Latest News

'Homeless Jesus' draws attention in Bay Village

A sculpture of "Homeless Jesus" outside St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.

Through a collaboration with the Community West Foundation, a statue of “Homeless Jesus” was temporarily installed at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church adjacent to the walking path at Bradley Road Park in Bay Village.

The sculpture, created by Timothy Schmalz, depicts a man wrapped in a blanket and lying on a bench. Feet, protruding from beneath the blanket, bear the wounds of crucifixion. The work is a visual representation of Matthew 25:40, the verse quoted at the base of the sculpture: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Homeless Jesus is currently on loan from the Community West Foundation – the largest provider of homeless services in Cuyahoga County – and will be installed at St. Barnabas until Dec. 1.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:26 AM, 10.20.2020

Fall leaf collection underway in Westlake

As a service to residents, workers from the Westlake Service Department pick up leaves from residential tree lawns throughout the spring and fall seasons.

The Westlake Service Department will be collecting leaves from residential tree lawns through mid-December, weather permitting.

Residents can see when collection crews will be on their street by checking the "Daily Leaf Update" link on the city's homepage,, throughout the season.

In general, there will be no more than two weeks between collections. However, poor weather conditions or heavy collection volume may cause longer delays.

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

Superintendent grateful for support during pandemic

Bay Village Schools' layered mitigation process is part of its Safe Reopening Plan during the pandemic, as modeled by this Normandy Elementary School class. Photo courtesy Bay Village Schools

As the Bay Village City School District nears the end of the first quarter, I write to our community to convey my gratitude during this uncertain time. My family and I love living in Bay Village and we would not want to be anywhere else. What sets our community apart are our hometown values: family friends through generations; children riding bikes to school; meeting friends at Friday night Rocket football games and supporting organizations like The Village Project, who heal through giving. The heart of our village touches so many lives.

When COVID-19 disrupted our world, I knew this would change our daily routines significantly. It was hard to imagine how to reopen schools while addressing difficult budget decisions; especially since we were required to refund monies to the state of Ohio due to state cuts. But, our team – who consisted of Board of Education members, teacher leaders, parents and administrators – worked for months to create several iterations of what teaching and learning is today. As expected, we experienced moments of intense, productive struggle, but we leaned on one another to develop a comprehensive plan.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:16 AM, 10.20.2020

Political Signs: What do we do with them after the election?

Driving around Bay Village and Westlake, I am heartened to see so many political signs as it indicates an enthusiasm and energy for participating in this November’s General Election. Voter engagement is critical for our democracy and everyone should take part in our civic duty.

After an election I am always concerned about what happens to those signs which are used for only a matter of weeks. I know plenty end up in the landfill after every election and throwing them in the trash is the last thing people should do. So, what can you do with them?

First and foremost, if the sign is for a local candidate, you should contact them to see if they are collecting their signs back. This is actually quite common with local candidates, and many want their signs back. If giving the sign back is not an option but you know the candidate will likely be up for re-election at some point, please consider storing it for use the next time around. If neither of those are options, the next “greenest” choice is to reuse or repurpose them.

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

COVID-19 virus does not want to kill me

Note to COVID-19 virus: It does you no good to kill your host – me. I die: you die.

So encountering the same virus, why do some people experience minimal symptoms while others end up on ventilators? The toll of an infection depends not only on the type of virus but also our immune response to it.  

Let’s watch a movie: "Alien 5: Invasion of SARS-CoV-2."

An innocent breath: Viruses land on airway cells via moist microscopic droplets. They enter the cells. Hypnotized by viral gene coding, the host cells mass-produce more viruses. Straight out of "Alien."

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:25 AM, 10.20.2020

Halloween thrills and chills for a good cause

The 15th Annual Garage of Doom UNICEF fundraiser will be once again scaring trick-or-treaters this year on Halloween night! Located at 28002 West Oakland Road in Bay Village, the attraction will be open from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The Garage of Doom, staffed by an all-volunteer crew of high school students, is not recommended for children under the age of 10.

There is no admission fee, but donations will be accepted. Over the past 15 years, the Garage of Doom has raised more than $3,500 for UNICEF.

