Sunday, October 30, 2005

Lebo: Blog-Lebo Commenting Changes

It's a glorious Fall day, but the blogosphere is making me unhappy. I'm worn out from dealing with Anonymous and some pseudonymous comments on the blog. So, while I'm reluctant to do this, I'm making a change:

From this point forward, and subject to further revision in the future:

No anonymous comments will be permitted. To post a comment, you will have to create a Blogger profile, you will have to allow that profile to be shared (i.e., the rest of the world can see who you are), and you will have to include your real name on the profile.

I realize that this may cut down on the number of comments, and I realize that it may discourage some people from commenting altogether. I'm willing to pay that price, since I am hoping that the obligation to put your name with your post improves the tone of the content.
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Lebo: Superintendent Legislation

State Rep. Tom Stevenson has offered a bill in Harrisburg to correct what he sees as the abuses associated with last year's separation agreement between the School District and the former Superintendent. The core provision would require public disclosure of the reasons for terminating a superintendent; other provisions would limit the length of contracts that could be offered new hires with no superintendent experience and would specify the kinds of contract terms that go into superintendent employment contracts.

It's a "never again" kind of bill, and it's hard to see the harm from enacting it. But it's also a little hard to see the benefit. I appreciate the fact that our local state Rep. wants to look helpful here, but I think that this is a situation where we get a remedy even without a new law. The Margery Sable episode got so much publicity around the state that a future school board would have to be uniquely witless to repeat the errors that we saw locally.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Lebo: Halloween Parade

The Addams Family
What a tremendous amount of fun this morning on Washington Road, at the Mt. Lebanon Halloween parade. Lots of fun costumes, lots of candy and coffee, and most of all, lots of good Fall weather and lots of smiles!

Congrats to all involved for putting on a great show!
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Friday, October 28, 2005

Lebo: Kossman Approved

The Kossman Development on Castle Shannon Boulevard was approved by the Mt. Lebanon Board of Commissioners earlier this week.

The final vote was 3-2, Dale Colby and Ty Ely dissenting on the ground that the developer's traffic study was inadequate.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Lebo: Community Blogging

Imagine the kinds of conversations that you have with your neighbor while you're walking around the block, or watching your kids play soccer or baseball, or that you have over coffee at your favorite coffee spot. Now extend that conversation into cyberspace, and sprinkle it with bits and pieces of information about the town that you haven't otherwise come across -- whether via anecdote, or the town magazine, or one of the local papers. Blog-Lebo is an experiment in virtual community conversation.

Political theorists call my goal "civic discourse," because it is part and parcel of the ability of a community to govern itself. Over the last week, I've deleted a fair number of Comments by readers of this blog, because both the content of the Comments and the manner in which they were expressed have no place in civil conversation. You wouldn't say these sorts of things to your neighbor. Even while you may disagree with your neighbor, you'll find a way to exchange views in a respectful way. I'll continue to review the Comments. Some readers disagree with some of the views that we (and other readers) express. (Not only that, but you'll find that the various authors of this blog don't always agree with one another, and we certainly don't represent any "official" view of or on behalf of Mt. Lebanon.) Disagreement is not only fine, it's a good thing, and we welcome the dialogue. But civility is as important as dialogue, and I'll do everything I can to keep the blog a place where everyone feels welcome.

UPDATE: In the Comments to this post, I've responded to questions regarding the status of the original Dollar Store post. I hope that answers the matter. If it doesn't, feel free to email me. It's more efficient than waiting for me to wade through the Comments and correct misunderstandings.
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John Doctor

Mary, Sam, AJ, and Nate lost a husband, father, and friend earlier this week. John Doctor was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Mt. Lebanon. Our daughters played soccer together for only that first year, but our social and intellectual paths crossed often enough that I sometimes felt that I had a kindred spirit in the South Hills. John was smart and fun and warm and the kind of friend and father that each of us aspires to be. All of Mt. Lebanon mourns today.


Post-Gazette Notice

Post-Gazette Guestbook, for leaving remembrances
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Library News

The Trib did a nice story about a reading program for boys and their dads at the Mt. Lebanon Library.

Take a look at the reading list, Library Director Cynthia Richey and Jim Lutz did a nice job picking out the books.

Here is a link other programs at the library.
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Thursday, October 20, 2005

More on the School Board Election

It's a busy day for news about Mt. Lebanon. Mary Niederberger, of the Post-Gazette has an update on the School Board Election.
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Master Plan For Mt. Lebanon High School

There is another article in the Post-Gazette today that talks about the various repairs / replacements that are needed for the high school and the committee that is being formed to gather data in order to create a master plan

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Who pays to maintain athletic fields?

