Community Service

A family of givers in need

Bay Village residents Julie and Bob Hanhauser will be counting many blessings this Christmas season: 28 years of wedded bliss; large, loving, supportive extended families; a multitude of friends; their daughter, Alyson, a Kent State dean's list student who is beautiful inside and out. However, the challenges and hardships of recent years have overwhelmed them and even those who love them. 

All of his adult life, Bob has been struggling with serious, and now disabling, Crohn's disease, a condition which inflames and sometimes destroys portions of the colon. He and Julie lost their beloved 14-year-old son, Ian, eight years ago from a rare and fast-moving cancer. Before and after this tragic loss, Bob underwent five bowel surgeries. He is now unable to eat as he can no longer absorb the nutrients from food.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:45 AM, 12.09.2014

Compeer celebrates 25 years of compassion and friendship

The Compeer Program at Far West Center is celebrating its 25th year of offering compassion, friendship and ending isolation for individuals managing recovery from mental illness. In 1989 Far West Center began the Compeer Program which is an affiliate of the international organization Compeer Inc. headquartered in Rochester, New York. Compeer at Far West Center is one of over 60 Compeer affiliates throughout 11 states, Australia and Canada.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:36 AM, 12.09.2014

Bay Village Foundation makes annual donation request

The first week of December, a letter was mailed to every family in Bay Village asking each household to make a donation in support of the many projects being planned for the village by volunteers that care. This year we are including a color flyer in the letter so readers can see pictures of some of the projects that were funded with the help of The Bay Village Foundation.

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Volume 6, Issue 25, Posted 9:43 AM, 12.09.2014

Deluge of diapers: WHS students take third place in service challenge

Westlake High School was among nine Northeast Ohio schools that rose to Baldwin Wallace University’s first High School Service Challenge, responding with a deluge of donated diapers for local charities. BW rallied area high schools to collect as many diapers as possible for the 31 days of October. The high school students responded in a big, generous way, producing close to 15,000 diapers! 

Westlake High School, which collected the greatest total number of diapers, took third place with the order of finish determined by donations per student enrolled. Padua Franciscan High School in Parma was the winner, collecting 3.7 diapers per student; Highland High School came in second with 3.6 and Westlake High School took third place with 3.5. Other area high schools that contributed generous donations included Lutheran West, St. Ignatius, St. Joseph Academy, Shaker Heights, Strongsville and Wooster.

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Volume 6, Issue 24, Posted 10:08 AM, 11.25.2014

It's never too late to thank a veteran

Westlake and Bay Village residents, as well as those in our surrounding West Shore communities, joined Americans across the country to observe Veterans Day on Nov. 11, a day to salute the men and women who have bravely served our country. These fellow Americans have made sacrifices in defense of freedom. Honoring our local veterans includes supporting them throughout their entire lives.

For some of our local veterans, however, nearing the end of life can bring anguish over past war experiences. Did you know that Hospice of the Western Reserve, our community-based nonprofit hospice, is one the nation’s largest legacy providers of care? Or that the organization has made a special commitment to those who have served in the Armed Forces? 

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

Assist Bay Village residents in need this holiday season

The Bay Village Community Services Department has kicked off its annual Holiday Caring and Sharing and Adopt-a-Family programs, which help support Bay Village residents who are having financial difficulty during the holiday season.

Bay residents who would like to contribute to the Holiday Caring and Sharing program may make donations of:

  • Non-perishable food items
  • Paper products
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Personal care items
  • Cash donations (for emergency assistance)
  • Gift cards
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Volume 6, Issue 23, Posted 9:55 AM, 11.11.2014

Meals on Wheels drivers needed

Do you have an hour once a week to volunteer to help seniors in Bay Village? If so, please consider becoming a Meals on Wheels volunteer.

Meals are delivered to seniors’ homes Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and noon. Not only do our drivers bring our residents nutritious meals, they also bring a smile and a friendly face every day. 

If you are interested in volunteering for Meals on Wheels, please call the Dwyer Center at 440-899-3409.

