806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

AWCC Membership Meeting Agenda – January 13, 2015

January 13, 2015, 7:30pm, Calvary Church (at 971 Beech Avenue)

7:30 Guest – Stephen Riccardi

PennEnvironment speaking about air quality in Western PA.

7:45 Approval of the Minutes from Nov

7:50 Treasurer’s Report

7:55 Thank yous to transitioning 2014 Board members

  • Membership: Tim Zinn
  • Property:  Mary Callison
  • Friends:  Howard Zinn
  • Recording Secretary:  Michael Shealy
  • President: Bob Griewahn

8:05 Nomination of Ways & Means Chair

8:10 Introduction of New Board Members

  • President,   Catherine Serventi
  • Vice President, John DeSantis
  • Treasurer, Bob Griewahn
  • Sergeant at Arms,  Gloria Rayman
  • Recording Secretary, Timothy Zinn
  • Communications  Secretary,  Fran Barbush
  • Membership Chair, Mary Callison
  • Property, Howard Brokenbek
  • Housing & Planning, James Wallace
  • Friends of Allegheny West,  Michael Shealey
  • Ways & Means, TBD

8:15 Committee Announcements / Requests to the Membership

  • [Membership] 2014 Annual Memberships are now expired – forms available here or renew online.
  • [Membership} Upcoming Membership Events – Mary Callison
  • [Ways & Means] Christmas Tour Report / Calvary Church Donation – Carole Malakoff
  • [Property] Loan to AWDC to support the Stables and 928-930 Western

8:30 Northside Leadership Conference

  • Confirmation of 2015 representatives
    • John DeSantis
    • Bob Griewahn (alternate)
  • Education & Public Safety representatives from AWCC

8:35 Tabled Business

8:40 New Business

8:45 Q&A w/ Committee Chair

Please send a note to if you have additional agenda items to add.

Letter from the President – January 2015

I have to admit, I’ve been really nervous about my first President’s message (which is why this is so late, sorry Fran!). I have some big shoes to fill. Bob Griewahn has done an inspiring job as President the last couple of years, so I hope folks understand while I get up to speed. The rest of the Board, as you might expect since they’re Allegheny West neighbors, has also been wonderfully supportive and generous with their time – patiently bringing me up to speed on where we are on all our ongoing projects.

As one those people who make’s New Year’s resolutions (and even keeps some of them!), I’ve been talking to lots of folks in the neighborhood about what our resolutions for the neighborhood should be. But I’ve only just started figuring out what would get folks get really excited. Based on the conversations so far, here are some of the the things we’re working on for this year.

  • Encourage more folks to come to the meetings and take a leadership role for neighborhood activities. One idea was to have more external speakers come to the meeting, and so have folks lined up for the meeting in January (PennEnvironment) and February (Sarah Quinn from the City Historic Preservation Office). Please share any ideas for speakers or even just what might make you want to come to the meeting.
  • Put the finishing touches on Western Avenue and identify what our next big project is. The Buhl Foundation has made a huge financial commitment to the North Side, on the order of $40 million dollars over the next 4-6 years. I want to be sure we participate.   What are the things in the neighborhood that you think that Civic Council could have the most impact on that would personally make your life better?
  • Modernize our bylaws, so that folks with good ideas see the Civic Council as a place to get support to put great ideas into action. Good bylaws should make it clear how how we can work together to make things happen and not stand in the way. Gloria, Bob, and Jim have been working through them, and we hope to have a draft available to comment on by the March membership meeting. If you have specific concerns that you want to be sure are addressed don’t hesitate to ask me. (That was my best attempt at making bylaws exciting.)

We’re still looking for feedback about how we should be spending our time and resources to improve the quality life in the neighborhood.  Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list, there are ton of other things on the Council’s plate as well. If there’s something not mentioned here that you think should be a top priority please let me know.

I have a confession – I’m a bit of an introvert. At the same time I know it’s really important for me to get to know folks in the neighborhood.   I’m going to work on coming out from behind my computer screen and starting conversations with folks, but it would help me if the extroverts among us could help me get to know folks as well.

Here’s how to get a hold of me if you have any ideas that you would like the Civic Council to support  or are not sure who to contact on the Board with a specific question. It’s easiest to get a hold of me by email (seriously, introvert): If you prefer the phone, you’re more likely to catch me in the evenings between 7:00 pm and 10:30 pm or on weekends: 412-418-2027. I’m in meetings a lot during work so I often can’t answer the phone during the day. I’m both excited and nervous about this year – let’s have some fun!

Catherine Serventi
President, AWCC

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 we’ll make sure they’re recognized in the Gazette.

Nonie organized and Elaine & Mitchell provided the space an impromptu New Year’s Eve party and invited the entire neighborhood.  Elaine & Mitchell’s son even provided our own ride service!

Since the neighborhood has purchase of 928-930 Western, Tim has been tirelessly showing the property to prospective buyers and insurance inspectors alike. Howard has also put a ton of time and effort into stabilizing the property.

Finally an extra special thank you to Carole and all the amazing volunteers who helped make the Christmas tour such a great success this year.

