique opportunity to learn about the “10 Principles of Burning Man” and how they can apply to permanent communities and placemaking.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:12 AM, 05.02.2019

Noble weekend festival begins May 17

A lemonade-stand entrepreneur during a previous We Are Noble festival.

We Are Noble, the annual celebration of the neighborhoods along Noble Road, will take place Friday through Sunday, May 17–19.

Festivities will begin on Friday, May 17, with NobleFest, a family fun night hosted by the PTAs of Noble and Oxford elementary schools, 6–8 p.m. at Noble school. Turns in the bounce house, games, face-painting, Tiger Nation gear and food will be available for purchase. It will be a good place for patrons to buy their first funnel cake of the summer carnival season. Free bicycle registration, a helmet giveaway and free photos will also be on offer.

Nearby, at 7 p.m., Noble Road Presbyterian Church will offer a free viewing of the movie, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” The film is about Fred Rogers’ impact on generations of young people, and a perfect theme for the weekend.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:06 AM, 05.02.2019

Concerns about Top of the Hill

While the design and massing for Top of the Hill (TOH) are extremely disappointing, what irks me to no end is the math behind the project and the answers I receive from City Hall.

What no one has been able to explain to me is why—with land that is ostensibly “free” at the most developable site in the city, with a parking structure that makes the project viable, paid for with taxes that would otherwise go to the public schools—the developer is unable to secure financing and the city is covering a funding “gap.”

No one at City Hall is able to tell me why there is a “gap,” why the city is covering $1.85 million of this “gap,” or what $1.85 million in public money is paying for. As the city does not have $1.85 million sitting around, it is going to borrow this money, which means the cost will be around $2 million with interest.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:52 AM, 05.02.2019

CH Branding Survey needs second round

[The writer sent the following as a letter to Cleveland Heights City Council on April 17. City Manager Tanisha Briley responded promptly, and a possible meeting is in the works.]

The most recent issue of Focus magazine provided a synopsis of Cleveland Heights’ self-appointed Brand Steering Committee’s branding initiative findings, and the committee’s plans for translating those findings into a new city logo and tagline.

While no one should fault the committee for its intentions, there are deeply concerning issues with its approach, most especially regarding how it sought respondents for its online brand survey and subsequently reported those responses.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:47 AM, 05.02.2019

Why elect a mayor?

Last month, we wrote that we support the objective of Citizens for an Elected Mayor to change Cleveland Heights’ form of government via charter amendment. Now, we want to explain why.

Our interest in the intricate workings of city government dates to 2015, when CH City Council and the city manager attempted to privatize our water service. Since then, between us we have attended well over 100 meetings of the committee of the whole—the weekly working sessions of city council—along with about 50 regular bi-weekly council meetings.

We have observed City Manager Tanisha Briley grappling with a host of problems created by her predecessor, Robert Downey, whose tenure lasted more than 25 years, until his sudden departure in 2012. Plainly speaking, he left behind a mess.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:42 AM, 05.02.2019

There's no rhyme or reason in school testing and funding

I recently watched the Heights High Drama Club perform “The Phantom Tollbooth,” the story of a bored young boy who travels to a different realm with two imaginary kingdoms. After a disagreement, the kingdoms banish the two princesses, Rhyme and Reason. Without these two royals the whole realm is in chaos, as you might expect. This all strikes a little close to home in our current era of national and state politics.

In the play, one of the most interesting scenes is a banquet where the spoken word is taken literally, with “square meals” being some sort of square-shaped food. Students updated the “half-baked ideas” part of the dinner with their own reflections of current society. One pulled out a half-baked idea and read “the earth is flat,” which made everyone chuckle.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:35 AM, 05.02.2019

School board rejects high-stakes testing

I am grateful to the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education for taking a stand on high-stakes testing. At its March 19 meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution titled “Time to Teach, Time to Learn,” which rejects “the overuse and misuse of standardized testing.”

