Latest News

Westlake’s Food Pantry is here to help

The Westlake Food Pantry offers nutritious, non-perishable food to residents in need. Photo courtesy City of Westlake

A food pantry can serve as a lifeline to a variety of people, many of whom one might not think of when imagining the average individual(s) served by this type of social service.

The good people in the Westlake Senior & Community Services Department knows the reasons a person or even an entire family may find themselves struggling to afford basic nourishment essentials can vary greatly. This is why they want residents to know that the Westlake Food Pantry is open to any resident in need.

Perhaps an individual lost their spouse who was the primary bread-winner for the household. Insurance may only go so far to cover expenses, leaving them in need of a way to make up the difference. They should not go hungry or feel shame in seeking some assistance in their time of need.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:46 AM, 03.17.2020

Bay Village improves ISO rating

Bay Village firefighters training in ladder rescue techniques. Training is one of the essential categories on which the ISO rating is based.

The Bay Village Fire Department is delighted to announce that, based on its recent analysis of our Fire & Rescue services, we have received the Insurance Services Office (ISO) Class 2 Public Protection Classification (PPC). This places Bay Village in the top 2% of communities nationwide.

ISO is a third party independent agency that evaluates the readiness of all 50,000 fire departments in America every 5 years, and uses that evaluation to provide statistical, actuarial, underwriting, and claims information and analytics to the market. ISO rates each fire department on a national scale from 1 to 10, with a 1 being the highest possible rating.

According to ISO, its Public Protection Classification Program plays an important role in the underwriting process for insurance companies. Most U.S. insurers report that the PPC information is used in their decision-making process when determining what businesses to cover, what types of coverage to offer, and what prices to charge for both residential and commercial property insurance. With each improvement in PPC rating, community members may expect to see a discount on their annual insurance premiums.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:43 AM, 03.17.2020

City of Bay Village acts to limit spread of coronavirus

As you know, a national emergency has been declared by the federal and state governments to combat the coronavirus. Bay Village city services such as trash and recycling will continue unless otherwise notified. My administration is committed to working with health authorities to implement practices on a local level.

Effective Saturday, March 14, public access has been limited to certain Bay Village municipal buildings. The Dwyer Center, Community Gym and the Recreation Department have been closed to the public and programming has been suspended. All non-essential meetings at all city buildings have been cancelled. City Hall is open primarily for Building Department related matters.

All departments are staffed and are available by phone or email. We would appreciate it if sewer payments are placed in the drive-through payment box at the exit of city hall or if paying by credit card, please call 440-871-2200.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:46 AM, 03.17.2020

Help our seniors avoid loneliness and social isolation

The prior issue of WBVO, always available at our website, wbvobserver.com, had a great article on spring cleaning in Jennifer Hartzell's The Green Report column that even a self-proclaimed “geek” learned something from: Best Buy recycles TV for a nominal fee.

Adding to that informative article, I want to remind our readers that before taking a computer, tablet or smartphone to the Bay Village or Westlake service departments for disposal, please make sure to physically extract the “storage devices” from computers (geeky terminology: “hard drives” or “solid state drives”) for safekeeping. For smartphones and tablets, it is important to factory reset the devices before drop-off. In a future column, we’ll demystify these necessary processes so you can minimize the risk of the nefarious getting hold of your personal data.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:41 AM, 03.17.2020

Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, March 11, 2020

This report is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Mayor Koomar's office prepares official minutes.

Present: Mayors Koomar (Bay Village), Cooney (Fairview Park), George (Lakewood), Kennedy (North Olmsted), Bobst (Rocky River), and Renee Mahoney, WCOG Fiscal Officer.

Guests: BV Fire Chief Chris Lyons; Ron Barlow, Westshore Central Dispatch Center ("Westcom"); Bay Village Human Resources Director Jennifer Demaline.

The meeting was held at Bay Village City Hall, Mayor Koomar presiding. It was called to order at 9:30 a.m. 