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Volume 6, Issue 23, Posted 9:55 AM, 11.11.2014

Westlake Girl Scouts create wall art

On Oct. 13, Girl Scout Senior Troop 71047 and Cadette Troop 70289 presented a large wall art project to the Our House senior living facility in Westlake.

The wall art was created as a Community Service Project at a recent Service Unit Campout, attended by Girl Scouts and leaders from the entire Westlake area. Numerous 6-inch squares were created by the girls and leaders with glue, colorful beads, gems and trinkets. The squares were then assembled on a large wood base to create the stunning art piece.

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Volume 6, Issue 22, Posted 9:25 AM, 10.28.2014

Fly the flag for Veterans Day

Let's give thanks for the service of all our veterans: Fly the flag on Nov. 11!

If you are a Bay Village resident with limited funds or ability and need a flag, call 440-871-7680 or email The Martha Devotion Huntington Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, Bay Village Kiwanis and the Bay Village American Legion Post #385 will provide and install a 3-by-5-foot, made in the USA, American flag, pole and bracket at your home at no cost to you. 

Hurry! Veterans Day is almost here. Thanks you, vets!

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Volume 6, Issue 22, Posted 9:38 AM, 10.28.2014

Civic groups show that Bay cares

On Saturday, Oct. 4, representatives from nearly 30 Bay Village civic groups and nonprofit organizations gathered for the Bay Cares Fall Fest to promote their activities and seek new volunteers. The annual event, presented by the Observer and the Bay Village Branch Library, drew a steady stream of residents of all ages interested in learning how they can give back to the community. A little bribe helped as well; a food truck churned out free doughnuts, courtesy of the Friends of the Bay Library.

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Volume 6, Issue 21, Posted 9:58 AM, 10.14.2014

We can use your help!

The IRS sponsored AARP Tax Aide Program is looking for volunteers for the 2014 tax filing season. Training classes for new volunteers and prior years’ volunteers alike, will be held in Westlake this coming January.

Because of our federal and state tax code changes each year, all volunteers must attend and pass these IRS-designed classes to be able to move forward with the tax preparation program. The Tax Aide Program begins in February and ends April 15.

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Volume 6, Issue 21, Posted 10:12 AM, 10.14.2014

Volunteers and homes are being sought for yard clean-up on Nov. 1

Fall is such a spectacularly beautiful season in leafy Bay Village, and we’re certainly enjoying the peak of it right now. But soon, those beautiful leaves will start piling up in yards around town. The Village Project is offering to rake those leaves, as well as provide assistance with weeding, mulching and other general yard work in exchange for donations to help them continue their mission.

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Volume 6, Issue 21, Posted 10:03 AM, 10.14.2014

Toy drive for pediatric cancer support Oct. 25

On Saturday, Oct. 25, the Amazing Grace Foundation will be hosting its ninth annual Toy Drive in memory of Grace Enovitch. The Toy Drive will run from noon to 2 p.m. at Bay Middle School, 27725 Wolf Road. New toys, books, and art supplies are being collected to benefit pediatric cancer patients and their families. There will also be Amazing Grace T-shirts for sale. 

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Volume 6, Issue 21, Posted 10:02 AM, 10.14.2014

Passing of the gavel at Westlake Kiwanis

The Westlake Kiwanis held their new officer installation on Sept. 30. Robert Clancy, past Kiwanis Division 14 Lt. Governor, performed the installation ceremonies for the new officers.

Russ Milan, the new President accepted the Presidential Gavel from Norm Resko, who will now be Immediate Past President. George Christ was installed as President Elect, Vic Rutkoski as Secretary and Ray Budoi as Treasurer for the Westlake Kiwanis.

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Volume 6, Issue 21, Posted 10:12 AM, 10.14.2014

Rotary Club serves meal

On Thursday, Sept. 11, members of the Rotary Club of Westlake-Bay Village had the privilege of serving dinner at the Ames Family Hospice House in Westlake. Ames House, owned by Hospice of the Western Reserve, offers comfort care for seriously ill people and their loved ones in peaceful setting. 