For too long, public schools in Ohio have been tethered to a destructive judgment system that legislators said would ensure that all children succeed in school. This approach uses standardized tests to make consequential decisions that are supposed to motivate high achievement. The goal is admirable, but the strategy is misguided. High-stakes testing is a misuse of standardized tests.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:33 AM, 05.02.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 5-6-2019

MAY 6, 2019


  • Public comments
  • Abortion law resolution
  • City manager’s report
  • Meadowbrook Boulevard reconstruction
  • Selwyn Road
  • Liquor control
  • CAC appointment
  • Bike Month and Preservation Month
  • Small cell wireless facilities and structures
  • Water quality ordinances
  • Mayor’s report


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren and Jason Stein. Michael N. Ungar participated by telephone, but did not vote. The meeting lasted from 7:38 to 9:21 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:31 AM, 05.22.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council Meeting highlights 4-15-2019

APRIL 15, 2019


  • New council member Craig Cobb
  • Public comments
  • Council priorities update
  • Cedar-Lee and Meadowbrook project
  • Small-cell wireless facilities
  • Leaf collection
  • Hydrant flushing
  • Top of the Hill project
  • Ohio Senate Bill 23
  • Mayor’s report


Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren, Jason Stein and Michael Ungar attended the meeting. The meeting lasted 1 hour and 21 minutes.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 10:17 AM, 05.22.2019

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to three CH projects

Heights Performing Arts Camp participants  performed at the Alma Theatre in Cain Park in 2017.

FutureHeights completed the spring 2019 round of its Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program, approving $2,415 in grants to support three neighborhood projects in Cleveland Heights. The grants are intended to spur small, grassroots projects to improve quality of life and build community.

FutureHeights awarded the Cleveland Heights Aging Well at Home Initiative $720. Residents of the Forest Hill neighborhood developed a guide of resources for Cleveland Heights residents who have chosen to age at home or who are living at home with disabilities. The group developed the guide to assist their neighbors in navigating service providers. To learn more and access the guide, visit

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:30 AM, 05.02.2019

New website considers 'great design' and current development projects

Several Cleveland Heights residents have created the Citizens for Great Design website,

In creating it, their intention is to raise community awareness about the design and architectural attributes of significant and important Cleveland Heights developments.

There are several development projects in the planning stage throughout the city. These are privately funded, or may involve city supported financing and/or tax support, such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF). Each project requires city approval through the planning/zoning and Architectural Board of Review process.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:23 AM, 05.02.2019

Dobama Theatre wins Actors Equity award

Dobama Artistic Director Nathan Motta accepts the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award for promoting diversity in theatre at a ceremony in Chicago on March 11. Presenter Tina Stump looks on.

Dobama Theatre was honored with a regional award by the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) for making non-traditional casting a priority all season long, and providing ongoing opportunities for underrepresented artists.

The theatre received the Kathryn V. Lamkey Award at the annual “Spirit, a Celebration of Diversity” event in Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater on March 11. Named after a former AEA Central Regional Director, the “Kathy” recognizes Dobama’s current 2018/2019 season, which features only women playwrights, including Dominique Morisseau, Annie Baker, Karen Zacarías, Alice Birch, Jennifer Haley and Melissa James Gibson.

Past winners of the award include Damron Russel Armstrong, founder the Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City; Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation; Ron Himes, the founder and producing director of the St. Louis Black Repertory Theater; Barbara Gaines, founder and artistic director of Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and the Court Theatre.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:00 AM, 04.30.2019

CH council appoints Cobb as new member

Craig Cobb

On April 2, Cleveland Heights Mayor Carol Roe announced that Cleveland Heights City Council had selected Craig Cobb to serve as the seventh city council member. Cobb, a longtime resident of the city, fills the vacancy created in November 2018, when Cheryl Stephens resigned from CH City Council after being elected to Cuyahoga County Council.

“We are thrilled to welcome Craig to the Council,” stated Roe, “and believe he will be a great asset to us and to the city. Craig’s knowledge and experience with city government will be immediately capitalized on as we go forward with a number of important issues.”

Cobb, a branch legal office managing attorney for Farmers Insurance Exchange, served as chair of the city’s Planning Commission and a member of the recent Charter Review Commission.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:31 PM, 05.01.2019

Read your way through 'the great outdoors' this summer

Summer is just around the corner, and what goes hand-in-hand with picnics, beaches and parks? A good book, or—for many of Heights Libraries’ summer reading program participants—lots of them.

“With this theme we wanted to design a fun reading program that also encourages participants to get out and explore—whether it’s a local park or just their own backyard and neighborhood,” said Sam Lapides, youth services manager.

Children and teens will be invited to read books, update reading logs, and complete activities to earn raffle tickets to enter to win a wide array of prizes. Thirty days of reading are needed to officially complete the program, but participants are encouraged to fill out additional reading logs after they’ve completed the first.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:54 PM, 05.01.2019

May 17 workshop will focus on home-based businesses

Jennifer Corso

On May 17 home-based business owners will have the opportunity to learn strategies and techniques on how to move into an office or storefront. FutureHeights is sponsoring the free workshop “From Home-Based to Storefront,” which aims to teach business owners about the resources available to them in the community, what to consider when determining whether to move into a storefront or rented office space, and strategies for growth.

