Latest News

Heights voters say no on Issue 9, yes on 10 and 20

In the May 3 primary election, Cleveland Heights voters passed Issue 10, approving an amendment to the city charter that shifts the clerk of council role to the legislative, from the executive, branch. They voted down Issue 9, an ordinance which called for the city to build a “public activity park” in Cedar Lee, on a 1.07-acre plot that is part of a development agreement between the city and Flaherty & Colllins, the developer.

According to unofficial results reported by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (BOE), 73% of voters said yes on Issue 10. They opposed Issue 9 by approximately the same percentage, with 72.83% voting no on that issue.

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 10:14 AM, 05.04.2022

Latest News Releases

Heights High Class of 1971 announces its 50th reunion
- CH-UH Schools, May 5, 2022 Read More
Baldwin Wallace Music Theater Students Bring Broadway Back to Beaumont School
- Beaumont School, April 7, 2022 Read More
City Councils of Cleveland Heights and University Heights, The CH-UH School Board and the Heights Library Board To Hold Joint Special Meeting
- City of Cleveland Heights, April 6, 2022 Read More
Heights Libraries paid teen summer internship
- CH-UH Library, March 25, 2022 Read More
Legal Aid Offers Free Legal Help with Tax Problems
- Legal Aid, March 2, 2022 Read More

View more news releases

Coventry PEACE plans benefit for Ukraine

Resistance/Sunflowers, by Ulianka Savchenko.

On Sunday, May 15, 2 to 5 p.m., Coventry PEACE Campus (CPC) will host an afternoon of art, music and food, all to benefit the artists of Ukraine.

The concept for the benefit grew from the 30-plus-year friendship between Susie Porter, of Euclid, and Serhiy Savchenko, a well-known Ukrainian artist in Lviv, Ukraine.

As the war ramped up, Serhiy's daughter, Ulianka, also an artist, began making digital artwork depicting the various aspects of the war, rendering the unbelievable events in her vibrant, and politically pointed, poster art.

After a conversation between Porter, Lynn Ischay, a former Plain Dealer photographer; and [the writer of this article], it was agreed that Ulianka would send copies of her poster art to be sold here, to raise money for victims of the war in Ukraine.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:44 AM, 04.29.2022

Heights Heritage tour returns as HCC marks 50 years

This historic Tudor home that was to be featured on the cancelled 2019 tour will be on this year's tour intead.

After three years of disruptions, Heights Community Congress (HCC) will again host its Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour in 2022, on Sunday, Sept. 18, from noon to 6 p.m. For more than 40 years HCC has featured 354 homes, along with several historic churches and local city landmarks, welcoming thousands of visitors from all over Northeast Ohio and beyond.

The popular weekend tour was abruptly cancelled in 2019 due to the major microburst storm that tore through parts of Cleveland Heights. That storm knocked out power for days, and damaged hundreds of trees and numerous properties, including three homes and two churches on the tour.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:36 PM, 05.01.2022

FutureHeights awards mini-grants to 10 community projects

A Little Free Library at Millikin Playground which recieved a mini-grant for additional improvements.

The spring 2022 round of funding for the FutureHeights Neighborhood Mini-Grant program received a record 21 applications, and has awarded a total of $6,950 to 10 community projects. The mini-grants are 100-percent funded by private donations.

This community-building initiative awards up to $1,000 for neighborhood-level projects in Cleveland Heights and University Heights. (The 21 applicants for spring 2022 all were from Cleveland Heights.)

Lantern Festival, coordinated by artists at Coventry PEACE Campus, received $1,000 to host the second in what is planned as an annual family event.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:35 AM, 04.29.2022

Cleveland Repertory Orchestra presents first concert May 15

The Cleveland Repertory Orchestra (CRO) will present its first-ever concert on Sunday, May 15, at 3 p.m., at First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland, 3630 Fairmount Blvd. The performance will be free and open to the public.

The concert will feature a new work by African American composer Kevin Day, the Flute Concerto by Christopher Rouse (featuring flutist Ian Wenz), and Antonín Dvorák’s Symphony No. 7.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 6:05 PM, 05.01.2022

Registration is open for LEI's creative expression summer camps

"Creature and Habitat," by Nahla Fletcher, a first-grade participant in LEI's Creature Creations Camp.

Creature Creations, a Lake Erie Ink (LEI) Creative Expression summer day camp for youth throughout Northeast Ohio, begins as it always has—coming together under the big white tent set up right outside the Coventry PEACE campus building. The sun shines down as birds welcome the arrival of the campers right in the heart of the Cleveland Heights Coventry neighborhood. There is a notable rush of activity under the tent as first- and second-graders scramble to prepare their displays.

It is a big day for the kids. All week, they have been perfecting and fleshing out the lives of the creatures they have created. They’ve built environments where their creatures might live, and invented backstories to explain their personalities.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 6:02 PM, 05.01.2022

Heights Arts interns curate student show

Trashcan (gesso and acrylic painting), by Sara Schubert, Heights High sophomore.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Kailash Satyarthi once said, "The power of youth is the common wealth of the entire world. . . . No segment in society can match the power, idealism, enthusiasm and courage of young people."

