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Marie Barni
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Archive of events and news releases



  • Restaurateur tells how he fulfilled his dreamphoto of a young man
    Tim Harris inspired an audience of 300+ to pursue their dreams at this year's Cuyahoga County Board of DD Hall of Fame luncheon. Read more about Tim and his restaurant and see Fox 8's news segment about Tim.
    Inductees into the Hall of Fame this year were Glenn E. Billington, Barbara J. Chapman, Judge John Donnelly, Gerda Freedheim, Richard S. Koblentz, Robert L. Larson, Stephen McPeake, Dr. Stephen L. Ruedrich and Deanna S. Vosmik.
  • Strategic plan for 2015-17 addresses key issues that affect our future 
    Also at the August 27 meeting, our board unanimously approved the strategic plan that will direct our efforts during the next three years. A convergence of forces stemming from the Olmstead decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, Ohio's Employment First initiative and new rules issued by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will have a profound effect on the future. Taking those forces into account, the plan focuses primarily on community integration and employment for adults. (We have already successfully integrated our services for children with the transition of all school-age children to their home districts and the shift of our early intervention services from a center-based to a home-based model.) We are confident that the future is bright for people with developmental disabilities. Read the plan.
  • Twins are dedicated CWRU football supporters
    Donald and Ronald Cunningham have been a fixture on the campus of Case Western Reserve University since 1976 when they started volunteering as ball boys for the Spartans. They've touched the hearts of players and coaches with their devotion, and they'll touch yours too when you read the front-page story about them in The Plain Dealer.
  • Board issues position paper on the issue of conflict of interest
    At the August 27 meeting, our board unanimously approved a position paper on an issue currently brewing in Ohio: Can Boards of DD provide direct services like those we offer in our community employment and adult activities programs AND also provide support administration services? Read our board's position.
  • Cleveland Crops featured on WKYC-Channel 3

    Take a few minutes to watch this story about Cleveland Crops, our urban farming venture, by Channel 3 reporter Monica Robbins. Founded in 2010 with the establishment of Stanard Farm in the St. Clair-Superior area just east of the downtown area, Cleveland Crops is a joint project between the Cuyahoga County Board of DD and SAW, Inc. It has quickly grown to include urban farming sites in Ohio City, Willard Park downtown, East 105th Street and East 107th Street, South Euclid, Seven Hills, Parma and Olmsted Township.  


  • Local Special Olympian takes the gold at nationalsman sitting at a weight lifting machine
    We're so proud of Walter Cummings! He earned first place in the bench press, second in the deadlift and second in the combination at the Special Olympics USA Games in New Jersey in June.
    Read more about him on the front page of Insight.
    In the photo at right, Walter was working out in prepartion for a competition. We have more photos posted on our Facebook page. You don't have to 'like' us to visit the page, but we would love to have you as one of our 'likes.'

