Mayor Gorden

Mayor's Corner

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Mar 09

Last Call for Early Bird Summer Camp Registration

Posted on March 9, 2017 at 3:57 PM by Mayor Merle S. Gorden

campTomorrow/Friday is the final day for residents to take advantage of early bird rates for our popular summer camp programs. It is typically a busy day at City Hall as many Beachwood moms and dads drop by to lock-in their children’s spots at a reduced rate.

On Sunday, registration opens to the public at 8 a.m. In prior years, we’ve had members of the public lining up in the wee hours of the morning to maintain a good spot in line. Most of our camps will sell out within minutes or hours.

The popularity of Beachwood’s programs is a tremendous testament to our Recreation staff and the excellent programming they have developed over the years. Our affordable camps include a traditional day camp and specialized programs in sports, arts, theatre and travel. Camp runs 7 weeks, 5 days a week (no camp July 4), 6 hours a day. At the early-bird resident rate of $575, the hourly rate per child rounds out to $2.81 - a fantastic value.  

Beachwood’s Theatre Camp allows students to work with professionals to fine tune their skills in acting, dancing and singing. Campers rehearse daily for a full-staged musical production at the end of camp.  

Teen Adventure Travel Camp allows middle schoolers to experience fieldtrips for a wide variety of outdoor adventures including hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, a rope course and more.

Complementing the camp season is a before and after camp care program that allows for extended childcare to accommodate working parents. 

If you are a Beachwood resident, please don’t delay in reserving your spot(s) in summer camp.  Children enjoy good old-fashioned fun and make new friends along the way.

Thank you to the parents and children who support us, and to all the staff, especially camp leaders and counselors, that continue to make our camps a success.

Feb 21

MEET THE TEAM: Gary Haba, Police Chief

Posted on February 21, 2017 at 1:43 PM by Mayor Merle S. Gorden

HabaAfter more than two decades serving with the Beachwood Police Department, Gary Haba was officially sworn in as Chief on Monday, February 6, 2017. The 20 year police veteran knew he wanted to serve from a young age, frequently visiting police and fire stations as a child with his father, a local Mayor. Read more about Chief Haba here:

When did you know you wanted to be a police officer? 
It was at quite a young age. My father was the mayor of Oakwood Village for 17 years and as a child I was fortunate to be able to visit the police and fire stations often.  The policemen were always very nice to me. I can remember putting their hats on and sitting in the cruisers.  For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a soldier and a policeman and I was able to fulfill both of those wishes. 

You have more than 20 years of experience with Beachwood Police Department. What do you enjoy most about working in/with the Beachwood community?
Beachwood provides a diverse and varied workload that requires me to be very well-rounded as an officer.  I also enjoy the cooperation and comradery among the city departments and the overwhelming support for our department from our residents and businesses. 

How do you hope to impact the Beachwood community during your time as Chief?
I think the best impact I can make to the community is to guide the department in such a way that our resources can be flexible enough to adapt quickly to changing needs.  Over my career, I have seen police work and expectations change drastically and it always seems that police agencies are slower to change than the needs.  I would also like to incorporate more organized community-based activities involving our personnel.

What is the biggest challenge you face and/or what is your next major professional goal?
Police work in general is in a constant state of change and expectations of officers now are as high as ever.  Adapting to those changes and supporting the staff through those adaptations will always be a big challenge.  As far as a goal, I would very much like every employee in my department to be better each year, both personally and professionally, than they were the one prior.  Whatever I can do to help facilitate that would be what I consider a worthwhile goal. 

You served in the army from 1990-1994. What did you learn from that experience?
Enlisting in the Army was probably the best thing I have ever done.  I learned at the very beginning of adulthood how to be self-sufficient and respect/understand others who come from different backgrounds and places.

If you weren’t in the force, what would you be doing professionally?
I think I would be a barber because I like few things better than a fresh haircut.

Tell us a bit about your childhood. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Oakwood Village, the youngest sibling of five boys. I attended St. Mary’s School in Bedford through sixth grade and graduated from Bedford High School in 1990. 

Tell us a bit about your family. Do you have kids? Pets? 
I have a daughter who is 10 years old and an excellent student.  She plays volleyball, softball and is involved in Girl Scouts and other activities - all of which keeps me quite busy.  My dog is a border collie named Rocket and I have a bearded dragon named Lightening.  

