Latest News

Noble Gardeners' Market opens Aug. 7

Noble Gardeners' Market. [Karen Knittle, photographer.]

Noble Gardeners' Market (NGM) will open for the 2021 season on Saturday, Aug. 7, and will run for eight weeks, through Sept. 25, on Saturday mornings, 10 a.m. to noon.

The market takes place at the corner of Noble and Roanoke roads, at the site of the new Noble-Roanoke Mini Park. (The Cleveland Heights Centennial Celebration mural has been installed on an exterior wall of the building next to the park.)

NGM provides an opportunity for neighbors to buy from, and sell to, one another. Market offerings include fresh flowers, fruits and vegetables. Anyone who grows in their backyard or in a community garden is welcome to sell—for just a week or two, or for the entire eight-week season. Sellers do not need to live in Cleveland Heights to participate.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:45 PM, 07.30.2021

Latest News Releases

New Volunteers Needed Volunteer with Hospice of the Western Reserve!
- Hospice of the Western Reserve, June 14, 2021 Read More
Heights Libraries wants public input on PEACE Park improvements
- CH-UH Library, June 14, 2021 Read More
Legal Aid Further Extends Eviction Prevention into Cuyahoga County Suburbs
- Legal Aid, June 8, 2021 Read More
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

View more news releases

Benches aim to enhance Noble corridor

One of the newly installed benches, in the Noble-Roanoke Mini Park. Photo by Sruti Baz.

Noble Road has just gotten a bit more comfortable. Five new benches were installed there in July as part of the Noble-ity Project, an Early Action Project undertaken by the Noble Road Corridor Steering Committee as part of the Noble Road Corridor Planning Project. FutureHeights, the community development corporation for Cleveland Heights, formed the committee in winter 2018, subsequent to the planning process it had led in partnership with the cities of Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland, and several community groups.

The planning process took a comprehensive look at the needs and opportunities along the Noble Road Corridor, focusing on its four commercial districts: the Noble, Mayfield, Warrensville Triangle; Noble Monticello; Noble Nela; and Noble Euclid in East Cleveland. Goals of the process include promoting walking, bicycling, and transit use; promoting “placemaking” and strengthening community life; the productive use of vacant/under-utilized sites; providing additional jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities; and increasing property values.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:42 PM, 07.30.2021

Library gardens buzz with native plants and potential

The Noble Neighborhood Library garden has been designated a pollinator garden by the local group Ecological Heights.

Erika Hogan is a big nature fan. “I grew up loving outdoor spaces and gardening with my family,” said Hogan, Heights Libraries new youth services associate.

When she first started work at the library, Hogan noticed that the Lee Road branch’s small children’s garden had potential.

“I could tell that it was a special space—there was already an emphasis on pollinator-friendly, native plants, and fruiting shrubs and trees," she said. "I recognized all the elements were there to allow us to be a certified habitat through the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and also to register it with the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge of the National Pollinator Garden Network.”

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:39 PM, 07.30.2021

Another award and a relaunch of the Observer blog

Heights Observer honored again

For the fourth consecutive year, the Heights Observer was recognized as one of Ohio’s best community publications in the All-Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards.

The program is run by the Press Club of Cleveland as part of its mission to recognize the importance of good journalism. With more than 700 entries, it’s one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation.

The Heights Observer earned second place, with top honors going to the Cleveland Jewish News.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:36 PM, 07.30.2021

CH council has problems with math

It would appear that Cleveland Heights City Council has a problem with math, which is not something you want to hear about those who handle tax dollars.

When I plot out all of the publicly available revenue numbers for Top of the Hill (TOH) for 33 years, I find how the city comes to the conclusion that the project will generate approximately $14.3 million, but that is the GROSS amount, not net.

When I deduct the lost parking revenue for 30 years combined with the cost of the $1.85 million “gift” to the developer, totaling approximately $3.95 million, this means the total NET revenue to the city is inflated by 38%, and the “annual” revenue (not the one-time construction-related monies) is inflated by 45%.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:33 PM, 07.30.2021

How CH's sewer system is like a boat

Ever hear the one about a boat? "A boat is a hole in the water you throw money into."

The on-land equivalent of that is a sewer system—especially when your city has neglected the sewer system for decades, and has finally entered into a $570 million consent decree with the EPA that will take decades to complete. (

The current Cleveland Heights City Council is strongly considering taking $28 million of the $38.8 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) windfall to apply toward that $570 million.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:31 PM, 07.30.2021

Where is the night in University Heights?

Used to be we could sit outside at night and see stars, maybe not the Milky Way, but still, lots of stars. Where did they go? Where did the dark sky go? Since the 1990s, our municipal governments have neglected to keep up with a looming problem facing most of the Heights, outdoor light pollution.

Our elected officials aren’t even aware of the growing dangers to health, safety and the environment of outdoor light pollution. This is an important quality-of-life issue for us.  