As current events stream digitally throughout the consciousness of our youth, Heights Arts offers an open platform for Cleveland Heights High School students to amplify their voices through art in its annual student show. This year's exhibition, What a Time to Be Alive, is accompanied by a spotlight exhibition featuring works by senior intern Eryn Lawson and by junior intern Josie Naypaur, organizers of the larger student exhibition.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:58 PM, 05.01.2022

Gusti—'a force of nature'

Gusti singing at the La Cave Reunion in 2010, in front of an enlarged photo of the entrance to the folk club La Cave, which closed in 1969. (Photo taken by and courtesy of Steve Traina)

The dean of Cleveland’s folk music community, Gusti Krauss—known by most only as Gusti—wrote in a March 21 Facebook post, “I am not dead! Still singing after all these years,” displaying her always irreverant sense of humor.

Then, in a sadly ironic twist, 10 days later, she died.

The rest of her March 21 message read: “I'll be singing a concert on May 14th for Folknet at Church of The Good Shepherd, 7-9 p.m. More news to follow!”

Well, more news did follow. Bad news. On April 1, her husband, Serge Krauss, wrote to her Facebook friends and followers, as part of a much longer post: “Today [Gusti] died at our pantry door of a fractured skull. She apparently fell from the back steps as she returned from a short, mid-day dental appointment, where she was so happy to finally get her new teeth back on track. She had been so happy that split second before eternity.”

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:53 PM, 05.01.2022

Choral Arts premieres American Mass

Just who is George Bristow? Choral Arts Cleveland, with director Brian Bailey, invites you to find out as it brings to life the Mass in C by 19th-century American composer George Bristow, in a world premiere of the composition. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., on Wednesday, June 8, with a talk on Bristow and American classical music, followed by the choral performance. The venue is Fairmount Presbyterian Church, 2757 Fairmount Blvd. in Cleveland Heights.

The Mass in C (1884–1885) is filled with lush, romantic phrasings that segue into joyously spirited, energetic and robust movements. Its expressive text setting infuses movements, such as the Kyrie, with an evocative imploring quality, and the Credo, with moods of triumph. Other artistic assets of the Mass include its varied use of vocal solos, alternated with long choral sections and short instrumental interludes, and the use of bold homophonic styles.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:51 PM, 05.01.2022

Poems and photos come together at Nature Center

Well into her 80s, and showing no signs of slowing down any time soon, Cleveland Heights resident Nina Freedlander Gibans has published her fourth book of poems—In the Garden of Old Age. The poems, and accompanying photographs by Abby Star, will be on exhibit at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes from an opening reception on Wednesday, May 25, through Aug. 15.

Gibans describes In the Garden of Old Age as a collection of poems about memories, “colliding daily in these summary years that pile up and tumble to the pages like leaves in fall.” The poems are richly illustrated—bright flowers giving way to autumn leaves.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:41 PM, 05.01.2022

Oh, Susanna!

Throughout Cleveland Heights’ 101 years of existence, perhaps only Frank C. Cain has had as great an impact on our city as the woman who will retire as city manager later this month: Susanna Niermann O’Neil.

Cain, first elected mayor of the village of Cleveland Heights in 1914, spearheaded the adoption of the manager/council form of government when the city was incorporated in 1921. Until his retirement in 1946, and even afterward, Cain was known as Mr. Cleveland Heights.

Niermann O’Neil has served the city in various staff positions even longer [than Cain], though with a somewhat lower profile.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:20 AM, 04.29.2022

Library launches 'Unpacking 1619' podcast

In April, Heights Libraries launched the first episode of “Unpacking 1619,” a bi-weekly podcast that explores themes raised by The New York Times’ “The 1619 Project” (published in 2019).

The podcast emerged from the library’s monthly 1619 Project discussion group, in which community members meet to discuss issues of race in America, using articles from “The 1619 Project” as a jumping off point.

As the discussion group grew in popularity since it began in 2019, the program’s facilitator, Adult Services Librarian John Piche, saw an opportunity to bring more voices to the table.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:39 PM, 05.01.2022

GCC CH Housing Team ends its formal work

The Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC) Cleveland Heights Housing Team grew from a listening event held in January 2016, in which 100 GCC members identified blighted properties as a major issue. Subsequently, a core group formed and decided to focus the team’s efforts on seriously blighted investor- or bank-owned properties in the Noble neighborhood. Now, six years later, the team is ready to conclude its work.

The team began by confronting U.S. Bank regarding the condition and number of its foreclosed properties in Noble, which resulted in the bank donating $125,000 to two neighborhood projects. We took city officials on a trolley tour of blighted properties, which resulted in Cleveland Heights City Council voting housing its number-one priority.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:10 AM, 04.29.2022

What’s going on at your library?

Coventry Village Branch

1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Thursday, May 12, 7 p.m.

