Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Is Lebo in deep doo-doo?

I never knew what a NPDES permit was until the four commissioners voted to artificially turf two fields in a flood-prone area on Cedar Blvd. For those unaware of this permit, it stands for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System. According to The NPDES Permit System website, the Federal Clean Water Act and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams law requires wastewater dischargers to have a permit establishing pollution limits, and specifying monitoring and reporting requirements. A Post Construction Stormwater Management (PCSM) Report, which deals with erosion and sedimentation, must also be filed with the Allegheny County Conservation District when submitting a NPDES application. Thinking about the new swimming pool, I emailed Steve Feller and asked him about the NPDES permit and PCSM Report for that project. Through a Right To Know, here is his response. "There is no PCSM report for the Swim Center as the disturbed area was less than an acre."

The Mt. Lebanon Pool disturbed area totals more than 1.5 acres. See section E in the link? That section connects the pool to the fields on Cedar. 
Looking down to the field

The Shadow Knows

See 12/16/13 Update

  • Began installation of storm water piping at the bottom of the slope

But wait. There's more.

From the Mt. Lebanon website, Mt. Lebanon installed a new gas line which went all the way to Cedar Blvd. The disturbed area for the gas line was not included in the 1.5+ acres calculation.

During Citizen Comments, I asked for a report concerning the meeting between Gateway and the DEP. There is no report, I was told. Of course there is no report, Kristen. You're not going to get one. The stormwater pipe connecting the pool to the fields was on the DEP's agenda to discuss with Gateway! Dan will never admit that he screwed up. This area was clearly marked on the bid documents that I bought. 

Insert handy comment template asking for resignations here.

CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews)
Today top women soccer players sued FIFA for gender discrimination over changing playing fields to artificial turf. @elainequijano explains

Hooray for the "Pay for Participation" fee

Hooray for the "Pay for Participation" fee this year! MTLSD is excited! YAY! 

From: Mt. Lebanon School District Athletics <>
Date: Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 9:42 AM
Subject: Winter Sports
To: Mt. Lebanon Parent/Guardian

Dear Parent/Guardian and Student Athlete,
We are excited to announce that we are continuing to offer the convenience of online registration for our athletic programs through partner company, FamilyID (
FamilyID is a secure registration platform that provides you with an easy, user-friendly way to register for our programs, and helps us to be more administratively efficient and environmentally responsible.  When you register through FamilyID, you enter your information once for multiple uses, multiple kids and multiple programs.
All district athletic forms will now be entered electronically with the exception of the physical and health history form.  Those forms will still need to be filled out by the parent and signed by a physician.  Please remember that the physical form needs to be signed after May 31, 2014 to be eligible to participate in athletics during the 2014-15 school year.  These forms can be found on the district web site at  Click on athletics and then forms on the left hand side of the page.  When completed, the forms should be turned in to the nurse’s office at the school your son or daughter attends.
As you are aware, the district has instituted a new Pay for Participation fee this year.  You will also be able to pay this fee through this site as well.
Please be aware that there are sections of the registration form that require both a parent/guardian and student athlete to respond so please plan accordingly when doing the registration.
Many of our families have already used this system.  I hope that your experience was a good one and the feedback we have received in the office has been positive!!  The on-line registration process for Winter Sports will be available on October 7, 2014! You can begin your registration by clicking on this link and following these steps:
1. Click on the link for the season’s registration form.  Scroll to bottom of page and click on Sign up as a Family or Individual.  If you are a returning user, you can just put in your email and password at the top of the page.
2. Sign up for your secure FamilyID account by entering your family name, email address and password.  You will receive an email with a link to confirm your new account.  (If you don’t see the email, check your spam or junk folders)
3. Click on the link in your email confirmation and then fill out the information requested on the registration form.
You can always find the school landing page by clicking “Find Programs” in the top blue banner, searching Mt. Lebanon, and clicking on the school link.
If you need assistance, call FamilyID at 888-800-5583 X1 from 8:00 AM to 9 PM.  Support is available 7 days a week and messages will be returned promptly.
It is our hope that this new system will make it easier on our families to register for our athletic programs.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the athletic office at 412-344-2008.

John Grogan
Athletic Director

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

No PlanCon $ for Lebo UPDATED

The Pittsburgh Business Times reported that Bethel Park will receive $2.5 million in reimbursement through the PlanCon process. State hands out construction reimbursements to local school projects. No mention of Mt. Lebanon receiving any State funding for the high school renovation.