In fulfilling its mission of service, Rotary members served over 70 dinners to patients, their families and staff. In addition, piano students, ranging in age from 9 to 14, taught by Ashley Baker of Rhapsody Music Studio, played throughout the dinner.

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Volume 6, Issue 20, Posted 10:02 AM, 09.30.2014

Bay Cares event showcases volunteer opportunities

Bay Villagers know that our city is a wonderful place to live, play and raise a family. There’s the beautiful lakeside setting, the friendly people and the small-town feel. Part of the community’s charm are the many residents who volunteer their time with civic groups, clubs and foundations dedicated to maintaining the Bay Village way of life.

If you’re looking to spend a little of your free time giving back to the community, Bay has a group to fit almost any interest. In fact, it can be daunting to research all of them and decide which one(s) to choose.

The Observer and the Bay Village Branch Library are partnering to bring civic organizations and interested volunteers together. On Saturday, Oct. 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at the library, the Bay Cares Fall Fest will feature representatives from Bay-based groups with a wide variety of volunteer opportunities for all ages.

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Volume 6, Issue 19, Posted 1:50 PM, 09.17.2014

Be your own hero!

Whether everyday emergencies like injuries, fires and outages, or large scale disasters, community preparedness starts with you. If you were there, would you be part of the problem or solution?

The Westshore Regional Community Emergency Response Team (WSC) is offering free classes on topics such as disaster preparedness, emergency medical considerations, search and rescue procedures, fire suppression, disaster psychology, and more. The 20-hour FEMA course is conducted by local safety professionals. Westshore residents who are over 18 years of age, successfully complete training, and pass a background check are eligible for team membership. Visit for more program and team information.

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Volume 6, Issue 18, Posted 9:52 AM, 09.03.2014

Westlake seniors benefit from Kiwanis grant

The Westlake Kiwanis presented a $500 check to the Westlake Community Center on July 21 to provide smoke detectors and/or carbon monoxide detectors for eligible senior citizens and low-income eligible individuals in the Westlake community.

This money was made available from a grant by the Ohio District Kiwanis Foundation to the Westlake Kiwanis. These detectors will be distributed by the Westlake Fire Department. Anyone needing smoke detector and or carbon monoxide detector must call the Westlake Community Center at 440-899-3544 to determine eligibility.

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Volume 6, Issue 16, Posted 9:42 AM, 08.05.2014

Golf outing to support foster care youth

On Sept. 11, Fill This House will host a golf outing at Elyria Country Club, with all proceeds going to help kids in need. The outing kicks off with a box lunch and shotgun start at noon. Drinks will be available on the course and a barbeque dinner will be served. The cost is $600 per foursome. It promises to be a fun-filled day and we hope to see you there!

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

Compeer connects with Westlake community

The Compeer Program at Far West Center, located in Westlake, is a nonprofit program that strives to end the loneliness and isolation too often experienced by adults managing a chronic mental illness. The symptoms of mental illness are treatable with medication and most symptoms subside with health management services.

Some adults in recovery from mental illness become isolated because they have lost connections with the peers in their age groups and also may have developed anxiety or depression. The volunteers in the Compeer Program work along with staff to encourage these isolated adults to come out and go to community places and engage in community activities. Compeer is helping adults connect with inviting places and engaging activities throughout Westlake. 

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Volume 6, Issue 15, Posted 9:38 AM, 07.22.2014

Thanks to all those who helped fund Bay Days fireworks

We all enjoyed a wonderful fireworks display at Bay Days this year, and that is because of the contributions of hundreds of people who believe in our city and its traditions.

The Bay Days fireworks are privately funded now, so a group of concerned residents banded together earlier this year to try and raise the funds needed for the show.

A Bay Days without fireworks would be a dud, and many Bay Village civic and other organizations rely on the funds generated at the event for scholarships and other expenses.

