Avalon Police Chief Tom Kokoski (right) welcomes the borough’s newest full-time police officer. Chris Brown, who has been working as a part-time officer in Avalon for a couple years, was hired at Tuesday’s Avalon Council meeting in a unanimous vote. Brown is a former Marine who served in Iraq.

Avonworth - Northgate wrestling coach Timothy Giel has yet to check the record books, but it’s probably a safe bet to say that Tuesday night’s 58-0 victory over Riverview is the first total roster sweep in the history of the team. Pictured above is sophomore Wes Bartholomew, who won with a pin in the 138 lb. category. Bartholomew, currently ranked fifth in the WPIAL with an 18-5 record, is expected to do well in the post-season, along with Darion Trimmer at 132 lbs. and Ka'Dale Coles at heavyweight.

A group of pets will be breathing a little easier in 2013 after being given another chance at adoption as part of Animal Friends’ New Year’s Eve rescue.

The annual event saves dozens of animals who had been housed in shelters throughout Western Pennsylvania that are not no-kill, as is the Animal Friends shelter on Camp Horne Road in Ohio Township.

Santa Claus was back in the Boroughs last Saturday, bringing along his wife to visit with children and pets. Santa and Mrs. Claus chatted with Mia, age 3, of Bellevue, pictured here, to find out what she hopes to receive when Santa makes his rounds on Christmas Eve. Santa also will be working with the Avalon and Ben Avon volunteer fire companies to visit children at their homes, and parents can register their children for a visit with the forms on Page 3 of this week's paper.

Santa Claus has been popping up all over the North Boroughs, including a visit to the Bellevue holiday festivities last Friday evening. Pictured here, 4-year-old Savian, of Avalon, goes over his Christmas wish list with Santa.

And you think you get a headache trimming your Christmas tree? A crew decorating the Bellevue Christmas tree Wednesday afternoon ran into a slight problem when the evergreen decided to topple over. The tree was soon upright, however, and firmly attached to the former Central Methodist Church building on Lincoln Avenue. Donated by WPAHS, the tree was the centerpiece of festivities sponsored by the North Suburban Chamber of Commerce Friday night.

Students in Lynn Tennant Heffley’s second grade class at Bellevue Elementary took some time to recall the stories behind the Thanksgiving holiday, donning Pilgrim and Indian garb to spread the message of peace, generosity and gratitude. That message will continue to spread over the next few weeks, as communities throughout the North Boroughs celebrate the holiday season.

Veterans Day became a four-day tribute to those who have served in the military, as North Boroughs vets were invited to take part in ceremonies at local schools and in municipalities.

Emsworth Borough took the opportunity to dedicate a new memorial plaque that honors two residents who died in the “War on Terror,” Patrick B. Kenny and Robert N. Gilbertson.

The plaque has been installed at the borough hall, and was dedicated during a ceremony on Sunday afternoon.

Students Ethan Simmons, Jessica Keast, Nathan Pool and Emma Baker rehearse a scene from Avonworth High School's play "Moon Over Buffalo." The comedy, which opened on Broadway in 1995, is scheduled for four performances, Nov. 15-17 at 7:30 p.m., and at 2 p.m. on Nov. 17, in addition to a senior citizen performance on Nov. 14. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. Reservations may be made on-line at avonworthtickets@ In keeping with the Avonworth fall play tradition, the production will be staged in-the-round, with the audience seated on stage.

With Hurricane Sandy threatening to bring its own brand of horror to the Pittsburgh area, local officials decided it would be better to be safe than sorry, and postponed the trick-or-treating normally held on Halloween, Oct. 31.

Instead, children in all of the North Boroughs will take to the streets on Saturday, Nov. 3, 6-8 p.m. The “Haunted Porch” on California Avenue in Avalon also will be held that night.

Visitors to Bellevue’s business district have seen a dramatic transformation take place over the last few weeks, as the Central Methodist Church building is prepared to house a private event venue. The property has been purchased by Amos Harp Jr. of the North Side, better known as Professor Amos, whose cleaning products are featured on the Home Shopping Network. Once renovations and restoration are complete, the building will be used for weddings and banquets.

Northgate High School’s 2012 homecoming queen was Susannah Byrd, pictured above at right with runner-up Becky Sheerer. The two were chosen from among a court that included Mara Bartholomew, Rachel Dombrowski, Carolyn Kenyon, Sarah Denes, Chelsea Dungan, Sydney Cousins, Erika Hill and Zana Wiley.

The Community Theater Players will stage the Neil Simon comical farce "Rumors," at 8 p.m. on Oct. 19 - 20, 25 - 27 at the Community Presbyterian Church of Ben Avon, 7501 Church Ave. Tickets are $7, and a special "VIP" dinner package is available for the Friday performances for an additional $15 per person. Dinner seating is at 6 p.m., and reservations may be made by calling (412)734-2050.

Four representatives of the International Visitor Leadership Program met recently with members of Avonworth High School's Key Club to discuss community service and volunteerism in the visitors’ home country, Bangladesh, as well as efforts made by Key Club members whose mission fosters lifelong learning and service. Visitors noted that there is more structure for volunteering in the United States, opposed to in their home country.

Northgate and Avonworth players grouped up for a photo to highlight the “Volley for the Cure: 2 Teams, 1 Cause” prior to their volleyball match held at Northgate this past Tuesday.

While the visitors won a three-consecutive-set victory, Avonworth senior outsider Moriah Eck complimented Northgate for hosting the fund-raiser. “It was lots of fun for the people who attended, and it raised money for a very worthwhile cause.”

Such “pink” events not only raise funds, but increase awareness of breast cancer that could prove life-saving in the future.

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