New Business

The meeting began with a discussion of recent CDC communications regarding the coronavirus and their dissemination and implementation. CDC defines a mass meeting as more than 50 people for more than two hours at a time, and asks local government officials to consider the purpose of a meeting and whether the population involved is vulnerable when making decisions about closing events at facilities like schools or senior residences. The mayors speculated that the protocols about closing events and facilities to prevent disease transmission would continue until sometime around Easter.

Bay Village Fire Chief Lyons described cleaning protocols in municipal buildings, and Mayor Bobst announced that Rocky River has contracted for several portable disinfectant machines from a supplier in Toledo. The machines are carried in a backpack and disperse a fine mist of disinfectant that attaches to surfaces and will be effective for several weeks. She will make more information about it available to the other municipalities.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:41 AM, 03.17.2020

Now, THIS is serious …

Okay, so I heard the NBA was canceling their season because one of their players tested positive for everyone’s new best enemy, the coronavirus.

So, the biggie here is …? The Cavs canceled a few games at the tail end of their season, and, let’s be honest: given the quality of play from the Cavs this year, wasn’t their season actually over before Christmas?

At least they didn’t take my baseball from me. After all, the Tribe opener is only a couple of weeks awa…WHAT? Say it ain’t so, MLB! No baseball until – in all likelihood – May at best? You’re telling me no Frankie? No Clev? No Beibs? Now you have my attention.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:41 AM, 03.17.2020

BAYarts announces winners of annual Juried Exhibition

Derek Brennan's "Blossom" took Best of Show in this year's Juried Exhibition at BAYarts.

The annual BAYarts Juried Exhibition is once again hung in the Sullivan Family Gallery at BAYarts this March. 

The judges this year were Cleveland artists John W. Carlson and Shari Wilkins.

Part of the BAYarts community for 10 years, John W. Carlson currently teaches Figure Drawing and The Basics and Beyond courses. Prior to judging, he revealed the diversity of the work was exciting. "As in most juried shows, it’s just plain difficult because there is so much good work and limited space in which to show it."

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:41 AM, 03.17.2020

COSI comes to Westerly School

Charlotte, Claire, Lily and Irene making circuits to light a light bulb.

The students at Westerly Elementary school had a visit from a company called COSI, Center of Science and Industry. You can visit them in Columbus. The COSI worker set up centers for the whole school to do experiments with and we got to try a lot of cool stuff!

We learned a lot about science. Here are some things we did and saw. First, there was a machine called SAM. When a person pulls a hammer the hammer hits a ball. The ball would start to roll and would knock one thing, that would knock another thing, that would knock another thing, and so on. It was a chain reaction machine. It was pretty cool.

Two centers we liked were about energy. One of our favorite things was the light machine. You turned a handle and a light would turn on. If you flipped a switch a different light would turn on. This center showed which light bulb uses less energy.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:45 AM, 03.17.2020

Take time to smell the flowers

Yes, we’ve all heard that saying and we all know what it means. With the outbreak of COVID-19 and everything being shut down and canceled, there has never been a better time for each of us to do just that: “take time to smell the flowers.”

Our everyday lives have shifted and slowed down dramatically – whether we wanted them to or not. The COVID-19 pandemic is scary and stressful and there’s nothing that any of us can do but to listen to the experts and stay away from gatherings of people and wash our hands the best we’ve ever done. But none of that means that we need to stay inside!

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:45 AM, 03.17.2020

Saint Raphael stages living wax museum

Saint Raphael fifth-grade students presented the most anticipated event of the year at the annual Living Wax Museum this past month. Through research and preparation, 90 students ages 10 and 11 transformed into our world’s past and modern-day heroes.

Athletes, musicians, inventors, philanthropists, historical leaders, actors and entertainers filled the rooms of Saint Raphael as family members, parishioners and students pressed play to listen to their biographies. The event was not only considered a unanimous success by all who attended, but was a great history lesson for students and listeners as they presented.

Congratulations to all students for the hard work and preparation done in order to bring such an interactive teaching event to the community!

