Rocky River - June 2023

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Rocky River Destination

Vibrant Living Vibrant Living

Rocky River is brimming with opportunities for older adults to have fun, stay active and live life to the fullest.

Plus: Summer Events Why We Love Our Library Student and Senior Connections


From the City of Rocky River

For advertising information, call 216.377.3693

Vibrant Living at Any Age

Rocky River is a city that celebrates its seniors, and a visit to our state-of-the-art Senior Center makes that evident. At the helm is the director of senior services, Deborah Huff, who’s made it her mission to ensure the Senior Center offers programming with a broad appeal that empowers seniors to live their lives to the fullest. Whether it’s performing as part of the acting group, digging in the dirt at the Senior Center garden or hopping on a bus to visit a new lunch spot as part of the Good Grub Social Club, there is no shortage of opportunities for seniors to stay active and engaged. In addition, the city is home to several first-class senior living facilities that offer programming to keep residents busy, active and best of all — smiling.

There are plenty of opportunities for residents from different generations to come together, too. Students from Rocky River High School’s Key Club, for example, have been visiting the Senior Center to serve as tech experts, offering troubleshooting help with tablets, computers, cell phones and more. And, a new program at the Rocky River Public Library has seniors and younger residents engaging in friendly Esports competitions on Nintendo Switch gaming consoles.

No matter your age, Rocky River has so much to offer — and our Summer of Fun is a testament to that. From Pie in the Park to epic pool parties at the Water Zone and the annual Taste of River event, we encourage you to come and explore our vibrant, welcoming community.

With kindest regards, Mayor

Executive Assistant to the Mayor

Helping our Residents Return Home

Experience the Not-For-Profit Difference

The mission of the Welsh Home is a “Legacy of the Heart” following the traditions of the Women’s Welsh Clubs of America to respect the spirit of each resident.

After a hospital stay, our number one goal at the Welsh House is for you to return home safely.

Recover in our Private Rehab Suites with:

· Physical Therapy

· Speech Therapy

· Occupational Therapy

· Skilled Nursing

22199 Center Ridge Road, Rocky River 440-331-0420


Discover how the Rocky River Public Library is connecting the community and creating exciting experiences for all ages.

The best libraries aren’t those that cultivate the largest book collections; they’re the ones that create a community hub. At the Rocky River Public Library (RRPL), there’s no better destination for people of all ages to connect and get inspired to learn something new.

“We have some really wonderful programming and ideas and ways to engage with people,” says Stacey Hayman, RRPL outreach coordinator. “We make sure everyone has something to look forward to, enjoy and get inspired by.”

Here’s a look at just a few of the many programs offered:


With a goal to bridge generations and honor area veterans, RRPL’s Thank a Vet program invites children to create drawings and write letters thanking veterans for their service. The program provides children with a better understanding of sacrifices and challenges veterans endure.


Available to readers of all ages, teens are encouraged to make RRPL’s annual Summer Reading Program a family affair. Invite siblings, parents and friends for a read-a-thon of logging minutes read and programs attended for the chance to win prizes. Join other avid readers for the program’s kickoff party on June 10.


For gardeners, RRPL has partnered with the Cleveland Seed Bank to host a seed library, which offers a selection of 24 varieties of organic, open-pollinated, vegetable, herb and edible flower seeds that are available to “check out” for free.


This summer, RRPL is launching an Intergenerational Gaming Program, which connects youngsters with older adults at local senior living facilities. With Nintendo Switch consoles, the two groups will engage in some friendly Esports competitions. “It’s a chance for a connection that wouldn’t have been there before,” Hayman says. “It’s opening a door and providing a way for everyone to have fun and learn something new.”

4 ROCKY RIVER 2023 Rocky River A quality community for your family, your business and your investment. 440-331-0600 • COURTESY ROCKY RIVER

Scene from the City

The Rocky River School District is forging meaningful connections between students and senior citizens. By Rachel Hagenbaugh experts for older adults. From smartphones and tablets to laptops, the teens help older adults with everything from troubleshooting and downloading apps to browsing the web, texting and everything in between.

Engaging in service. Building character. Developing leadership. That’s the mission of Rocky River High School’s Key Club. This year, students are participating in a new venture at the Rocky River Senior Center, where twice a month for about an hour, they serve as tech

“It can be such a simple thing, but it’s so rewarding for both students and seniors,”

300+ years of combined experience

Family-owned and operated since 1984

says Kate Hamm, Key Club advisor. “We were looking for a way to get back involved in the community. My students help me with technology in the classroom all the time.”