  • Meet Aaron Broadstreet, artist and now author
    We've profiled Aaron Broadstreet, 24, for our visitors before when we showed some of the art he creates using parts from watches, typewriters and sewing machines that he dismantles. Now, add author to his list of accomplishments.
    Aaron, from Oakwood, has Asperger syndrome, a form of autism. After several years of journaling his life experiences, struggles and feelings, he decided to share the life lessons he's learned in a book to help others with autism and their families. His insightful reflections are simple and to the point, but profound. Sound Bites: Life Lessons by a Boy Who Has Autism offers life navigating instructions not just for people with developmental disabilities but for all of us.
    To buy the book, click here to email Aaron or phone (440)-786-8141. The color version is $20; the black and white, $6.95.
    Another interest that Aaron pursues with great attention to detail is model trains. At the left, he demos the complex display that he has built with his father.
    Read Regina Brett's recent column about Aaron from The Plain Dealer. (You'll need to scroll down the page before you get to the text of her column.)
  • New early intervention video premiers
    Early intervention services for children under the age of three in Cuyahoga County are a cooperative venture of Help Me Grow and the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Our new video shows how these in-home services help make a difference in the lives of children and their families.
  • SAW, Inc.: Sharing its success
    SAW, Inc., our nonprofit partner in employing men and women with developmental disabilities, celebrated 45 years of service at its annual meeting May 19, 2014 at Windows on the River.
    photos of three people with plaquesNamed SAW Company of the Year was PCC Airfoils, which has provided employment opportunities for those enrolled with us since 2009. Tom Eldridge, PCC’s general manager, summed up the relationship between his company, SAW and our workers perfectly when he said that usually the first person he sees in the morning is one of the SAW employees, who always has a smile on his face. “And sometimes it’s the only smile I see all day long!’ he joked. [Eldridge is pictured in the center with Marilyn Jares, SAW sales manager, and Tyrone McCann, Board of DD regional employment manager.]
    SAW also recognized 13 employees of the year, whose stories of success inspired everyone there. And, finally, the Gary L. Fusco Spirit Award was awarded to Volunteer Manager Sue Duffy. This award, which recognizes extraordinary spirit demonstrated by a Board of DD staff member, is our only agency-wide award for employees. It honors the memory of the former SAW executive director, who went on to become the superintendent of the Geauga County Board of DD before passing away suddenly in 2005.
    For more photos, go to our SAW, Inc. album on Facebook. Again, you don't need to 'like' us on Facebook to view the photos, but we would love to have to do so!
  • A royal thank you, volunteers!
    volunteers wearing tiaras and boasMore than 250 volunteers made a difference in the lives of the children and adults we serve this past year by contributing 11,694 hours of service, worth $263,699. Those who contributed more than 36 hours of service were honored at a brunch at the Holiday Inn-Rockside Road in May 17, 2014.
    Each year volunteer supervisors, in conjunction with other staff, make a difficult choice when they select a site volunteer of the year. This year’s volunteers of the year are:
    Beachwood – Dmitriy Naku
    East Cleveland – Theodore Guzik
    Euclid – Dana Heil
    Maple Heights – Irmi Hummel
    Parma – JoAnn Conte
    Rocky River – Beverly Donnelly
    Southwest – Linda Smith
    Special Olympics Roller Skating – Raymond Ujlaki
    Milestone awards went to several volunteers who reached 100, 250, 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000, 2,500, 3,000, 6,500 and, most remarkably, 7,000 hours of total service during their tenure as volunteers. Jenny Peak, who volunteers at our Southwest Adult Activities Center, is the dedicated volunteer who reached that 7,000-hour mark!
    The Board of DD also presented Inclusion Awards to NetShape Technologies, Evergreen Packaging, University Hospitals and the Ohio State University Extension-Cuyahoga County.
    The royal theme was reflected in the bright blues, reds and greens of the artwork by Maple Heights Adult Activities Center artist Tracy Flask that graced the invitation, program and favors.
    Always a highlight at the event are the gift baskets assembled and donated by Board of DD staff that volunteers can win in a chance auction. This year there were 29 different themed gift baskets. Adding to the fun, guests could don crowns, tiaras and boas for a session in the photo booth. For more photos, go to our Royal Thank You album on Facebook. You don't need to 'like' us on Facebook to view the photos, but we would love to have to do so!
  • The VSA arts festival explores "The ARTS tell a Story"photo of kids working on art project
    The annual festival (in its 33rd year) took place May 8 at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea. More than 900 students from area schools and 300 volunteers, many of them high school students, took part in this day of performances by musical groups and strolling acts, hands-on arts experiences, all based on the festival them, and an exhibit of works by students with disabilities. The free event also featured former Plain Dealer reporter Margaret Bernstein, who read her book "All in a Dad's Day" to an audience gathered in the bleachers. She was this year’s event chair. 
  • If you missed Razzle Dazzle XIV this past weekend . . .Three women at a microphone
    Check out our photos on Facebook. This original inclusive musical theater performance at the Beck Center in Lakewood had the audience swooning, crooning and boogie woogieing through the decades to the songs of 'glorious groups of guys and girls.'