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:43 AM, 03.17.2020

It’s maple sugar time in Connecticut's Western Reserve

Kay Laughlin and her sister Gay were named the youngest twins at the Chardon Maple Festival in 1939.

We love our "real" maple syrup on our morning pancakes.

In America, maple syrup is a staple in the pantry.  Maple syrup/sugar is truly an American crop. Both maple syrup and maple sugar were items of barter among the Indians living in the area of the Great Lakes when the early settlers arrived in this country.

The Osborn family writes in their memories: “The Indians also furnished a tolerable amount of maple sugar (syrup). Sarah objected a little to using it, on account of cleanliness, for the Indians used to boil their bacon in the sap without skinning the hide, and the hair would come off, which looked rather unpalatable in tea. Some of the squaws were so nice, however, they would strain the syrup through part of their dress and the difficulty would be alleviated. Sometimes the dress was so dirty and full of holes they could not strain the syrup.”

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:42 AM, 03.17.2020

Then and Now in Dover, Part 5.2

1858 Dover birthplace of Cerisa Alexander Winslow on Clague Road just west of Stoneybrook Drive in what is now North Olmsted, as depicted on a Hopkins plat map from 1858.

An addendum to part five in a series on the "real photo postcards" (RPPCs) of early 20th century Dover, now Westlake and Bay Village.

1890 Residence of George M. and Cerisa M. Winslow at 2840 Dover Center Road

[Note: the address was given incorrectly as 2940 in the last article about this house (“Part 5”).]

Cerisa Alexander was the granddaughter of Dover pioneers James and Hannah Alexander. Her parents, Silas and Harriett, were married in Cuyahoga County in 1834. Cerisa was the ninth of their 10 children. Alexander Road in North Olmsted is named for the family.

On Feb. 13, 1878, George M. Winslow married Cerisa M. Alexander. George’s mother, Ann, had died just weeks before. The 1880 U.S. Census has the widowed John (age 63) living with George (25), Cerisa (22) and their son John A. Winslow (1).

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:44 AM, 03.17.2020

Tips for when your pet is missing

Crazy things can happen to make a domesticated pet seize the moment to leave the security of a fenced yard, electronic containment or home. Here are some safety tips to help ensure that does not happen, but what to do if it occurs.

If you use traditional fencing, secure your gate with a lock, signage and check your fencing on a regular basis for low/high spots and weak boards. If your dog is a fence jumper or scaler consider safe tethering away from the fence as to not cause harm to the dog, or set up an electronic containment within your fenced area. Check on a regular basis for breaks in the electronic fence lines and replace the collar batteries as directed. Use their brand battery not some inexpensive one as they tend to be ineffective or have a short cycle.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:44 AM, 03.17.2020

Herb Guild Garden Club offers scholarships

The Herb Guild Garden Club is offering a one-time scholarship available to graduating high school seniors as well as Lorain County Community College and Cuyahoga Community College current freshmen or sophomore students. Applicants must be residents of the state of Ohio and U.S. citizens. (International or foreign exchange students are not eligible.)

Only students with a proposed academic study in forestry, botany, horticulture, environmental science, agriculture, landscaping, or culinary arts are eligible for this scholarship.

Deadline for applying is April 6. For further information contact Karol Polkinghorn at 440-554-7755.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:41 AM, 03.17.2020

Bay groups share news, upcoming events

Members of the Bay Village Community Council met on March 11 to share news and notes from the civic groups they represent. Following are highlights from their reports (please note that events may be postponed or cancelled due to concerns regarding the spread of coronavius):

American Legion Post #385 has made its selection of the 2020 Buckeye Boys and Girls State programs from local high schools. From Bay High, the Buckeye Girls State representatives are Annalise Johnson and McKenna Mandarine, with alternate Elizabeth Varis. The Girls program is jointly sponsored with the Bay Village Kiwanis Club. The Bay High Buckeye Boys State representatives are Adam Zeadler and Hayden Coffman with alternates James Bish and Cooper Lyons. The Buckeye Boys State representative from Westlake High School is Shane Quinn and Daniel Keenan will be the alternate. The Buckeye Boys State representative from St. Edward High School is Jackson Harrison. The Representatives are high school juniors who will receive an 8-day introduction into the operation of state, county and city governments. At the completion of the program, they will share with the Legionnaires their experiences. The representatives from Bay High School will also appear before the Bay Village Kiwanis Club. The Bay Village American Legion has been sponsoring Buckeye State for over 50 years.

