Engaged Citizens. Innovative Ideas.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Dear FutureHeights Community,

After an extensive search process, we are pleased to announce the FutureHeights Board has named Kristine Pagsuyoin the new Executive Director of FutureHeights. Kristine’s leadership and housing background, combined with a passion for community engagement and community building, will further advance the mission of FutureHeights. Kristine brings a breadth of experience that prepares her well for leadership of FutureHeights. Her prior experience at the Village of Newburgh Heights reflects her strength as a collaborative leader to create a strong team that was able to solve problems for their constituents and work strategically to strengthen the organization. Kristine is known for engaging residents, businesses, organizations, and public officials in advancing a shared goal of social justice and economic vibrancy for the community.

Assuming the role February 6, 2023, Kristine will manage all day-to-day operations for FutureHeights, leading staff and programming, as well as marketing and fundraising efforts.

Prior to joining FutureHeights, Kristine recently served as the Housing and Building Commissioner for the Village of Newburgh Heights. Kristine is an organizational development, public administration, community engagement, and education professional with diverse expertise in leadership roles within multi-faceted local government, civic and non-profit organizations. She is skilled at conducting community outreach, base building, training, education, and leadership development with an excellent record of working alongside civic leaders and elected officials to facilitate public initiatives. Kristine obtained her Master of Education from DePaul University in Chicago and her undergraduate degree in Communication from the University of Akron.

Kristine has lived in Lakewood for over 20 years with her husband and two children. She is passionate about public service, especially as it relates to access to affordable housing and preservation, and community development and engagement, as she believes local organizations can have the greatest impact on the day-to-day lives of people and can be utilized effectively to improve a community and quality of life. Kristine is a lover of books, flea markets, the arts, hiking, travel, and of course, her 4-year old dog, Finn.


Julie Sabroff

Board Chair, FutureHeights



Contact Kristine at kpagsuyoin@futureheights.org.

Did you know that YOU could write for the award-winning Heights Observer?

The monthly Heights Observer hyper-local community newspaper is the embodiment of our mission of civic engagement. Begun in 2008, the paper tells the community’s stories from the ground up: through the eyes of volunteer citizen reporters.

Submission Policies

The Heights Observer welcomes all who want to participate in submitting community news and information. We ask that all Members (those who submit stories and photos) abide by the following terms and conditions.

Submit Your Own Work

Please submit original stories/photos. When you do use others’ sources of information please attribute that information by including a link, the source, the author, etc.  If you need help with this contact us at info@futureheights.org or call the FutureHeights office at 216.320.1423.

Keep it Local

The Heights Observer is a hyper-local publication serving Cleveland Heights and University Heights. All contributions should have a meaningful local connection to these communities – about things happening within their boundaries, or people who live and/or work within their boundaries. As rule of thumb, articles that belong in the Heights Observer may have trouble finding a home in any other publication; and articles that find a home in publications outside these communities typically aren’t a good fit in the Heights Observer.

Limit the Length of Submissions

  • 120 words for the announcement of an upcoming event or a letter  to the editor
  • 300-600 words for a feature story
  • 400 words for a news story
  • 400 words for opinions/commentary (including election issues)

Being succinct is a courtesy to readers and is the best way to minimize the changes made during the editing process.

Disclose Your Affiliation

If you have a personal or business relationship with the subject of an article you’re writing about please let your readers know. Add a small bio to the end of your contributions so we can let your readers know who you are.

Be Civil

The use of full first and last names for all submissions will, we hope, preclude us from having to police uncivil behavior. You own your posts and words. Please treat your fellow community members with respect and civility. Refrain from posting abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening, sexually-orientated or any other material that may violate any laws or conduct constituting on-site or offline harassment of other users of the Heights Observer.  We do, however, encourage robust discussion!

Know You’ll Be Edited

All submissions to be published go to an editor who will review your story for capitalization, spelling, punctuation, style, length and clarity. Only on rare occasion will we edit for content or substance, except for where dictated by these terms and conditions. If we have concerns, we may try to contact you for further information.

To learn more about submission guidelines click here. To send in your work, visit the Heights Observer Member Center here.

Any questions?  Reach out to info@futureheights.org.

Returning in 2023: Crowdsourced Conversations – A Forum Series Curated by the People for the People.

