Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays...

Hey guys,

This Tattler is taking a break until the new year. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday!

See you January 2.

Friday, December 21, 2007

North Hills news...

Here are a few news bits from this Tattler's alma mater -- North Hills School District.

~ Apparently a new principal will come to the helm of Ross Elementary School - this Tattler's elementary school.

From the North Hills web site:

Mr. Jeff Anderchak, an experienced school administrator has been tapped as the new principal of Ross Elementary School, the largest of the seven elementary schools in the North Hills School District. Jeffrey Anderchak, assistant principal of McKnight Elementary School in North Allegheny, will join the district’s administrative staff after the New Year.

Mr. Anderchak has served as assistant principal at McKnight Elementary for two years. This experience has provided him several opportunities to develop and expand his administrative and leadership skills. In addition to supervising a staff of approximately 35 teachers, Mr. Anderchak played a crucial role in the overall management of the school and its educational programs.

~ North Hills will soon close three grade schools and Ross Township Zoning Hearing Board has stalled those plans.

From the North Hills web site:

The North Hills School District requested a slope variance from the Ross Township Zoning Hearing Board on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007. Members of the Zoning Hearing Board did not take action on the request. However, they stated that they would either approve or deny the variance within 45 days as required by law.

The school district is seeking approval from the Ross Township Zoning Commission for a slope variance at the Highcliff Elementary School property in order to renovate and expand the facility. Site designs were submitted to the Zoning Hearing Board in September.

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy Holidays...

From this Tattler's house to yours, I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanukkah (earlier this month), a Happy Kwanzaa and a Happy (whatever holiday you celebrate).

I know my card is a little wacky but I always try to do something a little different.

Here's to another year of laughs and good times. Hopefully, you're there with me to discuss and enrich one another.

Working to keep you posted...

Ross officials give OK to HEARTH development...

After being sued in Federal court in regards to denying HEARTH'S affordable housing development last month, Ross Township commissioners approved the plans earlier this week to avoid the lawsuit. While it came to no surprise that HEARTH sued the township, this Tattler is surprised commissioners backed down so quickly.

From the Post-Gazette:

Ross commissioners have offered to settle a dispute with developers of an affordable housing plan proposed on Rodenbaugh Avenue.

Commissioners voted Monday night to approve the controversial project if the developers withdraw their federal lawsuit charging the township with housing discrimination.
As an added incentive, they offered to pay for paving a widened street where the developers seek to build 11 townhouse units.

From the McKnight Journal:

Ross commissioners approved the HEARTH at Benet Woods complex Monday night by a 5-2-1 vote.

Commissioners Dan DeMarco, Chris Eyster, Peter Ferraro, David Mikec and Grace Stanko voted in favor of the plan. Dan Kinross and Grant Montgomery dissented.

Commissioner Gerald O'Brien, who represents ward the complex will be erected in, abstained.

While O'Brien abstained most-likely because he did not vote on the original plan, he should've cast a vote because this is happening in his ward. If I lived in that area, I would be livid with O'Brien over this.

This is not the first time commissioners have opted against a development that would be approved through a settlement. A few years ago, a plan to build a women's fitness center at the corner of Thompson Run and Sangree Roads was originally denied. After a lawsuit was waged, a settlement was reached and today that eyesore sits in a primarily residential area.

While it would be nice for Ross Commissioners to stand up for their original votes, this Tattler believes there was no way Ross Township could be successful in court. While many of you may not agree with this Tattler about the prospects of the case, commissioners made the right choice on Monday because they avoided further legal expenses that would ultimately come out of the taxpayer's pocket.

Even though plans have now been approved, there are still ways to deal with this development as neighbors and township residents. I can't see this working out well for HEARTH without community support and hopefully they are wise enough to recognize that an olive branch must be put out to their neighbors.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Poster of the year...

Apparently the owner of BarSmart has produced this poster to be hung in bars throughout Allegheny County. They have done this in regards to Allegheny Council's approval of the 10-percent drink tax earlier this month.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

HEARTH sues Ross Township...

After having plans denied by a 4-4 vote last month, HEARTH officials have decided to go ahead and sue Ross Township for the right to build an affordable housing plan in the municipality. This should come as no surprise to those familiar with the plans.

From the Post-Gazette:

The developers of an affordable housing project that was planned for Ross have filed a federal lawsuit against the township and four commissioners there, claiming discrimination against the plan that would have benefited homeless and single women.

The 23-page complaint, filed Thursday, seeks a temporary injunction against the township, which rejected the plan for the construction of 11 townhouse units last month.
The Nov. 13 meeting where the $2.8 million project was voted down drew more than 100 people.

This Tattler has been in talks with a commissioner who voted in favor of the project. This Ross Township leader said:

I voted to approve the development, and legally, the Township could not deny the plan in light of the fact that HEARTH met all of our zoning ordinances. The danger faced by the commissioners who voted against the approval of the plan is that the judge on appeal could possibly award attorney’s fees to HEARTH, and those commissioners who voted against the plan could be personally liable to pay those fees.

While some may be supportive of this project many others came out to rail against the development plans. One North Hills Tattler wrote:

The reasons for opposing this project has been concern for flooding of Roseland Avenue from the water runoff that already exists and will only get worse if 5 acres of a wooded area are cleared.

The other reason is the safety of children on this very narrow steep street. We the neighbors of this area invite anyone to visit this area and let us know if you would want your children walking on this street. Two cars cannot pass each other.

How will cars be able to pull out of driveways on this narrow street?

Working to keep you posted...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

New coverage area???

This Tattler was wondering what you guys thought about this blog covering a bigger area? I was thinking of expanding coverage through most of the city and its suburbs.

What do you think?

Feel free to let this Tattler know which communities this blog should cover. While this Tattler adores the North Hills, I feel we need to grow to get more exposure. It will be a year since this blog was started in January and I think this will be a good way to expand come the new year.

So what do you think? E-Mail this Tattler at

Working to keep you posted...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Every time a bell rings...

Well, grab the bag of popcorn and box of Dots because you are in for a real treat. This Tattler's favorite movie, "It's a Wonderful Life," will air tonight on NBC at 8 p.m.

Even though I've seen this heartwarming classic about a hundred times, I still manage to get a tear in my eye at the end. It shows you how you really make a difference.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

McCandless leaders may develop a part of McKnight Road...

While many may think that McKnight Road is as developed as it can be, local officials are looking to develop land in McCandless. When Duncan Road was connected to McKnight many thought a tract of land south of Cumberland Road would have quickly been built upon but it still remains vacant.

It looks like local McCandless officials are looking to do just that.

From the McKnight Journal:

Last week, the town planning commission and representatives from Ad-Venture Development, LLC began official conversations about developing the 135 acres along the McKnight Road corridor south of Cumberland Road, just past Duncan Road.

In 1986, McCandless officials saw the area along McKnight Road as an ideal location for a town center development. Officials wrote ordinances to extend Duncan Road through to McKnight Road, and zoned surrounding properties as a "D-Development District," which is a performance zoning district that permits a wide range of uses while being sensitive to natural resources and adjacent properties.

Ever since Duncan Road was connected to McKnight, rumors have run rampant as to what might be built in that location. The biggest rumor that this Tattler has heard is that a movie theater will be built there and Showcase Cinemas North will close.

You can't always trust rumor but it will be interesting to see what commercial properties will be built on this tract of land. If you know of anything feel free to post a comment.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Walgreens open on Christmas...

