Letters To The Editor

Vote No On Issue 2--Reverse The Post-9/11 American Decline

My family and I attended the Fallen Firefighter Memorial Ceremony on September 11, 2011. We were deeply moved by the unveiling of the new memorial created using two steel beams from the World Trade Center. Touching those beams unleashed a wave of emotions about what took place that day. Reflecting on the events that have unfolded in the ten years since that attack still leave us with much to grieve about--not only the loss of life that day, but a lost decade for America.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 were many things. Among the most important, we can see now that a decade has passed, is that they were a portal into an alter-reality world, which America has wandered through ever since. Four hundred fifteen firefighters and law enforcement officers--public workers--died that day and were justly honored at that time as heroes. That is a fact we would do well to remember today, as their counterparts, and all public workers for that matter, are pilloried as gluttonous anchors on the economy and denigrated as needless government bloat.


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Volume 7, Issue 20, Posted 9:51 AM, 10.05.2011

No Thanks, McDonald's

This summer, my family finally gave up on McDonald’s. It shouldn’t have taken this long—we saw Supersize Me when it first came out (seven years ago). We read Fast Food Nation and discussed its horrors with our friends. We’ve known all along that when it came to nutrition, McDonald’s was at the bottom of the barrel. But we thought an occasional foray to the Golden Arches was forgivable. Everything in moderation, right? And we never went without a good excuse. “I was dying for ice cream, but I only had a dollar in my purse.” Or, “A promise of fries on the way home was the only way I could get the kids to go to the store without a tantrum.” It was just a drive-thru. A blip in our day. We threw the bag away and forgot we’d ever been.

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Volume 7, Issue 20, Posted 7:30 AM, 10.05.2011

Volunteers Needed To Increase Literacy!

September 8 is International Literacy Day, created 45 years ago by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to celebrate literacy and remind the international community of the obstacles that still remain to global literacy.

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Volume 7, Issue 20, Posted 7:27 AM, 10.05.2011

Musings of Seneca Falls In Celebration Of U.S. Women's Right To Vote

I had the opportunity to spend some time in Seneca Falls, New York this summer. It was my third visit to this “must do” destination for all feminist pilgrims in search of a few hours of inspiration and immersion in our women's rights history. Seneca Falls is home to the Women's Rights National Historic Park, National Women's Hall of Fame, and the historic home of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, human rights activist and convener of the first Women's Rights Convention in Seneca Falls back in July of 1848.

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Volume 7, Issue 18, Posted 10:48 AM, 09.07.2011

A Story Of Arcs, Bends, Curves And Us

The various books, magazines and websites I read often contain various charts that include statistical and scientific data on the economy and the environment. The foundation of such charts begins with vertical and horizontal lines used to graph the trajectory over time of the arc, bend or curve of important research facts and findings.

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Volume 7, Issue 18, Posted 10:48 AM, 09.07.2011

Riding to Emerson Jr. High In The 1940's

Dear Editor.

I am writing regarding the article, "Can the Worst Be Avoided," published in the July 12, 2011 Lakewood Observer.

I attended Emerson Junior High School 1942- 1944 and rode my bike there every day, including on winter snow days. No problem. My route originated at 1494 Cohassett Avenue, (where my sister still resides- she mailed me the article), then north on Cohassett to Detroit, west on Detroit to the crossing in front of Garfield School, crossed Detroit with crossing guard (a regular cop at times), west on the north side of Detroit to Clarence Place, north to Hazelwood, west on Hazelwood to Nicholson, north on Nicholson to Emerson, crossing Nickel Plate Road Tracks where there was a crossing watchman weekdays and finally, west on Emerson to Emerson Junior High School.


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Volume 7, Issue 17, Posted 8:32 AM, 08.24.2011

Two Party System Blues

After spending too much of my precious spare time reading and researching the current federal government debt ceiling deal drama playing out in Washington, DC, I could not help but look back upon November 4, 2008, the day I cast my vote for Ralph Nader for President of the United States. As a true progressive and one deeply concerned for the loss of the American ideal born out of the trails of selfless workers and activists who sacrificed so much for all of us from 1900 to 1970, it was a way to express opposition and challenge the anti-middle-class orthodoxy of the corporate state, corporate media and the corporate political parties. The fact is, despite being a lifelong registered Democrat (mainly for third party disenfranchisement issues in primary elections), I have voted for Ralph Nader in three of the last four Presidential elections.

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Volume 7, Issue 16, Posted 1:16 PM, 08.09.2011

Lakewood School Board Is Broken

Dear Editor,

I am writing to you concerning the current state of the school board for the Lakewood City Schools. From my perspective, the board is at worst broken and at best seriously damaged. As a lifelong citizen of Lakewood and a graduate of Lakewood High School I find the processes and procedures used by the current members of the board to be disturbing. This school board keeps telling the public that it is completely transparent, yet they continue to pass policy in violation of their own bylaws and with sleight of hand that would make Houdini proud. I maintain that they do not operate transparently but under a cloak of invisibility.

