RAISE THE BANNER Mt. Lebanon is one of 55 Allegheny County towns to be recognized as a Banner Community. The designation, awarded by the Allegheny League of Municipalities, is reserved for communities that have best practices in professional development, fiscal management, transparency, accountability and proactive communications to engage community members. Mt. Lebanon first received the distinction in 2014 and has kept the designation every year since. Criteria include participating in professional development programs; implementing comprehensive planning and analysis; being an active member of a local council of governments such as the South Hills Area Council of Governments; excelling in emergency preparedness; communicating with the community through a print or online public information product; working with local school districts by participating in career day or a mentoring program and promoting local government week each April.
GOT AN ARTY KID? They’ll love the Mt. Lebanon Partnership’s Kids’ Paint Out on Saturday, May 12, Uptown, a plein air painting contest. What does that mean? They get to paint what they see going on in the business district and have it entered in a juried show. Registration is from 11 to noon in the municipal building, 710 Washington Road. The Paint Out competition is from noon to 2, followed by the judging reception from 2 to 3 p.m. and the awards ceremony from 3 to 4 p.m. Age categories are 3 to 5, 6 to 8 and 9 to 12. Cost, which includes supplies, is $5 in advance, $10 the day of the event. To register, go to www.mtlebopartnership.org.
Kids ages 3 to 12 can paint what they see Uptown en plein air Saturday, May 12. Pictured: Xerin Qireyffahif. Register at www.mtlebopartnership.org .
MT. LEBANON ARTISTS’ MARKET, sponsored by the Mt. Lebanon Partnership, is September 22 and 23 this year, and the annual festival, which attracts artists and shoppers from all over the region, needs sponsors. Anyone who donates at least $50 will be listed in the event program under “Patrons of the Arts.” Proceeds will help defray the cost of the market, from setup to artists services, music, entertainment, advertising, promotion, the raffle and a scholarship that helps local artists continue their education.
To sponsor, contact organizers Steve and Wendy Denenberg at 412-341-1744 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
For details about the event, go to mtlebanonartistsmarket.com .
COMMERCIAL RECYCLING REGS State law mandates recycling in communities with populations of more than 5,000. Of the 130 municipalities in Allegheny County, 80 have curbside collection programs and 19 have drop-off programs. The remaining communities have fewer than 5,000 residents, but many participate in recycling voluntarily.
The recycling law extends beyond households. All businesses, institutions and municipal entities are required to recycle aluminum, high grade office paper and corrugated paper and must arrange and pay for their own recycling pickup. Commercial landlords who provide waste pickup for their tenants also must provide recycling pickup. Municipalities are required to submit an annual recycling report to the state on residential and commercial recycling. Businesses must report to the public works department annually how their recycling is collected, so they can be included in that report. Businesses that do not recycle are subject to fines by the state.
HISTORIC HOUSES The Historical Society of Mount Lebanon is selling medallions that identify “contributing properties” in Mt. Lebanon’s National Register Historic District. The cast aluminum medallions are 6 inches in diameter and include mounting screws and anchors. Cost is $214. To see if your house is in the historic district, check the map . Purchase a medallion at lebohistory.org .
Christopher J. Beers has an obsession with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Those are his words. When first he saw the famous film starring Gene Wilder as an eclectic candy maker, he reveled in “the creativity and the imagination of it.”
So when he opened his first Grandpa Joe’s  candy and gift store in the Strip District in 2013, he wanted to give his patrons that feeling of awe. “When they come in, I want them to be, like ‘Wow! Look how much candy there is!’” He wants them to fawn over the candy buffet and be amazed by the hordes of rubber chickens and Slinkys.
Since that first store opened, Beers has added five more, the most recent in Mt. Lebanon at 695 Washington Road. It opened March 23 to a throng of excited children who couldn’t wait to get inside. Beers himself couldn’t wait to open a shop Uptown; he had approached the property owners four years ago but learned that a frozen yogurt spot was planned for it. The owner had kept his business card and called him when the yogurt store was closing.
At the Mt. Lebanon shop, kids are “suckers” for the $5 bulk candy deal, where they can fill the box as full as it will go with any combination of the 100 different kinds of candy (usually a pound or a pound and a half) for just a Lincoln.
Lest you think Grandpa Joe’s offers only stocking delights for the young, Beers asks adults to feast their eyes on the truffles and the imported chocolate, which is quite different from American. Brands such as Nestle and the German Kinder chocolate are available. For the record, Beers’ favorite candy is called a Rocky Road, made by Annabelle: a one-inch round candy bar with chocolate, marshmallows and cashews.
Grandpa Joe’s also stocks gifts, novelties and cards. Beers is working on a list of gluten-free and nut-free candies to make it easy for kids to select and the staff to know.
Beers says he also is upgrading the building itself, working to beautify the signature antique awning and adding lighting. “I really want to bring that building back to life,” he says. “It’s such a great shop.”
Beers, who lives in the South Hills, is a bona fide Pittsburgher who now likely will not travel much with his family to the Strip since the Mt. Lebanon store is closer to home. “This is our shop now,” he says.
Hours: Open seven days a week at 10 a.m. Closing times are 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 10 on Friday and Saturday; and 5 or 6 on Sundays, depending on demand.
The Beverly Road pop-up store that had a successful holiday season run is back—this time for good. The shop, called Inner Rutz Soulful Shop + Wellness Retreat, is at 297 Beverly Road, in the former Party Cake spot and will be a lot like you remember from the holidays. It’s owned by Kelly Brown, Forest Glen Drive, and Steph Schuler, Valleyview Road.
The front section will focus on healthy and sustainable living, with natural and organic bath and body products from Rutz Naturals, art, jewelry and clothing. Customers can buy beauty products infused with positive Reiki energy.
The back of the store will be an interactive learning space, with an area for lectures, classes and presentations. Brown envisions drum circles, yoga and innovative dance classes to help people get in touch with their quiet and settled selves.
For details and hours, call the store at 412-226-6059 or find them on Facebook and Instagram.