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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: 

and here for Max:

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


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

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 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, “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

The panels of "Fire and Ice" being assembled on the west wall at 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


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 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

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


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

The View From Ward 2

February 16th City Council Meeting Rundown

At February 16th's City Council meeting, Ward 4 Councilman Dan O'Malley introduced a "Pay to Stay" ordinance. Ohio allows a landlord to file for eviction immediately upon the nonpayment of rent. 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. In its current form, the ordinance would only be in effect during the current State of Emergency due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

Mayor George announced that she has appointed Ward 2 resident, Terry Vincent, to the Board of Tax Review. Mr. Vincent is a partner at Brouse McDowell and has extensive experience representing clients before the IRS and previously served as a senior attorney in the Office of District Counsel for the IRS in Cleveland. Along with his Juris Doctor degree, Mr. Vincent also has a degree in Accounting and Mater of Taxation. Please join me in thanking Mr. Vincent for agreeing to serve our community.

Assistant Building Commissioner Chris Parmelee provided Council with an ordinance to update Lakewood's fence code. Mr. Parmelee explained that the current code has caused confusion for homeowners and contractors, and that the purpose of this ordinance is to make the code easier to read and use. 

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

Niedzwiecki Named Next Superintendent

The Lakewood Board of Education at a special Board meeting Feb. 11 approved Lakewood City Schools' Assistant Superintendent Margaret “Maggie” Niedzwiecki as the next Superintendent for the District. The Board’s search process for new leadership began shortly after current Superintendent Dr. Michael J. Barnes announced his resignation in December 2020 in order to return to Mayfield City Schools as its new superintendent.

After reviewing the candidates and meeting with Niedzwiecki, the Board realized that the best person for the job was already in the District.

“Maggie brings unique experience that will help us move forward in addressing a Board priority – tackling the learning loss resulting from the impact of the pandemic,” said Board of Education President Betsy Bergen Shaughnessy. “She brings the leadership qualities identified by the community as important for our superintendent.”

Shaughnessy continued: “Maggie will, in her words, maintain the great trajectory she sees happening in the Lakewood City Schools. She understands the terrific amount of work that was devoted to the development of our Vision of a Lakewood Graduate and has a plan to act on that vision. We secured a stellar candidate and the District can now move forward seamlessly with meeting the needs of our students.”


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Lakewood Public Library Services In The New Year

The temporary location of the Madison Branch Library, 13427 Madison Avenue.

Lakewood Public Library is still here to serve you safely whether you are looking for entertainment or education. Although services look a little different these days, we are open and ready to serve our community. 

The Madison Branch has relocated to a temporary space while the branch is being renovated. Library materials and services are now available at 13427 Madison Avenue, Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Main Library is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Friday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. When visiting the library face coverings must be worn at all times.

Virtual programming for all ages is now underway. Families can enjoy a monthly themed storytime together using Tumblebooks. Elementary students in Kindergarten through Third Grade can join the Mercy Watson Virtual Book Club and teens in Ninth through Twelfth Grade can join the Woke Book Club. 

For adults, virtual local author events are posted on the Library’s Facebook page and past presentations are available at

Although public desktop computers remain unavailable, the Library has purchased Chromebook laptops to assist patrons with getting online. All library patrons can check out a Chromebook for in-library use. 


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Senator Antonio Shares Covid-19 Vaccine Information

Over the past unprecedented year, our communities have come together to support one another and combat the Covid-19 pandemic. I am proud of our public health officials, medical professionals, and front line health workers for their endless commitment to keeping each of us safe and healthy. News surrounding the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine continues to change, so I wanted share important details about the process. 

At this time, individuals considered to be part of Ohio’s Phase 1B Vaccination group will be administered the vaccine, if they choose to receive it. These individuals include Ohioans ages 65 and older, those with severe congenital, developmental, and early onset medical disorders, and employees of K-12 schools who wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid learning. Cuyahoga County’s K-12 school employees became eligible last week. If you are eligible for the vaccine, it is recommended that you contact your provider to schedule a test. A comprehensive list of over 90 providers throughout the County can be found on the Cuyahoga County Board of Heath website.

While the initial vaccine rollout began slowly in December, I am hopeful that more Ohioans will receive their vaccinations soon. We must remain calm and continue to look to public health experts for guidance at this time. It is important to remember that not only is this the largest vaccine campaign in U.S. history, but the process may take longer than your average flu shot, as those distributing the vaccine are enforcing social distancing and our doctors and nurses continue to be stretched thin.


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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Youth Groups

Me, with Riki Hendrix, (from Buddy Miles’ band) playing for a Scout Jamboree.

Good Friends in Guitar Land:

Well, the deadline for filing complaints against the Boy Scouts of America passed in November, at least according to their own bankruptcy notice regarding potential settlements with their former members. According to sources, there were LOTS of complaints too. Where all this will end up, who knows, but for those of us who were in youth groups growing up, some memories, good and bad, will never end.

It’s not just the Scouts either. I’d be willing to bet that many, if not most youth groups, have faced similar challenges regarding allegations as to how some of their members were treated.