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Volume 7, Issue 16, Posted 1:16 PM, 08.09.2011

McDonalds Or Something: Thoughts On The Old Detoit Theater

It must be wondered why there is so much anger over the franchise owner of a McDonald’s restaurant wanting to build a new restaurant on the property of the recently-closed Detroit Theater at 16407 Detroit Ave. Maybe if it were a Starbucks there might be less opposition.

After reading the quotes included in Cody Peck’s report “McDonald’s plan concerns residents” in the Sun Post-Herald, June 23, 2011 and the letter by Steve Gannis in the same issue, which is also included as an opinion piece in the June 28 issue of the Lakewood Observer, you would think a sinister plot was underway.

Is it the tearing down of the old movie theater that is bothering people or the building of a McDonald’s restaurant? Gannis called McDonald’s food “junk food” in his letter. But for many, McDonald’s is a happy memory, from when a father cashed his check to purchase the only ready-made meal he could afford for his big family; when a mother was so happy not to have to cook or wash dishes; and when all the kids had a dinner they all loved.


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Volume 7, Issue 15, Posted 7:38 AM, 07.27.2011

A Gift To Insurance Companies

To the Editor:

Some thoughts in response to Brett Callentine's typically intelligent and forceful argument about what he regards as the un-constitutionality of the so-called "insurance mandate" in the health reform law requiring everyone to buy health insurance....

Arguably what congress is seeking to regulate is not the “inactivity” of not buying insurance, but the activity of using healthcare services without a means to pay for them.  This is not remotely an isolated or incidental or chance occurrence. The provision of uncompensated medical care to uninsured individuals is a daily occurrence in the United States, an enormous burden to hospitals and local economies, and a signal feature of the dysfunction of the health system generally.


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Volume 7, Issue 15, Posted 7:38 AM, 07.27.2011

Proposed Sloane Avenue Development Project

Over the past few years, Lakewood has realized millions of dollars of reinvestment along the commercial districts of Madison and Detroit Avenues. Some of this has created housing as well as business structures. As the majority of Lakewood’s housing structures approach 100 years of age we must be open to a number of options to ensure our 17,000 housing structures are sound, efficient, and, in some cases, modernized. (Note – Lakewood may have up to 1,000 distressed properties. That is, way behind housing code and standards, foreclosed upon, tax delinquent and/or abandoned.)

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Volume 7, Issue 14, Posted 8:15 AM, 07.13.2011

Who Is Sharing The Shared Sacrifice?

There has been much talk lately about the necessity of a shared sacrifice in regard to our current state and federal budget deficits.

Unfortunately, there is a skewed definition of shared sacrifice emanating from our capitols and statehouses whose reverse-Robin Hood agenda proposes sacrifices almost entirely from the poor and middle classes to pay for tax breaks and tax loopholes for corporations and the rich.

Instead of cutting state and federal budgets, the United States should crack down on the corporate tax dodgers thumbing their noses at us.


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Volume 7, Issue 14, Posted 8:25 AM, 07.13.2011

Looking For My Father

Edina Demirović is looking for her father, Mustafa Cosic. He is 69 and according to Edina his last known address is 1446 Mars Avenue. If you have any information about Mr. Cosic and his current whereabouts, please contact Edina. Thank you!

My birth name is Edina Cosic. Im looking for my father. I hope he is there. Please help me.

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Volume 7, Issue 14, Posted 8:25 AM, 07.13.2011

Class Struggle Continued

In his splendid article in the May 2 edition of the Lakewood Observer Chris Perry makes a very credible case in arguing that class struggle continues to be an element of our society. I can't disagree with his description of how our present economic system is tilted to benefit the rich and powerful. I am troubled by framing it as class warfare. In the long run we all benefit from a just society and are harmed by the fact that so many of our fellow Americans live in poverty. We all depend on the commonweal and need to contribute to it. Enmity and hatred will not get us to where we want to go.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 8:19 AM, 06.15.2011

What Is Wrong With Capitalism? A Response To Mr. Chris Perry's "Class Struggle, Ever Present"

Mr. Chris Perry’s article, “Class Struggle Ever-Present” in your opinion section, has all the elements of a socialist agenda. He doesn’t even know how great it is to live in a capitalist country where people are free to make money. Where people are free to succeed, and equally free to fail.

