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Porter Library expands literacy initiative

Some of the many children who have completed the Westlake Porter Public Library Myrna Chelko Literacy Initiative gathered in the Youth Services Department to celebrate their success. Back row, left to right: Shirinika C., Maria K., Kathryn R.,  Amelia E., Benjamin A. Front row, left to right: Barrett H., Nathan D., Erin M., Lucas A.

Westlake Porter Public Library has expanded its Myrna Chelko Literacy Initiative to include children in Kindergarten through Grade 4. In addition, the program has been split into two, Little Sprouts for children from birth through age 4 and Reading is Elementary for children from Kindergarten through Grade 4. The Initiative began in January 2021 as the Myrna Chelko Early Literacy Initiative, aimed at ages birth through 4. Little Sprouts was previously run under that name.

Both Little Sprouts and Reading is Elementary have five steps, and parents can track their child’s progress on the library’s Beanstack site ( or at the Youth Services Desk at the library. The steps include reading, fun activities, program attendance and more.

Participating in this initiative will help build habits that foster literacy development and lifelong learning. In addition, all who complete Little Sprouts receive a stuffed mini Suma the Puma and children who complete Reading Is Elementary will receive a stuffed mini Zara the Giraffe or a backpack.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:53 AM, 12.06.2022

Step back in time to experience Christmas past

Step back in time to experience what Christmas was like in the 1800s. The Bay Village Historical Society is inviting Bay Village residents and children of all ages to join them in celebrating an old-fashioned community Christmas on Sundays, Dec. 11 and 18.

Rose Hill Museum will be beautifully decorated for the holiday season. This year’s theme is “Toys of Yesteryear,” with vintage toys featured throughout the museum. There will be miniatures of Christmas scenes and the Portrait Gallery is complete with Cahoon family portraits from the 1800s. “The Night Before Christmas” will be read by Preston Postle on Dec. 11 and 18. The Bay High Choraleers will sing carols at Rose Hill on Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:55 AM, 12.06.2022

Westlake Garden Club spreads holiday cheer

Sara Armagno and her daughter Everly, age 2, in front of the Porter Library tree. Photo by Carolyn Steigman

Sara Armagno of Westlake, and her daughter Everly, age 2, took a few minutes to admire the beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the lobby of the Westlake Porter Public Library. Several members of the Westlake Garden Club recently decorated the tree.

The tree design was planned by Robert Pearl and the theme was woodland animals. He was assisted by several Westlake Garden Club members including Carolyn Steigman, Deb Dougherty, Carol Lewellen, Teri Lyons and Margaret Schulz.

Everly confessed that she is looking forward to Santa's visit and hopes he brings her some special gifts.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:54 AM, 12.06.2022

A celebration of pastoral leadership

Reverend Keith and Cynthia Stuart. Photo by Amamda Hughes

Dover United Church of Christ honored retired pastor Keith Stuart and his spouse, Cynthia, with a gala celebration on Saturday, Nov. 12, at Wagner’s of Westlake event center.  

Reverend Stuart's 10-year leadership has been recognized for his exemplary contributions while enhancing an open and affirming mission within the church and community. Cynthia is a retired Ohio educator, guidance counselor and member of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Education Organization). She was a devoted member of Christian Education at Dover UCC.

Special guests and speakers included Reverend John Dorhauer, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ; Rev. Scott Patterson, Pastor Emeritus; Rev. Dr. John Rinehart, Minister of Justice; Jane Coil, Director of Christian Education and Office Administrator. Larry Coil served as Master of Ceremony.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:56 AM, 12.06.2022

Bay Village Garden Club twinkles for the holidays

Erika Mittermeier with the holiday door decoration she designed for the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

Bay Village Garden Club is one of more than 30 affiliate garden clubs from Northeast Ohio featured in Cleveland Botanical Garden’s “Twinkle in the 216” holiday display. The show is an honor to and celebration of Cleveland’s beloved historic neighborhoods.

