Seven Hills

Arbor Day Foundation Names Seven Hills Tree City USA

Seven Hills, Ohio was named a 2013 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. Seven Hills achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 12:36 AM, 05.02.2014

Watershed Volunteers Perform Stormwater Street Tree Maintenance In Seven Hills

Tuesday April 8, 2014 the Watershed Volunteer Program at Cleveland Metroparks and West Creek Conservancy in conjunction with the City of Seven Hills performed street tree maintenance, including cleaning and cultivating of the bioretention cells, along Civic Drive and Broadview Road from the intersection of Hillside Road to East Pleasant Valley Road. Bioretention calls help purify storm water runoff, including removal of road salt.

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Volume 6, Issue 5, Posted 12:35 AM, 05.02.2014

Seven Hills State Of The City

In his second State of the City Address, March 27, 2014, Mayor Richard Dell’Aquila highlighted the fact that Seven Hills is strong and getting stronger every day. Seven Hills has survived the national recession and the City’s finances are improving through a program of smart, sensible government. As a result, in just two years, the General Fund balance increased almost 150%, from about $1.5 million to $3.7 million. Today, the City has fewer employees, streamlined operations and maintains and even expanded City services, for example re-instituting a full City leaf pick-up program. The annual operating expenses have been reduced by about 20% from $9.3 million, when Mayor Dell’Aquila took office, to about $7.5 million in 2013.

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 7:34 AM, 04.01.2014

Enjoy A "Taste" Of Seven Hills 2014

The City of Seven Hills will host its 4th Annual “Taste of Seven Hills” on Saturday, April 12, 2014, from 6 until 9 p.m. at the Seven Hills Community Recreation Center, 7777 Summitview Drive in Seven Hills. Tickets are $30 per person, which includes tasting samples from over 20 area restaurants and caterers, plus beer, wine, nonalcoholic beverages, and entertainment by guitarist Victor Samalot. Purchase a table of 8 before March 14th for $200, a savings of $40! 

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 7:33 AM, 04.01.2014

K-9, Rocky, Retires From Seven Hills Police Department

The Seven Hills Police Department is announcing the retirement of Police K9 Rocky.  Rocky began his training to be a police dog in November 2004 along with his handler Sergeant Daniel Kappus. The two began working the road together in January 2005 and have worked with each other ever since. In the nine years Rocky served as a police dog, he assisted the Department in drug searches, tracking for both missing people and suspects along with building and area searches. In addition to his assistance in criminal matters, Rocky spent much of this time at public relations events, school presentations and also helped out at Safety Town of Parma for many years.

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Volume 5, Issue 12, Posted 9:38 AM, 12.03.2013

Seven Hills Assistance For The Holidays

Seven Hills Canned Food Drive to Benefit Yuletide Hunger The City of Seven Hills is collecting all canned food, non perishables, paper products and personal hygiene items to be donated to local families in need as part of the Yuletide Hunger Program for the Holidays.To date, collection is extremely low compared to previous years. Approximately 150 families were assisted in the 2012 program. Please consider donating at the Seven Hills Community Recreation Center or City Hall at 7325 Summitview Drive in Seven Hills. Questions can be directed to Chris Matthews @ 216-525-6230. Receipts are available upon request for your donations.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 8:16 AM, 11.01.2013

Seven Hills Announces Full City Leaf Removal Program

The Dell’Aquila Administration has announced that after years in suspension, a full city leaf program has been re-instituted. Weather permitting, residents’ leaves will be picked up at the street side on both curbed and uncurbed streets commencing Friday, October 25, 2013. Two city crews will work simultaneously from the north and south ends of town, making enough passes to complete their work.

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Volume 5, Issue 11, Posted 2:22 PM, 10.22.2013

City Of Seven Hills Fall Fest, Chili Cook-Off & Craft Fair

It’s time for The City of Seven Hills annual Fall Fest, Chili Cook-Off and Craft Fair, held on Sunday, October 6, 2013 from 12:00 until 4:00 p.m. at the Seven Hills Community Recreation Center! The Craft Fair will be from 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. and the Chili Cook-Off will be from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.  Plan on attending and sampling delicious chili in Hot and Mild categories - 1 ticket for a “taste” and 4 tickets for a “bowl” - and vote for the People’s Choice! For purchase, there will also be amazing crafts, snacks, raffles and a Farmer’s Market with fall décor! All proceeds will benefit the City of Seven Hills Senior Programs. Also enjoy live music and loads of kids’ fun including FREE hayrides, pumpkin painting, games, a hay maze, and more!