I don’t think Mr. Perry is using the word "capitalist" however, to define a person who uses capital (money) to make money. I think he means rich people. People who have so much money they just don’t know what to do with it but spend it. They are the people who own things, like banks, and steel mills, and sugar plantations, and factory farms, and publishing companies. 

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 8:19 AM, 06.15.2011

Supporting Lakewood

After again reading more comments on the proposed CVS building on Detroit, the rumors of McDonalds and all the concern, I pose this question to the residents of Lakewood- "Do I support Lakewood businesses?"

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 2:53 PM, 06.01.2011

Letter to Editor--CVS comments

I’d like to respond to Liana Cawley’s letter to the editor about my article, “From Steeples And Stained Glass To CVS."  While I am amused by her opinion that it was “pure Pollyanna” suggesting some naive, I must correct some of the interpretations regarding the article. 

I made no opinion in my article as to my perspective, hence the reason it was published under Lakewood City News. The article was a report of the specific details of the CVS project as presented by the developer’s representative and it was a report of issues block clubs presented at a meeting concerning the CVS project.  Nowhere did I suggest that readers not be concerned about the CVS project. 

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Volume 7, Issue 9, Posted 11:54 AM, 05.03.2011

Cheating All The Way To The Top

We want our kids to be successful. We tell them to work hard and get good grades. Higher grades will be rewarded, we say. That may or may not be true. There ARE rewards, however, at the high school level. There are potential scholarships and prestige at stake for those with high GPAs. 

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 2:15 PM, 03.22.2011

"The Precession Of Simulacra?...Or, The Subversion Of French Theory, The Rockport Square Project, And My Own Backyard"

In 1979 French theorist Jean Baudrillard published, “L’ordre des simulacres.”[1]  In this germinal essay, Baudrillard asserts that the profusion of screened signs and images would not just mask a reality, but they would become reality. The image would be so fully entrenched in our psyches that it would take the “real” out of culture entirely. Like so many French thinkers, Baudrillard’s ideas are spookily prescient; if you are skeptical of his theory, scan your Facebook friends—how many of them have you seen “in the flesh” in the last month?

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Volume 7, Issue 6, Posted 2:15 PM, 03.22.2011

You CAN Fight City Hall, RTA

Sometimes you can fight wrong-doing and ineptitude by City Hall politicians and RTA - and win, as I recently did, simply by making an intelligent effort. On Wednesday, February 23, I e-mailed Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers and City Council to stop the unpopular, un-needed, Clifton Boulevard remodeling project by Lakewood, Cleveland and RTA because it would make Clifton worse and cost Lakewood $482,500 initially, plus unknown costs of maintaining it for many years. It would be a waste of our tax money, which would be better spent to expand Lakewood circulator bus service. In response, a day later, February 24, Mayor Summers told Cleveland Councilman Jay Westbrook (Clifton goes thru his ward) that Lakewood cannot afford to pay for this Clifton project. So now the project is apparently dead.
Riders To Bring Back The Daily Lakewood Circulator, which I founded, still wants a daily circulator back, which RTA wrongfully eliminated. The Friday afternoon circulator has less riders because it inconveniently runs only every 90 minutes, does not stop at all RTA bus stops, and stops running at 6 p.m. This schedule prevents the many Lakewood residents with day jobs from using it to go shopping, to the Lakewood Public Library, or elsewhere in Lakewood. We believe it should run until at least 8 p.m., hourly, and stop at all RTA bus stops on the route. This may require a return to the original 50 minute route, with a ten minute break for the driver, but not extended to the West 117 Giant Eagle in Cleveland, since Lakewood has a Giant Eagle and other supermarkets.

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Volume 7, Issue 5, Posted 2:20 PM, 03.08.2011

Let Lakewood Vote

In January 2011, I attended both special council meetings to discuss increasing the salaries/compensation of our Mayor and Council members. At these meetings, members of the Council discussed several ideas, concerns, and thoughts regarding their possible decision to increase the salaries/compensation of our Mayor and Council members. At the end of both meetings, there was a period for public comments. 

At both meetings I stood up and stated the following concerns:

  1. Our financial position in Lakewood is not exactly on solid ground. We are currently in a recession in which the city has had to layoff numerous employees, cut back hours and reduce worker salaries.  Looking forward, the state has indicated that it will be cutting aid to Lakewood on both the city budget (worst-case scenario $2 million) and school budget (worst-case scenario $3 million) in an effort to balance its budget. Given this negative financial outlook, is it prudent to be raising politicians’ salaries without a vote of the people?
  2. The financial position of Lakewood residents is not on solid ground, as we are still dealing with layoffs, lower salaries and higher taxes (school board taxes just started hitting).  
  3. Three of the politicians (the Mayor and 2 council members) ultimately voting on this resolution to increase their own salary/compensation were not elected to their current positions. 


