Local News

Westlake's 'Music Man' to be honored with musical tribute

I have had the pleasure to write about many of the early Dover/Westlake families and individuals that helped to make our town the wonderful city it is today. The early settlers paved the way for this to happen but there have been many others in more recent years that have done so much for our city and its residents.

One of those individuals that touched the lives of many families and especially the students of Westlake was Thomas F. Hill, Westlake’s school music director from 1954 through 1987. He touched the lives of thousands of students during his 33 year career … not only by teaching them music but by teaching them about life.

Tom and his family lived in Bay Village where he attended the Bay schools and graduated from Bay High School in 1946. Tom was an outstanding trumpet player and was the 1st chair trumpet player while in high school. He grew up in a home surrounded by music. His mother played piano and violin and his father had studied piano. Tom’s three brothers and a sister all developed a love for music but Tom was intrigued by all aspects of music.

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Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 9:51 AM, 08.16.2022

Ten area women receive scholarships from College Club West

Since 1971, College Club West has awarded educational scholarships to women aged 25 or older who are enrolled in a four-year degree or graduate program. College Club's Scholarship committee determines grant eligibility based on maturity, academic record, goals and financial need. This year's scholarships totaled $31,000, and were awarded to women from Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Strongsville, Broadview Heights, Parma, Warrensville Heights and Lakewood.

Two scholarships were awarded to women pursuing graduate degrees in education: Sherry Morgan of Cleveland is enrolled in a Master of Science in Education online program, Fort Hays State University, Kansas. Abigail Nixon of Olmsted Township is enrolled in a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Akron.

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Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 9:54 AM, 08.16.2022

Wonderful work: Joan Kemper honored as Clerk of the Year

To those of us who interact with Bay Village City Council on a regular basis, Joan Kemper is the Clerk of Every Year. She is dedicated to her craft; eager to help others; incredibly kind, caring and thoughtful; the epitome of a public servant.

For the past 57 years, Joan has served the public in various roles. At age 82, she still works late into the evening and on weekends when the job calls for it, preparing packets of information for council members, conducting comparative research with other cities, responding to public requests and, of course, diligently transcribing the minutes of public meetings.

“Joan is admired by everyone with whom she connects,” remarked City Council President Dwight Clark. “She is the ultimate City of Bay Village ambassador to our residents, colleagues, friends and acquaintances. She is the model of consistency and professionalism, one who represents the ideal qualities of a dedicated public servant. No employee with the City of Bay Village comes in earlier and stays later than Clerk Kemper. She can make a pot of hot coffee and bring a smile to one’s face, second to none."

Last month, Joan was recognized by her peers for her professionalism and dedication, receiving the prestigious 2022 Clerk of the Year award from the Ohio Municipal Clerks Association.

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Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 10:11 AM, 08.02.2022

Bay Village Citizen, Project of the Year honored

The Bay Village Community Council held a celebration of this year’s Citizen of the Year, Patrick McGannon, and Project of the Year, Bay Village Historical Society’s Revitalization Efforts, on July 16 in the Cahoon Creek valley. City Council President Dwight Clark presented proclamations on behalf of the city, followed by tours of Village Bicycle Cooperative, Rose Hill Museum, Osborn Learning Center and the Log Cabin.

Patrick was honored for his tireless volunteerism and advocacy for sustainability and cycling. He is president of the Bay Village Green Team and is one of the founding members of the Village Bicycle Cooperative.

The Bay Village Historical Society used the pandemic downtime to begin a complete inventory of its massive collection. leading to the discovery of hidden treasures and a reorganization of Rose Hill Museum. More than 7,000 historical artifacts have been entered into an archival database, along with more than 11,000 images of those items.

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Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 11:29 AM, 07.19.2022

Veterans invited to free picnic

American Legion Post 385 and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 249 are sponsoring an All Veterans Picnic on Saturday, Aug. 20, noon to 4 p.m.

This free event is open to all veterans and their families at the American Legion Post 385, 695 Cahoon Road, Westlake.

Come join us for lunch or a mid-afternoon snack. We will have hot dogs, hamburgers, side dishes and dessert. We would like to meet you so please stop by, if just to say hello. We will also have a representative from the VA to answer veteran-related questions.

Any questions regarding the picnic can be addressed to Loretta Krook of the American Legion at loretta.krook@yahoo.com.