When the cost of the project came back too high, our school board elected to cut corners by considering 197 potential project cost saving reductions. The list represented approximately $14 million in potential savings. How much of this has come back to haunt us? Back on August 8, 2011, I noticed that the school board agreed to eliminate the storm water detention tanks (#17). The rain garden was nixed as well. This had a direct impact on the stormwater situation on Cedar Blvd.  After Cedar Blvd. flooded on August 3, 2014, and then again nine days later, I asked Gateway's Dan Deiseroth if the high school renovation was contributing to the flooding on Cedar. His answer was, "No." I asked Dan if he OK'ed the high school renovation plans. His answer was, "Yes." Gateway approved this cut! This is the same person who said that the fields don't flood; it is merely standing water.

Another item cut was #23 Eliminate need for pyrite remediation based on geotechnical report. We know how that ended up.

A third critical decision made by the school board was #40 Change glass rail at swimming pool to stainless steel airplane cable rail. As we know, that produced a change order. But look how it was handled.

Will we need another change order for the change order? Will we get the nuts and bolts in the next change order?

Lebo Citizens, please review the 197 potential project cost saving reductions and see if more questionable choices resulted in change orders.

Finally, readers have been wondering about the status of the Pursuant Ketchum fundraiser. We are still in the quiet phase, two years later. The September 14, 2014 Personnel Report shows that the full time director of the capital campaign will be on a leave of absence and an interim director has been hired at a daily rate of $300. The interim director's employment is late September 2014 through early January 2015. The present campaign director will be on leave starting October 8, 2014 through the beginning of January 2015.  Is the overlap in employment and buying additional fundraising software really necessary? We invested in a Feasibility Study. Or will we be chalking this up to more contentious decisions made by our school board?

Get the railing fixed!!!! It was first reported November 19, 2013!

Update September 30, 2014 9:44 AM Read the snarky reply from Dr. Steinhauer concerning the pool railing.

To: David Huston
Subject: RE: Missing hardware on new pool balcony railing
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2014 12:17:21 +0000

Dear Mr. Huston,

Thank you for contacting the Board with your concerns. Installation of the revised pool railing is not complete. The lack of 2 bolts presents no structural or physical safety issue and will be installed when the project is completed. If this makes you uncomfortable, please stay away from this railing section until it is complete.

We are aware of no safety issues with construction.  

Timothy J. Steinhauer, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Mt. Lebanon School District

What did you do today to improve the life of a child?

Why are residents and taxpayers being treated so poorly in Mt. Lebanon? The superintendent, the school board directors, the commission, and the Public Information Office seem to think we work for them. Mt. Lebanon is a disgrace.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

More than 300 yards away UPDATED

Fundraising under way for Indiana County newborn struck by stray bullet
Shayne Iverson remains hospitalized after he was struck in the head by a hunter’s bullet in Saltsburg, Indiana County.
A medical fund has been started for Shayne Iverson. Donations may be made here.


From: Kristen Linfante
To: egillen476 <>
Cc: Commission <>; Stephen Feller <>; Tom Kelley <>; Philip Weis <>
Sent: Sat, Sep 27, 2014 9:46 am
Subject: Re: MORE THAN 300 YARDS AWAY!

Dear Ms. Gillen,

I am, of course, aware of the accident that happened in Indiana County.  I am following the story and look forward to additional information as the story unfolds.  Of course, I will take it into consideration. That's my job.  In the meantime, I have a question for you.  How much LESS tragic would it be if that baby were injured or killed in a car crash involving a deer? Do you really think that this scenario is implausible?  If you are by chance looking for a new hobby, perhaps you should do a little bit of research on the number of injuries and/or deaths involving cars and deer in the state of PA as compared to the numbers of injuries/death in controlled culls.  I am quite sure that there is absolutely no comparison. The risk of being injured or killed by a deer is infinitely higher.  I look forward to your findings. However, I won't hold my breath.  I presume you have "better" things to do than gather factual data. 

I also wanted to point out one final piece of information - perhaps you were distracted or not listening in our last discussion session, but the sole expert in the room suggested that the only way we would be able to reach our goal of a 50% reduction in car accidents is through lethal methods.  He was very clear that no non-lethal method (including sterilization alone) would solve the problem - not even with the cooperation of neighboring communities.  Again, he is an expert.  For me to ignore such information would be inexcusable.  You also seem to have this image in your mind that bullets will be ricocheting off of homes in a cull like you see on old cartoons.   As our expert pointed out along with many others including our police chief, the bullets disintegrate/crumble on contact.  They do not ricochet. 

I am sorry to hear that you suffer from nightmares.  My only suggestion is to seek psychiatric counseling immediately.  My understanding is that it can be very helpful if you can find someone skilled in treating such a condition. 

As far as my mother goes - I'll be sure to send her your greetings.  You might be disappointed to hear that she is one of my biggest fans even though we disagree on a number of topics - and yes, she knows my stance on deer.   I'm sure she will get a good chuckle over your comment.  Thanks for sharing it. 

