Monday, December 20, 2010

The Air Out There

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just ran an eight-part series titled "Mapping Mortality" by staff writers David Templeton and Don Hopey (Mr. Hopey is a former resident of Mt. Lebanon).  In it, they addressed the higher-than-national-average mortality rates that prevail in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania believed to accrue from the incidence of air pollution linked to coal-fired power plants and other industrial companies labeled by the EPA as major sources of pollution.

While the news for southwestern Pennsylvania is not good, a silver lining may be that "several municipalities with mortality rates less than the national average suggest a smaller polution burden along with socioeconomic factors that reduce disease risk.  These include Mt. Lebanon with a rate 10 percent below the national rate and Upper St. Clair, whose mortality rates are 32 percent below national rates...South Fayette in western Allegheny County is 28 [percent] under the national average."  The flip side?  Close-by communities Bridgeville, Heidelberg and Carnegie have a combined mortality rate that is 36 percent above the national average and lung cancer rates in Heidelberg are an astonishing 140 percent higher than the national average.

A summary of this informative series can be found on the P-G's Staff Blogs.

The Emmaus Community Needs Your Help!

From our friend and Mt. Lebanon resident Karen Jacobsen, executive director of the Emmaus Community, a non-profit which runs transitional homes (for those with autism and other intellectual disabilities) in Mt. Lebanon, Dormont and neighboring communities:

The Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh is currently seeking a group of creative, motivated individuals between the ages of 22 and 40 to serve on our new Young Professional Advisory Board.  We are excited to be partnering with American Eagle to launch this new project!  The purpose of the Young Professional Advisory Board will be to develop deeper relationships between Emmaus and Pittsburgh’s young professional community and to work together with Emmaus staff, Board, and residents to support the Emmaus mission.

If you are looking for a way to dedicate some time and effort to helping others while meeting new people and expanding your network, we believe this will be a great fit!  We seek individuals who want to share their skills and expertise in a collaborative setting.  Potential opportunities include: helping to grow the Emmaus young professional network and increasing awareness of our mission; supporting Emmaus programs, special events, and fundraising efforts; engaging in volunteer activities with our residents; and finding innovative, fun ways to partner in order to further our mission.  We hope that members will become involved in the areas most suitable to their skills, passions and lifestyles.

Interested in learning more?  Contact Tiffany at 412-381-0277 or e-mail

The gifts of time and energy are among the most valuable.  Please consider helping the Emmaus Community.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Roaster Is On At Aldo Coffee

Post-Gazette restaurant critic China Millman has kind words for Rich and Melanie Westerfield, owners of Aldo Coffee on Washington Road, in today's paper.  Rich is now roasting and selling his own beans as opposed to carrying those of highly-regarded (and far-off) roasters Intelligentsia (Chicago) and Stumptown (Portland, Oregon).

Here's raising a cup(pa joe) to their continued success!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Doorways, Part Deux

Junior shutterbug "SGL" was at it again and doubled the size of the "Holiday Doorways" slide show on the blog's right sidebar.  Take a peek at the bounty of Mt. Lebanon during this holiday season.

All thanks to friends and neighbors who collectively make Mt. Lebanon such a beautiful place throughout the year.

Happy Holidays From Mt. Lebanon Magazine!

From our friends at Mt. Lebanon Magazine, a holiday pictorial that reminds us of the many reasons we choose to live here.  How can you not love a town with its own Halloween Parade, brewfest and UltraParty?  Count me in!

Public Service In Action

Have you ever wondered how our municipality runs? is it The Little Engine That Could or a bureaucracy rife with red tape?  Get a taste of civic government in action at tonight's Regular Meeting of the Mt. Lebanon Commission, scheduled for Monday, December 13 at 8 p.m. in the Commission chambers at 710 Washington Road.  Among the items up for discussion are the 2011 municipal budget.  View the full agenda here.

Citizen comments are welcomed at the beginning of all Commission meetings.

Wish List

During this time of holiday wish lists and expressions of gratitude, I'm delighted to be able to notch one off my list.  It looks as if we're finally getting a Trader Joe's close by, in the location of the Pier One Imports store on Washington Road.  Details are still being worked out but many of  us have long thought this a great fit (let's face it, Pier One isn't what it used to be).  We still need a Target store closer to Mt. Lebanon and while it probably won't be in the old Boscov's location in South Hills Village (Target generally seeks out strip malls, not enclosed, high-end malls), you would think the mod retailer from Minneapolis could find some space in that big-box heaven in and around Bethel Park.

