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Historical society honors Westlake victim of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

On the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Westlake Historical Society will again meet at the gravesite of Christina Ryook in Evergreen Cemetery. Members of our society have met there annually since 2006.

Lysa Stanton, Westlake Historical Society president, first became aware of Ms. Ryook’s grave while walking her dog at Evergreen Cemetery. Christina was in the World Trade Center when it was attacked.

Because Christina’s family sometimes travels to New York for commemorative observances, Lysa always makes sure there is a local service on Sept. 11. When the Ryook family is in town, they and the Westlake Historical Society hold a joint service.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:47 AM, 09.08.2021

Ivermectin: From dirt to Nobel Prize

Is it me or is the medical world upside down and sideways these days?

I can live with the “It’s a hard no on the vaccine.”

What bothers me: Muddy information from doctors. Recently, an Arkansas doctor headlined for giving jail prisoners (and himself and his family, apparently) a multi-drug cocktail including ivermectin, a deworming pill, to treat – and prevent – COVID-19.

He’s the tip of the iceberg. The CDC reports ivermectin prescriptions went from 3,600 per week pre-pandemic to “88,000 prescriptions in the week ending Aug. 13, 2021.”

I’m not here to trash talk ivermectin. Quite the opposite, ivermectin colors my world sky blue.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.08.2021

Strange history: 384 Fordham Parkway, Part 1

384 Fordham Parkway in 1938. This is a press photograph by the Cleveland News of photograph presented as evidence in the Love Nest case.

Long before the sensational Sheppard murder case there was another infamous criminal case in Bay Village. In 1938, Mrs. Christine Ritchie was arrested for operating a “house of ill fame” in what was labeled the “Love Nest Case” by the Cleveland News newspaper.

Dr. David Francati, of Bay Dental, the current owner of 384 Fordham Parkway, told me a number of stories about the home he has shared with his wife, Sheila, since 1993. He said that it was supposedly built by the owners of a brewery. That it was once known as a “love nest” in the 1930s. That it was then an orphanage where some of the kids crossed an open porch to sleep in the attic. That it then had a fire and was repaired and turned back into a single-family home. Could all of this be true of one 3,600-square-foot home tucked away along Lake Erie next to Cliff Drive in Bay Village, Ohio?

Dr. Francati shared with me a newspaper article from 1938 which corroborated the “love nest” part of the story. The article involved the case of an Elyria policeman who was arrested Jan. 18, 1938, leaving the property with a woman who was not his wife. He was charged with “entering a house for immoral purposes.” Anywhere from 20 to 50 cars were stopped leaving the premises that one day.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:41 AM, 09.08.2021

Westlake welcomes new police patrolman

The City of Westlake welcomed Patrolman Zack Hitchens to the Westlake Police Department on Tuesday, Aug. 24. Mayor Dennis Clough administered the oath of office to the city's newest sworn officer in front of members of his family, friends and his new colleagues in the Council Chambers at Westlake City Hall.

Hitchens comes to Westlake having spent the last three years serving as a patrol officer for the City of Cleveland. Prior to that, Hitchens worked as a corrections officer for Huron County and Stark County. 

He graduated from Kent State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:45 AM, 09.08.2021

Flight 93 National Memorial

The Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 National Memorial is a monumental, 93-foot-tall musical instrument holding 40 wind chimes, representing the 40 passengers and crew members. Photo courtesy Brenda Torrey | U.S. National Park Service

My son, Jeff, and his adult son Alex visited the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, last week. They had never been there and I had not been there since it had become a park with designed walls – including a visitor center – offering memorials and information on that tragic crash, along with wonderful views of its now grass-covered site. That place where 40 passengers and crew gave their lives to save others on Sept. 11, 2001. Despite the improvements and many visitors there that day, it’s just as quiet now as when I visited a year after 9/11.

I flew often when I worked. Jeff, and his brother, Mike, still do in their jobs (at least before the pandemic). We have never worked in high rise buildings, such as those hit by other hijacked planes in New York with so many people in so many offices and stores, making it a bit harder for us to relate to that environment.

However, we know all too well what’s it’s like to wake in the morning and make our way to airports, check in, pass through security, wait in line and then board our planes. All very routine – stow carry-on, buckle up, open newspaper, magazine or book and wait for coffee. Most of us have experienced these things.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.08.2021

Dream a little dream with me (and the Browns)

It’s that time again, folks.

