Readers' Opinions

Keep the holidays happy and stress-free

Thanksgiving is over and now the fun begins. Just around the corner is Christmas and shopping, wrapping, baking, writing cards, entertaining, etc. – whew, I am tired already! Sometimes we push ourselves to the limit trying to create that perfect Currier and Ives or Dickens holiday. 

As many of you know, with age comes wisdom. At some point in time, we realize there is no such thing as the “perfect” holiday. Someone or something always seems to pop up to spoil it. So how do we avoid ruining our holidays and keeping peace in the family? Good planning and letting go of those ideas of a picture-perfect day – and, keeping things simple.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:41 AM, 12.09.2014

Waiting for Santa

As part of Bay Village’s Christmas celebration last year, Santa Claus rode in a fire truck down Parkside Drive, where my daughter and son-in-law, Kim and Dave Barker, live. My eight-year-old grandson, Daniel, who is a true believer, waited outside for Santa to pass by. Santa stopped at the curb and called Daniel's name and Daniel was thrilled. He spoke about it all year long.

Thankfully, I read in the Nov. 25 issue of the Observer that Santa would be returning to Bay Village on Dec. 7, and his route would take him down Parkside again. I emailed Santa and he asked Daniel's name and address and said he had remembered his little face and it had touched him so he would definitely stop.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:34 AM, 12.09.2014

A Stranger's Gift

Christmas giving time is here. Mary Varadi wanted to make and donate bows for the sheer curtains in the Knickerbocker apartment building's main hall. She and some other ladies went shopping for the bow supplies in a local drug store. When Mary got to the checkout counter and reached for her purse, she discovered it was gone. They checked the car and nothing was there.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:46 AM, 12.09.2014

Westlake once played host to an important radio station

As far as I know it never broadcast any music, sporting events or talk or variety shows, but the Village of Dover, now being the City of Westlake, was home to a once-vital radio link to ships on the Great Lakes.

While researching a different matter on the internet I stumbled upon mention of a radio station with the call letters WCY being located in West Dover, Ohio, to which the western part of Dover Village was once commonly referred. It indicated WCY was a coastal radiotelegraph station providing wireless communication services to commercial shipping plying the lower Great Lakes.

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Volume 6, Issue 23, Posted 9:58 AM, 11.11.2014

CB group prepares for emergencies

In late October 2012 when Hurricane Sandy roared through northern Ohio my mother and I were without power for five days. Fortunately we have a whole-house generator and were able to weather the storm in relative comfort. However, many of our neighbors and friends in Bay Village were not so well-off. Attempting to locate accurate information regarding warming centers, power outages, and storm updates was difficult to almost impossible for many residents.

After experiencing Hurricane Sandy firsthand I was ready to explore how I might be better prepared to handle similar situations in the future. Several months prior to the storm I had read an article in the Observer about a disaster-response CB radio group that had recently formed to address various emergency scenarios.

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Volume 6, Issue 23, Posted 9:52 AM, 11.11.2014

The perfect season for a trip to Amish country

A couple weeks ago, the residents of the Knickerbocker Apartments took a trip to Amish country. Fall in northern Ohio consists of beautiful leaves falling to the ground. You can't beat the colors of this season.

The bus pulled up to the front door to let the seniors board with no problem. A cheer went up when we left the driveway. The first stop was a huge hardware store carrying wood-burning stoves and all types of hand tools. One room was filled with hand-carved wood scenes of rivers flowing by old farm houses, trees in the front yard, farm animals and barns. I could not believe all the detail in the various depicted scenes.

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Volume 6, Issue 22, Posted 9:26 AM, 10.28.2014

Communication keeps relationships strong

I must confess I like and respect women even more as time goes by. Last weekend my younger cousin had a great clam bake and huge cake for his birthday party. Living alone since my wife passed away many years ago, there have been very few phone calls between my extended family members. We would call for weddings and children's birthdays. The only time we would get together was at funerals. I've missed out on so many good times.

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Volume 6, Issue 21, Posted 10:09 AM, 10.14.2014

Bullying not welcome at any age

I was recently reminiscing about my childhood when I realized that even though I'm a senior citizen, some of my friends and acquaintances still act like children. Comb-over hair styles are big in the senior circle. Bald is big, as we don't have to shave our heads anymore. We older folks are still concerned with size and weight just like younger people. Some things don't change.