2015 Membership Plans

Submitted by Mary Callison

The holidays are over and 2015 is here. As a result of the 2014 elections I became membership chair.  Tim Zinn did such a wonderful job as membership chair the last two years it will be a difficult act follow. I discovered after reading the Council by-laws the plan was for each chairperson to form a committee to accomplish the work for that area.  Membership is responsible for planning Block Parties, neighborhood social events and activities. Over the last few years we have bowled, played bocce and gathered at neighborhood sites for a Mixer. I have a couple of additional ideas and hopefully some of you have ideas of things we can do to have even more fun. If you would like to help with this process and be part of the membership committee; call me 412-321-5951 or email me I plan to schedule a membership committee meeting  by the first of February. Do not be scared, we will not meet on regular basis, once we have plans for the year most things will be done by phone or email.

Introducing the 2015 AWCC Board

Please join using welcoming our 2015 Board members. We are forming committees for 2015 now.


President: Catherine Serventi –, (412) 418-2027

Treasurer: Bob Griewahn –
Please leave reimbursement requests in the office at 806 Western Avenue

Corresponding Secretary: Tim Zinn –

Membership: Mary Callison –
Please contact Mary if you have a great idea for an event for the neighborhood or would like to help plan social events.

Property: Howard Brokenbek –
Contact Howard if you notice any issues with AWCC properties such as the Stables on North Ave. 928-930 Western Avenue or the office at 806 Western Avenue

Friends of Allegheny West: Michael Shealey –
Michael manages the neighborhood clean-ups, works with the City on 311 calls and is a good contact if you’re interested in volunteering for the neighborhood green spaces


Vice President: John Desantis –
John is also representing us at the Northside Leadership Conference

Housing & Planning: James Wallace –
Contact Jim for issues such  parking, historic preservation & development

Secretary: Fran Barbush –
If you have articles for the Gazette, please send them to Fran

Sergeant-at-Arms: Gloria Rayman –
Gloria brings all the awesome snacks for the meetings


Ways and Means
If you have fundraising or event planning skills please contact Cathy Serventi if you’re interested in hearing more about this  important position

Guest Speaker at the January 13 Membership Meeting: PennEnvironment

Stephen Riccardi is the Western PA Field Associate for the PennEnvironment and has asked to speak at the the AWCC membership meeting on Tuesday, January 13. From PennEnvironment:

PennEnvironment ( is a statewide, citizen-based environmental organization that is working on a campaign to clean up our air quality here in Allegheny County and is engaging the area’s community organizations  to help us win this fight for cleaner, healthier air.  Air pollution is a longtime problem for Western PA.  The American Lung Association has given our air an F rating and ranked us as the 6th worst metro area in the country. This is putting our health at serious risk. For the 24,000 children and 100,000 adults in Allegheny County suffering from asthma, air pollution makes it risky to even go outside some days. Even for those without respiratory problems, Allegheny County is in the top 2% of US counties for cancer risk from pollution.  It may come as little surprise that much of the pollution in this area is emitted by dirty industrial facilities. One plant, the Shenango Coke Works, recently violated clean air standards 330 out of 432 days. But the agency responsible for regulating the facilities, the Allegheny County Health Department, is not doing enough to protect our health from these big polluters.

Come hear about the work PennEnvironment has been doing to engage with the Allegheny County Health Department to lookout for our most vulnerable citizens and our health.  

Christmas Tour Wrap Up

Submitted by Carole Malakoff

After 33 years, our event continues to be the start of the Holiday Season for people all over the Pittsburgh area. This year we hosted over 1700 visitors on the regular, brunch, lunch, dinner and train tours. For more details, please attend the January Civic Council meeting on Tuesday, January 13.

A huge thank you to everyone who worked diligently to make this happen. If you have comments/suggestions for next year’s tour, please send them to

Mark Your Calendars: Neighborhood Mixer

Allegheny West Neighborhood Mixer

Friday, December 19 @ 6:00 PM

Join your friends and neighbors as we support our local businesses!  We’ll be at Modern Cafe, 602 Western Avenue.  Stop by and join in some holiday season merriment!

Reminder: Street Sweeping and Closures

Street Sweeping Friday Morning

The City street sweeper will be around Friday morning. Please move cars so he can do his job.

Street Closings on Friday and Saturday

We will have over 1600 visitors in Allegheny West for The Old Allegheny Victorian Christmas House Tour. Our visitors will be walking the streets and alleys of our neighborhood. For the safety of everyone, the following streets will be closed to traffic and parking from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Friday, 12/12, and from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm on Saturday, 12/13:

  • Beech Avenue, from Allegheny to Brighton Road
  • North Lincoln Avenue, from Galveston to Brighton Road
  • Galveston Avenue, from Buttercup Way to Dounton Way
  • Rope Way, from Buttercup Way to Chapel Way

Off-street parking will be available in The Babb Co. lot on the corner of Galveston and North Lincoln Avenue (enter from Chapel Way), the CCAC lot on Ridge Avenue (across from the ramp to the Fort Duquesne Bridge), and the Smart Solutions lot (on the north side of the 800 block of West North Avenue)

Your cooperation is appreciated. Please move your car off the street during this event.