Civil Protection Orders Can Help Keep Domestic Violence Survivors Safe

Survivors of domestic violence may need to take extra precautions after leaving their abuser.

Filing a civil protection order (CPO) is one way that you can protect yourself. A CPO can be filed with the Domestic Relations Court or Common Pleas Court. You can do this on your own (called pro se) or with the help of an attorney.

When the CPO petition is filed by the victim of abuse (petitioner), the court will hold a hearing the same day. This first hearing is called an “ex parte,” and during this time you will discuss the most recent incidents of abuse. Only the petitioner takes part in this hearing; the abuser is not there. The court then determines if the request for a CPO will be granted.

After the first hearing, another hearing will be scheduled within seven to ten court days. This hearing is called a “full hearing.” The abuser will be notified by the court to attend the hearing. 

The petitioner (you) must bring all related documentation such as police reports and medical records documenting treatment related to the abuse. You should also bring copies of records of previous domestic violence or violent crime convictions that involve the abuser. Any witnesses to the abuse should also come to the hearing.


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Volume 18, Issue 18, Posted 12:38 PM, 09.21.2022

Division Of Early Childhood And Youth Programming At Cove Community Center

The Division of Youth and Early Childhood have some ways to help and support families in Lakewood. 

* Family Room

We could not be happier with our beautiful new Lakewood Family Room at Cove Community Center. This large and inviting space is filled with all kinds of toys and activities sure to entertain your young child. We are pleased to announce our fall schedule which includes evening hours, after school drop ins, new parent support (including lactation help) for those with babies under one, a special time just for the under three crowd, our longstanding Learn Thru Play program, and a new PreK lunch bunch group on Fridays. In addition, we will have special events including Miss Emily's Storytime, family movie nights, parent education groups, and parent advocacy opportunities. If you have a special skill or talent you would like to bring to the center, please reach out to discuss. Our fall schedule begins September 6. Please contact Jessica Parker Program Manager City Of Lakewood Division of Early Childhood for more information: 216-529-5018 or check out the Lakewood  Family Room on Facebook

* The Kinship Caregiver Support Group is open to any relative caregiver (grandparent, cousin, aunt/uncle, sibling) or individuals identifying as “fictive kin” (family friends, neighbors, etc.).

Held on the Third Thursday of each month, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.

Next Groups: 9/15/2022, 10/20/2022

*  Active Parenting Classes provide three roadmaps: Early Childhood, School Age, and Teen. These cover every milestone a parent or caregiver may experience with their child/ren. Our group programming is free and offered with a meal and childcare.


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Volume 18, Issue 17, Posted 5:29 PM, 09.07.2022

Legal Aid’s Annual “Jam For Justice” Cncert Is Back, With A New Format For 2022

There is nothing like a great summer concert – and this year, The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s annual summer fundraiser returns with a new format with three opportunities to rock to local bands headlined by local attorneys, judges, and law students. 

Don’t miss your chance to support a great cause and enjoy live music from greater Cleveland’s best attorney/judge/law student-led bands.

The main event will be held at the House of Blues Cleveland on September 8 at 6 p.m. Two neighborhood jam sessions will be held beforehand: an East Side Jam Session at BottleHouse Brewery on Wednesday, August 24 at 7 p.m., and a West Side Jam Session at The Brothers Lounge on Wednesday, August 31 at 7 p.m.

Entertaining the crowd at each event will be:

• East Side Jam:
     o   Luke Lindberg & The Hung Jury 
     o   Case Western Reserve University School of Law’s Razing the Bar
     o   Emcee: Stephanie Haney, digital anchor and legal analyst at WKYC Studios

• West Side Jam:
     o   The No Name Band
     o   Out of Order
     o   Emcee: Stephanie Haney (WKYC)


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Volume 18, Issue 16, Posted 3:16 PM, 08.17.2022

Lakewood On Track To Receive Two ARPA Grants

I am pleased to report that Lakewood is on track to receive two grants through Cuyahoga County's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. These proposals will be considered for final passage at County Council's next meeting on Tuesday, September 13th, 2022. The first grant would provide $1,500,000 for the City of Lakewood for its $12.375 million project that will create a new refuse and recycling center and a new animal shelter. The project is expected to be completed in two phases by the end of 2025. By relocating facilities that are currently in the way, the project will also create necessary space to complete a major storm water retention project. The second grant would provide $500,000 to the Beck Center for the Arts for HVAC, roof, and and foundation improvements as part of the Beck Center's ongoing capital campaign, which has a total size of about $6.7 million. Work related to this grant is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

The City of Lakewood's proposal helps our environment in multiple ways by improving recycling services and making the storm water retention project possible. The project also enables local, humane animal care for Lakewood residents through construction of the new and improved animal shelter. The Beck Center is the premier arts and culture institution on the west side of Cuyahoga County for both performance and arts-related education. This grant will help the Beck Center continue and expand its 90-year record of excellent community service.

Cuyahoga County has been allocated $240 million in ARPA funds. County Council and Executive Budish reached an agreement that $66 million of these funds would be set aside for community grants, allocated at $6 million for each of the eleven County Council districts. The Council developed a standard application form for community grants, but each Councilperson was given latitude to develop a process for receiving and evaluating proposals and making recommendations to the full Council. No individual Councilperson may approve a community grant application. All proposals must be approved by the full Council following a full legislative process, including three readings and consideration and favorable recommendation from the appropriate Council Committee.

I developed a formal application and scoring process to consider applications and make recommendations to the full Council. An announcement and request for proposals was issued on Wednesday, May 11th and proposals were due on Friday, June 10th. Thirty-three applications requesting a total of over $21 million were received for the $3 million first round of District 2 ARPA community grant funds. The proposals were then evaluated by an eight-member review committee consisting of four members of the County Council staff, three experienced leaders from executive departments, and me.

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Volume 18, Issue 16, Posted 3:16 PM, 08.17.2022

Nation’s First Smart-Tech Trial-Basis Apartments For People With Developmental Disabilities

People with developmental disabilities who are ready to live more independently now have an innovative new housing option in Lakewood from the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities (Cuyahoga DD) and North Coast Community Homes (NCCH).

TryTech at the Cranford Apartments in the heart of Lakewood offers a unique opportunity for people with developmental disabilities (DD) to live in a smart apartment in an integrated building on a short-term lease, to try tools and technology they might want to use in their future daily home life for mealtimes, entertainment, security, wellbeing and self-care, and more.

This trial housing option provides an immersive independent-living experience for people with DD to gain confidence and determine what technology works best for them as they move toward living as independently as they want.

Nationwide, about 76% of adults with Developmental Disabilities live at home; in a quarter of those homes, the family caregiver is older than 60 (Family Caregiver Alliance). Creative housing options like TryTech are vital as the Boomer generation ages and the lifespan of people with DD increases.


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Volume 18, Issue 15, Posted 8:09 PM, 08.03.2022

The Party's Over

The party supply store known as "It's A Party +" was a fixture in Lakewood for a number of years. Now all that's left at 14526 Detroit Avenue are fixtures.

