The inspiration for Tom Haines' book, “Walking to the Sun” begins in 2013 when the author observes the process of a natural gas furnace being installed in his New Hampshire home. As he watches the workmen making the connections, he ponders the implications of the fuel flowing through a pipe drilled through his basement wall, that pipe connected to other pipes, on and on to the source, wherever that might be.

His observation motivated him to launch a journey to find that source and to study it, as well as everything in between.


Avalon Elementary fifth grade science students under the guidance of teacher Karen Klicker recently learned that a project they had entered in a Rube Goldberg contest was among the winners in competition that included several schools from Western Pennsylvania. The contest was sponsored by Matt’s Maker Space and the Grable Foundation, in conjunction with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.


A little “preview” information for audiences attending Avonworth High School’s fall show -- “Clue” is a comedy-mystery with enough twists, turns and bizarre characters to keep theater-goers totally clueless right up to the final twists in the plot.


A.W. Beattie Career Center has announced that senior Rebecca Hapeman, from Northgate, was selected from a pool of candidates to represent the career center at the 2018 SkillsUSA Western Region Conference, which will be held Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

SkillsUSA is a national student leadership organization for students in career and technical education programs. The organization focuses on career-readiness, skill-based training, competitions and developing expertise for job interviews, public speaking, problem solving and more.



The Psychic Vincent Sisters returned to Bellevue last Monday night for what has become an annual autumn visit to the former home of Amanda Bayne, now the Andrew Bayne Library, at the corner of Teece and North Balph avenues. Many individuals believe the building is haunted by the friendly ghost of Amanda, whose husband James Balph, an architect, designed and constructed the Victorian brick mansion in 1875. James died in 1899, and Amanda died in her bedroom in August, 1912.


Anyone with an interest in art, along with a love of nature will surely be impressed by an upcoming Hermann Art Gallery exhibition titled, “Beauty and the Beasts,” with all of the works based upon scenes and creatures from the world of nature.

The artist, Clarita Scioscia, was born in Peru and has lived in Florida most of her life. She graduated from the University of Tampa in 1982 with a bachelor of fine arts degree and with minors in art history and education.


Ohio Township Police Chief Joe Hanny is rebuilding his department from within, filling the vacancies left by his promotion from detective to chief earlier this year.


“Nightmare on Sprague Street” has returned to Bellevue this fall for “The Return of Michael Myers,” a Halloween walk-through at 63 N. Sprague Ave.

Ken Azzarello said that over the past three years of the “fright site,” he and his team have accumulated lots of materials to keep expanding the feature.

“It takes about four months to set up and the same amount of time to take it apart,” Azzarello said.

But for the creative crew, it's lots of work and lots of fun, with profits going to the Northgate football team.


Anyone out of the learning loop for the last few years in regard to current educational methods may not be so sure of what is meant by “project-based learning,” a term that refers to a classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges, acquiring a deeper knowledge of creating solutions to those problems.


Time was that when kids were planning future careers, they often put "train engineer" near the top of their lists. And there was no better way to get a feel for driving the tracks than to have a model train chugging around the Christmas tree or maybe set up all year long on a platform in the basement or in a spare room.

Those days have passed, of course, replaced by Fortnite and dozens of other video games and electronics that have captured the attention and imagination of players of all ages.


As they gathered for last Sunday’s noon Mass at Bellevue’s Assumption Church, many of the parish members, as well as throngs of visitors, no doubt shared a sense of sadness about the commemoration of the closing of Assumption School after 105 years of service to students and families of Bellevue and beyond.

If most in that gathering would have had their say, this moment might not have come to be.


Ask any first responder and they will tell you that a good telecommunications operator -- previously referred to as a dispatcher -- can play a major role in the outcome of any call requiring a response by police, firefighters or EMS. These behind-the-scenes professionals often provide critical information to police officers on the street, dispatch additional fire companies, or provide the sole line of communication with a person in a medical crisis, among other equally vital responsibilities.


