Local News

Westlake Service Department wishes Al Umerley well in retirement

The City of Westlake is sending Al Umerley best wishes in retirement after 20 years with the Westlake Service Department!

During a reception at the Westlake Service Center on March 23, Al shared some of the highlights of his two-decade career with the city. He noted how much he loved doing building maintenance work for the city and decorating City Hall for the holidays.

He also expressed how he always took pride in his work, even when assigned to less appealing tasks like collecting/sorting rubbish in his early days with the city.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.06.2021

Village Project seeks executive director

Village Project is looking for a full-time executive director to work out of its Bay Village headquarters.

Established in 2010, Village Project (VP) is a mission-driven, non-profit organization that seeks creative ways to offer our lives to others, teaching skills that encourage service and foster healthy living. Its vision is to provide a vehicle to approach the devastating disease of cancer in a positive, hopeful manner by utilizing individual gifts and talents in a corporate, multi-generational setting to provide healthful meals, extended support, and an opportunity for all to experience the joy of serving.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:26 AM, 03.16.2021

WCOG meeting covers COVID vaccine response

This report contains member observations and selected highlights of a meeting of the Westshore Council of Governments, and is not an official statement by the League of Women Voters, nor does it represent the official minutes of the meeting.

Present: Mayors Cooney, Fairview Park, presiding; Koomar, Bay Village; George, Lakewood; Kennedy, North Olmsted

The meeting was held Wednesday, Feb. 10, at the Gemini Center in Fairview Park. It was called to order at 9:30 a.m.

Fiscal Officer’s Report, Renee Mahoney: New financial system for payroll has gone live. Ms. Mahoney will send her report next week. It will catch up for January, February and March.

RTA: Mayor Clough presided last month, his last session. Mayor Koomar is waiting for his term to begin next month; he also attended last month’s meeting.

NOACA: Mayor Koomar is acting as alternate for Mayor Bobst, who has been appointed chair of programming and planning. She will have more to report at the next meeting.

Land Bank: No report; they meet quarterly, and all meetings have been virtual.

Planning Commission: They have not met since the last WCOG meeting. Their new director will come to the next WCOG meeting.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 03.02.2021

Town Criers make donation in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Westlake

Connecting for Kids and the Cleveland Animal Protective League each received $250 from the Westlake Town Criers in the names of 2020’s Mr. and Mrs. Westlake, Andrew and Christine Mangels.

Andrew, who is the director of Westlake Porter Public Library, selected Connecting for Kids, a Westlake-based nonprofit that is dedicated to helping families that have a concern about their child’s development and holds many of their programs at the library. Christine, a nurse case manager and avid cat lover, selected the Cleveland Animal Protective League because of the great work they do providing shelter to homeless animals relinquished by their guardians, animals that are rescued from abuse or neglect, and stray or abandoned cats.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 03.02.2021

Westlake resident wins 2 speech awards

Westlake resident Monica Reusser won not one, but two Toastmasters Area 40 speech contests in February. Representing Westlake-based Westside Advanced Toastmasters, she competed Feb. 13 against four other Area 40 clubs.

Reusser won the International Speech Contest with her speech, “A Reckoning,” the story of a mother finding and reuniting with her adopted child after 38 years. She also won the Tall Tales Contest with “A Dream Come True,” the fanciful tale of three wishes from a genie – one of which was to advocate for individuals with ADHD.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:49 AM, 03.02.2021

Westlake business owner receives prestigious award

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Ohio Chapter is excited to announce that Rita Abdallah, LISW-S, ACSW, has been selected as the winner of the NASW Ohio Statewide 2020 Outstanding Service Award.

The NASW Ohio Statewide Outstanding Service Award honors a social worker who has offered outstanding service to NASW. The recipient of the award must be actively involved in state or regional NASW activities over a period of years and have made a significant contribution to an NASW project within the past year. In addition, they must be member of NASW in good standing and demonstrate consistent adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:49 AM, 03.02.2021

Bethesda Childcare Center raising funds for new fence

COVID-19 has brought on a number of challenges for us all, especially those who work in the field of early childhood education. If you have a child who has been e-learning this year, I’m sure you can attest to this now yourself.

