COVID-19 scams

The Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs and Cuyahoga County Board of Health are warning the public about two COVID-19 scams reported by county residents.

One scam is an emailed “survey” that baits people into participating by offering bogus $90 rewards for sharing their opinions about the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Do not open or click on any links in the email, including the “unsubscribe” button.

The other is a phone scam in which an imposter contact tracer asks people for their Social Security number. Legitimate contact tracers never request Social Security numbers or payment information.

For reliable information on COVID-19 vaccinations, visit either www.cuyahogacounty.us/vax or www.ccbh.net/vax. You can also contact the health board at 216-201-2000 to obtain additional information on COVID-19, including the contact tracing and case contact process.

Report scams or learn how to protect yourself from fraud by visiting consumeraffairs.cuyahogacounty.us or calling the Scam Squad at 216-443-SCAM (7226).

Mediation for landlords, tenants

The Lorain County Bar Association has announced a Landlord-Tenant Mediation Program. The program addresses the coming onslaught of evictions that will follow the end of the federal government’s eviction ban, set for March 31.

“We foresee a tsunami of evictions when the ban ends, adding to a backlog of eviction cases already filed, but stalled by the federal government’s action.” said attorney Zachary Simonoff, chair of the bar’s real estate section.

The unprecedented economic disaster caused by COVID-19 measures has caused hardship for many renters. Some could not pay all their bills, and the federal ban enabled them to put off paying rent, which makes up the largest part of most renters’ budgets. But the ban was only a temporary measure, and landlords continued to face the costs of mortgages, maintenance and taxes.

“Mediation is a process where landlords and tenants can work out a mutually beneficial solution, with the help of a trained, experienced attorney-mediator,” said attorney Doug Henry, a member of the mediation ad hoc committee. “The mediators, attorneys from the LCBA, are not judges, nor juries, but serve to aid communication between landlords and tenants.” He added that mediation is completely voluntary, but the resulting agreement between the parties is enforceable.

The bar is also working with area nonprofits whose programs may provide assistance to tenants. Additionally, it is partnering with the local municipal courts in an effort to refer evictions to this program.

For those cases that do go to court, the municipal courts throughout Lorain County will be working to accommodate landlords and tenants who wish to mediate their eviction suits.

LakewoodAlive paint program restarts

LakewoodAlive's Housing Outreach Program announces the return of its Paint Lakewood Program for the 2021 season. The program's goal involves revitalizing Lakewood's neighborhoods, while reducing lead hazards and educating residents on lead safety issues. The program is available to low- to moderate-income residents.

This program is designed to help make it more affordable for qualified Lakewood homeowners and residents to beautify their homes through exterior whole-home painting, ultimately making their homes safe for their families and the community.

Paint Lakewood will provide a grant of up to $4,500 to qualified Lakewood homeowners and residents for exterior paint, supplies and professional labor costs to paint their home. The program has been designed to offer a grant on a sliding scale to help reduce the cost of an exterior paint job.

“The Lakewood Paint Program is such an important program; not only does it help make exterior painting more affordable, it allows us to have important conversations with residents and families about lead paint safety, said Allison Urbanek, LakewoodAlive’s Housing & Internal Operations Director. “To us, that fresh coat of paint not only looks amazing, it helps to provide a safer environment for people and animals."

Qualified Paint Lakewood Program applicants must meet HUD-established income guidelines, and other restrictions apply. Go to https://www.lakewoodalive.org/paint-lakewood/ for more information and to apply.

VFW egg hunt

Avon VFW Post 7035, 36950 Mills Road, will host its annual Easter egg hunt starting at 1 p.m. April 3. The Easter Bunny himself will be available for pictures. Bring Easter baskets and work boots. The event is rain or shine.

Tri-C Black and Brown Male Summit

The inaugural Black and Brown Male Summit at Cuyahoga Community College, which aims to address lagging academic success rates for African American and Latino men, is being held from 10-11:30 a.m. April 8. The virtual session will introduce participants to role models and programs geared toward helping men of color achieve in high school and college.

Visit tri-c.edu/virtualmalesummitt to be part of the summit, titled “All About HIM: Healing and Inspiring Men of Color.” No registration is necessary.

The event’s keynote speaker is Ralph F. Murphy II, executive director of HELIN Institute leadership development programs. The institute focuses on issues specific to the social and economic rights of underserved populations in urban centers.

National statistics consistently show African American and Hispanic males with lower graduation and retention rates than other groups. Enrollment drops created by the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the problem.

Visit tri-c.edu/malesummit for more information on the event, sponsored by Tri-C’s Black American Council and Hispanic Council.

Avon High School counseling zooms

The Avon High School Student Services Department Counseling Team is hosting a Parent Series on depression and anxiety. These events are free and available to anyone.

Topic: Eating Disorders

Time/date: 7 p.m. April 14

Presenter: Cindy Billittier, MSSA, LISW-S from LakeWest DBT Center

Topic: Drugs & Alcohol

Time/date: 7 p.m. May 20

Presenter: Ashley Truman-Skvor, OCPSA, CDCA, SWA from LCADA Way

Lakewood resident earns national scholarship

Cuyahoga Community College student and Lakewood resident Geri Bakushi has been named Ohio’s 2021 New Century Transfer Scholar, joining a select group of academic achievers and leaders from across the nation.

