Content about Politics


I hope a lot of Bellevue residents are planning to attend the budget hearing on Monday. Bellevue Council needs to hear your voices when it comes to their plan to increase property taxes by a quarter-mill and raise the sewer surcharge.

The fiscal situation in Bellevue was summed up quite brilliantly by council president Kathy Coder at the last meeting: "It's like having cable t.v. when you have no food on the table."

She was referring to Bellevue financing a swimming pool while not having money for the necessities.

She gets it.

Some others clearly do not.


We tend to expect a great deal of our elected officials, even on the local level. This results in varying degrees of disappointment on many occasions, and perhaps we need to realign our expectations.

The one thing that I have always maintained is a fundamental expectation that must be met is attendance. The least anyone can do is show up.

Whether it's students attending school, employees going to work, or elected officials making it to meetings, if you can't show up, the likelihood of you accomplishing anything else of notable significance is pretty iffy.


Avalon officials showed their appreciation this week for two police officers injured during the pursuit of a suspected drug dealer earlier this year. Working in plainclothes along with Police Chief Tom Kokoski, Officers Sean Khirley and Walt Johnson pursued the fleeing suspect through a 20-foot jump and over a fence, finally nabbing him and recovering a quantity of suspected heroin. Both officers and the suspect were hospitalized after the chase. While Khirley has returned to duty, Johnson remains off-duty with a leg injury.


In the law there is a concept called "forum shopping." This basically means that if you don't like your chances or options in one court, you try to find a better court by whatever means possible. The other side, of course, does not want you to be in the better court, which would be worse for their client, so they accuse you of the horrible offense of "forum shopping." The principle is that the case should be heard in the proper jurisdiction, otherwise people are jumping all over the country trying to find a judge or jury they can snow.


Dolores Stapanik Dolores "Dolly" Stapanik died Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. She is survived by her sister, Ruth Hardesty; and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, John and Rozalia Stapanik; and four siblings, Mary Louise Wisniowski, John Stapanik, Agnes Kosinski and Helen Westover. Friends were received at Thomas P. Kunsak Funeral Home, North Side. A funeral mass was held in Risen Lord Church on Friday. Joanne Searight Joanne M. Searight, 81, of Brighton Heights, wife of the late Lynn R. Searight, died Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015.


A challenging subject has become even more confusing as Bellevue Council agreed last week to reduce the number of years of service for non-uniformed employees to receive pension benefits -- something council may already have done three years ago.



Lower costs and sizeable savings in the Avonworth School District have resulted in a proposed final budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year that includes no increase in the property tax millage rate.

The district was permitted under state law to increase taxes by 1.9 percent, or .35 mills. Avonworth also was granted exceptions by the Pennsylvania Department of Education that allow the district to exceed this state index and further increase the millage rate.


There were more questions than answers as parents and teachers from Northgate's two elementary schools met with the district's school board Monday night to discuss a proposal to realign the school enrollment by grade level rather than geography.


An Ohio Township Police officer remains hospitalized after being seriously injured in a traffic accident last Saturday, April 12.

Longtime officer Don Manz underwent surgery Monday to repair several vertebrae in his back that were broken when the police cruiser he was driving was hit broadside on Ohio River Boulevard near the Toms Run intersection.



Armed with questions and concerns pertaining to the arrest of an elementary school music teacher, more than 40 parents attended Monday night’s regular meeting of the Avonworth School Board.


A field of seven candidates -- four Republicans and three Democrats -- will provide voters with lots of choices to fill four vacant seats on Ben Avon Council.

Only two of the candidates -- Democrat Richard White and Republican Brian Tokar -- are incumbents.


Bellevue will be the next local municipality to take a stab at a shade tree ordinance in hopes of getting free trees in the future.

The TreeVitalize program in Allegheny County helps municipalities protect and restore shade trees through expert assistance and providing trees at no cost. To be eligible for a grant, however, municipalities must demonstrate a commitment to the program’s goals by adopting a related ordinance, appointing a shade tree commission and training local people to care for the trees.


