Looking back at the people, places and events that made news in 2018 in the Sewickley Valley

Friday, December 28, 2018 | 6:33 AM


Tick. Tick. Tick.

Time goes by, second by second. Minutes turn into hours, then days. Mornings, afternoons, evenings — some better than others.

The cycle is infinite, constant, yet always changing. Days turn into weeks that become months and after 12 of them, we complete a year and celebrate.

The clock never stops, but as we prepare to end 2018, the 115th year the Sewickley Herald has covered this valley, it’s a good time to reflect upon what happened during the course of the last year.

Neighborhood News Network launches

In May, Trib Total Media launched the Neighborhood News Network by unveiling SewickleyHerald.com.

Through this network, the Trib is delivering your neighborhood news in a new and engaging way online that compliments the weekly print edition of the newspaper.

In November, Rachel LaBar was named editor of the Neighborhood News Network , where people in the Sewickley Valley are encouraged to experience neighborhood news like never before.

Through the site, we are able to deliver even more of the news and information you have come to expect from the Sewickley Herald — seven days a week — but we also invite you to contribute your news as well. If you haven’t checked it out yet, visit SewickleyHerald.com to see what it’s all about.

Quaker Valley School District

The tie that binds Aleppo, Bell Acres, Edgeworth, Glenfield, Glen Osborne, Haysville, Leet, Leetsdale, Sewickley, Sewickley Heights and Sewickley Hills is the school district, which during the course of 2018 continued to lay the groundwork for its plans to build a new high school , something the district says will continue in the new year.

“In 2019, we look forward to engaging the community in a deeper conversation which ideally culminates in a new high school for the Quaker Valley community,” Superintendent Tammy Andreyko said.

Andreyko replaced Heidi Ondek, who left the district in June .

“I am so thrilled to work with the staff and the families of this community,” Andreyko said after she was hired .

Although she left as superintendent, Ondek said she will remain active in the Sewickley Valley.

“I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “I’m changing jobs, but I’m not leaving this great community.”

She is now executive director/superintendent at the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children.

Sewickley manager retires

Kevin Flannery, who served as borough manager of Sewickley since 1993, retired in October . Flannery, an Ambridge resident, said it was an honor to serve the residents of Sewickley.

“Sewickley is a great town with wonderful people. It was an honor and privilege. Sewickley’s best asset are the employees who deliver quality services to all,” Flannery said of his 25-year tenure with the borough.

As the year ends, the search for a permanent replacement for Flannery continues, and he didn’t stop working when he left Sewickley. In November, Flannery was named interim manager of Oakmont.

Sewickley’s parking issues continue

Much like 2017, parking and the process associated with it made continuing news in 2018.

In February, the entire board of the Sewickley Parking Authority resigned en masse, and it took several months to replace them . The re-made board then spent the rest of the year making changes that included fixing a card reader glitch in the pay stations. They also spearheaded a new ordinance that will add 60 more paid spaces.

Dundee Farm dispute lingers

The dispute over the use of 32 acres on the historic Dundee Farm in Sewickley Heights remains unresolved after more than a year of hushed fighting among neighbors and borough officials.

The multifaceted dispute centers around whether the owners of part of the farm can use their property to host events such as weddings, religious events and for-profit ventures on their farm. The farm is in a historical rural/residential zone and, as such, those events violate the local zoning ordinance.

But the owners of the farm, Scott and Theresa Fetterolf, say they’re legally allowed to hold such events under the Pennsylvania Right to Farm Act.

The issue remains before the borough’s Zoning Hearing Board and it could be resolved in 2019.

Amazon opens warehouse in Aleppo

The Pittsburgh region may have lost its bid for Amazon’s HQ2, but he 79 North Industrial and Research Park gained Amazon as its tenant this year .

The company has said little about its operations in Aleppo, but township officials are pleased with the development.

“The township is always happy to have the industrial park fully occupied. Amazon’s only been fully operational for a few weeks, but we are hopeful that they will be satisfied tenants here in Aleppo,” township Manager Gwen Patterson said in October.

Owen Galluzzo memorials continue

Owen Galluzzo would have turned 13 years old on July 13.

Born with a heart condition, Owen was to begin third grade at Osborne Elementary School when he suffered a fatal stroke following open heart surgery. The memorial fund in his name has since supported two charities: the Arizona-based Beads of Courage and Massachusetts-based Team Impact, which pairs children with serious illnesses with college sports teams.

The memorial fund — established through the Pittsburgh Foundation — makes annual donations to charities supporting ailing children. For Owen’s 13th birthday, the fund made its largest contribution yet by donating $13,000 to Team Impact.

In August, Sewickley council approved an effort to build a memorial Wiffle ball field in Owen’s honor as well.

An era ended when Yankello’s closed

In February, the Yankello brothers closed their Sewickley storefront that had been open 57 years.

Mike and his brother, Frank, set up shop in Sewickley’s business district in 1961, repairing and selling electronics. But after more than a half-century in business against larger competitors, the Yankello brothers closed Feb. 23 to focus on selling and repairing from home.

The 604 Beaver St. location is now a First National Bank branch.

Community events continued in 2018

Annual events in the region, including Light Up Night, the Sewickley Arts and Music Festival and the Sewickley Harvest Festival, had great years in 2018.

“It seems like there’s a festival every other week (here); it’s great,” Sewickley resident Alison Benge said Nov. 30 during Light Up Night , which drew thousands to the village.

The second Arts and Music Festival also entertained as promised in September.

“People just love closing the street down and having a place to walk around and just kind of interact with the community,” said Alex Lancianese, main street manager for the event’s sponsor, Explore Sewickley.

The annual Harvest Festival, an autumn tradition in Sewickley presented by the Rotary Club of Quaker Valley and Kiwanis of Sewickley, was also a success .

Sewickley-area residents do well elsewhere

It’s been an exciting year to be a Sewickley-area native.

Peter Matthew Smith, 41, a 1995 Quaker Valley graduate, plays King George in the touring version of the Broadway hit “Hamilton.”

Smith will return to Pittsburgh to take the stage at the Benedum Center in the show Jan. 1 to 27.

“I’m so excited to bring this show to Pittsburgh and to be in the company that gets to do it,” he said. “When I saw that Pittsburgh was on the schedule, I was like, ‘Yes! This is going to be awesome!’”

Another Sewickley Valley native, Dr. Josh Green, 48, who grew up in Edgeworth, is set to become the lieutenant governor of Hawaii .

Green fondly remembers his childhood walks to Edgeworth Elementary School, with the family dog often following behind. “It was the most wonderful experience,” he said.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-487-7208, [email protected] or via Twitter @TribDavidson.