Let The Rabbits Have It

Nothing can get two Lakewood natives into heated debate faster than mentioning the old hospital. I’m not here to discuss that. I am here to discuss the city block that’s been kept behind fencing and off limits for longer than my memory goes. You know, that massive pit in the center of our Downtown. Where the hospital used to be.

My proposal is radical. I know I’m screaming into the wind, or perhaps a tornado these days. But doing something always feels better than doing nothing. 

I want to let the rabbits have the lot. 

I spend a lot of time near this pit because, well I live in Lakewood. It’s a walkable city. That’s like, the whole point. And I have noticed the amount of LIFE coming from this pit. Rabbits seem to find the area particularly appealing. I've seen them in numbers I haven’t seen before in my 23 years living in this city. 

"Pit" is such an ugly word, and the grass is growing in beautifully, so perhaps I’ll call it a field. Or an opportunity?

In the age of endings, of unyielding crisis and unfathomable climate catastrophe, I propose we do the unthinkable. Radical threats require radical responses. Let’s say no to the concrete, no to the steel and the welding, no to the profitized assault on our earth, no to empty promises that fall short of themselves. Don’t sell this field to the highest bidder. 

I dare you Lakewood.

Let the rabbits have it. 

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Volume 19, Issue 18, Posted 11:03 AM, 09.20.2023

Where Is The Progressive Commitment To End Homelessness in Lakewood?

Many progressive minded communities enjoy patting themselves on the back for holding the correct political views. There is a certain, dare I say, smug, satisfaction in some quarters over the abudance of rainbow flags, Black Lives Matters posters, and other progressive decorations in this city. I have no objection. Having lived in the southern suburbs, I am used to such open and proud displays of political affilation. In North Royalton and Brunswick, for instance, there is no shortage of blue and red porch lights, blue line flags, MAGA yard signs, and other conservative emblems. However, as a relative newcomer to Lakewood, I must confess that I find most of this self-conscious progressivism to be quite shallow. But it doesn't have to be that way. People are free to live up to their rhetoric, if they so choose. If Lakewood's progressivism is to amount to more than an exercise in vanity, it must protect human dignity, not surrender it to misery.

Anyone who actually bothers to walk along Detroit Avenue and West 117th Street can't help but notice the inceasing numbers of homeless persons. Many, if not most, of these destitute unhoused individuals are African American. Few are the helping hands or acts of compassion extended toward these men and women, many of whom must pass the time on benches or in bus shelters in the intense heat and unforgiving sun of July and August. Yet Black lives are supposed to matter, right?

It's no coincidence that quite a few businesses have posted "no public restrooms" notices. The Lakewood Public Library prohibits sleeping and bringing in blankets and changes of clothes, according to its patron handbook. As there is no homeless shelter or drop-in center in Lakewood or the western edge of Cleveland, such policies of exclusion have resulted not only in the unavoidable sight of unwashed uncomfortable people (unavoidable yet easily ignored by passers by), but in noxious odors not easily ignored in various spots where the poorest of the poor must relieve themselves. Situations like this don't exactly proclaim social justice.


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Volume 18, Issue 16, Posted 7:58 PM, 08.03.2022

Overkill -- Unneeded -- Redundancy -- Better Uses

According to its website, Lakewood is now “seeking a consultant to develop a Climate Action Plan (CAP) for both the municipality and community at large.” Our City government wants to spend up to $100,000.00 of your hard earned tax dollars to develop an “action plan,” not only for Lakewood, but to include the “community at large.” Lakewood, itself, is part of a “community at large” known as Cuyahoga County which already has its own Climate Action Plan.  I’m sure the county would share its Plan with the City at little or no cost. Does our City’s government think that the County’s plan is inferior?

May 15, 2019 Cuyahoga County published its Climate Change Action Plan: “The Cuyahoga County Climate Change Action Plan is an effort to set targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions, implement and track actions to meet targets, and adapt to climate change across the county.” Ohio University has undertaken establishing an action plan for dealing with climate change. The United States Government has for some time been engaged in efforts to deal with climate change. Why should Lakewood spend a large chunk of tax dollars for its own action plan when it would simply be an overkill? Lakewood’s area is less than 2 hundredths of one percent the area of Cuyahoga County. The Cuyahoga County community, of which Lakewood is part, already has a Climate Action Plan. 


