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Worried about the new COVID-19 vaccines?

My Moderna COVID-19 vaccine sticker. Photo by Mark Stewart

Two weeks ago, I got my first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. I felt bad, but for a different reason than you might think.

Today, we have effective vaccines targeting over 20 infections. Some infections can lead to cancer. Vaccines for HPV and Hepatitis B have significantly reduced the incidence of cervical cancer and liver cancer, respectively. So, yeah, I believe in vaccines.

But I’d be lying if I said I’m not worried about these new COVID-19 vaccines which seemed to have popped out overnight.  

Are they safe?

To alarm our immune system, older vaccines use weakened/dead viruses or part of the virus. The first two FDA-approved vaccines use a new technology. They deliver a sliver of genetic material that codes for just one protein – the spikes on the COVID-19 virus.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 10:01 AM, 01.19.2021

No. 1 thing you can do to reduce your impact on climate change

In all of my columns, I write about simple actions each of us can take to help the earth, and when our actions add up collectively, we indeed make a difference. Today, my column is about the power you have, as an individual, to reduce the impact of climate change – the action you can take to reduce and redirect your food waste.  

Food waste accounts for about 40% of what is sent to landfill, and is therefore the largest component of what goes into the landfill. When food is sent to the landfill, it breaks down and it produces methane. Methane is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. What if I told you that very soon you could divert 100% of your food waste from the landfill without having to compost at home? It’s true!

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.19.2021

Westlake distributes food, gifts to dozens of families for the holidays

The Kiwanis Club of Westlake donned yellow vests as they pitched in to help load up vehicles for the distribution effort outside the Senior and Community Services Center, alongside city employees and other volunteers from the community.

Many Westlake families had a happy holiday season thanks to several members of the Westlake Fire Department who helped deliver bags of presents and food baskets to their doorsteps in December.

More than 80 families received gift bags as part of our Adopt A Family/Adult Program, helping to put smiles on nearly 300 faces. Dozens of prepacked food baskets were distributed as well – a welcome sight to many in need of some help to get through the holidays.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 10:00 AM, 01.19.2021

Kiwanis donates to Bay's Caring & Sharing Program

Kiwanians Foster McMasters, Pat Mosier and Mayor Paul Koomar present a check to Leslie Selig for the Bay Village Caring & Sharing Program.

Despite 2020's challenges, the Kiwanis Club of Bay Village still was able to contribute to our mission of improving the lives of kids worldwide.

On Dec. 10, 2020, Bay Village Kiwanis presented Leslie Selig, director of the city's Community Services Department, with a check for $2,000 for the Caring & Sharing Program. Many residents have been affected by the pandemic, job losses and difficulties with utilities. This program helps many families through difficult times.

Donations to the city have been slow, and any donation to this program at any time throughout the year will be used to help families in need. Please support this program and your local Kiwanis club. Find the Bay Village Kiwanis at and contact Leslie at or 440-899-3409.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 10:00 AM, 01.19.2021

Bay Village Schools honors board members

Bay High School senior James Bish, far right at microphone, reads Gov. Mike DeWine’s Proclamation for January being School Board Recognition Month to the Bay Village Board of Education. Left to right: President Lisa Priemer, Interim Treasurer John Scott and Superintendent Jodie Hausmann.   

January is School Board Recognition Month, and at the Jan. 11 Bay Village Board of Education meeting, the district honored its five board members: President Lisa Priemer, Vice President Dave Vegh, and members Beth Lally, Scott Schulz and Paul Vincent. Bay High School senior James Bish, representing the Bay Village Schools’ student body, read Gov. Mike DeWine’s Proclamation for School Board Recognition Month. James also shared his personal gratitude for the board members’ service.

"Although I am not as fancy as the governor, on behalf of the Bay student body, I would also like to extend my appreciation to the school board for the hard and often thankless work they do, keeping us safe, happy and learning," said James.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.19.2021

A prescription guaranteed to work miracles

New Year’s resolutions? Mine will be an easy one to achieve.

I have now lived a number of years at Vitalia Senior Residences in Westlake. Having lived with seniors who are in the majority over the age of 85, I have witnessed one of the saddest tribulations an older person can experience. With the pace of life as it is today, perhaps it is best for older family members to live in an atmosphere conducive to satisfying their desires. I can somewhat accept that thinking with a few question marks.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:55 AM, 01.19.2021

What's in a name, anyway?

