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Max Close And Alejandro Mercado Memorial - Stories And Photos

Max carrying Alejandro on Graduation Day

Max’s and Alejandro's Parents Thank The Lakewood Community

by Johany Mercado and Brock Close

At this time the Mercado family would like to join with the Close family to thank the Lakewood community, schools, teachers, friends, family and strangers for your support, prayers and donations. Words are not enough to describe how thankful and proud we are to be residents of this awesome community.


Lakewood Mourns The Loss Of Two Of Our Children

by Betsy Voinovich

On Sunday, February 21 2021, Lakewood lost two of its children in a car accident. Max Close and Alejandro Mercado were both 19 years old, and Lakewood High School graduates from the class of 2020. A joint funeral was held Monday March 1st with both families, including a public webcast of the service to accommodate the many famiies who wanted to honor the memory of the boys and pay their respects to the families. GoFundMe pages can be found here for Alejandro: https://www.gofundme.com/f/alejandro-mercado-funeral-fund?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_yb6g+alejandro-mercado-funeral-fund
 and here for Max: https://www.gofundme.com/f/2ae40ki05c?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_yb6g+2ae40ki05c
Memorial contributions may be forwarded to the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, 9500 Sweet Valley Drive, Valley View OH 44125. 
Godspeed.

Close And Mercado Memorial And Scholarship

by Brian Siftar, Lakewood Schools

In the early morning of February 22, Lakewood High School tragically lost two of our Class of 2020 graduates. As the parents, families and community continue to grieve the loss of Max Close and Alejandro Mercado, Lakewood High School and the West Shore Career-Technical District have been planning a tribute to our former students whose lives tragically were cut too short.
     With the support of many, we plan to create a living memorial at LHS with benches and trees in remembrance of Max and Alejandro. Additionally, a scholarship in their names will be awarded in conjunction with the Lakewood Council of PTAs and the Project Lead the Way Engineering Program. 
For those wishing to make a donation to the scholarship fund, please make your check out to Lakewood High School and send to 14100 Franklin Blvd. Lakewood, OH 44107. You can also donate by credit card by calling 216-529-4047.
Our thoughts continue to be with the families and friends of Max and Alejandro.



Alejandro, Our Shining Star

by Johnny Mercado

On February 8th, 2002 we welcomed our firstborn son Alejandro Ramon Mercado. He is and will always be our shining star. He is the oldest brother to Antonio and Alfonso. Alejandro enjoyed and loved to spend time with friends and family. He enjoyed trying all kinds of new foods especially if it was spicy. He enjoyed his grandmother and mom’s cooking. He was willing to try anything and appreciated everything. Gratitude is his legacy. Building others up is how he expressed that gratitude. He was proud of his family and friends. He never held grudges and friends describe him as the mediator, the rock, setting a example of forgiveness as he would point out the good in people. This was the kind of engineer he hoped to be, someone who sees a challenging situation and has an idea for a solution. Alejandro wanted to help and focused on ways to develop resources and assistance to underserved populations. He had a vision of improvements to basic infrastructure that would upgrade living conditions as well as the quality of life for folks globally. We will continue to carry his dreams and goals.
 

Max, The Kindest Silliest Guy

by Brock Close

Max was the kindest silliest guy I knew. I loved hanging out with him, he was an amazing son and one of my best friends. I am so proud of him. I will miss our projects, games, road trips, and most of all his happy go lucky way of approaching life. He brought so much happiness and joy to the world. His legacy of kindness will live on in us forever.
    Max, I love you buddy. I know you and Hondro are out there having a blast in the great beyond. Take care of each other and know that I love you so much.

Memories Of Max And Alejandro

By Joseph Kelly

Alejandro was a close friend of mine. He was a quick witted and intelligent guy with a good heart. He was also kind of a pistol too. I would always laugh and laugh after he tore into someone in an online game and then proceed to politely ask how I was doing. He was always up to being with me and other people. We would always play games or watch tv as one big group. He had always had something clever to say whatever the situation. If it were in person or over the internet, I could always expect a good time to be had if he were around. 
     Max was a man with a great sense of humor. If I could pick a word to describe him it would be “class clown”. He would always wear these silly matching sweatshirts and pants every Friday. I know he took pleasure in making us laugh. He also had this little voice he would do sometimes that always cracked me up. His voice would get low, and he would say something like “oooooooOOOOOOOOoooh”, or “mmmmmmhhh yeah”. I know that sounds a bit silly but if you knew him personally, you would know exactly what I am talking about.
     They were two of the best guys I ever knew. They never did anything wrong to me and they always treated me with respect from the beginning. I keep telling myself that I have gotten over it and moved on. However, whenever I stop and realize that they are never going to talk to me again a little part of me dies inside. I hope that all the people who read this treasure life. It is not worth losing loved ones over something like an argument because they can be taken away from you so easily. It is important to always be nice to others, it’s even more important to respect life. Never assume it is okay to do something you know is dangerous to others or yourself. Thank you for reading, have a nice day.

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Volume 17, Issue 8, Posted 10:11 AM, 04.08.2021

Kyle Baker Announces Candidacy For Lakewood City Council At Large

It is with an abiding sense of pride and belief in Lakewood that I am formally announcing that I am running for Lakewood City Council at Large in 2021.  The theme of my campaign is From Lakewood, For Lakewood, Forward Lakewood. In line with that, I am eager to get out and meet with residents and local businesses to discuss how we can continue to move Lakewood forward. 

By way of background, I am a proud product of the Lakewood City Schools.  My experience in this community and the Lakewood City Schools has been foundational for me as a person and professional. After graduating from Lakewood High, I left for college (Miami University) and law school (The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law); but knew I would come back to raise my family. Growing up in Lakewood, I fell in love with the diversity of backgrounds of my friends, classmates, and neighbors. I’m the youngest of 7 kids and come from a blue-collar tight-knit family. I’m proud of the fact that I was the first in my family to earn a college degree. I married the love of my life (Allison) in 2012 and we are raising our two young boys and dog (Champ) in the Lakewood home we bought in 2013. 

I have a profound respect for public service. In 2014 I left a large law firm to join Cleveland Metroparks because I wanted to be a public servant and make my community better. This occasion is no different. Lakewood is at a critical juncture. We are currently experiencing a fragile prosperity and need to continue to position ourselves as a community of choice, while at the same time investing in our aging infrastructure, nurturing a safe community friendly to every person, and welcoming appropriate development that fits and advances the community while at the same time preserving affordability. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been experiencing some tough times. We must continue working to make Lakewood more resilient after the pandemic is over, and I believe that a strong City Council is necessary to help guide and provide vision to ensure that outcome.

 

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Big Tree Watches Over Lakewood Rangers

Anyone who has played for Lakewood Rangers Head Baseball Coach Mike Ribar knows about the tradition of “The Big Tree” which looms over the right field fence on Bunts. This years’ squad—led by senior ace Jameson Supinski—will be likewise schooled on hitting at “The Big Tree”—Coach Mike Ribars’s way of making sure right-handed hitters “stay on the ball.”  More than ever, the Rangers will need a smart approach at the plate, with so many younger players lacking the experience and size of most varsity squads.  

The Big Tree, which has seen Ranger Varsity home games since the Kennedy Administration, will be overseeing many young sophomore varsity players this year, perhaps the most ever. On the mound, however, the Rangers will rely heavily on two upperclassmen. Leading the way will be southpaw Jameson Supinski, a Findlay recruit who also plays center and first base. According to Coach Ribar, Jameson “leads from the mound, outfield, plate, and dugout, and pitches/plays with awesome emotion.” Junior Will Hyatt, a hard-throwing right hander, plays 3rd and 1st and will be expected to log many innings for the Rangers as a starting pitcher.

