Latest News

Meghan George Is New Mayor Of Lakewood; Neff, Shachner, Litten On Council

Although 2019 was considered an off-year election, locally, this year's election cycle proved to be as busy as ever in Lakewood. With mayor, four ward council races, and three board of education seats up for grabs, election night in Lakewood did not disappoint.

From the start, as the results rolled in, the margins in the most hotly contested and closely watched race of the night, that which would determine Lakewood's next mayor, were razor thin. Ultimately, Meghan George prevailed over her fellow current councilperson, Sam O'Leary.

The Ward 1 Council seat went to Tess Neff, the Ward 2 Council seat went to Jason Shachner, and the Ward 3 Council seat went to incumbent John Litten. The Ward 4 Council seat was uncontested, with Dan O'Malley retaining his seat on council.

Of the three seats up for grabs on the Lakewood Board of Education, two will stay with familiar names, Linda Beebe and Emma Petrie-Barcelona, while the third will go to a new face on the board - Michael Callahan.

In addition, there were several other races impacting Lakewood, including a charter amendment that adds a primary election contest for Lakewood's Municipal Judge seat if more than two candidates run for the post. In addition, at the county level, Issue 3, the Cuyahoga Community College tax levy renewal and increase, passed with a strong majority.

Municipal Election Results

Lakewood Mayor

Meghan F. George: 50.73% (5,702)

Sam O'Leary: 49.27% (5,537)

Lakewood City Council Ward 1

Tess Neff: 61.68% (1,774)

Laura Rodriguez-Carbone: 38.32% (1,102)

Lakewood City Council Ward 2

Jason Shachner: 62.14% (1,874)

Brad Presutto: 37.86% (1,142)

Lakewood City Council 3

John Litten: 66.73% (1,893)

Jeff Wise: 33.27% (944)

Lakewood City Council Ward 4

Daniel J. O'Malley: 100% (1,518)

Board of Education (vote for 3)

Linda G. Beebe: 20.25% (4,605)

Michael J. Callahan: 21.84% (4,966)

Tom Einhouse: 17.20% (3,911)

Andrew A. Meyer: 15.61% (3,549)

Emma Petrie-Barcelona: 25.11% (5,710)

Lakewood Charter Amendment Judges

Yes: 85.20% (9,067)

No: 14.80% (1,575)

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Volume 15, Issue 22, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Latest News Releases

State Names Roosevelt Elementary High Progress School of Honor
- Board of Education, January 7, 2019 Read More
DeWine Nominates Cabinet Heads for DAS, DSA, OOD, DRC, Taxation, Appoints Numerous Senior Staff members
- Government, January 3, 2019 Read More
District to Renovate Taft for Curricular Expansion, Central Office Home
- Board of Education, December 18, 2018 Read More
Lakewood’s Roosevelt Elementary Named High Progress School of Honor
- Board of Education, November 16, 2017 Read More
Lakewood Empowers Young People to Say Something and Save Lives!
- City Hall, October 17, 2017 Read More

View more news releases

Give A Gently Used Coat To The Homeless; Get A $25 Gift Card From Geiger’s

Susan Neth, Frontline; Christy Geiger

FrontLine Service and Geiger’s are asking Lakewood to donate “gently used” coats to the homeless. Coats can be dropped off at Geiger’s store, 14710 Detroit Avenue, from November 1 through November 10. Everyone donating a coat will receive a $25 Geiger’s Gift Card, good on the purchase of a new coat.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Breakfast With Santa Returns To Downtown Lakewood On November 30

Breakfast with Santa Returns to Downtown Lakewood on November 30.

Santa Claus is indeed coming to town, and it’s sooner than you think.  Breakfast with Santa returns to Downtown Lakewood on Small Business Saturday (November 30) from 9 a.m. to 12 noon when Jolly Saint Nick himself visits O’Neill Healthcare Lakewood (Assisted Living Building - 1381 Bunts Road).

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

2nd Annual End Hunger In Lakewood Day Set For Saturday November 16th

Matt Fish, owner and founder of Melt Bar and Grilled, has again spearheaded the annual End Hunger in Lakewood event scheduled for Saturday, November 16th. “We had an exceptionally successful first event last November with 34 restaurants and food retailers participating. Donating 10% of food sales on a Saturday is not a small gesture,” said Fish. All the money raised will go to Lakewood Community Services Center’s efforts to provide emergency food to 15% of the population of Lakewood who need food support. “This year 43 establishments responded immediately to my request to participate. This outpouring of support for needy Lakewood residents speaks to the generosity of my colleagues here in town,” added Fish.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Runner Peppard-Kramer Finishes Top 50 In State

Highlights Super Postseason For Rangers

The postseason has been full of highlights for the Lakewood High boys' cross country team, led by a top 50 finish by senior Cormac Peppard-Kramer in the Division 1 Cross Country State Tournament in Columbus on November 2. Peppard-Kramer finished 49th out of 186 runners in a time of 16:14.9. The State Tournament was the culmination of a season where Peppard-Kramer earned the Southwest Conference individual title and conference MVP, a 2nd place finish at Districts and a 11th place finish at Regionals.

Peppard-Kramer led a strong varsity team that was runner-up at the Southwest Conference Championship Meet and a 4th place team finish at the District meet. The 4th place finished gave the Rangers an automatic team qualification Regionals.

Senior co-captain Patrick McCallum was among the leaders as well, finishing third at the conference meet and 13th at Districts. Junior Aidyn Zingale also cracked the top 20 at Districts, placing 17th. Rounding out the varsity team are Joe Kelly, James O'Donnell, Sean O'Donnell, and James Toole. The team is coached by Stephanie Toole. 


