Well, we are certainly living history and maneuvering our way through this time is not always easy and often confusing. As things change on a daily and weekly basis, the City of Parma Heights strives to share information with our residents, businesses, and community in as many ways as possible and I am grateful to the Parma Observer for the opportunity to communicate here.
It seems that our world has been turned inside out, doesn’t it? Residents of Parma Heights, like every other community, are feeling the effects. But hopefully you’ll find this information helpful as we all continue to adjust to our new normal of working at home and social distancing.
PARMA HEIGHTS -- As he indicated he intended to do more than 18 months ago, Bob Stoesser has now formally stepped down from his leadership role as Board President at the Cassidy Theatre, Inc., having held that position for 10 years. New at the helm is President Michael “Mike” Caraffi, who works for PNC Bank and has an extensive background as a business analyst. He has been a longtime volunteer actor, performer and director at our local community theatre gem. Caraffi is a good choice for heading up the theatre’s Board. The Cassidy, which has struggled to fill seats for years since the decision to privatize it. The municipality still owns the building, but no longer has the responsibility for its day-to-day operation. Caraffi, an accomplished pianist and performer, knows both sides of the theatrical and business equation – something that will come in handy as he works to chart a new course for our local community theatre, founded by the late Parma Heights Mayor Paul W. Cassidy for his wife, Elise, a former actress, in 1974.
It’s that time again. The Parma Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the 2020 Pride Awards. The awards will be presented Saturday, March 14 at a planned Roaring 20’s gala at Stillwater Place on the grounds of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland.
Mark your calendars now for this special program at the Parma Heights branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, which you don’t want to miss. Award-winning authors Fran Golden and David G. Molyneaux, former travel editor of the Plain Dealer, will visit our library at 7 p.m. Tuesday, December 17 to discuss their latest book, Unique Eats and Eateries of Cleveland, and will also discuss some of the people who built Cleveland’s most iconic restaurants. Golden and David G. Molyneaux have been writing and eating their way through the Forest City for decades. They’ll appear in Meeting Room A of the library, 6206 Pearl Road. Register online for the program at Cuyahogalibrary.org.
The city has a new Director of Finance and Personnel. Katie Iaconis says she looks forward to working with the administration and Parma Heights residents in her new role. She replaces veteran Finance Director Terry Hickey, who retired this summer after 51 years with the city. “It’s exciting,” she said. “I really enjoy projects. There’s a lot of ways for us (the city) to save money and be more efficient.”
In the last twelve months, Pathway received 2,400 referrals for Northeast Ohio children of all ages needing to be placed in a safe and nurturing home. Today, Cuyahoga County represents over 60% of our foster care referrals. There are children in our own community, who sit next to your child in school, who have been abused and neglected and are in need of a foster family.
The city just got safer. Parma Heights has been awarded $538,350 in federal funding over a three-year period in a cost-sharing grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The grant, known as the Safer Grant, will provide funding to hire three additional firefighters for the city’s fire department. “It’s a great opportunity for us (the city) to get up to the proper staffing levels (in the fire department,” said Katie Iaconis, the city’s new Director of Finance and Personnel. According to Iaconis, the grant monies will not only boost the employee ranks by an additional three firefighters, but will also help the city “drastically reduce its overtime costs within the department.” “What this really does is provide additional safety and security for the residents of Parma Heights,” Iaconis said. “Congratulations to the fire department for being so diligent (in working with us to pursue this funding).” The city was notified of the grant award on September 10.
In the 1970’s Clevelanders Danny Greene and John Nardi tried to muscle in on the Cleveland mob’s operations.
It’s easy to see that Dempsey Sarapa loves what she does. Maybe it’s the ever-present mega-watt smile that never seems to leave her face, no matter how busy she is. Or maybe it’s simply that she loves her work. Sarapa, 27, is a server and bartender at one of Parma Heights’ most popular restaurants, The Club House, located at the corner of Pearl Road and Kingsdale Boulevard. She’s been there for 13 years, having started at age 14. Her grandmother, Bobbi Peschock, owns the restaurant and bar. The bar opened in 1988, and the restaurant in 1995. The Club House is known for its chicken paprikash.
It’s finally starting to look a lot like summer, although it does not officially arrive until a bit later this month, at least on the calendar, anyway. The Parma Heights Pool and Waterpark Complex open at Noon on Saturday, June 1. Season and daily passes can be purchased at the pool beginning on that date. Season passes for resident students/seniors are $50. Adults are $60, and family passes are $200. Daily admission is $3 for students and $5 for adults. Seniors swim free on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. The pool and waterpark are located within the Greenbrier Commons complex at 6200 Pearl Road.
