806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

DIY Workshop: Introduction to Home Improvement

Thursday, March 12, 2015
6:00 pm — 8:00 pm

Every house owner knows that there comes a point when a house, regardless of it condition, will need repairs and other improvements. The ability to complete even the smallest home improvement begins with a basic foundation of skills with hand tools and power tools. In this workshop, you will learn how to use the most common hand tools and power tools of the trade to complete basic home improvements and repairs.

About the presenter: Michael R. Wetmiller is a Pennsylvania Registered Home Improvement Contractor specializing in interior renovation. He grew up in a family of tradesmen and attended a four-year carpenter’s apprenticeship training program. He became a Journeyman Carpenter in 1999. Michael has worked in both commercial and residential construction in all phases from foundations to finish carpentry.

Landmarks Preservation Resource Center
744 Rebecca Avenue
Wilkinsburg, PA 15221

This workshop is free to PHLF Members. Click here for more information about PHLF membership and please join! Non-members: $5

RSVPs are appreciated. Contact:

Mary Lu Denny – (412) 471-5808 x 527 

Letter from the President – March 2015

I just got back from a really fascinating Bylaw Committee meeting and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!  (No wait…come back…hmm maybe this is why people avoid me at parties…?)

Seriously though, I realize that bylaws are pretty much something only a process nerd could love so I won’t go into too much detail.  First I want to say, I really appreciate all the time that Jim and Gloria and Bob have been putting in to modernize these; you have to be pretty darn dedicated to take on this type of task.  To make the bylaws seem less annoying, I try and think of them as a roadmap for how we, as a community, make decisions.  In my mind good bylaws keep people from getting lost when they are trying to make things happen. If we set them up right, they will make it easier to get things done in a transparent and efficient way and at the same time make it clear who is accountable for the actions we take. I’m happy to report, that I can safely say now that we’ve actually went through the bylaws line by line tonight, that we’re actually in pretty good shape.

But there are a few things that we think could be clearer such as:  how we determine who is eligible to vote; how money is spent; and how the committees are set up.  We think these area could be clearer or reflect better how we get things done now as opposed when the Bylaws were last amended back in 2004. If I’ve succeeded in getting you excited about the bylaws (ha, ever the optimist) you can see the current bylaws at: We hope to have a draft with the changes we’ve been talking about for several months at the April meeting if we can hammer out the wording to our satisfaction, but May at the latest. And I really am happy to talk to you about this (preferably with a glass of wine in my hand..or yours).

A few more selected updates:  We’re still waiting to hear back about the grants that were submitted for the tree well projects. Trish, Holly and Mary did an such a great  job on the flower baskets that we’re up to 18 baskets at this point, 10 more than the 8 that we had been hoping for. We’ll publish a complete list of sponsors next month, but in the meantime you can see the current list at It’s not too late to sponsor a basket!  Planning is underway for an Allegheny West Candidates night, tentatively scheduled for 4/14 (if we can convince anyone to show up). The Membership Committee has an incredibly ambitious set of events planned for this year that you’ll be hearing about (and man, that meeting has the best snacks ever, just saying, you know…in case you choose your committees to volunteer with based on the food.)  We have the Wine Tour down to a science – tickets are on sale at You heard it here first!  I could keep going…

Honestly,  I figured as Treasurer that I had a pretty good idea of what was going on in the neighborhood, since I figured most things would need a check. Wow, two months in and my eyes have been opened!  I’m truly amazed, especially for such a small neighborhood, by the number of people who are off just doing their part to make our neighborhood a better place.

