Lakewood Hospital Public Records Case Comes To A Close

A three-year civil appeals case against the city of Lakewood came to an apparent end May 10 when a Cuyahoga County Appeals Court judge ordered the payment of statutory damages and attorneys' fees to resident Brian Essi, who'd urged for tens of thousands of pages of city records about the decision to close Lakewood Hospital to be released to the people. The judicial opinion brings one front of the contentious debate over what happened with the hospital to a tentative denouement.

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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 6:03 PM, 06.05.2019

Councilmembers George And Rader Propose Improved Public Records Policy

Public records policies can work better for Lakewood. I recently introduced legislation to help achieve that goal, along with my council at-large colleague Tristan Rader.

Our goal is to de-mystify the records request process for the average resident. Members of the public have a right to transparency from their government—but the process for a record request, itself, can and should be more transparent.

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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 6:03 PM, 06.05.2019

Jeff Wise Seeks To Work For Ward 3 On City Council

When Jeff Wise talks with people about running for city council in Ward 3, he returns often to one idea: working for Lakewood.

Wise announced his candidacy for council recently. But he has already worked to help Lakewood residents with their government, as a legislative aide in the Ohio Statehouse.

That experience working on constituent issues confirmed the value of public service, which Wise first saw during a high school internship also at the Statehouse. Even in a partisan legislature, he found that hard work and attention to detail got results for Lakewood.

Wise is eager to discuss policy, and has announced several priorities he hopes to advocate on council: reversing recent years’ heavy job losses in Ward 3, streetscape and infrastructure improvements, and sustainability initiatives including tree canopy preservation, among others.

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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 6:03 PM, 06.05.2019

Lakewood Tool Box Progressing Toward Early June Launch

It won’t be long until the Lakewood Tool Box is ready to offer community members an affordable and educational option for borrowing tools that are essential for completing home repairs to ensure we live in healthy and safe homes.

LakewoodAlive’s Housing Outreach Program has been working diligently in hopes of launching this tool lending library in early June. Situated on the grounds of the Lake Erie Building in the Historic Birdtown Neighborhood, the Lakewood Tool Box is housed in a large shipping container that will be accessible to the public from the back corner of the building’s East Lot near the intersection of Athens and Halstead Avenues.


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Volume 15, Issue 11, Posted 9:40 AM, 05.22.2019

Waste Water And The West Side: What Are The Issues?

Learn more about changes to clean Lake Erie by upgrading local sewer systems on Wednesday June 5, 2019. This forum is free and open to the public at Lakewood Library on Detroit Avenue from 6:30 to 8:00 PM. The forum is sponsored by the League of Women Voters and will be moderated by Professor Howard E. Katz, Cleveland Marshall College of Law. Panelists include:

  • Frank Greenland, Director of the Watershed Project, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District 
  • Janine Rybka, Director, Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District
  • Mike Summers, Mayor, City of Lakewood
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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 9:38 AM, 05.22.2019

Presutto Sponsors Neighborhood Tour In Ward 2

City Council candidate Brad Presutto is bringing a spotlight to interesting places and events in Lakewood Ward 2—and you’re invited to take part.

In May and June, Presutto’s campaign is making stops at business and parks, to recognize the rich diversity of life in Ward 2.

“Ward 2 is more than just downtown,” says Presutto, “and I want to bring more attention to local business on Madison Avenue, for example.”

The Lakewood Ward 2 Neighborhood Tour is also about better representing local residents, he adds.

“Lives and schedules aren’t one-size-fits-all, and our approach to community leadership needs to reflect that,” says Presutto. “I have some great conversations when I’m knocking on doors, but that isn’t for everyone.”

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 9:38 AM, 05.22.2019

LakewoodAlive Announces Performers For 2019 Front Porch Concert Series

There will be 10 opportunities this summer to enjoy free, live music in a welcoming Downtown Lakewood environment.

LakewoodAlive announces the talented lineup of musical performers for the 2019 Front Porch Concert Series sponsored by Bentley Wealth Management of Raymond James. See the schedule below for weekly performers comprising the popular live music program, which takes place each Friday evening (7 to 9 p.m.) from June 28 through August 30 on the front steps of Lakewood Public Library.

The 2019 edition of the Front Porch Concert Series will offer something for every musical taste. From folk to rock to jazz, each weekly concert remains family-friendly while delving into diverse musical genres. Like a crowd-pleasing encore performance, this Lakewood summer tradition is sure to delight its audience.