Here is something for all of you classical music lovers out there. The Parma Symphony Orchestra will perform their final spring concert for this season at 3 p.m., Sunday, May 5, in the auditorium of Valley Forge High School, 9999 Independence Boulevard. Our local symphony orchestra, in its 50th season, will present a program including "Concerto for Bassoon" by Carl Maria Von Webber, featuring Andrew Machamer of the faculty of the prestigious Baldwin-Wallace University Conservatory of Music. Machamer is a lecturer of Music Harmony at B-W, and is an active performer and teacher in Northeast Ohio. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree, as well as a Master of Music Degree in Bassoon Performance from the University of Minnesota. He has also completed a separate Bachelor of Science Degree in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. A dedicated teacher and pedagogue, Machamer has taught students of all ages across the country from elementary school to college level. The orchestra’s program will also include the Firebird Suite by Stravinsky, and selections from The Planets by Gustav Holst. The orchestra consists of 75 members of all walks of life from all over the Greater Cleveland area. They meet weekly for rehearsals and present at least four concerts annually. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Family passes of $20 are available for families of up to 2 adults and their children. All tickets are available at the door beginning at 2:30 p.m. Parma Symphony Orchestra is a self-supporting community orchestra. More information can be found on Facebook, on the orchestra website -- www.parmasymphony.org -- or by calling Business Manager Joe Germana at 440-882-2012.
The Parma Heights Historical Society will present an old fashioned Easter Egg Hunt for children in the community ages 10 and under beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13 at the Gazebo at Greenbrier Commons. Children ages five and under can participate from 10-10:15 a.m. on the green space surrounding the gazebo. Those ages 6-8 can take part from 10:20-10:30 a.m., while those ages 9 and 10 can enjoy the fun from 10:35-10:45 a.m. Bring a basket to collect eggs. Parents should also bring a camera or their cell phone to take photos. The Easter Bunny will make a special guest appearance.
As a child, Andrew Fowler used to fall asleep to CDs of bagpipe music. He also used to listen to them at his paternal grandfather’s house. Fowler, 26, began playing the bagpipes at age six and began participating in bagpipe competitions at age 9. Today, the Parma Heights resident of Springwood Road is a member of two local pipe bands – he’s the Pipe Sergeant of the 87th Cleveland Pipe Band, and the bass drummer for the Great Lakes Pipe Band -- and regularly plays for weddings, funerals and other occasions. “I love the sound of well-tuned bagpipes,” Fowler said on a recent rainy Wednesday evening.
Parma Heights resident and Valley Forge High School Intervention Specialist Libbi Chilia recently released her second book for Halo Publishing International. Chilia is also the co-chair of the Parma City School District Special Education Department and a 1988 Valley Forge High School graduate. Chilia’s second book is entitled, “Imagine…The PossAbilities.” This followed “Imagine…Amazing Me!” which focused on children with limb differences from throughout the U.S. and Canada, which Chilia completed more than a decade ago. Chilia’s 14-year-old daughter, Sami, a Valley Forge Freshman, lives with limb difference every day. She wears a prosthetic leg due to a limb difference since birth. So the subject matter for both books would seem to come naturally. "I'm hoping that children who read this book define themselves not by what is missing, but, instead, by their passion," Chilia says in her profile on the Halo Publishing International website. The new book features children with limb differences, and has a universal message for everyone. It includes stories of teens overcoming challenges related to limb difference with a positive twist: as the author, Chilia asked the featured children how they overcame adversity and of what they are most proud in their individual lives. Chilia and her husband, Tony, are also the parents of sons Nick and Nate.
The Cassidy Theatre has announced its 2019 season, and it promises to offer area theatre-goers some surefire fun.
PARMA HEIGHTS -- The Parma Heights Police and students involved in the Police and Community Together (P.A.C.T.) Youth Group met November 27 at the Cassidy Theatre to do something really important this holiday season. The kids and police officers helped make greeting cards and put together care packages for soldiers serving overseas who will not be home for the holidays this year. The cards and packages will be sent to arrive before Christmas through Operation Christmas Cards for the Troops Overseas. The organization was founded eight years ago.
PARMA HEIGHTS -- Parma Heights artist and the driving force behind the Greenbrier Art League, Susan Kiedio, won the 2018 Grand Prize from the Ohio Watercolor Society (OWS) -- the Gold Buckeye Leaf Award. Her winning artwork, a piece entitled, “The Ring,” was featured on the cover of the latest OWS magazine. It can also be seen on the groups’ website home page.
