120 over 80. What’s it worth to U?
Introducing HealthyU from UPMC Health Plan. Reaching your goals is worth more than ever. It’s worth money. That’s because HealthyU offers financial incentives for making healthy lifestyle decisions. Now when you do things like quit smoking, work with a health coach, or even get a flu shot, we put money into your very own Health Incentive Account. Money that can be used to help pay for doctor visits, prescription drugs, and even surgery. To learn more about this new, one-of-a-kind plan, talk to your employer or visit UPMCHealthyU.com.
Wayne Dollard MANAGING EDITOR
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Cassie Brkich Anna Buzzelli Sharon Cobb Susie Doak
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Welcome to the Winter issue of Keystone Oaks Magazine. I hope you and yours had a wonderful fall, that the kids transitioned back to school well, and that you had an opportunity to catch a few Steelers games along the way. We all view winter differently – some see it as the holiday season, some see it as the gloomy period when we long for the swim trunks and patio furniture we put into storage. Others see it as their opportunity to break out the skis and sleds and hit the slopes. No matter how you view it, winter is a time when we have to be the most diligent—despite our mood about snow, or our preoccupation with playing in it—for those who need us the most…our seniors. While it’s hard enough for many of them to get around in good weather, the winter months can be a trial of terror for the elderly. Who’s going to shovel the snow? How will I get groceries? Will I be home before it’s too dark for me to see the road well enough to drive? And for those who have transitioned to assisted living facilities, the questions might be of an altogether different, but equally unsettling nature. Will anyone visit me for Christmas? Hanukah? New Years? These are our mothers, fathers, friends and neighbors, and they don’t like to ask anything of us. But they need us just the same. I know the economy is bad, and I’m not saying go out and spend money you don't have, but going caroling with a church group, or visiting someone who has no one is free to all of us. Chances are, you’ll not only put a smile on their face, you’ll be giving them something money can’t buy – the feeling that someone cares. Have a joyous holiday and happy New Year!
Heather Holtschlage Kelly Lotter Leigh Lyons Joann Naser
Pamela Palongue Gina Salinger Judith Schardt
Wayne Dollard Publisher
Brad Lauer Kathleen Rudolph
FROM THE EDITOR
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Dovetailing off what Wayne said above, he’s right. Through college, I worked one of my part-time jobs as a waiter at Asbury Heights. And while Asbury is known as one of the better “old folks homes” out there, the great quality of the facility and staff couldn’t make up for what many of the residents didn’t have – family. Oftentimes, a new resident would show up in the dining room and feel out of place. Much like high school cafeterias, the two shifts of dinner were comprised of residents who had been together for years. They sat in the same seats at the same tables day after day and even ate the same dinners often enough that you knew what they were going to order before they had the chance to order it. New residents either had to be compellingly outgoing to break into an established crowd, or, more often than not, had to find an open seat and make friends with whoever sat across from them. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes not. But the most heartbreaking sight was around the holidays, when families would show up that you never saw throughout the course of the year – even though they were always welcome for dinner. Many residents had to sit alone, watching those families celebrate the season. I can’t read minds and say they felt sad or envious. But I can say that if it were me, I would be both. I’m not blameless. I have a grandmother in a local “old folks home” that I think of more than I visit, but I'm trying to do better. When we look around this holiday season and see the gifts in the stores or Santa riding on the fire truck and entertaining children in the malls, most of us should be thankful that we have people on our lists to buy for and with whom we can expect to share time together. Others don’t have that luxury, and haven’t for some time. We can all make someone smile this winter, so why not try? Feliz Navidad,
Please recycle this magazine when you are through enjoying it.
We would like to thank everyone who came to the Nutcracker performance this year! The show was phenomenal and we look forward to another season of great performances! We here at Pittsburgh Youth Ballet wish all of your families a magical Christmas and Happy New Year!
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IN Keystone Oaks is a non-partisan community publication dedicated to representing, encouraging and promoting the Keystone Oaks area and its comprising municipalities by focusing on the talents and gifts of the people who live and work here. Our goal is to provide readers with the most informative and professional regional publication in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
IN Keystone Oaks | WINTER 2011 |
The Best Holidays are Safe .......... | 23 Five Loaves and Two Fishes .......... | 27 New Earned Income Tax Procedures Leave Collecting to Employers .... | 28 Travel: Honeymoon Romance ...... | 30 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT ON THE COVER
Peanut Squares are a local square dancing club that meets every Tuesday night in Green Tree. See story on page 4.
Sports Medicine & Joint Replacement Specialists Dr. Gregory Flinn Habib Keeps People Moving in the South Hills ...................................... | 11
A Life Played in Tune For Mina Belle Packer Wichmann, Music is a Constant Companion ...
Fred L. Aiken Elementary School Named National Blue Ribbon School ............................................
UPMC Today | Health and Wellness News You Can Use ...........
Green Tree News and Events .............................................
A Recipe for Health .......................................................................
Blankets Made with Love ..................................................
William Urbanek For more than 30 Years Keystone Oaks was His Passion .................. FEATURES
Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 3
Peanut Squares A Recipe for Health
Photos by Gary Yon
By Pamela Palongue eanut Squares are not a candy, but the name of a local square dancing club that oﬀers fun, stimulating mental activity and health benefits with every visit. The club meets every Tuesday night at St. Simon and Jude Church in Greentree for a lively dance and then gathers on Thursdays for lessons at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Mt. Lebanon. According to club President Sally Anderson, participants range in age from forty-somethings to those in their eighties; square dancing is an activity all ages can enjoy. “You don’t see many basketball players still playing ball in their 80’s,” points out Anderson, yet their club have many active individuals who attend every week. The club of about 50 was named for a former caller whose name was Charlie Brown. The dancers have varying levels of expertise, from beginners to veterans. Anderson herself has only been dancing for about six years. There are 100 diﬀerent calls, which
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are a series of steps shouted out by the caller. Although it takes about one year to learn all of the calls and be completely comfortable, Anderson says the learning process itself is "great fun" and the lessons are extremely helpful. Anderson first became interested in square dancing after she and her husband attended a hoedown several years ago which they thoroughly enjoyed. However, at the time they were raising their children and did not have time to pursue dancing on a regular basis. When her husband retired, they remembered the great time they had enjoyed at the hoedown and decided to take square dance lessons. “They say square dancing adds ten years to your life,” says Anderson — and she may have a point. she may have a point. Since new learning is instrumental in preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the patterns of stepping and reacting to the caller’s instructions help to keep the mind quick and alert. A lively and energetic activity, square dancing also gets the blood pumping to help keep the cardiovascular system up to par and is considered a low impact activity that does not jar bones and joints.
There are two diﬀerent levels of dance steps; “mainstream,” which are simple steps, and “plus,” which are more advanced. Despite the intricate stepping patterns, Anderson claims, “If you can walk, you can square dance.” There are no contorted body positions, flying leaps or overhead lifts. The movements are kept simple so that everyone is capable of performing the steps. The dances and lessons are also inexpensive for families on a budget; the $4 dance fee helps pay for the caller and refreshments. Lessons are also $4 per person and last about two hours. Dancers whirl to modern country, traditional western and lively bluegrass music. The caller sings the words to the music in between yelling out dance steps. The patterns are always changing as the caller changes the order of calls he makes randomly. Costumes worn by the dancers are fairly inexpensive as well. Although some women wear the short circle skirts with crinolines underneath to give the eﬀect of a short hoop-skirt, many wear prairie style skirts which are tealength or floor length and fall in tiers. The costumes can be bought at a square dance convention, custom made or purchased from a re-sale shop. The price for the outfits can be as inexpensive as $10 at a re-sale shop to $100 for specially-made garments. Men’s attire is a bit more mainstream with western style shirts that fasten with snaps rather than buttons, bolo or string ties and sometimes a vest. Anderson highly recommends square dancing for uplifting the spirit. “It’s impossible to dance and think about your troubles at the same time. You have to keep your mind on the steps. It really sharpens your mind and your body.” If you are interested in a great form of exercise that’s inexpensive and loads of fun, the Peanut Squares are always happy to see new faces. Contact Sally Anderson at 412.563.3428 for more information. Although couples are welcome, you are not required to have a partner to participate. Also, costumes are not worn for lessons.
Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 5
M I N A
B E L L E
For Mina Belle Packer Wichmann, music has A fifth generation Pittsburgher, Mina Belle grew up in Mt. Lebanon and attended Mt. Lebanon High School. It been a was here that her musical gifts really began to blossom and constant grow under the watchful and encouraging eye of Miss May music teacher and choir director. “We really had a companion Sneary, premier school system in Mt. Lebanon and because of on the Miss Sneary, I was able to accompany just about everyone on the piano,” saidWichmann. Sneary promoted Mina journey of Belle gave her the opportunity to accompany the her rather locallyandfamous “Triple Trio,” a group of nine female interesting vocalists. She also arranged for Mina Belle to play at two “In and About Pittsburgh” music festivals and the State life. Music Festival. These early successes fostered confidence in the young pianist and she enrolled in Westminster College in New Wilmington, PA, majoring in music performance. She was awarded a partial music scholarship by the South Hills College Club. But money was still tight, even with the scholarship, so Wichmann made ends meet by working as a waitress and playing the organ for services at a local church for $5 a week. The church must have been happy with her organ playing, because they raised her salary the next year to $7.50 per week, a 33% increase! Aftergraduating in 1951 she found employment at the Pennsylvania College for Women, (now Chatham), and worked as a secretary for a man named Russell Wichmann. Wichmann was head of the music department at PCW and the organist and director of music at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. The church's services were broadcast nationally over the radio, and Wichmann was well known as an organist in the sacred music genre. His expertise and experience made him a worthy advisor when it came to Mina Belle’s career direction. He advised her to pursue an advanced degree in music, and so in 1953 his young protégé found herself enrolled in Union Theological
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“I feel very grateful to my parents and teachers who saw something in my gifts and encouraged me all along the way,” notes Mina Belle. Seminary in New York City. She entered a two-year program to obtain her master’s of sacred music. After obtaining her master’s degree, Mina Belle worked as the director of a professional choir and was the organist at Brick Presbyterian Church on New York’s upper west side near Columbia University. In 1973 Yale University planned to establish an institute of sacred music and she was approached to help startthe program, which continues to this day. After six years as the assistant dean of music at Yale, Mina Belle’s life took yet another unexpected twist. Her old boss, Russell Wichmann, who had remained a professional friend through the years, reconnected with her. By this time, Wichmann’s four children were grown and his wife had died. This time, their relationship proved to be more than professional. After a whirlwind courtship, Mina Belle and Wichmann were married at the Brick
Presybterian Church in New York and then the pair came back to Pittsburgh where Wichmann continued to serve as the organist and director of music at Shadyside Presbyterian Church. These were some of the happiest years of Mina Belle’s life; however Wichmann passed away after only a little more than eight years of marriage. Mina Belle muses, “It was a wonderful thing for me because it gave me a family. Now I have these four wonderful children that are my stepchildren that I am so proud of.” These days the octogenarian resides at Providence Point in Scott Township. One of her fellow residents at Providence was coincidentally president of the South Hills College Club, the organization that awarded Mina Belle a music scholarship and started her musical education. Mina Belle’s home has a keyboard now because of space considerations, rather than the grand piano she once owned. She said
she randomly plays a song or two now and then, although it is for her own enjoyment since she does not play in public anymore. Music still plays a prominent role in her life; she volunteers volunteers regularly at the main branch of the Carnegie Library’s fine music collection. She has worked as a volunteer researcher for the past thirteen years cataloguing music and finding vocalists and musicians with local Pittsburgh connections. “I feel very grateful to my parents and teachers who saw something in my gifts and encouraged me all along the way,” notes Mina Belle. Music has been a lifelong gift that has blessed Mina Belle’s life and the lives of those who have enjoyed her music.
2011 DHS HOLIDAY PROJECT D
Gift Drop-off Sites Throughout ty Allegheny Coun
uring the month of November through the first week of December, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Holiday Project is accepting gift donations for children and youth receiving services from the Office of Children, Youth and Families, the county agency charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect. Through the generosity of community groups and individual donations, the DHS Holiday Project’s goal is to provide each child in need at least one meaningful gift during the holidays.
New, unwrapped gifts are needed for children and youth ranging from toddlers to 18 year olds. To meet this goal, DHS has partnered with businesses across the county to set up conveniently located donation drop-off sites this holiday season. Monetary donations are also welcome. Checks should be made payable to “DHS Donations Fund” with “Holiday Project” written in the memo line. Checks may be sent to the Event and Donations Team, Human Services Building, One Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
For a list of drop-off locations, collection dates and gift ideas, visit: www.alleghenycounty.us/dhs/holidayproject Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 7
8 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE Keystone Oaks
hildhood memories often include the recollection of mom tucking us in at night, wrapping us snugly in a nice, soft blanket to keep the winter chill away. A nice warm blanket just feels like love. And when you’re sick, that feeling of comfort and caring are even more vital. Darvina Emmerich would often find herself searching for blankets at the medical center for her husband James who was going through chemothera py. The treatment always seemed to leave him chilled to the bone. Often times when she found him one, there were other cancer patients nearby who were also freezing. Though James would pass away on Valentine’s Day 1997, Darvina wanted to do something to provide comfort to all cancer patients, even if just in a small way. In his memory, she founded Wrapped in Love, a non-profit organization which makes nosew flee ce tie blankets to give to cancer patients at no charge. Besides just providing simple warmth to the chronically cold patients, the blankets symbolize the love and caring of individuals for their fellow human beings who are suﬀering. “We are feeding the human spirit,” says the Scott Township resident. “Cancer research is great, but I wanted to do something that would help the patients now at the present moment.” Her organization, which was launched in March of 2011, delivers free blankets to the Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside, a hospice center and St. Clair Hospital in
Love By Pamela Palongue
Mt. Lebanon, Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, Jeﬀerson Memorial, Childrens Hospital and the newly opened Peters Township Out-Patient Care Center. Grateful patients are amazed that someone who doesn’t even know them wants to reach out and provide comfort to them while they are going through a diﬃcult time. The goal of Wrapped in Love is also to involve the entire community in making the blankets, which helps not only the cancer patients, but also the crafters of the blankets as well. Mt. Lebanon High School and Seton LaSalle High School are actively involved in making the blankets, as well as several ladies quilting groups. Her daught er Robin recently started a chapter in Austin, Texas. “The response has been tremendous. When people find out about what we do, they all want to help,” says Darvina, possibly because so many people’s lives have been touched by the disease. Greentree Printing has been making blankets for cancer patients and various charities one day each year for the past
ten years. This year at their 10th Annual Blanket Making Meeting on November 4, they donated all of their blankets to Wrapped in Love. “We were just so honored that they would do that for us,” says Emmerich. At this point, Wrapped in Love has been relying on community donations and the generous monetary donations of a few organizations such as the Women’s Guild of Upper St. Clair, the Airport Rotary Club and the Crafton Rotary Club. The 5th Annual Jeﬀ Mabon Mem orial Bike/Walk Event July 25 also benefitted the organization. Their gifts along with the combined eﬀorts of many volunteers have made the work possible. Two sisters who volunteer have managed to crochet around 60 afghans to give to patients. “The blankets are made with love to comfort all cancer patients. We’re all children at heart,” says Emmerich. The blankets are a tangible expression of support and good wil l.
If you are interested in volunteering either as an individual or as a group in making the blankets, please contact the organization at 412.983.7274 or visit their website at www.WrappedinLoveFoundation.com. No sewing skills are required. If you would like to make a donation to the work of the foundation, you may donate online or by mailing a check to: Wrapped in Love Foundation, PO Box 13486, Pittsburgh, PA 15243.
Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 9
Fred L. Aiken Elementary School named
National Blue Ribbon School In an announcement by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Fred L. Aiken Elementary School (Green Tree) of the Keystone Oaks School District, was named a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education, a distinction which recognizes it as one of the highest achieving public elementary schools nationwide. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools ba sed on one of two criteria: 1) Schools whose students are high performing. These are schools ranked among each state’s highest performing schools as measured by their performance on state assessments or, in the case of private schools, that score at the highest performance level on nationally normed tests; or 2) Schools with at least 40 percent of its students from disadvantaged backgrounds and that impro ve student performance to high levels as measured by state assessments or nationally-normed tests. Aiken was among the 255 public schools chosen nationally and just one of seven Pennsylvania schools selected because it is a high-performing school where many
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of its students achieve at high levels. The school also oﬀers small class sizes and an experienced and outstanding staﬀ. “The awards process is very sel ective, and I want to congratulate our students, faculty, staﬀ, and parents on this tremendous achievement,” said superintendent Dr. William Urbanek. Aiken joins Pleasant Valley Elementary School (McMurray, Pa.) of the Peters Township School District as the only area schools to earn the distinction this year. Keystone Oaks representatives traveled to Washington, D.C., in November to formally receive their award. A celebration was held at the school upon their return. “I have never been more proud of a group of students and staﬀ than I am today,” said Aiken Principal Bobbi Ann Barnes. “This award analyzes six years of data and it was a very long and complicated process. It is very rewarding to see it all come together in the form of this award and it is a tribute to a lot of hard work by a lot of people." A banner raising celebration took place Sept. 16, in front of the school. Featured speakers included Urbanek, Barnes and second grade teacher, Mrs. Sandy McCann.
ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON, DR. GREGORY FLINN HABIB
keeps people moving in the South Hills By Laura Lorenze Judge If you’ve happened to pass by 345 Mt. Lebanon Blvd. in Castle Shannon recently, you may have noticed the extraordinary renovation undertaken by Dr. Gregory Habib of Sports Medicine & Joint Replacement Specialists. “Were proud of our new home,” says the orthopedic surgeon. “We wanted to create an aesthetically pleasing facility that reflects our dedication to the area - one that also has the space and technology to accommodate our future growth. “ “My patients are like my extended family,” says the physician and South Hills native as several of his staﬀ members nod in agreement. “I want them to know that I am dedicated to their long term health. I have a personal investment in helping them lead active, healthy lives.” “It is this notion of overall health,” explains Habib with obviou s thought, “that I truly believe in. And as an orthopedic specialist,” he adds, “my specific job is to help people keep moving. If I can do that, I have contributed a large piece to the overall puzzle of continued health.” Whether he is helping the young athlete with an acute injury or repetitive strain, helping the “weekend warrior’” keep at it, or providing a new knee for an arthritic senior, Dr. Habi b’s goal is always the same: To optimize his patient’s ability to move as nature intended. As a former high school and college athlete himself, Dr. Habib has always had a firsthand interest in the body’s ability to perform optimally. In fact, it was a personal experience that led him to orthopedic medicine as a career. Having suﬀered a fairly extensive injury during his sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh, this former football running back was suddenly up close and personal with the world of orthopedics. “I was fascinated with the treatment and information I was receiving,” says Dr. Habib, “I knew then and there that this is what I wanted to study…what I wanted to dedicate my life to.” According to many of his long time friends and associates, it is this combination of a dedication to medicine, and an intrinsic love of people that has enabled Dr. Habib to set himself apart. “You can tell how much he really cares about your progress, “ adds patient Eleanor Mitrik, “that’s something you can’t teach.” “And now I get to work in a great space in an area of Pittsburgh that I love,” says Habib with pride. Having done his internship in Philadelphia and his residency in New York City, Habib returned to his beloved city in order to complete a noted fellowship with Allegheny General Hospital. Formerly with UPMC/Mercy, Dr. Habib now celebrates his third year in private
practice with oﬃces in both Castle Shannon and Greensburg. According to the physician, it has been an incredible journey so far with the highlight being the completion of the building. “It’s beautiful and functional, and I love getting to shar e it with my patients.” Dr. Gregory F. Habib specializes in both joint replacements and sports medicine, focusing on ailments and injuries (including arthritis) of the hip, knee, shoulder and other extremities. You can visit Sports Medicine & Joint Replacement Specialists at 345 Mt. Lebanon Blvd. in Castle Shannon for a consultation or simply to stop in and say hello. “We love getting to know our patients and thei r families, says Dr. Habib. “And,” he adds with a proud grin, “I’m always ready to chat about my four children whose job it is to keep me moving.”
Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 11
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Health and Wellness News You Can Use
BundleUp,Baby Remember how Mom made you bundle up before going outdoors in the winter so you wouldn’t get sick? She was right. So be sure you dress for the weather — and that means covering your head, ears, mouth, and hands. Turn to page 4 to learn why your ears, nose, and throat need extra care in winter.
© 2011 UPMC
UPMC Now Offers Imaging Services in West Mifflin
When Your Body Talks ... Be Sure to Listen
Make a Date with Your Doctor Three Cheers for Your Ears, Nose, and Throat
Technology for 21st Century Hospitals
Taking on Tourette Controlling a life in motion at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Changes Continue to Transform UPMC Mercy Emergency Dpeartment
UPMC Now Offers Imaging Services in West Mifflin For West Mifflin area residents, the new UPMC West Mifflin facility is bringing UPMC’s high quality care, including the latest in imaging technology, right to their doorstep. “We understand that not everyone can or wants to travel outside their community for treatment or a particular test,” says Stephanie Pankow, administrative director of UPMC West Mifflin. “Our communities and neighborhoods are at the heart of what makes Pittsburgh such a special place to live and work. Helping to keep them strong and healthy is important to us,” adds Ms. Pankow. Located at 1907 Lebanon Church Road in West Mifflin (near Century Square), the new facility is home to the UPMC Cancer Centers, Quest Diagnostics, and UPMC Imaging Services. The new facility also features comfortable and attractive waiting and testing areas, as well as free parking.
Onsite, subspecialty trained radiologists provide your doctor with fast, high-quality readings, important results your doctor uses in making an accurate diagnosis and crafting a treatment plan. “Physicians in the UPMC network can choose to get their patient’s imaging results electronically,” says Ms. Pankow.
“Our communities and neighborhoods are at the heart of what makes Pittsburgh such a special place to live and work. Helping to keep them strong and healthy is important to us.” — Stephanie Pankow
The care you need — close to home Whether your doctor suspects a broken pinky finger and wants a quick x-ray or your specialist has ordered a CT scan, MRI, or ultrasound, UPMC West Mifflin gives residents easy access to a wide range of imaging services.
“UPMC West Mifflin has the most advanced imaging technology available, including a state-of-the-art 64-slice CT scanner that is faster and offers more accurate images,” says Melissa Kovtun, executive director of Imaging Services. Imaging services available onsite include:
Moving the well-established UPMC Cancer Centers to the new UPMC West Mifflin location adds to patient convenience and comfort by making imaging services available nearby. “Patients can be assured that all of the center’s advanced cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment options still will be offered — just in a different location,” says Ms. Pankow. UPMC West Mifflin 1907 Lebanon Church Road West Mifflin, PA 15122 Imaging Services Phone: 412-653-8030 Hours of operation: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday by appointment UPMC Cancer Center Phone: 412-653-8100 Hours of operation: Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• MRI • CT • General/Vascular • General Radiology (including x-rays) • Ultrasound
For more information about UPMC West Mifflin, visit UPMC.com.
When Your BodyTalks…
Be Sure toListen Being attuned to changes in your body can help in the early detection and treatment of cancer and other serious medical problems Is your body trying to tell you something important? It can be an excellent communicator — if you pay careful attention to its symptoms. There are numerous warning symptoms for cancer, many of which also can point to other serious medical conditions. That’s why you should call your primary care physician (PCP) if you have any unusual or persistent symptoms lasting longer than two or three weeks, says Edward Chu, MD, chief of the Division of Hematology/ Oncology at UPMC and deputy director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. “The vast majority of patients will get a clean bill of health from their doctor,” says Dr. Chu. “But when it comes to cancer, time is often of the essence. Early detection can help keep cancer from spreading, allow for faster treatment, and improve your chances for recovery.”