The store fell victim to the nationwide shortage of helium, which is used to fill the balloons that are a staple of so many parties. 

The current shortage is the fourth since the Helium Privatization Act of 1996 resulted in the phasing out of the National Helium Reserve.

Helium is also used for medical purposes, tech products, and weather forecasting, so party balloons are a low priority.

There was no going-out-of-business sale. Everything was donated, mostly to churches, which are now floating ideas about what to do with all those empty balloons.

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Volume 18, Issue 14, Posted 7:00 PM, 07.20.2022

Keep Lakewood Beautiful's 2022 Beautiful Home Awards Contest Underway

Keep Lakewood Beautiful is pleased to announce its 2022 Beautiful Home Awards Contest! Now through July 31st is the time to submit your nominations for the Lakewood home(s) you think showcase eye-popping landscaping, well-maintained property, and that extra something that makes it "beautiful".

Nominations can be made quickly & easily by visiting the City of Lakewood's website ( or by calling the Mayor's Office at 216-529-6601. Winners will receive an award and be recognized during a City Council meeting this fall.  Thank you for helping Keep Lakewood Beautiful to properly honor this city of beautiful homes!

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Volume 18, Issue 13, Posted 12:21 PM, 07.06.2022

Architecturally Significant Lakewood Building In Jeopardy

The proposed Downtown Development Project at the former Lakewood Hospital site threatens to emasculate the architecturally and historically significant Curtis Block, at the corner of Detroit and Marlowe Avenues.

While the Downtown Development Project plans are still being formulated, the developers’ plans presented to date call for retaining the exterior walls of the Curtis Block facing Detroit and Marlowe, and eliminating the building to make way for a 5-story apartment building.  The Curtis Block would be reduced to a sort of architectural mural, with no functions behind the façade.

In early 2016 the Curtis Block was designated as an Historic Property under Lakewood’s historic preservation ordinance, adopted to maintain the distinctive character, history and architecture of Lakewood.  At the time of its designation, it was described as “one of the most architecturally significant and intact buildings in the City of Lakewood.”  The Curtis Block is also included in the Lakewood Downtown Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


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Volume 18, Issue 13, Posted 12:21 PM, 07.06.2022

A Glimpse Into My First Months On The Bench

Let me begin by saying I absolutely love my new role as Judge of Lakewood Municipal Court. Since being sworn-in on January 1, 2022, it has been a whirlwind. Yet, the court team, the city administration, and the community partners have been extremely supportive. I retained the entire court staff while filling several vacancies, and we are beginning to get to know one another. After close observation and daily experience, I have realized there is much to do to modernize our community court.

I have compiled a long task list of ideas and plans to ensure a user friendly, accessible court, and to create efficiencies in case management flow and court processes. Occasionally staff and others remind me that “Rome was not built in a day,” and that I have a six (6) year term to work towards achieving my goals. We will get there in due time. Highlighted below are some of the improvements I have been able to accomplish in the short term that I believe make us a better court.

One of the first items I addressed was re-opening the Lakewood Probation Department on Fridays. Probation staff and I discussed my concerns with the office being closed on Fridays. The closure often required individuals to make a second trip to the court to meet with their probation officer. This modification increases access to probation services five (5) days per week. Further, it assists with our jail population when an individual is released on a Friday because many are ordered to report to probation immediately after they are released.


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Volume 18, Issue 13, Posted 12:21 PM, 07.06.2022

Community Questions Mayor Regarding Local Dispatch Services At City Council Meeting

Of the 13 community members who submitted public comments about the possibility of Lakewood outsourcing its police dispatch center at the June 6 City Council meeting, none of them supported Mayor Meghan George’s plan.

Mayor George opened this portion of the city council meeting by stating that Cuyahoga County began financially penalizing Lakewood last year because Lakewood continues to run its own emergency dispatch center, in what the county believes is a violation of Section 128.571 of the Ohio Revised Code. This requires municipal governments to join together for dispatch services. Mayor George did not state how much Lakewood had been financially penalized by the county.  She did say that this section of the law may be overturned by Ohio House Bill 445, which is currently in committee.

The mayor stated that many westside communities had been in talks to join Chagrin Valley Dispatch, noting that 33 of 59 municipalities within Cuyahoga County are already members. 

However, Chagrin Valley Dispatch’s website states that they only serve as the communication center for 26 municipalities. Many of these municipalities are to the east and south, including Bratenahl, Solon, and Moreland Hills. 

Mayor George stated that mayors, police chiefs, and fire chiefs who were members of the Chagrin Valley Dispatch believed they had “improved safety due to access to superior technology based upon economies of scale.” While she had discussed moving Lakewood’s dispatch services to Chagrin Valley Dispatch, Mayor George stated the matter would be moved to the Public Safety Committee for further examination.

“This is really the beginning of a discussion,” she said. 


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Volume 18, Issue 12, Posted 12:51 PM, 06.15.2022

A Letter To Cleveland

I am not a catch.  I'm not a piece of fish.

I am not a catch.  I'm not a piece of fish.

I'm not a Dolphin even, nor can you

wrap any net around me in your mind

nor span the breadth of my experience

with any book of yours

nor any man's imagination grasp

the breath

that runneth all along

my coral spine.

I'm here.  I haven't died and yet

I'm not offended by your grieving articles

announcing that my ghost has left.


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Volume 18, Issue 12, Posted 12:51 PM, 06.15.2022

Police Dispatchers: What Is Next?

It seems that social media is outraged over the rumor that Mayor George has fired local police dispatchers and gone with some group called “Chagrin Valley Dispatch.” That rumor is not true. Here is what I know to be true:

Counties failing to reduce their number of dispatch centers run the risk of losing state funding, money that helps fund CECOMS (Communications- Electronics Command) the group that answers and transfers 9-1-1 calls and provides 9-1-1 system software for local com- munities. That state funding pays for a large portion of our 9-1-1 services including equipment and employees. Cuyahoga County at one time was at over 48 units. The current goal is five.

Many on social media were upset over the idea that changing our dispatch system would mean having people unfamiliar with Lakewood’s streets directing calls. Something very few people understand is that when you call 9-1-1 from a cell phone, a majority of the time the call is answered at a dispatch office at Bedford Hospital, then routed to the correct city. So the City of Lakewood along with all others using the 9-1-1 system are already using the services of dispatchers that are outside Lakewood.

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Volume 18, Issue 12, Posted 12:40 PM, 06.01.2022

First Annual GardenWalk Lakewood - Saturday July 16th

GardenWalk Lakewood is a newly formed community organization modeled after GardenWalk Cleveland. The original GardenWalk concept was started in 1995 by GardenWalk Buffalo, which is now America’s largest garden tour - and attracts tens of thousands of visitors with over 300 participating gardens every year.

GardenWalk Lakewood is a self-guided, free tour of some of our beautiful residential and community gardens! Residents are invited to sign up to show off their garden, while neighbors and visitors travel from garden-to-garden during a specified time (July 16th 10am-5pm), admiring the hard work and beauty that our neighborhoods have to offer. Whether you are brand new to gardening or a seasoned veteran, if you have a small patio container garden or a full yard - all are welcome and encouraged to join us for this 100% free event.