This past week marked the normal observance of Boy Scout Sunday for Christians, although individual groups may celebrate at any date during February. The United Methodists, for example, celebrate it on February 14th. Jewish Scouts celebrate Scout Sabbath and Muslim Scouts celebrate Scout Jumu’iah.

The birthday of (international Boy) Scouting is Feb. 8th, by the way, and this is the 110th year of its official existence, unless you want to count the filing for bankruptcy and all the rest of Scouting’s recent changes, at least here in America. So many things are changing here in America, are they not?  But I digress here...

With rare exceptions, most of us have belonged to a youth group when we were kids, and hopefully, most of our experiences were pretty good ones. Youth groups generally espouse high ideals, along with having some sort of community service component. At their best, they combine a sense of identity, goal setting, and belonging, with fun and purpose. The social aspects of a well-run youth group can also provide a lifetime of making good friends, having good memories, and becoming better citizens.


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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Increasingly Curmudgeonly: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 112

Cloud Nothings - Turning On - Carpark Records - 9 songs - LP, CD, digital

Note: the CD and digital versions have more than 9 tracks, but I just have the LP so that's what I'm reviewing here. This was the first record by the pride of Westlake, originally released 11 years ago. It is really interesting to hear these tracks (and the second, self-titled LP) in comparison to the music Cloud Nothings has made since– it's kinda like two different bands, though it must be said that both of those bands are very good. This record is all Dylan Baldi doing everything I'm pretty sure, which is also probably the reason for the big change in sound later. This record is basically a lo-fi power pop/indie rock record from what I would guess were the glory days of bedroom indie rock. Don't ask me, I wasn't there. I've never been too into that sound, but Cloud Nothings on this record are a cut above almost all of those bands. Dylan could (and still can) write really catchy, hooky tunes. Most of the ones here are somewhere in the range between Matador-era Jay Reatard and Car Seat Headrest, though I don't know if either comparison is quite right. The title track and "Strummin" are both very reminiscent of the Strokes at their catchiest and best– on the latter, the "my baby's been gone…" part almost sounds like he's doing a Julian Casablancas impression. My favorite tracks here are "Can't Stay Awake" (where Dylan's screaming guitar solo and falling apart drumming are almost a precursor of things to come), the funky-riffed "You Are Opening," and "Hey Cool Kid," which besides being a very melancholy but very hooky tune with dark lyrics (from what I can make out) and vaguely ominous harmonies holds a special place in my heart because it was the second Cloud Nothings song I ever heard (after "Stay Useless"), sometime in probably 2013. That said, every song on here is pretty good and it's easy to hear why this record caught people's attention. 4/5


Various - Killed By Meth #5 - It's Trash! Records - 14 songs - LP, digital

I always check out these Killed By Meth comps because they usually have at least a couple Cleveland bands on them. That said, they don't usually feel like good documents of the best of the current punk scene but instead a bunch of also-rans, bands that weren't good enough to get a Total Punk single (even though there are a couple 'bigger names' on here, like Erik Nervous and Archaeas, both of whom actually do have Total Punk singles of their own and who have two of the better songs on here-- our pal Erik seems to be covering a song from Whose Line Is It Anyway? and that's the kind of thing that I also find funny, so props to him there) (Also, this is not to say that I consider Mr. Rich Totally Punk an arbiter of good taste-- he's put out a lot of really great punk singles but also quite a few pretty crappy ones). Apart from that, most of the rest of the tracks on this thing are either painfully generic or have something that makes the song a non-starter ("Spinners" from The Smart Shoppers is a particular groaner– the aforementioned Whose Line song might be for some people too, I wouldn't hold it against them if they thought it was horribly corny). Maybe it's the comp nature that leads to these bands sending in tracks that are sorta throwaways– I've seen Alpha Hopper before and I know they're a decent band, but "Yardbird" is really not their best. Ohio is represented here by Columbus's Phlox (not good), Cincinnati's Black Planet (actually a highlight, a pretty catchy garage-y post-punk kind of song– I would be willing to check out more from them, and that's more than I can

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

COVID Update 02.17.2021: COVID-19 Cases Dropping Dramatically, Do Not Stop Doing What You Are Doing

Attention Lakewoodites COVID Vaccines have been reported available at most local drug stores or their sister stores. While getting vaccinated is a real pain in the ass, most chains allow you to sign in the surf for a location. In the U.S., we are now averaging over 2,000,000 vaccines a day.

It has been reported that there are now 7 strains of COVID originating in the USA. All seem to have little difference from the original COVID-19 that arrived here through Italy and China.

There are 1,000+ cases of the UK variant in 38 states. This variation is now rated as 40% more virulent, and potentially more deadly. They are still working the numbers on this.

There are 3 rerouted cases of the Brazil strain in 2 states. Again, not much is known of this strain but it is creating havoc in Brazil. There are no real numbers on many reasons why this variations seems more intense.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Mayor's Corner: Improving Communication At City Hall

It is hard to believe that we are only halfway through February. We have accomplished so much this month already

I have been appointed to the Ohio Mayors Alliance’s Education Advocacy Committee alongside a handful of mayors from other large cities around Ohio. This committee will help me to identify ways to support high quality education and workforce development opportunities in Lakewood and to advocate for education policy improvements at the state level.