The workshop will host two speakers, Jennifer Corso and Marc Rossen of Petronzio Schneier Co., LPA, who have both focused much of their careers on small business development. Corso practices in the area of employment law, and advises small businesses on hiring, firing, discipline and safety issues. Rossen focuses on startup law, helping entrepreneurs and small businesses with such issues as setting up a business entity, protecting business ideas and intellectual property, funding a growing business, acquiring new businesses and more.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:07 PM, 05.01.2019

Artists contemplate local experiences

Karen Sandstrom's illustrations explore the relationships between humans and animals.

Karen Sandstrom is the next featured artist in the Heights Arts Spotlight Gallery, in a show opening May 10. Sandstrom’s recent body of work, “Such Agreeable Friends,” pays homage to George Eliot’s quote, which observes the personified virtues of the kinship animals offer. Sandstrom’s work in this show combines handwritten text and illustrated imagery in an article-style composition. Mentions of local weather, animals, seasonal fruits and trees, etc., construct a life that is familiar to any number of suburban Cleveland residents. The mellow exterior and visually flowing scrawl of the lettering sits in contrast to the sharper, snarkier voice of the text. Focusing a humorous and honest lens on a calmer, softer approach to dissecting the everyday, Sandstrom’s pieces do not aim to critique or to settle for paying homage. They heighten an awareness of the existence of these pleasantly simple and small moments that would otherwise be overlooked. Come to the opening reception on May 10, 6 to 9 p.m., to see how the narrator works in conjunction with an intertwining collage of tenderly rendered watercolor pieces, and converse with the artist herself.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:11 PM, 05.01.2019

Birthday presence—food, music and baseball

This is not a Tommy's Cherry Cheese Pie, but it looks like it, except that the one from Tommy's, that I ate all of, was much larger.

My birthday has always been in May. Every year of my life. All 54 of them. I’m not totally sure of that number, but I know it’s been at least 54.

I have eaten dinner at Tommy’s on Coventry on my birthday for, I believe, 42 of the past 46 years.

One birthday that really stands out in my memory was the one in 1978, when a woman I was dating at the time convinced Tommy Fello to sell her an entire restaurant-size Cherry Cheese Pie—my favorite dessert for many years—which she presented to me for a birthday present. I took it home and didn’t share it with anyone, not even that kind, thoughtful woman (I lived alone, which made that easier), and I ate the entire, enormous Cherry Cheese Pie. In two sittings, in a two-day period. I kept thinking, while I was indulging in that exercise of gluttony, that I would really regret consuming so much of it in such a short amount of time. But I was wrong. I didn’t. I felt great afterward. And back then, in an era during which I was super-skinny, I remained so, even after ingesting so many calories, carbs, fat grams and whatever else.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:13 PM, 05.01.2019

S'Wonderful Gifts delivers personalized service close to home

S'Wonderful owner Bill Wort inside his colorful Lee Road shop. [photos by Libba Jackson-D'Ambrosi]

S’Wonderful Gifts at 2254 Lee Road can solve a gift emergency faster than a drive to a big box store. Bill Wort opened his shop in the Cedar Lee shopping district in November 2015, after 32 years as a buyer for museum shops in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. The store stocks a cross-section of gifts, from whimsical to wearable—silly and sassy socks are a perennial best-seller during the holidays.

Wort’s collection is curated but eclectic. Maybe that’s because he worked for 16 years at the Smithsonian’s Asian museums in D.C., buying things that had to be related to their Asian collections. “I don’t have that restriction now!” exclaimed Wort. “It’s fun when you go to market and think . . . I love this. I haven’t seen this before.”

His products fall into five categories: jewelry and other wearable accessories, such as watches, scarves and purses; games and toys; stationery/cards; pens/pencils; and books (mostly children’s). Whether big or small, items are laid out to be seen and enjoyed, as if in a museum.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:04 PM, 05.01.2019

Annual RoxEl Run benefit set for May 18

Participants of a past RoxEl Run wait to race at the starting line. 

The annual RoxEl Run, one of Roxboro Elementary School’s most popular fundraisers and community events, will take place this year on Saturday, May 18, at 9 a.m. Now in its seventh year, the PTA-organized event, with the tagline “Run Like It’s Recess,” promotes physical fitness as a fun and social pursuit.