This Tattler took a trip to Walgreens at McKnight-Siebert Shopping Center in Ross earlier this week. I was appalled to find that the store will be basically working under Sunday hours on Christmas day (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

This would make sense if that respective store's pharmacy was open but it will be shut down. This Tattler does not live in fantasy land so I am well aware that there is a large segment of the population who do not celebrate Christmas but come on...

Is Walgreen's management thinking that people who have a hankering for a candy bar or over-priced cosmetics will need to stop in? Gas stations being open is a necessity, but a local drug store without a pharmacy open is not necessary.

This Tattler once worked for a local drug store and I feel bad for those select employees who have to work that day, keeping them away from their families for such a low wage. Keep in mind the management who made this decision will most-likely not be working this Christmas.

Is this Tattler crazy?

Working to keep you posted...

Teacher strike poll results...

About two weeks ago, this Tattler created a poll on this blog asking "Do you think Pennsylvania teachers should be allowed to strike?"

Well the results are in and keep in mind this was by no means a scientific poll. With 59 votes cast (I was hoping for more), it came down to a very slim margin.

49% of voters thought teachers should be allowed the option to strike with 29 votes while those who think striking should not be an option accounted for 47% or 27 votes. Leftover votes consisted of "maybe" at 2 and "undecided" at 1 vote.

Many of you readers out there are well aware that this Tattler thinks striking should not even be an option on the table because contracts can be dealt by using other negotiating tactics. However, it is interesting to see this particular poll's results when dealing with such a very divisive issue.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next poll question.

Working to keep you posted...

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Looking for a good flick?

Well, this Tattler is first and foremost a TV lover but enjoys good movies every now and then. Below are a couple that I recently saw that are highly recommended!

~ 49 Up - It's a documentary that has been following a group of British pupils every seven years since they were seven-years-old. They are now 49 and it's a riveting sociological venture (though a bit too long).

~ The Joy Luck Club - A movie from the 1990's that follows the lives of a group of Asian mothers and daughters. A great view of how things can change from generation to generation.

~ Coal Miner's Daughter - A biopic of country singer Loretta Lynn. Sissy Spacek won an Oscar for her portrayal of Lynn.

I hope you guys enjoy these as much as I did.

Working to keep you posted...

Teacher's strike poll...

Only one more day left to vote in the teacher's strike poll (on the top right side of the blog's main page). I was hoping for a little more input so vote, vote, vote!

Working to keep you posted...

That darn paperboy...

While I would have liked to blog on a topic I may have found in Friday's paper it was impossible this day as my paperboy insists on throwing my Post-Gazette in my lawn rather than driveway.

After a couple inches of snow, it would be like locating a needle in a haystack. This Tattler will only be able to find it when the snow melts (there goes that paperboy's holiday tip)!

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Allegheny County council approves bar and rental car taxes...

This Tattler is not a fan of tax increases and I'm sure many of you may not be happy with this move. Earlier this week, Allegheny County Council voted to approve two tax levies and most members voted along party lines.

While many Democrats voted in favor of a 10-percent bar tax/ $2 per day rental car tax, most Republicans did not support this effort.

From the Post-Gazette:

Supporting the drink tax were council President Rich Fitzgerald, D-Squirrel Hill, and members John DeFazio, D-Shaler, Dave Fawcett, R-Oakmont, James Burn Jr., D-Millvale, Bill Robinson, D-Hill District, Michael J. Finnerty, D-Scott, Joan Cleary, D-Brentwood, Charles Martoni, D-Swissvale, Robert J. Macey, D-West Mifflin, and Brenda Frazier, D-Stanton Heights.

Opposed were Vince Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park, Jan Rea, R-McCandless, Matt Drozd, R-Ross, and newcomer James Ellenbogen, D-Banksville. Councilman Nick Futules, D-Verona, also a freshman member of council, abstained.

On the rental car tax, Mr. Futules voted yes; Mr. Ellenbogen voted yes; and Mr. Fawcett voted no. All others voted the same as on the drink levy.

The votes of at least 10 of the 15 council members were required to enact the new taxes.
A crowd of restaurateurs and business owners, who packed the Gold Room of the Courthouse, walked out of the council meeting vowing to fight the drink tax.

Kudos to members Matt Drozd (R-Ross) and Jan Rea (R-McCandless) for voting against this levy because this Tattler thinks most tax increases can be avoided. John DeFazio (D-Shaler) unfortunately voted in favor of the increases.

The biggest travesty with this whole situation has to do with the lack of options council members had.

Fat can generally be trimmed off of budgets and it seems like Allegheny County Council members did not embrace that option. Also, the drink tax will most-likely have a detrimental effect on business at local bars and taverns.

This region has enough high taxes, maybe it's time to take a serious look at cuts that could have been made. Hopefully, voters remember this move come election time, especially if Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato plans to run for governor in 2008.

Working to keep you posted...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pittsburgh shirts on sale...

Well, a friend of this blog and local North Hills resident has created a line of clothing with interesting Pittsburgh slogans that most residents would get a kick out of.

From the Post-Gazette:

The newest line of Pittsburgh T-shirts don't say The Burgh, Stillers, Yinzer or the rest of the black-and-gold cliches.

No, these are inside jokes that speak to your inner Pittsburghness, your ability to laugh at yourself and your city -- lovingly, of course.

For example, a T-shirt that says "Reserved Parking" shows an image of a chair. Another shows an image of the Statue of Liberty hoisting up not a torch, but a Terrible Towel, with the caption "S'Liberty."

These shirts are absolutely hilarious and this Tattler highly recommends purchasing a garb or two. The shirts can be found at

The man behind this madness also has a great blog at Another local blogger who worked with the owner on this project is PittGirl, who continues to stay anonymous about her identity. Her hilarious blog is at

Working to keep you posted...

Seneca Valley educators file second complaint against district...

And the Seneca Valley saga continues...

Because of the long strike that Seneca Valley underwent recently, school board members voted to extend the school year past June 15 in able to provide at least some holiday vacations during the school year.

Educators apparently filed a complaint against the school district over this action. Doesn't make much sense to this Tattler since the action gives some time off during the holidays.

From the Post-Gazette:

The charge was made last week after the district scheduled June 23 as the final day of classes for students and the school board approved the revised calendar at its Nov. 19 special meeting.
Teachers are claiming the calendar violates Act 88, the law regulating collective bargaining, by not having 180 days of instruction by June 15.

District officials said June 23 was chosen to allow for some holiday vacation time for students around both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The first charge filed by the union was an allegation that the district threatened to reduce its wage increase offer for a new contract by a percentage for each day teachers were on strike. A hearing had been scheduled for yesterday but was postponed.

As I said before, this complaint doesn't make sense. While I'm not an educational expert, this Tattler's common sense tends to think at least some holiday break for those involved is better than none.

Working to keep you posted...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Several local schools are ahead of the class...

Several local schools were listed in a ranking of the best public high schools in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Hats off to the parents, students, administrators and especially teachers that made this possible.

While many schools in the North Hills provide a great education, only a handful of districts made the list including Hampton and North Allegheny. This may serve as a bargaining chip as Hampton teachers negotiate their new contract.

From the Post-Gazette:

The top rating goes to 100 numerically ranked "gold" high schools, only two of which are in Pennsylvania: Julia R. Masterman in Philadelphia and Conestoga Senior High in Berwyn, Chester County.

No. 1 in the country was Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria, Va., a magnet school for science and technology.

Another 405, which are unranked, are considered "silver," including Allderdice, Hampton, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny and Upper St. Clair.

