Famous In The Neighborhood | Profiles

There’s Still Ice Cream!

No worries—you can still get a frozen treat at Story and Lorain Roads. East Coast Custard is relocating down the street, but The Emerald Necklace Inn is pleased to announce that it is offering ice cream and frozen yogurt from Pierre’s Ice Cream daily from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will be available by the cup, cone, or in a sundae.

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Volume 3, Issue 11, Posted 3:58 PM, 05.02.2016

Harriet Beekman: A Passionate Patriot

I received a call last week from Harriet Beekman, a Fairview Park resident, asking me if The Rockport Observer could publish a letter she received from a member of the military in Afghanistan. I am not typically a writer, but when I went to Harriet’s home to meet her, I knew that those in the Rockport community who did not know her would want to.

Harriet is the chairperson and founder of the We Do Care Committee in Fairview Park. She called because she wanted to share the letter with the students of St. Angela’s, Messiah Lutheran, and Mayer Middle School.

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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 3:48 PM, 02.03.2016

If You Would Like to Donate...

The We Do Care Committee is in need of the following items for packages being sent overseas to our military:

  • Powder Drink Mix (Gatorade, Kool-Aid, Crystal Light)
  • Hot Chocolate Packets (Swiss Miss, Nestle, etc.)
  • Tuna & Chicken Salad (In Foil Pouches, or Ready-To-Eat Kits) – No Cans
  • Beef Jerky / Slim Jims
  • Sunflower Seeds & Pumpkin Seeds
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Volume 3, Issue 8, Posted 3:49 PM, 02.03.2016

Fairview Park Senior Center's ALL Senior Prom

The 13th Annual ALL Seniors Prom took place in May and has been deemed a huge success!  With over 150 people in attendance, ALL had a grand time!

The ALL includes about 50 National Honor Society students from Fairview High School, who help to ensure that everyone has fun.

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Volume 2, Issue 11, Posted 4:36 PM, 06.07.2015

Volunteers Makes a Meaningful Impact

The Rocky River Senior Center honored over 130 volunteers in a Hollywood-style Gala complete with red carpet, paparazzi, and screaming fans in late February. Volunteers were treated to a catered dinner with entertainment and dancing.

After the walk on the red carpet, volunteers enjoyed an Oscar Awards movie presentation featuring, of course, the volunteers.  Excitement mounted as volunteers were recognized for their service and, can we have the envelope please – Nancy Schneider was named Volunteer of the Year!

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Volume 2, Issue 9, Posted 4:23 PM, 03.31.2015

Taster Twins Find a Pearl

Last year, we, the "Taster Twins", embarked on a culinary adventure through a variety of restaurants in our community, attempting to offer our observations of dining establishments old and new. We have ventured outside of our usual Lakewood confines into the Rockport area.

A Rocky River favorite located in the Beachcliff Market Square on Detroit Road, the Pearl of the Orient has been pleasing patrons for around a quarter of a century. Its look may have changed over the years, but one thing that has not changed is the exceptional quality of the Pearl dining experience.

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Volume 2, Issue 8, Posted 3:35 PM, 03.14.2015

I'm With Mojo

It started in early 2010 when my wife, Rosine, insisted I do something besides read the sports page and bond with the remote. There was an article in the paper inviting people to attend a volunteer orientation class given by the Berea Animal Rescue. It was strongly suggested I attend this class.

Well, I got hooked and a few months later, in April, five-year old “Matt” (due to his matted state) was brought into the shelter. I fell in love with the little guy. Rosine and I decided to foster him, renamed him Mojo (after an old Blues song, “Got My Mojo Working“) and took him home. A few days later, we became what is known as “Foster Failures” -  we decided he had to become a permanent family member.

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Volume 2, Issue 5, Posted 4:19 PM, 11.11.2014

Exceptional Comfort and the Convenience You Deserve

With its spacious one- and two-bedroom apartments and manicured grounds, the Presidential is a Rocky River gem. Just south of Center Ridge Road, it combines a tranquil neighborhood feel with proximity to many attractions such as Westgate, Emerald Necklace Marina, Rocky River Senior Center and three golf courses.

In addition to enjoying the look and location of the building, tenants appreciate the abundant amenities, which - along with gas heat, water, trash and recycling - are all included in the rent.


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Volume 2, Issue 3, Posted 7:49 PM, 09.03.2014

Who Sews?

Recently, I tried a new activity that I’ve really enjoyed. Believe it or not, it’s SEWING! That’s right… sewing with fabric, needle, thread, and machine—making all sorts of fun projects.