The sophomore class (’23) will look to make its mark this year. Luke Jablonoski and Eli LaDue are slated to start at the key infield positions of catcher and shortstop respectively. LaDue, a good contact hitter, will lead off and provide speed at the top of the line-up. Sophomore Sully Stois will play first and pitch, while Luke Jablonoski will be called upon to fill multiple infield roles. The versatile Mason Ivinskis will pitch—perhaps as the number three starting pitcher—and play outfield and infield spots.  

 

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 10:34 AM, 04.09.2021

Palumbo Named Next Asst. Superintendent

The Lakewood Board of Education at a special meeting March 31 approved Lakewood City Schools Director of Teaching and Learning, Dr. Christine Palumbo, as the District’s next Assistant Superintendent effective August 1, 2021. Palumbo will replace Maggie Niedzwiecki, who in February was named the successor to departing Superintendent Mike Barnes.

Palumbo brings a wealth of administrative and teaching experience to her new position. She spent her first 14 years as an educator with the Lakewood City Schools as a special education teacher and coordinator for special education services. In 2006, Palumbo moved on to become North Ridgeville City Schools’ Supervisor of Special Education and eventually Director of Special Education and Family Services for the Region State Support Team. She returned to Lakewood City Schools as the Director of Student Services in 2011. Palumbo stepped into her current role as Director of Teaching and Learning in 2016.

“Dr. Palumbo brings a wealth of leadership experience across a number of areas and during her long history with the Lakewood Schools she has exhibited an absolute devotion to protecting and nurturing all of our students,” said Board President Betsy Shaughnessy. “She and future Superintendent Niedzwiecki will be an excellent team and will be able to hit the ground running in providing for our students, staff and families. We are very fortunate to have her in this very important role.”

 

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Mayor's Corner: Safety And Recovery

March was a busy month for Lakewood, and much of it was focused on safety. We began the month with discussions about how to improve traffic safety in light of February’s horrific car accident on Clifton Boulevard that took the lives of two young men. We marked the one-year anniversary of the pandemic’s economic shutdown. We responded to unfortunate gun-related incidents. I would like to provide you with a short update on the safety initiatives we are taking in the aftermath of these events.

In response to recent gun-related incidents, please be assured that safety continues to be our number one priority. On March 25th, we hosted a virtual community safety meeting to address recent criminal activity in and around Lakewood. If you wish to watch the meeting, a recording is posted to the City’s website. As discussed in the safety meeting, all resources have been deployed to address and investigate these incidents. These include increasing patrols in our parks, expanding policing and patrol efforts citywide, and scaling up our camera systems. These are short-term solutions to address the immediate safety concerns. However, to address the ongoing and long-term issues it will take a community-wide effort that addresses safety through an equity lens in a post-Covid world. Gun violence has increased nationwide and we need to work together as a community to address the long term impacts of Covid on mental health combined with easy access to guns.

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Volume 17, Issue 8, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Breakfast With The Bunny

H2O hosted its annual spring tradition, Breakfast with the Bunny, as a drive-through experience on March 27, 2021. Almost 200 young children enjoyed donuts, juice, seed planting kits, activities, and pictures with the bunny (featured in the slideshow below). Our H2O high school volunteers were truly delighted to host this event; their excitement was contagious! It was a true pleasure to see our community have fun and support youth volunteer service.

Thank you to event sponsor, First Federal of Lakewood, and to the Root Cafe for donating coffee to the event. While we weren’t able to feature beautiful raffle baskets on display, the event did raise additional funds by raffling three gift baskets. Thank you to The Jablonski Family, Angelo’s PizzaSweet Designs Chocolatier, and the Gelsomino Family for contributing those baskets. Thank you to H2O’s dedicated volunteers for attending numerous crafting sessions and showing up with pride and joy to welcome the community to Breakfast with the Bunny.

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Volume 17, Issue 8, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Win For Rangers Softball Team

Photo by Jacob Chabowski/Lakewood Observer

Joy.
 
That's the word to describe the Lakewood Rangers Softball (2-1, 1-0 GLC) experience today, as the home team won both the Varsity and JV games in front of many chilled but happy fans, who were also rewarded with free hot dogs and hamburgers.
 
The 13-1 varsity win was a complete team effort, with every starter either scoring runs, collecting RBI or advancing runners with sacrifices or hits. The young Rangers (no senior starters) were led by freshman starting pitcher Mia Carroll-Grieves, who pitched all 5 innings and was in command the whole way. Also starting today for the Rangers were: juniors Addison Miller (LF), Inga Wilhelmy (RF), Alesha Hanna-Kotula (SS) and Mia Condosta (3B); sophomores Jordan Rossen (1B), Charlotte Beno (C) and Lauren Barber (CF); and freshman Emily Potoczak (2B).
 

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Volume 17, Issue 8, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Celebrate National Poetry Month With Lakewood Public Library

Author Quartez Harris will discuss his poetry collection "We Made It To School Alive." 

From favorite poems to workshops and author events, celebrate National Poetry Month this April with the Library.

This year Lakewood Public Library is participating in the Favorite Poem Project. Created in 1997, The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in our lives. Share a sonnet, haiku or free verse with our community in an ongoing virtual open mic. Film a video of yourself reading your favorite poem. Poetry lovers of all ages are invited to participate. Share your video to our Facebook or Twitter and be sure to use the hashtag #favoritepoemproject.

Leanne Hoppe will lead two virtual poetry workshops this month. Hoppe is a local poet, writer, editor and college instructor. Each workshop will provide prompts to create your own poetry using personal myth, forty word meditation and other methods. Grab a writing utensil and a notebook and create your own poetry. Workshop videos will premiere on Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. and Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 7:00 p.m.

 

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

District 'Spring Into STEM' A Success

Students enjoy the hands-on projects that made up much of the programming for Spring into STEM.

While most students were relaxing and taking a hiatus from school over Spring Break the week of March 15, more than 100 K-8 students signed up for the District’s first three-day Spring into STEM program to engage in some fun project-based learning and enrichment activities. 

Emerson school building was bustling with classrooms full of students from each elementary grade for the three hours of instruction each day. Keeping the focus on fun, teachers assigned creative projects that helped students grasp concepts related to science, math and engineering with a dose of literacy integration as well.

For example, shaking a structure built out of toothpicks and mini-marshmallows atop a pan of Jell-O was one class’s fun way of learning about civil engineering and building an earthquake-proof (or not) building. Another class learned about buoyancy and built pirate ships and fifth-graders worked on an egg-drop project where they learned about force of gravity and aerodynamics. A program highlight entailed testing out the creations the fifth-graders built to protect and carry their eggs when dropped from the roof of the building! All classes were able to watch as program administrator Bridgette Firstenberger dropped the transport vehicles from the school roof. All cheered as the creations made their way down to the pavement followed by a classmate excitedly recovering the egg (or not).

 

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

LHS Students Reap Recognition For Writing And Art

Nola Williams-Riseng's artwork, "Respite," was honored as one of the top 25 pieces in the Governor's Youth Art Exhibit.

Congratulations to a number of Lakewood High students who recently had their writing or artwork honored in statewide competitions.

On the visual arts front, senior Nola Williams-Riseng's art was honored with an Award of Excellence as one of the top 25 pieces entered in the Ohio Governor’s Youth Art Exhibit competition. Also earning a spot in the 300-piece exhibit with their artwork are juniors Grace Hoppel and Inga Wilhelmy. Judges received more than 1,000 entries from high school students across Northeast Ohio. From those entries, 126 were selected to join winners from the other Ohio regions to be judged at the state level to determine which pieces will be part of the exhibition.

From the 6,000 regional entries from across Ohio, approximately 1,000 are selected to enter the state judging. State jurors then select 300 for the actual exhibition, with 25 of the 300 chosen to receive the Governor's Award of Excellence. Scholarships are offered to seniors by over 30 universities and colleges of art.

The Ohio Governor's Youth Art Exhibition, now in its 51st year, is open to all of Ohio's high schools, both public and private. Its purpose is to provide all budding young artists of the state with opportunities to advance their talent, whether that be through scholarships or simply experiencing the process of entering their work in a competition.