From U.S. News & World Report:

The 100 schools that did the best in this analysis earned gold medals. The next 405 schools were awarded silver medals, and an additional 1,086 schools earned bronze.

Like any good photograph, the details of the data gathered for this project reveal a number of fascinating stories. Most notable is the variety among the schools that have earned the highest honor.

This is fantastic that a few local schools have made this ranking. While some may have hoped for more local schools on the list, this Tattler thinks it is a good start for showcasing the talent in the North Hills.

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hampton teachers authorize strike...

What's the deal with the threat of teacher strikes in the North Hills lately?

Add another school district to that list since Hampton Township teachers authorized a strike. The contract negotiations have faced hurdles over a variety of issues including health care premiums.

Teachers have not yet set a date to begin the work-stoppage.

From the Post-Gazette:

The main issues relate to teaching and learning conditions, including class size. Another unresolved issue is health care premiums.

The old contract expired June 30. The district has about 3,000 students.

You guys know my views on the issue of teachers paying health care premiums. I'm a bit more interested to get the background on the other issues involved.

Earlier this month, Hampton educators threatened to boycott the next scheduled bargaining session in December due to problems during negotiations.

From the Post-Gazette:

Frustrated with the progress of contract negotiations, Hampton teachers have said they will not attend the next scheduled bargaining session set for Dec. 11.

The teachers' negotiation team was disappointed with the Nov. 13 talks, said Arleen Starr, a representative of the Pennsylvania State Education Association and chief negotiator for the bargaining team made up of seven teachers.

The two sides disagree on more than 50 points, she said.

I'll update this post as more information comes along...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shaler teacher interview in the works...

This Tattler thought it was important to include the opinion of an educator in Shaler Area School District while discussing contract issues. After throwing out the opportunity through the comment section of a previous post, a local teacher has agreed to give their opinion.

Keep in mind, this educator will remain anonymous but I think the conversation will give a much-needed perspective. Keep an eye out for the interview later this week (probably Thursday or Friday).

UPDATE: The teacher interview has taken longer than expected. When I get the information, I'll be sure to post it.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shaler teacher's coverage...

Here's a list of some coverage of the recent Shaler situation. I hope you find it useful.

Note: The Pine Creek Journal will probably have something in tomorrow's edition -- I'll provide a link.

UPDATE: Below is Pine Creek Journal's article on the contract rejection.

Pine Creek Journal

Teachers reject contract offer


Shaler teachers reject pact but don't strike

Shaler teachers reject pact but won't strike right away

Shaler Area teachers, board agree on tentative contract

Tribune Review

Shaler teachers have tentative contract


KDKA: Shaler Teachers Reject Contract Offer

WTAE: Shaler Teachers Reject Contract Offer

WPXI: No Deal, But No Strike In Shaler

AP: Shaler Area teachers reject pact, but don't strike

Working to keep you posted...

A couple of thoughts...

- Is it me or do you hate Best Buy as much as I do? Especially the North Hills Village location along McKnight Road.

It always seems like there are a bunch of employees just standing around doing nothing. Also, the security station makes this Tattler feel that the electronics store treats everyone like thieves.

Is it just me?

- China Star, a restaurant at McIntyre Square, offers authentic Chinese food in addition to the regular fare. If you want to try something different, the selections are sure to please. While it's not the best I've had, it is always a welcomed change.

- For those of you who live in a cave, Thompson Run Road reopened last week. I'm sure this was welcomed by many Glenshaw/ Shaler residents as well as those living on Siebert Road, which was used as the detour.

- I had Verizon FIOS-TV installed a couple of weeks ago. The biggest difference is the large amount of channels as well as quality of picture. With Comcast, I never had a great picture and Verizon is really good.

Right now, I'm still in the mode of memorizing the channel numbers. While there are definite kinks to be worked out, Verizon could be a welcomed alternative to Comcast. Verizon needs to provide more local channels (PCNC, etc) and improve their OnDemand feature.

For anyone else who did the switch -- what do you think?

HEARTH plan and a missing commissioner...

When the much-disputed HEARTH project was narrowly nixed by Ross Township commissioners last week, one local vote was surprisingly absent.

Jerry O'Brien, Ross commissioner, did not attend the meeting. The plan in question would have been located in his district.

From the McKnight Journal:

A room filled with discontented Ross residents got their wish last week when Ross Commissioners failed to pass a plan that would allow a local non-profit to build an affordable housing community in the township.

The 11 duplexes at HEARTH at Benet Woods would have been open to people earning between $24,800 and $37,200 and who have cleared criminal, credit and housekeeping screenings.

The plan was rejected by a tie vote of 4-4. Commissioners Dan Demarco, Chris Rand Eyster, Lana Mazur and David Mikec voted in favor of the plan. Peter Ferraro, Dan Kinross, Grant Montgomery and Grace Stanko voted against it.

Gerald O'Brien, the commissioner for the ward in which the development was to be located, was not in attendance at the meeting.

Does anyone have information as to why Jerry was absent? This Tattler does have sources to find out why but I am interested to see what you guys know before I ask those people.

As someone who dealt with O'Brien at a large capacity while working for a community newspaper for more than four years until this past August, he was always a strong voice on the board. This seems out of character for him and this Tattler wants to get his whereabouts known.

Feel free to post comments about this issue or E-mail me directly at

Working to keep you posted...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Shaler teachers reject offer...

Well, this Tattler admits when he is wrong -- and I was mistaken in regards to the teacher's strike. Shaler educators greedily rejected the tentative contract drawn last week over health care premiums, something they have never had to pay for.

From the Post-Gazette:

The sticking point was health-care premiums. While teachers are willing to pick up some of the cost of the premiums for the first time, the proposed payments were too high, she said.

Salaries also are an issue, Ms. Noble said, but not as much of one as health care.

Let's wake up and smell the coffee everyone. We all pay a share (or most of us) for our health care coverage. Why should teachers be treated any differently.

This Tattler thinks it's nice that teachers won't strike right away but these union members need to realize that many community members are paying hundreds upon hundreds of dollars every month for health coverage. Let's be real -- teachers aren't doing this out of kindness but in fear of losing support in the community and beyond.

Paying for health care coverage is a reality that greedy Shaler educators must come to terms with. Yet, another reason to ban teacher strikes in Pennsylvania.

In a letter on the district's Web site from Superintendent Donald Lee:

Shaler Area Education Association has announced that in spite of voting down the tentative agreement they have agreed to return to work on Tuesday, November 27th and continue to negotiate with the district in the hopes they can work to resolve the items that remain in dispute.

This news was certainly welcomed but a bit of a surprise, so I have no more details at this time.

Working to keep you posted...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Teacher strikes...

With the recent teacher's strike at Seneca Valley School District and the possibility of both Shaler and Hampton Schools facing a work stoppage -- what do you Tattlers think?

Should teacher unions be allowed to strike or should they be forced to use arbitration techniques instead?

Thirty-seven (37) states do not allow teachers to strike. Reform-minded state lawmakers want to make Pennsylvania the 38th state to protect taxpayers and children, but they need help to overcome the career politicians who pander to teacher unions.

With seeing so many strikes occur in the region lately, this Tattler thinks that there has to be a better way for both sides to come to an agreement. I understand that rising costs and health care have been hot button issues but how can schools in 37 states come to an agreement without a strike being an option.

What it shows is these negotiations can be done without striking. While this may sound good to some -- banning strikes will not happen in Pennsylvania anytime soon.

From the Pittsburgh Trib:

The enormous strength and influence of teacher unions in Pennsylvania makes the passage of a strike ban unlikely. And even if the General Assembly by some miracle passes a bill outlawing strikes, Gov. Ed Rendell will almost certainly veto it.