Of course the goal for most of us, all along, has been to find a way to make in-person learning a success, while also keeping our children and our families safest. But what about the child care centers that don’t have the choice to be virtual? One of the first things we learned at the start of this pandemic was that if people don’t have access to child care, they can’t go to work.

Bethesda Childcare Center has made it our mission to not only remain open during the pandemic, but to continue to serve our children and families in the best way possible. From 3- to 5-year-olds in preschool/pre-K, to before and after care for kindergarten through 7th grade, they have luckily been able to make it work.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:10 AM, 02.02.2021

Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, Jan. 13, 2021

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

Present: Mayors Cooney (Fairview Park), Bobst (Rocky River), George (Lakewood), Kennedy (North Olmsted), Koomar (Bay Village), and WCOG Fiscal Officer Renee Mahoney. Mayor Clough (Westlake) was unable to attend.

Guests: Monique Smith, State Representative, District 16; Lisa Barno, Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association.

The meeting was held at the Gemini Center in Fairview Park, Mayor Cooney presiding. It was called to order at 9:45 a.m. 

Fiscal Officer’s Report: Fiscal Officer Mahoney presented the December financial report and WCOG ended the year within budget. Mahoney commended her staff for their efficiency, and reported that Bay Village transitioned to new financial software on Jan. 1 which it shares with WCOG through completely separate accounts. The software should improve efficiency and accuracy in producing financial reports. The retirement of Jeff Reynolds, Special Agent in Charge of the Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB), and training his replacement may require some budget adjustment. Mahoney promised more information at the February meeting.

Commission Reports

RTA: Mayor George was recently sworn in to the RTA Board of Trustees, and Mayor Cooney affirmed the importance of Westshore representation on the RTA Board. Mayor Clough had been on the board for 20 years. He was elected Vice President in 2011 and became President in 2018. He decided not to run for re-election this year.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:58 AM, 01.19.2021

Westlake Fire Department hosts vaccine POD with Cuyahoga County Board of Health

The Westlake Fire Department and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) worked together on Wednesday, Dec. 30, to distribute Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to upwards of 700 EMS personnel and first responders from multiple West Side suburbs at Westlake Fire Station #2 on Columbia Road.

It is was the third such POD (Point of Dispensing) site set up by the CCBH in the span of a week. The first two were held at fire stations in Shaker Heights and Independence. Officials estimate more than 300 first responders were vaccinated at each of those sites, making the Westlake POD the most ambitious of the three. 

“Today, we have a very aggressive goal of vaccinating those 700 individuals,” Westlake Fire Chief Jim Hughes said. “We’re going to do that through a partnership with all the Weshore fire departments – Lakewood, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Bay Village – along with the Board of Health. And, of course, we couldn’t have done this at all without the support of the Westlake Police Department.”

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:39 AM, 01.05.2021

Bob DeMinico retires as Westlake Rec Director

The City of Westlake recently gave Recreation Director Bob DeMinico a small, socially distanced sendoff at the Recreation Center, capping his nearly 16-year career with the city. DeMinico has overseen numerous development projects during his time at the helm of the Westlake Recreation Department, including many conceived as part of the 2015 Parks & Recreation Master Plan.

Mayor Dennis Clough presented DeMinico a Proclamation declaring that Dec. 18, 2020, would be named in his honor. A handful of speakers said a few words about what DeMinico has meant to the City of Westlake and its recreational facilities, including past Parks & Rec Commissioner Bud Tetzlaff, Westlake Engineering Director Bob Kelly and current Westlake Recreation Commissioner Dale Smith.

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:42 AM, 01.05.2021

Community West Foundation grants $589,800 to local nonprofit agencies

The Community West Foundation board of directors approved $589,800 in fourth quarter grants to nonprofit agencies that provide basic needs services to the community in Cleveland, Western Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. This year Community West awarded grants to the largest number of organizations ever in their history: 70 total. 

Community West Foundation is known for having long-standing relationships with their grantees and many of them have received funding for decades. This year Community West has expanded the criteria for grantmaking to include all six of the areas called out in The Gospel of Matthew 25:35-40. In addition, they are increasing their presence in Lorain County by awarding grants to organizations that align with their mission.

