Local News

Bay clerk recognized for career achievement

The clerk of council for the City of Bay Village, Joan Kemper, has reached yet another milestone in her extensive and illustrious career. She has earned the distinction of becoming a certified municipal clerk.

Through the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, two levels of certification are offered, the first of which is the Certified Municipal Clerk, or CMC. (The second is Master Municipal Clerk.) IIMC was founded in 1947, and is a professional association with almost 15,000 members in the US, Canada and 15 other countries. Its primary goal is to actively promote the continuing education and professional development of municipal clerks through extensive education programs, certification, publications, networking, annual conferences and research. IIMC also engages in municipal research administration, enhances critical professional skill development and fosters a spirit of mutual assistance and good fellowship among municipal clerks around the globe.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 10:12 AM, 10.05.2021

Sea Scout Ship Intrepid (41) crew wins national USCG Auxiliary contest

Congratulations to Alpha Crew, Hannah Bergmann, Amy Burgy, Gabby Csire, Gwynn Miller, Heidi Moody, and Grace Sugaski, whose research report was selected by the judges as the top Sea Scout B.S.A. project, nationally chosen to support the U.S. Coast Guard Research & Development (R&D) Center.

The challenge Alpha Crew tackled was researching a way for the Coast Guard to reduce its environmental impact while still effectively executing its missions. Knowing that there is considerable excitement regarding electric vehicles, the scouts decided to explore the possibility of the Coast Guard using electric outboard motors.

To ensure the project was on target, they consulted with Capt. John Bingaman U.S.C.G. (ret.) on the suitability of electric outboard motors.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 9:57 AM, 10.05.2021

Community West Foundation announces quarterly grants

The Community West Foundation Board of Directors approved $627,500 in third-quarter grants to nonprofit agencies that provide basic needs services to the community in Cleveland, Western Cuyahoga and Lorain counties.  The recipient organizations include:

  • Ursuline Piazza - $10,000
  • Building Hope in the City - $60,000
  • CHN Housing - 15,000
  • Community Service Alliance - $65,000
  • Cornerstone of Hope - $25,000
  • Denison Avenue U.C.C. - $25,000
  • Drink Local, Drink Tap* - $17,500
  • El Centro de Servicios Sociales* - $30,000
  • Enterprise Community Partners* - $25,000
  • Frontline Services* - $40,000
  • Joseph’s Home - $35,000
  • Koinonia - $25,000
  • Malachi Center - $20,000
  • MHAC (Mental Health & Addiction Advocacy Coalition) - $45,000
  • NAMI Greater Cleveland - $40,000           
  • NEOCH (Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless) - $70,000
  • Oberlin Community Services - $20,000
  • The City Club of Cleveland* - $25,000    
  • The Edna House for Women - $35,000

*The five with asterisks are new grantees for Community West Foundation.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 10:00 AM, 10.05.2021

Two with strong ties to Ames Family Hospice House join foundation

Peggi Seelbach Mizen, RN, has joined the board of the Hospice of the Western Reserve Foundation. After retiring from a 30-year nursing career, she has been serving as a hands-on care volunteer at Ames Family Hospice House. Also joining the board is Cynthia Ames Huffman, the daughter of B. Charles “Chuck” Ames, and Joyce “Jay” Eichhorn Ames. A gift from their Ames Family Foundation laid the groundwork for the Westlake facility to be built.

As a separate 501(c)(3) charity, the foundation was launched to foster community support for services relying on philanthropy, including music, art and pet therapies, palliative care, pediatric hospice and community grief support programs.

“When I became aware of the hands-on care volunteer program, I knew that was my fit,” Seelbach Mizen said. “I am passionate about Ames Family Hospice House. One of my favorite things to do is offer a warm blanket or to do something to make it nicer, like fluffing up the rollaway bedding when a family member is spending the night.”

