Non-profit & Groups

Local businesses are helping kids stay warm

As all Greater Clevelanders know, fall may be lovely, but winter is just around the corner. Some Heights residents don’t have the proper gear to stay warm.

Many CH-UH students rely on their schools to supply clothes to help keep them warm and dry. In addition to helping them stay comfortable and healthy, hats, gloves and warm footwear help kids make it to school.

If you were supposed to walk one or two miles to work, would you be likely to do it with frozen fingers and toes?

Our schools play an invaluable role, and they need our help.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 4:29 PM, 10.01.2017

Documentary film explores costs of privatizing education

A free screening of “Backpack Full of Cash,” a documentary film about school reform that uses public funds to privatize education, will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 7 p.m. in the Cleveland Heights High School auditorium, 13263 Cedar Road.

The film, narrated by Matt Damon, uses case studies in two urban school districts to explore how charter schools and vouchers undermine America’s public schools and alternatives to strengthen them.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 1:42 PM, 09.29.2017

HRRC plans a full autumn schedule

Now that fall is in full swing, the Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) begins its busy season. In October, HRRC offers classes on insulation and caulking, composting, hardwood floor refinishing, interior painting projects, and much more.

Organizers are especially excited for a Women’s Home How-To Carpentry Series beginning Oct. 4 and running every Wednesday through Nov. 15. Participants will have an opportunity to familiarize themselves with power tools and learn some basic carpentry, as well as how to hang drywall, lay and grout ceramic tile, and paint, among other projects.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 1:37 PM, 09.29.2017

Oct. 28 event benefits women's education

The Cleveland Heights Chapter Q of P.E.O. International will host its sixth annual Afternoon with an Author event on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2 p.m., at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd. in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 1:31 PM, 09.29.2017

FutureHeights to host Oct. 10 public forum on creative place-making

FutureHeights will hold a public forum, Creating Great Places in the Heights, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at The BottleHouse Brewing Company, 2050 Lee Road.

Desirable communities sometimes happen out of sheer luck, but more often become great by design. In this community forum, organized by FutureHeights' Civic Engagement and Planning & Development committees, a panel will discuss the art of place-making.

More than just building physical spaces, place-making is the art of elevating the human experience of a space.

 

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Volume 10, Issue 10, Posted 12:11 PM, 09.26.2017

'Mulch Madness' funds scouts' summer activities

When the members of Boy Scout Troop 22, based at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights, took on a mulch-delivery fundraiser in spring 2017, they hoped to sell around a thousand bags of mulch in the first year.

The scouts proved to be great salesmen and exceeded expectations, selling a whopping 4,200 bags of 3-cubic-foot hardwood mulch.

The only downside? Needing to work out the logistics of delivery. Factor in some 25 scouts and adults, ranging in weight from 75 pounds to 200 pounds, hauling more than 4,000 60-plus pound bags. and you have "Mulch Madness."

Troop 22 scouts rose to the occasion, with some smaller scouts carrying bags weighing more than they do, and some of the boy leaders carrying two bags. The physical labor of the volunteers was coordinated with loaned vehicles, trailers, and storage from Jet Dock, a local company, to make for a formidable effort.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 4:46 PM, 09.03.2017

FutureHeights celebrates Cleveland Heights on Sept. 15 benefit

FutureHeights will host its first-ever “Celebrating Great Living in Cleveland Heights” fundraising event on Friday, Sept. 15, 6–8:30 p.m. The event will highlight some of the things that make Cleveland Heights a great place to live: beautiful homes, wonderful amenities, fascinating history, and creative, talented residents. 

Guests will be treated to a selection of delicious treats from some of Cleveland Heights’ most talented local chefs and restaurateurs, including Bodega, Fix Bistro, Lopez on Lee, Luna Bakery and Café, Marotta’s, Taste, and The Fairmount. CLE Urban Winery will offer a tasting of its locally handcrafted wines, and legendary Nighttown will provide a special signature cocktail to make the evening memorable. There will be music from Roots of American Music, plein air painting by local artist Jeremy Tugeau, a performance by Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Christine Howey, and other wonderful surprises.

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 11:45 AM, 08.31.2017

Heights home and garden tour celebrates 40 years

“After 40 Years . . . There’s Still No Place Like Home” is the theme of this year’s 40th anniversary Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour, to be held on Sunday, Sept. 24, noon to 6 p.m.

The night before the tour, Height Community Congress” (HCC) traditional preview party is planned for Saturday evening, Sept. 23, at the iconic Alcazar. 

It has been 40 years since HCC began showcasing Cleveland Heights homes to the community. Organizers believe there is no place like (one’s own) home, but also know that Heights residents love viewing neighbor’s homes and taking in the wide variety of architecture and wealth of creative styles that are unique to this community.