Best of luck to you,
Commissioner Linfante
PS-I just painted my basement with the help of the great people at Rolliers. John in the paint department is wonderful and gave me excellent advice.  It looks quite nice.  I'm not sure what your basement is like, but perhaps they could help you if you are inclined to spend time down there. 

Kristen Linfante
Commissioner, Ward 3

On Sat, Sep 27, 2014 at 9:09 AM, '' via Commission <> wrote:

Commissioners, and Kristen particularly,

Do you now understand the magnitude of your decision to fire guns in Mt. Lebanon? A 5 day old infant is in ICU at Children's Hospital after being shot in the head from a bullet fired more than 300 YARDS away from his home.

May I remind you of your snarky emails, Kristen, that I published in this post?

The nightmares HAVE started again. The image of a man standing just a few feet away from me holding a gun and aiming at a deer has been permanently etched in my brain forever. The accident that happened here in Pittsburgh was from ONE bullet. How many deer do you want to kill? Hundreds? Talk about odds, Kristen. 

At the last commission meeting, Heather Heidelbaugh talked lawsuits and safety concerning our deer. May I remind you that lawsuits can be filed against you, if you do proceed with firing high powered weapons in our densely populated community? 

I CANNOT live in my basement during your next deer culling. I will not move out of my house over your decision to fire weapons in Mt. Lebanon. I will not lie in bed trembling, as I had for those two winters. 

You once said during a commission discussion session, Kristen, that your own mother likes to feed deer out of her hand. She must be so proud of you.

Commissioners, six other neighboring communities want no part of deer culling. How have you have permitted Kristen to come this far? Shame on all of you. 

Elaine Gillen

Thursday, September 25, 2014

"how many people are going to get killed?” UPDATED 3X

" many people are going to get killed?” Wow! Talk about fear mongering! That is what Kristen was quoted as saying in the Trib's Mt. Lebanon consultant says sterilization, culling should go in tandem to control deer population

Kristen Linfante wants to have deer culling as a line item in the budget. That translates to a tax increase, Folks. Estimates of $125,000 spent annually on deer culling is realistic, considering deer culling can cost up to $500 per deer. There are no grants available for deer culling; however money is available for deer sterilization. As Matt Santoni wrote in the Trib article, neighboring communities want no part of deer culling.
Fraasch said she is working with representatives from Scott, Green Tree, Castle Shannon, Baldwin Township, Whitehall and Bethel Park to create a task force that would tackle deer sterilization.
Mt. Lebanon's solicitor drafted a memorandum of understanding for each community's government to consider. Those that sign on can explore pooling funds or seeking grants, Fraasch said.
“This task force is not for anything but sterilization,” Fraasch said. “The other communities are not in favor of a cull; they're all too densely developed.”
Police or Animal Control received nearly 300 calls involving deer, which include neighbors calling about deer sightings, some involving the same deer going through the yards of the same neighborhood.

Between July 1, 2013, and Sept. 17, police or animal control received nearly 300 calls involving deer, Mt. Lebanon police Deputy Chief Aaron Lauth said. Of those, 46 involved people in vehicles striking, being struck by or swerving to avoid deer; three of those resulted in injuries, Lauth said.
Yes, there were three injuries as a result of hitting or swerving to avoid hitting a deer. One of those injuries was of a child hitting a curb while on a scooter.

Are there any areas in Mt. Lebanon where the speed limit exceeds 35 mph? If the field of vision is increased by clearing brush or bushes close to the roads, as recommended by the deer consultants, collisions would be reduced even more - giving drivers more time to react to deer crossing roads. The expert brought this up during the commission discussion session. The expert also noted again that the ordinance against feeding deer also plays a key role in reducing deer populations.

People who are pro-culling should be aware of the dangers every time a gun is fired. Bullets can ricochet, deer may not drop with one bullet and sharpshooters will continue to shoot at the deer, even if there is no safe backdrop. So the deer killed next to my house could have been running toward me and those bullets could have gone through my vinyl siding. See the red car in the photo below? There were deer killed in the area in front of the vehicle, a stone's throw away from my deck.

Lebo Citizens, do you want this to happen in your neighborhoods? How do you explain the sound of gun shots to your children? How about the sound of deer gasping for their last breaths?  Do you want sharpshooters baiting your yards with apples to lure deer so that weeks later, if the sharpshooters happen to be in the neighborhood at the time deer show up to feed? The sharpshooters would be shooting at night, when deer tend to bed down and not feed on apples. Do you want the bait to bring even more deer to your yards? Consider what rotting apples do to deer's digestive systems. Think about what Kristen Linfante wants to do in Mt. Lebanon. Think about how other communities understand how dangerous it is to hunt in our densely populated neighborhoods. Is the answer to kill in large parks? Trucks need to have access to the killing fields. So baiting would be done close to roads, increasing the odds for accidents, both vehicular and fatalities. 