What do you do for fun? Any hobbies?
When the weather is good, I play golf every chance I get.  I also play volleyball once a week, year-round, and coach CYO volleyball in the fall.  I enjoy taking my dog for walks or runs and riding bicycles with my daughter.  We also visit a horse ranch in Arizona every summer.

Do you have a favorite television show or movie? 
I am a big Star Wars fan.  Not much into television, but I love the series Vikings on the History Channel. 

What is your favorite band (or song)?
My taste in music is quite varied.  I like Metallica and Neil Diamond, if that tells you anything...

If you could pack up and leave for a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?
I would visit my brother who lives in Hong Kong.

What are some of your favorite spots in Beachwood?
Bruegger’s Bagels, Petco, and Yours Truly.  I find the Maltz Museum fascinating because I enjoy history a great deal. 



Jan 27

MEET THE TEAM: Hope Jones, Law Director

Posted on January 27, 2017 at 3:16 PM by Mayor Merle S. Gorden

Hope Jones

In this blog, I periodically feature our colleagues in government so you can get to know us better. Today, we are talking with recently appointed Law Director Hope Jones.    

Before she became Law Director, Jones served as Beachwood’s Assistant Law Director for two and a half years. She brings to the City more than 25 years of experience in all facets of municipal law. Outside of work, you will likely find her spending time with family, gardening or enjoying local sports teams. Please take a minute to learn more about Director Jones.

Why did you choose to go into law?

I studied Hearing and Speech Sciences at Ohio University, and in my last year I realized the field was not for me. Law had always intrigued me and I realized that was the path I wanted to pursue. Plus, as I told my dad,  I like to argue so I might as well get paid for it. 

I finished my undergraduate degree in Hearing and Speech Sciences,  took the LSAT and applied to law school. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

If you weren’t practicing law, what would you be doing?

I would probably be in marketing or advertising. I enjoy watching commercials and think it would be fascinating to work behind the scenes to develop successful campaigns. 

Where did you attend college? 
I graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s in Hearing and Speech Sciences from Ohio University. I then went on to University of Akron School of Law, where I graduated with a Juris Doctor in Law.

What do you think makes Beachwood a unique community?
Beachwood is a wonderful community, with residents that truly care and acknowledge they have a stake in continuing to make it one of the best communities in the state to live, work and play.  

What is your favorite restaurant and/or spot to visit in Beachwood?

My favorite restaurant is Cedar Creek Grill. I especially love their Derby Cobb salad and their friendly staff. 

Where can we find you in your free time?
When the weather’s nice, you can find me in my back yard, gardening. I try in vain to grow roses that my grandma Jones liked. My husband and I have a small vegetable garden for tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.   

I also enjoy watching sports. I am a huge Buckeyes fan and also root for all of Cleveland’s professional teams.

Tell us about your family. 
My husband, George is a retired Captain with the Cuyahoga Falls Fire department where he served for 34 years.  I have two wonderful step-daughters, Mellissa and Allison. Melissa is head of security at the Cuyahoga Falls Target and will attend Kent state in the Fall to pursue a degree in law enforcement.  Allison is in her first year at Kent State majoring in Fashion Design. 

We also have two dogs— Sadie Lou, a rescued mutt, and Tequila Maria, a Chihuahua we are keeping for our daughter.

Tell us about the most memorable or most defining moment in your career.

I spent 24 years working for the City of Cuyahoga Falls, first as a prosecutor and then as an Assistant Law Director and Deputy Law Director.  The City had a large bar and nightclub that was the source of many complaints and criminal activity. It was my pleasure to be the lead attorney on the Declaratory nuisance case that was filed against the owners and operators of the club. The court found that the bar was a nuisance and we were able to close it down permanently. 

If you could pack up and leave for a vacation tomorrow, where would you go?
Bora, Bora. I have never been, but the beaches look simply breathtaking.

Do you have any involvement in community, charitable activities? 

I am on the Board of Directors of the Tinkers Creek Watershed Partnership. It is a great group and allows me to be involved in improving the water quality and habitat of the largest tributary of the Cuyahoga River. 

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people?
I have an identical, mirror image twin named Faith.  We also have an older sister named Joy