Cedar Coventry Author Series presents Scott Longert. Celebrating our wealth of outstanding local authors, this series is presented in partnership with Mac's Backs bookstore. Author Scott Longert will discuss and read from his newly published book, Victory on Two Fronts: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball through the World War II Era. A book signing will follow the discussion. Registration required.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:38 PM, 05.01.2022

CH's Apollo’s Fire celebrates 30 years

Apollo's Fire at Carnegie Hall, March 2022

credit: Stefan Cohen

Cleveland Heights’ resident international baroque orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, celebrates 30 years of music this spring. From its first performance, on June 11, 1992, the ensemble enjoyed immediate success, with sell-out concerts across the nation, international tours, and 29 acclaimed albums, one of which won a Grammy in 2019.

“We’re proud to make Cleveland Heights our home base,” said founder and Artistic Director Jeannette Sorrell. “The community has always been incredibly supportive of classical music.”

The orchestra will celebrate this landmark anniversary with local concerts and events. The first, on April 30, will be a free family concert at the Lee Road Library, at 3 p.m. “Violinist & Swordsman: The Amazing Black Composer, Joseph Bologne,” will tell the story of an 18th-century French musician who, despite being born into slavery, became a knight, a fencing champion, and a great violinist.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 6:06 PM, 05.01.2022

Annual University Heights parade returns to Memorial Day

The Heights High Marching Band will perform in the 2022 University Heights Memorial Day parade.

The parade was wiped out in 2020 due to the pandemic. When the pandemic lingered into spring 2021, the parade was postponed until Independence Day.

With the return to normal, the annual University Heights parade will return to its proper place on the calendar, Memorial Day, and take place this year on Monday, May 30.

Beginning at 11 a.m., the parade will travel east on Silsby Road, then head south on South Belvoir Boulevard, before ending at John Carroll University.

This year’s parade will feature crowd favorites, including stilt walkers from Pickup Stix, the rocket car and Batmobile from Euclid Beach Rocket Car, musical entertainment from the Heights High Marching Band, and more.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:41 AM, 04.29.2022

Plant sale debuts as part of We Are Noble

We Are Noble, an annual celebration of the people and places in the Noble Road neighborhoods of Cleveland Heights, will kick off on Friday, May 20, and run through May 22. To see the full schedule of events, and learn how to participate, visit www.nobleneighbors.com.

All residents of the area are welcome to host a yard sale at their residence. Businesses and institutions are also invited to participate, to showcase their products, services and missions to the Noble community by offering special sales, giveaways, food or performances. Real estate agents will hold open houses for residents and visitors to tour.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:39 AM, 04.29.2022

Looking beyond Lee and Meadowbrook

To the Editor:

Lee-Meadowbrook is not the only possible site for public space in the Cedar Lee district. It just happens to be vacant.

Walk, drive, or roll through the district and take a good look at what is there. A few old buildings are structually solid and do have some charm, but most are not architecturally significant, energy efficient, or ideal for tenants.

Every decade or so, a new streetscaping plan is implemented and the facades get a face-lift. Inevitably, some buildings will be removed or replaced as they become too costly to maintain.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:12 AM, 04.29.2022

Heights volunteers support food pantry and clothing bank

FMWOC volunteer manager Tom Wadsworth (right) distributes hats made and donated by incerated individuals at Trumbull Correctional Institution.

Community members were recognized in April, National Volunteer Month, for their work at the Father Michael Wittman Ozanam Center (FMWOC), a food pantry and clothing bank located in East Cleveland that serves surrounding communities, including Cleveland Heights.

FMWOC volunteers represent 14 different churches, including Communion of Saints Parish and Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights. Weekly operations are conducted by the all-volunteer staff

Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the dedicated volunteers who donate their time, services, and resources, FMWOC is able to provide assistance to those in need.

Church of the Saviour volunteer Pete Evangelista works with incarcerated individuals at Trumbull Correctional Institution, through Kairos Prison Ministry, where they knit hats on looms, then donate the hats to the clothing bank.

 

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:29 PM, 05.01.2022

Church/business partnership supports Heights football team

Two Cleveland Heights churches, Christ Community Church and City Church, have partnered to provide meals for the Cleveland Heights High School football team.

Their "day-before-game meals”outreach program began in 2021 to serve young people in the community, and help build nutritional energy and stamina. 

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:27 PM, 05.01.2022

Heights Libraries' summer reading program seeks to counter drop in reading scores

Leah Lerman won the 2021 preschool summer reading grand prize, a Lakeshore Learning gift card. [courtesy Heights Libraries]

Parents with children in public and private schools alike have spent the past two years worried about the same thing: What is COVID and all its restrictions doing to my child’s education? Parents, teachers and school personnel struggled with two seemingly oppositional, yet undeniable, realities: Most kids learn better in school, and schools need to keep kids and personnel safe from COVID by switching to online learning, masking and social distancing.

Despite heroic efforts by parents, teachers and schools, the isolation and chaos of COVID took a toll. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, published in March, reading test scores for children in grades 3–8 dropped significantly between fall 2019, before the pandemic, and fall 2021, one year into the pandemic. Additionally, reading test-score gaps between low- and high-poverty elementary schools widened during the pandemic.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:26 AM, 04.29.2022

COS students meet with CH author

Communion of Saints School (COS) has established a new Author & Illustrator Speaker Series. Seeking to bring an awareness of books and their creators to students, the program strives to develop lifelong readers, creative thinkers, and perhaps future authors and illustrators.

