WestShore Council of Governments Observer

West Shore Council of Governments

Meeting of July 11, 2018

Observer Minutes

This report is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Mayor Kennedy's office prepares official minutes.

Present: Mayors Kennedy (N. Olmsted), Bobst (Rocky River), Clough (Westlake), Patton (Fairview Park), Koomar (Bay Village), and Summers (Lakewood)

Meeting was called to order at 9:35 a.m. and adjourned at 11.

Fiscal Officer’s Report: WCOG doesn’t require audit for 1 year, so will save money this year.

Commission Reports:  
RTA:  Mayor Clough is president for 1 year term, agency needs to work on transition, search for replacement for Director Calabrese.  Agency needs to tighten internal control. It needs a new source of revenue; sales tax accounting for $20 million won’t be available in 2019. For time being, cutting back on positions, planning no additional capital projects, trying to determine what type of tax appropriate to replace revenue. Sales tax is best, but how much needed? Most capital funding comes from Federal Gov’t; more needed to replace old rail cars. More could come from NOACA; need to have policy conversation around this.  

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Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 1:35 PM, 08.07.2018

Tease Thanks The Community While Looking Ahead

Nora Swift was the type of person that only comes along once in a lifetime. Her presence felt warm and inviting, yet she emulated a mystery that made people gravitate towards her. She was one tough chick and had that ability to leave you fearing if you were ever foolish enough to cross her.

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Volume 14, Issue 14, Posted 5:56 PM, 07.17.2018

Council To Decide Budget Priorities This Summer

Lakewood City Council is starting work on the next budget, months ahead of their traditional schedule. The extended process could mean greater involvement by residents.

Council holds formal budget hearings in November and December, in Lakewood. Last year, however, council explored adding a preliminary process to weigh priorities ahead of time.

This year the city’s finance committee began the budget-priority process on June 11, and for the next two months, council members will be developing priority lists for the next budget.

Finance committee chair Dan O’Malley (Ward 4) says, “My hope is this will be done with input from residents, hearing from them about areas we may have overlooked.”

At-large council member Tristan Rader says he is “very happy this process is taking place now, [well] before the budget is submitted back to council for passage.”

By the end of the priority-setting process, council members intend to substantiate each priority at length, with cost estimates, input from relevant city staff, and explanations of how it supports Lakewood’s Community Vision, capital investment criteria, and other existing goals.

The finance committee will hold hearings on proposed budget priorities in September. Then in early October, council hopes to vote on a final list as a resolution. “The goal is to pass this with enough time for the administration to incorporate them into the budget, which will be introduced in mid-November,” says O’Malley.

In the meantime, residents interested in what their members of council are considering or in suggesting additional priorities have until September. Council members’ contact information is listed at

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Volume 14, Issue 14, Posted 6:19 PM, 07.03.2018

Lakewood Loses One Of Our Brightest Lights, Nora “Lizzy” Swift-Kakuska In Two-Car Accident

I had the pleasure of meeting Nora Swift-Kakuska and her husband Mwale while they were working on opening what has become one of the hottest salons on the West Side of Cleveland, Tease Hair Salon at 15112 Detroit Avenue.
Nora always greeted me with a smile, and an amazing attitude. She was a true force of nature. Over the years I became friends with Mwale, and had the pleasure meeting their family.

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Volume 14, Issue 14, Posted 8:01 AM, 07.05.2018

It’s About To Get Hot: Lakewood Summer Meltdown Returns July 14

Much-Anticipated Festival to Celebrate Summertime in Downtown Lakewood


The biggest block party in the neighborhood is right around the corner.  Lakewood Summer Meltdown 2018, sponsored by Melt Bar and Grilled and presented by LakewoodAlive, returns to Downtown Lakewood for its ninth year on Saturday, July 14 from 4 to 10 p.m.

The Summer Meltdown represents one of the region’s most highly-anticipated street parties. A summertime celebration of our city’s vibrancy, this free community event draws more than 10,000 attendees from across Northeast Ohio to the heart of Lakewood each July.