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Volume 6, Issue 20, Posted 9:44 AM, 09.30.2014

Bay Village steps up again

On Sept. 3, it was made known that an autistic teen from Bay High was talked into taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, only to be duped into being doused with a mixture of water and bodily fluids. Of course, everyone knows this. The entire nation knows this, due to the horrific nature of the crime.

This event has cast an ugly light on our town. However, its students and residents have risen to the occasion to disparage that light and prove that, in spite of the acts of a few, we, as a community, truly care.

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Volume 6, Issue 19, Posted 10:05 AM, 09.16.2014

An Interesting Experience

I had a technological problem recently which took two months to resolve. My telephone and internet service decided I did not have an account with them. Even though the bills were paid on time, my landline was turned off.

After numerous calls to my service provider on my son's cell phone I finally got through to a customer service rep. I was offered a chance to sign up with the phone service for the second time and receive a phone which worked from the internet. I signed on.

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Volume 6, Issue 17, Posted 9:49 AM, 08.19.2014

Content creation changes with the times

In his "Director’s Column" appearing in the August/September issue of Westlake Porter Public Library's Notes newsletter, WPPL Director Andrew Mangels, in introducing his facility’s "Make Event" program set for Aug. 23, explains how libraries are transitioning from being strictly providers of content to additionally being places in which to facilitate the creation of content.

A very cool concept, in my opinion, and a logical extension of Director Mangels’ continuing philosophy of libraries being providers of all sorts of content, going well beyond traditional printed material.

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Volume 6, Issue 16, Posted 9:43 AM, 08.05.2014

Bay's community services director bids farewell

I have a quote by Dr. Clarissa Pinkole Estes tacked to the bulletin board in my office. It says, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.”

In the 10 years that I served as the Community Services Director for the City of Bay Village, it was an honor and privilege to serve residents, collaborate with community groups and work with a great team of employees within the city. Bay Village is an extraordinary community with residents who are generous with their donation of time and money to help their neighbors.

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Volume 6, Issue 15, Posted 9:40 AM, 07.22.2014

One of Bay’s oldest residents recalls life in the Village

Ralph Telfer and I met shortly after World War II, at a friend’s party in Rocky River. I was living with my mother on West 48th Street and teaching kindergarten at Almira Elementary School in Cleveland. Ralph was a teacher at Lakewood High School. Before we set the date for our wedding we searched the western suburbs for a home, determining that Bay Village, full of beautiful trees, was better than any we had observed.

Bay Village was small but already known to be a prestigious address. We found (with my mother’s help watching the newspaper ads) that a place on Glen Park was available at a price we could afford. We did not bicker with the owner – who needed more than two bedrooms for his growing family and had to move. We hurried here!

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Volume 6, Issue 14, Posted 10:58 AM, 07.08.2014

Green Eggs and Blueberries

Everyone is familiar with Dr. Seuss and his book, "Green Eggs and Ham." This true story puts Green Eggs and Ham to the test.

My sister and I were having a late breakfast at a well-known pancake house. My brother-in-law joined us. He ordered eggs overeasy with blueberry pancakes. During the course of his meal I happened to notice his eggs had green in them. It was a concern so we called the waitress over for a look. She called over the manager and they remade his egg order.

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Volume 6, Issue 14, Posted 10:09 AM, 07.08.2014

Crossing guard shares lessons learned

Bay Village can boast that some of its school crossing guards have been on the job longer than most. Although officially a senior citizen, I’m a relative “kid” on the crossing guard staff, on the job less than two years.

Crossing guard duty seemed a good way to spend time – if even a brief time – with children. It didn't matter that they were somebody else's children, I like them all. (My grandfather was a school crossing guard in the '60s but he quit because, as it turned out, he didn't really like kids.)

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 9:17 AM, 06.10.2014

Remembering Mum

My first memories of my mother were when I was about three years old. That was when the Great Depression was in full bloom. Times were hard and many people were out of work. My father found work wherever he could to make money to help support us during these tough times. Mum stayed home to take care of us kids.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 9:37 AM, 05.13.2014

Garden of life

My enjoyment of gardening comes from a passion for life. I look at gardening as I look at life. I start with all of the good that God gives me and, just like my garden, I use good soil, nourish my life with family, friendships, kindness and joy, and work diligently keeping the weeds of negative thinking out. I then plant the seeds of kindness and happiness that continue to grow and give life.

