Content about council member


They weren’t exactly wearing Easter bonnets -- more like earmuffs and mittens -- but dozens of children in Avalon and Bellevue didn’t let frigid temperatures stop them from hunting down Easter eggs last Saturday. Pictured here, the kids at Avalon’s festivities traded in their eggs for prizes from borough manager Harry Dilmore, council member Vicki Donnelly and volunteer Chris Dilmore. Although the egg hunt was held in the California Avenue park, the other planned activities were moved to a warmer location inside the borough hall.


Okay, folks, get comfortable. This is going to take a while. Not nearly as long a while as Tuesday's three-hour Bellevue Council meeting, but there's a whole lot of muddy ground to be covered once your brain thaws out from that experience.


A couple weeks ago my blog "And they're off..." noted that both Ben Avon and Emsworth councils had started the new year by abandoning procedures designed to make sure that taxpayers get the most for their money. In Ben Avon, the new council hired a solicitor without obtaining rates or proposals from other law firms. In Emsworth, the new council switched its legal advertising to a daily paper, which threatened to add some $11,000 to the borough's budget this year.


Celebration of the July 4th holiday is planned in two local communities.

In Ben Avon, council member Earl Bohn will read the Declaration of Independence from the steps of the borough hall beginning at 8 a.m. A National Archives reproduction of the Declaration will be on display, and pocket editions of the U.S. Constitution will be available. Coffee and juice will be served. In case of rain, the event will take place inside the borough building on Church Avenue.


The next Avalon NOW! meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 27, at 7 p.m. at the Avalon Borough Hall.

Special guests at this meeting will be Allegheny County Council member Michael Finnerty (District 4), and representatives from state Rep.(District 27) Dan Deasy's office and state Sen. (37th District) Matt Smith's office.

Among the topics to be discussed are ordinance enforcement, available grants and resources for community improvement, land purchases from the county, neglected house demolition, and business attraction ideas.


You know that saying, "When the only thing you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail."? I love that saying, because it reminds me not to get lost in any particular perception of what is going on around me.

I enjoyed law school and the practice of law because it was absolutely critical that you be able to see all sides of a case. You had to know not only your position, but everyone else's as well, if only to illuminate the weaknesses in your own case.


It seems, folks, that all of us subjected to the Bellevue pre-council meeting have suffered a massive group delusion.

The mayor was not ranting and swearing and attacking council members because they did not want to hire his son. He was indulging in a temper tantrum because no one would tell him WHY they did not want to hire his son.

Or so says council member Kathy Coder, who went on to tell the majority of council that they could have avoided all of this simply by explaining themselves.


Every now and then, we hear from people who are less than pleased to see their names in the newspaper. This almost always involves the police news, but sometimes other news stories as well.

Being a small newspaper in a small community, we are very, very aware of the potential impact of printing someone's name in what can be perceived as a negative light. Sometimes there's no perceiving about it...the light is about as negative as it can get. Other times, it is left up to the reader to interpret and decide.


Bellevue officials have spent most of the past month drowning in the issue of how to manage the Memorial Park swimming pool this year.

Some officials say that the pool is safer and better run with a professional pool management company. The other side denies that, and says running the pool in-house takes a lot fewer tax dollars.


I checked to see if there was a full moon on Wednesday. Given the jaw-dropping displays that occurred in government settings across the North Boroughs, I was sure the moon was exerting some major influence.

Nope. No full moon. Not even a new moon, or even a quarter moon. The moon could not be responsible.

There must be something in the water.


I have never laid claim to being a math whiz, but sometimes it just comes down to common sense. Sometimes -- no matter how fast you talk -- things just don't add up.

The proposed Bellevue vacation policy is one of those things -- just doesn't add up.

Right now, if you get hired full-time by Bellevue Borough, you get two weeks of paid vacation after you have worked for a year. So if you are hired on June 1, 2011, on June 1, 2012 you can take off for two weeks.


Local voters may have sent a message last Tuesday, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what it was.

We definitely saw a bit of the Republican backlash that occurred across the country, but then how do you explain the vote in Ben Avon? Three Democratic incumbents were tossed out of office, but one of the top vote-getters was a 19-year-old Democrat.


