Latest News

Mayor's Corner: Building Momentum

We are settling into the new year but January is moving fast and so are many of the initiatives that Lakewood has been working on this month.

The Cuyahoga County Planning Commission is working on the Lakefront Public Access Plan that hopes to create more public access to the shoreline in communities like Lakewood that border Lake Erie. If you would like to be a part of the planning or see how the program could affect you and your family, a virtual public informational meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 28th. You can visit for more information on the project and on joining the meeting.

We kicked off discussions about our downtown development site with CASTO, an Ohio-based developer of complex, successful urban projects, and we look forward to creating a project that fits the current and long-term needs of our community. Stay tuned for public meetings to be announced as part of this process. 

Earlier this month the Westshore Council of Governments had our first meeting of the year. This group meets monthly and consists of the mayors of Lakewood, Rocky River, Fairview Park, Westlake, Bay, and North Olmsted. This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of this collaboration between westside municipalities.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

LCRAC Wants To Hear From YOU!

Lakewood Residents!

You are invited to complete our first Lakewood Community Survey, which will help us, members of the Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission (LCRAC) to better understand what our residents appreciate about our city, as well as some of the challenges that we may face.

The Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission is a group of volunteer residents serving in an advisory capacity for the purpose of educating, informing, and making recommendations to City officials on matters related to community relations in an effort to advance respect for diversity, equality, and bonds of mutuality. 

On January 18th, we will be launching a community-wide survey to better understand people’s experiences living and working in Lakewood. We are working with community partners and institutions to help us get the word out, share the survey, and to encourage our community to fill it so we can better serve our city.

You can fill out the survey by going to:


Jon Gromek
Lakewood Resident and Member, LCRAC

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Citizen Map-Makers Invited To Join Redistricting Process

The perfect project awaits a civic minded technology buff who is able to redraw Ohio's state legislative district and congressional district maps. In 2015 and 2018, Ohio voters passed two state constitutional amendments that established rules that are designed to make a fair redistricting process more likely for the decade beginning 2021.

The current congressional district map of Northeast Ohio is often described as "the snake on the lake." That map joins the City of Toledo to the western suburbs of Cuyahoga County and includes part of the City of  Cleveland. This map would not meet the criteria approved by the voters in Article XIX of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

The Constitutional criteria for the drawing of both types of maps is specific. The criteria requires "contiguity" and "compactness" which means that the new maps must honor established county, municipal or township boundaries. The criteria also considers existing population density to avoid fragmentation of neighborhoods, towns and cities. This strong language is intended to prevent gerrymandering and allow voters to cast ballots in congressional and state legislative districts that are drawn so that communities of interest are kept together. 


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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

The Birds And The Trees

Yesterday on my walk home I stopped to rest at the roots of a tree. I looked up and saw the branches of three other trees spread out in the sky in front of me. I was staring at them for a while wondering why it was so soothing for me to be held by their presence.

I then recognized the structure before me. The branches are like the nervous and circulatory systems. I pictured the brain looking at the brain. The birds that come and perch themselves on the branches are like thoughts that arrive in the mind. The birds that fly away are like thoughts that go as they once came: A mind observing its own structure and patterns outside of itself. 

Nature outside is reflecting the nature within this human body I call home.

There is something soothing about looking at tree branches, observing the birds that come, that stay, that go until the branches are left bare. There is something soothing about observing the mind like I do the trees; the thoughts that come, that stay, that go until the quiet sets in.

It is soothing to see myself in the trees and through their presence, feel my own.  

Nicole Nazario is a fellow human who has found the practice of yoga and sharing it with others supportive for life. 

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

The Epiphany: January 6, 2021

The wise men did not come to this one.

They stayed home.

It was as if hell had released a swarm of madmen (mostly)

And they would not be stopped until they had trespassed

And trampled

And beaten

And stolen


They took away our innocence

Our trust that

Respect for this holy place

Would prevail and prevent pandemonium.

It did not.

And now we are left


Supremely saddened

And wondering

Why was it allowed to come to this?

How many times did we say,

“If anyone else said that, they couldn’t get away with it!”?

Shame on all of us

And especially on you

Who was guided by self promotion

Rather than love for your country.

Jean Brinich is a retired Family Nurse Practitioner who spent her very early years and a few later years, so far,  in Lakewood.

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 3:37 PM, 01.20.2021

The View from Ward 2

Housing, Planning, and Development Committee

On Monday, January 4th, the Housing, Planning, and Development Committee discussed two ordinances that would authorize the City to enter into a development agreement with the developer of the former Barry Buick and Spitzer properties JDSI as part of a 15-year tax increment financing program.

A tax increment financing program (TIF) is a financing tool available to cities that can be used to support public or private infrastructure improvements. The TIF works by allowing the increase in the assessed value of the property after the improvements are made to be exempt from real property taxes. For example, if a property is assessed at $100,000 prior to any improvements and is then assessed at $300,000 after the improvements, then the property owner only pays property taxes on the original $100,000 assessment. The TIF that we are considering is a non-school TIF. This means that Lakewood’s schools would receive the full amount of property taxes that would have been payable as if no TIF existed. The TIFs would be in addition to the 15-year Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) exemptions that work like TIFs, but require the developer to make 20% of its units to be affordable.

The authorization to enter into a development agreement is the first step in implementing the TIF. City Council will have to pass the Development Agreement Ordinance, the City then must enter and exit the chain of title for the properties, and then City Council must pass the TIF Incentive Ordinances.


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 3:37 PM, 01.20.2021

Fee Reductions Available For Driver’s License Reinstatements

A new year is a good time to make a fresh start – and right now, there’s good news for Ohioans who want to reinstate their driver’s license and get back on the road. As of December 13, 2020, a new program from The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) can help people who have had their license suspended obtain a reinstatement. The program, called the Reinstatement Fee Debt Reduction and Amnesty Program, allows eligible individuals to pay reduced reinstatement fees or receive a complete fee waiver, depending on their income.

The BMV automatically screens everyone with a suspended license for the program and sends an email or letter to those who meet eligibility criteria. Thus, there is no need to apply – but you must have a working email address or current mailing address on file with the BMV in order to be notified. To activate the program and reinstatement fee payment plan, you also must provide proof of insurance.

Program requirements are as follows:


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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Independent Salon Owners Call Phenix Salon Suites Home

Phenix Salon Suites, a new and exciting concept in the beauty and salon industry, has been located in the heart of Lakewood at 15314 Detroit Avenue since late 2018. Phenix’s upscale salon and spa provides fully equipped, private suites for independent salon professionals to operate their own salon. Each salon owner runs their business independently, selects their hours, sets their pricing and sells beauty products of their choice.

The Lakewood Phenix includes over 40 independent local, salon owners who provide a variety of services including hair, nails, skin, lashes, barbering and teeth whitening. Each of the salons inside the Phenix location is a private suite allowing for built in social distancing and one-on-one service. Phenix found Lakewood to be a desirable location because of its creative energy, walkable neighborhoods, business friendly environment and central location in the Cleveland area.