University Heights’ elected officials have a unique opportunity to ensure we will not contribute to growing health, safety and environmental problems. They can do this by writing outdoor lighting codes to protect us. Cities such as Flagstaff, Ariz., have codes already in place. Why not use them as models?

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:27 PM, 07.30.2021

Resident and former 'Coventry kid' endorses Seren

It is with pleasure that I am endorsing City Council Vice President Kahlil Seren to become the first mayor of the city of Cleveland Heights.

The future of Cleveland Heights is important to me. I grew up in Cleveland’s Kinsman neighborhood, but I spent a lot of time in Cleveland Heights at my grandfather’s home; so my summers were spent catching frogs in the marshy fields that buttressed his street, and my winters were spent sledding with my sisters and cousins in Cain Park. In high school, when my family moved to the Superior and Coventry section of East Cleveland, I was one of the many kids dressed in black buying CDs at the Record Exchange and Record Revolution, or sitting for hours in the Arabica coffee shop on Coventry, or outside the Grog Shop. When I moved back to Greater Cleveland in 2020, after living primarily in NYC since 1999, I purchased a home on the very same street of my grandfather’s home.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:25 PM, 07.30.2021

'The time is now' to positively impact environment

I believe the science that our increasing carbon footprint is destroying the ecosystem of the earth, and that climate change is real. But trying to determine how, as individuals, we can develop an environmentally friendly lifestyle often seems overwhelming. 

Several years ago, while visiting east and west Africa, I came to a fuller appreciation that clean water is a valuable and finite resource. When I returned home, I made a point of turning off the water while brushing my teeth and washing my hands, to save water. 

When my husband and I landscaped our backyard, we included a rain garden. We learned that rain gardens remove pollutants from stormwater, recharge the groundwater supply, and are a natural habitat for birds and pollinators.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:19 PM, 07.30.2021

Danforth's leadership is key skill for new mayor

There are four candidates vying to be Cleveland Heights’ first elected mayor. Each cites their particular expertise in civic engagement, government experience and managerial skills, all under the banner of “proven leadership.” While expertise and strong, relevant experience are absolutely required, expertise and experience are simply not enough. Much more is needed, particularly at this time of transition.

To be an effective mayor of a city with a $62-million budget and 440 employees, our first elected mayor must be able to truly lead and inspire our city staff and our community. In my experience, the most effective leadership approach for a local government leader is a focused combination of transformational and strategic leadership.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:17 PM, 07.30.2021

We need to embrace sustainability

Cleveland Heights is the tree city and is walkable and bikeable. Those things define us, and they are three of the things that attracted me to move here.

The housing density, mix of land uses, and walkability of Cleveland Heights—not to mention our location among so many amenities—makes it a great place to live. We must preserve and enhance these land-use advantages while making the city greener and helping everyone transition to renewable energy sources.

Sustainability needs to be ingrained in the culture of the government. Everything we all do as a city or as individuals affects our sustainability.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:15 PM, 07.30.2021

Hart has it all

I am supporting Melody Hart for Mayor of Cleveland Heights because she is the single candidate that checks all the boxes.

As part of my work on the Citizens for an Elected Mayor (CEM) Transition Subcommittee, I worked with Council Member Hart, who brought neighboring mayors together [for a forum] to discuss what leadership should look like, and I saw firsthand how she got the job done in a collaborative manner. This is her strong point and why she's earned praise from city staff.

Rather than sounding off on an issue, she investigates and works behind the scenes to gather information and bring people together, a trait stressed at the forum.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:13 PM, 07.30.2021

How to make policy that benefits a whole city

In the U.S., riches, influence and political power have been flowing upward, from workers to the wealthy, for at least four decades. The “trickle down” theory has proven to be a sham, creating unprecedented wealth and income inequality. This weakens not only the economy, but democracy itself.

Cleveland Heights, unlike most residential communities, is something of a microcosm of the country. While most suburbs are racially and economically homogeneous, our city’s population is diverse. Cleveland Heights over time, however, has become quite segregated by neighborhood. As in the U.S. as a whole, our wealthiest areas are mostly white, while our poorest are more likely home to people of color. This is not unvarying: some African Americans reside in our mansion districts, and many whites live in the more distressed parts of town. Still, it holds generally true.

In our June column, we suggested some small ways to address the glaring inequities between the Severance and Noble neighborhoods and the rest of Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:11 PM, 07.30.2021

Vigilance needed to make victory certain

In June the Ohio House passed the two-year state budget with a vote of 82–13, and the Senate followed, 32–1. The budget includes a new school-funding formula, two years of partial funding, and the end of deduction funding, which diverts state aid from public school districts to voucher programs and charter schools.

These were gratifying victories for public education, democracy, and the Cleveland Heights–University Heights (CH-UH) City School District. They will make the funding system fair and predictable, and, when fully funded, adequate and equitable.