Symptoms that reveal Most of us know to be on the lookout for such important cancer warning signs as a sore that does not heal; a thickening or lump in the breast, or other parts of the body; blood in the stool or urine; or changes in the size or color of a mole.
Dr. Chu says it’s also important to be aware of more generalized body changes (also known as constitutional symptoms) that can compromise your physical performance and overall well-being. By getting to know what’s typical for your own body, you’ll be better able to recognize unfamiliar changes when they occur. They can include: • Extreme tiredness (fatigue) • Unexplained weight loss (typically 10 pounds or more) or loss of appetite • Changes in how food tastes • Fever and chills • Night sweats • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing “These symptoms don’t necessarily mean you have cancer,” he emphasizes. “But if they linger or worsen, it’s important for your doctor to rule out — or treat — possible problems.” If you are interested in locating a PCP or specialist in your area, visit UPMC.com/FindADoctor or call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).
Did You Know? The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), based at the Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside, is the only National Cancer Institutedesignated Comprehensive Cancer Center in western Pennsylvania. Learn more about UPCI and its partnership with UPMC Cancer Centers at UPCI.UPMC.edu.
Cancer Screenings: Are they right for you? Another important tool in the early detection of cancer is screenings. “When combined with regular checkups with your family doctor or specialist, screenings like mammograms, PAP smears, and colorectal exams have proven to be invaluable in the fight against cancer,” says Eric Safyan, MD, of UPMC Cancer Center at UPMC Mercy. “Your personal and family medical history, risk factors, age, and other considerations will help your physician recommend the right tests — and frequency — for you.” To learn more about the programs and services at UPMC Cancer Center at UPMC Mercy, visit UPMCMercy.com.
Health Tips from UPMC Health Plan
Make a Date With Your Doctor You take your car to the mechanic for an annual inspection to be sure it’s running properly. So why aren’t you giving your body the same kind of attention? When you’re in good health, it’s easy to put off going to the doctor. But regular checkups can help you stay healthy, and avoid disease and disability. That’s why scheduling a physical is the one New Year’s resolution you should keep. “Your annual exam is the perfect time to talk with your doctor about illness prevention, healthy lifestyle choices, and any recommended screenings,” says Timothy Campbell, MD, of Campbell/Philbin Medical Associates PC and UPMC Mercy. “That information helps you and your doctor create a plan to maintain your health, or make changes to improve your health.” Building an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician (PCP) also means peace of mind. “There’s real value to being seen by someone who knows you and your health history — someone you trust to guide you through an illness or emergency,” adds Dr. Campbell.
Your exam checklist How can you make the most of your annual exam? Here are four things to do before you see the doctor:
1. Make a list of all medications you are taking Include all prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and supplements that you currently take, how often you take them, and why.
2. Update your family history Your family history can provide important clues about your risk for certain diseases, including diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.
3. Ask about health screenings Screenings can be important tools in preventing some illnesses and diseases. Get a list of recommended screenings and talk about them with your doctor.
4. Make a list of questions or health concerns Asking questions and sharing your concerns about health issues helps your doctor improve your care. One final piece of advice: Be honest. “Never be afraid or embarrassed to tell your doctor something,” adds Dr. Campbell. “What you don’t disclose could be important for your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis or prescribe the best treatment plan.”
Three Cheers for Your Ears, Nose, and Throat Winter is the season for sniffles, scratchy throats, and earaches — often all at once! And with good reason: our ears, nose, and throat all are connected and affect each other greatly. Otolaryngologists (also known as ear, nose, and throat doctors or ENTs) are physicians who specialize in caring for this complex, interrelated system. Test your ENT knowledge with this quick quiz:
Who gets earaches more often — children or adults? Nearly every child experiences at least one ear infection between infancy and the age of five — something weary parents know firsthand. Because children have shorter, straighter Eustachian tubes (which connect the nose to the ears), it’s easier for bacteria to migrate into their ears.
Why are you more likely to get a nosebleed in winter? The same heated indoor air that makes your home cozy in winter also can dehydrate the inside of your nose. It can become crusted or cracked, or can even bleed. A dry nose makes you more susceptible to germs, so exercise good nose care. Lightly coat the inside with petroleum jelly. Overthe-counter saline mists and sprays (not decongestants) also are helpful.
Will antibiotics cure laryngitis? Most cases of laryngitis are caused by viral infections that make the vocal cords swell — so antibiotics are ineffective. Your best course of action? Drink plenty of fluids, rest, and cut back on talking. Straining your voice when you have acute laryngitis can damage your vocal cords. Source: American Society of Otolaryngology
Technology for 21st Century Hospitals How technology is working to transform the quality of your care during hospitalization If you ever have to be hospitalized, you’ll certainly want to be cared for at a place that delivers quality health care using the latest technology available. That’s precisely what patients find when they are admitted to a UPMC hospital. “UPMC’s vision of quality is for every patient to receive the right care, at the right time, in the right way — every time,” says Tami Minnier, RN, and chief quality officer for UPMC. “Technology lets us serve patients more efficiently and accurately. Most of all, we’re able to give patients greater control of their health care.” Here are just two of the ways UPMC hospitals are delivering on that goal.
SmartRoom® technology brings it all to you Launched three years ago by UPMC in partnership with IBM, SmartRoom is an impressive technology. First used at UPMC Shadyside and UPMC Montefiore, it is gradually being introduced in other UPMC hospitals. All patient rooms at the new UPMC East will be equipped with SmartRoom technology. SmartRoom brings all essential data related to your care to your bedside. Its computerized software programs give caregivers fingertip access to all the information essential to your care — from your electronic medical records to the tests you’ll need that day.
The SmartRoom concept simplifies workflow and makes documentation of your care faster and easier. Each room has two screens: one for your caregivers, and another for you to access email, entertainment, and a vast library of patient education videos and information.
The right meds at the right time “It is our goal to make the hospitalization and discharge experience as stress-free as possible for our patients and their families,” says Jacqueline Dailey, UPMC’s vice president for Solutions for Medical Science, Research, and Patient Centered Accountable Care. “Not surprisingly, by the time patients leave the hospital, they’re often confused and overwhelmed by changes in their medications and how to take them.” “We begin when you’re admitted with an electronic assessment of your current medications and how they’re being taken,” explains Ms. Dailey. “As medications are adjusted or eliminated during your stay, this information is instantly available to all your physicians — from your family doctor to the specialists caring for you. That’s especially important if you transition from one level of care to another, such as intensive to acute care.” An added layer of safety: both a pharmacist and the nurse administering the medications verify any new medication orders from your doctors. Throughout your stay, you’ll receive comprehensive instructions on your medications. “We know that people learn in different ways, so this information will be shared multiple times and in multiple ways,” notes Ms. Dailey. “We also urge patients to contact their doctors for help with any questions they may have on their return home.”
Taking on Tourette Controlling a life in motion at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC That’s especially difficult for adolescents who want to fit in. Tics, such as throat clearing, turning, or shaking, also can cause pain.
Seven Barnishin was just 11, playing with action figures alone in his Pitcairn home, when the tics began — involuntary arm flicks, head jerks, and sounds. “I freaked. It seemed like something else was controlling me,” he says.
At the Tourette Syndrome Clinic, patients have access to a trio of experts: two pediatric neurologists with training in neurodevelopmental disorders, and an adult neurologist trained in movement disorders who provides transitional care for older teens.
Tom and Amy Barnishin first thought their son’s behavior was linked to the start of the school year and peer pressure. When symptoms grew worse, and other tics emerged, their doctor sent Seven to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC where he was officially diagnosed with Tourette syndrome (TS) in January 2009. “We were blindsided,” says Amy.
Be in the know about TS Treatment varies.While there’s no cure, medication sometimes helps control tics. Psychologists can teach habit reversal and relaxation techniques to help patients cope with stress and reduce symptoms. But the most important treatment is education, says Dr. Coffman. “That includes educating families, educators, and the general public about TS.”