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Volume 6, Issue 14, Posted 10:11 AM, 07.08.2014

Reflecting on a successful year for the Bay LWV

The Bay Village League of Women Voters' 66th year has been our most active in decades. I want to share with you our annual report – and even more, to thank you, our community, for being the reason for it all.

In a local election year, voter service is Job One. Last year's mayoral primary forum had a standing-room-only crowd with TV coverage. When the Indians decided to make the playoffs, general election forum attendance plummeted, but online video saved the day with 270 views.

The Westlake | Bay Village Observer re-engineered our Voters' Guide. With answers to two questions in print and an additional four available online, it was our most-comprehensive-ever candidate comparison.

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Volume 6, Issue 13, Posted 9:12 AM, 06.24.2014

Bay Men's Club awards scholarships

The Bay Men’s Club has awarded four $1,500 scholarships to four very deserving Bay High students: Victoria Hamilton, Pawel Kotowski, Shaley Stearns and Abriana Holzworth.

Scholarships are awarded based on need, character, scholastic achievement and leadership qualities. The four and their families were honored recently at the club’s annual pig roast at the Bay Lodge.

Hamilton, a two-year member of the National Honor Society and Key Club president, plans on studying art history at Case Western Reserve University.

Kotowski, who earned the Principal’s Best Award for academic excellence and who operates his own landscaping company, plans on studying accounting at Case Western Reserve University.

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Volume 6, Issue 13, Posted 9:22 AM, 06.24.2014

Bay's Fly-a-Flag program continues

Bay Village’s Fly-A-Flag project is still underway! Three community groups – American Legion Post 385, Bay Kiwanis and Martha Devotion Huntington Chapter DAR – have joined together to supply FREE American flags to Bay residents with limited means or abilities who request them.

While the DAR does the "office work," American Legion and Kiwanis members install American flags, brackets and flag poles at ground-level locations chosen by the homeowner. The goal is to have 50 donated flags flying around town by Independence Day, July 4th, and Veterans' Day, Nov. 11.

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Volume 6, Issue 12, Posted 9:14 AM, 06.10.2014

Key Bank employees aid Bay Village Historical Society

Employees of Key Bank recently took time out from their busy schedules to help clean up and tend to the flowerbeds and landscaping around Rose Hill Museum and the Reuben Osborn Learning Center in Bay Village.

The employees helped out as part of the bank’s “Neighbors Make the Difference Day.” This year more than 8,000 Key Bank employees partnered with local non-profits to sweep sidewalks, plant gardens and generally lend a hand in the communities in which they work and live.

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 9:29 AM, 05.28.2014

Kiwanis grant provides seniors with CO and smoke detectors

Norm Resko, president of the Westlake Kiwanis, introduced Bob Williams, trustee from the Ohio District Kiwanis Foundation, at the Westlake Kiwanis meeting on May 20. Bob spoke about the District Foundation and the grants that the Foundation has made to various Kiwanis Clubs around the state for projects within their communities.

Bob in turn introduced Tim Cornelius, an ad hoc member of the grant-reading committee. Tim presented the Westlake Kiwanis with a $500 check for the City of Westlake for a project with the Community Center and the Westlake Fire Department to provide carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in senior citizen homes.

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Volume 6, Issue 11, Posted 9:22 AM, 05.28.2014

Tickets on sale for fun bus tour to Schedel Gardens

The Westlake Garden Club (WGC) is sponsoring a bus tour to Schedel Arboretum & Gardens in Elmore, Ohio, on Wednesday, June 25. We will enjoy a docent‑led tour of the gardens, with more than 15,000 annuals, flowering trees, perennials, shrubs and many plant species normally not found in our region.