This year, tourgoers will visit:

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 2:32 PM, 09.01.2017

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus to share its vision with the community

Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Campus, the newly formed group that comprises several nonprofits housed at the Coventry School building, is planning two events in September to share its vision for the site with the public. “The organizations have come together to create a plan for the future that taps into the energy of creative place-making for cultural and economic development,” said Brady Dindia, president of the Artful Cleveland Board of Directors. “We envision a community gathering space and center for arts, education and enrichment.”

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Volume 10, Issue 9, Posted 2:58 PM, 08.31.2017

New Heights-based organization forms to benefit community heroes

Cleveland Heights community members J. Shorey, Nancy Landreth and Chip Ramsey have launched a new foundation to serve the heroes in our community—firefighters, police officers, teachers, military personnel and others whose unique gifts and talents make the Heights community stronger and better. Heights Heroes, a 501(c)3, nonprofit organization, seeks to identify and support those individuals, especially when they or their families need a little extra help due to injury or illness.

Heights Heroes is funded through donations of cars, motorcycles, boats—anything of value that can be rehabilitated and sold. Ramsey, owner of Washington & Lee Service, will repair the vehicles that have value; the organization will then sell them and put the profits back into the foundation. Items that cannot be repaired will be scrapped and the proceeds likewise put into the foundation.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 12:12 PM, 07.31.2017

CH residents invited to municipal court judge candidates forum

A public forum with the three candidates for Cleveland Heights municipal court judge will be held on Thursday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m., at Disciples Christian Church, located at the corner of Mayfield and Yellowstone roads.

The Cleveland Heights Housing Committee of Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) is hosting the forum, which offers Cleveland Heights residents the opportunity to meet and hear from the candidates.

The committee planned the forum as an outcome of a listening campaign about the concerns of Cleveland Heights residents, in which housing issues were identified as a top priority in the city. Specific issues include housing values that fell during the recession and have only recently begun to rebound, and the impact on neighborhoods of vacant, blighted and tax-delinquent houses.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 12:32 PM, 07.31.2017

Volunteers seek to establish Kiwanis Club in the Heights

A pre-organizational meeting for those interested in establishing a Kiwanis club here in the Heights is planned for Wednesday, Aug. 16, 7 p.m., at the Lee Road Library (2345 Lee Road).

The organizers invites anyone interested in joining a group that serves the Cleveland Heights and University Heights community, empowers youth (and adults) to become leaders through service to others, and provides opportunities to network with like-minded individuals, to attend the planning meeting.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 12:46 PM, 07.31.2017

Volunteers organize to care for Cedar Lee mini park

Over the years, the pedestrian space between the parking area behind the Cedar Lee Theatre and Lee Road has at times felt like a gracious park, and at others like little more than an alley through which one can take a shortcut because there happens to be a gap between the buildings. Businesses at this end of Lee Road estimate that every year well over 200,000 people come to see a movie, visit the gallery, enjoy a meal, or have a drink in a bar, and many of those people walk through the Cedar Lee mini park—without necessarily even knowing it’s a park.

Landscape designer Ann Cicarella is not the first activist to want to do more with the park, but she has some new ideas and specific expertise that could help sustain long-term improvements. “I am just one person in a long line of people who have tried for many years to improve the site,” Cicarella said.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 10:25 AM, 07.25.2017

Cleveland leadership program seeks 2017 applicants

In 2006, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, along with former Cleveland Mayor Michael White, established a leadership training program for engaged community leaders. The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP) is a free, 16-session community engagement training program for residents of Cleveland and its inner-ring suburbs, who are working on projects within the City of Cleveland and who are determined to make a positive impact on their communities.

Each program year, NLDP selects 20 committed applicants. The programs participants and graduates have many interests and are working on a wide variety of issues to improve life in their communities.

Allosious Snodgrass, a Cleveland Heights resident, is one such person.

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Volume 10, Issue 8, Posted 10:40 AM, 07.17.2017

FutureHeights to host June 13 public forum on development tools

FutureHeights will hold a public forum, Development Tools: Give Away or Benefit?, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13, at its offices in the Coventry School building, 2843 Washington Blvd.

FutureHeights’ Planning and Developing Committee organized the forum to help inform Heights residents about real estate development tools, such as tax abatement, tax credits, and tax increment financing (TIF). Speaker Wayne Mortensen, director of design and development for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress (CNP) and a Cleveland Heights resident, will explore the costs and benefits of these common financial tools that are commonly used in development projects throughout Northeast Ohio.

Mortenson is a Nebraska native. He and his wife, Jill, moved to Cleveland Heights in 2010.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 12:53 PM, 05.31.2017

HYC member earns Indians scholarship

“It’s like a dream come true,” said Heights High senior Devonte Simon about his involvement with Heights Youth Club (HYC), a Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland affiliate, located at the corner of Lee Road and Washington Boulevard. Simon is both an HYC member and junior staff member; he takes part in club activities, and also helps provide mentoring and other services for younger members.

As runner-up for 2017 Youth of the Year for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland, Simon was awarded a $3,000 college scholarship by the Cleveland Indians Charities.