  • Ability @ Work is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month theme
    As part of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, the Cuyahoga County Board of DD had three different billboards appearing at 20 locations throughout Cuyahoga County.
  • Board elects new officers
    New board president Ara BagdasarianAt the annual January organizational meeting, board members elected officers for the coming year. Ara A. Bagdasarian was elected president of the seven-member board, after serving two years as vice president. A Solon resident, he is the executive vice president of TravelCenters of America. He has two children who have Fragile X syndrome.
    The new vice president is Steven M. Licciardi. A resident of Westlake who has a brother enrolled at our Rocky River Adult Activities Center, he is serving his first term on the board. He is an associate vice president, senior portfolio manager with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
    The new recording secretary is Tania J. Younkin, who is also in her first term on the board. She has a daughter who receives services from United Cerebral Palsy of Cleveland. The Cleveland Heights resident is the quality manager for Energizer Battery Manufacturing, Inc.
    In March, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, with approval by Cuyahoga County Council, appointed Lisa M. Hunt of University Heights to fill the vacancy created when Dr. Maggie Jackson completed her third and final term as a member of the board in January. She is a program manager for Reaching Heights in Cleveland Heights. One of her sons attends public school and is  eligible for services from the Board of DD. She was sworn in at the March meeting. FitzGerald also reappointed Diane Roman Fusco to a third term. The Seven Hills resident is a marketing professional.
    The board's meeting schedule for the coming year makes the regular meeting date the fourth Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at the Michael A. Donzella Administration Building. Board meetings are open to the public.
  • We've lost our space at the Galleria downtown                                                                                                                                                     You can still support local artists who have developmental disabilities at the many community art shows where we exhibit and on-line. We'll keep you posted here on our website about where to find HeARTworks at the shows. And HeARTworks has a new website where you'll find many lovely items.



  • Austin Eafford: Winter card artistAustin Eafford at work on his art
    Austin Eafford, 20, of Cleveland won the contest to design this year's Cuyahoga County Board of DD winter card. His watercolor of a steaming cup of cocoa sitting on a table near a window with a wintry scene outside was chosen from almost 50 entries in the annual call for entries.
    Austin is an emerging artist, who takes lessons from M.E. Kwinter window sceneuzma at our Forest Hill Center studio. He demonstrated an aptitude for art early in life when, in preschool, he drew the illustrated alphabet chart.
    A 2013 graduate of Jane Addams High School, Austin is training in several disciplines of kung fu. Currently, he is writing the scripts and drawing the illustrations for his own cartoon series. He aspires to make art his career. He’s off to a good start—he earned $100 for his winter card design. 

  • Hall of Fame event honors champions
    The Cuyahoga County Board of DD inducted nine champions into its Hall of Fame on Oct. 17, 2013 at Lacentre in Westlake. These individuals have played significant roles in shaping the organization and in creating greater opportunities for children and adults with developmental disabilities:Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach

    • Betty Barnett (former director of the Board of DD's Children’s Services Division)
    • Dr. Robert Bilenker (founder of MetroHealth Medical Center’s Comp Care Unit)
    • Ben M. Bonanno (long-time executive director of the Arc of Greater Cleveland)
    • Dr. Donald Freedheim (former board president and faculty member at Case Western Reserve University)
    • Dr. Jane Kessler (former board president and long-time director of the Mental Development Center) 
    • Peter J. and Marjorie Nemeth (pioneer parents who helped to establish the local Arc and fought for the establishment of our organization, both posthumously) 
    • Dr. Terrence M. Ryan (retired Board of DD superintendent)
    • Regina M. Sweeney (former board president and long-time advocate for people with DD).

    Keynote speakers Mike Berkson and Tim Wambach of Handicap This! gave an entertaining and moving presentation about the realities of living with a disability.
    Check out our Facebook page for a photo album and videos from the event.

  • Just-A-Buck III opens in Rocky River
    Rocky River Mayor Pamela Bobst (third from left) helped to cut the ribbon at our third Just-A-Buck store's grand opening along with Bucky, the store mascot, and store employees. A joint project with our nonprofit partner SAW, Inc., the store is in the River Plaza on Center Ridge Road, just west of the Giant Eagle. Stop in for bargains and great customer service. Your patronage saves you money and does good at the same time!The new store is an expansion of our entrepreneurial efforts to employ men and women who have developmental disabilities. Our other two stores are in Parma at the corner of Snow and Broadview roads and in South Euclid near the intersection of Mayfield and Green roads. And, yes, everything is Just-A-Buck!

