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Although the official grand opening of the Bellevue skate plaza is a few weeks off, construction of the first phase is complete, and skaters and skate boarders are flocking to the new facility in Bayne Park. On Tuesday, Bellevue Council awarded the contract for the construction of the second phase to Spohn Ranch. Director of administrative services Doug Sample said that the $72,000 second phase will add an additional skateable section between the current facility and the fence behind it, about two-thirds of the length of the first structure.

Area dogs had their own Olympics of sorts as the Bellevue Dog Woods Association held its second annual Labor Day pool party at Memorial Park. Pictured here, Dingo and Charlie return to mom Sue Ezzo of Brighton Heights after successfully completing their own “frisbee fetch” competition.

Avonworth High School teacher Breanna Maisner (pictured here at left) and juniors Sean Harpst and Alexa Valenta were among more than 1,000 Pittsburghers who took part in the “Polar Plunge” last Sunday morning to raise funds for Special Olympics.With temperatures just above 30 degrees, the participants jumped into the Ohio River on the North Shore. The two students raised more than $700 in pledges for Special Olympics.

The Bellevue business district was treated to a preview of the upcoming Northgate Middle - Senior High School holiday choral concert as the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce kicked off a day of seasonal celebration last Friday afternoon. The students will present “A Joyous Night of Song” on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Chorus alumni are invited to join the students on stage to sing “This Christmastide.” Admission is free. Bellevue’s celebration concluded Friday evening with a tree-lighting, horse-drawn carriage rides and additional entertainment.

Northgate alumni, all veterans of the school’s past spring musical productions, got together to entertain once again as a “Cabaret” was held Saturday evening to rise money to continue the musicals at Northgate. Performers pictured here are; back row --Zach Jones, Amy White, Shelby Szakelyhidi, Dan Klicker, Abby Klicker; front row -- Hannah Reed, Kala Lorey, Ruthann Malsch, Samantha Meyer, Amy Haller.

Northgate cross country coaches Frank Nesko and Brian Veshio and state qualifiers Jonathan Gusew and Lily Hall were honored by the Northgate School Board last Monday evening.:

Three young men from the North Boroughs will be remembered forever for their sacrifice in Iraq, as a memorial honoring their military service was dedicated on Veterans Day in Bellevue. Pictured here, Midge Hall and Patricia Kenny place a wreath beside the monument that bears the names of their sons, Robert Hall of Bellevue and Patrick Kenny of Emsworth, along with that of Thomas Vandling Jr. of Bellevue. All three were killed while serving with the military in Iraq. The memorial was constructed by Bellevue Boy Scout Brian Halligan for his Eagle Scout project.

Northgate quarterback Jon Girvin looks past Joden Rocco (No. 8) for a receiver during the Flames’ first playoff appearance in years last Friday night. Unfortunately, the Flames took on Beaver County powerhouse Rochester and lost 48-22, but not before Girvin threw for 200 yards to bring his season total to more than 2,000 yards.

Children who participated in one of Saturday’s many Halloween events in the North Boroughs found their costumes buried beneath winter coats, hats and gloves as the area’s first snowfall made an unseasonable appearance. Pictured here, Kathy Ferri of AGH-Suburban and the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce hands a pumpkin to one of the bundled-up Avalon-Bellevue parade participants

Or it will be next spring, thanks to Girl Scout Troop 54259, who planted 100 bulbs in front of the Avalon borough property on California Avenue as part of the clean-up day sponsored last Saturday by the Avalon Quality of Life Association. The number of bulbs is significant, representing the Scouts’ 100th anniversary. Gardeners pictured here, from left, are Breanna Conners, Madeleine Ebaugh, Elizabeth Grubbs, Paige Emery, grandparent helper Randy Stillwagon, and Isabella Kirk. The clean-up day also included a number of other residents who picked up litter, swept, trimmed and painted.

Avonworth High School’s 2011 homecoming queen is Alison Chambers, pictured above at right just after being crowned by 2010 queen Liz Grambo, at left. The homecoming court included Mikell Schlumpf, Julianne Hirsch, Stephanie Klesic, Jennifer Bezilla and Lauren Mayernik. The queen and her court were announced during pre-game festivities at last Friday night’s football game.