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Volume 14, Issue 15, Posted 10:04 AM, 08.02.2022

Interest in local grassroots groups spikes after overturning of Roe

Requests for membership in two West Side grassroots groups have surged since the overturning of Roe and show no signs of slowing. Interest in GRR (GrassRoots Resistance) and GRAB (GrassRoots Activism Bay) has spiked since the Supreme Court’s ruling last month.

“We are fielding dozens of new membership requests each day as well as requests to our private Facebook group,” said Nora Kelley, a leader of GRR. “More women are coming to us and saying they are furious abortion care is essentialy illegal in Ohio and want to become active, even more so than after the 2016 election when our group was founded.”

Misty Elek, one of the founders of GRAB, (formally the Bay Village Nasty Women) says the group has also seen a similar increase.

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Volume 14, Issue 14, Posted 11:29 AM, 07.19.2022

Bay LWV awards Champion of Democracy scholarships

Bay High School seniors Maizy Ereditario and Jack Mediate were awarded Champion of Democracy scholarships of $1,000 each by the Bay Chapter of the League of Women Voters at the Kiwanis Award Ceremonies on May 23. The scholarships were awarded based on their persuasive and moving essays on the topic “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

Maizy Ereditario is planning to attend Ohio University to study chemical engineering. She was involved in Buckeye Girls State and served as Vice President of NHS, as well as golf team, lacrosse team, YPF, SADD, and the kindness club.

Jack Mediate is planning to attend The Ohio State University to study political science. Among his many accomplishments, he is an Eagle Scout and was senior class president and Head Chair of Model UN. He was active in registering voters at the high school and helped with the school board and city council forums the League sponsored for the November 2021 election.

We send them our best wishes for all their future endeavors.

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Volume 14, Issue 13, Posted 9:41 AM, 07.06.2022

Area students excel in rowing and sailing at national level

The Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center in Cleveland provides fun, safe and accessible training for middle and high school students in the growing sports of rowing and sailing. This non-profit organization opened in 2017 and many student athletes participate year-round in these two water sports.

On June 4 and 5, the 2022 ISSA Fleet Race National Championship (Mallory Trophy) was hosted by Mission Bay Yacht Club in San Diego, California. The Bay Sailing Team, which trains with the Foundry’s High School Sailing Team, qualified and traveled to California to compete in this high school level regatta.

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Volume 14, Issue 13, Posted 9:36 AM, 07.06.2022

Westlake Goodwill store seeks donations

Goodwill is asking the communities of Westlake and Bay Village to make a special effort to donate items as they are in urgent need of donations.

Goodwill opened its Westlake store/donation center in March providing an opportunity for the community to shop thousands of books and specialty wares for a fraction of retail prices, as well as donate their unused items.

While the retail portion is a bookstore, Goodwill accepts more than books at the convenient drive-up donation center. Think everything from household goods like kitchen wares, small appliances, pots & pans, home decor & knick-knacks to clothing, electronics, toys, baskets, furniture, and more! These items ultimately support a comprehensive network of outreach programs that help thousands in the community.

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Volume 14, Issue 12, Posted 9:59 AM, 06.21.2022

Westlake High senior Anna Williams receives Jeffery Owen Marriott Memorial Scholarship

Westlake High School 2022 senior, Anna Williams, is the recipient of The Jeffery Owen Marriott Memorial Scholarship. This is the seventh year the scholarship has been awarded to a Westlake High School varsity student athlete who demonstrates strong academics, outstanding character and a commitment to community service, similar to Marriott – a 1992 Westlake grad.

Williams was ranked in the top five of her 2022 WHS graduating class while maintaining a year-round athletic schedule on Westlake's varsity soccer, basketball and track teams. Academically, Williams excelled in the classroom, acing nine AP-level courses over her high school career. She was equally impressive on the athletic field and court racking up nine varsity letters in addition to being a second-team Great Lakes Conference (GLC) member, Academic All-Ohio, and GLC Scholar Athlete in soccer.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:09 AM, 06.07.2022

Westlake Remembers Vets

Major Joseph Anthony, a United States Air Force veteran, holds a bouquet of flowers donated by the Westlake Garden Club for the Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Westlake to remember all the fallen soldiers who had called Westlake home.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:08 AM, 06.07.2022

The Westshore Young Leaders topped off their school year on top of the ropes

The Westshore Young Leaders is a youth organization comprised of students from the six Westshore cities of Bay Village, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Rocky River and Westlake. The group meets once a month during the school year in the Bay Village Police Department's community service room. It has been around for 12 years and is headed up by Mrs. Noreen Kyle, the School Outreach and Education Specialist of the Westshore Enforcement Bureau. The mission of the organization is: Westshore communities working together to support young leaders and promote healthy, safe and substance-free life choices.   