Once again, FutureHeights and Friends are bringing you a conversation-based forum series that brings Heights residents together to talk about topics that matter to us all.

We received approximately 50 suggested topics for our CC’23 and after a month-long community-wide vote, we arrived at our Top 4!


#1: Our Public Schools

  • the topic survey will run March 1-March 31
  • the forum will take place on April 26 from 7pm-8:30pm in the cafeteria at Heights High School

#2: Traveling Around Town

  • the topic survey will run May 1-May 31
  • the forum will take place at the end of June (details TBD)

#3: Rental Properties & Absentee/Negligent Landlords

  • the topic survey will run July 1-July 31
  • the forum will take place at the end of August (details TBD)

#4: Planning and Development for the Heights

  • the topic survey will run September 1-September 30
  • the forum will take place at the end of October (details TBD)



Pre-event: Each forum will have a pre-survey that will be widely circulated through the Heights for approximately one month.  After the survey closes, we will generate a report and we will also use the survey responses to formulate action-oriented discussion topics for forum night.  Survey reports will be posted on our website in addition to being shared with community partners and event attendees.

Event day: During each forum, participants will enjoy the company of small breakout groups where, with the assistance of facilitators and notetakers, they will engage in dialogue around the evening’s topic.  Discussion questions will be geared towards ways that participants can find something actionable they can do in regards to this topic they care so much about.  After the small group discussion, we will reconvene as a group-at-large to share what ideas were generated.

Post-event: We recognize how huge the Crowdsourced Conversations topics are and would never presume we’d cover everything in one evening.  So, with that in mind, we send each group their notes and any other handouts/resources that were presented during the forum — and we also invite the groups to stay in touch as well!  We encourage participants to stay connected post-forum and hope they will return to their group for the next in the conversation series to keep the conversation flowing, build community connections, and continue to brainstorm actionable ideas.  Additionally, each forum topic will have a resource page on our website that includes group-generated ideas, survey results, small group questions, and more!  These resource pages will be co-created by all of our community partners, event participants, and others with expertise on the topic.

Program goal: We began this series in 2022 in response to feedback that so many community events are “all talk and no action or no follow through.”  With Crowdsourced Conversations, we amplify participant voices and connect residents with one another to have action-oriented discussions.  Sometimes a participant’s follow-up actions may be seemingly small (for instance, at one of our 2022 forums, a resident learned about and then downloaded the Access Cleveland Heights app — a game-changer for that individual!) or seemingly large (one volunteer-based group used both the survey findings and what came up in in the small group discussions as a means to create their programming for the rest of the year).  While it’s true that some of the issues we want to see action on might be the responsibility of a larger entity, our hope is that participants can find something actionable that they feel empowered to do.  After all,  “everyday residents” hold immense potential to generate change in their community.  

This forum series will be an opportunity to connect with other Heights residents about topics that impact us in a variety of overlapping ways. We hope you can join us for all four conversations! Any questions, connect with Sarah – swolf@futureheights.org.



This forum series is being planned in partnership with FutureHeights Community & Civic Engagement Committee, Reaching Heights, CH-UH Libraries, Home Repair Resource Center, City of Cleveland Heights Racial Justice Task Force, Racial Inequity Repair Committee of Forest Hill Church, Cleveland Heights Green Team, representatives of Cleveland Heights City Council, and more.  Thank you for the joy, wisdom, and enthusiasm you bring to the table!



This year, FutureHeights and Friends are bringing you a conversation-based forum series that brings Heights residents together to talk about topics that matter to us all.

We can’t believe it’s almost time for the 2022 finale of our Crowdsourced Conversations forum series!  For our fourth event, we are excited to welcome our Heights friends and neighbors to a discussion about Civic Engagement happening Wednesday, October 26th from 7pm-8:30pm at in the Fellowship Hall at Disciples Christian Church (3663 Mayfield Road). We will have opening remarks from Councilman Tony Cuda and Jen Holland (Reaching Heights, CH-UH PTA, Building Heights), but the majority of our time together will be spent in small group discussions.

Just as always in this series, we will be relying on the crowdsourced responses from our housing survey to craft small group discussion questions.  

Crowdsourced Conversations is Not Your Average Forum Series. Over the course of these four discussion-based events, our goal is to provide opportunities for community members to connect with each other and co-create actionable steps to make the changes you wish to see!

All are welcome!  It is free to attend.  Pre-registration is strongly preferred.




