What’s a good age for students to start becoming involved in community service, giving back, making a difference?

For Avonworth Primary Center teacher Maureen Frew, kindergarten through fourth grade is as good a time as any to start developing social awareness.

Frew said that the idea of helping out in their community was student-inspired, starting “…in 2016 when two first graders -- Julia Nardozzi and Amelia Lucas -- asked me if we could start a business of girls who could make items and sell them.”


To celebrate the 145th year of Arbor Day festivities, volunteers last Friday planted several trees on the grounds of Ohio Township’s Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church, replacing those that Duquesne Light had removed due to potential hazards to people and property because of age.

Among the replacement plantings that the company donated were three bushes, seven trees, mulch, top soil, perennials and educational items. Along with other donations, the value of the utility’s contribution to the environmental effort exceeded $1,000.


It’s common knowledge that heroin addiction claims hundreds of lives every day, being an equal opportunity killer of all ages and all socioeconomic groups. Some newscasters speak of the epidemic almost as casually as they report the weather, but students from area high schools decided to take a stronger approach to the problem, hoping to expose the dangers of opioid and heroin addiction.


Opening night for Avonworth's musical, “Beauty and the Beast” was met with enthusiastic applause for the cast, but after the performers took their bows, there was one more round of applause awaiting as superintendent Thomas Ralston stepped on stage to address the audience.


One of the perks of retirement is the freedom to travel wherever and whenever, Florida being an escape of choice for many northerners.

Herb and Bernadette Hartle didn't just stop in Florida and relax on the beach, though. Instead, they moved on a few hundred more miles south to visit where most Americans rarely consider for a vacation destination: Cuba.


Prom night. It’s supposed to be one of the most memorable and most enjoyable events in any high school student’s social life.


Avonworth will stage its spring musical, ‘Beauty and the Beast” March 31 and April 1, 7, and 8 in the high school auditorium, with a 7:30 p.m.curtain time for all performances.

Deborah Frauenholz, in her 20th year as musical director, said that the stage production is similar to the film, but that the live performance “…has more depth. Also, it has additional numbers.”

Approximately 70 students, grades 7-12 are involved in the production which has special lighting and staging effects.


Northgate middle schoolers joined students from six area schools -- North Allegheny and Norwin high schools, Pittsburgh Sci-Tech, Obama Academy of International Studies, Environmental Charter School, and University of Pittsburgh’s Falk School -- for a Monday morning conversation with Gene Luen Yang, an award-winning graphic novelist and the 2016 Library of Congress National Ambassador for young people’s literature.


The story of a young orphan boy choosing to rise above his circumstances takes to the Northgate High School stage in the musical, “James and the Giant Peach” April 1, 7, and 8 at 7:30 p.m., with a family and sensory-friendly show Thursday April 6. Activities and dinner for the Thursday show begin at 4:30 p.m., with a 6 p.m. curtain.

Karen Klicker, in her 14th year as musical director, said that the story has an all-ages appeal.


Eight years ago, when David and Lisa Wert of Ben Avon were in the process of adopting their son, Alek, they weren't sure how they were going to afford all of the expenses involved in that process.

“We were short on funds,” David recalls.

He and Lisa shared their concerns with a friend visiting for the weekend. A few days later, their friend called and said they didn't need to worry about any fund-raisers because he wanted to give them the remaining money as a gift.


As one reads through the memoir, “Dear Mater, A Soldier's World War I Letters to His Mother,” a personal attachment to that soldier soon begins to develop. For aside from differences in the details -- time, location, enemies -- the collection of letters written by William Arthur Jewell could be letters home from a relative or a friend stationed in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq -- wherever the never-ending tragedies of war continue to unfold.


Deciding what to do post-high school has always posed problems for students. Get a job? Community college? Trade school? Start a business? Four-year college?

To help students make sense of it all by planning wisely, Northgate High School's Business, Computer, and Information Technology (BCIT) Department this past Tuesday hosted its first "financial reality fair," a program sponsored by credit union associations nationwide.

BCIT teacher Susanne Galupi explained the purpose of the event.


Most artists can wait a lifetime before seeing their work displayed at a gallery or museum.

Not so for nearly 35 Northgate students whose works will be on display at the John A. Hermann Memorial Museum located on Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue.


In many ways, last Tuesday was the perfect day for penguins to be out and about. Some snow, temperature in the 20s, an even colder wind-chill factor made the trip to Avalon Elementary a comfortable journey.

No. Not penguins on the loose from the Pittsburgh Aviary. The other Pittsburgh Penguins, the ones from the NHL team coming on strong in the Metropolitan Division.


Frank Sulzer of Avalon started his running a little later than many, beginning three years ago at age 38.

But don't expect to see Frank, who also is a member of the Avalon Volunteer Fire Company, jogging California Avenue in typical running attire -- sweats or shorts, water bottle and the obligatory headphones plugged in to some device that provides music to accompany the trek.

Instead, he takes a more serious approach by running in a full firefighter's bunker suit that includes jacket, pants, helmet and airpack, while also carrying the American flag.


Over the past several decades, the Bracken name has been closely associated with Bellevue.

Bill Bracken, a police officer there for almost 40 years, held the post of police chief, as well.

And there is Helen Bracken, Bill's widow, 86 years a resident of the town that she still loves, even though several of her friends and relatives are no longer here.

So many changes, but one constant that Bill followed until his passing and that Helen continues to follow: a sense of community giving, sharing, volunteering.


If you’re in the mood for some holiday tunes, the choruses at both local schools are ready to perform. Avownworth’s senior choral members group up for a photo while rehearsing for the holiday concert featuring the middle and high school bands and choruses. From left are Caroline Carlson, Alex Kirsch, Katlyn Weiser, Angie Tozzi, Jenna Foster, Alexey Stern and Jayelin Cameron.The performance is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 16, in the high school auditorium at 7:30 p.m.. The public is invited, with free admission.

Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen


A horse-drawn wagon provided rides along Lincoln Avenue. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen


Santa got a helping hand from an Elf and, of course, Rudolph. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen


The Bellevue Fire Department and Volunteer Fire Company assisted Santa Claus in making his annual appearance in Bellevue last Friday atop the borough's aerial firetruck. The event was sponsored by the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen


A nativity scene was made up of members of Bellevue Christian and Greenstone U.M. churches. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen


Mayor Paul Cusick reads The Night Before Christmas to Sonny Senvisky. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen


Kids line up, waiting for the tree-lighting and the arrival of Santa Claus. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen


If you’re in the mood for some holiday tunes, the choruses at both local schools are ready to perform. Northgate’s middle and high school combined choirs, pictured here, will present “A FROZEN Christmas,” under the direction of Kelly Winovich on Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. in the middle/high school auditorium. The public is invited, with free admission.

Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen