While politicians and television personalities dither about what to do to protect the environment and some argue if global warming even exists, two Avonworth High School students have taken on a pro-ject that addresses the perils of the planet, with special emphasis on the plight of polar bears.


Avalon Library is offering "Letters from Santa Claus." Parents can have a personalized letter sent from Santa to their children.


Tim Hartman laughs at any suggestion that his family name is taking on the fame of the legendary Barrymores.


Something about the North Boroughs inspires holiday decorations. Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, of course, and for some residents, what has become the favorite outlet of their creativity: Halloween.

While almost every area street sports its share of monster inflatables, witches, goblins and lights, Jeff and Mary Marous, who have lived in Avalon for the past eight years, have pumped the art of Halloween decoration to a new level -- sort of an interactive "happening."


People who need a little structure and encouragement in their efforts to get healthy may find success in the new community wellness program sponsored by Allegheny General Hospital - Suburban Campus.

The “20 Week Challenge” that begins Monday, Oct. 12, will promote healthier choices related to diet, exercise and relaxation.


An Emsworth man was named "Volunteer of the Month" for September by the American Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter.

Dan Lenz volunteers as a member of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team (DAT), which responds to house fires, flooding and other emergencies, helping victims find food, shelter and other necessities. A volunteer for the past four and a half years, Lenz also trains new DAT members and works as part of the the group's public affairs team.


In what probably seems another lifetime, home for Dubrvka and Zdenko Moro and their daughter, Vanesa, 23 and son Marjan, 21, was the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where they lived until war broke out in the region in 1992.

“When it started, we moved the family to Germany, where we stayed for seven years. After the war ended in 1999, life was very hard, and so we moved here, with help from Catholic Charities,” Dubrvka said.


Just because Henry “Hank” Comerer moved into a fourth floor Avalon apartment three years ago doesn’t mean that he had any intentions of giving away his gardening tools. And despite having his planting area reduced from a large garden to a 10 x 5 balcony space, Hank, now 91, has managed to plant a thriving garden of flowers and vegetables that enjoy exposure to all-day sun, along with his careful tending.

Hank was born and grew up in Emsworth, where his grandmother had lived “… before it was Emsworth. My uncle, John Sevin, was the borough clerk for 54 years,” Hank said.


Most realtors rank curb appeal near the top of the list of features needed to sell a house. Zero curb appeal -- nearly zero chances of selling the property.

Linda Cumer and husband Bill became exceptions to that rule when they purchased their Emsworth home two years ago.


Tyler Frew of Kilbuck Township recalls when he first knew that he wanted to pursue a medical career.


Bill Thoma has probably spent far more time than money in assembling his Ben Avon garden.

From the flowers to the veggies to the stone walls, a pattern of recycling and reusing prevails, starting at the front sidewalk and carrying through to the wooded boundary at the far end of his back yard.

Thoma’s garden provides a break from working construction and for Duquesne Light for the past 19 years, although he admits that he hasn’t done much with the front yard since the family moved in.


It’s not exactly a Hallmark holiday.


Give it time, though, and you just might find cards celebrating the All-American event that occurs this weekend: National Garage Sale Day.

Not that I need to have a day set aside to celebrate this seasonal phenomenon that occurs late March through late October. I celebrate it every Saturday -- and sometimes on Friday and Sunday as well, if it is a heavily scheduled weekend.

Why? I have no convincing answer for myself or for anyone who asks.


A quote from Confucius tells us, "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life."

It is a philosophy with which Dean Smith of Ben Avon wholeheartedly agrees, and he stands as a living example of its truth.

"My hobby and my life's passion is my job," he says.

Especially during the last five months, which is how long it's been since Smith opened his martial arts school, the Dojo, on North Balph Avenue in Bellevue.


Gardening is part of Maryann and Nicholas Hatala’s love affair with life, as well as with Nature.


Emily Keener touched up a grape leaf on the mural being painted on two walls of the Pennsylvania Macaroni building in the Strip District. Appropriately, the sun was blazing on this late afternoon scene of sunny Italy: grapes, peppers, pasta, tomatoes and the Italian flag.

Emily is part of the Moving the Lives of Kids Community Mural Project, which features portraits of people, events and structures that have shaped the region's history.


Dog catches Frisbee in mid-air.



The World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh has selected Avonworth High School teacher Jeff Boggess as one of 10 area teachers who will participate in a summer study tour of Brussels and Vienna, June 26 - July 10.

Council representative Christine Unger notified Boggess of his acceptance to the program in what she described as being “…a highly competitive process.” Boggess said that the application required two recommendations from Avonworth administrators, a resume and an essay.


Boy Scout Troop 321 added another Eagle Scout to its roster in a court of honor recognizing Jacob George for his accomplishments during his seven years as a Boy Scout.

In the ceremony held last Sunday at the Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church, assistant scoutmaster Steve Cupcheck said that anyone who achieves Eagle status represents “…the perfect, ultimate, complete Scout.”


The Avonworth School District will award diplomas to 102 graduating seniors tonight.


Some 113 seniors received diplomas at the Northgate HIgh School commencement ceremony last Monday night.


Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania has presented Taylor Henzler the Gold Award, the organization’s highest recognition of achievement.

The recent presentation ceremony honored 44 scouts for projects focusing upon helping others in their communities and schools.

Taylor’s project addressed the need to provide extra academic assistance for Avonworth High School students. She structured “The Café,” an after-school tutoring and mentoring program held twice a week in the school cafeteria, where students seeking extra help can stay and work with teachers or other students.


In musical and dramatic productions, there’s work backstage and onstage. Backstage, running the lights and the sound, building the set. Onstage, performing. In Avonworth High School’s recent production of “Into the Woods,” senior Shannon Knox managed to experience both sides of the curtain, performing as Cinderella’s stepmother while at the same time creating set pieces as student scenic designer.


History comes from any number of sources -- good teachers, good books, the History Channel. And sometimes it comes directly from those who lived it. Students in Jeff Boggess’s U.S. History classes at Avonworth High School recently completed a project that made them the historians as they interviewed individuals who experienced World War II, both as civilians and as military personnel.

Now in its fourth year, the project parallels class study that includes discussion and debate of the more controversial aspects of the war, such as the dropping of the atomic bomb and Japanese internment.