Latest News

CH resident and bakeries give 'sweet' thank you to Wolstein vaccinators

Debra Franke and Brigadier General Rebecca O'Connor at the Wolstein Center.

Maybe like many of you, I went through many emotional stages during this pandemic. It started with disbelief; then, disbelief turned to shock. Shock gave way to cautious optimism last spring and summer and fall, when we understood that we could be outside with others in a socially distanced kind of way. Cold weather and social isolation turned that optimism to a gray kind of emotion and lethargy. News of the vaccine brought equal parts hope and frustration. That’s where this story starts.

The vaccine, our way out of this mess, was an absolute blessing this winter. But the supply was limited, and the process of scheduling an appointment was fractured. With no central appointment system, senior citizens had to use many different websites to find an elusive appointment. For those with limited computer access or skills, it was difficult.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 11:56 AM, 05.04.2021

Latest News Releases

Cleveland Water's 2020 Water Quality Report Now Available
- Cleveland Water, May 3, 2021 Read More
Heights Libraries shares vaccine information
- Heights Libraries, April 17, 2021 Read More
Know Your Rights - Tax Credits and Free Professional Tax Preparation and Filing Opportunities
- Non-Profit & Groups, April 11, 2021 Read More
Applications now open for the Youth Opportunities Unlimited Internship Program
- Non-Profit & Groups, April 11, 2021 Read More
Connect to your Community! Volunteer with Hospice of the Western Reserve!
- Hospice of the Western Reserve, March 22, 2021 Read More

View more news releases

CH marks centennial with events and tours

Cleveland Heights will continue its centennial celebration throughout 2021. [photo courtesy city of Cleveland Heights]

The city of Cleveland Heights will celebrate its centennial with a series of learning opportunities and events in 2021. Residents and visitors are invited to learn about the city’s history, share their own stories, and explore Cleveland Heights’ many amenities. 

Cleveland Heights officially kicked off its centennial celebration last fall, with the launch of its “All Are Welcome” campaign. It has promoted the campaign throughout the city, with window displays, bus wraps, videos, and discussions on social media.

The city has launched a new microsite,, as a hub for centennial information. The site provides a detailed history of the city, accompanied by archival photos.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:23 AM, 04.30.2021

UH Symphonic Band resumes practices and performances

The UH Symphonic Band rehearsing outdoors, in a socially distanced small group, in September 2020. [photo: Mark Souther]

Last year, the University Heights Symphonic Band adapted to an unprecedented summer to share its love of music with the community. Outdoor rehearsals, social distancing, and all the other precautions put in place due to the pandemic proved well worth it, as the band capped the summer with several recording sessions at Walter Stinson Park.

Now, with declining COVID cases, a vaccine rollout, and summer again in our sights, the full band will be back together for the first time since March 8, 2020.

Starting May 6, band members will rehearse at John Carroll University every Thursday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Following CDC guidelines, the band will rehearse outside, be socially distanced, and musicians will play wearing special masks that minimize aerosol spread. 

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:07 AM, 04.30.2021

Heights High swim cadets present hybrid show

The 2020–21 Heights High School Swim Cadets (left to right, from front row): Lucia Mitchell, Serenity Parker, Ruby Blackman; Sophia Marotta, Anna Turner, Lily Fawcett-Dubow, Harper Walker, Rachel O’Keeffe;  Sophia Forniti, Ella Herr, Polly Routh, Clara Lyford, Ruby Tugeau; Zoe Burns, Clarissa Gorjanc, Estelle Covault, Arden Lindberg.

The 2020–21 Cleveland Heights High School Swim Cadets, a 17-member synchronized swim club, will present its annual show May 6–8, 7 p.m., at the Heights High pool, 13263 Cedar Road. The theme of this year’s show is Swim Cadets Undercover.

The club, led by determined young women who sacrificed many of their high school traditions during this pandemic year, did everything in their power to persuade the administration that the show “must go on.” 

To follow COVID safety protocols, and because seating is limited to maintain social distancing, only family members of the performers will be allowed to attend in person. Family members must purchase tickets directly from their cadet prior to the performance dates. Attendees must enter through the school’s west entrance for a brief health screening, and must wear a proper face mask to be admitted.

Other community members and students are welcome to view the show, for free, via YouTube livestream on Friday, May 7. Viewers watching from home are encouraged to make an online donation. Details on how to do so will be posted on the group’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:53 AM, 04.30.2021

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to 10 projects

FutureHeights awarded $6,452 in grants to support 10 projects in Cleveland Heights and University Heights in the spring round of its 2021 Neighborhood Mini-Grants Program.

University Heights Symphonic Band received $1,000 for its 50th Anniversary Celebration. The band plans to use grant funds to purchase new music arrangements that highlight various social issues and works by BIPOC and LGBTQ composers. For more information visit

Cedar Fairmount Arts received $1,000 to transform two vacant lots on Cedar Road, at South Overlook Road and Delaware Drive, into a park for community use, adding much-needed greenspace to the district.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:43 AM, 04.30.2021

University Heights stands against COVID-19

University Heights resident and nurse Kat Sigel at UH City Hall, filming her part in a new public service announcement.