Be careful what you wish for, Lebo Citizens.  It didn't work before. Why would it work this time? Kristen Linfante asks the question, "How many people are going to get killed?" Yes, Kristen, how many people are going to get killed when we have a deer culling in our community? I pray for none, but why take the risk, Kristen?

Update September 25, 2014 9:41 PM How is this for slanted journalism? Mt. Lebanon ponders how to control deer population Harry Funk, you're a real nice guy, but you neglected to share the count from March 2014.
A survey that Mt. Lebanon conducted in March 2013 counted 342 deer within its boundaries.
The aerial survey results for 2013 are here. Last year's results were credible, according to Kristen.
The aerial survey results for 2014 are here. This year's results are flawed, according to Kristen.

This year's survey total was 196 deer. This is a decrease of 146 deer (42.6%).

Update September 27, 2014 8:20 AM Hunter's bullet hits 5-day-old boy in head

Update September 27, 2014 9:16 AM MORE THAN 300 YARDS AWAY!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sorry, but I had to walk out of Citizen Comments UPDATED 2X

What is the expression?
"This is bullshit and I am going home. I'm too old for this."
                                                         -T. Kelley

Boy, can I relate, Tom. Only thing is that I am a taxpayer and volunteer.

Here are my comments, and I will put up the commissioners' and manager's responses once I calm down.

There are four points I would like to make. So that I don't run out of time, I would like to read through them, and will wait for a response to all four points.

1. Some clarification please. We have been told on numerous occasions that if we have a question within the municipality, we should contact the PIO for information. I'm finding that is not the case when I needed assistance with the Brewfest poster. I never received any kind of acknowledgement or assistance from the Public Information Office. Should I be contacting my non-responsive commissioners, our municipal manager who has his hands full with RTKs or keep trying to contact the PIO?

2. I want to comment on Mt. Lebanon Advisory Boards.
I had contacted the Historic Preservation on several occasions concerning the historic Wildcat Field and the turf project. I received this response from Bill Callahan on 7:31.14

"As much as is possible, I separate my professional duties from my volunteer position on the HPB. My role as a member of that Board is, to the best of my abilities and within a volunteer framework, to provide technical expertise and, hopefully, the benefit of over 25 years’ experience in the field."

Fast forward to the August 18, 2014 Mt. Leb. Historic Preservation Board
Meeting. On page two of the Mt. Lebanon Historic Preservation Board minutes under Staff Liaison Report:

Susan Morgans reported that the permit application that
would allow construction on the turf project has been “lost,” somewhere between the DEP and the PA Historical And Museum Commission. The PHMC needs to comment on the permit for any construction involving federal or state funds in areas that could be eligible for National Register Status. He noted that when and if his office receives the application, there should be no problem—the park contains non-conforming resources and there would be no impact on any historic structures. He is working with the municipality and the DEP to identify what is holding things up.

"He" being Bill Callahan, PHMC Community Preservation Coordinator for the Western Region and Mt. Lebanon Historic Preservation Board member is using his connections on the PHMC to push through the Wildcat Field Turf Project.

On Page 10 of National Register of Historic Places , Main Park is considered a contributing site to the Mt. Lebanon Historic District.
The park itself, which features ball fields, playgrounds, and basketball and tennis courts, is considered a contributing site, but the recreation center, tennis center, and current pool house that have been built within the park after the period of significance are considered non-contributing buildings.

I am asking for Mr. Callahan's resignation because he does NOT separate his professional duties from his volunteer position. He will be using his position to push through the turf project for ballfields that are clearly contributing sites in the Mt. Lebanon Historic District.

I'm also asking for the chair of the ESB to resign. Through a RTK, she made some disturbing statements to our commission president about me, including dealing with me by setting me on fire.

3. I would like to get a detailed report of the meeting that occurred on Friday between Gateway and the DEP and ACCD.

4. During the discussion of PAYT, Promotion of sustainability
how does artificially turfing two ball fields promote sustainability, Kristen?

Brief responses:
1. Steve Feller said that I can address any problems that I have with the PIO with him.

2. No resignations. Kristen denied hearing anything about igniting me. I am always asking for resignations from people I do not agree with. ESB comment must have been a "typo."

3. No report was given to them, so no report will be given tonight. I doubt the commission even knew that Gateway was called to the DEP.

4. I ran out of time, so Kristen, I was corrected and need to address her as Commissioner Linfante, did not answer and reminded me more than once that I was out of time.