Freshman Angelina Cini says she joined Key Club as a way to help the community. When it comes to visiting the senior center, she likes how grateful and appreciative the older adults are for the students’ help.

“You show them how to send a text or send a photo, and they are so happy afterward,” she says. “It’s nice to give back to them and also interact with different crowds that you’re not usually around.”

In addition to tech help, Senior Center visitors also have had the opportunity to meet about 15 middle school student council members for lunch and engage in some friendly competition playing chair volleyball.

“I honestly don’t know who has more fun and laughs harder — the seniors or students,” says Joyce Lampp, Rocky River Middle School student council advisor, adding that this year, the sixth, seventh and eighth graders each got the opportunity to spend a Friday afternoon at the senior center. “It was so fun to watch.”

ready to serve you!


Right Place AGING IN THE

When you think about how you want to spend your golden years, what images come to mind? For many, it’s living in a supportive community filled with activities and services that can help them remain active, mentally and physically fit and independent for as long as possible and as their needs change. That’s what it means to age in the right place, and it’s the key for older adults to live their best, most vibrant lives.

From Rocky River’s bustling Senior Center, lively downtown atmosphere, dedicated safety forces, plethora of parks and variety of independent and assisted living communities, Riverites rave about the city’s unique ability to support residents through every stage of life. It’s a tight-knit town where the

same people who lived next door to each other as children are now neighbors in the same retirement community.

“People who are residents at the Normandy, the majority of them have lived [in Rocky River] for most of their lives,” says Kim Zdanowicz, marketing director for the Normandy Senior Living Campus. “There are three ladies who live here who all grew up on the same street.”

So what makes Rocky River such a desirable destination for older adults? First, it’s the dedication of the mayor’s office and members of city council, both present and past.

“Everything older adults need that we could possibly provide through a municipality, we do,” says Deborah Huff, executive

director of the Rocky River Senior Center (RRSC). “Rocky River is very special in that way. Mayors and city council members have always supported senior services and seniors living in Rocky River. They supported older adults when they decided to build a new center from the ground up while other communities used existing buildings.”

RRSC is dedicated to creating healthy aging opportunities for older adults through social engagement, physical well-being, civic involvement and lifelong learning. The center offers a variety of services, including one-day and overnight tours, golf leagues, cultural experiences and special events featuring prominent speakers, entertainers and musicians. Those looking to further fill their calendars can participate in a wide range of

Rocky River is brimming with opportunities for older adults to live their best, most vibrant lives.

classes, from art, drama, history, language and fitness to wellness, travel, literature, movies, music and technology.

In addition, the Senior Center provides daily transportation service, as well as a licensed social worker who is equipped to handle any life transitions older adults may face. One of the staff’s newest additions is Tanner, a cocker spaniel therapy dog who visits the Senior Center every Tuesday.

“We have one of the only senior acting groups in Ohio,” Huff adds, showcasing

the center’s 300-seat auditorium. “We have seniors who put on productions for the community. It’s like a high school musical, except instead of parents coming, it’s children and grandchildren.”


Forging multigenerational connections is an important component to active aging, and one that is prevalent in Rocky River. Huff boasts of the positive relationship

between the Senior Center and school district. While high school students visit the Senior Center to help older adults learn to use tech devices, middle schoolers mingle with them for lunch and afternoon chair volleyball matches. The center’s acting group also performs for the students and attends dress rehearsals of middle school and high school plays.

“We’ve been on a crusade here in Rocky River to reframe aging and change how people are talking about aging and view older

Happily Ever After... lives in Rocky River

Happily Ever After... lives in Rocky River

Happily Ever After... lives in Rocky River

Happily Ever After... lives in Rocky River

No need to wish upon a star, we are right here in downtown Rocky River! We have the dream homes you want, the real buyers you need and the best agents to make it all go smoothly.

No need to wish upon a star, we are right here in downtown Rocky River! We have the dream homes you want, the real buyers you need and the best agents to make it all go smoothly.

No need to wish upon a star, we are right here in downtown Rocky River! We have the dream homes you want, the real buyers you need and the best agents to make it all go smoothly.


Wish, Just Call The SALEmaker Team!

Don’t Wish, Just Call The SALEmaker Team!

