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Town Criers name Mr. & Mrs. Westlake

Christine and Andrew Mangels, center, were announced as this year’s Mr. & Mrs. Westlake by Town Criers President Dave Turner, left. The announcement was part of the city’s annual tree lighting ceremony at City Hall, emceed by Ward 1 Councilwoman Lynda Appel, right. Photo by Denny Wendell

The Westlake Town Criers is an organization comprised of men dedicated to aid and assist worthy causes within the City of Westlake. Since 1955, the Town Criers have been honoring a couple that have best served the youth and citizens of Westlake in a positive and outstanding manner.

This year we would like to honor Andrew Mangels and his wife, Christine. Andrew is the director of Westlake Porter Public Library. He is “over and above” involved in the community. He belongs to the Westlake Town Criers, the Westlake/Bay Village Rotary and the Westlake Kiwanis. He is not just a member in these groups but has taken on leadership roles. He is a member of the PTA and ran Hilliard’s Field Day for years.

Andrew helped run the Baseball Association. He coordinates the volunteers for Celebrate Westlake. He is president of the board of directors for Connecting for Kids. He is also on the board for the Far West Center. He helped start up a group called “Continuing the Conversation” which brings together the police, schools, library and nonprofit organizations to work on solving the heroin issues in town. The list goes on and on.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 11:00 AM, 12.03.2019

Bay Village eyes building code updates to encourage development

The City of Bay Village is launching an overlay zoning project that will affect the retail and commercial districts.

We are working with Jason Russell of Concord Consultants to help put this together; he is a professional planner who has worked with the City of Lakewood, served as a councilman for the City of South Euclid, and is currently with developer RMS managing the Van Aken District in Shaker Heights.

Russell treated us to an interactive presentation, introducing the project to the Planning Commission on Nov. 20. The city will also hold a public input meeting at Dwyer Center on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m.; and two Planning Commission meetings open to the public on Wednesdays, Jan. 8 and 15, at 7:30 p.m.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:14 AM, 12.03.2019

Remembering the 1914 Christmas Truce

On Dec. 7, 1914, Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary hiatus from the war for the celebration of Christmas. Although the warring countries did not accept the invitation for a cease fire, the soldiers in the trenches declared their own unofficial truce. 

On Christmas Eve, German and British troops which were fighting in WWI joined together in singing Christmas carols across the lines. When Christmas morning arrived, German soldiers came out from the trenches wishing the British troops a Merry Christmas! Although the British soldiers were concerned that it was a trick, their fears were allayed when they saw that the German soldiers were not carrying guns. They, too, came out from the trenches and began shaking hands.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:13 AM, 12.03.2019

Chimney swifts: our aerial acrobats

Chimney swifts are uniquely adapted to cling to vertical surfaces. Photo by Amanda Sebrosky

If you have ever attended the Cleveland Metroparks North Chagrin Reservation event called "A Swift's Night Out," you would have been treated to a free show of breath-taking aerial acrobatics as chimney swifts caught bugs and prepared to enter their roost for a well deserved night's rest.

Chimney swifts are unique birds. They cannot stand or perch but are uniquely adapted to grasping the inside of old hollow trees and masonry chimneys, which they adapted to using as settlers cut down the forests. Their Latin name is Chaetura pelagica, referring to a tail which has spiny ends. Their specialized toes and this pointy tail help them cling to vertical surfaces.

Chimney swifts are aerial insectivores, which means they catch all their food while in flight. They can eat one-third their body weight in mosquito-sized insects daily – more if they are feeding a nest of hungry hatchlings. Not only do these birds catch all food while flying, they do just about everything "on-the-wing," including bathing by skimming the surface of ponds or lakes.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:13 AM, 12.03.2019

Westlake has elite team of first responders

Westlake firefighter/paramedics Patrick Crawford, left, and Eddie Chernisky hold the AHA Gold Plus Award. Photo by Megan Stewart

On Nov. 19, the American Heart Association (AHA) presented the Westlake Fire Department with its Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Award for excellence in treating heart attack victims.

This marks Westlake’s fifth Gold Award in six years. They won a Silver Award in the gap year.

In the case of heart attacks, every minute counts. Triage before arrival to the hospital is crucial to survival.

