Latest News

Parents Protest Gutting Of Music And Physical Education Programs In Lakewood Elementary Schools

Last Monday a large group of parents gathered at the Lakewood Board of Education meeting to express their surprise, disappointment and anger over proposed changes in what is called the “specials” schedule in Lakewood elementary schools. “Specials” refers to art, music and physical education, subjects that are outside the main courses of study. 

Currently Lakewood elementary students have 100 minutes of music instruction a week. The new schedule the Board has decided to put in place will cut that by 60% in order to make room for STEM and something called “digital literacy.” Physical education will be cut by 54%. The new schedule gives equal weight to STEM, phys ed, music education, and digital literacy.

The community has been told that this new schedule represents an improvement for students because it offers “equity” among the different subjects. This presupposes that there is a group of parents who feel that free-standing STEM classes on an elementary level and “digital literacy” are so important that they must have the same weight as long established classes like music and physical education.  

Years of research prove the importance of music education on developing brains, especially in younger children. Research on the alarming increase in obesity in children proves the necessity of physical fitness and education about its importance for young children. The goal of having children participate in these subjects is not to produce athletes and musicians, but to promote sound bodies and minds so that they will do better in all of their subjects.

Parents and educators lined up to make their opinions known on all aspects of this decision. 

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 7, Posted 12:08 PM, 03.15.2023

LHS Model UN Club Shines At CWRU

Congratulations to the Lakewood High School Model UN Club for a stellar performance at this semester's Cleveland Council on World Affairs Conference held at Case Western Reserve University.

Parker Toke and Jack Phillips won an Excellent Delegation. Honorable Mention Awards went to Aribeth Moore-Gucik, Tarik Ibrisagic & Milo Horseman. Good job by advisor Ms Kindstrand and the entire club!

Thanks so much to the Lakewood Ranger Education Foundation, who, through the Margaret Warner Teacher grants, helps make experiences like this possible, and to Ms Kinstrand, an outstanding advisor that stepped up to fill this volunteer position..

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Mayor's Corner: Access To Our Waterfront

We can all agree that our city is truly fortunate to sit on the shores of Lake Erie. Having direct access to our state’s most important public asset provides immense benefits to the people of Lakewood. The team at City Hall is interested in finding ways to offer Lakewood residents more opportunities to enjoy Lake Erie. It’s a shared goal that we have also heard often from many of you, our constituents.

With this in mind, the City is undertaking a Lakewood Park Waterfront Access Feasibility Study. This study is an effort to determine how we can realize more elements of the Lakewood Park Master Plan, which envisioned multiple points of access to the lake. The feasibility study is funded in part by a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources through their Coastal Management Assistance Grant.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 7, Posted 12:08 PM, 03.15.2023

District Begins Facilities Usage Study

The Lakewood City Schools has secured the services of the architectural firm GPD Group to conduct a facility study to assist in the assessment of the current use of District facilities and explore opportunities to maximize the use of those facilities and resources. The study will include an assessment of existing conditions and use, a review of educational programming needs, a review of enrollment projections, and the facilitation of a Facility Study Task Force to provide feedback and develop recommendations for facility improvements. The task force is comprised of staff, parents and community members.

“As educational leaders, we have a responsibility to care for, protect, and maintain our facilities and buildings,” said Superintendent Maggie Niedzwiecki. “Additionally, we have the responsibility to periodically review the use of our facilities and the role each facility plays in helping us achieve our mission in ways that are financially responsible, sustainable, and provide the greatest opportunities for our students’ growth.”

Over the coming months, updates on the progress of this process will be posted regularly on the District website. The District will also be hosting a series of community engagement events and opportunities for feedback later this spring. 

“The Lakewood City Schools is fortunate to have a long history of support and partnership with the community,” said Board of Education President Michael J. Callahan. “The community has supported the district’s mission of developing responsible citizens who are critical and creative thinkers, committed to lifelong learning, invested in a diverse society, and prepared for technological and global opportunities through many ways, including the building of excellent educational and athletic facilities for our students and community members.”


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Do The Bunny Hop And Hop On Over

There are two opportunities for the families in Lakewood to participate in Easter Egg Hunts. On Saturday April 1, Lakewood Lutheran School, 14560 Madison Avenue will host their Easter Egg Hunt starting at 11 am. Grace Preschool will host their hunt on Saturday April 8 also starting at 11 am. Both events are open to all families for children ages 10 and under. Activities and refeshments are also on the menu at both locations. Keep a keen eye out for the Easter Bunny. You might even get a picture with the bunny! Smile!

Hope you hop on over!

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

County Lines: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 133

Spike In Vain - Jesus Was Born In A Mobile Home - Scat Records - ?? songs - LP, digital, cassette

Note: I’m reviewing the LP here, which contains the entirety of the cassette (with an alternate version of one song inserted in its place), but with bonus material and in a rearranged order (for an experience truer to the original, I guess just pick up the tape). This finally completes the Spike In Vain trilogy (unless there’s more unknown stuff lurking somewhere, I suppose): this was the band’s second release, following up the classic “Disease Is Relative” LP. Sort of an in-between release with some live stuff scattered in, closer to “Disease” than to the later “Death Drives A Cadillac” material. Right off the bat, this is the least essential of the three records, but it’s still definitely worth hearing. For the most part, the best stuff is what was on the original tape— it’s pretty undeniable that “Little Voice That Betrays” and “Ugly And Damaged” and “Helga At The Square Dance” are among the best Spike In Vain songs (also I’d like to mention “Love Isn’t Hollow,” the final track on the tape, which was recorded in 1981 and I think is therefore the earliest released Spike In Vain recording– it’s a great track). However, while a lot of the live stuff on here is decent but kind of too lo-fi to really stick (though with titles like “Killing Frame Of Mind” and “Michael Landon Pukes On Your TV” there’s still something there), there’s an equal amount of great bonus stuff. The alternate recording of “Rejected By No. 12” is classic Spike In Vain; an extended live version of “Opus” is incredible and makes me wish they’d done this full thing for the “Disease Is Relative” album (though the version that is on there is still very good); “Swamp Baby Blues” points towards the more Gun Club-influenced sound of “Death Drives…”; the live version of “E.K.G.” here has an absolutely insane vocal performance; and “Strangeland County,” originally released on the excellent “They Pelted Us With Rocks and Garbage” comp, might be my favorite Spike In Vain song ever— who else sounds like this? This band is hardcore, goth, death rock, no wave, art rock, blues— and somehow it all works. While this may be the Spike In Vain record to get once you’re already into the band, it’s still definitely a record to get. 4/5

Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email or send it directly to the Observer: PO Box 770203, Lakewood, OH 44107.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

LHS Finishes First On Academic Challenge

Today, we finally found out (the students kept the secret) that the Lakewood High School Academic Challenge Team finished first in their appearance on Channel 5's, outscoring Elyria Catholic and Medina Highland. Kudos to Ellie Clark, Sam Thomas and Owen Rumsey for both their fine performance and all the practice hours they logged—it clearly paid off. (All three of them are intellectually curious and solid citizenss of LHS—great ambassadors for our school).
Advisors Ms. Alten and Ms. Sabin are dedicated teachers that give a lot to our school, and are instrumental in the success of this club.