No need to wish upon a star, we are right here in downtown Rocky River! We have the dream homes you want, the real buyers you need and the best agents to make it all go smoothly. Don’t

Don’t Wish, Just Call The SALEmaker Team!

Meredith and Gloria Hardington

Meredith and Gloria Hardington

Meredith and Gloria Hardington

19204 Detroit Road, Rocky River 216-618-2040

19204 Detroit Road, Rocky River

19204 Detroit Road, Rocky River 216-618-2040


Meredith and Gloria Hardington

19204 Detroit Road, Rocky River 216-618-2040

Smooth Sailing.
Wish, Just Call The
Team! Set your sails… for a real hometown lifestyle. Rocky River gives you beauty, charm and stunning views of Lake Erie. We have homes you want, the real buyers you need and the best agents to make everything
AGING IN THE Right Place
Tanner, a therapy dog, visits the Rocky River Senior Center. The Rocky River Senior Center has an auditorium and acting group. Above, seniors rehearse for an upcoming show. Rocky River Middle School students engage in a friendly game of chair volleyball with local seniors.

adults in the community,” Huff says, revealing how people’s beliefs on aging influence their health and well-being as they get older.

Built in 1983, RRSC is one of 100 senior centers that are nationally accredited and one of four to receive state accreditation. Recently, the city awarded RRSC with funding to expand and add a 100-seat lecture hall, gymnasium and new restrooms. Plans also are in the works to renovate current restrooms and office spaces.

“When people think of a senior center, they think of a residential center where

When people think of a senior center, they think of a residential center where it’s quiet. Ours is more of a rec center — like a college campus.”

it’s quiet. Ours is more of a rec center — like a college campus,” Huff says. “We offer all of the things that are required for healthy aging.”


As a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility, The Welsh Home cares for older adults during some of the most frustrating times of their lives. From post-surgery recovery, stroke and neurological disorders to cardiac recovery, orthopedic injuries and joint replacement, The Welsh Home’s

Top: Seniors participate in a blanketmaking class at The Welsh Home.

Below: Residents enjoy gardening at The Welsh Home.

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AGING IN THE Right Place

No. 1 priority is providing residents with the mental and physical enrichment they need to get better and return home. For those with ongoing needs, The Welsh Home also offers a long-term care facility and assisted living units.

“Everyone who lives in Rocky River knows someone who’s been at The Welsh Home,” says Sheryl Kinser, life enrichment director, adding that The Welsh Home is home to 89 residents. “It warms my heart to sit among groups of men and women and see them belly laugh in their wheelchair. You don’t see or hear that often, and to be successful at doing that is really important.”

What’s the key to making that happen? A lot of personal interaction. The Welsh Home’s staff sees every resident every single day.

“We encourage them to get out of their room, which keeps them from getting depressed and also keeps them active and upright, which gives them the motivation to go to therapy and eventually get back home,” she says, highlighting activities that include everything from painting and

music programs to trivia, card games, bingo and jewelry making.

The facility also hosts special events, such as the upcoming car show on June 10, to keep residents engaged with the community.

Inspiration for the car show was sparked by a gentleman who is close to one of the women who lives at The Welsh Home. She’s unable to return home but is very well liked in the neighborhood where she lived. Many

in the neighborhood have antique cars, and the gentleman wanted to put on a car show with the neighbors. It’s that personalization and dedication to serving the residents’ unique needs that Rachel Toth, admissions and marketing coordinator, most appreciates about The Welsh Home.

“We get a lot of freedom to do what the residents are interested in and tailor activities and experiences toward that,” she says.

Senior Living, Rede f ined

Embrace the good life in a 1-bedroom apartment at Breakwater Independent Living Apartments. Let go of daily hassles and enjoy the freedom to make the most of every day. From housekeeping to heated parking garages, social groups, outings and more, we empower our residents to live a life of leisure and relaxation. Experience the best of senior living today! Sign your lease today and we’ll cover your moving expenses and first month of rent! Call Kim Zdanowicz at 440-333-5401 ext. 3 or visit to schedule a tour and start your new lifestyle at Breakwater Apartments.
AGING IN THE Right Place
Residents celebrate Father’s Day at The Welsh Home.


For Embassy of Rockport, an assisted living facility featuring 118 studio and one-bedroom units, active aging is all about catering to residents’ needs. That not only includes assisting them with activities of daily living, such as housekeeping, cooking and bathing, but also encouraging them to stay social and mobile.

