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A Barn-Burner! Sharon vs. Mercer Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale Formation Reveling in History: 10th Annual Pioneer Frolic

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

FROM THE PUBLISHER Welcome to the summer issue of IN Mercer County magazine. This year, it seems summer started in early March. However, the warm days have given people a reason to get outside early and often. Bulbs are blooming earlier and joggers are out in force. So I hope you’ve had a chance to get out there and take advantage of the early summer, and while you’re at it, let us know what you’re up to. We try to feature as much local content as we can in each issue and hope that you enjoy that content. Now, we want to get even more local and ask you directly for your stories in each issue. These features don’t have to be about you or someone you know doing something extraordinary like climbing Mt. Everest or swimming the English Channel. We want to know what makes our readers tick. It could be that you’ve always wanted a classic Thunderbird and have been restoring one for the past few years. We’d like to see it, and I’m sure others would too. So let’s start off with that, since we’re coming into car cruise season: If you or someone you know has a pretty interesting restoration project going on in their garage, let us know! Email our editor, Pamela Palongue, at p.palongue@ or call us at 724.942.0940. We’ll be happy to hear your story and may even send one of our photographers out to capture your work for the next issue. Keep in mind, the project doesn’t necessarily need to be current – if you’ve been cruising in your restoration project for some time now, that’s okay, too. But we’d like to know what you did at the nuts and bolts level to get your baby roadworthy. If you’re just not sure one way or the other if you think you have a good story, call Pamela and she’ll be happy to help you out! Looking forward to seeing some whitewalls and chrome in the fall issue! Have a great summer! Wayne Dollard, Publisher

Do you have a classic car that you’ve restored? If so, we’d like to hear about it. Email your name and contact information to

Fall content deadline: 8/23/12

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IN Mercer County is a non-partisan community publication dedicated to representing, encouraging and promoting the Mercer County 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 Mercer County | SUMMER 2012 |



Grove City YMCA “Time to Grow” Campaign .................... | 7 ON THE COVER


The Region 2 conference game between the Sharon and Mercer high school girls softball teams proved to be a real nail-biter. See story on page 26.

Dick Stevenson Get to Know Your State Representative ... | 24

Reveling in History: 10th Annual Pioneer Frolic ..................... | 28

Lakeview Area Public Library .... | 32 Real Estate ...................................... | 31 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT 32




Contemporary Motorcar, Ltd. ... | 5 Cover photo by Jason Kapusta

UPMC Today | Health and Wellness News ..................................... | 13 The Candy Kingdom Daffin’s in Sharon Houses a Magical Kingdom ............................................ | 22

Notes from the Past Helen Black Miller Chapel Resonates with Courtly Music .......................... | 25

A Barn-Burner! Sharon vs. Mercer ........................................... | 26 FEATURES

Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale Formation .................................................... | 9 A Modern Mountain Man Gets Back to Basics ................ | 10 WE WANT TO COVER YOU! Do you have an event coming up that you’d like to publicize? Do you have an event that you want us to cover? Let us know! Go to www.incommunitymagazines. com/events and fill out the form. Events will be announced in the upcoming issue. If our deadlines don’t match yours, we may decide to send our photographers to cover the event for an upcoming issue. We’re looking for fundraisers, charity drives, social functions, class reunions, church festivals, awards presentations and more! If you’re not sure you have an event worth featuring, give us a call at 724.942.0940 and we’ll help you out!

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LUCKY13 for Area Businesses

Thirteen was a lucky number for vendors and patrons who visited the 13th Annual Grove City Trade Show March 3. The event was held at Grove City College and was attended by approximately 4,000 people with over 125 vendors displaying their products and services for the local community. Hosted by the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce, the trade show featured a $2,000 Money Tree Raffle made possible by major sponsors Davevic Benefit Consultants, Inc. and Elephant & Castle Pub and Restaurant along with supporting sponsors which included Grove City County Market, Grove City Medical Center, Microtel Inn & Suites and Trinity Living Center. The lucky ticket was drawn by Holly Wright of New Castle. Every attendee also received a gift bag, courtesy of Vanity Fair. Vendors who set up their booths on Friday night were treated to great food provided by Grove Manor and Trinity Living Center. Nine advertising packages were also donated by local media, including radio stations, television stations and local newspapers to help area businesses get the word out about their products and services. Several vendors reported successful networking at the show, which should lead to increased commerce in the region. Andrea Reiser of Pastries by Andrea commented, “As a three-year participant, I have found the trade show to be invaluable as a resource for networking and growing my pastry business. It is wonderful to see the community stepping forward to support our local businesses.” First-time participant Jane Vasconi of Family Hearing in Grove City stated, “The community was very receptive... It was fantastic.” She garnered 20 appointments as a result of the event and was able to help individuals who could not afford hearing aids by connecting them with organizations that help with the cost, including the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Quota Club. For more information on participating as a vendor in next year’s annual trade show, contact the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce at 724.458.6410. The show will take place Saturday, February 23, 2013. 1. $2,000 Money Tree Raffle winner Holly Wright, New Castle, PA. The $2,000 Money Tree was made possible through the generosity of major sponsors: Davevic Benefit Consultants, Inc. and Elephant & Castle Pub and Restaurant, and supporting sponsors: Grove City County Market, Grove City Medical Center, Microtel Inn & Suites, and Trinity Living Center. Over 3,500 tickets were sold. 2. Winners of the Trade Show Vendor Advertising Package Drawing are from left to right: in the back row, Mr. Dittrich, Muscle Products, Inc.; Bob Laverich, West Penn Forestry; Tom Bell, Bell’s Sanitation; Tammy Port, Family Hearing; and Sharon Murphy Dittrich on behalf of Eli’s Mini Barns. Front row, Rich DeFrancis, Door World of Hadley; Donna Siegfried, Farmers National Bank; Rebecca Breitenstein, PA Carpet Tech; and Diane Wheeler, Dewdads Celebrating Homes. 3. Pictured is Chuck Bickel at the Ace fix-it Hardware vendor booth at the 2012 Grove City Trade Show. 4. Over 4,000 people attended the 2012 Grove City Trade Show on Saturday, March 3, 2012.

