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Published On: Sat, Dec 1st, 2012

City avoids costly lawsuit over nativity scene, moved in front of bar

A Pennsylvania nativity scene was in the center of controversy, which left it without a home.

Ellwood City, outside of Pittsburgh, staved off a legal fight last year, struggling to find the nativity a home and avoid millions in court costs.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation threatened a lawsuit against the borough over the display as a governmental endorsement of religion.

Now the scene has been moved in front of a refurbished Catholic Church, which was turned into a bar and restaurant.

Residents of Ellwood City are trying again to get the nativity scene in front of City Hall.

Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court says don’t be surprised if the nativity is placed back in front of city hall sometime down the road.

Attorney Joe Bellissimo — who owns the former church and plans to relocate Johnny’s Pizza, itself a community fixture, into the location — came up with the idea of putting up a new, larger Nativity scene on his property. Bellissimo had provided legal advice to the committee that attempted to keep the Nativity at the municipal building.

Photo screenshot of video by KDKA-TV

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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