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:44 AM, 01.05.2021

Town Criers recognize Mr. and Mrs. Westlake 2021

For years, Westlake’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at City Hall has also marked the crowning of Mr. and Mrs. Westlake. Since 1955, the Westlake Town Criers have celebrated one couple that have best served the people of Westlake in a positive and outstanding manner. This year, the honor went to Mike and Delicia Ostrowski.

Mayor Dennis Clough and Rick Grane of the Town Criers commemorated the Ostrowskis’ selflessness in a small, socially-distanced ceremony at Westlake City Hall the evening of Dec. 6. Attendees wore masks when not speaking.

As Mr. and Mrs. Westlake, the Ostrowskis got to light up the brilliant array of holiday decorations both inside and outside City Hall for all to enjoy. They also will be featured during city-sponsored events in 2021, such as the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades.

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:57 AM, 12.15.2020

Westshore Enforcement Bureau commemorates 50 years

Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB) would like to respectfully extend its gratitude to the residents of Bay Village, Westlake, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted and Rocky River for their continued trust and support of this beautifully orchestrated, multi-city partnership.

This unique collaboration has laid a 50-year foundation for a multi-jurisdictional operation since its inception in September 1970. The partnership arose to address shared interest in law enforcement and community planning needs across the six western suburbs.

One of the first of its kind, the Westshore Council of Governments and the Westshore Enforcement Bureau collaborative boards continue to meet monthly while communicating regularly about multi-government activities. Seated at the table are the mayors, police chiefs and representatives from each of the dedicated WEB units.

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:57 AM, 12.15.2020

Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, Nov. 18, 2020

This report contains member observations and selected highlights of a meeting of the Westshore Council of Governments, and is not an official statement by the League of Women Voters, nor does it represent the official minutes of the meeting, which are prepared by Mayor Koomar's office.

Present: Mayors Koomar, Bay Village; Bobst, Rocky River; Clough, Westlake; Cooney, Fairview Park; George, Lakewood. Guest: Chris Lyons, Bay Village Fire Chief

The meeting was held in the Bay Village Police Station community room. It was called to order at 2 p.m.

Executive Session: Meeting began with a short executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

Fiscal Officer’s Report – Renee Mahoney: Budget will not exceed forecast. There will be a payment to a retiree, but there’s a reserve to cover it.

RTA – Clough: Budget is in good shape due to $11 million in federal funding; in fact it is in the best shape since Clough has been on the board. There will be no need for a ballot initiative for more taxing. Board is nearly finished with the redesign of the system, and is replacing rail cars. Ten million dollars have been earmarked for future capital needs.

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 10:01 AM, 12.01.2020

Westlake welcomes two new firefighters

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough administered the oath of office to two new firefighters the week of Nov. 9.

The week began with the swearing in of Ryan Nerkowski, who previously served as a part-time firefighter for Oakwood Village and Seven Hills. His former commanding officer, Oakwood Village Fire Chief James Schade, did the honor of pinning Nerkowski's new badge to his uniform during the ceremony.

Nerkowski wasn't the city's least-tenured employee for long.

Three days later, Mayor Clough swore in Sean McLaughlin, making him the city's newest firefighter.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 9:21 AM, 11.17.2020

A marathon of perseverance

Since March, if you found yourself on Lake Road before dawn between Bradley and Clague, there is a good chance you passed Bay resident Chad Pado running. If you were on foot as he passed, you were likely greeted with a warm "Good morning." 

On the morning of Sunday, Oct. 18, the culmination of seven months of that daily routine was achieved with the successful completion of the Columbus Marathon accomplished virtually in a time of 3 hours and 38 minutes. Run entirely on the streets of Bay, the marathon included long stretches on Lake and Wolf as well as sections of Bradley, Clague, Walker, Walmar, Carlton and Cahoon.

The gravity of his achievement was certainly not lost on those that knew Chad's story. In April of 2019, the idea of running a marathon was not a high priority. At 43, Chad had hip replacement surgery and was more focused on just walking again. However, if you met Chad as I have you would quickly conclude that he is a person of quiet conviction and strong determination. A former educator, high school basketball coach, and college athlete, it is no surprise that his perseverance and self-determination would allow him to overcome any physical setback and cancellation of the in-person marathon and finish his marathon.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 9:26 AM, 11.17.2020

2020 drug collections a huge success

The Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB) Drug Task Force gratefully acknowledges the citizens of our six western suburbs for actively participating in the DEA's National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 24 with 439 pounds of outdated and unwanted medications collected for safe disposal.