Our little slice of paradise from Avon Point to the Cuyahoga River as per a portion of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA, National Oceanic Survey, Sandusky to Moss Point. Photo by Will Krause

As part of a new year, I would like to introduce a new column called “Westshore Wanders.” By definition a “wander” is an act or instance of wandering. “Wanders” is the plural form of the noun. To wander is to walk or move in a leisurely, casual or aimless way. There is something very relaxing about the word. Relaxing is something we could all use more of about now. To wander is to ramble, amble or stroll … ahhhh.

“Westshore Wanders” is also a play of words on “Westshore Wonders” as per the internet sometimes people confuse the two words wander and wonder. The bottom line is that there are lots of wonderful historic things in our little beachy slice of the Cleveland area.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:58 AM, 01.19.2021

Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, Jan. 13, 2021

This report is not an official statement of the League of Women Voters. Mayor Cooney's office prepares official minutes.

Present: Mayors Cooney (Fairview Park), Bobst (Rocky River), George (Lakewood), Kennedy (North Olmsted), Koomar (Bay Village), and WCOG Fiscal Officer Renee Mahoney. Mayor Clough (Westlake) was unable to attend.

Guests: Monique Smith, State Representative, District 16; Lisa Barno, Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association.

The meeting was held at the Gemini Center in Fairview Park, Mayor Cooney presiding. It was called to order at 9:45 a.m. 

Fiscal Officer’s Report: Fiscal Officer Mahoney presented the December financial report and WCOG ended the year within budget. Mahoney commended her staff for their efficiency, and reported that Bay Village transitioned to new financial software on Jan. 1 which it shares with WCOG through completely separate accounts. The software should improve efficiency and accuracy in producing financial reports. The retirement of Jeff Reynolds, Special Agent in Charge of the Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB), and training his replacement may require some budget adjustment. Mahoney promised more information at the February meeting.

Commission Reports

RTA: Mayor George was recently sworn in to the RTA Board of Trustees, and Mayor Cooney affirmed the importance of Westshore representation on the RTA Board. Mayor Clough had been on the board for 20 years. He was elected Vice President in 2011 and became President in 2018. He decided not to run for re-election this year.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:58 AM, 01.19.2021

You are the product

As I pen this column in mid-January, experts are still uncovering the extent of the damage caused by the Solarwinds breach, aka SUNBURST, discovered last December. Solarwinds's tool is used by many businesses and government agencies, thus the implications of this breach can be profound. 

When a breach affects business and/or government systems, ultimately consumers are affected since these organizations hold our PII (Personally Identifiable Information) that, in nefarious actors' possession, can lead to all sorts of trouble. Even on our own devices such as computers, smartphones or tablets, protecting PII is of utmost importance.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:56 AM, 01.19.2021

Bay Village Schools partners with BVPD for social media webinar

Bay Village Schools invites community members to attend a virtual Town Hall on “Excesses in Social Media” on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m., via Zoom. The webinar event is hosted by Bay Village City School District in partnership with Bay Village Police Department.

The event is geared toward parents and guardians of students in grades 5-12, and the panelists will help families by discussing the emotional, technical and legal ramifications of social media. Panelists will share ways to communicate with students about social media regarding potential risks and how to establish good online rules.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.19.2021

Browns and Indians stories inversely related to a quarter-century ago

Wow. Who woulda thunk it? The Browns playing football more than halfway into January … and meaningful football, at that. With Covid and all, the timing really couldn’t have been much better for the city. The holidays were in the rearview mirror, the Cavaliers were capturing the imaginations of, well, no one, and more than a month until Indians spring training, we needed something to get us through these cold winter nights, right?

With Baker Mayfield looking like the real deal, the best running game in the NFL, and a defense that – well, okay, as Meatloaf once sang, “Two out of three ain’t bad” – the Browns are actually fun to watch.

It did get me to thinking, though (which in my case, is always dangerous) about the situation in Cleveland in the mid-’90s, just over a quarter-century ago, when Art Modell announced on Nov. 6, 1995, that the Browns were indeed moving to Baltimore.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:58 AM, 01.19.2021

LWV, CWRU to host addiction forum online

Although the recent opioid financial settlements are suggesting steps in the right direction, issues related to alcohol, drugs and substance use disorders continue to represent a major public health concern in our society, especially during the pandemic.