The City has launched a new e-newsletter to make it easier than ever for residents and businesses to stay up to date with news and events in Lakewood. The monthly email will be full of informational updates and happenings directly from City Hall. I am committed to increasing and improving communication between City Hall and our community, so I am excited about this new medium. You can sign up at

I have been advocating with our elected and appointed officials, urging them to support certain measures to benefit our community and its citizens. I have encouraged our representatives to support measures for increased funding for local governments in the upcoming COVID relief legislation. This will enable our team at City Hall to continue providing for your public safety, health, and wellness as you expect. I have also advocated for new stormwater management grants in upcoming infrastructure legislation.



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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Lakewood Fire Department Gets Cold For Us

There are many reasons to live in Lakewood, the best location in the nation, but one of the best is Lakewood’s Fire, Police and City Services. I mention them together because I have lived elsewhere, I have projects in other cities and Lakewood service departments are the best. Today we are calling out and covering one of my favorites, the Lakewood Fire Department and their Ice Rescue practice.

Lakewood has over 4 miles of waterfront if you add up the lake and the river. Lakewood Fire Department covers it all. They have a series of boats, sleds, rafts, etc. to handle everything from a person over the cliff to a boat on fire a mile offshore. They also help out from the Cuyahoga River to Huntington Beach in an agreement with the surrounding cities and Homeland Security. While all of this is interesting, we have to add in one little addition-- it's year round. So for every person that falls over the cliff, another person slides over the cliff. Instead of a boat on fire a mile out, we have a group of people on ice that broke away or broke through.

So when the Fire Department saw the lake freeze and the temperature drop to 17 degrees and below, it was decided to practice ice and water rescues. The reason the Lakewood Fire Department is so good is that they never stop practicing.

So, everyone in the water! You know, the icy water that was consistantly freezing over as they practiced. Since starting this project I have grown to understand first hand what first responders go through. It is truly a high pressure job with possible life and death situations with every call.

Thank you, Lakewood Fire Department, I cannot believe how eager everyone was to jump in that water!

CLICK HERE to see all the photos from Lakewood Fire Department Ice Rescue Practice

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

School Supplies And Clothes Delivered To Nicaragua By Rotary Fundraising

Support of the fundraising activities of The Rotary Club of Lakewood Rocky River Rotary Sunrise enables the Club to not only fund local community projects, but also to help with joint Rotary International projects. Last year, the Sunrise Club joined with 24 Rotary Clubs in northeast Ohio to send 695 boxes and 25 layette bags plus an assortment of handmade dresses and other items that are desperately needed to Chinandega, Nicaragua. 

The “Children of the Dump Project” started several years ago when a Rotary delegation visiting Chinandega noticed that children were going through a large local dump to salvage clothing and other items. Past Rotary District Governor, Jack Young of the Rotary Club of Conneaut, came up with an idea for an International Service Project. Rotary Clubs and Rotary members collect items needed by the children and families in this area of Nicaragua and pack them in boxes about the size of a large shoe box. Items are either purchased by the individual Club Members and/or the Clubs purchase the items using funds raised through their various fundraising activities. Items include school supplies, personal items like soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and tooth paste, an outfit of clothes and some toys.

Several years ago, the purchase and packing of layettes for mothers of new born children was added to the project. Blankets, towels, and personal items for the babies and mothers are packed in special Layette bags and are now shipped with the shoe boxes. They are distributed to a maternity center near Chinandega. Packing of both the shoe boxes and layettes often become a Club social family activity, with children joining in to get experience in service work.


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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Rotary Foundation Offering Five Scholarships

The Lakewood/Rocky River Rotary Foundation is offering grants for study in any accredited post-high school educational institution. Five grants of $3,000 will be awarded toward the cost of one year’s tuition.

Applicants must be a member of the 2021 graduating class of any accredited high school; be a resident of the Lakewood or Rocky River school district; show a record of academic success in his/her high school career; have applied to a specific college, university, community or junior college, or trade or professional school; and have no direct relationship to a current or honorary Rotarian.

Applications must be received by 3 p.m. Monday, April 5. The awards will be presented on May 3.

Required information must be submitted on the application form that can be downloaded at

Guidelines for submitting the application, as well as other criteria, are included.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Creative Destruction or Destructive Creation? Part 2

New inventions come up to make improvements, but some things can be called creative destruction. This means that a new invention can come up with a new production unit that can take the place of an outdated production unit. This concept was created by Joseph Schumpeter in the 1940s, when he contemplated the essential fact of capitalism. There are many creative destructions, but one of these is cell phones/ smart phones. There are as many pros as there are cons. Cell phones have replaced many things over time, such as television, telegrams, regular landline phones, and many more inventions. Even though some of these inventions are still used, a lot of people, especially younger generations, prefer cell phones. This is more of a creative destruction than a destructive creation. As time went on, cell phones took the place of outdated production units, even though some of the things that cell phones take the place of aren’t completely outdated. As cell phones have many advantages, they also have many disadvantages. I wish they never were created, but of course I have an Iphone...