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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Supporting Bessie's Angels

On Jan. 18th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Help to Others (the City of Lakewoodl's locally active youth service group) and LHS's Race and Diversity Club are partnering with renowned organization Bessie's Angels to host their annual day of service in honor of the date - with a COVID-19 conscious twist! High school students of all ages are encouraged to join a virtual meeting that morning, during which club leaders, participants, and representatives from Bessie's Angels will be discussing their mission to aid in "NURTURING, educating, empowering, and providing low income housing to young women who have aged out of foster care." (1) All discourse will be followed with the beginning of the club's donation drive! With its rich history of community involvement, H2O invites Lakewood to assist in this drive, accepting new or like-new items including:

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Win $100,000 (Or 39 Other Fabulous Prizes) In The Straight From The Heart Raffle!

Community West Foundation and Cleveland Clinic Avon, Fairview, and Lutheran Hospitals are holding their annual Straight from the Heart Raffle where participants have the chance to win a Grand Prize of $100,000! This year’s raffle boasts 40 fabulous prizes including a Mercedes Benz, Sea-Doo and trip to The Greenbrier. All proceeds provide heart healthy initiatives in the community and support cardiology services within Avon, Fairview and Lutheran Hospitals.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Tickets Are On Sale Now For Loving Lakewood: Life's A Beach

Calling all Beach Bums- it's time to join LakewoodAlive for a radical, virtual event filled with sand, waves and good clean fun! LakewoodAlive will host Loving Lakewood: Life's a Beach on Saturday, February 27 from 7-8:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Guests are invited to break out beach apparel and plan for a whale of a time as we do all we can to connect with one another in a safe way. Dress up in your favorite beach attire and drift away to a warm and beachy place during the Loving Lakewood: Life's A Beach event.

Tickets for Life's a Beach can be secured at

A $50 ticket will provide you with an exclusive link to the virtual event and your choice of a delicious meal prepared by Karen King Catering. Meal options range from grilled Cajun shrimp skewer, beef brisket, pulled pork to a vegan black bean burger meal. Add on a six-pack of Platform's Haze Jude or Palesner or select a refreshing bottle of wine and make it a complete night with the option of personal delivery service right to your front porch.

While enjoying your meal and beverage, tune in as we recognize some of our top volunteers, catch up with friends in private breakout rooms, join us for mobile bidding during our live auction, take a chance with the 50/50 raffle and hear live music.

Proceeds will support LakewoodAlive's programming as we strive to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods in Lakewood. While we won't be able to be together in person, we are still stoked to hang-ten with our friends and supporters. It will be a whale of a goodtime at this fin-tastic celebration of Community, Connectivity and Perseverance. After all, Life's a Beach!

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Scholastics Awards Local Young Writers

Top row: Isabella Bixler, Lydia Chen, Albert Khawam, James Paponetti

Bottom row: Manan Raina, Reyna Uechi, Ryan Vaziri

Scholastics Awards Local Young Writers

The nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens has awarded local teens their highest honors. Each year Scholastic Art and Writing Awards accepts entries from seventh through twelfth grade students in 28 categories. They are then blindly adjudicated by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts for originality, technical skill, and authentic and unique point of view.

Local Birchwood School students received the highest honors for their writing.

 Reyna Uechi (8th grade of Lakewood)

Wither and Fade, Short Story, Silver Key 

 Isabella Bixler (7th grade or Fairview Park)

Home, Personal Essay & Memoir, Gold Key 

 Lydia Chen (8th grade of Cleveland)

The Light, Short Story, Honorable Mention 



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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Ranger Alumni Speaker Series Launches Jan. 26

Join the Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation for a virtual speaker series dubbed "Ranger Resource." The sessions will be on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 pm and will feature Ranger alumni sharing their expertise in their chosen fields.

First up on January 26 is Michael Bentley ('01), Vice President of Bentley Wealth Management of Raymond James. Bentley will share his advice regarding retirement planning and smart money strategies. The 30-minute talk will be via Facebook Live on the Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation Facebook page.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Kindergarten Registration Now Open

Lakewood City Schools kindergarten registration for the 2021-2022 school year is now open. Students must be 5 years old on or before September 30, 2021 to be eligible to enter kindergarten. Registration information and materials can be found on the Lakewood City Schools website ( under the Student Registration Quick Link. Registration is by appointment only. 

The online forms are accessible anywhere there is a computer with an internet connection, including home or the public library. Kiosks are also available in all elementary school buildings and the Lakewood Board of Education during the school day. The school building and Board kiosks are by appointment only. The District's goal is to have all incoming students registered for next school year by March 31.


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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:43 PM, 01.20.2021

Things Happen And We Want Change

So, tonight, January 6th 2021, is a day that will go down in infamy-- tells me Chuck Schumer, who, at this late moment of the day will be the Senate Majority Leader, quite soon. But--will it?

They have, meaning the manufactory of non events, been telling us since the pandemic arrived that we are in this together-- check your progressive tax rates for following Dec 7th, 1941 and following March Come Pandemic Day 2020. There seems to be a discrepancy of actual in this togetherness proof.

Real events are built on non lies and power redistribution-- not meaning to say that all new distributions of power avail nice history. But, if we want a life of actual events we have to deal with the powers that are most present to us. These, ultimately, are labor and capital-- not an easy division say some, many invest in the stock market. Yet, I’ve heard that those that invest in the stock market don’t actually own any part of decision whereas someone with the power of negotiation for their labor always owns a part of decision if they so choose to own it. I know, an idealism, but: THEY SAY DEMOCRATS WON THE ELECTION IN GEORGIA. So, why is it we elect Democrats?


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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:47 PM, 01.20.2021

Covid-19 Mask Of Illusion?

What is happening in our country and around the globe is not science fiction, although it certainly seems to qualify. Hordes of mask-wearing pod people separated by plexiglass barriers, dutifully engaged in social distancing, manical hand washing, repetitive disinfection drills and self-isolation when deemed necessary or appropriate by officialdom... Welcome to the new normal.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:50 PM, 01.20.2021

LCAC Gift Of Love And Food For 600 Families

On behalf of Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corporation, I would like to thank all the people who rallied to help LCAC fulfill our annual Holiday Food Distribution in 2020, despite the pandemic! While we were unable to hold our traditional food drives and gather in person at the Masonic Temple to pack turkeys and all the trimmings, we were still able to provide assistance to 600 Lakewood households in November and December. With your help, each household received a $50 Giant Eagle gift card. Without the donations we received from individuals, businesses, and organizations, LCAC would have struggled to meet this year’s outreach goal. Thank you, Lakewood, for continuing to be a community that cares!

Charles Ballou,

LCAC President

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

The HOME ALONE Effect - Help H2O Keep it Growing!

H2O's 2020 HOME ALONE High School Leaders

When the pandemic hit last March, sixty-two H2O high school leaders had just finished presenting their last HOME ALONE event to a total of 221 children and their parents/guardians.  

The high school leaders spent nine months and over 1,800 hours meeting with safety experts and researching online to create interactive presentations for their 9-12-year-old peers. They covered topics including household emergencies, first aid, cooking safety, resolving sibling conflicts, internet safety, street smarts, and more.

While the high school students instructed the young participants, their parents/guardians received valuable safety information presented by experts from Lakewood’s Fire, Police and EMS departments.

HOME ALONE helps children gain confidence by acquiring life skills and knowledge from teen mentors.