We’re committed to holding our event safely and cautiously with respect towards current government COVID-19 guidelines. In addition to holding the entire attraction outside this year, patrons and volunteers will be required to wear safety masks at all times. Safe social distancing will be maintained in the line and throughout the attraction. For more info call 440-554-6234.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:24 AM, 10.20.2020

'Sukkah on wheels' brings holiday joy to Westsiders

The traveling “Sukkah-mobile” was visited by more than 100 westsiders.

With Covid-19 restrictions keeping many people at their homes, Chabad of the West Side found creative solutions to include as many locals as possible during this year's Jewish holiday season.

Sukkot, a sacred, week-long holiday celebrated outdoors inside man-made huts called "sukkahs," was celebrated this year at the beginning of October, with a pickup truck "Sukkah-mobile" trekking across the whole West Side.

This holiday is really all about inclusion; because we’re all created from the same creator, and everyone deserves a chance to celebrate – even in the current circumstances.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:15 AM, 10.20.2020

Halloween parade of cars coming to Westlake Community Center

Older adults are invited to celebrate Halloween “2020-style” on Thursday, Oct. 29, at 10:30 a.m. (weather permitting) at the Westlake Community Services Center! The facility will open its parking lot to local trick-or-treaters who will be able to gather treats from the safety of their vehicles.

This "Halloween Parade of Cars" is just the latest in what has become a long list of drive-in events hosted at the Community Services Center since June.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:24 AM, 10.20.2020

Bay Village Community Services can help families in need this holiday

The COVID pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways, and with the holidays fast approaching, it is important to reach out to those in our community who are suffering from financial insecurity as a result of the pandemic.

If you are a Bay Village resident who is or was laid off from your job and needs help this holiday season, Bay Village Community Services can help by providing:

  • Gift cards for groceries
  • Gift cards to purchase gifts for family members
  • Personal care and cleaning items

We also can provide up to $250 to help with utility bills, medical bills, rent or mortgage through our Emergency Funds program.

For more information, contact Leslie Selig, director of Community Services, at 440-899-3409 or

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

Questions about vote-by-mail? Here are some answers

Did you request a mail-in ballot and are wondering where it is? Track My Ballot has answers!

  • Go to In the upper left corner, click on Track My Ballot.
  • Enter your last name and birthdate, and click Search. 
  • Select your record and choose the November 3, 2020, election.
  • If you requested a mail-in ballot, you will see the date your application was processed, the date by which it will be placed in the mail, and (if you have returned it) the date it was received by the Board of Elections.

Alternatively, call 216-443-VOTE (8683), select option 4, and follow the prompts.

Should you trust the Post Office to deliver your ballot?

Yes – but mail it early, on the off chance the postmark is unclear or absent. Ballots must be postmarked by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 2 and received by Nov. 13.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:22 AM, 10.20.2020

St. Paul Westlake celebrates Pastor Appreciation Month

St. Paul Lutheran Pastors Jeff Smith, Dave Buegler and Josh Gremminger. Photo by Megan Broz

Churches across the nation have set aside the month of October to acknowledge the essential work of the pastor in the local congregation.

At St. Paul Westlake, “We Love Our Pastors” is the theme for the celebration that took place at weekend worship Oct. 17-18. While the usual cakes and cookies were not part of the event because of COVID safeguards, the 162-year-old Lutheran congregation on Detroit Road in Westlake showed their gratitude with cards, letters and gifts during the four services and drive-up communion.

Pastor Jeff Smith and his wife, Melissa, have served since 2015 when they arrived fresh from the seminary. They were joined this year by new Pastor Josh Gremminger and wife, Anna.  The enthusiastic ministry of these young men has merged with the experience of veteran Pastor David Buegler and his wife, Sue, to create a vibrant congregation serving 2,500 souls with good Biblical teaching, traditional and contemporary worship options and personal ministry to all generations.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:14 AM, 10.20.2020

Bay Village Board of Education seeks applicants for open seat

The Bay Village Board of Education seeks applicants to fill the unexpired term of Board member Dr. Gayatry Jacob-Mosier, who resigned Oct. 13.

The Board is accepting applications through Tuesday, Oct. 27, for the open Board seat. Applicants must be residents of Bay Village and registered voters. Candidate interviews with the Board will take place following the application deadline. The Board expects to swear in the newly appointed member on Monday, Nov. 9.

