Politics in Ben Avon have gotten a bit lively this year, and the November ballot offers a lot of choices for voters.

There are four seats for four-year terms on the borough council. There are seven candidates from which to choose. On the Democratic ballot, candidates are Jennifer Bett, Henry Casale, Megan Griffin Dolan and David Stoekle. The GOP ballot has incumbents Michael Wrbas and Russell Kuehner, plus Victoria Brind’Amour. Incumbent R.J. White is running a write-in campaign.


A resignation last spring by a member of the Northgate School Board created a situation fairly unique in the North Boroughs. Because the vacancy occurred too late for candidates to run in the primary election in May, the Allegheny County elections department turned to the two major political parties to nominate someone for the general election ballot.


Avalon voters will elect a new mayor on Nov. 7, choosing between Republican Brigitte Jackson, who has held the office since last spring's resignation of the former mayor, and Democrat and Avalon Council member Tom Lloyd.

The Citizen asked the candidates the following questions, and their unedited responses are included below. Employment/Education


It's been a while since there has been much competition for the mayor's seat in Ben Avon. Voters this year will choose between incumbent Republican Robert Jones, and Democratic challenger Melanie Hughes-Holcomb.

The Citizen provided the candidates with the following questions. The candidates' responses are complete and unedited. Employment/education

Jones: Employment, -- United States Air Force, FBI, R.B. Jones Corporation, Education, -- Shaler High School, Air Force Institute, Robert Morris


Yet another mayoral race is to be decided Nov. 7, this one in Emsworth. Amy Sue Lillie won the Democratic nomination in the primary, where Republican Joseph Michael was unopposed. Michael also is running for a seat on Emsworth Council.

The Citizen asked about the following issues. The responses have been edited only in so far as they have been cut and pasted to relate to the questions asked.



On Nov. 7, Bellevue voters will elect a new mayor, choosing between Democrat Emily Marburger and Republican Tom Fodi. Both ran as Democrats in the spring primary, with Marburger winning the Democratic nomination and Fodi picking up enough votes to take the GOP nomination.


Avalon’s new borough engineer gave an update on current infrastructure projects, and also assured officials at Tuesday’s regular council meeting that cost estimates for future projects are the minimum to pay for the work needed.

Engineer Kevin Brett told council that a problem regarding ther paving of Cherry Alley and the slope of the roadway had been resolved with the contractor, and the work should be completed soon. Snags in the repair of a sewer line near the swimming pool also have been cleared and the area should be paved soon.


According to Bellevue Police reports, a juvenile was jumped by two other juveniles on North Sprague Avenue on Sept. 3.

On Sept. 5, an Orchard Avenue resident reported a theft from a vehicle had occurred earlier in the week.

A school on North Jackson Avenue was burglarized overnight, Sept 6-7.

A resident of Orchard Avenue reported an assault on Sept. 7.

On Sept. 8, a Forest Avenue resident reported a theft from her porch.

On Sept. 8, a Highland Avenue resident reported vandalism; the garage had been damaged.


State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl is inviting local residents to participate in a community presentation on the opioid crisis, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 6 p.m. at the Northgate Middle/Senior High School, 591 Union Ave., in Bellevue. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

“Addiction can happen to anyone, and combatting the opioid crisis will require everyone’s involvement,” Ravenstahl said. “Please join us to learn about the epidemic and what can be done to ease the toll it is taking.”


Police Chief Beaver Micklos asked Ben Avon Council to consider installing cameras in various locations in the borough. He said they are quite sophisticated, and do not involve a lot of cost once they are up. He mentioned in particular an LPR – license plate reader – that focuses on reading license plates.


Emsworth Volunteer Fire Company has a supply of 9 volt batteries that can be used in most smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, that will be given free of charge to any Emsworth resident who either owns or rents property in the borough.

Residents can stop by the fire station bay doors at 171 Center Ave., on Halloween, Oct. 31, 6-8 p.m. to receive their batteries, while supplies last.

Batteries in smoke detectors should be changed at each Standard and Daylight Savings time change of the year.