After the Fair School Funding Plan was approved, statehouse allies recognized the effectiveness of advocacy by the Heights Coalition for Public Education and the League of Women Voters: Authentic testimony submitted by many, a constant stream of letters, e-mails, phone conversations and postcards, and pointed opinion pieces and letters to the editor added up.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:10 PM, 07.30.2021

Two candidates will prioritize sustainability and equity

I am writing to express my opinion about the upcoming Cleveland Heights mayoral race, the first in the city’s history. It is a historic moment that the city’s first executive leader will need to face with demonstrative skills, including no small amount of vision and creativity when it comes to governing a small inner-ring suburb with diverse demographics in age, race, and economic standing.

Cleveland Heights has a lot of strengths, as identified by the city’s brand study (trees, beautiful homes, walk- and bike-friendly streets), and “macro” challenges, such as a declining population in a region that has emphasized sprawl development and inequitable distribution of resources from the state to local governments and public schools.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:08 PM, 07.30.2021

Danforth has necessary practical experience

In November 2019, the voters of Cleveland Heights voted to amend the city charter and directly elect a mayor, to provide the city with more centralized management and focused accountability. At the same time, voters provided for hiring a city administrator reporting directly to the mayor.

These changes acknowledge the role of the mayor as manager of a city with $62.8 million in revenue (according to the 2019 Cleveland Heights Comprehensive Annual Financial Report), and as a leader of 433 employees (according to the same report) accountable for the effectiveness of the city’s programs and services.

Immediately upon election, our new mayor must embark upon the search for an administrator who must be identified, properly interviewed, vetted and hired. Beyond filling that key position, it’s critical that our new mayor bring to city hall a proven track record of leadership, with fluency in the language of business, fund accounting, politics and conciliation.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:01 PM, 07.30.2021

Dobama announces reopening and expansion

Mariah Burks, Dobama's new director of engagement.

Dobama Theatre will reopen on Oct. 29 with a four-show season and a new look, including an expanded staff, a relaunched board of directors, and renovated seating to allow for the best possible audience experience. Part of the reopening campaign includes a full rebranding from Agnes Studio, the theatre’s graphic design partner, coming later this year.

The theatre’s 2021–22 season opens with"Airness" by Chelsea Marcantel, a high-energy comedy about a group of competitive air guitarists who discover that they are one another’s chosen family.

Next is "Hurricane Diane" by Madeleine George, in which the Greek god Dionysus comes to Monmouth County, N.J., as a lesbian landscaper who seduces the housewives into creating more climate-friendly lawns.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:54 AM, 07.30.2021

MetroHealth expansion underway; e-mail updates available

The MetroHealth Behavioral Health facility in Cleveland Heights is under construction, with an anticipated fall 2022 opening.

As the MetroHealth System begins construction on its Behavioral Health Care Facility at Severance Circle, hospital officials invite residents and businesses to sign up for e-mail project updates. 

“We are excited about expanding our work in Cleveland Heights with this $42-million addition to our Cleveland Heights campus,” said Stanley Miller, manager of community and government relations. “We are committed to being a good neighbor, and keeping you updated about this project and all our Cleveland Heights operations. We have benefitted from our conversations with the community so far, and want to continue this dialogue. We want this project to be a source of pride for everyone.”

MetroHealth’s new facility is expected to serve the mental-health and addiction-services needs of people throughout Cuyahoga County.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 11:00 AM, 07.20.2021

CH Historical Society urges NEORSD to preserve Shaker Lakes

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s (NEORSD) preferred plan regarding the Shaker Lakes, costing $28.3 million, removes the historic Shaker dam at Horseshoe Lake, built in 1852, and replaces the entire lake with stream paths and riparian channels. Lower Lake, built in 1837 and more vulnerable to flooding, would then be dredged and its dam rebuilt with wider and higher armoring. If the present dam and wooden walkway at Green Lake is any indication, the marvelous sandstone facing on the present Lower Lake bridge and spillway would most likely be reduced or removed entirely, as we are told the new dam will look significantly different. This plan also seriously limits and alters flourishing wildlife habitats.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:05 AM, 07.27.2021

Seren on his experience and path to mayoral candidacy

Kahlil Seren

When I began serving on Cleveland Heights City Council six years ago, I could not have predicted that I would be running to be the first elected mayor of our city. But I could see as soon as I joined council that we needed a change. Since then, I have worked hard to push my colleagues and the administration to be more proactive, responsive, transparent, and bold. My legislative work has successfully produced policy changes that have made our city stronger. The example I’ve set on council has led to positive changes in how our government works and responds. But there is more work to be done.  

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:26 AM, 07.20.2021

Cleveland Heights unveils centennial mural

Community members and city officials attended the unveiling of the city's new mural on July 21. From left: Laura Marks, Barbara Sosnowsk, artist Adam May, CH Council Member Davida Russell, City Manager Susanna Niermann O'Neil, and Brenda H. May.