A University Heights group is standing together in an effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all. Their message? “Get vaccinated. Your arm has the power to lift us all up.”

A new public service announcement from University Heights City Hall begins with local nurse and University Heights resident Kat Sigel showing off her post-shot bandage. Also appearing in the PSA are University Heights Symphonic Band conductor Matthew Salvaggio; resident Joanna Homann; M-E Fenn of Odd Dog Coffee; resident Ketti Finneran;  school board member Jodi Sourini; Fire Chief Robert Perko and members of the fire department; resident Ron Collier; resident Giovanna Ventre; Libby Stineman from Milk & Cookies; Clerk of Council Kelly Thomas; and resident Gina Ventre.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:25 AM, 04.30.2021

Buckingham residents endorse Hart for mayor

To the Editor:

We’re sending this letter to announce our endorsement of Melody Hart for mayor of Cleveland Heights. In the information regarding her announcement to run, she emphasizes characteristics such as “responsive,” taking into account “citizens’ complaints,” and “transparency.” From our perspective as residents of the Buckingham Condominium—the lone, four-story, circa 1925 building in the very center of the Top of the Hill (TOH) project—Melody has been the one member of council who has consistently reached out to us in our many concerns.

Last May, just as ground was breaking for TOH, Melody and Davida Russell, another CH council member, went out of their ways on a Sunday afternoon to meet with [Buckingham] residents and listen to our concerns.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:47 AM, 04.30.2021

Residents ask candidates to embrace environmental policy platform

We are Cleveland Heights and University Heights residents with a vision for a healthy environment within our own political boundaries and beyond. We are requesting that mayoral, council, and school board candidates incorporate environmental policies in their platforms.

We are looking for elected leaders who are knowledgeable about, embrace, and apply an environmental overlay to all policy proposals and actions. Each decision affecting the people and lands of our cities should have a documented and transparent review of how this overlay is applied. The overlay should include the impact on natural resources, environmental equity, and climate change.

Our cities are an integral component of Greater Cleveland’s ecosystem.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:42 AM, 04.30.2021

Student interns curate 'Innate Environments'

Work by Heights Arts intern Zelda Thayer-Hansen.

Heights Arts is known for celebrating art in many forms at its longstanding Cleveland Heights gallery. That especially includes up-and-coming artists. This spring, Heights Arts presents Innate Environments, and a Spotlight showcase, both celebrating new talent. The concurrent exhibitions run Friday, May 21, through Sunday, June 13, at Heights Arts gallery, 2175 Lee Road.

Heights Arts interns Zelda Thayer-Hansen and Eryn Lawsonn curated Innate Environments. They created a show that acknowledges nature in its unsightly truths and inherent beauty, all while evaluating humanity’s existence within the natural world, through photography, graphic design, and mixed media. The two interns share the Spotlight showcase adjacent to the exhibition.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:06 AM, 04.30.2021

The shoppe on the corner

An ad in the East Cleveland Leader from Dec. 15, 1955.

My birthday is in May, and I’m thinking of one birthday in particular—my fourth. On that day, my uncle happened to be visiting his mother, my great aunt, who lived downstairs from my family, in the duplex she owned on Belmar. I was playing in the front yard when my uncle found out it was my birthday and said to me, “Let’s take a ride.” I climbed into his big black Cadillac and we drove about four blocks east to Snedeker’s Toy Shoppe, on the southwest corner of Mayfield and Superior roads.

Snedeker’s was not a huge place, but it had every kind of kids toy, game and trick you could want. My uncle, Danny Budin, who owned the then-famous Budin’s Delicatessen, was known for his generosity. Uncle Danny told me to pick out anything I wanted, for my birthday. I looked around and picked a teddy bear. He said, “Is that all you want? Get something else.” So, I got something else.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:04 AM, 04.30.2021

CH sculpture garden reopens for annual tour

A partial view of Fred Gearhart's sculptures in his Cleveland Heights garden. (Photo: Fred Gearhart)

For 12 years, Cleveland Heights artist Fred Gearhart has opened his studio and sculpture garden to visitors. Cancelled last year due to the coronavirus shutdown, the annual event returns on Saturday, May 29, and Sunday, May 30, 1–7 p.m. This show attracts many Heights residents, as well as visitors from throughout the region, and is intended to provide enjoyment and respite on the Memorial Day weekend.

Gearhart has been a productive sculptor, working for 36 years in his home studio at 1609 Rydalmount Road. Because he works mostly in stone, the studio area is outdoors. Many finished pieces are on display on the property, ranging from fist-sized to 10 feet tall.

Subject matter includes figures and faces, abstract art, and functional work, such as fountains, birdbaths and bud vases. Some pieces are memory pieces about his life.

“Many people enjoy the humorous stone faces,” said Gearhart. “Browsers are welcome. I want my friends and neighbors to enjoy seeing what I make.”