This fixture on our city’s summer calendar takes place on Detroit Avenue in Downtown Lakewood between Marlowe and Mars. The Summer Meltdown is a “something for everyone” event, offering seemingly endless recreation and celebration opportunities, including a 5K race, 1 Mile Kids Fun Run, street festival, outdoor activities, games, food vendors, beer garden, live music and more.

Families will love the street festival component, which features vendor tents from nearly 100 businesses and nonprofit organizations, many of which offer interactive opportunities. Activities range from the “Water Moose” sprinkler park to the Summer Meltdown Bike Raffle sponsored by Beat Cycles to a skateboard park sponsored by West Side Skates.

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Volume 14, Issue 13, Posted 6:08 PM, 07.03.2018

Becky Boyd & The Groove Train Brings Powerful Vocals To 2018 Front Porch Concert Series Opener On June 22

The right vocalist can make for an exhilarating performance and such will be the case when Becky Boyd & The Groove Train kicks off LakewoodAlive’s 2018 Front Porch Concert Series at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 22.

Sponsored by Bentley Wealth Management of Raymond James, the Front Porch Concert Series features free, live music on the front steps of Lakewood Public Library (15425 Detroit Avenue) in Downtown Lakewood from 7 to 9 p.m. for 12 consecutive Fridays. The series, which aims to foster Lakewood’s vibrancy while providing a family-friendly summer entertainment option, runs through September 7.

Week 1 brings to the stage Becky Boyd & The Groove Train, a four-member band known to captivate audiences with a dynamic set list ranging from blues and jazz to folk and classic rock. The band is fronted by renowned vocalist Becky Boyd, who has been playing the Cleveland club scene for 40+ years and has developed a reputation for singing with a tremendous amount of soul, feeling and emotion.

Becky Boyd & The Groove Train made its debut in January 2015 and has been playing regularly at music venues throughout Northeast Ohio ever since. In addition to Boyd, the band features bassist Alfredo Guerrieri, drummer Jim Wall and keyboardist Chris Hanna. Each is a seasoned musician in his own right, fully capable of complementing Boyd’s vocals.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:18 PM, 06.19.2018

LakewoodAlive’s Volunteer-Driven Flower Blossoms Program Blooms In Downtown Lakewood

Venture along Detroit Avenue through Downtown Lakewood these days and you can’t help but notice an additional splash of color and greenery enhancing the district’s vibrancy.

Now in its 12th year, LakewoodAlive’s Flower Blossoms Program has resulted in the addition of 52 flower boxes for 2018 stretching east-to-west along Detroit Avenue from the Westerly Apartments to Cerny Shoes. Geraniums and impatiens dot this urban landscape, creating a more appealing commercial district. 

The Flower Blossoms Program is designed to help Downtown Lakewood merchants make their storefronts more attractive.  LakewoodAlive partners annually with Lakewood Garden Center to provide an opportunity for merchants to purchase professionally-planted Earth Box planters with flowers appropriate for the sun/shade needs of each location.

“We’re thrilled to have the Flower Blossoms Program return for a 12th consecutive year,” said Ian Andrews, Executive Director for LakewoodAlive. “This volunteer-driven beautification service offered to Downtown Lakewood merchants is one of many ways we seek to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods in Lakewood. And we can’t say enough about the incredible team of volunteers who make this program possible.”

