The South at a glance

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Co-workers collect treats for soldier

When Paul Cervone, an obstetrician/gynecologist and a colonel in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, deployed to Afghanistan this year, co-workers at Valley Women's Health - an affiliate of Monongahela Valley Hospital - missed him.

They talked with Dr. Cervone's wife, Ellen, and learned that the troops missed nuts and dried fruits. On Jan. 15, the hospital's community relations department emailed employees who work with Dr. Cervone at the Anthony M. Lombardi Education Conference Center on the hospital campus about a drive to collect treats.

"No sooner did the email go out then snacks began coming in," said Corinne Laboon, hospital vice president of community relations.

When the project ended Feb. 1, some 32 pounds of snacks was collected and ready to be shipped: candy bars, dried fruits and nuts, sandwich crackers, chips and more.

When the package arrived, Dr. Cervone wrote to express his thanks: "I guess it's more gym time for me."

He is expected to return in early April and will resume seeing patients in his offices on the hospital campus and in the HealthPLEX in Belle Vernon.


Preliminary budget approved

With most of the specifics still up for discussion, the school board approved a preliminary version of the district's 2013-14 general fund budget.

Monday's action allows the district to apply for exceptions to the index by which tax increases would be subjected to a referendum, under the state Taxpayer Relief Act.

The board has not yet attempted to set a property tax rate for next year and acknowledges that cuts have to be made to reduce the $84.5 million called for in the preliminary spending plan.

"The proposed budget will change the next few months as more financial information becomes available," said Elaine Cappucci, board president.

She said board members have provided ideas for potential cost savings to superintendent Timothy Steinhauer. Administrators will evaluate them and report to the board.

Mrs. Cappucci encouraged the public to provide input as the budget process unfolds. Adoption of the spending plan is targeted for May.

Some budget decisions are contingent on numbers that are not known at this point, such as the amount of money that will be coming from the state. The eventual amount could differ substantially from what Gov. Tom Corbett is proposing.

The district still needs a handle on such considerations as students' course selection, which has a bearing on instructional staffing, and the number of retirements among employees.

"There are still so many numbers out there," Janice Klein, director of business, said. "All of those impact what our millage ultimately will have to be."

• The school board this week also approved a capital projects fund budget for 2013-14, totaling $788,746. The amount is for upkeep of Mt. Lebanon's 10 buildings. Actual capital spending has come in about 11 percent under budget this year, Rick Marciniak, district project manager, said last week. He credited the savings to much of the work being done in-house.

One item included in next year's capital budget is replacement of the scoreboard at the high school stadium. The maintenance staff is having difficulty locating replacement parts for repairs to the structure, which is about 18 years old.

"The light bulbs that light the scoreboard are no longer being manufactured," John Grogan, athletic director, said.

• The board approved another series of change orders for the ongoing high school renovation project, including an amount not to exceed $55,000 for replacement of damaged corridor walls on the sixth floor of the main academic building.

The walls were supposed to be repaired, but the plaster was found to be in poor condition because of water damage.

Another change order is saving the district money. Nearly $50,000 is being credited for switching to a different type of data cabling that costs less than what was called for in original specifications, at the recommendation of the information technology department.

The district has used less than 25 percent of the contingency amount it budgeted for change orders to the $109 million high school project, which is about 35 percent complete.


High school musical coming

Cole Porter's iconic "Anything Goes" is this year's high school musical and will be performed at 7:30 p.m. March 1, 2, 8 and 9 and at 2 p.m. March 3 and 6:30 p.m. March 7 in the high school theater.

Tickets cost $12 for adults, $15 at the door, $5 for students. Two free tickets are offered to every senior citizen in the school district; admission for non-resident senior citizens is $5. The box office is in the Arts' Lobby of the high school.

Ticket information: 412-851-2060.

The plot of "Anything Goes" involves stowaway Billy Crocker, portrayed by Nick Sembrat, desiring to woo heiress Hope Harcourt, played by Jillian Vlah, on an ocean liner bound to London from New York.

More than 200 are in the company, and 100 adults are volunteering with the production.

• Illustrator-musician Morgan Taylor will present "Gustafer Yellowgold's Show" at 7 p.m. today at Upper St. Clair Township Library.

The show is a multimedia performance of live music, animated illustrations and storytelling. Mr. Taylor created Gustafer Yellowgold in 2005 as a character who came to earth from the sun and is living an explorer's life in a fanciful version of the Minnesota woods.

Details: 412-835-5540 or visit


Rotary 'Trivia' does good works

Washington Rotary Club will host its 10th annual Rotary Charity Trivia Contest at 7 p.m. March 8 at the Three Rivers Auction House.

The event consists of 50 questions divided into 10 categories of five questions each. All teams play simultaneously and must have a minimum of four players and a maximum of eight.

Rotary will donate $1,000 to the charity of the winning team's choice, $500 to the second-place team's charity and $250 to the third.

Cost is $30 per player. Proceeds go to the Rotary Foundation, which funds international projects that provide health care, clean water, food, education and other needs in the developing world.

Registration deadline is March 1. For a registration brochure or details:


Manager's job eliminated

Borough manager Jack Petro lost his job this week after council eliminated the position.

The action came during Monday's council meeting.

Nancy Greenland, borough secretary and treasurer, said Mr. Petro didn't lose his job because of anything he did or failed to do - his job was simply eliminated for economic reasons.

Mr. Petro was paid $68,290 annually and was hired in December 2009.

Four council members voted to eliminate his position, with Charles Davis and Kenneth Robb opposed. Council President Dave Pasternak was absent.

Ms. Greenland will perform the duties formerly handled by Mr. Petro. She said the borough has had a manager ordinance in place for a number of years, but the position has not always been filled.

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