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Did you ever wonder how they get Christmas trees all wrapped up in the netting that protects them until you get them into your home? Pictured above, members of the Avalon Volunteer Fire Company package a tree on its way to a local home. The firefighters are selling Christmas trees to raise money, and have a wide variety of types and sizes in the lot across from the fire hall on New Brighton Road. The lot is open weekday evenings and all day on Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 24. Delivery to North Boroughs homes is available for free or a nominal charge.

Students at Bellevue Elementary School welcomed area veterans for a special program in their honor on Tuesday, Veterans Day. The children sang songs and recited poetry thanking the veterans for the military service to the country. The program was held in lieu of the borough’s traditional ceremony in Bayne Park.

Area first responders staged a mock crash at Northgate High School Tuesday in an effort to show students what can happen when they drink and drive. With the prom and graduation seasons approaching, Bellevue police and fire departments, NorthWest EMS, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office and LifeFlight brought the lesson home in a scene that had a student “dying” after going through the windshield, another trapped in a vehicle, and yet another under “arrest.” Bellevue volunteer firefighter Bill Turkovich organized the event.

The Bellevue Avalon Girls Athletic Association dedicated its opening day to Bob Loch, one of the league’s founders and the man who led the organization to reclaim a borough dump and turn it into an athletic field that has hosted thousands of girls over the past three decades. Pictured above, Loch threw out the ceremonial first pitch to kick off a new season for BAGAA. He was presented with a proclamation by former state representative David Mayernik, who helped secure grant funding for the project.

The owners of Sunny Jim’s Tavern on Camp Horne Road in Kilbuck Township are sporting less hair than usual, as are many of their customers. Pictured at left, owners Jim Oliver and Mike Stachel led a group of 50 volunteers -- including three women -- who had their heads shaved last Saturday to raise funds for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds pediatric cancer research. This is the second year that Sunny Jim’s has hosted the fund-raising event. Donations are expected to exceed $5,000 this year.

Northgate Middle-High School will stage what has come to be called the All-American musical, "Oklahoma!" as this year's spring production, with a staff/senior citizen preview at 6 p.m. this evening, and with opening night Saturday, March 22. Additional performances are scheduled for Friday, March 28, and Saturday, March 29, all with a 7:30 p.m. curtain time, and a children's show, which has "special" activities, beginning at 4:45 p.m. on Thursday, March 27.

The Assumption Theater Guild will present the musical, “Children of Eden” at 7 p.m. on Saturdays, March 22 and 29, with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. on March 23 and 30. Pictured above from left are: Dan DeLuca (Adam/Noah), Thomas Kurt Fuchel, Sr. (Father() and Casey Duffy(Eve/ Mama Noah). The production will be staged in McGovern Hall, located on the lower level of the Church of the Assumption, with access at 45 N. Sprague Ave.,and ADA access on North Jackson Avenue. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65 and older and for children 11 and under.

The Avonworth/Northgate wrestling team will be well represented at the WPIAL Individual Championship Tournament this evening and tomorrow at Chartiers Valley High School, where 35 schools will be represented. Qualifiers (weight bracket following each name) include (front row) Isaac Eames, 113; Anthony Trimmer, 138; Darion Trimmer, 132; and (second row) Ken Azzarello, 126; Ka'Dale Coles, 285; Brandon Wasko, 195. Back row: Head Coach Tim Giel with assistants Chris Branchen, Curtis Branchen and Brian Letters.

There probably were a few people who walked into the gym at Avonworth High School last Friday night thinking that there was some way a struggling Northgate boys’ basketball team would defeat crosstown rival Avonworth, with its undefeated section record. But most people took for granted that this would be the year that Avonworth swept the season. Fortunately for Northgate, the Flames team had no such doubts, and dealt the Antelopes a loss that was hard to swallow. The Flames scored 43 points in the second half to hand the Antelopes their first section loss this year.

Unless you have a plane ticket to Australia, there’s no way you’re going to beat sub-zero temperatures and piles of snow, so you might as well find a way to enjoy them, like these Avonworth students did last week. Pictured above, Emily Grambo, John Grambo, Michael Grande, Natalie Malloy, and Kevin Simpson took time out from Avonworth Ski Club’s first trip of the season to catch up on news in “The Citizen.” The “Sochi Wannabes” braved sub-sub-zero temperatures last weekend at Peek ‘n Peak resort in New York State, with another trip planned to Snowshoe, WV, in late February.

The Avonworth boys’ basketball team is proving itself to be the one to beat, as the Antelopes are in first place in their section, and taking out their opponents right and left as the season hits the midpoint. Pictured at left, Eric Gallupe (No. 31, red) is unstoppable during the team’s visit to Northgate Tuesday night.

Avalon Council gained some new members and new officers at its reorganization meeting Monday evening.

Taking the oath of office were new members Lee Nelson, William Pascale and Ryan Neal, who were joined by re-elected members Tom Lloyd and John Vetterly, and tax collector Ed Klicker. Pictured above being sworn in by solicitor Megan Ott are, from left, Neal, Nelson, Vetterly, Pascale, Lloyd and Ed Klicker.

Among the many notable anniversaries celebrated in 2013, there is one in particular that is an example of what North Boroughs residents can build and maintain when they put their hearts into it. The Avalon Volunteer Fire Company’s women’s auxiliary celebrated 40 years of service not only to Avalon firefighters, but to firefighters from throughout the North Boroughs. Whether they are raising funds, handing out cold towels to firefighters in the summer or delivering hot drinks in the winter, these ladies (pictured below) never fail to answer the call when there is a fire in the North Boroughs.

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.