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 4:18 PM, 06.19.2018

Walk To End CMT

My lifelong neighbor and best friend, Erin Black, LHS ‘19, has been living with a rare neurological condition ever since she was diagnosed at seven years old. To most people the name Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease does not ring a bell, and might even sound made up. For Erin, it is very real. Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) causes pain and muscle weakness in her legs and wrists, making some daily tasks difficult. It is treated with countless hours of physical and occupational therapies. Last August, Erin underwent surgery on her right foot in order to reconstruct muscles. It was a long recovery period, requiring lots of rehabilitation. She will have the same procedure done this June on her left foot.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:43 PM, 06.05.2018

New Public Art Mural Beautifies Downtown Lakewood

The installation of a public art mural took place on May 1 at the corner of Detroit Avenue and Warren Road in the heart of Downtown Lakewood. Designed by Lakewoodite artist Derek Brennan, this unique mural entitled "Imagination on the Lake" depicts a Lake Erie Loch Ness Monster through the lens of children's imagination. This mural serves as a centerpiece of the Warren Road Beautification Project that LakewoodAlive has undertaken in partnership with the City of Lakewood and Cuyahoga County.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:06 PM, 05.15.2018

Courts Grant Restraining Order To Stop Demolition Of Hospital

As we went to press word came in that the Cuyahoga Court of Appeals has granted a restraining order on the demolition of the Lakewood Hospital and/or the clearing of the Lakewood Hospital property.
In what was called a “bold move,” members of the Lakewood Hospital Lawsuit filed the motion, feeling that they had no other choice with the City pushing ahead with plans to tear down Lakewood Hospital for plans that were announced on the Lakewood Observer website weeks ago.

What has been called by everyone, including members of City Hall, a flawed process to liquidate Lakewood Hospital was put on hold, while the court case(s) are being decided in the Court of Appeals.
It should be noted that this will not stop City Council from considering what to do with the land should it make it through the courts, but it does raise red flags, that this fight is not over. 

Please check out the Lakewood Observer Observation Deck for the actual court records, and other documents related to this story.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 12:39 PM, 05.01.2018

The Observer Is Given A Tour of Lakewood Fire Department Headquarters

Nearly everyone who has needed the services of the Lakewood Fire Department will attest to the professionalism and compassion they received from the men of LFD. On the Observation Deck, our online message boards, residents and visitors of Lakewood frequently offer their praise of Lakewood’s firefighter/paramedics.

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Volume 14, Issue 7, Posted 12:07 PM, 04.03.2018

Judge Patrick Carroll Criticizes Dog Policy As Costly, Divisive

Lakewood Municipal Court Judge Patrick Carroll recently dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of a local dog, “Charlie,” but sternly criticized the City of Lakewood’s role in the proceedings.

The lawsuit objected to a city order calling for Charlie’s removal from Lakewood, under local breed-specific legislation that bans pit-bull type dogs. Judge Carroll ruled that his court was not the right venue to decide the issues at hand, which are currently before the County Court of Common Pleas as well.

In the conclusion to his ruling, however, Carroll took the City of Lakewood to task for its handling of the controversy.

“In reviewing the number of court decisions involved in this case, I am awed by the staggering amount of public funds spent on attorney's fees to dispute conflicts between a state statute and a municipal ordinance that covers the same area and with the same goal of public safety,” he wrote. (Ohio removed breed-specific language from state animal control law in 2015.)

Carroll suggested that the city’s resources could be better spent on other problems. Additionally, he criticized “long term costs to the community,” as a result of “continuing to maintain divisive policies, regardless of the validity of an ordinance, which pit neighbor against neighbor and fosters greater division in this community.”

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 12:12 PM, 02.20.2018

Heroes, If Just For One Day



noun, plural heroes; for 5 also heros.

1.  a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character:

2.  a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal:

One of the hidden strengths in any community are the heroes that reside within it. Special people, often quiet and unsung and without the need for kudos or special thanks, that do extraordinary things to make the lives of those around them better, safer, and more enjoyable.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 12:12 PM, 02.20.2018

Estate Planning For Seniors

Whether you have a lot, or a little, it is never too late to make sure your personal and financial affairs are in order. Take the time to learn about which decisions need to be made to properly address your own unique life circumstances.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 12:12 PM, 02.20.2018

Reduce Your Risk Of Falls With "A Matter Of Balance"

For all too many older adults, the fear of falling leads them to unduly limit their physical activity. Unfortunately, this tendency leads to some undesirable results. The more people restrict their activities, the weaker they become. This, in turn, leads to an increased risk of falls. There is now a better way of reducing the risk of falls, while also increasing personal activity.