This year—Aug. 9, to be exact—marks the 100th anniversary of Cleveland Heights officially becoming a city. Since early 2021, 100 Year/All Are Welcome banners have decorated the city, and various activities have encouraged residents and guests to enjoy the history and beauty of Cleveland Heights. There have been walking tours, garden tours, webinars on the history of the city’s landmarks, and more.

One of the most visible projects was a competition for a mural for the corner of Noble and Roanoke roads, at the Noble-Roanoke Mini Park.

Artists submitted designs in April and May, from which a committee of community members helped make the final selection. Cleveland Heights resident Adam May’s design was the top choice, garnering the most votes.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 10:04 AM, 07.27.2021

Danforth will prioritize Noble neighborhood

On Sept. 14, the residents of Cleveland Heights will go to the polls to vote [in a primary election] for our first mayor. My vote will be for the person who will make the Noble neighborhood and the Noble Road Corridor Planning Project a priority.  
As a transplant from Omaha, Neb., I intentionally sought Cleveland Heights as a place to make home because of its heartbeat, eclectic vibe and diversity. In 2002, I chose the Noble neighborhood because of the commitment from city leaders to revitalize the area with its first effort, Greyton Court Townhouses, off of Noble Road between Greyton and Nelaview roads. I purchased a townhome, phase one of what was to be three phases—but two and three never happened. Fast forward to the housing crisis of 2008–09, and Noble neighborhood is one that has yet to recover.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:46 AM, 07.30.2021

Close proximity

The author's grandchildren, at Coventry PEACE Park.

You can’t really see it, but one of the houses my father grew up in is just out of view in the picture of two kids swinging at Coventry PEACE Park this summer. The house is technically in the upper left corner. Some of it might be visible, if not for a tree or large bush in front. It’s a few houses back from the Coventry library, on Washington Boulevard.

My father moved there with his family when he was about 4 years old. The next year he started kindergarten at Coventry school, right across the street, the site of the PEACE Park now. My father went all the way through Coventry school, Roosevelt Junior High and Heights High, as I and my brothers did, and as my kids did. (Well, our younger brother went almost all the way through Roosevelt, but they tore the building down when he was halfway through ninth grade. Though they let him get out first. Of course.)

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:00 AM, 07.30.2021

UH Mayor Brennan to run for re-election

In a June 22 press release, and on his campaign website,, University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan announced that he is seeking a second term.

“It is amazing how far we’ve come in less than four years,” Brennan stated in the press release, noting that he looked forward to taking his "positive campaign for continued change" to the residents of University Heights.

“For the first time in decades, we are building new homes," Brennan stated. "This year, we will break ground on a first-class townhome development on South Taylor Road. And what was once viewed as impossible is now within reach—the redevelopment of University Square.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:40 PM, 07.19.2021

RoxArts event to benefit the Tamir Rice Foundation

Tamir Rice was one of the community's own—a former fourth-grader at Roxboro Elementary School in Cleveland Heights. In 2014, he was struck down at the young age of 12 by a Cleveland police officer. 

On Saturday, Aug. 21, 7:30–10 p.m., RoxArts will partner with the Tamir Rice Foundation ( and SPACES ( to host an art-supply drive at an intimate backyard event in the Ambler Heights neighborhood of Cleveland Heights.

All event proceeds will support the mission of the foundation named in Rice's honor: investing in the growth and enrichment of all children through after-school programs in arts and culture, allowing them to express their truth to improve their lives as they grow into young adults.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:50 AM, 07.30.2021

Lake Erie Ink recognizes summer staff

Melanie Moore, and Sofia Ayres-Aronson, along with Elana Pitts (not pictured) worked with LEI this summer.

Lake Erie Ink (LEI) is honored to have had the help of three creative individuals this summer. They are Melanie Moore, an AmeriCorps volunteer with the Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association; Sofia Ayres-Aronson, an intern for the Summer in the City program coordinated through John Carrol University’s Center for Service and Social Action; and Elana Pitts, a summer intern from Hiram Collage.

Asked why she chose to work with LEI, Ayres-Aronson cited the community, and “the atmosphere of optimism and collaboration."

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:59 AM, 07.30.2021

Heights Arts celebrates community and reimagination

Heights Arts public art projects over the years have included the Coventry Arch, youth center mosaic, and the mural on the back wall of the Cedar-Lee Theatre.

Heights Arts has been working to connect its community with the many literary, visual, craft and musical artists who make Northeast Ohio rich with creative energy. Now, as it begins its 21st year, the organization is looking ahead to future decades. Over the last year, as Heights Arts and the rest of the world waited for a return to “normal,” its board of trustees assembled a group of stakeholders, comprising board members and respected community members, to create a Reimagination Task Force.

The task force engaged a consultant to assist with the process of reaching out to supporters and community members, to help determine the direction of future programming.