  • Stearns Farm next on the horizon for Cleveland Crops
    Cleveland Crops, our urban farming venture with our nonprofit partner SAW, Inc., has plans to expand to eight farms this summer with the addition of the 17-acre Stearns Farm in Parma. Other Cleveland Crops farms are located in Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Seven Hills and South Euclid. Check out this photo taken at our Ohio City Farm by The Plain Dealer and this story from WOIO-Channel 19. This summer we'll be selling our produce at these farmers' markets
  • Come on downtown to the farm!
    The new Terrence M. Ryan Agricultural Education Center officially opened June 14, 2013. Cleveland Crops, our urban farming venture with SAW, Inc., our nonprofit partner, will employ 15 people with developmental disabilities in all aspects of food processing at the center. It will also serve as headquarters for Cleveland Crops and Ohio State University Extension-Cuyahoga County. Once an auditorium for the demolished Stanard Elementary School, the building has been fully refurbished, updated and repurposed. If you missed the dedication, check out more photos from the event on our Facebook page.
  • Razzle Dazzle wows Beck audience
    After weeks of rehearsals, the cast and crew of Razzle Dazzle put on a fantastic 13th original Razzle Dazzle production May 10-11 at the Beck Center for the Performing Arts in Lakewood. This year's show was titled The Nature of Things. Performers were members of our Rocky River Adult Activities Center’s talented inclusive musical theater program.  Congrats to the cast and crew! Follow Razzle Dazzle on Facebook.
  • Petty begins tenure as superintendent
    Kelly A. Petty took on the duties of superintendent and CEO effective April 1, 2013.
    Petty had served as assistant superintendent and chief operating officer since July 2011. She has been with the Board of DD since 1991, when she began working as a Medicaid specialist in the Community/Residential Services Division. Later she held various positions in that division before being named general manager in 2002 and then director in 2007. In 2008, she became the director of Community and Medicaid Services as the Board of DD consolidated the departments of Support Administration and Community/Residential Services. Prior to joining the Board of DD, she worked for two private providers of residential services.
    Petty is a graduate of Xavier University, where she earned a BS in psychology, and Cleveland State University, where she earned a master’s in public administration. She has also completed the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities Leadership 2010 program and its superintendent development program.
  • Our own March Madness
    The Eagles, CCBDD's unified basketball team, won the Trumbull County Unified Basketball Tournament in Niles March 2! Their first win of the tournament was over a heavily favoredBasketball players in a semicircle Trumbull County team that had been undefeated this season. Although the opponents had averaged more than 40 points per game this season, the Eagles held them to just 16 points. Congratulations, Eagles!
    Sadly, the CCBDD Rockets lost a hard fought battle to the Summit County Board of DD's Warriors at the Regional Special Olympics Tournament at Lorain County Community College on the same day. Thanks for a great season, Rockets!
  • Mazzola reelected board president
    Rich MazzolaAt the annual January organizational meeting Jan. 24, 2013, our board elected officers for the coming year. Richard V. Mazzola, who is the manager of compensation and HRIS for Things Remembered, will continue a second year as president of the seven-member board. Also continuing another year as vice president is Ara A. Bagdasarian of Solon, who is vice-president for TravelCenters of America. Both have immediate family members receiving CCBDD services, and both are appointees of the Cuyahoga County Probate Court.
    The new recording secretary is Diane Roman Fusco. A resident of Independence, she is a public relations professional.
    Two new board members, Steven M. Licciardi and Tania J. Younkin, were seated at the February board meeting, replacing Darnell Brown and David L. Deming, who retired in January, having served the maximum 12 years. One vacancy remains, awaiting appointment of a new board member to replace Andrés González, who resigned in early November 2012 because of a relocation to Massachusetts. The slot is to be filled with an appointee of Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald (and approval by Cuyahoga County Council). More information about board members.
    Five of our board members are appointed by County Executive FitzGerald, with the concurrence of Cuyahoga County Council; two, by Presiding Probate Court Judge Anthony Russo. At least two of the county appointments must be the parents or immediate family members of individuals enrolled with CCBDD, and one of the Probate Court appointments must be the parent or immediate family member of an individual eligible for CCBDD services. Board members are volunteers. 2013 board meeting schedule.