I trust everyone will keep surprising me… 🙂

Catherine Serventi
President, AWCC

AWCC Membership Meeting Agenda – March 10, 2015

7:30 – Guests (still waiting on confirmation)

  • Erin Tobin, Allegheny Commons Initiative
  • Darlene Harris (or representative)
  • Sally Stadelman, Office of the Mayor

7:40 – Welcoming New Neighbors and AWCC Members

8:00 – Minutes: Review of Motions from Last Meeting

8:05 – Treasurer’s Report

8:10 – Upcoming Membership Events

  • Marathon Party: Sunday 5/3 (City grant money available)
  • Memorial Day Picnic: 5/24, Hot Dogs & Hamburgers, 800 block of Beech
  • Independence Day Picnic: 7/4, Rib Cook Off, 900 block of Beech
  • Labor Day Picnic: 9/7, Corn Roast, 800 block of Lincoln
  • Next neighborhood mixer on Friday, 3/20, location TBA
  • Last day to bowl is April 29. Starting at 6:30pm now
  • Bocce: Thursdays, May 7 through Sept. 29. starting at 6:00pm
  • Shaw Festival Trip: Tentatively scheduled for June 25 & 26
  • Planning meeting March 13 at 7:00pm, location TBA
  • Neighborhood / Membership voluntary directory.
  • Welcoming new neighbors

8:25 – Friends (aka: Public Space)

  • Upcoming cleanups:
    • 4/11 – Mulching the Tree-wells,
    • 5/16 – Flower planting
    • 5/30 – Alley Clean up; looking for organizations to partner with
    • 7/15 – Babb Insurance service day

8:35 – Allegheny West Candidates Night

  • TENTATIVE: April 14 at 7:00 pm

8:40 – Ways & Means: Wine Tour

  • Paris of Appalachia theme, 3 tours instead of 2, chocolate tasting/wine pairing for dessert
  • Next planning meeting: early April
  • Tickets on sale now on

8:45 – NSLC

  • 2015 Dues
  • Ohio Street Bike Lane Update
  • AGH Update
  • NSLC, Dinner on 6/11

9:00 – New Business

9:15 – Q&A w/ Committee Chairs

Follow ups from last meeting and written committee reports:

  • Audit is scheduled for ???
  • (Philadelphia) Allegheny West lawsuit is now in the hands of our insurance company
  • Final number of flower baskets is ???, see the list of our charter sponsors at

Above & Beyond: Anecdote

Submitted by Ritsu Shimizu

Being already well established and reputed for his business and cultural contribution to the larger Pittsburgh community, Mr. John DeSantis may not be in need of any additional favorable recognition. I will, however, point out one more aspect of an improvement he has undertaken in Allegheny West since no one has expressed this point.

How many of you remember the old gas station at the corner of the Galveston and Western Avenue? Mr. Tom Fry, my deceased partner of 30 years, used to loathe that greasy business front – Tom even used a word, “an eye sore.”

John purchased this site and Lo and behold…the building was transformed as an office with a residential look, surrounded by a spacious flower garden. Recently a very impressive ornamental black iron fence was added on the top of the granite foundation. Whenever passing by this corner, my heart calls for him. “Look at this corner, Tom.”

Above & Beyond

If you’d like to recognize a neighbor who went above-and-beyond for you or the neighborhood this month please send a note to or give Cathy at call at (412) 418-2027 and, space allowing, we’ll recognize them in the Gazette.

More snow angels: Bob K. was spotted shoveling walks on Beech Avenue.

Howard B., in his awesome, just-get-it-done way, managed to get all the bows & wreaths from the Christmas tours off the light poles despite the miserable weather.

More than one person asked us to thank Mary C. and Holly P. for all the research to get the flower basket program started. And then Holly & Trish for braving the bureaucracy to get it approved. Finally, a special shout out to, John D., Annette, & Trish for getting the ball rolling with their pledges at the meeting. A few seeds have truly flowered…

Neighborhood Cleanup

Submitted by Michael Shealey

Saturday, April 11th at 9:00 am

Please join your neighbors at the AWCC office at 806 Western Avenue for the first neighborhood cleanup of 2015.

If we have mulch, we will be mulching some of our neighborhood’s tree well. With or without mulch, we will be getting trash off our streets and alleys. Refreshments provided.

NSLC Scholarship Program

Know a high school student doing great community volunteer work? Pass this along to them!