 

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Senator Antonio Commends Passage Of Transportation Budget

Senator Antonio speaks on the floor of the Ohio Senate. 

Last week, the state’s transportation budget, House Bill 74, was passed unanimously by the Ohio Senate and concurred by the Ohio House of Representatives. As the highest ranking Democrat on the Transportation Committee, I am pleased to have participated in this bipartisan process that will fix Ohio’s roads and bridges, keep public transit as a priority and move Ohio into the 21st Century with regard to electric vehicle supports.
 
H. B. 74 includes almost $6 billion over the biennium to fix Ohio’s roads and bridges, adds an additional $70 million per year over the Governor’s budget for public transportation as well as $8 million for Electric Vehicle charging stations. 

It also requires the Ohio Department of Transportation to have a policy to make the purchase and replacement of rail lines used for public passenger transportation eligible for funding, subject to approval by the Transportation Review Advisory Council, which will benefit RTA. 
 
The bill also modernizes and expands the possibilities for Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority (TARTA), something in the works for years. 

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

A Lakewood Anchor Servicing Our Most Vulnerable Residents

Tess Neff, Lakewood City Councilwoman Ward 1

In 2019, I visited and toured Lakewood Community Services Center (LCSC) and afterwards I felt like I just visited with friends in their home. Recently, I spoke with Executive Director Trish Rooney who leads LCSC, a nonprofit organization in our city. Our conversation inspired me to write this article because Trish’s passion for our community’s vulnerable citizens is infectious. For 39 years LCSC has been supporting our residents during their most difficult times. Trish is supported by a dedicated staff, several of whom have been with the center for over ten years. Trish deflects all credit and accolades to her staff, volunteers, and community partners. She and her team are tireless advocates for the center’s clients. LCSC is like a one stop shop that prides itself on delivering personalized care. Think customer service at its finest.

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

LakewoodAlive Unveils "Knowing Your Home" Schedule For 2021

Tackling a home improvement project doesn't need to feel intimidating. This virtual workshop series is designed to educate and inform first-time or long-time owners and anyone in-between. The series, focused on best sustainability and home maintenance practices hopes to empower residents to tackle necessary repairs and improvements.

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Cavani String Quartet To Join LHS Chamber Orchestra

In the District's first live concert of the school year, the LHS Chamber Orchestra will join with The Cavani String Quartet in a performance of the powerful Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8. The event will include a discussion of the life of Shostakovich, the art depicting life under Stalin, and the power of music to heal. The concert will take place on Thursday, April 8 at 7 pm at the Civic Auditorium. The concert is free but guests must register at https://tinyurl.com/3wbszemk. Masks and social distancing are required.

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

New Pre-Kindergarten Option Available At Lakewood Child Care Center

Operating on the Lakewood City Schools’ calendar, this new option offers a small class size and high-quality education and care

Lakewood Child Care Center, among only a few five-star Step Up To Quality child care providers in the city, is expanding its programming to offer a pre-kindergarten class that operates on a typical school schedule.

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

LakewoodAlive’s Paint Lakewood Program Kicks Off 2021 Season

Applications are now open for the 2021 season of LakewoodAlive's Paint Lakewood Program designed to help make it more affordable for qualified Lakewood homeowners and residents to beautify their homes through exterior whole-home painting.

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for making your home look fresh and sharp. If your home is in need of an update, a fresh paint job may be more affordable than you think.

LakewoodAlive’s Housing Outreach Program announces the return of its Paint Lakewood Program for the 2021 season. The Paint Lakewood Program’s primary goal involves revitalizing Lakewood’s neighborhoods, while reducing lead hazards and educating residents on lead safety issues. The Paint Lakewood Program is available to low-to-moderate income residents.

This innovative program is designed to help make it more affordable for qualified Lakewood homeowners and residents to beautify their homes through exterior whole-home painting, ultimately making their homes safe for their families and the community.

Paint Lakewood will provide a grant of up to $4,500 to qualified Lakewood homeowners and residents for exterior paint, supplies and professional labor costs to paint their home. The program has been designed to offer a grant on a sliding scale to help reduce the cost of an exterior paint job.

 

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Lakewood Rangers Beat Fairview Warriors

Led by senior Jameson Supinski and junior Lucas Winters, the Lakewood Rangers (2-1, 1-0 GLC) broke open a tight game with a 3 run 5th inning rally and went on to 12-4 win over Fairview.

Supinski started, pitched 2 scoreless inning, and blasted a 2-run Home Run that hit the iconic "Big Tree" which looms over the right center field fence. Winters provided 2 key hits, including a fifth inning thrill that spark the Ranger rally. Sophomore Sully Stois pitched three strong innings for the Rangers to get the win. Junior Hubert Carlin, sophomore Eli LaDue (2 hits) and junior Will Hyatt made fine defensive plays for the Rangers, while sophomore Ben Jablonowski was solid behind the plate.

The Rangers travel to Fairview Monday for a 1pm rematch with the Warriors.

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Starr Gazer Scopes (April)

April

April

Aries: Ram, you’ve earned it, now surrender to success, the Sun, Mercury & Venus, are aligned on your mountain, it’s time to plant those seeds, & go for the gold, you’ve got the green light.

Taurus: Venus & Mercury move into the Bullpen, surrender your need to people please, get out & smell the roses, treat yourself to a massage, think about your own happiness.

Gemini: Mars is in the Twins corner this month, but just because you think you’re the energizer bunny, doesn’t mean you can take on the entire village, let others show their love & support.

Cancer: We know the Crab is Caretaker, you’re nurturing every poor hermit crab that gets washed ashore, feeding the sea urchins, etc. nurture yourself, give yourself some needed R&R.

Leo: Give up that rigid stance of yours, just because you’re King of the Jungle doesn’t mean you can’t compromise, be like a tree, sway with the wind, be flexible before you break.

VirgoThe key to positive change, & yes, you do need an attitude adjustment, allow some joy in, don’t be in such a hurry to judge every Tom, Dick & Mary, try it you just might crack a smile.

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

The View From Council

March 15th City Council Meeting Rundown Council passed a resolution honoring Tina and Michael Dolatowski for the 25th Anniversary of Lion & Blue. The Dolatoskis opened Lion and Blue on February 6, 1996 and the shop has been a mainstay of Detroit Ave ever since. For the past 25 years, Lion and Blue has prided itself on being socially responsible, with the Dolatoskis investing in our community and promoting Fair Trade and environmental justice. We are lucky to have such a wonderful store and such community focused owners and I look forward to eventually celebrating Lion and Blue's 50th anniversary!

Council unanimously passed the “Pay to Stay” ordinance introduced by Council President Dan O’Malley. This ordinance allows renters to avoid eviction if they provide their landlord with the full rent, including late fees, and court costs prior to an eviction hearing. This ordinance was introduced with a provision that the ordinance would only be applicable during the state of emergency due to the pandemic. After considering comments from the community and advocates, Council amended the ordinance to sunset at the end of 2022. Prior to this date, Council will review the legislation and determine if it should be made permanent.

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 7:32 PM, 04.07.2021

Emerson Machine Rewards Students With Books

First-grader TJ Blanchard was one of the first students to receive a book reward.

Emerson Elementary students have an exciting and big new reason to strive for those gold coins they receive as part of the school’s positive culture/behavior program. The school recently unveiled its Book Experience vending machine, where students who exhibit the competencies contained in the district's Vision of a Lakewood Graduate (communication, collaboration, creative thinking, empathy, growth mindset, and global citizenship) can use their gold coin to select a book from the machine. Much better than candy or soda, right?!

The idea for the machine was broached by teacher Jennifer Mollison and then enthusiastically endorsed by the school’s Positive Behavior and Intervention Support (PBIS) team to include it in their rewards system for students. The school’s PTO stepped in to provide funds to purchase the custom machine - decorated in purple and gold with inspirational quotes and two Lil’ Rangers of different skin tones - and supply the initial batch of books.

Students Mia Ferrone, TJ Blanchard, and Alex Samples were the first students to drop their gold coin in the coin slot and watch a book they selected drop down. The trio were chosen for exhibiting kindness and empathy to fellow students. They each were thrilled to have a new book of their own to take home!

 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Onward With "All In"

Having all the "in person learning" students together today at Lakewood High School was wonderful. There is no substitute for an in-class discussion, and through it all my students were more than up to the task. They were likewise engaged while we were in hybrid, but the greater numbers create a more lively and productive discussion. Social, cognitive and emotional development—everything from critical thinking to empathy and social skills—cannot be anywhere near optimal in isolation. Zoom has been a lifeline, but hardly a substitute for the magic that can be the classroom. Onward...

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Lakewood Kiwanis Celebrates 100 Years

A celebration is in order. The Kiwanis Club of Lakewood will be celebrating 100 years of service to the community and the world. Starting in 1921 with 83 of the leading business men of Lakewood, this service organization began a lengthy legacy to children and the Lakewood community.

You may have seen or participated in some of the Kiwanis projects and activities around town --  the many hot dog sales, the Kiwanis Picnic Pavilion at Lakewood Park, where many families congregate all year long, the building of the all-weather track at Lakewood Stadium, the illuminated community sign in front of the old Board of Education Building on Warren Rd., the famous Lakewood Pizza Bake-off at Lakewood High, the many pancake breakfasts, and who can forget the donut sales every fall.

Also, service to the needy throughout the world happened when the club raised thousands of dollars to complete its commitment to the IDD Project, a Kiwanis International Project in the ‘90’s that resulted in putting iodine in the water supply in areas of Africa to eliminate mental retardation in children.  In recent years the club again participated in a new International Kiwanis Project – “The Eliminate Project” which led to the club financially supporting the vaccination of 20,000 mothers in Africa and Asia to protect their babies from early death from neonatal tetanus.  

 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Message From Superintendent Barnes

The new quarter began this past Monday. Here is the information parents need.

March 15: Fourth-Quarter Learning Plan Begins

All in-person students will begin attending school everyday, Monday through Friday, following their regular school schedule. Remote 2.0 students will continue to follow their regular schedules. eLearning students will continue as they have been. A summary of our building safety protocols are below: 

  • The District has purchased plexiglass shields for both students and staff.
  • Mask wearing remains mandatory.
  • Varied classrooms sizes mean some will have 3 feet instead of 6 feet spacing.
  • Adjustments have been made in cafeterias to maximize spacing during lunch.
  • Buildings are equipped with hospital-grade air filters and are configured to pull in more outside air to reduce the amount of recirculated air.
  • Students will be required to be in attendance for all classes daily.

ALL IN MODEL PROTOCOLS:

  • Health assessment, including temperature, at home before entering school
  • Face coverings required for staff and students
  • Physical distancing guidelines followed with 3-foot separation
  • Hand sanitizer available in every classroom
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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Summer Camp

Summer is an important part of the year for fun and exploration. The Lakewood City Schools Community Recreation & Education Department will be offering its Kids Connection Summer Day Camp. Kids Connection offers safe, fun, and affordable opportunities for kids’ entering kindergarten through sixth grade. The campers will spend the summer doing a wide variety of activities that include swimming, games, arts & crafts and much more. Kids Connection is located at Emerson Elementary School and will allow campers access to the computer lab, LRC, gymnasium, baseball field, and it is a short walk to Lakewood Park and Foster Pool.

The camp is staffed with certified teachers who provide families with a safe, fun, and affordable alternative to child care. The program consists of (9) one-week sessions, Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 6:00pm. Parents do not have to drop-off or pick-up that early or late, but it is an option that is available. The cost for camp is $135 for a resident and $165 for a non-resident, per one-week session.

For more information on the Kids Connection Day Camp or any of our other summer camps. Please contact (216) 529-4081 or visit our website www.lakewoodrecreation.com.

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Volume 17, Issue 7, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Know Your Rights - Tax Credits And Free Professional Tax Preparation And Filing Opportunities

Tax season is once again in full swing, but the lasting economic impacts of COVID-19 linger. Here’s what you should know about available resources that may provide direct financial relief:

  • If you were one of millions of people who still have not received one or both of your Economic Impact Payments, more commonly known as a stimulus check, filing your taxes is an opportunity to claim that missed income. When you file your taxes, you can claim that missed payment or payments as a tax credit. For example, if you were set to owe $2,600 for this upcoming filing, but did not receive $2,600 in Economic Impact Payments, your liability drops to $0.
  • Working families and individuals may qualify for a larger refund via the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is designed to provide a tax break for workers with low-to-moderate incomes and their families. You may qualify for the EITC if you are:
    • A grandparent caregiver
    • A foster parent
    • A victim of abuse
    • Earning a low income at work and have no children
    • A family or individual with excessive debt
    • A person with disabilities earning a low income
    • Recently unemployed
    • A person with limited English proficiency earning a low income
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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Tri-C Student From Lakewood Named To All-USA Academic Team

Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) student Geri Bakushi is among 20 students named to the All-USA Academic Team for achievement in the classroom and leadership on campus. 

More than 2,000 students across the country were nominated for the award, regarded as one of the top honors available for community college scholars. 

Bakushi, of Lakewood, expects to graduate from Tri-C this summer with an Associate of Science degree. The international student from Albania has maintained a 4.0 GPA while taking a course load focused on technology, engineering and math. 

He holds a leadership role in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter at the College’s Western Campus. Bakushi also served as a Tri-C student ambassador and assisted fellow students as a math and information technology tutor. 

 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Dive In To Lakewood Rec's Underwater Egg Hunt

Photo credit:  Nancy Pizir

Grab your bathing suits, towels, baskets and goggles for Lakewood Recreation’s annual Underwater Egg Hunt. This year’s event will be held Saturday, April 3, 2021 at the Lakewood High School Pool, with groups beginning shortly after 9am.

Children are split up into age groups for the hunt. All children ages 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult in the pool; no separate registration fee is required for the adults accompanying younger children. Everyone receives a little treat bag after, but there are special prizes if you find the lucky egg during your grouping.

Don’t be fooled by the name; not all the eggs sink. Approximately half of the 200 eggs float at the surface. The other 100 or so eggs are spread out on the pool bottom, varying in depth from 3.5 feet deep to 9 feet deep. Included in each time group is a little open swim time, with the high and low diving boards open for each group.

Don’t get closed out of this unique event – register now at www.lakewoodrecreation.com. We look forward to seeing everyone for this year’s hunt.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

A Steel Mill Story Right Out Of The ‘Rust’ Belt : Virtual Author Presentation By Eliese Colette Goldbach From Lakewood Public Library

As a high school graduate, Eliese Colette Goldbach felt destined for the convent and life in a religious order. Instead, the 29-year-old found herself wearing a hard hat, operating a crane, and driving a forklift. As one of the few females in a male-dominated workplace, the ArcelorMittal Cleveland mill was certainly no convent.

The promise of a high-earning paycheck brought her to the unlikely vocation as a steel worker. Like most Cleveland natives, she had passed by the orange flame of the steelyard for years without a second thought. It wasn’t until she was inside the mill that she realized the world it represented. What outsiders saw as a sign of pollution symbolized a booming business and a healthy economy to those inside the mill walls.

Named one of the best books of 2020 by NPR, "Rust: A Memoir of Steel and Grit" tells Goldbach’s story from the belly of the mill. With the contentious 2016 election as a backdrop, her memoir reflects on her life as a young liberal female amongst her blue-collar conservative counterparts. But according to Goldbach, “There was no division so great that it could eclipse the unity that had been forged in the light of the mill’s orange flame.”

