City of Cleveland Announces Vaccination Campaign with Support from Cleveland Cavaliers and NBA

City of Cleveland Announces Vaccination Campaign with Support from Cleveland Cavaliers and NBA

By Office of the Mayor

Community Support and COVID-19 Protocols for NBA All-Star Ticketed Guests Unveiled; NBA All-Star Expected to Generate More Than $100 Million in Economic Impact to Cleveland 

Today, Mayor Justin M. Bibb announced a vaccination campaign developed in partnership with the recently announced citywide COVID-19 Taskforce, that will receive support from the Cleveland Cavaliers and the National Basketball Association (NBA) ahead of NBA All-Star 2022 on February 18-20, which is expected to generate more than $100 million in economic impact, according to the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.

The efforts to encourage vaccination, boosters and health education include:

  • The city’s public education campaign featuring NBA and Cavs personalities;
  • Special incentives when residents receive a vaccine/booster, including NBA All-Star tickets, merchandise and special autographed items, tickets to Cavs games and more; 
  • Additional financial donations, resources and support to aid citywide testing and vaccine efforts, including:
    • A donation of 10,000 rapid antigen tests and 100,000 N95 masks or similar to the COVID-19 Taskforce for distribution to schools and community-based organizations.
    • Cleveland Foundation’s Funders Collaborative for COVID Recovery.
  • The creation of additional pop-up vaccine sites in partnership with the COVID-19 Taskforce.

In addition, in anticipation of thousands of visitors coming to Cleveland to enjoy NBA All-Star events, the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA and health officials worked in partnership to develop health & safety protocols for all ticketed guests attending NBA All-Star events. The protocols are guided by the most recent recommendations from the CDC and Cleveland Department of Public Health and are as follows:  

  • Before participating in any ticketed events, all guests aged five and up must show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or of having a negative COVID-19 test. Fulfilling the testing option requires either a negative PCR test 48 hours before their first event or a negative antigen test the day of their first event.  
  • Full vaccination is defined by the CDC as one dose of the J&J vaccine or two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. The city’s mask advisory is expected to remain in place through the weekend.

“The health and safety of our residents and visitors is a top priority,” said Mayor Bibb. “We are excited to bring this global event to Cleveland and want to ensure that everyone involved in NBA All-Star has a great experience while following necessary precautions to minimize the spread of COVID-19.”

Beyond the health and safety measures and contributions, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have committed to provide additional support to the city throughout the year, including more than $3 million in social and community impact. Those details will be announced in the coming weeks.  

Project ACT: supporting approximately 1,000 at-risk CMSD children and their families

Wilber Argueta stands outside the Zelma George Salvation Army Shelter, where he helped organize online tutoring for 12 homeless youth this summer (photo by Sydney Kornegay).

by Sydney Kornegay

Sylvia Rucker has been a caretaker most of her life. As the head cook at Hannah Gibbons Elementary School in Collinwood, she prepares meals for approximately 250 students daily, and has four adult children of her own.

But when her oldest daughter died unexpectedly in the summer of 2019, Rucker was suddenly thrust into the role of parent once again.

“My daughter went into the hospital with a toothache. She passed away a week later, and left behind three kids,” says Rucker. “I realized I was going to have to start all over again as a mother.”

Rucker became the primary caregiver for her five-, six-, and 11-year-old grandchildren, all while working full-time. These stresses were compounded in the spring, when COVID-19 forced schools to close and students to stay home.

Continue reading “Project ACT: supporting approximately 1,000 at-risk CMSD children and their families”

Local Media: a Place for Your Interests, Your Perspective, and Your Voice

Neighborhood & Community Media Association of Greater Cleveland

by Rich Weiss and R. T. Andrews

The proliferation of fake news in concept and fact has eroded the most important asset any media outlet has: its readers’ trust.

In February, 2020, along with warning of the impending COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) pandemic, the World Health Organization warned: “The 2019-nCoV outbreak and response has been accompanied by a massive ‘infodemic’ — an overabundance of information – some accurate and some not — that makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.”

Now, more than ever, informed and engaged communities are essential for a healthy democracy. Not just for conservatives, or liberals, or independents, but across the board.

A Pew Research study conducted from 2016 to 2017 found “Americans express only a moderate trust in most news source types.” That same study revealed an increase in the number of respondents who trust information from their own local news organization. This increase outpaced trust of information from sources of national news, friends, and family.

