Top 25 named in Stop the Hate essay contest; University Heights awards police officers; more: Press Run –

Posted By on March 13, 2020

BEACHWOOD, Ohio -- Top 25 finalists named: Now underway and in its 12th year is the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage-sponsored Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out essay contest. Each year, students are asked to consider the benefits of a more inclusive society, the consequences of intolerance, and the role of personal responsibility in effecting change.

There are some nice monetary awards for students who take the time and effort to write heartfelt essays. Thanks to the generosity of a donor, the Maltz Museum annually awards $100,000 in recognition of 6-12th grade writers. After the 2020 awards are given, the contest will be responsible for a grand total of $1.2 million in prize money since its inception. An estimated 30,000-plus students have participated across 12 counties in Northeast Ohio since the contest was launched.

The prestigious contest offers students the chance to win personal scholarships and schools to receive anti-bias education grants. While thousands enter, just 25 finalists are named. The winners are announced at an inspiring event where the top ten essays are read live in front of a panel of judges.

The Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage has announced the names of the 25 finalists in its 'Stop the Hate' essay contest. The Students are vying for $100,000 in scholarship money.

That event is scheduled to take place at 6:30 p.m. April 2 at Severance Hall. Of course, these days, with coronavirus concerns on our minds, all events are fair game for postponement or cancellation.

With all of that being stated, here are the 25 finalists. The top 10 high school juniors and seniors competing for a grand prize of $40,000 in scholarships are Daijanae Crenshaw, Grade 12, of the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine; Vita S. Davis, Grade 12, Valley Forge High School; Kennedy Fletcher, Grade 12, Shaker Heights High School; Faicia Giddings, Grade 11, Cleveland School of the Arts; Tatiana Lipert, Grade 12, Saint Joseph Academy; Leah Messemer, Grade 12, Hudson High School; Julia Newman, Grade 12, Hawken School; Kathleen Pagn Arzola, Grade 12, James Ford Rhodes High School; Savannah Patterson, Beaumont School; and Nia Terrell, Grade 12, Brush High School.

Younger students, grades six to 10 in our Sun Press coverage area competing for $400 awards, and also in the top 25, are seventh graders Eden G. Austin, Kelsey Cohen and Radha Pareek, all of Beachwood Middle School; eighth graders Tolga Cavusoglu and Probir Mukherjee, both of Beachwood Middle School; and tenth graders David Kuang and Bowen Zhang, again, both of Beachwood Middle School. Good luck to all.

Last call for history: The Shaker Heights Landmark Commission is yelling out last call to all those who want to nominate an exterior project for a 2020 Preservation Award. All entries are due by March 31.

Exterior projects completed after April 2017 are eligible. Nominations may be submitted for any building in Shaker Heights, including homes and apartment buildings, commercial buildings, and other structures. Award categories include: Retention of Original Materials, Exterior Restoration, Excellence in Stewardship, Distinguished Landscape, Architecturally Appropriate Addition, and other.

Im not sure what other entails, but you can find out by going to this site to nominate a project and to learn more. To see the 2018 award recipients, visit here.

Submissions will be accepted online through March 31, 2020. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in the fall.

More about Shaker history: The Shaker Historical Society has an exhibit up and running through May 31 titled, A Celebration and History of the African-American Vote: Exclusion & Inclusion.

This exhibit looks at the impact of influential African-Americans in local politics, from Winston Richie, the first African-American councilman in Shaker Heights, and Peter Lawson Jones (also a former Shaker Heights councilman), up to Carmella Williams, who was just elected to Shaker Heights City Council. This exhibit will also examine Martin Luther King Jr.s visit to Shaker to promote the election of Carl B. Stokes as Cleveland mayor, and more.

The SHS is located at 16740 South Park Blvd. It can be reached at 216-921-1201.

Its chocolate Seder plate time: It happens every year around this time, your chance to order a chocolate Seder plate from the Women of Fairmount Temple.

The temple women are famous for their dark chocolate Seder plates made with more than one whole pound of chocolate per plate. The cost is $25. The plates make for great hostess gifts and can be packed for mailing to out-of-town family members. Quantities are limited, so order yours now by calling Bernice Goldman at 216-378-9478, or leave a message with the temple gift shop at 216-464-1330, ext. 125. Order deadline is March 25.

Also from Fairmount Temple, 23737 Fairmount Blvd. in Beachwood, is news that, from 7-9 p.m. April 1, nationally known, award-winning cartoonist and best-selling childrens author Terri Libenson will talk about Pajama Diaries: A Jewish Family in the Funnies. Pajama Diaries is the long-running syndicated comic strip she retired last month. Desserts and beverages will be served. The cost to attend is $20 for adults, and $5 for students. You are asked to RSVP no later than March 25 to Books will be available for purchase and signing.

University Heights police action: The University Heights Police Department awarded officers, promoted others, and swore in still more during ceremonies held March 11 at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education building.

Six officers were given commendation awards for their work in a particular incident.