So what's your thoughts on this issue. Post a comment and get the conversation going.

Working to keep you posted...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Holiday light display robbed...

Apparently, a huge Christmas light display located along Fairley Road near Siebert Road in Ross was robbed last night. Thieves stole a donation box that supports local organizations.


A Ross Township family who have been putting a donation box for the Salvation Army and Children's Hospital in their front yard for more than 17 years reported the box stolen on Tuesday.

The residents of the Fairley Street home said someone swiped the entire box, which contained anywhere from $50 to $100. The box was found a short distance from the home, but the money was taken.

This Tattler says stealing from children and the poor is totally disgusting. I hope Ross Police can follow leads to catch these thieves.

If you know of anything, contact Ross Police at 412-931-9070.

Wal-Mart updates...

Has anyone heard anything in regards to Wal-Mart building on McKnight Road in Ross lately? While there was a lot of buzz about this project earlier this year, I haven't come across any new information in a long time.

If any of you have heard anything, let this Tattler know. Either leave a comment or e-mail and I'll follow-up on it.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Shaler strike averted...

After more than five weeks of a teachers strike in Seneca Valley School District -- I'm sure you Tattlers are glad to see that a strike in Shaler Area School District has been averted.

Union leaders and district officials cut a deal earlier this week.

From the Post-Gazette:

The Shaler Area school board and the district's teachers reached a tentative agreement yesterday during a contract negotiating session.

The teachers had given strike notice for next Tuesday if a contract was not reached before that date.

While this agreement will not get the go-ahead until union members vote, the parents of more than 5,000 students should not worry -- the tentative agreement will most-likely be approved.

It seems as if so many teachers strikes are at the front burner in the north suburbs.

Just a while back, North Hills School District almost underwent the same problem but came to an agreement at the "11th hour." Hampton parents now must keep eye on this issue since their teachers may also strike in the near future.

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ross officials deny HEARTH development...

My fellow Tattlers,

Ross Township officials nixed plans for HEARTH's housing development earlier this week. While this Tattler is thinks many came out to the meeting on Monday, this issue is far from dead.

From the Post-Gazette:

Ross commissioners last night rejected a plan to build 11 units of affordable housing on Rodenbaugh Avenue.

The project was proposed by Trek Development Group and HEARTH. Jerry Drozynski, president of HEARTH's board, said it was likely the partners would appeal the decision to Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

While this Tattler is in favor of an idea such as this plan, I feel it would have been located in an area in Ross Township that will undergo dramatic changes in the future. That neighborhood will deal with an elementary school closing in 2009 and this just felt like it wasn't the right spot for this type of housing at this time.

If it were to be proposed in a different area of the township, I most likely would support the plans. While this Tattler understands that free space is scarce in Ross, this plan just isn't right for that section of Ross.

Even though Ross Township commissioners have denied the plans, HEARTH officials plan to appeal the decision. This Tattler thinks they may be successful in their efforts.

Working to keep you posted...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Altmire to have tough time in 2008...

Now that Election Day has come and gone, many are looking forward to the political races next year. While some politicians may slide to another victory, freshman U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (D-4) may have to go round for round to be victorious.

As this Tattler has said in the past, former congresswoman Melissa Hart will most likely seek the Republican nomination for her former post. Other candidates will likely include Lynn Swann, former gubernatorial candidate and former Allegheny County Councilman Ron Francis.

From USA Today:

After picking up four House seats in 2006, Democrats could have a tough time holding them. Rep. Jason Altmire, who unseated Republican Melissa Hart in 2006, will face her again if she wins the primary. Former football star Lynn Swann also is considering a run against Altmire.

National Republicans are helping Hart raise money and running newspaper ads against Altmire.

So, while this past election may have seemed to be a bore for suburbanites -- next year's races will be a welcomed change.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

West View Council President Dies...

Over the weekend, West View Borough Council President Daniel Daugherty, 73, died. For those Tattlers familiar with West View, Daugherty was considered by some to be the most powerful man in West View.

He had great influence and led West View for more than three decades.

From the Post-Gazette:

In 1969, he was elected to West View Borough Council and was presently serving his 38th consecutive year as well as holding the position of Council President for the past 36 years. Mr. Daugherty was appointed Assistant Manager of the Municipal Authority of the Borough of West View in March of 1985 and in 1986 was appointed Executive Director of the Authority, presently serving in that capacity.

In 1987, Dan was elected President of the Allegheny County Boroughs Association and in 1990 was elected Treasurer of the Allegheny League of Municipalities. In 2004, Mr. Daugherty was elected Chairman of the Municipal Risk Management Property and Loss Trust and in 2007 was appointed to the Board of Directors of West View Water.

Daugherty will be greatly missed in West View and it's hard to say who else on the borough council could lead the board. It always seemed the other members followed Daugherty's lead and hopefully a new voice will emerge to lead West View in the right direction.

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Verizon offering FIOS-TV...

My fellow Tattlers,

Now local North Hills residents have another option when it comes to cable TV. Over the past several months, Verizon has been working with local officials to be able to offer their cable service in certain suburban areas.

Those in certain area municipalities are now able to get Verizon FIOS-TV.

From the Post-Gazette:

Most people cannot order FiOS-TV yet, only select homes in Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon, Peters, Upper St. Clair, Ross, McCandless and some other North Hills communities (Ohio Township, O'Hara), where franchise agreements between the municipalities and Verizon have been signed.

Verizon media relations manager Lee Gierczynski explained that, "While we haven't officially announced the availability of FiOS TV in the Pittsburgh area, we have initially introduced the service on a small scale in those communities and several others, since we have just a few approved markets to sell in at this time.

This Tattler has scheduled an appointment for Verizon's new cable service to be installed next week. Comcast will be picking up the cable box on Tuesday while Verizon is installing on Wednesday. I'll let you all know about it.

The service offers 200 channels at around $43 per month. If you're looking to pay a little less for more channels, this might be a good choice for you. For details, visit

Working to keep you posted...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Election results...

Well, the polls have closed and ballots were counted. The City of Pittsburgh remains controlled by one political party and local suburban residents won't notice many leadership changes locally.

The unofficial vote totals are as follows:

In North Hills School District, Jeff Meyer received 5,750 votes; Lou Nudi - 5,359; Arlene Bender - 4,996; Robert Barto - 4,731; Ed Wielgus - 4,305; and Tara Howey - 4,006.

So as you may have gathered, all of the candidates this Tattler endorsed have earned their local constituents' nod. The five seats available will be filled by incumbents Meyer, Bender and Wielgus as well as newcomers Barto and Nudi.

In Ross Township, voters chose to give two incumbents another term on the board of commissioners. Both Dan Kinross (Ward 3) and Grant Montgomery (Ward 9) were re-elected by less than 100 votes each.

West View residents should expect more of the same as one political party continues to run the borough. Incumbents Joseph Nowark and Barry Schell gained the voters' nod as well as newcomer Donald Mikec, brother of Ross Township Commissioner David Mikec.

Two independents did not garner enough votes to take one of the seats including Constitutional candidates Jim Barr and Dave Urban. No republican candidates ran in the election.

West View Mayor J.R. Henry also received votes to finish the term he was appointed to last year. He ran unopposed in the primary.

Seems like much of the same to this Tattler. Hopefully all of these incumbents will come up with a vision to change their respective constituencies for the better.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Jeff Reed visiting McDonalds...