The main goals of GardenWalk Lakewood are to highlight our beautiful neighborhoods through gardening, to build and strengthen connections between neighbors, and to celebrate our environment. The positive environmental impacts of gardening are needed now more than ever. A GardenWalk is a great way to share gardening knowledge, and hopefully inspire others to start a garden of their own. We hope you’ll join us Saturday July 16th from 10am-5pm. More information and the forthcoming GardenWalk Map can be found on our website at and our Facebook page GardenWalk Lakewood.

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Volume 18, Issue 11, Posted 12:29 PM, 06.01.2022

Understanding Wage Garnishments

What happens when you don’t earn enough money to pay your debts, but creditors start coming after your limited financial resources? Unfortunately, it is common for creditors to garnish your wages to get paid back.

Wage garnishment allows creditors to receive payments for a debt owed by taking money directly from a person’s paycheck. Money can also be taken directly from a person’s bank account. This type of debt compensation is called a “non-wage garnishment,” or an “attachment.” This is only allowed if there is more than $500 in the debtor’s account and at least $500 is left after the garnishment. Creditors are not allowed to completely wipe out someone’s back account.

You may wonder, can creditors just garnish wages without telling people? Absolutely not. Creditors must file a lawsuit against the debtor and win. Once the creditor has won the settlement, they can ask the court to order a wage garnishment against the debtor. The court will then notify the employer to withhold wages to pay off the debt owed. Employers cannot fire you because of garnishments from one creditor within a 12-month period. However, if a second garnishment occurs during that same twelve-month period, the protections are lifted and the employer can terminate the employee for this reason (or for any other lawful reason).


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Volume 18, Issue 11, Posted 12:29 PM, 06.01.2022

Spring Thoughts From Refuse/Recycling Department

Spring Thoughts From Refuse/Recycling Department

Well it finally seems as if spring has arrived! And it certainly was one of the more challenging winters in some time. This is the time of year where the volume of trash, yard waste and recycle gets extremely heavy. Here are a few disposal tips from the Lakewood Refuse/Recycling Department.

The City of Lakewood’s Mandatory Recycling Ordinance 1777.03 states that all yard waste must be separated from trash. Please keep in mind that yard waste bags picked-up by the refuse workers get turned into mulch and are not put into a landfill with the rest of the trash. Contain grass clippings and leaves in paper yard waste bags, dsolv mesh lawn bags or uncoated cardboard boxes. Obviously, most residents use the basic paper yard waste bags. PLEASE, do not exceed the 50lb in maximum weight. As a matter of fact, 35lb maximum weight makes much more sense to me. Remember, there is no automated truck picking up the yard waste bags. The bags are lifted by the Lakewood refuse worker and it is quite labor intensive. Do not mix dog waste, dirt, sod, stone and especially litter with the yard waste. Do not use refuse carts, garbage cans, plastic bags or plastic or wax coated boxes for yard waste. Residents tend to place grass clippings in standard garbage cans and expect the refuse workers to empty them. In many cases the waste is jammed in the can and the workers have a very tough time emptying the can. This has also led to many back injuries while leaning over the rear of the truck trying to shake the waste out. 

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Volume 18, Issue 9, Posted 12:21 PM, 07.06.2022

Lakewood Celebrates Arbor Day 2022: Trees For 3rd Graders And More!

150 years ago, J. Sterling Morton organized a tree planting holiday in the Nebraska Territory. On  April 10, 1872, individuals and civic groups planted 1 million trees in that single territory. Arbor Day grew to become a national holiday that is celebrated in all 50 states. This year, communities throughout Ohio will be celebrating Arbor Day on Friday, April  29, 2022.

Here in Lakewood, “The City of Trees,” 3rd grade students in each of the Lakewood Elementary schools and the Lakewood Catholic Academy will receive a native flowering tree seedling such as the redbud pictured here, suitable for growing at home, with the knowledge of how to plant and care for it. The trees have been carefully selected by the Arbor Day Foundation and will arrive just before Arbor Day. Many thanks to long-time resident Ed Denk, for his leadership in initiating and coordinating this activity with the curriculum directors here in Lakewood and at the Urban Community School in Cleveland, and for purchasing the trees and associated materials. 

And that’s just the start of it!  Here are three additional ways Lakewood residents can join our 2022 celebration of trees:

1. Attend the the City of Lakewood’s April 29 ceremonial tree planting ceremony  in recognition of Arbor Day and the City of Lakewood’s 45th year as a “Tree City USA.”  The brief ceremony will begin promptly at 2:00 pm on the grounds of the newly renovated Cove Community Center- 12501 Lake Avenue.


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Volume 18, Issue 9, Posted 2:39 PM, 04.20.2022

Getting A Fresh Start: Sealing A Criminal Record And CQE’s

Many people who have been incarcerated have a difficult time obtaining employment after their release from prison. This can hinder them from fulfilling their parole obligations as well as providing for themselves. Reentrants can try to alleviate this problem by applying to have their criminal records sealed or applying for a Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE).

Sealing a criminal record is often confused with expunging a criminal record. An expungement completely erases a criminal record, and this is not actually allowed in Ohio. When a person’s record is sealed, they are not obligated to reveal an arrest, charge, or conviction when applying for a job.

Not all sealed records are withheld from employers, especially those positions that are related to the conviction. This could include jobs involving children, older people, or people with developmental disabilities.

Convictions that cannot be sealed are 1st and 2nd degree felonies, most sex crimes, crimes against children, crimes involving serious acts of violence, and traffic and OVI/DUI convictions.


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Volume 18, Issue 9, Posted 2:39 PM, 04.20.2022

Human Services Under One Roof, At Last

It's a small irony that work on the roof of Lakewood's Cove Community Center was not 100% complete, as of the ribbon-cutting on April 12. Because for many of those taking part in the ceremony, the greatest sense of accomplishment was one roof covering all of the city's human services, at last.

Most speakers at the ribbon-cutting referred to the decades of interest in bringing together the department's divisions of aging, youth, and early childhood at one location. State Representative Michael Skindell recalled ambitions toward this outcome from his years on Lakewood City Council, more than two decades ago. Mayor Meghan George honored several women in attendence, including Human Services Director Toni Gelsomino, for long careers making the department a success while advocating better facilities.

Gelsomino says that the department's work out of five different addresses will, finally, unite in one location at the Cove Center.

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Volume 18, Issue 8, Posted 2:58 PM, 04.20.2022

Volunteers Needed For LCAC’s Spring Cleaning Supplies Distribution

Lakewood Charitable Assistance Corporation (LCAC) will be having its first in-person event since 2019 in mid-May. 

When the pandemic first began, LCAC, like so many organizations, had to find a different way to help Lakewood families without hosting our twice-yearly food drives or our spring cleaning drive. 

In lieu of food drives, LCAC distributed $50 Giant Eagle gift cards to 300 families twice in 2020 and three times in 2021. In addition, we hosted a drive-thru diaper drive in 2020. 

