Support of VAC appreciated  

This week, the Valley Art Center would have staged our beloved 37th Annual Art by the Falls outdoor art festival, kicking off a year of fun-filled events to celebrate our 50th anniversary. How we are missing the opportunity to connect artists with art lovers in beautiful Riverside Park! We so appreciate the many years you, members of the Chagrin Valley community, have come together to grow this event from a modest gathering of a few visionary artists to a regional festival drawing over 120 talented artists from throughout the nation with thousands of patrons in attendance every June.

Valley Art Center is still here, shaping year-round opportunities to bring art to the community through education, exhibitions, events and partnerships. VAC continues to sustain the work of skilled artists to make, display and sell artwork in our gallery and online marketplace. The steadfast support and engagement of our many generous volunteers, partners, corporate and individual donors, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Ohio Arts Council, Chemical Bank, Chagrin Valley Chamber of Commerce, Chagrin Valley Times, Chagrin Valley Jaycees and Hamlet at Chagrin Falls is sincerely appreciated.

A heartfelt thank you is wished to our entire community. Valley Art Center hopes you will continue to support us in our mission to enrich and inspire the community through the arts for the next 50 years. 

Mary Ann Breisch, executive director

Laurie Dean, Board president

Graduation a success

Thank you to the mayors, police and fire departments of Woodmere, Orange Village, Moreland Hills and Pepper Pike for their support and participation in the Orange High School Class of 2020 Caravan on May 30.   Parents worked very hard to put this together for the seniors and the addition of a police escort and assistance at intersections by our communities’ police departments helped to make this event even more special.  The smiles on the faces of these kids as they drove by those who came out to honor and support them was worth all of the effort that went into planning this.  I know that this Orange High School Class of 2020 will forever remember and cherish that their communities came together to celebrate them and all that they have accomplished and wish them well on the next chapter of their lives.  Thank you.  

Miki Beachler 

Orange Village

Care for others

In recent weeks, I have witnessed adults in Chardon being very irresponsible with their health and the health of others.

In each incidence these people, while trying to open a plastic bag for their produce, licked their fingers.

What really alarmed me was seeing them remove their face protection first. Don’t they realize that they are transferring their saliva to everything and everyone they touch? Don’t they realize that we are in the midst of a pandemic?

If these people don’t care for their own life they must have someone – a wife, husband, child, grandchild, mother, father that they care about and love. Our Gov. Mike DeWine stated it best, “No other time in our lives will our individual actions play a greater role in saving lives.” 

Jan Schillace


Lesson in nature

When I moved to Northeast Ohio five years ago, the yard was full of various species of bees, including honey bees, bumble bees, carpenter bees, wasps and yellow jackets.  Each year that has passed,  there have been less and less bees and other flying bugs seen in spite of continued efforts to make the yard as natural as possible, including the planting of various native plants and wildflowers. No chemicals have been used, just a shovel to dig up weeds. The soil is full of worms and various beetles for birds to feed on. 

This year, I have seen one bumblebee, even though the yard is full of blooming cultivated and wild flowers, trees and shrubs. 

 Yet these past five years, I have consistently noticed residents and landscapers applying various chemicals to yards located in my town to keep out weeds and bugs and to look perfect.

 This practice is inconsistent with the cries of maintaining open spaces and nature such as the debate about Beech Brook. After our cries we then go back to our yards and spray chemicals that kill all the insects and pesky plants around us.  

 What is the point of clamoring for the open space when everything is dead around us so we can have perfect yards to impress neighbors, friends and business associates? It is better to just put in an industrial plant because the end result is the same and we can call it out for what it really is, dead space. 

Jennifer DeMuth

Pepper Pike

Seek COVID-19 facts

I am writing to encourage the public to seek their own COVID facts and not depend on the numerous media stories that are written to inflame and sensationalize. The Times one pager several weeks ago was a welcomed exception. As a 40-year respiratory protection professional, I have several concerns where the public is not receiving useful information to make their personal protection decisions.

First, I am concerned that the public has developed a false sense of security about wearing a mask. In simple terms, they are near useless unless someone sneezes directly in your face. Even then, the pressure from the sneeze will blow out the edges of the mask. Note that a few weeks ago New York stated that two-thirds of the COVID hospital admissions were people mostly sheltering at home.

Second, masks do not protect the wearer. The COVID virus is 0.01 to 0.1 micron in diameter.  During normal breathing and talking, the moisture droplets exhaled are about 1 micron in diameter. Surgical masks and homemade masks do little to capture particles of this size.  To learn more go to:

Third, the purpose of a lockdown should be only to control the rate of serious infections to keep them within our medical capacity and to buy some time for identifying the best medical treatments while inturn not ruining the economy. People are going to continue to get COVID and more will die this year and next. According to the CDC data, as of several weeks ago, at age 65 my risk of death is about 1/4,000. Children, ages 1-15 have a risk of much less than 1 in 10 million. I find it interesting that as of May 22, the death rate data on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site is now much harder to find. Why this information is rarely in the news is because the one-year risk of dying in a car crash is about 1/8000. You also don’t hear that for 7 percent of the deaths, COVID-19 was the only cause mentioned. For deaths with causes in addition to COVID-19 there were 2.5 additional causes per death. You also don’t hear that the CDC COVID death count includes both confirmed and presumed COVID deaths. 

It is my suggestion that the public ignore the hype and panic inducing media and do your own research to make your own wise choices. The CDC offers data at: The best practical and concise reopening guidance I have seen thus far is issued by the American Industrial Hygiene Association. You can access their guides for different types of businesses at: Back to Work Safely | Homepage.