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Volume 5, Issue 10, Posted 9:58 PM, 10.01.2013

Thank You From The City Of Seven Hills Home Days Festival

The City of Seven Hills thanks everyone who helped to make the 40th Annual Seven Hills Home Days Festival a huge success. Numerous volunteers, Service Department personnel, City Hall and Recreation Center staff work countless hours to achieve the accomplishments that make this annual event possible. Their dedication to the community is greatly appreciated!

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Volume 5, Issue 9, Posted 5:55 PM, 09.02.2013

Clowns To The Left, Jokers To My Right . . .

Recently, I spontaneously attended another Seven Hills caucus meeting. When I walked through the front door, 18 to 20 angry residents, several of whom led me to believe I could not walk down the hall or gain access to the meeting – deceived me by telling me they were there because they “really care about the deer.” The ringleader insisted I sign the sign-in sheet 30 feet from the meeting entrance. She put her hand atop my shoulder, cocked her head to the side, looked at me with puppy dog, soft eyes and asked, “Why are you here?” When I explained that I had no idea any discussion of deer was on the agenda, and that, yes, I do care about the deer, she angrily shot at me, “I was just saying that, to find out your position on the issue. We hate the deer, and want hunting!” It was mere chance I went that night.

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Volume 5, Issue 8, Posted 11:48 AM, 08.01.2013

City of Seven Hills Home Days 2013

The City of Seven Hills has made this year’s Annual Home Days Festival the biggest and best it has ever been. We will have programs and entertainment for people of all ages. This year, every aspect of Home Days will out perform previous years. We are celebrating our 40th Home Days! We are bringing back two nights of fireworks, sponsored by The Ohio Loan Gals & Cross Country Mortgage. There are second-to-none entertainers scheduled all weekend on Two Stages, as well as Rides, Games, Concessions, Adorable Baby Contest, Miss Seven Hills Pageant, Beer Garden, Senior Drawing, Dog Show, 50/50 Raffle, Flower Show, Craft Show and much more! 

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Volume 5, Issue 7, Posted 10:50 PM, 07.11.2013

Seven Hills Is A Tribe Town

Join neighbors and fellow baseball fans at the annual Seven Hills Community Day at Progressive Field on Sunday, June 2, 2013. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m., when the Indians take on the Tampa Bay Rays.

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Volume 5, Issue 4, Posted 4:59 AM, 04.02.2013

Seven Hills Sanitary Sewer Assessment

One must have a “thick skin” to be both an attorney and to also serve as a mayor. I have been a practicing attorney for 34 years and am honored to have been involved in Seven Hills government since 2003. I take pride in the progress we are making to turn our city around in these difficult financial times.

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 5:17 AM, 12.03.2012

Ring My Bell!


Each year around the holidays The Salvation Army comes out in force to your local businesses with their patented RED BUCKETS and BELLS. The money that is collected over the holiday season goes to fund many valuable programs throughout the year. As peoples lives become more involved and busy, the Salvation Army receives less and less volunteers and has been forced to resort to paying help to ring the bell for donations. As you can expect, a greater percentage of your donation will go to help those people in need if there are volunteer bell ringers!

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 5:16 AM, 12.03.2012

Write About Me

“Write about me.” That’s been the mantra that won’t leave me alone since August 24th of this year. On August 24th, a driver “accidentally” killed “Baby,” a large, alpha fawn near our home. The driver allegedly left the scene and went to the police department to report it. Meanwhile, other drivers continued to run over the deer because it was hard to see in the dark just after dusk.