Race co-chairs Gillian Grim and Clare Taft emphasize that the RoxEl Run is an event for everyone. "In our seventh year, the RoxEl Run is so much more than just a fundraiser for our PTA," said Taft. "The run is a chance to engage families, the business community, the district and the Roxboro neighborhood, while having fun and celebrating our students."

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:50 PM, 05.01.2019

Gardening is for the birds

Cedar waxwings feed on native insects, who in turn feed on native trees. Photo credit Lisa Hall

We choose each plant that we place in our garden. But what if birds and insects chose instead? After all, to humans plants are beautiful and fragrant, but to wildlife they are essential food and shelter.

Human health is inextricably bound to the health of wildlife for a healthy environment. Global-scale policies are needed to mitigate the impact of climate change, but individuals, neighborhoods and communities can do what is necessary to make a difference, such as choosing to plant native flora to support native wildlife.

Change can start small. This spring, 20-plus homeowners on Bradford Road are each planting a small patch of native flowers on their tree lawns and front lawns to create a pollinator path. The cumulative effect will be the creation of a quarter acre of native habitat—the Bradford Pollinator Path! Plants include milkweed varieties (Asclepias syriaca, A. incarnata, and A. tuberosa), cardinal flower, blue lobelia, Culver’s root, obedient plant, wild bergamot, and more.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:48 PM, 05.01.2019

University Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-15-2019

APRIL 15, 2019


  • Mayor’s report
  • Mayor’s Municipal Future Committee
  • Fair housing ordinance clarification
  • UH City Beautiful Corporation
  • New zoning category
  • Traffic signal repair
  • Fire safety and EMS equipment
  • Department and committee reports


Present were Mayor Michael D Brennan, Pamela Cameron, Phil Ertel, John Rach, Michele Weiss and Mark Wiseman. Vice Mayor Susan Pardee and Steven Sims were absent. Also present were Law Director Luke McConville, Finance Director James Goffe, and Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas. The meeting was held from 7:05 to 8:45 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:47 AM, 05.02.2019

Cedar Lee to screen crowd-sourced film on yoga master

A new documentary film, "Iyengar: The Man, Yoga, and the Student’s Journey," will be screened at the Cedar Lee Theatre on Wednesday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker Jake Clennell, the film looks at the life and teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar, considered instrumental in popularizing yoga around the world. An Official Selection of the Vancouver International Film Festival, the film was made with the support and cooperation of B.K.S. Iyengar and the Iyengar family, the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States, and students and supporters worldwide.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:00 PM, 05.01.2019

Rummage sale will benefit Heights preschool

Heights Cooperative Preschool has planned a multi-family benefit rummage sale on Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All of the proceeds will benefit the school and support programs for the children. 

The sale will be held in the parking lot of Church of the Redeemer, at 2420 South Taylor Road. In case of rain, the sale will move inside, to the lower level of the church building.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:50 PM, 05.01.2019

CH Senior Center News

This month, through a partnership between the Cleveland Heights Office on Aging and University Circle Interactive Cleveland, Senior Activity Center (SAC) members are invited to participate in cultural outings that will take them to the latest exhibits, concerts and museums in Cleveland.

Using video-conference technology, the SAC is able to bring educators from around the world to the center.

On Thursday, May 9, at 11 a.m., seniors can participate in a video-conference with Joel Cohn, live from Israel. Cohn’s talk, “The Start-Up Nation,” will consider the technology boom in Israel, with a focus on the Jewish people and their connection to the land. Afterward, following an optional box lunch from The Stone Oven at the SAC, participants will travel on the SAC van to the Maltz Museum for a docent-led tour of the current exhibit, Israel Then and Now. This world-premiere exhibition takes a look back and imagines what’s ahead for the country, via milestone moments, historic images, interactive media and film. Participants are urged to register early for what promises to be a fascinating day. The cost is $35 for the video lecture, lunch and trip; $25 for the lecture and trip only.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:40 PM, 05.01.2019

Campaign for elected mayor moves ahead

Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM), the Cleveland Heights organization seeking to change the city’s form of government, is finalizing its proposed charter amendment and the initiative language intended for this year’s Nov. 5 ballot. CEM members would like to see their city government headed by a mayor elected directly by the voters.

“We have had hundreds of people express support [for an elected mayor] at our two public forums, as well as at half a dozen house meetings,” said CEM secretary Michael Bennett.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:44 AM, 04.30.2019

Nighttown hosts Officer West scholarship fundraiser

Officer Jason West

Nighttown will host the 2019 Officer Jason West Memorial Scholarship Mega Raffle fundraiser on Sunday, May 5, 5–8 p.m. Raffle tickets are $2 and can be purchased from any committee member, at Quintana's Barber & Dream Spa, CLE Urban Winery, Shawn Paul Salon and Nighttown, or at the event.