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:04 AM, 04.30.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 4-20-2021

APRIL 20, 2021, work session


  • School-community partnerships
  • Noble community learning center
  • Performance audit update
  • COVID vaccine clinic
  • Tiger Camp


Present were board President James Posch; members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright; Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby; and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 8:22 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 9:05 AM, 05.11.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-19-2021

APRIL 19, 2021 regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • Chief of police report
  • Cedar/Lee/Meadowbrook
  • Council approvals
  • Consent agenda
  • Council member comments


Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. This was Mr. Cobb’s first meeting. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna.. The meeting was one hour long.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 8:59 AM, 05.11.2021

Library launches new tablet-lending program

Android tablets are available from the Lee Road branch of Heights Libraries.

Heights Libraries began an Android tablet-loaning pilot project in April at its Lee Road branch. If the program proves popular, it will be expanded to the library system’s Coventry, Noble, and University Heights branches.

The new lending program is a free service that allows cardholders to check out an Android tablet device for up to seven days.

It is one of the ways that Heights Libraries is trying to bridge the “digital divide,” the gap between necessary technology and those who have trouble accessing it.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 11:02 AM, 04.30.2021

Annual parade returns to University Heights

A parade will return to University Heights in 2021. This year only, instead of Memorial Day, the parade will be on the Fourth of July.

For one year only, the annual University Heights parade will be held on the Fourth of July.

For decades, every year, University Heights has held Northeast Ohio’s biggest and best Memorial Day parade—and Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan said the city plans to bring back the Memorial Day Parade in 2022.

Due to current pandemic concerns, however, it is uncertain if it would be safe to throw a full-fledged Memorial Day parade this year. Chagrin Falls and other cities in Northeast Ohio have decided against holding a parade over Memorial Day weekend. University Heights will err on the side of caution and hold a parade later in the summer.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:59 AM, 04.30.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education joint meeting with city councils and library board 4-12-2021

APRIL 12, 2021


  • University Heights City Council
  • Cleveland Heights City Council
  • Cleveland Heights-University Heights Library Board
  • Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education 
  • Discussion


From the board of education were President Jim Posch, Dan Heinz, Malia Lewis and Jodi Sourini. Member Beverly Wright was absent. Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer also attended. 

From the Cleveland Heights City Council were President Jason Stein, Vice President Kahlil Seren Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Hart, Davida Russell, and Mike Unger. City Manager Suzanna Niermann-O’Neil and Parks and Recreation Director Joe McRae also attended.

From the University Heights City Council were Vice Mayor Michele Weiss, Sandra Berry, Barbara Blankfield, Justin Gould, and John Rach; council members Phil Ertel and Sue Pardee were absent. Mayor Michael Brennan also attended.

From the library board were Library Director Nancy Levin, Board President Dana Fluellen, Patti Carlyle, Gabe Crenshaw, Max Gerboc, Annette Iwamoto, Tyler McTigue, and Vikas Turakhia. Fiscal Officer DeborahHerrmann and Deputy Director Kim DeNero-Ackroyd also attended.

Each group reported on the issues they were principally concerned with at this time; discussion followed the presentations.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:12 AM, 05.11.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 4-6-2021

APRIL 6, 2021 regular meeting


  • Recognitions 
  • Public comments
  • Board approvals
  • Instruction update
  • Financial reports
  • Alternative collective bargaining models
  • Lay Finance Committee
  • EdChoice concerns


Present were Board President James Posch; members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright; Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby; and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:09 AM, 05.11.2021

FutureHeights' 2021 annual meeting is June 9

On June 9, FutureHeights will present its 2021 annual meeting on the outdoor patio of Boss Dog Brewing Company, 2179 Lee Road. The program will also be livestreamed for remote viewing.

FutureHeights, a nonprofit community development corporation, strives to engage Heights residents to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

This year’s meeting will focus on the unique neighborhoods in the Heights, and Cleveland Heights' 100-year history. FutureHeights will also report on its activities and accomplishments, as well as its vision for the future.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:57 AM, 04.30.2021

Heights Music Hop will return in 2021, issues call for musicians

After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic, the eighth annual Heights Music Hop festival will take place on Saturday, Sept. 18, in the Cedar Lee Business District.

Heights Music Hop showcases local, live musical talent to promote the Heights as home to the arts, while also helping to support the local economy and celebrate the community’s diversity, walkability and great quality of life.

In the past, performances have occurred within local businesses; this year, FutureHeights will present the event on outdoor stages throughout the district, to ensure the safety of participants.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:55 AM, 04.30.2021

In-person learning is back

The CH-UH school district is officially back to in-person teaching. It’s been a long time coming. 

Staying remote for as long as we did was the safest choice for our staff, students, and families. The decisions the district made became more controversial as the year progressed, but it made no sense to return in-person when COVID numbers were on the rise and a vaccine was months away.   

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:48 AM, 04.30.2021

P.E.A.C.E. Park is ideal location for dog park

[There is] a landslide of support to have a dog park in Cleveland Heights.