At the Oct. 11 meeting, Emsworth Council approved several motions concerning operation and maintenance projects toward meeting MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) requirements.

Motions passed to spend an amount not to exceed $10,000 on preventive maintenance; to spend an amount not to exceed $16,000 on spot liners; and to spend an amount not to exceed $10,000 on spot lining repair work. Each motion passed unanimously.


A Bryson Avenue resident reported a civil dispute on Oct. 11.

A resident of West Division Street in Ben Avon reported harassment on Oct. 11.

On Oct. 11, a Park Avenue in Ben Avon resident reported public drunkenness.

On Oct. 12, a Cliffside Drive in Emsworth resident reported a suspicious person.

A Ben Avon Heights Road in Ohio Township business reported an attempted retail theft on Oct. 16.

On Oct. 17, a Bear Run apartments resident reported a theft.

A Mt. Nebo Pointe Drive in Ohio Township business reported an attempted retail theft on Oct. 17.


Ben Avon Council voted unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting to adopt an ordinance that will allow volunteer firefighters and other emergency service providers to receive tax credits for their local earned income tax.

The service providers would reach out to their community of residence to apply for the credit. Ken Opipery was absent.


In response to questions and concerns about Bellevue’s Lincoln Avenue streetscape project, the borough council met with the project landscape architect at Tuesday’s pre-council meeting.


Bellevue Police think they may have solved a series of vehicle break-ins reported over the last two weeks with the arrest Oct. 9 of a 22-year-old homeless man.

Police have charged Jacob Seth Hines with two counts of theft from a motor vehicle, three counts of receiving stolen property, and one count of criminal attempt.


Leaf collection in Ben Avon Borough will begin in late Oct. Residents are asked to not put leaves on the curb before then.

In late October, residents should rake leaves to the curb. No twigs, branches, mulched material, grass or other debris will be collected.

A final pass will be made on each street during the last week of November. Collection of leaves on Ohio River Boulevard will occur the first week of December.


The Northgate School District will be adding some programs to its existing arsenal in an attempt to improve students’ learning and test performance, and to increase the district’s performance ranking both locally and across the state.


Bellevue officials and residents got a reminder of how difficult it is to address blighted properties in the borough, but also heard at Tuesday’s meeting about a program that might provide a new tool in the ongoing battle.


Bellevue officials and residents got a reminder of how difficult it is to address blighted properties in the borough, but also heard at Tuesday’s meeting about a program that might provide a new tool in the ongoing battle.


The Marian Hall Home soup sale will run through Friday, April 20, 2018.

Each week, three soup varieties will be offered, each for $5 per quart. The selections repeat every six weeks.

Orders must be called in by noon each Thursday at (412)761-6004, for pick up on Friday beginning at 1 p.m. at Marian Hall, on the campus of Mount Assisi Convent in the Bellevue/Ross area. For GPS, use 1515 Quaill Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15202.

Proceeds benefit programs at Marian Hall Home.


There will be a number of new names on the ballot and lots of offices to be filled by voters on election day, Nov. 7.

Vacancies created by resignations will have to be filled, adding several new seats to the ballot, and primary election write-in votes have created a potentially confusing array of choices for the municipal election voter. Avonworth

Voters in Ben Avon, Emsworth, Ben Avon Heights, Kilbuck Township and Ohio Township will elect four members to the Avonworth School Board. All are running for four-year terms.


A visitor to an apartment building on Crawford Avenue reported being pushed by a tenant on Aug. 16.

A vehicle parked on Orchard Avenue was reported to have been struck by an unknown driver on Aug. 16.

On Aug 17, a South Starr Avenue apartment resident reported a burglary had occurred sometime between Aug. 14-16.

On Aug. 19, a North Fremont Avenue apartment resident reported the theft of household items on July 12.

An employee reported on Aug. 21 that a Lincoln Redbox machine had been damaged the previous day.


Although fire fighters sometimes get called to save cats in trees, Bellevue Volunteer Fire Company’s emergency medical response crew received a truly unique animal rescue call last Friday night.