This year will mark the 12th anniversary since a group of Cleveland Heights residents and business owners first came together to start the scholarship, which honors the memory of Officer West, a member of the Cleveland Heights Police Department, who lost his life in 2007 while responding to a disturbance call.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:48 AM, 04.30.2019

Heights High team wins televised Academic Challenge

Maple Buescher, Rohan Bruce and Leo Kenealy (seated) with alternates (standing, left to right) Sam Hermes and Elliot Zoldak on the set of Academic Challenge at WEWS-TV. 

Cleveland Heights High School junior Rohan Bruce has “always really liked reading," and commented, "I retain a lot of (seemingly) useless information"—a skill she puts to use as captain of the high school’s Academic Challenge team.

Bruce and teammates Maple Buescher and Leo Kenealy competed against St. Ignatius and North Ridgeville high schools on the Academic Challenge program on March 23 on WEWS-TV (Channel 5/ABC). Their Heights High team won, scoring 505 points to St. Ignatius’ 485. North Ridgeville came in third with 380. 

Academic Challenge is a quiz show for high school students, testing their knowledge of topics ranging from literature and history to physics and geography. A fledgling club was started at the middle school level a few years ago, which is where sophomores Buescher and Kenealy got their start.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:56 AM, 04.30.2019

CH SIDs kick off May with Bike the Heights

May is Bike Month, and the Cedar Fairmount, Cedar Lee and Coventry Village special improvement districts (SIDs) will be celebrating in a big way with the introduction of their first collaborative Bike the Heights weekend, Friday to Sunday, May 3 to 5.

Recognizing the increasing popularity of bike riding in the districts, leaders of the three SIDs determined an event was in order. In addition to rides, special offers will be available at select merchants in each of the districts.

The Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) is taking an active part in the weekend with a family-friendly ride on Saturday, May 4, at 3 p.m., originating and ending at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park. Since Saturday is May 4 ("May the Fourth be With You!") Coventry Village will tip its hat to "Star Wars." Crank Set Rides asks everyone to arrive in "Star Wars" costumes to become eligible for prizes as part of its Star Wars Bar Crawl Ride through Cedar Lee, Cedar Fairmount and Coventry Village.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:52 AM, 04.30.2019

Local programs mark National Preservation Month

The 1930 Heights Rockefeller Building, pictured here in 1935, is a stop on the June 1 Best of the Bikes tour.

May is National Preservation Month, and four Cleveland Heights institutions are joining together to sponsor a series of local history programs that take place in May, and beyond.

The Cleveland Heights Historical Society, Cleveland Heights Landmark Commission, Cleveland Restoration Society (CCRS), and Heights Libraries kick off the first of five programs on April 25, and the series wraps up on June 1. All programs are free, and do not require registration.

Thursday, April 25, 7 p.m., Wood Windows: Repair or Replace?

“Buy 3 new windows get one free!” There are plenty of replacement window models, manufacturers, and deals on the market, but what is the truth about window replacement? If there were an ad about keeping original windows, it might read, “Keep all your windows for free and repair them for 50-percent less than replacement windows!” Margaret Lann, of the Cleveland Restoration Society (CRS), will review window efficiency, available window materials, appropriate architectural style, and provide a cost analysis of repair vs. replacement, with tips on how to tackle window restoration or replacement in an older home. [Noble Neighborhood Library, 2800 Noble Road.]

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:44 AM, 04.23.2019

Goines installed as Forest Hill co-pastor May 5

Rev. Dr. Veronica R. Goines

On Sunday, May 5, 4 p.m., Forest Hill Church, Presbyterian, begins a new era of pastoral leadership and ministry. The Rev. Dr. Veronica R. Goines will be installed as co-pastor. All are welcome at this service of installation.

A nearly lifelong resident of California, Goines is excited by the call to work collaboratively with co-pastor John C. Lentz Jr. in leading the church. She brings extensive ministry experience in cross-cultural and multicultural contexts to her post.

Forest Hill has a legacy of being a leader in the community and in its PC(USA) denomination.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:24 AM, 05.02.2019

Carts or bags? CH task force takes on trash

Blue bags and boxes may disappear from tree lawns in Cleveland Heights if a task force recommends an automated collection system for the city.