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Volume 17, Issue 13, Posted 3:01 PM, 07.07.2021

Changing Political Parties: Easy-Peasy Or Complicated?!

This past election cycle, many voters felt the only choices were for the "lesser of two evils", IF they'd voted at all. Now, many wish to switch Political Party affiliation [Democrat/Republican/Libertarian/Independent, etc]. In discussions, it seems some think choosing "Independent" equates to being able to choose without political party affiliation. Now, correct me if I am wrong [it wouldn't be the first time] BUT when someone chooses "Independent", then they're bound to that Party and its candidate.

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

The Basics About DACA

On September 5, the Trump administration announced that it is “winding down” the DACA program. No new applications will be accepted; renewal applications for work permits expiring in the next six months must be submitted by October 5; and the administration emphasized its underlying authority to terminate or deny deferred action for any reason, at any time, with or without notice. There was an immediate uproar. The highest ranking members of Congress from both parties, as well as President Trump, have subsequently expressed support for legislative action on immigration that would address the DACA issues. So what exactly is DACA?

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

Vinyl Records Vs. Alternatives

People often now stream music from Ipods, phones or computers. Sure they get it free, but can it really compare with vinyl records? Vinyl has a nicer sound quality and frankly it's more fun to have a record on vinyl than to stream music.

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:01 PM, 04.18.2017

A Tale Of Two Cities

The Cleveland Clinic recently announced the imminent closing of the birthing unit of the Medina Hospital on July 1, 2017. The Medina City Council immediately reacted with a 6-0 resolution to stop the closing of the birthing unit. The Mayor of Medina made futile overtures to the Cleveland Clinic and currently he is in discussion with another healthcare provider to continue to provide birthing center services to the citizens in the Medina area.

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:01 PM, 04.18.2017

Experience, Commitment, Leadership: Beegan for Lakewood City Council

Our city has been on an upward trajectory for the past decade and we should be proud of how Lakewood has evolved into a diverse community of choice.  But these positive changes in our neighborhoods do not happen in a vacuum; they are the result of years of committed planning and partnerships between our many engaged citizens, community leaders and city government.  We are fortunate that one of those leaders is seeking to expand his commitment to service now as a member of Lakewood City Council.  I have known Paul Beegan for over 10 years and am honored to support him for election to Lakewood City Council in Ward 2.

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Volume 11, Issue 22, Posted 4:17 PM, 10.13.2015

Lakewood Hospital: Taking Sides

Taking sides is not easy. It is especially difficult when you respect and value people and opinions on the other side. In the case of Lakewood Hospital, it can be divisive. I have experienced this firsthand in recent weeks as I have talked and corresponded with friends and neighbors about the details and issues involved. Like me, many have taken the time to review available documents and attend or view community, council and opposition meetings. Others have taken a side based primarily on loyalty or rumors. While my quest for information is never satisfied, this has not stopped me from taking a side. Mostly in an effort to slow down the process, as it is apparent that things have run amok. The sign in my yard reads: SAVE LAKEWOOD HOSPITAL. Here’s why.

I am on the side of jobs, good paying, skilled jobs like most of the 1000+ at Lakewood Hospital. Our local economy depends on them. Despite the “exciting possibilities” the signers of a recent letter supporting Mayor Summers’ plan to demolish the hospital hope for, I prefer “a bird in the hand.” As of this writing, no known plans (past or current) hold the possibility of replacing anything like what Lakewood would lose in the way of jobs should the hospital close. Holding the Cleveland Clinic to their lease and restoring services would maintain jobs while allowing time for the development of a solid plan, one that better leverages our assets to minimize healthcare job loss and attracts new comparable wage jobs.

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Volume 11, Issue 14, Posted 4:33 PM, 06.23.2015

Stolen Bikes In Lakewood

Hello my name is Ethan Ulintz. I’m 12 years old and I’m going to talk to you about the problem with bikes being stolen in Lakewood.