For all you Pittsburgh Steeler's fans out there -- Jeff Reed will be visiting the McKnight Road McDonald's location near Staples this Friday, Nov. 9 from 4 to 5 p.m. Reed, a kicker, joined the Steelers in 2002.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Election Endorsements - Ross Township...

At the polls tomorrow, residents of Ross Township's third and ninth wards should vote to re-elect their incumbent commissioner. The third ward represents Laurel Gardens while the ninth is near McIntyre Elementary.

However, even though both incumbents received this Tattlers endorsement, it was given very hesitantly. Had stronger candidates ran against either commissioner, these two would have a difficult time getting re-elected.

In the third ward, Dan Kinross is running for re-election after serving for nearly two decades. While he usually has the best interest in mind for township residents, Kinross may want to focus on bigger projects over the next four years.

This commissioner tends to focus solely on getting a plethora of stop and handicapped parking signs installed. He also has taken a stand unreasonably against certain issues such as the new township newsletter earlier this year.

In the ninth ward, Grant Montgomery usually does what is best for his community. Although his attendance record is not the best, Grant consistently has served his constituents. He may want to work on bigger projects that will put his name on the map over the next term.

Working to keep you posted...

Election Endorsements - North Hills...

While tomorrow's Election Day turnout may be quite low because of rain and it being an off-year election, residents in Ross Township and West View will fill several North Hills School Board positions.

In North Hills, there are six candidates vying for five seats. This Tattler recommends that you mark your ballots for incumbents Ed Wielgus, Jeff Meyer and Arlene Bender. Votes should also be placed for Lou Nudi and Robert Barto.

Ed Wielgus has been on the board for several years and is a hawk when it comes to fiscal matters. While he did vote to close Seville, Northway and Perrysville elementaries, Wielgus is a candidate that deserves to be re-elected.

Jeff Meyer is vying for election to a second term and is another candidate that focuses on what is best for the district's finances. It is smart to elect board members that believe in fiscal accountability and because of that, Meyer deserves a second term.

Arlene Bender has served on the board for two decades and tends to vote on what she thinks is best for North Hills students. While that is respectable, this Tattler can only hesitantly endorse Bender because she has consistently voted in favor of tax increases.

Lou Nudi deserves your vote because of his work with various committees in the area and his knowledge of the issues the board may face in the future. He is another candidate that believes in fiscal responsibility when making decisions.

Robert Barto deserves your vote because of his experience in government management. He also has good knowledge of the issues facing North Hills.

If you agree with me or not, just get out there and cast a ballot on Election Day.

Working to keep you posted...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Aldi to Open on Thursday...

My fellow Tattlers,

The new Aldi store will open along McKnight Road at the Shoppes at Northway (Northway Mall) this Thursday (Nov. 8). The store opening is part of a revitalization effort of the more than 40-year-old shopping facility.

Additional renovation plans have added several new businesses to the mall as well as converting a portion of the upper level into an outdoor shopping center. Residents can expect even more changes at Shoppes at Northway as time goes on.

Though the store offers lower priced goods, the opening has not been embraced by all. This Tattler recently read an anonymous comment left on the Tattler.

We live near an Aldi distribution centre in the Wirral, Cheshire, it is a nightmare, supplier's wagons using the area as giant carpark and toilet, refrigeration units running all night long stopping local residents sleep, extreme noise issues when they load and increased diesel fumes.

The whole Aldi thing should be stopped. They are damaging the rural areas, residential areas etc.

I've also received several comments from site visitors who believe the store will bring in a bad element. While I can agree with some comments, this Tattler plans to wait and see what happens.

Aldi officials are holding a grand opening event on Thursday. The store is the 893rd for the chain.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ross Planners OK HEARTH project...

Ross Township Planning Commission approved designs for a new housing development that will cater to low-income clients of HEARTH, a non-profit organization that helps families with transitional housing.

Tattler Paul e-mailed me with the following:

Don't know if you saw it or not but I thought I'd make sure...

Last Thursday, Ross planners approved the "affordable housing" HEARTH at Benet Woods proposal. For the Post-Gazette article, click here.

I guess some in Ross have decided to follow the James Burn/Millvale model of importing dependent classes to maintain and increase their political power. I figured when we moved to the North Hills I'd have just enough time to get my daughter through school before Lana Mazur had poisoned the environment to the point we'd be looking to move.

You'd think that politicians around here would look at the Penn Hills and Monroeville's Garden City debacles and avoid repeating those errors, but I guess that's to much to expect from the power hungry. Can't wait to see the first check cashing and payday advance joint to open on McKnight.

While this Tattler agrees with Paul fundamentally, I think some may be getting ahead of themselves. These plans must now go before the Ross Township Board of Commissioners for final approval.

A date will be set to discuss the plans. I urge any of you to come out and let your opinions to be heard.

Unfortunately, this dispute it makes HEARTH look bad. In reality, this is a non-profit organization that works to help those in need. Through counseling, education and other resources, this organization assists people in getting back on their feet.

What they do is a good thing but this Tattler still believes these particular development plans aren't good for Ross Township or at least that area of the municipality right now.

Over the coming years, those neighborhoods will undergo drastic changes after North Hills closes Seville Elementary in 2009. The HEARTH project would add even more complications to an already frustrating situation.

When I find out a hearing date for this issue -- I'll let you know.

Working to keep you posted...

Monday, October 29, 2007

What happened to Tubby the Pig?

I took my annual trip to Soergel's in Wexford today to pick up some freshly-picked apples, cider and a pumpkin to carve. Each year, I like to visit the petting zoo while I'm there, which features a myriad of animals including sheep, rabbits, goats, horses and pigs.

In year's past, the highlight of this visit was taking a look at Tubby the Pig, which I must say was the biggest sow I've ever seen. However, Tubby is no longer a resident of Soergel's Petting Zoo and has been replaced by a younger pig.

My fellow Tattlers, do you have any ideas as to what happened to Tubby? Did he die of old age, was he made into some pork by-products or did he find a new home? Any info would be a great help.

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halloween times...

Halloween trick-or-treat times have been posted. All times are for Halloween evening (Wednesday, October 31).

From the Post-Gazette:

5 to 8 p.m.: Millvale

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Reserve

5:30 to 8 p.m.: Etna

6 to 7:30 p.m.: Adams, Aspinwall

6 to 8 p.m.: Aleppo, Avalon, Bellevue, Ben Avon, Ben Avon Heights, Bradford Woods, Cheswick, Cranberry, Fox Chapel, Franklin Park, Hampton, Harmar, Kilbuck, Leet, Leetsdale, Marshall, McCandless, Middlesex, Ohio Township, Pine, Richland, Ross, Seven Fields, Sewickley, Sewickley Heights, Sewickley Hills, Shaler, Sharpsburg, Valencia, West Deer, West View, Zelienople.

6:30 to 8:45 p.m.: Blawnox

Several community events are being held over the next week. So there's much more to do than stay at home and watch an old horror movie on TV. Although this Tattler loves "Halloween," "Poltergeist" and "Night of the Living Dead."

Friday, Oct. 26

Wexford -- Halloween parade; 6:30 p.m.; Wexford Volunteer Fire Company, Manor Road.

Saturday, Oct. 27

Cranberry -- Wild West Fall Festival for children and families; noon to 3 p.m.; Dutilh United Methodist Church, 1270 Dutilh Road. Games, bounce house, candy and shows. Dress in costume. Free. 724-776-1094.