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Volume 13, Issue 18, Posted 10:13 AM, 09.21.2021

Troop 208 Scouts celebrated at Eagle Court of Honor

Boy Scout Troop 208, sponsored by Dover Congregational Church in Westlake, celebrated the accomplishments of eight young men who achieved the rank of 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 were Scott Rennard, David Daniel, John Zaky, Mateo McBride, Philip Sutherland, Nolan Gleespen, Paul Rossander and Landon Miller.

In addition to earning a minimum of 21 merit badges, they completed service projects that benefit the community including renovating the Westlake High School baseball dugouts, installing a pet cemetery at Dover Congregational Church, renovating the outdoor chapel at Sts. Peter and George Coptic Orthodox Church, creation of sensory materials for memory-impaired residents at Sunrise Senior Living Center, renovation of the outdoor campus at Hospice of the Western Reserve, construction of a blessings box community food pantry for Prince of Peace Church, building a seating unit for boat safety training for the U.S. Power Squadron, and renovation of garden and grounds at Bay Presbyterian Church. 

The Eagle Court of Honor included presentations to the Eagles by Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough and Cuyahoga County Council Member Nan Baker. The Eagles were also presented American flags that had been flown over the Pentagon in their honor.

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 10:46 AM, 09.08.2021

Connecting for Kids recognizes Westlake resident with board member award

Tish Henry, a resident of Westlake and a school counselor at Lincoln West High School in Cleveland, has been awarded The Kathleen Louise Nash Board Member Award by Connecting for Kids. This award is named in honor of the founding president of Connecting for Kids and awarded annually to a board member who exemplifies outstanding leadership and dedication to the mission of the organization.

Tish currently serves as board vice president of Connecting for Kids. Her leadership has changed the culture of the board to be more collaborative and inclusive of staff input. She listens to all members of the committee, both staff and board, and steers the team to the right conclusion.

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Volume 13, Issue 15, Posted 9:58 AM, 08.03.2021

Community West Foundation announces Far West Center as award recipient

Community West Foundation announced Far West Center as the 2021 recipient of the David and Martha Hessler Illuminating Hope Award.

Far West Center is a community mental health center in Westlake serving residents of western Cuyahoga County and Lorain County. They offer assessment, counseling, psychiatric evaluation, medication management, and case management for persons struggling with severe mental health problems. Services are available for low-income individuals who need care but cannot find it, pay for it, or wait for it.

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Volume 13, Issue 15, Posted 9:56 AM, 08.03.2021

‘Best of the best’: Clough highlights Westlake’s accomplishments during grand-opening events

The prestige of Westlake was on full display on July 13 as the city celebrated the grand opening of the new Community Services Center, followed by a presentation by Mayor Dennis Clough highlighting the city’s accomplishments over the past year.

The event kicked off as Mayor Clough, joined by Community Services Director Lydia Gadd and the full complement of City Council members, cut the ceremonial green ribbon to “officially” open the new Westlake Community Services Center. The $12 million construction cost was funded by a one-eighth percent income tax levy renewal in 2017.

“For all the years that I’ve been serving with this City Council, we’ve never lacked support from our community,” Clough said. “Hopefully it’s because we’ve been doing the right things and making sure the services in Westlake are superior and of high quality, because we want to continue to be the best of the best.”

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 10:56 AM, 07.20.2021

Westlake Olympian honored by City Council

The City of Westlake presented a proclamation honoring local Olympian Adelaide Aquilla during the July 15 City Council meeting. Adelaide, who was in quarantine in advance of the Tokyo Games, competed in the Olympic shot put competition.

Her proud father, Jared Aquilla, who welded his daughter a squat rack to help with her training, accepted the proclamation on her behalf.

Adelaide finished 20th in the qualifiers in Tokyo on July 30, coming up short of making the Olympic finals. She will return to Ohio State University for her additional year of eligibility.

