What I meant is that in your coding for the avatar display in the News section it is set at a static number of pixels (80px maybe?). What I suggested is that it checks to see what you have your maximum avatar size settings at in the $modSettings array and set the width of the <td> to +10px larger so that all avatars will fit in that area instead of just the default size avatars (some of us like to use larger avatars for our members, mine is set to 100x100 for example).
This is what I have it set at in the SPortal.template.php
// $modSettings['avatar_max_width_external'] a setting to set the width by.
// the code below simply adds 10 to the width setting so the <td> will be large enough for the avatar and have some padding.
$avatar_max_table_width=$modSettings['avatar_max_width_external'] + 10;
<td width="', $avatar_max_table_width, 'px">', $news['avatar']['image'], '</td>';