The students held their final meeting at Urban Air at Crocker Park in Westlake. Meetings normally consist of an educational piece instructed by the Effective Leadership Academy or McKeon Educational Group followed by interactive games and activities. This month, they took the show on the road for the last meeting of the school year and enjoyed an evening of ropes courses, go karts, obstacle courses, trampolines and pizza.

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:12 AM, 06.07.2022

Bay Village planning Village Green

The City of Bay Village is planning a Village Green for the space between City Hall and the new Cuyahoga County Public Library branch. The space will be both a connecting hub to travel between area destinations and a gathering space for casual get-togethers and planned events.

The city is working on the design with HBM Architects, the same firm that designed the library, and Deru Landscape Architecture is contributing landscape design.

The plan will include concrete walking paths, a central hub and pergola, seating, lighting, native plantings, and memorials, including the Amy Mihaljevic memorial and a possible Bay Village veterans memorial. There will also be an area for Food Truck Friday vendors and visitors.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:53 AM, 05.17.2022

Two Westlake Scouts earn Eagle rank

Boy Scouts Mark Rennard and David Schulz of Troop 208 out of Dover Congregational United Church of Christ in Westlake earned their Eagle Scout rank on May 9.

Mark is currently a junior at Westlake High School. During his 10 years in Scouting, Mark served in many leadership positions, including Senior Patrol Leader, and earned 34 merit badges.

Mark’s  Eagle Scout project included the construction of a stone path at the Westlake United Methodist Church to facilitate moving items between the church and an historic outbuilding that is used for off-season storage. Other facets of the project were rebuilding the roof on a 4’x5’x5’ shed, removal of a small tree and removal of overgrown vegetation in the project area. 

Thanks to help from 14 other scouts, a total of 229 hours were donated to improve the WUMC grounds. Mark is especially thankful to Keith Sherrill of KB Sherrill Construction for excellence in excavating the path.

David Schulz is currently a senior at Westlake High School. During his 11 years in Scouts, David served in several leadership positions, including Den Chief, and earned 24 merit badges.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:48 AM, 05.17.2022

Westlake seeing effects of pandemic workforce changes

Mayor Dennis Clough presented his annual State of the City address on Tuesday, May 10, to an engaged group of Westlake residents at the Community Services Center.

The presentation, sponsored by the Observer, included a rundown of the activities of each city department over the last year, along with a reasonably deep overview of the city’s financials. A trained CPA, Clough enjoys the chance to talk numbers and highlight Westlake’s strong financial standing.

As he does every year, Clough praised the city’s sizable business community, the diversity of which has become more important as the lingering effects of the pandemic alter the workforce. But he also acknowledged that the changing landscape has the city’s attention.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:53 AM, 05.17.2022

Bay Women's Club awards 7 scholarships

The Bay Village Women's Club Foundation has awarded scholarships to 7 Bay High School 2022 graduates of $2,500 each. One scholarship is a memorial to Shirley LeMay, a past Club member and officer, who worked for the City of Bay Village for 25 years as a staff accountant.

Club members met the students at its annual Honors for Scholars Luncheon at the Cleveland Yachting Club on April 28, after a 2-year hiatus due to COVID. Each scholarship recipient announced his or her college and major area of study.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:47 AM, 05.17.2022

Knickerbocker Apartments to hold grand re-opening ceremony

The Knickerbocker Senior Apartments will be holding a grand re-opening ceremony at 27100 Knickerbocker Road in Bay Village on Thursday, May 26, from 4:30-7:30 p.m. This event will celebrate the major renovations that took place between 2018 and 2020.

During reconstruction all the apartments were remodeled with new kitchens and bathrooms, all safety and mechanical systems were replaced, and the common areas greatly expanded. Additionally, 42 of the studio units were converted into 21 large one-bedroom apartments, eight of which are fully handicapped accessible.