The Bay Village Education Foundation's annual Tri-Bay Golf Classic is Friday, June 12, starting at 7:30 a.m. Cost is $125 per player. The Tri-Bay website, tribaygolf.com, will be updated soon.

The Bay Village Historical Society reported that Rose Hill Museum and the Reuben Osborn Leaning Center reopen on Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. beginning April 26. The next historical society potluck dinner, slated for May 21, 6 p.m. at the Bay Lodge, will feature speakers from Lake Erie Nature & Science Center talking about their organization's 75th anniversary.


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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:40 AM, 03.17.2020

Connecting for Kids of Westlake recognizes 3 with awards

Jean Dombrosky

Connecting for Kids has recognized the following individuals with its 2020 Board Awards:

Parent & Professional of the Year Awards

These awards are given to those that exemplify the mission of Connecting for Kids to provide education and support to families concerned about their child. The following individuals have been recognized:

2020 Parent of the Year: Jean Dombrosky, a resident of Amherst

Jean Dombrosky was nominated by her daughter, Lisa Neely, who wrote the following in her nomination: “My mom stopped enjoying being a grandparent six years ago and turned into a parent again. Raising my niece and nephew, Joe and Ada, to be the best they can in all areas of their life. Joe and Ada both carry a large medical and trauma history that requires countless appointments. My mother retired to ensure she could adequately care for them in every aspect. She takes them to all medical and therapy appointments without any voice of discord or second thought. She has turned into their educational advocate and is always in attendance at IEP meetings, conferences and is in constant communication with teachers. She is one of the biggest fans at the various Special Olympic events and attends community programs in hopes to become better educated in her role as caregiver.”

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:44 AM, 03.17.2020

Porter Library is closed through April 6

After considering information indicating social distancing can stop the coronavirus from exponentially spreading, Westlake Porter Public Library leadership made the difficult decision to close on Friday, March 13, at 6 p.m. The library plans on reopening on Monday, April 6. However, the length of the closure will be continually reassessed. WPPL believes the longer the library remains open, the less benefit the community gets from this difficult decision.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 4:26 PM, 03.13.2020

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center to close through March 31

UPDATE: Lake Erie Nature & Science Center announced on March 27 that it will extend its temporary closure until Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health provide directives indicating it is safe to repoen.

Lake Erie Nature & Science Center sent out a press release on March 12 announcing that its doors will close March 13 in response directives from state and county officials:

The health and safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is a top priority of Lake Erie Nature & Science Center. The Center is taking appropriate action to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Following directives of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Public Health, Cuyahoga Board of Health and the CDC to limit public gatherings, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center will close to the public, cancel all classes and programs and halt wildlife rehabilitation services from March 13 through at least March 31.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 7:52 PM, 03.12.2020

No-panic approach to being coronavirus ready

People, take a deep breath, please.

Yes, there are confirmed cases of COVID-19, the coronavirus, in Cuyahoga County.

First, the most important message about respiratory infections: If you’re sick, stay home. Call your doctor if needed.

Currently, we have no treatment or vaccines for it.

I want to bring you up to speed on three important preventative measures.

Hand wash or sanitizer?

Hand washing, done properly and regularly, removes germs and chemicals very well.

If soap and water aren’t available, hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) works for most microbes, including corona and flu viruses. Because alcohol kills by contact, make sure your hands are not too dirty or oily.

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 11:49 AM, 03.10.2020