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Volume 4, Issue 12, Posted 5:15 AM, 12.03.2012

Welcome To Seven “Bills,” A $20 Million Dollar Business

Recently, the City of Seven Hills Community Newsletter cover featured an article by Mayor DellA’Quilla, in which he stated, “Your city is, effectively, a $20 million dollar business.” He also wrote, “We eliminated a potential $1.4 million  2012 deficit, preserved our bond rating....”

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Volume 4, Issue 10, Posted 4:56 PM, 10.02.2012

Seven Months In Seven Hills: Trafis Talks

In a relatively short period of time, Seven Hills Council-at-Large Matt Trafis' winning demeanor, superb listening skills and professionalism have been put to the test -- and he's passing with flying colors. Assertive, unwilling to fall prey to petty politics and ever-ready to extend a warm welcome to anyone seeking his counsel, Trafis is one to watch.

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Volume 4, Issue 7, Posted 6:17 PM, 07.01.2012

Seven Hills AARP Card Party

It's that time of year again  Time for the annual CARD PARTY hosted by Seven Hills AARP Chapter 4229. Mark your calendars! October 23rd is the date and the place is the Seven Hills Recreation Center, 7325 Summitview Dr., Seven Hills, from 1 to 5 P.M. Tickets are only $6.00 and can be purchased in advance or at the door. So grab some friends and spend a fun Sunday afternoon. Many door prizes will be given and raffle tickets sold for great prizes. AARP members work hard to make sure everyone has a great time. Luncheon will be served along with a delicious dessert. If you don't play cards, bring your favorite board game. Hope to see you there. For information or to purchase tickets, call Nancy Martincic (216-524-3668).

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Volume 3, Issue 10, Posted 8:40 AM, 10.01.2011

Free Divorce Workshop

Join attorney and mediator Mark Newton for a free workshop, "Without Becoming Enemies" on August 10, 7:30-8:30 PM. Learn about divorce mediation, how it differs from hiring attorneys, and ask questions about the process. To register, call (216) 798-4840.

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 8:22 AM, 08.01.2011

The Civil War: What Does It Mean To You?

Mom died in ’97. When she spoke of my great, great maternal grandfather, Thomas Maskall, a Union Army soldier with the Ohio Volunteer Infantry (OVI), who died in the Civil War, telling how he died at the Battle of Chickamauga Tennessee – one of the bloodier battles – I just took her at her word.

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 8:22 AM, 08.01.2011

Coyote Beautiful

Coyote Ugly: After a one-night stand, waking up and, rather than risk waking up the ugly person sleeping on your arm, you'd rather chew it off.

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Volume 3, Issue 5, Posted 1:31 PM, 06.03.2011

Baseball Federation - Opening Day

Join us for our 2011 Seven Hills Baseball Federation Opening Day Celebration.   It will be held at Calvin Park on Saturday, June 11, 2011 from 12 – 3 p.m.  There will be live music, dunk tank, games, bouncy toys, refreshments and an appearance by Slider.  This event is sponsored by:  University Hospital.

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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.01.2011

1st Annual Taste Of Seven Hills

The City of Seven Hills will host its first ever “Taste of Seven Hills” on Friday, May, 6, 2011 from 6pm-9pm at the Seven Hills Recreation Center. 

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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.01.2011

Fire Department - "Spring Fling"

The City of Seven Hills Fire Department will host its first ever “Spring Fling” car seat check on Saturday, April 23, 2011 from 11am-2pm at the Seven Hills Fire Station located at 7195 Broadview Road.

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Volume 3, Issue 4, Posted 8:50 AM, 04.01.2011

Become A Mediator

Most mediators are thrilled that our field has made it to the small screen with the new show "Fairly Legal."  While admitting that mediation is presented in a Hollywood-esque fashion, the overall theme of conflict resolution, win-win agreements and effective listening are true to life. 

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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 6:01 PM, 03.01.2011

St. Valentine's Day Rigatoni Lunch

The Seven Hills Senior Advisory Board is hosting its St. Valentine's Day Rigatoni Lunch.  This lunch will be held at the City of Seven Hills in the Community Rooms on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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Volume 3, Issue 2, Posted 12:59 PM, 02.02.2011

Seven Hills VFW Children's Christmas Party

The 2010 Children’s Christmas Party is coming up on Sunday, December 5th at the Community Recreation Center in Seven Hills.  This event is sponsored by ACME FRESH MARKETS. 