Simon has taken part in the Boys & Girls Clubs national Keystone leadership training program. He traveled to Dallas last summer, along with 10 Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland student leaders, to attend the national Keystone convention. For Simon, it was an opportunity to learn and network with high-achieving peers.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 6:52 PM, 06.02.2017

CH resident brings free medical care to NE Ohio via Medworks

Zac Ponsky, a Cleveland Heights native, was sharing a beer with fellow volunteers after a day of service with a medical brigade in Honduras. His brother, Lee Ponsky, had started Medwish, a nonprofit that repurposes discarded medical supplies and equipment to provide humanitarian aid in developing countries. Despite the positive results of the day, Ponsky found himself wondering why “this type of medical charity was happening halfway across the world but not in my own backyard.”

From this idea, Medworks was born. Medworks, founded in 2009, is a local nonprofit that offers 100-percent free medical, dental and vision clinics to the medically underserved in Northeast Ohio.

The launch of Medworks was not without its bumps in the road. One of Medworks' first mass health clinics, projected to serve more than 5,000 patients at the Berea Fairgrounds, was canceled because it was planned during the height of the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak.

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Volume 10, Issue 6, Posted 1:32 PM, 05.31.2017

FutureHeights annual meeting is set for May 24

FutureHeights, the nonprofit that works toward a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights, will hold its 15th annual meeting on Wednesday, May 24, at its offices in the former Coventry School building, 2843 Washington Blvd.

FutureHeights will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing inner-ring suburbs today, share its analysis of why a Community Development Corporation (CDC) is needed in Cleveland Heights and explain how FutureHeights is uniquely qualified to take on that role. Judy Rawson, former mayor of Shaker Heights, will deliver the keynote address. The event begins at 7 p.m. 

Judy Rawson has lived in Northeast Ohio since 1972. She served as mayor of Shaker Heights from 2000–07, following two terms on Shaker Heights City Council. During that time, she held leadership roles around regional issues, such as economic development, consolidation of services, housing, strengthening inner-ring suburbs, and linking the suburbs more closely to the city of Cleveland. She served on the Executive Committee of the Mayors and Managers Association during her mayoral tenure.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 10:24 AM, 05.02.2017

Community remembers Officer Jason West

Cleveland Heights wasn’t just his beat—Cleveland Heights Police Officer Jason West had purchased a house in the city. He had always wanted to be a police officer, and protecting and serving the city of Cleveland Heights was something that he did willingly every day he put on his uniform. A fellow officer commented: “Even at shift change, if there was a late call, he’d take it. He was always willing to go the extra mile. He just loved the job.”

On May 26, 2007, Officer West responded to one more call, a disturbance call on Altamont Avenue. It was a routine call that would sadly cost him his life. He was shot while getting out of his patrol car.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 11:23 AM, 05.02.2017

Heights Observer begins 10th year of publication

This April, the Heights Observer, a citizen-journalism publication written by and for Heights residents, begins its tenth year of publication—Volume 10, Issue 4. As the Observer reaches this milestone, FutureHeights is taking a look back at the project’s goals and asks readers to give feedback through an online survey.

Readers can access the survey on the homepage of the FutureHeights website at www.futureheights.org.

The Heights Observer has its origins in a quarterly newsletter that FutureHeights began publishing in 2002. FutureHeights was founded as a nonprofit with a mission to preserve and strengthen neighborhoods and commercial districts in Cleveland Heights, and volunteers published the newsletter for its members, focusing on city planning, design quality and historic preservation. A strategic planning process in 2007 led to the creation of the Observer.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 10:28 AM, 04.03.2017

French Toast Breakfast to benefit nonprofit Coit Road Market is April 8

The Coit Road Farmers Market's Annual French Toast Breakfast will be on Saturday, April 8, 10 a.m. to noon. Ten bucks gets you three slices of French toast and maple syrup, with a choice of bacon or chicken sausage, and coffee or apple cider. Plates will be provided for those who want to share with children under 10. As always, this meal is made using all locally produced ingredients.

Located for 84 years at 1500 Woodworth Road, near East 152nd Street and Noble Road, the market is non-profit and community-based. Its mission is to provide residents of Cleveland’s urban East Side and inner-ring suburbs with access to affordable, locally grown, farm-fresh products. Ohio Direction Card users get $20 worth of food for $10 charged to their card each day they shop at the market.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 6:48 PM, 03.30.2017

Burgess aims to expand HYC membership

Beverly Burgess’s ambitions for Heights Youth Club (HYC) are straightforward: Reach more of the youth of Cleveland Heights, University Heights and South Euclid with the after-school programming she has been overseeing as the club’s director since November.