COS launched the series on April 5, welcoming author Tricia Springstubb. Spending most of her day at the school, Springstubb, who lives in the neighborhood, shared her deep love of reading and knowledge of writing with the students.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:25 PM, 05.01.2022

CH bee inspector explains swarms—and why not to panic

This swarm of bees is just resting, not nesting. [Courtesy PerfectBee.com]

To some, a nearby swarm of honeybees can set off alarms, and send them running back indoors. Understanding why honeybees swarm can lower anxiety levels and provide the tools to protect these essential, beneficial, and critically threatened insects.

The Green Team reached out to Cleveland Heights resident Patrick McGuigan, who is the Geauga and Monroe County Apiary Inspector for Ohio’s Department of Agriculture, to ask what one should do when a swarm of bees settles on a front porch eave, or outside a kitchen window, to rest and recharge.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:23 PM, 05.01.2022

UH's Hoffman updates 'Aging wiith a Plan'

Author and law professor Sharona Hoffman.

University Heights resident Sharona Hoffman, professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University, has published the second edition of Aging with a Plan: How a Little Thought Today Can Vastly Improve Your Tomorrow (First Hill Books, 2022).

Describing it as a comprehensive resource for people who are middle-aged and beyond, to help prepare for the challenges of aging, and caring for elderly relatives, Hoffman said, “The book grew out of a very difficult period in my life. During 18 months in 2013 and 2014, both my parents died, my mother-in-law died, and my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 55. As I endured these experiences, I learned a lot about growing older, getting sick, and facing the end of life. I wanted to share all that I had learned and put it to good use helping others. Writing this book seemed like a natural next step.”

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:23 AM, 04.29.2022

Time to give Career Tech its due

“College is not the only way to become independent, employed and engaged,” said Malia Lewis, president of the Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District Board of Education (BOE), and a longtime advocate for a strong Career Technical Education (CTE) program 

Since the early 1980s, when high-paying manufacturing jobs started to disappear, there has been a national movement to replace vocational education—the old “manual-training” option for high school students who were not seen as “college material”—with something more relevant to success in a high-tech workplace.

The advantages of the new approaches to CTE instruction are still not widely understood.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:19 AM, 04.29.2022

Ensure better design in developments like Lee and Meadowbrook

To the Editor:

Lost at the center of the debate about whether a 1.07-acre parcel of land at Lee Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard should be developed or retained as a public park is how the city can ensure a bit of both happens as a matter of due course.

The city can add to its arsenal on development with design standards. Design standards can ensure the provision of public space and functional green space.

In my research on best practices on sustainability for Cuyahoga County, Lakewood stood out as a city that has design standards for development that does just this: The city requires the provision of “green infrastructure” such as trees and rain gardens.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:14 AM, 04.29.2022

Book provides counterpoint to '1619'

To the Editor:

A March 2022 Heights Observer opinion by Cynthia Lehman (“Telling the truth to our children”) stated: “Every day, our children enter classrooms where we should be committed to ensure they are learning the full truth of history.”

If that is the case, our children deserve to know Nikole Hannah-Jones did not tell the full truth when she wrote “The 1619 Project.”

Instead of searching online resources to investigate claims of veracity, I recommend just one: Peter Wood’s 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:13 AM, 04.29.2022

Cleveland Heights needs a climate action plan

In the April Heights Observer, Alan Rapoport expressed the opinion that the city needs to focus on quality city services and not waste time and resources on issues that are, in his view, unrelated to these services.

He pointed out that one of the first actions of the new city council was passage of an ordinance to adopt a climate action plan. He stated, “That plan will sound good to some who want to save the planet, but it will not improve life on the local level. Such planning will consume time that could be spent on other projects.”

Unfortunately, such an ordinance was never passed by the council. Further, his dismissive comment betrays an elementary understanding of climate issues, what is at stake, and who the stakeholders are. These issues demand more thoughtful attention.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:08 AM, 04.29.2022

How to save Severance Center

Severance Center is a mess. The owner of the mall portion of that mess is a company called Namdar. Namdar bought this property at a distress sale. It may think the old mall is profitable enough in its current condition. It does not seem inclined to invest nearly enough to make needed improvements.

The city commissioned a plan for improvements. To date, it has had no success getting Namdar to cooperate with this plan. And so, Severance Center remains a mess.

In 1963, Severance Town Center was one of the first shopping malls built anywhere in the entire country.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 11:00 AM, 04.29.2022

Heights High alum asks district to 'stop counting us out'

On Dec. 10, 2021, I was back at Cleveland Heights High School, my alma mater. I was hosting, running, and speaking at a protest, which I and several other students and alumni coordinated in response to an Instagram post by a girl who’d recently been a victim of sexual assault.