The site of an abandoned, fire-damaged house in Avalon is now a community garden full of quickly growing plants, thanks to the efforts of an Eagle Scout candidate and borough officials.


[This article is part of a bi-weekly “Historical Summer Series”contributed by Maya Berardi on behalf of the Avonworth Historical Society. We collect artifacts, stories and images about our area, providing a sense of history and place for upcoming generations. Consider donating to or joining the Avonworth Historical Society to receive their newsletters with similar stories. Also, please contact us to add something to this story--or to tell an altogether different story! Web:; E-mail: ahs.intern@ avonworth-his.]


The objective for a school program that gets kids involved in kitchen activities remains the same every year, that being: It’s never too early to teach kids the benefits of healthy eating, while at the same time, they have the opportunity to show grownups some recipes that are easy to prepare, that kids like, and that are tasty as well as healthy.


The last home game for Northgate girls’ basketball ended more than just the season of playing the sport for senior Cali McWilliams. It also was closing night for Cali’s singing the pre-game version of the “National Anthem,” as she has done throughout the current season.

Cali credits Northgate choir director Kelly Winovich for helping her develop her pitch-perfect and expressive rendition of the “Anthem.”

Winovich passes the credit back to her student.


Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania has presented Girl Scout Silver Awards to Hadley Holcomb, Chintha Kathiresan, Julia Marn and Jessie Mellon.

According to GSWP, “This award recognizes young women who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through sustainable and measurable Take Action projects that address important community needs. Projects require up to 50 hours of work and a mentor in their area of project interest. Each must use her strength, talent, and skills and put her plan into action to earn the Silver Award while taking a leadership role.


Call the event the Oscars, the Emmys, and the Tonys for high school drama students in the Western Pennsylvania area.

That event would be the annual “Shakespeare Scene and Monologue Contest” sponsored by the Pittsburgh Public Theater and held at the O'Reilly Theater in Downtown Pittsburgh recently. Students from public schools, as well as home-schoolers and students from charter and parochial schools audition, are proud to make it to the finals and justifiably thrilled to be named the winners.


Northgate senior Conner Powers recently turned in an award-winning performance that brought him lots of cheers from the audience at Petersen Events Center.

Appropriate, since the cheers were for his skilled cheerleader routine that included double-full — a move that comprises a single back somersault with two full twists -- gymnastics and high-flying stunts that earned him first place among hundreds of competitors vying for the national title which, at the end of the day, Conner proudly carried home.


Northgate High School’s auditorium had the look of an afternoon pep rally for one of the sports teams this past Tuesday, with the band paying spirited songs onstage, the cheerleaders performing routines as the entire student body and faculty filed in.

But it was more than a team pep rally. It was recognition of junior Anthony Barbarino, age 17, a student-athlete who had been selected to receive the KDKA TV and Allegheny Health Network’s “Extra Effort Award.”


With the upheaval in national politics, North Boroughs residents joined citizens across the United States wondering what the new year would bring, and what effect the 2016 election results would have close to home. Turns out that the ripple traveled quickly, adding to all the expected events of 2017.


By TOM STEINER Being named the top student trombonist in Pennsylvania last year was quite an honor for Lukas Helsel, but the Avonworth junior did not stop there.Over Thanksgiving break, Lukas traveled to the National Association for Music Education's All-National Orchestra at Disney's Coronado Spring Resort in Orlando. After last year's state achievement, he had submitted a video audition and was among six trombonists accepted into the orchestra and 14 into the concert band.


The Pennsylvania School Counselor Association recently named Avonworth's Nicole Levis School Counselor of the Year at its annual conference, this year held at the Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA on Thursday, Nov. 30.

The presentation highlighted an awards banquet held during the organization's 62nd annual meeting.


The Avon Club’s 2017 Ben Avon Holiday House Tour will be held Saturday, Dec. 2, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and 6 – 9 p.m Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 on the day of the tour. For information, visit or e-mail: Tickets may be bought in person at Anchor & Anvil Coffee Bar, 7221 Church Ave, Ben Avon, PA 15202,