 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

The Herb Guild Offers Scholarship

The Herb Guild Garden Club is offering a one-time scholarship for 2021 available to graduating high school seniors as well as Lorain County Community College and Cuyahoga Community College current freshmen or sophomore students.  Applicants must be residents of the state of Ohio and a U.S. citizen. (International or foreign exchange students are not eligible). Only students with a proposed academic study in Forestry, Botany, Horticulture, Environmental Science, Agriculture, Landscaping, or Culinary Arts are eligible for this scholarship. Deadline to apply is April 6, 2021.  For further information contact Mary Kay Filipiak at 440-926-2469.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Mayor's Corner:Spring Is Around The Corner

Spring is around the corner and I am excited to share some significant developments that are currently underway throughout the City.

I am proud to announce that as of March 3rd, the City of Lakewood has been given a high-grade investment rating from Moody’s Investors Service, a “Big Three” credit rating company that determines an entity’s financial health. Lakewood’s municipal notes were given a MIG rating of 1 and a credit rating of Aa2, indicating a very strong capacity to meet financial commitments. This is a win for Lakewood, as these ratings influence interest rates and demonstrate the City’s growth despite battling the pandemic over the past twelve months.

The City continues to install LED streetlights with funds from the NOPEC Energized Community Grant Award. Since beginning this program, almost 1,000 streetlights have been replaced, amounting to an annual energy savings of $45,000 and a decrease in energy consumption of 14%. The city will continue the streetlight conversion process utilizing the $197,322 in 2020 NOPEC grant funds, benefiting residents and businesses by reducing the city’s energy consumption, saving taxpayer dollars, and increasing safety.

The second of two virtual conversations concerning the Cove Church renovation project will be held on Tuesday, March 23rd at 6:00pm. Citizens are encouraged to join, provide feedback, and express any hopes or concerns they have about the project. You can visit onelakewood.com/event/cove-church-community-engagement-meeting-2/ for more details about joining the meeting.

 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Rangers Set School Records At State Indoor Track & Field Meet

Congratulations to the Ranger athletes who participated in the OATCC Indoor Track & Field State Championship Meet on March 6. The Ranger contingent of nine athletes set three school records and several personal records. Setting new school records were:

  • Alicia Smith, 60-meter hurdles
  • Smith, Aniya Symons, McKenna Hunt, and Ebony Bradford, 4x200 relay
  • Helen Roche, Abby Sacha, Bradford and Hunt, 4x400 relay


The 4x400 relay earned the highest placing of the team, finishing 11th in the state. The 4x200 relay team finished 13th. The 4x800 relay of Mallory Zavatchen, Sacha, Sadie Gregg and Roche finished 18th. Besides Smith in the hurdles, Bradford also competed in an individual event, finishing 19th in the 200 meters. Teeghan McGann qualified in the 800 meters but was unable to run.

Congratulations to all the girls who competed and to coaches Stephanie Toole and Adam Swiat!

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Winter Sports Rangers Earn All -Conference Honors

Junior Mollie Henrikson was one of the Rangers' two 1st Team honorees, along with senior basketball player Peter Patsouras.

Congratulations to the 30 winter sports Rangers who earned All-Conference honors in the Great Lakes Conference this season. Leading the way were the Rangers' two 1st Team honorees, basketball players Peter Patsouras and Mollie Henrikson. Below is the full list of All-Conference honorees:

1st Team: Peter Patsouras and Mollie Henrikson (basketball)
2nd Team: Riley Ulintz and Gianna McAuliffe (basketball); Brandyn Bates (wrestling)
Honorable Mention: Samantha Hudak, Sydney Hampton, Ahmed Muhammad and Ayden Wacker (basketball); Cole Dockus and Zeylile Cheiky Fakadej (bowling); Ryanne Eisnaugle and Sara Jarecke (gymnastics); Alex Blinky and Gavin Fielder (hockey); Charlotte Beno, Sam Saracina, Ronson Tucker and Ethel Woodford (swimming); Nistor Krizan and Kelsey Dalton (wrestling); Isabella Colon and Isabelle Reay (cheerleading)
Sportsmanship: Molly Pilgrim and Riley Ulintz (basketball): Katie Arth and Nolan Geyer (bowling); Maya Nieves-Bucey (gymnastics); Zach Vuyancih (hockey); Sarah Donaldson and Jacob Kavc (swimming); Eric Barber and Malaak Suleiman (indoor track); Garrett Schweter (wrestling); Jada Brown (cheerleading)

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Trinity Lutheran At 100: A New Role Awaits

The cornerstone of Trinity Lutheran Church has overlooked Detroit Avenue for a century, as of 2021.

Construction of the church concluded in 1922, and the congregation held its final service on this site 96 years later in 2018, before moving to a new home on West Clifton. The City of Lakewood acquired the property including church building, classrooms, storefronts and parking.

After a search for reuse options, the city settled on Scalish Construction’s proposal in 2019. Scalish is to move into the church building as its headquarters, renovate the storefronts, and convert other portions of the property to housing.

Planning Commission member Jeff Wise calls Trinity Lutheran a “historic preservation success story.” Wise says that Scalish is pursuing preservation tax credits, and that this and COVID-19 have meant that the site is quiet for now, but he’s hopeful that redevelopment will begin this year.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Lakewood’s Got Heart

I just wanted to take a moment to say how grateful I am to the children, parents and staff of the Brownstone Day School. I have been a crossing guard on the western end of Lakewood near Horace Mann Elementary School for the past five years. Recently during the really snowy and cold weather we had, I slipped and fell on the ice while crossing a student. Fortunately, I was not seriously injured, but was bruised and sore. I missed several days of work until I felt well enough to return. In the afternoon I was presented with a wonderful bag of treats and gifts from the children, families and staff of Brownstone. I was overwhelmed with the kindness and thoughtfulness that was exhibited by all of those involved.    

Lakewood is a wonderful and caring community. I have seen it displayed over the years in many small and large ways. I am happy our family moved here twenty plus years ago. Kudos Lakewood.

Judy Bilinski's family moved here from the Tremont area in 2001. They couldn’t be happier with the choice they made. The schools are great and they love the neighborhood they live in. Lakewood has a great mix of things they like to do.

                 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Delivering Smiles To Westlake And Lakewood

Robert Markowitz owner/operator at Cleveland Magic and Balloons is part of a national campaign called “Adopt a Grandparent” along with other balloon professionals across the country. Robert says, “Our goal is to bring joy to seniors in assisted-living facilities.”

“These seniors don’t all have families to visit them, and some have families that live too far to visit.” Robert has been a part of the movement since February.

Last week cheerful 28” tall figures (know as Balloon Buddies) were delivered to our elderly friends at the Belvedere of Westlake. One for each resident, to brighten up their day a bit and bring joy. The activity director told Robert that one of the residents liked “Buddy” so much that she took the balloon with her to her doctor's appointment! They are just the right size for hugging and holding and have been very therapeutic for the residents and staff.

 

 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Children/Youth Events At Lakewood Public Library

Library Pen Pal

For children three years old through sixth grade

Do you miss the Library? We miss you too! Write a letter to a Library staff member telling us about anything from the last book you read to your favorite animal or even include a drawing. A staff member will read your letter and write you back.

Send your letter to:

Children’s and Youth Services

Lakewood Public Library

15425 Detroit Avenue

Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Virtual Woke Book Club

For students in sixth through twelfth grade

In this bimonthly book club for teens, inspired by the Read Woke book challenge created by Cicely Lewis, we will read and respectfully discuss books selected to inspire change, embrace diversity, and promote inclusivity. Each month will focus on a different topic and you will choose which book(s) you would like to read from a diverse list of titles. Registration is required and you will receive a Zoom link upon registration.