Exactly four months since then, two days before my 20th birthday, here I am writing this. Since that first protest, we’ve continued keeping in touch through a handful of group chats, and the most avid and available of us attending weekly zoom meetings to discuss strategy and develop demands.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 10:58 AM, 04.29.2022

Issue 9, the Constitution, precedent, and all that legal mumbo jumbo

OPINION

In the Height’s Observer’s April issue, Fran Mentch, in her [opinion, “FAQs: In support of public park Issue 9”], stated that Ohio Supreme Court held that the Retroactivity Clause of Article II, Section 28 of the Ohio Constitution does not extend to political subdivisions. The case she referenced is Toledo City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. State Bd. of Educ. of Ohio, 146 Ohio St. 3d 356 (Ohio 2016) (“Toledo Case”). And while that was the holding of the court, it does not apply to Issue 9 and the ordinance to “create a public activity park on the 1.07 acres of city owned land at the corner of Lee Road, Tullamore Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard.”

Simply put, the Retroactivity Clause in the Ohio Constitution prevents an “impairment of contract.” An impairment of contract occurs when contravening legislation is enacted to prevent the parties from meeting the obligations of a contract. The leading case on this issue in Ohio is Middletown v. Ferguson, 25 Ohio St. 3d 71 (Ohio 1986) (“Middletown”), which has not been overturned by the Toledo Case.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 3:04 PM, 04.27.2022

Yes on Issue 9 will protect your wealth and Cedar Lee's future

OPINION

On May 3 [Cleveland Heights residents] can vote for a public park to be built on the 1.07 acres of city-owned land at Meadowbrook-Lee. Plans for the public park include restrooms, a water fountain, free Wi-Fi, a small stage, trees, plants, and small play area for children. The developer’s “park” is one-third acre and will have none of these amenities, other than trees and plants. The developer refused to put the restrooms and play area in the “park” when asked to do so by the planning commission. (You can watch [meeting video] online.)

Will the PUBLIC park be built when Issue 9 passes? Yes. The city will be obligated by the initiative to do so. Lots of people want this park, and we will work with the city to raise the funds (private and public) to build the park; the city will maintain it. Based on the city’s maintenance costs for other parks, [Issue 9 supporters estimate that] maintaining this one will cost between $20,000 to $40,000 a year, depending on activities held there.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 3:03 PM, 04.27.2022

Bremer Fisher resigns as FutureHeights executive director

On April 19, the FutureHeights board of directors announced that Deanna Bremer Fisher has resigned from her role as executive director of FutureHeights and publisher of the Heights Observer, effective April 18. She served as the FutureHeights executive director for more than 14 years.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 5:09 PM, 04.19.2022

Video of LWV's Issue 9 public forum is online

Forum moderator Susan Taft.

On April 6, The League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland - Heights Chapter (LWV), held a public forum on Issue 9, one of two ballot issues that Cleveland Heights voters will see on the city's May 3 primary election ballots. The forum was presented in cooperation with Heights Libraries, and took place at the Lee Road branch.

Ballot Issue 9 asks voters: "Shall the proposed ordinance requiring the City to create a public activity park on the 1.07 acres of City owned land at the corner of Lee Road, Tullamore Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard be adopted?"

The 1.07 acre site is part of a development agreement that the city of Cleveland Heights signed with developer Flaherty & Collins.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 8:26 AM, 04.12.2022

Tiger 5K and Fun Run set for May 14

The former RoxEl Run is now the Tiger 5K and Fun Run. Photo courtesy Dew Media.

Get ready to run, Heights residents—it’s time for the inaugural Tiger 5K and Fun Run on Saturday, May 14.

At 9 a.m., at Cleveland Heights High School, the CH-UH elementary school PTAs will host a districtwide 5K run. For young runners, a Fun Run on the high school track will start at 10 a.m. 

In past years, Roxboro Elementary School hosted the RoxEl Run to raise funds for the school’s PTA. This year the run is expanding. CH-UH elementary schools are working together to co-host the run, and the CH-UH PTA Council will distribute the proceeds equally among the district’s seven [elementary] schools. 

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 12:11 PM, 04.25.2022

Best of the Heights 2022

Shane Kearns and Parker Bosley of Marchant Manor Cheese, winner of Best Opened-Our-Doors-During-a-Pandemic Business, and Best Welcoming Storefront or Window Display finalist. Photograph by Belle Espinal.

Over a period of six weeks, Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, Heights residents cast their votes in the annual Best of the Heights awards, in recognition of the businesses that serve Cleveland Heights and University Heights.

As in prior years, FutureHeights, a nonprofit community development corporation and publisher of the Heights Observer, created a list of 10 unique award 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 Opened-Our-Doors-During-a-Pandemic Business, Best Pandemic-Safe Dining and Best Care for a Community During a Pandemic, recognized that the global pandemic has upended everyone’s lives and forced local entrepreneurs to innovate while keeping customers and employees safe.

“Thank you to all our supportive customers,” said Rachel Gross, owner of Bialy’s Bagels, which won Best University Heights Business.