“And exactly what time is that?” you query, in an impatient and clearly accusatory tone. (Obviously, you’ve read previous columns of mine. And BTW – you’re welcome.)

It’s the time of year when I boldly predict the Browns’ final record after they finish up against the Bengals on Jan. 9. (I’ll also make another prediction: If you’re going to that game, dress warmly, as it will be cold.)

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:44 AM, 09.08.2021

A safe way to prevent bugs, spiders, and other insects

I know it is very popular around here for people to treat their homes with insecticides/pesticides to keep spiders and other insects out. However, use of chemicals and pesticides can be very harmful to you, your kids, your pets, and the environment.

The rule of thumb I use is: if it is killing any living thing, it is likely killing us, just a heck of a lot more slowly. Before I hear any “BUTs” ... I know when you have a major infestation of something like carpenter ants (this happened to us many years ago so we had to call in the professionals with the insecticides because obviously carpenter ants can destroy your house structurally), you need to use the dangerous stuff because the bugs are at that point dangerous. However, I can say that was the first – and last – time we have used that sort of product in and around our home.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.08.2021

Gardening at the Knickerbocker

As August came to a close I went to our little community garden at the Knickerbocker Apartments to take morning pictures when the sun highlights the loveliness of our meager efforts. One gardener, however, has spent many hours tending the garden and has given advice and watered when needed. Robert is from Lebanon and brings old world wisdom, even his mother's advice not to waste a thing, and shares it along with recipes for tabbouleh and his hot peppers, which he grows in abundance.

The Knickerbocker has kindly provided eight raised beds that are waist high, built on stilts so older people don't have to kneel to garden which would prevent many like myself from gardening at all. They also provided potting soil to fill the boxes, sometimes mixing in the clay-like native dirt that is not fit for growing anything. I am surprised any grass grows at all.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:44 AM, 09.08.2021

Westlake Porter Public Library's early September calendar of events

Following is Westlake Porter Public Library’s early September 2021 calendar of events. All programs are subject to change. Please check or follow the library on Facebook and Twitter (@WestlakePorter) for the latest updates.

Thursdays, Sept. 9 and 23 (3:30-4:30 p.m.) Roblox Arcade (Live) – Love Roblox? We have some private servers set up for Tweens in grades 4-6 to hang out with their friends and enjoy some of the most popular games via Zoom. Please register.

Thursday, Sept. 9 (6:30-7 p.m.) and Friday, Sept. 17 (10-10:30 a.m.) Adapted Storytime in the Garden – This storytime is designed for children ages 3-7 who may not be successful in a typical storytime experience. Siblings may attend but must register separately. This program is weather permitting. Staff will make every effort to notify you in a timely manner if we cannot meet in-person. If we cannot meet in-person Zoom invitations will be sent to all registered attendees. Please register every person that will be attending, including children and adults. Caregivers must stay with their child(ren) during the programming. Please register.

Friday, Sept. 10 (4-4:45 p.m.) The Science of 'Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark' – There is science inside the "Magic Tree House" books. Let’s begin with "Dinosaurs Before Dark" and explore the world of dinosaurs, from fossils and eggs to carnivores and herbivores. Grades 1-2. Discoveries will be made through hands-on experiments, active participation and a simple take home project. This program is weather permitting. Please register.

Saturday, Sept. 11 (11-11:30 a.m.) Pokemon Fun (Live) – Join Miss Rachel for a Pokemon Zoom meeting! We’ll play a “Guess that Pokemon” game and have time for show and tell. Feel free to bring a favorite Pokemon card or toy for show and tell! Please register. Participants must provide an email address to receive Zoom instructions.

Monday, Sept. 13 (11-11:30 a.m.) Gross Motor Monday – Start your week with some movement activities! We will have fun balancing, jumping, tossing, marching and more! For children ages 3-7 with special needs. This program is led by a librarian, not a therapist, physician or exercise professional. This program is weather permitting. If we cannot meet in-person, we will meet on Zoom invites will be sent to all registered attendees. Please register every person that will be attending, including children and adults. Caregivers must stay with their child(ren) during programming. Please register.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:45 AM, 09.08.2021

Location, location, location!

I always reckon smartphones as having powers akin to the color-shifting chameleons that blend into their environment. Crystals in the photonic skin of the chameleon are responsible for its color-shifting superpowers, much like smartphone "apps" change the smartphone's utility into different gadgets on the fly.