 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Lakewood Mourns The Loss Of Two Of Our Children

Alejandro Mercado

On Sunday, February 21 2021, Lakewood lost two of its children in a car accident. Max Close and Alejandro Mercado were both 19 years old, and Lakewood High School graduates from the class of 2020. A joint funeral was held Monday March 1st with both families, including a public webcast of the service to accommodate the many famiies who wanted to honor the memory of the boys and pay their respects to the families. GoFundMe pages can be found here for Alejandro: https://www.gofundme.com/f/alejandro-mercado-funeral-fund?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_yb6g+alejandro-mercado-funeral-fund 

and here for Max: https://www.gofundme.com/f/2ae40ki05c?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=unknown&utm_campaign=comms_yb6g+2ae40ki05c

Memorial contributions may be forwarded to the Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, 9500 Sweet Valley Drive, Valley View OH 44125. 

Godspeed.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021

Pandemic Project Gives iPhone Users New Game

Scorch Injector is the fun, fast-paced medical action game with a food-lover's twist. Play as the hero with the hot sauce to destroy the BLAND and restore the patient and planet’s good taste. Available for iPhone in the Apple App Store. 

Larsen creates Scorch Injector app to fight frustration  
 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Taking A Step Outside Of The Norm Of Healthcare With Self-Care

Everyone has some sort of say in their state of health. Its something people intuitively feel, or at least think. Granted, some situations are more challenging than others to cope with, with some that may even seem outright impossible to change; that shouldnt deter us from beginning or continuing to implement steps to restore wellness in the form of self-care.  

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

It's Time The Postal Service Fired Its Lakewood Station Manager

One can always tell when the regular mail carrier for Route 15 has the day off. Despite repeated letters to the Station Manager at the Lakewood Post Office, the substitute carrier continues to leave letters addressed to other houses in my mailbox. Some of them are addressed to houses on a different street. 

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Hospice Of The Western Reserve’s Palliative Care Program Receives $150,000 Grant From Three Arches Foundation

Three Arches Foundation has awarded Hospice of the Western Reserve a $150,000 grant (over two years) to support its Western Reserve Navigator (WRN) in-home palliative care program in Lakewood and surrounding areas. WRN is a comprehensive non-hospice program that supports people with advanced, serious illnesses as their health declines. A dedicated team of caregivers develops and implements a customized plan of palliative care to address the physical, functional, emotional and spiritual needs of each patient and their caregivers.

The community-based program is not fully funded by Medicare or commercial insurance and is grateful for philanthropic funding.
Three Arches Foundation (threearchesfoundation.org) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that invests in advancing the health and well-being of the people of Lakewood and surrounding communities through grant making. The Hospice of the Western Reserve grant is part of $1.5 million awarded this year to 20 Northeast Ohio nonprofits for their work in addressing solutions that make it easier for people to navigate, understand and use information and services to take care of their behavioral and physical health.

“We are extremely grateful to the Three Arches Foundation for supporting the vital role of palliative care in improving the quality of life for seniors with advanced illnesses,” said Joan Hanson, RN, director of Western Reserve Navigator. “Our team-based approach combines home visits from advanced practice registered nurses and social workers with 24/7 phone access to nursing staff. Trained volunteers serve as a ‘second set of eyes and ears’ for the team and provide spiritual support and companionship between visits. The program fosters greater independence among seniors and prevents repeated hospitalizations.”

Patients keep their own doctors and can continue to receive curative treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. The WRN team collaborates with patient, the family caregivers and the patient’s physicians on a plan of care that provides an extra layer of support. The social worker communicates with insurance companies or the Veterans Administration about benefits, helps access community services and assists patients in identifying and documenting their longer-range healthcare wishes and advanced care plans.

More information about the Western Reserve Navigator program is available at hospicewr.org, or by calling 216.383.3700.

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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:04 PM, 03.17.2021

Mayor's Corner: Preparing For Spring

February is behind us and I am preparing for the debut of Spring later this month. I am excited to share a few recent updates concerning projects that the City has been working on.

At the February 16th City Council meeting, we introduced an Ordinance that would allow us to update the code governing fences along property lines in Lakewood. The goal of these updates would be to make codes clearer for residents, protect pedestrian traffic, and avoid confusion concerning fence construction and permitting. City Council is anticipated to approve these changes in the upcoming weeks.

The City has also been hard at work on a multi-phase integrated wet-weather improvement plan that aims to help Lakewood’s sewer system meet the EPA’s standards. City Council and I are looking at ways to support the infrastructure needed to meet these standards affordably and equitably. Updating the City’s sewer system is one of the biggest challenges we are currently facing, but I am hopeful that a solution will be in place by the end of the year.

On February 23rd, the City held a virtual conversation about the Cove Church redevelopment project where we heard feedback from community members about what they hope to see at the new facility. Another virtual conversation will be held on Tuesday, March 23rd, at 6:00pm. Please join us! Visit onelakewood.com/event/cove-church-community-engagement-meeting-2/ for more details. 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021

Cleveland Kids' Book Bank

As children, many of us have fond memories of parents, grandparents, and older siblings reading our favorite books to us. Although these memories may seem insubstantial, to children who don’t have these experiences, they’re crucial. Reading shapes pathways in children’s lifestyles that impact their success in the future. Having stories to read also provides a creative outlook on the world, making their present brighter in addition to their future. 

Thousands of children don’t have access to books in their home, and according to Scholastic.com, “Findings published in the journal Social Science Research show that raising a child in a home filled with books positively impacts her future academic growth and job attainment” (Rodriguez). This being said, children without books in their home are already at a disadvantage compared to those that do have access to books. To be successful in this world, reading and writing are common skills that every employer expects employees to have. Without these basic skills, one is likely to have trouble finding and keeping an occupation to support their family. 

The Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank of the Greater Cleveland area was founded when two brilliant minds, Judy Payne and Judi Kovach, realized this issue. Payne and Kovach were part of the Little Free Library Cleveland movement to encourage citizens to “take a book, leave a book.” Passersby could take a book home with them from the little library if they needed one; it was as simple as that. Upon gaining recognition, this movement was so successful that the  book bank founders needed to do something more. What they did was create the Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank. 

 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:37 PM, 03.03.2021

Rangers Shine In Final Game

As is the case for 99% of all high school teams, the season for Lakewood Boys Basketball team ended in a loss last night as the Rangers fell to higher seeded Cleveland Heights 64-51. The Rangers shooting was off early, and by the time they found the range, so had the Tigers, who held off several late runs to pull away at the end. (Through most of the second half, the gap was between 6-10 points).
 
This was the last ever game in the purple and gold for Mark Jarrous, Mohammed Kutkut, Ahmed Muhammed, Ayden Wacker, JaQuan Neal and Peter Patsouras, all of whom have made contributions to the program*, whether as starters and leading scorers/rebounders, or in supporting roles off the bench and practice competitors.

Tonight, two seniors, JaQuan Neal (known as "Q") and Ahmed Muhammed, shined bright in the absence of leading scorer Pete Patsouras, unavailable due to injury. Ahmed hit four 3 pointers (12 points) to keep Lakewood within striking distance in the second half, while Q (17 points) did everything—rebounded against taller players, defended and stole the ball, set up teammates, and hit three 3's. Junior Hakeem Quran played well on both ends of the court, and had 16 points. Point guard Riley Ulintz (6 points) and forward Ayden Wacker (3 points) rounded out the scoring.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021

Betty Rozakis Brings “Fire and Ice” To The Beck

Betty Rozakis with "Fire and Ice," a thank you to the Beck Center.

Betty Rozakis, Lakewood writer, artist, and Graphology scholar is best known to Lakewood Observer readers as our Handwriting Expert. Betty studied Graphology at the British Academy of Graphology where she graduated in 2004.

Many know her as wife, mother and grandmother to a great family located in the far north west corner of Lakewood. One the past 4 or five years we have seen her emerge, or a better term would be re-emerge as an artist, now mastering many different mediums. 