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Volume 13, Issue 14, Posted 12:58 PM, 07.21.2021

Bay Board of Education June 28 meeting overview

This report contains member observations and selected highlights of the June 28 meeting of the Bay Village Board of Education. It is not an official statement by the League of Women Voters, nor does it represent the official minutes of the meeting.

Board members present: Beth Lally; Scott Schulz; Dave Vegh, vice president; Paul Vincent; Lisa Premier, president; Jodie Hausmann, superintendent.

The meeting was held in the high school auditorium with several hundred people in attendance.

The first item for discussion was the equity report the board had commissioned from Almitra Berry, Ed.D. from A.L Berry Consulting. Dr. Berry flew in to present the just completed report at the meeting. Dr. Holly Schaefer, Bay Schools' director of human resources, opened the presentation in order to provide context for Dr. Berry’s report. She presented a history of equity and inclusivity in Bay Village and the rationale for forming a diversity and equity committee in the spring of 2020.

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 10:28 AM, 07.06.2021

Westlake Mayor congratulates Safety Town graduates

As he has made a point to do year-in and year-out, Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough personally congratulated the first class of graduates from Westlake's 2021 Safety Town program on the grounds of the Westlake Police Station on Thursday, June 17. This year marks the City's 51st consecutive year hosting the program.

Long-time Safety Town director and instructor Olivia Kostecke thanked the mayor for his ongoing support of the program, as well as members of the Police and Fire Departments for their help in sharing their knowledge with the children about a variety of safety topics. Safety Pup, the beloved mascot of the program, was not able to make the first week of graduations but was there for the next one, much to the delight of the kids. He posed for pictures with each of the graduates alongside the mayor.

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 10:30 AM, 07.06.2021

Local author features Bay Village in new book

Dee Krueger’s new fiction novel “Gifts No Bows” is a beautifully written escape to a place where family, friendship, and love are tested.

The story is set in Bay Village during the 1950s and '60s, and it is filled with memories that will make you feel like a kid again growing up in Northeast Ohio. The characters are brought to life so perfectly that you will find yourself immersed in memories of your own childhood. You will experience the joy, pain and hope the characters feel as they grow from childhood through adulthood. 

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Volume 13, Issue 13, Posted 10:26 AM, 07.20.2021

To Engage, Enrich and Empower

Westlake’s new Community Services facility ready to open

The city of Westlake's newly constructed Community Services Center is set to open to the public by June 7.

Located next to the Westlake Recreation Center, at 28975 Hilliard Blvd., the facility is accessible via both Center Ridge Road and Hilliard Boulevard by way of Rec Center Drive.

The Center is about double the size of the old Community Services Center at 28,000 square feet, and has  more space for a cafe, a classroom,  a exercise studio, a theater, and an art room. 

The Community Services department serves the Westlake community with youth programs, food assistance distributions, lifelong learning, fitness and wellness programs.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 11:57 AM, 06.02.2021

Hilliard flower boxes blooming in Westlake

Dozens of residents made their way to Hilliard Boulevard on a slightly overcast Saturday morning on May 22 to add a splash of color to the more than 220 flower boxes that adorn the median of Westlake's main street.

This annual tradition has been carried on by several families who have tended to the same boxes for decades and may continue to do so for many years to come.

Each flower box is automatically entered in the annual Westlake in Bloom gardening and community beautification competition, which will be accepting entries through June 25.

To learn more about these flower boxes and their special place within the City, visit our website: www.cityofwestlake.org/850/Hilliard-Flower-Boxes.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 10:18 AM, 06.02.2021

Village Project welcomes new executive director

The board of directors of Village Project is proud to announce that Meredith LaVecchia will take over the executive director position recently vacated by the retiring Barb Harrell.