I have been in contact with the director of Heights Libraries, which oversees Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park. I have laid out to her reasons why Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park is where I believe the dog park should be, but she has turned me down flatly, saying that this area is used for picnics, sledding, and other activities.

I would like to tell you why I think she has made a mistake, and why I have not given up and am appealing to Cleveland Heights residents and the powers-that-be to support a dog park at Coventry P.E.A.C.E. Park.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:46 AM, 04.30.2021

(Re)writing history

Like all Cleveland Heights residents, in late March we received our copies of Focus, the city magazine. The inside cover features an attractive layout of historical photographs, and announces the 100th anniversary of Cleveland Heights’ incorporation as a city. To our surprise, the text includes:

“From our early days, diversity and creativity have been cherished traits. People of all races, religions and economic backgrounds have always been welcome.”

Why are we surprised? Well, for one thing, we recently read Resisting Segregation: Cleveland Heights Activists Shape their Community, 1964–1976, by Susan Kaeser. As Songs and Stories columnist David Budin noted in his April column, the book chronicles the arduous transformation of Cleveland Heights from a white enclave to an integrated community.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:31 AM, 04.30.2021

Become a crusader for democracy

I have been writing this column for more than six years. Sometimes I feel like a broken record, repeatedly showcasing the ways in which our community suffers from state laws that inappropriately use tests to define our public schools—and our children—as failures; state laws that take resources appropriated for public school children to pay for private education; and state laws that shift a disproportionate share of the cost of funding public education to local taxpayers, while the state cuts taxes and disinvests.

All of these policies undermine the quality of education available to our youth, increase friction among the stakeholders in the education community, create hostility among neighbors and toward school leaders, make our community less competitive, and weaken our system of public education.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:29 AM, 04.30.2021

What CH needs in its elected mayor

A leader does not wait to be appointed or elected. What have you [the candidate] already been leading? Where will you lead us?

We need to move forward into the 21st century, toward a brighter future for Cleveland Heights. Think of an unlimited future, attracting and retaining people, meeting crises, overcoming challenges. Too often I hear people talk in terms of the limits of current problems, shrinking population, and the restrictive framework of our current state and local governments. I never again want to hear someone say, "It is what it is." How will you lead us beyond these issues?

We are diverse even within our neighborhoods. Get to know something about us, not our "type." We do not fit into the pollster’s stereotypes. Don't take a group’s support for granted; you have to earn it.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:33 AM, 04.30.2021

CH Democrats to host programs on elected mayor

This November, for the first time, Cleveland Heights voters will elect the city's mayor.

Prior to this election, Cleveland Heights has had a city council/city manager form of government, [in which city council members appointed a mayor from their own ranks]. In light of this momentous change in the city’s form of government, Cleveland Heights Democrats is planning a series of public meetings.

At its next regular monthly meeting, on May 13, 7 p.m., Cleveland Heights Democrats will feature a presentation by Len Friedson, of Citizens for an Elected Mayor.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:19 AM, 04.30.2021

Housing inspection and code enforcement are critical

The 2020 survey of Cleveland Heights residents found that, of all the services provided by City Hall, respondents were least satisfied with "enforcement of city codes and ordinances." (Safety services topped the ranking.) I wasn't surveyed, but I agree. Many, many properties do not look good. That's the number one issue for candidates.

It seems that past officials, over decades, never really appreciated just how critical inspection and enforcement are once structures lose their newness. Cleveland Heights is the third-oldest suburb in the county (behind East Cleveland and Lakewood). Half of our homes are 100 years old. Because officials failed to address adequately what was becoming old housing, shoddiness became an acceptable standard.

The worse the condition of housing, the more negatives occur.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:36 AM, 04.30.2021

Lake Erie Ink celebrates 10 years

LEI founders Cynthia Larsen and Amy Rosenbluth at the 2020 Kids Comic Con. [photo courtesy Lake Erie Ink]

What is the value of a writing workshop for young people? Lake Erie Ink (LEI) believes it has the answer.

For 10 years, LEI has provided a writing space for young people across Northeast Ohio, to empower them and help them find their own voices. The initiative started more than 10 years ago, rooted in the many years that teachers Amy Rosenbluth and Cynthia Larsen had offered creative writing programs for youth in communities on Cleveland’s east side. After learning about work done by 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing center in San Francisco, the two decided to co-found their own organization focused on providing a safe space for youth to share their stories, and LEI was launched.    

“Having a supportive space gives kids the go-ahead to take creative risks,” Rosenbluth noted. “Youth need opportunities to express who they are and how they fit in their world.”

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:16 AM, 04.30.2021

May is Bike Month

Cleveland Heights and University Heights have joined cities in the region and around the country in observing May as Bike Month. This year, numerous events are planned to engage the Heights bicycling community while maintaining social distancing—even if that means some events are held remotely. 