More than 2,000 community college students were nominated for the scholarship award, with one honoree named per state. Judges considered grades, leadership, activities and how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.

New Century Transfer Scholars receive a $2,250 scholarship and commemorative medallion. Bakushi and other team members will be recognized during a virtual ceremony.

Bakushi expects to graduate from Tri-C this summer with an Associate of Science degree. The international student from Albania has maintained a 4.0 GPA while taking a course load focused on technology, engineering and math.

He holds a leadership role in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society chapter at the college’s Western Campus in Parma. Bakushi also served as a Tri-C student ambassador and assisted fellow students as a math and information technology tutor.

Bakushi plans to transfer to a four-year school this fall to study computer science and pursue a career as a software engineer and entrepreneur.

Earlier in March, Bakushi was among 20 community college students named to the All-USA Academic Team. His selection as a New Century Transfer Scholar was based on his score from that application.

The New Century Transfer Scholar program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa and the American Association of Community Colleges.

Fairview resident is named scholar

Cuyahoga Community College student Kylie Cianciolo of Fairview Park has been named a 2021 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar, joining a select group of students from across the United States.

Cianciolo is set to graduate from Tri-C in May with two degrees — an Associate of Arts and an Associate of Science. She was named Westshore Campus Student of the Year in 2020.

She also served as a student ambassador at the campus, worked as an intern and completed the Student Leadership Certificate Program. Her grades earned her membership in Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Cianciolo intends to continue her studies in the fall at a four-year school, where she will focus on special education and psychology.

As a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar, Cianciolo will receive a $1,250 scholarship and a commemorative medallion. She and other team members will be recognized at upcoming ceremonies.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars with nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually.

Students are nominated for the academic team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership and engagement in college and community service.

Cianciolo was one of three Tri-C students named to the 2021 Coca-Cola Academic Team. She was joined by Charese Harrison of Maple Heights and Isabel Ruiz-Flint of Solon.

Lorain County spelling bee champ

Avon Middle School’s Kerem Duyar was the winner of the recent Lorain County Regional Spelling Bee. Kerem earned the right to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Orlando July 8. The event is expected to be nationally televised.

Westlake library offers free COVID-19 tests

The Westlake Porter Public Library is distributing free COVID-19 tests through its drive-up window. Those interested in getting tested can do so between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. weekdays and between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sundays. Those unable to pick up a test during regular library hours can contact the library to arrange for a test kit to be left in an after-hours locker.

Anyone seeking a test who is feeling sick or showing COVID symptoms should send someone else to pick up a test for them.

The library is providing the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card Home tests. The test takes 15 minutes to do using a nasal swab and a telehealth professional to guide you through it. Users must have a smartphone and a computer with a webcam and internet access to administer the at-home test.

The library is also providing RTA passes to anyone who needs one to get to a vaccination appointment.

For more information, go to westlakelibrary.org or www.globalpointofcare.abbott/en/product-details/binaxnow-covid-19-home-test-us.html.

Vendors wanted for Bay market

BAYarts is looking for vendors for its annual summer Thursday Market. The cost to apply is $30 for a 10-by-10-foot space and $30 per week. The application is due by May 31. Dates can be purchased ahead of time.

These are the available dates: June 10, 17 and 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; Aug. 5, 12, 19 and 26; and Sept. 2 and 9.

The market takes place from 4-7 p.m. For more information, go to bayarts.net/events/market.html.

Woman indicted in fatal crash

Selena Colon, 23, of Cleveland has been indicted on charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and driving while under the influence in connection with a drunk-driving crash that killed two 19-year-olds in Lakewood last month.

On Feb. 21, Colon was driving eastbound on Clifton Boulevard at more than 90 mph without her headlights on when she crashed into the victims’ car as they were turning westbound onto Clifton from Fry Avenue. The impact split the victims’ car in half and caused both victims to be ejected from the vehicle. They were pronounced dead at the scene. A third victim, 18, was treated for his injuries at a hospital. Colon was arrested and later transported to the Cuyahoga County Jail.

Lakewood Police and Emergency Medical Services, along with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office and Ohio State Highway Patrol, responded to the scene.

Colon is free after posting a $100,000 bond earlier this month. She will be arraigned on a later date, said Tyler Sinclair, spokesman for the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

‘Ghosts and Legends of Northeast Ohio’

The Avon Lake historical Society and former Avon Lake resident William Krejci present “Ghosts and Legends of Northeast Ohio.” The program is via Zoom, beginning at 7 p.m. April 12. The program is free but registration is needed. Send an email to AvonLakeHistoricalSociety@gmail.com.

Science Center up for national award

The Great Lakes Science Center is one of 15 museum finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the Institute of Museum and Library Services recently announced.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. A total of 30 organizations have been selected as finalists this year: 15 museums and 15 libraries. For more than 25 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities.

National Medal winners will be announced in late spring.

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