A healthy, vibrant academic/social school ecosystem relies on students and teachers like this, who do the extra things to add energy, purpose and opportunity to our institution. In my opinion, no school exceeds LHS in the breadth of curricular and co-curricular opportunities. (I'm sure my view will be even stronger after I see "Anastasia" tonight). What a privileges it is to work with students and teachers like Ellie, Sam, Owen, Ms. Alten and Ms. Sabin. Long Live Lakewood

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

State Of The City Address

Save the date for the 2023 State of the City Address!
Please join us at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13th at the Cove Community Center as Mayor Meghan F. George delivers her 2023 State of the City Address.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Park Ambassadors Program

The City of Lakewood is working with new partner, Block by Block for the Parks Ambassador Program this spring and we are looking for individuals to serve as park ambassadors to staff city parks during the warm weather months. These ambassadors, titled Neighborhood Safety Specialists, will add safety services outside of traditional uniformed officers which helps to achieve a holistic approach to public safety.
“Ambassador programs with elements of safety work have been implemented across the U.S. by cities, neighborhoods, and community groups, including at least a half dozen locally in Cuyahoga County,” explained Mayor George. “The model will use trained personnel to provide a stable, friendly presence in our parks, interacting in a positive way with the public while also helping to identify and report potential safety issues before they arise or escalate.” The Mayor noted that the ambassadors will wear easily identifiable uniforms and ride bicycles to traverse the parks and provide a visible presence.
Neighborhood Safety Specialists will patrol 5 Lakewood parks (Lakewood, Madison, Cove, Kauffman, Wagar) on foot and bike to provide a stable, friendly, presence. Part of their duties will involve being on the lookout for and serving as a deterrent to unwanted behavior and activity to identify and report potential issues before they arise or escalate.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Cove Community Center Partners with Colors+

In partnership with Colors+, an LGBTQ+ Youth Center in Fairview Park, the Cove Community Center is hosting two regular programs for families in the Lakewood community.
Connections Drop-In is an open afterschool space where youth from ages 11-19 can enjoy connecting with one another while focusing on emotional, social, and mental wellness skills in a judgement free environment. Connections Drop-in is held at the Cove Community Center on Mondays from 3:30-5:00 p.m.
Parent Connections provides an environment for parents/caregivers to gather in discussion to support one another and learn how to support a child who has come out as trans, gender expansive, or when a child is beginning to question their LGBTQ+ identity. This group meets on the second Monday of each month from 6:30-7:30 p.m.
For more information about these programs please contact Jessica Parker at or 216-529-5018.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Gov. DeWine Awards District $1M Safety Grant

Gov. Mike DeWine today announced that Lakewood City Schools will receive a $1 million grant as part of the state’s fourth round of awards from the Ohio School Safety Grants program. Gov. DeWine traveled to Lakewood to make the announcement at a press conference at Lakewood High School. 

Gov. Mike DeWine today announced that Lakewood City Schools will receive a $1 million grant as part of the state’s fourth round of awards from the Ohio School Safety Grants program. Gov. DeWine traveled to Lakewood to make the announcement at a press conference at Lakewood High School. 

Gov. DeWine was joined at the press conference by Superintendent Maggie Niedzwiecki, Board of Education President Michael J. Callahan, Treasurer Kent Zeman, Lakewood Mayor Meghan George, City Council President John Litten and Police Chief Kevin Kaucheck.

“Security is a very important thing and it takes time and commitment and we appreciate the work the superintendent has done and that the chief has done.” Gov. DeWine said in announcing the grant for the District, one of 945 in the round of $68 million overall.

The District plans to use the grant money to upgrade the locks of many of its buildings’ classroom doors, to install ballistic window film on the high school cafeteria windows and to add a signal booster to our radio network to improve communication between our Safety Resource Officers and the City of Lakewood Police Department.

Superintendent Maggie Niedzwiecki spoke to the urgency of addressing school security in her comments at the press conference:


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Letters To The Editor: "East Palestine" And "Plastic Bags Are Expensive"

East Palestine Thoughts

Dear Readers,

How safe are you if you live; say 20 ft. from the railroad tracks? Well, pretty safe if the trains have emergency braking systems. Not at all safe if they do not!

When a train car stops because it blew a brake or for any other reason, the whole train stops. Then the engineer walks the entire length of the train till he finds the problem. In East Palestine, the train did not stop when the cab stopped. So, don't we need to know if the trains that go through Lakewood next to a school, Giant Eagle, and lots of homes have an emergency braking system? Just a thought.

A concerned Lakewood citizen, Pat Cichowicz

Free Plastic Bags Are Expensive

FREE plastic bags are an illusion. The merchants pay for them and then pass the cost onto their customers through higher pices. If a grocer wants to buy my good will, I'd much prefer a discount on eggs. FREE plastic bags take away con- sumers' actual freedom. They force us to subsidize the plastics industry whether we want to or not.

Lakewood is definitely polluted with plastic bags. I have several hundred tucked away in my house alone. Although I reuse them for garbage and such, com- mon sense dictates that the volume of my garbage is less than the volume of my original purchases. There is no realistic market out there to recycle the excess.

If you're concerned about sanitation, tote bags can be washed. You have the freedom of control. How do you know that "pristine" plastic bag didn't come out of a store room contaminated with cockroaches and mouse pee? (I don't really think this is a problem, but people keep bringing it up...)

Of course, bags are a necessary evil. People need to organize their purchases. I agree that an all-out ban on plastic bags may have been over-kill, but why should they ever be free? People will conserve when it is in their interest to do so.

Donna Childs, Lakewood Resident

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 7, Posted 12:08 PM, 03.15.2023

Upcoming H2O Events

The City of Lakewood’s H2O “Help to Others” youth volunteer program has a busy season coming up! The H2O HOME ALONE youth safety and independence course, designed by high school leaders, is offered twice - on Wednesday, March 29th and Thursday, April 6th. This course conveys important safety information to 9–12-year-old students through engaging presentations.

The youth in attendance rotate with an assigned group through six interactive lessons. The topics covered include Mental Health and Wellness, Internet Safety, First Aid, Emergencies (including making emergency calls), Tricky People and Street Smarts (covering safety concerns encountered to and from home), and Routines and Siblings (conflict mediation, establishing healthy routines, and family communication).

A parent or guardian is required to attend, and they learn updated safety information from professionals as well. This course is a wonderful foundation for families to start discussing independence and to extend those conversations throughout adolescence. Parents who attended past sessions have said, “You will learn things you didn’t already know or think about,” “a great way to empower our kids and each other,” and “It’s a must! Attend multiple years.”


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

A Restoration Appreciation: The Warriors Club And Tournament Time

Progress has little sentimentality, and it's sometimes surprising how easy it is for the brain to forget and adapt, especially to that which is no longer seen. In the hamlet of Lakewood, churches have become CVS. The Detroit Theater a McDonald's. Miller's Dining Room an Auto Zone. And Lakewood Hospital...there was one? 

Tides turn. Cliffs crumble. Youth eventually ellipses and dissolves... 

Then, on a thick, gray Tuesday morning in February, while traveling on Detroit onto Granger then a left on Northwood, you happen by an old haunt, the grade school through middle in which much of life's template was created and unfolded, friendships made, dreams un-spooling and drifting toward the some day. And on this February day, the lights are on in your classrooms. Those warm long ago nooks.  There's something going on in all those lighted squares. Even after all these years. 

It brings a smile. And quiet thanks, volleyed toward whomever felt that this place was worth preserving, worth providing a new life for. You don't often see such. 

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Harding Students' Poems In National Exhibit

A group poem by some Harding Middle School sixth graders in Kevin Spooner's class is on display at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., as part of the Dear Ukraine global community poem project. Student Leelu Baxter's individual poem also was selected to be in the exhibit. Leelu and other select students read their poems at a Dear Ukraine reception held March 12 at Lakewood Public Library. Read the poems in the national exhibit below:

Advanced Social Studies 5th period poem:

I'm so far from knowing the stomachache
you get every time you scurry from the gunfire.
From the blast of bombs ringing in your ears.
From the ashes of the places you once loved.
May you shower yourself with memories
of all the times you’ve won, with the hope you
won’t forget the shine and warmth of peace.


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

WordStage Literary Concerts Announces The Opening Of Its 2021-22 Season

WordStage Literary Concerts opens its 2023 Season with “A Salon for Mr. Lincoln” in the Wright Chapel of the Lakewood Presbyterian Church – 14502 Detroit Ave. in Downtown Lakewood on Saturday, March 18th at 7:00 p.m.

Abraham Lincoln was a great lover of music. His eclectic taste spanned everything from Grand Opera to Musical Hall ditties to stirring Hymns and Patriotic Anthems. Our program is based upon the many musical evenings he and Mary Todd Lincoln hosted during their residency at the White House, sharing their love of convivial conversation and memorable music, as well as Lincoln’s incognito visits to various Music Halls just to relax and be entertained.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Lakewood As Seen From The Air

The author doing what she loves.