The concert series kicks off June 28 with a performance by The Pocket, a fun-loving band that will get the crowd grooving with a funk-fusion sound blending elements of jazz, funk and soul. This talented group is led by Chris Vance, a Lakewoodite musician who has been instrumental in developing the Front Porch Concert Series into a marquee summer event.

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 7:51 PM, 05.08.2019

Presutto Advocates Fair Solutions To Sewer Upgrade Costs

Lakewood needs to comply with the Clean Water Act, and prevent untreated wastewater from overflowing into Lake Erie. City council candidate Brad Presutto says he fully supports this goal.

But affordability and fairness need to guide the city in achieving that goal, says Presutto, who is running to represent Lakewood Ward 2.

“As a community, we need to work out ways to do so without putting the entire burden in residents’ water/sewer bills, or billing homeowners for the entire cost of upgrading infrastructure built before they even saw their home,” he says.

Upgrades already made or approved could raise the average home’s water and sewer fee to nearly $205/month, according to the city’s forecasts. Because a complete upgrade may eventually cost a further $300 million, Presutto says that paying for it all with rate increases won’t work for residents.

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Volume 15, Issue 10, Posted 7:51 PM, 05.08.2019

O'Malley To Run For Re-Election In Ward 4

Ward 4 Councilman Daniel J. O’Malley has announced that he will seek a second term on Lakewood City Council this fall. O’Malley has amassed a record of legislative accomplishments, neighborhood improvements, and community growth since first being elected in 2015 and says he wishes to continue that progress.

O’Malley serves as chair of city council’s Finance Committee, which provides financial oversight and reviews the city’s budget on an annual basis. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to make efficient use of Lakewood’s taxdollars,” O’Malley said. “We’ve managed to make investments in our services, infrastructure, and workforce without raising taxes.”

Among the most evident investments are in Ward 4’s parks. “We’ve invested over $1 million in Ward 4’s parks alone,” O’Malley noted. “That includes a total renovation of Cove Park, plus major investments in Madison Park.”

Last year, Madison Park saw the return of full-court basketball after a 10-year absence. O’Malley included funding for the court in his budget priorities in 2017.

Councilman O’Malley is also proud of the work he’s done on behalf of Lakewood’s most vulnerable residents. In 2016, when low-income tenants at Lake Shore Towers in the Gold Coast were being charged to remedy the building’s bed bug problem in violation of Lakewood’s laws, O’Malley stepped in on behalf of the residents. “The policy you have in place is creating a crippling burden on the low-income residents of your building,” O’Malley wrote to the building’s landlord at the time. “Many of your residents are impoverished senior citizens and in no position to pay for these costly treatments.”


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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 8:01 PM, 05.08.2019

Choosing Smart, Sustainable Development For Lakewood

A recent article in Crain’s Cleveland Business examined development issues in Lakewood, and I want to provide a response. As part of this year’s campaign conversation I will be discussing how we pursue “smart development.”

The closures of Barry Buick and Lakewood Hospital (among others) face us with big choices about development within the City of Lakewood. We have very few large commercial parcels available for new construction. Getting these choices right is important.

Our infrastructure will be further stressed by the demands of one of the densest cities in the U.S. adding additional dwelling units. New residents will need additional city services. It is imperative for Lakewood to have balanced development.

As I mentioned at a recent City Council meeting, not less than 10 or 12 years ago, it was nearly impossible to sell a condo in Lakewood without taking a loss. Times have certainly changed and we are now in a seller’s market, but we need to be thoughtful and balanced with the development along our commercial corridors.


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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 8:01 PM, 05.08.2019

The Nominees For The Third Annual Women Honoring Women Have Been Accepted!

The Lakewood Women’s Club Announces the Nominees for their 3rd Annual “Women Honoring Women” fundraiser and celebration.

Congratulations to The Community Leader nominees, Heidi Murray, Karolyn Isenhart, Kate Coghlan, Laura Jaissle, Laura Rodriguez-Carbone, Sandra Sauder and Vicki McCarthy.

The Community Leader Award honors a woman who has demonstrated excellence in leadership through deep local understanding and outstanding initiative. She consistently advances community-driven, innovative, and sustainable solutions to the region's most pressing challenges, and service to either one organization or a variety of volunteer activities.

Congratulations to The Business Leader nominees, Allison Urbanek, Brandi Larsen, Ines Rehner, Jennifer Truchon and Sharon Marrell.