While there is not much good on social media these days, watching artists as they perfect their craft is one of the bright spots. Watching kids emerge as writers, musicians, artists and photographers always makes me smile. Nothing better than fresh new talent with a pedigree. The other fabulous aspect of social media is watching others rediscover their passions. Betty falls into this camp. Online you can see her blossom in the not so easy world of glass art. In this new field Betty has handled all different complexities of working with glass, much of it learned at the Cleveland Institute of Art, where she graduated in May.

This piece was developed especially for the Beck Center. In it she used drawings from art Life Drawing classes at the Beck Center. “Because of my classes in art and creativity at the Beck I was able to build my portfolio and finally get into Cleveland Institute of Art, a lifelong dream.” Without the Beck, none of this would have been possible. 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021

Congrats To Our LHS State Qualifiers

Congratulations to the 10 Ranger athletes who thus far have qualified for their sport's state tournament.
 
Junior Kelsey Dalton competed in the Girls Wrestling State Tournament Feb. 20 and nine Rangers qualified for the upcoming Ohio Association of Track & Cross Country Coaches Indoor State Track Championship Meet. Competing at Spire Institute in Geneva on March 6 are: Ebony Bradford, Sadie Gregg, McKenna Hunt, Teeghan McGann, Helen Roche, Abby Sacha, Alicia Smith, Aniya Symons, Mallory Zavatchan.
 
Good luck, Rangers!

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021

In The Rear-View Mirror, My First Year On Council

Tess Neff, Lakewood City Councilwoman Ward 1.

Exhilarated was how I felt beginning year 2020. I was starting a new job. It was an honor to have been elected to Lakewood City Council, and I was eager to delve into the work the voters hired me to do. Sitting on the dais with my fellow councilmembers felt right. Observing the public members in the auditorium, engaging in conversations prior to and after the meetings was a highlight for me. Their interest in our community truly is quite amazing, and I often wondered why some of those people did not run for council. Maybe it is the long hours and extended time commitment. I knew the work would be intense and time consuming. What I did not know was that I would be a part of history in a way no one could fathom.  

My first-year experience on council is nothing short of stunning, difficult, painful, and yet tremendous. There were many “first” decisions that council and the city had to make without the benefit or precedent of past data or experience for comparison. The pandemic invaded and abruptly disrupted our lives. Candidly, there were times that I worried because we were navigating unchartered territory. As a councilmember my resolve was to make decisions that were in the best interest of our residents, and community. We were determined to labor through the pervasive situation that the unwelcomed guest presented to us. Together we persevered and kept Lakewood operating as best we could.   

 

 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

A Figment Of Your Imagination: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 113

Bill Fox - Transit Byzantium - Scat Records - 18 songs - LP, CD

I've heard that this has been coming out for many years now– it's been on my list of "upcoming releases to possibly review" since around the time I started this column. "Transit Byzantium" is Bill Fox's second solo LP (following up "Shelter From The Smoke"), originally released on CD only in 1998. I've had that CD for a while, so I was familiar with the music here, but this is a new remaster and a nice new package and of course I wanted it on LP because I'm an annoying snob, so here we go. Bill Fox is basically a folk singer– these songs are mostly acoustic and most of them feature just him on vocals and guitar (and sometimes some kind of bass or percussion– on one song he plays piano too); however, that doesn't do his songs justice. I've described the music of Bill Fox with this complex analogy: it's like "Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds Sing The Everly Brothers" except it's "The Beatles Sing Bob Dylan." It's sort of like an inverse folk rock: instead of Bob Dylan style songs but with Beatles style arrangement, it's Beatles style songs with Bob Dylan style arrangements. There are the obvious folk elements (particularly prominent on "From A Dark Night," "Quartermaster's Wintertime," and "Dixie Darling," for a few examples), but with very melodic tunes that are far more pop ("I'll Give It Away" (featuring Tom Fallon and Tommy Fox) and "My Baby Crying" being the most overtly Beatles-influenced, I'd say). Of course, there's also nice harmonies, interesting guitar interplay, and simply beautiful songs that are a hallmark of all of Bill's best work. One weird digression is the brief and especially lo-fi "Sycamore," which must've either been recorded when Bill was a teenager or sped up, because his voice is very high on this one. Anyway, the man knows how to write very, very good songs and there are a lot of them on this record. Honestly, there are too many highlights to point them all out, but some particular favorites are the aforementioned "I'll Give It Away," "Thinking Of You," "Bonded To You," and all three tracks that make up the final side ("Portland Town," "For Anyone That You Love," and "When I Blow"). Very nearly as good or maybe even just as good as "Shelter" (which, by the way, is also back in print and you also definitely need) and definitely worth checking out. I'm very happy this is back in print. 4.5/5

(realscatrecords.com)

Leaking - Inborn / Suture - self-released - 2 songs - cassette, digital

This is the second release from Leaking, the trio of Depew, MacCluskie, and Taylor. I know the first two more from punk and punk-adjacent bands and don't know the last one at all, but together they make long form instrumental experimental music. When I picked up this tape from Depew himself, he used the magic words to get me to dislike something before I've even heard it: "Grateful Dead." That one's gonna get me a lot of hate mail, I'm sure. That said, I tried to go in with a pretty open mind because I have a lot of respect

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021

Youth Reading Programs At Lakewood Public Library

Are you all Zoomed out? Then try two of these reading programs for kids.

Help your child get ready for kindergarten by trying out our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program. Children, age birth to starting kindergarten, can register online or in-person and will receive a folder, bookmark and their first reading log. Read together and record your progress online at home or by bringing in completed logs to the Main Library or Madison branch to receive rewards and acquire a new reading log.

Children in Kindergarten through eighth grade can join the Library Explorers Badge Quest program by registering online. Participants will read their way through the Children’s and Youth Services collection and earn badges by completing the readings and activities covering juvenile and teen fiction, nonfiction, biographies, graphic novels, and more. Complete twelve of the seventeen badges to complete the program and receive a Lakewood Public Library drawstring book bag, a new book, and a bookmark.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

Children/Youth Events at Lakewood Public Library

Library Pen Pal

For children three years old through sixth grade

Do you miss the Library?  We miss you too! Write a letter to a Library staff member telling us about anything from the last book you read to your favorite animal or even include a drawing. A staff member will read your letter and write you back.

Send your letter to:

Children’s and Youth Services

Lakewood Public Library

15425 Detroit Avenue

Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Virtual Woke Book Club

For students in sixth through twelfth grade

In this bimonthly book club for teens, inspired by the Read Woke book challenge created by Cicely Lewis, we will read and respectfully discuss books selected to inspire change, embrace diversity, and promote inclusivity. Each month will focus on a different topic and you will choose which book(s) you would like to read from a diverse list of titles. Registration is required and you will receive a Zoom link upon registration.

 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

Creative Writing Advances Birchwood Teams to the Next Level

8thgrade team (left to right):

Front row: Dilan Nadkarni (Avon), Cadence Guo (Broadview Heights), Manan Raina (Brecksville), Reyna Uechi (alternate) (Lakewood)

Back row: Sebastian Boyer (Cleveland), Sinan Haufe (Cleveland), Chloe Leng (Hinckley)

Last month, Birchwood’s seventh and eighth grade teams competed at the district level Power of the Pen creative writing tournament taking top honors. The seventh grade team placed second and the eighth grade team placed first. Both teams advance to the regional competition.

Individually, Isabelle Bixler won 4th place overall, and also a “best of round” award. Areesha Nouman won “Best of Round” in two out of the three rounds.

Jennifer Seward, one of their coaches, described the event saying, “What many people may not realize is that Power of the Pen is more than a showcase of writing talent and creativity. Students must have stamina, they must be willing to practice their storytelling, and they must be open to constructive criticism. All of these students possess all of these things. It's such an honor to see their hard work pay off.”