Diagnosing Tourette syndrome TS is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting one in 100 people, says Keith Coffman, MD, a pediatric neurologist and co-director of the Tourette Syndrome Clinic, part of the Brain Care Institute at Children’s Hospital. Most cases are diagnosed between ages 3 and 12; the majority are boys. The main symptoms are sudden, repetitive, uncontrollable movements and sounds called tics, including throatclearing, sniffing, blinking, gestures, and head jerking. For a true TS diagnosis, tics must start before age 18, include two or more motor tics and at least one vocal tic, and last at least one year. Tics peak at the onset of puberty. Approximately 60 percent of children outgrow the tics, or the tics become so subtle only that person knows when they occur.
Did You Know? An estimated 200,000 Americans have TS, but misconceptions still surround the disorder. For example, TS is not an emotional or behavioral condition. It is an inherited neurodevelopmental disorder that causes abnormalities in the brain.
Coping with Tourette “People with TS cannot control their tics. They experience a sensation that makes them feel like they have to move — like having to sneeze,” Dr. Coffman says. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner children can benefit. Movements can interfere with school work. Children with TS often are bullied, teased, or viewed as being disruptive.
Other TS facts include: • TS patients have the same IQ range as the general population. • People in every walk of life, including professional musicians, athletes, authors, and scientists, have TS. • Less than 15 percent of TS patients swear or use inappropriate expressions.
“Knowledge is power. I’d be unnerved if I didn’t know what it was,” adds Seven, now age 14. Although he cycled through almost every tic, the movements and sounds have subsided with treatment. The Barnishins credit the team at Children’s for helping them understand TS, guiding them through treatment options, and providing support. “Children’s gave us answers and helped us gain control over an uncontrollable situation. Instead of being spectators, we were part of the process. That helped lower Seven’s anxiety, which helped ease the tics,” says Tom. To learn more about the Tourette Syndrome Clinic and the Movement Disorders Clinic at Children’s Hospital, visit chp.edu, choose Neurology as the service, then click the Clinics and Services button on the left.
Changes Continue to Transform UPMC Mercy Emergency Department Recently completed makeover cuts wait times with focus on care UPMC Mercy’s Emergency Department (ED) has put the finishing touches on a major expansion and renovation project with the opening of a new patient observation unit in December. Known as a Clinical Decision Unit (CDU), the 17-bed facility provides a special transitional area for patients — including those with chest pain, asthma, or abdominal pain — who need more time for treatment or testing before a decision is made to discharge or admit them. Patients will stay in the CDU while awaiting their test results, freeing up beds for other emergency and admitted patients, says Michael Turturro, MD, chief of Emergency Services at UPMC Mercy. “All of our ED improvements focus on enhancing the patient care experience. We’re treating patients more quickly, more efficiently, and more comfortably,” Dr. Turturro says.
Expanded capacity Before the 18-month expansion and renovation project began, the UPMC Mercy ED treated approximately 45,000 patients annually. Last year, the ED reported 70,000 patient visits. Now averaging nearly 200 patients a day, UPMC Mercy’s ED is on track to see at least 73,000 patients this year. The new ED, with 36 beds, also has created more capacity by improving its efficiency. “But no matter how many rooms or beds we add, there are always challenges,” says Valerie Krasneski-Schreiber, RN, BSN, MS, unit director of UPMC Mercy’s ED. “Our top priority is to deliver safe patient care quickly and more efficiently.”
New Super Track: Quick assessments and streamlined care Key to achieving that goal is a redesigned reception area staffed by a clinical nurse who makes quick assessments and assigns patients to one of three levels of emergency care. Dr. Turturro says ED patients now move from the reception area to a treatment room within an average of 10 minutes of arrival.
In addition, the Mercy ED’s innovative new Super Track concept offers speedy care for patients with minor injuries and illnesses needing less urgent care — moving them through treatment to discharge in under an hour. “With Super Track, our goal is to ensure that patients who come to the ED with minor injuries and illnesses quickly get back to their lives after receiving prompt, comprehensive care,” says Tom Gronow, MHA, vice president of operations at UPMC Mercy.
Faster lab results Another important ED upgrade is the addition of a mini-lab providing critical point-of-care-testing for ED patients. That means faster urine tests, rapid strep, blood analysis, and other key tests that can speed up treatment. “Having test results in minutes absolutely makes a difference,” says Ms. Krasneski-Schreiber. “In stroke patients, for example, time is of the essence. We need vital information to make the right decisions and act quickly.” Other ED improvements include: • Thirty-six newly renovated treatment bays • Two new state-of-the-art trauma resuscitation bays for treating the most acutely injured patients • A new 128-slice CT scanner offering the latest imaging technology with faster scanning capability • An expanded and modernized patient and family reception area (featuring stained glass panels from the original Mercy Hospital chapel) • Wireless Internet access and flat-screen TVs To learn more about UPMC Mercy and its ED services, visit UPMCMercy.com.
UPMC Mercy 1400 Locust St. Pittsburgh, PA 15219
UPMC Today is published quarterly to provide you with health and wellness information and classes and events available at UPMC. This publication is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice or replace a physicianâ€™s medical assessment. Always consult first with your physician about anything related to your personal health.
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GREEN TREE NEWS AND EVENTS ★ ★ GREEN TREE NEWS AND EVENTS ★ NOTICE FROM THE GREEN TREE POLICE DEPARTMENT Please be advised that on Wednesday, November 16, 2011, two (2) males requested entry to a home in Green Tree to “check the water pressure”. Luckily the residents asked them to leave and contacted the Green Tree Police Department. The males were seen operating a smaller 4-doored white vehicle. Three (3) males were seen leaving in the vehicle. These types of scams ha ve occurred in area communities in the past and the actors usually target the elderly and the scam works like this: Two actors approach your house and tell you that they are from the water department and need to check your meter or the pressure flow of your facets. They usually ask you to accompany one of them into the basement or another level of your house as the other stands by. While you are with the one , the other goes through your rooms and belongings taking valuables, this is not discovered until well after the actors have gone. They could also ask you to come outside. To help prevent this scam from occurring, please keep the following in mind: • Water department employees will have a photo ID on them, so ask to see their ID. • Water employees are usually in some type of uniform, blue pants with a light blue shirt. Look
for a uniform along with the ID. • If coming in to check meters, they usually will have a hand held meter reading device, although a great many reading units are now placed on the outside for easy access. N EVER ALLOW ANYONE UNKNOWN TO YOU TO ENTER YOUR HOME WITHOUT PROPER ID. DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL 9-1-1 IF YOU SEE ANY SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY.
GREEN TREE’S 6TH ANNUAL SNOWMAN CONTEST Submit photos of your snowman to www.greentreeboro.com Entries accepted until March 17th Enter as many times and as many diﬀerent smowmen as you would like from the first snowfall of the 2011 season through March 17th. Catagories include Most Traditional, Most Unique and Tallest. Send your entries electronically via the snowman contest entry page at www.greentreeboro.com or mail your entries to Green Tree Snowman Contest, 10 West Manilla Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15220. MAILED PHOTOS WILL NOT
BE RETURNED. Judging by independent panel. CONTEST ENTRIES ARE FOR GREEN TREE RESIDENTS ONLY. WINNERS RECEIVE $100 GIFT CARD
SCRAPBOOKING DAYS ARE BACK! Get out your calendars and mark the following day for scrapbooking! Hope you can make it and don’t forget to bring a friend or two. Bring your own supplies and snacks and we’ll be sure to have a great time catching up on our favorite hobby! When: January 15, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. A $5 donation to the GREEN TREE WOMEN’S CLUB to support Operation Shoebox is greatly appreciated! Hope to see you there! Contact Maureen at 412.344.4574 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further details or any questions. Sponsored by the Green Tree Woman’s Civic Club.