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Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 12:24 PM, 11.18.2010

Love Thy Neighbor: Wildlife

Earlier this year, I witnessed the killing of a raccoon by a Seven Hills police officer. Believing this animal to be healthy, as well as knowing the circumstances surrounding the incident, I concluded it was a cruel and unnecessary act.
Regardless of your personal belief about wildlife/animals, what every homeowner and person should know -- and likely does not know -- are facts regarding "nuisance" wildlife trapping, including costly fees associated with repeat nuisance trapping/removal.
"Trapping of 'nuisance' wildlife often leads to wild animal babies being unintentionally orphaned," says Katherine McGill, founding member of the National Urban Wildlife Coalition.
"Any animal nesting around your house is likely a mother with young. It is critical not to separate a mother from her young, as the babies will starve to death and cause foul odors inside your house," McGill says.
Trapping isn't just deadly. Frequently, homeowners and businesses wind up paying more due to additional service calls. Trappers are notorious for not telling customers to cap chimneys and close off other entryways by spending a few bucks now to save hundreds later. And these are really simple deterrents anyone can learn about and implement in less than half a day.
Trapping also increases traffic accidents. According to McGill, "While it may seem a humane solution to trap and relocate a wild animal [not legal in Ohio, but homeowners actually are permitted to release wildlife back on their own property. The caveat is, you need to first make certain all animals have been humanely removed and all entryways closed off. Otherwise, a high mortality rate among relocated animals is the all-too-frequent result. Most relocated animals try desperately to search for home (or their babies) and end up being hit by cars or run out by resident animals." 
Since the incident I witnessed, in addition to expressing concerns to council and the mayor's office, as well as attending a council meeting and sending informative wildlife handling tips to the city, the Seven Hills police department rewrote its official wildlife policy. This is a good start, but it reads so that each call or complaint still relies on "officer discretion." And officer discretion is exactly what caused the death of what was very likely a healthy, innocent animal deemed as "nuisance" by neighbors and the police, so more is needed.
This is where your due diligence comes in. For instance, "It's vital to know it's not unusual for raccoons to be seen by day (often mother raccoons with nursing young forage day and night); one should not assume this alone is a sign of rabies," says Laura Simon, field director, Urban Wildlife Program. Ms. Simon has worked with raccoons for over 25 years. She authored a book on rabies-vector-species handling protocols that is used by state agencies throughout America. 
According to Simon, "Killing healthy raccoons in springtime can actually create a human safety risk."
Also, according to the Fund for Animals, it's normal to see raccoons out and about during the day. That's because foraging mothers and young -- sometimes even those abandoned as a result of inhumane trapping -- are known to frequent porches, yards and other human habitat. You may even observe them "singing," or begging, or otherwise "uncharacteristically" unafraid. The March 9 case I witnessed involved a raccoon that, according to at least one police department employee, simply did not want to leave the porch area-- which doesn't explain how it came to be shot dead at least 40 feet from said porch area (or any structure), under a tree, and in the middle of the yard.
NONE OF THESE BEHAVIORS INDICATE ILLNESS, RABIES, DISTEMPER, ETC. You are simply witnessing a wild animal acting normal within your human-made boundaries, boundaries existing only in our species-centric minds. McGill says, "Wildlife habitat gives way to our urban sprawl every day, forcing wildlife to adapt with great resourcefulness. The increased reports of wildlife sightings indicate to ethical experts that humans are obviously being accepted as part of their habitat now."