Blue bags or blue bins? Public or private trash collection? These are just two of the major questions the newly formed Refuse and Recycling Task Force has to answer for Cleveland Heights over the next six months.

At the first task force meeting on April 18, Director of Public Works Colette Clinkscale said the city’s aging system is at a tipping point. “Equipment is at a point where we need to make an investment, and we don’t want to make the wrong investment,” she said. Clinkscale is one of three city staffers who will act as non-voting consultants to the volunteer committee.

The 10-member task force (eight attended the initial meeting) is a diverse group that includes John Blackwell, professor emeritus from Case Western Reserve University with expertise in plastics; Cathi Lehn, coordinator at Cleveland’s Office of Sustainability; Jordan Davis, a music administrator with a commitment to recycling; Hope Wright, who described herself as a regular citizen with a background in communications; and realtor Susan Clement, who expressed concerns about trash issues and their effect on the community's image. 

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:18 AM, 04.23.2019

Project is underway to improve safety at busy CH intersection

The current intersection at Edgehill and Overlook roads.

Cyclists, pedestrians and motorists traveling between Cleveland Heights and University Circle will no longer need to navigate the daunting sea of asphalt and confusing traffic movements at the intersection of Edgehill and Overlook roads.

Construction is now underway to transform the excessively wide intersection into one that is safer for all travelers.

"The official completion date of the project is July 1," said project manager Joe Kickel. Access to properties will be maintained, with minimum impact to pedestrian and vehicular traffic anticipated.  

According to Cleveland Heights Planning Director Richard Wong, by removing excess pavement the project will shorten crosswalks, add landscaping, create two bioretention areas (rain gardens that hold stormwater), and tighten turning radii to improve traffic safety.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:17 AM, 04.16.2019

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education regular meeting highlights 4-2-2019

APRIL 2, 2019


  • Student recognitions
  • Union negotiations
  • Middle Schools renovations
  • State school funding proposal
  • Task force reports
  • Reaching Heights Spelling Bee
  • National equity symposium


Members present were Jodi Sourini, James Posch, Dan Heintz, Beverly Wright and Malia Lewis. Also present were Acting Superintendent Brian Williams and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting began at 7:10 p.m. and ended at 8:50 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 9:36 AM, 05.02.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-1-2019

APRIL 1, 2019


  • Police Department promotion ceremony
  • Public comments
  • Street repairs and improvements
  • 2020 Safe Routes to Schools
  • Other announcements from the city manager
  • Road salt purchase
  • Charter Review Commission Final Report receipt
  • April proclamations
  • Mayor’s report
  • Council vacancy filled


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren and Jason Stein. Michael N. Ungar participated by telephone but did not vote. The seventh seat is unoccupied. The meeting lasted from 7:34-8:32 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 9:19 AM, 05.02.2019

Every day is Earth Day at Fairmount Cleaners

Steve and Adam Grace at Fairmount Cleaners.

Earth Day is April 22. For the owners of Fairmount Cleaners, every day is Earth Day.

Steve Grace runs Fairmount Cleaners with his son Adam. They know that dry cleaning has a reputation for being damaging to the environment. That’s why they take steps to make their business as environmentally friendly as possible.

“Customers in the Heights have always been eco-sensitive,” Steve said. “We’re on the same page as our customers, and we are always making environmental improvements.”

Fairmount Cleaners’ solvent of choice, SOLVONK4, is now bio-based, and has been awarded the USDA BioPreferred product label. SOLVONK4 is the first and only bio-based solvent in the dry-cleaning industry.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 12:33 PM, 04.15.2019

Heights HVAC company picks recipient in annual furnace giveaway

Verne & Ellsworth Hann Inc., the Cleveland Heights-based heating and cooling company, selected Heather Kwedder of Willoughby as the winner in its third annual Helping Hann Furnace Giveaway. The company provided her with a free furnace and installation, including labor and materials.

Kwedder’s 23-year-old son, Rick, is chronically ill and has been hospitalized on and off throughout his life. While her husband, John, is Rick’s full-time caregiver, Kwedder has had to take leaves of absence from her nursing job when lengthy hospital stays require more attention than one person can provide.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 04.10.2019

Cleveland Heights announces new council member

To the editor:

Last week, I was very pleased, on behalf of City Council, to announce the selection of Cleveland Heights resident Craig Cobb to fill the unexpired term of former Councilperson Cheryl Stephens.

