The goats who captured our hearts and ate an amazing assortment of weeds in Bird Park have returned for an encore performance. Last September nine goats and their guardian donkey laid waste to almost an acre of weeds and invasive species.
THEY’RE BAAACK!!! The goats are back in town. Well, maybe not yet, but they’re scheduled to get here later this month.
Let us back up. Last year, the Mt. Lebanon Nature Conservancy brought in nine goats (and a guard donkey) from Steel City Grazers to help clean up Bird Park by eating invasive species of plants that were taking over the natural park. The project was so successful so quickly, that the originally planned one-third-acre site was doubled in size so the goats could clear even more space of the harmful plants. These goats even eat poison ivy, a job no one else really wants.
When the animals were finished, Conservancy volunteers stepped in to plant native grasses and wildflowers.
This year, the goat menu is about an acre’s-worth of land. After they’ve consumed all the grape vines, bush honeysuckle, vinca and ivy that have been crowding native trees, the Conservancy and the municipality will plant native trees there.
What’s more, the Conservancy is planning for the goats to be there in time for the 400 third graders to see them in action when they converge on the park for this year’s annual School in the Park event, May 10 to 13.
So a gentle reminder. You are welcome to observe, but don’t be baaaad. Stay behind the exterior safety fence (the inner fence is electrified) and keep pets away from the area for everyone’s benefit.
FREE INCOME TAX HELP: The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is available through April 15 to help taxpayers who earn less than $52,000. No appointments necessary. For help, go to the Bible Chapel, 300 Gallery Drive in McMurray, (five miles past South Hills Village) Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Taxpayers can receive assistance with federal, state and local wage tax returns and real estate/rent rebate and PACE applications. Please bring: W-2s, all 1099s, (interest and dividend statements, social security and pension statements), totals of itemized deductions (medical, taxes, charitable) and social security cards for you, your spouse and dependents. Also bring copies of last year’s federal and state tax returns, real estate tax receipts and receipts for large purchases such as cars. For direct deposit of refund, have your bank account and routing numbers. Bring proof of identification for yourself and your spouse.
EARTH DAY Celebrate the Earth. Also, celebrate stuff that grows up out of the Earth at the same time, in the same place. Mt. Lebanon’s Earth Day celebration will move from Mt. Lebanon Park to Clearview Common this year, where it will be held in conjunction with the first Uptown Farmers Market of the season, April 23. The market opens at 9 and runs until noon. The Earth Day celebration will be from 10 to 2 and will feature family activities, food, artists, and live music.
A BANNER YEAR For the third year in a row, Mt. Lebanon has been selected as a Banner Community by the Allegheny League of Municipalities (ALOM). The Banner Community designation recognizes the use of best practices in all aspects of municipal government. In order to qualify as a Banner Community, a municipality must do, at the minimum, the following:
- Participating in professional education or training programs through the ALOM, the Local Government Academy or the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, or participate in a governing mentoring program.
- Communicating with the community through a print- or web-based public information vehicle, participating in a class discussion on local government or conducting a shadowing program for junior or senior high school students.
- Being active members in good standing with the Allegheny League of Municipalities and the county municipal associations, and have a representative attending at least half of county association meetings.
- Being active members in good standing in a local Council of Governments, participating in a cooperative purchasing program and at least one shared municipal service.
- Promoting and implementing long term sustainable governing practices by earning certification through Sustainable Pittsburgh, managing employee pensions at funding levels of 80 percent or above, participating in the annual ALOM Wage and Salary Survey Program, and implementing goals of an up-to-date municipal comprehensive plan.
REEL TO REAL Director Robert Altman called his 1971 film McCabe and Mrs. Miller an “anti-western.” Find out why at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, at 6 p.m., Sunday, April 10, as the Denis Theatre presents Reel to Real, a screeniong of the movie followed by a discussion. The evening will include sandwiches from a local restaurant and a free small popcorn and drink. You may bring wine or beer. The event, is free but reservations are necessary anddonations are appreciated. Make a reservation at email@example.com or call The Denis Theatre Foundation at 412-668-0737. Reel to Real is funded by PNC CharitableTrusts.
DRUG DROP Bring your unwanted prescription medicines to the rear lobby of the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Center, 555 Washington Road. The lobby is open 24/7 and houses a drop box for the drugs. The Mt. Lebanon Police Department will inventory the contents of the drop box and incinerate them, keeping dangerous materials out of the hands of abusers and also out of the landfills, where they would find their way into the water table if simply thrown into the trash. Please remember to only dispose of drugs, and not syringes or other sharp objects. The drop box is a project of Stop Addiction For Everyone.
TREE CITY This year’s Tree City USA observance will feature the talents of the students, teachers and staff of Foster School on Friday, April 29 at 1:15 p.m. The annual ceremony, which rotates each year to a different Mt. Lebanon elementary school, celebrates Mt. Lebanon’s status as a Tree City USA. Commissioner Steve McLean will be on hand to read the Tree City proclamation, the students will present music and poetry and then representatives from each grade will plant a tree. Student posters reflecting this year’s theme of “If this tree could talk, it would say…”will be on display.
To be a Tree City USA, a community must have a forestry commission, allocated public funding for forestry and have an annual Arbor Day Celebration. In 2010, Mt. Lebanon received a Tree City Growth Award based in large part on its “succession plan” for replacing sick or dead trees.