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Volume 7, Issue 4, Posted 6:48 PM, 02.22.2011

A Cautious Thank You

I'm not trying to become a regular feature here, but I want to extend to the Observer, firstly, a heartfelt thank you for printing my letter in the last issue ("Anti-Semitism or Lack of Proofreading", LO, Vol. 7, Issue 2, January 25, 2011), and for your thoughtful and gracious response to my mother's and my concerns over any possible shades of ethnocentricity in the story in the previous issue about Lakewood's Gentile community, by a local writer.

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Volume 7, Issue 3, Posted 4:07 PM, 02.08.2011

Anti-Semitism Or Lack Of Proofreading?

The Lakewood Observer appreciates Mr. Edelstein's letter and shares all proper concern over any anti-Semitic implications suggested by a typographical error that needlessly foregrounds gentile rather than genteel. In Volume 3, Issue 3 of the Lakewood Observer, Herbert Gold brought to the front page with "Lakewood, Ohio, 1930s" the difficult history that Lakewood's gentile imagination can uncharitably impose on Jewish neighbors. Please forgive the error.

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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 12:35 AM, 01.26.2011

Thank You To All Of The Great Citizens Of Lakewood

I would like to thank all of the wonderful people who have stopped to help me in this snowy weather.

I'm in an electric wheelchair and have gotten stuck in places were people have not shoveled snow. I have people stop, men and ladies young and old, because some businesses on Detroit Avenue do not believe in clearing their sidewalks. Some will do their sidewalks, but do not do the crosswalks. I do thank these people for their efforts very much.

The people of this city are always helpful and willing to do what they can. Why can't these business do the right thing?Shovel your snow. With the number of disabled and elderly in this city, and the fact that this is the Main Street in our town mean it should be made accessible for all.


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Volume 7, Issue 2, Posted 12:35 AM, 01.26.2011

Brunswick Transit Alternative To Serve As Model For Lakewood

The City of Lakewood should use the City of Brunswick’s Transit Alternative community circulator transit service as a possible model to restore a daily circulator bus route in Lakewood.

The City of Brunswick is successfully operating the Brunswick Transit Alternative (BTA) which is a service of the Northeast Ohio Area Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and the City of Brunswick. The BTA consists of two fixed community circulator bus routes that loop the city. This service operates using buses of 20–30 passenger capacity between the hours of 6:20 am and 7:20 pm, Monday through Friday and 10:20 am to 4:20 pm on Saturday. Overall supervision and administration of the system is provided by Buckeye Transit, Inc. with the support of the City of Brunswick.

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Volume 6, Issue 24, Posted 9:02 AM, 12.01.2010

Obama's Speech to Students: What's Wrong With Excelling Academically And Treating Each Other With Kindness And Respect?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dear Editor,

Today President Obama gave his second annual televised speech to students from Masterman School in Philadelphia.  Yesterday, I — like all parents of Lakewood Public School students — received a voicemail message from school administration informing me that the president’s speech would be screened in district classrooms at 1:00 p.m., and that any parent who did not want their child to view the speech could be assured that their child would be taken to an alternate space.*

At first, this message confused me. As the school year begins, I thought to myself, what parent would object to a message from the president about the importance of education and citizenship? Then I remembered news reports from last year, in which right wing conservatives asserted that Obama was going to indoctrinate children with his “socialist” political agenda. Upon realizing that school administrators were perpetuating the “Obama=socialist” discourse created by extremist conservatives, I called Superintendent Joseph Madak’s office to ask him why the administration chose to perpetuate this ridiculousness with a mass voicemail to every parent of a Lakewood City School student. Madak was out of town, but my call was returned by Mark Gleichauf, Director of Teaching and Learning.

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Volume 6, Issue 19, Posted 8:25 AM, 09.22.2010

Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee

The Lakewood Community Relations Adivsory Commission endorses the important work that the Lakewood Outdoor Basketball Committee (LOBC) has been committed to for the past eighteen months. With the development of the city's diverse youth population in mind, LOBC has laid the groundwork for the return of free outdoor basketball.

Communities across northeastern Ohio have been solid in their support of outdoor basketball and recreation. In fact, Lakewood is one of the few cities that does not provide such to its youth. With a lack of a recreation center and mainly a pay to play recreation department, LOBC has worked feverishly with the City to provide a viable alternative. With community support, basketball will return in a safe and constructive way. The first court will soon open at Kauffman Park and we hope that LOBC, the City and the Police Department will cooperate with one another in making sure free basketball works. In this age of childhood obesity and pay to play recreational activities, LOBC's mission of advocating an alternative, free outdoor basketball, is one way to assist Lakewood's youth and children in a healthier childhood.

