806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Letter from the President – December 2014

 Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future. 

– William Wordsworth

This is my final President’s Message to you, as my term ends this month. The Allegheny West Civic Council has accomplished a great deal in the last two years, largely due to the folks who sit on its executive committee. Among other things, we’ve completed the sale of the McIntosh Row properties, fought a few battles in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment, helped beautify the neighborhood, and provided several social activities for our members. I want to thank everyone who has lent a hand during the past two years, from those who volunteer on the house tours to those who bring potluck dishes to the summer block parties. But, my special thanks go to the people who have stepped up to the plate and helped out on AWCC committee work. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

I now leave you in the very capable hands of Cathy Serventi. Cathy has already done a great deal for the Civic Council, from her hard work modernizing the production of both the Christmas and summer house tours, to serving as AWCC treasurer for the past two years. She brings intelligence, humor, energy, and a fresh perspective to the position, and the neighborhood will be all the better for it. Good luck, Cathy!

I’ll see you all around the neighborhood. Have a great holiday season, everyone.

Bob Griewahn
President, AWCC

Letter from the President – November 2014

When earth repays with golden sheaves
The labours of the plough,
And ripening fruits and forest leaves
All brighten on the bough;
What pensive beauty autumn shows,
Before she hears the sound
Of winter rushing in, to close
The emblematic round!

– William Wordsworth, Thought on the Seasons

I hope you had a great October, and that November is shaping up for you nicely, as well. We have a few important news items in Allegheny West. To wit:

  • The Allegheny West Civic Council has acquired 928 and 930 Western Avenue. This is the large duplex that had fallen into disrepair over the last several years. AWCC’s plan is to sell these properties for use as single-family homes. The interiors still have a great amount of original architectural detail, and each unit is quite spacious. Please spread the word that we are looking people interested in living here in Allegheny West.
  • AWCC elections will be on Tuesday, November 11, during the regular membership meeting at Calvary United Methodist Church on Beech Street. We have a very good slate of dedicated people, but are still looking to fill one of the slots. I realize that Tuesday night is half-priced wine night at Benjamin’s, but I would ask folks to please attend Tuesday’s meeting to help select next year’s officers and chairpersons. After that, drink up!

Lastly, I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Bob Griewahn
President, AWCC

Letter from the President – October 2014

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out.

– Ernest Thayer, Casey at the Bat

If you’re like me, you are still getting over the drubbing that the Pirates took at the hands of the San Francisco Giants. The only solace I can offer is that at least it wasn’t the Atlanta Braves this time. That, and I suppose the Steelers may still eke out a good season. Well, maybe.

On to more pleasant matters, then. The AWCC Nominating Committee is about to put together a slate of officers for 2015. I encourage anyone who is interested in serving to call John DeSantis or me. We spent 2014 with one vacancy on the Executive Committee, and I don’t want that to happen again in 2015. Rest assured, if you decide to chair one of our committees, you will receive help from the other committee chairs. No one has to go it alone.

Even if an Executive Committee position is not right for you, you can still help by serving on one of our committees. You can help with Membership (event planning), Ways & Means (tours), Finance, Green Space, Property, and Housing & Planning. It’s an easy way to help make your home a better place.

Speaking of events, bowling is set to resume in January, but several of your neighbors are having regular pre-season bowling sessions on Wednesday nights at the Elks Lodge. Come on down and bowl, or just have a drink with your neighbors.

Lastly, before I sign off, the annual Victorian Christmas House Tour preparations are now in full swing. I know that the planners are looking for a few more houses for the tour, so please consider taking a turn this year. There are also plenty of other ways to help out, too. If you’d like to get involved (and I hope you will), please contact any of the Executive Committee members, including myself.

Have a great October, folks.

Bob Griewahn
President, AWCC

Letter from the President – September 2014

WHILE not a leaf seems faded; while the fields,
With ripening harvest prodigally fair,
In brightest sunshine bask; this nipping air,
Sent from some distant clime where Winter wields
His icy scimitar, a foretaste yields
Of bitter change, and bids the flowers beware;
And whispers to the silent birds, “Prepare
Against the threatening foe your trustiest shields.”
For me, who under kindlier laws belong
To Nature’s tuneful quire, this rustling dry
Through leaves yet green, and yon crystalline sky,
Announce a season potent to renew,
‘Mid frost and snow, the instinctive joys of song,
And nobler cares than listless summer knew.