Ms. LaVecchia is a native of New Jersey and an alumna of the University of Dayton with a degree in communications. She and her husband, Patrick, are the parents of three children. They are longtime residents of Westlake, where Meredith previously held the position of vice president of fundraising for the Westlake Demons Athletic Boosters. In this position, she helped raise more than $150,000 to support the athletic program for the school district.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 10:16 AM, 06.02.2021

American Legion to retire flags

It’s flag retirement time again. As part of Flag Day weekend, the Bay Village American Legion will be conducting a Flag Retirement Ceremony for old, worn and faded flags on Friday, June 11, at the Post home at 695 Cahoon Road, just North of the White Oaks Restaurant.
There is a collection box located next to the front door to place the flags in.
The Legion conducts the flag retirements twice a year, once as part of Flag Day week and again on Veterans Day in November.
Membership in the American Legion is open to any veteran who has been honorably discharged from the service. For details please call Vice Commander Joe Cronin at 216-521-7849.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 10:18 AM, 06.02.2021

Bay Village Mayor Koomar addresses state of the city

It wasn’t the best of years, but it wasn’t the worst of years, either, as Bay made it through the pandemic-marred 2020 in pretty good shape. Mayor Paul Koomar shared an overview of last year’s activity in his annual State of the City address at the Dwyer Center on May 20.

On the financial side, Bay’s income tax receipts for the year ended on budget. Income taxes, which make up more than half of the city’s general fund revenue, did drop during the pandemic, but were buoyed by a strong start.

The city received more than $1.2 million in CARES Act funding which was used for pandemic-related needs including public safety personnel, cleaning supplies, personal protective equipment and telework expenses.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 11:50 AM, 06.02.2021

Bay sailors flourish on Lake Erie

Have you ever been sailing on beautiful Lake Erie? Ask the sailors from Bay Sailing what it feels like. The Bay Sailing team at the Foundry will be competing at the ISSA National High School Championships in Cleveland on June 5 and 6. Bay joins St. Ignatius High School in advancing to the Mallory High School Championship regatta that will crown the best high school sailing team in the USA. Twenty teams advancing to the championship will converge on Cleveland all the way from the Virgin Islands to California to Florida.

Spring sailing season at the Foundry offers sailors an opportunity to compete in tier one, tier two and tier three regattas in grades 7 through 12. The Foundry Community Rowing and Sailing Center located in the Flats of Cleveland along the banks of the Cuyahoga River provides safe, developmental programs for middle and high school students participating in the sports of rowing and sailing. No experience is necessary. Both sailing and rowing are exceptional options for young adults teaching tenacity, perseverance, problem solving and competence. Students report that they feel connected to the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. Most importantly, both sports reward focus and effort while teaching what it means to be part of a team.

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Volume 13, Issue 11, Posted 10:16 AM, 06.02.2021

Westlake celebrates residents age 90 and older

The City of Westlake was pleased to present special Over 90 Birthday Proclamations to residents who have lived on this Earth for more than nine decades on April 30, 2021.

Since the City was unable to host its usual Over 90 Birthday Luncheon due to the pandemic, Westlake Community Services Director Lydia Gadd and Outreach Coordinator Donna Feorene personally delivered the proclamations, signed by Mayor Dennis Clough, to each recipient. The seniors also received gourmet cupcakes courtesy of Brookdale Senior Living.

It was the second year in a row the City brought these proclamations to residents' doorsteps in lieu of an in-person event.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 10:11 AM, 05.18.2021

Village Project board thanks outgoing executive director, Barb Harrell

The board of directors of Village Project expresses its gratitude to Barb Harrell for the many years she has devoted to the organization and to the community.

If you know Barb Harrell, you know she is a woman with many talents, strong faith and unquenchable enthusiasm. Most notably, Barb has an entrepreneurial spirit with a passion to connect individuals of all ages and abilities to make a positive impact in the community. While raising her children, she used her ever-present optimism and her gift for getting the best out of those around her to benefit school, church and community causes throughout Bay Village.