I got interested in sewing by a strange coincidence. I was visiting a friend when her mom asked us to go to the Stitch Cleveland sewing store to purchase some fabric. When we got there, I was amazed at how bright, colorful, and interesting the shop was.

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Volume 2, Issue 1, Posted 6:01 PM, 07.03.2014

All in the Family: Fairview Park Mother & Daughter Creative Duo

Former American Greetings artist, my mother, Lynn Tooman-Cser and myself, a writer, have introduced new children’s characters to the marketplace, The Birthday Triplets. 

With a Facebook following of already 14,000 fans worldwide, the magical triplets - Cookie, Candi, and Coco Birthday - burst onto the scene through their first book, "The Birthday Triplets: Granny’s Amazing, Magical Day". The book is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

In writing for children ages 4-8, our goal is to impact the culture through characters that inspire the reader to view others with empathy.

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Volume 1, Issue 12, Posted 5:56 PM, 06.04.2014

Lavert Stuart, Minister of Music

On any Wednesday evening, if you look toward the musician’s pit at the Christian Science Church in Rocky River, you will see the back of the pony-tailed head of Lavert Stuart. “The substitute for Berdie d’Aliberti, the regular church organist, couldn’t make it one night, so I filled in,” said Mr. Stuart. “Then when Berdie could only play on Sundays, I became the Wednesday organist.” Thus began Mr. Stuart’s 20 years plus with the church.

The son of a Cleveland police officer and a librarian who went on to become the first black insurance sales woman in Ohio, Mr. Stuart started young. “When I was a baby, my mother kept my playpen next to the upright piano in the front room. As long as she heard me picking out notes, she knew I wasn’t getting into anything else.”

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Volume 1, Issue 10, Posted 5:41 PM, 04.02.2014

Become Part of a Neighborhood Safety Net

Why do we plan for events that we hope will never happen?  To be better prepared if and when they do happen.

BayComm is an all-resident volunteer group that began in Bay Village in 2012. Our members have expanded to Rocky River, Westlake, and Olmsted Falls. Working with CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and local safety forces, we have created a network of communications, utilizing two-way radios. We don't normally think about not having phone service or electricity, for example, but it has happened before - and it will happen again.

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Volume 1, Issue 8, Posted 2:30 PM, 02.06.2014

The Ride of a Lifetime

On the third page of the November/December 1985 issue of The Quill, the monthly newsletter of the Rocky River Senior Center, appeared an article, Spotlight on People - “Welcome aboard Margaret Allen, a new minibus driver.” Thus began my 28-year career at the center.

How excited I was to be driving this huge vehicle and giving seniors rides around town. Grocery shopping day was a favorite. I drove clients to the store as they informed me of the best buys of the week at Rego’s or Heinen’s. I updated my new friends on what was going on at the senior center, and they shared what was going on in their corners of Rocky River.

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Volume 1, Issue 6, Posted 1:02 PM, 11.27.2013

Giving All Year Long: Rocky River Assistance Program

It’s that time of year when the Rocky River Assistance Program is busier than ever as its volunteers work to brighten the holidays for the over 200 individuals, disabled veterans, elderly residents and over 60 families residing in Rocky River.  For the holidays, RRAP provides a Thanksgiving dinner, holiday dinner items in December, and gifts from a wish list for each household. Recently RRAP established a “free” store offering clothes and household goods to its clients.

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Volume 1, Issue 6, Posted 4:35 PM, 11.30.2013

The Dentist who Became an Auxiliary Police Officer

Almost every little boy grows up dreaming of becoming that ubiquitous storybook character: a police officer, a firefighter, a construction worker, or a pilot. The helpful police officer dressed in the blue uniform and cap was always my favorite. Many dreams begin after hearing of the adventures of these larger-than-life characters. As boys mature into teenagers and then adults, some pursue these dreams, and some choose to follow other passions. I have been fortunate - I have done both.

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Volume 1, Issue 5, Posted 4:18 PM, 10.30.2013

The Wrong Dog: A Cautionary Tale

We weren’t looking for him. We went down to the Cleveland Animal Protective League shelter because my aunt thought she wanted a dog. But there he was, right up front in his cage begging to be noticed. We signed up for some play time with him. He really liked us. That night, my dad gave us a serious lecture on the responsibilities of having a dog. The next day we brought him to his new home in Rocky River.

