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Briefs: Public hearing to discuss 'switching' taxes

| Thursday, Nov. 23, 2006

The Shaler Area School District Local Tax Study Commission will conduct a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the board room at the administration building, 1800 Mt. Royal Boulevard.

The commission will make a recommendation to the school board on increasing the local earned income tax to reduce property taxes. The commission is expected to present its report to the school board on Dec. 6. The school board will draft a referendum question that will appear on the May 2007 primary election ballot.

Residents wishing to testify are asked to submit their names, addresses and brief descriptions of the testimony to the school board secretary, 412-492-1200, ext. 2806, no later than 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Pine-Richland schools Senior citizens will get holiday dinner

The Pine-Richland Middle School Leaders' Club is offering a special dinner for senior citizens on Dec. 7.

The menu will include sliced turkey with stuffing, whipped potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, desserts and beverages.

Registration for the dinner will begin at 3:30 p.m. that day. There will be music in the auditorium until 4 p.m, when dinner starts. The program also will include a sing-a-long, which will conclude at 6 p.m. The school is at 100 Logan Road, Pine.

Call the school at 724-625-3111 to make a reservation. The cost is $5.

Students collect 6,000 donations

Thanksgiving will be a little better for some families in need thanks to students at Pine-Richland Middle School, who collected 6,000 items of food on Nov. 8 during the 2006-2007 "Gobble for Cans" Food Drive.

More than 130 students participated in the second annual food drive benefiting the North Hills Community Outreach Food Pantry, which serves many individuals and families in northern Allegheny County.

Students Mark Leibensperger and Alyssa Wozniak helped organize the event. They are co-directors of the Community and Humane Society at Pine-Richland Middle School. Sponsors JP Prager and Andrea Peck also helped organize the event. Last year, students collected 5,400 items.

Sto-Rox schools Students 'Working' on new musical

Sto-Rox High School students will perform the musical "Working" at 6 p.m. Dec. 1 in the auditorium at the school, 1105 Valley St., McKees Rocks.

The students have been working with mentors from Point Park University's Community Outreach Partnership Center for eight weeks on the production.

North Hills schools High school honored for sportsmanship

North Hills Senior High School has earned the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association's Sportsmanship Award for the fifth consecutive year.

The award recognizes high schools that best exemplify the principles of good sportsmanship.

Award-winning schools within the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League will be announced during the WPIAL football championships Friday at Heinz Field, North Shore.

Symphonic choir with River City band

The North Hills Symphonic Choir will accompany the River City Brass Band for its holiday concert, "Wrapped in Brass," at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Carson Middle School, 200 Hillvue Lane, McCandless.

Adult tickets are $22 to $26. Discounted tickets of $20 to $24 are available for senior citizens and students. Tickets may be bought online at www.rcbb.com or by phone at 800-292-7222. Tickets will be available at the door one hour before the performance.

Kindergarten packets to become available

Kindergarten registration packets for the 2007-2008 academic year will be available beginning Dec. 1 at all seven of the district's elementary schools and in the lobby of the administration center, 135 Sixth Ave., Ross.

The packets include forms and information about required documents, such as proof of residency and health immunizations, for kindergarten entrance. Completed registration packets must be returned to the student's respective school between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. weekdays beginning Feb. 19. Students registering for kindergarten must be age 5 before Sept. 1, 2007, to be enrolled for the 2007-2008 school year.

Half-day kindergarten is offered at Ross, Highcliff and Northway elementary schools. A full-day program is provided at McIntyre, Perrysville and Seville. Both are offered at West View.

For information, contact Marilyn J. Cain, director of elementary education and professional services, at 412-318-1006 or by e-mail at cainm@nhsd.net .

Mars Area schools Event details financial aid

Mars Area High School will conduct a Financial Aid Information Night from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the auxiliary gym at the school, which is along Route 228 in Adams.

The event, which is geared toward parents of juniors and seniors, will include a presentation by a representative of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency and a question-and-answer session.

For more information, call the guidance office at 724-625-1581.

Retailer gives cash to middle school

Mars Area Middle School recently received a check for $331 from Target in Cranberry through the store's "Take Charge of Education" program.

As part of the program, when customers use their Target REDcard at Target stores or at Target.com, the store donates 1 percent of the total amount of the purchases to an eligible school of the customer's choice.

The Target donation will be placed in Mars Area Middle School's student activity fund.