Burgess, who joined HYC as assistant director in February 2016, said that the club currently has about 200 members. The sign-up fee, posted on a recruitment sign on the club's, front door, is just $10. Another sign on the door makes clear that the first order of business when a young person arrives at the club on a Monday through Friday afternoon is to do his or her homework for the day, and then move on to more fun activities. On the last day of February, those activities included a poetry slam honoring Black History Month.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 3:17 PM, 03.22.2017

Heights Community Congress celebrates Fair Housing Month

What does “neighborhood” mean to you?  Is it a place where you feel at home, where you can raise a family? Is it a place where you know people and they know you, where you shop, eat, live?  We all have different ideas of what neighborhood means, and Heights Community Congress (HCC) invites the community to explore two different perspectives of what constitutes a neighborhood, as the Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit celebrates Fair Housing Month.

HCC is proud to once again be a Community Partner of the Cleveland International Film Festival, which opens its 41st year at the end of March. HCC will sponsor two screenings of “Voices of the Hill,” directed by Carla LynDale Carter-Bishop, on Friday, March 31 at 4:05 p.m. and on Sunday, April 2, at 1:05 p.m.

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Volume 10, Issue 4, Posted 3:10 PM, 03.22.2017

March 5 forum to focus on refugees

Are you wondering what you can do to help those impacted by the agenda the 45th president is imposing? Would you like to know more about refugees—where they are from, how they arrived here and, most importantly, how you can help?

On March 5, at 10:30 a.m., Beth El - The Heights Synagogue (3246 Desota Road) will host a program about the refugees in our community and the organization, US Together, that is in charge of their orientation to the United States.

Danielle Drake from US Together will present information and answer questions.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 4:38 PM, 02.27.2017

FutureHeights to host vacant and abandoned properties forum

FutureHeights will host a public forum, Vacant and Abandoned Properties in Cleveland Heights and University Heights, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, at Forest Hill Presbyterian Church, 3031 Monticello Blvd.

As Northeast Ohio climbs out of the housing crisis, many Cuyahoga County communities are still dealing with issues of property abandonment. This panel presentation and discussion aims to help attendees understand the basics about vacant and abandoned properties, help translate applicable laws and policies, and discuss existing options and solutions.

The discussion will focus on answers to the following questions:

  1. What is a vacant and abandoned property, from a legal perspective?
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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 4:31 PM, 02.27.2017

Lutheran churches consolidate to form new congregation

On Feb. 5, the congregations of Hope Lutheran and Bethlehem Lutheran churches voted to consolidate their ministries to form a new congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) later this year. 

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 2:35 PM, 02.28.2017

Limited-edition Luna cookies to benefit Heights Arts

Luna Bakery & Café has collaborated with Heights Arts to create six cookie designs inspired by the public art benches of Coventry Village.

Each design adorns Luna Bakery’s signature sugar cookie base, and the cookies are available only during the month of February.

The cookies are being sold individually, for $3 each, with $2 of each cookie purchase benefiting Heights Arts’ community arts programs.

The cookies are available at Luna Bakery, as well as at the Heights Arts gallery, during the nonprofit art organization's February events. (To view Heights Arts’ February calendar, visit www.heightsarts.org/events.)

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 3:08 PM, 02.03.2017

HCC's PechaKucha Night is 'Inspired by Art'

Heights Community Congress (HCC) joined the PechaKucha phenomenon last October, when dozens attended its Telling Your Story event. A group of speakers—professionals in a variety of fields—shared diverse stories in presentations that lasted just six minutes and 40 seconds apiece. Between presentations, audience members asked lots of questions, engaged in conversations and made connections.

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 3:47 PM, 02.28.2017

LEI hosts fifth annual Kids' Comic Con

Lake Erie Ink will host its fifth annual Kids' Comic Con on Saturday, March 4, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. At this all-day event, young people will have the opportunity to attend workshops with well-known comic creators.

The event features professional writers and illustrators, with Terri Libenson, cartoonist for the internationally syndicated comic strip "The Pajama Diaries," giving the keynote address.

Workshops will cover the two aspects of comic creation—drawing and writing—and will include the ever-popular “create your own comic character in clay.”

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Volume 10, Issue 3, Posted 5:05 PM, 02.20.2017

Forest Hill Church invites community to celebrate Black History Month

“Speaking of Race: Black Lives Matter Here” is the theme of Forest Hill Church’s month-long Black History Month celebration, featuring entertaining, educational and musical events. All events are free and open to the public, with donations to the church’s food pantry or other free-will offerings welcome.

The series of programs kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 5, 12:30–2 p.m., with a presentation by Rev. Dr. Catherine Borchert exploring the 19th-century history  of race relations in the Presbyterian Church in Northeast Ohio. She will discuss how this history laid the foundation for race relations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Refreshments will be served.

During the weekend of Feb. 11–12, members of the church will be engaged in a direct action to support financial justice. Small groups plan to eat at black-owned restaurants throughout Greater Cleveland, and reflect together on the importance of supporting black-owned businesses.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 6:04 PM, 01.30.2017

FutureHeights offers community-building workshops and mini-grants this spring

FutureHeights is offering several tools to help Cleveland Heights residents leverage their neighborhoods’ assets and enable creative projects to improve their quality of life through its Community Capacity-Building Program, including a series of workshops for neighborhood leaders and small grants to support neighborhood projects. 