Over 5 billion people own a mobile device, but more than half of this is the number of people who own a cell phones around the world. There are many pros of having a cell phone. These little devices allow people to communicate with each other in a matter of seconds, and you can be around the world, and it would still be a matter of seconds to contact that person, that can be via email, text and phone calls. One pro of having a cell phone is that it is good to have when there is an emergency. According to Pew Research Center, 40% of people who have cell phones said that when they found themselves in an emergency, having their cell phone with them helped. Although, they might be more prone to take risks in the first place...This doesn’t just mean calling 911, but teenagers can call their parents, the police, the fire department, etc. Also, with your phone, if someone is following you or stalking you, you can use your phone camera to either take a picture of them and/or you can call someone to talk with. Taking a picture and calling can help protect you, and can help the police find the person. Another pro of having a cell phone is that it can teach children and teenagers responsibility. According to Kids Health, having a cell phone teaches children and teenagers responsibility because they have to care for it, which means keeping the cell phone charged and in perfect and working condition. Another pro of having a cell phone is that it can keep you organized. You can keep your grocery lists on there along with to-do lists, important dates, and more. According to Reader’s Digest, using your phone to organize lists, dates, and other things and making it simple helps get things done, keep to a routine and that way you don’t get as forgetful. Not only can cell phones be used to go onto the internet, to play games, or to go on social media, you can use these little devices to help sort out and organize your routines and most important things. There are many more advantages of having a cell phone. But, what if the mind is not being exercised because the phone is doing so much for us? 

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Volume 17, Issue 1, Posted 4:16 PM, 02.17.2021

Children/Youth Events At Lakewood Public Library

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 Mercy Watson Book Club

For students in kindergarten through third grade

Have you ever heard of Mercy Watson? Written by award winning author Kate DiCamillo, Mercy Watson is a six-book series of short early reader chapter books chronicling the adventures of the titular character, who just happens to be a pig. Each week we will discuss a different book in the series via Zoom. Registration is required and you will receive a Zoom link upon registration.


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Introducing H2O’s Newest Project: A COVID COLLAGE: Capturing Lakewood’s Story

2020 was quite the unique year. Using the pandemic’s communal effect and differing experiences of the community, H2O is working diligently to turn these experiences into a creative project for the Lakewood community to take part in. “A COVID COLLAGE: Capturing Lakewood’s Story” will be Lakewood’s own time capsule to be used as a record for future generations. It will illustrate not only COVID-19, but also the numerous historic events of 2020. The goal of this project is to bring people together to create a resource that not only shows how it looks to live during this time, but also how it feels.

In order to capture an accurate picture of life during a pandemic, H2O will need help from everyone. This will be done by collecting your experiences in a creative way. The first opportunity to share your story will be provided in the upcoming weeks: a photo contest with several categories. The categories will guide the direction of the photos, such as the category “Together 6’ Apart.” The winners of each category will be selected by a panel of judges and have their artwork placed into the physical time capsule, with other submissions uploaded to a virtual time capsule. Other events will include art contests, writing contests, artifact collections, and more! More details about the photo contest and other events will be released at a later time.

Even before the photo contest begins, you can start participating by reflecting on your experience thus far. Brainstorm where you are interested in showcasing your talents: Will you submit a work of writing? Will you take pictures of what lockdown looks like to you? Will you paint an art piece about how COVID felt to you? Anything you contribute will help to paint a more accurate picture of life during 2020.


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 4:13 PM, 02.17.2021

Councilwoman Tess Neff Announces Candidacy For Lakewood Judge

Councilwoman Tess Neff is a candidate for Judge of the Lakewood Municipal Court.

It is with great enthusiasm that I announce my candidacy for Judge of the Lakewood Municipal Court. Lakewood has been my home for over 32 years, and it is where my husband Rich and I raised our three children. I am deeply invested in our great community. Over the years, I have engaged in several civic opportunities such as the Lakewood Preschool PTA, serving on both the Lakewood YMCA Board and Beck Center for the Arts Community Engagement Committee and most recently, proudly serving on Lakewood City Council representing Ward 1.

My extensive public service makes me uniquely qualified to serve as the Lakewood Judge. As a magistrate for 10 years in the Lakewood Municipal Court and 12 years in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Juvenile Division Court I have made many difficult and important judicial decisions on criminal and civil cases that directly impact individuals’ lives. Like a judge, a magistrate must apply the law, consider community safety and victims' rights, all while ensuring equal and fair treatment to the individuals appearing in court.

In addition to my magistrate experience, I understand the operations of running a large court. This is essential in a single judge court like Lakewood. In September 2015, I was unanimously appointed by the six judges of the Juvenile Court to serve as the Court Administrator and since have held that position. I believe the appointment is reflective of my strong work ethic, integrity, reputation for treating individuals with respect and dignity, and my ability to solve complex issues. Some of my current responsibilities include overseeing court operations, a budget exceeding $50 million, and managing approximately 550 employees. I will bring all these critical skills and essential experience to the Lakewood Court if elected to the position on November 9, 2021.


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

Mayor's Corner: Major Projects Underway

February is here and the City of Lakewood has been busy implementing many exciting projects to get 2021 off to a fast start.

Improvements to Kaufmann Park, one of Lakewood’s largest green spaces, have been approved by City Council and are expected to begin later this year. Updates will include a water main extension that will clear up sediment in the park’s faucets, replacing outdated playground equipment, and the addition of an extensive new walking trail on the west side of the park.