  • May 4 - HBC Town Hall: Heights Bicycle Coalition (HBC) will host a Town Hall on Zoom on Tuesday, May 4, at 7 p.m. This event offers participants the opportunity to ask questions, make comments, and express ideas regarding cycling in the Heights area. You can join this Zoom meeting using the following information: Meeting ID 763 4606 9552; Security Passcode 4DuFPm.
  • May 19 - Ride of Silence: Join cyclists around the country in the annual Ride of Silence. It has taken place on the third Wednesday of May for the last 19 years, to honor the cyclists who have been injured or killed in accidents with motorists. This ride raises awareness and reminds us that we share the roads.
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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:15 AM, 04.30.2021

Merchants support mixed-use development at Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook

The below-signed merchants in the Cedar Lee Business District strongly support a mixed-use development at the Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook (CLM) site (the vacant land on the east side of Lee Road at Meadowbrook Boulevard, and on the municipal parking lot between Tullamore and Cedar roads). As Cleveland Heights City Council reviews and evaluates two proposals for CLM development, we strongly support the selection of a developer who can minimize the impact of construction disruption on our businesses by shortening and maximizing the construction period with a single phase of development for the entire project. We are excited about the catalytic possibilities of the CLM project, just as the Top of the Hill project is bringing to Cedar Fairmount.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 6:59 AM, 04.27.2021

Heights Libraries offers free take-home COVID tests

This free test kit is available courtesy of Heights Libraries.

Heights Libraries is providing free, at-home, COVID-19 rapid testing kits to any adult in the community who needs one.

The kits, the Abbott BinaxNOW Rapid COVID-19 Antigen At-Home Test, were provided by the Ohio Department of Health. Gov. Mike DeWine’s goal is to make these rapid-testing kits available and accessible in every Ohio county, and Ohio’s public libraries, including Heights Libraries, will play a critical role.

According to the Ohio Library Council, “Testing alone is not going to end the pandemic, but public libraries can help make the kits easily accessible to their communities, and fight COVID-19.”

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 12:21 PM, 04.19.2021

Snodgrass announces CH council candidacy

Al Snodgrass

I am excited to share with you that I am running for Cleveland Heights City Council. I hope to earn your vote this November. 

I am honored to have earned the early support of Ohio State Sen. Sandra Williams; Ohio Senate Assistant Minority Leader Nickie J. Antonio; Ohio State Rep. Janine Boyd; Ohio State Rep. Terrence Upchurch; Cuyahoga County Council Vice President Cheryl Stephens; business owners Quintin Jones (Rudy’s Pub) and Tommy Fello (Tommy’s); community leaders Earl Pike, Sue Dean, Marquez Brown, Rhonda Davis Lovejoy, Jennifer Holland, and George Sample. I am also honored to receive the endorsement of surrounding local elected officials, including Mayor Annette Blackwell (Maple Heights), Mayor Georgine Welo (South Euclid), Shaker Heights Council Member Carmella Williams, and Bratenahl Council President Pro Tem Keith Benjamin.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 12:20 PM, 04.19.2021

HRRC's May programs include tree giveaway

Cercis Canadensis (redbud), a native tree, is one of the varieties available in HRRC's tree giveaway.

Home Repair Resource Center (HRRC) is teaming up with Holden Arboretum for two early May events.

“Ask the Arborist," a free tree-care class, will take place on Tuesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom. Participants will have the opportunity to get answers about all that goes into choosing and caring for trees.

The first 65 registrants for the class will have an opportunity to choose a free tree on Saturday, May 8. Five varieties of trees will be available, and information about them can be found at  

On Tuesday, May 18, 6:30 p.m., HRRC will hold an online workshop, “Patio Pavers.” The program will cover the principles of creating a paver patio or walkway out of concrete or brick blocks.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 12:22 PM, 04.19.2021

Kirby to deliver State of our Schools Address April 15

Elizabeth Kirby, CH-UH schools superintendent.

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby will deliver the virtual 2021 State of our Schools Address on April 15.

Kirby will discuss strategic-planning updates, achievements and notable events from the past year, and the major new initiatives taking shape. The event will also feature musical performances and remarks from students.
"I'm looking forward to sharing the district's accomplishments over the past year, as well as how Tiger Nation came together to overcome the monumental challenges we faced with the COVID-19 pandemic," said Kirby.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 12:35 PM, 04.11.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-5-2021

APRIL 5, 2021 regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Legislation
  • Proclamations
  • Purchases for public works
  • Council member comments


Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. This was Mr. Cobb’s first meeting. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, and Law Director William Hanna. The meeting began at 8:22 p.m. and ended at 10:14 p.m. The meeting was delayed about an hour by an executive session.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 8:49 AM, 05.11.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-24-2021

MARCH 24, 2021 special meeting


  • MetroHealth’s proposal
  • Public comments
  • Planning director’s report
  • Presentation
  • Amendment resolution
  • Council member comments


Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. This was Mr. Cobb’s first meeting. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, Law Director William Hanna, and staff members Mary Trupo and Jim Lambdin.