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 12:12 PM, 02.20.2018

City Council Supports County’s Proposed Fee On Plastic Bags

Lakewood City Council formally supports a county-wide fee on plastic shopping bags, which Cuyahoga County Council has been considering since late last year.

Council members Tristan Rader (At-large) and Sam O’Leary (Ward 2) introduced a resolution in favor of the county proposal, at the February 5 City Council meeting. Council members approved the resolution by a 6-1 vote.

The vote “strongly encourages the honorable council of Cuyahoga County to adopt the ordinance O2017-0006, a pollution-control measure which creates a 10¢ bag fee charged for disposable bags at retailers,” said Rader.

The resolution was covered by local media, and spurred a variety of questions at the meeting and in the community. One station’s coverage may have created a false impression that Lakewood plans its own plastic bag fee; in reality council’s vote was a nonbinding resolution in support of action at the county government level.

O’Leary noted that the county’s proposal itself remains up for debate, and that “it is likely that this iteration of the legislation will have to change” in some way to win a majority on County Council. Rader says that he and O’Leary introduced the resolution in part to encourage County Council, where legislation introduced by members Sunny Simon and Lakewood’s representative Dale Miller has been stalled for several weeks.

The proposal’s general outlines, however, are: a county-wide plastic shopping bag fee of 10¢, with the proceeds mostly funding retailers’ expenses for participation, environmental cleanup efforts, and a program to promote and distribute free reusable shopping bags. Smaller stores and people on public assistance would be exempt from the fee, as would plastic bags for meat and other items where food safety is a concern.

Advocates of the proposal describe it as mainly a means to promote a cultural shift toward reusable bags, through free bags and a promotional effort funded by the fee. They point toward similar efforts by other regional governments, and some entire countries, which have produced a substantial decrease in plastic bag use.

Nonetheless bag fees and bans have proved controversial, particularly in the United States. An industry-funded campaign called the “Progressive Bag Alliance” has lobbied fiercely against them.

Lakewood City Council member David Anderson (Ward 1) voted against the resolution, after questioning the county proposal on various points. Anderson suggested that the fee could create problems for cities which collect recycling using bags, instead of carts or bins.

Environmentalists themselves have had mixed reactions to bag-reduction measures, as well.

The recycling rate for plastic shopping bags is low, and discarded bags indisputably contribute to plastic contamination in waterways and the food chain. Rader pointed to this issue in his comments. “This is just something that’s very important to me and I think it’s… crucial to our environment,” he said. “Lakewood particularly has 3½ miles of coastline if I’m not mistaken, and we also have about a mile of river line. So protecting these resources is really incumbent upon us.”

But experts have warned that reducing bag waste could worsen other environmental problems, including greenhouse gas emissions, depending on what takes disposable bags’ place. Producing and distributing cotton canvass bags, in particular, appears to be much more environmentally damaging than using durable plastic bags. (Cuyahoga County’s Director of Sustainability Mike Foley says that the county has not evaluated specific options for free reusable bags, yet, but that he is aware of these issues.)

Most experts’ opinion is that durability and extended use are the keys to minimizing the shopping bag’s impact, and studies suggest that reusable bags are eventually more ecologically friendly on all counts as long as they are actually reused, over a number of years.

Meanwhile, many voices also note that shopping bags are ultimately just a small piece of the challenges of plastic waste and consumerism. Bob Lilienfeld, editor of the Use Less Stuff report, has said that the total impact of all packaging—bags, wrappers, bottles—accounts for only 10% of a typical shopping trip’s environmental impact.

Some forms of environmental impact are easier to quantify than others, however, and O’Leary suggested that a tidier environment has some value in addition to impacts on public health or climate.

