Almost every girl has that ballerina dream. The lights, the tights, the music, the Prince Char-ming.

But then come the practice -- hours of practice -- along with ankle sprains and instructors' demands and so often that dream becomes a memory, along with Barbies and other childhood interests.

Amy Herchenroether, the daughter of Wendy and Dan Herchenroether of Ben Avon, probably experienced all of those stages in her dance training, but since starting "…about when I was 3," her love of dance has grown with her skills, and at age 17, the dedication is beginning to pay off.


“When we were doing our exterior facelift around four years ago,” Rev. Catherine Purves, minister of Bellevue United Presbyterian Church, recalled, “people kept asking if we were going to sandblast the stone too.” “No way,” she told them. “We earned that good Pittsburgh soot.” The blackened old church on Lincoln Avenue next to Bellevue Elementary has been a neighborhood institution for 109 years.


While the thermometer nudged its way toward the 90 degree mark on a recent Sunday, a gathering of friends and residents of Metowers in Avalon sang along to the strains of "Winter Wonderland" and "White Christmas" while dining on a sumptuous buffet luncheon, playing games and enjoying a nip or two, all as a way of celebrating Christmas in July, an indoor picnic held in Avalon.

Sally Adams, a Metowers resident, explained how this early version of the "season to be jolly" came about.


Cindy Bujalski found an unexpected benefit to working part-time in the Avalon tax office.

“I started hearing all these stories, the history of Avalon, things I didn’t know about the borough,” she said.

She found the tales of streetcars and stores long gone from Avalon’s landscape to be fascinating and wanted to learn more, but it seemed the history of the borough was more anecdotal than anything else, stories passed down from parents and grandparents but never recorded for future generations.


Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) has begun to enroll young children and pregnant mothers in its new Early Head Start program for low-income families.

Early Head Start is a free childhood development program for infants, toddlers, pregnant women and their families. Staff work with families to promote a child's health/development and assist pregnant women in accessing prenatal and postpartum care.

Families from Bellevue, Avalon, West View and Ross Township can participate.


A local man graduated from boot camp at Fort Benning, Georgia on June 25.

Ron Heinold of Bellevue currently is stationed in Germany with the Army Infantry. He is the son of Karen Heinold of Bellevue, and a 2008 graduate of Northgate High School.


Buying and selling a home are two of the most important decisions many people will make. When it comes time to make that decision, you want the help of a realtor who knows the business, knows the market, knows the neighborhood.

That's where Arrow Real Estate comes in.

The office at 201 Center Ave. in Emsworth may be new, but the people inside are anything but new to the real estate business, or to the community.


Locker clean-out.

It's part of students' end-of-year rituals. Sort of the ultimate "No more pencils, no more books…" chant that dates back decades as a year's worth of notebooks, folders, pens and pencils often get a quick pitch into one of the many trash containers stationed throughout school hallways.


Named for the legendary Pittsburgh performer, Gene Kelly, the Kelly Awards brings a taste of Broadway’s Tony Awards to the city as they celebrate the best performances and achievements in high school musical productions for the current school year.

Last Saturday’s 20th annual ceremony highlighted the talents of hundreds of actors, actresses and production workers as “the best of the best” gathered at the Benedum Theater to offer samples of individual and full-cast production numbers.


"Great Saves" don't happen only on the baseball diamond. They happen every day throughout the Pittsburgh region as EMS professionals and other first response teams save lives by delivering prompt, expert care.

West Penn Allegheny Health System and the Pittsburgh Pirates are teaming up this baseball season to salute local first responders at Pirates games and reunite them with the patients they helped save.


Day camps sponsored by Bayne Library in Bellevue will be held at the park this summer.

Each week will feature a different theme. Camp for kids 5-8 years will be held June 14-18, June 28 - July 2 and July 12-16. For 9-12-year-olds, camp will be held June 21-25, July 19-23 and July 26-30.

Registration fees are $10 per child, $15 for two siblings, and $25 for three siblings per week.

For more information, stop by the library, call (412)766-7447 or e-mail


Marie Elder of Bellevue belongs to a strongly patriotic organization that has a clock ticking against its existence.

That's because all of its members are over the age of 80, and recruitment of new ones simply isn't a possibility.