The new Board member will be appointed for the term ending Dec. 31, 2021. He or she must run in the next general election – Nov. 2, 2021 – in order to serve the next four-year term, which would begin January of 2022.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:25 AM, 10.20.2020

Westlake Mayor and City Council publish materials on 2020 ballot issues

Among the issues Westlake voters will be asked to vote on in November 2020 are 11 proposed amendments to the Westlake City Charter, including a 0.9 mill Police and Fire Levy.

Mayor Dennis M. Clough and City Council have distributed informational materials to voters about changes proposed by each of these issues, including ballot language and explanations of actions taken with regard to each proposed amendment.

All of this information is available on the city's website:

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:25 AM, 10.20.2020

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

Westlake: New homes to be built in antiquated subdivision

Carlton Avenue "paper street" looking east from Bradley Road. Photo by Will Krause

One definition of an antiquated subdivision is a subdivision that consists of building lots which do not meet current development standards. In 2017 it was estimated that Florida has 2.1 million vacant lots in antiquated subdivisions. Westlake had at least 49 such vacant lots in one subdivision named Lagrange, southwest of Meadowood Golf Course, until the city's Planning Commission recently voted affirmatively to assemble four of the narrow 40-foot-wide sublots into one nearly acre-sized lot, and five other 40-foot-wide lots into two nearly half-acre lots.

The developer is a master at finding bits and pieces of undeveloped, sometimes unusable land, and entering into purchase agreements with the current owners to make something useful out of them. One of the problems with antiquated subdivisions is that often the individual sublots are owned by many different individuals who are not interested in working together. This is what has stymied previous developers over the years who have tried to build out Lagrange Subdivision.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:14 AM, 10.20.2020

Bay Village annual Holiday Caring & Sharing Program is seeking donations

The Holiday Caring & Sharing Program, a Bay Village tradition for more than 10 years, is seeking donations to benefit the community in the coming year. There are two ways to contribute to this program:

  • Cash donations for emergency funds for residents in financial need. The City will pay up to $250 to a resident in financial crisis for:
    • Utility bills
    • Rent/mortgage
    • Medical expenses
  •  Gift cards for groceries, gas, drug stores or Target/Walmart/Amazon are also appreciated

Donations may be dropped off or mailed to the Bay Village Senior Center, 300 Bryson Lane. Holiday Caring & Sharing is sponsored by the Bay Village Department of Community Services.

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

Westlake Porter Public Library's late October calendar of events

Following is Westlake Porter Public Library’s late October 2020 calendar of events. All programs are subject to change. Please check or follow the library on Facebook and Twitter (@WestlakePorter) for the latest updates.

Tuesday, Oct. 20 (7-8 p.m.) Currently Reading (Live) – Bring a book to rave about or find your next favorite! An open discussion for Teens in grades 7-12 who love to read. Please register. Participants must provide an email address to receive Zoom instructions, which will be sent the day of the program.

Tuesday, Oct. 20 (7-10 p.m.) Moonlight Lantern Festival – Drive by Westlake Porter Public Library this evening to experience the Moonlight Lantern Festival!

Wednesday, Oct. 21 (All Day) Spooky Sounds Contest – Do you have what it takes to send shivers down our spines? Submit your spooky sound creation by Oct. 26 for a chance at a Halloween grand prize! Grades 4-12. Visit for rules, the submission form, and resources.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 (11-11:30 a.m.) Academic Search Premiere/CRAAP Resource Share (Live) – These two databases are excellent research companions for your teen or college-age student. Join us on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube to find out about them.

Wednesday, Oct. 21 (7-8 p.m.) Vampires: A Bloody History (Live) – Join us on Zoom for a spine-chilling talk on vampires with local author, actor and scholar Mark Dawidziak! Dawidziak is the author of vampire-centric books, including "The Nightstalker Companion." He also teaches "Vampires on Film and Television" at Kent State University. Please register. Participants must provide an email to receive Zoom instructions for joining the meeting.

Thursdays, Oct. 22 and 29 (11-11:30 a.m.) Storytime (Live) – Tune in to Facebook, Twitter or YouTube and join the fun as we livestream a storytime!