On my 74th birthday, in 2018, I rented a single engine Cessna 172 airplane and a Certified Flight Instructor. I hadn't flown since 1975, so I was not Current, which is why I took a Flight Instructor. My grandmother DIED at 74; I FLEW at 74! You could say that I GOT HIGH ON MY BIRTHDAY!

I flew from Zone Aviation at Burke Lakefront Airport. I got my Flight Training from Freedom Field Airport in Medina, Ohio, back in the 1970's. It was my dream to become a C.F.I. I used personal loans for my training, and got as far as my Commercial Pilot License, but was not financially able to to take out additional loans since I had to get an apartment. I never lost my love of flying. An airplane is so not a car!

It's so nice having Burke Lakefront Airport right downtown. A church friend drove me to the airport. That day was really covered in prayer! I can still see the Divine in the photos I took. The color of the sky and the lake was beautiful. And, the air was as smooth as glass. It is usually bumpy in a small plane.

I just love the Cessna 172. It is a four seat airplane, and the Cessna has a high wing design and a back window! My Flight Instructor was a young woman who was eight and a half months pregnant. She walked around the plane with me, refreshing my memory of Preflight.

We got into the airplane, me in the left seat; the Pilot in the Command seat. My instructor handed me a headset. In my day, we used a hand held microphone and had to shout to the person sitting next to us! I turned the key and started the engine. Ah! Music to my ears; AIRPLANE ENGINE NOISE! I love the way an airplane roars to life and vibrates all over in anticipation of FLYING! I also enjoy the use of rudder pedals while taxiing on the ground. Again, so not a car!

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Lakewood Public Library Children’s And Youth Services Programs

Pre-school Story Time: For You and Your 2 to 5-Year-Old Pre-schooler

This pre-school story time is ideal for walkers, new talkers, and learning early literacy skills. You and your toddler and preschoolers will enjoy short books, songs and rhymes. The focus is on skills with your participation as a model. Registration is required. 
Main Library- Tuesdays, April 4- April 25, 2023 
10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. 
11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. 
Wednesdays, April 5- April 26, 2023 
11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. 
Madison Branch- Thursdays, April 6- April 27, 2023 
10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Just Baby 'N Me: For You and Your Birth to 24-Month-Old Baby

Just Baby 'N Me is a lap-sit story time ideal for babies from birth through early walkers. The focus is on rhymes, songs, finger plays and exploring short books together. Registration is required. 
Wednesdays, April 5- April 26, 2023 
10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. 
6:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. 
Thursdays, April 6- April 27, 2023 10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Rood Food And Pie

This was my first time making restaurant reservations; it was a real crowd-pleaser! Everyone we invited to Rood enjoyed it. 

Rood has a fairly unique menu, but we were thrilled when we saw it. While the offerings were different from what we’d usually go for, everything sounded amazing. Both the food and the cocktails were incredibly enticing and, honestly, I wish I could have tried one of each item. 

The server was very kind and patient and even recommended her favorite dishes and drinks. She definitely made the experience even better. Good service is a major plus and it was fantastic being served by someone who seemed so knowledgeable about the menu. 

After reviewing the menu, I decided to order based on the server's recommendations. She recommended Arancini, crisp mozzarella-stuffed risotto resting on a delicious arrabbiata sauce, sweet corn crab cakes placed on top of velvety grits, charred octopus (tasted like grilled pork ribs), and focaccia.

These were all appetizers. We decided that getting a sampler of appetizers to share would be more fun than each getting individual entrées, but next time I’d love to order the Cajun shrimp and grits!

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 6, Posted 12:10 PM, 03.15.2023

Lincoln Community Raises $8400 At Jump Rope For Heart

Congratulations to the Lincoln community for raising more than $8,400 for the American Heart Association during its Jump Rope for Heart campaign! The school celebrated with a joyous assembly with an amazing performance by the Jump Rope Club, led by Mrs. Anderson, and of course the traditional pie-the-teacher-in-the-face event for the top fundraisers! A fun way to celebrate a meaningful achievement!

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

East Palestine - Can It Happen Here?

"The Place To Be..." Proud of their community, homes, schools parks...

Three weeks ago, a day after the railroad accident in East Palestine, residents of Lakewood asked, “Can it happen here?” At the time no one knew the cause. Today we have been told that it was a wheel bearing axle failure. Which means, yes it can happen here. So Deb and I took a field trip to East Palestine to speak with the people and see the layout.

News reports had the train going through Cleveland on the way to East Palestine. Also reports had the bearing failing and the fire starting as much as an hour before the accident, and video of the train on fire 30 minutes before the accident. This puts the accident starting just outside of Cleveland.

After speaking with a guy who has been a railroad electrician for decades, but not on Norfolk and Southern, his thoughts were, “Possibly a failure in a heat box.” Heat boxes are located at random distances of 20-50 miles. They are about the size of a shoebox. They attach to the outside of the rail, measure the heat, and take photos of each wheel, the axle and bearing go over it. If excess heat is detected it sounds an alarm that is sent to the engineer and at the next station they stop the train immediately. He thought only a failure would allow this to happen as the distance was so great. This indicates to me, and the electrician concurs, that bearings and axles are a weak spot for trains. After all, why the expense to monitor? This again underlines the idea that it can happen here.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Lakewood Kiwanis Is Calling All Graduating Hgh School Seniors…

--who live in Lakewood. We have scholarships to award.

The Kiwanis Club of Lakewood is proud to be offering its 2023 scholarship program to graduating high school seniors. The club’s foundation increased the awards to FOURTEEN $10,000 scholarships, $2500 per year for 4 years each.

Edward Hadaway, Kiwanis scholarship committee chairman said, “Eligible applicants can be students at any accredited high school, but must be a resident of Lakewood and a citizen of the United States. 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; with qualities of leadership, honesty, loyalty, diligence and participation in extracurricular activities.”

Applications and contact information is online at Please submit by April 1, 2023.

Lakewood Kiwanis serves Lakewood youth. We celebrated our Centennial year in 2021. 

Anna Bacho is a member of Lakewood Kiwanis.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Mayor's Corner: Make Use Of Our Car Seat Fit Stop And Neighborhood Paramedic Program

In Lakewood, public safety is always top of mind. That priority on safety takes many forms, and I’d like to take some time to highlight two important programs that we launched last year to be proactive in protecting some of our most vulnerable Lakewood residents. Those programs are our Car Seat Fit Stop and our Neighborhood Paramedic Program, both provided by our top notch Lakewood Fire Department.

In July, our fire department began offering the Car Seat Fit Stop again, a program that had existed in the past and was brought back to help parents and caregivers ensure that child safety seats are properly installed. Our firefighters perform the installations, engaging in dialogue with program participants while they work to show the best methods to set up the car seats. With so many different models (our fire department are aware of at least 80 models currently in the market), it can be difficult for parents and caregivers to know what to look for to make things as safe as possible. Our firefighters also go over some helpful tips on general child safety while working on the car seats – it’s a great opportunity to talk broadly with residents about how we can all work together to keep kids safe.

Currently, seven fire department members have been certified through the national Child Passenger Safety Technician training program to provide this vital service. The Fire Department is hosting a Fit Stop event every month, doing so on weekends to make it easier for families to participate. In only a few months of operation, our Lakewood firefighters have helped dozens of families through this fantastic program. If you are interested or know someone who might be, please visit the City website ( to find out more or sign up for a future Fit Stop session.


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Lakewood Kiwanis’ Harding Builder’s Club Builds Leaders

March 20th thru the 24th, 2023 is Kiwanis International recognition week for Kiwanis Builders. The Kiwanis Club of Lakewood is proud to sponsor 1 Builder's Club at Harding Junior High.

Builder’s is a youth leadership club in the Kiwanis family for middle school. Each Builder's club has a school/administrator advisor and Lakewood Kiwanian advisor. The club officers are elected at the beginning of the school year and installed by a Kiwanian officer.