The meeting lasted two hours, 29 minutes, not including executive session.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:01 AM, 05.11.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-15-2021

MARCH 15, 2021 regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Police chief’s report
  • Legislation 
  • Recreation committee appointment
  • Council seat appointment
  • Consent agenda
  • Council member comments


Present were Council President Jason Stein, Council Vice President Kahlil Seren, Craig Cobb, Mary Dunbar, Melody Joy Hart, Davida Russell, and Michael N. Ungar. This was Mr. Cobb’s first meeting. Also present were City Manager Susanna Niermann O’Neil, Clerk of Council and Finance Director Amy Himmelein, Law Director William Hanna, and Police Chief Annette Mecklenberg. The meeting lasted one hour and 17 minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 8:54 AM, 05.11.2021

Best of the Heights 2021 award winners

Tommy Fello (at left), owner of Tommy's restaurant, and (from left) employees Ian Anderson, Becky Dedenbach, Karla Zagari and Ivan Lemus, holding winner certificates for Best Curbside Pickup and Best Community-Conscious Business, and finalist certificates for Best Online Ordering, Best Socially Distanced Dining, Best Ecologically Friendly Takeout, Best Employee Pandemic Support and Best Pandemic Pivot. Photo by Deanna Bremer Fisher.

This winter, Heights residents cast their votes for Best of the Heights 2021, and 23 local businesses were named winners and finalists in this year’s contest.

FutureHeights, a nonprofit community development corporation and publisher of the Heights Observer, hosts this annual awards program to recognize the locally owned, independent businesses that serve Cleveland Heights and University Heights, and contribute to our local economy.

As in prior years, FutureHeights created a list of 12 unique categories, showcasing the wide variety of establishments that call the Heights home, and asked residents to vote by writing in the names of their favorites in each category.

This year’s categories, which included Best Curbside Pickup and Best Socially Distanced Dining, recognized that the global pandemic has upended everyone’s lives and forced local entrepreneurs to innovate as they struggled to stay afloat, while keeping customers and employees safe.

Despite the pandemic, several new businesses opened in the Heights. The winner of this year’s Best New Bar or Restaurant was Doug Katz’s Chimi, while Zhug, Foodhisattva, and Voodoo Brewery were finalists in this category.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:37 AM, 04.01.2021

FutureHeights announces Best of the Heights raffle winners

Sarah Forsythe and her daughter Laura. Photo by Sally Kramer.

To thank voters in the 2021 FutureHeights Best of the Heights Awards, and to support Heights local businesses, FutureHeights purchased $1,000 in gift certificates from a variety of local businesses and raffled them off. Each Best of the Heights voter received a chance to win one of four gift certificate packages worth $250. Additional chances to win were available for a $10 or $25 donation to FutureHeights. The four winners were: Destiny Burns, Sara Forsythe, Grace Harper and Lauren Marshall.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 6:31 AM, 04.27.2021

CH charter limits signing of candidate petitions

With at least four candidates already having declared for Cleveland Heights’ first mayoral race, plus four Cleveland Heights City Council seats on the Nov. 2 ballot, residents should be aware that there are limits to the number of candidate petitions they can sign for those two races.

According to the Cleveland Heights City Charter (Section VII-3), “No elector shall sign more nominating petitions for different candidates for a particular office than there are positions to be filled for that office at the election for which the petition is signed. If he does so, his signatures on all petitions which postdate his signing the permissible number of petitions shall be invalid.”

That means Cleveland Heights residents can sign only one candidate petition for mayor, and no more than four would-be council candidate petitions.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.01.2021

Free native trees available on Earth Day

A redbud tree on Bradford Road. [photo: Peggy Spaeth]

This Earth Day, April 22, The Nature Center at Shaker Lakes will offer a limited supply of seedlings of three native tree species. They’ll be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Friends Pavilion, at 2600 South Park Blvd. If seedlings remain at the end of the day, those will be distributed on Saturday, April 24, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The bare-root 12- to 15-inch seedlings will be accompanied by planting instructions. The three native species are:

Cercis canadensis, redbud, is one of the first spring flowering trees in Northeast Ohio, blooming simultaneously with Cornus florida, white flowering dogwood, creating a pink haze in the landscape.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:30 AM, 04.01.2021

Honoring graduating seniors, and explaining a decision about candidates

We introduced “Senior Shout Outs” last year to provide an opportunity to recognize the high school seniors who couldn’t do anything but watch as the pandemic ruined every anticipated senior-spring rite of passage—from prom to skip day to commencement itself.

It was a last-minute idea that allowed parents and friends to shine the spotlight on 2020 graduates whose big moment had been overrun by current events.

The class of 2021 has had a strange and disappointing year, too, and we’re offering Senior Shout Outs again, in the June issue, so you can give public recognition to the graduating senior(s) in your bubble.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:28 AM, 04.01.2021

CH celebrates Arbor Day with plantings and cleanup

Volunteers at work in the new park at Noble and Roanoke roads.

On April 30 at 10 a.m., Cleveland Heights’ forestry crew will lead an Arbor Day celebration at the city’s new park, at Noble and Roanoke roads. The celebration will mark Cleveland Heights’ 43 years as a Tree City USA.