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:25 AM, 10.20.2020

Cub Scout virtual open house Oct. 23

Families of boys and girls, grades K-5, are invited to attend a Virtual Open House hosted by Bay Village Cub Scout units!  Register to attend an online presentation of the Cub Scouting program in Bay Village on Friday, Oct. 23, 6:30 to 8 p.m.. Local units will provide information on their activities and meeting schedules. Learn more about the program at Access to the online meeting will be provided to all who register at this link:

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:19 AM, 10.20.2020

Bay Village Schools brings in experts to ‘Respond to COVID-19’ in virtual town hall event

About 130 Bay Village residents attended a virtual town hall – “Responding to COVID-19” – on Oct. 15, to learn how Bay Village Schools is responding to the virus since implementing its Safe Reopening Plan. The webinar event was hosted by Bay Village City School District, with expert panelists from Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH), MetroHealth, Recovery Resources and the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio (ESCNEO).

The virtual town hall was broken down into three sections: health symptoms and processes, mental health symptoms and school district-specific questions. Town hall guests submitted questions when they registered, or asked them through a live chat session during the webinar.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:15 AM, 10.20.2020

Westlake City Council Notes

Notes from the Westlake City Council meeting, Oct. 15, 2020:

Salary Freezes for City Leadership:

In solidarity with those in hardship due to Covid-19, the Westlake City Council unanimously approved salary freezes: a 5-year freeze for the Council’s members, a 2-year freeze for the mayor, and a 2-year freeze for the law director’s base compensation.

Council members will receive a 2% increase in salary in 2021, then the freeze goes into effect; there is no corresponding salary increase for the mayor or the law director.


Trick-or-treating in Westlake will be held on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 6 to 8 pm. Westlake will follow the Ohio Department of Health’s safety recommendations for celebrating Halloween. They can be found on the city’s website at:

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:16 AM, 10.20.2020

Zoom with Westside Advanced Toastmasters

The officers of Westside Advanced Toastmasters invite you to visit the club on Zoom, where you can learn techniques to improve your speaking, leadership skills and confidence ... and, it’s an opportunity to expand your social network during these challenging times.

“There’s a genuine camaraderie among members to support each other's endeavor to become a better speaker and more authentic leader,” says VP of Membership Anna Ho, a North Olmsted resident.

Rocky River resident and VP of Education Linda Harvey concurs. “A friendly face, an encouraging word, and guidance to improve my speaking and leadership skills – that's what this club means to me.”

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:16 AM, 10.20.2020

Porter Library adds a shredding day due to demand

Westlake Porter Public Library has scheduled an additional Shredding Day event due to popular demand. The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. or until the 5.5 ton shredding truck is full.

Visitors are limited to two boxes per vehicle and should stay in their cars as a COVID-era precaution. Large boxes or bags will not be accepted. While the truck scheduled is larger than the truck used during the Customer Appreciation Week shredding event, participants should still be prepared for heavy traffic.

The Westlake Kiwanis Club and the Westlake Police Auxiliary are assisting with the event.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:15 AM, 10.20.2020

Kiwanis offers take-out spaghetti dinner

The Kiwanis Club of Bay Village invites you to our annual Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 7, between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. This will be a take-out only event. We will again feature Tony Dostal's award winning signature sauce.

Take home a spaghetti dinner for $10 including salad, roll and sweet. Also available is sauce in quarts for $10 each and 50/50 raffle tickets. Order online at and drive thru at Village Project, 27378 W. Oviatt Road. Walk-ups are also welcome.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:15 AM, 10.20.2020

Help birds while you drink coffee

Birds connect us to people in distant lands. The migratory birds that arrive every spring in the United States are the same birds that you would see in South America during our winter. We could talk to a farmer in Nicaragua about the rose-breasted grosbeak and he would see in his mind's-eye what we see. The sorrow we feel as the bird populations dwindle here is the same sorrow felt by birders in South America as losses of forests in Central and South America mirror the habitat loss in the U.S.

It's easy to feel helpless but here is something that you can do to help – and it's as simple as pouring yourself a cup-a-joe and kicking back to watch the birds.

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Volume 12, Issue 20, Posted 10:24 AM, 10.20.2020

10 WHS students recognized in National Merit program

The Westlake City School District announced that 10 students at Westlake High School have been recognized in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program, an annual academic competition for recognition and college undergraduate scholarships.

Luke Heberle, Rahul Jain, Colt Rujawitz, Macy Sinreich and Kevin Xu have been named as Semifinalists. Evan Cowin, Abigail E. Dumm, Arya S. Parikh, Hannah C. Powers and Sagan D. Woolner were recognized as Commended Students. The students were identified as Commended or Semifinalists based on their Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) scores.

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

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