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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 8:01 PM, 05.08.2019

LakewoodAlive To Host “Civil Discourse And Mutual Respect” Community Forum On May 14

Our society was built on a foundation of civil discourse – a skill that remains vitally important to this day.  The people around us are our neighbors, and we must collectively strive to listen to and respect differing points of view in order for our society to work.  Yet how can we ensure civility prevails as a societal virtue during an era of digital insults and political division? 

LakewoodAlive announces it will host a community forum – entitled Civil Discourse and Mutual Respect – from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, at Lakewood Public Library (15425 Detroit Avenue).  This community conversation will offer insightful dialogue regarding how we can feel empowered to promote a society that values open-mindedness, politeness and respectful disagreement.

The general public is invited to attend this free forum as the community seeks to better understand the current state of civil discourse within our society and the importance of civility to our future.  The discussion will delve into the consequences associated with dwindling decorum, the art of practicing intellectual humility, the threat posed by social media and best practices for promoting a more civil, respectful society.

Judge Michael J. Ryan, a longtime judge within the Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, will oversee a distinguished group of panelists for an informative discussion.  The final 30 minutes will be devoted to panelists fielding questions from the audience.



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Volume 15, Issue 9, Posted 8:01 PM, 05.08.2019

Can You Feel The LOVE In Lakewood? I Can!

Well, many of you probably remember one of the best stories of this year, “Chas, Gordon Geiger And Lakewood Fire C-Shift Share The Love.” A story we told about some members of Lakewood Fire Dept One C Shift who saved a homeless man from the cold. Knowing that the man would be back on the streets soon, Lakewood Fire Department contacted Geiger’s who said they would love to help the man out providing the firemen with gloves, socks, shoes, coat, etc. Everything a person would need to survive in the cold. That day at another fire call, the firemen were relating the story to a contractor, who said, “My brother runs a place to help homeless people, it's called 'homeless hook-ups.' So they called homeless hookups and while people were talking, Dean Roff, the founder of Homeless Hook Ups mentioned his dream was to have a motorhome he could drive around and use to help clean up homeless people and get them on their feet, when one of the firefighters said, “Well I have a motorhome. It needs work, but you can have it.” This is where we ended this magical story about love, giving and helping in Lakewood, Ohio.

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 7:53 AM, 04.03.2019

Brad Presutto Seeks To Represent Ward 2 Residents On Council

The people of Lakewood Ward 2 can rely on him completely for three things, Brad Presutto said in launching his campaign for city council: listening, helping others, and representing the community honestly.

A series of people spoke about how Presutto does all these things, already, in remarks to an event held March 13 at Deagan’s Kitchen.

Jennifer Scott, whose pit-bull “Charlie” faced banishment under Lakewood’s previous breed-specific policies, recalled listening to Presutto speak up at a city council meeting on behalf of her and Charlie. Scott said that she didn’t even know Presutto yet, but was moved by his advocacy.

More recently, Scott continued, local Coast Guard families received similar generosity when Presutto helped collect donations for unpaid federal workers during the extended government shutdown.

Several speakers joined Scott in describing him as someone who shows up for friends, neighbors and even strangers. State Representative Mike Skindell, City Councilperson Tristan Rader, and Bike Lakewood board member Amanda Wolf were among the guests speaking on Presutto’s behalf.

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 1:00 PM, 03.20.2019

LakewoodAlive Launches Lakewood Pride Fund To Assist Residents With Home Repairs

LakewoodAlive, a community-centered nonprofit organization, announces the launch of the Lakewood Pride Fund. This innovative program will leverage a collection of funds to secure home repair loans for Lakewood families who otherwise might not have access to conventional bank financing, helping families complete health & code compliance repairs. This program will not only help to keep a home in good repair, but it will also with each on-time payment improve the client’s credit score.

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Volume 15, Issue 6, Posted 1:00 PM, 03.20.2019

Don't Lakewood Government Officials Have A Duty To Follow The Law?

On April 22, 2018 Lakewood City Council members Anderson, Bullock, Litton, O’Leary, and O’Malley voted to pass Lakewood Ordinance Number 27-18. That ordinance, among other things, authorized Mayor Summers to execute a development agreement with Carnegie Management And Development Corporation. That agreement provides for the City to sell to Carnegie Management And Development Corporation TWENTY EIGHT (28) parcels of land owned by the City for ONE DOLLAR!! That’s right. You didn’t misread. FOR ONE DOLLAR!!!!!!! Such a deal.

