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Bay program addresses overdose, suicide

Amy Fritz shares photos and stories about her son, Russell Brill, pictured at left on the screen, during the “Our Children Are Dying” presentation on April 12. A 2007 Bay High graduate, Russell battled addiction and had been sober for seven years before he passed away from an overdose last December. Photo by Denny Wendell

For Bay Village school and city officials, drug overdose and suicide headlines are personal

Too many funerals of beloved Bay Village graduates dying from drug overdose and suicide drove three, heart-wrenching presentations at the Bay Village Schools on Wednesday, April 12.

“I have attended 15 funerals for former students over the past 16 years,” said an emotional Sean McAndrews, Bay Middle School principal. “I can’t stand it anymore.” He noted that in Cuyahoga County, we are losing almost one person a day to heroin or opioid overdoses, with 60 people dying from those causes in February of this year alone.

Bay High Choraleers opened the presentations with an a capella rendition of “Tears in Heaven” while photos and obituaries revolved on a screen, memorializing the Bay High graduate victims of addiction and suicide. The presentations were meant to have an emotional impact that would “stick with” students and parents.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 10:24 AM, 04.18.2017

Westlake Kiwanis, Town Criers provide carbon monoxide detectors

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Freeman, left receives carbon monoxide detectors from Al Smith (Westlake Kiwanis) and Matt Novak (Westlake Town Criers).

Westlake Kiwanis and the Westlake Town Criers recently partnered to donate carbon monoxide detectors to the Westlake Fire Department. These detectors help replenish the fire department's stock of available detectors as part of the Westake Carbon Monoxide program.

This program is intended to help the elderly and disabled residents in the city of Westlake that need assistance with their detectors. Assistance ranges from replacing old detectors, installing new detectors, and replacing batteries every six months.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:52 AM, 04.18.2017

BAYarts' Storytellers series features serendipity talk

Lizbeth Wolfe

Serendipity is when things happen by chance in a way that is especially good for you. Lizbeth Wolfe (owner of Metta Flows Yoga & Art Studio) will be giving a free talk at BAYarts on Earth Day about this life-affirming concept and how it extends to all of our lives.

Wolfe has provided creativity, community and yoga in hospitals, schools, museums and more. "Art and yoga can meet each of us where we are on our journey. It can teach us patience, passion, compassion and resiliency. By being present with ourselves we can be present for each other, and create a more loving world."

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:55 AM, 04.18.2017

Porter Library introduces 'Laptops Anytime'

Westlake Porter Public Library is now offering an option for individuals who find themselves in need of a laptop while there: the new Laptops Anytime station.

The machine offers six Mac Airbooks and six Dell PC laptops for in-house borrowing. All come loaded with Microsoft Office 2016 and Internet browsers (Safari for the Macs and Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer for the Dells). The laptops may be borrowed for up to six hours, but users may borrow another computer when their time expires if one is available. In addition, all borrowed laptops must be returned to the machine 15 minutes before the library closes.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:56 AM, 04.18.2017

Foam: Natural causes or pollution in our waters?

Foam collects on the surface of Cahoon Creek. Photo by Dawn Hamil

If the Cahoon Creek has a "clean bill of health," as reported by the Sea Scouts in the March 21 issue of the Observer, why is there foam in the creek? Is it from pollution? This question was posed by a reader of the Observer who lives by the creek. Two members of the Marine Environment Explorer Club 360, Norah Hamil and Jennie Koomar, set out to answer this question. Research suggested that a close examination of the foam would point to its source.

Foam is generated when there is a change in water surface tension and air is introduced. Surface tension is that force on a water/air interface that forms a slight film on the surface of water. Surface tension is what forms beads of water on a newly waxed car and also allows certain insects and spiders to walk on water. When certain chemicals, called surface active agents or surfactants, are introduced to the water the surface tension is reduced and then as air is introduced by turbulence, foam is formed.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:59 AM, 04.18.2017

A week of fashion programming at Porter Library

A showcase courtesy of costume designer Charlotte Yetman will be on display at Westlake Porter Public Library through April 30.

Have you seen 2017’s new spring fashion trends? One shoulder split shirt tops, shirtdresses with graphic lines, oversize shapes with extended sleeves, flat form shoes, and navel-grazing pendants are on the runways this year. Fun styles for all ages, fashion provides a way to artfully explore your personal expression. The first week of May is a nod to this creative industry at Westlake Porter Public Library. Whether you dream of being a designer, or just need inspiration to freshen your closet, we have the right program for you.

Our popular adult coloring program will focus on fashion on May 3 at 2:00 p.m. All supplies are provided. Why not drop in to color and relax and explore your sense of style?

