Congressmen visit Catholic school
Three members of Congress are visiting St. Louise De Marillac School, 310 E. McMurray Road. At 1 p.m. today, the U.S. representatives - Keith Rothfus, R-Sewickley; Mike Kelly, R-Butler; and Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair - will speak during a student assembly about how their Catholic faith has guided their careers paths and how it influences their daily lives as members of Congress. The representatives will answer questions.
The assembly is part of the school's week-long observance of Catholic Schools Week. The school has more than 475 students in grades K-8. Details: 412-835-0600.
Presbyterian church building for sale
Dormont Presbyterian Church is for sale. The property, including the church and a half-acre lot at 2865 Espy Ave., at the intersection with Potomac Avenue, is listed at $965,000.
The property is owned by Dormont Presbyterian Church of Mt. Lebanon and has a fair market total value of $1.438 million, according to Allegheny County property tax assessment data.
Information on the church's future plans was not available.
The church is working through RE/MAX South Inc., said the Rev. Sarah Robbins, pastor.
The listing for the church states: "This property provides an excellent redevelopment opportunity with the potential of mixed use residential and commercial tenant/owners.
"The congregation would consider a sale/leaseback opportunity for a portion of the building ...," according to the listing.
The congregation started in 1907; it now has about 189 active members.
Be a Penn Stater for a day
Penn State Greater Allegheny admissions department is sponsoring "Be a Penn State Student for a Day," which allows prospective students to shadow a current student in class, on campus and in the dining hall. The event will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday. Students must register in advance.
Details: 412-675-9010 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deer survey coming next month
A survey to estimate the number of deer in the community will be taken next month.
Commissioners voted Monday to authorize municipal officials to solicit proposals for a survey to be conducted in February.
A late addition to the 2013 budget expenditures allots $12,000 for surveys as part of the effort to mitigate safety hazards caused by deer.
Commissioners planned to authorize two such counts this year, with the second one targeted for November, but they revised their intentions prior to Monday's vote.
A second survey would take place in February 2014, if deemed necessary. More accurate comparisons can be drawn from counts done at the same time of year as opposed to different seasons.
The municipality last conducted a deer survey in 2007.
Commissioner Kristen Linfante questioned the need for a repeat survey next year, saying a formula is available to estimate future deer populations based on an initial count. She said that according to her conversations with the head of a research company that does surveys, conducting two in consecutive months might result in a more accurate count.
The municipality plans to install additional signs and conduct a public education campaign in an attempt to decrease the number of deer-related accidents.
While many residents agree on the need for action to improve safety, the method of how to do it has caused divisiveness. Some argue that a cull using high-powered rifles would be the most effective method; others oppose measures that involve firearms.
Kimberly Schevtchuk said she supports a proposal by Commissioner Kelly Fraasch that involves deer sterilization. Such a method has "proved effective in other communities. It keeps public safety a priority," Ms. Schevtchuk said.
Ms. Linfante, however, expressed concern about the short-term results of a sterilization program and said she would support it in conjunction with a cull.
• The commission approved a $220,000 contract with EPM Architecture of Bradford Woods for design services for improvements to the municipal swimming pool.
The $3.3 million project will include renovations to the bathhouse and installation of an entry that does not require having to step down a ladder or stairs. It is part of a $4.8 million bond issue, approved in November, to upgrade municipal recreation facilities.
• The local share for a state Department of Transportation project on Route 19 received commissioners' approval.
PennDOT plans several improvements on the stretch between Connor Road and Alfred Street, including resurfacing, replacing traffic signals and updating ramps to meet Americans With Disabilities Act standards. Ramps also will be improved along some side streets to ensure proper asphalt pavement and concrete curb transitions.
The total cost is $285,463. Mt. Lebanon's share is $25,374, or 8.89 percent of the amount. No date was announced
Rating may mean lower insurance costs
The hard work of the township's three volunteer fire departments is expected to pay off in the form of lower home insurance rates for residents.
Bower Hill, East Carnegie and Glendale departments were honored by township officials for receiving an Insurance Services Office rating that had dropped from 5 to 3. For fire departments, lower ISO ratings are better.
Only one other Allegheny County community - neighboring Mt. Lebanon - shares that rating.
Scott's new rating, which will take effect April 1, was reduced because the volunteers demonstrated to evaluators that their training, equipment, operating procedures, records, response times and responding firefighters qualified for a lower rating.
As a class 3, Scott's fire district ranks in the top 6 percent countrywide among nearly 50,000 fire departments
Bob Fischer, code enforcement officer and president of the Mt. Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department, said Jan. 22 that he started working with the three fire companies last summer to improve their responses to emergency calls.
The fact that Scott was able to achieve a lowered rating was especially significant because it is an all-volunteer fire service, officials noted, whereas Mt. Lebanon has a combination of paid and volunteer firefighters.
Firefighters urged all Scott residents to make sure the township is listed as their hometown on insurance documents.
• A motion to put two homes on Bell Avenue up for sheriff's sale has been passed unanimously, but the action drew a strong response from one official.
"I do not have any problems with placing tax-delinquent properties up for sheriff sale. I do have problems with the public directing our lack of a policy," Commissioner Bill Wells said Jan. 22, referring to the fact that the impetus behind the motion was a request from a business owner who wants to use the two sites for development.
"This is very Orwellian and reminds me of the book 'Animal Farm,'" Mr. Wells said, noting that a total of $1,923 in back taxes, penalty and interest is owed.
"This is not a huge amount of money and, if a resident had not offered to pay for this sheriff sale, it would not be on this agenda," he said. "All properties need to be looked at and everyone should be on a level playing field, not just properties that someone wants to acquire."
The company, Atlas Industries Inc., has an office building nearby and wants the two properties for expansion.
According to solicitor John Vogel, only "a handful" of homes have been up for sheriff's sale in Scott within the last 10 years.
Mr. Wells asked that the township manager form a policy and that a list be compiled of all tax delinquent properties where the property values are greater than the owed taxes. He wants the Chartiers Valley School District to join in this effort.
Also, he requested that an ordinance allowing for the payment of back taxes without sheriff sales be developed for residents who are "down on their luck."
When board President Tom Castello, who said he disagreed with the logic behind Mr. Wells' demands, pointed out that such requests would "take a lot of time," Mr. Wells responded, "We need a lot of policy."
He added that he wants these items available for discussion at the March agenda meeting. Manager Denise Fitzgerald said she would get a list of tax delinquent properties from the tax collector.