Join the Siegal Lifelong Learning Center of Case Western Reserve University and the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. for an online forum, “The Addiction Disease and What We Can Do About It.”

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:39 AM, 01.05.2021

Resolution for the New Year

I am looking forward to another New Year
By golly, it is already here!
What will I do to make the New Year better?
I believe I need to write myself a letter
A letter to myself always makes me think
If I don’t do this I may fall head over heels into the brink!

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:56 AM, 01.19.2021

Westlake Educational Foundation returns with raffle fundraiser

The Westlake Educational Foundation, along with the Westlake Music Boosters, the Westlake PTAs, the Westlake Demons Athletic Boosters, and the Westlake Alumni Association, will hold a drawing to give away a new 2020 Chevy Trax, donated by Serpentini Chevrolet of Westlake.

“We’re delighted to be in partnership with Serpentini Chevrolet for the ‘Win This Car" give-away," said Westlake Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Scott Goggin. "What an exciting way to jump-start our fundraising to start the new year.”

After a brief hiatus, the Westlake Educational Foundation is once again an active 501(c)(3) organization within the Westlake community. The Foundation’s newly stated mission is to enhance opportunities and experiences of Westlake City Schools’ students in the endeavor to Educate for Excellence.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 10:01 AM, 01.19.2021

Bay Village Scout honors veterans with Eagle service project

Ryan Hengelsberg, Eagle Scout, pictured with Geoff Belanger, Commander of VFW Post 9693. 

Ryan Hengelsberg, Scouts BSA Troop 41 of Bay Village, recently completed his Eagle Scout service project for VFW Post 9693. The Post meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Bay Village Police Department’s Community Room.

Ryan has volunteered to set up tables and chairs for their meetings over the past four years. Members had been looking for ways to increase awareness of the Post. Ryan worked with Post Commanders, Fred Green and Geoff Belanger, to design a granite marker for the building entrance. The deep black marker is inscribed with the VFW’s Cross of Malta Seal in full color. The marker was created with the assistance of the Lang Monument Company of Canton. The company was established in 1894 by E.D. Lang, purchased by Fred W. Allison in 1945, and has stayed in the family ever since.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:56 AM, 01.19.2021

Westlake Porter Public Library's late January calendar of events

Following is Westlake Porter Public Library’s late January 2021 calendar of events. All programs are subject to change. Please check or follow the library on Facebook and Twitter (@WestlakePorter) for the latest updates.

Wednesday, Jan. 20 (11-11:30 a.m.) Preschoolers Rock! (Live) – Join Miss Nancy on social media as we have fun singing songs and using instruments to keep to the beat of the music! This month we’ll share ideas for making shakers from everyday items! Ages 3-5.

Wednesday, Jan. 20 (noon-1 p.m.) Accelerating Growth with New Business Development, Part 2 (Live) – Kelly Lawrence, founder and CEO of Lawrence Innovation, shows us how great interviewing leads to better customer insights and engagement which leads to superior new products and services … then ultimately rapid, profitable, sustainable growth. This is the second part of a 3-part series presented by Cleveland SCORE. Please register. You will need to provide an email address to receive Zoom instructions.

Wednesday, Jan. 20 (2-3 p.m.) Wednesday Afternoon Book Discussion (Live) – This month’s book is "The Guest Book" by Sarah Blake. Please note that this monthly discussion will take place on the third Wednesday of the month from now on. Discussion will be held via Zoom. Please register. An email must be provided to receive Zoom instructions.

Thursdays, Jan. 21 and 28 (3:30-4:30 p.m.) WPPL Roblox Club – Love Roblox? Then WPPL has a club for you! We have some private servers set up for Tweens in grades 4-6 to hang out with their friends and enjoy some of the most popular games via Zoom. Please register.

Thursday, Jan. 21 (7-8:30 p.m.) Business Legal Series (Live) – SCORE Cleveland is offering this free presentation on Human Resources. Please register. You will need to provide an email address to receive Zoom instructions.