With both her sons off to college in 2010, Barb became acquainted with the Ceres Community Project of Sebastopol, California. She was intrigued by Ceres Project’s innovative concept of using local teenage cooks to prepare nutritious meals for people in their community who are experiencing health challenges. The most inspirational part of this to her was the idea of an organization that involved multi-generational volunteers, particularly youth, experiencing the satisfaction of helping other people. She wanted to facilitate such an opportunity here in Northeast Ohio.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 10:12 AM, 05.18.2021

Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, April 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), Clough (Westlake), George (Lakewood), and Koomar (Bay Village). Mayor Kennedy (N. Olmsted) and WCOG Fiscal Officer Renee Mahoney were unable to attend.

The meeting was held at the Gemini Center in Fairview Park, Mayor Cooney presiding. It was called to order at 9:38 a.m.

Fiscal Officer’s Report: Fiscal Officer Mahoney was unable to attend because of training for the new financial reporting system. Retiring Westshore Enforcement Bureau Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Jeff Capretto will continue on a part-time basis through May. Incoming SAC Matt Vanyo will begin on June 1. Fiscal Officer Mahoney will report on any budget adjustments next meeting.


RTA: Mayor Koomar reported that the RTA board of trustees was going forward with the purchase of new vehicles for the Euclid Avenue Health Line. Service redesign effective in June should enhance connectivity and increase access to employment for individuals.

NOACA: Mayor Bobst reported that Bay Village will receive a Transportation for Livable Communities Initiative (TLCI) implementation grant in the amount of $140,500 to reconfigure the intersection of Wolf and Cahoon roads. The total projected cost of the project is $175,451. Rocky River will receive a TLCI implementation grant in the amount of $95,500 for the Beachcliff/Lake Road Pedestrian Crossing Improvement Project. The total projected cost of the project is $118,805.

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Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 10:02 AM, 05.04.2021

Drug collection drive continues to be huge success

​The Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB) Drug Task Force gratefully acknowledges the citizens of our six western suburbs for actively participating in the semi-annual collection event on Saturday, April 24, with 421 pounds of outdated and unwanted medications collected for safe disposal.

In addition, our WEB communities' citizens were responsible for properly disposing of medications via the use of the 365/24/7 drop boxes located within each of the six police departments lobbies to the tune of 3,022 pounds for the calendar year 2020.

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Volume 13, Issue 9, Posted 10:03 AM, 05.04.2021

Bay Village police chief retires after 25-year career with city

The City of Bay Village, in a statement issued the morning of April 16, announced the retirement of Police Chief Kathleen Leasure, effective May 1. The press release, which was later sent to subscribers of Mayor Paul Koomar’s email newsletter, praised Chief Leasure for her 25 years of service on the department, beginning as a police officer in 1996.

As a patrol officer, Leasure served as a field training officer, evidence technician and was a member of the Bike Patrol Unit and Dive Rescue Team. She was promoted to patrol sergeant in 2008 and detective sergeant in 2016. In June 2020, she was sworn in as the city’s first female police chief, after a contentious hiring process that rankled some members of the department.

No reason was immediately given for her retirement less than a year after her promotion.

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:49 AM, 04.20.2021

Prince of Peace welcomes new senior pastor

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Westlake welcomes its new pastor, the Rev. Charles A. Woodward, following a formal search process and the completion of the interim ministries of Pastor Robin Craig and Pastor Thomas Henderson. The Rev. Sherman Bishop completed his call in 2018 after 22 years of service at Prince of Peace.

When asked about the move to Prince of Peace, Pastor Charlie says, “I am so excited about what Prince of Peace has to offer in worship and service. The people are dedicated to serving as God has equipped them and are ready to welcome others to become engaged in the community – including me! It’s a perfect time to start at the church as they move back to in-person services. We will be able to start together!” 

Pastor Charlie began his ministry at Prince of Peace on March 23 and his first Sunday was March 28, Palm Sunday.

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Volume 13, Issue 8, Posted 10:48 AM, 04.20.2021

Westlake Service Department wishes Al Umerley well in retirement

The City of Westlake is sending Al Umerley best wishes in retirement after 20 years with the Westlake Service Department!

