Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 8, 2004 · Page 94
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December 8, 2004

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 94

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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Wednesday, December 8, 2004
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Dec 8 2004 4:20:00:230AM N-4 PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2004 ROSS Stcitc urges residents to seek regional solution to flooding private property owner might be responsible. The officials also reiterated Pistella's advice. "We have historically dealt with this problem on a watershed basis, and it is a much more effective solution to combine our resources and try and hit it with a more holistic approach, rather than trying to take it bridge by bridge or manhole by manhole," said Ron Schwartz, acting assistant director of the DEP regional office. "It cannot be municipal specific. It has to be a watershed effort or it's not going to lead anywhere. I can't emphasize that enough particularly the idea of forming an authority for the watershed." Some residents had been hoping for a more immediate solution. Pam Azen, of Ross, hadn't finished repairs from flooding in May when Ivan's rainfall flooded her home again in September. "How many times am I supposed to call and claim this? My insurance company's going to drop me," she said. DeMarco was hopeful that residents could organize a group to represent the watershed. He and Moeller said they would take the names of any in attendance who wanted to be a part of organizing such a group. Tony TyePost-Gazette By Philip A. Stephenson Pittsburgh Post-Gazette For Ross and surrounding communities, developing an effective regional plan against flooding may be a difficult and multifaceted process. At a meeting in the township's municipal building last week, local politicians and flood management experts agreed that no single approach would solve the problem and suggested residents form a regional watershed association to research the issue and seek grants to fund corrective measures. Residents from Ross, Millvale and Pine, and most places in between, gathered to discuss the issue of flooding in and around the Girty's Run and Pine Creek watersheds. They heard presentations by representatives of the state Department of Environmental Protection as well as regional government representatives including U. S. Rep. Melissa Hart, R-Bradford Woods, and state Rep. Frank Pistella, D-Bloomfield. The event was organized by Ross Commissioner Dan De-Marco and Regis Moeller, an area lawyer who represents a number of businesses affected by the Sept. 17 flooding. The two also organized a previous meeting in September for those affected by flooding along Girty's Run. A number of officials pointed to citizen-driven collaborative ef forts or a community watershed organization to research and address the flooding problems. "It's not a problem that's going to start and stop in Etna or Mill-vale or Ross township. We're going to have to call on a number of communities including the county, the state and the federal government to pull together our resources to try to solve this problem," Pistella said. "It may not be enough for each individual community to try to attract that money. We may need to develop an organization or a group consisting of those municipalities that are in both of those watersheds into some North Hills flood mitigation authority." Pittsburgh Army Corps of Engineers chief Curtis Meeder agreed with Pistella, and advised residents that while the corps often executes flood mitigation projects, it could neither fund nor initiate them. "This is a regional issue and it's going to be constituent driven," he said. The complexity and size of the flood problems affecting the region were also brought home by other representatives from the DEP. Chris Kriley and Joe Capasso, both with the DEP, discussed the procedures the state and Federal Emergency Management Agency use to determine if a flood mitigation project is worthwhile. They advised residents of situations when the MAKING SPIRITS BRIGHT Seventh-graders at Shaler Area Middle School, Samantha Meinert, 12, left, and Dominique Didiano, 13, right foreground, sort holiday decorations in the school cafeteria that were collected for Shaler Area families who were affected by the Sept. 17 flood. Parents and teachers helped sort the decorations, which were collected and distributed through Project Ivan Cleanup, an organization created by the pupils. In the background at right is Victoria Mikulan, 12. Donated decorations ready for flood survivors Stacks of Christmas decorations at The Storehouse are ready for distribution to victims of the September floods. The Storehouse is a nonprofit organization in Pittsburgh's Lincoln-Lemington area involved in a multiorganization effort to gather donated Christmas decorations for distribution to flood victims. Distribution at The Storehouse, 16 Silver Lake Drive, just off the 900 block of Washington Boulevard, will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow and Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. For directions to The Storehouse, call 412-362-0290 or check www.storehousepittsbur gh.org. Flood couldn't derail miniature train exhibit MeMaa Philip A. Stephenson can be reached at pstephensonpost-gazette.com or 412-263-1419. To Advertise On This Page Call Brooke Allen 412.263.3533 Hi IF YOU DIDN'T USE YOUR KNEES THE