After that is in place, the voting of projects by the kids is done for the year. Our Builder’s projects include food drives, dog blankets for The Alaskan Iditarod Race, and fundraising efforts for world projects, such as World Wildlife Association. The kids learn that they have a voice in the club and need to make the commitment to complete their projects.

Leadership in school and community is supported by both the school faculty advisor and Lakewood Kiwanis.

Kiwanis International Builder’s motto is "Building Leaders" and Harding School Builders are doing that today.

Go Harding Builders! Lakewood Kiwanis is proud of you.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Dr. G's Ranger Round Up: Girls Basketball OHSAA Tournament

February 11, 2023  Lakewood vs. North Royalton

Today at the New East Gym, down 5 points late in the 3rd Quarter, the Lakewood Girls rallied for a nail biting 51-49 victory over North Royalton in OHSAA Tournament play. With 4 seconds left, the Bears were inbounding near the basket on the sideline, with nightmares of a 3-point walk-off loss looming. But, in a play that has characterized her Lakewood Rangers career, senior Jacquie Hudak stole the ball (pictured, with Sydney Hampton looking on) to seal the hard fought victory. Today's was a true team effort, as the Bear defense focused on and contained junior standout Delaney Garcia, who still managed 11 rebounds and 12 points to lead the Lakewood scoring. Jacquie's off the bench efforts ( 6 points, stout defense) were necessary, in part, because twin sister Sam (3 points) was in foul trouble for much of the game and eventually fouled out.   Senior guard Sydney Hampton also played an outstanding game, scoring 8 and doing much of the ball handling. (She sat for perhaps 2 total minutes.). Aya McAuiffe (3 points ), Ally Bookman (4 points) and Sophia Zarbio (2 points) provided valuable minutes off the bench. Senior post Ava Carroll was vital today, scoring eight points, grabbing 7 rebounds and playing tough defense in the paint. Lakewood's rugged team defense was led by senior Nettie Doran, who contained North Royalton's standout junior Brooklyn Gambino, who still aged to score 12. Nettie scored five, including a crucial momentum swinging three pointer to put the Rangers ahead midway through the 4th quarter.   Lakewood did not play its finest basketball today, but this is a fabulous win considering the circumstances, including a tough opponent. Having lost by 1 point on the road in OT in the GLC Championship game last week, the mental toughness to bounce back is impressive—especially after having an 11 point lead turn into a 5 point deficit over the latter part of the 1st half till midway through the 4th quarter. Long Live Lakewood.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Lots Of Water: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 132

Craig Bell - The Room In My Head - Gustav Records - 11 songs - CD, digital

Believe it or not, this is Craig Bell’s first ever solo album (there are two experimental digital-only albums, but those are by craigbell, not Craig Bell so they don’t count and they also weren’t released physically as far as I can tell and that actually is important— and “aka Darwin Layne” is a compilation so it also doesn’t count). Anyway. There’s a nice mix of stuff on here— some punk (like “Real To Me,” which sounds a lot like the Bizarros and has a hurdy-gurdy part— you don’t hear that every day!; and “2101” which I’m not sure what the significance is as a number but Craig makes it sound really cool), a psychedelic meditation (“Be Here Now”), two very different types of experimental music (the ominous “Who’s Watching The Watchers,” where Craig delivers a great vocal performance and “Careful With That Axe, Body Spray,” where he’s joined by fellow X__X members John Morton and Andrew Klimeyk for a true no wave freakout— is the title a little dumb? Maybe— I can’t really tell what he’s talking about), some genuinely great ‘60s throwback garage (“Out Of My Mind” and “Move Along,” both with some great keyboard; I especially like the former’s “everybody wants to be 007” bridge— if not for the modern production, you could tell me it was a song from “Nuggets” and I’d believe you), and some more straightforwardly pop material like “A Little Bird” and “Goodbye.” A lot of really good material to be found here. I think Craig sometimes gets overlooked amidst flashier or more out-there contemporaries/bandmates like David Thomas or John Morton, but hopefully people will hear this record. 4/5


Jenny Mae - What’s Wrong With Me? - Don Giovanni Records / Anyway Records - 14 songs - LP, digital

This is a compilation of singles and unreleased tracks by the late Jenny Mae. If you read Bela Koe-Krompecher’s "Love, Death & Photosynthesis," you know how interesting and tragic the Jenny Mae story is and if you haven’t, you should really read the book because it’s very good. Anyway (no pun intended)— I think this might be the best place to get into Jenny Mae. It’s a solid representation of her whole career and the various types of sounds she did. The first four tracks here are her earliest recordings and they immediately set the tone. “He Don’t Care About You” is a pretty solo keyboard ballad and the other three add drum machine. The keyboard hook on “Big Scary Face” will be stuck in your head, as will bits and pieces of most of these songs— Jenny Mae knew how to write a catchy melody. After that, there are a few tracks that were meant for her never-finished third album;

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Lakewood Law Can Eliminate County Plastic Bag Ban Here

Tell Lakewood City Council and Mayor Megan George to opt out of the foolish and counter-productive extremist plastic bag ban that Cuyahoga County Council arrogantly imposed as a law county-wide. Cleveland, Brooklyn, Strongsville, North Olmsted and Independence wisely opted out. Call me at 216-221-0228 to get organized.

Prohibiting merchants from giving customers a free plastic bag to put their purchase in is stupid. Using paper bags destroys trees, thereby worsening global warming. Paper bags leak and cannot be sealed, for garbage, dog poop, etc... That forces us to buy plastic bags which are expensive and thicker plastic, putting more plastic in the environment. Plastic bags can be recycled into various products.

Lakewood is not polluted with plastic bags. Tote bags become dirty and unsanitary. This un-American bag ban takes away our freedom and is dictatorial big government. Councilpersons and mayors who allow this oppressive bag ban should be replaced. This Lakewood bag ban is a reason to shop in Cleveland, not Lakewood.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

March Events At Lakewood Public Library

Booked for Murder Book Club

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m.

Main Library Meeting Room   

If you share a passion for mystery, join the group each month to discuss your favorites and selections made by group members.

March 16, 2023 "Daisy Darker" by Alice Feeney


Knit & Lit Book Club

Tuesdays at 7:00 p.m.

Main Library Meeting Room

Come share your passion for great literature and show off your knitting, crocheting, counted cross-stitch, embroidery and quilting works-in-progress.

March 21, 2023 "Sankofa" by Chibundu Onuzo

Meet the Author – "The Seeds of Greatness are Within You"

Book by Wayne Dawson

Saturday, March 11, 2023 at 2:00 p.m.

Main Library Auditorium


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Starr Gazer


ARIES: The Ram is torn between being seen & taking care of business behind the scenes this St. Patty’s Day…with Jupiter in the 1st house of the physical self, take it easy on the Irish Beer.

TAURUS: The Bull will certainly feel like coming out of the Bull Pen & partying since the Sun is shining on its house of friendships, but you have Jupiter exposing the hidden pot o’ gold.

GEMINI: The Twins will probably start their Irish Jig from the office where the Shamrocks are lighting the place up; Jupiter invites all your friends & associatiates, Oh Danny Boy, lookout.

CANCER: The Crab may be sipping an Irish Coffee in a Castle in Ireland, the Sun is shining on foreign lands, & Jupiter is bringing the rainbow to your professional arena, may the road rise.

LEO: The Lion/Lioness can’t hide his Blarney from the Jungle, the Sun is shining on his house of secrets & his/her good luck has landed in a Jungle overseas, top o’ the morning to ya…

VIRGO: Virgo has the Irish Luck this month; Jupiter, the giver of blessings, has landed in your house of other people’s money & the Sun in your partnership house. Be sure to share the green.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

The Empty Seat

I would like to spread the word of a national program that quietly brings attention to our service members who were prisoners of war and those who are still missing.

Rolling Thunder, Inc. National POW-MIA Chair of Honor Program is intended to bring daily reminders of the POW-MIA issue to cities and towns all across the nation. 

