806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Above & Beyond

Volunteer PartySince this is the month of the Christmas tour, if I wrote the Above & Beyond that managed to recognize everyone who helps out with the tour, the newsletter would have to be 20 pages long. Carrie Doyle, our Ways and Means chair, wrangles hundreds of volunteers to make the tour happen. An incredible amount of work goes into managing the tour, so thank you to the:

  • homeowners
  • folks who answer the phones & handle the tickets
  • guides
  • train museum volunteers
  • volunteers at the houses
  • greeters and volunteers at Calvary Church
  • folks who handle the luminaria
  • bundlers and hangers of greens (shout out to the crew of the show Manhunter who hung some of the greens this year because of their filming on Beech Ave)
  • maker of 50+ holly pins for the tour guides
  • hosts and volunteers for the volunteer party (very meta)
  • booklet designer (Thanks Greg!) and the folks who solicited ads and grants from local businesses
  • folks who cleaned up the streets and the neighbors who moved their cars

We literally couldn’t have done it without you! (Hope you had an awesome time at the volunteer part at Mitchell & Elaine’s).

Above and Beyond

A big “Happy Halloween!” from the neighborhood. Thanks to Kevin for making all the arrangements to close Beech to traffic so the munchkins (and Elsas, and Ironmen, and Batmans – see examples of the cuteness in the print edition) were safe! Extra special thanks to the Delta Foundation for sponsoring a police officer at the intersection at Beech and Galveston. Also the peanut butter crackers that Councilwoman Harris’s office dropped off for the festivities were much appreciated by all (especially those of us who were planning to have Halloween candy for dinner).

Above & Beyond

A quick shout out to the UPMC IT department who I came across mulching the Western PA Conservancy garden that is managed locally by Trish and Holly. Also, as the summer comes to an end, thanks to Scott and all the folks helping him make the summer picnics, one of the longest running traditions in the neighborhood, a success. It takes a ton folks chipping in for things like set-up, clean-up, drink runs and BBQ transport to pull those off. Thanks to everyone who lent a hand.

Above & Beyond

Submitted by Cathy Serventi

Thank you to the kind person who moved all the bags of trash and garden compost from the April clean-ups out to the curb on leaf and debris pick-up day. Ann, Michael and I all thought one of us had done it!

I’d also like to recognize Christa Ross, our realtor for the Stables, Matthew Fiscus our attorney and Jon Huck our project manager from the Northside Leadership Conference. After 10 years there were still some last minute scrambles to get our ducks all in a row for the sale but we did it! Special thanks to all the various Board members, LRC members and volunteers throughout the decade we owned the Stables for having a vision and taking action so that that beautiful building, so rich with history could be preserved.

If you’d like to recognize a neighbor who went above-and-beyond for you or the neighborhood this month please send a note to or give Cathy at call at (412) 418-2027 and, space allowing, we’ll recognize them in the Gazette.

Above & Beyond

This month we have a special Above & Beyond dedicated to Trish Doyle Burton who was voted the “Neighbor of the Year” at the April Membership meeting.

Since 1992, Trish and her husband John and their children, have been part of the neighborhood, with both their home and business located in Allegheny West. Trish is one of those people whose years of quiet service are the backbone of our welcoming and beautiful community. She started out by cleaning up the leaves in front of the houses on her block, and then graduated to the monthly neighborhood-wide cleanup, and is still one of the most reliable people year after year. When we needed someone to deliver the monthly Gazette to all the houses on Beech Avenue, she volunteered and continues to do so years later. Dozens of tables, cases and cases of wine & beer and hundreds of paper plates and napkins have found their way to years of neighborhood summer picnics thanks to her offorts; not to mention all the potluck dishes she’s contributed to those picnics and volunteer recognition parties. She was one of the leaders of the offort that organized sponsorships for the gorgeous flower baskets that appeared on Western Avenue last year, and managed to wrangle even more support this year.

This past year though, Trish has also taken on a leadership role. After volunteering her home and garden multiple times over the years for tours (ask her about the time the tour goers scraped all the brand new paint off her steps!), this past year Trish served as the Ways and Means chair for the Allegheny West Civic Council, which means she managed both the summer Wine Tour and the winter Christmas tour. Aside from the fact that the tours raised lots of funds to support the Civic Council’s expenses through the year, Trish was incredibly successful at getting new folks involved. We weren’t exactly turning volunteers away (because we would never do that!), but we did have more help on jobs that are often dicult to nd help for, which made for a very smooth running tour. We can’t thank her enough for all her efforts.

Trish will be honored at the Northside Leadership Conference dinner on Thursday June 16 at The Priory. There’s usually at least one or two tables of Allegheny West folks and we’d encourage any folks who are interested in attending to join us. Tickets are $30. You can contact the NSLC directly via Kelly MacKay, NSLC Dinner Coordinator: (412) 231-4714 x201 or

If you’d like to recognize a neighbor who went above-and-beyond for you or the neighborhood this month please send a note to or give Cathy at call at (412) 418-2027 and, space allowing, we’ll recognize them in the Gazette.

Above & Beyond

If you’d like to recognize a neighbor who went above-and-beyond for you or the neighborhood this month please send a note to or give Cathy a call at (412) 418-2027 and we’ll make sure they’re recognized in the Gazette.