HOME ALONE fosters critical conversations between parents and children surrounding safety issues that may arise as their child matures and assumes more personal responsibility.

HOME ALONE builds leadership in our high school youth.

In their own words:

“The best part of Home Alone was giving our presentations. We were able to directly help children by providing them with the tools that need to be safe and feel safe.”


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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Students Return Thanks To Community Effort

Dear Residents of Lakewood,

I want to express heartfelt appreciation on behalf of our staff, the Board of Education, and myself to the Lakewood community.

I want to express heartfelt appreciation on behalf of our staff, the Board of Education, and myself to the Lakewood community.

Although options exist for our students for remote and eLearning instruction models, many families want their students to experience in-person instruction once again. As of Thursday, January 7th, the Lakewood City School District will provide in-person instruction for the students that need this model.

The ability to bring some of our students back for in-person instruction is a direct reflection of the Lakewood community’s commitment to safe practices during the pandemic. We thank you for being careful and cautious regarding social gatherings over the holidays and for adhering to other safety protocols that minimize the spread of COVID-19. Only together, as a true partnership, can we keep providing the in-person instruction that so many of our students need.

Inevitably, there will be challenges ahead. Let us remain vigilant and committed to the safety protocols and practices that have allowed us to open for in-person instruction on January 7th. Finally, we thank the Lakewood community for your patience, support and constructive two-way dialogue over these past months. Although it has been a challenge, the positive character of our community has consistently shone through and for that, we are truly grateful.


Michael Barnes, Ed.D. Superintendent

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 1:03 PM, 01.06.2021

Mayor's Corner: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Lakewood! 

2020 was a challenging year by any measure. In spite of all those challenges, we have accomplished so much over the past twelve months that we should be proud of. We were awarded a 2020 Vibrant NEO Champion Award for our affordable housing strategy. We made progress on our stormwater management program with our state and federal regulators. We provided grants for small businesses and residents who were struggling due to COVID-19. The City of Lakewood was recognized by the Auditor of State as having attained the highest level of public transparency (4 stars) in the new STaRS rating program. The list goes on and on.

Now 2021 has arrived and we have so much to look forward to. Major developments in Lakewood are underway. The Cove United Methodist Church renovation into our City of Lakewood Human Services Center has received a $250,000 grant from the State of Ohio. Kauffman Park will get a major overhaul this year. Clifton Prado Park will also be improved. We have turned the page on our downtown development project and are working with a new developer team to create the right project for Lakewood. We will have a major investment at the intersection of Detroit and Sloane and the surrounding area to improve the western gateway into Lakewood. Be on the lookout--there are many other exciting projects under discussion or underway.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 1:03 PM, 01.06.2021

Students Return To School Buildings

January 7, 2021 is a big day for Lakewood City Schools. For the first time since March, the school buildings will officially open in the “hybrid model” which means the population of each building will be cut in half, to allow more space between students, and students and staff.

For parents and students who feel that returning to the buildings is unsafe, two other learning models are in operation, as they have been from the beginning of the pandemic. 

The remote learning model allows students to stay home and take the same classes their in-building counterparts will have, via zoom. Remote middle and high school students will have the same teachers and classmates they have had all year, while elementary students will have the same classes, but different teachers will be assigned to the home-learners. There is also an e-learning model which does not offer Lakewood courses or teachers but allows students to learn at their own pace, with an official State of Ohio curriculum and local supervision. 

“Eighty percent of Lakewood parents want their kids back in school,” said longtime Board of Education member Ed Favre. The district sent out surveys to determine which learning model families preferred. The default model was in-school. In other words, if you didn’t fill out the form, or didn’t see the form, that was counted as choosing to have your child go back into the buildings.

The question is, of course, is it safe for Lakewood’s children and teachers and staff to be back in the buildings?


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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 1:03 PM, 01.06.2021

Knows Nose Nos: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 111

Brain Cave - Stuck In The Mud - Tiny God Inc. - 10 songs - cassette, digital

I believe this is my second review of Brain Cave– I know I reviewed their first tape a couple years ago. They've released a few things since then, but we'll catch back up with them here. The familiar face here is singer/guitarist Mike Bellis, who was also the bassist and then the guitarist of The Roobydocks and was the guitarist in Bulsch at some point too. Brain Cave does not sound like either of those bands. Generally speaking, I'd call it alternative rock– some of it is post-hardcore, some of it has some definite emo characteristics, there are some grunge moments, and at times they even work in some gothy moves. This kind of thing isn't generally my kind of thing, but after a few listens, this started to grow on me. My favorites were probably "Bar Seat No. 1," "Salt Lick," and "Moved Obstacle." People for whom this is more their cup of tea will probably find a lot to like here, but even I (an idiot) enjoyed it. 3/5


Rubella - Barn Burners - Landfill Records - 12 songs - cassette, digital

Here's the latest from prolific local group Rubella. The email I got regarding this tape described it as 'dystopian synth pop' or something to that effect and yeah, that works for me. I think the only instruments on here are drums and synths– or perhaps I've been fooled and the drums are actually synths too. It's pretty dark stuff, I wouldn't say moody or melancholic necessarily but more edgy, sometimes menacing ("Blood Bucket" is a good example), and…I don't know. Volatile, maybe. Parts of this really remind me of Lost Sounds, other parts I don't find dissimilar to Brainiac. Someone more into the Dark Entries kind of stuff could probably make closer comparisons, but yeah, it's a lot of synths and it's pretty heavy stuff. The lyrics are generally unhappy (a reminder that Rubella's motto is 'life in general is suffering,' which tells you all you need to know about the tone here) and the vocals, even when there's some energy behind them, sound resigned. "Razor's Edge" namedrops the Hilliard Bridge which sounded so familiar that I went and checked the lyric sheet from the last Rubella release I reviewed to see if they were repeating a song and nope, they just have multiple songs where they talk about the Hilliard Bridge. Actually, come to think of it, I think I caught the phrase 'razor's edge' somewhere on that lyric sheet as well. I guess it's good to have some themes you go back to. On the first half, my favorite was probably "Bad Energy" and on the second half, I really liked the closing three tracks: "Flash Flood," an eerie industrial instrumental with, indeed, a flash flood warning playing over it, which genuinely did work as a scary track; "Kill Grid" continues the spooky musical theme and I have to assume Gregory (Rubella's lead member) saw those 5G kill grid posters all over Lakewood a year or two ago; and closing along the same pretty chilling lines with "Devil's Tower." Rubella have their zone that they basically keep making consistent music in, and I've gotta respect them for that. 3/5


Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email or send it directly to the Observer: PO Box 770203, Lakewood, OH 44107.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Starr Gazer


Aries: The Ram is always the first one bolting out of the starting gate, for 2021 why don’t you take up something that allows you to channel all that fire energy like kick boxing, or racing?

Taurus: 2021 says get the heck out of the Bull Pen, come out of your comfort zone, Uranus & Mars are in your sign, experiment, take a cooking class, try painting, do something different.

Gemini: The Twins are great at communication skills, use 2021 to learn a new language, go to an international party & charm everyone with your new language skills, you’re always a hit.

Cancer: OK Crab, it’s no secret you’re super sensitive, you cry at everything, let 2021 be the year you put a lid on those emotions of yours, wean yourself from clinging to those you love.