“I am so appreciative to be recognized, and it’s my passion to introduce new foods to our community!” said, Douglas Katz, owner of Chimi, winner of the Best Innovative Product or Service During a Pandemic.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:50 AM, 04.02.2022

Maintaining balance in covering Issue 9

The Heights Observer doesn’t endorse political candidates or issues, and the Issue 9 ballot referendum in Cleveland Heights is no exception.

But Issue 9 represents the biggest challenge we’ve had to date in making this claim. That’s because FutureHeights, which publishes the Observer, has taken a public position on the matter.

FutureHeights receives federal grant money, allocated by the city of Cleveland Heights, to work as a community development corporation on the city’s behalf. It was involved in planning for the development project that gave rise to Issue 9. I don’t think it’s unreasonable for FutureHeights to have a strong opinion on the matter.

But how can the Observer claim impartiality when its publisher has taken a side? It’s admittedly a fine hair to split.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:41 PM, 04.01.2022

April 6 forum will explore Issue 9: proposed CLM park

A public forum on CH Ballot Issue 9, which proposes a public activity park on Lee Road, between Tullamore Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard, will take place Wednesday, April 6, 7–8:30 p.m., at the Lee Road Library, 2345 Lee Road. It has been placed on the May 3 ballot by a citizen’s initiative.

Cleveland Heights voters will vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for the proposed park ordinance, Issue 9 on the May 3 Primary Election ballot. The ballot language is simple: “Shall the proposed ordinance requiring the City to create a public activity park on the 1.07 acres of City owned land at the corner of Lee Road, Tullamore Road and Meadowbrook Boulevard be adopted?”

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:39 AM, 04.02.2022

Heights Earth Month events invite residents to take action

Throughout Earth Month, April 1–30, Heights organizations and individuals will offer a range of activities and events designed to inspire awareness, action, and advocacy for a healthier and greener Heights.

"We provided a platform for our community to take action, and the community responded in force," said Catalina Wagers, co-founder of the Cleveland Heights Green Team, which organized the month-long initiative. "We are incredibly pleased with the number and variety of events, providing everyone in the Heights with access to transformational action on behalf of our environment, our health, and the health of the community at large".

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:23 AM, 04.02.2022

Cedar Lee development receives final design approval

A site plan for the Meadowbrook portion of the CLM development project. [courtesy Flaherty & Collins and City Architecture]

On Dec. 6, 2021, Cleveland Heights City Council unanimously approved a development agreement with Flaherty & Collins (F&C) to build a mixed-use development in the Cedar Lee Business District. The agreement was signed by the city and the developer on Dec. 9. F&C is working with City Architecture to design the project. On March 2, the team’s proposal received final design approval from the city’s Architectural Board of Review (ABR).

The development comprises two city-owned parcels (approximately 5 acres total): the Meadowbrook site, a 1.07-acre plot of land between Lee Road, Meadowbrook Boulevard, and Tullamore Road; and the larger Cedar-Lee site, which encompasses the existing parking lot and parking garage between Tullamore and Cedar roads, behind the Lee Road businesses on that block.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:44 PM, 04.01.2022

I see a brown door and I want to paint it red

Cleveland Heights has more colorful painted doors than anywhere else in this region.

That’s not a scientific fact. And I don’t know if it’s really true. But I’m sure it is. I mean, I drive all around everywhere and I don’t see anywhere near the number, or percentage, of houses and apartment buildings with colorful front and/or side and/or back doors as I do here in Cleveland Heights.

When I was growing up here, I didn’t see quite as many. I think the number was actually zero. When my wife and I moved into the house we live in now, in 1986, we painted our front door purple. I think most of our neighbors didn’t like it. Most of them refused to acknowledge it at all. Only a few people complimented us on it.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:59 AM, 04.02.2022

Dobama wraps up season with award-winning comedy

Dobama Theatre will end its 2021–22 season with the award-winning comedy "Life Sucks," by Aaron Posner. This contemporary reworking of Chekhov’s classic "Uncle Vanya" won the Off-Broadway Alliance’s Best New Play of 2020. Dobama audiences may remember Posner’s adaptation of Chekhov’s "The Seagull"—"Stupid F*cking Bird"—which came to roost at Dobama in 2019. 

Chekhov’s themes of love, longing, and ennui are at the heart of this story, but Posner also highlights the humor and wit of his characters. In the play, Sonia and her Uncle Vanya are visited by her estranged father and his third wife, Ella. Their large house is also home to Babs and Pickles, and frequented by Vanya’s longtime friend, Dr. Aster. Rivalries and love triangles simmer among these passionate people, and tensions brew as personalities clash.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:59 AM, 04.02.2022

Vote 'yes' on Issue 10 for a more productive CH City Council

As part of the transition to an elected mayor–council form of government, CH City Council is asking for your support for an important amendment to our city charter. A YES vote on May 3 will allow the clerk of council to work directly for the legislative branch of government, rather than the executive branch.