Following a catered lunch in the Welcome Center overlooking the lower level gardens, we will tour the Schedel Manor House, built in 1882 and furnished with a collection of antiques, custom furniture and rare artworks. On our return trip, we will stop at Bench's Greenhouse & Nursery to browse its selection of hanging baskets, annuals, perennials, over 2,000 roses and a Farm Market, with Bench’s produce from its 650-acre farm.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 9:54 AM, 05.13.2014

Bay man on the mend shaves head to help others

There’s nothing like a good, old-fashioned haircut, yet the one served up recently by one of our very own, Jim Sgro of Village Barber Shop, was one to remember. Tim Pell, a longtime Bay Village resident, friend and community volunteer, had recently undergone hip replacement surgery. Under strict doctor’s orders, Tim was limited in his mobility and ability to travel in the early stages of his recovery, and therefore unable to participate in the March fundraising event in support of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, held at the Lakewood Elks Lodge in Westlake.
However, Tim and his wife, Jean, strongly desired to support the St. Baldrick’s initiative, an effort to raise money to cure childhood cancer, and recognized there should be no obstacle to giving for this incredibly worthy cause. Enter Jim Sgro, armed with a desire to assist, coupled with a full arsenal of hair-cutting equipment and supplies.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 9:41 AM, 05.13.2014

Give back during Hesburgh's month of service

Have you ever done community service to help those less fortunate than you? In honor of Father Theodore Hesburgh, president of the University of Notre Dame from 1952 to 1987, May is observed by many as a month of service.

Prior to his appointment as university president, Hesburgh became a priest, fulfilling a dream he had maintained his entire life. He studied in Rome, but was eventually forced to leave due to the outbreak of World War II. While in office at Notre Dame, Hesburgh vastly improved the university, raising budget, endowment, and research funds each by over $150 million. He served on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission from 1957 to 1972, and led many integration rallies over that time.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 9:52 AM, 05.13.2014

Scout troop gives bunny aid

Fifth-grade Girl Scout Junior Troop 293 has done what they can to spread kindness and love to homeless children. They donated a total of 132 Easter baskets to several homeless shelters this past Easter. 

The girls decided to engage the community and help those less fortunate in order to earn their Bronze award. Their initial goal was to collect enough donations and make 40 Easter baskets. But with the generosity of the community at Saint Bernadette's and Saint Richard's, the girls were able to stuff 132 Easter baskets with candy, toys and treats. The baskets were distributed to the children at Laura's Home, Genesis House, The Salvation Army Shelter and West Side Catholic Shelter.

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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 9:58 AM, 05.13.2014

Blue Star marker to be unveiled in Cahoon Park rose garden

The Blue Star Memorial Program honors service men and women. The Blue Star became an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war, as well as in churches and businesses. This program has been active all through the years to the present.

In 1945, the National Council of State Garden Clubs began a Blue Star Highway system, which covers thousands of miles across the continental United States, Alaska and Hawaii. Large metal Blue Star Memorial Highway Markers were placed at approximate locations along the way.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 9:49 AM, 04.29.2014

Kiwanis help make disabled children happy

Instead of a regular monthly meeting, Westlake Kiwanis volunteered at a workshop at Westlake Porter Public Library on April 15. They partnered with Replay for Kids adapting new and gently used toys for children with disabilities who would not otherwise be able to use these toys because of various disabilities.

The workshop was conducted by Natalie Wardega, director of operations for Replay for Kids, an organization of volunteers who repair and adapt toys and assistive devices for children with disabilities in Northeast Ohio. Natalie gave a short overview of their program. She then gave lessons on how to adapt toys with various bypass switches and jack plugs which makes the toys operational in many different ways. Some toys can now be operated by blowing into them or by the touch of the side of the head or use of other body parts without having to maneuver intricate switches.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 9:52 AM, 04.29.2014

Westlake Garden Club wins 4 awards

Sometimes lost among the flowers, plants and environmental concerns is the recognition there is also a business side to the Westlake Garden Club. Four awards were presented to our Club by the Garden Club of Ohio/The National Garden Club at the GCO’s Spring 2014 District Meeting. 

Adhering to strict NGC/GCO rules for presentation, design, appearance and educational achievement, our newsletter, the "Garden Scoop," won first place in the Cleveland District; and our website,, won a statewide third-place award!