Our creative president, Erika Mittermeier, chose E. 55th and Broadway – the old Brooklyn neighborhood – as the theme for our holiday door decoration. She based her design on Dick Feagler’s “Christmas at Aunt Ida’s,” a column Feagler wrote many years ago about a childhood experience in that neighborhood on Christmas, 1945. Erika framed old family photos and arranged antique toys to capture the style and mood of the period. Her stunning display reflects the warmth and community of one of Cleveland’s iconic neighborhoods.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:52 AM, 12.06.2022

Bay High School inducts 102 students into National Honor Society

More than 100 Bay High School juniors and seniors were inducted into National Honor Society last month.

On Wednesday, Nov. 15, the Bay High School Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS) inducted 102 new members. The event marked the 83rd annual induction ceremony at Bay High School.

Membership in the National Honor Society is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a high school student. It is the recognition of outstanding performance in both the classroom and within the community. These students represent the four pillars of NHS: Scholarship, Service, Leadership and Character.

“These students truly represent the principles of scholarship, service, leadership and character,” said Kathryn Seal, Bay High School math teacher and National Honor Society advisor. “It is my privilege to serve with them as their advisor.”

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:54 AM, 12.06.2022

Lions support literacy

Lion Linda Krasienko, right, presents a certificate of appreciation to Allison Martzolf after her presentation.

The Westshore Lions Club welcomed Mrs. Allison Martzolf to their Nov. 16 meeting to discuss the importance of reading for youth. A fifth-grade teacher at Horace Mann Elementary School in Lakewood, Mrs. Martzolf discussed her efforts in assembling a classroom library with age-appropriate books for her students so as to engage them in reading on a regular basis.

Many students who are less fortunate may not have access to good reading material outside of school. In quoting Neuman's research, Allison noted that "when students are able to read more frequently they are more likely to become more competent, fully engaged readers." She also said that the research shows "that classrooms with libraries are correlated with gains in statewide reading, writing and science assessments."

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:56 AM, 12.06.2022

Bay Legion celebrates Veterans Day

Veterans address the students at Normandy Elementary School.

The Bay Village American Legion Post 385 met with the student body at Normandy School to celebrate Veterans Day 2022. Principal Dan Sebring explained the history of Veterans Day to the 500 students of the kindergarten, first and second grades.  

The American Legion Americanism Chairman explained the history of salutes including both military and civilian salutes. He further told of the American flag design and construction by Betsy Ross. He told students when to stand and salute for the Pledge of Allegiance, national anthem and taps.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:52 AM, 12.06.2022

Meet the animals of Christmas

Cast and animals gathered at the manger. Photo by Elinor Peiffer

Westlake United Methodist Church is bringing back its very popular live nativity and the community is invited to join in the celebration. New this year for the kids, a chance to get up close with the live animals, story time, crafts, and Christmas cookies.

The highlight is a life-size manger scene built by members of the congregation. The volunteer cast members are groups of families that share the holy birth story through live music and, of course, the live animals. If you listen closely, you just might hear donkeys braying, sheep and goats bleating, and lowing steers … just like in the classic Christmas lullaby, "Away in the Manger." The majestic camels tend to be on the quiet side, but they will be happy to pose for a photo.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:53 AM, 12.06.2022

Bay Methodist begins Christmas celebrations

The sanctuary at Bay United Methodist Church is decorated in anticipation of Christmas.

The sanctuary is filled with greenery and candles in anticipation of Christmas as Bay United Methodist plans several programs to celebrate. The various offerings are designed to welcome the entire community, young and old.

On Sunday, Dec. 18, the Bay UMC Chancel Choir presents their annual Christmas Cantata at the 10 a.m. worship service. This year, the choir will sing “A Weary World Rejoices” by Joseph Martin. The presentation materials explain, “In the weary days of winter, the hope of Christmas begins to glow. Like a golden ember of promise burning in the soul, our frozen hearts start to warm.” Ronald H. Muth will direct, with narration by Scott and Marian Harmount.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:53 AM, 12.06.2022

Westlake Porter Public Library's upcoming calendar of events

Following is Westlake Porter Public Library’s upcoming 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, Dec. 7 (6-8:30 p.m.) HeartSaver CPR/AED – Get certified for adult, child, and infant CPR and AED. Class led by certified instructors from UH St. John Medical Center. Visit to register. Email account required. Participants under the age of 14 must have a parent or legal guardian in class. If any questions, contact the instructors at

Wednesday, Dec. 7 (6:30-8:30 p.m.) Horror Film Club – Join us for another creepy classic from the Vault! New members are welcome, but children under 13 must be with an adult. Please register.