Speaking of Boscov's...when will something fill that gargantuan mall space? will Nordstrom finally trek to the South Hills?  Not many anchor-type stores are branching out in this economy and while Saks Fifth Avenue may or may not re-up its lease downtown, it seems like Nordstrom is the better fit in these parts.

While I'm talking retail, I've long thought (as have many of us Lebo gals!) that what our Uptown shopping district needs is a great shoe store, a cross between Little's in Squirrel Hill and Pavement in Lawrenceville.  Read:  great selection, fashion-forward, reasonable price point.  Small clothing boutiques would likely follow and these stores would be on the path of everyone between downtown Pittsburgh and the far South Hills.  We have enough gallery, accessory and jewelry stores in Uptown and on Beverly Road already -- clothing and shoes will round out the offerings nicely.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Mt. Lebanon's Dori Oldaker Nominated For Dapper Dan Award

Mt. Lebanon Girl's Basketball coach Dori Oldaker is one of four nominees for the Dapper Dan Sportswoman of the Year award.  From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's ballot:

"Dori Oldaker, Mt. Lebanon girl's basketball coach - Oldaker coached the Blue Devils to WPIAL and PIAA championships for the second consecutive season and became the first coach to lead a WPIAL Class AAAA girls' basketball team to consecutive PIAA championships. She previously won two WPIAL and two PIAA titles as a coach at Blackhawk."

Recent winners in the category include the Penn State women's volleyball team and Pitt All-America guard Shavonte Zellous.

Winners for the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year are determined by reader voting at the Post-Gazette.  The 75th Annual Dapper Dan Dinner & Sports Auction will be held on February 9, 2011 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.  Cast your vote for Lebo's own, Coach Oldaker, by clicking here.

Congratulations, coach!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Doorways in Mt. Lebanon

Maybe it was the light snowfall or the nip in the air...or perhaps it was the holiday cheer at long last latching on to him and refusing to let go.  Whatever the case, avid photographer and nine-year-old resident "SGL" set about finding the most beautiful holiday doorways of Mt. Lebanon on Friday afternoon.  The resulting slide show is on the blog's right sidebar and will remain there throughout the holiday season.

"I might add some more photos if I find stuff I like more," noted the junior shutterbug.  His mother (and co-scribe at this blog) couldn't be prouder of the boy's first public show.

(Note to Mt. Lebanon parents: if your son/daughter loves to write or take photographs, we welcome submissions!  We'd love to see and hear their take on the town.)

Mt. Lebanon Floral Is A Winter Wonderland Once Again

Just as day turns to night and the Steelers can be counted on to win whilst the Pirates lose, Mt. Lebanon Floral on Washington Road is once again a winter wonderland this holiday season.  No sooner has Thanksgiving passed that the store decorates a handful of trees with myriad ornaments and the puffiest of bows.  Step inside this magical space and if you don't feel like a kid on Christmas Eve, well, your name must be Scrooge.

The staff of Mt. Lebanon Floral is busy this holiday season, creating wreaths, bows and other specialty items for their loyal clientele.  Stop in and prepare to be enchanted by something special for your home.  If nothing catches your eye (!), a quick conversation should lead to the perfect bow or tree-topper.  Go!  Feel the magic.

Friday, December 3, 2010

"Main Streets" Program Brightens Lebo Business Districts

Businesses along the Washington Road and Beverly Road corridors are being encouraged to apply for facade improvement grants currently available and co-sponsored by the municipality and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

In brief, the program is a 1/3 match up to $5,000 so that for every two dollars spent on improvements by the business owner, a dollar of grant money is obtained.  Eligible facade improvements include new signs, awnings, lighting, painting, a reconfiguration of entrances and door or window replacement/repair.

Taking wonderful advantage of the program is Elizabeth Boyd, owner of Uptown Coffee on Washington Road.  Her cafe is benefitting from a totally-revamped entryway with new exterior lighting, painting and trim.  The added space at the front of the cafe allows for sink-into-me chairs you may never want to leave.

The grant sunsets on June 30, 2011.  Interested parties should contact Eric Milliron at emilliron at to determine eligibility, process and cost issues.  Eric would love to see more participation!