Our Comission's commitment to diversity and engaging the community in thought provoking dialogue, has prompted the Community Relations Advisory Commission to make this important endorsement. We encourage stakeholders in our city and its government to follow our lead.

For the Lakewood Community Relations Commission

Paula Maeder Connor, Chair


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Volume 6, Issue 18, Posted 2:15 AM, 09.08.2010

Surprise, Surprise!

Who are you trying to kid? We, the riders of the Circulator, knew before the Shopper Shuttle started that it was set up to fail. Once day a week from noon to 6pm is not sufficient time for those who work and need bus service in the evening. Special pick-up and drop-off stops set many blocks apart are not compatible to successful ridership. Forcing us to use the #26 Detroit bus is not a good alternative to the Circulator. We cannot get to where we need to go without the Circulator. Especially since RTA also cut the North-South line #70 Bunts Rd. bus, as well as the weekend and evening services of the #25 Madison bus. We are left stranded!

Come on powers that be- wake up! RTA is more interested in special traffic lights and pretty bus shelters than they are in getting people to their destinations. How can RTA possibly think that cutting service will increase ridership elsewhere?

Give us back our Circulator!

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Volume 6, Issue 17, Posted 8:21 AM, 08.25.2010

An Open Letter Regarding The Clifton Boulevard Project

To Whom It May Concern:

Our country was created of the people, by the people, and for the people. We chose representatives to do OUR will for OUR BENEFIT. It seems that the peoples' will and benefit doesn't matter to politicians anymore. The will of bureaucrats, big business and profits are getting top priority- not the needs of the people. It's time for "we the people" to stand up, take notice- and act. We cannot let the mismanaged bureaucracy continue to run us into the group while claiming it's for the greater good. It is not true!

I am specifically writing about the way our cities and countries are spending OUR money. As a taxpayer and citizen, we expect the money received by the government to be used for the things we NEED and WANT as a society and will benefit from. The politicians that we vote for to represent us in government are supposed to see that our hard earned dollars are used appropriately to better our society.

In this time of unemployment when funds are scarce throughout the country and especially bad in Northeast Ohio- we really need to look at our priorities. Personally, I think the needs of people come before things that politicians want. New buildings, new roads, new bus shelters, and beautiful plants are not as important to the citizens of Northeast Ohio as food, shelter, health care, and transportation. Why would politicians and political appointees think that these things would be more important to us than the well-being of our fellow citizens?

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Volume 6, Issue 16, Posted 8:28 AM, 08.11.2010

Yard Waste Collection Changes

Dear Councilpersons:

I was astounded to read the recent Public Works notice that garbage cans may no longer be used for yard waste. And the reason is they, "Didn't realize how many residents would use garbage cans." Is this some sort of bizarre joke? I have been a Lakewood resident for over 20 years, committed to recycling from the day I first learned of the Berea Road facility. My household rejoiced when curb pickup service service began and applauded when recycling became mandatory, despite those who found the policy heavy-handed.

Remember the fundamentals of resource conservation: REDUCE, RECYCLE, REUSE.


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Volume 6, Issue 10, Posted 8:25 AM, 05.19.2010

Grant PTA Endorses Levy

This letter was delivered 3/17/2010: 

Dear Mayor Fitzgerald and Councilman Summers,

On behalf of Grant Elementary PTA, we are pleased to inform you of the PTA's recent vote to donate $100 to the levy campaign. This contribution was made to Charlie Page on March 10, 2010, and is in addition to the $250 Grant Elementary PTA contributes annually to the levy fund.

Grant Elementary PTA is extremely proud of Lakewood City Schools' Excellent designation by the State of Ohio and, as Grant was also rated Excellent, we're proud that Grant contributes to this rating. The breadth of programs available to Lakewood's students, the quality of our teachers, and the ultimate successes of students beyond the classroom are invaluable not only to the children, but to the larger community. Grant PTA is pleased to support these endeavors as they pertain to Grant School.

With that in mind, Grant PTA further voted to formally endorse the 2010 School Levy. As you know, National PTA advocates for students across the U.S. in a variety of areas. Grant PTA believes its levy endorsement is one way to advocate for students at the local level.

Thank you for investing your time and efforts on behalf of Lakewood's students.