“We are pleased with the completion of the $11,000,000 renovation that has transformed the Knickerbocker apartments now and for the future. The renovation doubled first floor space which provides a variety of opportunities for residents to develop a stronger community within the building,” said Jay Magee, President of the Bay Interfaith Housing board of trustees.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:47 AM, 05.17.2022

Elks Lodge awards $3,500 in grants to Connecting for Kids

Lakewood Elks Lodge #1350 located at 24350 Center Ridge Road in Westlake recently awarded a $3,500 Elks National Foundation Inc. Beacon Grant to Connecting for Kids. These funds were used to create 250 resource bags containing information on area therapists, summer camps and adapted programs for children who have disabilities, mental health and other concerns.

The resource bags were provided free of charge to families who attended the Connecting for Kids Lorain County Resource Fair in Elyria and the Meet and Greet Resource Fair in Rocky River. In total, 298 local families (or 641 individuals) attended these events to find help for a struggling child.

“The Lakewood Elks Lodge #1350 is proud to partner with Connecting for Kids to help local families,” said Exalted Ruler Mike Sheehan. “Not only were we able to provide the funds for the resource fair materials, but 26 Elks members volunteered at the events or helped assemble materials prior to the fairs. Now that the pandemic restrictions are easing, we are glad to get back to our in-person work in the community.”

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 9:50 AM, 05.17.2022

Meet Mayor Dennis Clough

The Westlake | Bay Village Observer will be sponsoring Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough's State of the City address at the Westlake Community Services Center on Tuesday, May 10, at 6:00 p.m. The event is open to the public.

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 11:46 AM, 05.03.2022

Community unites for Bay Village library opening

The culmination of six years of discussions, several public input sessions, two architectural plans and 14 months of construction was unveiled at the grand opening of the new Bay Village Branch Library building on April 30.

A throng of area residents came out to celebrate the occasion, which featured remarks from Cuyahoga County Public Library executive director Tracy Strobel, Mayor Paul Koomar, County Councilmember Nan Baker, State Rep. Monique Smith, State Sen. Matt Dolan, a representative from U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s office, and CCPL board president Dean DePiero. An estimated 2,900 people toured the building after the speeches and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

Though only 3,000 square feet larger than the old branch, the 17,000-square-foot facility features a number of improvements, and was designed with the future in mind. As reading habits change, libraries seek to move beyond being a simple repository of books and periodicals, to become integrated in civic life.

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Volume 14, Issue 9, Posted 10:45 AM, 05.03.2022

State of the City: Last year's planning leads to this year's projects

Bay Village Mayor Paul Koomar offered his State of the City presentation at the Dwyer Center on Wednesday, March 2, to a modest crowd of city officials and residents. In his annual address, the mayor shared highlights from each city department over the past year, and previewed some of the projects coming soon.

The City will begin implementing the “Stay in Bay” mixed-use zoning overlay and the Lakefront Master Plan in Cahoon Park. The zoning overlay, approved by voters last November, encourages retail, office and residential development in Bay’s commercial districts.

The Lakefront Master Plan, partially funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and finalized last year, seeks to protect the shoreline, offer increased lake access, and improve connectivity throughout Cahoon Park. A pedestrian bridge will be installed this fall over Cahoon Creek, connecting the east and west sides of the park. Grant funding from NOACA and the state will cover a large portion of that cost.

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Volume 14, Issue 6, Posted 10:41 AM, 03.15.2022

Students go bald to support childhood cancer research

On Friday, March 25, students of St. Bernadette School in Westlake are standing up against childhood cancers. St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants, will host one of its signature head-shaving events at the school. Many students will shave their heads at Brave the Buzz 5 to raise money for the foundation. 

It can be an emotional event for participants, but it’s also a celebration of and a tribute to everyday heroes. 

Brave the Buzz 5 brings the greater community together to show solidarity with kids fighting cancer. There will be speakers, music and entertainment. Students learn that small acts – such as shaving their head or donating their hair – can have a powerful impact on others.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:28 AM, 03.01.2022

Connecting for Kids names Westlake business owners 'Professionals of the Year'

Connecting for Kids has recognized Jeremy Meduri, Director of Clinical Services, and Sara Rausch, Director of Education, both of Insight Academy in Westlake with its 2022 Board Awards.