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:57 AM, 04.18.2017

Used book sale at Bay Library

The Friends of the Bay Village Library Spring Used Book Sale begins Saturday, April 22, 9:00 a.m. and runs through Tuesday, April 25, 7:00 p.m. The sale is held in the meeting room of the library.

There is a large selection of books for readers of all ages as well as magazines, DVDs, CDs, audio books and more. All materials have been categorized for easy shopping. Tuesday, the last day of the sale, is bag day when a full bag of books costs $1. Bags are provided by the library. Proceeds from the sale are used to support upcoming library programs and activities.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 10:00 AM, 04.18.2017

WDAB hosts inaugural Demon Derby 'Night at the Races'

Westlake parents got into the spirit of things at WDAB's "Night at the Races" and donned their best derby attire. Photo by Elise Orr

Demon pride was alive and kicking at the Westlake Demons Athletic Boosters (WDAB) inaugural, sold-out Demon Derby "Night at the Races." The adults-only event, held at St. Demetrios Church Cultural Center on April 1, included dinner, drinks, sideboards, horse races and raffle packages with all proceeds benefiting WDAB and our mission to support all Demons athletics for students in grades 7-12.

"We were thrilled with the turnout and received great feedback from our 400+ attendees," said WDAB President Edward Blair. "It was terrific to see our Westlake community come together to support Demon Nation." Attendees included Westlake coaches, administrators, parents of all grade levels, teachers and staff.  

"Since WDAB’s reorganization from the former Demons Club three years ago, this was the first all-sports large-scale event we have hosted," stated event co-chair Meredith LaVecchia. "The success of the event was a testament to our community's commitment to support Demon athletics. We hope the momentum continues and we can host an even larger event next year. We look forward to our continued membership growth as our families and community see the real work and benefits attained through WDAB for all athletes, all teams!"

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:54 AM, 04.18.2017

Cleveland Browns and the quarterback saga

Since January, I have been writing about The Cleveland Browns and the upcoming draft. I have gone over why it would be a mistake to waste the first pick in the draft on a quarterback; along with the debacle of drafting Tim Couch in 1999 and the futility that has been with the Browns ever since. Additionally, I have reviewed the moves made (and missed) via free agency and have provided a defense-laden mock draft that could significantly improve the Browns' record this year and for years to come.

The one area that I did not address was the position of quarterback, although in some ways I did, by reminding everyone that offense wins games but it is the defense that wins championships. This means that the Browns shouldn't "force" a quarterback to be drafted, especially in the first couple of rounds in this year's draft. If one were taken that high in the draft, the fans and the media would be expecting him be the opening day starter... whether he was ready or not. This has been the proverbial broken record in Cleveland, happening over and over again. Focus on improving the team.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:56 AM, 04.18.2017

Old Cahoon barn has served community well

The Cahoon family barn was built in 1882, and was renovated in 1936 to become the Community House.

The Community House started life in 1882 as the Cahoon barn located in today’s Cahoon Memorial Park. Since 1810, when the Cahoon family arrived in Dover Township, the family had made do with a cluster of outbuildings just south of the house for farm equipment and animals.

In 1882, while Joel Cahoon was still living, the family decided to build a new barn. Some of the outbuildings were removed and a barn built in the same location. The new bank barn was Gothic style and three stories high. Bank barns, built on a rise, used the lay of the land to create a lower level and entrance on one side. The lower level, seen from the south, contained wagons and equipment. The first floor with, doors that opened to the north, held stalls for animals. The third floor was the hay loft. There were windows on all sides, and on top was a cupola which allowed the flow of air.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:56 AM, 04.18.2017

Westlake honors influential rabbi

Westlake joined communities worldwide on April 7 in marking the 115th anniversary of the date of birth of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory.

Often described as the most influential rabbi in modern history, the Rebbe’s visionary efforts to reconnect Jews everywhere with their Jewish heritage have touched millions of lives and forever transformed the landscape of Jewish life. His teachings, which emphasized the inherent goodness of mankind, the infinite potential within every individual and the profound value of even the smallest good deed, inspired multitudes around and resonated globally.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:49 AM, 04.18.2017

Lake pollution rivals ocean ‘garbage patch'

“We are the problem. The good news is that we are also the solution.” This is a quote from Dr. Sherri Mason, a professor of chemistry at State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia, when speaking about plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Dr. Mason is a leading researcher on this topic, and conducted the first ever plastic pollution survey within the Great Lakes. I was fortunate to attend a presentation by Dr. Mason and afterward participate in a discussion about this topic last week at the Museum of Natural History.