FIRST TIME HERE'S YOUR SECOND CHANCE. SAY I DO AGAIN THE THREE STONE DIAMOND MARRIAGE SYMBOL" INTERLOCKING CIRCLES SIGNIFY MARRIAGE THREE BEAUTIFUL DIAMONDS FOR YOUR PAST YOUR PRESENT YOUR FUTURE QiftJdeaA GIVE MOM & DAD A Deal Lift For Christmas! Pride Lift risk Chairs Pride Lift Chairs Starting at call for special pricing I 9 JmSt! a Wide Selection of sizes & colors! STAIRGLIDES RAMPS SCOOTERS NEW & USED is- J ACCESSIBILITY by-PARA MEDICAL Dedicated to helping people with mobility limitations r n an cTrG ' avai uv b il e 1-800-479-4644 TRAINS, FROM PAGE N-l "It's something to show the community that we're rebuilding," he said. The flood hit Etna hard and led to the closing of All Saints School, which had been struggling with declining enrollment and increased costs before it was damaged in the rising water. The effort to resurrect the train display, which had been an annual fund-raiser at the school, began in the weeks after the flood, when a local television reporter interviewed Lignoski, asking what he had lost in the disaster. His story about the train display, broadcast on the evening news, apparently struck a nerve throughout the Pittsburgh area. "People started calling me saying, T have this engine. I have this car,' " Lignoski said. Soon he was inundated with equipment. Next, he needed a place to display it. Lignoski had transferred his daughter, Lisa, to St. Bonaven-ture School in Shaler. He asked the principal there, Christopher Squire, if the train exhibit could be transferred, too. Squire was able to offer a room that was used for computer repairs and storage. He hoped the project would provide a boost to the All Saints parish and knew it would be good for about 12 pupils who had transferred from All Saints to St. Bonaventure. "I think that it's been a way to help with the transition to this school," Squire said of the train display. During a five-week period, Lignoski and volunteers pieced together the donations and cleaned what could be salvaged from the original equipment. Every weekend, including Sundays, Lignoski and seven or eight regulars from his All Saints crew gathered to bring the display to life. Even as the Steelers played their best season in decades, the work went on. "We really missed our football games," Lignoski said. "I love the Steelers." But ceramic houses, coated in mud, had to be washed in bleach to sanitize them. Track needed to be scrubbed with steel wool. A new platform had to be built with donated plywood. On top of the platform, 130 cans of insulation were blown and molded to resemble mountains. The dried insulation was decorated and painted, green at the bottom to portray lower elevations and white at the top, where snow would fall. A tunnel built into a mountain holds a display that replicates Bethlehem at Jesus' birth. That's one place where Lignoski's daughter, Lisa, was essential. At 12, she was the only volunteer small enough to squeeze into Bethlehem. Lisa has been helping with the display since her dad began working on it about four years ago. She helps with wiring, building mountains, cutting wood and operating the trains, her dad said. The father and daughter spent hours on Thanksgiving Day putting finishing touches on the display. The next day, they were back at 8 a.m., vacuuming and preparing the room for the opening. That evening, they were at the school, ready for visitors. Lisa said she didn't mind the work and enjoyed being part of the transformation. "I just think it's really fun because you get to take nothing and turn it into something," she said. This "something" is full of detail, with three trains chugging, whistling and dinging on different levels, wired to light up when the room is darkened and, occasionally, to send up puffs of smoke. White ceramic houses and businesses top the mountain. At the base is the town of Plas-ticville, with a fishing pond, television station and mill. Built into a mountainside is a drive-in theater, where "A Mup-pet Christmas Carol" was playing. At a tiny playground, plastic children sway in swings. The display contains some unusual features, such as the escaped lion walking along one railroad track. A Pittsburgh Steeler runs along another section of track. It also has a North Pole section, where Santa Claus prepares for his busy night. It's all meant to bring a smile to children's faces, the reward that keeps Lignoski coming back each year to do it again and again. "A week ago, I wanted to just quit," he said on opening night. But then he smiled when he saw a group of young boys race around the display, squealing and pointing as details caught their eyes. "This is it right here," he said. "This is what it's all about." The train display at St. Bonaventure School, 2001 Mount Royal Boulevard, Shaler, is open through Jan. 9. Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Fridays, noon to 9 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children. Proceeds will be split between All Saints Church and St. Bonaventure Parent-Teacher Guild. Maureen Byko is a freelance writer. cations at A.W. Beattie Technical School in McCandless. 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J'": 'f 11" " "" i 4u-io4-uu www.bodybarexperience.com jt7r tsi NORTH NEWS BRIEFS Hampton Schools Hampton school board Monday appointed James Pearson assistant to the principal at Hampton Middle School. Pearson has been the district's high school dean of students since August 2000. Previously, he taught English and communi

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