In addition, the citizens of our WEB communities were responsible for properly disposing of medications via the use of the 365/24/7 drop boxes located within each of the six police departments to the tune of 2,445 pounds through Oct. 31.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 9:25 AM, 11.17.2020

American Legion announces membership requirements have changed

The American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis has announced that all veterans, honorably discharged, who served in the active military or reserves since Dec. 7, 1941, are eligible for Legion membership.

An applicant need only provide a copy of their DD 214 discharge papers to show qualification.

Bay Village American Legion Post #385 Vice Commander, Joe Cronin, says that dues in the local post are only $35 per year and that there are many benefits available to members.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 9:22 AM, 11.17.2020

Flag retirement ceremony planned

Stan Zeager, commander of the American Legion Post 385, reminds everyone that flags are being collected for retirement on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Flags can be deposited in the collection box located on the front porch of the post home, 695 Cahoon Road, Westlake, next to the White Oaks Restaurant.

Each year the Bay American Legion retires flags on Flag Day and Veterans Day. Last year over 1,000 flags were retired using official retirement protocol at the post home.

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Volume 12, Issue 21, Posted 9:26 AM, 11.03.2020

Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, Oct. 14, 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), Clough (Westlake); WCOG Fiscal Officer Renee Mahoney.

Guests: RTA General Manager and CEO India Birdsong.

The meeting was held at Bay Village Police Station Community Room, Mayor Koomar presiding.  It was called to order at 9:30 a.m.


Mayor Clough introduced RTA’s new General Manager and CEO, India Birdsong. Birdsong’s background is in planning. She is adopting innovation and technology and has been successful in retaining employees over the Covid crisis. She is bringing in new staff, including a search for a new chief of police and creation of a new department for diversity and community inclusion. The 10-year strategic plan is in final draft and currently seeking public comment. Simultaneously, the RTA is working on service redesign which had been delayed by Covid. Currently, ridership is only about 55% of pre-Covid ridership. In the height of the crisis it was at about 30%. 93-95% of the RTA system is now in service.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:13 AM, 10.20.2020

Bay Village continues forward with public improvements

This 2020 year has been one for the ages, considering all we’ve experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic and the many changes required in our daily routines. Work at the City of Bay Village is no exception, as City Administration and City Council have adapted to the realities of this changing health landscape. 

Leadership has worked tirelessly to protect the health of our employees and residents, while the Administration and Council have adapted ways to run meetings remotely and efficiently, with safety as the No. 1 priority.

City leadership continues to make good on its promise to deliver positive changes to our residents on many different fronts. This includes work completed, currently underway and/or on the drawing board through a variety of capital improvement projects.

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Volume 12, Issue 19, Posted 9:50 AM, 10.06.2020

BHS Key Club distributes voting information door to door

The Bay High School Key Club has over 110 members volunteering to distribute door hangers to the residents of Bay Village during the start of October.

The door hangers were provided by the Bay Village Chapter of the League of Women Voters and were designed by chapter member Tara Wendell to give city residents information on voting by mail and in person voting.  The hangers also direct residents to the League’s election information website, Vote411.org. Vote411 is an excellent site to get nonpartisan information on civic candidates, judicial candidates, issues, voter registration and links to various other sites with election information. A good voter is an informed voter.

This was a major undertaking for the Key Club, requiring them to map out routes, create teams, count out door hangers, and distribute over 6,500 hangers while practicing social distancing. We should all commend them on this effort to promote voter education in our city.

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Volume 12, Issue 19, Posted 9:57 AM, 10.06.2020

Westlake Fire earns Gold Plus Award

The Westlake Fire Department has again been awarded the 2020 Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award by the American Heart Association, which recognizes the department as a premiere emergency medical provider. The department earned the honor last year as well.

"We have the equipment, training, and talents to provide the best care to those patients who need us in their time of need when they are experiencing a critical cardiac event," said Westlake Fire Chief Jim Hughes. "We give each of our patients the greatest chance for survival and an enhanced quality of life after recovery. I am extremely proud of the team that is out on the streets doing their best to improve the lives of all of those who live, work, travel and play in the City of Westlake."

