Cheers to the Belle Vernon football team for advancing to the WPIAL Class AAAA Championship. The Leopards rallied to defeat South Fayette, 41-30, in the semifinals last Friday and will play Big Eight Conference rival Thomas Jefferson in the district title game at Heinz Field on Saturday at 5 p.m.

Cheers to the Carmichaels Area National Honor Society, which continues to partner with the American Red Cross to host blood drives. According to school officials, the honors society has provided over 2,000 units of blood to 2,284 donors. In the past 40 blood drives, the Carmichaels area has averaged 49 units of blood per drive. The most recent drive took place on Tuesday Nov. 12, in the Carmichaels High School gymnasium from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Every two seconds, someone in the United States is in need of blood, According to the American Red Cross.

Cheers to the quick actions of Centerville Police Officer Carl Talbert, who delivered a Deemston couple’s baby in their car on the side of the road. Poppy Catherine Vojacek wasn’t waiting for the hospital to make her entrance into the world, her parents Jessica and Matthew Vojacek said. When Matthew Vojacek saw Talbert’s patrol car, he flagged the officer down. Within a minute of Talbert radioing for an ambulance, Poppy was born. At 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 21 ½ inches long, the little one was healthy. We’re thankful for that, and for Talbert being in the right place at the right time to lend a hand. The memorable birth is likely to be a story the family tells for a long time.

Cheers to two Fayette County school districts that joined a program that will push STEM learning a step further in their classrooms. Frazier School District joined the Laurel Highlands School District in teaming up with a regional media company, WQED, to participate in its “Smart Schools” initiative. The program affords schools the opportunity to receive educational resources and content focusing on STEM, literacy and technology education. Laurel Highlands kicked off their initiative at the start of the 2018-19 school year. The partnership was made possible with financial support from Chevron. According to WQED, Smart Schools is intended to empower teachers to create innovative, imaginative learning experiences using researched-based, parent-trusted content from PBS.

Jeers to the Northern snakehead that was caught in the Monongahela River near Homestead last month. According to the story on the front of today’s Outdoors section, the snakehead is an invasive fish species native to areas of Asia. For more than a decade, the snakehead has presented a huge threat to Potomac River in Maryland and other waterways in Eastern Pennsylvania because of the aggressive way it feeds and because of the chaos it can present to the already established aquatic food chain in our rivers and lakes. The Pa. Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is asking fisherman who catch a suspected snakehead to kill it immediately, take photos and report it to the PFBC. Let’s hope that the snakehead caught in the Mon River was a fluke and that this dangerous species of fish has not and will not establish itself in our local fishing holes.

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