The AHA recommends an EKG in the field for all patients with suspicious chest pain. EMS needs to alert the nearest cardiac cath lab within 10 minutes. The time from the first EMS contact to the first therapeutic intervention in a hospital should be less than 90 minutes. The Gold status is awarded for those with a 75% compliance rate for two consecutive years.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:12 AM, 12.03.2019

Usher in the Christmas season with a journey to Bethlehem

Church of the Redeemer United Church of Christ continues its family-friendly holiday tradition with its annual Journey to Bethlehem, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each evening. The event takes place at Church of the Redeemer UCC, 23500 Center Ridge Road, Westlake.

After arriving at the census taker, visitors are led by guides through this live, interactive nativity, an indoor/outdoor experience complete with live animals and refreshments. Along the journey, participants will meet King Herod, angels, shepherds and the magi. The final destination is the manger.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:12 AM, 12.03.2019

The worst IN us usually brings out the worst OF us

Just as the NFL season was beginning, I joined a few of the Browns Facebook groups, because I thought we were in for a particularly fun season, and I wanted to share some of my highbrow humor with fellow fans to, you know, promote my “brand."

Man, could I have ever been this wrong before? (Before you even think about answering, my friend, be advised that this is a rhetorical question and, as such, means you may respectfully remain silent. Please.)

Anyway, the thing that really rots my socks is that Browns fans, bless ‘em, couldn’t leave well enough alone with the whole Myles Garrett fiasco. They should have accepted that fact that he was an idiot who did an idiotic thing – no, what he did was beyond idiotic – and let him serve his suspension for the rest of this year and hope he’d keep his nose clean and be reinstated for the 2020 season. That goes for Myles Garrett, too.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:08 AM, 12.03.2019

Upcoming programs at Bay Village Branch Library


Storytimes will be on hiatus for the month of December. We will have a daily make-and-take craft in the children's area through Dec. 20.

Friday, Dec. 6 (10 a.m.) Touch a Toy – Ages 2-5 with caregiver: Come to meet friends and play with toys from the Toy Library. Take home a new favorite and learn how to look online to request more.

Monday, Dec. 9 (7 p.m.) STEAM On: LED ornaments – Grades 3/4: Join us for a hands-on STEAM program. Make a seasonal light-up ornament. Registration required.

Saturday, Dec. 14 (10 a.m.) Preschool STEAM – Join us for stories and a hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) activity. Registration required.


Wednesdays, Dec. 4, 11 and 18 (3-4 p.m.) Teen Zone – Grades 5 & up: Hang out with something fun to do after school – gaming, art, movies, technology and more! Parents/guardians must complete a Release and Hold Harmless form.

Thursday, Dec. 5 (3 p.m.) Write On – Grades 5-8: Join us for fun, quirky and challenging writing exercises and activities to get your creativity flowing.


Friday, Dec. 6 (10 a.m.) BAYarts Book Discussion – Join friends, neighbors and library staff for a monthly book discussion on the BAYarts campus. This month's book, "Ask Again, Yes" by Mary Beth Keane, is available at the library and BAYarts.

Tuesday, Dec. 10 (6 p.m.) Library For All: Adapted Adult Programs – Join us for fun, adapted programs featuring stories, art, music and more, specifically designed for adults with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. Adults (18+) of all abilities are welcome. Registration is required.

Please register to attend the featured programs online at, call us at 440-871-6392, or stop in to the library at 502 Cahoon Road and register with a librarian.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:14 AM, 12.03.2019

December events at Westlake Porter Public Library

Friday, Dec. 6 (9:30-10 a.m.) My First Winter – Celebrate your baby’s first winter by painting snowflake ornaments together! For babies 0-18 months with a caregiver. Please register.

Friday, Dec. 6 (4-4:45 p.m.) Fun Science Friday: Holiday Colors – Explore the colors of the season in a very scientific way with hands-on experiments, active participation and a simple take-home project. Ages 4-6, Kindergarten or lower. Please register.

Saturday, Dec. 7 (12-4 p.m.) Crafternoon – Help us honor Janet Ackerman with this day of crafting in her memory. Celebrate her love of our library by making a variety of crafts inspired by her using materials she donated. All ages.

Saturday, Dec. 7 (2-3 p.m.) Brick Builders – Love those bricks? Bring your ideas and imagination! Lego and Duplo bricks provided. For ages 3-12.

Saturday, Dec. 7 (3:30-4 p.m.) Family Storytime – An interactive family storytime featuring books, rhymes, songs, movement and a small craft. For families with children ages 2-6. Siblings welcome.