It was a truly rewarding process with over 30 residents applying for the position, and each one bringing a variety of experiences and interests to the table. We are thrilled to welcome Craig to the Council and believe he will be a great asset to us and to the city. Craig’s knowledge and experience with city government will be immediately capitalized on as we go forward with a number of important issues.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 1:27 PM, 04.09.2019

Annual alumni pancake breakfast is April 7

Patrons at a past pancake breakfast.

On Sunday, April 7, the community is invited to partake of an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, benefiting opportunity grants for every school in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District.

The Heights Schools Foundation (HSF) will host its annual pancake breakfast at Heights High, from 9 a.m. until noon. The menu will include gluten-free options and a fresh-fruit-toppings bar.

HSF will offer maps for self-guided tours of the school, and there will be a Heights Tiger gear pop-up shop. There will also be an auction, with options at every price level and for every interest, including Heinen’s and Zagara’s gift certificates, and a tour and tasting for 10 people at Mitchell’s Ice Cream’s Ohio City facility.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:01 AM, 04.03.2019

Lusty Wrench closes after 40 years

Sam Bell, owner of The Lusty Wrench, holding his 2015 Best of the Heights award for Best Customer Service. 

Cleveland Heights has many intelligent, knowledgeable, skilled, dedicated and civic-minded entrepreneurs. Sam Bell, who has been one such local treasure for nearly 40 years, made the decision to close his business, The Lusty Wrench, as of mid-March.

Bell started The Lusty Wrench in 1979, after having taken his own car to be serviced before a road trip. Despite the “trip check,” the car broke down en route. The frustration of having just paid a professional to attend to the car to prevent such misery and inconvenience spurred Bell to wonder, “Is it feasible to run an auto repair shop based on competence, honesty and integrity?” He opened The Lusty Wrench the next week.

Bell said of his business, “Our goal has always been to provide excellent mechanical repair and maintenance services to all our automotive customers. We’re in the service business, so our job is to say, ‘Yes.’”

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 2:18 PM, 04.01.2019

Beaumont students need athletic fields

It was with great interest that I read Colin Compton’s opinion, “In opposition to Beaumont’s plans to demolish the Painter Mansion." As the president of Beaumont School, I’d like to add additional perspective on this issue.

The Painter family sold the building in 1942 to the Ursuline Sisters, who found the house in severely deteriorated condition when they assumed ownership. Most of the interior had been stripped bare, including wood paneling, the electrical system and even the doorknobs. While the Ursulines invested heavily to try and restore the property, it was a structure that required significant expenditures simply to maintain in habitable condition as a convent. Even before Beaumont assumed ownership in 2009, outside experts provided the opinion that the cost to renovate the building and convert it back to an academic use would be cost-prohibitive.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 2:08 PM, 04.01.2019

Paws CLE and Lox, Stock and Brisket are 2019 'best new businesses'

Anthony Zappola (right), owner of Lox, Stock and Brisket, 2019 Best New Restaurant or Bar winner, with employee E.J. Keating.

In the 2019 Best of the Heights Awards contest, readers of the Heights Observer honored outstanding businesses in Cleveland Heights and University Heights by voting, Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, for their favorites in 12 categories. Lox, Stock and Brisket, a contemporary Jewish deli in University Heights, is the winner in the Best New Restaurant or Bar category, and PawsCLE, a doggy daycare and boarding facility in Cleveland Heights, is the winner in the Best New Business (other) category.

Lox, Stock and Brisket, 13892 Cedar Road, is owned by Chef Anthony Zappola, a Cleveland native who returned to his hometown after starting a successful Asian fusion restaurant in Las Vegas. Zappola, who is of Italian heritage, is tickled that the restaurant has become so popular after only 10 months in business. “I didn’t expect it,” he said. “I thought perhaps we would attract the hipsters, but I’m thrilled that the locals like us so much.” The restaurant, which is closed Mondays, is open for breakfast and lunch, serving Jewish deli favorites with a contemporary twist.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:15 PM, 04.01.2019

Heights residents aid asylum seekers at ICE facility in Ga.

Mumps is among the documentatary drawings Kelsey completed while Cagan (depicted front right) translated for detainees as they met with their pro bono attorneys. 

“I never thought that I would do this type of work,” said Mary Kelsey, who recently returned from a week of volunteer service at ICE’s Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Ga. Steve Cagan, a fellow Cleveland Heights resident and volunteer, commented, “The most important praise I ever get is when people say, ‘What you’re doing is so important to us.’”

On a trip to the center in February, Kelsey sketched consultations between volunteer attorneys and their refugee clients, while Cagan interpreted for Spanish-speaking ICE detainees and their volunteer attorneys.