Back to our community. Modeled after the City of Eastlake's policy number 310.17 "animal complaints" -- created last year after an outraged resident complained after witnessing police officers there shoot a raccoon and left it half alive and gasping in a dumpster while trying to get back up -- Seven Hills policy also includes the recommendation that officers advise callers/complainants contact dispatch for trapper info. Knowing that "professional" trappers of raccoons, skunks and other "nuisance" wildlife routinely gas, drown and not always quickly or painlessly kill the animals, and that virtually no police department is adequately trained in humanely handling all nuisance wildlife calls, homeowners need to know they are better suited to make life-and-death decisions by being proactive along every step; don't just look the other way after calling police or trappers. This life and death matter is on you, every step of the way.
To my knowledge, and to the knowledge of the League of Humane Voters in Ohio, none of the trappers registered with Seven Hills would be considered "humane" -- not by anyone's stretch of the imagination. Add to this the fact that our very bottom of the barrel state wildlife agency refuses to allow releasing wildlife anywhere except your own property (and they don't even want us to know that, along with greedy, inhumane trappers). Add to this, the Ohio Division of Wildlife also does not allow raccoons, deer and certain other wildlife to be rehabbed, not even by very knowledgeable, educated, even licensed, rehabbers; yet, they cooperate with trappers and other money-makers by giving them carte blanch decision making power over the lives of millions, if not billions, of wild animals in our state alone! Fact is, you are allowed to release professionally trapped animals on your own property, making certain all animals have been removed and entryways closed off -- and it's cheaper than repeat trapping fees!
If you really want to be sure, and save some big bucks, McGill says, "The easiest way to remove wild babies is with assistance from the mother, and she will do that for you (and move on) with a little effort and patience. If she is killed or relocated, she can not. A human’s ability to access those babies, dead or alive, often results in doing more structural damage than you feared the mother animal would cause."
McGill says, "There are numerous methods to humanely resolve conflicts and coexist with urban wildlife. Besides, removing a wild animal simply lights a vacancy for another to move in . . . . Eliminating the attractants, properly sealing entrances or creative modifications can resolve almost every conflict. A reputable trapper or 'pest control company' knows this, and a red flag is up if they do not explain options beyond taking an animal away."
Contact a wildlife rehabber that is bona fide and checked out. "They can likely refer you to a reputable company if they can’t talk you through handling the issue safely yourself," says McGill.
And just in case you have fears concerning rabies, consider there has not been a positive case of raccoon rabies in all of Ohio for over a year. And the last human case of rabies in Ohio was 1970! 
If there has not been a case of human rabies in Ohio in forty years, and rabies from raccoons in Ohio (hence, no chance of any pets, etc. becoming bit and infected), then isn't it time the City of Seven Hills remove its giant "WANTED" raccoon poster (not surprisingly, donated from the DOW) from the police dept. lobby? The poster is four times larger than all the felon pictures!
Peaceful solutions are the only answer. In fact, consider the Public Trust Doctrine (PTD), recently invoked in five national wildlife officials' recommendations for sweeping changes in all state wildlife agencies; a very big deal indicating major change is on the way. PTD essentially asserts that all of wildlife belongs to everyone. So, next time your neighbor or anyone else tells you to mind your own business, and that they can do anything they want to an animal because it's on their property, remind them of the PTD. In fact, wildlife fit into that neat little category of being exempt from property boundaries.
If any wild animal "belongs" to any one individual, or MINORITY, SPECIAL INTEREST group of individuals, such as the seven percent of the population that hunts, or the other segment that profits off murdering these innocent creatures such as trappers, the PTD is inherently violated.
PTD recommends four paradigm shifts, one of which is to form a diverse group of stakeholders, because most states -- and Ohio is one of the worst, especially regarding deer -- are mired in special interest stakeholders, namely, hunters and trappers. Ever wondered how seven percent of the population manages to lord it over the majority, and all God's other creatures? From my perspective, all non-human species deserve even more protection, because they are the most vulnerable among us.
On a local level, you have a lot of sway: Contact Seven Hills, and tell them that, while you appreciate the good faith effort by rewriting the wild (and domestic!) animal policy that might makes things a little more humane as well as reduce traffic accidents and save city funds due to less nuisance calls, that it's only the first step in the right direction.