Archive of events and news releases

  • Check out our Euclid Adult Activities Center's mural project.
  • Flame concert a hit! The rock band from upstate New York made up of 10 people who have developmental/physical disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome and blindness, kicked off DD Awareness Month with a sold out show March 2 at the House of Blues in downtown Cleveland. Rule 11 & the Sanctions from Jones Day and Ulmrer & Berne law firms opened the show for Flame. The event was jointly sponsored by the Arc of Greater Cleveland and the Cuyahoga County Board of DD. Read more about and hear Flame.
  • Each year, we promote Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in March along with other organizations that serve people with developmental disabilities throughout Ohio. The goal is to increase the public's awareness and understanding of people who have developmental disabilities so that these citizens have increased access to employment, education, housing and social opportunities. Take a look at our billboards, which appeared in 20 locations around Cuyahoga County, and our video spots, which ran on cable.
  • The Sprout Film Festival brought an end of this year's Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month events. The festival featured  films by, for and about people with developmental disabilities. If you weren't able to attend, take a peek at one of the films, Up Syndrome. Or look over the synopses of the films from our festival and call (216) 310-3763 or email our Instructional Media Center if you'd like to borrow one or more. (Some of the films were not available for institutional purchase, so we do not have them all.) If you'd like to purchase streaming video, downloadable media or DVDs from Sprout, you will be supporting the filmmakers and the work they do, go to Use fundraising code 1203D when ordering, and Sprout will donate 25 percent of your purchase to the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities PTCU Foundation, our parents group.
  • Congratulations to the Cuyahoga County Board of DD's Rockets, winners of the 2012 Men's Division I State Special Olympics Basketball Championship!
    The Rockets kicked off the state tournament on Friday, March 30, with a 64-34 win over the Erie County Bucks. Keeping their focus, the team roared back on Saturday morning to defeat the Hamilton County Ballers by a score of 67-40 to win the State Championship! This championship was well deserved and was the culmination of six months of hard work. The last time the Rockets were state champs was in 1997. Since then, there have been many second-place finishes. This victory made all of those efforts worth the wait!
  • Congratulations to the Cuyahoga Board of DD's Eagles
    The Eagles, our school-age basketball team, won their unified tournament March 3 undefeated this season! This team consists of players with and without disabilities. We are so proud of them as they represent the Board of DD in such a positive way out in the community! Go, Eagles!
  • Cuyahoga Board of DD publications win statewide awards
    The 2010 Annual Report: Together and the 2011 winter card won awards of merit at this year's Ohio Public Images Media and Awareness Awards March 19 in Columbus. The awards program, conducted as a part of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, recognizes members of the media and developmental disabilities organizations for their efforts to create greater public awareness and acceptance of people with developmental disabilities. See all of the award winners.
  • New manager at Maple Heights center
  • Community-Based Care Conference
    This one-day event featured Leon Evans and Gilbert Gonzales from the Center for Health Services in San Antonio, Texas, exploring effective ways of meeting the needs of those with multiple disabilities, particularly developmental disabilities and severe mental illness.
  • Razzle Dazzle 12: We Are Family!
    The cast and crew of Razzle Dazzle produced another stellar original show with “We Are Family!” May 4-5 at the Beck Center for the Performing Arts in Lakewood. The performers are part of an inclusive musical theater group based at our Rocky River Adult Activities Center and include individuals from that center and our Northwest Employment Services. Audiences totaled more than 650 for the three performances, a record!
  • Dr. Ryan receives ADAMHS award
    Superintendent Terry Ryan received a Community Partner Collaboration award from the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga County. The award was based on our efforts to ensure that the city of Strongsville carefully considered appropriate language in an ordinance regarding community-based residential care facilities; our financial support for the Seasons of Hope Safe House for women who have developmental disabilities and alcohol and other drug addictions and our recent Community-Based Care Conference, which explored ways to divert individuals with developmental disabilities and/or mental illness and addiction issues from jail and emergency rooms and into community programs. We are proud that these contributions to Cuyahoga County's behavioral health system are making a difference in the lives of people we serve.
  • Doggie day care and boarding opens near Cleveland airport