“We know, as many council members do, a common complaint in Lakewood front yards is that there’s some new plastic bag adorning the azaleas that was not originally intended to be planted there. …this is an issue that a lot of people in our community feel passionate about both from the environmental standpoint, strictly speaking, and also the aesthetic impacts that these bags can generate for our neighborhoods that abut commercial districts.”

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Volume 14, Issue 4, Posted 12:12 PM, 02.20.2018

Bullock Kicking Off Run for State Representative

February 3, 2018–After receiving the Democratic Party endorsement and the backing of a long list of prominent Lakewood and Cleveland leaders, Lakewood Councilperson Tom Bullock this weekend kicked off his candidacy for state representative pledging to champion cities and urban development needs in Columbus. Bullock is running for Ohio’s 13th House District, which includes Lakewood, parts of Cleveland, and Linndale. Outgoing Representative Nickie Antonio is term-limited and is no longer eligible to run.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 5:03 PM, 02.06.2018

LakewoodAlive Announces Award Honorees To Be Recognized At “Loving Lakewood: Superheroes Unite”

Friedmann, Kaufmann, Marx & Thomas to be Honored at Fundraising Event on Feb. 24

Not all superheroes wear capes. Some earn their hero status by wearing a smile while exuding leadership qualities like passion, kindness, commitment and courage.    

LakewoodAlive proudly announces community leaders Cindy Friedmann, Alix Kaufmann, Cindy Marx and Rev. Mark Thomas will serve as award honorees during Loving Lakewood: Superheroes Unite taking place Saturday, February 24, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at the Lakewood Masonic Temple. Each will be honored as part of the evening’s festivities in recognition of their exemplary service to LakewoodAlive and the Lakewood community.

Tickets are now on sale for Superheroes Unite, LakewoodAlive’s annual winter fundraiser. Guests are invited to assume their secret identities and defend the universe while enjoying a powerfully good time in a historic Downtown Lakewood venue. This limited-capacity event is expected to sell out, so act faster than a speeding bullet to secure your tickets by visiting

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 9:51 PM, 01.23.2018

Mayor Drops Ban On Pit Bulls, Adds Restrictions On New Breeds, Owners

Lakewood’s door is no longer barred to pit bulls. But for how long, and whether the door will actually open, remains in question.

Mayor Mike Summers announced that “The breed ban effectively ends today because I do not see the merits of enforcing a feature we are likely to eliminate in the near future,” in a January 2 e-mail to Lakewood City Council.

Four days earlier, Summers and three members of council proposed a revision to Lakewood’s animal control ordinances. The proposal would end the city’s outright ban on pit bulls—but would target pit bulls and some other dogs with significant new breed-specific restrictions.

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Volume 14, Issue 1, Posted 4:06 PM, 01.09.2018

LakewoodAlive To Host “Loving Lakewood: Superheroes Unite” On February 24

Everyone has a superhero inside of them waiting to be discovered. Here’s your chance to unlock your inner Hulk – all while you fight crime and have a great time.

LakewoodAlive will host Loving Lakewood: Superheroes Unite on Saturday, February 24, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at the Lakewood Masonic Temple. Guests are heroically invited to assume their secret identities and defend the universe at LakewoodAlive’s annual winter fundraiser for a powerfully good time in a historic Downtown Lakewood venue. Holy superhero party, Batman! 

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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 3:19 PM, 12.19.2017

Councilman O'Malley Holding Town Hall Meeting This Thursday

Councilman Dan O'Malley (Ward 4) will be holding his next town hall meeting this Thursday, December 7th at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the Old Rockport Firehouse, 1422 Hopkins Avenue. Residents are invited to ask questions, express concerns, or share ideas for improving Lakewood's neighborhoods.

