2012: It was a year worth quoting

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The stories and developments in North this year are perhaps best told through the quotes of individuals who played a part in the news-making event. Here's a month-by-month sampling:

January

"I'm the luckiest librarian in the state of Pennsylvania. There can't be another municipality that stands behind its library like Cranberry does. I can focus on being a librarian here."

-- Cranberry library director Leslie Pallotta, reacting to news that the annual allocation from the township will increase from 0.75 mills to 1 mill of property taxes.



"We have to be in a cost-saving mode. We don't know whether, in five years, we are going to be able to afford the library."

-- Ross Commissioner Chris Eyster, suggesting the township withdraw from the Northland Public Library consortium.



"We spend a lot of time in education building up barriers between disciplines and I would rather see young people educated to see that those discipline boundaries are actually quite porous."

-- Jon Cassie of Los Angeles, who became head of the senior school at Sewickley Academy Senior School.



"In the end, [Mr. Thomas] Petrarca was merely 'a sophisticated odds-maker,' as he deemed himself, who -- along with his experienced counsel -- gambled on a legal strategy to force their preferred development plans on Cranberry Township and lost."

-- U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer, awarding a summary judgment in favor of Cranberry in a lawsuit over development along Route 228.



"The biggest reason for the garden is to supplement food items in the pantries."

-- David Gifford, healthy futures coordinator for North Hills Community Outreach, speaking about the agency's community garden in Bellevue.



"I knew I could offer a valuable service to the community, and I wanted to start working on getting blighted properties rehabilitated and back on the tax rolls."

-- Polly Grimpe, Millvale's first female council president, about her reason for seeking the position.

February

"It's going to allow us to add a lot of space that we're lacking. It also has the gymnasium that we're in desperate need of."

-- Lois Payne, executive director of the Glen Montessori School, about the school's purchase of the former Perrysville Elementary School in Ross and plans to move from Emsworth.



"That trail is identified on our recently adopted bike and pedestrian plan. It's a good opportunity for inter-governmental cooperation to build trail connections across boundaries."

-- John Trant Jr., chief strategy officer for Cranberry, discussing plans for a recreational walking and biking trail spanning Cranberry and Marshall.



"We have not seen a lot of traffic. We were pretty tough on the developer to install extra lanes on traffic signals."

-- Scott Anderson, Pine assistant manager, about the growth at the Village of Pine, the township's retail and residential center on Route 19.



"It's unfortunate we were denied, but not surprising because 99 percent of all charter school applications are denied at the local level."

-- Curtis Kossman, who was representing a group of parents whose application to the North Hills School District for a charter school license was turned down.



"The only thing now is I don't buy green bananas."

-- Nelson Erb, 90, who has lived in Ross for 61 years and still serves on the township planning commission.



"I think it's a wonderful idea. It is going to add a lot to the village."

-- Sewickley Councilman Thomas DeFazio, reacting to plans by The Village Theater Co. for a two-screen movie theater, an office building and a residential component with other public amenities for the community's village district.

March

"It's been a very valuable program, but districts, times and people change. The academic program's staff and students will always be special to me. I will be sad to see it go."

-- Rich Herko, president of the A.W. Beattie Career Center's joint operating committee, reacting to the committee's decision to end the academic program at the school in McCandless.



"It comes down to money, and the Air Force is struggling just like everybody else."

-- Maj. Michael Morrison, the commanding officer of Pine-Richland JROTC, about plans by the Air Force to discontinue the program.



"It's very cool. You get to look at them and see what they're like. You can see how they react to what they're doing and what other people are doing. That's what I like about them."

-- Jordan Jaramillo, a student at McKnight Elementary School in the North Allegheny School District, talking about his class raising brook trout from eggs to fingerlings in their classroom aquarium.



"We knew the church was way down on the corner, but I never thought that it would encroach behind me."

-- Melissa Farlow of Sewickley, about plans by The Presbyterian Church, Sewickley to demolish the former Coyle home on Beaver Street.



"It is not only a time for us to compete but to also visit with old friends and catch up with them."

-- Skip Weyand, president of the Butler County Bowling Association, about the 73rd Pennsylvania State Bowling Association's tournament in Butler County.

April

"I think this is great that this space is not going to be vacant for too much longer."

-- Ross Commissioner Dan DeMarco, about plans to convert the vacant DeMor's Lincoln Mercury auto dealership into a GetGo convenience store/gas station on McKnight Road.



"We do everything motivated not by what the state demands, but what we feel is right."

-- Sister Judith Meredith, home administrator of the Little Sisters of the Poor, about her facility being named one of the best nursing homes in the country by US News and World Report.



"They were chosen because they are both outstanding students and both demonstrated key roles on the courts, despite their physical limitations."

-- Jim Collins, assistant to the executive director and chairman of the WPIAL Hall of Fame Committee, about Mark and Sara Pilarski, first co-recipients of the WPIAL Courage Award. Both played starting positions on the basketball teams at Hampton High School, both are honor students and both have medical conditions.