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Volume 12, Issue 19, Posted 9:52 AM, 10.06.2020

Westshore Council Of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, Sept. 9, 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 (N. Olmsted), Bobst (Rocky River), Clough (Westlake).

Guests: Rocky River Municipal Court Judge Brian J. Hagan, Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons, and Clerk of Court Deborah Comery. Ohio House Representative Dave Greenspan.

The meeting was held at Bay Village Police Department Community Room, Mayor Koomar presiding. It was called to order at 9:30 a.m. 

WCOG Fiscal Officer Renee Mahoney was unable to attend the meeting because she was installing a new fiscal program. She had nothing to report and will be at the next meeting. The mayors had no questions.

New Business:

The visitors from the Rocky River Municipal Court were invited to speak first. They wanted to alert the mayors that the court would run a deficit for the first time since 1997. They anticipated a deficit before Covid-19 hit but that has made things much worse. Mayor Kennedy suggested that the court was run inefficiently, comparing it to his mayor’s court, and the Rocky River judges and clerk all pushed back strongly suggesting that there is no comparison to the mayor’s court. The discussion lasted an hour.

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Volume 12, Issue 18, Posted 10:21 AM, 09.15.2020

Historical Society establishes fund in memory of Kay Laughlin

A fund has been established by the Bay Village Historical Society (BVHS) to honor the memory of longtime Bay Village historian Kay Rothaermel Laughlin.

“Kay Laughlin will always hold a special spot in our hearts. Her loss will be felt profoundly for years to come by so many of us,” said Cathy Flament, current Bay Village Historical Society president. “Her knowledge about our local history and commitment to sharing her vast wealth of information will be hard to match. Losing her to COVID-19 was a wakeup call as to how devastating and widespread the implications of this pandemic have been.

“After discussing with her family the best way to memorialize her dedication, we felt a fund for Kay would be an honorable way to keep her legacy going. We have set up the Kay Rothaermel Laughlin Fund for Preservation and Education that will help fund current and future projects. There will also be a bench dedicated in the rose garden at Cahoon Memorial Park, next to her sister Gay,” Flament noted.

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 9:35 AM, 09.01.2020

Tri-C Westshore to offer free COVID-19 testing

Drive-thru and walk-up COVID-19 testing will be offered at the Westshore Campus of Cuyahoga Community College during fall semester through a partnership with Care Alliance Health Center.

Testing will take place on three Thursdays – Sept. 17, Oct. 15 and Nov. 12 – for Tri-C students, faculty and staff, as well as community residents. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

The program offers testing to individuals regardless of their symptom status, insurance status or ability to pay. Individuals will not be charged for the test.

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 9:33 AM, 09.01.2020

Bay Music Boosters hosts virtual membership drive

Over 1,000 students enroll each year in orchestra, jazz, band, choral and Rockette programs from the 4th to 12th grades. Bay Village Schools’ music program has been named one of the "Best 100 Music Communities in America" since 2003!

Bay Music Boosters is a volunteer, nonprofit organization established to support and promote Bay Village Public Schools’ fine music education program. This year, due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements, Bay Music Boosters is hosting a virtual Membership Drive.

Bay High School students who are in chorus, marching band, orchestra and Rockettes are asking Bay Village residents to support them through purchasing a membership or by making any monetary donation. All donations are greatly appreciated and are tax-deductible.

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 9:35 AM, 09.01.2020

Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, Aug. 12, 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); Bobst (Rocky River); Clough (Westlake); Cooney (Fairview Park); George (Lakewood). Guests: State Rep. Dave Greenspan; Michelle Pomerantz, Director, Cuyahoga County Dept. of Regional Collaboration.

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

Fiscal Officer’s Report, Renee Mahoney: Financial statement was produced. Nothing new to report.

RTA, Clough: Will receive $111 million from federal government, which will cover recent loss of revenue. State Rep. Greenspan is working with State Sen. Matt Dolan to increase state funding, which was cut. General manager has been on maternity leave, but will be back in September, and will be invited to a WCOG meeting.

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 9:34 AM, 09.01.2020

Westlake Garden Club and the pandemic

No one was prepared for everything to shut down in March, but then, how does one prepare for a global pandemic? Life as we know it came to a screeching halt and we were advised to stay home.