Michael Weinzierl Michael J. Weinzierl, 55, of Ohio Twp. died Wednesday, August 14, 2013.


Both Democratic and Republican voters will have a large selection from which to nominate four candidates to represent their parties in the November general election.

The May 21 primary ballot features seven cross-filed candidates who will appear on both ballots. The four top vote-getters on each ballot will advance to the November election.

Brad Hazelwood of Bellevue is a landscape architect who graduated from West Virginia University. He has been involved and held office in a number of professional organizations.


One month after voting to furlough 23 professional staff positions and a number of teaching assistants, the Northgate School Board was prepared Monday to identify which employees would be laid-off at the end of the current school year.

A handful of citizens spoke at the board’s committee of the whole meeting on Monday, continuing to urge school officials to at least delay the staff cuts while other options are explored.

“The rushed nature of it has created a panic,” said parent and high school teacher Tom Michalow of Avalon.


Bellevue Council once again will have to decide whether to override an ordinance vetoed by the borough’s mayor, this one impacting the entire budget for 2013.

Mayor George Doscher vetoed the 2013 salary ordinance because he disagreed with noncontract employees contributing 7 percent of the cost of their health insurance cost while the borough’s union employees contributed 5 percent. Council unanimously voted to override the veto at last week’s regular council meeting.


While most of their constituents celebrated the first day of the new year, the newly elected and re-elected members of the state house and senate were sworn in during ceremonies held at the capitol in Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania’s constitution mandates that legislators take office on the first Tuesday of the year, whether or not it is a holiday. After several hard-fought local elections, however, it was a great way to start 2013.


Dennis Michaels Dennis J. Michaels, 65, of Ross Township, died Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. Mr. Michaels was a retired audit supervisor for the Liquor Control Board. He is survived by his wife, Janet Olszewski Michaels; three children, Stephanie Ondo and her husband Ron, Dennis Michaels and his wife Jessica and Elizabeth Michaels and her husband Jason Manse; and five grandchildren, Anthony and Natalie Ondo, Dennis Michaels III, Bradley Michaels and Lola Manse. He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Sophie Michaels.


With less than two weeks until election day, voters in Pennsylvania's 16th Legislative District will have to set aside some time from the federal political onslaught to decide who they will send to the state House. In the district that includes only Bellevue of the North Boroughs municipalities, incumbent Democrat Robert Matzie is seeking re-election to a third term, challenged by Bellevue Council member Kathleen Coder, the Republican candidate.


Cyril J. Elker


Bellevue Council will solicit proposals for professional services in two areas, with one of them likely to generate a lot more discussion in future months.

As expected, council voted unanimously at its regular meeting Tuesday to issue a Request For Proposals (RFP) for auditing services. The motion had been presented at the pre-council meeting the week before, and there was no discussion of the matter.

Council also, however, approved a motion that was not on the agenda and had not been discussed at the pre-council meeting, to issue an RFP for a solicitor.


Local educators will be spending the next few weeks studying and debating the most recent state test scores, even as the state itself makes allegations about "testing irregularities," and educators fire back with accusations of unfunded mandates and decreased state funding for Pennsylvania's public schools.


A Crafton man arrested after a police chase that ended with shots fired and two car crashes turned out to be in possession of both narcotics and a loaded weapon.

Two Avalon Police officers were hospitalized and their vehicle demolished when they wrecked on Ohio River Boulevard in Ben Avon while in pursuit of Jonathan Schaeffer, 23, of Crafton, on Sept. 4.

The incident began at the BP gas station in Avalon about 3 a.m., when police were notified of a suspicious vehicle in the lot. Police say they smelled marijuana when Schaeffer put down his window.


Eight years ago, The Citizen first visited Louise Decker, writing an account of her life that began, “When Louise Decker stepped off the boat in New York on her sixteenth birthday in 1920, Woodrow Wilson was in the White House. She was emigrating from Kirkintilloch, a small mining town nine miles from Glasgow and traveling with two brothers and two uncles. Turning 100 on Aug. 16, Louise looked back at a life that was shaped by the times during which she lived.”