With its roots in public art, Heights Arts’ first project, the Coventry PEACE Arch, still stands today in Coventry PEACE park.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:57 AM, 07.30.2021

Seren stresses 'effective and efficient' leadership

In many ways, Kahlil Seren has the kind of background and career trajectory one might expect for someone running for Cleveland Heights mayor. He has lived most of his life in Cleveland’s eastside suburbs; he studied law and public policy at Cleveland State University’s (CSU) Levin College of Urban Affairs; he has accomplished years of public policy work, first at a progressive-leaning think tank, then for Cuyahoga County Council; he has served on Cleveland Heights City Council for the last six years; and he currently is the city’s vice mayor. A race for mayor seems the logical next step.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:44 AM, 07.30.2021

Multiple election dates loom for Heights voters

Cleveland Heights residents will go to the polls in three elections in the next four months, on Aug. 3, Sept. 14, and Nov. 2.

In the same period, University Heights voters will cast their ballots in two elections, on Aug. 3 and Nov. 2.

To help Heights voters make sense of this crowded local election season, the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, Heights Chapter, compiled the following list of election dates and races:

TUESDAY, Aug. 3: Special Primary Election for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District in the U.S. House

In this partisan primary, voters will request either a Democratic or Republican ballot. The special election is the first of two in which voters will elect a replacement for Marcia Fudge.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:43 PM, 07.19.2021

What’s going on at your library?

Coventry Village Branch

1925 Coventry Road, 216-321-3400

Monday, Aug. 9, 4 p.m.

Journey North: Exploring the Life Cycle of Monarch Butterflies and the Role of Citizen Science. Via Zoom, outreach staff from the University of Wisconsin Arboretum will discuss the life cycle and migration of monarch butterflies, as well as the importance of citizen science projects, such as "Journey North," in tracking wildlife migration patterns. Hosted by Heights Libraries Zoom: Zoom Meeting ID: 898 9374 0269.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:52 AM, 07.30.2021

Seren has essential skills and vision to be mayor

After robust debate and a definitive vote, we, the citizens of Cleveland Heights, have the opportunity to directly elect the chief executive who will guide our city. We are fortunate to have excellent candidates, each of whom brings different strengths to the contest, and we could be well served by any of them.

But, I think we would be best served by Cleveland City Council Vice President Kahlil Seren. Having served on council since 2015, Seren is thoroughly knowledgeable about Cleveland Heights government, policy, initiatives, planning and history, and will be able to govern as mayor from day one.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:43 AM, 07.30.2021

Millikin neighbors make revived playground a gathering place

Families congregate, play, talk, enjoy the outdoors, and one another’s company at the new Millikin Playground.

Once upon a short time ago, in 2019, a group of neighbors living near the former Severance Millikin Elementary School decided that the neighborhood needed a spiffed-up playground and an attractive place for neighbors to gather. They formed the Millikin Neighborhood Group.

The old Millikin school occupies a unique spot in Cleveland Heights. South of the school, many of the residents are Orthodox Jews. North of the school, residents comprise the usual mixture one finds in many Cleveland Heights neighborhoods: young, old, black, white, lots of little kids, and multigenerational homes. 

The Millikin Neighborhood Group believed that the school playground and its surrounding woods could become a place in Cleveland Heights where families and friends gathered.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 8:01 AM, 07.27.2021

Heights Libraries seeks public input on PEACE Park improvements

The Coventry PEACE Park currently includes green space and a playgound.

Heights Libraries is taking steps to ensure that the Heights Libraries PEACE Park remains an accessible, fun and useful public resource for the community.

The library has contracted with landscape architects Andrew Sargeant and Jim McKnight, at $9,000 each, to prepare sketches and develop an overall plan for the property, including cost estimates. They will also coordinate and gather public input about the park through three separate public events.

“Our PEACE Park is popular, and well loved, so we’re hoping we get plenty of input from our community so we can improve it, and make it an even better public asset for all,” said Nancy Levin, Heights Libraries director. 

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 9:16 AM, 07.20.2021

FH to host community conversations for residents and businesses

FutureHeights will host three free events for the Heights community in July and August.

On July 27, at 6 p.m., FutureHeights will lead an in-person community conversation at Severance Town Center. The event is part of Cleveland Foundation’s Common Ground series, in which community conversations take place at locations throughout Greater Cleveland, on the theme "Growing Common Ground: People, Place, Shared Power."

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:46 PM, 07.01.2021

In praise of David Budin

To the Editor:

David Budin is a Cleveland Heights gem. His articles are the first thing I read when I open my Heights Observer.

I know that you realize how lucky you are to have him writing for you. Thank you!