LCAC, also known as the “food drive people” switches gears every May to help provide cleaning supplies and hygiene items for Lakewood families in need. This drive is especially appreciated by the recipients as cleaning supplies and toiletries cannot be purchased with SNAP or WIC benefits. 

And, now that the COVID numbers are decreasing, LCAC will be hosting a Spring Cleaning Drive on Saturday, May 14 at 9 a.m. in the back parking lot of the Masonic Temple, located at 15300 Detroit Road in Lakewood. 


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Volume 18, Issue 8, Posted 2:58 PM, 04.20.2022

Medical-Legal Partnerships Bring Free Legal Aid To Health Care Settings

When you go to the doctor, you probably expect to get answers about health concerns and guidance on how to best care for your body. But have you ever considered that, to get to the root of a problem, you actually might need legal advice? For instance, if your asthma is acting up, poor ventilation or mold in your rental unit could be the cause – and legal counsel can help you compel your landlord to make much-needed repairs. Or, if your son is not getting the supportive services he needs at school, a lawyer can advocate on his behalf in meetings with school administrators to set him up for success.

These issues and more are commonly addressed by attorneys who work for The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s medical-legal partnerships with MetroHealth, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, University Hospitals, and Cleveland Clinic. Medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) help people solve legal issues that may be impacting their health or their family’s health. Together, health care providers, social workers, patients, and attorneys address the “social determinants of health” – those economic and social factors that contribute to 80% of a person’s health outcomes. For example, utility shut-offs, evictions, and lack of money for nutritious food can all create unhealthy home environments for families.

Dedicated Legal Aid staff work in collaboration with medical providers at each hospital site, making it easy for providers to connect their patients with timely legal help (all Legal Aid services are free of cost to income-eligible clients). Legal Aid also trains medical providers on how to recognize when their patients are experiencing civil legal issues, so they can make a seamless referral to Legal Aid staff.


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Volume 18, Issue 7, Posted 9:33 AM, 04.06.2022

City Council Docket: Safe Routes To School (SRTS) School Travel Plan (STP) Development Assistance

February 22, 2022
City Council Docket Item

RE: Application for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) School Travel Plan (STP) Development Assistance

Dear Council President O’Malley & Members of City Council,

In support of our 2022 efforts towards producing an Active Transportation Plan, the City intends to apply to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for assistance towards developing an up-to-date School Travel Plan (STP) covering pedestrian and bicycle routes for students (Kindergarten through 8th grade) at all public and private schools within the City. The ODOT application process towards obtaining this development assistance specifically requires submission of a Council Resolution supporting the effort.

Lakewood was among the first communities to complete a formal STP in 2010 – unfortunately, this plan is no longer current (STPs last for 5 years) and covered only Garfield and Harding Middle Schools. Having a current and city-wide STP is beneficial for a variety of reasons. First, a city-wide STP is a critical first step to inform and support our development of a broader City Active Transportation Plan – which, using ODOT guidelines, will replace (and expand the scope of) our 2012 Bicycle Master Plan. Second, a current STP opens the door in subsequent years for SRTS-specific funding towards infrastructure projects and non-infrastructure programs.


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Volume 18, Issue 6, Posted 12:27 PM, 03.02.2022

Legal Aid Can Help With Debt, Car Repossession, And Identity Theft

Unpaid debt can be a huge burden that creates a constant cycle of worry and fear.

Do you know what to do if you are sued by a debt collector, if your car is repossessed, or if you are a victim of identity theft? Legal Aid has answers.

Car Repossession

Your car can be repossessed by the lender if you fail to make a payment (also known as going into default). The lender can even take your car away without your knowledge - whether it is parked in your driveway, a parking lot, or on the street.

One thing that a lender cannot do while repossessing your car is “breach the peace.” This means the lender cannot threaten or use physical force to retrieve the car or take your car from your closed garage without permission. If there is a breach of peace, you should call the police. Do not threaten or attempt to stop the repossession of your car.

Any personal items in the car must be returned to you. It is important to call the lender to find out where to get your items, but beware – there may be a small storage fee from the lender.


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Volume 18, Issue 5, Posted 12:26 PM, 03.02.2022

Legal Aid Offers Free Legal Help With Tax Problems

Tax season is headed our way faster than lake effect snow, and there are many community organizations helping Northeast Ohio residents with tax preparation. 

The pandemic has affected how and when we file taxes, as well as what we file. One of the most recent federal tax policy changes is the Child Tax Credit. The Child Tax Credit gives up to $3,000 for each dependent child under the age of 17 and $3,600 if under the age of 6. Through this program, taxpayers may also qualify for a refund if the unused tax credit is larger than the total amount of their tax bill.

If you have questions, you definitely need to reach-out for help!   You can call 2-1-1 to find free tax prep help near you or visit for a list of organizations that help you file taxes for free.

In addition to great community resources that help you file taxes, Legal Aid is here to help with legal problems related to taxes.  Legal Aid has a tax practice that works closely with community organizations not just during tax season, but throughout the year.  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 helps people resolve legal issues related to tax issues.  For example, Legal Aid attorneys can help people negotiate with the IRS to settle a debt for less than the full amount owed, or lower/eliminate taxable income from debts that were forgiven from banks and credit card companies.

Legal Aid also helps:

  • Prevent the IRS from taking property, wages, and social security benefits;
  • Solve identity theft problems;
  • Correct tax preparer fraud;
  • Help H-2A workers file taxes (an important step towards gaining citizenship);
  • Help people obtain income tax records;
  • Protect against spousal abuses in connection with tax returns;
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Volume 18, Issue 3, Posted 7:12 PM, 02.02.2022

Get Your Taxes Done For Free

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Provides In-Person Service at Lakewood Congregational Church

Beginning February 7 and continuing through April 12, AARP Foundation is providing tax assistance and preparation through its Tax-Aide program — and it’s completely free.

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide is the nation’s largest volunteer-based free tax preparation service. Volunteers are trained and IRS-certified every year to ensure they understand the latest changes to the U.S. Tax Code. In 2020, 1.5 million taxpayers who used AARP Foundation Tax-Aide received more than $1 billion in income tax refunds.

Tax assistance will be provided using a low-contact method of operating where taxpayers interact with IRS-certified Tax-Aide volunteers in one or two short, in-person meetings to exchange documents. COVID safeguards including distancing, table shields and required face masks for taxpayers and volunteers will be in place.

The new location in Lakewood is the Lakewood Congregational Church, located at 1375 W. Clifton Blvd at Detroit Avenue.  Appointments are available every half hour from 11:00 AM through 1:30 PM. To make an appointment please call 216-221-9555.


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Volume 18, Issue 2, Posted 1:56 PM, 01.19.2022

Trash Tips For The Holidays


1.) The Lakewood Refuse Department will be closed on Monday 12/27 and Monday 1/3.

2.) Residential pick-up will resume on Tuesday 12/28 and 1/4. Carts and bulk trash should be out on your regular scheduled pick-up day.

3.) When at all possible all cardboard should be broken-down and placed in the recycle cart. Excess cardboard must be tied or boxed for easy pick-up and to prevent littering the street.