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Volume 13, Issue 23, Posted 10:05 PM, 12.05.2017

Queen And King Selected For Light Up Lakewood 2017

Lakewood High School Juniors Erin Black and Greg Medley Honored December 2

It’s good to be queen and king of Lakewood’s signature holiday community event.  LakewoodAlive announces that Lakewood High School juniors Erin Black and Greg Medley were named Queen and King for Light Up Lakewood 2017 sponsored by First Federal Lakewood

Students chosen for this honor have demonstrated their love for Lakewood through providing outstanding service to the community. In addition to reigning over the Light Up Lakewood Holiday Parade on Saturday, December 2, Erin and Greg were both awarded $500 scholarships courtesy of Plantation Home in Downtown Lakewood. Both winners have agreed to provide at least 24 hours of service to the community during the coming year.

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Volume 13, Issue 23, Posted 10:05 PM, 12.05.2017

A Beginner’s Guide To Attending Light Up Lakewood 2017

Greetings, first-time Light Up Lakewood attendee. You’re in for a real treat. 

Don’t be surprised if your enthusiasm upon reaching Detroit Avenue nears Buddy The Elf levels. Light Up Lakewood – a fun-filled fixture within Lakewood’s downtown district – represents one of the preeminent holiday events in Northeast Ohio. If it’s not the most wonderful time of the year, it comes awfully close.

But before you join 20,000 of your closest friends at LakewoodAlive’s dazzling community festival on December 2, there are some things you should know.  Consider this cheat sheet a gift to be unwrapped prior to the first Saturday in December. Here’s your beginner’s guide to attending Light Up Lakewood 2017 sponsored by First Federal Lakewood.

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 5:56 PM, 11.21.2017

Scout Pack 68 Goes Yachting

Last week Scout Troup 68 had their annual Rain Gutter Regatta at Lakewood Methodist Church. It was a great break from the political discussions and a nice break on a cold rainy night. It was highly attended and fun was had by all.

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 5:56 PM, 11.21.2017

The Top 10 Traditions Of Light Up Lakewood 2017

Traditions abound during the holiday season and Light Up Lakewood is no exception. Both the popular community event itself, and many of the festivities comprising it, are woven into the framework of many Lakewoodites’ holiday rituals.  

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 5:56 PM, 11.21.2017

Memoirs Of 900 Seconds: Dear Lakewood – Was This ‘A Lot’?

Lakewood Lakewood – city that I love! I like to think that everyone is as impassioned as I am about civil rights.  Community Relations and Community Policing are big issues for me as I am a member of Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission (although this submission is not at all connected with that position), and we are working closely with the Mayor’s office as well as City Hall to address issues surrounding the above topics. I could deliver my victorious bio about being a survivor of the most heinous stalking and abuse- coming out the other side with a master’s degree and three scholarship-receiving college students. I could talk about the awards I received from Cleveland READS as well as Cleveland City Council for literacy efforts with minority children as well as older homeless men. I could talk about my family’s pet spider ‘Charlotte’ who pretty much owns the living room window where she resides in safety. I could talk about the children I raised in this city who were members of the National Honor Society, captains of the flag corps, and members of symphonic orchestra and my super clean apartment filled with the most delicious art– but this sort of banter is contrary to the idea of civil rights. Civil rights mandates that I be treated with the same quality of warm humanity without regard for socioeconomics, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, you know the rest. I do not feel that my civil rights were supported in a recent incident with Lakewood Police Department. Please let me explain.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 5:02 PM, 11.08.2017

From the Archives Of The Lakewood Historical Society

Lakewood’s first City Hall was the private residence of the town’s fourth Mayor, Jacob Tegardine, who served from 1900 to 1901. In 1918, the estate of Robert Russell Rhodes (now Lakewood Park) was purchased, and the house was used as the second City Hall. That structure was demolished when the offices moved to the current building (pictured here), formally dedicated on October 18, 1959.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 5:02 PM, 11.08.2017