    Hattie Larlham has opened Hattie’s Doggie Day Care & Boarding at 18200 Brookpark Road in Cleveland. The award-winning social enterprise provides vocational training and meaningful employment to people with developmental disabilities. The new location, just two miles from Hopkins International Airport and within walking distance of the Brookpark RTA station, will create 40 jobs for people with developmental disabilities. The cage-free facility offers day care, overnight boarding and grooming services for dogs. The 5,300-square-foot facility featuring 26 individual dog rooms, two 2,000-square-foot outdoor play areas and four indoor activity areas was made possible through the support and financial commitment of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
  • Cuyahoga Board of DD earms five-year accreditation
    The Cuyahoga County Board of DD has earned a five-year accreditation from the Ohio Department of DD for the quality services and supports we provide to people with developmental disabilities. The comprehensive state review took place late in 2011 and involved several surveyors who spent three days reviewing all areas of our operations, including personnel administration, services and supports and the general efficiency and effectiveness of the Cuyahoga County Board of DD. Very few county boards of developmental disabilities receive a five-year accreditation, so the award is a real tribute to the preparation that led up to the review and to the ongoing quality of the services and supports we provide. 
  • SAW, Inc. names employees, company of the year
    SAW Inc. recognized 13 employees at its annual meeting at Windows on the River May 21. It also named Evergreen Packaging as its company of the year. The Cleveland company designs packaging solutions to meet customers’ specific needs, from paperboard to custom barrier formulation to filling equipment. All its products are tailored to keep products fresh from source to table. The company is committed to renewable materials, renewable resources and carton recycling. SAW crews handle custodial services, grounds maintenance and carpet cleaning for Evergreen. See what's new at SAW! 
  • Joe Pochedley wins Gary L. Fusco Spirit Award
    Also presented at the SAW annual meeting was the 2012 Gary L. Fusco Spirit Award. The only agency-wide award recognizing the exceptional commitment demonstrated by a Cuyahoga County Board of DD staff member, it is named in honor of Gary Fusco, former executive director of SAW, Inc. and manager of our East Cleveland Adult Activities Center, who suddenly passed from our lives in 2005.
    This year’s winner is Joe Pochedley, who supervises the SAW night cleaning crew at the M.A. Donzella Building. When it comes to Joe’s work crew, it is evident that he is proud of them. The men and women who work with Joe develop a strong work ethic, learn valuable work skills and are prepared to work competitively in the community. Many have successfully moved on to community jobs.
    Joe began his career with us in 1992 as a community employment specialist supervising a mobile custodial crew. He applied for the job at the encouragement of Gary Fusco, who got to know Joe’s exemplary work ethic because of a SAW work crew based at the same downtown hotel where Joe worked.
  • We support Harvest for Hunger
    Congrats to all our consumers and staff for an outstanding effort to support this year's Harvest for Hunger campaign. We raised more than $26,000 and collected more than 8,400 pounds of food! These figures put us over our goal. Our hard work and creativity earned us the Bag of Hope Award from Harvest for Hunger. And, to top it all off, some of the men and women we serve volunteer at the Cleveland Food Bank sorting donated items!
  • Two CCBDD teams of 20 compete in Special Olympics Plane Pull at IX CentTestosteronies Plane Pull teamer in July They competed to see who could pull a Boeing 737, which weighs 100,000 pounds, 20 feet using a rope. Our coed team consisting of the members of the University of Akron's softball team, individuals with developmental disabilities and volunteersoper, placed 16th. The Testosteronies, consisting of individuals with DD and volunteers, placed 5th in the men’s division. They're already talking 'strategy' for next year!
  • Workin' at the car wash, yeah
    The annual car wash at our Rocky River Adult Activities Center in August raised more than $1,300 for several good causes. The men's monthly outing community volunteer group and the women of the University of Akron’s softball team made sure everyone drove away shiny and clean! Proceeds benefit the Beck Center for the Arts Special Arts Program (specifically for Razzle Dazzle), the Ohio Special Olympics and the University of Akron’s softball team.
  • Hoop houses extend growing season                                                                                                                                                                     Cleveland Crops, an agriculture employment and training program of the Cuyahoga County Board of DD and its nonprofit affiliate SAW Inc., has added an innovative hoop house structure to its Ohio City Farm location this fall.
    The Ohio City Farm, one of the country’s largest contiguous urban farms at nearly six acres, is located behind the CMHA high rise on W. 25th Street between Bridge Avenue and Franklin Avenue. Farm tenants include the CMHA Green Team, Central Roots, Great Lakes Brewing Company, Refugee Response and Cleveland Crops.
