The year in quotes in the West suburbs

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


"Parking has become more and more of an issue and obviously the larger vehicles take up more space."

-- Carnegie manager Jeffrey Harbin, addressing proposed changes that would ban commercial vehicles from parking on borough streets.

"The water in the lower section is now clean enough to support trout that are stocked by the Fish and Boat Commission and local sportsman associations. I see a lot of people fishing in the stream now."

-- Montour Run Watershed Association president Mark Fedosick, speaking about the group's work to clean up pollution flowing into the Milk Run tributary of Montour Run.

"I'm excited because I think the Mall at Robinson gets a lot of traffic from people, so it'll expose me to people who normally wouldn't see my work and possibly generate some work for me in the future."

-- Tanner Rose, speaking about a video he created while he was a multimedia student at Pittsburgh Technical Institute in North Fayette that was being displayed at the shopping mall.


"In the short term, we hope to see gains in achievement from last year. But, we ultimately want to create swell within our school community around the fact that effort creates ability. We are trying to erase apathy and learned helplessness around the state assessment."

-- Sto-Rox High School principal Heath Bailey, commenting on the district's addition of the Apangea Math program to the curriculum.

"About 60 percent of the first floor will go to public works and 40 percent will be devoted to the borough council public meeting room and the community room."

-- Heidelberg manager Joe Kauer, speaking about a two-story building on East Railroad Street the borough purchased for use as a public works building.

"We should be able to accommodate our enrollments for years to come with the existing facility space we have. We're in pretty good shape as far as space utilization, but we do want to look at the big picture."

-- West Allegheny's John DiSanti, talking about a facilities assessment focusing on the conditions of McKee Elementary in North Fayette and Wilson Elementary in Findlay.

"This is one piece of the puzzle. Another important piece is revitalizing the Chartiers Avenue business district."

-- Taris Vrcek, McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation executive director, speaking about how the addition of $4 million in state grants and loans will spur development of the abandoned Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad yard.


"Maybe one time, years and years ago, but we don't know exactly which year."

-- Tom King, director of the Beaver County Recreation and Tourism Department, lamenting the cancellation of the annual snow shovel riding championship because there was not enough snow on the ground for eight weeks to support the event.

"We're all very sad that it came to this, but this gives us a chance to sit down and formulate a better plan."

-- Carnegie council member Pat Catena, reacting to the decision to cancel the annual Arts and Heritage Festival because of dwindling sponsorship money, not enough volunteers to staff the events and the effect of alcohol on festival-goers.

"He'd be very proud to see we're moving on, but we're going to keep our own heritage, of course. We don't want to shut down. We still want to be here."

-- Midway Fire Chief Doug Baird, speaking about plans to merge the Midway, McDonald and Mount Pleasant volunteer fire departments. His grandfather helped found the Midway department in 1902.

"The library is sort of in a constant state of change. We always have to keep adapting with the way people get their information. It's better to be on the forefront of those things than kind of lagging behind later on."

-- Suzanne Ruskin, director, Moon Township Public Library, speaking about her goals after being named to her job in September 2011.

"It's going to be beautiful when it's done. We encourage people to use our parks. Have a birthday party, have a picnic. Just clean up after yourself."

-- Cheryl McDermott, 3rd Ward commissioner in Stowe, speaking about improvements and a new basketball court for Norwood Park.


"After attending the annual meeting, I would say there's a problem with the board."

-- Carnegie Councilman Pat Catena, talking about a tumultuous meeting of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall board of trustees that followed the resignations of two executive directors in six months and resignations of six board of trustee members.

"If you can't feed off my passion for this city, then there is something wrong with you."

-- Dwan Walker who was elected Aliquippa mayor three years after his sister was killed in a murder-suicide. His brother, Donald Walker III, was elected to council.

"We're very concerned about these large trucks trying to make 45-degree turns, taking down power lines and knocking out electricity.

-- Jeanne Cramer of Kirwan Heights, who was among many residents of the Collier neighborhood asking township officials to erect warning signs on Route 50 to deter trucks from accidentally using and damaging their streets.

I'm not embarrassed to say the library is in trouble and in another year and a half we may have to relocate and put the building up for sale."

-- Bridgeville Public Library board member Nino Petrocelli Sr., expressing concern for the financial status of the library, which had lackluster response to fundraising appeals and a lack of volunteers.


"We are very excited to have so much growth and so many people finding out about the library."

-- Sharon Helfrich, Robinson library director, speaking about her facility on its fifth anniversary.

"It feels like Gov. Corbett is taking everything away from our students here. There's nothing else to be done. We don't have the money."

-- Heather Johnston, president of the Sto-Rox teachers union, reacting to news that the district will have to use almost half of its remaining funds to balance the budget.

"I just have a sick feeling in my stomach about how quickly this is happening."

-- Montour school Director Cynthia Morrow,who abstained from the vote to close Ingram Elementary School because she had missed prior meetings about the issue.


"I think public safety will not skip a beat, but we will miss our two officers and seeing the same people every day."

-- Rosslyn Farms Mayor Jim Stover, discussing the borough's decision to disband its police force and hire Scott police to take over public safety duties.

"The entire township and most of the 1st Ward should not pay to fix this area when the owners or absentee landlords do next to nothing."

-- Scott Commissioner Bill Wells, complaining that the Glendale neighborhood of the township gets more than its share of attention and tax dollars.