Currently, the clerk of council, who is also the finance director, works for and serves at the pleasure of the mayor. The finance director, in turn, hires an assistant clerk of council. This outdated provision not only greatly burdens our finance director, but also provides city council members with no staff to support them with their legislative duties. With this charter amendment, that position will be shifted to work directly for, and to serve, city council.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:56 AM, 04.02.2022

Russell reports on Noble/Taylor ARPA meetings

Residents of the Noble/Taylor communities came out in force to attend meetings in my “You Talk, I Listen” series, to address concerns in their respective neighborhoods and narrow down their “wishlists” for the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds earmarked for them, in a continuation of two fall meetings.

The first meeting focused on the use of ARPA Funds earmarked for the area. Representatives from U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown's office, the Center for Community Solutions, and Policy Matters Ohio participated. The second focused on gaining the perspective of Noble/Taylor residents, and learning what they want to see accomplished. Residents discovered that each neighborhood has different visions, but also commonalities around serious issues affecting both.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:25 PM, 04.01.2022

Heights Arts celebrates National Poetry Month

Poets John Burroughs and Molly Fuller reading ekphrastic poetry at Heights Arts.

Heights Arts has decided to extend the two-year term of current Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate Ray McNiece for an additional year.

Rachel Bernstein, Heights Arts executive director, said, “Ray’s original appointment unfortunately corresponded directly with the onset of the pandemic. He, and therefore the community members, were deprived of his being able to fully participate in the position. We are very pleased that he has accepted our offer to serve for an additional year, and very much look forward to his contributions in the coming year."

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:55 AM, 04.02.2022

GardenWalk CH seeks gardens for July tour

Cleveland Heights gardeners are invited to participate in GardenWalk Cleveland Heights 2022, the weekend of July 16 and 17. GardenWalk CH is a free, self-guided tour of flower and vegetable gardens in private and public spaces in the city of Cleveland Heights.

Its organizers know that many gardeners reading this invitation will think, “My garden is not good enough.” They are not looking for perfect gardens. (Whatever that means!)

The event is intended to showcase the variety of gardens in Cleveland Heights: large, beautifully manicured gardens, as well as small patio gardens, water features, tree houses, orchards, edible gardens, and gardens for children.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:39 PM, 04.01.2022

On May 3 vote 'no' on 9, 'yes' on 10

There is a great deal wrong with the way economic development gets done, not just in Northeast Ohio but throughout the United States. Governments of older cities and suburbs have little clout when seeking to redevelop blighted districts or attract new housing, commercial or industrial projects. Tax abatements are de rigueur. Private sector developers hold the cards and can easily move to the next town over if city officials stand in the way of maximum profit.

This system needs fixing, but cities like ours do not have the luxury of deferring development until some unspecified time when conditions are perfect, or even when incremental reform has occurred. Aging municipalities needing revitalization must work with what exists now.

Cedar-Lee-Meadowbrook is important—not just for Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:31 PM, 04.01.2022

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 4-5-22

APRIL 5, 2022 - regular meeting

  • Public comments
  • Recognitions and awards
  • Paper format authorized for test
  • Policy Group C
  • ESSER funds
  • Academic goals
  • Health services
  • Sex-based harassment
  • Treasurer’s report
  • President’s report

Present were Board President Malia Lewis; members Dan Heintz, James Posch, and Jodi Sourini; Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby; and Treasurer Scott Gainer. Beverly Wright was absent. The meeting ran two hours and eight minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 2:52 PM, 04.18.2022

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 4-4-22

APRIL 4, 2022 - regular meeting

 

  • Public comments
  • New police chief
  • Mayor’s report
  • Budget amendment
  • First readings, no vote
  • NOPEC grants
  • Consent agenda
  • Council member comments

 

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Tony Cuda, Anthony Mattox, Jr., Josie Moore, and Davida Russell. Also present were Susanna Niermann O’Neil, city manager; Amy Himmelein, clerk of council and finance director; and William Hanna, law director. The meeting lasted 45 minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 2:47 PM, 04.18.2022

Public should control development

Residents know best what they need—what their lives are missing, what stands between them and their goals, what they would change (if they could) to improve their quality of life.

That’s why Cleveland Heights Council Member Davida Russell is asking Noble and Taylor residents directly how to spend those neighborhoods’ designated American Rescue Plan Act funds during her “You Talk, I Listen” sessions. It’s why Cleveland has done the same through online polls.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:45 AM, 04.02.2022

Students allege district mishandling of sexual assaults

Protestors rallied outside Heights High on March 10.

Since December 2021, hundreds of CH-UH students have organized to protest the school district administration’s response to reports of incidents of sexual violence. 

The impetus for student action coalesced in December, when a female Heights High student posted on social media her account of being sexually assaulted at the high school, and what happened when she reported the assault to the school’s administration. She wrote that she was told it was a “he said/she said” situation; she was not offered supportive resources, nor was she informed of her Title IX rights. (The Title IX law ensures a public school environment free of sexual harassment.)

Among those who read about her experience was a 2020 Heights High graduate, who said that she, too, had been sexually assaulted at the school, and received a similar response from the school administration when she reported it.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:42 AM, 04.02.2022

Student safety is district's first priority

Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of our children in CH-UH schools. Sexual harassment in schools has been a topic of much concern and conversation recently, both here in the Heights and across the nation. As a mother and as president of our CH-UH Board of Education (BOE), I take this matter extremely seriously. I know that our community members, staff, and board members do, too. 