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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 9:23 AM, 03.18.2014

Good people make for special times

Valentine's Day was a very busy time at the Knickerbocker Apartments. Bay Presbyterian Church hosted a soup and salad meal for us which consisted of two kinds of soup and salad and red party hats that the children made. Everyone had lots of fun and we'd like to thank the group for coming out in this cold weather with a delicious meal, lots of goodies and a ton of enthusiasm.

On another day we we had homemade quiche prepared by the one and only Mark, one of our favorite cooks. He's a volunteer who lives at the Knickerbocker and gives freely of his time and talent for his neighbors. Well done, Mark. Great quiche. After eating the quiche we were treated to a wonderful barbershop quartet courtesy of the Bay Barbershop. Our festive meal was topped off by dishes of ice cream.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 9:47 AM, 03.04.2014

Remembering when it was the 1970s calling Radio Shack

Making its debut during this year's Super Bowl, a new Radio Shack commercial commences with a store associate taking a telephone call from "the '80s, wanting their store back," followed by a number of iconic figures from the decade causing general mayhem while removing all of the store's contents.

After hearing some buzz surrounding that commercial I looked it up on YouTube and, being one who was a "twenty-something" throughout most of the eighties, enjoyed it quite a bit. Geeky as it may sound, that commercial reminded me of the days in the early 1970s, before earning my driver's license, when I'd look forward to any opportunity to check out what was new at Radio Shack, as well as a few long-gone area radio and electronics stores that existed back then.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 9:27 AM, 02.18.2014

Facing down cancer again

Last month was a trial of faith for me. I was diagnosed with cancer again. The doctor found something on my shoulder which needed to be biopsied. He discovered I had a mild, common form of skin cancer which was treatable with surgery. When I heard the word cancer all I could remember was the last time I heard that word.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 9:22 AM, 02.18.2014

Valentine's Day

I like to think of Valentine's Day as Value Time Day. What a great day to spend some quality time with your children. Our family enjoys eating ice cream, cake and lots of chocolate on Valentine's Day. 

Baking together for a holiday is a good way to get everyone involved. Even toddlers can drop red sprinkles on the finished cake. Sticky hands, frosting all over face and clothes, these are memories which last a lifetime. Be sure to take lots of pictures. Yes, being together with family is a great feeling and family is one of the most important parts of my life.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 10:25 AM, 02.04.2014

Thoughts while blowing snow

Thank heaven for my neighbor Rick, who fixed my snowblower's congealed gas, dirty spark plug and faulty ignition switch. And thanks to all of you who asked whether I got my snowblower started after reading my tales of snow woe in the Jan. 21 issue of the Observer. Bay truly is a community that cares, and that's a very warm thought on a cold and windy day.

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Volume 6, Issue 3, Posted 10:18 AM, 02.04.2014

From Farmer Charlie's Garden

Good morning, Charlie. What are you doing out in this cold weather?                                                                                

I'm recycling the snow into into snow people. During the spring I plant seeds. The seeds I plant are for everyone to enjoy the beauty of their colors and fragrance in the spring and summer.

I am a gardener who lives here in Bay Village. My gardens produce lots of carrots, onions, tomatoes and other vegetables that can feed lots of folks, young and old. Since it's snowing now I wanted to keep busy so I'm working on creating a snow scene.

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 10:15 AM, 01.21.2014

Taking down the Christmas tree

After the emotional high of Christmas parties, gift buying/receiving and looking forward to enjoying the fun with your friends and family, it seems like Christmas is over too soon.

Taking down the tree and all the decorations has always been a drudgery to me. My friend heard my recent lament and shared how she does this task.

Take your time; remember that the tree is a personal thing that has evolved over the years. As you pack each ornament, some hold great memories: the kids' handmade ones from school, perhaps some that survived your early marriage, the super fancy one from Aunt Nell, the  ornament you bought on that special vacation or the one that said on the card "To my best friend."

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Volume 6, Issue 2, Posted 10:26 AM, 01.21.2014

On Aging

There's an old adage that says "Youth is wasted on the young." The older I get the more I believe this is true.

What a wonderful world this would be if no one judged people on the basis of their age. Although wrinkles have appeared on our countenance and we have a generous sprinkling of silver in our hair, deep down inside we are still young, fresh and new. Since we are still on this earth there must be a meaning for our being, something more for us to do. There must be a purpose to this aging business.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 10:06 AM, 01.07.2014

Connecting with family at Christmas

Wow, what a great Christmas I had. I got several nice gifts. Most of them were gift cards for restaurants. I love gift cards to restaurants (hint, hint) because then I don't have to cook, wash dishes or go shopping for food. Speaking of food, there were plenty of boxes of homemade cookies, candy and  yummy bakery. Some of my relatives who were there I hadn't seen in months.   