4.) Non-glitter and non-foil wrapping paper and the cardboard rolls they come with ARE recyclable.

5.)ALL styrofoam is GARBAGE. If you place a TV box on the tree lawn and it contains styrofoam, it will be taken as garbage.

6.) Christmas trees must be free of lights and not enclosed in plastic bags so they can be recycled.


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Volume 17, Issue 24, Posted 2:26 PM, 12.15.2021

Help For Youth Aging Out Of Foster Care

Aging out of the foster care system can be a very challenging time for youth who are also navigating the transition from childhood to adulthood. Without a birth certificate, social security card, or other identifying documentation, it can be extremely difficult to get a job or a driver’s license.

Attorney Danielle Gadomski Littleton and social worker Dani Lachina, both of The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, have several tips for people who are transitioning out of the foster care system.

First, if you have a case worker, ask him or her for access to your documents or for help applying for new copies.

Second, call the Identification Crisis Collaborative (IDCC). There are 29 community organizations in the IDCC that help people obtain birth certificates, proof of social security numbers, driver’s licenses, state IDs, and other important documentation. For more information on how IDCC can help you, call the West Side Catholic Center at 216-631-4741, ext. 300.

Also, find out if you are eligible to receive help from Ohio Bridges. Ohio Bridges helps youth ages 18 to 20 who have aged out of the foster care system. The organization assists with issues regarding housing, education, employment, and mental and physical health. For more information, go to

Finally, call YWCA’s A Place 4 Me program. A Place 4 Me helps youths from 14 to 26 with issues regarding housing, jobs, and other areas to help create a stable and productive life. For more information, call Kate Lodge at 216-881-6878 or email her at


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Volume 17, Issue 23, Posted 12:10 PM, 12.01.2021

Tess Neff: Council To The Court

The November 2 General Election results were certified on November 22, and I was officially declared the next Lakewood Municipal Court Judge. Winning the election was a team effort that required an enormous amount of dedication and work. I am truly appreciative for all the amazing support I received for my judicial campaign. My husband Rich served as my campaign manager and my biggest supporter. He did a fine job for a novice. I will forever be grateful to all those who helped me prevail, whether by placing a yard sign, canvassing, or sharing my information with other Lakewood voters. Every task was important and impactful. We conducted a consistently positive campaign during some very difficult and challenging times, and this makes me very proud. For those who did not support me, I believe I will earn your trust and confidence through my future work with the court. 

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Volume 17, Issue 23, Posted 12:10 PM, 12.01.2021

Thank You Lakewood

Dear neighbors,

As we head toward our collective day of Thanksgiving, I want to express my deep and abiding gratitude to all of those who contributed their time, talent, or treasure to Keep Kepple on Council; to each voter who took the time to participate in our democracy on November 2nd; and to each of my fellow candidates for running positive campaigns focused on service to our great city.

With such a strong field and spirited race, I am honored and humbled to have earned the support of our community and to return to Lakewood City Council as your elected Councilwoman at Large. Our campaign, fueled by a broad coalition of supporters, reflects Lakewood’s diversity and our potential as a community to work together to identify and accomplish shared goals.

However you voted, or whether you voted or not, I intend to keep working hard for you and to bring us together toward a bright Lakewood future. Thank you for giving me the opportunity.

Sarah Kepple serves all residents as Lakewood City Councilmember at Large. She is the owner of Gigalearn, LLC and led Action Together Lakewood Area for many years. Reach her at or 216.200.5050.

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Volume 17, Issue 23, Posted 2:04 PM, 11.17.2021

Partnership With MetroHealth

Dear Members of Council,

We are pleased to share with Council that a partnership between the City of Lakewood’s Department of Human Services, the Center for Health Resilience, and the MetroHealth System’s Institute for HOPE has been established to provide training for Human Services staff members. The goal of this no-cost, twelve-month pilot partnership is to support the staff in building a trauma-informed team rooted in the expertise and passion of an experienced staff, while enhancing opportunities to cultivate informed powerful connections as they transition to our new Community Center.

Over the next year MetroHealth will provide 5 key services:

1. Center Transition Meetings (beginning 10/21)

2. Trauma-Informed Consultation and Transformational Planning focused on Team Building, Connection, and interpersonal growth (scheduled for 10/22/21)


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Volume 17, Issue 22, Posted 2:04 PM, 11.17.2021

Lakewood League Of Women Voters Mary Warren Impact Scholarship Winner, Jack Ryan

Why is voting important to a democracy? Why is water important to fish or why is air important humans? The answer is the latter of each scenario does not function without the first part. Voting is the life blood of a democracy. Without voting pluralist and elite democracies start forming then they lead to oligarchies and authoritarian rule. The significance of voting is lost on most people because when everyone is participating a single vote has extraordinarily little power. This is the truth of the matter, only when a majority of votes form can people make the system of democracy move. This naturally creates political minorities. However, when the lines of reasoning like “My vote doesn’t matter” start to form then singular votes do start to really matter. Singular votes start to have more power when people remove themselves from the voting pool. A good analogy would be a lottery. When a lot of people enter you have a lower chance of winning but when the number of attendees drops your chances of winning increases. As stated earlier when fewer people vote a democracy becomes pluralist or elitist. Pluralist democracies occur when only powerful groups vote, and elitist when only the elite vote. These two descriptions sound awfully like the current state of American democracy and political efficacy. Higher political efficacy leads to better elected officials and more reflective election results. 

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Volume 17, Issue 22, Posted 2:04 PM, 11.17.2021

Candidates' Forum - Sarah Kepple

Please describe your current job and past experience. 50 words

After serving as a librarian for over a decade at Lakewood Public Library and throughout the Cuyahoga County Public Library system, I launched my technology education business Gigalearn in 2014. I co-founded Action Together Lakewood Area, and I was honored to be unanimously appointed to City Council in February 2020.

1.) No one can dispute the fact that there has been an influx of businesses, mostly bars and restaurants, and a gentrification of the community. The previous two administrations had the residents carrying more than their fair share of the burden for this build-up through failed developments, taxes, property evaluation, and giveaways to both businesses and developers. 

Describe 3 programs you are looking to start that would principally benefit residents. Highlight which ones will help current Lakewoodites stay in their homes and/or improve their daily life.250 words

Serving on the Americans with Disabilities Act Task Force and on the Housing, Planning, & Development Committee, I see the potential for our new development projects to provide affordable and accessible housing, pay prevailing wage to create good local jobs, utilize women & minority-owned enterprises, and implement sustainability measures like reducing water runoff and adding to our tree canopy. Additionally, we can and should better advertise the city’s no-low interest loans for seniors and folks with disabilities for home adaptations and improvements.


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Volume 17, Issue 21, Posted 1:25 PM, 10.20.2021

Candidates' Forum -- Tom Bullock Answers

Please describe your current job and past experience. 50 words

Most experienced member of Lakewood City Council—over 13 years. More than 25 years in public service and government, including on Capitol Hill and for top Ohio officials. Represented a national foundation and led Ohio advocacy on clean energy. Currently executive director for an Ohio utility consumer advocate and watchdog.

