Latest News

Bethesda Childcare Center raises money for local animal rescues

During our summer camp and throughout the year at Bethesda Childcare Center in Bay Village, we do various community service projects for different causes. We do these projects to encourage the children to think about the world around them, while increasing self-confidence and providing a sense of purpose.

In the past, we have sold lemonade as part of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, raised money to adopt an animal at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, did a Trike-a-thon for St. Jude's, had a bake sale to support Multiple Sclerosis, and also do a Blessing Bag project in December.

On Friday, July 24, we had a car wash to raise money for Lucky Paws Cat Rescue and Golden Treasures, raising $750. Lucky Paws Cat Rescue is a small, foster home based, non-profit organization. They rescue animals from situations that are abusive, endangering, or neglectful. They provide foster care and medical care for the rescued animals and find them responsible pet owners to adopt and care for these animals.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:50 AM, 08.04.2020

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 Community Services offers drive-in events

The abundance of creativity displayed by the Westlake Senior and Community Services Department since Covid-19 disrupted virtually everyone’s day-to-day life has been truly inspiring. Interestingly enough, “virtually” is one of the key adjectives to describe how the department has continued to fulfill its mission of engaging and enriching the community it serves during this difficult time – but not the only one.

The department began offering Virtual Programs in May to keep residents – particularly those in the 60-plus community – engaged at a time when many may be feeling isolated, unable to leave home.

While these programs, which allow residents to participate via Zoom or with their phone, have proven extremely popular and effective, staffers still hoped to find ways to safely invite residents back to take part in some in-person, but socially-distanced, activities.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:50 AM, 08.04.2020

Kay Laughlin, Bay Village historian, passes away

Kay Laughlin, pictured in 2018 at the dedication of the Bay United Methodist Church historical marker that she helped procure, died on July 25. Photo by Denny Wendell

Kay Rothaermel Laughlin, Bay Village historian and longtime Westlake | Bay Village Observer columnist, has died.

She was born Feb. 21, 1937, and passed away July 25, 2020.

Kay was the daughter of the late J. Ross and Alberta (Wurtz) Rothaermel, wife of Gerald Lee Laughlin (married 62 years), sister of Barbara Walker and twin sister, Gay Menning (deceased), mother of Christopher (Connie), Kathy Ann and Thomas (Kelly), grandmother of Sara and Abigail.

Bay Village has lost its historian. No one knew more about Bay Village's history than Kay. She knew all the facts and people that she wove into stories. She had a remarkable memory that served her well all her life. Bay Village's history became her most enjoyable hobby. She lived in Bay Village all her life.

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

Senior Strong program just a phone call away

During this stay-at-home time, the Westlake Senior and Community Services Department and Far West Center are teaming up to offer Senior Strong by phone. This four-part series is designed to support the emotional health and well-being of individuals in the 60-plus community.

Groups of 12 are invited to discuss ways to cope with the anxiety, isolation and stress which many are facing during the COVID-19 situation.

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

Sports in 2020: An absolute pain in the asterisk

Based on his first two starts of the season, Indians ace Shane Bieber should win the Cy Young Award. Think about it: 27 K's in two starts? That's the equivalent of striking out every batter for an entire game. And don't tell me my Cy Young prediction after seven games is premature. Simply because, my friends, seven games – this year – is 11.67% of the schedule. Conversely, in a normal 162-game schedule, 11.67% of the schedule would be 19 games played, with 143 to go. This year, seven games played means we have a whole 53 games to go.

That's right ... we're in the stretch run, baby!

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:50 AM, 08.04.2020

Karen Uthe-Semancik is new Bay Schools communications director

Karen Uthe-Semancik is the new Director of Communications for the Bay Village Schools.

The Bay Village Board of Education voted unanimously in July to appoint Karen Uthe-Semancik as the district’s next Director of Communications. Uthe-Semancik assumes her new role in August. She succeeds Karen Derby-Lovell, who recently retired after serving in the role for more than two decades.

A Bay Village resident, Uthe-Semancik most recently held the position of communications director for Menlo Park Academy, a school for gifted children in Cleveland. She has also served as director of marketing for Magnificat High School in Rocky River. She has worked as a community reporter for WestLife newspaper covering several Westshore school districts, and was a columnist covering pet ownership for the Elyria Chronicle Telegram for more than a decade. Her experience also includes owning a boutique communications firm and working in the nonprofit, broadcasting and advertising agency sectors.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:51 AM, 08.04.2020

Bay's Moses Cleaveland Trees revisited

The majestic hickory tree at 270 Breezewood on the former William Saddler II property. Photo by Will Krause

This column is dedicated to fellow Observer columnist Kay Laughlin who died July 25. Kay was also THE historian for the Bay Village Historical Society. She, and her twin sister Gay Menning, were the primary co-authors of “Bay Village: A Way of Life” published by the Bay Village Historical Society.

