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,


The Aug. 18 issue of “Vogue” magazine includes an article headlined, “…the Most Important Art Show in America Is Underway in Pittsburgh.”

The author, John Ortved explains how “…the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, famous for showing artworks by those of African descent, joins forces with the Carnegie [Museum of Art], one of the U.S.’s most revered art institutions, to present something nearly impossible: the idea of America, through art.”


Not many sophomores today would decide to do what Greg Henniquan did back in 1966.

It probably would not even be possible for a sophomore of today to do what he did, but he was determined to pursue the direction that he had mapped out for his life.

Spending days in the classroom on Dickson Avenue where Avonworth High School was located back then just was not his style. Serving his country, which was embroiled in the war in Vietnam, had a much stronger emotional pull on him.

Greg, now 69, explains it simply by saying, “I wanted to serve my country.”


When Bellevue Elementary students hear the sounds of fire sirens echoing in their town, they have a fairly good idea of what’s going on. They may not know where the fire is or how serious it is, but they can visualize what is going on at the fire station and they know the work that the firefighters are doing to end the emergency as quickly and as safely as possible.


“In 1926, radium was a miracle cure. Madame Curie was an international celebrity, and luminous watches were a fashion rage,” writes theater and book critic D. W. Geary.

But the fashion of that era, wristwatches with numbers and dials that gave off an eerie glow, soon turned into the nightmare of that era as the girls who applied the paint to those numbers and rotating dials began to show symptoms of a serious illness.


Move over “Nightmare on Elm Street.” There is a very scary competitor in Bellevue at the “Nightmare 2 on North Sprague!” 63 N. Sprague, to be precise.

Created by Ken Azzarello and wife, Susan Vesch -- along with help from sons Dennis and Zade -- the fright site consists of a meandering walkway that leads brave visitors through a maze of monsters staffed (appropriately) by Northgate cheerleaders and football players.


An Ohio Township man and his business partners have recently developed an app that could solve lots of problems for lots of couples struggling with financial issues, a situation long regarded as being a leading cause of divorce,

Joe Stanish of Ohio Township and two business partners, Ramy Serageldin and Sam Schultz, have developed the “Honeyfi” app, a blend of Honey -- the couple -- and finances -- the problem.

For those in need, getting started is easy, according to Stanish.


While there is no shortage of history books, travel books, personal memoirs on a broad range of subjects, there are very few that combine all three with such original insight as can be found in “Discovering Gettysburg,” written by Dr. W. Stephen Coleman and illustrated by local artist Tim Hartman.

Hartman explained that the “team effort” began five years ago when Coleman “…asked me to meet him at the Public Theater to talk about a project he wanted to do.


While age and a recent illness have taken a toll on some of her long lifetime of memories, there remain with Florence Mertz of Kilbuck a glint in her eyes and a passion in her voice as she looks back on nearly a century of a life filled with family, friends and service to her country.


Not too many years ago, carnivals sponsored by suburban fire departments were among the mainstays of the summer social agenda.

But times have changed, as Ohio Township Volunteer Fire Company (OTVFC) carnival chairman William Thomas observed.

“In a time when many fire companies have abandoned their carnivals, OTVFC continues to host its carnival, which started back in 1948 and is a tradition that multiple generations in our community have enjoyed,” he said.


If Bellevue is looking a little tidier these days, it is not necessarily because people have begun butting their cigarettes in sand pots provided or because they have suddenly become more careful about where to dispose of trash.

Well, maybe they actually have, but it also is because Bellevue has had some extra help lately in keeping the area clean, thanks to a young man, Alex Workinger, who has been stationed around the streets as a summer employee provided by Pennsylvania's Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR).


The Bellevue Community Herb Garden is open for use by the community.

Everyone is invited to "pinch what you need and use what you pinch".

Some of the plants that are large enough to provide herbs already are tarragon, oregano, parsley, marjoram, lavender, chamomile, and thyme. Sweet, purple, and Thai basil will be ready in a few weeks. Signs are posted to identify the plants and explain how they can be used.


Drivers passing by Jack and Tracy Ferguson’s Kilbuck residence have no reason to lurch to a stop to observe gardens of bubbling fountains, mesmerizing night lights, intricate floral arrangements. That’s because there aren’t any.