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Watch very, very closely and you just might catch Avonworth cheerleaders Kelly Evans and Natalie Malloy, pictured here from left, stepping off with thousands of band members and celebrity performers, all mixed in with floats and balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade that has come to mark the unofficial kick-off of the holiday season. Participation in the parade, 9 a.m.-noon, was open to all senior cheerleaders, who learned at summer cheerleading camp of the opportunity offered through "Spirit of America Productions," the group with whom they will be marching.

Northgate choral students are continuing their North Boroughs' Rotary Club association, with seniors Jessica Obriot and Sabrina Patak serving as Junior Rotarians, and several other students being involved in Rotary activities. Pictured above are: seated -- Madison Conley, Kayla Mayhugh, Jessica Obriot, Sabrina Patak, Rachael Banyas, Taylor Grinage; standing -- Samuel Sesti III and D.J. Powers. Choral director Kelly Winovich said that the connection with Rotary all began when her concert choir first sang for the YMCA's "Tree of Lights" celebration.

Hudson was one of many pets who received blessings Saturday from Father Dan Langa at Assumption Church in Bellevue. The individual ceremonies were performed in honor of St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is observed on Oct. 4.

Visitors to Avalon's "Touch a Truck" event got a bird's eye view of the festivites if they took a short ride in the bucket of the snorkel firetruck. Pictured here, firefighters Joe Luxas and Chuck Berie prepare to lift a group of adventurous visitors. The event, which raised money for Avalon Library, featured a variety of vehicles, including police and EMS, towing and pub;ic works, and a monster truck.

The temperature in the area had pushed into the 90s last Thursday, but one spot in Ohio Township registered some extra degrees. As winner of radio station WDVE's contest to host a porch/patio party with TV star and comedian Billy Gardell, the Hartle family’s house on Bradshaw Drive was definitely the hottest place around. Pictured at the party, from left, are Joey O'Connell, John Hartle, Billy Gardell, Jodi Hartle and Makenzie Hartle

John Hartle explained how his family's home came to be party central for the day.

New Bellevue director of administrative services Ron Borczyk, pictured above at center with council president Linda Woshner and vice president Jim Viscusi, is quickly settling in to his new job with the borough. Borczyk, who comes to Bellevue after working as the borough manager in Springdale, has a background in accounting and human resources in the private sector, as well as municipal government experience.

Perched at the summit of Mt. Nebo Road in Ohio Township, the Mt. Nebo Presbyterian Church will host a celebration of its 175th anniversary this weekend. Built in 1837, the original church was made of logs. That building housed the congregation for its first 44 years, until a second building was completed between 1878 and 1884 to accommodate the growing number of members. Two more additions became part of the church in the 1950s.

Northgate middle and high school choral director Kelly Winovich has advanced to the final stages in the selection process for the first-ever Grammy Award for Music Educator of The Year.

Nominated by alumni, current students and parents, Winovich remains one of 200 out of nearly 30,000 contenders for the top prize, which includes $10,000 for the winner's middle/high school choral program and a matching amount for the teacher, plus an all-expenses paid trip to the 2014 Grammy Awards where Ryan Seacrest and Justin Timberlake will presentthe award.

For the second consecutive year, Avonworth's spring musical production took "Best Musical" in budget category II of the Kelly Awards, which recognize high school musical performances throughout Western Pennsylvania. In addition to taking home the top award, "The Phantom of the Opera" was honored with four additional nominations: Emma Baker for best actress; Nathan Pool for best actor; best director; and best stage crew.

Lincoln Avenue in Bellevue, pictured at left, was a sea of people and classic cars last Sunday as Enjoy Bellevue and Classic Chevrolet sponsored the popular annual car cruise. Beautiful weather, vendors, music and raffles added to the festivities.

The pond and waterfall feature of the Bellevue Dog Woods off-leash dog park was a big hit with the canine visitors who helped celebrate the official grand opening last Saturday. Hundreds of dogs and their humans visited vendors that provide dog services and products, as well as rescue and shelter organizations, and enjoyed door prizes and give-aways. The Bellevue Dog Woods is open in Bellevue’s Memorial Park on Bellevue Road daily from dawn until dusk.

.Northgate High School's concert choir and the middle school chorus will present its spring show, "Broadway and Beyond," on Thursday, May 9, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. The choir previewed selections from their show for residents at New Hope in Avalon on May 1. Concert choir seniors pictured here from left are: front -- Chase Dermond, Mara Bartholomew, Rachel Rieg, Nicole Barton, Jeremy McCawley; middle -- Lauren McNeil, Colby Simpson, Kelsey Sozanski; back: Carolyn Kenyon, Amanda Woollard, Hannah Kunkel; not pictured -- Sarah Denes, Ashonti Walker.