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Volume 15, Issue 22, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Students Work To Make Home Alone Project Reality

Several members of the Home Alone Research & Development team pictured here are: (front row l-r) Lavinia Grandt and Gina Marjanovic; (back from l-r) Hayley Welsh, Sydney Wilhelmy and Sarah Donaldson.

A group of 11 Lakewood High students spent hundreds of hours this past summer and the first months of the school year devoting their time to a project that has become near and dear to their hearts. They are working together to create the Home Alone Youth Leadership Program for Help To Others (H2O). Their work on the program, which aims to educate 9-12-year-olds about how to safely be home alone or with younger siblings, has given them leadership skills that will serve them well, long after their time with Home Alone.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

LakewoodAlive To Host “Transportation For A 21st Century City” Community Forum On November 14

LakewoodAlive's "Transportation for a 21st Century City" Community Forum takes place on November 14.

As transportation preferences continue to evolve, our society is increasingly seeking better options for getting around. But how can we ensure our region’s transportation policies keep pace with our modern-day transportation needs?

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Jungle Bob And His Crazy Critters

Jungle Bob always brings a large snake to his program.

Come to the Lakewood Public Library and meet some of Jungle Bob’s incredible animals. Jungle Bob is a certified animal technician as well as a licensed teacher in animal care who has been educating and engaging children for nearly three decades. He is not only dedicated to entertaining audiences with his interactive animal shows, but also to teaching children about the importance of animal care, safety, and conservation. It will be a fun evening with reptiles and furry friends. “Jungle Bob and His Crazy Critters” will take place in the Main Library Multipurpose Room on Saturday, November 16, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Cuyahoga And Its Burning River

The Cuyahoga River dates back 12,000 years, but it was the fire in 1969 that made it famous. Even though it was not the first or the worst, the 1969 blaze caught the attention of the country, making Cleveland the butt of jokes and spurring the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Keep Lakewood Beautiful - Community Composting At Lakewood Park

Keep Lakewood Beautiful (KLB) and the City of Lakewood have partnered with Rust Belt Riders to provide residents with an alternative to landfills for household food waste. A collection bin has been placed in Lakewood Park, in front of the Oldest Stone House. For $5 per month, you can take your waste food items to the collection site instead of putting the waste in the trash. You can subscribe to this service on Drop-off is at your convenience; the bin is always available. Just about all non-liquid food waste can be composted; meat, dairy, citrus, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc. My family recently signed up and took our first food waste to the bins; it was easy.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Cleveland Teacher Recognized As Impact Educator By Northwestern University

Chuck Debelak

Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search is known for recognizing high achieving students. However, their mission also incorporates parents and teachers in a quest to support gifted students. In fact, elementary and middle school students who are recognized based on their exceptional PSAT™8/9, SAT®, or ACT® scores can in turn nominate their teacher.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Family Secrets Uncovered: Award-Winning Author Gail Lukasik To Visit The Library

What if your family history research revealed a long-hidden family secret? Award-winning author Gail Lukasik grew up with few photographs of her mother’s family and in 1995 she discovered the reason why. When researching census records for her Louisiana family, Gail discovered that her mother’s father and his entire family were designated as black. “You can’t tell anyone,” said her mother Alvera.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Sign Up For District's Senior Citizen Holiday Breakfast

Superintendent Michael Barnes and members of the Board of Education invite the city's senior citizens to a festive, free holiday breakfast on Wednesday, December 11 from 8:45-10:00 am in the Garfield Middle School cafeteria. Hear from some of our talented student groups, enjoy great food, and listen to Superintendent Barnes give an update on the District. RSVPs are required by December 3. Please call 216-529-4074 or email if you would like to attend.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Applicants For District Financial Advisory Committee Sought

The Lakewood Board of Education is seeking applicants to fill a position on its Financial Advisory Committee (FAC), which is dedicated to the District’s finances. Applicants must be Lakewood residents. Duties of the committee include reviewing the annual state audit, conducting pre- and post-audit meetings, sharing business and financial “best practices” information, and reviewing the treasurer’s five-year forecast. The committee meets on a quarterly or as needed basis. 

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

LPL Calendar Of Events Compiled by Elaine Rosenberger

Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Meet the Author
"Cafe Abyss: John O’Brien’s Fiction, A Reflection"
Edited by Dave Megenhardt and Rob Jackson
Main Library Auditorium

Editors and contributors of "Cafe Abyss" discuss the fiction of John O’Brien, Lakewood native and author of four novels including "Leaving Las Vegas." O’Brien’s sister, Erin O’Brien, will discuss John’s life and legacy. Contributors Sara Dobie Bauer, Patrick Snee, Matt Marshall and Tanya Pilumeli, will speak about discovering O’Brien’s work and share their analyses of it. Books will be available for sale and signing at this event.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Club Welcomes New Exchange Student

New Rotary youth exchange student, Estefania Orpheu Pinheiro de Castro (right), displays her country’s flag at a recent meeting with (from left) counselor Natasha Corrigan, and host parents Torey and Jeff Worron. Este’s host club is the Rotary Club of Lakewood & RockyRiver.

Estefania Orpheu Pinheiro de Castro, inbound Rotary Youth Exchange student from Brazil, is being hosted by the Rotary Club of Lakewood & Rocky River.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Rotary Seeks Grant Applications

The Rotary Club of Lakewood and Rocky River is seeking grant applications from non-profit organizations that serve our youth and community within Lakewood and Rocky River.