Leo: The Jungle will survive if you take a few days off here & there for some “me time,” you are after all King/Queen, 2021 is calling you to roar over to the beach for some much needed R & R.

Virgo: 2021 is screaming for the Virgos to CHILL OUT, yeah, put your critical voice to rest, we all know you’re perfect, no one will ever make the mark, so let up on your fellow human beings.


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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,
On behalf of Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corporation, I would like to thank all the people who rallied to help LCAC fulfill our annual Holiday Food Distribution in 2020, despite the pandemic! While we were unable to hold our traditional food drives and gather in person at the Masonic Temple to pack turkeys and all the trimmings, we were still able to provide assistance to 600 Lakewood households in November and December. With your help, each household received a $50 Giant Eagle gift card. Without the donations we received from individuals, businesses, and organizations, LCAC would have struggled to meet this year’s outreach goal. Thank you, Lakewood, for continuing to be a community that cares!
Charles Ballou,
LCAC President

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Lakewood Atractting More Good Neighbors Especially In Tough Times

Family photo of the Rostocil-Davis family by Regina Strauss

We live on a great street, with great neighbors. And it just keeps getting better. This summer we eagerly awaited the arrival of our new neighbors. Regi and Chris Strauss moved from downtown and joined the block in July. After a warm welcome of many socially distant introductions, it feels like home.

Months have passed and the seasons changed, bringing us to an undeniably different holiday season. In a true act of appreciation and gratitude for their warm welcome, Regi and Chris offered to take Christmas morning porch photos for the families on our street. Sharing her talents as a photographer, Regi used a lens that would allow her to safely photograph everyone from the sidewalk.

Chris played music, Regi shot the photos, the snow fell, and everyone smiled. It was perfect. A perfect gift to conclude 2020. A year like no other, captured in time. A generous and thoughtful gesture that will carry us into a new year, feeling grateful and full of hope.

To contact Regina Strauss Photography go to:

Facebook Page:

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Creative Destruction Or Destructive Creation?

One theme for my APUSH History Class this year is the impact of new inventions/technology on society. In this case, students analyzed the impact of technologies through Joseph Schumpeter’s notion of creative destruction. Their task was to argue over whether the new invention/technology is a net positive or negative for society. --Dr. Chuck Greanoff, LHS Social Studies Teacher

By Leah Campbell, LHS Class of ‘24

Butter churners, canals, telegraphs, typewriters, polaroid cameras, and horse-drawn carriages are antiquated and obsolete today. But all so quant! They have been replaced by factories, cargo trains, semi-trucks, smartphones, and cars. This is because a factory can produce butter much faster and with less waste than a household butter churner ever could. This concept is defined by economist Joseph Schumpeter as creative destruction; the cycle of old inventions or concepts being replaced by newer and more effective inventions. 

Social media’s recent dominance over news is a current example of creative destruction. Many people would rather hear about current events through “trusted” friends on social media than mysterious reporters. This has reduced reliance on newspapers and longstanding news sources for information on current events. Social media has made the spread of news faster than it has ever been before. Unfortunately, many people are wrong to trust their friends’ posts on current events which leads to misinformation. According to NPR, “More than 40 percent of visits to 65 fake news sites come from social media, compared to around 10 percent of visits to 690 top US news sites” ( This abundance of misinformation leads to distrust of the media and the government agencies that collaborate with the media. While news on social media is incredibly convenient, it is a net negative for society because it’s largely responsible for the publicity of false information, biased news sources and distrust of the government. Trustworthy news sources and a trusted government are more valuable to society than convenient news will ever be.

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

O'Neill Healthcare Of Lakewood Among First With Vaccine

Kim Chuma, LNHA, shares why she’s getting the vaccine.

O’Neill Healthcare Lakewood is honored to be among the first in Ohio to offer the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine to the staff and residents. On December 23rd, on-site vaccination started at O’Neill Healthcare Lakewood, with everyone receiving the first of two shots. All five of O’Neill Healthcare facilities will have the first shot before the end of the year. 

As we move into the new year, we look forward to a brighter future where we can all be together again. Thank you to the Walgreens team for administering the shot and helping us create a safe environment for our staff and residents so we can continue to care for our residents safely.  

For more information about O’Neill Healthcare and the vaccine, visit

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

2021 Brings Some Glitches...

It's not the best way to start off a fresh new year, but the Observer website is experiencing some glitches today. Visitors to the site may notice that the bank of links that normally appear in the left sidebar, and the calendar in the right sidebar are missing. 

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 12:50 PM, 01.01.2021

One Lakewood Progress: New Year, New Opportunities For Progress In Anti-Racism For Lakewood

Late last year, I was appointed by Mayor George to sit on Lakewood’s newly formed Anti-Racism Task Force. As a Latina, it is not an appointment I take lightly. The work being done by the Anti-Racism Task force is a first for this community, and is critical to ensure that Lakewood continues to grow and progress towards a future where inclusion and equity is a cultural and societal norm: Where acceptance of all races and ethnicities is intrinsic rather than a by-product of tolerance, which by itself, lacks true equity. 

I thank the George Administration for committing to doing this work, which may, at times, make folks feel uneasy. The work being done now will bring to the forefront community conversations which are long overdue. It is important to remember that looking at some hard truths regarding the past, whatever they may be, need not define who we are: it is only what we do with that information that is definitive - especially for our future. 

Like many, I was spurred by the death of George Floyd and other unarmed black men while in custody of law enforcement to put forth my skills and interest in serving on the Task Force. My father and brother, who are dark skinned, have repeatedly been victims of racial profiling and police brutality through unwarranted traffic stops. Neither fought back against these injustices because they knew their voices wouldn’t matter. And to me, the mere fact that a human being’s voice, or life, may not matter as strongly or as equitably as the voices and lives of others is not only antithetical to the ideals of equality this country was founded upon, but is unconscionable. 


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Downtown Lakewood Officially Listed In National Register Of Historic Places

The district includes an area from just west of Bunts Road to midway between Hall and Ethel Avenues, Warren Road from Detroit Avenue to almost Franklin Boulevard, and a number of apartment buildings located adjacent to Detroit Avenue on side streets.

LakewoodAlive and the City of Lakewood are proud to announce that downtown Lakewood has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The 105 buildings in the Lakewood Downtown Historic District trace Lakewood's development from a thriving agricultural community through its development as a streetcar era suburb, as well as the reinvestment projects in downtown during the 1960s and early 1970s.

The district includes an area from just west of Bunts Road to midway between Hall and Ethel Avenues, Warren Road from Detroit Avenue to almost Franklin Boulevard, and a number of apartment buildings located adjacent to Detroit Avenue on side streets. Visit to see a district map and additional information.

"We are thrilled to announce the completion of the Downtown Lakewood Historic District project which has been in the works since 2016 when the Ohio Historic Preservation Office Staff visited to determine if a district was viable," said LakewoodAlive Executive Director Ian Andrews. "This listing now unlocks state and federal historic tax credits for building owners in an effort to further support investment in our historic commercial building stock."

Owners of income producing buildings constructed in the early 1970s or earlier in the historic district are now eligible to use the federal historic tax credit program, which provides a credit equal to 20% of rehabilitation costs. In addition, the buildings are also eligible to compete for a 25% of rehabilitation tax credit through the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program.