Council members Anderson, Bullock, Litton, O’Leary, O’Malley and Mayor Summers chose to ignore the law in Ohio that when a city is going to sell real estate, the city is required to advertise the sale for FIVE (5) WEEKS. Lakewood government officials DID NOT advertise the sale of those valuable 28 parcels for even one week.

That same state law requires that any sale of real estate by a city be only with the HIGHEST BIDDER. There has been no advertisement. Therefore, there was no bidding. Once again, those City officials have demonstrated their preference for rigged deals, like their giveaway of our valuable hospital, rather than following state law.


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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 12:58 PM, 03.05.2019

LakewoodAlive’s “There’s No Place Like Home” Draws Sellout Crowd for Journey to Oz

There’s simply no place like home, especially when the place you call home is Lakewood, Ohio.

LakewoodAlive hosted Loving Lakewood: There’s No Place Like Home presented by Cleveland Property Management Group on Saturday night, February 23, at the Lakewood Masonic Temple, drawing a sellout crowd of 235 Oz-enthused guests to celebrate 15 years of community vibrancy in grand fashion. Proceeds from this 15th anniversary fundraising event will support LakewoodAlive’s programming as we strive to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods in Lakewood.

Guests entering the Lakewood Masonic Temple’s ballroom were treated to a transformation of the historic building’s interior into a collection of “not in Kansas anymore” scenes from the Wizard of Oz. A Yellow Brick Road greeted attendees and led them to the stage, which displayed a larger-than-life Wizard with an emerald green face flanked by fiery flames. Both ends of the ballroom depicted fighting apple trees, while the west-end featured a spinning tornado and a photo booth beckoning guests to sit on a broomstick while the backdrop proclaimed “Surrender Lakewood” atop an aerial view of the Solstice Steps.

As they enjoyed a variety of Oz-inspired cocktails and cuisine courtesy of Karen King Catering, There’s No Place Like Home guests grooved to music spun by DJ Byron. They were greeted by a surprise visit from the cast of characters from the classic 1939 film, including Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, Glinda and the Flying Monkey.  


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Volume 15, Issue 5, Posted 12:58 PM, 03.05.2019

Shoot Out On Delaware

Around 1:30 on Thursday, January 31, on a quiet Lakewood street, Delaware, something happened that you never see on Lakewood streets: a shoot out.

It seems that a man was trying to sell four black youths guns out of a duffel bag as they drove around in a silver Chevy. The seller apparently got into the car to make the sale. One of the teens pulled a gun on him, they threw him out of the car and took off. He then got to his feet, grabbed his own gun, and chased after the car, shooting at it as it headed east.

Two of the youths jumped out of the car, and ran east with the duffel bag of guns through backyards to Brown, then split up. One was described as wearing a red hoodie, the other in a gray hoodie with khaki pants.

Police spent the rest of the afternoon trying to track down the teens and get the story from the man who was selling the guns.

The man was a licensed gun-owner, and as of when we went to press, no charges had been filed.

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 2:06 PM, 02.05.2019

Rader Proposes Campaign Finance Limits For “Wild West” Local Races

No rules limit campaign donations to candidates for local office, in Lakewood. City Council member Tristan Rader (at-large) wants to change that.

At the January 22 council meeting, Rader introduced proposals for local campaign finance limits, and for a new commission to police campaign finance and other government ethics issues. 

“This is a proposal that is intended to look forward, and ensure that local government remains responsive to people, not big donors,” Rader said.

Rader’s proposal would limit donations to local campaigns—currently subject to no limits—at the federal campaign contribution limit of $2,700. Additionally, Rader proposes an embryonic public-financing component. Based on a state tax provision, this would earn small donations a local tax credit of up to $50 per year.

The proposal would also prohibit candidates for a local office from seeking or accepting funds from that office’s employees.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 2:00 PM, 02.05.2019

Kidnapping Hero Is FOP Citizen Of The Year

Every year, the Fraternal Order of Police Western Cuyahoga Lodge #25 reviews incidents that may warrant a Citizen of the Year Award. The award is not always given, however this case in 2018 was certainly deserving.

At about 4:00 a.m. on November 3, 2018, Joseph Presley was working as a driver for Kufner Towing. He called Lakewood Police to report an accident at W.117th Street and Clifton Blvd.

Presley added that the driver of one vehicle forcibly took a female from the accident. He turned his tow truck around and began to follow the pickup truck southbound on W.117th while he continued to speak with the Lakewood Police dispatcher.