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Business Spotlight

Contemporary Motorcar, Ltd. –

For the Car of a Lifetime F or over 19 years Contemporary Motorcar, Ltd. in Erie has sold and serviced some of the finest cars on the market having the local franchise for both Mercedes-Benz and Acura Automobiles and Sport Utilities. They cater to a customer who appreciates the value in a quality vehicle with an emphasis on safety and reliability. Particular attention is paid to a good ownership experience thru comprehensive and convenient service during the life of the vehicle. Contemporary Motorcar prides itself on a customer loyalty figure that is continually near the top of their manufacturers scorecard and really does strive to have that “customer for life”. Anyone who knows George Lyons of Contemporary Motorcar could attest to his passion for all things automotive and he could not pick any other brands he would rather represent than Mercedes-Benz and Acura. In recent years, George sought out another line of cars that might start out at a lower price point but still offer his customers all of the same attributes they have come to appreciate in their other vehicles from Contemporary. Many of their best customers had a need for other

vehicles for family, business or otherwise but not at the upper price point of the premium lines. Over time, George researched some other makes but until Mazda became available in the Erie market, nothing else seemed to fit the bill. Last year Contemporary Motorcar was successful in acquiring Mazda to add to its line up of fine automobiles and they have made a firm commitment that this new offering in the Erie market has great potential to be hugely successful. Mazda has a great history in the US going back over 40 years and the current focus on “Best in Class” fuel economy is surely in step with todays market needs. Mazda is in a very competitive market segment with makes like Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and others but given the chance to compare, buyers will see why Contemporary Motorcar is so excited with this additional brand to offer. An entirely new sales facility was just completed just one mile north of their existing dealership at the busy center city intersection of Peach and Liberty streets. Consider Mazda as you shop for your next vehicle and experience the way Contemporary Motorcar, Mazda of Erie, strives to earn you as a “Customer for Life”.

Mercer County| Summer 2012 | 5

The Grove City YMCA “Time to Grow” By Matthew J. Fascetti he Grove City YMCA was previously located in the outdated armory building which was a facility plagued by a leaky roof. Thirteen years ago a beautiful new YMCA was built for the 1,000 members. Membership has since grown to 4,000. While happy for the increase, the Grove City YMCA was faced with overcrowding and not enough facilities to handle all its programs. With the overwhelming support of the community, the Grove City YMCA, along with the association branch in nearby Franklin, launched the Time to Grow Campaign, a fundraising effort for expansion of the current facility. After an official groundbreaking on March 20, YMCA leaders are happy to announce that they expect Phase 1 of the project to be completed this fall. Phase 1 will consist of a program arena that will be large enough to accommodate two full basketball courts within the deck hockey court. The arena will also facilitate various traditional programs and provide opportunities for new and expanded programs as well as house a merchandise and equipment store. The deck hockey court is particularly important because the closest similar facility is 30 miles away. In addition, this will be one of five certified indoor decks in the state.


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The rest of Phase 1 will consist of a teen center, group exercise studio, expanded parking and the Slippery Rock University “Classroom to Community” program. This program will provide expanded learning for students and on-site services to YMCA participants. Dr. Bob Arnold of Slippery Rock University’s Adaptive Physical Activity department will be in charge of the program.

Campaign on Schedule Dorry Foster, CEO of the Grove City YMCA, is excited about the expansion. “This is what the community wanted. We reached out to the community, and they made it clear how important the YMCA is to them,” she said. “We are thrilled to be able to give them the facility they want and deserve.” Foster also pointed out that the community, as well as board members and employees of the YMCA, have been

extremely generous. “So far, past and present board members, as well as staff, have pledged a significant amount of money,” she said. Famous country music writer and musician Luke Laird even got in on the campaign, performing a private benefit concert benefiting the cause. Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch also lent a helping hand at a fundraiser. The entire project is budgeted at $4.3 million, while Phase 1 is a total cost of $2.7 million. Phase 2 of the project consists of a warm water pool and family and special needs locker rooms. The 85-degree water temperature of the current aquatic facilities is not appropriate for many seniors, special needs individuals and young children. The warm water pool will also reduce the use of the full-length pool by these groups and open up the larger pool for use by swim teams and classes. The YMCA firmly believes this expansion will bring various opportunities for the region and will result in a positive economic impact. In small communities throughout the country, there are a few select institutions that are responsible for the quality and viability of the community…the YMCA is one of those institutions. In addition, with the new middle school opening adjacent to the YMCA, 500 more students looking for an afterschool program will now have a convenient location. If you are interested in donating to the Time to Grow Campaign, call the YMCA at 724.458.9781, visit the website at or send a check to 543 East Main St. Ext., Grove City, 16127.

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Emerging Trends in Shale Gas Development in Pennsylvania


n spite of the recent fall of the price of natural gas, oil and gas producers still remain active in Pennsylvania, especially in those areas rich with “wet gas” or natural gas that has a high content of natural gas liquids (“NGLs”). NGLs, which include ethane, propane, butane and pentane, are more frequently found in Northwest Pennsylvania than other areas of the Commonwealth. This is because the source rocks for the shale gases in Northwest Pennsylvania are typically not as thermally mature as those in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania where “dry gas” or natural gas that has a high content of methane is more prevalent. Thermal maturity refers to the process whereby organic material found in source rocks is transformed to hydrocarbons (i.e., oil and gas) through a combination of heat and pressure over time. Heat is triggered by the pressure of overlaying sediment. Over time, this heat cooks the hydrocarbons from the organic material. This process can result in varying stages of maturity that range from immature to over mature. As a formation becomes more thermally mature, it will produce different hydrocarbons. Immature source rocks usually have not reached a level of thermal maturity to generate significant

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quantities of either oil or gas. As the formation cooks longer, the organic material will transform into oil. Over time, the oil will turn into natural gas consisting mostly of NGLs. Eventually, the liquids will bake away and methane will remain. Finally, all of the hydrocarbons will bake away and the formation will be considered over mature. Although producers are faced with increased costs associated with separating the NGLs from the methane, the NGLs have value as commodities that often make it profitable for producers notwithstanding the increased costs. For instance, NGLs like butane, ethane and propane can be used as a feedstock for products such as plastics, fertilizers and pharmaceuticals. Moreover, the recent announcement of Shell Oil Co. investing up to several billion dollars to build an ethane cracker plant in Beaver County is a strong indicator of the level of confidence that companies have in the market and, more importantly, the geographic region for the development of these interests. Therefore, it is important that owners of oil, gas and mineral interests understand that even with the recent decline in the price of natural gas, there is still tremendous value in these interests, especially in those areas rich with NGLs like

Mercer County

Northwestern Pennsylvania. Furthermore, it is important for owners of these interests to make sure that the leases they enter into allow them to share in this expanding market and earn a royalty from the development of NGLs. Jeremy T. Toman is an Associate with Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C. Attorney Toman has successfully negotiated oil and gas leases for his clients covering over 11,000 total acres and earning his clients over $27 million in up-front bonus payments.

Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale Formation FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Marcellus Shale and why the sudden interest in it? The Marcellus Shale is a rock formation that underlies much of Pennsylvania and portions of New York and West Virginia at a depth of 5,000 to 8,000 feet and is believed to hold trillions of cubic feet of natural gas. How is Marcellus Shale different from other natural gas extraction? Extracting natural gas from the Marcellus Shale formation requires horizontal drilling and a process known as ‘hydraulic fracturing’ that uses far greater amounts of water than traditional natural gas exploration. How is natural gas drilling regulated in Pennsylvania? The commonwealth first began regulating drilling in 1956. Oil and gas exploration and drilling is regulated under all or part of the state oil and gas laws, the Clean Streams Law, the Dam Safety and Encroachments Act, the Solid Waste Management Act, the Water Resources Planning Act, and the Worker and Community Right to Know Act. DEP is responsible for reviewing and issuing drilling permits, inspecting drilling operations and responding to complaints about water quality problems. DEP inspectors conduct routine and unannounced inspections of drilling sites and wells statewide. Who regulates leasing of mineral rights in Pennsylvania? A mineral lease is a private contractual agreement between the owner of the minerals and the producer (i.e. a drilling or mining company). County courts hear suits for property damage or disputed lease matters. The commonwealth does not

regulate mineral leases, audit payments, or read or calibrate meters. How is the collection and treatment of drilling water regulated? Drilling companies must identify where they plan to obtain and store the water used in their drilling operations and where the used frac water is to be stored and treated as part of the drilling permit application process. When applying for a permit, drillers must specify the sources and location of fresh water and the anticipated impacts of water withdrawals on water resources, and obtain approval from the appropriate river basin commission. Can drilling companies keep the names of chemicals used at drilling sites a secret? No. Drilling companies must disclose the names of all chemicals to be stored and used at a drilling site in the Pollution Prevention and Contingency Plan that must be submitted to DEP as part of the permit application process. These plans contain copies of material safety data sheets for all chemicals, and DEP recommends to operators that a copy be kept on each well site. This information is on file with DEP and is available to landowners, local governments and emergency responders. Can natural gas companies use eminent domain to force landowners to accept gas collection pipelines? No. Under Pennsylvania law, there is no eminent domain granted for natural gas collection pipelines. Drilling companies must negotiate with landowners for the rights to build gas lines on their property. This right may be included as part of a lease agreement. How are drinking water supplies protected from the effects of drilling? Pennsylvania law requires drillers to

case and grout wells through all fresh water aquifers before drilling through deeper zones known to contain oil or gas. This casing protects groundwater from pollutants inside the well, and keeps water from the surface and other geologic strata from mixing with and contaminating groundwater. Is the drilling operator required to restore the land and plug the well? Drilling operators must restore the land within 9 months of drilling completion. Once a well is no longer producing, the operator must plug the well and restore the site within 9 months of plugging the well. Can drilling companies store drilling wastes and waste water in un-lined pits or discharge drilling fluids into streams? No. Drilling wastes must be collected and stored in pits with synthetic liners. Waste fluids must be collected and treated at an authorized water treatment facility. How close can a well be drilled to a house or stream? Wells cannot be drilled within 200 feet of structures, or within 100 feet of streams and wetlands. The locations of wells, access roads and related drilling operations are usually negotiated as part of the lease agreement. Who should I contact if I believe drilling activities have affected water resources or caused pollution? Contact the nearest DEP Regional Office if you suspect drilling or any other earth disturbance activities have harmed water resources or the environment. Regional office phone numbers can be found in your phonebook or online at —Source Pennsylvania Dept of Environmental Protection

Mercer County| Summer 2012 | 9



A Modern

Mountain Gets ManBackto

sk Hadley resident Loren Stallsmith if he is a modern mountain man, and he will admit to resemblances between himself and the original fringed frontiersmen. “When I was a kid, my dream was to live in the woods alone and make my living off the land. In this dream, there was no room for a wife or kids…maybe a dog. Some things changed along the way, obviously.” An avid hunter and trapper, Loren doesn’t wear buckskins every day like the early mountain men. But he and his family make their living by braintanning those deer hides. “We sell to Native Americans and re-enactors primarily, so it is a specialized market.” Although Loren doesn’t inhabit a teepee himself, he does live on a homestead crawling with goats, chickens, and sheep. And his four kids are all home-schooled by his wife Liza, who delivered a couple of them at home with the help of a midwife. “I have talked to folks who see what we do as a romantic, getting-back-to-basics sort of thing,” Loren remarks. “It makes me chuckle, because we are actually a strange mix of the high-tech and primitive worlds colliding. I sell buckskins to modern natives though the World Wide Web at But, hey, if Daniel Boone had had the Internet, he’d have used it too.” And, although many of the first mountain men were illiterate, Loren is an enthusiastic reader and talented writer, while Liza holds a college degree in teaching. “I started tanning small critters shortly after I started hunting,” Loren recalls. “But I really didn’t know anything about braintan until my sister brought home the book Deerskins into Buckskins by Matt Richards. I was fascinated by the idea of tanning deer hides the way our ancestors had, with brains, elbow grease and wood smoke.”

Basics By Audrey Stallsmith

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There is a satisfaction in working with your hands that can’t be found in the virtual world. — Loren Stallsmith

But only after he’d been married several years, and the freezer in which he’d stashed his deer hides quit working, was he forced to try the process himself. Fortunately he found that “braintanners are a sharing community. I had several long-distance mentors, and still keep in touch with some of them. We even pass on orders to each other if we don’t have the hides on hand to fill them.”



hen it became obvious that he was going to be permanently laid off from his factory job, Loren started considering the idea of tanning full time. “That led to some interesting arguments with my wife, as her farrier dad had been self-employed much of his life, and she knew the drawbacks firsthand. We decided to give it a trial run. Through the grace of God, here we are, still tanning hides for a living a decade later.” “There is a saying among braintanners,” he jokes, “that each animal has enough brains to tan its own hide—excluding elephants and teenagers.” But braintanning, in spite of its name, is not actually tanning with brains. The deerskin’s soak in “gray matter” is only part of the process—and a later part at that. First, the hide has to be thoroughly cleaned of leftover meat and fat. Then Loren moistens it, drapes it over a log, and scrapes off the hair and grain with a fleshing tool. Next, he “bucks” the hide by soaking it in a wood ashes (or lye) and water mix to remove remaining glues. After a rinse, the oils are finally introduced as the first step in the softening process. “They don’t have to be brain 5 oils,” Loren concedes. “You can make do with egg yolk or soy lecithin, but brains work as good as anything I’ve used and better than most.” Although Native Americans originally employed deer brains, Loren uses boiled pig brains because they are more readily available. “The tanners used to call this process ‘fat liquoring,’” he explains, as he works the still-hot and slimy mixture through the deerskin. After the hide is sopping, Loren carries it into his workshop, which is heated by a woodstove and furry with deer hair. While a hen wanders in to lay an egg in one of his cabinets, he drapes the hide over an oak rail and twists it dry with another rail. He warns that this process can be tricky. “Once my hand slipped, and the bar snapped back and clocked me in the jaw.”