But that dire prospect does not diminish the personal connection with history that Marie feels when she slips into her Rosie the Riveter tee-shirt and begins to reminisce about the era that produced what many believe to be the greatest generation in American history.


Many people who attend next Monday’s Memorial Day service in Bellevue’s Bayne Park will walk along a pathway shaded by beautiful trees.

Some may even notice the markers placed in front of each of the trees.

It’s likely that few will realize the history and significance of that walkway.

On May 29, 1920, the Bellevue community gathered to plant 12 Pin Oak trees, one for each of the town residents who died in World War I -- 11 soldiers and one nurse.


A variety of day camps for children will be held at the Ohio Township Community Park on Nicholson Road this summer.

Among the camp themes are: how to draw, survival/nature, games, teen weight loss, Carnegie Science Center Insect Investigators, CSI: Pittsburgh, herb garden/nature, bugs, “learn to make stuff,” sock puppets, photography/modeling, “BFF”s, garden art and “Abrakadoodle Beach Party.”

The camps will be held during June and July.

For information on the camps, visit the Web site at


When Andy Lang began thinking about joining the service, he couldn't decide among the Air Force, the Army or the Navy. Family lineage solved the problem for him.

After all, his grandfather Chuck Lang served in the Navy with a construction battalion in World War II, detonating coral on Tinian, a South Pacific island where airstrips were built. Airstrips from which planes flew bombing missions that dropped the atom bombs on Japan.

And his father, Chuck, stationed on a communications relay ship in the Tonkin Gulf, served as a machinist in the Navy during Vietnam.


“Open Your Heart to a Senior” is awarding four mini-grants of $500 each to groups that implement volunteer recruitment and outreach projects that help older adults.


Broadway arrives in the North Boroughs this week, with the staging of two standards of American musical theater at local high schools.

Northgate students will take audiences back to the era of Elvis and the earliest days of rock 'n roll with its production of "Bye Bye Birdie," while Avonworth students will drop back a few years more, to the Roaring ‘20s, with its presentation of "Mame."


Avonworth sophomore Holly Hunt turned in books and wrapped up the school year a bit earlier than her classmates, traveling last Friday to Niigata, Japan where she will spend 11 months as an exchange student in the American Field Service program.

"My mom was an AFS student when she was in high school, spending time in Colombia, so she helped me with the application process," Holly said.

During her 11-month stay, Holly will live with a host family and attend school, which, she said, differs from American scheduling.


Emsworth resident Richard "R. J." Hufnagel admits that having his head shaved for charity does not entail that much of a sacrifice.

"Really, there isn't that much there," he said, running a hand through some of the thicker areas remaining on sides and back, all of it scheduled for removal this Saturday, March 13, as part of a fund-raiser for childhood cancer research.

"A friend's daughter died of cancer a few years ago and she got people together to do this. That's how I got involved."


The Pennsylvania Middle School Association has honored Avonworth Middle School principal Tom Ralston with the Administrator's Award, an honor that recognizes his achievements in promoting middle school education and encouraging professional development.

Now in his fifth year as an Avonworth principal, Ralston has earned high marks from his students, as well as from PMSA, with three eighth graders expressing their views.

"Mr. Ralston is the most amazing and understanding principal in the state," said Natalie Malloy.


North Hills Community Outreach (NHCO) and Community Auto have formally merged in order to operate more efficiently.

NHCO is a 23-year-old interfaith organization addressing the needs of people in crisis, hardship and poverty. Programs include two food pantries, utility assistance, emergency financial help and volunteer care-giving for older adults.

Community Auto was founded in 2003 as a volunteer-run program to accept donated vehicles, have them repaired and sell them at reasonable prices to low-income people.


For the second consecutive year, North Hills Community Outreach is partnering with Christ Lutheran Church in Millvale to provide minor home repairs to qualified seniors and adults with physical disabilities.

Applications are now being accepted for repair projects that will be completed by supervised groups of youth between June 28 and July 2.

Senior citizens or adults with physical disabilities who wish to be considered for home repairs should:

Own and reside in a home in northern Allegheny County, outside of the city limits.


Avalon residents were thrilled to find their Citizen delivery uninterrupted during the recent blizzard, thanks to carrier Jesron Hall, something neither of the daily papers could do.