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Lakewood Business Owner Graduates From Tri-C’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program

Rachel Waggoner of Ebb & Flow Counseling in Lakewood took a step toward greater business success by completing the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).

Waggoner is one of 26 small-business operators in the program’s latest graduating class. She spent three months at Tri-C studying a specialized business and management curriculum for entrepreneurs.

Previous graduates have seen their business outperform the broader economy while exceeding national and local averages in revenue growth and job creation.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a charitable initiative to unlock the growth and job creation potential of small businesses across the United States by providing them with greater access to business education, financial capital and support services.

10,000 Small Businesses (10KSB) launched at Tri-C in Cleveland in May 2012. The alumni list for the College’s program now exceeds 700, with graduating business leaders representing a variety of industries.

Waggoner founded Ebb & Flow in 2017 to provide counseling and wellness services to the community through a holistic, progressive and caring model. It offers a variety of programs at locations in Lakewood and Cleveland.

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Rep. Skindell Announces State Capital Budget Funding For Area Projects

State Representative Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) is pleased to announce the inclusion of funding for several local projects in the two-year state capital budget. The $2.1 billion capital budget is designed to meet the capital needs of state property from parks to state universities and also includes $186.6 million for local projects across the state which have strong community support. Cuyahoga County has been allotted nearly $24 million in the budget. 

Included in the capital budget was funding for three local projects in State House District 13 and several regional projects advocated by Representative Skindell. The local projects include:

• $250,000 for the adaption reuse of the former Cove United Methodist Church Building. The city of Lakewood acquired the property and is planning to transform this beautiful structure into a multipurpose community center;
• $300,000 for the Beck Center for the Arts for renovations and additions of its current facility; and
• $150,000 for the Edna House for Women, which is recovery housing in Cleveland’s near west side. 

Several regional projects advocated by Rep. Skindell include:

• $250,000 in funds for Cleveland Rape Crisis Centers
• $800,000 in funds for Cleveland MetroPark Zoo
• $250,000 in funds for Greater Cleveland Food Banks
• $2,250,000 in funds for the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
• $1,000,000 in funds for Cuyahoga County Mental Health Diversion Center

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Over $68,000 In Grants Will Be Awarded

Over $68,000 in grants will be awarded this year to non-profit community organizations in Lakewood and Rocky River by the Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River, according to Mark Bacon, Foundation marketing chair.

Since its creation in 1952 by then-Club President Carl Dryer, the Lakewood-Rocky River Rotary Foundation has enabled the local club to provide over $1.25 million in student scholarships and grants. This has been accomplished due to the generosity of the club’s philanthropic membership. 

Club members who donate more than $1,000 in support become members of the Carl Dryer Society. There are currently 32 active members. Recently, Lynn Donaldson achieved his second Carl Dryer recognition, Jim Lechko his third, and Jon Fancher, William Huffman, and Matthew Daugherty each their fourth.

The Foundation is overseen by a 15-member board of trustees. Four trustees serve on the investment committee charged with growing the corpus by maximizing interest and gains to fund the community support. Countless non-profits in Lakewood and Rocky River have benefited from this largesse. 

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Rotary Foundation Awards $68,427 In Local Grants

Grants totaling $68,427 from the Lakewood-Rocky River Rotary Foundation will be used to provide scholarships, encourage student achievement, fight hunger, and foster programs for community health and wellness.

The Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River will award $15,000 in scholarships to high school seniors and will present $7,000 to student winners in the club’s annual speech, music, and art competition.

A $5,000 award goes to Elle's Enchanted Forest for an Inclusive Avalanche Slide and a $5,000 grant to Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corporation for Giant Eagle gift cards for needy families. Lakewood/Rocky River Meals on Wheels will receive $4,000 for meal preparation food and supplies.

Lakewood Community Services Center will receive $3,500 to provide for emergency food for families in Lakewood, Rocky River, and Westlake, following a new delivery model, a direct outcome of the pandemic. Trials for Hope will receive funding support for economically challenged families and unsheltered men and women.

A $ 3,427 grant to Neighborhood Family Practice (North Coast Health) will support NFP’s charitable care program to provide financial assistance for low and low-moderate income NCH patients.

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Mayor's Corner:Proud Of Lakewood

As 2020 comes to a close, I am proud of the work we have done and am hopeful for what lies ahead. There is no denying the tough times right now. The COVID-19 pandemic remains dangerous, and that means disruptions to life for months to come. However, even with the backdrop of a once in a lifetime pandemic, we continue to move forward on many goals and projects. We have no room to slow down.

Awards and Recognition

The City of Lakewood was awarded:

• Best Suburb in 2020 by Cleveland Scene Magazine. 

• 2020 Vibrant NEO Champion Award for Lakewood’s Affordable Housing Strategy. 
• Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
• Ohio Auditor of State Award with Distinction for Lakewood’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Beers, Bars, & Brewpubs

For anyone that loves good beer, there is nothing more satisfying than brewing your own batch of perfectly crafted ale at home. It’s a great feeling to be able to come home to a cold bottle of your own brew or to be able to entertain and impress guests with your latest batch that you created from nothing more than a few simple ingredients and some patience and hard work. For most of us the thought of working a full day then brewing beer for three hours is a lot. The explosion of breweries and the selection of different styles of beer is overwhelming but glorious all at the same time. My goal with this article is to talk about different styles of beer.

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Volume 16, Issue 22, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Updated: Schools Stay Remote

This past Thursday, Cuyahoga County was placed into Public Emergency Level 3, red status in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System which is described as "Very high exposure and spread. Limit activities as much as possible."

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Volume 16, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Mayor's Corner

The Americans With Disabilities Act passed in 1990, thirty years ago this past July. In that time, the City of Lakewood has focused on its commitment to be an accessible community of people with varying levels of ability. Specifically, at City Hall and other buildings, we have made improvements to stairwells, restrooms, doorways, lighting, and even our website among many other changes to ensure everyone has equal access. 

One requirement of the ADA is for city governments to create an ADA Transition Plan which will be created through the work of the newly created ADA Task Force. While we have made great progress and expect to continue finding ways to accommodate our fellow citizens, the new ADA Task Force will formally establish rules and standards to be implemented citywide to ensure that the City meets the highest needs of its residents and visitors with disabilities. The Task Force will be responsible for developing a citywide plan to oversee the upgrade and compliance of City properties and facilities and to identify properties, buildings, and facilities that require upgrades to become ADA compliant. 

My office is seeking resident participation to help identify necessary physical infrastructure and technology upgrades, to assist in the development of the ADA Transition Plan, and to work to ensure that citizens with disabilities have accessibility and are included in the City’s community life.

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Volume 16, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 01.06.2021

Lakewood Public Library’s Madison Branch To Undergo Historic Renovation

In the spring of this year, the Lakewood Public Library was poised to announce that Library Trustees were investing in an historic renovation of the Madison Branch to begin mid-2020. Then, the coronavirus appeared in the U.S. and all of us, in unique, but no less distressing ways were consumed by surviving a global pandemic. Today, as we continue to navigate these disquieting, uncertain times, the absence of community and the ability to gather in shared, public spaces to enjoy one another’s company, engage in civic dialogue, and enrich our singular perspectives through the world of words is palpable.

