Psychologists call it a “flashbulb memory,” that special, autobiographical memory that is seared into one’s mind upon seeing or hearing something emotionally traumatic. For many individuals aged 55 or older, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy often evokes such a carefully-preserved memory. A lot of people can provide a detailed description of where they were when they heard that tragic news.


Skinny Pete's Kitchen or, as the menu prefers to call the restaurant, "A unique luncheon and gourmet food destination," opened in Avalon last February, with a menu heavy on comfort foods served in an intimate and comfortable setting.

Neither of the co-owners, Tina Grindeland and Danielle Mashuda, lives in Avalon, but, as Tina said, "We knew the area from when we grew up. We had friends here, and we like the community."



The special date 11-12-13 only occurs once in a century, but long-time Bellevue resident Myrtle Brooks has had the opportunity to observe it twice: once on the day she was born and this week as she celebrated her 100th birthday.


North Hills Community Outreach has announced the launch of its 2013-14 "Sharing Winter Warmth" campaign, an effort to provide disadvantaged families and individuals (such as vulnerable seniors, widows/widowers, and people with disabilities) with necessities such as heat and food during the holiday season.

Last year the Sharing Winter Warmth campaign provided $50 in certificates toward food and utilities to 583 North Hills families in need.



My father was a member of what Tom Brokaw termed -- rightly so, I believe -- “The Greatest Generation.” Robert Francis Fellows was born shortly after World War One ended, was a child during the Roaring Twenties, a teenager during the worst of the Great Depression and graduated high school shortly before World War II began.


After three years of work by volunteers, three trails through the wooded acreage of Bellevue’s Memorial Park are ready to be dedicated and opened to the public.

Designed by David Biber of Bellevue, a volunteer with the Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group (PTAG), the three are part of a bigger plan that will add two more trails and potentially connect with the Rails to Trails project that stretches between the City of Pittsburgh and Washington, DC.


Family and friends of the late U. S. Army Staff Sergeant Eric S. Holman joined with Ohio Township supervisors last Saturday morning to dedicate a memorial commemorating Eric's service and ultimate sacrifice to his country when he was killed in action on Aug.15, 2012.

Growing up in Ohio Township, Eric graduated in 1990 from Avonworth High School. He then attended Penn State, graduating in 1995 with degrees in criminal justice and mechanical engineering. He died in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when he encountered an enemy improvised explosive device.


Following last Sunday's Honor Court at Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church, where John Weingartner was recognized for achieving Eagle status, Boy Scout Troop 321 now counts five Eagles among its 18 current members.

Another Eagle who crossed over into scouting from cubs to Troop 321, later moved to Troop 572 but maintains close ties with the Mt. Nebo group.

John Weingartner, Sr., John's father and scoutmaster of the troop for the past four years, said that the national average indicates that one scout in 20 will become an Eagle.


[The Avalon Motel is well known to most area residents, and not always for the best reasons. Few people, however, know the history of the motel. Here, we take a look back with an Avalon man who had a unique role in the creation of what once was a flourishing local business.]

By Denny Brown

Sometimes when I'm working on the property across from the Avalon Motel, I stop and reminisce about how we use to play “one hand below” in the parking lot every Sunday night.


The former Sirianni homestead in Bellevue added a new chapter to its history last Friday with the official opening of the Rainbow Garden, an area planned and planted by children under the guidance of the North Hills Community Outreach.

The Rainbow Garden name refers to several of the plants that can be found there: red for the tomatoes, orange and yellow for the peppers, green for the cucumbers, purple for the eggplant.


Perhaps the key to successful longevity for any business is recognizing the changing needs of its customers and moving to meet them. And understanding that concept could be why the Whelpley family is celebrating two momentous business events this year: the 25th anniversary of its original Agway store in Beaver, and the opening of its sixth store in Ohio Township.


Ben Avon Heights, established as a borough in 1913, is celebrating its 100 years on June 21 and 22 with a weekend full of events and activities with both current and past residents.


With North Korea threatening nuclear war and with lawmakers battling over gun legislation, prospects for peace seem to be more elusive than ever. One man, though, in his own quiet way, has not abandoned the quest for a better future, taking his message to the streets as he walks from his home in North Manchester, IN to Elizabethtown in eastern Pennsylvania.