I am so sick of the crap that is being dealt out of that municipal building. I have posted the Right To Know where Kathy Hrabovsky joked about igniting. No apology. Nothing. We have a member on the Historic Preservation Board who will push his personal agenda, at Mt. Lebanon's expense. Susan Morgans can continue to be the municipal diva who can sit on my recorder TWICE, ignore my emails, sarcastically tell a junior commissioner candidate that I am "the keeper of the door" when I was trying to explain that the interview process had begun. The commission president can allow those to finish their statements, if they are in favor of deer culling, but interrupts me and anyone else who disagrees with her. What has my hometown become?

Sorry, Folks. I had to walk out.

Update September 23, 2014 7:18 PM Mt. Lebanon officials waver on pay-per-throw trash (Saved in Google Docs)

Update September 25, 2014 7:57 AM So now what? I contacted Manager Steve Feller and never heard back. Don't miss the solution offered by "Commissioner Linfante."

Public Information Office on Instagram

Friday, September 19, 2014

South Garage is scheduled to open today!

According to Eric Milliron, Mt. Lebanon Economic Development/Commercial Districts Manager, the South Parking Garage is scheduled to open this morning. YAY!

Also, Mt. Lebanon's first bike corral has been installed on Parse Way. It can accommodate 10 bikes and is sheltered. Uptown now has 'parking' for 16 cycles with more to come.

I hear that there may be free meter parking on Washington Road during Shop Small Business Saturday. I have been asking for that for years. If that is true, Eric, way to go!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Another typo? UPDATED

Weren't we told that the artificial turf would help with stormwater runoff? The grass fields are comparable to eight inches of cement, so we were told. According to today's Trib article, Mt. Lebanon's artificial turf plan hits a snag "the runoff from the turf, while higher than it would be if the fields remained grass, would go through a treatment system and would carry fewer pollutants from grass fertilizer than before." On page 169 of Gateway's response, "The project will improve the drainage issues." As a Lebo Citizens reader wrote to me privately, "Since the main selling point of the turf was that it would allow the kids to play games in the rain, knowing that the runoff needs to go through a treatment system before it enters the sewage system tells me we probably should not let our kids slosh around in it before it is 'treated'. But hey, when Cedar floods up to our neck (instead of to our waist as it would now) I guess we can be reassured that at least it went through the filter."

So which way is it, Gateway? Runoff will be less or will it be higher? Is this another typo?

Not so fast about changing to turf not subtracting from any historic value, Folks. Gateway's letter to the PHMC: 

The note to the Historical and Museum Commission said that while Mt. Lebanon's park overall contributed to the community's historic nature, the rec center, pool and concessions buildings surrounding the fields were all more modern and therefore the change to turf wouldn't subtract from any historic value.
On Page 10 of National Register of Historic Places, Main Park is considered a contributing site to the Mt. Lebanon Historic District.
The Mt. Lebanon Historic District also contains three substantial greenspaces within its boundary. The northernmost is the 76-acre Mt. Lebanon Cemetery, which was established in 1874 and includes a late nineteenth century caretaker’s house as part of its property (Photograph 34)... Main Park, a 51-acre park located off Cedar Boulevard, was already established during the period of significance though the original bath house and swimming pool that were formerly located at the center of the park are no longer extant. The park itself, which features ball fields, playgrounds, and basketball and tennis courts, is considered a contributing site, but the recreation center, tennis center, and current pool house that have been built within the park after the period of significance are considered non-contributing buildings.
I contacted The Historical Society of Mount Lebanon, who shared some wonderful articles about the history of Wildcat Field. If you are a native Pittsburgher, you will recognize the name, Bob Prince a.k.a. The Gunner, announcer of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He organized The Wildcats team. 

See if you recognize any names in the December 1946 issue of Huddle Magazine. Another fun article about The Mt. Lebanon Wildcats is here. Read about the coaching staff. I love this photo:

                                                                                  Courtesy: The Historical Society of Mount Lebanon Archives

Is this another typo, Gateway? Could it be that the National Register of Historic Places is correct after all? The ball fields are a contributing site.

Update September 18, 2014 9:17 AM John Bendel, commission liaison to the Mt. Lebanon Historic Preservation Board, as well as other commissioners and members of the Sports Advisory Board are trying to sell the naming rights for Wildcat Field. August 25, 2014 Discussion Session Agenda Anything for a buck in Mt. Lebanon.  Oops, that word makes Kristen nervous. Sorry. A dollar.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Ta Da! Presenting the 2014 BrewFest Poster

Please support the 2014 BrewFest. Proceeds will help maintain the Mt. Lebanon Veterans Memorial and provide ongoing veterans programming.

After many emails, I was able to obtain a copy of the poster in a format suitable for uploading on Lebo Citizens, thanks to Kelly Fraasch.

From: Kelly Fraasch <>
To: egillen476 <>
Cc: Susan Morgans <>; Stephen Feller <>; James Cannon
Sent: Tue, Sep 16, 2014 6:33 pm
Subject: Re: jpg or png file request


Can you provide this to Elaine tomorrow?