While you're at it, request Seven Hills take down those giant raccoon "WANTED" posters, and remind them of the facts about rabies. Incidentally, distemper in raccoons (something the Seven Hills police attempted to rewrite into their reports only after I questioned why this raccoon was killed forty feet from the porch they claim "it would not leave," and which it did not show signs of) cannot be transferred to other mammals, so there's just no valid reason for those posters to be so prominently displayed. They only perpetuate ignorance, widespread panic and line trappers' pockets.
Along the lines of treating "nuisance" wildlife inhumanely, Seven Hills Councilman Dell'Aquilla this year formally announced his candidacy for Seven Hills mayor. Both in his 2009 campaign literature, and unofficially, Dell'Aquilla has indicated he may have it in for deer and other "nuisance" wildlife. Before you vote for Dell'Aquilla for mayor -- or for any candidate at any level -- first ask him to put in writing that he will vote down any ordinance or policy of any kind (especially any practice that involves pretending not to know while looking the other way when poachers are doing their illegal deeds) that involves any kill method in an effort to "control" or "manage" any wild or domestic animal. Don't wait until after the election to see if he, or any public official, can be trusted. Look what happened in Broadview Heights recently with the deer ordinance, which is still pending, and there is a questionable window between the official beginning of hunting season in late September, and when the voting (yes, residents there got a referendum and got it on the ballot) takes place in November. How would you feel if this happened in your own back yard: watching poachers trespass and kill deer without your permission while your children or grandchildren see it. How about your pet being stuck with an arrow, or you? How about dozens, if not hundreds of violations of every imaginable sort occurring right here in your city, just as they have for the past three years in adjacent Independence?
As a member of the League of Humane Voters, it is my experience that voters have to pressure candidates to take a stand -- before they vote for them. Get them to promise, in writing. Otherwise, Seven Hills may go from one abominable nuisance wildlife practice to something as incomprehensible as suburban bow-hunting. Make no mistake, the mayor, his assistant, all the city council members and more have been made fully aware of all the safety and rebound facts and statistics, as well as the state DOW politics supporting rebound profiteering. They do not need to be educated about this; they already have been by me and our group. The League of Humane Voters requests that you do not vote for any candidate that will allow hunting, trapping or any other inhumane control method, Dell'Aquilla, or anyone else.
Contact the City of Seven Hills at 216-524-4421. Email the mayor, assistant and city council at:,,,,,,,, Ask them what formal training police officers are now going to receive in light of the new written animal policy. Ask them to take down those raccoon posters. Demand more cost-effective, peaceful solutions that won't create more traffic hazards and city expenses. Tell them you won't support cruel animal control methods, and that they have no business shooting animals -- unless endorsed by humane agencies euthanasia protocol (involving clear-cut cases where an injured/dying/sick animal would be better off quickly dispatched) has been spelled out and adhered to. Yours truly has already given copies of a nationally recognized humane protocol for making humane decisions regarding wildlife. The case I witnessed was not clear cut, and may have involved nothing more than an inconvenience to homeowners, combined with officer disdain for certain "nuisance" wildlife.
For more info through email subscriptions to the "Urban Wildlife Examiner" authored by Katherine McGill, visit, click on Urban Wildlife Examiner. While you're at it, download the flyer "Fund Facts" from The Fund for Animals -- a short, comprehensive sheet for resolving conflicts with raccoons in your house, yard or porch, as well as how to safely and humanely help raccoons climb out of dumpsters (simply put in a long branch or stick for them to climb out) -- visit and look for "Solving Raccoon Problems, Coexisting with Wildlife Fact Sheet #3."
God bless "the least among us," which is every non-human species.
Lucy McKernan, Seven Hills
League of Humane Voters