Continue reading “Local Media: a Place for Your Interests, Your Perspective, and Your Voice”

Behind the Story of CMSD’s John Marshall Drive-Through Graduation Solution (full mini-documentary)

by The West Park Times & Neighborhood Media Foundation

It is difficult to find an aspect of life that has not changed in the face of the current COVID-19 outbreak.  For that reason, it could have been easy to overlook the one small step Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD) John Marshall IT High School graduates took in June—to them, it’s a giant leap for mankind.  After digging deeper, we found it was a giant leap for both CMSD and Toledo Public Schools (TPS), too.

This summer, The West Park Times published a three-part series (funded by the new local media collaborative, “NEO SOJO”) on graduation innovations from Cleveland high schools.

But in an interview with CMSD CEO Eric Gordon just before the graduation ceremony for John Marshall IT, he spoke to the seriousness with which his team took COVID-19 containment planning for Cleveland’s students and their families.

Continue reading “Behind the Story of CMSD’s John Marshall Drive-Through Graduation Solution (full mini-documentary)”

City of Cleveland Expands Youth & Young Adult Services


Community Relations Board realigned under Mayor’s Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults

Today, Mayor Frank G. Jackson announced that his Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults (PIOYYA) will expand its services to offer year-round programming at recreation centers. The City of Cleveland will also enhance its youth summer jobs program and offer citywide internships. The new program offerings are geared at giving youth and young adults the tools they need to be successful.

The changes in programming align with departmental changes at City Hall. The Community Relations Board (CRB), led by Director Grady Stevenson, has been moved under the Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults led by Chief Tracy Martin-Thompson.

“These new services are aimed at empowering youth and young adults  to explore new opportunities that will allow them to become more well-rounded and successful,” said Mayor Frank G. Jackson. “Adding the Community Relations Board under the Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults umbrella will allow us to better residents by aligning the important work these departments are already doing and better position them to collaboratively expand future services.”

Increased Programming and Resources

Programming in the City’s 22 recreation centers will be expanded to include more culturally relevant, evidence-based or research-based offerings aimed at addressing the following target areas:

  • Education: K-12 Education intervention and enrichment programming, post-secondary education preparation programs, young adult/adult education programs
  • Job and career readiness: Provide youth and young adults with guidance that will open doors to career paths allowing them to be successful. This will include services such as needs assessments, employment plan, job readiness training, job placement assistance and more for adults ages 18 and up
  • Health and wellness: Instruction in activities such as yoga and other exercise classes
  • Youth development, mentorship, leadership and community service: Programming aimed at helping young people improve social, emotional and cognitive competencies with leadership training, giving back to the community and mentorship
  • The arts: Performing arts such as dance and drama and visual arts such as painting and photography
  • Sports, recreation and service: Athletic activities to promote physical and social emotional wellness in youth such as skiing and gymnastics

The city issued a request for proposals for contractors skilled in these areas in October 2018. Currently, the City of Cleveland is reviewing vendor proposals and expects to announce new program offerings and schedules in Spring 2019. Legislation to approve vendor contracts will be introduced to Cleveland City Council in February 2019.

Departmental Realignment

The Community Relations Board (CRB) will now be housed under the Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunities for Youth and Young Adults.

Key components of CRB’s work directly aligns with PIOYYA’s. The Community Relations Board is responsible, by city ordinance, for improving cross-culture relationships in the City of Cleveland. This reflects a wide diversity of racial, ethnic and religious heritage. The mission of the department is to resolve community conflictthrough community outreach with the aid of its community liaisons. CRB also offers resources for formerly incarcerated individuals as well as a youth community diversion and intervention program.

“By strategically coordinating the resources between the Mayor’s Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults and the Community Relations Board, we can provide our youth access to more meaningful opportunities and comprehensive support services that can make a significant difference in their lives,” said Chief Martin-Thompson. “Investing in our youth today will lead to stronger communities and a stronger Cleveland in the future.”

More About the Community Relations Board and Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young Adults

The Mayor’s Office of Prevention, Intervention and Opportunity for Youth and Young adults was created in 2017. Later that year, the City of Cleveland issued its report, “A New Model for Addressing Youth Violence as a Public Health Issue.” The new programs offered in 2019 align with goals identified in the report. A key component of the report called for moving away from addressing youth violence merely as a safety issue but also as a public health issue.

Since then, the City of Cleveland has placed social work-trained, trauma-informed coaches in the City’s rec centers. In addition, all recreation center staff have received trauma-informed care training to identify and engage youth dealing with toxic stress.