    Tunnel Vision Hoops, which recently built two other similar structures for Cleveland Crops at Stanard Farm, has built this newest season-extension structure. It was first erected at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as the centerpiece of the Earth Day Celebration this past April. 
    The 20’ X 72’ hoop house was placed in storage until the Cleveland Crops Ohio City Farm team was ready to put it to good use. With the cool fall weather approaching and the harvesting of summer crops freeing up space, that time arrived.
    At the 2012 Earth Day event, the hoop house provided shelter to many local food vendors and demonstrations highlighting green sustainable practices.
    "Our company works to help Northeast Ohio small farmers expand their revenue streams, which hopefully allows them to live less stressful, more productive and happier lives. We look forward to continuing this effort while providing a solution to vacant land issues throughout the Midwest and empowering urban farmers and backyard gardeners to grow local, sustainable and healthy food through four seasons of the year," commented Todd Alexander of Tunnel Vision Hoops.
    By using the company’s hoop houses, which are uniquely designed to be durable through Midwest weather conditions, as well as a new 15,500-square-foot greenhouse at its Stanard Farm main campus near East 55th Street and Superior, Cleveland Crops employs more than 40 men and women with developmental disabilities on a 12-month basis rather than only seasonally.
    “We really like the idea of supporting a local business and working with them as they perfect their design,” explained Rich Hoban of Cleveland Crops. “At the end of the day, it’s about work. We’re here to support individuals with disabilities and allow them to be able to do work they enjoy.”
  • New farm site opens in Olmsted Township
    Schady Road Farm, the newest and, at six acres, the largest location for Cleveland Crops, an entrepreneurial venture of the Cuyahoga County Board of DD and its nonprofit division SAW, Inc., held its grand opening September 6 in Olmsted Township. When fully developed, the farm will employ 15 people who have developmental disabilities in all aspects of agricultural production from soil preparation, seed starting and planting, to weeding, irrigation, pest control and, ultimately, harvesting, processing and sales. Two men planting fall crops
    Crops include usual and heirloom varieties of vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash, all grown following organic methods with an emphasis on building healthy, fertile soil. A number of features have been incorporated as part of the process of building Schady Road Farm including a parking area, attractive storage barn, a small pond to supply water for irrigation and light fencing to protect crops from deer and other animals. The farm will incorporate green technologies, such as a solar pump for the irrigation pond, and composting toilets, wherever possible.
    Since Cleveland Crops strives to create employment throughout the year, not just during the traditional Northeast Ohio growing season, there are plans to install season-extending structures such as hoop houses and “low tunnels” that will allow the farm to produce crops on nearly a year-round basis. We also hope you'll take time to read about us in The Plain Dealer.
  • New manager at East Cleveland center
  • 2013 Program & Expenditures Plan approved
    Plans for our coming year were approved at the board meeting immediately following a public hearing Oct. 25, 2012. For just the higlights, here's a summary.
  • Celebrating 45 years . . . 1967-2012 . . . The journey continues
    Our sold-out 45th anniversary luncheon was a great celebration! Thank you to our speaker Buzz Bissinger, Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, whose new book Father's Day: A Journey into the Heart and Mind of My Extraordinary Son, chronicles his experiences driving with his 24-year-old son, who has DD, from Philadelphia to LA to revisit all the places they have lived. Also part of the event was the inaugural induction of eight individuals and one organization into the Cuyahoga County Board of DD Hall of Fame. Read about this year's champions.
  • Visualizing our history
    tree symbolizing the growth of the Cuyahoga County Board of DDThis piece of collaborative expression is the result of a group of artists from each of our adult activities centers who came together for two magical days of creativity at our Forest Hill Center Art Studio in late summer. Under the direction of M.E. Kuzma and Jay Brown, they combined colorful fabrics, topiary wire, paint and adhesive to create a multimedia tree. This blossoming tree represents the continuing growth of the Cuyahoga County Board of DD. Its roots reach deep into a soil rich with our history. The words in the soil show a glimpse of our story. They were taken from interviews with pioneer families and caregivers, then paraphrased and handwritten by artist Dan Tinnirello. Programs and services offered to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have developed from this history and blossomed over the span of 45 years. We salute our past and embrace a bright future as our journey continues.  