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Volume 2, Issue 8, Posted 9:55 AM, 09.01.2010


If you enjoy playing cards with friends and winning prizes, we have the perfect afternoon for you. Seven Hills AARP Chapter 4229 is hosting its annual card party on Sunday, October 24th from 1:00 to 5:00 P.M.  It is being held in the Seven Hills Recreation Center located at 7777 Summitview Dr. A light lunch and desert will be served.

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Volume 2, Issue 7, Posted 9:35 PM, 08.03.2010


 IT’S TRIBE TIME!!!  Join us for our annual Seven Hills Community Night at Progressive Field – Indians –vs-Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, May 22, 2010 – first pitch is 7:05 p.m.   Lower Reserve Seats(section 125) - $18.  Limited tickets – going fast…  Call Lisa Draganic @ 216-525-6227 for more information or to reserve your tickets.  Deadline for sale of tickets is April 21st.

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Volume 2, Issue 4, Posted 4:11 PM, 03.25.2010


When my journey into yoga began five or six years ago, a distinct shift occurred in my awareness. Minding my own business meant starting from within. Only then was I able to make a difference on the outside. This is one of the benefits of mediation, or mindfulness.

After those early practices, I'd come home and everything around me seemed to come to life. Often, like a wondrous child, I'd stop dead in my tracks, transfixed at the starry sky. Or my husband and I would find an injured animal and, in the delicate, painstaking process of helping it back to its own wild journey, I, too, would become wounded and, alternately, healed. Running from pain is not an option. If animals don't, neither should I.

For me, yogic transformation means that whatever first manifests in the heart and mind later (and sometimes immediately) manifests in the body. Unfortunately, too many yoga students are impatient for a quick fix. Many don't stick around past the first beginners class or two to realize the more holistic, inside/outside, results. Sometimes, they are very afraid of what they might find within. A sense of duty? Connection to all of life? Compassion? These are the same people that have conversations with themselves when others attempt to communicate with them.

Based on such inside/outside manifestation, awareness invariably extends out to ALL living, sentient beings. Perhaps it's a psychic evolution. If so, I believe that all other living creatures got there first.

Along these lines, every step of my journey, every "aha!" moment -- without exception -- has involved some encounter with an injured, imperiled or exploited/abused animal, bird or other creature.

My yoga biz is named "Delicious Breath." The moniker came to me after numerous experiences on the mat, where I'd experience surges of, well, delicious breath. Greater understanding yielded this insight: Deeper, more diaphragmatic breathing increases nitric oxide levels.

In their book, "You: Staying Young," Drs. Roizen and Oz claim, "Meditation functionally serves to physiologically cut the vagus [nerve], so it disrupts the feedback loop of bronchial constriction, allowing you to breathe easier." Roizen and Oz add, "Taking deep breaths helps your lungs go from 97 percent saturation of oxygen to 100 percent . . . and that little 3 percent can sometimes make a difference in how you feel."

When feeling this way, there is an uncanny sense of not needing anything else on the outside. (Did you know that there is a small sect of "Breatharians" who claim to live on virtually nothing but breath?) Hence, the ability to practice the yoga tenet "non-stealing," but another great yoga principle, "ahimsa," which translates to non-injury, or nonviolence. In practicing ahimsa, we become more mindful of all other living creatures. Literally, breath -- which is the spiritual life force coursing through our bodies -- translates to higher consciousness and better living. In this state, we see that, though the world may be our legacy, we have no business acting entitled to it, especially when it comes to the resources, rights and freedoms to which all other living creatures ARE entitled. Is there really any question about this anymore? If we are at the top of the food chain, we are conversely -- and most pathetically -- at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to rights of entitlement on this planet.

The awareness and mindfulness afforded by practicing yoga brought me to a most unexpected, yet delightful conundrum.

Recently, my involvement in the Ohio chapter of the League of Humane Voters (LOHV/Ohio) has taken on some unexpected twists and turns. Broadview Heights and Parma are considering ordinances for killing deer (officially in Broadview Heights, city council votes on a bow hunting ordinance February 16 and, at least unofficially, in Parma, where the mayor purportedly is pushing the issue), I happen to teach yoga to Broadview Heights residents, which has put me smack dab in the middle of what appears to be a quandary but is, in fact, the opportunity to practice ahimsa on a whole new level.

What do we do when presented with disquieting conflicts? Do we force ourselves on the situation? Try to control it? Simply step aside and allow others to be wrong, hurtful, destructive and even lethal towards those we love? Hardly. No one said the "yoga way" means being passive or a doormat. It means first seeing something wrong, and then finding novel, exemplary, spiritually sound ways to be used as an instrument of love and ahimsa. Yeah, I often lose my cool. Then I go back to the mat, where our 15-pound cat Sylvester always seems to climb on me and disrupt whatever asana (yoga pose) he finds me. What a kick!