During a reception at the Westlake Service Center on March 23, Al shared some of the highlights of his two-decade career with the city. He noted how much he loved doing building maintenance work for the city and decorating City Hall for the holidays.

He also expressed how he always took pride in his work, even when assigned to less appealing tasks like collecting/sorting rubbish in his early days with the city.

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Volume 13, Issue 7, Posted 10:32 AM, 04.06.2021

Village Project seeks executive director

Village Project is looking for a full-time executive director to work out of its Bay Village headquarters.

Established in 2010, Village Project (VP) is a mission-driven, non-profit organization that seeks creative ways to offer our lives to others, teaching skills that encourage service and foster healthy living. Its vision is to provide a vehicle to approach the devastating disease of cancer in a positive, hopeful manner by utilizing individual gifts and talents in a corporate, multi-generational setting to provide healthful meals, extended support, and an opportunity for all to experience the joy of serving.

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Volume 13, Issue 6, Posted 10:26 AM, 03.16.2021

WCOG meeting covers COVID vaccine response

This report contains member observations and selected highlights of a meeting of the Westshore Council of Governments, and is not an official statement by the League of Women Voters, nor does it represent the official minutes of the meeting.

Present: Mayors Cooney, Fairview Park, presiding; Koomar, Bay Village; George, Lakewood; Kennedy, North Olmsted

The meeting was held Wednesday, Feb. 10, at the Gemini Center in Fairview Park. It was called to order at 9:30 a.m.

Fiscal Officer’s Report, Renee Mahoney: New financial system for payroll has gone live. Ms. Mahoney will send her report next week. It will catch up for January, February and March.

RTA: Mayor Clough presided last month, his last session. Mayor Koomar is waiting for his term to begin next month; he also attended last month’s meeting.

NOACA: Mayor Koomar is acting as alternate for Mayor Bobst, who has been appointed chair of programming and planning. She will have more to report at the next meeting.

Land Bank: No report; they meet quarterly, and all meetings have been virtual.

Planning Commission: They have not met since the last WCOG meeting. Their new director will come to the next WCOG meeting.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 03.02.2021

Town Criers make donation in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Westlake

Connecting for Kids and the Cleveland Animal Protective League each received $250 from the Westlake Town Criers in the names of 2020’s Mr. and Mrs. Westlake, Andrew and Christine Mangels.

Andrew, who is the director of Westlake Porter Public Library, selected Connecting for Kids, a Westlake-based nonprofit that is dedicated to helping families that have a concern about their child’s development and holds many of their programs at the library. Christine, a nurse case manager and avid cat lover, selected the Cleveland Animal Protective League because of the great work they do providing shelter to homeless animals relinquished by their guardians, animals that are rescued from abuse or neglect, and stray or abandoned cats.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:50 AM, 03.02.2021

Westlake resident wins 2 speech awards

Westlake resident Monica Reusser won not one, but two Toastmasters Area 40 speech contests in February. Representing Westlake-based Westside Advanced Toastmasters, she competed Feb. 13 against four other Area 40 clubs.

Reusser won the International Speech Contest with her speech, “A Reckoning,” the story of a mother finding and reuniting with her adopted child after 38 years. She also won the Tall Tales Contest with “A Dream Come True,” the fanciful tale of three wishes from a genie – one of which was to advocate for individuals with ADHD.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:49 AM, 03.02.2021

Westlake business owner receives prestigious award

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Ohio Chapter is excited to announce that Rita Abdallah, LISW-S, ACSW, has been selected as the winner of the NASW Ohio Statewide 2020 Outstanding Service Award.

The NASW Ohio Statewide Outstanding Service Award honors a social worker who has offered outstanding service to NASW. The recipient of the award must be actively involved in state or regional NASW activities over a period of years and have made a significant contribution to an NASW project within the past year. In addition, they must be member of NASW in good standing and demonstrate consistent adherence to the NASW Code of Ethics.