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:44 PM, 07.01.2021

Some thoughts on Nighttown: a love letter

It's not an exaggeration to say that the report of the sale of Nighttown restaurant, in early January, shocked the community. What was already a trying year was underscored by the transition of a legendary and community-defining institution. Most of the community—of musicians and music lovers, diners, artists, students and former students, and residents who grew up matriculating in and through this distinguished institution—is worried.

Many things make Nighttown unique.

While the food was good, it wasn't the focus of the club (though most everyone had their favorite “signature'”dish). What Nighttown featured was atmosphere and ambience, emerging organically through the decades of its existence. Nighttown was the antithesis of the overproduced and overprocessed. It was a club, as in nightclub, as you imagine they were in the 1930s and ‘40s (or at least as they were in movies of the 1930s and ‘40s).

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:42 PM, 07.01.2021

A tribute to Ida Bergson

When my 26-year-old daughter progressed from the old Heights JCC preschool program to kindergarten at Canterbury Elementary School, she expected the teacher that she had for two years to follow her to her new school. Luckily for us, Canterbury needed an art teacher and hired Ida Bergson. This is really the middle of the story, so let me back up a few decades. 

My mother and Ida’s mother were friends in elementary school; their relationship would last for over 70 years. My mother’s family moved to Cleveland Heights in time for her to enter high school. Our family moved back to Cleveland Heights when I was born, and it turned out that Ida’s family lived around the corner. So, Ida remembers babysitting me.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:36 PM, 07.01.2021

Thank you, Heights teachers

This column is dedicated to the 19 Cleveland Heights–University Heights City School District professionals who retired at the end of this school year. Our retirees, 18 teachers and one counselor, have spent between 16 and 45 years in the district, collectively providing more than 450 years of service to our community!

I am deeply grateful to each of them for their long-term investment in our schools and our community. Because teaching skills are perfected through practice, none of our retiring teachers arrived fully prepared, but all of them depart with invaluable expertise, relationships, and institutional knowledge. It will take time for those who replace them to catch up.

While I have had public school teachers in my family (my sister taught in Chicago and my grandmother taught in a one-room school in Iowa), my respect for this profession comes from what I have witnessed in our school district, often from this year's retirees.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:32 PM, 07.01.2021

The public good—a world apart from the private sector

Five years ago, Cleveland Heights embarked on an ill-conceived and seemingly endless charter review process (lasting from November 2017 to March 2019).  At the time, we were struck by how often—and how admiringly—members of the Charter Review Commission compared the role of our city manager to that of a CEO. Nevertheless, it turned out that Cleveland Heights citizens wanted a city government headed by an elected mayor, not an appointed executive.

As a result, on Sept. 14 we will have the opportunity to vote in a non-partisan primary for one of four mayoral candidates. The top two vote-getters will face off on Nov. 2.

While management ability is certainly an important qualification for anyone seeking to lead a city of 44,000, it is by no means sufficient. Executives of both non-profit and for-profit corporations are hired by, and answer to, their boards of directors.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:29 PM, 07.01.2021

Danforth on leading CH's transition

Since it became a city in 1921, Cleveland Heights has been run by a city manager. On Jan.1, 2022, a mayor will become the city’s first elected executive. 

This change will be dramatic and difficult. An effective transition will require broad and deep executive leadership skills and experience. With a population of 44,000, a budget of $52.2 million, and more than 400 employees, Cleveland Heights is a sizable municipal operation. 

This is how I will accomplish this monumental transition, if elected mayor:

  • Staff interaction: I will approach staff with full respect for them and the work they do. I will meet with every employee to learn about their expertise and challenges. Those with significant competencies, I will give them room to work; others may need support or resources to maximize their effectiveness. My years in executive search position me well to recruit, vet, and on-board the most talented professionals available. I will search for a city administrator who will work by my side to accomplish the city’s goals.
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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:26 PM, 07.01.2021

Hart puts forth her vision for CH

When we moved here in 2005, we looked for a walkable, bikeable town, with a diverse population and restaurants, shops, parks, trees, and mass transit. We found all of that in Cleveland Heights.   

We still have all of that, but other forces have hurt our city. The mortgage foreclosure crisis impacted the north end, particularly harshly. Currently, non-local investors snap up properties online and flip or rent them without repair. The unconstitutional funding of schools causes increased taxes, driving some residents out, and creating declining population and higher taxes for those of us who stay. We have a 100-year-old sewer system that the EPA is requiring us to repair.

These are all challenges we face now and challenges that we will face into the future.

But the bones of greatness are still here, and I would build on those bones.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:24 PM, 07.01.2021

Resident asks city to move TOH dog park

The purpose of this message is to address the Top of the Hill (TOH) development project, and its impact on The Buckingham residential building that it surrounds, from both a financial and quality-of-life standpoint. Obviously, we are well beyond the question of the propriety of such a massive project, and it is not my intention to subvert the process or undermine the development.