“The City of Cleveland will improve the effectiveness of its investments in youth and young adults through the realignment of these two offices,” said Director Stevenson. “At the heart of this realignment is improved service to our youth and young adults, providing them with the right tools to build bright futures.”

About the City of Cleveland

The City of Cleveland is committed to improving quality of life for its residents by strengthening neighborhoods, delivering superior services, embracing diversity and making Cleveland a desirable, safe city in which to live, work, play and do business. For more information on the City of Cleveland, visit online at, Twitter at @cityofcleveland, Facebook at or on our blog

Meet Nickie Antonio: New State Senator for West Park


PHOTO CAPTION: New District 23 State Senator Nickie J. Antonio was sworn in Dec. 22 in a ceremony at the Brooklyn Senior Center. Her wife, Jean Kosmac, holds a copy of The Woman’s Bible. The ceremony was officiated by Judge Melody Stewart of the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals, who joins the Ohio Supreme Court in January. About 100 people attended the ceremony.

The past week has been a roller coaster for District 13 State Representative Nickie J. Antonio.

On Saturday, she stood before 100 supporters, was sworn in for a new job, and talked with energy and enthusiasm about her plans for the future. On Tuesday, she celebrated the holidays with her wife, Jean Kosmac, and their two adult children, Ariel and Stacey. On Wednesday, she returned to Columbus to participate in a year-end flurry of legislation in the General Assembly.

On Jan. 7, when she returns to Columbus to begin work as the new District 23 State Senator, she will be the first woman to represent District 23, and the first member of the LGBT community ever elected to the State Senate.

District 23 includes West Park, Lakewood, Linndale, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Heights, Brook Park, Parma, Parma Heights, Middleburg Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Cleveland Wards 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, and parts of Wards 3, 12 and 14.

The Senate District is 3 times larger than House District 13, where Antonio served four terms (2011-2018) and was the Minority Whip for the last two-year term. As a State Senator, she is limited to two consecutive four-year terms.

Looking forward to 2019

Antonio said her legislative agenda includes several areas with special meaning for West Park taxpayers.

Jobs: Small businesses are “the backbone of the community,” Antonio said. She wants to help build “the right climate to bring good-paying jobs to the district.” This includes pushing for infrastructure repair funds to fix roads and bridges and create new jobs.

Education: Antonio, a former teacher, says “We need to reduce high-stakes testing for kids. The kids are stressing out over the tests. Instead, they should be happy and excited about going to school.” She also wants to make schools have “more fair and robust funding.”

Healthy communities: “I want to work on decreasing the infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate. We’re losing too many mothers in the first year after the birth of their child.”

Antonio is looking forward to working with another Democrat, Representative Bride Rose Sweeney of West Park. The Democrats are in a minority in both chambers of the General Assembly, and Antonio stresses bi-partisanship as a way to keep legislation moving on meaningful items.


In May, Antonio defeated Martin Sweeney in the primary, and in November, she was elected to State Senate. Her past jobs prepared her well for that role.

From 2006-2010, Antonio served 5 years on Lakewood City Council, and then studied leadership in State and Local Government one summer at the JFK School of Government at Harvard University.

From 1996-2011, she served as President of StAr Communication Consulting, working with non-profit groups in a variety of areas. She stepped down to become a full-time State Legislator. She has also worked as a special education teacher, and during the 1990s, was a non-profit executive director of a women’s outpatient treatment drug/alcohol treatment program.

A graduate of Lutheran West High School, she has two degrees from Cleveland State University — a Bachelors in Special Education and Training, and a Masters of Public Administration, with a focus in Public Policy Analysis and Organizational Development.

She also serves on the Community Engagement Committee for the Beck Center for the Arts and is involved in a number of legislative leadership organizations.

How to contact Nickie Antonio, after Jan. 1, 2019:
Call 614-466-5123
Send e-mail to
For overall Senate info, go to
For more specific info, go to
During much of the year, legislators meet in Columbus on Tuesday through Thursday and spend long weekends in their home districts.

Sweeney takes office early as new State Rep

CMYK Bride Rose Sweeney
(Photo by Ohio House staff)
By Jerry Masek
Most new politicians elected in November have to wait until Jan. 1 to take office.
Not Bride Rose Sweeney. Because the Ohio House 14th District seat was vacant, she was appointed by Ohio House Democratic Caucus to fill the spot just one week after she won the Nov. 6 election.
House Speaker Ryan Smith administered the oath of office on Nov. 14, before Sweeney’s friends, family and fellow legislators.

“The first few days were a complete whirlwind,” Sweeney said. “I’ve already voted on a few bills.”