2017 Halloween Winners Announced!

This year we had a contest for the best Halloween decorations, and while there were many great entries, two houses, side-by-side took the grand prize! The Bowen families, on the corner of Merl and Giel, win 1st and 2nd places with their front yards of over 100 different pieces mostly hand made and built. The displays featured dripping blood, zombie armies, smoke, strobes, flying ghosts, a toxic spill site, and famous faces! Thank you for the effort and thank you all for the decorations. They will win both the $50 gift certificate from Woodstock BBQ, as well as a $25 gift certificate from India Garden/Nameste.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 5:02 PM, 11.08.2017

Bullock, Nowlin And Marx Voted Against Lakewood—It’s Time For Lakewood To Vote Against Them

Back in 2015 and again in early 2016, Councilmembers Tom Bullock, Ryan Nowlin and Cindy Marx voted to close Lakewood Hospital and give away for free more than $100 million in money and property that belonged to Lakewood citizens. The hospital was Lakewood’s largest employer and largest charity, providing annual taxes, rent and charitable services in excess of $9 million per year before all three voted AGAINST the interest of Lakewood taxpayers and AGAINST Lakewood’s most vulnerable citizens. 

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 12:05 PM, 10.17.2017

Foundation Planning Task Force To Host Community Conversation

The Foundation Planning Task Force has been entrusted to explore, discuss, and recommend to City Council the nature, scope, mission, and governance of a new wellness foundation for the benefit of Lakewood (for more information, please visit to be completed within a sixteen – eighteen month time-frame. The task force is in an information gathering phase; below is a summary of their work done in pursuit of completing their task(s) in a timely manner: 

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 12:05 PM, 10.17.2017

New, Consensus Charter Will Be Voted On In November Election

On the November ballot, voters will have a chance to approve a dramatically improved Charter to take the place of the old Charter. Three years ago, I was a member of the Charter Review Commission that suggested the vast majority of the changes. 

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.03.2017

City Councilmembers Go To Bat For Citizen Priorities, Innovations In 2017 And 2018 Budgets

City Council kicked off the 2018 city budget-writing process in early September by proposing a dozen innovations to improve City operations as well as neighborhood priorities originating with Lakewood residents. Councilmembers put forward initiatives that are modest in cost but could lead to quality of life improvements. Examples include park improvement plans for Webb and Kauffman Parks, increased shade at pools, full-court outdoor basketball, curb repair, improved bicycle infrastructure, installing electric vehicle charging stations, purchasing clean power, calming traffic, recycling in parks, and opioid addiction intervention.

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Volume 13, Issue 18, Posted 9:26 PM, 09.19.2017

Doggie Doo: Follow The Rules Of Lakewood Dog Park

The dog days of summer are still ahead, bringing more opportunities to socialize for Lakewood dogs and their owners. Many will head to Lakewood Dog Park. On any given day, many dozens of dogs scamper and sniff across 2/3 acres of park grounds.

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Volume 13, Issue 16, Posted 6:15 PM, 08.15.2017

News Release: Theft Of Wheel And Tires

Between Tuesday August 8, 2017 and Monday August 14, 2017 the Lakewood Police Department has taken five reports of wheels and tires being stolen. In these cases all four wheels and tires were removed, leaving the vehicle propped up on a paving stone.

In all of these cases the vehicles were Honda products, four Accords and 1 Civic. Thefts were reported on August 8, 12 and 14. The time range of these thefts is from 3 p.m. to 10 a.m. With the exception of one case all of the vehicles were parked on the street. There was a dark colored SUV seen in the area of one of these thefts.

If anyone sees anyone tampering with their vehicle or their neighbors please contact your police department as soon as possible. 

The cases are currently under investigation. If anyone has any information please contact the Lakewood Police Department at 216-521-6773.

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Volume 13, Issue 16, Posted 6:15 PM, 08.15.2017

Redevelopment Proposals Receive Mixed Reception

Two groups presented divergent plans for the former site of Lakewood Hospital at a July 25 joint meeting of the city’s Planning Commission and Architectural Review Board.