Since the program’s launch in 2015, FutureHeights has awarded approximately $10,000 in mini-grants to support 13 projects in Cleveland Heights. Residents can apply for up to $1,000 for citizen-led neighborhood projects, events and activities. In addition, 25 residents—from several neighborhoods, including Noble, Forest Hill, Cain Park, Boulevard, Severance, Cedar Fairmount, Coventry and East Fairfax—have completed the workshop series, which takes place over several months each spring.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 5:44 PM, 01.31.2017

Family Connections has helped Heights parents and kids connect for 35 years

When meeting new friends, it’s not unusual for a Cleveland Heights parent to realize that their paths have already crossed. “I think I recognize you. Did you use the Little Heights playroom at the library when your kids were little?” “Oh, I know you! We were in Baby & Me together.” When asking school-age families how they know one another, the winding roots often go back to one of these early moments.  

Little Heights and Baby & Me are community institutions that Cleveland Heights residents often take for granted. The programs nurture families, serving as a welcoming place to bring babies and toddlers during the long, lonesome and joyful days of early childhood. Families collect friendships, parenting advice and relief before moving on to other hubs as kids inevitably evolve.

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 5:41 PM, 01.31.2017

2017 HCC programs explore diversity and community

In a time of deep division in our nation, Heights Community Congress (HCC) continues to look for ways to come together as a community. By understanding and celebrate differences, HCC strives to strengthen community bonds. For 40 years, HCC has been an advocate for social justice, a monitor of fair housing practices, and a facilitator for building a strong, diverse community. The theme of this year’s programming from HCC is “Hands Across the Heights: Bridging the Gaps and Moving Beyond.”

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 1:32 PM, 01.31.2017

Family of Sunny Ravi Patel donates $20,000 to CH's police and fire departments

On Dec. 5, the Patel family donated $20,000 to the Cleveland Heights police and fire departments, in gratitude for their support during the tragic loss of Sunny Ravi Patel.

A family spokesperson said that the family is giving back funds from a GoFundMe account to "all of the groups that made a difference during our loss."

Patel was killed on Oct. 14 at his family's Mr. Hero shop on South Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 11:42 AM, 01.03.2017

LEI and Dobama join forces for youth playwriting workshop

Lake Erie Ink: a writing space for youth (LEI) is collaborating with Dobama Theatre to inspire young people from Cuyahoga County to put their playwriting skills to the test. On Jan. 21 and 28, kids will work with playwright Catie O’Keefe to write their own plays. A member of Dobama Theatre’s Playwrights’ GYM, O’Keefe has written plays that have been performed in the United States, United Kingdom and Amsterdam.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 10:28 AM, 01.03.2017

Heights students form community-service organization

Sporting grey shirts with the Heights tiger on their chests, members of the Cleveland Heights Youth Committee (CHYC) are popping up all around the Heights community.

Heights High students founded and comprise this newly formed youth group. Entirely self-directed, CHYC’s members are dedicated to promoting positive change in their community through student activism and leadership.

Currently, CHYC is sponsoring a coat drive, running through Jan. 1, at the close of which the students plan to organize the donated items and distribute them around the community. Drop-off locations for donated coats are at The Wine Spot, Quintana's Barber & Dream Spa, Lee Road Library, Coventry Village Library, CH-UH Board of Education, Zagara's Marketplace, Lopez, and Ben & Jerry's.

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Volume 10, Issue 1, Posted 1:19 PM, 12.19.2016

Volunteers clean up Coventry park and playground

On Oct. 15, a crisp sunny day, volunteers gathered at the hilltop of the Coventry Playground at 9 a.m. for the biannual fall clean-up day.

The volunteer groups comprised members of the Cleveland Heights Youth Committee, Heights High’s swim team and Minority Student Achievement Network (MSAN), B’nai Brith Youth Organization (BBYO), Heights High alumni, and the hardworking Coventry Playground Committee, headed by Erick Kauffman.

Their first project was to set up the tent and tables to hold the food for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast treats, donated by Zoss The Swiss Baker and Phoenix Coffee, were quickly consumed, and appreciated. Then the work began.

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Volume 9, Issue 12, Posted 5:42 PM, 12.01.2016

Remembering Sunny Ravi Patel

On Friday, Oct. 14, just after 8 p.m., 15-year-old Sunny Ravi Patel was murdered by an armed robber while helping at the Mr. Hero sandwich shop that his aunt and uncle own on South Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights. He was not an employee, but a dutiful nephew working hard to help his family succeed. The criminal shot Sunny, and he passed away from his injuries just hours later.

Sunny Ravi Patel is the only son of Ravi and Pinal Patel of Highland Heights. A sophomore at Mayfield High School, his friends describe him as hardworking, caring and an avid Cleveland Cavaliers fan.

