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.


Ask most adults what they recall watching on TV back when they were 6 or 7 years old and they'll probably name their favorite cartoons, followed by some more cartoons, followed by more of the same.

There are exceptions, of course, and Carson Bruno, a 2005 Avonworth grad, would be one of them.


Eight years ago, The Citizen first visited Louise Decker, writing an account of her life that began, “When Louise Decker stepped off the boat in New York on her sixteenth birthday in 1920, Woodrow Wilson was in the White House. She was emigrating from Kirkintilloch, a small mining town nine miles from Glasgow and traveling with two brothers and two uncles. Turning 100 on Aug. 16, Louise looked back at a life that was shaped by the times during which she lived.”


Almost everyone knows the motto associated with the United States Post Office: "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."

Familiar as the words are, they are not the official motto of the postal service, even though they certainly apply to most delivery men and women. Those familiar words actually trace to a Greek historian writing of Persian postal couriers delivering messages about 2,500 years ago.


Spend a few hours with Bill Spolar at his Kilbuck home and studio and you can't help but expand your knowledge about art.

And the artist knows what he's talking about.

"I started drawing when I was 5 or 6 years old. I drew characters from comic books -- Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, anything that caught my eye."


The biggest show in town last weekend was the 22nd annual Kelly Awards, named for legendary local performer Gene Kelly. Staged at the Benedum Center, high schools from across Allegheny County showcased their 2012 musical productions, which ranged from standards such as "Bye, Bye Birdie" to the more contemporary "Curtains.'


Potential muggers, rapists and batterers might just want to avoid the women of Bellevue. About two dozen ladies of a wide range of ages learned how to protect themselves and how to strike back at would-be attackers during a class hosted by the Bellevue Police Department.

The class was taught by Frank Murphy, veteran, martial artist, state police officer and CEO of a protection consulting firm. He was assisted in the training by Bellevue Police Sgt. Mike Hudson.


Art and religion have always enjoyed an inspirational bond, from Mozart's compositions to Michelan-gelo's sculpture, with some of their creations spanning years of contemplation and work.

Local artist Clyde Williams did not have the luxury of pondering and revising his latest painting, now on display in the chapel at Emsworth United Presby-terian Church where he rendered a water color and acrylic composition based upon last week's Palm Sunday service conducted by Rev. Susan Rothenberg.


So often the road to progress includes demolishing the past. Fortunately, though, two local works of historical and artistic value were spared that fate through the intervention of a concerned resident.


Believing that Christmas can still change the world, Emsworth United Presbyterian Church has partnered with the Advent Conspiracy to celebrate the holiday by spending less, giving more, worshiping fully and loving all during this special season.

Reverend Susan M. Rothenberg, pastor of the church, said that the partnership provides the congregation with the opportunity to purchase alternative gifts to benefit non-profit groups that answer Christ's call "…to seek His presence in the 'least of these,' as urged in Matthew 25:40."


After a physically demanding week of working with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy as well as with landscaping contractors, a young man might reasonably be expected to kick back with friends, have some refreshments, maybe watch some TV.

Joseph Noll, 24, of Bellevue, probably does do that from time to time, but some civic-minded projects occasionally take precedence.

Noll said that after graduating from Penn State, where he studied horticulture, he moved back home and asked himself what he could do to make his little section of Bellevue better.


Best-selling author John Irving once observed, "A writer uses what experience he or she has…"

Dennis Marsili, speaking last week at Bayne Library where he promoted "Excessive Forces, A Pittsburgh Police Thriller," the first novel of what he hopes will be a prolific second career, has followed Irving's advice.

Writing his novel in spare time over the past four years, he has drawn upon nearly 30 years of police work that included 11 years as a detective sergeant to pen his police thriller set in the fictional Pittsburgh Metropolitan Police Department.


The Avon Club Foundation, which makes distributions to organizations serving the charitable and educational needs of the Avonworth community, is currently accepting applications for funding requests for fall disbursements.

For information and applications, go to and print the application or call (412)445-8713 to have one sent. Completed applications must be received no later than Oct. 3 for consideration.


Allegheny General Hospital-Suburban Campus was awarded the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania's (HAP) Achievement Award for excellence in community education.

AGH-Suburban Campus was among 18 HAP Achievement Award winners chosen from 168 applicants in Pennsylvania.

The Hospital's Community Health and Wellness Program kicked off with the popular Twenty Week Challenge interactive lecture series, which encouraged participants to change their eating and exercise habits gradually over 20 weeks and adopt a sustainable healthier lifestyle.


There are no clocks, no mirrors, no pictures, no plants, and no cell phones ringing in the Yoga on Fremont studios. And the only furniture is the instructor's desk, along with some "cubbies" where students can place coats and personal items before lessons start.

Once the sessions, which last approximately 75 minutes, begin, sounds are limited to the voice of the instructor leading students through their routine, with music playing whisper-soft in the background.


The summer swimming season ended early for people in this area as wet, chilly weather moved in over the Labor Day weekend, but that didn’t stop local dogs from taking to the water on Monday.

Pictured here, the dog pool party at Bellevue’s Memorial Park swimming pool was a big hit with canines of all sizes as well as their human companions. The party was sponsored by the Bellevue Dog Woods Association as a fund-raiser for the off-leash dog park currently under construction in an adjacent area of Memorial Park.


Aidan Sommers of Ben Avon, age 10, will enter fifth grade at Avonworth Elementary School this year. He's on the Avonworth and Baierl YMCA swim teams, plays soccer, and enjoys activities typical of friends his age.

An ordinary kid in every way, except one.

He and his dad, Bob, have just put the finishing touches on an iPhone game app that, if all goes well, would finance his college education through a post-doctoral degree.

A pause here for anyone who has not succumbed to tech terms.

App…an application.


Bellevue has been home, off and on, for the past 20 years for Kathy Coder, but since returning here in 2004, the community has become her passion.

"When we moved back, we bought a 100-year-old house. It was lots of work, and at the same time, I kept thinking I wanted to get involved with Bellevue. I knew nothing about local government, but I thought I'd like to bring some ideas here."

Coder went to a few council meetings, found herself replacing a council member who had resigned, and shortly after was elected council president.


Hallmark has yet to cash in on the money-making potential of producing cards that commemorate National Garage Sale weekend, but Bellevue once again has put itself ahead of the curve, holding its sales tomorrow, rather than with the rest of the nation, which will observe the event next weekend.

Those who look upon saling -- the official term for cruising garage sales -- as a silly waste of Saturday mornings, as well as of money better spent, have yet to meet up with saling aficionados such as Kellee Sadler of Avalon, who confesses, "Thinking about the sales gets me through the week."


In a simple ceremony held on July 25 in his front yard and with just a handful of friends and family looking on, the Honorary Consul of France named Thomas Scholler a "Chevalier of the Legion of Honor as a sign of France's gratitude for personal contributions to the liberation of our country during World War II."

A similar ceremony held in Washington, D.C. in June honored recipients from across the nation, but Scholler said that he did not feel up to making the trip.