Thursdays, Dec. 8 and 22 (3:30-4:30 p.m.) Roblox Arcade – 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. Join us in person on online. Registration begins one week before each session.

Thursday, Dec. 8 (6:30-7:15 p.m.) Adapted Storytime – Join us for this storytime designed for children who may not be successful in a typical storytime. Content is geared toward ages 3-7. Please register.

Friday, Dec. 9 (4-4:45 p.m.) Fun Science Friday: Holiday Colors – Explore the colors of the season in a very scientific way with hands-on experiments, active participation and a simple take-home project. Ages 4-6, through Kindergarten. Please register.

Saturday, Dec. 10 (10 a.m.-noon) Italian Cookie Decorating – Learn how to make icing and decorate a dozen premade cutout cookies using icing and sprinkles. Please register.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:57 AM, 12.06.2022

Red Barn Youth Theater presents 'Christmas Shorts' Dec. 16-18

Red Barn Youth Theater will present "Christmas Shorts" by Lucy Williams on Friday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. at Clague Playhouse.

There’s something for everyone in this holiday delight! You’ll find everything here, from kids writing letters to Santa, to the big guy getting ready for Christmas himself, to a bunch of elves who accidentally rip Santa’s gift bag at the last minute. (Don’t worry, Mrs. Claus can fix it!) There’s a sports segment featuring the 845th annual Reindeer Games and a holiday quiz show featuring Scrooge, Tiny Tim, and the Ghost of Christmas Future. A soap opera, "As the North Pole Turns," a news segment from the North Pole News, and some Christmas-themed commercials round out this fun seasonal comedy.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:54 AM, 12.06.2022

Why you should join Scouts of America

You should join the Boy Scouts. There are many reasons for joining us. One reason is that you will make so many great memories here. Another reason is if you become an Eagle Scout you can get some scholarships if you want to go to college and you can put it on your resume.

There are also many life lessons that you can learn while in Boy Scouts, plus you get to make great friends while doing it. Now those are just some of the reasons why you should join and there are many more that you should discover on your own in the wilderness.

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:55 AM, 12.06.2022

Bay Men's Club volunteers clean yards

Volunteers from the Bay Men's Club, the city's oldest and largest civic organization, took time recently to clean the yards of some 20 needy and worthy Bay Village residents. The club has done this "leaf rake out" for more than 25 years.

"It's a great way to help those who might need a helping hand," President Ed Robertson said, "and we are more than happy to assist. This is what Bay Village is all about."

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:56 AM, 12.06.2022

Bay physician describes Iraq War experiences in new book

Dr. Edward Horvath

"Good Medicine, Hard Times," a book written by Bay Village resident Dr. Edward Horvath, has recently been published. Colonel Horvath served three deployments in Iraq from 2005 to 2011, where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. His book, a memoir about saving the lives of soldiers, enemies, and civilians amidst ongoing warfare, has been favorably reviewed by national media. A writer from the Wall Street Journal described it as “A must-read testament to acts of valor in one of our hardest wars.”

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:53 AM, 12.06.2022

Vivaldi's masterpiece 'Gloria' joyous holiday musical event

West Shore Unitarian Universalist Church’s Adult Choir will sing in the holiday season during a worship service devoted to the beloved masterpiece “Gloria” by Antonio Vivaldi. This B. Neil Davis Artist Series will also feature the Amethyst String Quartet. The concert will be held on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 10:15 a.m. in the Sanctuary. This musical worship service is free and open to the public.

According to David Blazer, Director of Music, “The Gloria in its entirety is a joyful hymn of praise and worship divided into 12 relatively brief movements, ranging from festive brilliance to profound sadness. Weaved throughout the work are movements to feature some of our soloists from the choir.”

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Volume 14, Issue 23, Posted 10:55 AM, 12.06.2022

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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.

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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