Marshall -- Halloween parade; 1 p.m.; meet at Marshall Township Fire Station in Warrendale to march to Warrendale Park for activities and refreshments. Dress in costume to participate. in Marshall's Halloween Parade.

Shaler -- Halloween parade; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Shaler Plaza. Ages 2 through 10 may wear Halloween costumes and begin trick-or-treating at Kmart, where free treat bags will be distributed. Participating merchants will give candy to children during those hours. All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Shaler -- Costume ball for adults; 8 to 10 p.m.; Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mount Royal Blvd. Live music, games, contests and refreshments. $15 for singles; $25 for couples. 412-486-0211.

Sunday, Oct. 28

Shaler -- Family harvest festival; 2 p.m.; Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mount Royal Blvd. Children may attend in costume. To register, call 412-486-0211.

Monday, Oct. 29

West View -- Halloween parade; 7 p.m.; begin at Highland Avenue and Perry Highway, along Perry to Center Avenue for goodie bags. Prizes awarded in age and costume categories.

Wednesday, Oct. 31

Millvale -- Halloween parade; 7 p.m.; starts at Hardee's and marches on North Avenue to Lincoln Avenue, ending at the recreation center for activities.

Have fun and be safe out there.

Working to keep you posted...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hot dog shop has opened...

Well, a new restaurant has opened in West View specializing in hoagies and hot dogs. Joe's Hot Dog and Hoagie Shop is located along Perry Highway near West View Elementary.

The eatery offers five specialty hot dogs including several variations of a chili-cheese dog. Patrons can also build their own hot dog by adding a myriad of toppings including ketchup, sauerkraut, pepper rings, bacon and relish, just to name a few.

The sandwich shop also offers hamburgers, salads, a variety of steak hoagies as well as a long list of baked hoagies.

This Tattler has not yet visited this establishment but it seems to be a good fit for West View. Residents and visitors can choose this independent eatery over the other chains in West View when grabbing a quick bite to eat.

If any of you stop by to this eatery, let this Tattler know what you thought of it. Email me at

Working to keep you posted...

Monday, October 15, 2007


For those Tattlers who enjoy German cuisine, Kretzler's Tavern along Babcok Blvd in Ross will feature Oktoberfest entrees on Thursday and Saturday nights through the end of the month. The menu features several German dishes such as sauerbraten, roast pork, sausages, wiener schnitzel, potato pancakes, sweet n sour red cabbage and more.

This Tattler stopped by last Thursday and ordered the sauerbraten (his favorite). While it doesn't compare to the type of meal you would get at Max's Allegheny Tavern in the North Side, I still enjoyed it and would urge you to stop by sometime this month.

Working to keep you posted...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

North Hills Business Report...

My fellow Tattlers,

In recent weeks, the commercial corridors in the North Hills have undergone several changes.

~ Walgreens has opened in the former location of Eckerd Drug Store in McKnight-Siebert Shopping Center. Earlier this year, Eckerd got the boot to make way for the large pharmacy chain.

~ Eckerd will soon start construction for their new site along McKnight Road near Save-On-Beer. The drug store has already gotten the OK from Ross Township officials.

~ Quizno's has closed in recent weeks at their location along McKnight Road across the street from McKnight-Siebert Shopping Center. This comes as no surprise since the sandwich shop was rarely ever packed and had earlier closing times than other eateries in the area.

~ Hollywood Video at the former Ponderosa location along McKnight will be closing soon. Officials have said this is due to severe water drainage issues on the property as well as past robberies. Right now the location is liquidating videos at small prices (new releases are $7.50 and older movies range from $3 to $5).

~ Construction at Shoppes at Northway is well underway. The Aldi location looks like it will be completed by the end of the year and several new stores have opened such as Shoe Carnival and Kid Company.

~ Global Cafe has opened at the former Taco Bell location in West View. An ad for the restaurant notes that it will offer American, Asian and Mexican cuisines. It looks as if this might be a good spot to grab a quick bite to eat when on the run.

~ Patron Mexican Grill has opened along Perry Highway in Wexford just south of Pine Tree Shoppes. More info will follow.

This business report is not necessarily a bad sign for the North Hills. As time goes by, things change for a variety of reasons. Who knows what other businesses may be locating to the North Hills in the near future. Don't fret, the Tattler will fill you in with those developments.

If anyone has tips on any North Hills business news, e-mail this Tattler at

Working to keep you posted...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Stokes Grill revisited, again!

Well the Tattler finally made his way to Stoke's Grill located between Kinko's and El Campesino. I was very pleased with the quality of food and variety of offerings at the small eatery.

Stoke's offers homemade soups, pretzel sandwiches, hoagies, deli sandwiches, salads a variety of quesadillas and more.

This Tattler got a roast beef pretzel sandwich that was served on the real thing and not a pretzel-shaped bun that you would find at Sheetz.

The sandwich featured cuts of real roast beef and I don't mean the lunch meat. This sandwich was packed with flavor and I'd highly recommend it.

My father got a meatball hoagie and had good reviews on this sandwich made with real meatballs, not processed ones. Additionally, We shared an order of fried zucchini, which also got good reviews.

The only thing that could affect Stokes' chances of survival are their prices. Most sandwiches are in the $6-$7 range, much like what you would pay at Panera Bread. While the food is delicious, the prices seemed just a little high.

I would however, encourage all of you to try this place that would be great for lunch or takeout. I definitely will be a returning customer at Stoke's Grill.

Working to keep you posted...
My fellow Tattlers,

I know this post doesn't have much to do with the North Hills -- but it is for a good cause.

Below is a fundraiser that will help a culinary student affected by Hurricane Katrina. It's being offered by Chef Paul Prudhomme (you know, the Cajun cook who has a striking resemblance to Dom DeLuise) and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (one of my Alma Maters).

Chef Paul Prudhomme and The Art Institute of Pittsburgh announced plans for the Chef Paul Prudhomme Culinary Scholarship, a full-tuition opportunity offered to help re-start the culinary career of a New Orleans resident affected by Hurricane Katrina. The scholarship includes the applicant’s choice of an associate’s degree in Culinary Arts or a bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management.

In addition to the academic scholarship, The Art Institute of Pittsburgh has waived housing expenses bringing the value of the opportunity to $102,960, the largest single scholarship offered in the college’s 86-year history. Chef Paul’s staff at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and Magic Seasonings will assist The Art Institute in making people aware of the scholarship and will assist the college in identifying candidates willing to go through the application process.

The intention of the scholarship is to honor Chef Paul’s commitment to New Orleans by awarding the scholarship to one of his current or former employees who would plan to return to New Orleans after earning his or her degree to contribute to the region and inspire others.

Chef Paul will join Art Institute administration to announce details about the scholarship at an upcoming fundraising dinner on Friday, October 19 hosted by The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Two varieties of tickets are available for the October 19 event. Tickets for “An Evening with Chef Paul” are $150 and include a cocktail reception from 5 to 7 p.m. and the five-course exclusive dinner from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets for “The Cocktail Affair” are available for a $40 donation.

If you can still get tickets for this event, it sounds like it will be a memorable evening and goes to a good cause. Hey, you could probably even write this off on the taxes. For details, visit

Working to keep you posted...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Stokes Grill revisited...

Well this Tattler finally made his way to Stokes Grill located between Kinko's and El Campesino along McKnight Road. While I originally thought this would be a sit down restaurant -- it actually serves better as a lunch spot or take-out merchant.

Stoke's offers sandwiches, small bites to eat, salads and other fare that would be great to take-out or sit in for a quick bite to eat. I would, however, advise those who are looking to sit down for dinner to avoid this establishment.