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Lakewood Women’s Club Elects Officers For 2019-2020 Term

2019-2020 Members of the Lakewood Women's Club.  

Members of the Lakewood Women’s Club (LWC) have launched a new year by unanimously voting in the Slate of Officers presented at their annual Installation Dinner. The incoming Executive Board includes President Diana Quickel-Ketchaver, Vice President Jessica Price, Secretary Melis Uras, and Treasurer Margaret Wetzler.  

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Lakewood Podcaster Wants Residents To Catch Olympic Fever

Alison Brown and Lakewood resident Jill Jaracz (right) encourage everyone to catch Olympic Fever with their podcast.

Ahead of the Olympics taking place in Tokyo next summer, Lakewood resident and podcaster Jill Jaracz wants Ohio to catch Olympic Fever.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

The Rockport Miracles-Part 4: Episode 17: “The Ballad of Derecho Dan” Continues

Little Dan laid uneasy on a table in a damp, cramped basement in Cleveland’s Little Italy. Still babbling incoherently, Little Dan was accused of over 30 counts of negligence and arson in the wake of storm 5.5. On the lam, he'd been a fugitive as much to reality as he was to justice. Unable to grasp exactly how the promise of his young life had been destroyed in less than five minutes, his tortured mind retreated into a fitful dream:

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Phone Scam Targets Lakewood Voters

A Texas-based company has begun calling Lakewood residents, to present false information in the format of a survey. Paid callers from Dynata Global present a series of false statements about mayoral candidate Meghan George, then ask voters how they would react "assuming the statements are true."

The American Association for Public Opinion Research has stated that calls like this are not surveys at all, but rather unethical telemarketing designed to push respondents for or against a candidate. That say that such “push polls” are “an insidious form of negative campaigning disguised as a political poll.”

Multiple residents have reported identical calls attacking George, beginning Tuesday, October 8. Two have provided recordings of a call, confirming other reports.

In a statement, Meghan George said that "These intrusive, inaccurate calls are the complete opposite of what I stand for, and Lakewood deserves better. Our campaign has focused consistently on positive messages of public safety and sound policies to protect affordability for seniors and working families.

"I assure you that you will not hear those kinds of attacks or dirty tricks coming from my campaign. I am running to bring inclusive, collaborative and transparent government to City Hall."

One of the paid callers identified her employer as Dynata Global, based in Texas, but the company has refused requests to reveal who is paying them.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

If You Like The Truth Don't Bother Reading Sam O'Leary's Propaganda

Of late I have been hearing mayoral candidate Sam O’Leary referred to as Sneaky Sam. After reading the false propaganda he has been mailing to voters I can see why.  Sneaky Sam’s latest flyer quotes a Lakewood resident as saying, “Sam will do what’s best for the future of Lakewood.”  NOT SO!

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Volume 15, Issue 19, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Why We Need Brad Presutto On Lakewood City Council

Growing up in Lakewood, it’s good to see someone who cares so much about their community run for City Council. His name is Brad Presutto. A good friend, awesome father, and advocate - we’re lucky to have him in our community.

I met Brad Presutto when my family moved back to Lakewood a couple years ago. When a family in Lakewood had hateful graffiti spray painted on their driveway, Brad responded by creating The Lakewood Sidewalk Chalk Love Facebook group, to show that we care about each other and that hate does not belong in our community. Our children covered the city with messages of love on our sidewalks. It was encouraging to see such young children participating in amazing acts of kindness. I want someone on City Council that looks at diversity as a blessing, not just a statistic.

Brad gets to know his neighbors, building relationships through social media or face to face. He’s always busy taking care of a neighbor in need, whether he knows them or not. I frequently see him volunteering his time to help people through our local Lakewood Buy Nothing Group. He's also a big supporter of our local small businesses. He uses his relationship building to create this network so when someone or a new business needs support, he gets them the necessary support they need to be successful.  

Because Brad is well-known in the community, parents reached out to him about concerns regarding Kauffman Park. Not only is he a big advocate for renovations at Kauffman Park, he responded to the parents concerns by organizing a group to clean up Kauffman Park, specifically the slides that had been plastered with sap from the nearby trees. Our playground and park looked beautiful once it was cleaned. Taking care of our green spaces is important for our community even though they do not generate income. Our kids need a safe and clean place to play, and I know I can trust Brad to be a constant advocate for our parks.


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Volume 15, Issue 19, Posted 9:51 AM, 10.31.2019

Give Lakewood A Chance-- Vote

I have a friend who just moved to Lakewood; she thinks it's a great place and it is, but this being an election year I had to tell her, it's not as great as it once was. It was once a lot safer. We once had a city government that we could rely on to represent us and be truthful. We don't have that now.  

We once had a full service hospital with a real Emergency Room. Now we have a mayor and some members of City Council who actively worked to close that hospital and were not honest with Lakewood residents about why.

With records requests and reviews of financial records we know a lot of things now that we didn't know when the hospital was closed. The facts that I refer to in this article are not theories in a battle over whether the hospital should have been saved or not. At this late date all of this information is backed up by records that at the time were kept from the public by our own representatives, two of whom are running for office. If you are new to Lakewood and don't have time to read the rest of this, here are some of the records obtained with freedom of information requests, go to these links.

Some background for newcomers: The city of Lakewood had its own community hospital beginning in 1907. When Lakewood Hospital closed (in February 2016) it was being managed by the Cleveland Clinic, it was owned by the citizens of Lakewood.  

