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AROUND WESTMORELAND

Transit riders see lower-than-predicted fare hike

Westmoreland County bus riders will see a fare increase starting Jan. 1, but it won't be as big as first proposed.

The Westmoreland County Transit Authority Board last week approved a 25-cent increase in the base fare, from $1.50 to $1.75, effective with the new year.

Originally, the authority considered raising the fare to $2 for a one-zone trip

The board, however, by a 4-0 vote, decided to phase in the increase over two years, so the basic fare will increase to $2 in January 2014.

Commuters to Pittsburgh, a three-zone trip, will see their fares increase in January from $4.50 to $5.25.

These riders now make up about half of the authority's daily riders. Approximately 650 county residents travel to Pittsburgh each day, for a total of 1,300 trips.

Monthly passes for January will go on sale Dec. 15, still at a 20 percent discount, and 10-trip passes will be sold at a 10 percent discount, according to marketing director Lori Brkovich. She said these passes can be purchased at six Giant Eagle supermarkets in the county, or at the Port Authority of Allegheny County's center Downtown.

Seniors older than 65 and children 5 and younger ride free, and those with disabilities or a Medicare card pay half fare.

The last Westmoreland County fare increase was in 2008.

For more details, go to www.westmorelandtransit.com.

GREENSBURG

Date set for annual holiday parade

The city's 2012 Holiday Parade will step off at noon Nov. 17 on North Main Street. Some 70 units will march.

The route starts at Westmoreland Museum of American Art and will proceed south toward City Hall on Main Street.

For details, call the Greensburg Recreation Office at 724-834-4880.

• The Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra will present its young People's Concert Storm Chasers at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Palace Theatre.

The concerts are performed for third- through fifth-grade students but are also open to the public. Tickets are $5 and available at the door.

Guest is violinist Inori Sakai of Greensburg, who will perform Vivaldi's "Winter." She is a junior at The Ellis School and concertmaster in the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Details: 724-837-1850.

HEMPFIELD

Mall Walkers learn nutrition tips

Before "goblin up" Halloween snacks, participants in today's Mall Walkers at Westmoreland Mall will learn about making good choices. Walkers are invited to dress in costume and bring their non-school-age children to the 8:30 a.m. program.

Mall Walkers is a collaboration between Excela Health and the mall. Doors open at 8 a.m., and walkers are welcome year-round in the hours before the mall opens for business.

On the fourth Thursday of each month, The Heart Center at Excela sponsors a free heart-healthy continental breakfast, blood pressure screenings, door prize drawings and educational, health-related presentations.

Details: www.excelahealth.org or call Excela Health Call Center at 1-877-771-1234.

MCKEESPORT

Auberle wins national award for nonprofits

McKeesport social service agency Auberle was designated Agency of the Year by the Alliance for Children and Families, a national membership association for human service organizations, at its national conference last week.

Auberle was selected for its expansion into new program areas and increased service provisions, according to a news release.

In nine months, Auberle researched and developed a new girls-specific program, purchased a building and property, underwent property subdivision and rezoning, designed an all new girls' campus, completed $950,000 worth of building renovations and launched a new program.

Auberle launched a Girls' Programming Initiative to address the disproportionate number of resources available for at-risk girls in the community compared to their male counterparts. Partners on that initiative include Carlow and Robert Morris universities and national research partners, including the National Center for Juvenile Justice and National Girls Institute.

"This is an example of where the nonprofit community is going," John Lydon, Auberle CEO, said in the release. "Nonprofits are reinventing ourselves and have been for some time. We have become much more creative, efficient and focused on delivering impact in the communities we serve. The result in our overall capacity is such that it stands out. Auberle's recognition as Agency of the Year ... is a greater indicator of that progress."

NORTH HUNTINGDON

Employee contract approved

Commissioners have approved a contract with the township's 37 public works and parks employees, office staff members and police dispatchers.

Township manager John Shepherd said the employees, who are represented by AFSCME. will receive, on average, annual raises of 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 percent under the new contract.

The agreement will cover the rest of this year and the next four full years, he said.

Under the contract, the township's union workers also agreed to make contributions to their health care insurance costs for the first time.

The township's nonunion workers already contribute to their health insurance.

The township will enter into a high-deductible health insurance plan offered by Highmark for union and nonunion employees, Mr. Shepherd said.

WILKINSBURG

Rehabilitated green spaces to be dedicated

The Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation, as part of its Vacant Lot Program, has rehabilitated two vacant parcels of land in the Hamnett Place neighborhood of Wilkinsburg.

The Piano Place parcel, which now features a community garden, is located at 502-504 Jeannette St. A beautified green space marks an area designated Mulberry Corner at 743-747 Rebecca Ave.

A dedication of the green spaces will be held from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Piano Place parcel.

WILKINSBURG SCHOOLS

Superintendent resigns, plans to retire

The superintendent of the Wilkinsburg School District informed the school board of his resignation last month, saying he plans to retire.

Archie Perrin has been superintendent of the Wilkinsburg schools for 13 years. He plans to retire effective Jan. 31.

Mr. Perrin said the school board began searching for his replacement three weeks ago.

UNITY

Former presidential contenders debate

Saint Vincent College will host a debate tonight between two former presidential contenders. Howard Dean, former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential contender, will face off with Fred Thompson, former Tennessee senator and Republican presidential contender, at 7 p.m. in the Robert S. Carey Student Center on campus.

The free event is part of the college's New Horizons Speakers Series.

Mr. Dean, 63, is a physician, six-term governor and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He is considered a pioneer in Internet-based fundraising. He left office to run for president in 2004. He now works as an independent consultant in health care and childhood development. He is also a contributor to CNBC and is founder of Democracy for America.

Mr. Thompson, 70, a lawyer and an actor, was a senator for eight years and left office in 2002. He entered presidential politics in 2008. He first appeared on screen in the 1985 film "Marie," playing himself in the fact-based story of a public corruption case he handed in Tennessee. He has since appeared in numerous movies and is best known for his portrayal of a New York City district attorney in the NBC drama: "Law and Order.''

Details: 724-805-2094.

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