I wish Stoke's all the best and hope they can find a niche to survive. It's always nice to see a new food establishment along McKnight Road

When I get take-out from there, I'll fill all you Tattlers in on the details.

Working to keep you posted...

Friday, September 28, 2007


My fellow Tattlers,

Wal-Mart recently scrapped plans to build a store along Route 65, so McKnight Road here it comes....

From the Post Gazette:

Wal-Mart has abandoned attempts to create a table-top plateau on the slippery, slide-prone clays of the former Dixmont State Hospital property in Kilbuck, and will not build on or develop the site.

The decision, announced yesterday afternoon by the world's largest retailer, ends a 51/2-year battle that began when development plans were announced and intensified after a massive landslide dumped 300,000 cubic yards of dirt, rock and debris on Route 65 last September.

Wal-Mart said its revised stabilization plan, which it expects to submit to the state Department of Environmental Protection in two weeks, will return the 75-acre site to a sloped version of its pre-development, natural condition that includes trees and vegetation.

This action is what this Tattler thought was going to happen months ago. Now Wal-Mart will go full force with building along McKnight (near the former locations of Chi-Chi's Mexican Restaurant and Sam's Club).

Who knows what to think until plans are developed. This Tattler will let you know when Ross Planning Commission will review them.

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hampton Schools may become weak on drug users...

My fellow Tattlers,

I hope you all had a great summer and now I'm back with more regular posts. Over the last month or so, I switched jobs and have started on a new path from writing for a newspaper to doing a few other things in communications.

But I digress, apparently Hampton Township School officials are looking at new ways to enforce drug abuse prevention in the school district. They are considering decreasing the number of school days a student can be suspended for drug possession.

For first-time offenders, the old procedure called for a student to be suspended from school for 45 calendar days, with the non-cooperation of the student giving a possibility of up to 184 school days depending on the circumstances.

The change would keep first-time offenders out for 20 school days, with the possibility of that going up to 60 days.

Second-time offenders formerly were suspended from school for a minimum of 184 school days. The change would mean students would be suspended for 90 days at the minimum, up to 184 school days.

Third-time offenders were and still will be expelled from school permanently.

While I realize you should not look at the world in a black and white perspective, it will be a terrible mistake for Hampton if these changes are approved. School officials SHOULD increase the suspension length and offer more drug prevention initiatives.

Being proactive is the best approach. One problem could be that some deny there is a drug problem in the community when let's face it folks -- drug abuse affects people from all walks of life.

Hampton officials say they are in favor of the change because it will give building administrators the opportunity to look at things on a case by case basis. The problem is if an administrator is weak on enforcement or may have a close relationship with a suspected student would they lay down an appropriate suspension length?

That is why policies should be a detailed as possible when suspending a student. Let the policy determine how a student is punished and not an administrator.

Hopefully, Hampton School Board members come to their senses and not even let the policy changes come up for a vote. If not, election season is right around the corner.

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stokes Grill...

A new restaurant has opened along McKnight Road between Kinko's and Emiliano's Mexican Restaurant. It is called Stoke's Grill and unfortunately, that is all I know at this point.

If anyone has any information to share, post a comment or email me at

Emiliano's a success?

Despite this Tattler's view of Emiliano's Mexican Restaurant at the former location of Don Pablo's in McIntyre Square, some fellow Tattlers have come to enjoy this new business.

Stephanie wrote:

As major Mexican food fans, we've given all Pittsburgh restaurants a try and we were thrilled to discover that this one measures up. We felt like we were south of the border, and all categories get a 10+.

Mariachi style uniforms, attentive smiling service, authentic, homemade food, menu set up, music, etc. Mexican ambiance to the business cards, it was all top notch and done with class. Curious who the owners are who spared nothing to do it right . . . we were told it was 3-4 guys and it's a local place, not a chain.

May they succeed beautifully on a corridor that yes, already has El Campesino (a worthy opponent) and Mad Mex (not a fave--too loud to even carry on a conversation, tables too close for comfort and wait staff that have too many facial piercings to even glance at!)

I guess what it comes down to is a golden rule for a new restaurant - do not eat there until the business has been open for two months. This Tattler broke that rule and went to Emiliano's just days after they opened.

At the time, I thought the business was very similar to Don Pablo's and was having an identity crisis. Also, service was slow and food was just OK. So hopefully this business has made some much needed changes and will prosper in the North Hills.

Working to keep you posted...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Ross suspends manager...

Earlier this week, Ross Township Board of Commissioners voted to suspend their longtime township manager for 3 days. Apparently the cause was him acting inappropriately to a local leader.

From the Tribune Review:

Ross commissioners have suspended township Manager Tom Lavorini for three days without pay for being insubordinate to a board member.

Commissioners approved the suspension by a 6-2 vote late Monday after an executive session.

This Tattler has heard from a close source that the dispute was between Tom Lavorini, township manager and Grace Stanko, who represents the Perrysville area of the township. The dispute allegedly was caused when Stanko questioned Lavorini on finance-related issue and he flipped.

None of this has officially been confirmed by township officials but is the word on the street. This Tattler has also heard that board members originally were not going to reprimand Lavorini much until Lana Mazur, board president, stepped in.

While I agree that what Lavorini did was not appropriate -- I'm not sure if a suspension was the right move to make. According to township regulations there is a procedure that should be followed.

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Pete Ferraro, commissioner, said his vote should not been seen as condoning Lavorini's conduct.

Because of the nature of the offense, he said, he favored following the procedure in the township's employee handbook.

It calls for a verbal warning for a first violation. The next step would be a written warning and would be followed by a suspension.

The suspension could be regarded as a few days off rather than a punishment. The root of the problem may come down to Lavorini's attitude. Can you add to this issue? Let this Tattler know!

Working to keep you posted...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Job search....

Hey all,

This Tattler is now looking for a new job. While it stinks to change positions -- any job leads would be a great help!

This Tattler currently works for a small weekly newspaper but am looking for any job leads in the communications field. Any leads you fellow Tattlers could provide would be a great help.

Don't fret, this blog will still be active -- there are so many North Hills-related issues to talk about.

If you have any leads please e-mail me:

Working to keep you posted...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Smoking bans continue...

My fellow Tattlers, sorry it has taken so long for another post but as some of you may know it gets really S-L-O-W in the summertime. That is why our local news stations will put a lot of fluff in their broadcasts this time of year.

Anyways, this Tattler noticed that there is yet another smoking ban for people to flip out over. However, I do agree with this one -- harmful second hand smoke has no place at a health care facility.

From the North Journal:

Starting Sunday, July 1, UPMC Passavant hospital and all other UPMC facilities are going smoke-free. Last week, UPMC officials announced their decision to have a campus-wide clean air policy to protect patients, visitors and staff from the effects of second-hand smoke.
The policy prohibits smoking on all UPMC-owned or leased property, including the grounds, garages and parking lots, and in cars on the property.

As you may have gathered, this policy will include UPMC Passavant Hospital along Babcock Boulevard in McCandless. While I can sympathize (somewhat) with smokers who just want that "little stick of heaven" during a troubling time -- they must realize how it does not make sense to partake in that bad habit at health care facilities.

Everything has it's own place and time.

From the Post-Gazette:

Yesterday was the first day when all of UPMC's 17 hospitals and other properties became smoke-free, inside and out. Outside the UPMC hospitals in Oakland and Mercy Hospital on the Bluff, smokers were still smoking, but they were walking greater distances to do so.