Dr. Mason, along with Marcus Erikson of the 5 Gyres Institute, conducted the first open-water surveys of the Great Lakes in 2012 and 2013. In Lake Superior and Lake Huron, they found 7,000 plastic particles per square kilometer (km2). In Lake Michigan, they found 17,000 plastic particles per km2; in Lake Erie they found 46,000 plastic particle per km2; and the lake with the highest level of plastic particles is Lake Ontario with 230,000 per km2. The flow of the lakes into one another is why Erie and Ontario have become the most polluted; the water from the other lakes flows into Erie and finally into Ontario.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:56 AM, 04.18.2017

The vexing anti-vaccine crusade

I followed with mild curiosity the “Revolution for Truth” crowd protesting outside the White House last week. One sign read: “OUR BABIES Were Well. THEY HAVE WELL-BABY MERCURY VACCINE. NOW 1 IN 6 KIDS NEUROLOGICALLY DAMAGED.”

The first thing that popped in my head: What’s with the small letters in an all-caps message?

Then I thought: What mercury?

Aside from some flu shots and one preparation of tetanus shot, mercury (thimerosal), a preservative, has been removed from all childhood vaccines for over a decade. And vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, and polio do not contain mercury – NEVER DID. The vaccines-cause-autism theory is a dead horse that’s been running wild for 19 years, defying logic, science and common sense.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.18.2017

Westlake Council of PTAs announces Reflections winners

Westlake students Jake Hunter, Andrew Bovenzi and Jaden Jang received honorable mention at the Ohio PTA Reflections competition.

The Westlake Council of PTAs held its 2016-2017 Reflections Art Show & Judging last December and top entries recently advanced to the state-level competition.

This year’s PTA Reflections theme was "What is Your Story?" and the following students won their divisions in the following categories at the Art Show & Judging in December: Alex Spring, film production; Sahana Herman, Grace Neubeck and Katie Willi, literature; Andrew Bovenzi, music composition; Frankie Jacono, Sophia Jacono, Samantha Wohleber and Lauren Havelka, photography; Jaden Jang, Samuel Jang, Macy Sinreich and Sara Massa, visual arts.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:58 AM, 04.18.2017

Birds of Lake Erie Day: For the beginning birder to the expert conservationist!

An American Goldfinch perches on a feeder. Photo by Denny Wendell

Join Lake Erie Nature & Science Center for its second annual Birds of Lake Erie Day on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Get ready to learn all about our local feathered friends, Lake Erie birding and much more with programs and activities for all ages, including:

  • Presentations by the Center’s expert wildlife staff on rehabilitating bird species
  • A bird hike throughout Huntington Reservation to the shores of Lake Erie led by Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialist Tim Jasinski
  • Appearances from the Center’s ambassador animals and presentations by Project Wildlife students
  • Planetarium programs discussing the effects of light pollution on wildlife
  • Fun family activities
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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 10:22 AM, 04.18.2017

Upcoming programs at Bay Village Branch Library

Of course the Bay Village branch library is your go to place to get your books to read over spring break, but it's also a great place for kids and teens to hang out during this week off school. Join us for some spring break STEAM, storytime and movie fun! See below for more information on our events.


Caregivers and their children are invited to enjoy rhymes, songs, fingerplays, books and stories together. No registration is required. Storytimes will be on hiatus during the month of May.

  • Mondays (10 a.m.) Toddler Storytime – ages 19-35 months
  • Tuesdays (10 a.m.) Toddler Storytime – ages 19-35 months
  • Tuesdays (6:45 p.m.) Family Storytime – for all ages
  • Wednesdays (10 a.m.) Baby and Me Storytime – ages birth-18 months
  • Thursdays (10 a.m.) Preschool Storytime – ages 3-5 (not yet in kindergarten)
  • Fridays (10 a.m.) Family Storytime – for all ages

Tuesday, April 18 (2 p.m.) Mystery Bag Construction Challenge – Grades K-4: Do you like to play with Legos and build with different types of materials? If so, challenge yourself to the Mystery Bag Construction Challenge! Each mystery bag will hold the key parts to making a fun contraption. Use your creativity and the provided materials to rise to the construction challenge.

Wednesday, April 19 (2 p.m.) Spring Break Movie – Visit the library for a special screening of a popular movie. Bring a blanket and pillow or sleeping bag.

Thursday, April 20 (2 p.m.) Building Bricks @ the Library – Calling all Lego fans! You bring the imagination and we’ve got the bricks! We’ll work through a few friendly challenges then share our creations. Registration required.

