Winter is Really Here!

Wow, that cold spell we experienced was rough. I hope you all have been surviving the frigid cold.  Stay Warm!  Watch for ice especially when walking and driving.

We had more than our usual share of households who experienced frozen pipes or cold and ice-related issues.  Remember, if your pipes are frozen, NEVER use an open flame, ie a torch, to unthaw any pipe; instead, use a hair dryer or heat gun. If you have an exceptionally cold basement, look for drafts and leave a faucet in your washtubs dripping very slow during extended very cold snaps to prevent the pipes from freezing. This will work in most cases.  Make sure chimneys are clear of debris and are inspected once every five years, unless you have a newer model furnace. It goes without saying, get a carbon monoxide detector in your home and check to make sure your smoke detectors are working. Take extra precautions to keep your family safe and warm during these winter months.

As I reported last month, our community, along with the rest of the city, has been greatly challenged and concerned about the lack of basic police patrols in our neighborhoods. I have had no response back from the Administration with regard to my request of them seeking additional State support through the Ohio Highway Patrol to augment the Cleveland Police Department. It should be clear to all that somebody really missed the boat as to how many police officers are actually needed on the streets of the City of Cleveland.  For your information, 104 officers “left” the Department in 2016 due to retirement, attrition, etc and in 2017, there were 91 officers who left the Force. Yet, when the Administration submitted their annual budget they called for the hiring of only 65 patrol officers for 2017.  Go figure that one out!  The one thing they taught me at Collinwood High School was how to count.  Old or new math – this doesn’t add up. It’s no wonder that District Commanders are having to hold over shifts and platoons to staff the basic patrol car plan city-wide. We need more police officers on the street and the numbers speak for themselves.

We will all know on February 1st  what the Mayor’s Estimated City Budget will be for 2018. After raising $93 million through Issue 32, the City Income Tax increase, let’s hope that we will see a major emphasis on police deployment and hiring.  The year of 2017 was very tough one for Cleveland residents and businesses alike, with regard to an increase in violent crime. We saw it first hand in our own community and the victims that came with it.

There is no substitute besides an engaged citizenry and residents who look after one another than having “men and women in blue” patrolling our neighborhoods. Ask anyone in law enforcement – if you want to reduce crime, put patrol officers in the street and have them engaged with citizens. My hope for 2018 is that all of our neighborhood groups and clubs will take a more aggressive posture in the community with regard to “quality of life” issues, and that the City will step up to the plate and be a partner with us in addressing these growing community concerns. If Ward 8 and the greater Collinwood community, which has traditionally been one of the lower crime areas in the city is experiencing an uptick in crime, then you can only imagine what is going on in those neighborhoods which have been long plagued by criminal activity.

We have a great community where people care and are committed to making it the best it can be. “We are Collinwood Strong and Collinwood Proud.” We have attributes and a location that few other communities can boast of.  We are a lakefront community with two miles of shoreline. We are less than fifteen minutes from Downtown with access to every major highway.  We are four miles to the Lake County Line and points east and are geographically centered.  We have numerous community assets such as churches and other houses of worship, some of the oldest in the city, and our community’s history dates back to 1796.

We should never forget our history and where we all came from. Collinwood is a mosaic of different cultures, nationalities and races.  We have the oldest African American neighborhood in the city of Cleveland, the first Slovenian Home, the only Lithuanian Community Center in the State, and where on any given Sunday you could hear religious services in five different languages. We are also, I might add, the home to three Cleveland MetroParks. I could go on but I hope you get the point; our Greater Collinwood community is unique and should be celebrated by all. 2018 will tell us a lot as to where we are going and who is going to step up to the plate to work with us to address community concerns and to build upon the successes we have had. 

As always, I ask all of our residents to become stakeholders in the Greater Collinwood community and become involved in our organizations and institutions.  Many of our staunch supporters and volunteers are getting up in years.  I ask then – where are the younger generations and especially those families with young children who have more to lose than anyone?  A community is only as good as the people in it. Time will tell where we are going.

On a real positive note, isn’t it great to see the marquee of the historic LaSalle Theatre lit once again?  Have you seen the construction of the new Oliver Hazard Perry School lately or the expansion of St John’s Nottingham Lutheran school? There will also be an exciting announcement shortly with regard to the Sodexho facility on S. Waterloo Road at East 152 Street. May these kind of projects be our catalyst for future development activity in the Ward. 

Don’t forget, winter is still here.  Snow related problems on city streets should be called into (216) 664-2510 and this same number should be used to report potholes and street repair needs.  As always you can call the Mayors Action Center at (216) 664-2900 to report any service related issue.

I look forward to seeing you all at neighborhood meetings and events.  As always you can reach me at my office at (216) 664-4236 or by email at

Sincerely yours,

Michael D. Polensek

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Volume 10, Issue 2, Posted 2:06 PM, 02.10.2018