In 2019 Kay wrote an article lamenting the loss of what she thought was the last designated Moses Cleaveland Tree in Bay Village. This led me to do an article about the Moses Cleaveland Trees of Westlake. In the meantime a reader contacted the Observer stating that they still had a plaqued Moses Cleaveland Tree in their yard on Sunset Drive in Bay.

The Moses Cleaveland Tree project started in 1946 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Moses Cleaveland landing here in 1796. Its goal was to designate and plaque 150 trees that were growing in the Cleveland area when Moses Cleaveland arrived.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:52 AM, 08.04.2020

Westlake Kiwanis and Town Criers join forces to help fire department

From left: firemen Rob Thompson and Ryan Clifford, Asst. Fire Chief Mike Freeman, Town Crier/Kiwanian Rick Grane and fireman Fran Cavotta. Photo by Vic Rutkoski

The Westlake Kiwanis and the Westlake Town Criers joined forces in donating to the Westlake Fire Department purchase smoke detectors. The donation of $250 each was to help the Westlake Fire Department provide smoke detectors for qualifying families.

To qualify, you must: live in the city of Westlake; own and live in your home; and live on a low income, are a senior citizen or are disabled. To request installation of smoke alarms in your home, call the Westlake Fire Prevention Division at 440-835-6422, Westlake Fire Department at 440-871-3441, or Community Services’ outreach coordinator at 440-899-3544.

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

Westlake Rec adds new outdoor workout rig

The Westlake Recreation Center’s newly added 20-foot HTX Titan Rig from Get Rx’d is a fully-galvanized outdoor workout rig that can be used for circuit-style workouts or simply as a barbell rack station. 

It has monkey bars, ninja grips, salmon ladder, cargo net ladder, hanging ladder, suspension trainers (rings and TRX), punching bag and a 20-foot climbing rope. The workout possibilities are endless with this piece of equipment.

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

Hepatitis C: A virus with a cure

This map shows the county rate of Hepatitis C cases per 100,000 residents in Ohio, which had a statewide total of 18,500 cases in 2018. Graphic courtesy Ohio Department of Health

In a Covid-19 world, many important health issues are carpeted.

One decidedly deserves more attention: Earlier this year, multiple expert groups including the CDC recommended screening all U.S. adults for – Hepatitis C virus (HCV).

HCV is a chronic, blood-borne liver disease and a leading cause of end-stage liver disease, liver transplant and liver cancer. About 1% of Americans have it; most have no symptoms and don’t know they have it. For example, in 2018, 3,621 new cases of HCV were reported to the CDC. But experts estimate the actual number was closer to 50,300.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:49 AM, 08.04.2020

Curbside food pickup is back in Westlake

Westlake residents in need of assistance with putting food on the table can once again register online for Curbside Food Pickup through the Westlake Food Pantry.

After a brief hiatus, the program restarted in July and will be offering pre-packaged food bags to residents the last Thursday of each month through at least September.

As with the program’s previous iteration in May and June, food will be distributed at Westlake Senior & Community Services Center to residents who register in advance via the city’s website:

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

Westlake Porter Public Library's early August calendar of events

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

Saturday, Aug. 1 (11-11:30 a.m.) Mystery STEAM Bag – Pick up a bag at the library starting July 25. Each bag will contain craft materials and a challenge card. Use them to complete the challenge and share your designs on a Zoom meeting on Aug. 1. Grades 1-2. Please register. An email must be provided to receive meeting instructions.

Monday, Aug. 3 (6-8 p.m.) Virtual Tarot Card Readings – After a short introduction to tarot card reading, practice reading with the assistance of an experienced reader. Bring your own cards (Rider-Waite recommended). Some tarot card experience helpful. Please register. An email must be provided to receive meeting instructions.

Wednesday, Aug. 5 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) Horror Film Club: Online Edition – Calling all horror film fans: Join us for another creepy classic from the vault...if you dare! New members always welcome; children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Please register. The club will meet online using the video sharing site Watch2Gether. To participate, please check the event on the library’s website as early as 6 p.m. on the day of the program. There will be a link to take you to the site.

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

*CANCELLED* Monday, Aug. 10 (7-8 p.m.) Pets and the Pandemic – Do you have a pet that has helped you cope through the pandemic? This is your opportunity to show him or her off! Please register. This program will take place on Zoom, so attendees must provide an email address to receive meeting instructions.