Monday, May 1 (11 a.m.) Homeschool: Let's Build a Kite – Grades 4-8: We will build simple kites and explore how kites use wind to overcome gravity.

Friday, May 5 (10 a.m.) Play, Learn & Grow – Children will play with developmentally appropriate toys in a play group atmosphere while parents meet and learn from community health experts.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:59 AM, 04.18.2017

April events at Westlake Porter Public Library

Tuesday, April 4 (7 p.m.) Connecting for Kids’ Coffee and Chat – Join our interactive support group and meet other families facing similar struggles. The group discussion is facilitated by a mental health professional. This month’s topic: "Marriage Under Pressure: Parenting a Child Who Struggles."

Wednesdays, April 5 and 12 (10:15 & 11 a.m.) Let’s Sing and Dance! – Sing and move to the music with Miss Nancy! For children ages 2-6 with a caregiver. Please arrive early to receive a ticket.

Wednesday, April 5 (1-2:30 p.m.) Cuyahoga West Genealogy Society Help Session – Please join the genealogy group for an informal walk-in help session.

Wednesdays, April 5 and 12 (4-5:30 p.m.) and Thursdays, April 6 and 13 (6:30-8 p.m.) Bow Wow Books – Stop by the Youth Services Department and sign your child up for a 10-minute reading time with a reading therapy dog! Bring your own book or choose one of ours. Registration begins each Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. and each Thursday at 6 p.m.

Wednesday, April 5 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) Horror Film Club – Join us as we explore some of the classic films from the genres of horror, science fiction and suspense. Children under 13 should be accompanied by an adult. Please register.

Thursday, April 6 (1-7 p.m.) American Red Cross Bloodmobile

Friday, April 7 (4-5:30 p.m.) Weird(er) Science – Each session teaches fundamental principles in an entertaining format, through demonstrations and hands-on activities. This month: Students in grades 5 and 6 will learn how to use Excel 2013 to create a personalized budget, and learn about personal finance through an online game. Please register.

Saturday, April 8 (2-4 p.m.) Carry Out Crafts – Stop in to see our featured craft. We have all the supplies you’ll need to create something fantastic!

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Volume 9, Issue 7, Posted 9:24 AM, 04.04.2017

BAYarts' advanced cartoonists exhibit work

"The sole purpose of cartooning or illustration is to tell a story," says Jim "Rev" Giar, BAYarts' advanced cartooning instructor. "In this class we explore not only telling a story, but expressing individuality through the use of illustration techniques which can be applied in any medium." The class, designed for high school students with a strong foundation in drawing and cartooning concepts, meets every Thursday evening throughout the year.

With a focus on perspective, drawing the human figure, placing it in an environment and, of course, storytelling, students participate in class critiques as they work together, discuss each other’s work and support one another’s growth. Giar is an award-winning comic book artist and one of the founding members of the Rust Belt Monster Collective, a collaborative group of six artists whose work is on view on the sides of BAYarts buildings. The group creates a new panel each year at BAYarts' Art & Music Festival in June and can be seen across northeast Ohio major festivals throughout the summer.  

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:52 AM, 04.18.2017

Is the Tribe better than last year? The Sequel

When we left off last issue, I believe – and trust me, at my age nothing is a “given” anymore – we had examined the Tribe’s infield and were about to look at the outfield and pitching when – alas – I ran out of column space. Fortunately, I haven’t been canned yet and have a clean slate this issue, so let’s kick things off (since the Browns can’t) with the outfield.

Outfield: Having given this some serious thought, I don’t see much reason to attach a name to a particular position in the outfield, since the way the outfield is constructed so “fluidly”, most guys play multiple positions out there anyway. Some of those guys – most of whom are not (or at least weren’t most of last season) household names – were Tribe outfielders last year.

In 2016, guys like Abraham Almonte, Marlon Byrd, Lonnie Chisenhall, Collin Cowgill, Coco Crisp, Rajai Davis, Brandon Guyer, Michael Martinez, Tyler Naquin and Jose Ramirez somehow combined to form one of the most productive outfields in the American League last year. Since Naquin was recently sent down to the minor leagues, the only guys who remain who had an impact on the team last year are Chisenhall, Almonte, Guyer and Ramirez (who is now an infielder).

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.18.2017

WHS junior advances to U.S. Geography Olympiad

Kyle Yu, pictured with gifted specialist Anne Dill, will compete for the second time in a national geography competition.

Westlake High School junior Kyle Yu is heading to the 2017 United States Geography Olympiad (USGO) in Arlington, Virginia, on April 21 for the second time.