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Despite the miserable weather conditions, both local varsity football teams had excellent games on the road last Saturday afternoon. Northgate shut down Wilkinsburg 31-0, and, pictured above, a mud-covered Avonworth running back Ricky Lawniczak leaps over a teammate in the Antelopes' 26-0 win over Riverview.

Both schools celebrate homecoming tonight, with Avonworth taking on section contender North Catholic, and Northgate hosting Leechburg.

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Some 265 volunteers helped “Improve the ‘Vue” by taking on projects throughout Bellevue, including work pictured here at the Bellevue Dog Woods site, soon to be home to an off-leash dog park open to all.

Spirits were high, the crowd was colorful, and there was lots of fun at the tailgate party sponsored by Northgate's football and cheerleading boosters prior to last Friday's first home football game.

Ben Avon volunteer firefighter Steve Kosak brought the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to life for Avonworth students this week. Kosak was part of an emergency response team sent to the scene of the plane crash in Shanksville, where volunteers spent weeks combing through the wreckage and debris.

The new attitude of the Northgate football program was apparent following last Friday's season-opening win against OLSH, when new head coach T.J. Wiley sent his players into the stands after the game to thank their parents and fans for supporting them.

Big rigs used to be able to travel through the North Boroughs without too many concerns, due to the lack of a police officer certified in tractor-trailer inspections and safety. That is no longer the case. Avalon Police Officer Sean Khirley set up shop on Route 65 Wednesday, putting into practice the training he has received recently in an effort to make the highways safer and possibly even prevent some road damage in the borough.

Pat Dragowski admits that she feels honored by being named the North Boroughs YMCA's “Volunteer of the Year,” but she is quick to add that the honor should be shared by an enthusiactic board of directors.

Pat grew up in Point Breeze, lived in Bellevue in the mid-1970s, and then moved to Kilbuck after marrying her husband, Robert. She said that the Y has been important to her through all of her years in the North Boroughs.

"I exercised there for years, and my daughter, Laura, was in many of the classes while she was growing up."

Members of Bellevue High School's Class of 1941 gathered recently, some traveling from as far as Florida, for their 70th, and what they have agreed will be their final, reunion. Pictured at left, from left, are: top row -- Bob Roberts, Dick Wilhelm, Bud Lawton, Bob Fryer; middle -- John Ries, Erv Deuber, Jack Neenan, Betty Besser Haughin, Espy Longabaugh; seated -- Eleanor Jordan Gerwig, Virginia Kuhl Loether, Olive Tishlarich Corbett.

Civic Light Opera's current production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" at Benedum Center includes two area actors performing in the children's choir in the musical that runs through Aug. 14.

Allison Adams and Felicia Niebel earned their positions in the "Hosanna" and "Jesus Christ Superstar" scenes following auditions on May 10.

Both girls have previous theatrical experience.

Allison appeared in the children's choir for "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in 2009, "A Musical Christmas Carol" in 2010, and in "Evita" in March at Point Park Playhouse.

"School's out for summer!" Alice Cooper sang decades ago, with the lyric becoming a timeless paean for school kids of all ages. However, there have been some exceptions of late, two of them being found among Avonworth middle and high school students and teachers, who happily and voluntarily traded in vacation time for learning time.

A good, old-fashioned egg toss was just one of the activities at a picnic hosted by the Northgate High School National Honor Society Tuesday for refugee children who live in the area. The NHS kids teamed up with the youth group from Bellevue Christian Church, one of a number of area churches that help people who have resettled in this little part of the United States. Most of the children who attended the picnic were refugees from Bhutan, a small country just below China.

Avalon Volunteer Fire Company honored two longtime members and firefighters Monday evening. Receiving their pins for 25 years of service and becoming life members of the fire company were brothers Jim and Jeff Carroll. Life member Ed Werner applauded the two for their continued active service, both in fighting fires and serving in various offices and on a number of committees within the fire company itself. Pictured above from left are Werner, Jim Carroll and Jeff Carroll.

Giggles the Clown entertained children at Bellevue’s July 4th picnic by creating balloon masterpieces.