Mayfield students hosted a candlelight vigil on Oct. 21, prior to the school’s varsity football game. They asked students, staff and community members to wear Cleveland Cavaliers attire for a "Cavs Night" theme in his memory and to show support for his family.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 10:24 AM, 11.01.2016

Lake Erie Ink hosts Nov. 12 storytelling workshops for families

Every holiday season offers opportunities to share family stories across the generations. On Nov. 12, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lake Erie Ink will explore the art of storytelling with kids of all ages. Using family stories as the inspiration for the day’s interactive workshops, participants will engage with guest artists from the Cleveland Association of Black Storytellers (CABS) and GroundWorks DanceTheater.

At 10:30 a.m., Eris Eady, artist, poet and CABS member, will share her secrets for keeping an audience intrigued. She will help attendees craft their stories into tales that can be shared for years.

Pizza will be served at 12:30 p.m.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 7:44 PM, 11.01.2016

McMillan Early Learning Center celebrates expansion

On Oct. 11, The Centers for Families and Children (The Centers) hosted an open house at its McMillan Early Learning Center, at 1941 S. Taylor Road, to celebrate the site’s recent expansion.

Attendees toured the renovated center, which now offers care for infants ages 6 weeks to 18 months, in addition to its toddler and preschool programs. The expansion included a new infant classroom, serving eight children; a toddler classroom, serving 10 children; and a large indoor gym for physical development. Added to the existing toddler classroom and three preschool classrooms, the expanded space enables the center to serve a total of eight infants, 20 toddlers and 59 preschoolers.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 7:08 PM, 11.01.2016

Heights residents invited to Nov. 16 forum on building community

Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents are invited to attend Community-Building for Change—a free public forum and workshop, hosted by FutureHeights and Neighborhood Connections—on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 6:30–8:30 p.m., at the Cleveland Heights Community Center Atrium, 1 Monticello Blvd.

The interactive workshop aims to provide attendees with the knowledge and skills they need to create and maintain strong, effective neighborhood groups, and empower residents to take effective action in supporting and improving their community.

The forum will explore such topics as effective organizing and goal-setting for volunteer organizations, and strategies for creatively solving challenges.

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 1:24 PM, 11.01.2016

Rebecca's Gift helps grieving families

“We did it!” said Kat Meyer, of Rebecca’s Gift. The Cleveland Heights-based nonprofit, founded in 2015, has already provided meaningful help to local grieving families. And it feels really good.  

Meyer and a dear friend, Karla Winnan, started Rebecca’s Gift to honor the loss of Meyer’s six-year-old daughter, who died from brain cancer in June 2014. Over the months that followed Rebecca’s death, Kat and her husband, Eric, wrestled to manage grief and day-to-day living, while also rediscovering their other two children.

Young siblings of a terminally ill child may never have experienced their parents without the preoccupations of illness; explained Mayer, “They never had their mom’s full focus.” 

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 11:50 AM, 11.01.2016

HRRC offers classes for all

“Aren’t your repair classes just for women? . . . for Cleveland Heights residents? . . . for people with a low-enough income?”  Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) staff members hear questions like these all the time.

In fact, the people who take HRRC’s home repair classes are young and old, rich and poor, men and women, total beginners and folks with some know-how, the physically able and the physically challenged. They have one thing in common: they want to learn how to repair their homes themselves. Among those who have taken HRRC’s classes are:

  • Mothers and daughters, like Marian and Kathryn, who learned to do plumbing repairs together;
  • New homeowners Priyanka and Ryan, who came to learn how to maintain their new South Euclid house for years to come;
  • Joe, a senior, who’s lived in his Shaker Heights home for decades but still wants to do his own repairs when possible;
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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 11:38 AM, 11.01.2016

Revolution Books to close after 33 years

Revolution Books, located on Mayfield Road near Coventry Road, will close on Oct. 23. According to the people who work there, the closing of the store—owned by the Revolutionary Communist Party—has nothing to do with poor sales or other problems.

Instead, they said, they want to spend more time spreading the word about a Communist revolution to the people of Cleveland.

Lee Thompson, one of the store’s workers, said, “We cannot do all of that and maintain the store.”

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Volume 9, Issue 11, Posted 11:24 AM, 10.18.2016

Friends of Heights Libraries plans annual meeting and fall sale

For 54 years, Friends of the Heights Libraries has provided funding and countless volunteer hours to support the nationally recognized Heights Libraries system.

Friends invites community members to its annual meeting on Sunday, Oct. 16, 1:30 p.m., at the Lee Road Library. It will celebrate the Heights Libraries’ centennial with a presentation by Amia Wheatley, local history librarian, on the history of the Heights Libraries.

The organization’s semiannual Mega Sale of thousands of books, CDs and DVDs will kick off on Thursday, Nov. 10, 5–8:45 p.m., with a preview night for members (memberships will be sold at the door for $10), and will continue through Sunday, Nov. 13.