3 Usually a hide is soaked more than once in the brains mixture and “worked” in between. “It has to be stretched and pulled in every direction to loosen up the fibers.” Loren saws the hide back and forth over a taut cable or over a trowel blade fixed point-up in the top of a beam. He can also lace it into a frame, and then lean into it with a long-handled implement. Tanning is obviously a labor-intensive business. “It certainly hasn’t been easy,” Loren admits, “and I didn’t get this far through only my own efforts. It’s a God thing. I know quite a few braintanners, and none of them are getting wealthy. “What they are getting are sore backs, carpal tunnel [problems] and tendonitis. They say the old beaver trappers of the 1800s got arthritis early from wading in cold mountain streams. I can relate, but I’m no masochist. When I go beaver trapping, I wear hip waders instead of buckskin.” Once the hide has dried, Loren sands off any remaining membranes and is left with a white deerskin that will stiffen if it gets wet. To prevent that, he smokes most of his buckskins to preserve their softness. The smoking process also tints the hide a rich golden color. Loren concludes that, in spite of all the hard work, “there is something magical about feeling a wet, slimy hide start to turn into soft, cloth-like buckskin. There is a satisfaction in working with your hands that can’t be found in the virtual world. You have to experience it.” “When friends send their kids over,” he laughs, “they tell them to behave or we’ll tan their hides!”


1. Loren working a buckskin in a frame. 2. Loren and his son Trevor inspect a hide 3. Loren laces a hide into a frame with plastic baler twine. 4. Loren’s daughter, Lynora, wearing her father’s buckskins and a friend 5. Loren’s wife, Lize, works on her spinning

Mercer County| Summer 2012 | 11


Health and Wellness News You Can Use | Summer 2012

Here Comes the Sun It’s definitely summer, and you’re ready to enjoy every minute of it. Before you grab your sunglasses and head outdoors, check out our skin protection tips on page 4.

What’s Inside 2 3 4

Special Delivery Exhausted and Sleepy? Pamper the Skin You’re In Goodbye Spider and Varicose Veins

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Your Health Care Goes Mobile Talent + Imagination + Learning = Events You Won’t Want to Miss Meet Our New Physicians What’s Happening at UPMC Horizon

© 2012 UPMC

Special Delivery Special moments deserve special places and the Birth Place of UPMC Horizon delivers, providing the perfect setting for expectant mothers and their newborns.

Having a baby is one of life’s most wonderful occasions. At UPMC Horizon, new moms — and dads, too — have a team of health care professionals to guide them safely through delivery and get them off to a good start with their newborns. “Every year, we welcome more than 750 babies into the world,” says Melissa Shannon, RN, director of the Birth Place of UPMC Horizon. “We encourage family unity throughout the birth experience, and we provide emotional and physical support to help parents bond with their baby during those critical early days.”

The benefits of breastfeeding A certified lactation consultant visits new mothers during their hospital stay to assist with breastfeeding and answer questions. Nursing staff also provide additional support. Expectant moms can attend breastfeeding classes, offered through the Lactation Center, at the Womancare Center of UPMC Horizon. More and more women are discovering the health benefits of breastfeeding. Described as “liquid gold,” a mother’s milk is rich with nutrients and vitamins. “We support and encourage moms who choose to breastfeed,” says Mrs. Shannon. “Newborns who breastfeed have a greater resistance to infection and allergies, fewer ear infections, and are less likely to experience childhood obesity. For mothers, breastfeeding promotes faster weight loss, less bleeding, and helps with bonding.”

Bringing Magee and Children’s Expertise to Mercer County

Comforts of home The Birth Place, located at the hospital’s Shenango Valley campus, offers advanced maternity care in a soothing, home-like setting. The four large labor and delivery rooms are private and specially equipped with birthing beds and warmers for babies. Wireless fetal monitoring gives mothers who are in labor the freedom to move around, take a shower, or soak in a jetted tub in their own room. UPMC Horizon’s five private, postpartum rooms let mothers spend quality time with newborns at their bedside. Foldout chairs convert into beds so fathers can spend the night with their family. “That privacy allows the mother to learn her baby’s responses and cues for feeding,” says Mrs. Shannon. “It also gets dads involved from the beginning, helping with baths and diaper changes, and comforting and holding the baby.” It also gives the nursing staff an opportunity to better know mothers and their needs, and teach them what to expect, she adds.


UPMC Horizon partners with nationally renowned Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC to provide comprehensive maternity and infant care to Mercer County-area women and their newborns. A board-certified perinatologist from Magee sees high-risk patients at the nearby Womancare Center, providing specialized obstetric care for complications that might arise close to home. All OB nurses undergo additional special training with Magee and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. And, UPMC Horizon recently launched a telemedicine program that brings the expertise of top pediatric specialists from Children’s Hospital to UPMC Horizon — linking newborns who have congenital abnormalities with neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, and other specialists for care and treatment.

Exhausted and Sleepy? At UPMC’s Sleep Medicine Center, doctors can diagnose and treat sleep apnea, often with surprisingly fast results.

Overweight and diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, and an irregular heartbeat, Robert Guthrie underwent a sleep study at UPMC’s Sleep Medicine Center to evaluate his pulmonary function and suitability for gastric bypass surgery. He was shocked to discover he had sleep apnea so severe he actually stopped breathing 147 times per hour. Affecting 12 million Americans, sleep apnea doesn’t just disrupt sleep. Untreated, it can cause serious health problems and lead to deadly accidents due to exhaustion. “I was totally clueless. It was serendipity that took me to a sleep expert, and it probably saved my life,” says Robert, 65, who immediately began using a nighttime breathing apparatus known as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. Within a week, he was sleeping soundly for the first time in six years. “It was life changing,” says the Hopwood, Pa., resident. “I feel 20 years younger.” Most people don’t know they have obstructive sleep apnea, usually caused when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. People with sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly. With each interruption, the drop in oxygen levels prompts the brain to send a surge of adrenaline to kick-start breathing, which also leads to a spike in blood pressure. “This can happen 600 times a night. It’s a burden on the cardiovascular system and affects the quality of sleep,” says Patrick J. Strollo Jr., MD, medical director of the UPMC Sleep Medicine Center. According to Dr. Strollo, if you snore loudly, wake up exhausted despite a “good night’s sleep,” or feel tired or sleepy during the day, you should talk to your primary care physician. Since sleep apnea cannot be detected while you’re awake, your doctor may ask you to participate in an overnight sleep study.

At UPMC’s Sleep Medicine Center, patients stay in a private bedroom where a sleep technician applies sensors that measure breathing, heart rate, brain activity, and other body functions during sleep. A team of specialists diagnose sleep apnea by looking at the test results and reviewing medical history. Treatment options may include a CPAP machine like Robert uses, which blows air through a special mask worn over the nose. “I wasn’t wild about wearing the mask. But staying on it was a no-brainer — it’s worth it for a good night’s sleep,” says Robert. For information about the UPMC Sleep Medicine Center, visit and click Our Services for an alphabetical listing of departments and services.

Other health consequences of sleep apnea According to James Marcin, DO, a pulmonary specialist at UPMC Horizon, sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, memory problems, weight gain, and daytime sleepiness. “Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea— but almost everyone with sleep apnea snores,” notes Dr. Marcin. “This is not a problem to keep from your family doctor. Sleep apnea can have significant health and safety consequences, but it usually can be treated effectively and inexpensively.” For information about sleep medicine services at UPMC Horizon’s Regional Center for Sleep Disorders, or to schedule a sleep study, call 724-347-5337.



Pamper the Skin You’re In Your skin is a multitasking marvel. Soft, pliable, and strong, it protects your organs, regulates body temperature, detects and fights off infection, and even repairs itself.

Goodbye Spider and Varicose Veins

But most of us take our hard-working skin for granted. A little TLC will help keep it healthy and looking good from the inside out.

They’re more common — and easier to treat — than you think.

Keep it clean Daily cleansing can take a toll on your skin, so be gentle. Take shorter baths or showers using warm water, choose a mild cleanser, pat or blot skin dry, and apply a moisturizer that’s appropriate for your skin type.

Eat, drink, and be healthy Feed your skin from the inside for a healthy glow on the outside. Experts recommend a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Drinking plenty of water keeps skin hydrated.

Get moving Regular exercise promotes circulation that energizes skin cells and carries away waste products. It also promotes the restful sleep that’s needed to rejuvenate skin.

Be sun smart Small amounts of daily sun exposure add up, so protect skin from the sun’s rays whenever you’re outdoors — even in wintertime. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and apply it liberally and often. Wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants provide even more protection.

Check it out Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. More than 90 percent of all skin cancers occur on parts of the body exposed to the sun, including the face, neck, and hands. Mohs micrographic surgery has proven to be an effective treatment for most skin cancers. This type of surgery removes as little normal tissue as possible and is often used to remove skin cancer on the face. Regularly checking your own skin can help find cancers early, when they are easier to treat. You’ll find the American Cancer Society’s skin self-examination guide and other sun safety tips at Sources: American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


They can be tiny or bulging, painless or throbbing. But nearly half of us can expect to get spider or varicose veins, especially after age 50. “The good news is that many techniques now make vein treatments more safe, comfortable, and effective,” says Ellen D. Dillavou, MD, a vascular surgeon at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

What new treatments are available? Among the newest is the injection of polidocanol for the treatment of spider veins. “It’s a cosmetic procedure that works much better than saline to collapse surface veins,” says Dr. Dillavou. “Spider veins do reoccur, though, so expect to do ‘touch ups’ periodically.” Injections also are used for larger veins and may replace older procedures like a “vein stripping.” For treating varicose veins, radiofrequency ablation (a minimally invasive procedure in which radiofrequency energy seals the vein closed) is a popular treatment among her patients, says Dr. Dillavou, “because it’s comfortable and effective.”

Are varicose veins dangerous? “Varicose and spider veins typically don’t pose a health risk, but they can point to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI),” says Jon Henwood, DO, a vascular surgeon at UPMC Horizon. “It’s a visual cue that blood may not be optimally flowing to and from the feet and legs to the heart, which can lead to more serious problems.” Other CVI symptoms include painful, tired, restless, achy, itchy, or swollen legs or ankles. In more advanced cases, skin changes and ulcers can develop. “The problem becomes more difficult to treat as it advances, so it’s important to always share your symptoms with your doctor,” says Dr. Henwood. To learn more about all the vascular services at UPMC Horizon, visit

Your Health Care Goes Mobile It’s now easy to manage your medical records or get automatic access to select test results — because HealthTrak has an app for that.

Need to keep track of your elderly parents’ appointments and test results? Want instant access to your children’s immunization records? Run out of medicine while traveling and need a refill? Have a follow-up question for your doctor after office hours? All are available with a click of your mouse — and most with a tap on your iPhone®, iPad®, or Android™ — via UPMC HealthTrak, an Internet-based service that allows patients, and approved family members, to receive and manage information about their health. Recent upgrades include a new mobile HealthTrak application that provides patients with secure access anytime and anywhere.

HealthTrak also provides patients with automatic access to certain test results, including x-rays, lab, and pathology tests, with links they can use to help interpret information. This makes it easier for patients to keep track of their cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar levels, and other important health numbers. UPMC hopes to add cardiology test results in the near future. Also on the horizon are plans to use photos to identify some skin conditions or diseases.

“We’re giving people what they want — even when they’re on the go. It’s a convenient, safe, and free way to manage their own health,” says G. Daniel Martich, MD, UPMC chief medical information officer.

Going mobile is fast and easy To access HealthTrak data using a mobile device, you must first secure a HealthTrak account through You should then download the free “MyChart app” from the App Store, iTunes Store, or Google Play (formerly Android Market). The mobile app provides access to everything except eVisits, or online doctor visits. According to Dr. Martich, more than 100,000 patients have signed up for HealthTrak — and nearly 6,000 are mobile app users. Online medical care is seen as the wave of the future. The number of HealthTrak users is expected to increase dramatically once word spreads about its overall convenience and newest features — including access for authorized family members.

More patient-centered solutions HealthTrak gives users immediate access to a wide range of personal medical information, which allows them to take a more active role in managing their health.

Sign up today!

Adults juggling the health care of their children and aging parents can use the “proxy access” feature to keep track of health records and appointments, refill prescriptions, communicate with doctors, and ask billing questions.

Easy, direct signup for HealthTrak is available online by going to and clicking “Sign up now” under New User. Follow the steps to complete an online application and answer personal questions designed to ensure that you, and not another person, are creating the account.

Parents will especially appreciate having instant access to a child’s immunization record when they need it. Approved caregivers find eVisit, the online doctor visit service, very useful for the diagnosis of common, non-urgent ailments in their elderly relatives.

If you have difficulties, email or call the UPMC HealthTrak Support Line at 1-866-884-8579.



Talent + Imagination + Learning =

Events You Won’t Want to Miss UPMC Senior Communities’ year-long calendar of entertainment, movies, and educational seminars aims to enrich the lives of seniors — and delight the public, too.