These awards are given to those that exemplify the mission of Connecting for Kids to provide education and support to families concerned about their child. 

During the pandemic, Meduri, a resident of Avon Lake, and Rausch, a resident of Westlake, saw an urgent need in the disabilities community with parents and caregivers having nowhere to turn. They watched schools closed and therapy center wait lists grow. They also watched families reach their breaking points.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 10:32 AM, 03.01.2022

Bay Village Community Council announces Citizen, Project of the Year

Members of the Bay Village Community Council met on Jan. 24 to review nominations and select this year's Citizen and Project of the Year. A committee of six people, themselves active volunteers in the community, unanimously voted to honor Patrick McGannon for his sustainability and bicycling safety efforts, and the Bay Village Historical Society's revitalization project, "Shining a New Light on the Past."


Chances are, you know Patrick McGannon and may not even realize it.

If you’ve ridden your bicycle through Bay Village in the past decade, you know Patrick. If you’ve filled your water bottle at the Dwyer Center or one of the city’s parks, you know him. If you’re a member of the new composting collection site at Bay Lodge, if you’ve participated in a stream cleanup, if you fill your curbside recycling bin every week, Patrick’s volunteerism has affected you.

Patrick has spent most of his life in Bay Village, aside from four years earning a biology degree at John Carroll University and a few years working in Seattle. During the day, he is vice president of OneLink Technical Services, an IT firm in Westlake, but in his free time, Patrick devotes countless hours to volunteerism and advocacy.

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Volume 14, Issue 3, Posted 10:20 AM, 02.01.2022

Tri-C Westshore names Learning for Life Series for Dr. Robert Searson upon his retirement

Faculty and friends of longtime Dean of Learning & Engagement Dr. Robert Searson gathered at the Tri-C Westshore Campus to celebrate his retirement on Wednesday, Jan. 12.

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough recorded a virtual proclamation presentation expressing sincere appreciation for his dedication and commitment to the community.

Dr. Searson has worked at the Westshore Campus since it opened in 2011 and initiated the Learning for Life Lecture Series, offering academically enriching programming for not only staff, faculty and students but also the broader community.

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Volume 14, Issue 2, Posted 10:07 AM, 01.18.2022

One Veteran's Life: Tony's service continues

This is the last in a series of articles about one local veteran, Bay Village resident Anton (Tony) Dostal, who served as a mortician during the Vietnam War.

When Tony Dostal’s DC-8 aircraft from Vietnam touched down in Fort Lewis, Washington, on Aug. 22, 1969, there was a big roar of cheers from the couple hundred soldiers aboard when the wheels hit the runway. They were back home in the United States.

“There were three seats on either side of the aisle and we were squeezed in. It was one happy group,” Tony recalled.

Soon he was back in Cleveland and discharged from the Army within a few days. Getting back to a normal life, Tony and his wife, Judy, purchased a house in Bay Village in 10 days.

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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 10:50 AM, 12.21.2021

Patriotís Pen essay winner

Congratulations to Areesha Nouman of Westlake for her second-place essay entry in the second annual Patriot’s Pen essay contest. Students submitted their essays to the Strongsville Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and have all advanced to the district competition. Participating students had to write pieces that answered the question, “How Can I Be A Good American?”. 

Each year more than 165,400 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first-place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000.

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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 9:50 AM, 12.21.2021

Westlake student's poem published in national magazine

Brinley Adamich of Westlake had her poem chosen for publication by Spider Magazine. Participating students wrote poems about the tastiest kind of noodles. Her award-winning entries will appear in the January edition of the magazine.

Spider Magazine is a monthly children’s publication. Stories, poems, and articles on nature and the world are selected to encourage students to read on their own. Students ages 6-9 have the opportunity to submit stories, poems, and drawing for publication.

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Volume 13, Issue 24, Posted 9:50 AM, 12.21.2021

Westlake in Focus: Retired firefighter/paramedic and photographer Brian Wilker

If a picture is worth a thousand words then Lt. Brian Wilker has an encyclopedia’s worth of footage depicting Greater Cleveland’s bravest first responders spanning more than three decades. Brian is uniquely in-tune to the realities of the subject matter he photographs.

He spent 31 years as a firefighter and paramedic with the City of Westlake, retiring in April 2021, and has enduring many harrowing moments similar to those he’s captured through his camera lens. His interest in photography stretches back even further.