The POW-MIA chair in any location is to remain empty to help people remember and represent those service members who are unable to fill them. Boston became the first city to have a Chair of Honor at ALL of their professional sports venues back in 2013. 

Chairs and their accompanying plaques can be customized and personalized for various venues but all have the POW-MIA logo with a message of "You are not forgotten. Since World War I, more than 92,000 American soldiers are unaccounted for. This unoccupied seat is dedicated to those brave men and women and to the sacrifices each made in serving this country. God Bless You. God Bless America."

Surrounding communities have jumped on board with this and I am surprised that in 2023, Cleveland and Lakewood have not yet. Every city in America should have one.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

CityMusic Cleveland Returns To Lakewood Congregational Church For Upcoming Concert

CityMusic Cleveland principal clarinetist, Daniel Gilbert will perform.

Photo/CityMusic Cleveland

Mark your calendar for Friday, March 17 for a concert you won’t want to miss! CityMusic Cleveland returns to Lakewood Congregational Church as klezmer and classical melodies swirl together in Osvaldo Golijov’s epic work, "The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind." This virtuous piece will be performed by CityMusic Cleveland principal clarinetist Daniel Gilbert and conducted by Joel Smirnoff. Also on the program is Beethoven’s "'Kreutzer' Sonata Op. 47," in a rare arrangement for string orchestra.  

CityMusic Cleveland is a professional chamber orchestra dedicated to making classical music accessible through free concerts and innovative programming throughout Northeast Ohio. This concert will take place Friday, March 17 at 7:30 p.m. at Lakewood Congregational Church at 1375 W Clifton Blvd. Admission is free.

For more information and to make a donation, visit

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Where The Elite Meet To Eat

Do you know or remember in the 40's, 50's and possibly into the 60's, when family entertainment was gathering around the huge, floor model Philco Radio?  We would be listening to Burns and Allen, Mr. and Mrs. North, the crime mystery detectives, and The Lone Ranger when suddenly a phone would ring through the radio's speakers!

A male voice answered with, "Duffy's Tavern, where the elite meet to eat. Archie the manager speakin'. Duffy ain't here… Oh. Hello Duffy." And then the laughter began!

Well, you might like to know that Lakewood has a place where the elite meet to eat as well and it's "The Place to Be" on Warren at Detroit Avenue. I like to refer to it as Lakewood's "Souper Bowl" as Chef George makes outstanding soups-- so good, that many patrons take orders home with them. Different every day, some of my favorites are classics like Manhatten style Clam Chowder, Tomato Basil, Broccoli Cheddar, and homemade Vegetable. Then there are unique soups known only to TPTB, like George's unique Stuffed Green Pepper soup, and the Creamy Lobster and Shrimp soup. So good.

Sometimes, I'll even order soup with my breakfast, which is great as well. The list of omelets are all worth trying. Don't overlook the "Greek" or "Crazy" omelets. You can request to "add color" green for spinach or white for onions. The staff is accommodating and the service is outstanding!

As you enter The Place To Be, Maria will greet and seat you. Christine, Faye or Poppi will take your order and engage in pleasant conversation before turning your order in to Chris, Jimmy, Gus, and "Souperman" George for perfect preparation.

Try it, you'll like it. The food, the conversation, and the laughs.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

LHS Spring Musical Set For March 10-12

The Lakewood High School Barnstormers Drama Club and the George P. Read Performing Arts Department proudly present "Anastasia: The Musical!" Inspired by the beloved film, Anastasia transports the audience from the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of 1920s Paris, as a young woman sets out to discover the mystery of her past. Pursued by a ruthless Soviet officer, Anya enlists the aid of a dashing conman and a lovable ex-aristocrat. Together, they embark on an epic adventure to help her find home, love, and family.

Tickets for the musical are available at a presale discount price online of $8. Tickets are $10 at the door. The Barnstormer spring musicals are always a bargain for such great entertainment! Performances are March 9, 10 and 11 at 7:30 pm in the Civic Auditorium. Go to to buy your presale tickets.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Legislation To Strengthen Ohio’s Earned Income Tax Credit

State Representative Michael J. Skindell

On February 15th, State Reps. Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood) and Dani Isaacsohn (D-Cincinnati)  introduced legislation to strengthen the State’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), making it partially refundable (Ohio House Bill 39).

The refundable federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the nation’s most effective anti-poverty program. The federal EITC in 2018 reduced the burden of poverty for 16.5 million people and lifted nearly 5.6 million people out of poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Ohio implemented a state EITC in 2013 and expanded the credit in 2019. Low to middle income Ohioans are eligible for the state EITC if they receive the federal credit and have earned income within the set guidelines. Unlike the federal EITC, the state credit is not refundable, making it one of the weakest in the nation. The introduced bill provides that 10 percent of the tax credit be refundable for state EITC recipients.

“By not offering a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit in Ohio, we are behind most states in the nation”, said Rep. Skindell. “Making the EITC partially refundable would be a significant start to lessening the burden on our working families.”

Making the state EITC refundable would boost family income and assist lower income communities by stimulating local economies.

The legislation was assigned to the Ohio House Ways and Means committee and now awaits a first hearing.

Caitlin Robertson is the Legislative Aide to State Representative Michael J. Skindell.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Hello Lakewood

Do you sleep on one side or the other? Do you fall down with precision or messy implications? Do you walk about with a hat or a scarf? Is there a way to know that you are here? (That last bit was, honestly, a typo?)

I have been around the world, is a way to introduce a sentence. But, one does live and duration amounts. So-- do you crave salt or sugar? Do you have a problem with your carpet with having to vacuum it? Do you fall down and get up with precision or does something else occur? Is there a way to know someone is here for you? (Not a typo.)

I once went climbing down a cliff with no ropes-- quite brave, yes. But, if one is not dead they get to type. So…do you, when asked, consider what you should say? Do you curse your vacuum for pleasure when you have to exchange nozzles for a particular amount of dust when you know this is just average? Do you wish that when you were young that people had not said-- things happen this way?

I have not been around the world-- not even close. I have been to Denver-- they have mountains at the western outskirts. You have to keep living until you don’t-- it shouldn’t be annoying but then there are questions. Do you have a moment when you want to leave the house you live within and the street is never a consideration of loss? Do you, when you sink in messy implications, involve everyone or just one, two? Do you eat? (That last bit was, clearly, a rather not question-- which has its value?)

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

H2O “Help to Others” Celebrates 30 Years With Memorable Tributary Bash

Attendees (from left to right) Rebecca and David Baas, Toni Gelsomino and Kate Ingersoll partake in "H2O Tributary Bash: A Seat at the Table" on February 4th. (Photo by Nancy Feighan)

They came from near and far to honor Lakewood’s incredible young people, and to partake in a celebration that was 30 years in the making.

A sellout crowd of 270 community members attended "H2O Tributary Bash: A Seat at the Table" on February 4th at Cove Community Center, enjoying a memorable night of festivities, philanthropy and fun. This 30th anniversary party and fundraising event served as a unique opportunity to celebrate an innovative program that has become part of the fabric of our community through empowering generations of young Lakewoodites to better the world around them.

"H2O Tributary Bash: A Seat at the Table" featured refreshments from Karen King Catering, live and silent auctions, a paddle raise, a wine pull, raffle prizes and games.  Thanks to the tremendous generosity of attendees, sponsors and alumni donors, the event generated approximately $59,000 to help fund H2O’s ongoing programming. 

"For 30 years, H2O has been an integral part of the Lakewood community, a one-of-a-kind program that cultivates volunteerism and civic engagement among young people to enrich our city and its neighborhoods," said H2O Coordinator Emmie Hutchison. "We’re truly grateful for the support we receive from our community, as well as from our extremely loyal alumni base, and this year’s Tributary Bash provided a shining example of that support in action. On behalf of everyone associated with H2O, thank you to the many volunteers, donors, sponsors and guests who made this remarkable occasion possible."