First up: thank you to the neighbors who have taken the time to let the police know about suspicious activity or to call in 311 reports- even if the City can’t take action right away, reporting issues means that more resources can be allocated down the road. (For obvious reasons, I’m jut going to leave individual names out of it. 🙂 )

Thanks to the efforts of current Property chair, Ann and previous chair Howard, much needed repairs to 806 Western’s gutters have finally been completed. Special shout-out to Eleanor who not only had corbels made to match the current ones, but she personally painted them too. (Before they were installed – not while they were on the roof.)

When you see the flower baskets on Western Ave and they make you smile (or sneeze!), give an extra smile to Trish and Holly have again stepped up to wrangle the flower baskets for Western Ave.

Not only are Karen and Nick now holding informal office hours at 806 Western, they did an amazing job of sprucing up the place.

Above & Beyond

This week I’d like to call out all the folks who have been working so hard to make the Stables project work. The developer, Andrew, and his team have been to well over a half dozen meetings, taking feedback from the neighborhood and incorporating it into the designs. That also means that various combinations of neighbors have been attending these meetings, pouring through plans and financials, asking important questions and making suggestions. Michael and Tim have also been working for literally years on the submissions for various historic designations. And Jon (the NSLC Conference) and Christa (our realtor) have been holding our hands the entire way. Maintaining and developing a historic property is amazingly complicated and much like the tour it would take an entire newsletter to list everyone (especially since I’ve only be heavily involved for 5 years and this project has a lonngggg history in the neighborhood).

Above & Beyond

If there’s anything that embodies Above & Beyond in service to the neighborhood it’s serving on the AWCC Board. I wanted to take some time to acknowledge the contributions of folks who are rolling off the AWCC Board. Their voices and experience will be missed even as we welcome new Board members with new perspectives. We won’t miss them too much, though, since we’ll still, hopefully, be hearing lots from them at the monthly membership meetings and in our “virtual” neighborhood.

Jim Wallace has a strict policy of no more than two years of being on the Board without a break, and I was lucky enough to get to work with him during an ON period as Housing and Planning chair. Housing & Planning is a huge job and we really relied on Jim’s encyclopedic knowledge of all the players and pieces in the Northside real estate game. He’s also a pro at keeping the AWCC Facebook page (and this website) stocked with an amazing array of historic photos and stories to keep us all inspired.

On the other hand, I’m not sure Mary Callison has had a break from the Board in over a decade. She managed everything from Property to Membership and lots of stuff in between. She’s also the architect and caretaker of the gorgeous parklet on the corner of Western and Brighton. Whenever the flowers there make you smile you can send a restful thought in Mary’s direction. She’s earned it.

Trish Burton jumped in and took over one of the most rigorous jobs in the neighborhood, Ways and Means, and the spectacular House and Wine tours were the result. She’s an important voice of calm and kindness during passionate debates as well, which I will miss even more than her lemon flavored treats.

Fran Barbush has been with the neighborhood from the very beginning (well not the 1860 beginning … more like the beginning of modern incarnation of Allegheny West as we know it). In between cranking out newsletter like clockwork, she’s always willing to step up and save a lampost (or 4) or hold a government official accountable for a “too easy” answer with the credibility of long experience to back it up.

I also want to acknowledge the willingness of current board members Gloria Rayman, John DeSantis and Anne Gilligan to take on new positions on the Board and Michael Shealey and Bob Griewahn to continue their excellent work in their current roles.

Above & Beyond

Super thanks to the 35 people (!) (including lots of guys!) that showed up to what is affectionately called the Lick-in-Stick (I still miss Mike Coleman) for the House Tour mailer. We stuck labels on 7700+ labels in under an hour and half. Maybe a new record? (No idea where the licking part of that came from…we had snacks? Maybe? Anyway…)

Also, Halloween was a rousing and quite adorable success (I think the tiny Batman count reached around 10). Thanks to Kevin and his helpers who did a great job managing the traffic and keeping everyone informed.

Thank you to Mary Callison who organized a wonderful outing to the Allegheny Cemetery for neighbors.

Above & Beyond

If you’d like to recognize a neighbor who went above-and-beyond for you or the neighborhood this month please send a note to, or give Cathy a call at (412) 418-2027 and we’ll make sure they’re recognized in the Gazette.

Lots of folks to thank this month, so in no particular order, and inevitably incomplete – I KNOW I’m forgetting someone…

Gloria – for driving all over town so that the two of us and a Notary could be in the same room at the same time. Kevin – for doing the paperwork to close off Beech Avenue on Halloween so it’s safe for the munchkins. Michael – for negotiating with a ton of people so that the movie folks could make the Stables building “look awesome”. Ethan – (from Showclix) who helped set up the Tour ticket sales so that people can tell how many tickets are available for each time. Fran – who magically got PWSA to stop billing us for a waterline that is apparently in the middle of Allegheny Commons (I can’t tell you how impressed by this I am – we even have a credit.) Gloria – (again!) for lugging all the picnic stuff downstairs and reorganizing the office basement and backroom. Mary – for making amazing warm cinnamon bread for the monthly clean-up (I’m not sure I want any more people showing up for the clean-up – BEST SNACKS EVER – and I got to take some home. Yeah – that was a joke – come to the clean ups. The next one is 10/31 so we can clean stuff up for the Trick-or-Treaters). Anne and Jon, and our long suffering insurance inspector – for making sure our AWCC/AWDC properties are inspected and therefore insured. John and Bob – for walking me through the apparently endless and endlessly conflicting zoning codes. And for all the folks who stepped up and pitched in setting up and breaking down the summer picnics. I really need to keep better notes…I KNOW I’m forgetting lots of folks and it’s driving me crazy.