From a relatively young age, he would tag along with his father, Clarence, who was an avid nature photographer who worked for the City of Lorain for 25 years.

It wasn’t long before he began to follow in his father’s footsteps.

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Volume 13, Issue 23, Posted 10:37 AM, 12.07.2021

Bay Village Community Council accepting nominations for annual honors

As this year of divisiveness, virus variants and supply chain problems comes to a close, it’s refreshing to turn our attention to the efforts of those who have worked to make things better, one good deed at a time. Bay Village is filled with dedicated, selfless volunteers working with civic groups or on their own to help others in the community and around the world.

The Bay Village Community Council has just opened the nomination period for the annual Bay Village Citizen of the Year and Project of the Year awards, to recognize those who have offered their time and talents in the service of others.

Citizen of the Year nominees, either individual or couple, must be Bay Village residents that have provided significant community service without monetary reward. Although not necessarily an annual designation, special projects will be considered for Project of the Year based on community impact and the involvement of volunteers and organizations.

Click to download a Citizen of the Year nomination form or Project of the Year nomination form.

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Volume 13, Issue 23, Posted 10:32 AM, 12.07.2021

One Veteran's Life: Rockets, shrapnel and monsoon season

This is the third in a series of articles about one local veteran, Bay Village resident Anton (Tony) Dostal, who served as a mortician during the Vietnam War. Some of the memories recounted in this article may not be suitable for younger or sensitive readers.

While Specialist Second Class (E-5) Tony Dostal only spent a year in Da Nang, Vietnam, as a mortician, he has a multitude of memories of his experiences during his time there.

He remembers an Army nurse, Lt. Sharon Lane from Canton, Ohio, who was the only American nurse killed as a direct result of hostile fire in June 1969. 

“She was hit by shrapnel during a rocket attack and died immediately,” Tony recalled in a recent interview. “It was a piece of clean shrapnel, one simple little wound, that went through her neck. We saw that a lot, a simple piece of shrapnel or a single bullet would end a soldier’s life.”

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Volume 13, Issue 23, Posted 10:30 AM, 12.07.2021

Westlake firefighter/paramedic Craig Goodwin retires after 30 years of service

The City of Westlake held a retirement ceremony honoring longtime firefighter/paramedic Craig Goodwin on Wednesday at Fire Station No. 1 on Crocker Road.

Goodwin is an Air Force veteran, as well as a 30-year veteran of the Westlake Fire Department. In fact, it was the Air Force that gave him his start fighting fires before coming to work for the City of Westlake in April 1991.

Westlake Fire Chief Jim Hughes presented Goodwin a personalized plaque and his helmet and Assistant Fire Chief Mike Freeman read an official proclamation detailing his life and career with Westlake, as well as his plans for retirement.

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 10:15 AM, 11.16.2021

One Veteran's Life: A mortician in Vietnam

This is the second in a series of articles about one local veteran, Bay Village resident Anton (Tony) Dostal, who served as a mortician during the Vietnam War. 

Tony Dostal arrived in Vietnam at the Air Force Base in Da Nang aboard a C-141 transport plane on Friday, Aug. 30, 1968. He arrived with 19 other soldiers, eight of whom were embalmers. 

“We carried bullet clips in our pockets, but no weapons, because the rifle boxes were nailed shut in their shipping crates. We exited the tailgate of the aircraft in a secure area, so we were given the impression we would have nothing to worry about,” Tony recalled.

“We loaded up our personal stuff and were driven to our barracks in the Army compound, which was about five miles away from the airport,” he continued. “Because the eight embalmers were going into the embalming room the next night, the other 12 soldiers unpacked our bags and got our lockers together.

“As I'm walking to the barracks, someone yells ‘Hey, Anton!’” And there was a friend of Tony's from Cleveland, Denny Lazuta, a dental technician that Tony had attended mortuary school with.  You never know who you'll meet the in theater of war. 

Tony started work in the mortuary the following night.

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 10:15 AM, 11.16.2021

Community West Foundation expands SocksPLUS program into Lorain County

Community West Foundation announced they have expanded their SocksPLUS initiative into Lorain County through partnerships with area leaders helping people experiencing homelessness.   