On February 19, 2019, our agency received an extremely complex and dynamic service call," said University Heights Police Chief Dustin Rogers, while bestowing the awards. "This single incident was in-progress, and mobile, and involved a robbery, a felonious assault, a kidnapping, and a proposed ransom. This incident originated in another city, and found its way into our jurisdiction on this day. The entire Uniform Shift, and available detectives and administrators, immediately responded to multiple locations to further investigate, and bring resolution to this matter.

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan, left, swore in four new police officers during a police awards ceremony held March 11. An additional officer, unable to attend the ceremony, has also been sworn in.

"During the incident, these officers before you, were able to quickly locate the complainant, locate the suspect vehicle, detain the suspects after they fled on foot, they located and freed the bound victim, and also provided first aid.

As a result, these officers, are presented with the Commendation Award, for their dedication and bravery, which presumably, saved a life during this incident. Without these officers efficient, effective, and coordinated response that day, I believe this incident would have ended in tragedy.

Awarded were Lt. Dale Orians, Sgt. Steve Williams, Sgt. Rob Miller, Det. Kyle Nietert, Corp. Ron Boots and patrolwoman Dottie Pitts.

Others receiving commendation awards for their work in other incidents included Corp. Charles Darrah, patrolman Chris Russo (who received two such awards), patrolman Adam Lipply, and patrolman Mike Ferrara. Space doesnt allow us to include all their stories, but be assured, theyre all good ones.

Promoted from patrol officers to sergeants were Rob Miller and Joe Respondek.

Meanwhile, five new officers were added to the department. They are patrolmen Josh Stanton, Mark Delpra, Jermaine Smith, Joe Huffman and Martin Iser.

Cancellation at Beachwood Arts: The Beachwood Arts Council has canceled its Dianne Palmer/Lou Armagno Sinatra Selects concert scheduled for March 22.

Meditation: It looks like we could all use a little relaxation these days with all thats going on. The Coventry Village Library branch, 1925 Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, has just the answer as it will host its continuing Meditation Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m. March 31. The physical and mental benefits of meditation are significant and well-documented. Christine Valadon is presenting a weekly Heartfulness meditation -- a simple, effective form of meditation focused on opening the heart and practiced in more than 120 countries around the world.

For more information about these classes, call 216-321-3400.

Also, you can learn to make colorful alcohol ink coasters using ceramic tiles from 7-8:30 p.m. March 26 at the University Heights Library branch, 13866 Cedar Road. You will get to make four coasters that you can use in your own home, or gift to someone special. Registration is required and can be accomplished by calling 216-321-4700.

Seeking artists: The Shaker Arts Council informs us that, building on the success of last years Painting the Town utility box project, it is planning a new project for this year, Building Blocks. SHAC, along with several of Shakers neighborhood associations, is sponsoring a juried art competition for the design of utility boxes located in residential neighborhoods.

SHAC is looking for artists, 21 years or older, who live or work in Shaker Heights or within the Shaker Heights School District. Designs and applications must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. May 1. For more information and to download the call for artists, an application, and template visit

Recent graduate: Congratulations are in order to Rachel Wagschal, of Cleveland Heights, who recently graduated from the New York Institute of Technology.

Cleveland Heights Teacher awarded: Roxboro Middle School teacher Amy Statler was named the Head of the Class educator for the month of February by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Statler is the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) teacher and building Tech Leader at Roxboro. She was surprised in her classroom Feb. 28 by Cavs announcer Ahmaad Crump, Cavs mascot Moondog, and her family. Statler was awarded floor seats to an upcoming Cavs game and $500 to spend updating her classroom. She was also set to be acknowledged at an upcoming Cavs game. Unfortunately, coronavirus has led to the NBA suspending its season, but at least Statler got the $500 for her classroom and maybe she can attend a game in the future.

Its not the first time the Cavs have recognized a Heights Tiger. In 2017-2018, Fairfax student Brock Mueller and Oxford School student Mykaila Davis received the Cavs All-Star Kid awards.

Sign language: If youve ever wanted or needed to learn sign language, you can get a start by attending the Beginning Sign Language class scheduled for 2-4 p.m. April 4, 11 and 18 at the Beachwood Library, 25501 Shaker Blvd. Valerie Williams teaches basic American Sign Language using role-play and other fun activities.

Adults and children ages 13 to 18, if accompanied by an adult, are welcome. No experience is needed. This is an ongoing series, so participants are registering for a total of eight programs. Registration is required. To register, visit here. These classes are sponsored by the Friends of the Beachwood Library.

Hold your wedding here: With the recent closures of three northeast Ohio wedding venues, Temple Emanu El wants engaged couples and wedding planners to know it has dates available to hold their weddings and receptions.

The temples social hall can accommodate up to 250 guests, plus a DJ or band; has a fully functioning kitchen; and has ample onsite parking. In addition, the venue is on one level, allowing greater access for those with limited mobility. The temple is located at 4545 Brainard Road in Orange Village.

If you would like to see your item appear in Press Run, send me an email, at least 12 days prior to an event, at

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