What do Jimmy Beaumont and the Skyliners, a Meryl Streep movie, and acupuncture have in common? All are among UPMC Senior Communities’ upcoming 2012 Legacy Lineup. “We’re committed to providing residents at all our senior communities with activities that will capture their interests, generate conversation, and stimulate their minds,” says Nanci Case, vice president for sales, marketing, and activities for UPMC Senior Communities. “Through The Legacy Lineup and other programs, we’re bringing seniors — and people of all ages — together to relax, laugh, and learn.” Open to the public, The Legacy Lineup programs are offered at UPMC Passavant Hospital Foundation’s Legacy Theatre at Cumberland Woods Village, UPMC Senior Communities’ independent living facility located on the UPMC Passavant campus. “You can attend a Legacy Lineup event every week of the month, with many events offered at no charge,” says Greta Ceranic, marketing director for Cumberland Woods Village. The Legacy Theatre is part of a state-of-the-art conference center and 247-seat amphitheatre funded through a generous $16.5 million grant by the Passavant Hospital Foundation. One of the Foundation’s primary goals is public education and outreach. UPMC physicians, nurses, and other medical staff members also use the facility for professional development training. “And funds raised through The Legacy Lineup support UPMC Senior Communities Benevolent Care Fund,” adds Ms. Case, “providing financial assistance and other support services to residents in need at all 17 UPMC retirement communities.”


Productions showcase local and national talent “Each month, The Legacy Lineup features at least one major production featuring a band, soloist, or performance troupe,” says Ms. Ceranic. “Earlier this year, the Tamburitzans appeared to a sell-out crowd. Later this year, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand impersonators will perform with a full orchestra.” The 2012 lineup also includes the Jaggerz and the Fabulous Hubcaps, as well as a major holiday production in December. Because seating is limited, advance tickets are recommended. Group discounts and ticket packages are available.

Spend Mondays at the movies From cinematic classics like Citizen Kane to recent blockbusters like Iron Lady with Meryl Streep, seniors can enjoy free matinee movies every Monday at 2 p.m. at the Legacy Theatre.

Explore your interests at learning seminars On alternating Tuesdays at 11 a.m., The Legacy Lineup offers educational programming that covers a wide range of subjects, from tips on aging, caregiver support, health and nutrition, history, and local topics of interest. The seminars are free and open to the public, but advance reservations are requested. For the full 2012 calendar of activities, or to make reservations, call 412-635-8080 or visit

To learn about the independent living, personal care, assisted living, and skilled nursing options offered by UPMC Senior Communities, call 1-800-324-5523 to schedule a tour. Locations include Allison Park, Cranberry, Fox Chapel, Greensburg, Lawrenceville, McCandless, Monroeville, Penn Hills, Scott Township, and Washington, Pa.

Meet Our New Physicians Please visit or call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information about any of our physicians. UPMC Horizon welcomes the following physicians to our hospitalist program. Betty-jean Bardella, MD Family Practice

Bramara Godasi, MD Internal Medicine

Johnson Pereira, MD Internal Medicine

Dr. Bardella earned her medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed a family practice residency at Akron City Hospital. A member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, she is board-certified in family medicine. Dr. Bardella returns to UPMC Horizon’s medical staff after four years working as a family physician in Lewistown, Pa. She previously practiced with the Primary Health Network Jamestown Health Center.

Dr. Godasi earned her medical degree from JJM Medical College in India, and completed postgraduate training at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Pereira earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Thiruvananthapuram, India, and completed postgraduate training at St. Vincent Catholic Medical Center and SUNY Downstate Medical Center, both in New York City. He is a member of the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, and the Indian Medical Association.

Chan Nyein, MD Internal Medicine Dr. Nyein earned her medical degree from De La Salle University-Health Sciences Campus, Philippines, and completed an internal medicine residency at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jaya Phookan, MD Internal Medicine Dr. Phookan earned her medical degree from Assam Medical College and Hospital in India. She completed an internal medicine residency at Staten Island University Hospital, Staten Island, N.Y.

What’s Happening at UPMC Horizon Luau at the Lake


Support Groups

Friday, Aug. 17 6 p.m.

• ACLS Recertification

• Bereavement Support Group

• BLS Skills Lab for CPR Recertification

• Cancer Support Group

Tara, A Country Inn 2844 Lake Road Clark, PA 16113

• Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Recertification

• Lupus Support Group

The event will include dinner and dancing. All proceeds benefit the UPMC Horizon Community Health Foundation. For more information, call 724-983-8875.

• New Health Care Provider Basic Life Support • Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition, and Stabilization (PEARS) Course • Lamaze Prenatal Class

• Mercer County Breast Cancer Support Group • Mercer County Diabetes Support Group • Ostomy Support Group • Parents of Murdered Children Support Group

• Lamaze Weekend Prenatal Class

• Pulmonary Hypertension Support Group

• Lamaze Refresher Prenatal Class

• Weight Loss Surgery Support Group

• Breastfeeding Class • Sibling Class • Family and Friends Pediatric CPR • Seniors for Safe Driving • “Silver&Fit” Senior Exercise

Free Bariatric Surgery Information Sessions For more information about our free bariatric surgery information sessions, call Horizon Surgical Associates– UPMC at 724-588-6660.

For a complete list of events, including dates and times, visit the “Classes and Events” section of the UPMC Horizon website at



UPMC Horizon

Shenango Valley 2200 Memorial Drive Farrell, PA 16121

UPMC Horizon

Greenville 110 N. Main St. Greenville, PA 16125

UPMC Today is published quarterly to provide you with health and wellness information and classes and events available at UPMC. This publication is for information purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice or replace a physician’s medical assessment. Always consult first with your physician about anything related to your personal health.

Follow UPMC Horizon on Facebook.

CARE THAT’S ABOVE AND BEYOND, NOT FAR AND AWAY. Local surgeons, state-of-the-art facilities, and advanced treatments that deliver a level of care far beyond that of traditional community hospitals are what Mercer County residents have come to expect from UPMC Horizon. And with specialties from primary care and orthopaedics to bariatric surgery, cancer care, and women’s health, UPMC Horizon is prepared to exceed this expectation for years to come.

SPECIALTY SERVICES AT HORIZON: Cardiovascular Care Bariatric Surgery Orthopaedics Breast Surgery Primary Care Cancer Care

Women’s Health Spine Care Stroke Care

Thoracic Surgery Vascular Surgery General Surgery

For more information about UPMC Horizon, or to schedule an appointment, call 1-888-447-1122 or visit

Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC is ranked among the nation’s best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.

Artie Gras

By Amanda Fastuca he Mardi Gras theme is being given an artistic twist this summer in Mercer County. For the third consecutive year, Quaker Steak and Lube in Sharon will be hosting the annual “Artie Gras” extravaganza 6 p.m.–10 p.m. every Thursday until September. The weekly tradition began in May with 15-20 participating vendors set up along the front of the restaurant. Local vendors and artisans will be selling handmade art and antiques every week, including photography, jewelry, baked goods, paintings, soaps, handbags, and more. “We set the vendors up in front of the patio bar so people can come by, shop and have a good time,” said Mike Colatarci, the marketing manager of Quaker Steak and Lube. An opening parade, live entertainment, face painting and other activities for children are also available at Artie Gras. Colatarci described the live music as an acoustic bluegrass setting, with local bands and artists such as Max Schang, Steve Vuich, James Willaman and Gypsy Wind. The outdoor market is a fun environment with something for everyone to enjoy. “We get people of all ages, families--all sorts of crowds every year,” Colatarci said. “But it’s mainly people who just want to get out and enjoy a night of music, food and shopping, so it targets a lot of different people.” Artie Gras is located at the Quaker Steak and Lube in downtown Sharon, 101 Chestnut Ave., and admission is free. Interested vendors can apply at artiegras. com. For more information contact


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The Candy Kingdom

By Pamela Palongue n Sharon, there is a magical place where the aroma of chocolate blends with toasted nuts and permeates the air. If one dares to enter the shop on East State Street, the vision of hundreds of varieties of sweet confections in glistening packages with shiny silk ribbons greet the eyes. Forget the expression “a kid in a candy store.” At Daffin’s most any adult can regress into childhood in a matter of seconds. As if delicious caramel pecanettes and cordial cherries were not enough, a special room located in the back houses The Chocolate Kingdom, an entire empire constructed of chocolate. Castles, houses, railroads and animals are all made of solid milk chocolate, including a chocolate turtle weighing around 400 pounds. The magical place was the concept of Paul Daffin who sprang from a long line of chocolatiers. The store in Sharon was opened by his father, Pete Daffin, in 1947, and George Daffin, his grandfather, owned a candy store in 1903 in Woodsfield, Ohio. Paul began the construction of The Chocolate Kingdom in the 1970s. A longtime employee of the store, Sophie Domila, designed most of the dynasty – crafting


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houses, trains and railroad tracks from cocoa. Paul also commissioned a local art teacher named Marilyn Lysohir to build the large sculptures, including the previously mentioned turtle. Not surprisingly, the kingdom took years to complete. All of the structures are still the original chocolate creations, although Connie Leon, who heads up the retail division, admits that they get a “chocolate bath” now and then to freshen them. Chocolate is carefully brushed onto the sculptures due to their fragility. Leon also adds that every child who visits The Chocolate Kingdom gets a free sample of chocolate. Leon, who started out as a sales clerk with the store 46 years ago,

Mercer County

For more information on Daffin’s Candies or touring the factory in Farrell, please visit the website at still speaks with passion in her voice about the special place where kids’ eyes grow big as saucers with the wonder of more chocolate than they could ever possibly eat. In addition to the store in Sharon, there are five other Daffin’s locations, including the chocolate factory located in Farrell. Before you run out to apply for a job though, Leon says that employees do not get free chocolate. They do however, offer free tours for groups of 15 or more people to view the process of making the enticing tidbits, and everyone attending receives a sample of chocolate. Daffin’s also sells lots of candy to nonprofit organizations at a reduced rate to help them raise money and ships candy all over the U.S. According to Leon, the secret to Daffin’s success is in the original recipes used from 1947. “We use the best quality ingredients,” she says, and adds that they roast their own nuts. The busiest day of the year for Daffin’s is Good Friday.. Christmastime also rates high on the list. Despite the almost constant

preoccupation with weight loss for many individuals, candy remains a top seller for Valentine’s Day. “We still sell the hearts filled with candy, but many people now choose our custom packed boxes,” says Leon. In fact, come to think of it, candy is appropriate for almost any holiday or gift. And just in case someone out there reading this is searching for the perfect gift for me, my favorite is vanilla creams.

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: e v i t a t n e s e r p e R e t Sta

Dick Stevenson

By Dana Black McGrath At IN Community Magazines, we realize that many of our readers may not be familiar with all of their elected officials or the services they provide to the community. So, in this issue, we decided to offer a brief introduction to one of our state representatives so that readers may learn more about the people who serve and the work they do on behalf of their constituents. Here we reached out to State Rep. Dick Stevenson, a Republican who represents the 8th legislative district, which straddles parts of Butler and Mercer counties, including: Findley Township, Wolf Creek Township, Springfield Township, Pine Township, Grove City, Liberty Township, Harrisville, Marion Township, Mercer Township, Cherry Township, Worth Township, West Liberty, Brady Township, Clay Township, Concord Township, Fairview Township, Fairview, Petrolia, Karns City, Portersville, Muddy Creek Township, Franklin Township, Center Township, Prospect, Lancaster Township, Harmony, Zelienople and Jackson Township. Q: How long have you been serving in your current position?

Q: What is your favorite part of the job?

A: I have been serving since January 2001.

A: Striving to achieve major statewide goals, such as rebuilding Pennsylvania’s economy, while at the same time providing assistance to constituents in resolving difficulties with the Commonwealth.

Q: What led you to seek the office?

A: My interest in public service and my belief that my experience included the necessary qualifications. Q: Have you held any other elected position?

A: I served on the Grove City Borough Council for eight years and as a Mercer County Commissioner for four years.

Q: What types of services or assistance do you offer constituents at your district office?

A: We assist with problems and provide guidance for constituents in their interactions with the Commonwealth. Q: What is the most common question or issue constituents request help with?

A: Questions surrounding their dealings with PennDOT and other state agencies while providing assistance in obtaining state licensing and certification. Q: What are some of your goals for 2012 for your district?

A: Providing the best possible service to the people I represent in Harrisburg. Q: Residents would be surprised to know:

A: …that I like to ride motorcycles. Q: What are your favorite things to do or places to visit in your district?

A: I enjoy the community events in the 8th district such as Grove City’s Strawberry Days, Mercer’s Memorial Day 500, Zelienople’s Horse Trading Days, events in Historic Harmony and of course, summer days at Moraine State Park, to name just a few. Rep. Dick Stevenson (r), Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (m) (R-Northumberland/ Snyder) and constituant.