BOY SCOUT TROOP 28 SELLING LUMINARIA Troop 28 is selling luminaria this year as a Boy Scout Fundraiser. Kits are still available while supplies last. One luminaria kit has enough sand, white paper bags and candles to create 10
1516 Grandin Ave $ ! "'% $ & ! ) & ) ! $"" )) '$! & '%& " &" %' ) + "$ "!& $ ! "" %" '& "( ! "! & "! $ & $ ! $ & $ $186,500
3241 Eastmont Ave "& $ !"( & "!% ! & % "( $% , %& '& " "! " )& " &" ! ) & "'!& $% & % '$! ) ! )) " &" '% ! ! ) !% $ 177,500
$ $ & $ '%& $ !& & #' & ! "'&
2964 Espy Ave '# * ! * !& "! & "! '# & & $"' "'& ! & ! '$! % & ) ! ")% "$ "'% $ ) ""$% )"" )"$ $& #"$ % " &" %' ) + ! '% ! "! $&+ ) &" % "#% & "&" ! & & $167,500
BOB DIN I 412-833-7700 x209
I live here. I play here. I work here.
Selling hundreds of properties, with over $20 Million in sales since 1989 in the Keystone Oaks school district.”
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LIBRARY BRICK SALES TO END IN 2012 Buy your honor or memorial brick at Green Tree Public Library before time runs out! For nearly a decade, the library has been building up its impressive wall of bricks in the first floor lobby of the Municipal Center. However, due to space limitations and the rising cost of production, the library will no longer be accepting brick orders after December 30th (or once all bricks have been sold). Currently there are seventeen 8” x 4” bricks available for purchase at $50 each and three 8” x 8” bricks available for purchase at $500 each. All proceeds benefit the library. Brick order forms may be obtained at the library fr ont desk or by visiting www.greentreelibrary.org and clicking on the “Make A Contribution” link.
NURSERY SCHOOL AT KEYSTONE OAKS HIGH SCHOOL SPRING SESSION Conducted by the Child Care classes We normally have a 1-1 ratio of high school student to nursery school child so children receive individual attention. All ‘lessons’ taught by the
high school students relate to a weekly topic. Examples of lessons are: Calendar, Pledge of Allegiance, Art, Story, Math/Science, Game, Alphabet, etc. Age: 3 1/2 to 5 years (not in Kindergarten) (16 children* maximum per class) Time**: 8:50-10:15 a.m. or 12:20 – 1:45 p.m. When: Feb. 13 – May 23, 2011, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Fee: $35 (includes snacks and supplies) Length: 12 Week Session (following the district calendar) Applications are available at each Elementary School office or by calling Mrs. Dayka, Family and Consumer Science teacher, Keystone Oaks High School, at 412.571.6088, Dayka@kosd.org *District children have first priority, others accepted as openings permit. **Time requests cannot be guaranteed.
ATTENTION ALL SCRAPBOOKERS AND CRAFTERS! Girl Scout Troop 51531 is hosting a scrapbooking event. Please join us a full day of
crafts while the girls raise money for their trip to Savannah Georgia so they can explore the birthplace of Girl Scouting and celebrate the 100th Birthday! Mark your calendar for this very special event! When: January 14, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Where: The Green Tree Fire Hall Cost: $35 if registered before January 31”, $40 for late registrants Costs include: Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks; table space for crafting; Chinese Auction; gift bag; assistance unloadi ng and loading your stuﬀ and time to spend on your favorite craft! Circuits and cartridges will be available for use, must use your own mat. Cutting mats will be available for sale. Early Bird Special: Set up on Friday evening 6 to 10 p.m. for a $5 donation Extended Stay: Leave your stuﬀ behind and join us Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for $5. These profits will be donated to the Green Tree Women’s Club. Space is limited. C omplete and return your registration form today! Download a copy at: www.greentreeboro.com/girlscouts.htm
The Best Holidays are Safe Holidays By Pamela Palongue No one wants their holiday spoiled by an accident, fire or tragedy. The following tips will help keep your holiday bright and full of cheer. Never mount lights with nails or tacks which may damage the wire insulation inside. Thread the light strings through hooks or insulated staples. Before hanging lights outdoors, make sure they are certified for outdoor use. If you have small childre n or pets, it’s best to avoid breakable ornaments altogether. Make sure all ornaments are hung high enough on the tree to be free from the reach of small children. Check to make sure that your artificial Christmas tree is fireresistant. If you are buying a real tree, choose one that is fresh by checking the needles to make sure they are pliable and not brittle. Choose a place for the tree that is a safe distance from radiators, fireplaces and space heaters. Be sure to put plenty of water in the tree stand to keep the tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard. Marc Rasschaert of Landmarc Products.com has invented a Smart Tree Keeper watering device which plays “Jingle Bells” when the tree becomes low on water. Rasschaert says, “A watered tree is the safest tree.” Never use electric lights on a metallic tree as the branches can become electrically charged if the lights are faulty. Avoid Christmas decorations that resemble candy or food, since small children may try to eat or swallow them.
Remember that poinsettias are poisonous when ingested, so avoid decorating with them if pets or small children will be attending your celebration. Never burn wrapping paper in the fireplace. The wrapping paper burns intensely and can cause flash fires which have the potential to destroy a home. If you are using any ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction such as nuts or seafood, be sure to let your guests know before they eat the dressing with the oysters. Although it’s tempting to abandon the kitchen to hang out with your guests, unattended cooking accounts for a majority of home fires in the U.S. during the h olidays. Keep an eye on the mulled cider. Finally, test your smoke detectors to make sure that they are all working properly. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday celebration!
Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 23
For More Than
30 Years, Keystone Oaks Was His Passion by Amanda S.F. Hartle As a child, William Urbanek wanted to be a weatherman. “I was fascinated by clouds and thought it would be a neat job,” he said. He may not have become a weatherman, but Urbanek knows Keystone Oaks School District the same way a weatherman knows the Pittsburgh forecast; for almost every year since he was a child, Urbanek has been a fixture at the school. Since 1978, Urbanek has served as a middle and high school English teacher, elementary and secondary school guidance counselor, elementary and secondary school psychologist, assistant high school principal, elementary school principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent while acquiring at least 12 advanced degrees and certifications. But that all changed in early December as the lifetime golden eagle flew into retirement after 36 years. “Keystone Oaks was a great place to get an education and it’s been a wonderful place to spend a career,” said Urbanek. His first career stop in the district was as a middle school English teacher, and on the memorable day, he backed into a fellow teacher’s car. “I hadn’t even been in the building yet," he laughs, as he tells how he found the vehicle’s owner in the classroom next to his. “I told him I hit his car and he asked if I wanted to coach football. He was paying no attention to the fact that I’d just backed into his car.” He left the room as a coach and was never asked to pay for the repairs. After his rough start, Urbanek says that he worked hard to show his now fellow teachers that their work on him as a student
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had not been wasted. “The pressure was on to not let them down. I was a product of them. I worked harder and ran a little faster to show them what they had done. I wanted them to be pleased.” He spent nine years teaching English in the middle and high schools before his next career stop came calling. “I started to notice that the students were comfortable with me. They would come up and talk to me about problems with their boyfriends or girlfriends, and if they were having problems at home I would listen.” Guidance counselor was his logical next step when he realized his talent for listening combined with his aptitude for working with under-performing students would serve him well in the position. Though he planned on obtaining his master’s of guidance and counseling with a secondary certification at Duquesne University, he found himself getting a dual certification to work with students at the elementary level too. It was a fortuitous decision, as district administrators felt the best fit for him was an open guidance counselor position at Vernridge Elementary and, later, Myrtle Elementary. “On Friday, I was teaching Shakespeare to freshman, and on Monday, I was walking down an elementary school hallway with these tiny, little children gripping their stuﬀed Pound Puppies.” A few years later, he found himself acquiring another certification as a school psychologist, so he could listen and refer
students for the help they needed in one step. From the elementary level, he transferred to the high school guidance oﬃce where he realized that as an administrator he could help even more students. This mindset, a staple throughout his career, greatly aﬀected his work as superintendent with the student body. “Everything the student senate has asked of Dr. Urbanek, he has gotten done for us,” said Matt Hoey, student senate president. “He listens well and has taken our thoughts and concerns into consideration and I appreciate that about him.” Already knowing he excelled at listening, he returned to Duquesne University yet again and obtained his principal certification in both elementary and secondary levels. He went on a few interviews outside Keystone Oaks, but before he knew it he was the high school assistant principal after a recommendation by the school’s leader. This pattern of recommendations continued at his next post when he got a call from Aiken Elementary School’s principal stating he was selecting Urbanek as his successor. He headed Aiken for two years, and while there, a colleague recommended he pursue his doctorate. “I told him all the doctors I knew were eggheads. All they talked about was theory, theory and more theory. He told me that I could be the anti-doctor. I thought about it and decided I could to that. I would be more of a practitioner.” He was later named assistant superintendent and then superintendent in 2005. “As a superintendent, you are looking for and being an advocate for every student and teacher.” And during his tenure, he decided to take inspiration from people who had aﬀected him throughout his career like former superintendent Jack Black, who would meet with him and discuss where
Urbanek’s career was headed. ‘“I had no idea what a superintendent did at that time. All I knew was this busy guy was taking time out to meet with me and that made an impression on me.” Black also presented a calm demeanor and never showed his frustration — a trait some say Urbanek also shares — and at least one of Black’s ideas found its way into Urbanek’s leadership style. “One year, in my paycheck, he had placed a holiday poem in with our paychecks. It was just a few stanzas, but it let me know that my big boss was taking care of me.” He remembered that tradition and has made sure fellow district employees get a letter wishing them a happy holiday season each year. “It all came from that one little letter.” He also credits his Keystone Oaks teachers and his colleagues in helping make him a success. “I became a teacher because of the teachers I had here. They got me excited about things I normally wouldn’t have been excited about. “My career was all due to things people saw in me. I’ve been able to use all my certifications and degrees because people believed in me.” Just as people believed in him, Urbanek believes in Keystone Oaks, according to Gwen Walker, Keystone Oaks’ director of fiscal services. “With Dr. Urbanek's retirement, (Keystone Oaks) not only loses an exceptional leader but also its most ardent champion. It has been a privilege to work
with and for someone who genuinely believes that we owe it to the children to do the best job we can do every day. He will truly be missed by the Keystone Oaks family. ” And as he travels, pursues collegiatelevel teaching opportunities and works on his memoir and advice book tentatively titled Beyond the Bells: What Really Happens After the Classroom Doors Close, he’ll miss Keystone Oaks, too. “I will always check scores. I will be here for the musical. I want to see Keystone Oaks do well.”
Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 25
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Five Loaves and Two Fishes By Pamela Palongue Two years ago, Pastor Annette Bolds stood before her congregation at Dormont United Methodist Church and spoke of a need to help the people of the community facing economic hardship. She did not have to wait long for an answer to her appeal; following the service which was held on Scout Sunday, two scout leaders came forward to start a ministry to provide a meal for free to those facing economic hardship. The Community Outreach Ministry at Dormont United Methodist Church works together with Boy Scout Troop 23 and Cub Scout Pack 870 to oﬀer a dinner the third Thursday of every month for hungry people. The meal is free, although donations are accepted if a person is able to contribute. According to Bolds, the meal varies according to what donations they receive. Breadworks has consistently donated the bread for the event every week since it began. Individuals in the community have donated food items and then the meal has been planned around the provisions. In the past they have served up stew, grilled hamburgers, ham and hot dogs. Program coordinators have learned to trust in Divine Providence. “We have no money,” said Bolds. “The seed money from the grant I wrote two years ago is gone. There have been many times we wondered how we were going to provide the dinner, but someone always comes forward and donates at the last minute to make it possible.” The leaders of the scout troops work together to prepare the meal. Then the cub scouts and boy scouts, decked out in their scouting uniforms, serve the meal to the diners. A main focus of the
dinner is fellowship and Bolds and the staﬀ make a point to visit the diﬀerent tables and talk with the attendees. “This was a priority from the beginning because we want to get to know the people in our area,” said Bolds. There is little doubt that Dormont and the surrounding area has been hit hard by unemployment in recent years. Many people in the area are either unemployed or underemployed. “A lot of the poor in our area are seniors,” said Bolds, “they have too much month and not enough money.” Fixed incomes combined with costly pharmaceuticals and health problems can contribute to an insuﬃcient income. Many of the disadvantaged people that Bolds sees are families with small children. Recently Bolds accompanied a young family to court to plead with the landlord to keep them from being evicted. The mother was pregnant and the father had been laid oﬀ and their rent was two months behind. Sadly, the landlord did not acquiesce, and they were evicted shortly thereafter. The couple was forced to move into a home with relatives who were also unemployed and already had too many persons living under one roof. Their plight is just a sampling of the hardships that Bolds witnesses every day and the ministry is trying to help. In addition to the community dinner oﬀered each month, the Community Outreach is also forming a support group for the unemployed to oﬀer emotional support and help with writing
If you would be interesting in donating or volunteering your time to this worthwhile ministry to help local people in economic hardship, you may contact their office at 412.531.9055. For more information on Dormonth United Methodist Church or their ministries, you may visit their website at www.gbgm-umc.org.
resumes, basic computer skills such as searching job databases, uploading resumes and filling out online applications. They are currently in need of volunteer instructors to help with this ministry. Another new ministry that will begin soon is the After School Program. The nursery of the church is currently being transformed into an activities room for local kids in grade 5 through 8, which will help the children with their homework and will provide educational enrichment. This will provide a safe haven for children to come and receive encouragement and support. All ministries need money to survive, so with this in mind, Dormont United Methodist will be oﬀering a meal of soup, salad and an entrée the second Thursday of every month, beginning Dec. 8 There will be a modest charge for the meal since it will serve as a fundraiser to help support their programs. The Community Outreach program needs volunteers to teach basic computer and job hunting skills, food donations for their free monthly dinners and monetary donations as well.
Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 27
New Earned Income Tax Procedures Leave the Collecting to Employers BY AMANDA S.F. HARTLE
or as long as some Pennsylvania residents can remember they have sat down four times a year and filled out a small postcard. This small postcard asked you to list your wages, calculate approximately 1 percent of your earnings and mail a check to your local earned income tax collector in your community municipal building. This small postcard asked you to list your wages, calculate approximately 1 percent of your earnings and mail a check to your local earned income tax collector in your community municipal building. But in 2012, every taxpayer in Castle Shannon, Dormont and Green Tree boroughs can cross one more chore of their to do list thanks to a new, state mandate. Beginning Jan. 1, all employers who have work sites in the commonwealth are required by Act 32 of 2008 to withhold all earned income taxes from every employee. And all employees have to do is make sure they have filed out a residency certification form. “The legislation aﬀects every single municipality and school district in Pennsylvania,” says Mitch Hoﬀman, local government policy manager at the state Department of Community and Economic Development. “That in itself is huge. In addition, it also aﬀects every single taxpayer and every single business that operates in Pennsylvania.”
Anyone who works in the state pays on average a 1 percent tax four times a year. Some townships, boroughs and school districts tax a bit higher and some a bit lower. And to pay their bill, an employer could withhold the tax from an employee’s pay or the employee themselves could calculate their tax and send it to their local earned income tax collector. But from the start, issues arose. Pennsylvania has one of the highest numbers of local municipalities in the country, and at one point, there were up to 560 diﬀerent earned income tax oﬃces in the state, says Hoﬀman. “It was very fractured and very convoluted. There was no consistency in collections. No consistency in annual returns and no consistency in
In the Beginning Earned income taxes have been a fixture in Pennsylvania since 1965. At the time, state lawmakers imposed the levy to allow local entities such as school districts and municipalities to raise more funds. “It provided an avenue for local taxing bodies to impose a tax to help fund their operating costs, and it was only imposed on people who actually had earned income not those who were retired or were not working,” says Hoﬀman. Earned income tax is unique to Pennsylvania. Neighboring states have a similar structures in place, but they are not identical. In theory, the tax is simple.
transfer of records from one tax collector to another.” Confusion about where to send taxes also abounded for companies that are headquartered out of state but have a plethora of work sites and thousands of employees in Pennsylvania. “Many of these companies did withhold the tax, but with so many diﬀerent collectors it was diﬃcult for them to comply with all the expectations,” says Hoﬀman. The cumbersome structure also was not attractive to new businesses endeavors as it created one more regulation interested companies had to comply with when they opened a site in Pennsylvania. Within decades, people started to question the structure used to collect earned income tax.