We have made progress on several large development projects in Lakewood. Residential projects at the former Barry Buick and Spitzer Chrysler sites will be called The View West and The View East, respectively. Each project will contain a commercial first floor component and affordable housing commitments from the developer, Jerome Solove Development Inc. In total, these two projects will bring 280 new residential units to the City of Lakewood. 

Another major project getting back underway after delays in 2020 is the downtown redevelopment at the corner of Belle and Detroit Avenues. The City’s Department of Planning & Development staff has been engaged in discussions with CASTO, our new development partner, to envision a project that will be the right fit for Lakewood today and for decades to come. We are eager to begin the community engagement process to hear from residents and businesses about what they want to see in this new design so please stay tuned for announcements of those virtual meetings.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:16 AM, 02.03.2021

Healthy Lakewood Foundation Announces Four New Grants

The Healthy Lakewood Foundation (HLF) board of directors recently approved four new grants that represent a continuation of its commitment to meeting community needs stemming from the COVID-19 crisis. They are:

  • $4,000 to the Barton Senior Center for an internet connectivity pilot for senior residents of the Westerly apartments;

  • $35,000 to Lakewood Community Services Center for food assistance for Lakewood residents for the period of February through June 2021;

  • $25,000 to the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland for services and outreach to Lakewood residents; and

  • $25,000 to the YMCA of Greater Cleveland to support capacity to provide school-day care for Lakewood’s elementary school-age children while learning is remote or hybrid for the period of January through March 2021

“Although we’ve been living with COVID-19 for almost a year, the pandemic’s devastating effects have only become more acute for many,” said HLF President Jeanine Gergel. “Many people have lost jobs or income, and we know some residents are struggling with food insecurity. Some are also worried about having their utilities shut off or being evicted.”


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

Help Rotary Serve The Community - Jewelry Raffle Fundraiser

In this time of the Pandemic, many agencies and organizations that provide needed services to the Lakewood and Rocky River area need help to meet the needs of their clients. The Rotary Club of Lakewood Rocky River Sunrise is devoted to serving the community as it follows its motto of “Service Above Self.”  Club community support includes the Rocky River Assistance Program family food distribution packages of non-perishable food for over 300 families in Rocky River and the Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corporation program which delivers food to 300 families in Lakewood at Thanksgiving and Christmas, two of the community organizations that are helped by Rotary each year. Recently, the Sunrise Club added Trials for Hope to the list of organizations it helps. This program provides food for the homeless and needy on the near west side.

You can help by participating in a Jewelry Raffle Fund Raiser. Over the last 11 years the Sunrise Rotary has held a Dinner Auction event, with over 200 friends of members and supporters of the Club attending. Due to the pandemic, it is not possible for us to have our Dinner Auction at this time. We are replacing it with the raffle which will assist the Club’s Foundation in meeting the needs of the local organizations mentioned above and others such as Beck Center, Harrison School in Lakewood and The Rocky River Firefighters Charity. 


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:16 AM, 02.03.2021

Lakewood Announces New Resources In Small Business COVID-19 Assistance Grant Program

More than $216,000 in new funds available

The City of Lakewood has expanded its popular Small Business COVID-19 Assistance Grant Program with new funding available. Applications can be found at
Mayor Meghan George said, “We initially created this program to get these desperately needed funds out to our small businesses in an efficient and useful way. Now, we are very excited that this program is expanding to include even more small businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Small businesses are the backbone of Lakewood’s economy, and we hope that these funds will lessen the undeniable toll that these last eleven months have taken.”

The City of Lakewood’s Small Business COVID Assistance Grant Program, which provides emergency assistance to eligible Lakewood small businesses that have experienced a reduction in revenue as a result of the current public health emergency, includes businesses with fifty (50) or fewer employees that commit to retaining at least one (1) full time equivalent (FTE or 40 hours) employee as long as the FTE position pays $42,600 or less per year. The City of Lakewood will make $216,475 available for this round of small business grants. Assistance is up to $7,000 per business to cover rent and eligible payroll expenses. Businesses who own their building can apply for payroll support only.


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:16 AM, 02.03.2021

Live Streamed Classical Saxophone Concert

We are so lucky to live in northeast Ohio where classical music thrives alongside of rock, blues, and every other genre. The Rocky River Chamber Music Society has always held free concerts in the outstanding acoustical environment of West Shore Universalist Church in neighboring Rocky River. Due to the pandemic, the concerts have been virtual.

On Monday, February 15th at 7:30 p.m., you have the opportunity to hear a true treat. Steven Banks, saxaphone virtuoso and Xak Bjerken on piano will perform works by Mozart and Schumann that have been arranged specifically for saxaphone. They will also perform works created directly for the saxophone by composers Carlos Simon, Saad Haddad, and Steven Banks himself. Steven captured First Prize at the 2019 Young Concert Artists International Auditions. He has performed with symphony orchestras across the U.S., including The Cleveland Orchestra, and is currently the Assistant Professor of Saxophone at Ithaca College.

Xak Bjerken, professor of piano at Cornell University has performed on stages all over the world, and has recorded for Chandos and Albany Records.