1.) No one can dispute the fact that there has been an influx of businesses, mostly bars and restaurants, and a gentrification of the community. The previous two administrations had the residents carrying more than their fair share of the burden for this build-up through failed developments, taxes, property evaluation, and giveaways to both businesses and developers. 
Describe 3 programs you are looking to start that would principally benefit residents. Highlight which ones will help current Lakewoodites stay in their homes and/or improve their daily life. 250 words

There are more than three priority issues I’ve worked on, but three top issues I’d like to work on in the years ahead include:

  1. Keeping our foundation sound: remaining disciplined in responsible budgeting, effective management, and investment in workforce training and technology so our delivery of core city services (such as refuse, police, fire, street repair, and snow plowing) is reliable, effective, and cost-effective. Lakewood has come a long way in improving in these areas, and we can’t take that progress for granted.
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Volume 17, Issue 21, Posted 1:25 PM, 10.20.2021

Candidate's Forum - Kyle Baker

Please describe your current job and past experience. 50 words

  • Cleveland Metroparks - Director of Real Estate/Legal Counsel (acquired/protected 1,000+ acres of greenspace and procurement/contracting for construction projects).
  • Thompson Hine - attorney practicing construction, real estate, and government contracts law. 
  • Lakewood - Planning Commission/Lakewood Rangers Education Foundation. 
  • Ohio - externed for Ohio Supreme Court/Ohio House of Representatives.

1.) No one can dispute the fact that there has been an influx of businesses, mostly bars and restaurants, and a gentrification of the community. The previous two administrations had the residents carrying more than their fair share of the burden for this build-up through failed developments, taxes, property evaluation, and giveaways to both businesses and developers. 

Describe 3 programs you are looking to start that would principally benefit residents. Highlight which ones will help current Lakewoodites stay in their homes and/or improve their daily life. 250 words

(1)    Property tax relief/low interest loans for home improvement. The new county property reevaluation will net $3-4 million in additional municipal revenue for Lakewood.  Those funds should be used to help seniors/those on fixed incomes with property tax relief/to provide low/no interest loans for home improvement focused on accessibility/aging in place (either directly from the City or with local non-profits like LakewoodAlive/Lakewood Community Services Center). 


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Volume 17, Issue 21, Posted 1:25 PM, 10.20.2021

Candidate Survey Responses - Mark Schneider

I serve as a prosecutor and assistant law director locally.  Before that, I was a State Representative and county prosecutor in the Major Trial Unit.  I am a former co-chairperson of the Lakewood Citizens Advisory Committee and have volunteered for several Lakewood organizations, including St. Luke’s Church. 

Whether Council realizes it or not, the decisions being made at City Hall are pricing residents, especially seniors, out of our community. Our senior citizens deserve the right to age in place and to afford to remain in our community.  Twenty years of public service experience at the state, county and local levels of government give me a unique perspective to work with our state and county governments to push for deferment of property tax increases for senior citizens until a point of sale.  I have been involved in innovative programs like this before, such as when I fought for funding for the Homestead Tax Exemption.  This would prevent our seniors from being taxed out of their homes.

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Volume 17, Issue 21, Posted 1:25 PM, 10.20.2021

Legal Aid Partners With Local Organizations And Resident Groups To Promote Business Growth, Home Ownership

As Managing Attorney for Community Engagement at The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, Anne Sweeney knows how important it is for neighborhood residents’ voices to be heard.

“It’s important to build local power,” she says.

Legal Aid’s Community Engagement team represents a wide variety of groups including tenant associations, block clubs, non-profits, and citizens who want to solve problems. To qualify for representation, these groups must be comprised of people with low incomes or primarily serve people with low incomes.

The Community Engagement team is currently working on a number of outreach initiatives, including teaming up with Cleveland Owns, an incubator for co-ops that are just starting out.

“Cleveland Owns sends co-ops our way for further development and help with legal documents,” said Anne. “We work with faith organizations and non-profits on issues like commercial leases, debt, grants, money related problems, hiring, contracts for employees and interns, and help operating a nonprofit.”


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Volume 17, Issue 20, Posted 1:25 PM, 10.20.2021

Facing Eviction? Legal Aid Can Help!

On August 26, the Supreme Court’s decision not to extend the federal eviction moratorium has left many tenants who lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic fearful of losing their housing. Northeast Ohioans at risk of eviction can get help through the new Free Eviction Help program, a collaboration between The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland and United Way’s 2-1-1 service. Free Eviction Help provides free legal representation to tenants facing eviction.

The program has already helped many people in our region stay in their current housing or find new living accommodations. Another benefit is that children can remain in school without worrying about disruptions caused by displacement and homelessness.  

People who contact Free Eviction Help may also qualify for Cleveland’s Right to Counsel (RTC) program, which applies to households with at least one child and incomes at or below the federal poverty guideline. Through RTC, eligible tenants now have the explicit legal right to free legal representation in their eviction cases.  


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Volume 17, Issue 19, Posted 5:16 PM, 10.06.2021

Lakewood Firefighter Gets Ride Of A Lifetime With Air Force Thunderbirds

The call came in, “Can you meet Captain Peter Hempfling at Cleveland Hopkins Airport 6:30am Friday morning?” Captain Hempfling is not just a 30 year veteran of Lakewood’s Fire Department he is one of the best, in a department filled with heroes and big hearts. So I immediately said I would be there. I then asked Fire Chief Dunphy why? The Chief responded, “Pete has been chosen as the Air Force’s Hometown Hero for the 2021 Cleveland Airshow. He is getting a ride with the Thunderbirds!” My response was, “I’ll get there at 6:30, thank you.”

Most young men and women at one time or another saw the Thunderbirds or the Blue Angels and said to themselves, “I would love to try that.”  That is why they are a huge part of recruitment. The real fact is that very few will every fly a jet in combat or at all, and even fewer in the Thunderbirds. But the ranks are filled with great jobs and experiences for anyone into electronics or aviation.

For Peter, a genuine good guy, to get this recognition weeks before his retirement seemed so fitting. One of Pete’s many hobbies is extreme riding. Like motorcycles through Mexican deserts, that kind of stuff. This was also on his bucket list since he was a kid.

At 6:30am exactly I rolled into Atlantic Aviation and met with Captain Hempfling, with him were Lakewood Fire Marshall Ryan Fairbanks, and Pete’s friend and extreme rider David Nolan. Pete was his usual cheerful self and said he ready was for this. Pete served in the military, and has been on the front line of firefighting for 30 years. He was calm. He looked up and smiled and said, “I have to be honest I had a little trouble sleeping last night.” “Fear?” I asked, he smiled and said, “No-- more like the night before Christmas. Filled with excitement and wonderment.”

A very pleasant member of the Cleveland Airshow grabbed him and had him sign a waiver. Then we met the spokesperson for the Thunderbirds. She was young and smiled as she walked all of us through what would happen the rest of the day, flying a small F-16 model around the table. “OK, any questions?” We all smiled and said no. Then she had Peter sign another waiver.