Through Cagan’s journal entries, shared with friends, and through Kelsey’s drawings, these Cleveland Heights residents are shining a light on the reality of immigration detention.

“They’re not criminals,” said Kelsey, “and they’re being treated like it. Most came in at a legal port of entry and requested asylum.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 10:31 AM, 04.02.2019

Cleveland Heights- University Heights Board of Education regular meeting highlights 3-19-2019

MARCH 19, 2019


  • Awards and recognitions
  • Middle school renovations
  • Board president’s report
  • Time to Teach, Time to Learn board resolution
  • Heights High swimming pool


President Jodi Sourini, Vice President James Posch, Dan Heintz, and Malia Lewis were present. Beverly Wright was absent. Interim Superintendent Dr. Brian A. Williams and Treasurer Scott Gainer were also present. The meeting began at 7:03 p.m. and adjourned at 8:20 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 11:38 AM, 04.15.2019

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-18-2019

MARCH 18, 2019


  • Charter Review Commission final report
  • Public comments
  • Street surface treatment
  • Liquor permit applications
  • Police cruiser purchase
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Board appointments
  • St. Baldrick fundraiser
  • Mayor’s report


Council members present were Mayor Carol Roe, Vice Mayor Melissa Yasinow, Mary Dunbar, Kahlil Seren and Jason Stein. Michael N. Ungar participated by telephone, but did not vote. The seventh seat is unoccupied. The meeting lasted from 7:36 to 10:14 p.m.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 9:30 AM, 05.02.2019

In opposition to Beaumont's plans to demolish the Painter Mansion

The demolition of the Painter Mansion, on the grounds of Beaumont school, will go before the CH Planning Commission on April 10.

Stewardship is defined in many ways. Environmentalists may classify it as actions taken to protect natural resources. In financial terms, it could mean prudent supervision. A religious person (a nun, for example) may interpret it as responsibility to care for the world in order to leave it better off than how one found it. In a broad sense, Merriam-Webster defines stewardship as “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care.”

Careful and responsible.

To these definitions, I’d add that stewardship is equally applicable to the ownership of historic buildings. The owner is a caretaker, not a sole beneficiary. This is why I oppose Beaumont School’s proposed demolition of the Painter Mansion.

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Volume 12, Issue 5, Posted 10:04 AM, 03.26.2019

What I got from her

The author's parents, Joe and Greta Budin, shortly after getting married in Los Angeles during WWII, when they were 21 and 19, six years after writing a song together.

I have written a lot about my mother in this column, because she grew up in Cleveland Heights. I’ve told about the time, when she was a teenager, living with her mother and baby brother during the Great Depression in an apartment two stories above Uberstine Drugs on Coventry Road (now the site of Hunan Coventry), when the building caught on fire and their only remaining pre-Depression valuables—a Steinway grand piano and her late father’s Stradivarius violin—burned up, and my mother ran back into the burning building to retrieve the box with all of their money in it.

My mother and father both attended Roosevelt Junior High and Heights High. But they actually met at Euclid Avenue Temple. They were both members of the temple’s junior choir. My father wrote some music that he thought the choir might sing. The director asked if someone in the group could write lyrics for it and my mother volunteered, because, she told me a few years ago, she thought my father was cute. Interesting that two of their sons—me and my brother Noah—became professional singer-songwriters.

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:03 PM, 04.01.2019

New University Heights law raises tobacco-purchasing age to 21

University Heights City Councilwoman Michele Weiss introduced the city's anti-tobacco legislation.

On March 19, University Heights City Council unanimously passed legislation to raise the minimum age to buy tobacco and vaping products to 21 years old.

In doing so, University Heights became the 21st local government in Ohio to pass such legislation. Later that same evening, Lakewood became the 22nd.

Councilwoman Michele Weiss introduced the legislation in response to the increase in vaping. “The vaping epidemic has moved our country back decades in the fight against nicotine addiction,” she said. “I feel this ordinance is a prime example of why I ran for office—to make meaningful impact in the community for the betterment of our residents.”

Prior to the vote, council heard from Rick Novickis, director of Environmental Public Health Services at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, and Wendy Hyde, the Tobacco 21 director for Ohio and Michigan.

“Since more than 95 percent of addicted smokers start before the age of 21,” Novickis said, “implementing legislation like this will help minimize the number of kids who will actually start smoking.”

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Volume 12, Issue 4, Posted 1:40 PM, 04.01.2019