“We want residents to be as independent as possible,” says Jean Hollenbeck,

administrator. “We help them be as active as they can be, regardless of what their limitations are.”

That means providing a range of experiences for all abilities, from a gardening program, walking trail and courtyard that provides the backdrop for summer cookouts to festive holiday parties and celebrations. The St. Patrick’s Day Carnival, for example, encourages people to dress up, enjoy some entertainment and participate in games to win prizes.

“One resident voluntarily trims our hedges,” Hollenbeck says with a smile. “We really tailor this place to our residents’ lifestyles so they can make it their own and make it home.”

For those who want to go shopping, dining, visit the Senior Center or local library or plan a daytrip to Downtown Cleveland, Embassy’s transportation services offer plenty of opportunities for residents to connect to the community. Located on Center Ridge Road, Embassy also is close to Starbucks, Westgate Mall, Fitworks and a variety of dining options.

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We really tailor this place to our residents’ lifestyles so they can make it their own and make it home.”
Jean Hollenbeck administrator at Embassy of Rockport

Overall, Hollenbeck says Rocky River is an ideal destination for older adults.

“Rocky River has a great senior center,” Hollenbeck says. “And it’s a safe, closeknit community. The police are aware of things, and the crime rate is low, so it’s OK for older adults to go out walking, night or day, and feel safe.”

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Embassy of Rockport residents celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a carnival. Embassy of Rockport offers a wide range of activities for residents, including games and gardening.


Located near Lake Erie on more than 30 acres of beautifully landscaped and wooded grounds, the Normandy Senior Living Campus combines top-notch amenities and connected community lifestyle to provide care for older adults during every stage of the aging process. From Breakwater Independent Living and Lakeside Assisted Living to the Normandy Care Center, the location’s three buildings each offer a different level of care.

“Our campus allows people to be as independent as possible,” says Kim

Zdanowicz, marketing director, adding that each building has its own activities and life enrichment department. “That allows us to cater to the needs of that particular building and serve everyone’s needs at different stages.”

At Breakwater, residents have access to all the campus has to offer, including a nine-hole golf course, putting green, 24/7 fitness center, game room, pub with weekly live entertainment, walking trails, garden plots, firepits, library and full-service beauty salon. Residents also can participate in various fitness and cultural programming, from seated yoga, balance and

bars classes to special guest speakers and Case Western Reserve University classes. Residents also can leave the campus for scheduled or impromptu outings to local entertainment destinations — either on their own or through transportation provided by the Normandy. In the past, excursions have included trips to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, Playhouse Square, Lake View Cemetery, Severance Hall and Cleveland Art Museum.

“People come and meet with me to learn about how they can remain active. A lot of people I meet are recently widowed or with their spouses and looking to

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Normandy residents enjoy the on-site pub. Normandy employees are devoted to care.

downsize,” Zdanowicz says, adding that people choose the Normandy because of the social opportunities that are available.

At Lakeside and Normandy Care Center, activities are geared toward keeping residents as physically and mentally fit as possible. Holistic wellness activities include Opening Minds Through Art (OMA),

an intergenerational art program for people with dementia; intergenerational choir; pet therapy; musical entertainment and exercise programs. Sensory programs also are available to help stimulate and comfort the mind, body and spirit.

“There’s something for everyone to enjoy,” Zdanowicz says.

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This summer, Rocky River’s parks and streets will come alive with events offering fun for everyone. Dubbed “Summer of Fun,” the city’s goal is to spread the events throughout the summer to make sure everyone has a chance to partake in the excitement, says Bob Holub, Rocky River’s director of recreation.

Here’s a look at some upcoming events. For the full Summer of Fun schedule, visit

Whether you’re a foodie, fitness enthusiast, car lover or music fan, Rocky River has it all this summer.

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As part of the National Recreation and Park Association, the Rocky River Recreation Department hosts a Health and Fitness Day at Linden Park, with an inflatable bounce house, three-point basketball shootout, a bike parade and more. “Kids participate with a police officer,” Holub says of the bike parade. “An officer rides them around the park and goes through setup of a bike and safety precautions.” Last year, Meijer sponsored the event, donating eight bikes and more than 40 helmets. This year’s event is scheduled for June 10.

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Scheduled throughout the summer, enjoy live music at locations around the city, such as the picturesque Rocky River Park right on the lake. The city strives to include bands from varying genres so there’s something for everyone. The popular Pie in the Park concert returns this year on June 25 at 7 p.m., featuring Beatles tribute band Revolution Pie. “The mayor’s office is always able to secure a donation of 70 or so pies that we have sliced and city council and the mayor’s office serve at the Pie in the Park event,” Holub says.