"I'm really amazed by the people who have donated. All little kids love firetrucks because everyone wants to be a fireman when they grow up."

-- Chris Gutt, Kennedy Township's Independent Volunteer Fire Company chief, about the playground firetruck installed in Fairhaven Park for the department's 75th anniversary.


"We're just pleased that we're doing the work for the district, and having a contract with them will ensure we still provide safe transportation for the students."

-- Janina Yodanis, a PSEA representative who helped negotiate with the district on behalf of transportation employees in the Montour School District, talking about the new bus contract.

"A lot of things race through your head, like what do you say to the president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world?"

-- Lincoln Kretchmar, owner of Kretchmar's Bakery in Beaver, explaining his reaction when notified that President Barack Obama's bus tour was going to stop at his business so the president could purchase a dessert.

"We will be doing fire inspections now for the first time on a uniform basis."

-- Collier manager Sal Sirabella, about a new program that will require businesses to register with the township for code and ordinance compliance inspection.

"It kills us we didn't have a parade. It used to be the biggest thing down the pike and used to last three to four hours -- no exaggeration."

-- Stowe Fire Marshall Marty Jacobs, lamenting the lack of a parade at the annual Stowe fire department's summer street fair.


"We're being neglected and abused. We're being slighted. We're not getting our fair share."

-- Mark Lewis, a longtime Kirwan Heights resident and president of its volunteer fire department, reacting to the decision by the state Department of Transportation to modify signs at Exit 55 on Interstate 79 and replace "Kirwan Heights" with "Collier."

"I accept the challenge and look forward to serving the Robinson community."

-- Michael Behrens, new manager for Robinson, Washington County.

"All I can say is I was told they were going in a different direction."

-- Richard A. Ward, who was fired as manager.

"I have never seen such a bipartisan effort. This is the most positive project I have ever been involved with. Now, active and retired military will not have to travel so far."

-- Moon manager Jeanne Creese, speaking at the groundbreaking for a $17 million commissary to be constructed on county property on Business Loop 376 at University Boulevard.

"The McDonald Oil Field story is one of hard work and one of opportunity, and as you can see, it was a big deal. You might just say Big Oil started right here."

-- Kathy Flaherty, a petroleum geologist, oil history hobbyist and author of a journal article on the McDonald field, speaking at the dedication of a state historical marker recognizing McDonald's oil heritage.


"Oh my goodness, I started crying. I seriously could not imagine that someone would donate $10,000 to someone they don't even know. I can't believe there are people out there like this."

-- Sarah Mangan, reacting to an anonymous donation of $10,000 to help her daughter, Lucia, 3, who has been diagnosed with diabetes, obtain a medical alert dog.

"I'm not a believer of 'build it and they will come.' I'm a believer in sweat equity. The plan is the beginning. Get everyone on the same page and paddling in the same direction."

-- Andrew Schwartz of Environmental Planning & Design in Pittsburgh, speaking about his firm's recommendations to spruce up McKees Rocks' Chartiers Avenue business district.

"This building is symbolic of how the capital campaign has contributed to the ongoing transformation of Robert Morris University while allowing us to stay true to the mission and core values that this community embraces like no other university I've seen."

-- RMU president Gregory G. Dell'Omo, at the opening of Wheatley Center, which houses an art gallery, 3-D design and screening rooms, computer labs and cafe.


"There are still goals I'd like to accomplish through other avenues, better served outside the police department. It's time to hand over the reins to a younger generation of leaders."

-- North Fayette police Chief Jeffrey Falconer, in announcing plans to retire at the end of the year.

"Collier Township is committed to taking a leadership role in sustainability in our community. It's Collier's goal that our green efforts will encourage our residents and businesses to adopt similar environmentally friendly initiatives."

-- Bob Schuler, Collier commissioners' president, speaking about the award of a $142,000 contract for a solar energy system to be installed on the public works building roof.


"I hope to follow the tradition of Father [Regis] Ryan. He has been consistently entrepreneurial in finding ways to help the community. I want to continue the legacy of Father Ryan."

-- Greg Quinlan, who took over as executive director of Focus on Renewal, a nonprofit that has served the McKees Rocks area for 43 years.

"Not only do we need to honor them for the sacrifices they've made, but we need to give them services that are unique to their needs."

-- Greg DeFeo, president of Pittsburgh Technical Institute in North Fayette, speaking at the opening of the school's lounge for military veterans.

"We were sad to do that, but it just kind of came down to dollars and cents, unfortunately."

-- Cornell High School principal Aaron Thomas, explaining the Cornell school board's decision to pull out of the Alternative Center for Education offered at Parkway West Career and Technology Center in North Fayette. South Fayette, Chartiers Valley, Moon, Quaker Valley and Mt. Lebanon have decided to pull out, too.


"It's going to be a little discomfort with the traffic and getting around the streets because we have to finish the project in a year. But we'll do the best we can to accommodate everybody."

-- Robert Allen, chairman of the McDonald Sewage Authority, announcing plans to install 30,000 feet of sewer line beneath roads and sidewalks in 60 percent of the borough.

"By having a bigger gym and more space, it will allow us to do more programming."

-- North Fayette manager Bob Grimm, about plans to purchase land for a $4 million community center that could open in 2015.


First Published December 27, 2012 12:00 AM


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