City foresters will plant two trees on the tree lawn, and Heights Tree People will plant three trees inside the park. Noble Neighbors’ garden patrol will lead spring cleanup work, including weeding, mulching, and planting new native pollinator plants. 

Heights community members are welcome to attend and participate, and are asked to wear a mask and observe 6 feet of social distancing.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:21 AM, 04.01.2021

Park restoration group seeks volunteers

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies are among the many native species that benefit from native plants.

Friends of the Walt is a volunteer organization of University Heights residents who are beautifying and maintaining the Walter Stinson Community Park on Fenwick Road, to benefit people and wildlife. Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan organized a volunteer workday last August, after which several participants decided to form an organization to continue the effort.

Bird and insect populations and diversity have declined over the last century, especially the last 30 years, due to habitat loss and fragmentation (unlinked patches of undeveloped land), climate change, pesticide use, and pollution. Invasive exotic plant species have started to dominate natural parklands here in Northeast Ohio. There is a growing national movement to start restoring communities and yards to ecological health.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:20 AM, 04.01.2021

GardenWalk CH returns in July

The Kious "Corona Cottage" will be featured on GardenWalk Cleveland Heights 2021.

The third annual GardenWalk Cleveland Heights garden tour will be held Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18. The free, self-directed tour will feature private yards, community gardens and public spaces, with more than 20 spots expected to be included in the event.

Because of the pandemic, the 2020 GardenWalk was held as a virtual tour of more than a dozen local gardens. This year’s GardenWalk returns to its in-person “roots” (pun joyfully intended), with leisurely outdoor browsing and visiting. 

Each year GardenWalk spotlights the creativity Heights residents infuse into their outdoor spaces. A new structure that is sure to be a crowd pleaser was built by Janet Kious and her family.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:17 AM, 04.01.2021

Mental health seminar open to teens and caregivers

At 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 10, the Youth Department at First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland will host a special event for parents and students on the increase of mental health issues among young people, and how to recognize signs of opioid and other addictions.

The interactive seminar recognizes the impact of pandemic-related isolation that many teens have experienced this past year. It will provide the opportunity to ask questions, connect with resources, and find out more about mental health issues in young people.

Panelists are LoToya Logan, LISW-S, founder and executive director of Project LIFT Services; and Ayme McCain, LSW, OCPC, associate director of Prevention, Wellness & Community Outreach for Recovery Resources.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:15 AM, 04.01.2021

Fair housing ensures strong communities

At Heights Community Congress (HCC), we believe an open and fair housing market results in inclusive communities and neighborhoods. Since the passage of the Federal Fair Housing Act in 1968, fair housing practices in renting and selling homes has been the law, but we know it is not always practice.

The law must be constantly monitored, upheld and protected. April is Fair Housing Month, and a perfect opportunity for the city of Cleveland Heights and its residents to recommit to upholding fair housing in our community.

A key element of Cleveland Heights’ commitment to fair housing is testing, which organizations such as HCC do for the city. Testing consists of sending two people, matched on factors such as age and gender, to inquire [separately] about renting or buying a home.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:25 AM, 04.01.2021

Two pools are better than one

We share so much—schools, libraries, friends, and more. Why can’t we also share our pools? Wouldn’t it be nice to double our communities’ swimming pools without the effort and expense of building? 

Wouldn’t it be nice for your kids to go to the pool with their school friends? Wouldn’t it be nice to have more single-sex swimming nights, and also to have another pool to use as a family on the nights designated for single-sex use? All this, and more, is possible.

Both the Cumberland and Purvis pools have amenities that benefit all residents. For example, Cumberland offers an established summer synchronized swimming team that might appeal to many UH residents. Purvis has 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards, which might attract a diving team.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:24 AM, 04.01.2021

Add your support to Cedar Lee park efforts

The Meadowbrook-Lee development site. [From]

We all want to use the city-owned land at Meadowbrook Boulevard and Lee Road to help our city do better. We all share the same concerns about our community: high taxes, schools, keeping our wonderful local businesses, supporting the arts and our brand as an arts community, and having housing that will attract and keep residents.

Cleveland Heights city officials have tried, unsuccessfully, four times before—in 2011, 2013, 2018 and 2019—to have the Meadowbrook-Lee land developed as some sort of apartments/mixed-use project. They are now trying for the fifth time with the same kind of project.

Isn’t it time for the city to try something new?

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:07 AM, 04.01.2021

New CH mayor must protect environment

Severance Forest is not vacant land.

On the first Earth Day, 51 years ago, our eyes were opened to the realization that we are part of the Earth, not just visitors roaming the surface. Everything we do, every decision we make, affects everyone and everything on this planet, our home.

The world is in crisis—environmental, social, economic, and healthwise. We can act to resolve this crisis, or we can worsen it. Cleveland Heights has the opportunity to improve, rather than further degrade, our world. As we look at candidates for our first elected mayor, we need to ask how they will lead us in doing our part locally in solving this crisis.

