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Penn Hills leaders strengthen roots of Shade Tree Commission

Dillon Carr
| Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2017, 2:03 p.m.
Kathy Raborn and friend Felix Catlin walk among the tall shade trees in the meadow at Penn Forest Natural Burial Park in Penn Hills. Raborn is president of the Penn Hills Shade Tree Commission, which recently gained four new members.
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Kathy Raborn and friend Felix Catlin walk among the tall shade trees in the meadow at Penn Forest Natural Burial Park in Penn Hills. Raborn is president of the Penn Hills Shade Tree Commission, which recently gained four new members.

Penn Hills council has appointed four members to its newly formed Shade Tree Commission.

Mayor Sara Kuhn said doing so was a real pleasure.

“Any well-groomed community with trees and shrubbery, when people ride through, it just makes your community look so inviting, so warm and so taken care of,” Kuhn said before council voted to approve a list of appointees at a recent meeting.

Kathy Raborn, Shade Tree Commission president and owner of Raborn Landscape Design, found four other members in June when council approved the commission. She presented the mayor and council members with the resumes of four Penn Hills residents. The members share a wide range of experience:

• Sandy Feather is a state certified pesticide applicator and an arborist certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. She is an educator in commercial horticulture at the Penn State Extension's Green Industry Team.

• Brian Dolney is a field ecologist at the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. He helped to create the Pittsburgh Tree Action Plan in 2012 and is a founding member of the Pittsburgh Disease and Pest Working Group. He also served on the board of directors of the Penn Hills Community Development Corporation from 2013 to 2016.

• Katie Schuller works at Phipps Conservatory as a display horticulturalist and is the organization's orchid grower. She teaches three horticulture courses at Phipps and is active in the Penn Hills CDC Beautification and Sustainability Council.

• Tori DeJohn serves as chair of the Penn Hills CDC Beautification Committee, is a board member of the Bringing Out the Best Project and volunteers with the Penn Hills Anti-Litter Group. She holds a mechanical engineering degree from Penn State University.

Council passed an ordinance in June that created the Shade Tree Commission. It grants the commission authority to seek funding for projects, develop a shade tree inventory and a resource file on species, and make suggestions for locations and planting. It will also recommend regulations to council and the planning department, provide resource information to municipal officials and plan educational programs.

Raborn said she will now work to secure grant money, likely for projects that can be finished next year.

“It's a lengthy process, but we're definitely making progress,” she said.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, dcarr@tribweb.com or via Twitter @dillonswriting.

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