Those smokers sure are persistent, let's wait until February to see if they will go to those lengths for a ciggie -- I know I wouldn't. What this comes down to is yet another restriction on smokers.

If you're not used to it yet, smokers can only expect many more limitations down the road.

Working to keep you posted...

Monday, June 18, 2007

Rite Aid coming to Wexford...

My fellow Tattlers, why does it seem that so many pharmacies in the North Hills are either moving, remodeling or being built.

Walgreens is working its way into McKnight-Siebert Shopping Center on McKnight and at the former site of the North Hills YMCA along Pine Creek. Eckerd is moving its McKnight location near Save-On-Beer.

Now, Rite Aid is making its way into Wexford.
From the North Journal:

Rite Aid is close to finalizing plans to build a pharmacy on Perry Highway by 2009.

McCandless Planning Commission approved a lot consolidation and land development application for Atwell Hicks, Inc. for the Rite Aid Corp. to build a pharmacy at the intersection of Perry Highway and Reichold Road, at the location of the former DiPietro's Ristorante and the current Wendy's.

Well, it is nice to see a new business finally moving into the vacant space but a few others things are unsettling.

With approval, the Wendy's Restaurant would have to close to make way for the new drug store. At this point, I'm unsure if the fast food chain would build in another location because it seems like that type of establishment has been in a period of decline.

This approval would also guarantee an empty spot in Wexford Plaza, which currently houses an Eckerd Drug Store. In the near future, all local Eckerds will be converted into Rite Aid Pharmacies after the chain became the third largest in the country. The drug store bought Eckerd and Brooks Pharmacy chains in August.

From RetailNet:

Upon completion of the transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, there will be approximately 5,000 Rite Aid stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia, with coverage on both the East and West coasts.

For the general consumer, these changes would not mean much but it is interesting to try and visualize how this project would change Wexford's offerings. Only time will tell.

Working to keep you posted...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Ross Township may restrict sex offenders in the area...

Ross Township officials are considering an ordinance that would prohibit sex offenders from living 2,500 feet from a church, school, day care facility and other areas. It is still in the very early stages and a public hearing probably won't be held until late July.

Well, this certainly is an interesting ordinance that officials are crafting. As opposed members have said and I must agree -- this is something that should be handled by the state. However, legislators tend to move as quickly as molasses (S...L...O...W).

Unfortunately, other than finding ways to enforce this, municipal officials could only deem a violation of it as a summary offense (which is similar to a parking ticket).

This Tattler's other problems with it delve down to the fact that this should target sexual predators and not just one-time sexual offenders. Let's keep in mind that not all sexual offenders are child molesters but could have been pinched for a crime of passion.

I by no means approve of these criminals but this ordinance should narrow the scope to the real scumbags. The ordinance will also face several constitutional issues, which makes this Tattler think that there is a snowball's chance in hell that it will ever get approved.

From the McKnight Journal:

The legislation came on the radar after the realization that current laws are not restrictive enough. Megan's Law calls for sexual offenders to register in their neighborhoods, but does not restrict where offenders can live.

The law is used as a means to protect the public, especially children, from sexual victimization, according to Pennsylvania State Police. This is accomplished by tracking the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders and notifying the public of an offender living in their community.

According to Family Watchdog, nine sex offenders either live or work in Ross Township. Offenses range from rape to sexual assault of children.

Mt. Lebanon recently discussed a very similar ordinance.

The Trib reported on it:

There was also a previous article published here:

I'll let you Tattlers know if anything develops on this.

Working to keep you posted...

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Aldi approval coming...

My fellow Tattlers, recently quite a few of you have made comments in regard to the possibility of an Aldi being built along McKnight Road. Well, Ross Township Board of Commissioners will be considering the issue Monday evening.

From their agenda:

SP-07-5 - Northway Group, LP requesting Site Plan approval for the purpose of constructing a
freestanding retail building on property located at 8000 McKnight Road in a C-1
Zoning District of the 9th Ward.

The board meets at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, June 11 at Ross Community Center, 1000 Ross Municipal Drive. If this may be a hot button issue for you, let your voice be heard!

Working to keep you posted....

Friday, June 8, 2007

Showcase Cinemas staying put for now...

For quite some time, rumors have been flying that Showcase Cinemas North in McCandless would shut its doors to make way for a new movie house to be built along McKnight Road near the intersection with Duncan Avenue.

Apparently, Showcase North is staying put but the closure seems inevitable by looking at its offerings and building enhancements.

In a brief from the North Journal:

For now, Showcase Cinemas North will remain in business.
McCandless officials say they know of no development plans for the Showcase Cinemas property, despite rumors.

According to reports, the property of the former Showcase Cinemas location in Wilkins Township is close to being sold, which has led to speculation about the McCandless site.

This Tattler strongly believes that it is only a matter of time before Showcase North closes. The building is old and is a very mediocre theater compared to others featured on the South Side and Waterfront.

Additionally, National Amusements, which owns the theater, has not invested money in the building for some time to enhance its offerings.

Ever since Duncan Avenue was connected to McKnight, a large tract of land was opened up for development, which I believe would be suitable for a new theater. If a new theater is built at Showcase Cinemas' current site or on the new parcel of land, one thing is certain -- Showcase North's days are numbered.

Working to keep you posted...

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Aldi update...

Apparently not everyone is happy with an Aldi on McKnight Road. A visitor to McKnight Journal's Web site wrote this:

Northway Mall's decision to offer a lease to Aldi is one Ross Township residents should be concerned about. Historically, Aldi has placed itself in less-than-desired communities. The hype of this being a prototype store is just that -- hype.

They'll still sell the same garbage all their other stores sell. It will not be an asset to this community. Northway Mall will reap what they sow. Hopefully, they've increased their mall security budget. Aldi = bad news for Ross Township.


So, my fellow Tattlers not everyone is pleased with this development. However, I still believe it fits in with the other merchants at Shoppes at Northway. That post just seems a little too "gloom and doom" to me.

What do you think?

Working to keep you posted...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Aldi coming to McKnight Road...

Late last month, officials from Shoppes at Northway (Northway Mall) brought plans before Ross Township Planning Commission to build an Aldi Grocery Store in their parking lot. There has been a lot of speculation that the shopping facility was trying to lure a chain like that for some time.

The store would open in a new building near the Northway Apartments. The building also will house America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, which was originally located inside the mall. ...

Originally, development plans called for several stores to be torn out on the Browns Lane side of the mall, between Marshall's and Dick's Sporting Goods. That portion of the project will leave an open air shopping facility in its place.
Additionally, three exterior buildings will be constructed, with two near Dick's and a third housing the new Aldi.

Aldi describes itself as a "limited assortment" supermarket, offering about 1,000 different items in each store. Most of its offerings are private-label products, made for the grocery chain. The company's cost-cutting philosophy means most products are sold right from their cartons.

The store charges for grocery bags and collects a refundable deposit for use of shopping carts. According to its Web site, Aldi doesn't offer check cashing or preferred shopper programs.

The company, founded in Germany in 1948, has more than 800 outlets in the United States.

This Tattler once visited an Aldi's in Shaler Township and thinks it would be a good addition to McKnight Road. I previously received an email from a reader who thought that it would work at the former Kuhn's site - this Tattler agrees.

The stores feature good deals for those on a budget, which falls in line with Northway's other offerings such as Value City, a humongous dollar store and Marshall's Department Store.For those seeking high quality upper end items, don't even pay Aldi a trip. But it will be a nice alternative for many local residents.

If approved, developers have a target date to open the store by the end of the year.

Working to keep you posted...