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Volume 13, Issue 5, Posted 9:49 AM, 03.02.2021

Bethesda Childcare Center raising funds for new fence

COVID-19 has brought on a number of challenges for us all, especially those who work in the field of early childhood education. If you have a child who has been e-learning this year, I’m sure you can attest to this now yourself.

Of course the goal for most of us, all along, has been to find a way to make in-person learning a success, while also keeping our children and our families safest. But what about the child care centers that don’t have the choice to be virtual? One of the first things we learned at the start of this pandemic was that if people don’t have access to child care, they can’t go to work.

Bethesda Childcare Center has made it our mission to not only remain open during the pandemic, but to continue to serve our children and families in the best way possible. From 3- to 5-year-olds in preschool/pre-K, to before and after care for kindergarten through 7th grade, they have luckily been able to make it work.

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Volume 13, Issue 3, Posted 10:10 AM, 02.02.2021

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

Westlake Fire Department hosts vaccine POD with Cuyahoga County Board of Health

The Westlake Fire Department and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) worked together on Wednesday, Dec. 30, to distribute Moderna Covid-19 vaccines to upwards of 700 EMS personnel and first responders from multiple West Side suburbs at Westlake Fire Station #2 on Columbia Road.

It is was the third such POD (Point of Dispensing) site set up by the CCBH in the span of a week. The first two were held at fire stations in Shaker Heights and Independence. Officials estimate more than 300 first responders were vaccinated at each of those sites, making the Westlake POD the most ambitious of the three. 

“Today, we have a very aggressive goal of vaccinating those 700 individuals,” Westlake Fire Chief Jim Hughes said. “We’re going to do that through a partnership with all the Weshore fire departments – Lakewood, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Bay Village – along with the Board of Health. And, of course, we couldn’t have done this at all without the support of the Westlake Police Department.”

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

Bob DeMinico retires as Westlake Rec Director

The City of Westlake recently gave Recreation Director Bob DeMinico a small, socially distanced sendoff at the Recreation Center, capping his nearly 16-year career with the city. DeMinico has overseen numerous development projects during his time at the helm of the Westlake Recreation Department, including many conceived as part of the 2015 Parks & Recreation Master Plan.

Mayor Dennis Clough presented DeMinico a Proclamation declaring that Dec. 18, 2020, would be named in his honor. A handful of speakers said a few words about what DeMinico has meant to the City of Westlake and its recreational facilities, including past Parks & Rec Commissioner Bud Tetzlaff, Westlake Engineering Director Bob Kelly and current Westlake Recreation Commissioner Dale Smith.

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

Community West Foundation grants $589,800 to local nonprofit agencies

The Community West Foundation board of directors approved $589,800 in fourth quarter grants to nonprofit agencies that provide basic needs services to the community in Cleveland, Western Cuyahoga and Lorain counties. This year Community West awarded grants to the largest number of organizations ever in their history: 70 total. 

Community West Foundation is known for having long-standing relationships with their grantees and many of them have received funding for decades. This year Community West has expanded the criteria for grantmaking to include all six of the areas called out in The Gospel of Matthew 25:35-40. In addition, they are increasing their presence in Lorain County by awarding grants to organizations that align with their mission.

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Volume 13, Issue 1, Posted 9:44 AM, 01.05.2021

Town Criers recognize Mr. and Mrs. Westlake 2021

For years, Westlake’s annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at City Hall has also marked the crowning of Mr. and Mrs. Westlake. Since 1955, the Westlake Town Criers have celebrated one couple that have best served the people of Westlake in a positive and outstanding manner. This year, the honor went to Mike and Delicia Ostrowski.

Mayor Dennis Clough and Rick Grane of the Town Criers commemorated the Ostrowskis’ selflessness in a small, socially-distanced ceremony at Westlake City Hall the evening of Dec. 6. Attendees wore masks when not speaking.