"Let's be honest, the way things are now and the way small boroughs like Sharpsburg are, in the future there are going to be mergers. Why not do it now on our own terms?"

-- Karen Pastor, Sharpsburg council member, speaking about a cooperate agreement among the six towns in the Fox Chapel Area School District to review their police, fire and EMS services to determine better ways to collaborate.



"I can't believe that what started with three part-time employees and a handful of volunteers has grown to an organization with over 25 employees and more than 1,000 volunteers."

-- Shirley McIlvried of McCandless, an original board member of North Hills Community Outreach, about the organization that celebrated its 25th anniversary.

May

"Not only was he a good police chief, he was instrumental in bringing in all the modern technology."

-- Edward Duss, Shaler commissioner and former township police officer, about Chief Jeffrey Gally, who retired after 43 years. He was succeeded by Bryan Kelly.



"One of the things that makes our district unique is that we all work together. We're all testing out skills, we're all honing, we're all constantly working."

-- Mairi Cooper, head of the Fox Chapel Area High School Music Department, talking about the school being honored as one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the nation by the National Association of Music Merchants.



"We have had students driving from as far away as Erie and Ohio."

-- Susan Changnon, spokeswoman for Butler County Community College, speaking about a proposal for on-campus residences.



"We're rededicating the post in honor of a fallen Marine. It's historical and earth-shaking and heart-pounding for me and all the other members of the military."

-- Bob Fleischel, commander of American Legion Post 80 in Ross, about the post named after U.S. Marine Sgt. Joseph D. Caskey, a North Hills High School graduate.



"We look forward to adding value and facilities to the area. We believe this was a God-chosen place for us."

-- The Rev. John Touloumes, pastor of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, about his church's new building under construction at the corner of Babcock Boulevard and Cumberland Road in McCandless.

June

"If we have these state mandates, then we have to have state funding for them."

-- Debbie Beale, Highlands school board president, at a vigil for public education during which officials lamented the lack of state funds.



"I should be able to say where the grill is located in my house. I can't be in favor of any grill regulations. It's like telling me where to cook or telling me to tell my kids not to play with matches. I don't think [council] should be allowed to do that."

-- Bellevue Councilman Mark Helbling, about a proposed revision to the borough's burn ordinance that would require residents cooking outdoors to be at least 5 feet from their house. The ordinance later was vetoed.



"Getting everybody in the same place has long been the goal."

-- Vaughn Gilbert, Westinghouse Electric Co. spokesman, talking about the final relocation of some 200 employees from the company's old headquarters in Monroeville to the new corporate complex in Cranberry.



"Some people don't realize that everything is not about computers or video cameras. Astronomy is much like music -- it's so much better live."

-- Tom Reiland, director of Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory in Frazer, speaking about the organization's 25th anniversary.



"Most monuments eventually fall into decay, but we found something sexy, which will bring visitors back to the monument for generations to come."

-- Regis Bobonis Sr., founder and chairman of the Tuskegree Airmen Memorial of Greater Pittsburgh region, which is seeking funding for a memorial to honor the World War II airmen.



"Every year there's something new. I'm just exhausted, mentally and financially."

-- Rick Genser, owner of Mike's Service Station on Route 8, who turned off the pumps at his family-owned gas station in Shaler, saying that there are too many costly government regulations to keep pumping gas at the station his family has owned since 1928.

July

"We're all on the Titanic. We can see the glacier in front of us and there is nothing we can do about it except contacting our Legislature."

-- North Allegheny school director Libby Blackburn, commenting on the precarious future of state subsidies after adopting the 2012-13 budget that held the line on taxes.



"My neighbors and friends all have dogs and they would complain about the conditions of other dog parks. We had the property right here and I thought it shouldn't be hard to put it together if the taxpayers don't have to fund it."

-- Connie Rankin of Bellevue, one of the main forces behind the creation of the Bellevue Dog Woods dog park.



"When it comes to organic gardening, don't judge a veggie by its cover; don't be afraid to try something new."

-- Rosie Wise, coordinator of the Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Garden in Bellevue, which yields home-grown produce for the North Hills Community Outreach food pantries.



"I decided I wanted to do it in memory of Eddie's life. We hope to raise a lot of money to help the Yellow Ribbon Girls and get people to know what a good person he was."

-- Tyler Kautzman, 13, of McCandless, who sponsored a fundraiser in honor of his friend, Staff Sgt. Edward Greiner, a U.S. Navy paratrooper who died in a motorcycle accident.

August

"It's a great opportunity to protect an important piece of land."

-- Roy Kraynyk, land protection director for the Allegheny Land Trust in Sewickley, speaking about the group's effort to preserve a 180-acre expanse of meadow and woodland in Richland.



"Some of you have really come forward and put your faith in me, and now I will just say an extra prayer every day that I can live up to your expectations."

-- State Rep. Randy Vulakovich, R-Shaler, thanking supporters after he won a special election to fill the state Senate seat of Jane Orie who had resigned.