Incidentally, note that virtually every yoga asana takes its name from an animal, such as "down dog," or "eagle" or "angry cat." Lately, I've been feeling a lot more like the last of these, especially in regards to mean-spirited people who want to kill the deer. That's okay; I'm practicing ahimsa with myself.

As T.S. Eliot wrote, "The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." What will you do to learn yoga for the first time, or to realize yourself again? What will you do to practice ahimsa?

--Lucy McKernan, RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher)/Yoga Alliance
League of Humane Voters/Ohio (
Seven Hills

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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 1:09 PM, 01.17.2010

Vote Tuesday November 3rd

Voting in Seven Hills is scheduled on Tuesday, November 3rd. There are many ways of participating, including volunteering, carpooling, posting, and chatting online. Check your Voter Location Notification (VLN) for your voting information. Changes to the voting precinct boundaries, and voting locations throughout Cuyahoga County have occurred. Ward, precinct, voting location, general information, and absentee ballots are available online at Cuyahoga County Board of Elections or Ohio Secretary of State websites. You may also contact voting authorities directly: 216.443.3200 -- 2925 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 12:11 AM, 10.31.2009

Community, Parks, & Programs

Famous for having a large number of parks, and more trees than people, Seven Hills devotes considerable resources to ecological programs. The local water and living ecosystem is our greatest resource. Community programs include family events, human services, sustainability, preservation, recycling, and hazardous waste removal. Rain barrels, assistance with household efficiency (i.e. heating, cooling, appliances, lights), and senior services are available. The city Engineer is also the city Arborist, managing both tree health and physical engineering services. Don't miss the fall colors, and beautiful wildlife at these Seven Hills Parks:

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 12:11 AM, 10.31.2009

Seven Hills: Tree City, USA

Buckeye, maple, oak, pine, apple, sweet gum, ginko, and hundreds of tree varietals grace the modest community of Seven Hills, Ohio, my home for 33 years.  Autumn winds herald radiant foliage colors, with golden sunny or soft foggy mornings yielding to crisp, moonlit evenings.  Winding, rolling city streets lead to Broadview or Brecksville road, yet forests and gardens grow around every corner.  Living in Seven Hills since birth, yet traveling extensively has positively influenced my global perspective.  Thank you, St. Columbkille teachers, schools, and parishioners.  Thirteen years in the Parma City School System contributed to lifelong friendships with fellow students living in Seven Hills, Independence, Brecksville, Parma, and Parma Heights.  We are simply one generation of citizens, academics, public servants, spiritual leaders, and armed service volunteers in this story.

Seven Hills was incorporated in 1926, serving her citizens for the first full year fiscally in 1927.  Cleveland was growing geometrically, producing national resources for both World Wars, regional development, and the Agricultural, Industrial Revolution.  By 1932 Cleveland was called 'Golden City', boasting 82 banks, Terminal Tower, and shimmering in the sunlight.  Diverse cultures and communities expanded, filling the radius of the metropolitan area.  Business was good, prosperity was attainable for nearly everyone.  Historical evidence, and research indicates fascinating intrinsic connections between Seven Hills, Rome, and her sister in Ohio.

Rome, Italy (Roma) is the capital of Italy, and Roman Catholicism, but the original capital of Rome was the Palatine Hill, near the Tiber River.  September 2008:  my journey through the Tuscan region, Florence, and Rome, Italy (Toscana; Firenze; Roma, Italia).  Walking the seven hills of Rome for one week with my host and guide was a unique experience.  One hour after arriving by train in Piazza Della República, my bohemian friend in Sardinia was assuring me that his wife's friend would gladly provide standard Roman hospitality.  What I did not understand at that moment was that Roman hospitality exceeds American definitions.  Visiting dozens of churches, temples, archaeological sites, Vatican City, and St. Peter's fueled my imagination, and my academic quest.  The apartment was humble, yet warm, gracious.  For nearly fifty years, his entire life, my new friend had lived and walked the life of a Roman citizen.  In one week he shared his knowledge, experience, library, home, and friends, honoring me as I could never have imagined.  What I learned changed my awareness.  Italy, especially Rome held new meaning when I returned to Seven Hills, Ohio.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 12:11 AM, 10.31.2009