  • We're proud of . . .
    Manager of Volunteer Services Sue Duffy was named volunteer administrator of the year at the Forum for Volunteer Administrators' annual conference in November. (That's Sue on the left with Robin Ott of the Forum for Volunteer Administrators and Holden Arboretum.) As the FVA points out, “Volunteer administrators are masters at recognizing others for their volunteer work efforts. This award was instituted to honor a not-for-profit volunteer administrator who has demonstrated outstanding innovation, dedication and perseverance in the profession of volunteer administration." Sue is all that and more!
  • Laptop containing personal information about 600+ individuals stolen
    The Cuyahoga County Board of DD has notified 613 individuals who receive its services that their names and birthdates may have been on the hard drive of a laptop computer stolen from an employee’s car in North Royalton Nov. 3, 2013.
    The laptop itself was password protected. The Board of DD believes that, although the information on the laptop could be used for identity theft, the likelihood is that it was stolen for its street value rather than any personal information it may have contained.
    In its letter notifying those potentially affected by the theft, the Board of DD has recommended that they place a fraud alert on their credit files and provided instructions on how to do that. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact an individual before they open any new accounts or change existing accounts. Those who have never had a credit card or utilities in their name, paid rent or borrowed money from a bank probably will have no credit file and will not need to place a fraud alert.
    The Board of DD has also provided information about what individuals should do if they find any suspicious activity on their credit reports or have reason to believe their information is being misused. Staff are available to assist individuals who may need assistance in taking the appropriate steps to ensure their personal information is not being misused. 
  • County Councilman Greenspan receives Partner in Progress award
    Cuyahoga County Councilman Dave Greenspan (left), who represents the far western area of the county, received the 2012 Partner in Progress award from Superintendent Terry Ryan (right). He has been a proponent of our efforts to employ men and women who have developmental disabilities in the community and was instrumental in helping to establish Schady Road Farm in Olmsted Township.
  • Board names new superintendent
    At the regular November board meeting, our board signed a contract with Kelly Connor Petty to take on the duties of superintendent and CEO in April of 2013 upon the retirement of current superintendent Dr. Terrence M. Ryan. (For info about the reitrement celebration for Dr. Ryan, click here.)
    Petty has served as assistant superintendent and chief operating officer since July 2011. She has been with the Board of DD since 1991, when she began working as a Medicaid specialist in the Community/Residential Services Division. Later she held various positions in that division before being named general manager in 2002 and then director in 2007. In 2008, she became the director of Community and Medicaid Services as the Board of DD consolidated the departments of Support Administration and Community/Residential Services. Prior to joining the Board of DD, she worked for two private providers of residential services.
    Petty is a graduate of Xavier University, where she earned a BS in psychology, and Cleveland State University, where she earned a master’s in public administration. She has also completed the Ohio Association of County Boards of Developmental Disabilities Leadership 2010 program and its superintendent development program. 

Archive of events and news releases

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Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
1275 Lakeside Avenue East
Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1129
PHONE: (216)241-8230 - FAX: (216)861-0253