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Lakewood Public Library Children’s And Youth Services Programs

Pre-school Story Time

For You and Your 2 to 5-Year-Old Pre-schooler
This pre-school story time is ideal for walkers, new talkers, and learning early literacy skills. Registration is required. 
Main Library- Tuesdays, March 7- March 28, 2023 
10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. 
11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. 
Wednesdays, March 8- March 29, 2023 
11:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m. 
Madison Branch- Thursdays, March 9- March 30, 2023 
10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Just Baby 'N Me

For You and Your Birth to 24-Month-Old Baby
Just Baby 'N Me is a lap-sit story time ideal for babies from birth through early walkers. Registration is required. 
Wednesdays, March 8- March 29, 2023 
10:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. 
6:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. 
Thursdays, March 9- March 30, 2023 10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Legal Aid Can Help With Federal Income Tax Issues

If you are having tax issues, you don’t have to navigate it alone - Legal Aid is here to help! Legal Aid’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) is a free legal service that helps to resolve taxpayer disputes with the IRS regarding federal income tax matters.

Legal Aid attorneys can help taxpayers avoid going to court because of unresolved tax issues in a number of ways including negotiating with the IRS to accept less to settle a debt than the full amount owed, and lowering or eliminating taxable income from debts that were forgiven from banks and credit card companies. 

Legal Aid attorneys can also help prevent the IRS from taking property, wages and social security benefits; help with identity theft and tax preparer fraud; help obtain income tax records; protect against spousal abuses in connection with tax returns; advise taxpayers on their rights and obligations regarding the health care marketplace; and more.

Legal Aid was able to help Joel (name changed to protect privacy) with his tax issues. Joel received a letter from the IRS saying he owed a significant amount. Joel lives with his long-time girlfriend and her three young grandchildren. He claimed all of them as dependents on his taxes, but the IRS letter informed him that this was against the rules because he was not related to them and did not have custody.  


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Memorandum Calculo

A stone is a gear,

is fixed, has teeth

and tongue and groove

and lips.  A stone

is a gear fixed

to move exactly

as Earth moves.

Ralph Hutchison is a baker at the Root Cafe whose mission is to reduce and avoid the harmful effects of poverty in North East Ohio. Their tagline is "Modern algorithms running on the vintage acoustic media."

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 5, Posted 8:21 PM, 03.01.2023

Roundstone Pulls Out Of Holespital Deal

On February 13, 2023, social media erupted with the "disgrace of the City losing the Roundstone deal." It had that ill-informed outrage over something-- anything-- kind of tone.

So I made some calls and talked with some people just to get the record straight. 

The short story: the deal is not dead, but Roundstone did get a better offer in their hometown of Rocky River. While not official, that is believed to be the chosen site out of four others that emerged.

From the beginning Roundstone had wanted complete ownership and control of the project which was something the city of Lakewood never offered. What was agreed to originally, in principle, was that Roundstone would have condo-style ownership of 4 floors of the office space.

Over the ensuing months, things went back and forth through many public meetings, principles, boards and other participants. It was during this period of time that other offers were put forward, and all allowed Roundstone complete ownership and control of their site.

The good news is that 90% of the city was on board with the original plan and were working together towards a common goal. This is a very good sign that bodes well for their approach heading into the future with this project.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Mayor's Corner: Roundstone Is Out, Ex-Hospital Site Plans Shift To Include More Housing

Our team at City Hall continues to work towards achieving the community vision for the Downtown Development on the former Lakewood Hospital site with our development partner, CASTO/North Pointe Realty. The City and CASTO have been diligently working through the complex layers of site planning, architecture, engineering, finance, and legislative and administrative review necessary to meet our local requirements. However, the City recently received new information from one of the intended end users of the site which will shift some of the ultimate utilization of the site.

Roundstone Insurance has informed the City that its needs and priorities have changed. Roundstone desires to fully own and be sole user of the facility for their office, which is impossible to achieve within the community priorities for a mixed-use development that advances multiple community priorities and goals. With this information, it’s clear that the mixed-use vision Lakewood is pursuing in our downtown development no longer aligns with the corporate vision Roundstone has for its headquarters.


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Meeting Lakewood Artist Victor Melaragno

Victor Melaragno

Lakewood Is Art: a statement that is extremely true, and has been for a long, long, long time. Which brings me to an interesting conversation I had with Lakewood artist, husband, father, brother, naturalist and all around good guy, Victor Melaragno.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Series Of Lines: Reviews Of Recent Releases By Local Bands, Pt. 131

Cleveland Steamers - 10 More Steaming Piles Of Hit - Drome - 10 songs - LP, CD

Is the real news here that Drome Records is back or that Chris King (of Wild Giraffes fame) is now in this band? The Steamers’ last album prior to this was “Best Record Ever” in 2018, but they’ve had a few singles since then and now this brand new record. First thing, and it’s first because it’s what people are going to notice before anything else: the cover art and title of this record are terrible. Not only are they really dumb, but they don’t match the content here at all— you’d look at this and think it was a total novelty record, which it is not. Parts of this may have worked as a promo poster for the album or something but as artwork itself, it just does not, and I fear it may put off people who would actually enjoy the music. Anyway. This record is divided into two thematic halves (and “Love and Hate,” while basic, would’ve been a better title idea), which is pretty highbrow as far as this group goes. At first I liked the “Hate” side more, but upon repeated listening I think “Love” has the better songs. “Girl Like You,” “Water Balloon,” and “Marie” were a few highlights— good punky pop (or maybe poppy punk, I can’t decide). The style of the band’s music is pretty much unchanged from how it's always been, but the addition of Chris King certainly takes the band a step up (Cheese Borger, who usually sings, isn’t bad but delivers almost everything in a low monotone– the vocals of Meredith Rutledge-Borger are less present than usual on here but when she does appear she makes it count; there are several nice harmonies and backing vocals she provides) because he is very good– it’s been more than 40 years since the last Wild Giraffes single, but you wouldn’t know it from his voice. Side "Hate" has a slightly wider variety of stuff: the incredibly corny “Murder” (I’m sure the corniness is intentional since it’s so over the top); the bluesy “Bad Feelin’” (some good harmonica on this one); and my favorite of this side (and honestly, maybe the album), “Into The Cornfield,” which is as uptempo and punk as they get and Chris’s vocals are especially nuts. It’s a solid record and probably the most cohesive Cleveland Steamers album yet. 3.5/5

(Try a local record store or buy it on eBay from Cheese himself!)

Nick Cross - The Multiverse Waltz - Just Because Records - 9 songs - LP, digital

The text on the cover characterizes this as “guitar songs,” and while I suppose that’s somewhat accurate, it isn’t especially descriptive. This is far more laid back than Coffinberry or even Nick’s work in the Cross Brothers. Some songs fall into the indie folk/alt country genre(s), like the title track and “Turn To Blue,” whereas some stick closer to an indie rock sound, like “Azalea City” and “Darker Minds” (the latter of which was one of my favorites here). Nearly half (4 of the 9— this is mathematically true) are instrumentals, which is probably where the “guitar music” thing comes from. “On The Cosmic Telephone” and “Watch Me Disconnect” are sort of dreamy (and indeed, cosmic and disconnected); “Love You Same” almost sounds like a lullaby and I was picturing “Land Of Enchantment” as a soundtrack of sorts— I could see it (or hear it, I guess) in the background of some movie. Nick did this whole thing himself (apart from brother Tony showing up on “Doctor,” which added some nice harmony— it was another of the best ones on here, I think) and it does feel like a very solitary, homemade deal. The cover art doesn’t seem quite fitting for the music and almost feels tossed together (I was kinda wondering if it was a tribute to a different album cover perhaps) but hey: I liked the back cover, maybe it adds to the whole lo-fi charm of the thing, and anyway, you don’t play the sleeves, brother! I’ll admit I prefer the more upbeat stuff Nick has done (especially the Cross Brothers LP), but this is an interesting record with some nice songs on it. 3.5/5


Are you a local-ish band? Do you have a record out? Email or send it directly to the Observer: PO Box 770203, Lakewood, OH 44107.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Educator Spotlight: Byndas, Campfield & Portik

Three is the lucky number for this month's Educator Spotlight! Congratulations to Harrison Elementary intervention specialist Rebecca Byndas, Emerson Elementary cafeteria leader Kim Campfield and Lakewood High head swim coach Patricia Portik! Click on Read More to find out why these three are deserving of the February honor.