For more information about Target's "Take Charge of Education" program or to designate a Mars Area school, visit www.target.com/tcoe .

Seneca Valley schools Family swimming set for Saturdays

The Seneca Valley School District will offer a Saturday Night Family Swim from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays from Dec. 2 to March 31.

The sessions will take place at the pool at Seneca Valley Intermediate High School on the secondary campus along Seneca School Road in Jackson.

The cost of the program is $4 per person.

If classes are is canceled on Friday or students are on vacation, the Saturday swim program will be canceled.

Penn Hills schools Pasta-bingo benefit aids prom committee

The after-prom committee at Penn Hills High School is having a pasta and bingo event at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at Churchill Valley Country Club, Beulah Road.

Tickets cost $27 and include a pasta buffet and one bingo card for regular games. Cards for additional games will be available for purchase. The event, which helps fund the after-prom event for seniors, will feature a Chinese auction, door prizes and raffles. An order form for tickets can be downloaded at the district's Web site under the heading "District News."

For more information or to order tickets by telephone, call Kathy Dodgson at 412-795-6085.

McKeesport schools Cornell teacher gets reading center grant

Cornell Intermediate School teacher Laurie Krall has been awarded a $500 ExxonMobil Educational Alliance Grant for the development of a reading center for her students.

The center, which will be in Krall's classroom, will feature new carpet, bean bag chairs and books for the students to enjoy. Krall wants the center to reinforce to students the importance of reading, foster a love of reading and serve as a fun location for the students to learn.

The grand opening of the center is Dec. 4.

The Educational Alliance program is a grassroots community initiative that gives local retailers the opportunity to invest their communities through educational grants to neighborhood schools. Buy N Fly No.1 in McKeesport, an entity of Mon Valley Petroleum Inc., is the partnering retailer through which the grant was made possible.

Bethel Park schools Winter athletes set to Blast-Off

The Bethel Park High School Athletic Department will sponsor Black Hawk Blast-Off Reloaded from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday in the gymnasium at the school, 309 Church Road.

The winter sports athletes and coaches will be introduced to the audience. People who attend will be able to get team schedules and information about the team fundraisers.

Admission is free.

Serra Catholic Fashion show benefits American Red Cross

The Serra Catholic Future Business Leaders of America is sponsoring a charity fashion show to benefit the American Red Cross from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 10 at the gymnasium at the school, 200 Hershey Drive, McKeesport.

The show will feature clothing from retailers such as Boscov's, Dress Barn, JC Penney, After Hours Tuxedo and David's Bridal. There will be a Chinese auction and light refreshments.

For information, contact Diane DiNardi at 412-751-2020, ext. 138, or Derek Markle at 724-205-9045.

Region Host families needed for foreign students

ASSE International Student Exchange Programs is seeking local host families for boys and girls from a variety of countries around the world. The students are 15 to 18 years old and are coming to this area for the upcoming high school year or semester. They speak English and are anxious to learn about the United States by living as part of a family and attending high school, and to share their own cultures and languages.

The exchange students arrive from their home countries shortly before school begins and return at the end of the school year or semester. Each ASSE student is fully insured, brings personal spending money and expects to bear his or her share of household responsibilities, as well as being included in normal family activities.

Families may select the youth of their choice after reviewing extensive student applications, family photos and biographical essays. For more information, call 800-677-2773.

Journalism scholarships are being offered

The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania is offering a new scholarship for college students from the area.

The $5,000 award will reward outstanding collegiate journalism students in print and broadcast media.

To be eligible, applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college or university for at least two years and have their primary residence in one of 29 Western Pennsylvania counties.

Students should e-mail their names and addresses to pressclubwpa@yahoo.com to request an application, which is due Jan. 15. The winner will be notified by April 15.

Students may live in any of the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Blair, Butler, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Fayette, Forest, Greene, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Somerset, Venango, Warren, Washington or Westmoreland.

Teachers' seminar focuses on Asia

The Asian Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh offers a seminar titled "Dynamic East Asia: China, Japan, Korea, Past and Present" for middle and high school teachers of world cultures, world history, geography, economics and literature.

Participants in the 10 three-hour sessions may earn two continuing professional education credits -- 60 Act 48 hours -- and will receive $1,000 in teaching materials and other opportunities, including eligibility for study-abroad programs. The registration deadline is Dec. 4. For more information visit www.ucis.pitt.edu/ncta or call Diana Wood at 412-648-7411.

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