What I would like to address, however, is the promise, made by the developer in public meetings, that there would be green spaces created that would be a benefit to the public. Instead, what we see being created at the very entrance to The Buckingham is an artificial-turf dog park which, in the view of Buckingham residents, is a slap in the face and a cynical effort to fulfill a promise made to the community. We hardly view this artificial turf installation as a “green space,” and regard it as an affront to the unit owners and, ultimately, as a nuisance. Additionally, it will be locked and gated for use by only TOH residents, not for the public at all, as was promised.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:19 PM, 07.01.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 7-6-2021

JULY 6, 2021 regular session


  • Recognitions and rewards
  • Update on academic goals
  • Resolution on education in systemic racism
  • Treasurer’s report
  • In-person public meetings required
  • Board announcements


Present were President James Posch and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting lasted approximately 1 hour 10 minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 11:19 AM, 07.16.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 6-29-2021

JUNE 29, 2021 work session


  • Online learning recommendations
  • Academic update
  • Blended learning policy
  • Treasurer’s report


Present were members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, Jodi Sourini, and Beverly Wright. President James Posch was absent. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. and was adjourned at approximately 8:30 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 11:22 AM, 07.16.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 6-15-2021

JUNE 15, 2021 work session


  • Board approvals
  • Blended learning policy
  • College and Career Task force recommendations
  • Board comments


Present were President James Posch and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Beverly Wright. Jodi Sourini attended virtually. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 6:30 p.m. and adjourned at 8 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 11:26 AM, 07.16.2021

CH council candidate Cuda says housing is the key

As a candidate for Cleveland Heights City Council, I hear you loud and clear; you want our government to be more accountable, responsive, collaborative, efficient, transparent, inclusive and environmentally aware. In other words, you are looking for change.

Well, we are electing the first mayor in our 100-year history this year. There are also four council seats up for election (those held by Cobb, Russell, Stein and Ungar). This is arguably the most consequential CH election in decades because there is a new governmental structure and a mandate for change.

That change needs to begin with our housing department.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:17 PM, 07.01.2021

New CH mayor should champion police department

I moved to Cleveland Heights in 1972. Looking back over 49 years, I’ve had the opportunity to reap the benefits of living in an integrated community that celebrates its diversity, and a community that has supported its public schools by (usually) passing levies. (Full disclosure: I worked on three of those levies.) 

Over that half century, I watched East Cleveland become a “minority-majority” city overnight, due to blockbusting—and I saw how the Heights Community Congress stopped real estate agents from doing the same thing here. I also saw our police department evolve from being an “occupying army,” with little civilian oversight, to a department run in a more progressive manner.

Certainly, there are still flaws and challenges. As a Black male, I’m well-aware of the fact that there are unwritten regulations governing DWB, and, like so many other families of all colors, I’ve had family members who’ve met police officers under circumstances that were warranted and unwarranted.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:15 PM, 07.01.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 6-8-2021

JUNE 8, 2021, regular session


  • Public comments
  • 2021-2022 instructional model 
  • State school funding plan
  • Board comments


Present were Board President James Posch and members Dan Heintz, Malia Lewis, and Beverly Wright. Jodi Sourini was absent. Also present were Superintendent Elizabeth Kirby and Treasurer Scott Gainer. The meeting was called to order at 7 p.m. and lasted about an hour and ten minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 11:51 AM, 07.16.2021

Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education meeting highlights 5-18-2021

MAY 18, 2021, work session


  • Career and technical education student support
  • Social-emotional learning (SEL)
  • Fair Schools Funding Plan


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

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 11:49 AM, 07.16.2021

Why I support Danforth for mayor

I support the candidacy of Barbara Danforth because she will make an excellent mayor of Cleveland Heights.

Competent city managers kept Cleveland Heights financially solvent, physically intact, and well protected by safety forces. Hopefully, mayors will do the same. But the first mayor chosen under a new system will have neither experience nor history as a guide. Our city will require especially talented leadership during the initial transition period. Danforth is the candidate most likely to provide such leadership.

Danforth has experience managing large organizations. She has hired and supervised talented employees to operate them. The most important job of the new mayor will be to find a city administrator and other staff who can manage ably important day-to-day city operations. Danforth has credentials that prove her ready for this job.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 3:14 PM, 07.01.2021

SF man returns library album 48-years overdue

UH Branch Manager Sara Phillips with the long-lost album.

Sara Phillips, manager of the University Heights branch of Heights Libraries, was having a routine day when an oddly shaped package arrived.

“I got a package in the mail from San Francisco that was record-shaped and—lo and behold!—it contained a record from our collection that was due back in June 1973!” said Phillips.

In 1973, when he was in eighth grade at Wiley Middle School, Howard Simon checked out Self Portrait by Bob Dylan. He recently found the record mixed in with his personal collection, sandwiched between two other Bob Dylan albums, Nashville Skyline and New Morning.