Next up Peter got fitted for his flight suit, helmet and brief explanations of how things work. The two Thunderbird crew people were very attentive and it is amazing how much a pilot needs extra hands for getting dressed. Almost like a knight going into battle. Underwear, outerwear, pressure suit fitted with straps and long laces.  Boots, life collar, neck device, helmet and fitted oxygen mask, pressure checks and more. Great crew.


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Volume 17, Issue 18, Posted 7:13 PM, 09.16.2021

League Of Women Voters Mary Warren Impact Scholarship Winning Essay On Why Voting Is Important (2 of 5)

A vote, however, is far more than just a mere drop in the ocean; it is the lifeblood of our nation. Even with philosophy and practical interpretation notwithstanding, it is a facet of the representative democracy this government was designed to fulfill. It is the fundamental ability of every citizen to not only wrangle themselves from the wire of injustice but to elevate, educate, and empower their communities.

Every minority has faced one --or perhaps many-- judgements of their worth by those who had never known the world as they had experienced it. If these citizens were never allowed to cast their vote, they would be relegated to forever remain on the menu, with no seat at the table. That is to say, when the right of even one citizen to vote, no matter how vulnerable, is revoked or limited, they are prevented from safeguarding their access to the freedoms guaranteed to American citizens who do sit at the nation’s helm.

The act of voting can mean the difference between life and death, poverty and health, equity and inequality. If those who are subjugated are given no opportunity with which to make themselves known, then the fundamental ideal of our democracy must be called into question; and engaging in this process of review is what voting allows the general public to begin, to participate in, and to grow from. Without this open referendum and the ability to influence how the government will treat you, there is hardly a weight to any claims of freedom for all when a portion of us “all” still remain without.



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Volume 17, Issue 18, Posted 2:53 PM, 09.15.2021

Candidate Forum Sept. 28 At City Hall

Please join the Lakewood Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland and the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, September 28 from 7-9P for the Candidates Forum in the Lakewood City Hall Auditorium. Candidates for Lakewood City Council At Large, Municipal Judge, and School Board will be asked questions from the moderator and citizens in attendance, about issues of concern for our city, court, and schools. This is your opportunity to ask the people that will respresent you the questions that are most important to you. Please plan to attend, listen, and understand what our candidates believe is important for Lakewood and then vote on or before November 2, 2021. 

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Volume 17, Issue 18, Posted 2:53 PM, 09.15.2021

2021 Community Survey Results Now Publicly Available

In March of 2021, the Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission (LCRAC) distributed a survey to residents, the results of which are now available to the public. LCRAC is a voluntary group of residents serving as a liaison between Lakewood residents and city leadership on matters related to community relations. The commission's mission is to ensure that Lakewood remains a fantastic place for everyone to live and work. LCRAC crafted and distributed the survey to help guide future efforts of the group, as well as to understand key areas of improvement city leadership should be aware of. Nearly 650 residents provided input on various topics including accessibility, community culture, housing & affordability, safety, and community engagement. Survey results can be accessed at as well as on LCRAC's Facebook page.

Members of LCRAC encourage residents to view the results and follow up with their council members with any additional input or concerns. Any questions about the survey can be directed to

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Volume 17, Issue 18, Posted 2:53 PM, 09.15.2021

Re-Elect Tristan Rader - Public Service With Passion And Purpose

I launched my first campaign for Lakewood City Council four years ago at St. Charles Green, an informal greenspace across from my house. And I was honored when Lakewood voters selected me to be their representative. This year, I decided to run for re-election for the same reason I’ve made a lot of decisions in my life—because I want to help the best I can to create the most good for the most people.

First and always, I have a passion for helping people and have dedicated myself to constituent services. I am available and responsive to all those I serve because people need a direct line to the government that they rightfully own. Those that know me well know that I often say: I have one phone number, it’s my cell, call me any time. I have the most open of open-door policies. And people know when they call me, I pick up, and I’m there for them.

Through honest dialogue, we can address small problems and large ones, and we have done so. We committed the city to 100% clean energy. We instituted the Lakewood Tree Education Advisory Board to engage the city in rebuilding our tree canopy. We developed a lead abatement education program, and we ended breed-specific legislation. We implemented a $15 minimum wage for all city employees and created an affordable housing strategy. We dedicated a brand new park for the first time in decades, invested $50 million into our wet weather infrastructure, and dedicated over $3 million to park improvements, all while balancing the budget.


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Volume 17, Issue 17, Posted 2:41 PM, 09.01.2021

Our Lakewood Progress: The Lakewood Community Relations Advisory Commission (LCRAC) Survey And What It Says About The New Post-Pandemic Normal

During the height of the pandemic last year, the world seemed to transform through lockdowns, mask mandates, jarring news reports and the long separation from friends and loved ones. We learned some valuable lessons, learned to slow down, showing kindness and care for our neighbors. Parents spent more time with their kids. For those of us fortunate enough to work from home, we turned our attention to our physical and mental health and learned to appreciate the smallest blessings we used to take for granted. Front line workers, from grocery cashiers to nurses, bore greater burdens to help keep the rest of us safe. Still others lost jobs, family members, and friends, grieving without the support we so often need in hard times. 

Yet we proved to ourselves how resilient we are as a community, and treated one another with compassion. As our country continues to race back to “normal” we are faced with the reality that the continued presence of COVID-19 means that things cannot be quite the same, and there are some critical choices we can make as a community to make sure we navigate the continuing pandemic, and thrive on the other side of it.


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Volume 17, Issue 17, Posted 2:41 PM, 09.01.2021

A Busy Couple Of Weeks For Lakewood Frontline Services

This has been an especially busy and challenging week for Lakewood’s public servants. But, as usual, they have risen to the challenges. In addition to the normal flow of emergencies and calamities that our firefighters, paramedics, police officers, and Public Works employees must tend to every day, there were three particular situations I want to underscore, and call attention to the incredible work that Lakewood’s taxpayers are getting from the city’s workforce.

First, on Wednesday, a backhoe collapsed on top of a man working at a property on Thoreau Ave. Our Fire Dept. and other first responders shot into action immediately, bringing every last bit of their training and experience to bear in quite literally saving the man’s life. Our Public Works Department employees also thought creatively in dispatching heavy equipment to aid in the situation - a critically important decision.

That night, an unusually powerful storm blew through Lakewood, knocking down trees and power lines and leaving most of Lakewood without electricity. Our first responders and public works employees - who had barely caught their breath from the Thoreau incident - were seen all around the city clearing massive amounts of debris, blocking off power lines, assisting elderly residents who were without power, and attending to the most serious property damage.