Christmas morning started out at my oldest son's house with hugging all the kids and getting kissed on the cheek by all the young girls. Yes, it really was a very nice morning. I looked forward to Christmas breakfast for several reasons. Al is getting very good at making a special egg dish, strata. The menu also included fresh fruit juice, great coffee and good conversation.

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Volume 6, Issue 1, Posted 10:08 AM, 01.07.2014

Old-Fashioned Values

I am on the desperate outskirts of middle age. Perhaps I am feeling it more so than usual as today is my birthday. I am also giving myself a bit of a pity party today owing to the fact that I have a terrible head cold.

After a sleepless night, I summoned the last of my energy reserves and made a drug store run for cough syrup. As I struggled homeward, I felt duty bound to stop and make my excuses for an event which I had promised to attend. Ever mindful of the contagion factor, I merely stopped at this person's doorway and made my apologies. The duration of this stop was about 30 seconds. She looked at my sick self and indicated she was afraid of catching whatever I had and shut the door. I felt like Typhoid Mary.

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Volume 5, Issue 25, Posted 10:46 AM, 12.10.2013

New Year's Trivia

Pork and sauerkraut is the traditional New Year's Day food. In Spain they eat 12 grapes – one for each stroke of the clock. In Germany food left out after midnight ensures a well-stocked larder. Eating fish promotes moving forward. Some other good-luck foods include black-eyed peas and collard greens.

Foods to avoid on New Year's Day: Lobster because they move backwards. It could cause setbacks. Chicken is a no-no as they scratch backwards. Any winged fowl may cause your good luck to fly away. In Asia they eat long noodles without breaking them. They must slurp them like spaghetti.

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Volume 5, Issue 25, Posted 10:49 AM, 12.10.2013

Support renewable energy and energy efficiency in Ohio

When a state invests in clean and sustainable energy sources and energy efficiency programs, there is a corresponding reduction in harmful emissions, giving us all healthier air and reducing asthma and lung disease for our kids.

Ohio has one of the highest rates of air pollution in the country. Children face higher risks from air pollution due to their high activity level and developing lungs. According to the American Lung Association, research has shown that fewer episodes of chronic cough, bronchitis, common cold, and conjunctivitis symptoms can be found in children as air quality improves.

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Volume 5, Issue 24, Posted 9:52 AM, 11.26.2013

I was proud to serve as a poll worker

For the first time last Election Day I served as a poll worker, and, let me tell you, it was an honor and privilege to be a part of such a special event.

At the urging of my wife, who has served as a poll worker for a number of years and who always came home with some amazing stories and a glow of service about her, I took the four-hour course to qualify as a poll worker.

I met with my compatriots the night before the election to set up the polls, which took about 90 minutes. Election Day morning you show up at 5:30 a.m. to turn on the machines and get everything ready for a long, and sometimes hectic, day.

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Volume 5, Issue 23, Posted 10:17 AM, 11.12.2013

Holding Hands

There is something special about holding hands and the human touch. An intimate, non-verbal way to say many things. To show emotion, support, help, friendship, affection. A handshake can also mean a closeness, peace, a comforting gesture or a sign of welcome.

How and why people hold hands depends on the culture and gender. But it is a universal act around the world. In African and Arab countries men and boys use it as a sign of respect and friendship. In the U.S. a mom uses it as a means to control the child as she crosses the street.

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Volume 5, Issue 23, Posted 10:18 AM, 11.12.2013

The Table Caper

On a sunny May day my friend and I went for a ride to visit my childhood neighborhood. On the way we spotted a large yard sale. My friend fell in love with a large six-foot table. Her car is a compact model and the only way to transport it would be to put it on the top of the car with the legs up. We dove to Home Depot for some rope and a furniture pad. I tied the table to the top of the car going through all four windows. That table was trussed up like a turkey.

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Volume 5, Issue 20, Posted 9:33 AM, 10.01.2013

I feel sorry for our young people

I was thinking about how much I feel sorry for our young people today. Their lives are so different and seem to lack some innocence and opportunities for some of life’s great lessons.  

I feel sorry for them because they never have time to be bored. We fill their schedules with so many activities that they rarely get to experience downtime. Being bored teaches you how to relax and do nothing or how to find something to do on your own. Being bored, as a kid, is a great thing. It teaches us how to be creative. 

