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Although Bellevue Council meetings have been lengthy and full of redundancies lately, the outright hostility of meetings past has been a bit muted.

At least in public.

Out of the public meeting chamber, the skate plaza and resignation of the assistant DAS have lit the simmering embers of outright loathing that exist among some members of council.

Apparently some members of council blame some of their colleagues for the loss of ADAS Katie Hale, even though it has been reported that personal circumstances may have played a major role in her decision.


I apologize to our on-line readers for the delay in uploading articles and pictures to The Citizen's Web site this week. My normal upload day, Friday, turned out to be a busy one here for a variety of reasons.

I spent part of the day at my long-awaited appointment with the orthopedic surgeon, whom I have not seen since I left the hospital six weeks or so ago.



The Avonworth School Board will consider partnering with the Allegheny County Department of Human Services to address problems with student absenteeism and tardiness.


Russell Bookser Russell Noel Bookser, 63, of Denton, TX, formerly of Pittsburgh and the husband of the late Debra Keast Bookser, died Friday, May 22, 2015 in Presbyterian Hospital, Denton. Mr. Bookser was retired from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He was a member of Stanfield Masonic Lodge in Denton. He was a former member of Brighton Heights Lutheran Church, Laurel Gardens Volunteer Fire Co. and a social member of Sgt. Joseph D. Caskey American Legion Post #80, all in Pittsburgh.


By NANCY WHYTE T hree district positions -- among them the primary center principal -- were staffed and other personnel decisions each received unanimous approval by the board during during the May 12 meeting of the Avonworth School Board.

Scott Miller will become principal of the opening-this-fall primary center, effective July 1, at an annual salary of $73,500 with benefits.

Miller has been with the district for the past nine years, serving as the assistant principal of Avonworth Elementary since 2010. Previously, he taught sixth grade mathematics.



On March 11, Northgate entered a new era of Flames football when Brandon LaDonne took over as the new head coach.

LaDonne played his high school career at Aliquippa, and played his college career at Cal U. He was the offensive coordinator at Moon the past two seasons, and before that was an assistant at Quaker Valley and Aliquippa.

LaDonne brings with him a youthful but experienced staff.


Dale Gilliland Dale Alexander Gilliland, 79, of Bellevue, died Thursday, June 28, 2012.


The Northgate School Board gave special recognition to retiring attendance and child accounting secretary Carol Lipke, who is retiring. Lipke has worked for the district since 1981.

Also during Monday's regular meeting, the board accepted the resignations of head girls' softball coach Michael Bichko and assistant softball coach Nicole Smith.

The board also accepted the resignation of part-time Avalon Elementary custodian John Stiger, and hired Amanda Sedell and Daniel Silvester as substitute custodians.


Audrey Kirsch Audrey K. Trunick Kirsch, 74, of Bellevue, died Thursday, May 10, 2012. She is survived by her husband, James R. Kirsch; four children, Bruce Kirsch and his wife Kim of Pittsburgh, Keith Kirsch and his wife Lesley of Audubon, NJ, Pamela Michelitsch of Port Allegheny, PA and Glenn Kirsch and his wife Beth of Emsworth; four siblings, Leah Carlisle, Shirley Tyson, William and Harold Trunick; and nine grandchildren, Jonathan, Samantha, Allison and Carolyn Kirsch, Ryan Michelitsch, Alexandra, Cameron and Baylor Kirsch.


While Bellevue's director of administrative services thinks the Artober Fest benefit raised about $6,500 to benefit a proposed skate plaza in Bayne Park, officials have some serious questions about the unauthorized expenditure of almost that much to put on the event.

DAS Doug Sample told council members last week that the event grossed about $12,500, apparently including a $5,000 matching grant from Allegheny General Hospital. Sample said about $6,000 was spent on the event.


Although it appeared that few people on Bellevue Council actually wanted to pay a new part-time office clerk $15 per hour, a resolution doing just that was approved by officials at Tuesday’s work session.