Access to the concert will be available by using one of the following links shortly before the concert on February 15th.

Although RRCMS remains dedicated to continue presenting free concerts, donations are always welcome. For further information visit the RRCMS website at

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:16 AM, 02.03.2021

LakewoodAlive Announces Award Honorees To Be Recognized At “Loving Lakewood: Life’s A Beach”

Loving Lakewood: Life’s a Beach Honorees Tim Dewald, Jen & Laird Wynn, Brittany O’Connor, Bryan Evans, Brent Pease & Geoff Mathias (Sauced Taproom & Kitchen) and Kelly Florian.

Eight Outstanding Volunteers to be Honored at Fundraiser on February 27

After riding the wave of a wild year, hang-ten and celebrate all of the amazing accomplishments LakewoodAlive and the community have achieved from the comfort of your own beach blanket! You will feel the rays on your face and the sand on your toes at this fin-tastic celebration of community, connectivity and perseverance.

LakewoodAlive proudly announces Bryan Evans as the 2021 Founders Award recipient and fellow community leaders Tim Dewald, Kelly Florian, Brent Pease & Geoff Mathias (Sauced Taproom & Kitchen), Brittany O’Connor, and Jen & Laird Wynn as award honorees to be recognized during Loving Lakewood: Life’s A Beach taking place virtually on Saturday, February 27, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. 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 on sale now for Loving Lakewood: Life’s A Beach, LakewoodAlive’s winter fundraiser sponsored by Cleveland Property Management Group. Guests are invited to dig up their sunglasses and don their favorite beach ware as they engage in a sunny celebration of the community, connectivity, and perseverance that has built Lakewood into a vibrant neighborhood. This virtual event is expected to sell out, so don’t flip flop on your decision to secure your tickets by visiting


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:16 AM, 02.03.2021

Senator Antonio Shares Budget Priorities

As we embark on the new 134th General Assembly, I look forward to all that can be accomplished over the next two years. The first item on the agenda is the biennial state budget. Totaling nearly $70 billion, the state budget makes two-year appropriations for healthcare, early child through higher education, workforce development, local government, and more. During this process, I plan to prioritize funding programs which promote Ohioan’s health, education, and job security.

Advocating for the health and safety of all Ohioans has always been a priority of mine, however, this became more essential given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Our state budget needs to include increased funds for PPE, testing, and vaccines, in order to expand access and quantities throughout our communities. Simultaneously, funding public education programs regarding the virus and vaccination process will be necessary in mitigating the continued impact of Covid-19. Another dangerous side effect of the pandemic was the surge in domestic violence cases due to stay-at-home orders across the United States. Providing funding to support domestic violence survivors’ services is critical, especially now. 


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:16 AM, 02.03.2021

The View From Ward 2

January 19th City Council Meeting Rundown

At our Council meeting January 19th, longtime Lakewood resident Sean McDermott was appointed to the Planning Commission for a five-year term by a unanimous vote. Mr. McDermott earned his Masters of Urban Planning, Design, and Development at Cleveland State University and is a registered professional engineer. He is currently the Chief Planning and Design Officer for the Cleveland Metroparks where he plays an instrumental role in the design and construction of projects throughout the Cleveland Metroparks and Cleveland Zoo. Council was impressed with Mr. McDermott’s credentials and contributions to our City. Mr. McDermott is an excellent addition to the Planning Commission and I thank him for his service to our community.

City Council unanimously passed a resolution that would authorize the City to enter and exit the chain of title of the former Barry Buick and Spitzer Chrysler sites. This step is required by statute to establish the tax increment financing incentives (TIF) for the development of these two locations. The next and final step would be passing the ordinances establishing the TIFs. For more details about this project, please see Issue #37 of the View from Ward 2.


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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 11:16 AM, 02.03.2021

Continental Mathematics League Honors Local Young Mathematicians


top row: Ahuja Arsheya, Ted Alten, Angela D'Souza, Jacob Gao, Jordan Gordon, Joshua Gordon

middle row: Cadence Guo, Siya Lakireddy, Chloe Leng, Adharsh Narendrakumar, Areesha Nouman, Manan Raina

bottom row: Manya Raina, Jonathan Samulak, Reyna Uechi, Michael Zhu

Continental Mathematics League holds five meets per year that students can participate in from school or home. Students are given 30 minutes to answer six questions aimed at furthering students’ progress in the art of problem solving.

After the third test was completed this week, local Birchwood School students achieved the highest honors. Many maintain a perfect score through all three tests.

Gold medal winners:

Jonathan Samulak (6th grade of Cleveland)

Eric Velez (6th grade of Cleveland)

Jacob Gao (6th grade of Westlake)

Joshua Gordon (6th grade of Bay Village) Perfect score!

Ted Alten (6th grade of Avon Lake)

Manya Raina (6th grade of Brecksville) Perfect score!

Shreeyans Bhavaraju (8th grade of North Royalton)

Manan Raina (8th grade of Brecksville) Perfect score!