Scheduled for July 9, this event draws upwards of 100 cars to City Hall campus. Vehicles must be at least 25 years old to be registered, and trophies and door prizes are awarded in the afternoon. There’s no entrance fee, and food and beverages are available on site.

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Taste of River returns to Linda Street on June 17 from 4 to 9 p.m. This Rocky River Chamber of Commerce event highlights the city’s many culinary delights, with more than 20 local food vendors participating — and some new surprises in store this year. “Last year was the first year we took the event outdoors, and we were overwhelmed by the response of the community,” says Angela Barth, Chamber executive director. “We’re so excited to bring it back — and bring it back in a bigger way.”

A new sweet spot dedicated to delicious desserts is new for 2023, as is a pet area sponsored by State Farm Insurance Agent Robbie Anderson, with support from Paws & Effect Pet Grooming. “The event is not possible without the support of our sponsors, including Gold Sponsors Earnest Machine Products and Cox Business,” Barth adds.

Live bands will entertain attendees all day, and there will be plenty to keep the kids busy, too, including a magician, balloon artists and face painters.

Barth describes Taste of River as a “choose your own adventure” event. Admission is free, and food and beverages are pay-as-you-go. Parking is available at Rocky River Middle School, with shuttles provided by The Welsh Home.

The event will take place rain or shine, with tents available in the case of inclement weather. “Last year we lucked out with the most perfect weather, so we hope to have that again this year,” Barth says.


We would like to extend a big “Thank You” to Rocky River and surrounding communities. We are grateful for your continued business and look forward to meeting and welcoming residents to our wonderful community.

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MEET THE Two Taste of River vendors discuss what they love about the event and give us the lowdown on their signature dishes.


Participating in Taste of River is a no-brainer for John Owen, owner of three restaurants in Rocky River — Market, Rocky River Wine Bar and Tommy’s Place. “It’s good for the community to see what we have restaurant-wise for the whole city of Rocky River,” Owen says. “I also think it’s good for us to support the local Chamber, so it’s a win-win for everybody involved.”

Here’s a look at some signature dishes from Owen’s restaurants:


The 48-hour braised chicken wings are a fan favorite, with your choice of sauces and rubs, including Nashville Hot, Salt & Vinegar and Cajun, to name a few. “Everyone says we have some of the best wings in town,” Owen says.


The 8-ounce certified angus beef burger reigns supreme here, topped with mouth-watering blistered tomatoes, aged Gruyere Swiss, crispy onion shallots and horseradish aioli on a brioche bun. “It’s a very unique burger,” says Owen.


Locals flock to Tommy’s Place for its cocktails and friendly neighborhood vibe, but Owen says Tommy’s is also known for its always-satisfying bar food such as juicy burgers and flavorful French fries.

(Market, Rocky River Wine Bar and Tommy’s Place)
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Jim Griffiths, in real estate and health care by trade, jokes that he was reluctant about buying Bearden’s when the storied Rocky River establishment went up for sale in 2011, but his daughter insisted he do everything possible to keep the restaurant alive. “We’ve been doing it now for over 10 years, and we’re proud that we’re part of the community,” Griffiths says, adding that the restaurant, known for its steakburgers, has been a Rocky River staple for more than seven decades. When

he purchased Bearden’s, he also inherited the recipes from three generations of the Orange Family, who had run the business since the 1940s.

Griffiths is excited to participate in Taste of River again in 2023. “We want to be part of Rocky River and the celebration of restaurants and the Taste of River because we have a role to play in the nostalgia that we bring to the table,” he says. He adds that he is a former resident and current land owner in Rocky River, so he wants to be part of preserving and strengthening the city going forward.

While Griffiths says the famous burger recipe is top-secret, he does share three tips for a delicious, juicy burger:

1. Use fresh beef. “If people freeze their hamburgers, they’re not going to get the quality that you do when you have a fresh burger,” he says.

2. Consider the protein-to-fat ratio. “A lot of people think that having a 90%/10% or even higher ratio is a good balance between protein and fat, but it doesn’t lend itself very much to flavor,” he says. “The fat content and the mixture between the meat and the fat is very important.”

3. Use the proper heat. An overcooked burger will be too dry, but you do want to make sure the internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees F.

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