Miscues, misinformation, lack of preparation, bad acoustics and outright distrust factored into a series of events that ended with the hiring of a temporary office clerk at the same salary paid to the former assistant director of administrative services.

DAS Doug Sample defended the higher hourly pay rate, arguing that job would entail more than just clerical work.


Several new assistant and volunteer coaches will be taking to Northgate's football field with new head coach T.J. Wiley this year.

The school board approved the hiring of John Wiley as first assistant coach, and Hank Marziale as assistant coach, while accepting the resignation of assistant coach Christopher Lucas. The board also approved several volunteer coaches: Chris Conrad, R.J. Rasso, Zach Merz, Ron Coder and George Frisch.


Barely a month after voters rejected allowing liquor licenses in Bellevue, the borough is dealing with a proposal to sell beer in Bayne Park -- a proposal from the borough's own employees.

The idea for a "beer corral" in the park developed from plans to hold an arts festival to raise money for the borough's matching share of a grant to build a skate plaza in Bayne Park.


The Northgate School Board approved a number of supplemental contracts at Monday's regular meeting, some without names, and others without amounts pending the results of teachers' contract negotiations.

For the marching band, Alyssa Myers will be paid $1,000 to work as the assistant director. Unnamed woodwinds, brass and percussion instructors each will be paid $300, as will a band announcer. A bandfront assistant will be paid $100.

Karen Klicker will be the play/musical director at an unknown amount.


Assistant Avonworth football coach Derek Johncour will take over as head coach for the Antelopes.

Johncour was hired by the Avonworth School Board at a special meeting last Thursday evening, just days after parents appealed to the school board to rectify the situation created when officials declined to rehire former head coach Jason Kekseo.


An Avonworth assistant football coach will take over as the head coach for the Antelopes.

Derek Johncour was selected by the Avonworth School Board in a special meeting held Thursday evening.


Holly Hunt, 16, has returned to Avonworth High School after spending a year in Japan, where she learned of a new culture and developed an appreciation for a different way of life.

The junior traveled to Niigata, Japan, where she spent 11 months as an exchange student through the American Field Service program.

The largest city on the Japan Sea coast, Niigata has a population of over a half million and is home to several cultural events throughout the year.



At its work session on Tuesday, Bellevue Council voted to override two of three vetoes handed down by Mayor George Doscher at the end of 2010. The user-based sewer surcharge will not go into effect just yet, this year’s pay increase will be limited to one employee, and the borough already has hired an assistant director of administrative services (DAS).


Bellevue Council declined to give officials the option of making a new position full- or part-time, opting to limit it to part-time.


There was no comment from Bellevue residents during a public hearing held Tuesday evening on a proposal to add several positions to the borough’s work force.

The hearing was held at 7 p.m. rather than 6:30 p.m. as advertised because only one member of council -- David Gillingham Jr. -- was actually present at 6:30 p.m. Other council members said they were not aware the hearing had been set for 6:30 p.m.


A handful of people appeared before Bellevue Council Tuesday evening to comment on the proposed 2011 budget and its inherent fee hikes.

One resident said that the switch to a usage-based sewer surcharge and the increase in garbage collection fees will result in an increase in cost that is greater than her salary will increase next year. She objected to paying more for garbage collection simply because other people were not paying their bills.

“Don’t penalize the people who do pay,” she told council.


The influence of a new director of administrative services is apparent in the budget process in Bellevue, where the borough council is well on its way to adopting a 2011 spending plan that is anything but the same old story.


Several personnel matters were decided by the Northgate School Board at its regular meeting on Monday.

The board approved Shawn Polito as a substitute custodian.

Also approved were supplemental contracts for Victoria DiDomenico as middle school cheerleading sponsor for the winter season in the amount of $1,307, and a $4,017.00 supplemental for Torey O'Donnell as girls' varsity assistant basketball coach for the school year.


The Avonworth School Board is expected to vote Monday on whether to eliminate wrestling from the district’s cooperative sports agreement with Northgate, as recommended by the Avonworth board’s athletic committee.

The committee has proposed eliminating not only wrestling, but the ninth grade boys’ basketball program as well.