Out of the box, a smartphone is a mobile phone (Dialer app), address book (Contacts), calendar (Calendar), digital camera (Camera), video camera ("flip a switch" in the Camera), tool to use the services on the internet (type of an app known as "browsers" such as Safari on Apple iPhones or Chrome on Android smartphones), and a turn-by-turn navigation gadget (Google Maps or Apple Maps apps).

Apps such as Maps utilize the GPS (Global Positioning System) chip in your smartphone to know exactly where it is relative to earth by receiving information (i.e. coordinates) from the satellites in the sky. I rely on the Maps app while I drive to give me turn-by-turn directions.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:40 AM, 09.08.2021

Bay Schools launches new website, mobile app

The start of the school year brings a new website and mobile app for Bay Village Schools. The district rolled out its new digital tools last month during a soft launch, officially announcing the new website,, on Friday, Sept. 3.

The district’s goal is to create an information hub where district families and Bay Village residents alike can easily find resources in as few clicks as possible.

The new mobile app is also now available to download for free on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app will help subscribers stay updated on all things Bay Village Schools, with access to events, documents, district news and emergency notifications.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.08.2021

Porter Library commemorates 20th anniversary of 9/11

Westlake Porter Public Library is commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a special poster exhibition of "September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World." Consisting of images and stories from survivors and witnesses, the exhibit hangs in the art gallery area. It is accompanied by postcards upon which visitors will be encouraged to share their memories of that day. The memory cards will be placed in a book for others to view. The exhibit opened on Sept. 1.

The exhibition was developed by the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum and was made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:45 AM, 09.08.2021

Kick off the season with a tailgate party

The Bay Village Historical Society is kicking off a great season with a tailgate party at the Bay Lodge on Sept. 16.

Put on your football attire and enjoy brats and burgers on the grill provided by the society. Attendees with a last name beginning with A to L are asked to bring an appetizer or dessert for 10 to share. Those with a last name beginning with M to Z are asked to bring a side dish for 10. The dinner is free for historical society members. Non-members will be charged $10 at the door. Bring your own place setting and beverage of choice.

The evening’s program will be, “The History of Sports in Cleveland.” The doors open at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7.00 p.m. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Pam Ebert at or 216-789-1272 by Sept. 13.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:44 AM, 09.08.2021

Catholics Coming Home program is back at St. Raphael

St. Raphael Church in Bay Village will offer a program called Catholics Coming Home on seven consecutive Thursday evenings, Sept. 16 through Oct. 28, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. These sessions are for non-practicing Catholics interested in returning to the Catholic Church. There will be informal sharing and an update of the Catholic faith in a support-group format.

One former participant said of the program, "The sessions provided a sense of community with the other participants as well as with the team leaders, making me realize how much I missed that." Join us and reconnect with our Catholic community.

St. Raphael Church is located at 525 Dover Center Road. For more details and to register, call the parish office at 440-871-1100. Additional information is available at under "Parish Flyers." You may also refer to our Facebook page: Catholics Coming Home at Saint Raphael.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:44 AM, 09.08.2021

Join Porter Library for '5 Days For Democracy'

Westlake Porter Public Library invites local residents to take just a little bit of time each day from Sept. 20-24 to participate in "Five Days for Democracy." Residents will be encouraged to think about what democracy means to them and join neighbors in tackling fun daily challenges to help learn more about government in their own backyard.

This year the effort will focus on how all politics is local: what does local government look like, who represents us, and how we can impact city hall. Each day will focus on one specific topic, including:

  • Who represents me?
  • What’s on my ballot?
  • Why does voting matter?
  • How does it work?
  • How can I do more?
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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:43 AM, 09.08.2021

BAYarts' Huntington House gets fresh look

Throughout the pandemic, the iconic Huntington House on BAYarts' campus, located in the Huntington Reservation of the Cleveland Metroparks, has remained a hub for community activities, drawing people to its open classrooms and galleries, beautifully manicured gardens and spacious porches and patios. Slated for a fresh coat of paint this year, BAYarts was working with Textbook Painting to estimate painting the exterior of the building.

The Huntington House is one of the only remaining structures of the hobby farm of industrialist John Huntington. Built in the 1880s, it originally served as the caretakers residence for the estate. After the Huntington property was purchased by the Metroparks in 1925, the building became a creative center for the arts in 1948, formerly Baycrafters and now BAYarts.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:42 AM, 09.08.2021

Princesses & Guides ice cream social & fall registration

Dads and kids at a sledding outing with the West Shore Princesses and Guides.