You won’t want to miss this one! The Parma Area Chamber of Commerce will host its October 25 luncheon at Holy Spirit Hall on West 54th Street. Keynote speakers will be the Mayors of Parma, Parma Heights and Seven Hills – Tim DeGeeter, Mike Byrne and Richard Dell’Aquilla. Networking begins at 11:30 a.m. with lunch served at Noon by WalTam’s Catering. Cost is $18 per person, and you can R.S.V.P. to Cheryl McIntosh at 440.886.1700 or via e-mail to email@example.com. Holy Spirit Church and Hall is located at 5500 West 54th Street, south of Brookpark Road.
If you love history and First Ladies, this program is for you. The Parma Heights Library will present a portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt by local educator Ruth Pangrace from 7-8 p.m. Wednesday, September 19 in Meeting Room C50. The presentation is sponsored by the Friends of the Parma Heights Library. Pangrace is a part of Women in History – Ohio. Women in History is dedicated to the education of all people, regardless of age, race or socio-economic status through the dramatic recreation of the lives of notable women in the history of the United States of America. Pangrace joined Women in History in 1998 and portrays Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady Florence Harding, Puritan Ann Hutchinson, Civil War spy Elizabeth (Crazy Bett) Van Lew, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Molly Pitcher, gossip columnist Louella Parsons and Empress of Modern Art Louise Nevelson.
The weekend of August 10-12 is huge in the city. At 7 p.m. Friday, August 10, the Ohio Flags of Honor opening ceremony will take place at the Gazebo in the Greenbrier Commons complex at 6200 Pearl Road. The Ohio Flags of Honor was founded to honor Ohioans who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our freedom in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Flags will be on display until the closing ceremony at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 12. If you have never attended this event, it is definitely worth your time to do so. It is moving and meaningful. We must never forget those who are part of our military service.
The 2018 Parma Heights Summer Band Concert Series, offered in partnership with the City of Parma and Cox Communications will bring some lively entertainment to the Gazebo in the Greenbrier Commons complex at 6200 Pearl Road. Concerts begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.
This sounds like some good old fashioned fun! Parma-South Presbyterian Church will host their annual Strawberry Festival and Bake Sale from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 10. The church is located at 6155 Pearl Road, just north of the intersection of Ackley Boulevard.
The holidays bring plenty of joy, but they can also be a source of depression for some. Know the signs and what you can do to cast off the blues.
Two new local businesses are certain to keep you well fed. Hani Mikhail, a native of Alexandria, Egypt, and his business partner Moe, have opened Nile Seafood Restaurant and Market in the strip shopping center at 6863 West130th Street. The combination restaurant and market which opened Saturday, April 21, has seating for 36.
The city of Parma Heights was well represented at the annual Parma Area Chamber of Commerce President’s Gala, March 10 at Holy Spirit Party Center. Among the notables attending were semi-retired Plain Dealer Sports Columnist and WJW-TV Sports Anchor Dan Coughlin with his son, Joe Coughlin, owner of Kwik Car Wash at West 130th Street and Pearl Road. Coughlin shared that he is working on his fourth book, which is to be titled “Last Call,” and is due out November 4. It will feature many of the “great characters” that Coughlin said he’s encountered in his more than five decade career covering Cleveland sports. Coughlin, who resides in Rocky River, turns 80 on September 17. His son, meanwhile, continues to be considered an up-and-comer in our community because of his civic involvement.
The calendar tells us that spring officially arrives later this month on Tuesday, March 20. It’s also a time when things naturally get more busy in our community. People start spending more time outdoors in our city parks and in the Cleveland Metroparks which run right through the middle of Parma Heights. We start actively planning for our many summer activities like the annual “Kids in the Commons” weekend, held each August, along with the Ohio Flags of Honor program, which honors those who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention beginning to prepare for our Youth and community recreation programs, including baseball, softball, tennis and learn-to-swim lessons.
A major benefit for our local community theatre is happening this spring and you’ll want to be a part of it. “A Night at Club Cassidy,” a benefit evening for the Cassidy Theatre will take place from 6-11 p.m. Saturday, April 28 at the Theatre, 6200 Pearl Road, in the Greenbrier Commons complex. The evening will raise funds to improve the theatre’s lighting and sound systems and finance future production design. Honorary co-chairs of the benefit are Parma Heights Mayor Michael P. Byrne and Cassidy Theatre Managing Director Bob Stoesser. The evening will begin with cocktails and a Silent Auction with food stations and heavy hors d’oeuvres at 6 p.m. in the newly-renovated community rooms on the lower level of the theatre, which will be transformed into a night-club atmosphere.