The relentlessness of this virus is staggering; yet, we choose to have hope and gratitude. In recognition of the value of the Library as an essential community asset, the Library Trustees will move forward with the Madison Branch renovation in 2021. The renovation will restore the original architectural charm of the “little library,” nestled in Lakewood’s vibrant Birdtown neighborhood, while ensuring the Branch remains responsive to community needs for generations to come.

The Lakewood Public Library has been proud to serve the Lakewood community with its two branch locations, Main and Madison, for over 100 years. The Library opened its doors on May 19, 1916 with only 10,000 books to offer the burgeoning streetcar community that built it. As the city grew, so did the Library, adding thousands of volumes of materials to serve the needs of patrons who flocked to Lakewood.

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Mayor's Corner

The City of Lakewood has begun its annual budget process in preparation for 2021. There is a tremendous amount of work and contemplation that goes into our municipal budget. We are reviewing department budgets and preparing to roll them into one cohesive vision for the City's next year of operations and capital investment which we will present to City Council and the community in the coming months. 

Although the pandemic has made 2020 challenging from a budgetary perspective, many projects have moved forward. We are nearing completion of Wagar Park and have included parks improvements in the budget for next year. We have resumed plans for a community facility at the former Cove Church site. We have continued investments in public art, our tree canopy, and water/sewer infrastructure upgrades. The western gateway to our community is slated for a major overhaul starting at the intersection of Detroit Avenue and Sloane Avenue. 

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Volume 16, Issue 20, Posted 6:07 AM, 10.08.2020

A Scope Into The Sacred: On Display At The Root

Artist Heather Hansen with her masterpiece.

As a human in Western society, I have observed my tendency to fall into the superiority-inferiority trap. The notion that some beings are inferior or superior to other beings ignores the universal intelligence that animates all life. It is a notion that has caused humans and all sentient beings harm and continues to do so. 

Heather Hansen’s art is a beautiful reminder of how all beings possess a sacred intelligence. Her paintings entitled "Bugs Can Fall in Love," "Everyone Was a Baby Once," and "Bugs Can Believe in God" encourage viewers to  reflect on how life force, no matter its shape or form, is able to perceive and feel.

Heather uses found materials, such as recycled canvases, paint from garage sales, driftwood, and forest gifts, for her creations. Her inspiration comes from nature and her work invites us to recognize the sacredness of all things. Her art is being displayed and sold at the Root Cafe during the month of December. I welcome you to visit, explore, and experience how these creations speak to you. 

Nicole Nazario is a fellow human. 

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Scammers And The Coronavirus

Coronavirus has shown us some of the best and worst in humanity. We have seen medical professionals, truck drivers, and other front line workers step up to the plate. They are pulling long hours in sometimes thankless jobs to ensure Americans can put food on the table and get required medical care. Unfortunately, we have also seen a rise in those who would take advantage of the situation. Scammers are actively working on getting personal and financial access from those who are vulnerable and worried. These are often the same people who can ill-afford to lose money or security during trying times.

Types of Coronavirus Scams
Unfortunately, many different coronavirus scams are going on right now. These are some of the more common scams being reported at the moment.
    •    Many scams relate to "miracle" cures for coronavirus or offer the promise of products people order that never come. They often come in the form of teas, essential oils, and CBD products that offer no real medicinal value when it comes to coronavirus. They give people a false sense of security. Some are even offering fraudulent antibody tests to get health insurance information, which is then used for identity theft.
    •    As people await news on continued government stimulus packages, scams rage on, including everything from stimulus check promises to unemployment benefits and more. Other financial scams involve student loan payments, stock scams, credit card fraud, and more.
    •    These include attempts to get targets to part with valuable personally-identifiable information. Such scams are primarily focused on those under financial stress or health concerns.
    •    We all know that contact tracing is an invaluable way to trace infected clusters and determine the origins of coronavirus cases. However, scammers use the guise of contact tracing to steal insurance information, bank account information, Social Security numbers, and more.
Be suspicious if you are called for any of these potential issues. Do not give out personally-identifiable or financial information without first verifying the authenticity of the caller.

Signs of Being Scammed
The number one sign you are being scammed is an email, text message, or phone call that appears off or suspicious. Recognizing these cues can help you identify if someone is attempting to scam you.
You will need to do a little research before offering up your insurance, personal, or financial information if you see things like:
    •    Callers are more interested in your health insurance information than the status of your health.
    •    Scammers require upfront payment before providing information about things like stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, etc.


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Lakewood City Schools' "Access Point" Program Puts Students And School Employees At Risk

Several weeks ago Lakewood City Schools launched a program called “Access Point” to help students struggling to learn remotely. Most residents haven't heard of it. It allows children to come into the closed school buildings to receive help from building employees who are not teachers, but members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees union. In normal times they hold positions like classroom and library aides, cafeteria workers and recess monitors. 

During the pandemic their jobs have been things like packaging and sending breakfasts and lunches home, providing library services and assisting teachers with their remote classes on zoom calls. 

In November many of them received an email letting them know they had been drafted into the new Access Point program. They received no warning, little to no training, and were given no choice about participating in it. 

The plan calls for them to meet with individual children— for 90 minutes at a time-- with sometimes as many as ten per session—to help them with school work.

At issue is what “helping with school work” means.

“We can’t teach them; we don’t have that training,” said an Access Point employee last week. “We’re supposed to monitor them, like study hall monitors.”

But some of the students, especially the youngest ones, need more than monitoring. They need help. 

Even though they are not teachers, building employees, like any parent, can sit down with a child and try to help. But they can’t do it from six feet away. 

Which puts them in an impossible situation.


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Thoughts Of Stephen Davis

From left to right: Fred, Stephen Davis, Steve Ollay, Joe McLain. Sitting if the front yard during a 4th of July celebration.

I put down a book I was reading and called Steve Davis.

The book was “The Happy Islands of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific” by the travel writer Paul Theroux. I had just read a mention of canned corned beef, which in the South Pacific went by the name of “pisupo.”

I knew this already, thanks to Steve, who had spent part of his childhood in American Samoa. He relayed to us the island pidgin for several words and phrases such as “party” and “I’m gonna kick you in the mouth.” I forget the island translation for those undoubtedly helpful phrases, but I told Steve that I had just read Theroux’s account of the etymology of “pisupo,” which corresponded with Steve’s account. The first canned food to reach the happy islands was pea soup, which was not well received. The second, however, was canned corned beef, which was an immediate and lasting hit. But since it came in the same sort of can as pea soup, corned beef became known as pisupo. Actual pea soup, presumably, was forgotten.

“So. Did you think I was lying to you?” Steve asked when I called him. I admitted that the whole thing seemed improbable, but I was happy to find out that it was true.

“Improbable, but true,” is a good descriptor for Stephen M. Davis, whom we lost on [need exact date] in the already-horrible year of 2020. I met him when I worked in the publications office at Case Western Reserve in the mid-1980s. He was a print sales rep for Sherman Litho and called on us from time to time.

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Holiday Greetings From Tristan Rader

Raders at home.

Holidays are special every year. That’s still true after all that this
year has thrown our way. I look forward to brighter days, ahead, and
being together again in person.