As a teacher, Harrison intervention specialist Rebecca Byndas from the beginning has been about challenging herself and finding ways to create a sense of community and belonging in the classroom. 

“She is always trying to figure out how to incorporate different things to include all students,” says Rebecca’s nominator, paraprofessional Elizabeth Stoneman.

When Rebecca realized that her preschool classroom included two students who are deaf, she knew she wanted to do something that would make them feel included. So she decided to learn sign language. Talk about a growth mindset! 

Elizabeth says that Rebecca is the first teacher in the 14 years she’s been working in the district that she has known to learn sign language to help a student. It warms Rebecca’s heart when she sees students signing to each other in the classroom. “It is amazing to see the progress in such a short time,” she says.

Rebecca joined the District in 2015 as a general education teacher and recently earned her special education certification for preschool. She loves seeing the great growth that happens at that young age. 


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

City Salutes Peter Viglianco For Achieving Eagle Rank

City Council saluted Peter Viglianco for achieving the Eagle rank in scouting at a recent meeting.  Peter, a senior at St. Ignatius H.S., is surrounded by his family. He is a member of BSA Troop 287, which is sponsored by and meets weekly at St. James Catholic Church. He is the 61st Eagle in the history of Troop 287.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

PTA Reflections Celebrate Student Creativity

Harrison student Safa Jabarkhil's artwork is on of the 25 pieces moving on to state judging.

The creativity and imagination of Lakewood City Schools' students were celebrated at the annual Lakewood PTA Council Reflections Ceremony, held Feb. 8 at Garfield Middle School. Sixty-seven art submissions from across the District were honored. Of those 67 pieces of art, 25 were chosen to move on to the state PTA judging, with winners to be announced in late spring. Overall, 90 students entered the contest.   The Reflections program offers students from schools with active PTAs the opportunity to create works of art for fun and recognition. Students in preschool through grade 12 are encouraged to submit works in seven arts areas: literature, dance choreography, film/video production, musical composition, photography and visual arts. All entries must follow a chosen theme, which this year was “Show Your Voice.”

Each school with a PTA can send up to 24 entries to the district level judging. Among works chosen for district-level recognition, the highest scoring works as deemed by a panel of judges evaluating on artistic merit, creativity and interpretation of the theme, move on to Columbus to compete with students’ work from around the state.

Here are the honorees. The bold names are of students moving on in the competition.

Visual Arts

  1. Josette Ballou – An Empty Room

  2. Maggie Barmann – Unconditional

  3. Haley Benjamin – Better Off Unsaid

  4. Lilly Benjamin – Show It, Because They Won’t Hear It

    1. Mackenzie Brown – In Water

    2. Olivia Brown – Self Sustenance

    3. Sam Browning – Memory

    4. Kayen Bruce – The Camera of the Eye

    5. Nikita Budway -Emotion

    6. Izabella Chambers-Decker– Transformation

    7. Cameron Crouch – My Voice



Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Trying To Figure Out How To Afford Home Repairs? Check Out Lakewood Pride Fund

Do you have an essential home repair and are worried about how you're going to pay for it? Perhaps the Pride Fund is a program for you. 

The Lakewood Pride Fund is an innovative program of LakewoodAlive that leverages 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 and code compliance repairs.
Visit learn more or call us at (216) 521-0655 Ext. 3.


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Dr. G's Ranger Round Up: Basketball

February 8, 2023 Rangers vs Bay Rockets

Using only 6 players due to a spate of injuries, the Lakewood Rangers dug deep tonight and pulled out a thrilling 41-40 win over the Bay Rockets in the opening round of the GLC Tournament. With the Rangers up just 2 points with 5 seconds left in the 4th quarter, junior Jack Gowan (8 points), the only bench player used tonight, cooly sank two free throws (in a one and one situation) to seal the victory (Bay hit an inconsequential 3-pointer at the buzzer). Junior Luke Vannucci scored 11 points, but to even greater effect, never left the floor and had very few turnovers playing point guard. Junior post Drew Jablonowki (8 points) also never left the floor, and fought hard for rebounds (11) against a much bigger Bay squad. Senior Brayden Volcansek never left the floor (see the pattern?), scored 14 points to lead Lakewood, and played a solid all around game. Once again, junior Dominic Peck played strong on the ball defense and was instrumental in the win, even though he didn't score. Osied Albadarin also didn't score, but played strong defense as well.  

The Lakewood student section was out in force as usual, and the large, loud and proud cheer squad did their thing. This was a home game, but we have had more students in attendance for both Boys and Girls games this year even when we were the road team. We had fewer available players, but beat a bigger Bay team that had won 6 in a row.  

Assistant coach Higgenbotham stirred the student section to a fever pitch, and Head Coach Cammock had his squad—as usual—playing a relentless, selfless style of basketball.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Should Have Been Mentioned In Advertisers That Power Us

In the first issue of the year, I was bursting with pride that Jim O'Bryan and the Lakewood Observer were inducted into the Cleveland Press Club Journalism Hall Of Fame. We humbly wanted to thank everyone who made it possible and take them into history with us. We spent weeks compiling lists of everyone who has taken part. It has been brought to my attention that sadly, a very important supporter was left out. 

Carolyn Ostrom, with Lakewood Seventh Day Adventist Church has been a supporter of the Lakewood Observer continuously for years since the very early days of the paper. Through thick and thin, Carolyn has always stepped up to keep civic journalism thriving in this town. We are proud to have the church events and public service announcements like their monthly Red Cross Blood Drives in our paper. It truly is advertisers like this who keep us going every month. We are forever grateful. You deserve to be recognized, thank you from all of us.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Boom’s Pizza Joins "Slice Out Hunger’s" Pizza Across America Campaign

On National Pizza Day, last week on February 9th, Lakewood’s newest and most anticipated eatery joined thousands of pizzerias across the US in the annual Pizza Across America day. Participating members commit to donating pizzas to shelters, food pantries, and kitchens in an effort to bring attention to food insecurity in our country.  Slice Out Hunger is a volunteer-driven nonprofit that has raised millions of dollars to fund hunger-relief efforts around the US since its founding in 2009. Boom’s Pizza is one of only six member pizzerias in Ohio!
“We are so thrilled to be part of the Lakewood community and to have an opportunity to give back through our membership with the Slice Out Hunger program, said Ben Bebenroth, chef, and owner of Boom’s Pizza. “As we join pizzerias across the country in donating pizzas to those in need, we couldn’t be happier to work with Lakewood Community Services Center to make this happen right in our neighborhood.” 

Pizza Across America is not the first connection Boom’s has made with LCSC in the short time they have been in Lakewood. As they prepared for opening day, Boom’s donated “practice pizzas” for delivery to our food clients throughout the community and Chef Ben was the second celebrity chef to participate in LCSC’s À La Cart, our series of free cooking demos presented by popular local chefs and hosted at Cove Community Center. Taking time out of the hectic run up to their grand opening signals Boom’s commitment to Lakewood and to our residents.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Lakewood Photographer Unleashes Pooch Playoffs National Competition and Fundraiser

Photo by Stephen Mitchell Brown

I am the owner of Stephen Mitchell Brown Photography, and have always loved pets. So when the opportunity to help Brady’s K9 Fund presented itself, I jumped on it.

A group of photographers and I got together and decided to host a competition to find Northeast Ohio’s Ulti-Mutt Cute Dog as a way to help out Brady’s K9 Fund. 

When Iwas researching what charity I wanted to partner with, I came across Brady’s K9 Fund and was so moved by their story and mission, I knew right away they were the ones I wanted to work with.

Brady's K9 Fund protects the K9s who protect our communities throughout the United States. We believe these working dogs deserve to be protected by a ballistic vest for their entire shift, just like their human partners, so they can come home safe together. Funds raised will benefit K9s right here in Ohio.