Chloe Leng (8th grade of Hinkley)

Reyna Uechi (8th grade of Lakewood)


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

Rotary Club Of Lakewood Rocky River Sunrise Books For Kids Project Is A Big Success - Over Four Thousand Books Donated To Book Bank

The Citizens of Rocky River and visitors to the Umerley Hall Books for Kids Donation Bin have generously supported this Rotary Club of Lakewood Rocky River Sunrise Project. The photo above shows just one of the twice-a-month pick-up of books from the Bin. Club members, Patty Boesken, Carol Barrett and Club President, Eric Jolly are shown unloading the Bin for delivery to the Book Bank in Ohio City. The Book Bank reports that over 4,000 books have been collected from the Bin since its installation by Civic Center staff in August 2019. 

The Books for Kids project is a national program that was established in 1986. It is founded on the belief all children have a right to books and deserve dedicated spaces where they can read. The project is designed to expand access to books in the places where children learn, live, and play, and to empower adults to read alongside them in order to develop lifelong literacy skills during the most critical years of their development.

The Cleveland Kids’ Book Bank mission is to foster literacy and a love of reading by distributing free books to children in need through collaboration with community organizations. The Kids’ Book Bank opened in February 2016 to receive, manage, and distribute truckloads of books every month. About 30% of their books come from the community. The rest come from online used booksellers.

The Rocky River Kids’ Book Bank outdoor collection bin, just one of several around the Cleveland, provides a place where community members can deposit new and gently-used children’s books that they are no longer using. The Book Bank distributes the donated books through over 1,000 partner organizations who work with children and parents to encourage them to read.


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

An Invitation To Practice

Nicole Tera Jeet

Hello dear friends and fellow humans. My name is Nicole Tera Jeet. Tera Jeet means she who overcomes all obstacles in realizing she belongs only to God. God here refers to the loving nature that exists within all beings and the source of all life. In honesty, I have belonged to many things. I have belonged to parents, to friends, to lovers, to food, to mind altering substances, to work, to emotions, to thoughts, to ideas, to obsessions, to approval of others, and to controlling that which lies outside of me. All of these alienate me from a sense of embodiment and fulfillment. I am humbled to have found a practice that supports me in strengthening my body, mind, and heart so that I may show up in conscious ways for my community. The practice of yoga goes beyond the physical aspects of moving the body. It is a way of raising awareness of self to be of better service to others. It is a way of living from the space within us that is rooted in loving nature. 

The source of life that supports not only me, but every being in existence-- my fellow humans, animals, plants, earth, and universe-- is to what I truly belong. I share these teachings and hold space for others with Kundalini Yoga classes. The classes I offer focus on the relationship we carry with the life force within us and all things. The repetitive movements done in Kundalini Yoga invite us to reconnect with our own rhythm. A tool to help us listen to our unique song-- the one we knew so well as children. A teacher once told me that my soul's favorite sound is the sound of my own voice. That one really stuck with me-- the idea that my greatest desire lies within me. Once we know our song we can experience being part of the symphony of the collective.


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

Lakewood Kiwanis Offering Scholarships To 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 will award eight $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 colleges or universities. 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 Lakewood Kiwanis. Please submit by April 1, 20. Kiwanis serving Lakewood youth.

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

Starr Gazer


Aries: The Ram has never been a shy one, this month try finding love amongst the groups and associations you belong to…Tip: accept compliments, this may lead to love on that mountain.

Taurus: The Bull knows all about love, Venus just so happens to be all lit up in your sign this month, the Goddess of love points to your career, hang out at the water cooler just little longer.

Gemini: 'I believe in magic' is the Twins theme song this month, try some log-distance flirting, maybe even hang out at the travel agency, foreign love is waiting to communicate with you.

Cancer: The Crab is in love with love, sometimes a little too much, let your natural beauty shine this month, any dealings with taxes just might leave you with more than money in your account.

Leo: The Lion/Lioness has command over his/her jungle, pay extra attention to your relationships this month, business & personal, simply “be present” it’s not all about YOU.

VirgoIf there’s anyone who has closed their mind to love, it just might be you…try putting a lid on that criticism, create some healthy culinary surprises, & invite that Yoga instructor over.


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

Levy Commitments Status Check: Complete

The District elementary schools now all have makerspaces, such as this one at Lincoln Elementary.

This past April, our community resoundingly passed an operations levy for Lakewood City Schools with nearly 77% support of voters. During the levy campaign, the District shared with the community what its priorities would be for the new funds provided. Below is an update on where the District stands in regards to commitments promised:


  1. Expanding mental health services and counseling for students

    • Hired five Student Wellness and Success Specialists that are working in all of our elementary buildings

    • Expanded our partnership with the Cleveland Clinic for mobile mental health supports

    • Assigned a social worker and social worker-in-residence at LHS, provided through Cleveland Clinic

    • Continue to have an adolescent psychiatrist available one day per week through at the Cleveland Clinic Medical Clinic at LHS.

    • Created a Student Navigator position in partnership with Cleveland Clinic and a grant from the Three Arches Foundation to assist with risk assessments and transitioning students from mental health hospitalization. 

    • Dist

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

District Furthers Commitment to Equity, Inclusion

Last fall the District began its initial efforts in addressing the racial inequities and biases that exist in the District in the wake of this past summer’s tragic events that spurred a sense of urgency around the country to address systemic racism. In response, the District has formed a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force comprised of staff members across all buildings to examine where and how the District must address deficiencies that create barriers for some students to achieve their full potential.