Christina McCallum and Bobbi Sheehan


Grant Elementary PTA


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Volume 6, Issue 6, Posted 8:17 AM, 03.24.2010

"Can't You See... People Are Bleeding Here"

I am legally-blind. I live in Lakewood. I am also a graduate student in the School of Social Work at CSU. I am stating this to prove that I rely on public transportation to get around.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 8:25 AM, 03.10.2010

Response to "Logic Derailed" February 9

Had Bret Callentine ("Logic Derailed" 2/9/2010) done even a minimal amount of homework before commenting on the proposed 3C railroad service from Cleveland to Cincinnati, he would have known that the State of Ohio did not "all of a sudden" come up with the plan for this project just because federal stimulus money became available. In fact, the Ohio Rail Development Commission, some members of the legislature, and groups such as the Ohio Rail Passengers Association have for decades been promoting and planning for the restoration of rail passenger service on the 3C Corridor. Since the Ohio General Assembly has not provided a funding source for this and other non-highway transportation projects, the 3C detailed planning and implementation could not proceed until this new source of money became available.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 8:31 AM, 02.24.2010

RTA Circulator Update

Lakewood Mayor Ed FitzGerald at the October 5th Lakewood City Council meeting said regarding efforts to revive the discontinued Lakewood Circulator Bus service that:

-    The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit System (RTA) has decommissioned its Circulator equipment; however, the buses are not being decommissioned at once, so he is still waiting to acquire free Circulator buses from RTA.

-    The Mayor is bothered by the fact that RTA is asking for an assessment by RTA for its proposed one-day Circulator-replacement service.

-    He has not ruled out the City of Lakewood doing something on its own (as far as having its own Circulator service).

-    Although Lakewood has its own mechanics, there are hidden costs involved in running a Circulator bus route.

-    For Lakewood to run its own Circulator system, start-up money is needed which would have to be made up later.

-    There is a possibility for Lakewood to run its own system making a profit or at least breaking even.

-    Approaching institutional users and beneficiaries of a Circulator route in Lakewood such as Lakewood Hospital, Giant Eagle and other Lakewood businesses for funds is another possibility.

-    A super-Circulator route covering Lakewood and West Park may be feasible, which could have a combined annual ridership of about one million.

-    RTA’s decision to eliminate the Circulators goes not only against the needs and desires of the people, but also against common sense.

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Volume 5, Issue 23, Posted 10:16 PM, 11.17.2009

Issue 2: Donít be tricked by BIG FARM. A classic David vs. Goliath story.

You have likely seen the commercial by now: a mom and dairy farmer, Brenda Hastings is shown on her farm in Geauga county. She promotes, “safe and affordable local food” and “fair treatment” of livestock. She touts Issue 2 as beneficial for both farmers and the people. The lobbyists behind these advertisements have been very creative with their word choices to capitalize on votes, targeting their advertising towards people interested in the popular local food movement. But, let’s take a closer look. Issue 2 writers and lobbyists include the Ohio Pork Producers Council, the Ohio Livestock Commission and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. These associations have restaurant and factory farmers’ bottom lines as their primary focus, not the humane treatment of animals, food safety, the health of Ohioans or the environment.

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Volume 5, Issue 21, Posted 12:16 PM, 10.21.2009

About Gambling

Dear Editor,

I have fought for decades to keep casino gambling out of Ohio, and Ohioans have seen through the casino gambling sham time-and-time again – voting it down four times. We are once again being forced to defend against an attack on Ohio’s families. This attack is being brought on by a familiar foe: the selfish out-of-state backers of Las Vegas-style casinos in Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.

I am especially concerned this time around because I know Ohioans are struggling and are desperate for a quick fix, which the promoters of Issue 3 are exploiting with their commercials. But, more gambling is not the kind of help Ohio needs to revitalize its economy. It takes money away from local businesses, restaurants, churches and families, and gives it to the wealthy owners of the casinos who need it the least. Ballot Issue 3 intentionally preys on human weakness to line the pockets of the promoters. Meanwhile crime, bankruptcies and devastated families take a toll on everyone, even those who avoid the slot machines.

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Volume 5, Issue 21, Posted 12:16 PM, 10.21.2009

To the Editor:

The Executive Board of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 1043 Public Works would like to address the current lay off situation our union is facing in the city of Lakewood.  There are two sides to every story; we would like to present ours.  A total of six employees, of a total work force of 120 covering six divisions, are currently out of work. These six are on top of those employees that have retired within the last year. We believe these lay-offs could have been avoided. A recent proposal from Mayor Edward FitzGerald included a request to change our current health care package for five months – from August 1 through December 31 of this year - pending future negotiations.  The change requested was to go to a 90/10 plan in which our members would incur further economic burdens beyond already in-place monthly contributions.  These extra costs could potentially reach 10% or more of their yearly salary.

The trade-off to this request was that the Mayor would be willing to fill already existing positions using enterprise funds in the city.  The six Refuse Department employees that were given their lay-off notice would have been placed into these pre-existing open slots within the divisions of Sewer Collection, Water Distribution, and Waste Water Treatment Plant, all financed with enterprise funds. The purpose behind this offer was that members would no longer be paid salary and benefits through the ailing general fund.  Then, by our current negotiated contract, the positions would be assigned in an expedited manner to ensure the rapid placement of thes employees away from the general fund.  The positions would then be posted union wide and filled based on knowledge, skill, ability and seniority; the six temporarily re-assigned workers would be retained in the positions of whoever won the jobs on a permanent basis.
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Volume 5, Issue 15, Posted 11:55 PM, 07.28.2009

Where is Fran Hayhurst Bott?