Sunday, Dec. 8 (2-3:30 p.m.) Boredom Busters! – Are you bored? Drop by the Storytime Room and join in the fun! We will have different activities available each month. All ages welcome.

Sunday, Dec. 8 (2-4 p.m.) 800+ Chess Club – A chance for those competing at an 800+ USCF Rating to work together on strategies, skills, and game play. If you’re a beginner, please attend our Chess Club on the last Sunday of the month.

Sunday, Dec. 8 (3-3:45 p.m.) Celebrate Christmas – Baldwin Wallace Community Arts School is excited to celebrate Christmas with Porter Library! Join us for this exciting holiday show sure to get you in the Christmas Spirit. Please register.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 3:07 PM, 12.06.2019

A Christmas Story House & Museum

The Parkers' living room, decorated for Christmas. In the window, the lamp blazes forth in unparalleled glory. Photo by Rachel Polaniec

December’s Magical History Tour is the iconic A Christmas Story House & Museum, located less than 30 minutes east on I-90 in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood. The museum’s website,, contains pertinent information regarding building layout, parking, tour times and admission fees. 

“Oh my goodness, there it is!” Those six words must be uttered by anyone at all familiar with that classic holiday flick, “A Christmas Story,” as they turn from Clark Avenue onto Tremont’s West 11th Street and behold the yellow-with-green-trim home of Ralphie Parker, his little brother Randy, his Mom, and his Old Man.

Based on Jean Shepherd’s stories about growing up in the 1940s, “A Christmas Story” was brought to life by Bob Clark in 1983. Out of some 20 Rust Belt cities scouted for filming locations, Cleveland was ultimately selected, primarily due to the cooperation of Public Square-located Higbee’s Department Store (now the Jack Casino), which included keeping its Christmas decorations up through January and allowing construction of a 30-foot-high Santa Mountain.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:08 AM, 12.03.2019

History of street names in Westlake, Part 1

Maple Ridge Cemetery on Columbia Road in Westlake originally started as the Hall family cemetery and Columbia Road was known as Hall Road in Dover.

Part one of a two-part series.

Margaret Manor Butler wrote “Romance in Lakewood Streets,” published by the Lakewood Historical Society in 1962. In the book she states that Detroit (Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, Detroit Road in Westlake) “was the original Indian path heading to the city of Detroit, an important settlement of the French during the French and Indian War.”

As for Hilliard (Hilliard Road in Lakewood, Hilliard Boulevard in Westlake) she states: “New York lost a keen teacher but Cleveland gained an enterprising business executive when Richard Hilliard came to the Western Reserve in 1820. Starting in the wholesale dry goods and grocery business, he expanded his interests to land speculation. Among his purchases was one hundred acres in the vicinity of Hilliard Road at Madison [Road]. Although we have no record of his having lived in Lakewood, the street was named in his honor. He became one of Cleveland’s most outstanding citizens, serving as Mayor of the Village in 1830, and as an organizer or trustee in many civic ventures. He built a mansion on the present site of Cleveland Public Auditorium, where he resided until his death in 1856.”

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:09 AM, 12.03.2019

Rose Hill Museum hosts Christmas story time

Rose Hill Museum in Bay Village’s Cahoon Memorial Park will host a holiday story time on Sundays, Dec. 8 and 15, at 3 p.m.

Readers will relate “A Cahoon Family Christmas,” a tale of how a young Cahoon daughter experienced the holidays with family and friends in the 1860s. The original story is written by Bay Village historian Kay Laughlin, Observer columnist and co-author of the book, “Bay Village: A Way of Life.”

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:14 AM, 12.03.2019

Solstice with Santa on Dec. 13

Families can create decorative crafts as part of the Solstice with Santa event at Lake Erie Nature & Science Center.

Celebrate the magic of winter and the beauty of the universe! Join Lake Erie Nature & Science Center for its annual Solstice with Santa on Friday, Dec. 13, at 6 p.m.

Take lantern hike through Huntington Reservation, create a craft to decorate your home, make a special treat for the wildlife in your backyard, encounter live animals and visit Schuele Planetarium to learn about the solstice. Enjoy hot cocoa near the cozy, crackling fire and be sure to bring your cameras – Santa will make an appearance! Please dress for the weather. Dinner is provided.