Avonworth students, from left, Bethany Kujawinski, Chloe Mellon, Lauren Robinet, Ben Pietrusinski and Denise Stone have received top honors from the Carson Scholars Fund.The three ninth graders include Ben, son of Colleen and Carl Pietrusinski of Ben Avon; Chloe, daughter of Brenda and Steve Mellon of Emsworth; and Lauren, daughter of Jane Ellen Robinet of Ben Avon and Yves Robinet of Ohio Township. Bethany, grade 7, is the daughter of Kelly and Nick Kujawinski. Denise, a sophomore, is the daughter of Phil Stone and Peggy Ward of Emsworth.

Volunteers from Ben Avon and Emsworth, with help from members of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, planted trees on Laurel, Prospect, Dickson, and Sturgeon avenues in Ben Avon, as well as in Avon Park, on April 11. The trees, obtained through the TreeVitalize project, were selected specifically for each site by professional urban foresters. Local coordinator Ephraim Zimmerman said that the planting event was very successful.

Avonworth catcher Sonny Restelli stood his ground against a Seton LaSalle player’s attempt to fly into home plate, getting the tag and the out. Unfortunately, the Antelopes lost the game 15-13. They had better luck against Northgate, however. Page 12.

Avonworth seniors Nathan Pool and Emma Baker rehearse a scene from "The Phantom of the Opera."

It opened in London in 1986, in New York in 1988, and has been staged in national tours, regional theater and college productions across the country, making it one of the most popular shows in musical history.

And now, Avonworth High School presents "The Phantom of the Opera" for a two-weekend run, opening for a senior citizen performance at 4:30 p.m. on April 11, followed by April 12, 13, 19 and 20 shows with 7:30 p.m. curtain times.

Northgate High School will stage "Beauty and the Beast" for this year's spring musical, with performances scheduled for April 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13. Pictured here during rehearsal are, from left: back -- Lauren Murphy, Kristine Houser, Colby Simpson, Sam Driscoll, Evan Sweeney, Laken Burns; front -- Sam Sesti, Lauren McNeil, Rachael Robertson, D.J. Powers, Madison Conley, Jeremy McCawley, Hannah Dunn, Chase Dermond. The April 5 show at 6 p.m. welcomes senior citizens and all Northgate staff for a full dress rehearsal, with no cost for admission.

Northgate High School sophomore Sara Hopkins won the semi-final round of the "Kean Quest Talent Competition" last weekend, advancing her to the finals, which will be held on Friday, April 5, at 7 p.m. at the Kean Theatre in Gibsonia. "America's Got Talent" finalist Jackie Evancho will be among the hosts for the evening's performances. Sara will again sing, accompanied by Northgate choral director Kelly Winovich. "I am so proud of Sara's accomplishments. She is the perfect example of talent, hard work, and dedication," Winovich said.

Avonworth Ski Club members Austin Harvey, Alexa Valenta, Rich Kastory and Natalie Malloy were among two dozen who traveled to western New York last weekend to put in some time on the slopes.

The Assumption Theatre Guild will present the musical comedy "Once upon a Mattress" on Saturdays, March 9 and 16, at 7 p.m., and on Sundays, March 10 and 17, at 2 p.m. in McGovern Hall. Pictured above from left are cast members Cindy West (Queen Aggravain), Ryan Frawley (Prince Dauntless) and Katie Cwenar (Princess Winnifred).

It's never too late to be a cheerleader. Proving the truth of that statement, Denise Adams of Bellevue regularly attends Northgate sports events to cheer on grandson Shane Adams. Wearing her sparkling gold and red attire and a top hat trimmed with flames, Denise gave her support throughout last Friday's Northgate-Avonworth basketball game, joining at halftime with high school cheerleaders Zana Wiley (top left) and Mara Bartholomew (right), and Sarah Denes.

Northgate’s Justin Parra tries to score during the Flames’ 68-41 loss to Quaker Valley Tuesday evening. Northgate will host Avonworth this Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Several Northgate students have earned the opportunities to showcase their vocal talents at events scheduled throughout the Pittsburgh area over the next few weeks.

Senior Chase Dermond, who sang his way through middle school chorus and the high school concert choir, will perform as a member of District I Chorus at Quaker Valley High School, Feb. 6-8.

"It's a great honor to represent our school in Districts, and I hope to make my school proud," Chase said.