I am not providing this information to challenge anyone’s perspective.  Every person must do what they personally believe is right and fits their comfort level. Doctors, the government and the media must not be the final say on what is in my personal best interests. Man may slow a viral infection rate, but man cannot destroy or prevent a virus, only God can.

Marc Kolanz

Auburn Township

Big boy pants

Both Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Rep. David Joyce are consistently reliable supporters of the president, who is now using the White House Twitter account to threaten to shoot people in Minneapolis. Kind of like using the majesty of the United States Government to pour gasoline on a fire.

It’s time for our elected representatives to put on their big boy pants and use their influence to get the president calmed down.

Mike Carlton

Chagrin Falls

Say ‘no’ to Beech Brook

The Beech Brook property remains a humble reminder of the beauty in our community. A plaque on the property’s entranceway states that it began as an orphanage in 1852, evolving into a center which helps the children of our town. Today, Beech Brook remains effective in supporting youth, with their website reminding us that they “believe all children deserve the chance to grow up with the support they need to reach their full potential.” With a large history of hope for children, this property was zoned to help the youth of our community, not a mixed use mall. 

The treasured history of this land, to serve our local population and its youth, is now being threatened, as the Axiom Development Group wants to serve commercial and monied property interests rather than the interests of our community. The tranquil space will be rolled over with concrete, displaying yet another shopping mall. Chagrin Boulevard is lined in concrete and asphalt already, is it necessary to build even more? The Beech Brook property is not small, it occupies about the same acreage as Orange School districts’ entire campus, and it directly abuts it. Future students will gaze upon a shopping mall during classes, dodge cars in a parking lot to fetch an errant ball hit from our school playground and wait in even longer traffic at the circle to reach their homes and families. It might be time to set into action the creation of green spaces which reflect the pastoral nature of our community.

Our youth is the future, and from the voices of the future I can say that we don’t want to destroy over 40 football fields worth of trees immediately adjacent to our school to erect yet another shopping mall. From a recent survey I conducted amongst my classmates at Orange High School, 88 percent of students would rather see a public green space rather than a commercial facility at this site. A similar number of students are also concerned that rezoning would negatively impact that environment. The students at Orange High School want better, we want green space rather than grey. We don’t need a mall neighboring our school while there are two others less than five minutes away from the campus.

Many students I polled were unaware of this project, so I wonder whether parents are also unaware. I urge Pepper Pike parents to learn more about this project and to share this proposed rezoning with their children. Hopefully, Pepper Pike parents will agree that razing 70 acres of trees next to our school, where we play and learn, goes against the values of this community.  Once the concrete is poured, Willey Creek is buried, and a thousand trees are killed, there will be no undoing it. The entire community should deliberate and contribute to the decision that will affect us all. The time to undo it is now, by saying “no” to rezoning Beech Brook, and saying “yes” to our community, our community values will grow stronger. 

Remy Perry 

Moreland Hills

Solon gave support

As a Solon alum, when we looked for a place to settle our family, I knew there was something special about the schools in Solon. Frequently lauded as the top district in the state of Ohio, and often nationally ranked, the educational standards are exceptionally high. That alone would be reason enough to be proud, but that’s just the headline.

I was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas this year, with a third-grader, a kindergartener and an infant. Of course, my first thought was my kids. Through tears, I hammered out an email to their teachers, the administration at Parkside Elementary School and anyone else I could think of that might need to know that our lives were being turned on their heads.

While I had the weight of the world on my shoulders, the teachers, administrators, PTA members, bus garage, and Tammy Strom made sure that my husband and I did not have to worry about our kids. In a time of crisis, we were met with compassion. In my darkest moments, there was always a light shining from someone at Parkside and guiding my children.

This year did not end the way any of us had expected. Solon Schools had to pivot from a familiar platform to respond to an unfolding global pandemic. They cautiously, yet compassionately, soldiered on and continued the massive task of running a district out of our living rooms without the leadership of the superintendent we had come to rely on for three decades. Teachers continued to show up, shining rays of sunshine into our homes when we needed them most.

The Solon City School District is special, not just for the rankings, but for the community and the compassion they foster. Thank you to every teacher who drew up lesson plans, even as parents grumbled; to every administrator and board member who had to make difficult choices, knowing that criticism would be sharp no matter the path chosen; and to every educator for caring enough to continue to work hard for our kids.

Thank you for showing us grace, and may we return the favor.

Kate Williams


There is hope

I took great joy in reading Pastor John Howard’s message. Thank you for your testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, especially as it pertains to our current challenge concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. We are in the midst of the challenges this has brought into our lives and throughout the world.

May I add to your well-presented thoughts, especially as it relates to Christ’s Atonement for each of us, as believers or non-believers. Your use of the word “prescription” is most useful as it points to fighting, recovering and being protected from this virus. Truly, as it should be, our discipleship in the Savior’s work, the redemption of mankind, is foremost in the minds and actions of Christians throughout the world. For those that choose a different path, their desire to adhere to their conscience and beliefs is also valid. I applaud those who believe and work for the betterment of all persons throughout the world.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As we come to grips with the situations we face each day, my prescription is centered in my faith and actions in His restored gospel. For example, in mid-March, our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, asked us to exercise our faith in joining with others of many faiths throughout the world in a day of fasting and prayer concerning efforts to understand and find solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic. We joined with many for a Good Friday fast and prayer day. That’s discipleship in action.

If there is a divine hand in this pandemic or if it is just one more challenge for us to experience in life, an exercise of faith and devotion is needed perhaps more now than at other normal times. Let us therefore, also exercise hope and a measure of purpose to get through our current dilemma. May we look for opportunities to be charitable to others. Yes, the principles of faith, hope and charity are as real today as they have been since the beginning.

I close with this message. “Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all mankind.”

Dan Walter


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