The District DEI task force has been meeting monthly since October and staff members throughout the District have also been addressing the issue on their own initiative. Much of the DEI committee work is being done in subgroups in order for staff to dig deep in different areas. Subgroups include: special education identification; discipline practices; gifted/advanced classes; leading elementary conversations; engaging students in leadership/clubs and in cultural competence and critical consciousness; engaging families; engaging/training staff; and hiring practices. 

The work is already having an impact. Building on the Board of Education’s resolution passed in August urging the Ohio Department of Education to revise current core content standards to be more inclusive, Lakewood High beginning next school year will offer African American and Native American history electives that will allow teachers to more adequately explore contributions of Americans of all cultures and races. 


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

LHS Junior Runner-Up In Racial Justice Essay Contest

Miles Watts

Congratulations to Lakewood High junior Miles Watts, who captured second place in the junior/senior category in Tri-C's Stand for Racial Justice High School Essay Contest. More than 200 students from across Northeast Ohio entered the contest. The second-place honor earns Miles a cash prize of $500. 

Read Miles' essay below: 

Racism isn’t just one thing, it is a combination of philosophies. When broken down racism is inequality, an imbalance of opportunities. Racism is an unjust and unfair treatment of minority groups. Racism is years of policies that were put in place to keep society in a state of imbalance and this is the sole reason there are such inequities. The core philosophies of racism strengthen one another. They mix and meld to form a construct. It is through the combination of these ideas that true racism is born, a seemingly unbreakable cycle of discrimination that many people ignore. We cannot let this happen any longer, and we cannot stand by and watch as good people suffer. Something must be done.

How do we address racism? By breaking the cycle. We need to be conscious of racism, we need to be aware that racism happens all around us. Many people (who are not its victims) ignore racism and choose to be ignorant because racism does not affect them personally. We need to make antiracism the new normal; switching from just disagreeing with racism to being actively antiracist in our everyday lives. We need to teach and portray tolerance and inclusivity, acknowledging and accepting one another’s backgrounds and differences. We greatly affect those around us, especially those younger than us. Being a role model by having an attitude of tolerance and acceptance can instill positive ideas into young minds. Including everyone can help diverse groups of people become accepting of one another’s differences, this can eliminate racist ideas that come naturally and can start a trend of acceptance in society. We need to use our privilege to spread awareness – staying silent only adds to the problem and can be taken as agreement. We can also use our influence (such as being a teacher, parent, politician) to spread awareness and promote positive behavior to those who support us.


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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

NFPA And State Farm Announce Grants For Wildfire Preparedness Projects

Wildfires burn twice as much land area each year as they did 40 years ago, and the threat continues to increase (even in Ohio). State Farm is committed to helping communities prepare for and reduce their risk of wildfire damage. That is why for the eighth year in a row, State Farm is sponsoring National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) on May 1, 2021.

State Farm will be providing funding for 150 projects in the amount of $500 each to cover expenses related to individual grassroots efforts. Activities can be coordinated by anyone (individuals, a small group, an entire neighborhood or a community-based organization) working to reduce wildfire risk, advance general wildfire preparedness, or minimize post-fire impacts from a recent wildfire.
Applications are now open for the grants.

Preparedness Day gives people of all ages a chance to plan and participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live. Communities, nonprofits, local firefighter groups, and individuals are all encouraged to submit an application with their ideas for reducing the threat of wildfires in their areas.

Project applications are now open for the grants and can be submitted through February 26, 2021.

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

Lakewood Dental Associates Rolls Out Same-Day Dental Crowns After CEREC Acquisition

The Lakewood Dental Associates CEREC tooth restoration sytem features a chairside 3D scanning wand and a milling unit which fabricates a beautiful replica tooth.

Lakewood Dental Associates has announced the acquisition of a high-tech CEREC 3D digital modeling system that will enable the practice to offer patients dental crowns, veneers, implants and tooth restoration in a fast and easy, single office visit.

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Volume 17, Issue 3, Posted 11:15 AM, 02.03.2021

Mayor's Corner: Building Momentum

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

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

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

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

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

LCRAC Wants To Hear From YOU!

Lakewood Residents!

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

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

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

You can fill out the survey by going to:


Jon Gromek
Lakewood Resident and Member, LCRAC

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

Citizen Map-Makers Invited To Join Redistricting Process

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

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

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


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

The Birds And The Trees

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Epiphany: January 6, 2021

The wise men did not come to this one.

They stayed home.

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

And they would not be stopped until they had trespassed

And trampled

And beaten

And stolen


They took away our innocence

Our trust that

Respect for this holy place

Would prevail and prevent pandemonium.

It did not.

And now we are left


Supremely saddened

And wondering

Why was it allowed to come to this?

How many times did we say,

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

Shame on all of us

And especially on you

Who was guided by self promotion

Rather than love for your country.

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

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

The View from Ward 2

Housing, Planning, and Development Committee

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

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

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


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

Fee Reductions Available For Driver’s License Reinstatements

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

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

Program requirements are as follows:


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