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Volume 1, Issue 5, Posted 5:08 PM, 10.30.2013

Hero's Journey | World War II Veteran welcomed at Sunrise Rotary meeting

“We finished Flight School with 641 Commissioned Pilots and today there are only 97 left to attend our annual reunion in Dayton in September.”

Colonel Robert Brocklehurst’s presentation to the Sunrise Rotary on Wednesday, June 20 featured stories of his, and nine of his fellow Air Force officers in World War II. Colonel Brocklehurst, was born and raised in Michigan and joined the U. S. Army Air Force as a Flying Cadet in 1941. He completed training and was commissioned as a fighter pilot in September of 1941. He told of his and his fellow G41 Class unusual experiences during the War. Some were tragic and some were humorous. The number of living World War II veterans is declining each day and Colonel Brocklehurst wants everyone to remember the contribution that each of the men and women who served, made during war.

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Volume 1, Issue 2, Posted 12:28 PM, 07.25.2012

Life in the Fast Lane

Mike Sestili isn’t your average race car driver. He doesn’t descend from a family of speedsters. He didn’t race so much as a go-cart before his first foray onto the track at age 34. His street car is a Mustang. His race cars have been a Pinto and a Honda.

Although Mike isn’t a legacy driver who followed his family’s footsteps on the track, his love for racing was indeed nurtured by his father at an early age. When Mike was six years old, the elder Sestili opened his son’s eyes to some of the sport’s all-time greats: Andretti, Fittapaldi, Unser.

Sestili developed his need for speed as a youngster, but it wasn’t until three years ago that he brought his lifelong love to its piston-pounding, turbo-fueled fruition. Now, the one-time racing neophyte spends his summer weekends pitting his new Honda (replacing his beloved Pinto, more on that later) against the competition of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, among others.



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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 9:43 AM, 07.01.2013

A Summer Place

There’s a generation of Rockport denizens who came of age at Tommy’s Mesquite Bar and Grille, dancing to their first Reggae and tasting their first chicken wings in the wayback machine that is and was the Go-Go 80s.

Not a bad legacy, one that still creates legions of smiles at the mention of the memories.

Tommy opened the original venue back in 1975, expanding through the years to include full kitchen and musical stage. The first show he hosted was the legendary bluesman Robert ‘Junior’ Lockwood. That night inaugurated an era of entertainment that would have lines filing out the door to see great musical acts and friendships forming on the dance floor, kindred acquaintances that often became best of buds while dancing to I-Tal and sharing wings at a table.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 4:54 PM, 07.09.2013

In the Swim of Things

Imagine swimming 5 kilometers. Then imagine swimming 5 kilometers in a race. Now imagine swimming those 5 kilometers in open water, like Lake Erie. This is the kind of thing that Fairview Hospital rheumatologist, Julio Aponte, MD craves.

At age 67, Dr. Aponte is one of the last people you would expect to swim competitively. But he still defies the odds and practices at the Gemini Center in Farivew Park on Saturday mornings to prepare for open water and competitive swimming.

Dr. Aponte’s swimming story starts when he first moved to the United States in 1970. His first house had a pool so he started to swim. By expressing this interest to others, he was connected to a training group called United States Masters Swimming (USMS). Becoming a member of this organization, he currently swims in the 65-69 age group. This group met at the Westshore YMCA. After practicing for a while, Dr. Aponte attended a swim meet in the city of Orange. He had never competed before in his life. He was a deck entry at this meet, which means he entered at the meet as opposed to registering before hand. At this meet, he signed to compete in the 100 and 200 meter freestyle events. He swapped one of these events for the 500 meter freestyle in which he placed third among all the competitors. Now, he was hooked on competitive swimming.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 12:40 PM, 07.04.2013

New Wave

To enjoy the lake, one usually has to cram into a kayak or purchase a boat, which tends to cram everyone’s already tight budget. Paddle boards allow the freedom to stand or sit while enjoying the lake — without costing you an arm and a leg. These surfboards on steroids allow for an interesting sport to take foot right along the river.

“By the first stroke, I was hooked,” says Bill Cochrane, the owner of the Nalu Stand-Up-and-Paddle (SUP) and Surf Shop that is located at 429 Riverdale Drive in Rocky River. By taking a right at the first fork in the road when driving down the CYC hill, anyone can come see this cool paddle board shop that is right along the river.

“I knew the boom was going to happen,” Cochrane says in describing the paddle board explosion that has occurred in Rocky River over the last few years.

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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 4:57 PM, 07.09.2013