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Volume 17, Issue 17, Posted 9:20 AM, 08.19.2021

Meet The Candidates

Meet the Candidates for Lakewood Council At Large, Municipal Court, and School Board on Saturday, August 28 from 9A to 12P. The event is sponsored by the Lakewood Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland and the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce. Lakewood citizens are strongly encouraged to come to the Kiwanis Pavilion at Lakewood Park to ask questions, get answers, and acquaint themselves with the voting process. To join the Lakewood Chapter of the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland, please go to

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Volume 17, Issue 17, Posted 9:20 AM, 08.19.2021

Mayor's Corner

As many of you know, my partner Matt and I recently were thrilled to welcome the arrival of our baby girl, Maggie. In the short time since, our growing family has been amazed at how so many of you have reached out to congratulate us with words of kindness and support. While I was humbled by this outpouring, I was not surprised. Lakewood is the kind of place people seek out to raise their families because of the incredible community found here. We are so grateful to be part of this community.

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Volume 17, Issue 16, Posted 9:20 AM, 08.19.2021

Another Endorsement To Keep Kepple On Council

Cuyahoga County Young Democrats recently became the latest of many local organizations and officials to endorse Sarah Kepple for an At-Large Lakewood City Council position in the upcoming elections. “[Kepple is] a fierce advocate for making government transparent and accessible and will continue to ensure health, safety, and prosperity to Lakewood residents if elected to City Council,” said The Matriots PAC.  Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, Cuyahoga Democratic Women’s Caucus, Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, and North Shore AFL-CIO have also each endorsed Kepple, who has been serving on Council since being unanimously appointed in February 2020.

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Volume 17, Issue 16, Posted 9:20 AM, 08.19.2021

City Of Lakewood Beats Census Estimates, Population Remains Over 50,000

The US Census Bureau released its official population count for the 2020 census, and the City of Lakewood, Ohio once again topped 50,000 in total population, remaining the densest city in Ohio. With a total population of 50,942, Lakewood actually beat the Census’ own estimates, and remained the third largest city in Cuyahoga County, and one of the top 20 in the entire state.

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Volume 17, Issue 16, Posted 9:20 AM, 08.19.2021

City Of Lakewood Making Major Investments At Madison Park

The City of Lakewood provided an update on several capital investments being installed at Madison Park this year. The improvements come as a result of conversations between the Mayor’s office, City Council, and Lakewood residents regarding park priorities, including concerns over how to ensure that Madison Park – Lakewood’s second largest city-owned park – has the resources and amenities it needs to serve the city’s southeastern neighborhoods.

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Volume 17, Issue 16, Posted 9:20 AM, 08.19.2021

Why A Judge Can Have Empathy And Still Protect Lakewood

My experience as a criminal defense attorney is what separates me from my opponents. I have been in the muck with my clients, and I know the trials and tribulations they have dealt with — something my opponents have never done in their legal careers.

Throughout my legal career, I've learned that as a judge, you can be tough but fair; that throwing down the hammer and max sentencing defendants isn't always the answer. We need a different approach in Lakewood, an alternative to merely punishing people and moving on. It's clear that just punishing offenders does not work. It leads to the overcrowding of our jails, and with no rehabilitation efforts, these individuals become habitual offenders. The old brutal approach does not work; the antiquated crime and punishment approach does not work. My opponents will not change the norm — they are the norm, a product of the same broken system I am attempting to change.


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Volume 17, Issue 15, Posted 2:16 PM, 07.21.2021

Sherrod Brown, AFL-CIO Endorse Rader

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has endorsed Tristan Rader for Lakewood City Council, praising him as “a leader who will continue to fight for affordable housing, public safety, and a cleaner environment in Lakewood.”

“Tristan understands that the Dignity of Work is not just a slogan, it's how we govern,” said Brown, “that's why I'm proud to endorse Tristan Rader for his re-election to Lakewood City Council."

Rader says that Senator Brown’s support is a moving validation of his work on council, as he completes with a large field in the approaching September 14 primary.

“Sherrod Brown has earned and kept Ohio’s trust, to a unique degree, by advocating progressive policy which people care about and understand,” says Rader. “That’s a standard I want to measure up to.”

Brown’s announcement arrived the same week as that of the Northshore AFL-CIO. On July 14, delegates of the prominent labor union endorsed Rader for a second term on Lakewood City Council, in a unanimous vote.

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Volume 17, Issue 15, Posted 2:16 PM, 07.21.2021

Businesses And Projects, Many Things Are Getting Done In Ward One

Immigrant Son Brewery at 18120 Sloane Ave. is opening soon! The owner, Andrew Revy told me they are finishing the construction, they have started brewing, and canning will begin at the end of July. A fun fact Revy told me is there will be a beer named in honor of Zydrunas Ilgauskas (“Z”), a former basketball player with the Cleveland Cavaliers. All you IPA lovers can look forward to trying PerZverence, which will be available in a can or draft. Z himself is an immigrant from Lithuania and has chosen to make Lakewood his home. The full-service brew pub will have an executive chef with a food menu that consists of old world meets the new world cuisine. Need a private room for a gathering or event? Revy has you covered, and he stated the space will be great. 

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Volume 17, Issue 14, Posted 2:16 PM, 07.21.2021

Memorial Day Grave Decorating - Volunteers Needed!

To honor our veterans, the Lakewood/Rocky River Joint Veterans Council annually places flags on veteran graves at Lakewood Park Cemetery for Memorial Day. For over twenty-five years, the City of Lakewood’s H2O “Help to Others” program has recruited volunteers to assist the veterans with this project.  Due to Covid-19, they weren’t able to do this tradition last year, but they’re back and want you all to join us! 

As a senior at Lakewood High, this act of service has always been a great opportunity to spend the day outside with friends and family as we honor those who have served our country. Seeing the myriad of diverse graves is always a fascinating thing to experience. I remember my friends and I being absorbed with the different, and sometimes recognizable, last names. The trees are beautiful, and the gravestones are lovely. No matter who you are, there is always something you can be enthralled with during this act of service. 


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Volume 17, Issue 10, Posted 11:40 AM, 05.19.2021

Update And Overview On The Many Projects Underway In Ward 1

Ward 1 is exploding with many projects that are in progress or close to taking off. We have a lot to be excited about with all the impending improvements, upgrades, and construction. I will highlight some of the changes we can expect to see this year and next. One major City venture is the Detroit-Sloane Improvement project. A May construction start date is in place. There is a focus on pedestrian safety, and a reduction of a traffic lane on Detroit will support this priority. The Metroparks parkway trail will be extended from the park along the south side of Detroit to Graber. Landscaping improvements will create softer green spaces on Sloane, Graber, and Detroit. In addition, public art will enhance the western gateway into Lakewood. The project provides an opportunity to upgrade the storm water system as well.  

The Beck Center for the Arts received a $50,000 grant to improve its open green space in front of the building. The green space enhancement will provide a tranquil area for the public and Beck Center patrons to enjoy. If you own an electric car, the electric vehicle charging stations expansion project will land a charger on the Detroit Extension near Rio Street. Lakewood received a combined total of $50,000 in funding from NOPEC and Ohio EPA to support the expansion of charging stations. Once the four new stations are installed, the City will have increased the total to seven city-wide.


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Volume 17, Issue 9, Posted 12:23 PM, 05.05.2021

Kyle Baker Announces Candidacy For Lakewood City Council At Large

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

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

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


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

Summer Camp

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

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

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

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

Mayor's Corner:Spring Is Around The Corner

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

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

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

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


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

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

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