Carnegie Management and Development Corporation proposed a “transformative” project, in its team’s own words, emphasizing glass-walled buildings and a Detroit Avenue plaza. During a question-and-answer session which followed, members of the public, the Planning Commission and the Architectural Board questioned that transformative character, repeatedly.

Both of the committees expressed reservations about the proposed plaza, and a general sense that the Carnegie plan would be a self-contained anomaly in Lakewood’s landscape. The Carnegie team described the project as simultaneously “transformative” and “seamlessly integrated,” but struggled at times to explain how both could be achieved.

A noticeably different reception greeted the second proposal, by CASTO and North Pointe Realty, Inc.

Throughout its presentation, the CASTO team focused on how their plan would relate to the existing community around it, on social, commercial and architectural levels. While also including public space, their design proposed a green “courtyard,” behind buildings that would sustain the line of Detroit Avenue storefronts.

Judging by the mellower question-and-answer session which followed, the CASTO team seemed successful in its goal of harmony over transformation.

The goal of preserving the Lakewood Hospital building in some form, however, largely eluded both developers. Carnegie proposed reusing bricks from the building, and the arches of its facade. The CASTO team proposed a faithful renovation of the nearby Curtiss Block, but admitted difficulty in repurposing any of the hospital building itself.

The CASTO proposal also offered few specifics about restoring economic activity lost by the decision to close Lakewood Hospital, which was the city’s largest employer. The Carnegie team spoke of replacing or exceeding the number of jobs lost, but later in its presentation referenced a figure well short of that goal.

The possible slip was not the only one of the evening, as many attendees questioned the words “expand the footprint” included on one of Carnegie’s slides. The group explained this as a reference to still-confidential efforts to acquire further property in the neighborhood, and suggested that it should have been left out of the presentation. The gaffe may add to questions raised by Carnegie’s hiring of former Lakewood mayor Ed Fitzgerald, who helped oppose efforts to keep the hospital open.

The City of Lakewood has announced plans to select a developer this fall, and invites citizens to direct further comments and questions to

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Volume 13, Issue 15, Posted 5:08 PM, 08.01.2017

LakewoodAlive, Citizens Bank Join Forces to Complete Yard Beautification Project on Waterbury Avenue

The elderly homeowner observed the scene unfolding before her with a look that mixed joy and amazement.  Never before had she experienced anything like this, as 15 volunteers helped restore the backyard of the Waterbury Avenue home that’s been in her family since 1930.

“I can’t begin to express my appreciation,” said Ms. Waterbury (real name withheld).  “This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had anyone help me like this.”

LakewoodAlive's Housing Outreach Program recently partnered with a superb group of volunteers from Citizens Bank to complete this yard beautification project for Ms. Waterbury, 79, a retired science teacher.  The project consisted of everything from clearing brush to planting flowers to painting fences and doors.

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 12:35 PM, 07.18.2017

Lakewood Summer Meltdown Celebrates City’s Vibrancy

For one July Saturday each summer, a transformation takes place in Downtown Lakewood.  Detroit Avenue ceases to serve as a bustling main street, undergoing a conversion into an urban playground for families, friends, festival-goers, runners, beer enthusiasts and music lovers alike to celebrate a city’s vibrancy.

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 12:35 PM, 07.18.2017

Lakewood City Council Candidate Meghan F. George Receives Another Important Endorsement

Meghan F. George has secured another important endorsement in her campaign for Lakewood City Council At Large.  Lakewood Firefighters Local 382, representing about 80 firefighter/emergency medical technicians has joined Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25 in supporting her campaign.
"I am pleased to have the support of Lakewood's hard working firefighters, and honored to have the confidence they have placed in me. The endorsement of Lakewood Police and now Lakewood Firefighters demonstrates both groups believe it is more than empty campaign rhetoric when I pledge to fight for resources, funding and training to maintain and enhance the already high level of service both provide."
"I intend work hard and to make it my point to renew old friendships and to get out and meet as many Lakewood residents as possible prior to this November's election." said candidate George.

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 12:35 PM, 07.18.2017