That walker, Bob Gross, stopped in Avalon last Thursday, spending the night with Rick and Jane Miller and family.


Ask "Mo" Salman why he opened his restaurant in Bellevue and he'll give you an obvious answer.

"I have a passion for good food."

The newest chef in the North Boroughs believes "There is a lack of good, healthy food in the Pittsburgh area, especially being offered late at night."


Avalon Elementary students learned about the importance of healthy eating while also developing their culinary skills, thanks to education partner Sodexo -- the school district's cafeteria food provider --and its "Future Chefs: Health Salad Challenge."

The national program, now in its third year, was created to get students thinking about making healthy food choices while also encouraging them to get active and creative in the kitchen.


Northgate's combined middle and high school choruses of over 100 voices assembled on steps leading to the stage in the auditorium this past Monday to sing a moving arrangement of the song most associated with John Lennon's message of peace and harmony, "Imagine," under the direction of choral director Kelly Winovich, with chorus member Sabrina Patak, a junior, signing the words to students.


Calling Pure Fitness a gym is a bit of an understatement.

Yes, it has lots of exercise equipment for both cardio and strength work-outs. It has classes that include spinning, yoga, pilates, Zumba and TurboKick.

It even has shower facilities and personal trainers, plus massage and sauna offered.

But Pure Fitness has been designed by owner Kim Gregory to offer women a friendly, supportive community that just so happens to be a place where they can take care of themselves.

"It's a place for intelligent, strong, independent women who care about their health," says Kim.


Avonworth High School and Middle School students have received top honors at this year's Regional Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Three walked away with gold keys, while seven silver keys and seven honorable mentions were also won by Avonworth students.

The awards have left a lasting impact on the winners. Senior Evie Moran who competed for the first time and won in photography acknowledged, "I was doubting myself and I wasn't sure I should go to college for art," but now she's actively applying to art programs.


Many career experts will tell you: Do what you love, and success will follow.

What Julie Kramer and Bill Homol love is dogs, and that led the married couple to look in that direction when starting a business. " We always knew we wanted to do something with dogs one day," says Julie.

They got a little nudge in the right direction when Ohio Township, where they live, amended its zoning code to allow property owners with more than five acres to open a dog boarding kennel.


It all started with a mother-daughter talk. Mother, Tracy Beck and daughter, Gabrielle Elisabeth Beck.

"I had been telling her that there are very sick children who have lost all their hair," Tracy, a nurse, said. "Her face looked as if a light bulb turned on as she said, 'I have a lot I could give them.'"

Tracy told her how she could do that, but it would mean that she would have to get her hair cut quite short. "In her four years she has had only had a trim. But she loved the idea."


From his home in the hills above the train tracks running parallel to the Ohio River, Rich Kohler hears every whistle of the engines rolling by, every clickety-click of the cars on the tracks.

"That's what I love about Emsworth. You can't go anywhere without hearing the trains," Rich said, looking over his personal world of trains, towns, and scenes of everyday life. It's not the typical Christmas season train set-up, tracks circling the tree. Rather, it's a year-round hobby that is in a constant state of change, with the tweaking and expanding providing the enjoyment of his hobby.


If you visit the Avalon Police Station, you may be greeted at the window by what appears to be a cute, fluffy little kitten.

At the moment, however, said kitten is indulging in typical kitten behavior and “taking a bite out of crime” at every opportunity.

It’s actually a relief to see the approximately 10-week old kitten being playfully ferocious, given her rough start in life.


The dedication of Bellevue’s new skate plaza and the borough’s annual Health & Safety Day dovetailed nicely last Saturday, as officials and experts took the opportunity to educate dozens of children about how to skateboard safely.

The plaza already has been the scene of one brain injury that occurred in a fall by a youth who was not wearing a helmet. Adam Bistrican, 14, of Bellevue, told the crowd at the plaza dedication about the weeks of headaches, nausea, and the inability to participate in his favorite activities.


If you’re trick-or-treating in Bellevue this Halloween and visit a home that has jack-o-lanterns the size of garbage cans, don’t assume that those decorations are store-bought and made of plastic.

If you’re at the McClain home on Sheridan Avenue, those pumpkins will be the real thing, and more than a little effort went into creating these seasonal displays.

The largest pumpkin from the home-grown crop weighs in at 270 lbs., with another still growing in the 150-200 lbs. range.