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 12:09 PM, 09.30.2016

4th Annual Heights Music Hop draws record crowds

Cleveland Heights was brimming with record crowds in its Cedar Fairmount and Cedar Lee business districts on Sept. 23 and 24, respectively, at the 4th Annual Heights Music Hop, presented by FutureHeights. Event organizers estimate that more than 5,000 people attended the popular live-music festival, which featured 77 acts in 28 venues.

The districts’ businesses, restaurants and bars—many of which served as venues for the music performances—filled to capacity with event attendees.

"We were thrilled that so many people came out to enjoy both nights of the festival. It was a huge success," said Daniel Budin, FutureHeights board member and Music Hop chair. "Cleveland Heights was in the spotlight as we provided two nights of fun for thousands, and combined top regional acts with homegrown talent in our unique and exciting business districts. I'm especially grateful to the city and the police department for their cooperation and support."

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Volume 9, Issue 10, Posted 12:01 PM, 09.27.2016

HRRC hosts free Boomer Fest on Sept. 17

Are you one of the millions of Americans born between 1946 and 1964? If so, you’ll want to be part of Home Repair Resource Center’s (HRRC) “Boomer Fest ’16: I Can See Clearly Now” on Saturday, Sept. 17. Boomer Fest will take place at the Senior Activity Center at the CH Community Center, 1 Monticello Blvd., 10. a.m. to 3 p.m. This free event will offer advice, discussions, products and other resources to help attendees plan their futures, and an opportunity to win prizes.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:37 AM, 09.01.2016

Heights residents respond to CSU Viking Planners' Cedar Lee study

On May 9, Cleveland State University’s Viking Planners, a team of graduate students from the school’s Levin College of Urban Affairs, presented the findings of its Cedar Lee Market Study to the Cleveland Heights community at the Cedar Lee Theatre. The students’ study produced many recommendations concerning branding, design, wayfinding, and residential development for the business district. FutureHeights, the nonprofit community development organization that had commissioned the study, created an online survey to solicit community feedback on the plan. Forty-six community members responded.          

The survey asked for opinions on Viking Planners’ branding recommendations for Cedar Lee, which included a “Heart of the Heights” logo and tagline, with three sub-districts named Cain, Cedar and Silsby. The students proposed gateway signs at the district's entrances, information kiosks, a new Heart Park on a lot at the west end of Lee Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard, branded sidewalks and branded bike racks.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 11:37 AM, 09.01.2016

Lake Erie Ink splashes into its sixth year

With the start of the school year comes the start of Ink Spot, Lake Erie Ink’s (LEI) creative after-school program. Ink Spot takes place at LEI’s Coventry location, 2843 Washington Blvd., and its satellite location at Noble Elementary School. Running Monday through Thursday, Ink Spot offers homework assistance and creative expression activities for students of all abilities. The program has expanded this year to welcome third-graders.

An Ink Spot Open House takes place Tuesday, Aug. 23, 3:30–6:30 p.m. Visitors can drop-in to learn more about LEI's program, where students in grades 3–6 participate in activities after school.

LEI’s fall season officially kicks off on Sept. 13 with a college essay writing workshop geared toward helping teens with one of the most difficult parts of applying to colleges: crafting a personal essay.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 10:44 AM, 08.23.2016

HRRC names Allen its new executive director

The board of directors of Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) has appointed Tikeesha Allen as HRRC’s new executive director. Allen has served as the organizations interim executive director since the departure of Benjamin Faller in May.

A graduate of Case Western Reserve University, Allen has devoted her career to the nonprofit sector, focusing on community and social issues. For the past five years, she’s directed her attention toward solving problems plaguing homeowners in Cleveland Heights and the region’s inner-ring suburbs. Since joining HRRC in 2013 as housing counselor, and later serving as program director, Allen has helped countless individuals realize the dream of owning their own home.

“I can’t begin to express how gratifying it is to share in the joy my clients feel when they reach the end of their journey and finally have a home to call their own,” said Allen.

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Volume 9, Issue 9, Posted 9:15 AM, 08.09.2016

SHN suggests sustainable activities for August

The Sustainable Heights Network (SHN) advocates for evidence-based community actions and education that will result in a positive impact on our environment and quality of life. SHN suggests the following sustainable things-to-do for Heights residents, for the month of August:

Sustainable Transportation: August’s heat is not kind to marginal automobile batteries, and it’s the month with the second-most battery failures. Have yours checked, along with  tire inflation and condition.

School begins late this month. Be alert to changing traffic patterns, including new bike riders en route to and from school.

Parents, this is a good time to walk or bike to school with your child to explain the route and the rules of safe travel.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 6:07 PM, 07.28.2016

Nonprofit Coit Road Market supports community's nutrition needs

The Coit Road Farmers Market—with its mission of providing residents of Cleveland’s urban East Side and inner-ring suburbs with access to affordable, locally grown, farm-fresh products—has become increasingly proactive in addressing community needs to improve the health of area residents.