A New Way By 2002, various organizations sought change and restructuring. Their pleas were supported by a study commissioned by the Pennsylvania Economy League among other entities. The study found that millions of dollars across the state
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information matches to a municipality specific code ensuring the tax dollars are automatically withheld and end up at the correct tax collector. Throughout Pennsylvania except in Allegheny County, earned income tax collector positions were eliminated or altered as taxes will go to a county level tax collector chosen by a tax collection district made up of representatives from every municipality and school district in the specific county. In Allegheny County, four collection districts were chosen to better serve the area’s unique demographics, says Hoﬀman. “The four collection districts are separated by the rivers. Allegheny County is diﬀerent than anywhere else in the state due to its diverse populations and number of corporations.”
were not being accounted for correctly and millions of potential tax dollars were not being collected at all. The actual amount always remained uncertain, says Hoﬀman. “I talk to employers every day who have had work sites in Pennsylvania for years and have never collected the tax. We are not just dealing with Pennsylvania businesses though, this hits businesses across North America.” Change was slow to come, but in 2008, state lawmakers passed Act 32 and its eﬀects were so far reaching it gave local municipalities and school districts three years to implement its regulations. Under the new law, the burden related to the tax has shifted from employees to their employers. Every employer in Pennsylvania is required to have each employee fill out a one page local earned income tax residency certification form by year’s end. On the form, employees list their address, municipality and county of residence. This
In addition to the more centralized structure, the law has other oversight and accountability features. There are explicit time frames set out for the distribution of dollars as well as training and certification for all tax oﬃcers. There also are penalties for late payments and annual auditing, says Hoﬀman. “All of these are built in to guarantee the amount of monies being collected are collected properly, remitted properly and distributed properly.” Filing returns also will be more uniform throughout the state. “Some local returns were several pages, some half a page and some had none at all. Now there is a standard form for all of Pennsylvania and all the tax collectors are required to use it. We now have consistency.” Dormont Borough Manager Gino Rizza expects the positive outcomes predicted to come to fruition in time. “Hopefully it is a positive thing for the Borough of Dormont. Right oﬀ the bat, it may not run smoothly as with anything that is new. I’m hoping in 2013 we’ll see an increase.” Due to this uncertainty, he has budgeted his revenues from the tax for 2012 as $760,000 - approximately the same as 2011. Dormont already used an outside vendor to collect earned income taxes and Rizza doesn’t foresee a diﬃcult transition to Jordan Tax Service, Allegheny County’s southwest region tax collector. “We are 42 percent rental. Sometimes the renters move on and it is hard to track them. Now, they’ll be paying their earned income tax at the same time as they are paying their other taxes.”
Keystone Oaks | Winter 2011 | incommunitymagazines.com 29
n o o m y Hone
Romance at a price you can afford
hen it comes to making travel plans, there’s probably no trip that will be more meaningful to you than your honeymoon. Making memories that last a lifetime at this special time in your life shouldn’t be done on a whim. It takes forethought and planning to make a honeymoon a romantic getaway. Anything less, could leave you high, dry, and searching for alternatives that may cause your first bout of marital stress. The best way to start is by setting a budget. Once you’ve determined how much you can aﬀord, you will know if New Zealand, Hawaii or Florida is in your future –and all three have spectacular beaches, resorts and amenities for you to enjoy. If you’re not a surf and sun couple, we can certainly help you find the right package for you.
Aman Resort in Bali, and the Hotel Cipriani and Palazza Vendramin in Venice are common names known for their over-the-top service and movie-set grandeur. Trips such as these can easily start in the $10,000 range and escalate in price from there. However, for those who can aﬀord it, there’s no price tag to be placed on the memories you’ll bring back with you and the experiences you have at these resorts.
While we may not all have $10,000 or more to spend on a honeymoon, most couples will splurge on this trip more than any other future vacation because of the gift money from the If money is no object, first, we congratulate wedding, and the fact that you on your good fortune! The destinations open to you include it’s a once-in-a-lifetime celebration. So if you’re in Hawaii, the South the $5,000 to $10,000 Pacific and the French Riviera. Luxurious resorts range, you’re still going to find great resorts in Hawaii and the Caribbean. The Meridian Club in Turks and such as the Mauna Lani Caicos, Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands, and the Hotel in Kona, Hawaii, the
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Four Seasons on Nevi or Sandy Lane in Barbados are a few that come to mind. While not all-inclusive, you will still find great sunsets, gourmet cuisine and beachfront property you won’t find anywhere else.
The Popular Honeymoon
In the $3,000 to $5,000 range, honeymooners can find all-inclusive, luxury resorts in the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera Maya. Sandals has numerous resorts in the region, with private beaches, pristine water, and myriad activities to keep you busy when you’re ready to pick up your beach towel and find the nightlife.
The Affordable Honeymoon
If you’re willing to plan around sales and travel around the resorts’ oﬀ-peak seasons, you can still find your perfect honeymoon on the beaches of Mexico while keeping some money in the bank for your first mortgage. Having a travel agent can help you na vigate the resorts and figure out how to save money the most. With their help, you can still find many four- and five-star resorts at aﬀordable rates, as well as reasonable airfare to those destinations. Your travel agent has up-to-the-minute rates and dates the world over, not just on the beachfront, so call them if you’re considering Europe, mountain retreats or a trip to the Big Apple. Chances are, they’ ll be worth their weight in aspirin when it comes to the headaches you’ll avoid, and your honeymoon will be a trip you’ll want to take again and again.
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Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. It would seem reasonable that with millions of sperm and only one egg that the majority of infertility problems would lie with the female. Not true, according to the National Library of Medicine which tracks national statistics kept by fertility clinics. Difficulties with fertility are evenly split, with the source of fertility problems being linked to the male one third of the time and the female also having difficulties one third of the time. The final third is a mixture of situations where both parties have infertility issues and those cases where the cause is indeterminate. The good news is that there is hope for males who wish to start a family. Director of Male Reproductive Medicine Surgery at UPMC, Thomas Jaffe, MD, an urologist, offers a hopeful perspective for males experiencing difficulties with reproductive issues. “Because of many technologies and treatments, many men who previously had no hope of fathering a child now have treatment options that can be [effective.]” One important advancement in reproductive research is a relatively new diagnostic test called the DAZ test. The DAZ test detects a genetic mutation in the Y chromosome for sperm production.
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This test is ordered when sperm production is unusually low. Another important factor in analyzing the quality of the sperm is its motility or movement. Generally, sperm with greater motility are able to more easily fertilize an egg. One common problem among men with fertility issues is type 1 or juvenile onset diabetes. Individuals with diabetes may experience what’s called retrograde ejaculation. Simply put, this is when the bladder stays open with ejaculatory fluids washing back into the bladder rather than exiting the body as with normal functioning. “This problem can be treated with Sudafed which helps the bladder to stay closed during ejaculation,” explains Dr. Jaffe. Retrograde ejaculation can also be a problem with spinal cord injuries, nerve damage or certain medications that contain alpha blockers such as high blood pressure medications. Another problem Dr. Jaffe sees among his patients are men who have little to no sperm production. “Even with no sperm, we have found that these men still produce limited numbers of sperm within the tissues of the testicles.” This sperm can be extracted from the tissue and remains viable to fertilize an egg.
One of the most common problems associated with male infertility is when an enlargement of a vein in the scrotum forms. These veins are specially equipped with one-way valves which insure that blood flows upward. When these veins become compressed, they crush the gonadal vein and heat and toxins build up in the scrotum inhibiting healthy sperm production. The vein can be surgically repaired however to promote normal function with increased sperm production and better quality with sperm motility increased. Finally, male cancer patients may experience fertility problems due to chemotherapy and radiation treatments. “Ideally ,we [harvest] sperm prior to treatment. We work with the Pittsburgh Cryobank to store the sperm until needed,” explains Dr. Jaffe. Although no treatment is an absolute guarantee, male infertility can often times be overcome with the right evaluation and treatment. For more information about Dr. Jaffe and treatment of male infertility, call 412.692.4100.
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