You can contact Councilmem- ber At Large Tristan Rader at Tristan. or on his cell phone at 440-315- 2852

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:30 PM, 12.16.2020

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays, from my family to yours! While this year no has been challenging and has brought struggle and pain to so many, there is still much to be grateful for. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend extra time with my family and for across-the-lawn conversations with my neighbors. I am grateful for our resilient City, and our incredible healthcare and frontline workers. Although this year's festivities may look different, I hope you find peace and joy, and ways to safely connect with your loved ones. Here's to a brighter year ahead!


Jason Shachner & Family

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Tess Neff, Ward 1 Councilwoman Wishes You A Safe And Wonderful Holiday Season!

Tess Neff, Ward 1 Councilwoman and Family

It is the time of year we love to gather with family and friends to celebrate. This year's celebrations will be very unusual and different compared to past seasons. Thank you for doing your part to help keep our community safe. My family and I wish you the happiest of times this season. Embrace family and enjoy one another. Together we will thrive!

Tess Neff is a 30-year Lakewood resident. She and her husband Rich raised their children here and both have worked in the community. She loves Lakewood and its uniqueness.

Tess Neff at 216-529-6055 (O) 216-245-2287 (P) or

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Holiday Greetings To Lakewood

As we approach the end of another year in Lakewood, I'd like to extend my best wishes to all. 2020 has been challenging as we faced the COVID-19 crisis. I join my City Council colleagues in seeking to provide resources and adapt procedures to allow our community to remain strong during COVID while conducting our everyday work to the standard of excellence that has helped our city grow.

As ever, contact me any time to share your ideas on how we can improve.

Happy holidays, merry Christmas and seasons greetings to everyone in Lakewood--and to our families everywhere,
Tom Bullock & Family

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Twenty Twenty Twenty: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 110

Red Devil Ryders - Pour Me Another One - Just Because Records - 11 songs - LP, digital

In a time when shows were a thing people could go to, I think I probably brought more of my friends to see Red Devil Ryders than maybe any other band. Sure, that's partially because for a while they seemed to be on every show, but also they're a reliably decent and fun live band. I think this album brings that sense of fun and decency to the recorded medium. I wasn't quite sold on first listen (other than to sigh with relief that there weren't any songs like "Spicy Boys" on this one, which, sure, is a good first song of the live set, but not something I ever wanna listen to outside of that context), but a few listens in and I kinda started picking up on some themes and you know what? I think this is a really good album. It kicks off with the glammy power pop stomp of "Canadian Nights" (which I believe finds Adam Spektor and Carter Luckfield trading off verses on lead vocals and also features the excellent descriptive phrase "lookin' murdered out") and keeps up from there. Perhaps I'm reading into this too much as reviewers sometimes do (I once read that "Blood Visions" is a concept album about a murderer, which I'll believe when Jay Reatard comes back from the dead to tell me so), but this, to my ears, is an album about touring and about life in the immediate aftermath on touring, which has a poignant place in a world where no one is touring. The first two tracks definitely have a vibe of "the excitement of the tour." I wanted to hate "Mullet Song" on principle, but it's funny enough that it works. Perhaps it's really about tour-induced paranoia. "Sad Day For BBQ" is a tribute to someone named Melvin, who the album is also dedicated to, and is appropriately somber without losing the plot. Side 1 ends with "Little Green Cross," a two-part suite (Spektor's country rock is the first half, Luckfield's power pop is the second) that's probably the best song about legal weed that I've ever heard. It also ends with some backwards guitar, a nice nod to the "Crowley 666" days. Side 2 is mostly devoted to the


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Lakewood Year In Review 2020

So much has happened this year, it’s baffling. The following flashbacks (and a few updates) are just a sampling.

New government. Mayor George and council members Neff and Shachner were only sworn in at the beginning of January, and Kepple only appointed 10 months ago. What a first year on the job.

Big fire in Rocky River. The huge fire just across the river, on Feb. 23, destroyed in-progress condos. An explosion even flung debris across the freeway. The site is currently leveled and empty; investigation has not determined a cause.

Coin shortage. People remember the shutdown, in late winter, but a lot happened within that period. Example: coins were in such short supply at one point, that one Lakewood bank could give change for about three dollars, max.

“One Lakewood Place” is canceled. In early April the developer and the City decided not to move forward with the proposed development on the former Lakewood Hospital site, cleared and remediated at city expense, after all. The city has since negotiated a settlement, in the interest of permitting discussions with a new developer unencumbered.

The 2020 Primary. A mess. By the time a month of pandemic-shutdown overtime postal voting concluded in mid-April, hardly anyone really noticed. For what it’s worth Joe Biden won a landslide first-place finish in Lakewood, perhaps not surprising given that opponents had dropped out by the time Ohio finished voting. The school levy passed, too.

Black Lives Matter actions. A BLM march and Lakewood Park event were, it’s fair to say, driven by solidarity with nationwide protests after George Floyd was killed. Local electeds nonetheless concurred with the assertion that racism is a public health crisis, and have responded with e.g. scrutiny of police procedures, and appointment of a diverse antiracism task force.

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

Players On Madison Returns With A Pop Up Menu

Mac and Cheese

If you are from Lakewood, you no doubt recall the iconic neon Players sign at the corner of Belle and Madison. For years, Players on Madison was a staple west-side eatery, offering an eclectic mix of traditional Italian and New American fare. Even though the specials changed daily, and a new menu was penned every few months, “Create Your Own Pizza and Pasta” was always offered.

When Anthony Romano took ownership of Players in 2015, it brought an end to the Players era--but not entirely. After 16 years as Executive Chef at Players, Anthony updated the location, but the spirit of Players lives on at Sarita. As the longest tenured chef in Lakewood, he has seen food trends change and has always kept an ear to his customers. So now he’s bringing back “Create Your Own Pizza and Pasta.” This Players “Pop Up” menu has all the familiar pizza and single serving pasta options, and a great value Family Pack as well. Available for dine-in, pickup, and delivery, Tuesday-Sunday, for a limited time. For more information, visit their website,

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:20 PM, 12.16.2020

When I Heard Steve Davis Had Died

When I heard Steve Davis had died, I looked through my recent calls and realized that probably 70% of the calls I made or received in the last few months were from Steve. And it’s literally been like that for decades.

We met through work in 1998 and became fast personal friends. How could you not be Steve’s friend? So joyful and so clever, always willing to talk through anything under the sun just for the exercise of doing so.

I enjoyed our calls so much that I regularly answered the phone even if I was with other people. All my friends knew who Steve was, and most of them caught snippets of our conversations over the years because it was just too entertaining not to share the hilarity.

It’s hard to adjust to knowing that no more calls, no more uproarious laughter, no more clever turns of a phrase, no more random metaphysical discussions are coming.

Never again will my phone ring with a random, “Hey, can you get online and look up the assembly manual for my new mower? I bought the floor model and it came without a book and I’m trying to get the damn blade on it.”

We talked about food, usually when he’d call to tell me, “I’m driving to my Heinen’s place.” At Heinen’s, they bring your groceries to your car in the drive through, and Steve had hassled the Heinen’s employees so much about making sure he got a prime number for the lineup that eventually, he didn’t have to ask. I like to imagine they’d see him walking toward the door and say, “Prime number guy is here!”