The first officer to arrive on the scene of the accident verified that a pickup truck had intentionally struck the vehicle. Somebody then pulled the female driver out of her car and forced her into the pickup truck. Another female occupant was left in the car.

Presley continued to follow the suspect vehicle while giving Lakewood dispatchers information on his location. Lakewood officers were able to catch up to the pickup truck as it pulled into a parking lot near I-90. Two males in the truck were subsequently arrested for kidnapping. No weapons were found. The female was rescued and had suffered minor injuries from the accident but was otherwise OK.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 2:00 PM, 02.05.2019

HBO Star Bryant Carroll Teaching Acting Classes In Lakewood

Star of stage and screen, Bryant Carroll of HBO's critically acclaimed "Boardwalk Empire" and Showtime's "Happyish" will be teaching Scene Study and Auditioning classes for both adults and teens at the newly opened West Side Actor's Studio on Madison Avenue.

Carroll, who grew up in Cleveland, started his career dancing with Cleveland Ballet and Cleveland Opera, has worked with such Hollywood heavyweights as Steve Buscemi ("Resevoir Dogs," "Boardwalk Empire"), Kathryn Hahn ("Happyish," "Bad Moms"), the late great Michael Clarke Duncan ("Green Mile"), Tommy Chong (Cheech & Chong), Dan Lauria ("Wonder Years.") His latest movie was filmed right here in Lakewood, the dark comedy "Anhedonia," starring Breckin Meyer ("Clueless," "Road Trip") and Emily Kinney ("The Walking Dead") and Giselle Eisenberg ("The Wolf of Wall Street," "Life in Pieces.")

"Blue Bloods" Actor Shaun O'Hagan credits Carroll for much of his success as an actor. "When I started working with Bryant my bookings increased by ninety percent," said O'Hagan.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 2:00 PM, 02.05.2019

Rodriguez-Carbone Announces Ward 1 Council Campaign

Public service is personal for Laura Rodriguez-Carbone, who recently announced her candidacy for Lakewood City Council, Ward 1.

Speaking before a crowd including several elected officials, Rodriguez-Carbone said that good government can be the crucial difference in everyday lives. She cited her own family’s struggle with poverty as an example.

“If it weren’t for government and community programs and assistance, I don’t know where I, or my family, would be,” Rodriguez-Carbone said.

Neither her mother or father completed high school, and their limited opportunities forced Rodriguez-Carbone to drop out, as well; while in her teens she worked two jobs to maintain basic shelter for her family.

Rodriguez-Carbone credits help from others, including government assistance, for allowing her to hang on and eventually complete a high school degree, as well as a Bachelor’s and Master’s.

“While enrolled in college, I felt called to give back, in any way I could,” she said at her January 12 campaign announcement.

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Volume 15, Issue 3, Posted 3:56 PM, 01.22.2019

Diversity Celebrated At Lakewood Dinner

Join your local and international neighbors for food, fun and conversation at the 12th Annual Community Diversity Potluck Thursday, January 24, 2019.

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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 3:50 PM, 01.22.2019

Not In Kansas Anymore! Tickets On Sale Now For “Loving Lakewood: There’s No Place Like Home”

It's an Oz-inspired celebration that’s 15 years in the making and you're invited!

Tickets are now on sale for "Loving Lakewood: There’s No Place Like Home," LakewoodAlive's annual winter fundraiser taking place Saturday, February 23, from 7:30 to 11 p.m. at the Lakewood Masonic Temple. Guests are invited to don cocktail attire with Wizard of Oz flair to partake in a celebration of 15 years of LakewoodAlive and 10 years of our Housing Outreach Program in a historic Downtown Lakewood venue. 

Sponsored by Cleveland Property Management Group, There’s No Place Like Home will feature Oz-themed food, drinks, décor and entertainment that will have you skipping on your way off to see the wizard. This limited-capacity event is expected to sell out, so act faster than a swirling tornado to secure your tickets by visiting


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Volume 15, Issue 2, Posted 5:06 PM, 01.08.2019

Holiday Appreciation Contest

Once again it is time for Christmas and the holidays. With the season comes holiday decorating of homes and businesses. The past four years we've had a contest; this year we have decided to make it an appreciation event. We are thankful for all who try to bring a little joy, fun, and mirth into Lakewood with their decorating skills.

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 3:50 PM, 12.18.2018

Chances Are You Are Recycling Incorrectly

There has been so much attention paid in the media lately to recycling. It seems that most Lakewood residents are more confused than ever on what is to be recycled and what is not. As a 20 year employee of the Lakewood Refuse and Recycling Department, I see first-hand every day that many folks are very conscientious when it comes to their recycling, but just do not know what the guidelines are.  