Much appreciated,

On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 5:31 PM, <> wrote:
Thank you for the update, Kelly. I still have not received or heard anything from Susan Morgans. Is a Right To Know required for my request? Please let me know as soon as you can. Since BrewFest is this Saturday, I was hoping to post it on the blog ASAP.


-----Original Message-----
From: Kelly Fraasch <>
To: egillen476 <>
Cc: smorgans <>; sfeller <>; James Cannon

Sent: Mon, Sep 15, 2014 7:49 pm
Subject: Re: jpg or png file request

They may have been waiting for me and I was in class from 9-4:30.  I am sorry for the delay.
If I can figure it out tonight I would be happy to send but I am a little weak with my tech brain.
Thanks for your patience.

On Monday, September 15, 2014, <> wrote:

> Hi Kelly,
> I received an out of office reply from Steve Feller. Nothing from Susan.
> Elaine
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kelly Fraasch <>
> To: egillen476 <>
> Cc: smorgans <>; sfeller <>; James Cannon
> Sent: Mon, Sep 15, 2014 6:02 pm
> Subject: Re: jpg or png file request
> Hi all.
> I was in class all day.
> please let me know if this got addressed.
> Many thanks.
> kelly
> On Monday, September 15, 2014, <> wrote:
>> Good morning Susan
>> I understand the PIO created the attached poster. I would like to put it on my blog, but need it in a different format. Would you please send it to me as a jpg or in png format?
>> Thanks for your help.
>> Elaine Gillen

Commissioners and School Board Members: PLEASE Unvote

Dear Mt. Lebanon Commissioners and School Board members,

Please "unvote" the ill-fated Wildcat Field artificial turf project. Today, I received the following press release, CONSUMER GROUP WARNS SCHOOLS AND TOWNS OF NEW QUESTIONS SURROUNDING ARTIFICIAL TURF SAFETY University of Washington assistant soccer coach, Amy Griffin reported that 13 Washington soccer players on her recruiting list have been diagnosed with rare cancers and 11 of those are goal keepers. That is horrible news!

The Artificial Turf Project, or as you like to call it, "Field Enhancement Project" has been a problem since Day 1. Lack of transparency concerning funds, the secret Turf Project Task Force meetings, intimidation tactics used at the Not For The General Public public meeting, the official statements from the Parks Advisory Board and the Environmental Sustainability Board who are in opposition to the project, an "unbiased" presentation at Mellon Middle School with Dr. McNitt - who has his private consulting business and partnership with FieldTurf, the deficiencies identified by the PA Department of Environmental Protection and Allegheny County Conservation District, the fabrication that personal donations are at risk while knowing that contracts clearly state that the donations are nonrefundable and will be used for future field improvements, the Commission President's "misrepresentation" of the ESB's position, the Commission's tunnel vision in regard to the health, safety, and environmental issues as presented by residents, and the use of municipal staff for raising non-municipal funds.

PLEASE take the time to read the 09.15.14 Press Release linked in the first paragraph. PLEASE consider the new questions surrounding the safety of artificial turf. PLEASE unvote the Wildcat and Middle Artificial Turf Project.

Elaine Gillen

Monday, September 15, 2014

Field Sports are Getting Ugly Here in Lebo

I have received some letters concerning Mt. Lebanon Soccer (MLSA) and Mt. Lebanon Lacrosse. It appears that both are full of problems related to exclusivity, favoritism, and secrecy.

A Lebo Citizens reader sent this comment to me earlier.
I also know that the fields are not packed with kids. I have been going to them and there is plenty of space for more...teams. I have some pictures.

I also know that coaches are hand picked ... you can be a coach one year and then totally dismissed the following year. This is very upsetting to some folks who have devoted themselves to coaching and then are put out in the cold...

I know that new positions open up... they aren’t shared publicly, and they are filled by the board’s friends or colleagues...

September 13, 2014 10:50 am. Kids' soccer game. Little kids. Parents on bleachers. Grass still wet from rain. You can see the droplets on my car window. So much for the "we need turf because rain ruins playing time" myth.