The hospital was not failing when it closed. We were told by our own city officials at that time that it was failing, but it was solidly in the black. It had no debt. It made less money than it once did, because under the Ed FitzGerald administration, the high-level trauma ER, the pediatric and cardiac units, which were all money-makers, were moved to Cleveland Clinic's Fairview Hospital in exchange for Cleveland Clinic providing Lakewood with what they called "Centers of Excellence" which never materialized.

Why didn't the mayor or council at the time question this or ask that our departments be brought back since Cleveland Clinic didn't make good on their deal? When did our city government start giving away our hospital and why? We don't know, but it began then. 

Lakewood Hospital was the biggest employer in Lakewood. When the hospital closed we lost more than a thousand jobs and yet Mayor Summers (who is still our mayor) and city council worked hard to convince us that it was a good idea to get rid of it.

In other cities, city representatives fight hard to keep their number one job provider, but not here. 

What is worse, is that right now, if you, or someone in your family, starts to have what you think might be a stroke or heart attack, or a serious accident, like with a chainsaw, or blowing up your hand with an M80 in Lakewood, you're in trouble. Since our "Emergency Room" isn't attached to a hospital, you can't be rushed into surgery. If the EMTs take you to Lakewood's "ER," you're going to have to be transferred to a hospital, losing valuable time, possibly losing your life, yet many have been taken there when experiencing symptoms, etc instead of straight to a hospital like Fairview.

So should you get someone to drive you to Fairview? But Fairview's ER is often overcrowded since Lakewood's real ER closed. Should you get someone to drive you to Metro? Lutheran? St. John's Westshore? Plus it's dangerous not to get an ambulance, many life-saving procedures can be performed in an ambulance. What should you do? When we had a real ER in Lakewood, it was so close you could often get to the hospital before an ambulance could get to your house. 

The security of knowing what to do when there is an emergency in your household in Lakewood is gone. That security was one of the best and safest things about Lakewood, one of the reasons people moved here, and stayed here, for over a hundred years.  

Our mayor and members of city council told us that we were lucky to get a Cleveland Clinic "Family Health Center" in place of our hospital. It is basically a doctor's office. Its "ER" can set a broken arm and do stitches, but they can't do anything to help anyone who is seriously ill. I have actually been reprimanded by a doctor there for bringing in a friend who needed more serious care. The doctor WORKING THERE told me, "You should never have brought him here."  Having a sign that says "Emergency" for a facility that isn't a real Emergency Room is more dangerous than having no Emergency room at all.


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Volume 15, Issue 22, Posted 9:26 AM, 11.04.2019

Lakewood Mom And Son Dance Is Back For The Fourth Year!

What started as a casual conversation among some moms at Horace Mann Elementary evolved into a fun night out for hundreds of Lakewood families. Now in its fourth year, the Lakewood Mom & Son Rockin' Monster Mash will be held on Saturday, October 19 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm in the Lakewood High School gym and cafeteria.  

"The Lakewood Father/Daughter dance was going strong and we wanted to offer a similar opportunity to moms and sons," said event co-chair Kristen Humphreys. "We've always had a rock & roll theme, and we recently added a Halloween element to amp up the fun."  

The "Monster Mash" theme encourages attendees to dress up in Halloween costumes, wear t-shirts from rock bands and concerts, or even get dressed up in formal wear. The gathering encourages families of all kinds -- not just moms, and not just sons, either -- to be who they are and wear what they want. This year's event includes a maze in the LHS gym and a calm craft area outside of the gym for anyone who needs a break from the noise.  


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Presutto Demonstrates Professional Experience Needed For City Council

My career started in the financial sector where I specialized in creating and delivering training programs for new hires, existing employees, and leadership development. While I was training staff members in a variety of financial roles, I also achieved a wide variety of financial licenses, HR certifications, and project management experience. In addition to training, I managed teams as small as two to as large as sixty across multiple cities and countries. It is this experience that has me best suited to interact with different demographics and will allow me to communicate the issues and solutions to Lakewood residents.  

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Callahan Seeks Seat On Board Of Education

The Callahan family; Michael, Kristyn, Liam, Kenna and Mary Frances

My name is Michael J. Callahan and I am a candidate for the Lakewood Board of Education. I’m running as an advocate for our schools and our community. The Lakewood City Schools are in a good place with dedicated teachers, great administrative leadership, and new or newly renovated buildings. We have a unique opportunity to make these investments continue to pay dividends in the community.

Our Board of Education can be more effective with added representation of young families and the fresh perspectives that come with it. As a parent of children in elementary school, I have routine interactions with parents, teachers, and staff and am positioned to represent the community.

My wife Kristyn and I are both lifelong Lakewood residents, and we have been proud to send our children to the Lakewood City Schools. Our oldest is a fourth grader at Grant Elementary School, our middle child is a second grader at Emerson Elementary School, and our youngest (age 3) will soon attend Lakewood schools. 


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Healthy Lakewood Foundation Updates Community On Their First Year

Sharing notes from small group discussions.

Over 50 Lakewood residents attended the Healthy Lakewood Foundation’s first community meeting on Tuesday, September 24th at the Women’s Pavilion at Lakewood Park.

The HealthyLakewood Foundation (HLF) was established in September 2018 as part of the master agreement following the closing of Lakewood Hospital. HLF was formed from the Foundation Planning Task Force and through their recommendation to the City of Lakewood and the Lakewood Hospital Association.

The 17 member Board, who represent a diverse array of personal and professional experience, spent the past year creating and formalizing the organizational policies and processes. This work will aid the board in the responsible, sustainable stewardship of $32.4 million in assets that will eventually be available to support health and wellness initiatives in Lakewood.