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Volume 14, Issue 21, Posted 3:08 PM, 11.07.2018

Lakewood Observer Halloween Throw Down, Over $300 In Prizes!

Well, it is that time of year, and the Lakewood Observer is looking for the best of the best from all Lakewood residents who decorate their homes, apartments and businesses for the holiday season of Halloween. We will be looking for homes that capture the feel of this spooky season. Awards for Best Overall, Best Homemade Decorations, Best Use of Inflatables, Scariest Neighborhood, Best Business Store Window, and two special prizes for best photos of trick or treaters, your own children or ones coming to the door.

*Prizes are from Woodstock BBQ, Melt, West End Tavern, India Garden, Namaste, Root Cafe and Beer Engine, six of the top restaurants in Lakewood and huge supporters of the Lakewood Observer project, who join with us during the holidays to make the city festive and fun.

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Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:25 PM, 10.16.2018

Welcome To Lakewood

Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission Invites New Residents to Get To Know Their City

The 7th Annual Welcome to Lakewood event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on October 17 at Garfield Middle School, 13114 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood to build community and awareness the city’s resources and opportunities.

Welcome to Lakewood is a fun-filled informational and interactive event where residents can learn more about local civic organizations, services and ways to get involved in their community.


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Volume 14, Issue 19, Posted 2:26 PM, 10.02.2018

Three Cleveland Teens Commit Armed Robberies Arrested Three Hours Later

Friday night around 9:30pm two teens and one adult approached a jogger on Edgewater, produced a gun, demanded his wallet, phone and personal belongings. While that victim was at a neighbor's house talking with police, the local neighborhood watch group put out in their neighborhood, “Watch out for three teens on bikes!”

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Volume 14, Issue 19, Posted 4:23 PM, 10.03.2018

Nosotros - Come Hang Out At Lakewood’s New Freestyle Rock Climbing Gym!

A rock climbing gym in Lakewood, Ohio?! Yes, you heard correctly -- Lakewood is now home to its very own freestyle rock climbing gym -- NOSOTROS! The name is derived from the Spanish word for – TOGETHER - and is the latest creative space to take root in Lakewood. The gym is beginning to pique the interest of many in our local community and throughout NE Ohio who are looking to improve their well-being and are striving to live a more healthful life-style.  Since opening its doors in the spring of this year, NOSOTROS rock climbing gym has become an ideal place to allow patrons to tap into their more adventurous side or simply to allow them to try something unique on their next date-night.   

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Volume 14, Issue 18, Posted 10:34 AM, 09.18.2018

Attend The 31st Annual Lakewood Community Festival

Celebrate family, community and cultural heritage at the 31st Annual Lakewood Community Festival on Saturday, September 8, 2018 at Madison Park, 13029 Madison Avenue. The day of fun and activities for the entire family will take place from 11 AM to 5 PM, rain or shine.

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Volume 14, Issue 17, Posted 4:59 PM, 09.04.2018

Dog Days: Registration Now Open For LakewoodAlive’s 11th Annual Spooky Pooch Parade

Popular Autumn Canine Event Brings Bark to Kauffman Park on October 20 

This one is for the dogs…but you’re invited, too.  Registration is now open for LakewoodAlive’s 11th Annual Spooky Pooch Parade, a celebration of costumed canines taking place on Saturday, October 20, from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Kauffman Park in Downtown Lakewood.

Sponsored by Discount Drug Mart, the Spooky Pooch Parade consists of a free-to-attend festival in Kauffman Park, a parade through Lakewood’s downtown business district on Detroit Avenue and an awards presentation. A favorite Halloween tradition for Northeast Ohio dog lovers and their families, this community festival represents one of the only events of its kind in the region, providing a tail-wagging good time for canine and human guests alike.  Last year’s Spooky Pooch Parade drew nearly 350 canines and an estimated crowd of 2,500 people.

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Volume 14, Issue 17, Posted 4:23 PM, 09.04.2018

Lakewood High Class Of 1971 Celebration, September 28 And 29!!!!

LHS Class of 1971 will be having a 65th Birthday Party for all graduates and friends. There will be a clambake on Saturday night, September 29 and a Friday night get- together at a local tavern to be determined. For details please contact Sandy McClintok, 216-990-4208. Looking forward to seeing everyone then!!!

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Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 7:15 PM, 08.21.2018

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