I noticed a connection in today's Post-Gazette story by Laura Pace about the Ward 2 Commission race. Incumbant Ty Ely is a former officer in the Mt. Lebanon Soccer Association, and challenger John Daley is quoted in the story saying that he believes users of recreational facilities should contribute money to construction and maintainance of sports fields.

As my kids have only started playing soccer, I don't know how much money groups like the Soccer Association pay for maintaining the fields, or how well the municpality spends this money, but conversations I've had with folks that are involved in the soccer program make it sound like the they are paying their fair share.

Anyone have any facts and figures to shed some light on the issue?
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Mt. Lebanon Dollar Store Plans Find Some Chilly Attitudes

The Post-Gazette has an article today about the new Dollar General stores coming to town -- with quotes from Josephine and Mike!

I personally agree with Mike on this one. I think that the stores are a good thing -- especially since that Rite-Aid property has been vacant for so long. Do I wish it was a Eat N' Park or Barnes & Noble instead? Absolutely! But I'll take Dollar General if they want to come here.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Lebo: *Not* a Best Place to Live

Mt. Lebanon didn't even make Money's magazine's list of candidates for its "top places to live in the U.S." survey. But Bridgeville did. Ouch.

Wexford was the only Western PA town to be listed as a finalist.

List of criteria here:

List of PA candidates here:

List of national winners here:
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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Lebo: Meet the School Board Candidates

The election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8. There are at least two more events planned where you can meet the candidates for the School Board:

The Parent Learning Support Network is sponsoring Meet the Candidates Night Part II on Tuesday, October 18 at 5:30 at the Tennis Center on Cedar Boulevard. (Apparently, this is not a public meeting; it is a PLSN members' meeting.)

The Mt. Lebanon Democratic Civic Association is sponsoring a Candidates' Night on Thursday, October 27 at 7:00 at the Tennis Center.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Natatorium Update

At last night's school board meeting Burt, Hill presented the most recent cost estimates for the District's natatorium project. Their latest estimate is $6.5 million, well over the original $5 million and June's estimate of $5.2 million. June's revised estimate was based on Burt, Hill's recommendation to go with a metal structure vs. the original masonry structure in order to help the District realize a cost savings.

Reasons cited for the new estimate included material shortages due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, increases in excavation, plumbing, HVAC and structure increases. The structure increases came from "having more information." They've determined that the pool would now need two dehumidification units vs. one and an increased size of caissons, meaning greater material costs. As I understand it, this size increase is due to the weight bearing the caissons achieve in a metal structure vs. a masonry structure.

Board members asked whether this new estimate is, in fact, less expensive than going with the original masonry plan and also decided not to move forward with the plan until after receiving the Municipality’s decision regarding zoning variances. That decision won’t come before January – after a new board is in place. By that time, there may be enough information about the high school renovation to determine whether it would make more sense to include the pool as a part of that project.

Another highlight from the meeting was Dr. Wilson and Dr. Allen's report on the status of the strategic plan. More information, including a "strategy map" are available here . Some of the goals set for this year include revising the budget process, developing a master facilities plan for the high school and seeking alternative funding sources. The twelve goals Dr. Wilson mentioned, which included goals for student achievement, constituent satisfaction, employee development, alignment of support services and fiscal responsibility have a target completion date of the end of the school year.
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The Verdict Is In

The hearing for Frank Caruso was held today in front of District Judge David Barton. You can read all of the hearing details at the following link on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette web site:

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lebo: We're No Sewickley

Mt. Lebanon is no Sewickley, which as we all know is just another middle-class suburb. Read all the way to the bottom of this very strange story from last weekend's Post-Gazette.

(The P-G seemed to go out of its way to draw a demographic connection between Sewickley and Palo Alto, out in the Silicon Valley. I know Palo Alto. Palo Alto is a friend of mine (well, actually, I grew up just next door and used to work there). And believe me, Sewickley is no Palo Alto!)

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Lebo: Cover Up

This time, it's the girls of Mt. Lebanon High School who are being told to cover up. The staff is adhering to a rigorous interpretation of a long-standing dress code. The code officially applies to all kids, but the brunt of its enforcement falls disproportionately on girls. No tank tops for them; no holes in pants in "inappropriate" places.

I am undoubtedly in the minority on this, but I think that those who are paid with our tax dollars have better things to do than monitor what kids are wearing.

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Lebo: Election Update

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8.

On the right side, at the top of the list of Links, I've added websites for candidates for Mt. Lebanon offices.
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