Friday, Jan. 22 (9 a.m.-6 p.m.) Got Science? Supply Pick Up – Join Got Science? as we experiment with electricity! Kits will be available beginning Jan. 22. You will need a kit to participate in the program. Grades 1 & 2. Registering for the supply pick up will also register you for the Zoom event on Jan. 29 at 4 p.m. Please register. Participants must provide an email address to receive Zoom instructions.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 10:00 AM, 01.19.2021

Bay Village dog came home a champion

Pearl, competing in the AKC FastCat Invitational in Orlando in early December. Photo courtesy Nancy Peterson Wright

Bay Village resident and Bay Middle School substitute Nancy Peterson Wright and one of her beloved rescue canine companions, Pearl, a 5-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog, recently qualified and competed in Orlando, Florida at the AKC FastCat Invitational. Pearl was also featured in "The Fastest Dog Special" on ESPN2. Pearl came home with three rosettes for executing amazing runs at the competition.  

Pearl was a rescue dog that had a tragic start as a puppy. She came from a puppy mill and was purchased from a pet store by a family that kept her crated for hours in a crate not designed for her growing structure. In the competition, Nancy and Pearl proudly represented North Coast Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 10:00 AM, 01.19.2021


I was asked if I had made any New Year’s resolutions for the year 2021. In my 89 years, I have made quite a few, kept many, and discarded some.

In 2020, COVID-19 changed our lives and our habits. This year we need more than resolutions – we need a miracle. We need faith in ourselves, faith in the science of medicine, and faith in our country.

We need to think of ways to help others. So often a friend or acquaintance seems to be discouraged. They would benefit by a kind word and a cheerful smile.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:55 AM, 01.19.2021

Bay Village Schools announces kindergarten information night

Bay Village families with students starting kindergarten during the fall of 2021 are encouraged to save the date for Normandy Elementary School’s virtual Kindergarten Information Night at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 26.

Parents and guardians of the Class of 2034 are invited to sign up for future communications and updates, including the opportunity to register for the virtual information night, by visiting

If you have any questions, please call Normandy Elementary School, 440-617-7350.

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:42 AM, 01.05.2021

Win $100,000 in the Straight from the Heart Raffle

Community West Foundation and Cleveland Clinic Avon, Fairview, and Lutheran Hospitals are holding the annual Straight from the Heart Raffle where participants have the chance to win a grand prize of $100,000! This year’s raffle boasts 40 fabulous prizes including a Mercedes Benz, Sea-Doo and trip to The Greenbrier. All proceeds provide heart healthy initiatives in the community and support cardiology services within Avon, Fairview and Lutheran Hospitals.

In 2019, the Straight from the Heart raffle funded the Youth Movement Challenge which is a fun, motivational contest to help combat youth obesity by encouraging Northeast Ohio school-age children to be more active. This program awarded up to $5,000 grants to schools for health education equipment, materials and more to help students stay active.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 9:59 AM, 01.19.2021

Cuyahoga SWCD offers conservation grants and scholarships

Cuyahoga SWCD has long promoted the installation of conservation projects such as tree planting, rain gardens, rain barrels, native plant gardens, cover crops and more to improve the health of Cuyahoga County's soil & water resources. In addition to educating the public about these practices, we have striven to reduce the barriers that may exist that prevent residents and other landowners from adopting these practices: through rain barrel workshops where we supply all the materials necessary to construct and install a barrel, to our native plant kit sale, and our soil test kit distributions.

We are now taking this commitment to reducing barriers to the adoption of conservation practices one step further with the introduction of our Conservation Action Grant & Scholarship Fund.

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Volume 13, Issue 2, Posted 10:01 AM, 01.19.2021

Get to know Westlake's new Rec Director: Paula Horner

Paula Horner is Westlake's new Recreation Director.

The City of Westlake recently welcomed Paula Horner as its new Recreation Director. Horner brings with her more than 20 years of experience, having served as the Rec Director for the City of Broadview Heights for the past 11 years and as the city’s Recreation Manager before that.

She looks forward to being involved with the continuing development of a master plan for Meadowood Golf Course, which began under newly-retired Rec Director Bob DeMinico, and collaborating with the Community Services Department on new joint programming initiatives.

In Broadview Heights, Horner served as the project manager, overseeing the development of the new Broadview Heights Community and Recreation Center, which was completed in 2018. Horner was a charter member of committees formed in support of a pair of successful bond issues which provided the necessary funding to complete the project and account for additional operations costs. She also helped to secure grant funding to expand the community’s recreation amenities.

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:43 AM, 01.05.2021

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