Severance Forest is a rare treasure, a mile-long corridor of woods and wetlands at the headwaters of Dugway Brook.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:05 AM, 04.01.2021

Housing stock is CH's main asset

I don’t think anyone would disagree that our housing stock is our main asset. Without good housing we would not be able to afford schools. City government could be diminished by 25 percent. To maintain city services, we must maintain or increase property values.

I walked the Noble area twice with Greater Cleveland Congregations. We picked Noble because that was the neighborhood hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. We looked for vacant and blighted houses because on any block where there is such a house the values of homes on the block diminish.

Don’t get me wrong—Noble is a wonderful neighborhood. The city contains solid housing. We are not in imminent danger of [not] having enough funds to provide services.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:03 AM, 04.01.2021

Can the Ohio Constitution save public education?

“Two hundred years ago our Founding Fathers gave us two gifts. Both were relatively unknown in the world. The first was democracy. The second was public education. These gifts were inextricably intertwined.” So begins Derek Black’s book, Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy, the focus of a March 10 discussion sponsored by the Heights Coalition for Public Education. More than 75 participants joined the first session of a three-part conversation. 

Black, a constitutional-law scholar at the University of South Carolina, public school advocate, and unapologetic defender of democracy, kicked off the evening. He explained that he set out to write about testing and privatization, but soon realized he needed to take a step back and look at the relevance of education in our history and in our democracy. He likened undermining public education to attacking voting rights. As Black put it, this “is not about policies, it is about our values.” 

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:11 AM, 04.01.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education 3-16-2021

MARCH 16, 2021 Work Session


  • Full five-day reopening
  • Update: board strategic planning 


Present were Board President James Posch, Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, Beverly Wright, Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby, and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and adjourned at 9:38 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:29 AM, 04.13.2021

Cleveland Heights University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 3-15-2021

MARCH 15, 2021


  • Financial and investment report
  • Contract amendments
  • Technology expenditure
  • Service updates
  • COVID test kits
  • Public service report
  • Purchase Approval


Present were President Dana Fluellen, Vice President Gabe Crenshaw, Patti Carlyle, Max Gerboc, Annette Iwamoto, Tyler McTeague, and Vikas Turakhia.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:32 AM, 04.13.2021

Be an influencer about our public schools

Your opinions shape the narrative about your public schools. Maybe you’ve read an article, or heard a story, about a student attending a local public school. And maybe you then shared that story with your neighbor. Good news about inspiring teachers and successful students is expected and quickly forgotten, but bad news travels fast and lingers long. 

Rick Hanson, psychologist and author, explains that “negative experiences tend to have more urgency and impact than positive ones,” and that human beings are “naturally designed to internalize them.” Our brains have a “negativity bias” to help us survive.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 10:01 AM, 04.01.2021

CH mixes messages on tree canopy

To the Editor:

Reading recently of Shaker Heights’ application for a Cuyahoga County Healthy Urban Tree Canopy grant, to plant nearly 150 trees in their community, I'm reminded that Cleveland Heights received the same grant in 2019. At that time, we received a $50,000 grant for an ash tree mitigation program. The plan was to replace about 150 mature ash trees affected by the emerald ash borer.

It’s becoming increasingly evident that the tree canopy is shrinking across our region. In 2011, Cuyahoga County’s tree canopy stood at 37%. Six years later, in 2017, it fell to 35%.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:56 AM, 04.01.2021

Join Monticello Middle School in honoring community members

To the Editor:

Monticello Middle School has been selected to participate in the National Network of Partnership Schools (NNPS) with Johns Hopkins University.

As part of this partnership program, Monticello is kicking off its "It Takes a Village" initiative, honoring the school’s families, children, local businesses and the entire community—from churches to nonprofit organizations, and more.

As we continue to rise above recent challenges, what better way to honor and celebrate one another than through recognition.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:54 AM, 04.01.2021

CWRU offers vaccine clinics to Ohio residents April 9 and 10

Case Western Reserve University will be offering first doses of two of the approved COVID-19 vaccines to any Ohio resident over the age of 16 or 18 (depending on the vaccine) on Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10.

Moderna doses are available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, April 9. Recipients must be at least 18 years of age.

Pfizer doses are available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 10. Recipients must be at least 16 years of age.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 1:30 PM, 04.08.2021

Cleveland Heights is home to sports

To the Editor:

With COVID-19 finally slowing down, it is important to remember that Cleveland Heights is the home of sports in Northeast Ohio. With locations such as Forest Hill Park, Denison Park, Cain Park, Cumberland Park, Barbara Boyd Park, many smaller parks, and the community center, we are second to none.

We have nine excellent ballfields; 18 lighted tennis courts; five outdoor full-court basketball courts; two high-school-size full-court indoor basketball courts; numerous indoor and [outdoor] pickleball courts; an indoor volleyball court; two indoor ice rinks, for hockey, figure skating, speed skating and open skating; numerous indoor and outdoor running and walking trails and tracks; a fitness center, Jazzercize and martial arts programs; and the largest outdoor swimming pool in Northeast Ohio.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 9:53 AM, 04.01.2021