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:19 PM, 12.16.2020

Steve Davis Memories

Jeff Blumenthal with Steve Davis

This wasn’t the script I imagined. It was only tomorrow. December 2, 2020. Nothing to plan for. Nothing to stress about. But it wasn’t a normal Wednesday. Steve Davis didn’t do things conventionally. Why would he? What was the point? If it were planned then he’d already know the outcome. Better to seek out or stumble on the most unique observations, enjoy them, and save them enhance a story or conversation.

A friendship of almost 50 years gives countless Steve Davis stories. Some I can recall instantly. Others appear when I see a unique thing, something old yet useful, or something playfully crafted in a purposefully understated way. Recently Steve delighted in his dead basil plant adorned with miniature Christmas lights. Perfect.

Music was a big part of Steve’s life. He listened. He played and had fun with it. We shared an appreciation for the simplicity of unproduced acoustic strings, and vocals that had texture and soul. Blues. Bluegrass. Jorma. Bromberg. Doc, Vassar, Taj, Keb, Fahey, and so on. Always under the radar, purposefully. And Steve went beyond the appreciation of the musical sound. He was an encyclopedia of the artist’s history and influences. 


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 12:19 PM, 12.16.2020

Barnes To Return To Mayfield Schools to Lead District

On the evening of December 1, the Mayfield City Schools' Board of Education voted to hire Dr. Michael J. Barnes as their new superintendent effective August 1, 2021. Dr. Barnes will replace current Mayfield Superintendent Keith Kelly, who recently announced his retirement effective August 1.  

“While we as a Board are disappointed that Dr. Barnes will be leaving us after the end of the school year, we appreciate everything he has brought to Lakewood,” Board President Emma Petrie Barcelona said. “We know he will be fully committed to the Lakewood City Schools for the remainder of his superintendency and through this unique school year.” 

The Lakewood Board of Education will meet soon to determine the path moving forward for the District. The Board will keep the community informed as a plan is developed.  

“The decision was not an easy one for my family and me. My wife and I have enjoyed every minute of being a part of the Lakewood community,” said Dr. Barnes. ““Lakewood Schools are a special place where community, children, and staff come together for the betterment of all. I treasure the experience and lessons from my tenure as Superintendent, and firmly believe that I am a better instructional leader, and person, as a result of my time here,” he continued.

Dr. Barnes came to Lakewood in August 2018 from the Mayfield City Schools where he served in several administrative positions for more than 20 years.

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 9:48 AM, 12.02.2020

Lakewood Schools Stay Remote Until New Year

Lakewood Family:

Our focus has been, and continues to be, to provide the best instruction possible for the students of our district in as safe a manner as possible. To accomplish this, we are adhering to two core principles: Safety and Choice. 

Regarding Safety 

We are following the latest guidance from healthcare professionals and are committed to implementing best-practice safety protocols. 

Regarding Choice

Our families have made it clear through extensive two-way communication with the school district that they desire options for instruction. We have heard you and three instructional options will be available. 

  • In-Person instruction

We are committed to returning to in-person instruction as soon as possible for those that choose this option.

  • Remote instruction

We are committed to supporting our remote learners with high quality instruction.

  • eLearning instruction


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Volume 16, Issue 23, Posted 9:59 AM, 12.02.2020

Progress Amidst The Pandemic

As we begin the 2021 budget presentations, I wanted to share a letter within our budget document that reflects our progress through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dear Citizens of Lakewood, and Members of Lakewood City Council: 

I am pleased to present you with a balanced budget for calendar year 2021 that reflects our perseverance, progress, vision, and strategic initiatives amidst the challenges of operating in a global pandemic. After being elected last November, I came with core ideals that valued teamwork, public safety, public finance, and innovative ways to implement public policy while also promoting public health throughout our environment, especially for our at-risk population. The COVID-19 pandemic created an environment in which our entire staff along with the community has come together as a team to embrace this vision and key initiatives for the City of Lakewood:

Public Safety and Human Services 
o Established a Coronavirus Task Force that regularly meets, and a COVID-19 Playbook outlining our administrative initiatives and policies that will continue to safely guide us through the pandemic. 
o Keeping seniors safely at home by delivering meals. 
o Responsibly monitoring public spaces to encourage compliance with orders and best practices initiated by the Governor.
o First responders (Police and Fire) remain substantially dedicated to keeping Lakewood safe during the pandemic.

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 9:59 AM, 12.02.2020

Mayor's Corner

November, like every other month this year, was a busy month for the City of Lakewood. We continue to make progress on several key initiatives and are preparing for a prosperous 2021.

The Department of Public Works has begun 2020 Leaf Pick Up, which continues through December 11th. Our Wagar Park Revitalization Project is officially complete and the park is open to the public. The renovation included the installation of new playground equipment, a picnic shelter, a half-court basketball court, walking trails, and open green space with help from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Land and Water Conservation Fund. Keep Lakewood Beautiful selected the 2020 Beautiful Home Award winners. We completed incredible local art installations for the Spectacular Vernacular initiative throughout the community. The City’s Affordable Housing Program was recognized for the Vibrant NEO award. 

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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 9:59 AM, 12.02.2020

Community Fridge At The Root

Today is the first official day of hosting the ‘Community Fridge Cleveland Project’ at the Root Café. Thank you to everyone who donated already, we are fully stocked
Please tell your friends and anyone in your networks about this resource-- Anyone can come by and get Free Food during our business hours.

They worked with to raise funds for a mural on the fridge by local artist September Shy (IG: @tember611 )

They do ALL the legwork to make this happen--including providing daily maintenance and cleaning by their volunteer staff.

They accept:

Pantry staples, Fresh produce, Frozen foods, Sealed beverages (no alcohol), Meals prepared in professional foo safe environments with ingredients clearly labeled, Dented but sealed cans, packages with damaged labels, Masks and Hand sanitizer. 


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 9:59 AM, 12.02.2020

Holiday Recycling Tips

With the huge popularity of on-line shopping because of the Covid Pandemic and the holiday shopping season in full swing, the amount of cardboard to be recycled in Lakewood has increased immensely. Here are a few suggestions to aid the city workers in recycling your cardboard.

1.)   Breakdown your cardboard boxes whenever possible. So many residents place one or two large boxes in the toter and then throw the rest on the tree lawn. This defeats the purpose of  the automated process. A city worker must pick-up the cardboard manually which is labor intensive and not economical. In addition, when you do not break down the cardboard boxes the automated truck fills-up faster. The recycling truck must drive all the way to the recycling center in Twinsburg daily. Those fuel costs add up.

2.)   Many Lakewood residents run their businesses from home and recycle much cardboard weekly. Try to get your cardboard in the toter, but if you have an abundance, please break it down and bundle it with rope or strong string. Remember, you can always drop it off at the recycling center yourself. The hours are M-F 8to2 and Sat. 8-12.

3.)   Styrofoam is not recyclable and should be placed in the garbage toter whenever possible. If you place a cardboard box on the tree lawn and there is Styrofoam in it, the cardboard will NOT BE RECYCLED.


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Volume 16, Issue 24, Posted 9:59 AM, 12.02.2020