Police Chief Daniel D. Teel has announced his retirement effective April 1, 2018. He was appointed Chief of Police for the Parma Heights Police Department in August 2006. Teel graduated from Brooklyn High School in 1981 and began his law enforcement and Air Force ROTC studies at Akron University. In 1985 he started serving the City of Brooklyn as a part time police officer where he remained until his appointment in 1987 as a full time officer with the City of Parma Heights. After serving as a patrol officer, sergeant and captain, Teel was chosen as acting chief January, 2006. He was named Chief of Police on August 3, 2006.
Our efforts to implement various capital improvement projects in the city are continuing. One prominent example is the work to both maintain and upgrade the Cassidy Theatre which has been an important part of the community since its opening in 1974. Work recently was completed to install heavy duty commercial grade vinyl siding on the entire exterior of the building. The project was paid for using a $50,000 grant from the Cuyahoga County Supplemental Grant program. A portion of those grant funds additionally paid for the purchase of a much needed new main stage curtain. Earlier in 2017, a separate grant, also in the amount of $50,000 from the State of Ohio, allowed for the completion of a major renovation to the community rooms on the lower level of the theater. This included upgrading the lighting, electrical system, floors and ceilings of both lower level rooms. Both rooms are now available to Parma Heights residents to rent. One has the capacity for 50 guests, and the other, 100. The rooms are adjoining and can also be rented together for functions with up to 150 guests. If you’re interested, contact our recreation department at 440.884.9606 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayor Michael P. Byrne is pleased to announce that Police Officer Stephen Lindh has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant.
The Cuyahoga Cuyahoga County Public Library will host its third annual children's book drive January 3-15, 2018. The event will benefit Reach Out and Read and the Cleveland Kids Book Bank. Donations of new and gently used children’s books appropriate for ages birth through eight years are being sought. You can make donations at the circulation desk in any Cuyahoga County Public Library branch during normal hours of operation. Reach Out and Read and the Cleveland Kids' Book Bank will distribute donated books to children throughout the county. Last year, the Cuyahoga County Public Library collected more than 13,000 books for Reach Out and Read and the Cleveland Kids' Book Bank.
The city will host a Holiday Lights recycling event from 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturday, January 6, 2018.
Patrolman Jack Darnell and his colleagues in the Parma Heights Police Department are hoping a new community policing program will have a long-lasting positive impact in the community. After a Police and Citizens Together (PACT) town hall meeting November 15, the PACT Youth Program Kick-off event took place December 27 at the Cassidy Theatre. The December event was a holiday party for youth, and thereafter will be followed by twice-a-month meetings designed to tackle different important community issues – things like bullying, drug and alcohol use, truancy, goal-setting and character development. One of the two monthly meetings will be a recreational activity to promote fun for youth, and the second will focus on a particular issue. Topics to be discussed with youth will be selected by a “collaboration board,” made up of hand-selected community leaders, business owners, educators and police officers, Darnell said. Parma Heights Mayor Michael P. Byrne is among the members of that board.
The city officially kicked off the 2017 Holiday season on Sunday, November 26 by lighting the official Parma Heights Christmas tree. Festivities began at 5 p.m. in the city gazebo in the Greebrier Commons complex. Mayor Michael P. Byrne hosted the event, which drew more than 100 residents and families to the heart of Parma Heights. Fourth grade music students from Parma Park Elementary School, under the direction of Pamela Owens, peformed two musical selections. Students from Holy Name and Padua Franciscan High Schools led attendees in a series of three holiday carols: Silent Night, Jingle Bells, and Angels We Have Heard on High. That was followed by a visit from Santa Claus himself, who arrived in a Parma Heights police car with lights flashing.
The Cassidy Youth Theatre will present Pinocchio with performances at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays, December 9 and 16, 2017.
The Cassidy Theatre will present Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Musical, December 1-17, 2017, with book, music and lyrics by Dan Goggin. The production is both directed and musically directed by Michael Caraffi. Choreography is by Melanie Leibold.
Mark your calendars now and join the city of Parma Heights from the annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5 p.m. Sunday, November 26 at the Gazebo at Greenbrier Commons.
For the second time in five years, the City of Parma Heights has been recognized by Auditor of State Dave Yost with the prestigious Auditor of State Award. The Auditor of State Award is presented to local governments and school districts upon the completion of a financial audit. Parma Heights received a clean audit report.
Over the recent summer, as Mayor I had the opportunity to have conversations with a large number of residents. In my role, I feel it is important to be personally connected to the people I represent. We live in a close-knit community where that connectivity is readily apparent. For me, it often happens one person at a time.