I want to share a few of the steps we are taking in order to create the safest school environment possible for our students:

  • Education is a key to preventing sexual misconduct. The district is currently investigating a comprehensive, age-appropriate sex-education curriculum. 
  • We are exploring changes to our dress code to make it forward-thinking and appropriate for 2022, utilizing best-practice examples from school districts that have successfully instituted such changes.
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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:28 PM, 04.01.2022

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-28-22

MARCH 14, 2022 - special meeting on ARPA consultant

Present were, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Tony Cuda, Josie Moore, Davida Russell, and Anthony Mattox, Jr.as were Susanna Niermann O’Neil, city manager; Amy Himmelein, clerk of council and finance director; and William Hanna, law director. Mayor Kahlil Seren and Council President Melody Joy Hart were absent. The meeting was 17 minutes long. 

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 3:01 PM, 04.18.2022

Cleveland Heights – University Heights Public Library Board of Trustees meeting highlights 3-21-22

MARCH 21, 2022

 

  • Public comments
  • Financial and investment report
  • Board resolutions highlights
  • Personnel report
  • Director’s report highlights
  • Public service report highlights

 

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

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 2:43 PM, 04.18.2022

FAQs: In support of public park Issue 9

May 3 will be the only time that CH residents have been able to vote directly on a local land-use issue—it’s an opportunity to decide what kind of community we want to live in, and the future we want to create. Here are some FAQs about the [proposed] public park, Issue 9:

Will the park bring money to the city? Yes! Based on research by city planners and economists, the right-size public space, in the right place, brings feet to the street. And money follows feet. This park is the right size in the right context. Lee Road business owners told us they do their best business during the music festival. The CH Master Plan recommends more activities to attract people who will dine, shop, and attend performances. Imagine how a concert in the public park every Friday night would help Lee Road businesses!

How much will it cost? The park will be designed by a community process; the more complicated the design, the more costly.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:18 PM, 04.01.2022

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 3-15-2022

MARCH 15, 2022, work session

 

  • Communication audit analysis
  • Memorandum of understanding, teachers’ contract
  • Retention of OSBA membership
  • Update on pandemic masking

 

Present were President Malia Lewis, Dan Heintz, James Posch, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted about 50 minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 2:57 PM, 04.18.2022

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 3-14-22

MARCH 14, 2022 - special meeting on ARPA consultant

Present were, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Tony Cuda, Josie Moore, Davida Russell, and Anthony Mattox, Jr.as were Susanna Niermann O’Neil, city manager; Amy Himmelein, clerk of council and finance director; and William Hanna, law director. Mayor Kahlil Seren and Council President Melody Joy Hart were absent. The meeting was 17 minutes long. 

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 2:59 PM, 04.18.2022

Build CLM PAC forms to oppose Issue 9

On March 6, 50 residents gathered at The Wine Spot, kicking off Friends of Build CLM's official PAC campaign. The PAC is working to ensure that the approved residential, commercial, and public-access green-space development at Cedar, Lee and Meadowbrook is not halted by a ballot initiative to mandate a park on part of the site.

“Issue 9 is an ill-conceived initiative to block development in the guise of a 1.07 acre ’public activity park,’” said Jeanne Gordon, one of the PAC’s organizers. “The park proposal is an unfunded mandate that proponents say the city can pay for. The city has no funds to build or maintain it. The developer is planning to create a park there as part of more than 2 acres of green space—plus apartments and storefronts that will attract new residents and visitors, bring in new income and sales tax revenue, and renew vibrancy to the district.”

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:37 AM, 04.02.2022

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting 3-5-22

MARCH 21, 2022 - regular meeting

 

  • Public comments
  • Staff reports
  • Down Payment Assistance Loan Program
  • City administrator
  • Employee compensation, benefits, etc. 
  • American Rescue Plan Act consultant
  • Budget amendments
  • Cain Park
  • NOPEC Energized Community Grant Program
  • Other council actions 
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the whole

 

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, Council Members Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., and Josie Moore. Staff members attending were Susanna Niermann O’Neill, city manager; Amy Himmelein, clerk of council; and William Hanna, law director. Davida Russell was excused. The meeting ran 35 minutes.

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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 2:55 PM, 04.18.2022

Heights Libraries begins work on new STEAM Lab

Coming soon: A makerspace and STEAM Lab in Heights Libraries' Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center (HKIC).

The Heights Knowledge and Innovation Center (HKIC) at Heights Libraries’ Lee Road branch is undergoing changes as the library prepares to launch a new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) Lab.

The joint makerspace and flexible-learning center will replace rows of desktop computers that inhabited HKIC’s semi-enclosed computer lab, which has been closed to the public since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We wanted to take a space that wasn’t ideal for use as a traditional computer lab and make it more flexible,” said Heather Howiler, continuing education manager.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 11:35 AM, 04.02.2022