We learned new terms like “shelter in place” and “social distancing.” We could not go to work, children could not go to school, we could not meet with friends or socialize in any way. That was a big order for humans who are wired to be social.

One thing in my life that was affected is the Westlake Garden Club where I have been a member for 12 years. We start our year the third Wednesday of March, but not this year. The many exciting programs and speakers scheduled for this year had to be cancelled. The yearbook could not be distributed at the first meeting, so during that third week of March, several board members met in the parking lot of the closed library, everyone took a supply of yearbooks and dropped off at members’ homes.

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 9:32 AM, 09.01.2020

Community West Foundation partners with local thrift store for SocksPLUS initiative

Community West Foundation announced they have partnered with Common Threads, a charitable thrift store, to be the SocksPLUS in-kind donation drop-off location. Monetary donations, however, should still be sent to the Community West Foundation office located at 800 Sharon Drive in Westlake. 

Community West started the SocksPLUS initiative after learning that socks were, and still are, the number one requested item by the homeless. Due to the exponential growth since its inception in 2014, the foundation needed a resource to help house the donations of socks and other items that were arriving at their office. Common Threads has the means to accept donations on the foundation’s behalf and house them until they are delivered to the homeless through the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH).

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Volume 12, Issue 17, Posted 9:33 AM, 09.01.2020

Pandemic causes schools to write, rewrite opening plans

On July 30, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) made their recommendations on school reopening. Schools should operate remotely (virtual classes) and suspend all sports and extracurricular activities. CCBH’s health jurisdiction does not include the city of Cleveland.  

In the ensuing weeks, most county school districts (24 out of 26) – including Westlake and Bay Village – announced that they will start the fall semester remotely. Two exceptions:  Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District plans on a hybrid model (2 days in-person alternating with 3 days online learning); Independence Local Schools offer parents and students the options of in-person or all-remote learning.

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Volume 12, Issue 16, Posted 9:19 AM, 08.18.2020

Westlake in Bloom winners announced

In a summer that’s been anything but normal, more than 300 Westlake gardeners continued a beloved tradition. Across the city, in window boxes and large yards, planters along Hilliard Boulevard and fence gardens at Evergreen Cemetery, Westlake was awash in color for the 18th straight year as part of the Westlake in Bloom competition. The participants were recognized at a masked, socially distanced ceremony in the Westlake Recreation Center gym on Aug. 13.

“We really appreciate the fact that you continued to participate in Westlake in Bloom, one of the nice things that didn’t change a whole lot this year,” Mayor Dennis Clough told the crowd. “We can always still be out in our yard, we can always make it a little more attractive and we can beautify the city as we’re doing that.”

Competition was fierce with 97 entries residential and business entries (up from 78 the year before), with several gardeners taking home more than one award. This year’s Best in Bloom winners, Lan Le To and her husband, Binh V. To, were no exception, placing among the top three finishers in three separate categories, in addition to winning the overall grand prize.

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Volume 12, Issue 16, Posted 9:32 AM, 08.18.2020

The 19th Amendment: Proof that one vote counts

It was a sweltering day on Aug. 18, 1920, when the Tennessee House of Representatives met to consider whether or not to ratify the proposed 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, written to ensure that the right to vote could not be denied based on sex. The Tennessee Senate had already voted to ratify.

Proponents and supporters of the amendment had been buzzing around the legislators like swarms of bees, as were reporters from across the nation. The two Ohioans running for president that year, Governor James Cox and U.S. Senator Warren Harding, were watching closely and wondering how Tennessee’s actions would affect their election prospects.

The House vote resulted in a tie. Then, Representative Harry T. Burn changed his vote to “yes” and Tennessee became the pivotal 36th state to approve the federal amendment. After the necessary certifications at the state and federal levels, the 19th Amendment was officially proclaimed as the law of the land on Aug. 26, 1920.

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Volume 12, Issue 16, Posted 9:20 AM, 08.18.2020

Voice of Bay Schools retires

As schools across the country embark on a new year filled with uncertainty, the Bay Village City Schools will do so without their trusted spokesperson at the helm. After more than 20 years with the district, Karen Derby-Lovell retired from her post as Director of Communications on Aug. 1.