I feel sorry for young people because they can’t put the TV on or change the channel without being exposed to violence or vulgarity or something else that does not help us be better people.

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Volume 5, Issue 18, Posted 10:35 AM, 09.04.2013

Tomatoes and roses

Living next to a railroad track is something I have done many times. When I was a young lad, huge coal-fired steam engines ran up and down the triple rail tracks, huffing and puffing black smoke and exhaust in the air. I used to walk across the bridge with my mom to the West Side Market. At that time the market was outdoors. Vegetable venders sold their produce on Lorain Avenue and on both sides of West 25th Street. Chicken, duck and turkey coops would be piled high across West 25th Street from the front door of the market house.

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Volume 5, Issue 18, Posted 10:30 AM, 09.04.2013

Hitting the century mark

Milestone events always seem to lend themselves to reflection more than prediction, a focus on the path we’ve traveled rather than the road ahead. As press time for our 100th issue approaches, my thoughts are drawn down the winding path into the past, over the peaks and valleys of the last five years.

I remember the first conversation my dad, Denny, and I had in 2008 about starting a citizen-written newspaper for our community as a hobby. I remember the questions we asked ourselves – Will anybody want to write for it? Will anybody want to read it? – as much as I remember the questions we did NOT ask – How much time will it require? How will we pay to print it?

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 9:49 AM, 08.20.2013

Congratulations on five years!

Over the past five years the Westlake | Bay Village Observer has certainly established itself as a terrific resource to learn of the wide diversity of news, events, history and personal perspectives to be found within our two great communities (or even a far-flung continent or two).

For those of us who enjoy holding an actual newspaper while gleaning all of this information, this takes place within a very nicely edited, composed and printed document – on paper stock with a bit of heft to it, no less. (Oh, and they actually ran a couple of nostalgia pieces I scribbled out earlier this year, but please don't hold that against them.)

Well done, Westlake | Bay Village Observer staff and contributors!

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 10:05 AM, 08.20.2013

Commitment to positive experience sets Observer apart

In celebration of the Westlake | Bay Village Observer’s five-year anniversary, and on behalf of all the citizens of Bay Village, I offer the Observer and its entire team heartiest congratulations for their positive contribution to our community.

A locally born, bred and authored newspaper, the Observer provides readers with a pulse for community goings-on, and serves as a simple, yet informative reporting option for all of us. Denny and Tara Wendell, along with the entire Observer team, make reading our local newspaper a positive and unique experience … their print publication is on-point and relevant, with topics openly encouraged and sourced by local citizens, all combined into newsprint which is objective, positive and enjoyable to read.

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 9:52 AM, 08.20.2013

Why I volunteer with the auxiliary police

I began volunteering with the Auxiliary Police in Bay Village to follow in the footsteps of my father, Jack Hartz. He was a member of the organization for 36 years and was Captain for many of those, and I had the distinct pleasure of working under his command during my 26 years and counting. His inspiration is still felt in the group and sets the bar for where we would like our Auxiliary Police force to be.

I have had the honor of serving my community in many capacities including auxiliary officer, jailer and kennel officer. I take great pride in the work I do for the city. The benefit that we provide to the community is for the most part unrecognized because we supplement the regular police force and basically blend in. Working such things as traffic control, downed power lines and crime scenes amongst many others is just what we do. If there is a severe storm, chances are our members are out assisting with downed power lines and traffic. The members freely give of their time to make things safe for the city at large.

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 10:23 AM, 08.20.2013

Congratulations to our 'small town' newspaper

Congratulations to the Westlake | Bay Village Observer on its fifth anniversary – five years of serving this area with community news, coming events and other features – as reported by those involved in the news, the events and the features.

In a day when other newspapers are going out of business – at least in paper form, or reducing their paper editions, Denny and Tara Wendell made the Observer the go-to place for news, views and articles of special interest to area readers – serving them well. It’s also the place for its many advertisers to reach their customers with their ads for products and services for its readers.

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 9:55 AM, 08.20.2013

Happy Birthday, Observer

I have read community newspapers from Florida, Pennsylvania and a few other places. In my opinion, the Westlake | Bay Village Observer is really nice to read. I enjoy short, to-the-point articles that give you local news and events. Another nice feature is the advertisers are folks that live or have their business in this area.

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Volume 5, Issue 17, Posted 10:00 AM, 08.20.2013