Fran Hayhurst Bott, Lakewood High Class of 1966 (or thereabouts), your brother Phil is looking for you.

Fran married Hank Bott after high school.

She worked at Gregory's Originals Hair Salon on Detroit as a receptionist.

Her brother Phil, who she has not seen in more than 20 years, would love to re-connect.

Call Karen (Phil's caregiver) at (216) 973-2633 if you can help. 

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 8:27 AM, 06.19.2009

A return to Victory Gardens In support of Urban Farms

With the cost of food and the transportation costs of foodstuffs constantly rising and the likelihood of a deepening, world wide recession, it is time for the City of Lakewood to reconsider its prohibition on the keeping small livestock, such as rabbits and chickens.  I have lived in Lakewood for 26 years, and I do not make this suggestion lightly.  We are entering a time of great economic crisis, not unlike the World Wars and the Great Depression, when citizens turned their yards into gardens, and those living on functioning family farms and the wealthy were the only ones who could depend on a constant supply of fresh food.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 10:16 AM, 01.14.2009

A Transparent Observer

Participants and contributors to the Observer project wear many hats in the  community. There are different roles that we all have of employment, service on a board or commission, and civic involvement. Sometimes, the identification of one’s role when writing an article for publication is important to a reader’s evaluation of that article. The Lakewood Observer must establish a transparency policy.

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Volume 5, Issue 1, Posted 10:16 AM, 01.14.2009

Time to Privatize Our Refuse Collection

I would like to applaud Mayor FitGerald for his recent Green Refuse Initiative that he proposed to city council in November. He is certainly thinking in the right direction as we enter the new year with a million dollar budget deficit. I am especially enthused that part of the Green Initiative will eliminate the outdated and costly back yard service that has grown to be a 'sacred-cow' with many residents.

However, if the Mayor and City Council are serious about reducing the upcoming budget deficit, they need to take a hard look at privatizing our waste collection and recycling services.

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Volume 4, Issue 25, Posted 9:39 AM, 12.03.2008

Chivalry Is Not Dead

I would like to say “kudos” to the owner of Cereal Central for coming out of his restaurant on Thursday afternoon to help two women. One of the women was unloading a wheelchair to get her mother into it. The gentleman not only unloaded and opened the wheelchair he also inserted the pedals into the chair and then helped the mother out of the car and into the chair. The women then went on to the doctor’s office.
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Volume 4, Issue 23, Posted 2:56 PM, 10.24.2008

Vote for Issue 2 to Continue the Clean Ohio Fund Without Raising Taxes

Dear Editor,

For the protection of our environment and our health, I want to encourage every Lakewood resident this Election Day to vote YES for Issue 2, which will continue the Clean Ohio Fund without raising taxes. Simply put, the Clean Ohio Fund pays for protecting green space and cleaning up brownfields...

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Volume 4, Issue 22, Posted 1:12 AM, 10.07.2008

The War of Words: A Reply

An ongoing theme in the coverage and debate around this year's presidential race has been the question of Barack Obama's patriotism. Conservative pundits seem to believe that recognizing a fault with your country is equivalent to hating it. I, on the other hand, would prefer someone who sees the imperfections and makes an effort to improve upon them. As early 20th century journalist H.L. Mencken said, "The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naïve and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair..."
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Volume 4, Issue 17, Posted 1:36 PM, 07.30.2008

Some Final thoughts on Pitbull Ban

Lately, whenever I tell someone that I live in Lakewood, and that I volunteer for the Lakewood Animal Shelter, I usually get blasted about the ban on pit bulls. I have heard many thoughts, rants and commentary concerning the law, from people both for and against it. Rarely have I been asked to voice my own opinions. I’d like to take the opportunity to do so now.

When it comes to pit bulls, I sit on a very broad fence. My fence does not have just two sides – rather, it sits at the juncture of several fields of thought, and from my perch, I can see each field. Let me tell you about them...

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Volume 4, Issue 16, Posted 10:11 AM, 07.28.2008

PD's Steve Kaufman Spins a Double-Bind

Steven Kaufman’s recent article (http://www.cleveland.com/plaindealer/stories/index.ssf?/base/opinion/121334585985950.xml&coll=2 ) in the Plain Dealer suggested changes in the structure of County government. He touted those changes as the solution to the County’s economic problems.