Fee: $15/adults; $10/children ages 2 and up; children 1 and under are free (includes dinner). This event will sell out. Please register in advance online at or by calling 440-871-2900.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:09 AM, 12.03.2019

Proclamation awarded to newly minted Eagle Scout Kaleb Cook

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough presented a city proclamation to Eagle Scout Kaleb Cook at the City Council meeting on Nov. 21. Photo by Keenan Cook

On Nov. 21, Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough proudly presented Kaleb Keenan Cook, 15, of Elyria Troop 107, with the city proclamation for achieving the status of Eagle Scout, the highest rank of Boy Scouts of America.

To achieve the Eagle rank, Kaleb earned 21 merit badges. For his Eagle Scout project, he designed, raised money for and built a view deck on Black River Reservation Days Ramp.

Kaleb is a freshman at Ohio Virtual Academy and is taking classes at Lorain County Community College through the College Credit Plus program to work toward an engineering degree. Kaleb also enjoys Judo, sailing, rock climbing, bowling and is a member of the Black River Archery Team in Elyria.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:13 AM, 12.03.2019

The importance of an annual invoice review

Growing up in Japan, I helped out in my parents' sewing machine sales and repair shop when not in school. My wife also grew up helping her parents' farming supply store in the Philippines. One common denominator of our childhood, we both saw our parents work hard to keep customer “loyalty.” Those customers must’ve also expected something back for their loyalty as everyone knows it’s a two-way street.

Last week I helped a soon-to-be-alumni from our seventh Discover Digital Literacy! class, a 16-week program offered for free by our nonprofit to seniors 60 years and older, get internet service at her home. After all was said and done in under 30 minutes, we walked out with an installation date and a contract-free internet service of $45 per month which was $25 cheaper than what I was paying per month.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:08 AM, 12.03.2019

Westlake themed items make your holiday bright

The  holiday shopping season has begun! Often, consumers are asked to shop locally during this time of year; what is more local than your Westlake Historical Society?

The historical society has a number of items that are fun, interesting and celebrate Westlake's proud history. There are several choices that cover everything from historical coloring books, to several Cat's Meow replicas of local buildings such as the Clague House Museum, Lilly Weston House, and the vintage fire truck (circa 1937).

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:08 AM, 12.03.2019

3 Westlake Schools' staffers recognized with awards

Katie McGlynn, Laura Keane and Rachael Kane received Staff Excellence awards for their dedication to students.

Three Westlake City Schools’ staff members were recognized with Staff Excellence awards at the Nov. 25 Board of Education meeting.

Laura Keane, an educational aide at Westlake Elementary School, was recognized with an Excellence in Classified Service award. The Westlake High School intervention specialist team of Rachael Kane and Katie McGlynn was recognized with an Excellence in Teaching award. This is the 20th anniversary of the staff excellence awards.

Keane’s attitude and commitment to her work are described as “immeasurable” by her colleagues.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:07 AM, 12.03.2019

Free Christmas choral celebration in Westlake

The Cleveland Ohio Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will host an evening of choral and instrumental Christmas music on Sunday, Dec. 15, beginning at 6:00 p.m., and the public is cordially invited to attend this free holiday event.

Also participating that evening will be youth and adult vocalists as well as instrumentalists representing the St. Joseph Senior Choir.

The performance will take place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located at 25000 Westwood Road in Westlake. Plenty of free parking is available on the church site.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:07 AM, 12.03.2019

Dangerous dog laws must be enforced and followed

I would like to comment on the article published in the Nov. 19 issue regarding dog bites in Westlake. I believe statements made in the article need clarification.

As mentioned in the article, my golden retriever, Chelsea, was involved in an unprovoked attack by two dogs on Sept. 11, as I was walking her in my neighborhood. The attack involved multiple puncture wounds to her neck and hip. Prior to this incident, at least two people were bit by one of the dogs (Lester) and several neighbors have reported seeing both dogs leaving their property and even chasing children riding their bikes on the road.

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:06 AM, 12.03.2019

Just Breathe: Bay resident Eliza Wing launches new book

Bay Village resident, Eliza Wing, has written a new book on mindful meditation. 

Looking for peace and calm in the middle of the holiday hustle and bustle? Bay Village resident of 25 years, Eliza Wing has the answer in her recently published book, "Just Breathe: A Simple Guide to Mindful Meditation."

Wing, who is a longtime meditator and is trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, teaches workshops and classes in the area. When asked about how long it took to for her to become proficient in meditation, Wing is careful to emphasize that there's never a finished perfect product. "It sort of presupposes an 'end state,' so it's a tricky question."

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Volume 11, Issue 23, Posted 10:14 AM, 12.03.2019