The nonprofit, community-based market’s efforts on this front include offering free cooking classes; Produce Perks to double EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) customer buying power; WIC and senior coupons; resident transportation; and collaboration with health care providers through Cuyahoga County’s Produce Prescriptions program.

The market also offers a staffed resource center for residents who are working to improve their health through eating more fresh foods.

WIC coupon distributions will take place on Saturdays, Aug. 13 and Sept. 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 6:01 PM, 07.28.2016

Tri-C honors Tracy Oliver with distinguished service award

The Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) Foundation Board of Directors has awarded its 2016 Heath Oliver Distinguished Director Award to Tracy Oliver, in recognition of her exemplary service to Tri-C and its students.

Oliver, a Cleveland Heights resident and director of media and local affairs for Dominion East Ohio, joined the board in 2003 and has dedicated herself to making higher education accessible to Greater Cleveland residents.

She has repeatedly championed requests from the foundation and provided opportunities for Tri-C students, particularly through grants awarded from the Dominion Higher Educational Partnership.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 10:37 AM, 07.19.2016

Community development experts speak at FutureHeights Annual Meeting

On June 1, FutureHeights hosted an interactive panel discussion, Rediscovering Our Neighborhood Business Districts, at its annual meeting. Richey Piiparinen, director of the Center for Population Dynamics at the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, facilitated the panel and cited census data to set the context. Cleveland Heights residents are highly educated, he said, and the Heights is among a handful of communities in Cuyahoga County with large numbers of highly educated young professionals.

More than 51 percent of Heights residents have a college degree, and more than 27 percent have advanced degrees, he said. This is much higher than average for the county (30 percent and 12.4 percent) and the state (29 percent and 11 percent). The numbers are even higher for young adults (65 percent for 25–34 year olds and 55 percent for 35–44 year olds). This is a trend that the city could leverage for growth, he said.

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 4:28 PM, 06.30.2016

Cleveland leadership program seeks applicants for 2016

In 2006, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, along with former Cleveland Mayor Michael White, established a leadership training program for engaged neighborhood leaders. The Neighborhood Leadership Development Program (NLDP) is a free, 15–session community engagement training program for residents of Cleveland and its inner–ring suburbs, who are working on projects within the City of Cleveland and who are determined to make a positive impact on their communities. After the application process, 20 committed individuals are chosen for the program year. NLDP participants and graduates have many interests and are working on a wide variety of issues to improve life in their communities.

Greg Bell of Washington Boulevard in Cleveland Heights, and a recent NLDP graduate, is one such person. 

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 1:29 PM, 06.20.2016

CSU's Viking Planners present study of Cedar Lee Business District

Viking Planners, a team of graduate students from the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University, presented a market study of the Cedar Lee Business District to an audience of more than 125 at the Cedar Lee Theatre on May 9.

FutureHeights, through its Heights Community Development Alliance program, had contracted with the students to complete the study as their capstone project. Robert A. Simons, professor and former director of the Master of Urban Planning, Design and Development program at Levin College, and Jim Kastelic, program director for the Ohio office of the Trust for Public Land, co-taught the class.

“This was the first time Viking Planners completed a project outside the City of Cleveland, and it was a competitive process to be selected for the study,” said Deanna Bremer Fisher, executive director of FutureHeights. “We wanted to bring a planning project to Cleveland Heights, and Cedar Lee was the best fit with the class’s objectives. The streetscape and high school renovations are going to have a big impact. We wanted to see how we could build on these projects and the district’s lively arts and restaurant scene.”

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 10:31 AM, 05.30.2016

Thank you to Coventry playground volunteers

April 30 was the 45th biannual volunteer work day at the P.E.A.C.E. playground and gardens near the Coventry school building. The playground was built in October 1993 after three years of intense planning and fundraising by a group of dedicated Coventry Elementary School parents. Every spring and fall since 1994, a call goes out for volunteers, who repair equipment, and plant and maintain the gardens. Those who have time also “adopt” an area of the gardens to maintain on their own.

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Volume 9, Issue 6, Posted 9:42 AM, 05.30.2016

HRRC executive director announces departure

The Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) Board of Directors of has accepted the resignation of Executive Director Ben Faller, who is leaving to take a teaching position at the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Law.

Tikeesha Allen, HRRC’s program director, has been named interim director, and will be working closely with Faller, the board of directors and HRRC staff to ensure a smooth transition while the board conducts a search for a new executive director. Information on the search process is available at www.hrrc-ch.org/search.

“Ben has been an excellent leader. I’ve enjoyed working closely with him, as has the entire board,” said Marc Lefkowitz, HRRC board president. “Under Ben’s leadership, we’ve seen significant growth in our program participation—in line with expansion in our capacity to meet the needs of homeowners and more thoroughly serve them through hands-on repair classes, loans and a range of technical assistance in home ownership.”

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Volume 9, Issue 5, Posted 11:57 AM, 04.17.2016

FutureHeights presents 'The Bloodless Jungle'

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

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

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

Ten Thousand Villages plans anniversary celebrations

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

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

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

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