Through their 2015 Scholarship Program, the Northside Leadership Conference will recognize and award high school seniors who volunteer their time to improve the Northside community. Any Northside resident in the 12th grade, who performs volunteer service in their community, and who will be attending a college or training program after high school, is eligible for the $1,000 scholarship.

Awardees will be selected by the NSLC Dinner Committee on June 11, which is made up of representatives of the neighborhoods and participating sponsors. The number of scholarships will be determined by sponsor commitments.

Free Tickets for Northsiders: Animal Farm

Animal Farm Banner

Animal Farm

Presented by Prime Stage Theatre
March 8 | 2PM

Northsiders, you are invited to Animal Farm at the New Hazlett Theater. Thanks to the generous support of the Buhl Foundation, Northside residents get in free.

A limited number of free tickets for Northsiders are available online and are distributed first-come first-serve.

Two Legs Bad…

The chant rings out across the farm: “Two legs bad! Four legs good!”

Prime Stage Theatre brings the theatrical interpretation of George Orwell’s classic story to the New Hazlett stage. Animals overthrow their farmer masters, revolutionizing society. But is it for the better?

Animals, animals, everywhere!

Western PA Humane Society Special Event

Just in case the onstage critters of Animal Farm aren’t quite enough to satisfy your “animal instincts,” Prime Stage Theatre will be featuring several four-legged guests at our Sunday, March 8 matinee.

Creatures both human and canine will be visiting from the Western PA Humane Society from 1:30-2:30 pm, with information on the organization, pet adoption, and more. Who knows? You may just increase your critter population at home after meeting one of the adoptable dogs on site.

Get Your Tickets

 March 8

Western Avenue Flower Baskets for 2015

We’re delighted to announce that beginning this spring and summer we will be adding hanging flower baskets to Western Avenue!

Thank You: Charter Sponsors

  • Gary Otto in Honor of Donna Otto (1 basket)
  • Annette Trunzo (1 basket)
  • The Burton Family (1 basket)
  • Anonymous neighbor & business owner (1 basket)
  • Allegheny West Civic Council (4 baskets)

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) will provide the baskets, flowers, installation, watering and maintenance, “take-down” and storage of the baskets. We currently have 15 baskets sponsored, but with 32 poles, there is room for others to help in this worthy endeavor! We want to ensure that all who would like to participate be given the chance to do so. The deadline to sponsor a basket for 2015 is February 28, 2015.

In 2015, the WPC is providing a discounted rate of $325/basket for the initial year, which includes purchase of the basket. Future years will be assessed at a $275/basket rate for planting and maintenance. Sponsoring a basket this year doesn’t require a commitment to continue to sponsor in the following years.

Sponsors of a full basket will be recognized with a sign on the basket. Contributors of smaller amounts—to be combined for full baskets or for future years’ maintenance – will be recognized on the AWCC website and in our newsletter.

Sponsor or Donate Today

We can accept payment for a basket online or by sending a check made out to AWCC to 806 Western Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233. Please include a note with the wording for the acknowledgement sign.

We will be in touch shortly to confirm your donation. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at or give Trish a call at (412) 523-9402.

Free Tickets for Northsiders: The Crumbling

The Crumbling

February 20-21 | 8PM

Northsiders, you are invited to The Crumbling at the New Hazlett Theater. Thanks to the generous support of the Buhl Foundation, Northside residents get in free.

Free tickets for Northsiders are still available but going fast. Claim them by visiting the links below. Northsider tickets are only available online and are distributed first-come first-serve.

A Live, Stop-Motion Opera…

The Crumbling tells a surreal tale with stop-action animation and live music.” – Pittsburgh City Paper

“Unique video opera to premiere this weekend at New Hazlett Theater.” – Northside Chronicle

The Crumbling is a twenty-one-minute stop-motion video opera by fellow Northsider Alexis Gideon. Set in a dream-like mythic town, the story follows the trials of an apprentice librarian as she tries to save her city from crumbling down around her. The video is projected alongside Gideon’s live musical performance of the piece. Following the performance there will be an exhibition of original artwork in the lobby.

Get Your Tickets

 February 20  February 21