Kyle took the challenging written qualifying exam with gifted specialist Anne Dill in early March. To qualify for the USGO, students must finish in the top half of students on the National Qualifying Exam in their division, or in the top half of scores across the country.

Last year, Kyle qualified for the Junior Varsity level and earned the individual first-place trophy in the USA Olympiad.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:51 AM, 04.18.2017

Westlake Kiwanis thanks the community

A water stop at the 2-mile mark of the Hermes Westlake Spring Fever Run.

The Westlake Kiwanis would like to thank Westlake and surrounding communities for their support in making our recent pancake breakfast a success. The funds raised by pancake breakfasts support projects throughout Westlake and surrounding communities.  

This year's breakfast was a cooperative effort between the Westlake Kiwanis Family, Westlake PTA and LakeShore Day Camp and also included the Hermes Westlake Spring Fever Run.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:54 AM, 04.18.2017

Westlake PTA event raises money for scholarships

Westlake Superintendent Scott Goggin presents Westlake HS senior Alex Krystynak with the Dollar$ for Scholars' student MVP award.

Over 600 people recently attended Westlake Council of PTAs annual Dollar$ for Scholars (DFS) event at Westlake High School to raise money for scholarships for graduating Westlake High School seniors. 

Since 1968, Westlake Council has continued the proud tradition of awarding scholarships to deserving Westlake High School seniors who plan to pursue higher education at a college, university or technical school. Scholarships are awarded for traditional academic pursuits, as well as for the arts, STEM/technology and a life challenge.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:57 AM, 04.18.2017

Fundraiser celebrates Team YC

John, Huston and Becky Nagy, with YC athletics coordinator Mackenzie Maglic. Huston, who is blind, and his mom, Becky, spoke to the crowd about the impact Youth Challenge has had on their lives.

With the Indians Opening Day and the Cavs Playoffs on the horizon, there was excitement in the air at Youth Challenge's annual benefit and auction on Saturday, April 8. Over 300 sports fans gathered at Ariel International Center in Cleveland to “Party Like a Champion” and support YC.

Guests helped raise over $205,000 to fund free adapted programs for children with physical disabilities and their teen volunteer partners. This support allows Youth Challenge to reach hundreds of children in the Greater Cleveland community, providing them with opportunities to play sports, make friends, and embrace their own unique abilities.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:56 AM, 04.18.2017

Nan Baker announces district library days

Cuyahoga County Council Member Nan Baker announced that she will continue her eight-year tradition of holding district Library Days throughout this spring and summer to connect with members of the community. She began this tradition in 2009 as State Representative for District 16.  Both House District 16 and County Council District 1 represent the same five communities: Bay Village, Westlake, Fairview Park, North Olmsted and Rocky River.

Baker will be holding district hours at each of the five libraries in the West Shore district on Saturday mornings in May and June.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:58 AM, 04.18.2017

LBMS student qualifies for state chemistry challenge

Mantas Viazmitinas will compete in a state-level chemistry competition on April 29.

Lee Burneson Middle School seventh-grade student Mantas Viazmitinas is advancing to the state "You Be The Chemist" Challenge.

You Be the Chemist is an interactive academic contest sponsored by the Chemical Education Foundation that encourages students in grades 5-8 to explore chemistry concepts and their real-world applications.

All seventh- and eighth-grade science students participated in a timed interactive question and answer contest in January. The top nine students from LBMS advanced to the regional contest at the Great Lakes Science Center in March and were among the 28 students participating from eight Greater Cleveland area schools.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:50 AM, 04.18.2017

Blood drive in memory of Dr. Steve Meadows

Dr. Steve Meadows

There will be an American Red Cross blood drive in memory of Dr. Steve Meadows on Thursday, April 27, from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. at O'Neill Healthcare Bay Village, 605 Bradley Road.

Dr. Meadows was a loving son, brother, husband and father. He was a cherished physician in the community and a skilled ophthalmologist. Steve was diagnosed with acute leukemia and passed away from the disease less than 24 hours after his diagnosis. He received blood as part of his treatment.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 10:00 AM, 04.18.2017

Cleveland Water's 2016 Water Quality Report now available

Cleveland Water’s annual Water Quality Report provides an overview of our water quality during the past year, including testing results and information.

We know our drinking water is essential to the quality of life of more than 1.4 million people in 80 communities. That’s why we are committed to providing our customers with safe, high-quality, drinking water at the turn of a tap any hour of the day.

Our water is constantly monitored and tested. In fact, Cleveland Water consistently exceeds the most stringent water quality standards mandated by state and federal regulations and recommended by drinking water organizations throughout the country.

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Volume 9, Issue 8, Posted 9:55 AM, 04.18.2017