The West Shore Princesses and Guides are dedicated to fostering relationships between fathers and daughters, and fathers and sons in a friendly, fun environment. Our activities require participation by both father and child, giving you opportunities to share experiences, learn, and grow together. This is not a program to drop off your child; dads participate in all activities.

Dads can register with their sons and daughters as young as kindergarten. Our organization serves nine West Shore communities including Bay Village and Westlake. Tribes are organized with other dads from the same area and whose kids are the same age range.

The West Shore "Nation," which is the group of all the individual tribes, has one or two events planned every month during the school year. These events include our fall, winter and spring camp-outs; bowling; skating; pinewood derby; holiday party; tobogganing; and many others. The camp-outs are mostly held at YMCA camps with cabins and the activities offered include horseback riding, archery, crafts, rock walls, canoeing, hiking, ziplining, BB guns, a big Saturday night bonfire and more.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:42 AM, 09.08.2021

Troop 208 Scouts celebrated at Eagle Court of Honor

Photo by Patricia Needham

Boy Scout Troop 208, sponsored by Dover Congregational Church in Westlake, celebrated the accomplishments of eight young men who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Eagle Scout is the highest rank in scouting and is earned by less than 4% of all scouts. The scouts recognized at the Eagle Court of Honor were Scott Rennard, David Daniel, John Zaky, Mateo McBride, Philip Sutherland, Nolan Gleespen, Paul Rossander and Landon Miller.

In addition to earning a minimum of 21 merit badges, they completed service projects that benefit the community including renovating the Westlake High School baseball dugouts, installing a pet cemetery at Dover Congregational Church, renovating the outdoor chapel at Sts. Peter and George Coptic Orthodox Church, creation of sensory materials for memory-impaired residents at Sunrise Senior Living Center, renovation of the outdoor campus at Hospice of the Western Reserve, construction of a blessings box community food pantry for Prince of Peace Church, building a seating unit for boat safety training for the U.S. Power Squadron, and renovation of garden and grounds at Bay Presbyterian Church. 

The Eagle Court of Honor included presentations to the Eagles by Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough and Cuyahoga County Council Member Nan Baker. The Eagles were also presented American flags that had been flown over the Pentagon in their honor.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:46 AM, 09.08.2021

Westlake Fire Department receives 2021 Mission Lifeline Gold Plus Award

The Westlake Fire Department has once again received the American Heart Association Mission Lifeline Gold Plus Award. This award recognizes the department’s commitment to providing a higher standard of pre-hospital care to the City of Westlake. 

The department has demonstrated this by ensuring that every STEMI patient, those experiencing a heart attack, receives treatment according to nationally-accepted recommendations and standards.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:45 AM, 09.08.2021

Herb Guild Garden Club awards scholarships

Alexander Pruchniki

Due to Covid-19, The Herb Guild Garden Club did not have its annual scholarship luncheon this year, but the club awarded scholarships to two students anyhow.

Alexander Pruchniki, who attended Avon High School and Lorain County JVS, lives in Avon. Alex submitted a "thank you" video to the club since he was already at the Culinary Institute of Michigan. Alex will be majoring in Culinary Arts, Food and Beverage Management and minoring in Culinary Instruction.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:46 AM, 09.08.2021

We need your help!

Since 2009 the Observer has strived to fulfill our founding mission – to strengthen our community by informing and engaging Westlake and Bay Village residents. 

Times are tough, and the pandemic has presented an added challenge at a time when emotional connection and togetherness matter so much. Please help us continue to provide a free medium where the community can share news, share stories and share laughs.

If you’d like to keep the Observer serving the community, please send a cash or check donation along with your name for recognition in a future edition of the Observer. Donations may also be made via credit card using the links in the left column of the website. All supporters will be recognized in a future edition of the Observer.

Please make checks payable to WBV Observer and mail to: 451 Queenswood Drive, Bay Village, OH 44140.

The Observer is an independent, community owned publication. Please note that charitable contributions are gratefully accepted but not tax-deductible. For questions about donating or more information on how to get involved, contact publishers Denny Wendell or Tara Wendell at 440-409-0114,

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Volume 12, Issue 8, Posted 12:43 PM, 04.21.2020