Each forum will have a pre-survey for you to fill out. We will use your answers to help formulate discussion topics for forum night. During each forum, participants will enjoy the company of small breakout groups where, with the assistance of facilitators, they will dive into the questions generated by survey respondents. After small group discussion, we will reconvene as a group-at-large to share what we talked about. And even after we say our goodbyes, we will keep in touch and keep the conversation flowing, build community connections, and continue to brainstorm actionable ideas.


#1: Sustainability – Wednesday, April 27th from 7pm-8:30pm at Coventry PEACE

#2: Housing & Neighborhood Preservation – Tuesday, June 28th from 7pm-8:30pm at Forest Hill Church

#3: Community Safety – Wednesday, August 31st from 7pm-8:30pm at Denison Park’s picnic pavilion

#4: Civic Engagement – Wednesday, October 26th from 7pm-8:30pm at Disciples Christian Church

This forum series will be an opportunity to connect with other Heights residents about topics that impact us in a variety of overlapping ways. We hope you can join us for all four conversations! Stay tuned for more details soon. Any questions, connect with Sarah – swolf@futureheights.org.

More info here.


This forum series is being planned in partnership with FutureHeights Community & Civic Engagement Committee, Cleveland Heights Green Team, Home Repair Resource Center, City of Cleveland Heights Racial Justice Task Force, Racial Inequity Repair Committee of Forest Hill Church, representatives of Cleveland Heights City Council, and more. Thank you for the joy, wisdom, and enthusiasm you bring to the table!

FutureHeights is proud to partner with the Cleveland Heights Green Team on their Fall 2022 Eco Fair.  CHGT on the event, in their own words:

The purpose of the Heights Eco Fair is to raise awareness about issues and solutions, find opportunities to volunteer and contribute to ongoing efforts, and to spark ideas for new collaborations.” The lineup of exhibitors and partners is extensive and organized in four categories: Sustainable Living, Healthy Living, Eco Kids, and Swap Zone.

Please support this community effort by helping us promote the event through your social media, with neighbors, family, and friends. There are also a significant number of opportunities to volunteer since the fair will be double the size from last year, with more exhibitors, activities, and partnerships.

Join the fun on Saturday, October 8 from 12pm-4pm at the Coventry PEACE Park!

Volunteers Needed!  Click here if you’re interested in helping out.

Volunteer options:

11.00 am-12.00 pm: Set up

12.00 pm-2.00 pm: Welcome Table; CHGT Table; CHGT Recycling Challenge – Art Exhibit

12.00 pm-4.00 pm: Master of Ceremony/DJ; Guest Services (ensure event is running smoothly)

4.00 pm-4.30 pm: Clean up


Visit chgreenteam.org for more info.

FutureHeights is excited to welcome Emily Saxon for her 2022-2023 academic year as our community-practice intern.  Meet her in her own words:


Hello! My name is Emily, and I’m excited to be Future Height’s new intern. I am a Master of Social Work student at CWRU, and my interests lie at the intersections of social and economic development, community empowerment, and antiracism. I’m a native of St. Louis, Missouri, where I lived until I went off to Michigan State University (MSU) for my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I then worked for a year at MSU’s Pediatric Public Health Initiative, which provides vital health and developmental resources and services to children and families affected by the Flint, Michigan water crisis. During my time as a student at MSU, I gained experience from several community-building endeavors. For two years, I worked with fellow students and staff to create a volunteering initiative, which pairs MSU students and local senior citizens together for social interaction and the fostering of intergenerational relationships. I also conducted research on youth violence prevention, on the wellbeing and health of teens of color in public high schools, and on sexual misconduct prevention at universities. I am new to Cleveland, so I am enjoying exploring the Metroparks, downtown, new restaurants and coffee shops, and meeting residents new and old. I am especially looking forward to getting to know the Cleveland Heights and University Heights communities!

For many years now, Jessica Schantz has served as the E-News Manager for the Heights Observer and we are pleased to announce her expanded role as the FutureHeights Office Manager.  In addition to her continued work on the Observer e-news, she will be working on Membership and Donations and just may be the pleasant voice you hear answering our office phone.  We are so thrilled Jessica is taking on this expanded role and are looking forward to all the magic her creative spirit will bring to the FutureHeights family.