"We have made good solid offers that have addressed some concerns. The proposals coming from the district will devastate families."

-- Laurie Dufford, president of the Mars Area Education Support Professionals Association, speaking about an outsourcing proposal that would affect secretaries, paraprofessionals, nurses and custodians.



"This is the first time a national organization has recognized the good work we're doing at the clinic. It's the icing on the cake. Nationwide, they only awarded five [grants] for diabetic education, and we were one of the them."

-- Cecelia Buechele Foster, executive director of Community Health Clinic of Butler, speaking about a $10,000 grant from the American Medical Association for diabetes education materials as well as supplies related to the treatment of diabetes.



"I'm struggling with how we monitor the slippery slope that we are opening up. As we start opening the door to advertisements, what discretion do we have to turn away people that want to advertise because we don't like them?"

-- North Allegheny school director Joseph Greenberg, expressing reservations about a proposal to approve commercial advertising for publications on the website and in buildings.

September

"We can't thank you enough. Not only have you done such a spectacular job in your landscaping, but your building is gorgeous."

-- Deborah Griffin, Ross planning commission secretary, congratulating Michael Septak, owner of Allegheny City Engineering, winner of this year's township landscaping award.



"I've been in other middle schools, and that's usually when parents stop volunteering. Not in that building. That's the secret to our success -- parents who give their time. It's school board members. It's the bus drivers. It's a collaboration."

-- Seneca Valley Superintendent Tracy Vitale, reacting to news that the middle school won a National Blue Ribbon award.



"We always wondered how local businesses could sell North Hills School District apparel with no benefit to the district."

-- Dan Cardone, director of athletics and activities for the North Hills School District, explaining why the district has approved a licensing deal for items bearing the school emblem.



"The board has not made any decisions at all on whether we close a building or not close a building. This is a process."

-- North Allegheny school board president Maureen Grosheider, speaking to parents of children who attend Peebles Elementary School in McCandless, after a consulting firm recommended closing the school to cut costs and equalize elementary enrollment in the district.

October

"I don't get it. We have a gem in Dr. [Mary] Bucci. I just can't believe it."

-- Marilyn Reed, a former Pine-Richland school board member, reacting to news that the school board voted against renewing the contract of Superintendent Mary Bucci.



"The new ordinance is designed to help regulate rental properties and help landlords to police their own properties."

-- Bellevue solicitor Tom McDermott, discussing a new law aimed at curbing nuisance calls to police.



"The horses are like therapists -- they're magical."

-- DeeDee Mikulan, a volunteer with the organization Riding for the Handicapped of Western Pennsylvania, which opened a new riding arena in McCandless.



"I would wake up at night and think of something we needed to do. My mind was constantly working."

-- Linda Fulmer, community manager of Etna Commons Apartments, recalling the work that needed to be done to transform the site from a "troubled" rating to a "superior" rating from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

November

"This is the perfect space for us. It allows our families to be housed under one roof in an area that is in a residential setting, on a bus line and has a great school district for the children."

-- Judy Eakin, executive director of HEARTH -- Homelessness Ends with Advocacy, Resources, Training and Housing-- at the groundbreaking of the agency's new home on Mount Royal Boulevard in Shaler.



"The teachers ratified the contract even though it places their average career salary below the average of all Butler County schools."

-- Mark Lewandowski, a member of the negotiating team for Mars Area Education Association, about the contract ratification of the teachers' union. The previous contract had expired June 30.



"It is not unusual. Historically, they have always been in the area. There have been more sightings, especially this time of year."

-- Officer Bryan Mowrer, Pennsylvania Game Commission, on reports of coyote sightings in Ross, McCandless and several other North Hills towns.



"We're talking millions of dollars to the township."

-- Ross Commissioner Peter Ferraro, reacting to news that the new owner of the Shoppes at Northway on McKnight Road plans to update the former Northway Mall.



"It will be more crowded in the classrooms, more crowded in the hallways, more crowded in the bathrooms, more crowded in the cafeteria. In all cases, it means less square footage to deliver these classes."

-- McCandless parent Tara Fisher, making her case before the North Allegheny school board to keep open Peebles Elementary School.



"We're very excited about this project, and we've had a tremendous amount of interest."

-- Developer Frank Zappala of the Pittsburgh-based First City Co., talking about the continued retail and residential development at McCandless Crossing on McKnight Road in McCandless.

December

"I've enjoyed my stay here. I've always been impressed with the area. I've always been impressed with the staff."

-- Mars Area Superintendent William Pettigrew in announcing his retirement after 25 years of overseeing growth in the Butler County school system.



"Renovations made in the past were more cosmetic. We were going to need to do long-term renovations in order to bring the facility up to current codes."

-- Robin Weber, director of communications for Vincentian Collaborative Services, about the closing of Vincentian Regency nursing home in McCandless.



"People are hungry all year round. Please don't forget about us in January."

-- Janine Kennedy, director of Butler County's Community Action office, talking about the need for food bank donations after the holiday season.

neigh_north

First Published December 27, 2012 12:00 AM


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