Simon included a letter with the overdue vinyl, and Phillips shared it with the library’s communications department.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 8:22 AM, 06.29.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council special meeting highlights 6-28-2021

JUNE 28, 2021


  • City manager’s report
  • Council actions
  • Council member comments


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

An executive session, lasting 85 minutes, was held to consider property purchase or sale and to confer with an attorney on pending court action. The regular meeting was 53 minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 11:30 AM, 07.16.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-21-2021

JUNE 21, 2021 regular meeting


  • Public comments
  • City manager’s report
  • Police chief’s report
  • Council actions
  • Council member comments


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


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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 11:39 AM, 07.16.2021

Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights 6-7-2021

JUNE 7, 2021 regular meeting


  • Public comment
  • City manager’s report
  • Zoning code amendments
  • Council action
  • Council member comments


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

The meeting convened at 7:48 p.m. and ended at 9 p.m. An executive session lasting 30 minutes followed the Public Safety Committee Meeting. Another executive session following the committee of the whole lasted 20 minutes.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 11:44 AM, 07.16.2021

UH to celebrate its first-ever July 4 parade

Dale Orians, who recently retired as UH police lieutenant, will be the grand marshal of the city's July 4 parade.

The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out most city-sponsored activities in University Heights in 2020. Lingering public-health orders also canceled the city’s annual Memorial Day parade this year. But the city plans to make up for lost time and lost events by hosting its first-ever University Heights Fourth of July Parade.

The July 4 parade will begin at 11 a.m. Recently retired police lieutenant Dale Orians will serve as Grand Marshal.

The event will feature many returning participants from past parades in University Heights, including Judge Frankie Goldberg, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Color Guard, Church of the Gesu members, Steve Ostrow’s Dixieland Band, City Dogs, CH-UH Board of Education members, the University Heights Library, Pickup-stix Stilt Walkers, members of UH City Council, and Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 8:18 AM, 06.29.2021

Summer concert series returns to UH

Diana Chittester will perform a free concert at The Walt on July 8.

Summer is back, and so is the University Heights Summer Concert Series. “We’re going to avenge the lost summer of 2020 with our greatest and most eclectic lineup in city history,” said University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan.

The 2021 season starts July 1 at John Carroll University, then moves to Walter Stinson Community Park for all remaining shows. All shows begin at 7 p.m.

July 1: University Heights Symphonic Band and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The holiday weekend starts on Thursday night with the University Heights Symphonic Band playing under the stars at the quad at John Carroll University. Fresh off its 50th anniversary, the band will perform patriotic favorites, plus movie soundtrack selections.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 8:15 AM, 06.29.2021

Park Synagogue is for sale

Park Synagogue [photo courtesy of the city of Cleveland Heights]

The spectacular Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights, now referred to as Park Main, is for sale.

The congregation of Park Synagogue, Anshe Emeth Beth Tefilo, can trace its Cleveland-area history back to 1869, when the congregation which would become Anshe Emeth was formed. As the congregation merged with another and expanded, a number of different locations were established, including Park Synagogue in Cleveland Heights.

The original portion of this sacred structure, designed in an expressionist style by internationally renowned architect Eric Mendelsohn, was completed in 1950. The accompanying school, also Mendelsohn's design, opened in 1953, and the Kangesser wing, designed by Michael A. Gallis, with Bialosky and Manders as associates, opened in 1968. Park was one of the first two U.S. synagogues designed by Mendelsohn and it became a model for religious structures across the country.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 1:47 PM, 06.21.2021

2021 Ron Register scholarship recipients announced

Tait Manning

The Ron Register Scholarship Fund was created by the Black Caucus of Forest Hill Church in Cleveland Heights. It is designed to honor Ron Register’s leadership and commitment to the CH-UH schools, where he served on the board, and board president, for many years.The fund is supported by both members of the church and the community.  

This year, the selection committee is pleased to present the 2021 Ron Register Scholarships to two outstanding Heights High graduates, Tait Manning and Asia’Lee Fair.

Manning graduated with a 3.9 grade-point average and will be attending Howard University in the fall.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 12:14 PM, 06.21.2021

Friends of Cain Park celebrates 30 years

Since 1991, Friends of Cain Park (FCP) has donated nearly $200,000 in support of artists, actors, musicians and programming at Cain Park.

This year brings a shorter season and limited seating to Cain Park’s 2021 programming. FCP members will receive early access, special seating, and reduced ticket prices to performances at the Evans Ampitheater (with some restrictions for Tri-C Jazz Fest and Multi-Music Fest). Memberships can be purchased on Cain Park’s Residents Day, June 26th: at FCP’s booth at the Cain Park Arts Festival, July 9–11, or online at    

 “The vision of our founder, Chessie Bleick, was to raise funds and awareness of Cain Park so that everyone could enjoy our local gem,” said Molly McGuigan, president of the board of directors of FCP. “We are in full swing this year, with a new website and added membership benefits.” 

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 12:13 PM, 06.21.2021