Come Par-Tee with us as we celebrate 20 years of service to The Heights for its annual benefit.

RSVP here.

About this event

It’s time for the most anticipated Cleveland Heights party of the summer. Join us as we celebrate 20 years of service while dancing the night away.

Enjoy heavy appetizers, local libations and desserts from a variety of the Heights’ finest establishments.

Most of all, enjoy the company of residents, like you, who care deeply about the future of our community and want to see it grow and thrive!

Our 2022 honoree is Brendan Ring.

A native of Ireland and a naturalized U.S. citizen, Brendan Ring arrived in New York City in 1984, eventually ending up as the owner of Joxer Daley’s, a legendary bar in Queens.  Following his American-born wife’s job, Brendan and Siobhan moved to Cleveland in 1992 where he took a job working for well-known restaurateur, John Barr, owner of Nighttown, Watership Down and Raintree.  Quickly working his way up to manager of Nighttown, Brendan purchased the restaurant in 2001.  Over the next 29 years, Brendan created a restaurant and nightclub unlike any other in N.E. Ohio, warranting repeated inclusion on Downbeat’s List of the Best Jazz Clubs in the World.



Additional details available with ticket purchase.


Host Committee | Kimberlee Jones, Event Chair

Robert Brown, Amanda Isaacson, Joy Roller, Tammy Wise, Thomas Eastman, Matt Katz, Julie Sabaroff, Karen Malone Wright, Achy Fehn, Micah Kirman, Stephen G. Sokany, Matthew Wymer, Julie Hammond, Gierke Rhonda Davis Lovejoy, Amy Wainwright, Bruce Hennes, Polly Mytinger, Katrina Walker


About The Organization:

FutureHeights envisions Cleveland Heights and University Heights as national examples of communities that are equitable, sustainable, and inclusive; culturally rich and diverse, with thriving local businesses, attractive neighborhoods, and a deeply engaged citizenry.


Thank You To Our Sponsors :

Presenting |

Robots Done Right: The best place to find used industrial robots

Emerald |

Anya & John Rudd

The Willoughby Family

WXZ Development

Gold |

Brendan Ring

Flaherty and Collins Properties

Gordon & Sarah Wean

RDL Architects

Silver |

Carmen Iamarinno, 5th Avenue Appraisers

Chris Jacobs

Dawn Jordan and Sal Russo, Cedar Grandview Co & Heights Medical Building

Helen Hertz

Historic Preservation Group

Jeff Shoykhet , Alpha Appraisal Group

Keller National Insurance

Joy Roller

Laura Junglas

Marge & Dan T. Moore

Michael Katz & Stephen Sokany, Cornerstone Design and Renovations

Nell Kirman

Nighttown & Red The Steakhouse

Oliver Architecture

Robert Brown and Susan Berger

Robert & Julie Namy

Tawny Ratner

Bronze |

Amanda Isaacson

Char and Chuck Fowler

Cleveland Heights Green Team

Charles Schwab

Cross Country Mortgage

Gary Benjamin & Melody Hart

Geoffrey & Maryann Barnes

Ilene Frankel

Ketti Finnernan & Rick Brown

Lita Gonzalez and Mark Phillips

Bruce Hennes & Regina Brett

Mac’s Back Books Coventry

Mark Chupp & Sharon Shumaker

Rico Pietro

Seth Task, Task Team Realtors

Stephen Statler

Sustainable Community Associates

as of 8.19.22



Interested in sponsoring this year’s event? Please contact Micah Kirman at mekirman@futureheights.org to learn about our various offerings listed in the ticket prices.


RSVP here.


We know and believe that “Black History Month” is not only for February. FutureHeights is committed to utilizing a lens of Anti-Racism Diversity Equity and Inclusion (ADEI) in our work each and every day. We are forever on a quest to continue our education, both individually (as a staff member, board member, or committee member) and collectively.

As part of that process, our Community & Civic Engagement Committee (CCEC) is curating this resource library through input from the FutureHeights family and through our community partners, friends, and neighbors.  If you have a suggestion for an addition to the library, please click here and complete this form or email Sarah at swolf@futureheights.org.

If you are interested in joining CCEC, please email Sarah – swolf@futureheights.org.




If you have any questions or feedback about this resource library, please reach out to Sarah – swolf@futureheights.org.

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2843 Washington Blvd.
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Phone: 216-320-1423


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