 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

Lakewood Kiwanis Increased Scholarships For 2021 Graduating Seniors

The Kiwanis Club of Lakewood is proud to be offering its 2021 scholarship program to graduating high school seniors. The club’s foundation increased the awards to TEN  $10,000 scholarships, $2500 per year for 4 years each. Edward Hadaway, Kiwanis scholarship committee chairman said “Eligible applicants can be students at any high school, but must be a resident of Lakewood. They must demonstrate academic success in high school and must have applied to one or more specific college or university. Winners will be chosen based on need for financial assistance; community involvement and service; the qualities of leadership, honesty, loyalty, diligence and participation in extracurricular activities.” Applications and contact information is online at www.lakewoodkiwanis.com. Please submit by April 1, 2021. Lakewood Kiwanis serving Lakewood youth and celebrating our Centennial year in 2021. 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

Reps. Skindell, Denson Testify On Legislation To Repeal Corrupt Price Gouging Budget Amendment Benefiting First Energy, HB 58 Puts Money Back Into Ohioans’ Pockets

State Reps. Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) testified today on House Bill (HB) 58, previously introduced as HB 740 in the 133rd General Assembly, which would repeal a provision in state law allowing First Energy to keep excessive profits rather than returning the money to electric customers through a rate adjustment. The pricing provision was added to the state two-year budget, HB 166, which was signed into law in July 2019.

In Ohio, electric distribution utilities are entitled to earn monopoly profits from the electric services they provide to customers. Ohio's allowance for profits is larger than most other states. Prior to the HB 166 amendment, electric utilities were allowed to earn excessive profits but "significantly excessive profits" were required to be returned to customers through an adjustment in prospective rates. HB 166 changed how "significantly excessive profits" are calculated, benefiting FirstEnergy by amending Revised Code Section 4928.143. 

 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

Democratic Lawmakers Testify On Bill To Repeal House Bill 6

House Democratic lawmakers Reps. Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Michael O’Brien (D-Warren) testified before the House Public Utilities Committee today on House Bill (HB) 57, their legislation to repeal HB 6. The Democrats urged lawmakers on the panel to act swiftly to repeal the controversial corporate bailout legislation at the center of an FBI investigation into an alleged $60 million public corruption scheme led by then-Republican Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford), the largest corruption and money-laundering scheme ever in Ohio.

“Electric customers are on the hook for paying for legislation adopted because of a $60 million corruption scheme. House Bill 6 must be immediately repealed to protect Ohioans and restore confidence in state government,” Rep. Skindell said in his testimony.

The Democratic legislation would repeal HB 6, a $1 billion bailout for Ohio's two nuclear power plants, which was signed into law in July 2019. Then-Speaker Larry Householder and several associates were allegedly paid tens of millions of dollars to pass HB 6 and to prevent a referendum against the law from coming before Ohio voters. Householder was arrested on July 21, 2020 for his role in the alleged racketeering scheme.

“Often referred to as the worst energy policy legislation passed by any state, HB 6 is an example of how a corrupt system can pass legislation hurting average working families to benefit large corporations,” said Rep. O’Brien in his testimony.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

Lakewood Recreation Hiring

What better job for the summer than at a swimming pool, ball field, or summer camp? Take the opportunity to work outside, with kids, making a difference. Lakewood Rec is now hiring to fill many open positions for Field maintenance, learn-to-swim instructors, lifeguards, pool attendants, pool cashiers, baseball scorekeepers, summer camp counselors and more. 

As winter turns to spring, many of our thoughts turn to warm summer days, filled with playing T-Ball, riding the water slide at Madison Park, or making friends at Kids Connection or Ohio Heritage. Lakewood Recreation is hiring seasonal employees to make all those summer memories continue for a new generation. Applications preferred by March 31, 2021. Find application details at www.lakewoodrecreation.com/summerjobs.

Sharon Mathaios is Secretary at the Lakewood Community Recreation and Education Department.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

Reps. Skindell And Upchurch Seek $150 Million Annually For Public Transit, Lawmakers Say Governor’s Budget Significantly Defunds Transit In Ohio

State Reps. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland) today filed legislation to introduce the funding of public transit in Ohio at $150 million annually, using a mix of State and Federal revenues. The legislation seeks $100 million from Ohio’s General Revenue Fund and $50 million in revenue from Federal Highway dollars, known as Federal Flex dollars, annually over the two-year budget to go to transit.

In his proposed state budget, Governor DeWine outlines a small appropriation of approximately $7.3 million annually from the General Revenue Fund for public transit. Neither the state operating budget nor the state transportation budget earmarks federal flex dollars for transit. The existing state operating budget passed in 2019 appropriated $70 million annually for public transit from the General Revenue Funds. Transit systems have received less than this amount due to budget cuts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am extremely discouraged that Gov. DeWine and his administration do not understand the importance of public transit for many working individuals in this state, said Rep. Skindell. “I was pleased that the Ohio General Assembly made a significant commitment to greater public transit funding in the last transportation bill. Our legislation today recognizes that we need to create a transportation system that addresses Ohio’s changing demographics and transportation preferences, links people to jobs and training opportunities, and provides access to businesses and healthcare.”

 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

Starr Gazer

MARCH

Aries: The Ram’s focus is behind the scenes, maybe a little flirtation with a leprechaun, keep your eyes open, all it not as it seems, there may be surprises in the finances, watch the green.

Taurus: The Bull finally ventures away from the Bull Pen, lots of social activity going on in the area of friends & associations, Uranus is front in center in the Bull’s Pen, try out a new look.

Gemini: Career is on the mind of the Twins, work your wit & charm & you’ll impress even the most caustic of bosses, plan that trip to distant lands, the Blarney stone & a Guinness…hmm.

Cancer: The Crab loves the Seashore, it’s not too late to plan, Greece, Italy & France all have seashores last time I checked, your four-leaf clover is in other’s money, lotto, IRS refund?

Leo: The Lion/Lioness may have stumbled upon the pot o’ gold, your lucky star is shining on your business/personal relationships, & surprises are in store in the career arena, do an Irish jig.

VirgoThe Luck of the Irish is sprinkling its fairy dust in the area of health & service, stay within moderation when eating all that corned beef & cabbage, quit worrying to reduce stress.

 

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 7:38 PM, 03.03.2021

A Discussion Of Lakewood's New "Pay To Stay" Tenant Ordinance

The Lakewood Observer had some questions regarding details of Lakewood's new "Pay To Stay" ordinance which were graciously answered by Ward 2 Council Representative, Jason Shachner. 

"This ordinance will allow renters to avoid eviction if they provide their landlord with the full rent, including late fees, and court costs prior to an eviction hearing. The ordinance also caps late fees at the greater of $25 or 5% of the monthly rent."

Lakewood Observer: If renters have the money to "provide the landlord with the full rent" why is there any question of eviction? I thought the problem was that some renters don't have the money to pay rent, and thus they can be evicted.

Jason Shachner: In Ohio, if rent is due on the 1st and the tenant does not pay on the first, the landlord may immediately file for eviction. Furthermore, if a tenant comes up with rent after rent is due, the landlord does not have to accept it and may proceed with the eviction. This ordinance will mandate that a landlord accept rent from a tenant, plus any late fees or court costs accrued, at any point prior to the execution of eviction judgment.    Without this ordinance, a landlord would not have to accept the rent from the tenant after it is due and may proceed with the eviction.   

LO: What is the average time between being served an eviction notice and the execution of eviction judgment? How much time do renters have, in general, to get their finances in order?  

 

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021

Prom Update For The LHS Class Of 2021

I just wanted to give you an update as we  plan for our senior events to celebrate the Class of 2021.

We are moving ahead with the Prom Dinner held at LHS on May 15th. We met with Senior Officers today and they have given us some ideas to add some fun to the event. 

As you may have heard Governor DeWine has opened the door for celebrating prom, but at this time no guidance has been given on restrictions.   Therefore, we will adjust as the guidelines are shared.

Stay tuned for further details.

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Volume 17, Issue 6, Posted 7:31 PM, 03.03.2021