Muggles in Patch communities spent much of last week assembling costumes and stocking up on supplies of chocolate frogs, acid pops -- and maybe even a magic spell or two? -- in anticipation of the local premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II."
Patch kept you up to date on local Potter-mania, and it brought you plenty of other stories as well from Around the Rivers over the past week.
An activist group that calls itself Pittsburgh CopBlock has cast its lens on Moon Township Police, among others, as it records videotapes of police incidents around the region and posts them on YouTube.
Pittsburgh CopBlock is an offshoot of the national CopBlock.org. According to the organization's blog, its members aim to prevent and document what they describe as instances of Pittsburgh-area police officers abusing their authority.
The group has created a YouTube channel for videos made while trailing officers as they respond to various incidents. In the Moon Police video, uploaded June 26, the group commends Moon officers for their response at a scene.
"It's their First Amendment rights; it's free speech," Moon Police Chief Leo McCarthy said of the group. "Our officers know when they're on the scene that they have to be cognizant of the fact that they are on video."
You must have some pretty understanding neighbors if you have hundreds of guests pour into your backyard for a concert every year.
Cindy Yates does. Many of her neighbors in Sewickley even pitch in to help as she prepares to hold her eighth annual "Cindystock" on July 30. The event raises money for cancer research and support through her nonprofit organization, Yates Fund for Cancer Hope.
Yates organized her first concert in 2004 when her husband, Ted, lost his best friend, Mike Fatigante, 51, to pancreatic cancer. Both men were teachers at the Moon Area School District, and the Yateses wanted to help Fatigante's widow, Linda, and three children.
Instead, she organized a series of "house concerts," using her yard for the performance site and her neighbors' spreads for parking. From that first concert that drew around 100 people, "Cindystock" has grown into an event that attracts many more people each year and raised more than $40,000 for cancer research.
The parents of a Seneca Valley High School student said they will appeal a ruling by the WPIAL’s board of control that their son may not play football when he transfers to North Catholic High School in the fall.
Under the ruling, rising senior Lucas Wildman is eligible to play any sport except football at North Catholic, according to his father, Davy Wildman. The father said the family will appeal that decision, issued after a closed hearing Tuesday in Green Tree, to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association.
The WPIAL reviews transfers of student athletes and, in some cases, may hold hearings to ensure that athletics are not the sole motivation for school transfers. In Lucas Wildman’s case, Seneca Valley officials did not sign off his request to play sports after transferring to North Catholic.
Such approvals by district officials typically pave the way for student athletes to transfer uncontested to other schools. Seneca Valley officials have declined to comment.
"Oh, to be 80 again."
That's what Cecelia Panno of Ross has been known to tell her 80-year-old daughter, Florence Miller, when Miller admits to feeling a bit tired.
Panno, a former seamstress who was born in Lawrenceville during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, is planning to celebrate her 106th birthday on Aug. 26. The oldest known resident of Ross Township lives on her own in Perrytown Place, making her own meals and tending to her apartment, her daughter said.
Panno raised four children and supported them as a seamstress after her husband died of a stroke. Her secret to longevity?
“The most she has ever weighed is 135 pounds," her daughter said. "She does not ever take a second helping.”
After learning that Leetsdale officials were considering new admission fees to offset water costs for the community's splash pad, a business owner volunteered to pay the pad’s water bill for the entire summer.
Donald Mappin Jr., president of Leetsdale-based Atlantic Gold Exchange, agreed to pay for water used to operate the popular recreation spot so the borough would not have to charge admission to area families. He also offered to buy four benches for the water park.
In a letter to Leetsdale Manager Paul Scimio, Mappin said “it would be in the best interest of the entire community that the park stays free of charge to residents of Leetsdale, and the surrounding communities.”
“I feel very fortunate with the economy being what it is my business is doing very well,” Mappin, of Mars, told Patch in an interview.
Leetsdale Council had agreed to charge admission from non-residents of the borough to offset water costs, which tallied up to $3,800 in June.
Tickets go on sale July 25 for the 11-year-old singer's appearance with the opera at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh's Cultural District. According to a release by the Cultural District, this will be Jackie’s first live concert in the Pittsburgh area with the orchestra, chorus and the Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artists.
Jackie’s one-show appearance with the Pittsburgh Opera will include songs from her new CD Dream With Me, including When You Wish Upon a Star, Angel and other selections.
An interview with Jackie about her new album also is scheduled to be broadcast on ABC's 20/20 at 10 p.m. Friday.
Ticket prices for the upcoming Pittsburgh appearance will begin at $40. They may be purchased through the Cultural District's website, or by contacting the Theater Square Box Office at 665 Penn Ave., 412-456-6666.