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Volume 12, Issue 14, Posted 10:05 AM, 07.21.2020

Westlake Porter Public Library's mid-August calendar of events

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

Thursday, Aug. 13 (All Day) Calling Crafters Online: Library Card Mini Notebook – Learn how to make a library card mini-notebook at home! In addition to internet access and a computer, tablet or phone to view the presentation, you will also need a pencil, ¼-inch hole punch, and glue stick. Other materials will be provided. On or after Aug. 13 you will receive an email with a link to presentation that you can watch anytime, anywhere, at your own pace and on your own time. Please wait for email before coming to pick up materials.

Thursdays, Aug. 13, 20 and 27, and Tuesdays, Aug. 18 and 25 (11-11:30 a.m.) Storytime Online – Join us on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube for a livestreamed storytime with one of our Youth Services staff.

Thursdays, Aug. 13, 20 and 27 (3:30-4:30 p.m.) WPPL Roblox Club – Love Roblox? We have a few private servers set up for Tweens in grades 4-6 to hang out with their friends and enjoy some of the most popular games. Please register separately for each session. Participants must provide an email address to receive Zoom instructions, which will be sent the day of the program.

Friday, Aug. 14 (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) DIY Crafts for Your Learning Space – Tweens and Teens: Whether you are at home or in a school building, these crafts will make your learning space all your own! We will provide most of the supplies with instructions to complete 4 crafts. Register now for pickup beginning Aug. 14.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:53 AM, 08.04.2020

Bay United Methodist Church finds new ways to connect

Parishioners can social distance at an outdoor worship session at Bay United Methodist Church.

In the new COVID-19 normal, connection is important, while at the same time tougher to accomplish. As a church, Bay United Methodist feels the absolute calling to reach further than our own members to find connections within and outside of our community.

Through postcards to our neighbors, pizza delivery each Friday to the fire department, online postings of mid-week meditations and Sunday worship, to personal phone calls and Zoom meetings, they've found opportunities to lift people up during this difficult time.

It is not enough. Leadership in the church is actively pursuing fresh looks at ministry, continually asking the question, "How can we do better?"

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:51 AM, 08.04.2020

Supporting your favorite apps

Hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablets – whether iPhone/iPad exclusively built by Apple based on their "iOS" operating system, or other makes/models where manufacturers like Samsung, Motorola, LG, and others license Google's "Android" operating system – all come with a set of basic apps pre-installed. I'll also use the term "ecosystem" to describe the services and functionalities built around the respective operating systems that add further value to these handheld devices beyond the pre-installed apps.

An example of a pre-installed app on the smartphone is the "Phone" or "Dialer," often represented by an icon of a telephone handset and enables you to make/receive telephone calls. Most tablets can only connect to the internet, aka the cloud, through Wi-Fi so they do not come pre-installed with the Phone app. Tip: Wi-Fi only tablets can still be made to make/receive phone calls using an app like Google Voice. For the curious, we'll cover Google Voice and other VoIP (Voice of Internet Protocol) apps in a future column.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:50 AM, 08.04.2020

How Westlake High School should reopen during a global pandemic

Cars line up at Westlake High School to pick up food during the pandemic in May. Photo by Nathan Hsiao

During the rise in COVID-19 cases, reopening school in the fall may force educators to integrate creative solutions. As a recent graduate from Westlake High School, I care deeply about our community, health and education. While I recognize that I am not a qualified health expert, I have outlined below some of my ideas of how our Westlake education system could adapt to the global pandemic. These changes would primarily entail: 1) a more centralized classroom model; 2) prepared lunch delivery service; 3) preservation of the most important values of education. 

I believe that a hybrid model that features both in-person and remote learning would be best. Many high schools are thinking about alternating days students come to school. In addition, I think more drastic changes should be implemented to limit the spread of COVID-19 transmission.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:51 AM, 08.04.2020

Remembering Aug. 6, 1945

This year we have been marking the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II – VE Day on May 8, 1945, and VJ Day on Aug. 15, 1945. Japan’s surrender was signed on Sept. 2, 1945, my 8th birthday. However, the dates Aug. 6 and 9 stand out most in my mind even today.

Back then my playmates and I were the East 154th Street army ready to protect our neighbors with our toy weapons. When the news broke that the United States bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with atomic bombs, we were beside ourselves celebrating our nation’s power that led to the Japanese surrender. We paraded about believing that we had the ultimate weapon to beat any enemy who tried to mess with America.

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Volume 12, Issue 15, Posted 9:49 AM, 08.04.2020

Westlake resident receives national scholastic honor

Madeline Boyer

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

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