As Mr. and Mrs. Westlake, the Ostrowskis got to light up the brilliant array of holiday decorations both inside and outside City Hall for all to enjoy. They also will be featured during city-sponsored events in 2021, such as the Memorial Day and Fourth of July parades.

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:57 AM, 12.15.2020

Westshore Enforcement Bureau commemorates 50 years

Westshore Enforcement Bureau (WEB) would like to respectfully extend its gratitude to the residents of Bay Village, Westlake, Fairview Park, Lakewood, North Olmsted and Rocky River for their continued trust and support of this beautifully orchestrated, multi-city partnership.

This unique collaboration has laid a 50-year foundation for a multi-jurisdictional operation since its inception in September 1970. The partnership arose to address shared interest in law enforcement and community planning needs across the six western suburbs.

One of the first of its kind, the Westshore Council of Governments and the Westshore Enforcement Bureau collaborative boards continue to meet monthly while communicating regularly about multi-government activities. Seated at the table are the mayors, police chiefs and representatives from each of the dedicated WEB units.

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Volume 12, Issue 24, Posted 9:57 AM, 12.15.2020

Westshore Council of Governments (WCOG) Meeting, Nov. 18, 2020

This report contains member observations and selected highlights of a meeting of the Westshore Council of Governments, and is not an official statement by the League of Women Voters, nor does it represent the official minutes of the meeting, which are prepared by Mayor Koomar's office.

Present: Mayors Koomar, Bay Village; Bobst, Rocky River; Clough, Westlake; Cooney, Fairview Park; George, Lakewood. Guest: Chris Lyons, Bay Village Fire Chief

The meeting was held in the Bay Village Police Station community room. It was called to order at 2 p.m.

Executive Session: Meeting began with a short executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

Fiscal Officer’s Report – Renee Mahoney: Budget will not exceed forecast. There will be a payment to a retiree, but there’s a reserve to cover it.

RTA – Clough: Budget is in good shape due to $11 million in federal funding; in fact it is in the best shape since Clough has been on the board. There will be no need for a ballot initiative for more taxing. Board is nearly finished with the redesign of the system, and is replacing rail cars. Ten million dollars have been earmarked for future capital needs.

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Volume 12, Issue 23, Posted 10:01 AM, 12.01.2020

Westlake welcomes two new firefighters

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough administered the oath of office to two new firefighters the week of Nov. 9.

The week began with the swearing in of Ryan Nerkowski, who previously served as a part-time firefighter for Oakwood Village and Seven Hills. His former commanding officer, Oakwood Village Fire Chief James Schade, did the honor of pinning Nerkowski's new badge to his uniform during the ceremony.

Nerkowski wasn't the city's least-tenured employee for long.

Three days later, Mayor Clough swore in Sean McLaughlin, making him the city's newest firefighter.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 9:21 AM, 11.17.2020

A marathon of perseverance

Since March, if you found yourself on Lake Road before dawn between Bradley and Clague, there is a good chance you passed Bay resident Chad Pado running. If you were on foot as he passed, you were likely greeted with a warm "Good morning." 

On the morning of Sunday, Oct. 18, the culmination of seven months of that daily routine was achieved with the successful completion of the Columbus Marathon accomplished virtually in a time of 3 hours and 38 minutes. Run entirely on the streets of Bay, the marathon included long stretches on Lake and Wolf as well as sections of Bradley, Clague, Walker, Walmar, Carlton and Cahoon.

The gravity of his achievement was certainly not lost on those that knew Chad's story. In April of 2019, the idea of running a marathon was not a high priority. At 43, Chad had hip replacement surgery and was more focused on just walking again. However, if you met Chad as I have you would quickly conclude that he is a person of quiet conviction and strong determination. A former educator, high school basketball coach, and college athlete, it is no surprise that his perseverance and self-determination would allow him to overcome any physical setback and cancellation of the in-person marathon and finish his marathon.

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Volume 12, Issue 22, Posted 9:26 AM, 11.17.2020