Frustrated with the lack of response by Bellevue officials, Avalon officials say they will do whatever it takes to get the neighboring borough to address a destructive and dangerous situation at West Bellevue Station.

Massive amounts of water from Bellevue streets and properties have been running off into the area along South Starr Avenue where, just a couple years ago, the two boroughs spent more than $200,000 (including grant funds) to repair a broken sanitary sewer line. That line is being undermined by the stormwater flow from the Bellevue hillside, Avalon officials say.



Ben Avon Council member Michael Bett brought a resolution before council at Tuesday's meeting that would have the borough urge the Allegheny County Health Department to enforce its air pollution regulations for companies on Neville Island. Several residents were also on hand to express their opinions.



A group of residents brought a petition to the Ben Avon Council meeting on Tuesday regarding a problem with an abandoned house at 6934 Church Ave., but council memberssaid they were already working on it.

Susan Fink of Prospect Avenue, presented a petition with approximately 40 signatures. Fink said the property is overgrown and dangerous, and clearing it is important for safety, as only about 12 inches of sidewalk is clear to walk.


Ben Avon will replace a portion of the roof of the building that houses the borough’s fire department as well as a business.

The portion of the roof of the building on Church Avenue that houses a coffee shop is badly in need of repair, council member Ken Opipery told council at Tuesday's meeting. The building is also the home of the Ben Avon fire department and Northwest EMS, and that portion of the roof needs repairs as well, but Opipery said it is not as bad and could be addressed next year.


Ben Avon Council member Ken Opipery gave an update at Tuesday's meeting on repairs currently underway in Ben Avon on Brighton Road, lower Perrysville Avenue, Terrace Avenue, and Walker Avenue.

Opipery said the street work is progressing and some of the sewer work is finished, and he is hoping Terrace and Walker will be paved next week.

In a few places, some of the repairs required excavation and the contractor will work on that in the coming week. Everything depends on the weather, but as of now, Opipery said, the projects are still on track to finish in July.


Incumbent first ward Bellevue Council member Linda Woshner won the Democratic nomination for her seat during Tuesday’s primary election.

Woshner defeated challenger Susan Schaffer 139-106, and will go on to face Republican Aaryn Hogue in the November election.


In the only contested primary election race in the North Boroughs for local government, incumbent first ward Bellevue Council member Linda Woshner is being challenged for the Democratic nomination by Susan Schafer.

Schafer ran unsuccessfully for council twice before, and has only just returned to the Democratic voter registration rolls after a stint as a Republican.


Bellevue Mayor Paul Cusick broke a tie vote among Bellevue Council members Tuesday night to reject a proposal to hire an independent actuary to review the borough’s pension plans.

Although council voted in December to hire a new actuary, according to council member Linda Woshner, Tuesday’s vote on the matter came to a 4-4 tie, with Woshner, Jim Scisciani, Vence Menosky and Lynn Tennant Heffley in favor, and opposition from Kathy Coder, Matt Senvisky, Mark Helbling and Henry Lenard.



Street repairs are on the agenda for Ben Avon residents this summer.

Council voted unanimously at Tuesday's meeting to accept bids for work on four streets in the borough: Brighton Road, from Perrysville to Forest Avenue; lower Perrysville, from Church down to Brighton; Terrace Avenue; and Walker Avenue.


With seasonal hirings already underway, Bellevue Council is telling potential employees they need not apply if they are delinquent in paying their borough taxes.

A motion to exclude delinquent taxpayers from the hiring pool was not scheduled for the agenda of the pre-council meeting on Tuesday, but was brought to the floor by council member Henry Lenard.


Bellevue will re-evaluate a proposed increase in the rental property inspection fee after questions posed by one council member remained unanswered, and another introduced questions of ethics.

Council was presented with a proposed schedule covering numerous fees charged by the borough. At the pre-0council meeting two weeks ago, council member Linda Woshner challenged a proposed increase from $35 to $45 per rental unit in the rental property inspection fee.



A number of residents attended Tuesday night’s Ben Avon Council meeting complaining about traffic problems on their residential streets.