The community meeting provided an opportunity for Lakewood citizens to hear about HLF’s first year. Board members shared short summaries of specific work, including a financial update, community engagement plans, governance initiatives, and an overview of the strategic planning process.


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Let's Talk Lakewood's Future

If we look at elections as conversations, we can see what conversations we want to continue and what ones we want to stop. Local elections are no different. They are community conversations about where the community wants to go in the years ahead, and what it needs to move forward into the future.

There are a lot of conversations happening in Lakewood right now, and as someone who has lived in Lakewood for five years, I recognize certain conversations important in changing the status quo, as the city’s status quo is changing. Conversations about affordability, accessibility, and increasing racial, religious, and economic diversity. There are people running in Lakewood who want the same imperative conversations. There are people running who want certain conversations to stop, not because they have lost their relevance or the issue is exhausted, but because they just don’t like the premise. Now, I realize that I haven’t met every candidate running, (and I would welcome the opportunity to). There are those in city council who are having these conversations currently, and have the respect of their constituency through accountability. Dan O'Malley is an awesome city council person, representative of his constituency. I worry for the future of Lakewood in respect to the other wards and the city's mayoral race.

We all want our interests to be respected and represented by someone to work collaboratively towards solutions that benefit everyone. I value community-centered candidates that follow through by listening closely to their constituents, rooting their policy ideas on constituent feedback, and receiving constructive criticism. I value candidates with honesty and transparency and want to offer community-based solutions to them, echoing their constituents who are asking for it of them.

I see Laura Rodriguez-Carbone and Brad Presutto as community-oriented, community-based city council candidates who listen, advocate, and amplify the voices of their future constituents. I can see that in their voiced concerns about healthcare, affordable housing, public transportation, and in their efforts to increase visibility of marginalized groups in the city who deserve a seat at the table in policies affecting their lives in Lakewood, regardless of population statistics. I believe them to be candidates who listen to the people in their wards, and in the city at large, who would base their policy initiatives on what they hear from the people.


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Be Wary of Sam O'Leary. Don't Be Fooled Again.

As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” In 2015, I naively supported Sam O’Leary’s campaign to maintain his Ward 2 seat on Lakewood City Council after being appointed the previous year.

At one of Sam’s campaign fundraisers that summer, we spoke one-on-one at length. Sam is approachable and articulate. He appears to take a genuine interest in others. He convinced me that he was an independent thinker committed to due diligence and the highest ethical standards. I expressed concerns regarding Lakewood’s future, including the fate of our hospital. He shared my sentiments and promised to fight. We corresponded and spoke throughout the year regarding the hospital closing, but as a council vote on the issue neared, Sam began replying with patronizing rhetoric in line with the administration. I no longer felt represented and haven’t since.

I learned just this year that in March 2015, Sam was designated campaign treasurer for former Lakewood Mayor and Cuyahoga County Executive, Ed FitzGerald, coming off his loss for Governor amid questionable behavior. Had I been aware of this at the time, I would have been leery. FitzGerald launched a fake, single issue newspaper that misled voters on the hospital issue before a community wide vote that November; and then became a consultant to the developer who scored the land grab at the corner of Belle and Detroit after council voted to close the hospital.

Sam’s St. Charles Green dream (to add land to the park system) unveiled just ahead of his 2015 campaign hadn’t been mentioned again until the eve of another election season, just weeks ago. A lack of attention to Ward 2 for nearly six years, the bombardment of recent mailings, banners, county establishment endorsements and countywide fundraisers are a clear sign that he’s doing someone’s bidding beyond his supposedly beloved hometown.  




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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Transfiguration Parish's 10th Annual Harvest Pork Chop Dinner & Raffle

Please mark your calendar now and plan to participate in Transfiguration Parish’s 10th Annual Harvest Pork Chop Dinner & Raffle to be held on Sunday, October 27th, in the parish hall at 12608 Madison Ave. in Lakewood. Dinner will be served from noon-3:30 p.m. This is Transfiguration Parish’s primary fundraiser of the year and a wonderful tradition for our parish community. Help us make it a successful one!

The dinner includes two pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, sauerkraut (optional), green beans, applesauce, dinner roll, dessert, and coffee. Dinner tickets are $18 for adults, $7 for children 5 to 12, and free for children 4 and under.  Advance ticket purchase is strongly recom­mended for dine-in and for take-out dinners. A limited number of dinners will be available at the door.  Any unclaimed tickets/reservations will not be held past 3 p.m.Please call Anne at 216-287-1127 or Pat at 216-269-9801 for tickets/reservations by Sunday, October 20th.

This family event is more than a delicious dinner. There will be a Grand Raffle, a Split-the-Pot drawing, the always-popular Basket Raffle, a special raffle for a 40” Insignia LED flat screen TV (only 200 tickets will be sold at $5 each) donated by P.C.S. Auto Body & Collision Repair, door prizes, and sideboards. The Grand Raffle has a top prize of $1,500 and five prizes of $100 each.  Grand Raffle tickets are $5 per ticket or six tickets for $25. The Split-the-Pot drawing is a 60/40 split to church/three winners.  Split-the-Pot tickets are $1 per ticket or six tickets for $5. Winners do not need to be present. Grand Raffle and Split-the-Pot tickets will be available for purchase at the event or can be purchased prior to the event by calling the Parish Office at 216-521-7288 on Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The Basket Raffle prizes include brunch for four at Pier W valued at $168, a $75 gift certificate to Palazzo Italian Restaurant, a $75 gift card to Luca West (downtown), a $50 gift card to Johnny’s Bar on Fulton, a $50 gift certificate to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville-Cleveland, a $50 gift certificate to Georgetown/Vosh, an Ohio Clinic Skin Care Rejuvenating Facial valued at $90, and many, many other great prizes. Tickets for the Basket Raffle are $1 each or six tickets for $5.  The drawings for the Basket Raffle will begin around 3 p.m. followed by the Split-the-Pot and Grand Raffle drawings.