The following letter showed up today in The Almanac. Let kids play soccer I am told this is quite common.
Published Sep 15, 2014 at 10:35 am (Updated Sep 15, 2014 at 10:35 am)
Note to self: the old adage “Get on the ball.! Be on the ball!” heard playing soccer as youth, still holds true. 
As summer came to a close, the smell of fall ripening filled the air; I discussed the seasonal activities with my 9-year-old son. As was standard, he made the decision to play soccer. Last year, his mother was an assistant coach, the year before, I was. After the discussion, I went online and pursued fulfilling the registration application. At this point, it was two days prior to the deadline for registration. Once I made my way onto the Mt. Lebanon Soccer Association (MLSA) website and continued on to their registration site, I was prompted to provide login information and password. I came to a standstill. I did not have an account on the registration site, so how was I able to provide this? I wasn’t. So, I attempted to set up an account. That went fine. Now to enter the player, my son onto my account. Failed! It stated that he was already assigned to an account and could not be assigned to more than one. Again it requested the login and password for the account. And still, I did not know of any. 
So, I then began a long line of attempts to gain knowledge of that information and have my son registered. To make a long story shorter, I never received the login info. His mother attempted, but at that point, it was a day after registration had closed. MLSA stated in an email, “Sorry registration is closed. Should have contacted me last night. Better luck next time.” 
I continued on requesting to MLSA that the president of MLSA be given this to consider. I asked that due to my documented attempts to register my son prior to the deadline, that an exception be made and that my son be considered registered. I received no correspondence back in writing ever. I did receive a phone call that lasted more than 30 minutes late one evening while my family was on vacation, and I was told several reasons why they (MLSA) do not make exceptions and are not going to start. I was explained to that the maximum capacity had been reached. I was informed that field space was limited. None of the reasons took into account that I attempted to register my son prior to the deadline, nor did they justify my son not having the ability to play on the field this season. Also, they offered no waiting list of any type, no option. He’s not playing here in Lebo. 
I took it further and spoke with PA West (local oversight committee, soccer specific) and to US Youth Soccer (national), also spoke with Mt. Lebanon Recreation Department. Some have a view that there should be a place for a 9-year-old to play on a soccer team. I have contacted other local clubs and they had room and would take him despite their registration being closed. However, MLSA will not be governed by their peers or by their big brothers. No exceptions. I have heard recently about how allowing another player on the field would in turn limit another’s time. I know. My son is limited completely. He can’t even step on the field. He’s 9, and he wants to play. 
Limiting a child’s ability to play at 9 years of age. Why? Let them all play. 
Justin Beinhauer
Mt. Lebanon
This letter was circulated earlier this summer:

From: Lebo Boys Lax <>
Subject: Mt Lebanon Lacrosse Association Elections - Important
Date: July 23, 2014 at 1:11:57 PM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Did you know that the Mt Lebanon Lacrosse Board is having elections this summer to fill 4 board seats.

Probably not which begs the questions why not and why the lack of transparency from YOUR lacrosse association? Why doesn't the board want the Association members to know about these elections again? 
Could it be that while the entire girls program accounts for just over 20% of the program they control over 50% of the board seats and dominate the agenda and discussions?
Could it be they do not want you to know that while Youth Boys Lacrosse brings in over 50% of the income there is only 1 board seat for youth boys?

Could it be that the board does not want anyone to ask why the Youth boys play on a postage stamp sized field if they generate over $50,000 per season. Where does the money go? Maybe it goes to support the girls program, the same girls program that excludes players yet does not have enough players to financially support themselves nor fill the teams they have?

Where is the yearly budget that by the IRS 501c non profit laws must be made public to all association members. Maybe they don't want to explain the six figure bank balance they keep on hand while making the players buy uniforms and play on sub-par fields.

Maybe they do not want you to see how the board has failed to address the field shortage issue for years which only gets worse for the boys with each passing year. Perhaps they don't want anyone to know that they have failed to participate, pay dues or cooperate with the Mt Lebanon Field Alliance for years which is why the association has no voice on field decisions. 
Maybe the board wants to continue acting with impunity against coaches and players without the benefit of public notice while failing to address the future needs of the association and its members. Where are the monthly minutes that by the IRS 501c non profit laws must be made public to all association members? 
Perhaps they don't want you to know that a majority, not all but most of the coaches teaching your kids have no training or certification as coaches. A clear violation on WPYLA and US Lacrosse Rules. Maybe they don't want it known that there is no process or procedure for vetting, training or managing coaches. 
Maybe they don't want you to know that many of the board members are commissioners directly responsible for themselves as coaches. Literally protecting themselves from scrutiny, complaints and oversight as coaches and board member's, not only dysfunctional but highly unethical. 
Could it be as simple as this board wants to continue operating with your money without oversight, spending Youth Boys lacrosse money to prop up a failing and dwindling youth girls program...the same girls program that has more board seats but far less players than the boys.

Perhaps its just that the board wants to hide the rampant incompetence that has defined the board youth commissioners the last few years while continuing to define the Mt Lebanon Lacrosse Association.

Its time to speak up and make your voice heard, ask some questions and demand answers. This is your lacrosse association, for your lacrosse players, paid for by you. Elect a board that puts your kids interests ahead of their own self interest for a change.
There are many reasons that the board elections are secret and the minutes and budgets are kept hidden from Association members......... 
Make a difference in the future of this association. Our boys deserve much better than what they have gotten from this board and its members. Be an agent for change and protect the future of the your Boys Lacrosse Program. Call for open elections and open meetings! Maybe a stand alone boys lacrosse association.
Pass it on....