– William Wordsworth, September 1815

After the muggy weather we had for the Labor Day Block Party on N. Lincoln Avenue, it’s hard to believe that
autumn is on its way. Still, the calendar tells me that it’s so. While we’ve had an unusual amount of cool weather this past summer, I’m still looking forward to the crisper days ahead.

I think everyone who attended the block party will agree that it was another excellent Allegheny West event. A tip of the cap goes to Tom Barbush – the Corn Master, and Scott Mosser – the grill master who tended the hot coals and turned out some truly excellent roasted ears of corn. I’d also like to thank everyone who provided side dishes or desserts. They were uniformly excellent, with the possible exception of the Keebler Cashew Sandies that I brought.

Thanks, too, go to all the folks who helped set up before the event, or cleaned up afterwards. I’d also like to express my appreciation to Cathy Serventi, who staffed the donations table for the food pantry, and to all those who donated. The biggest thanks, though, go to Tim Zinn, our Membership Chair, who has overseen these events for the past two years. He’s done a great job with Allegheny West parties and community events. Give him your thanks when you pass him on the street, and tell him that his beard looks good, too.

Please don’t forget the next membership meeting on Tuesday, September 9, at Calvary U.M. Church on Beech. There will be lots of exciting games and prizes. Well, maybe there won’t be games or prizes, but it will be an informative meeting nonetheless.

I’ll leave you now with one more September quote:

I love September, especially when we’re in it.

– Willie Stargell

I hope you have a great month.

Bob Griewahn
President, AWCC

Letter from the President – July 2014

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

– Sam Keen

The next stop on my 2014 Laziness of the World Tour is in the Allegheny West Independence Day Block Party. It’ll be held this Friday, July 4. Tim Zinn, AWCC’s redoubtable Membership Chair, has a rib cook-off planned for this year’s party. Pittsburgh is known for rib cook-offs and, though we won’t be featuring musical performances by washed-up rock bands of the of the Seventies, we’ll still have a great time. If you’re a master rib chef, contact Tim at to reserve a spot. If, like me, you’re more of a rib critic, be sure to come to the party and opine. As always, Allegheny West Civic Council provides the meat and the beverages, but we’d like you to bring a side dish or dessert to share with your neighbors.

Before I sign off, I’d like to thank everyone who participated in the Wine Tasting and House & Garden Tour last month. We had a great turnout, and I heard nothing but compliments from the tour-goers in my groups. Special thanks go to Trish “Trixie” Burton and Deb “Deb” Kelly for organizing the event. The did a great job of pulling things together.

Well, that’s all for now. See you at the block party. I’ll be the one with rib sauce all over my face. And shirt.

Bob Griewahn
President, AWCC

Letter from the President – June 2014

Press close bare-bosom’d night — press close magnetic nourishing night!
Night of south winds — night of the large few stars!
Still nodding night — mad naked summer night.

– Walt Whitman; Song of Myself

I hope you are enjoying your mad, naked summer nights as much as I.  I also hope you enjoyed the first Allegheny West block party, on Memorial Day.  We had a great turnout, and I think a good time was had by all.  Our next block party will be on Independence Day, which falls on July 4 this year.  Mark it on your calendars, s’il vous plait.  Tim Zinn will be e-mailing out an announcement, with additional details, in a few weeks.

AWCC has started collecting donations for the Northside Food Pantry.  You many have seen the collection table at the Memorial Day party.  We intend to do this at all the block parties this year.  While in-kind donations are gratefully accepted, we encourage you to give money.  The reason for this is that the Food Pantry has the ability to purchase food at much lower prices than the average person can.  So, they can stretch your food dollar much farther than you can.  Also, they are not seeking non-food items, other than paper products like toilet tissue.  The Food Pantry is, obviously, a very worthy cause, and we’d like to raise a large donation on behalf of Allegheny West.  You needn’t wait for a block party to donate, either: simply send your check, made payable to “Northside Common Ministries”, to Cathy Serventi at the AWCC office, which is now 806 Western Avenue.

Finally, we have two new neighbors at 808 Western: Jeb Jungwirth and Alissa Martin.  I met them at the closing of the sale of 808, and they seem like very nice people indeed.  So, please welcome them to Allegheny West when you meet them.


Bob Griewahn
President, AWCC