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Why I Think Brad Presutto Would Be An Asset To City Council

I have had several opportunities to chat with Brad Presutto about his ambition to serve on Lakewood City Council. He is very personable and always speaks to how much he loves our city. One thing that I am always curious about is, what past experiences would make a person the best for the job? I feel that Brad’s experience managing, consulting, and reaching compromise does make him the best person for the job. 

While working for a variety of banks, insurance companies, and financial institutions, he managed teams as small as two people to a team of almost 60, spread out over multiple cities and countries. We need someone on City Council who has the experience being able to work with a wide variety of demographics and achieving compromise.  Our city has issues that have opinions ranging the entire spectrum. Having someone who has experience achieving compromise will prevent major issues from dividing our city and losing trust in Lakewood’s government.

One thing I noticed on his LinkedIn profile was that he won the Rookie of the Year award at his last job.  When I asked him about it, he was quite proud to talk about the success the team he managed achieved by turning around 72% quality scores to 99% within eight months.  In fact, most of his career he sought out teams or departments that were new or struggling; and he enjoyed using a continual improvement mindset to bring results to above expectations.  While Lakewood is not a new or struggling city, I want someone in public service who is willing to review each process for ways to make it more efficient. Having someone willing to listen to residents and city employees to make sure our city services  are beyond reproach is important to all voters.


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Volume 15, Issue 19, Posted 5:47 PM, 10.16.2019

Why I Support Jeff Wise For Council

As a longtime resident of Ward 3, I have always voted in elections. This year I feel compelled not only to vote, but to express why I will be voting the way I will.

It is time for a change. Now is our chance to elect folks that want to do things differently and listen to the residents. I firmly believe Jeff Wise fits that description. I had the opportunity to attend a community meeting he hosted last month. The focus of the meeting was the various developments being planned in Lakewood.

A summary of the points discussed include:

  • Jeff Wise supports development that makes sense for the neighborhood - he supports green space and sustainability as well as transitioning properly into a neighborhood
  • He believes in transparency - if elected he will continue to hold community meetings as he did when he worked in Columbus
  • He thinks when something is before a board the entire neighborhood should be notified and not just the immediate properties
  • He acknowledges he may not always say what we want to hear but he will he be up front about his thoughts
  • He opposes rubber stamping as our current council seems to prefer to do
  • He is excited that our city council could look totally different after the upcoming election

As a resident directly impacted by one of the proposed Solove Development projects, I was excited to hear his perspective. I was especially pleased to hear he believes development needs to make sense and to transition into a neighborhood. I am not getting that same sense from the current administration or the Architectural Review Board.


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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Letter To The Editor: Why I Am Voting For Jason Shachner

A few months ago, I recently moved into Lakewood. As a Post-9/11 veteran, I have moved around quite a bit throughout my life, and I have for a long time been searching for a community to call my permanent home. I’ve been looking for a neighborhood that is beautiful, and peaceful, and fun, while also being affordable and close to Downtown. More so, as a young LGBTQ+ woman who has recently transitioned, I needed to find a place that is welcoming and safe for me and my loved ones. Naturally, I thought of Lakewood.

Shortly after moving here, some friends of mine suggested that I should meet a neighbor named Jason Shachner. Eager to make friends in my new home, I reached out to him, and we had a beer at a local hangout. On meeting, the first thing I noticed was how young and energetic he is, and how he filled the room with positive excitement. With much enthusiasm, he told me about his life, his education, his work. He’s a person who’s been working hard for a long time to make the community a better place. He’s a devoted husband, a volunteer, and a man of faith. He is an attorney who became a prosecutor, not to lock people up – but because he wants to fix our legal system from the inside out. This is one of the reasons why, he expressed to me, he wants to become a lawmaker. As such, on November 5, he is running to represent Ward 2 on Lakewood City Council.

Beyond all these things, however, what really struck me about Jason went beyond his words, his education, or his work experience. Looking at his kind eyes and his welcoming smile, I could see a person with a truly good heart. He is the kind of human being who will do his best for me and my family. He is a person who cares for those around him no matter who they are or who they love. He is a young man, but he has an old soul. As a person who has wandered this world in search of acceptance, I appreciate that.


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

8th Annual Welcome to Lakewood on Wednesday, October 23rd

Welcome to Lakewood Wednesday, October 23 at Garfield Middle School, 6:30 - 8:30 pm

The City of Lakewood’s Community Relations Advisory Commission is sponsoring the 8th annual Welcome to Lakewood event on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at Garfield Middle School, 13114 Detroit Avenue. 

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Sam O'Leary Is Unfit To Be Mayor--Here Is Why

In December 2015, Sam O’Leary was a defendant in a lawsuit brought on behalf of the residents of Lakewood alleging that he and other members of City Council held secret meetings and agreed to enact the so-called "Master Agreement" prior to any public meetings. 

This agreement, between the City of Lakewood, the Lakewood Hospital Association (LHA) and Cleveland Clinic, would close Lakewood Hospital and give away $120 million of taxpayer money and property belonging to the residents of Lakewood.