Community West started SocksPLUS in 2014 after learning that socks were, and still are, the number one requested item by homeless people. Every year, they collect new socks and other essential items to be given directly to those in need.

Items collected for SocksPLUS can now be taken to Good Neighbor Thrift Shop, a ministry of Avon Lake United Church of Christ, located at 158 Lear Road in Avon Lake. The donations will be picked up by non-profit community service agency, Neighborhood Alliance, for sorting and distribution to those who are struggling through the Lorain County Taskforce for the Homeless.

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Volume 13, Issue 22, Posted 10:24 AM, 11.16.2021

Hundreds march in memory of Amy Mihaljevic

More than 200 people turned out on Oct. 27 for the March for Amy, a tribute in memory of 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic who was kidnapped from Bay Village in 1989 and found 100 days later, dead, in a field in Ashland County.

The march was organized by Bay Middle School educator Mark Kevesdy as a fundraiser to assist the police and FBI in their continuing investigations.

Kevesdy has established a website, www.walkforamy.org, to accept donations. He said he hoped to raise $25,000 by the end of the year. A $50,000 reward is also being offered for information that would solve the 32-year-old case.

"There's not a day goes by that we don't think of Amy," Bay Village Police Chief Rob Gillespie told the marchers.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 10:25 AM, 11.02.2021

One Veteran's Life

This is the first in a series of articles about one local veteran, Bay Village resident Anton (Tony) Dostal, who served as a mortician during the Vietnam War. 

Not many kids grow up dreaming of becoming a mortician. For Tony Dostal, the journey of his life's work began as a student at John Adams High School in Cleveland.

“It started out as a joke," Tony said. "When I was a teenager, a teacher of mine lined me up with a funeral home for summer work. It involved doing the odds and ends at the funeral home, like chasing doctors to get signed death certificates and being a greeter at the funeral home, while making a dollar an hour."

After high school, Tony entered Kent State in 1963, majoring in sociology. After graduation, his experience in the funeral business led him to attend the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science, to learn the art of embalming.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 10:22 AM, 11.02.2021

BSA Scout Troop 40 honors first Eagle Scouts

BSA Scout Troop 40, sponsored by Bethesda on the Bay Lutheran Church in Bay Village, celebrated the accomplishments of two young women who are the first in their troop to achieve Eagle Scout. Eagle Scout is the highest rank in scouting and is earned by less than 4% of all scouts. The scouts recognized at the Eagle Court of Honor on Oct. 24 were Jennifer R. Koomar and Norah A. Hamil.

In addition to earning a minimum of 21 merit badges, they completed service projects that benefit the community including building a compost bin for the Village Project, a community organization that provides meals and care for families experiencing cancer, and building a customized sundial memorial marker for Bay High School dedicated to Sabrina Noelle DuPrey, a friend and classmate who passed away.

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Volume 13, Issue 21, Posted 10:26 AM, 11.02.2021

Annual Halloween Display

The annual Halloween display of homemade superheroes and other characters in back on Sperry's Forge Trail in Westlake, featuring a flying Superman and Ironman. New this year is The Flash.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 10:17 AM, 10.19.2021

Village Project receives a $10,000 UPS grant thanks to volunteer

Global Volunteer Month (GVM) is held annually for UPS employees to come together to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism and to deliver impact where it matters most – in local communities.

UPS employees who had contributed community service hours to nonprofit agencies during the month of October were asked to log their volunteer hours into a website. Ten employees nationwide were then randomly selected to receive a contribution to the nonprofit agency where they had volunteered. Thanks to Christopher Burroughs-Heineman, Village Project received a $10,000 grant to be used toward volunteer initiatives and/or general program support. Chris has worked for UPS as a driver since fall of 2014.

Chris is an invaluable volunteer with the Village Project. He has volunteered in the Project Shoppe since April 2019 and has logged more than 200 volunteer hours so far. Chris started volunteering with VP because his sister did, and he quickly found that he very much likes all the people who work and volunteer there.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 10:13 AM, 10.19.2021

Westlake youth has story published in children's magazine

A story by Haadi Nouman of Westlake, age 7, was selected for publication in Spider Magazine.

In May, readers of the magazine were asked to submit an original story about moving. Haadi's story, "Debbie the Cat," appears in the Spider's Corner section of the October 2021 issue.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 10:12 AM, 10.19.2021