The economic decline of the County is blamed (in part) on corruption and the lack of transparency under the current system. As you might expect, Mr. Kaufman names no names, lists no specific projects, and details no dollar amounts. Who is corrupt? What projects spent money in a questionable fashion? Don’t ask. The County’s decline is attributed to some mysterious “they”...
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Volume 4, Issue 15, Posted 9:22 PM, 07.07.2008


The article entitled "Journy Back in Time with the Beck Center", which ran in our June 24 issue, was not atributed to the proper author. By my error, Fran Stroch's name was printed in place of the proper author, Kelly Kutler.

I apologize to Kelly and Fran for this oversight.

Best Regards,

Dan Slife

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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 6:41 AM, 06.28.2008

The Pit Bull Ban: Where's the Evidence that Supports It?

To date, there has been no data or statistics provided to Lakewood residents that would support the need for a ban on “pit bulls” in our city. Councilman Powers has not provided any evidence that there is a problem of any specific breed of dog in our city...
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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 6:40 AM, 06.26.2008

The Time Is Now

With the economy the way it is, and gas prices over $4.00 per gallon, Lakewood is uniquely positioned to be the city of choice for anyone interested in improving his or her standard of living. Close to downtown Cleveland, blessed with two Rapid stations, on the bus line, on Lake Erie, a walking community with excellent schools -- need I go on?
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Volume 4, Issue 14, Posted 7:12 PM, 06.23.2008

Pit Bull Rescue Central Response

On May 25th, Councilman Brian Powers quoted Pit Bull Rescue Central’s website to show that pit bulls are dangerous and unpredictable. Unfortunately, he ignored the context of these quotations and much of the other information on our website. More than anything else, we stress that while aggression toward other animals is a normal trait in pit bulls, aggression toward humans is not. This is a point that most people miss, and we are disappointed that Councilman Powers used our information to mislead his readers. The quotations were mainly taken from an article on how to prevent dog fights, and it is quite clear that we are talking about pit bulls’ tendency for dog aggression while urging pit bull owners to be cautious around other dogs. By neglecting to mention anything about animal aggression, the councilman made it seem as if we were declaring that pit bulls are generally unstable in temperament. This is not true...
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Volume 4, Issue 13, Posted 7:55 AM, 06.02.2008

Lakewood Needs Pit Bull Ban

As a Lakewood resident for nearly 50 years serving as Prosecutor, Councilman at Large, Mayor, and State Senator, I support Councilman Brian Powers’ pit bull ban.

The issue here is not about dogs. It is about PEOPLE! People’s safety, children’s safety, and the unfortunate inability for pit bull owners to abide by the present law...

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Volume 4, Issue 13, Posted 4:16 PM, 06.23.2008

Standing Firm on Pit Bull Ban: Councilman Powers Responds to Critics

Dear Editor:

When I agreed to serve as a member of Lakewood City Council, I vowed to strive to do the right thing for our residents, not necessarily the popular thing. Since introducing legislation to ban those dogs know as “pit bulls” from Lakewood, all members of Council have been deluged with e-mails arguing against such a ban, mostly from out-of-towners. Sadly, the pit bull ban is receiving an inordinate amount of public attention, even though it is but a small part of the broader effort by the Mayor and Council to make Lakewood a safer place to live. We should be focusing on the recent decision to add four new full-time and ten part-time police officers, but we are instead flooded with advice from out-of-state special interest groups about dogs...

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 11:28 AM, 06.08.2008

Rebuttal to Councilman Powers Regarding the Proposed Pit Bull Ban

My purposes for writing this are twofold: it is intended first as a rebuttal to Councilman Brian Powers’ article from the May 27th Lakewood Observer; second, I write this as an open letter to all citizens of Lakewood, so that both sides of the issue may be understood.



Let me start by saying that I do truly believe that Councilman Powers has the best interest of Lakewood citizens at heart. I appreciate what he is trying to accomplish, specifically ensuring the safety of our residents. I wouldn’t wish it any other way. I do believe, however, that his proposal to ban “pit bulls” and other breeds, though well-intended, is misguided...

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 12:06 AM, 05.30.2008

Please Don't Ban the Pit Bull

Mayor FitzGerald and Council Members:

I recently read that Lakewood will hold a council meeting next week to consider banning the Pit Bull breed in Lakewood, Ohio. As a citizen of Lakewood and an animal lover, I would like to voice my concern on the passing of this bill...
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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 9:56 AM, 05.19.2008

A Response from the Other Other: In Response to Response

In response to the response: Seems like I hit a nerve with my thoughts on healthcare, I guess that means that someone is actually reading this column. First let me say that I do and will read any and all responses sent to me...
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Volume 4, Issue 9, Posted 10:02 PM, 04.26.2008