To conceal the non-public (i.e. illegal) meetings and decisions made in secret, O’Leary gave false testimony under oath that the Master Agreement “did not exist when it was announced”--even though this testimony contradicted his own statements made at a press conference held earlier that month in front of TV cameras.

Let's pause for a moment and reflect on the absurdity of insisting to a court of law that you held a press conference to announce an agreement that did not exist. 

The people of Lakewood didn't buy it either. 

The residents’ lawsuit against O’Leary was instituted, in part, because of his comments in support of the Master Agreement at that December 7, 2015 press conference which occurred before any public meetings were held concerning the terms of ANY agreement

O'Leary described the agreement in very particular terms, making statements before the cameras like: “This new agreement funds our future…. Specifically, this agreement means the Cleveland Clinic will…. Demolishing the old parking garage is part of the agreement.” 

The clear implication of O’Leary’s statements was that an agreement existed and he was in favor of it. 

Each of the other 6 councilmembers made similar statements referencing the “agreement” and their support of it. (The complete press conference can be seen at:

On December 21, 2015, O’Leary gave the following testimony in Court:

The agreement that was announced on December 7th did not exist when it was announced and, therefore, it is correct to say the council had not deliberated on the definitive agreement that wasn’t in existence yet, absolutely.” (From the Court Transcript at page 63; lines 18-22).  

Public records prove that this testimony was false, and O’Leary knew it was false.


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

LPL Calendar Of Events Compiled by Elaine Rosenberger

Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Author Event - "Pit Bull Heroes: 45 Underdogs with Resilience and Heart"
Book by Greg Murray
Main Library Auditorium

Meet Chad, the first pit bull in the pet therapy program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Apollo, who sniffs out narcotics at his job in Washington State; Charlie, who rallied a community to fight breed-specific legislation laws in Lakewood; and forty-six other underdogs. They are all pit bulls and heroes in their own way. Greg Murray is an award-winning animal photographer and advocate. Books will be available for sale and signing at this event.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Meet The Author- “Cafe Abyss: John O'Brien's Fiction, A Reflection”

"Cafe Abyss" is a collection of essays about the late novelist and former Lakewoodite  John O'Brien and his work.

Long before he wrote the novel “Leaving Las Vegas,” John O’Brien called Lakewood home. The 1978 Lakewood High School graduate had a tragically short life and literary career, but the impact he made on the people who knew him and the readers moved by his work has more than endured the twenty-five years since his untimely death in Beverly Hills.

It is from this legacy that “Café Abyss: John O’Brien’s Fiction, A Reflection” was born. The editors and contributors of the book are visiting Lakewood Public Library on the day of its release, Thursday November 7, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. for a discussion about the novelist’s life and work. This special Meet The Author event will be held in the Main Lower Level Auditorium at 15425 Detroit Avenue.

Editors of “Café Abyss,” Dave Megenhardt and Rob Jackson, as well as O’Brien’s sister, Erin O’Brien, will join the discussion, along with additional essay contributors Sara Dobie Bauer, Patrick Snee, Matt Marshall and Tanya Pilumeli, who will speak about discovering O’Brien’s work and share their analyses of it.

In addition to his first novel, “Leaving Las Vegas,”(1990) which was made into a film of the same name in 1995, three more books, “The Assault on Tony’s”(1996), “Stripper Lessons”(1997), and “Better: a novel”(2009) were released posthumously with help from his sister.


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Letter To The Editor

Dear Lakewood Observer,

I've been visiting your fair suburb of Center City Cleveland for going on 20 years now. My daughter settled in Lakewood after college to pursue her artistic dreams. American Greetings made that possible. Now my two granddaughters attend what I (a teacher) consider some of the best public schools in our grand country!

Now, I'd better get to the point of my writing. I discovered the gem of hair heaven at Carabel Beauty Shop on Madison during the past few years of visits. This establishment will be celebrating 50 years of business at this location, 15309 Madison, the 1st of November. If you have never been to that pink stucco building, it's time to make an appointment for an interview with the owner Bonnie, her daughter, or any member of her delightful staff. You will walk into 1950's Hair! Hairdos, Hair Spray, and unending love and attention with talk, talk, talk!

I try to have some type of service done whenever I'm in town to visit. It truly is a gem.

Ms. Vonny Nelson Eckman
Carlise, PA (The Car Show Mecca of the East Coast, Home to United States Army War College, Dickinson College, and Penn State Dickinson School of Law.) 
Come Visit!

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Which Way, Lakewood?

In November we will select a new mayor. Your vote will set our city's course for the next four years. Will it be business as usual, or will we head down the path of integrity and transparency?

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Comedy Escapes And Magic Fun With Ron Price

Come to Lakewood Public Library to experience a riveting show that blends comedy and magic. The astounding escape artist Ron Price will captivate the audience by his ability to escape from just about anything. Wrap him in chains, ropes, mail bags, or straitjackets--it doesn’t matter--he can escape! Price spent years practicing magic and escape artistry to create an amazing show. You might even be picked out of the crowd to enjoy the fun of being a magician’s helper. “Comedy Escapes and Magic Fun with Ron Price” will take place in the Main Library Multipurpose Room on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. Come and enjoy a free program that is full of amusement for the whole family.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

On November 5th, Vote YES On Issue 43

In 2021, Lakewood voters will likely see something they haven't seen in several decades: a crowded race for Municipal Court Judge. Judge Patrick Carroll is retiring after 30+ years of dedicated service to Lakewood, and the open seat will probably be sought by many candidates. Lakewood's current charter, however, does not allow for a primary election to be held for the position of judge.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Application Process Open For 2020 Cox “Tech Boost” Program