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 9:44 AM, 04.29.2014

Kotowski earns Bay Village Historical Society scholarship

The Bay Village Historical Society has selected Bay High senior Pawel Kotowski to be the recipient of its 2014 scholarship award.

Kotowski, son of Jan and Iwona, was selected from a large pool of excellent applicants, Scholarship Committee Chairperson Eric Eakin said.

Kotowski, who holds a 4.00 GPA and is ranked 24th out of his class of 201, will be attending Case Western Reserve University where he will major in accounting.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 9:55 AM, 04.29.2014

Pretty pots brighten seniors' day

The residents of the Knickerbocker Apartments got a very nice surprise Monday, April 14, when children and staff from Kiddie Kollege brought an early spring to the senior citiizens who live there. The little ones with help from their staff made pretty flower pots out of old soup cans.

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 9:48 AM, 04.29.2014

Scouts bring rakes, smiles to Knickerbocker cleanup

Girl Scout Brownie Troop 70034 composed of third-grade girls from Westerly School in Bay Village arrived at the Knickerbocker Senior Apartments on April 11 to help clean up the debris on the lawn and flower beds which accumulated during this past winter.

This project is one of many projects throughout the year which help the girls earn their Community Service badge. Armed with their own rakes and garden gloves the girls, accompanied by their troop leader Amber Dent and several mothers, went right to work raking leaves, removing twigs and stones from around bushes and benches and even pulling some weeds.

The girls packed large bags to the brim and carried them to the dumpster. At times the bags were almost as tall as the girl who carried them. We were surprised to see three boys working alongside the girls. The boys each had a sister in the troop. The youngest boy, a kindergartener, took a bag back to the dumpster. He just wasn't quite tall enough to lift the bag to the top, so reporter and Knickerbocker resident Bruce Leigh hoisted the bag over the side and into the dumpster. Bruce, a former Boy Scout, reminds us that for scouts of any age it's all about teamwork.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:38 AM, 04.15.2014

Westlake woman aids Bay Village fireworks fund

A Westlake woman has stepped up to help make sure that fireworks are displayed at Bay Days in Bay Village this Fourth of July.

Amy Ross is helping to raise money for the annual fireworks display, which is now privately funded, by donating the proceeds from the sale of Avon products she represents. The fundraiser runs through the end of May, Ross said.

“Please help us raise money for this great cause,” she said.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:20 AM, 04.15.2014

Spring events at Village Bicycle Cooperative

While this winter was miserable for biking, it allowed Village Bicycle Cooperative time to improve our organization's volunteer framework. We are 100 percent volunteer run and are looking for more people to help provide our services to those in need.

All Wednesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. are dedicated to training volunteers! The Wednesday, April 16, session will focus on bike and helmet fitting, lubing and VBC's procedures for sales.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:15 AM, 04.15.2014

Compeer recognizes volunteers during April

April is National Volunteers Month. Organizations throughout the United States rely on volunteers in order to provide services and achieve missions. Without the dedication of volunteers many organizations that provide life-saving services would cease to exist. All of you can name some of these organizations and many of you have volunteered! For some organizations, volunteers serve as the “arms” that reach out into communities and bring help to people in need.

The Compeer Program at Far West Center has dedicated volunteers that change lives by reaching out to adults that have become isolated due to mental illness. People that manage the symptoms of mental illness become isolated from their peers. Some become anxious, depressed or discouraged and find it difficult to reconnect with the communities around them. Compeer volunteers offer the acceptance and encouragement these individuals need to take those first steps back into community life.

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Volume 6, Issue 8, Posted 10:16 AM, 04.15.2014

Smile, nonprofits, Amazon wants to send you money

Internet superstore has launched a new corporate philanthropy program that will donate a percentage of shoppers’ purchases to the organization of their choice. The AmazonSmile Foundation, announced last October, will give 0.5 percent of customers’ purchase totals, which equates to 5 cents for every $10 spent. Eligible groups must be registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) and provide AmazonSmile with bank account information to receive donations.

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Volume 6, Issue 7, Posted 9:12 AM, 04.01.2014