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Volume 10, Issue 16, Posted 3:05 PM, 08.05.2014

I Don't Want McDonald's As My Neighbor...But Neither Does Anybody Else

A few issues ago, when the front page of the Observer announced the possibility of McDonald’s taking over the old Detroit Theater, the news came as a surprise to many Lakewood residents. I probably spoke to at least ten people that day about this piece of information, ALL of whom expressed disgust (and that’s a mild descriptor) at having McDonald’s move into a much more exposed area of our neighborhood...into a historical landmark, at that.

How can we be saying in the same breath that we hate McDonald’s, but still want it around for those occasional indulgences? Is McDonald’s like the mistress of our diets--hidden back on Sloane, where we can access it when we get a craving, but don’t have to be constantly reminded that it’s there? Add to that the irony that the McDonald’s is almost in the same parking lot as Nature’s Bin. Appalling!

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 8:19 AM, 06.15.2011

Some Things To Think About

Bret Callentine insists in his article in the Observer of April 19 that American voters should think.  In the words of the G.O.P.'s star performer, "You Betcha!" We the people of the American electorate should think about the way our democracy, the government of the people, for the people, and by the people, is being eroded and is on the verge of becoming an oligarchy.

The gap between the rich and the rest of is larger than it has been since the start of the Great Depression.  We no longer have a broad-based prosperity. From 1974 to 2007 the richest 1% of households increased their share of the total national income from 9% to 23.5%.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 10:50 PM, 05.17.2011

Real Customer Service

After being released from Lakewood Hospital this past March, I was still extremely weak. I could barely walk and couldn't get myself in and out of bed.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 7:00 PM, 06.03.2009

So "No" to Blu-Ray

Understandably, the introduction of the HD technology might drive some to the stores to cash in on the newest digital trend, Blu-Ray. If for whatever reason, you can't, don't feel bad, because it isn't that big of a deal.

Any overrated ad in your neighborhood Target or Wall-Mart will tell you how amazing Blu-Ray players are. How much they enhance the quality of your movie experience. How distinct an improvement they are from those outdated regular DVDs scattered all over your house. How much you can do with all of the new features.

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Volume 5, Issue 3, Posted 3:57 PM, 01.25.2009

Ready, Set, Retire!

Retirement is considered by many Americans as a time to realize their dreams or experience some well-deserved leisure. For others it is the opportunity to embark on a new career. How you live out your retirement will largely be determined by your ability to sustain the lifestyle you desire. And your success will depend in part on how well you have planned for your future. Sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be, if you develop a sound financial strategy...
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Volume 4, Issue 19, Posted 2:06 PM, 09.05.2008

Tips for School

Since the school year is about to begin, I thought I’d share tips on classroom success that I learned as a university professor.

Let’s begin with Gilbert’s Law of Classroom Inequality: whoever holds the gradebook is always right. It doesn’t matter whether or not that statement is true. It matters that your teachers control your grades, and you don’t.

To argue a point of grammar or punctuation, your only successful defense is The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage. Fowler is the absolute force of authority. He’s like The Shadow; he knows. No one with any sense argues with Fowler...

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Volume 4, Issue 17, Posted 4:58 PM, 07.29.2008

A Hardware Dilemma No More

Bobsons Hardware used to be the place. As far back as I can remember, if you wanted something out of the ordinary, you went to Bobsons to get it. Whether it be a rubber washer for an ancient faucet or a tiny screw used on a drawer hinge, you could count on Bobsons to have it.
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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 11:28 AM, 05.02.2007

Let's Capitalize on the Dog Park

A suggestion from Gordon Brumm
The Lakewood Observer invites our readers to send in suggestions for city government and civic organizations. All suggestions should be submitted through the Lakewood Observer Member Center – a one time registration is required. We intend to include your ideas as a regular feature in each edition. Selections will be made by the Editor and Publisher and we reserve the right to use submissions in part as space permits. Please let us hear from you.
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Volume 3, Issue 1, Posted 3:03 AM, 01.07.07