The bracket style competition is unleashed in March with up to 32 pooches competing for exciting prizes from local pet-friendly sponsors like Luca’s Barkery, Inn the Doghouse, Milo & Me, Pet’s General Store and Geiger’s just to name a few. Each week, the dogs will face off in an online vote. Each week’s winner advances with the goal to be voted the Ulti-Mutt Cute Dog of Northeast Ohio! The winner will move on to a national competition.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Arctic Igloos At Georgetown

Celebrating moms' night out.

Once recognized as dwellings for those who live way up north, igloos have now appeared elsewhere becoming a trend in outdoor dining. Georgetown restaurant here in Lakewood is one example of where they can be found. According to Mickey Krivosh, the eatery's owner, they were the first in Northeast Ohio to install "Arctic Igloos."

Krivosh's two children, Ryan and Jennifer, proposed the idea about six years ago while he and his wife Patty were in Florida. At first Dad wasn't receptive to the suggestion, but the kids prevailed and he is glad they did. It actually increased business during cold weather as patrons were still able to enjoy a meal on the patio. The igloos are generally put up in October and removed by the end of April. Seasonal decor added for holidays such as Halloween and Valentine's Day contribute to the festive ambiance.

There are four structures at this site and each seats up to eight guests. They are heated so for the most part feeling warm enough should not be a concern. There may be specific reasons to reserve an igloo. Couples have become engaged in one. Others may throw a birthday party or have a "Mom's night out." Otherwise, it's simply an out of the ordinary way to commune with others over good food. For that, plenty of menu options are available at Georgetown. There are appetizers and pizzas, salads and soups, and an eclectic mix of entrees such as pasta, seafood or meat dishes.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Growing Lacrosse In Lakewood

Over the last two decades, lacrosse has been the fastest-growing team sport in the United States. Lakewood Saints Lacrosse is a Club Lacrosse program open to boys and girls enrolled in grades 2 through 8 living in Lakewood or Cleveland. The season runs from March through May and is a whole lot of fun to watch and play.

Lacrosse is a team sport that was invented by Native North Americans. Its name was dehuntshigwa'es in Onondaga ("men hit a rounded object"), da-nah-wah'uwsdi in Eastern Cherokee ("little war"), Tewaarathon in Mohawk language ("little brother of war"), and baaga'adowe in Ojibwe ("bump hips").

Each player has a stick (crosse) with a net on the end that is used for throwing and catching a rubber ball. The object is to advance the ball into your opponent’s end and score a goal. Lacrosse incorporates concepts from several sports including soccer, basketball and hockey. It doesn’t matter how big or how small you are, there’s a place for you in lacrosse. Speed, skill and smarts are just as important as size on the lacrosse field. Men’s lacrosse allows for varying levels of body contact requiring more protective equipment, while women’s lacrosse is a non-contact sport requiring less. 

Lakewood Saints Lacrosse is a member of USA Lacrosse, North Coast Chapter and the Northern Ohio Lacrosse League. Lakewood Saints Lacrosse provides every athlete the opportunity to enter, enjoy and excel by learning and playing lacrosse in a way that’s best for each stage of growth and development. Boys and girls are divided into Learn To Play (Grade 2), Bantam (Grades 3-4), Youth (Grades 5-6) and Middle School (Grades 7-8). New players are accepted at all levels with the goal of developing knowledge and skill from year to year.


Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Barbara's Bests: The Root

Julie, Hazel, and Bobby

If you want good food in an interesting setting visit the coffee shop and restaurant, The Root. When owners Julie Hutchison and Bobby Breitenstein opened it in 2009 they had a vision for the place. It would be a family busines. It would be "a gathering place," says Julie, "where people would find comfort" and inspiration from interesting conversations and the works of local artists that would hang on the walls.

Of course, they'd have coffee and teas. 

And they'd have food. Delicious, vegetarian food."We knew we'd need a big kitchen," says Bobby. "We do everything from scratch. We make our own sauces and bakery items. We even make our own cheeses." They'd use as much locally-grown, organic produce as possible, buying from local farmers who don't use pesticides.

And it's not only the food that's home-made. Bobby, a carpenter, made a large concrete table that sits in the back, and all of the small tables customers also sit at.The bench seating at the concrete table, which Bobby also built, was fashioned from a church pew. Wood for shelving came from a local home built in 1857
And The Root is truly a family business. Julie and Bobby's 18-year-old daughter Hazel works behind the counter when she's not busy with college studies. Son Gabriel, 16, works on carpentry with his dad.

Two objects in the seating area of The Root indicate the family's dedication to the people of Lakewood: a refrigerator and wooden pantry. Both hold food, but the food's not for sale. Instead, it's been donated, and is there for anyone who needs it. "There's always enough," says Bobby. He and Julie began this practice during the early part of the pandemic, when so many people, including those in the food industry, were out of work.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Lakewood Kiwanis KKids Awareness Week

February 13-17, 2023 is Kiwanis International recognition week for Kiwanis K Kids. Lakewood Kiwanis is proud to sponsor 4 K Kid Clubs in our community: Grant Elementary School, Horace Mann Elementary School, Horizon Before and After Care at Harrison and Emerson Elementary Schools.

K Kids is the youngest youth leadership club in the Kiwanis family. Each K Kids club has a school/administrator advisor and Lakewood Kiwanian advisor. Each club has their leadership team of K Kids selected through essays submitted or elected at the beginning of school. After that is in place, the voting of projects by the kids are done for the year. Our K Kids projects include food drives, community trash cleanup in the Spring and local initiatives that they have chosen to do. The kids learn that they have a voice in the club and need to make the commitment to complete their projects. As advisors, we try to have different speakers come in to connect the kids to the community service they complete. Win, win for all. Lakewood Kiwanis also sponsors Builders Club at Harding Junior High.

Our K Kids have been busy this school year. Grant School K Kids recognized their local veterans with a breakfast and promoted the Thanksgiving food drive at the school for LCAC (Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corp.) . Horace Mann KKids hosted a joint winter decoration project with The Haven. 7 Haven residents traveled over to the school and worked with the kids. Horace Mann KKids are also planning to have an Alex’s Lemonade Stand in March for Pediatric Cancer. Recently, Horizon K Kids at both Harrison and Emerson Elementary made Snowman Soup (hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, a candy cane and a holiday poem) for a homeless ministry in the area. And in December, the KKids made dog biscuits and blankets for City Dogs in Cleveland. 

K Kids motto is to Build Leaders, and Lakewood K Kids are doing it in Lakewood. #Kids Need Kiwanis

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 4, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

NASA Brings Hands On Lessons To Grant

Have you ever wondered what kind of power it takes to launch a into outer space? Fifth graders at Grant Elementary learned all about the power technology that allows NASA to explore outer space from a pair of educators from NASA Glenn, who provided some hands-on lessons about the pros and cons of various power sources when it comes to space travel. Sounds like a powerful lesson!

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 3, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023

Roosevelt Students Honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Students in Mrs. Whalen's fifth grade class at Roosevelt form a heart around Martin Luther King, Jr.'s initials to share their appreciation for the life of Dr. King-- a great sentiment that led us into the holiday weekend that honored him.

Read Full Story
Volume 19, Issue 3, Posted 12:46 PM, 02.01.2023

Healthy Lakewood Foundation Elects New Board Member

The Healthy Lakewood Foundation (HLF) is pleased to announce the appointment of Warren Coleman to its Board of Directors. Warren was appointed at the Foundation’s November 2022 Meeting. He has been a Lakewood resident for thirty-one years and was nominated after a specific call for applicants with portfolio management and investment analysis experience.

HLF is entrusted to oversee the assets designated to advance the health and well-being of Lakewood residents. Individuals with backgrounds in investment portfolio analysis and compliance with IRS and other financial regulations are important competencies for the organization.

Currently, Warren serves as the Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager at Fifth Third Private Bank. He brings a range of experience managing investment portfolios of endowments, foundations, and individuals.

Warren holds an MBA from Case Western Reserve University, an MA in Accounting from Cleveland State University, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Read Full Story
Volume 18, Issue 23, Posted 12:20 PM, 02.15.2023