Cox Communications announced on October 1st that local nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply to the company’s “Tech Boost” program for a chance to receive a technology ‘boost.’ Two $15,000 boosts will be presented to two nonprofit organizations in the company’s Northeast region. The Cox Tech Boost program was created to help nonprofit organizations invest in much-needed technology assets for the betterment of their patrons and mission.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

H2O's HOME ALONE Kicks Off With Leadership Retreat

Attendees had a great time learning about the HOME ALONE Project at H2O's Leadership Retreat!

photo by H2O student leader, Kelsey Dalton

Lakewood’s H2O (Help to Others) service learning program is expanding its student leadership through HOME ALONE. I am excited to be a part of the HOME ALONE Research and Development Team that is currently working to create four events to be held during the winter of this 2019-2020 school year. It will be geared towards nine to twelve year old students, as well as their parents. Those attending will have the chance to learn from both high school students and local experts, such as firefighters, police officers, and internet crime detectives, on how youth can best stay safe when home alone. 

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Time To Choose A Medicare Plan

This years Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) is October 15th through December 7th. This is the time of the year people can make changes on their Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan. Changes made during AEP go into effect on January 1st, 2020.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Rotary Celebrates Eradication Of Polio With World Polio Day October 24

The members of the Rotary Clubs of Lakewood Rocky River join are joining with 1.2 million Rotary members, in nearly 34,000 Rotary Clubs around the world, to celebrate the eradication of the crippling disease of polio. It all started in 1979 by Rotary with the administration of the first dose of an oral polio vaccine in the Philippines; 6 million children in the Philippines have been vaccinated. Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for 40 years, and the goal of ridding the earth of this disease is in sight.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Starr Gazer


Aries: Patience isn’t one of the Ram’s virtues, however, be “grateful” for the time it allows you to follow your heart & smell the roses along the path, Rome wasn’t built in a day, take heed.

Taurus: The leaves are turning, and the Bull should follow suit, & turn your attention to connectedness, how wonderful to smile at a stranger, nod a hello, make “gratitude” your Mantra.

Gemini: Having fun comes natural to the Twins, your Thanksgiving task is to share the joy with everyone you meet, make being “thankful” a game, you set the rules, let the games begin.

Cancer: Open up those crab pincers, “generosity” is your theme, let it flow & let it grow, after all for you not to join in would be like everyone doing the wave at a Browns game but you…

Leo: It’s time to call that inner critic into your office & give it an extended leave of absence, it’s your Jungle & if you want to give everyone a day off go for it, never tire of saying “thank you.”

Virgo: Take off your grumpy hat for awhile this month, there’s something that you can “give” away all month for FREE, yep, it’s your smile, unless of course, you’d rather give away money?

Libra: Mars is still in your sign for the first few weeks, place your action where it matters most to a Libra, relationships; yep, make sure they’re well-oiled & running smoothly, be “giving.”


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

A Taste Of Tijuana On The Avenue

Blackberry Margarita

Who needs Tijuana, when John and Jill Crino bring a little bit of Tequila, Spanish Mexican style food, authentic daily homemade sauces, colorful artistry, and southern hospitality to Lakewood? Taco Tontos, situated in Bird Town, on Madison Avenue is a family-owned business that offers up more than the large chains and franchises can compete with.

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Tess Neff Corrects Opponent's Flawed Statements

I have chosen to run a positive campaign for Lakewood's Ward One Council seat and I will not stoop to denigrating my fellow candidate in this race. It is unbecoming. I stand by every statement I have made during this campaign regarding my qualifications, experience and responsibilities. It is an established fact that I am responsible for the Court's 60 million dollar budget. Not only is this fact outlined in my job description, but the fiscal responsibility has been an assigned duty for the four years I have been the Court Administrator. I believe these truths were recognized and acknowledged by the voters in my large margin of victory in the primary election. My opponent's false allegations published in an earlier edition of this paper have been debunked. It is unfortunate she chose to run a campaign in that manner. 

I have lived in Lakewood for over 30 years and have raised my family here. I love Lakewood and will continue to strive to keep it a great place to live. I am humbled to have the support of so many neighbors, friends, family members, men, women and young adults. My opponent should retract her factually baseless statements. 

Tess Neff

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Building Trust In Government Is Critical To Lakewood

This election is not about which middle-class professional gets to put a feather in her cap. It's about the people of our community who need real help, with real issues. That's what my campaign has been about from day one to now. I also believe in giving straight answers to direct questions, and when the Lakewood Observer asked why someone should vote for me and not my opponent, I answered both parts of the question. I replied based on more-than-triple-checked research, which is available for anyone to review.

The issue of judgment matters. City council members evaluate all the policies of our city, as well as potential appointments of the next mayor. My opponent demonstrated her judgment in decisions at the county jail, as well as in hiring an adherent of vicious negative politics to consult for her campaign, in the person of Ed FitzGerald.

This hire makes it very easy to believe the reports, throughout this campaign, of my opponent disparaging me when talking with Ward 1 residents. What I can say for certain is that my only criticism of any opponent in this election has been non-personal and in the open.

I can also say for certain that we need to re-center higher values in Lakewood, of not only honesty and transparency, but of treating government as an opportunity to help with real problems, rather than a prize to be seized by means fair or foul.

These are the values I have practiced in my career, and in this campaign, and these are the values I will uphold in service to this community.


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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019