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Walter Robinson receives Lebron Shoe

Posted February 05, 2016 in Articles

Author: Jeff Piorkowski,

When a staff member at Beachwood's Menorah Park nursing facility asked resident Walter Robinson if there was something he dreamed of doing in his life, the 70-year-old victim of multiple strokes told of his desire to again be able to go to a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game.

"He was asked so he told them, but he never thought he was actually going to be able to go to a Cavs game," said Robinson's happy daughter, Shaker Heights resident Madilin Robinson-Smith.

Perhaps unbeknownst to Walter Robinson, Menorah Park staff, a few years ago, formed something called the D.R.E.A.M. Team. It's a team dedicated to making residents' dreams come true.

A few days ago, Robinson learned his dream would, in fact, come true, and he got a few bonus gifts thrown in to boot.

The Cavaliers are planning to get Robinson to the team's March 7 game against the Memphis Grizzlies. Robinson needs special accommodations as he gets around these days in a wheelchair.

What else made Robinson's day, or perhaps his year?

LeBron James sent along to Robinson an "I Promise" band that the King said he wears around his wrist during every game to make him think of the promises he has made to himself and others.

James also sent along a shoe he wore during practice, and a letter.

The letter to Robinson states, in part, "I wanted to send you a note to let you know I appreciate you. Having a fan like you drives me day in and day out to strive for greatness."

While Robinson's speech is impaired, his daughter said, "I understand that when he was given the shoe he squealed," she said. "And it was such a sweet letter."

Robinson-Smith said her father, a former boxer who lived in Cleveland, is a big basketball fan who used to regularly attend games going back to the Cavs' Richfield Coliseum days.

"I remind them (Menorah Park staff) whenever the Cavs are playing so they make sure it's on my dad's TV for him to watch," she said. "Then I visit him on game nights."

Robinson-Smith plans to be in attendance at the March 7 game, but said she is trying to arrange for her daughter, Praxton Smith, 21, a student at Boston's Berklee College of Music, to fly in to attend the game and sit next to her grandfather.

"When she was little, they bonded over basketball," Robinson-Smith.

"I want to say that I'm grateful to LeBron James and the LeBron James Foundation, the Cavs, and to the staff at Menorah Park for giving my father these great gifts."

Hey kids, write a play: Here's a message to all of you budding Shakespeares out there who are in the first through 12th grades and live within Cuyahoga County. Dobama Theatre is holding, for the 38th year, its Kids Playwriting Festival.

The deadline is approaching, it's March 1, so you better get out those quills quick -- or your computer if you don't want to go totally Shakespearean old school -- and start writing.

You can write comedy, drama, mystery or whatever your imagination conjures.

Dobama's was the first playwriting festival for young people in the country. Some of the winning plays will be presented June 3-6 at Dobama, 2340 Lee Road in Cleveland Heights.

Entry forms and rules can be downloaded at -- I guess you can't do any downloading with a quill, can you?

Forms and brochures are also available by calling 216-932-3396.

The Mandel JCC will host a Love & Truth Workshop Feb. 28.Jeff Piorkowski/Special to

Love and truth: The Mandel Jewish Community Center, 26001 S. Woodland Road, will host Chesed v'Emet, a Love and Truth Worskshop, on Feb. 28.

The workshop will help newcomers learn the basics of a Jewish mindfulness practice, rooted in Jewish texts and wisdom. The emphasis of the workshop will be spent experiencing meditation practice.

The goal is to offer an opportunity to learn an accessible Jewish mindfulness meditation practice that can be readily taken into life.

To register, call 216-831-0700, ext. 1348. For more information, contact Nancy Zimmerman at the same phone number, ext. 1314.

Genealogy workshop: If you really want to know where you came from, here's an opportunity to find out.

The Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland is holding a workshop for beginners from 7-9 p.m. March 28 in the Miller Board Room at Menorah Park, 27100 Cedar Road.

Participants will learn how to search birth, marriage and census records, and how free databases may be accessed with a library card and personal computer.

Genealogy experts Ken Bravo and Cynthia Spikell will serve as instructors for the interactive program.

The workshop is free for society members, and $18 for non-members. Participants should bring a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop and Cuyahoga County Library card. Space is limited.

To register, send an email to, or download registration materials from

If you don't want really to know from where you came, just ignore the above.

Kash BlackwellCody York

Player of the week: Shaker Heights High grad Kash Blackwell earned Ohio Community College Athletic Conference Player of the Week honors for his performances on the court between Jan. 25-31.

During that span, Blackwell averaged 24 points per game in leading the Cuyahoga Community College Challengers (14-10 on the season) to two wins. He leads the OCCAC for the season in scoring, and is eighth in rebounding.

Blackwell is pursuing an associate of arts degree at Tri-C.

What's in the garden? Most of us, when we buy something mundane, perhaps like a pack of batteries or chewing gum, will simply toss aside the receipt. Next time, don't mindlessly do so. You could be throwing away a piece of history.

We say that because the Shaker Historical Society's Executive Director Dr. Ware Petznick will give a presentation called "Mrs. Luthi and her Shaker Heights Garden" at 3 p.m. Feb. 21 at the SHS building, 16740 South Park Blvd.

The presentation centers on Mrs. Luthi, a resident of long ago who built a garden at her Shaker home in 1925-26. The SHS has the receipts for the garden and Petznick will let you know what was in that garden and about its design.

It's all part of the SHS's Gracious Gardens of Shaker Heights Series. The event is free for SHS members, and $10 for non-members. To RSVP, call 216-921-1201.

Use your space wisely: If there's too much clutter in your home and you want to learn about ways to create more storage space go, at 7 p.m. Feb. 18, to the Lee Road Cleveland Heights Library branch for "It's Your Space, Use It."

DIYers will get tips on creating storage solutions and bringing organization to kids' rooms, offices, kitchens and basements. The event is presented by the Home Repair Resource Center.

For further information, visit

jDiscovery: Jewish kindergartners and first graders and their parents are invited to come to jDiscovery, a monthly program which offers children the unique opportunity to experience Cleveland's greatest sights and landmarks. Children and families will also get the opportunity to meet other families.

The next program is titled "L' Dor VaDor: From Generation to Generation." It will take place from 2-4 p.m. Feb. 21 at Menorah Park.

To register, click here.

A world premiere: The Shaker Arts Council will present the world premiere staged reading of "The Bloodless Jungle," by Peter Lawson Jones, at 2 p.m. March 12 at Karamu House, 2355 E. 89th St. in Cleveland.

Following the reading, there will be a Q&A session during which audience members can help Jones and the cast shape the ultimate version of the play. The event is a benefit for the Shaker Arts Council.

General admission tickets are $35, and patron tickets, $75.

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