After years in marketing for BP and as a correspondent for the Plain Dealer, Karen went to work as the part-time communications coordinator for Westlake Schools. She pursued a master’s degree in communications to pair with her business degree, and was hired for Bay’s full-time job in 1999.

Karen joined Bay Schools at a time when controversy was brewing. A bond issue to construct the new middle school had just been rejected by voters for the second time. It was now her job to convince the community that a new school was needed.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:55 AM, 08.04.2020

Westlake resident receives national scholastic honor

The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) today announced that Westlake resident Madeline Boyer, a student at Hershey Montessori School, has been selected to become a member of the esteemed organization. The Society recognizes top scholars who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, scholarship and community commitment. The announcement was made by NSHSS founder and chairman Claes Nobel, senior member of the family that established the Nobel Prizes.

“On behalf of NSHSS, I am honored to recognize the hard work, sacrifice and commitment that Madeline has demonstrated to achieve this exceptional level of academic excellence,” said Nobel. “Madeline is now a member of a unique community of scholars – a community that represents our very best hope for the future.”

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:54 AM, 08.04.2020

Change of command at Bay Village VFW

On May 29, after many changes to accommodate the COVID-19 pandemic, several key officers from VFW Post 9693 met in the Bay Village police station parking lot to ensure proper social distancing, and were able to conduct a modified version of the official VFW Change of Command.

The police station is the official part-time home of our Post. We meet in the community room on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.

After eight years leading the Post, I was relieved by the current Commander Geoff Belanger.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 10:03 AM, 07.21.2020

Bay Women's Club grants scholarships

The Bay Village Women's Club Foundation has awarded a $2,2000 scholarship to each of six Bay High School 2020 graduates. The recipients excelled in scholarship, leadership and character.

Katarina Chesterfield will be attending the Farmer School of Business at Miami University. In high school she was on the Bay High cross-country team and was a member of the Youth Philanthropy Foundation. She was a volunteer cook for the Village Project and worked for the Bay Village Recreation Department.

Neuroscience and forensic psychology will be the academic majors of Jill Durkin in her college career at John Carroll University. At Bay High she participated in Model U.N., the Bay High orchestra and ran in for the cross-country team. Jill has worked on beach clean-ups and has concern about keeping Lake Erie clean.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 10:08 AM, 07.21.2020

VFW honors chief with LEO award

Every year the VFW has recurring awards for law enforcement officer (LEO), firefighter, and emergency medical technician (EMT) of the year. These are local, district, state and national programs.

The program chair for our Bay Village VFW Post 9693 is Patrick McGinty, a Bay resident. This year we received one input and that was for LEO of the year.

This year's LEO award winner was police Chief Mark Spaetzel. He was recognized at an outdoor ceremony behind the police station on May 29, days before his retirement. He was given a certificate signed by the Post commander and program chair, and was awarded a $100 donation to the charity of his choice – the Alzheimer's Association. A plaque was installed in the Bay Village police station with the name and year of the winner.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 10:03 AM, 07.21.2020

Bay Village welcomes new police chief

Welcome to Bay Village’s newest Chief of Police, Kathleen Leasure! 

Chief Leasure was sworn in on June 2, becoming the City of Bay Village’s eighth Chief of Police. Chief Leasure serves as the first female Chief of Police for the City of Bay Village and in the Westshore communities.

Chief Leasure brings over 24 years of experience with the Bay Village Police Department to the job. She began her career in 1996 as a patrol officer after attending the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy. As a patrol officer, she served as a field training officer, evidence technician and was a member of the Bike Patrol Unit and Dive Rescue Team.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 10:39 AM, 07.07.2020

The best-laid plans

Westlake planner retires after 30 years serving city

The City of Westlake recently said goodbye to one of the architects of its metamorphosis, as longtime assistant planning director William Krause headed into retirement.

During his 30 years at City Hall, Will played an integral role in helping to guide Westlake’s transformation from a sleepy farming community to a bustling suburban destination.

As readers of his “Digging Dover” column in the Observer know, Will has a passion for history, interest in architecture and attention to detail – qualities that served him well in the Planning Department and left an indelible mark on the landscape of Westlake today.

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Volume 12, Issue 13, Posted 10:39 AM, 07.07.2020