Sent on behalf of the Lebolax Youth Boys Supporters


Steve Gurtner, President
Brian Prettyman, Treasurer
Lori Shure, Secretary 412-XXX-XXXX
Jim Cappucci, Communications Commissioner
Tim White, H. S. Boys Commissioner
Jim Rebisa, H.S. Boys Commissioner 412-XXX-XXXX
Collette Gibbons, H. S. Girls Commissioner
Brian Kattan, Commissioner at large 724-XXX-XXXX
Jeffrey Iovino, Boys Youth Commissioner
Suzanne Sieber, Girls Middle School Commisioner 412-XXX-XXXX
Kate Murdoch, Girls Youth Commisioner (1st-4th Grade)

Is it time for this bumper sticker?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Finally! A Turf Project Update from Mt. Lebanon

During Citizen Comments at the September 9, 2014 Commission meeting, I expressed my frustrations over the lack of transparency with the Turf Project Field Enhancement Project. I have had to ask repeatedly for non-municipal funds updates, file Right To Knows, and hear too many times, that the municipality is hoping to receive the NPDES permit soon. I ended up filing a RTK with a government agency outside of Mt. Lebanon, in order to get answers. I learned that a letter was sent to Recreation Director, David Donnellan highlighting six deficiencies with Mt. Lebanon's NPDES permit application. At the commission meeting, Manager Steve Feller agreed to publishing that letter along with Mt. Lebanon's response to the Allegheny County Conservation District on Mt. Lebanon's website, along with a hard copy for my records. Here is Gateway's response.* Copies were also sent to Representative Dan Miller and Senator Matt Smith. Thank you, Steve.

*Large document

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Final Change Orders for Swimming Pool

At the September 9, 2014 Commission meeting, I asked Manager Steve Feller for a list of the change orders related to the Swim Center Renovation. Steve was kind enough to send them to me yesterday.

Including the pending change orders, the total amount is around $200,000. Originally estimated to cost $3.3 million, the total cost of the pool upgrade rounded out to be a cool $4.4 million.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

School Board Members CAN disagree!

During the school board meeting on Monday night, there was a heated discussion concerning allowing Mt. Lebanon High School students whose family has moved out of the district to continue to attend on a tuition basis. Currently, there is a policy which allows high school seniors to continue to attend until graduation. This was brought up during policy committee meeting. The discussion was initiated by our super Super who had a request from a junior who wished to complete her Mt. Lebanon High School education, even though the family moved out of the district.  Timmy wanted to have the ability to make the decision on a case by case basis.

Dan Remely, Ed Kubit, and Larry Lebowitz brought up some excellent points as to why this is not a good idea. Elaine Cappucci wants to change the policy and if it doesn't work, change it back. I believe the final outcome of the discussion was to have strict guidelines and it would be up to Timmy's discretion.

This policy change will appear on next week's agenda. To hear the discussion via the Lebo Citizens podcast, the time stamp is 31:30.

On a side note, the CDC says that kids are getting way too much salt in their diets. The culprit? Pizza.
Those pizza lunches might not be such a good idea, Tim. It was already a bad idea for kids who must follow a gluten-free diet. But for a school district who has no problem exposing kids to toxic turf, I guess this is nothing in the scheme of things.

Monday, September 8, 2014

PIO forgot this reputable source

Our Public Information Officer seems to have forgotten to mention another reputable source. No, not Lebo Citizens. I said a R E P U T A B L E source. Commissioner Kelly Fraasch, the only working commissioner updated her blog over the weekend with the following posts,  PAYT Presentation
and Update for Unassigned Funds.

There will be a presentation given to the commissioners tomorrow evening during the Commission Discussion Session on Pay As You Throw. Residents will be able to ask questions or comment during the commission meeting which follows at 8:00 PM.

Additionally, these items were removed from the Unassigned Funds Wish List:

  • Iroquois fill and grass-Provides removing mulch from old play area and leveling the surface with topsoil and planting grass. $3,500
  • Pathway around pool-Pathway outside of the swim center that acts as a connector from the Vee Lynn Drive to the recreation center. $41,170
  • Sidewalks at tennis center-Pave remaining asphalt paths with concrete. $100,000
  • Golf Course Pavillion-Place a pavilion near the first tee for outings and special events. $60,000
  • Replace Rockwood park rubber sidewalks $1,500
  • Replace Martha’s playground rubber surface $15,000
  • Public Works Facility Improvements- Add vehicle maintenance bays, addition to existing building and site improvements. $1,252,600
Commissioners Linfante, Brumfield, Bendel, and Silverman, instead, have assigned over $800,000 to fund a project that doesn't sit well with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.