As a member of the 133rd General Assembly, Sweeney, 26, replaces her father, long-time politician Martin Sweeney. A native of West Park, it is believed that she is the first woman ever to represent District 14. She is also the youngest current state legislator.

District 14 includes Cleveland Wards 16 and 17, Parma Heights, Middleburg Heights, Brooklyn and Brook Park. Republicans hold a majority in both Houses of the General Assembly.

“This is the greatest honor of my life and I cannot thank everyone enough who led me here,” she wrote on Facebook. “I am grateful to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and to the citizens who put their trust in me. This election fulfills a lifelong dream for me.”
Sweeney said she will fight for better jobs, increased access to health care, and strong communities. In her campaign, she focused on protecting Medicaid expansion, restoring the Local Government Fund, and keeping higher education affordable.
Sweeney was named Bride after her grandmother, a first-generation American. The families lived on West 133rd Street, near Jefferson Park.
Her path to the Statehouse was clearly marked by two things — coming from a family of public servants and gaining valuable Statehouse experience right out of college.
A 2010 graduate of St. Joseph Academy, she majored in political science, and minored in business and leadership at John Carroll University.
After graduating in 2014, she was selected to be a fellow at the non-partisan Ohio Legislative Service Commission. She later worked for State Senators in the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus, including Ken Yuko. Now, she and Yuko are both members of the General Assembly.
When she declared her candidacy Feb. 3, she wrote on Facebook, “I know that a life of service dedicated to others is a life worth living. I am running because I believe government can do better, and together, we can make it work for all of us. I want to do my part to change the system and create a future we can all be proud of. My name may be familiar, but I am my own woman and have new, fresh ideas for the Statehouse.”
The Statehouse calendar usually requires legislators to be in Columbus several days each week, giving them ample time to meet with constituents in their home districts.
How to reach Representative Sweeney

Phone: 614-466-3350

Mail: 77 South High St., Columbus OH 43215

E-mail: Go to

Ceremony and Parade Planned to Honor Veterans Nov. 9

City Hall lights up in green to show support for Veterans



Mayor Frank G. Jackson and other city officials will participate in the 2018 Veterans Day ceremony and parade on Nov. 9 to honor those who bravely served in the armed forces. Cleveland City Hall will also shine in green to show recognition and support for Cleveland-area veterans.

Greenlight A Vet

City Hall will shine in green as part of the Greenlight A Vet initiative. The Greenlight A Vet initiative is a national campaign to establish visible, national support for veterans by changing building lights to the color green. For more information on Greenlight A Vet, visit

Veterans Day Ceremony

The 2018 Veterans Day theme is “100th Anniversary of the World War I Armistice.” On Friday, Nov. 9, at 11 a.m., a special Veterans Day recognition ceremony will be held inside Cleveland City Hall rotunda. Speakers at the ceremony are Mayor Frank G. Jackson; President, Joint Veterans Council of Cuyahoga County Tom Jenks,; Chaplain, U.S. Army (Ret.) Father Joe Piskura,; Mistress of Ceremonies Monica Robins; and Guest Speaker Judge David Matia.

Veteran Awardees

During the ceremony, three individuals will be recognized for their service to the nation: Allen Bray, “Outstanding Student Veteran of the Year”; Taras Terry Zacharyj, “Veteran of the Year”; and Judge Charles Patton, Cleveland Municipal Court, Veterans Treatment Court, “Civilian of the Year.”


This year marks the fifth annual Cleveland Veterans Day Parade. The parade immediately follows the ceremony and will step-off in front of City Hall, 601 Lakeside Ave., at 12:30 p.m. The parade route will proceed east on Lakeside Avenue to East 9th Street, south towards Superior Avenue, west towards Roadway Drive, north toward Rockwell Avenue, west to Ontario Street, north to Lakeside Avenue traveling east and ending at City Hall. Find a copy of the route map here.

The Co-Grand Marshals for this year’s parade are: Allen Bray, “Outstanding Veteran Student of the Year”; Taras Terry Zacharyj, “Veteran of the Year”; and Judge Charles Patton, Cleveland Municipal Court, Veterans Treatment Court, “Civilian of the Year.”

Reminder: To enter City Hall, visitors must bring a valid photo ID.

About the City of Cleveland

The City of Cleveland is committed to improving the quality of life of its residents by strengthening neighborhoods, delivering superior services, embracing diversity and making Cleveland a desirable, safe city in which to live, work, play and do business. For more information on the City of Cleveland, visit online at, Twitter at @cityofcleveland or Facebook at