24 724.942.0940 to advertise

Mercer County

For more information or to contact Rep. Stevenson, visit his website at

Notes from the Past By Pamela Palongue Approximately three or four times a year, the beautiful Helen Black Miller Chapel resonates with courtly music, produced by violins, cellos, basses, flutes and a piano. The Mercer County Historical Society Chamber Players give performances at the stately old church in the spring, fall and at Christmastime, although the schedule varies slightly from year to year. The concerts are free to the public. The spring concert featured music by Anton Dvorak and Georg Philipp Telemann. The musicians were led by Dr. Richard Konzen, pianist and director. The musical presentation meandered through several movements by the two composers with lively tunes and slow, enchanting melodies. Refreshments were served to the guests following the concert. The chapel, first named the Church of St. Edmund the Martyr, was originally located on Venango Street. Built in 1873, it has great local historical significance because it was attended regularly by the Magoffins, a prominent family of Mercer County. The church was moved from its first location to the historical society’s headquarters at 119 S. Pitt in 1972. It is available to rent for concerts, weddings and recitals. The historical society is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information on the society and its upcoming events, please visit the website at

Chamber Players

Jeff Johns Performing at Concert

Mercer County| Summer 2012 | 25

A BarnBurner! The Region 2 conference game between the Sharon and Mercer high school girls softball teams proved to be a real nailbiter. Sharon, led by head coach Mike Bochert, ended the game by getting a base hit in their final at-bat to win the contest 8-7, with the final blow being delivered by Mallory Torr. Mercer head coach Jack Trott said, “We played very well and we fought our way back, but we just gave up too many walks...We’ll play them again.” Bochert commented, “It’s always nice to come up on the winning end, but everyone played tough.” Photos by Jason Kapusta

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Mercer County

Mercer County| Summer 2012 | 27

Reveling in History: The 10th Annual

Pioneer Frolic

By Audrey Stallsmith rom 1790 to 1840, Mercer County was mostly wilderness, inhabited by Seneca Indians, a few Scot-Irish settlers, and lots of timber rattlesnakes. On a weekend in June each year, modern residents can return briefly to that era—minus the snakes! The annual Pioneer Frolic, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary June 23-24, is cosponsored by Goddard State Park and FROG (Friends of Goddard). It features both Native American and colonial reenactors who strut their stuff in period clothing that ranges from buckskins and face paint to breeches and tricorn hats, mob caps and petticoats, and even a kilt or two. “The Pioneer Frolic festival is a wonderful glimpse into the notso-distant past,” park manager William Wasser declares. “Yet it also highlights the incredible changes in our lifestyle since those days.” Benjamin Stokely could testify to that. He helped survey Mercer County—then still part of Allegheny County—from 1785 to 1792. In Remarks and General Observations on Mercer County, Pennsylvania, he claimed to have seen “bears, wolves, deer, and Indians, in every direction, in plenty.” Few whites attempted to settle there for three years after the surveying was complete, due to “the danger of the savages in that region.” Perhaps impatient with such timidity, Stokely moved to the area himself in October of 1796. “My wife was the first white woman that settled in Mercer County,” he recounted. “She saw no white female but one, a prisoner among the Indians, until April 1797. In the spring of 1797… the county began to settle so that in a few months the neighborhood began to assume the appearance of civilization.” By the time an act passed in 1800 making Mercer officially a county,


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there were over 3,000 residents. Since their farms stood far apart, most welcomed any opportunity to get together with other settlers. “A frolic,” longtime FROG member Adda Free explains, “was when a pioneer family would invite in the neighbors to help with a heavy task such as clearing a field or raising a house.” Some of the activities to which acquaintances were invited proved more challenging, however. ccording to The History of Mercer County, Polly Johnson found herself surrounded by rattlesnakes on Yankee Ridge one morning when she went to get the cows. Scrambling up into a dogwood tree, she screamed for her husband John who ran to fetch his neighbor, Asa Arnold. The two men beat their way through the snakes with hickory poles “until Mrs. Johnson was relieved.” They claimed to have killed 200 timber rattlers that day. The Seneca, on the other hand, proved more helpful than dangerous. Stokely reported that he purchased from them 2,846 pounds of venison, 50 skins, some fur, and a few bearskins. Although his Native American neighbors kept him wellfed, his livestock weren’t so fortunate. One of Stokely’s cows starved to death over that first winter, and another appeared close to expiring before Stokely ripped open a pack saddle pad and fed the animal the straw inside mixed with flour and water. Settlers obviously had to be creative, so the frolic reenactors demonstrate for spectators the skills common in pioneer America. “We’ve advanced from simple, handmade toys, cooking over outside fires, and spinning and weaving our own blankets,” Wasser reflects. “Now we just go to the local grocery and department stores for all of our wares. But our ancestors were a very resourceful people, and we can learn much from studying their way of life.” Reenactor Bonnie Massing agrees. “I love to talk to people, love to spin wool, love to camp and cook outside,” she says. “And I think it is important to show folks how people used to live. Our area was a very

Mercer County


important part of the history of our country, and I hope I can help make that history come alive for people visiting my campsite.” In the spirit of the pioneer era, vendors at the modern frolic sell items they made themselves. But the original gatherings weren’t all work and no play. Single men and women could meet, and everybody could play games and swap supplies. The Mercer County history book notes that the Seneca often attended as well, since they enjoyed the free meals. One brave liked pioneer cooking so much that he traded Mrs. Samuel Pew an entire bear for a corn pone—even though she was quite willing to give him the cornbread for free. Reenactor Liza Stallsmith reports that the Cat and Mouse game, which her children enjoy at the modern frolic, was originally played on lakes or rivers. “Two men would stand in the bows of their canoes, with a rope stretched between them, each trying to yank the other off into the water.” These days the kids do their balancing on wobbly chunks of wood, on solid ground, instead. ark naturalist Jan Keller promises lots of other fun activities for children who attend the 2012 Pioneer Frolic. FROG will supply historic clothing in which they can have their photos taken as well as colonial-era toys, games, and paper crafts. “The dedication and hard work of the volunteers and staff are what make the frolic so successful,” Keller emphasizes. “We would never be able to hold this event if it weren’t for the volunteers.” The frolic will offer plenty of foot-tapping music as well. The local groups providing free entertainment this year will include a community choir as well as bands Mandolin Whiskey, Wildwood Express, Neil & Friends, and The Keelings. Though he preceded the period celebrated by the frolic, the hero for whom the county is named well represents the pioneers’ never-say-die spirit. During a 1756 Indian war at Kittanning, the wounded Hugh Mercer reportedly hid in a hollow log on which several braves were standing. Abandoned for dead, he trudged a hundred miles, alone, to Fort Shirley. And, even when killed by British bayonets during the Revolutionary War, General Mercer went down swinging his sword. We can, indeed, learn much from our ancestors! For further information on the Pioneer Frolic, see


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Fun and ul Helpf

By Pamela Palongue The UPMC Horizon Community Health Foundation is sponsoring its 18th Annual Golf Masters Scramble, which will help benefit many projects. The foundation strives to improve the health and well-being of the community in which it serves. It provides grants toward community projects and also sponsors a Medical Equipment Recycling Program. The recycling program accepts donated medical equipment from individuals or organizations that no longer need them, such as wheelchairs, canes, walkers and hospital beds. The equipment is cleaned, refurbished and inspected and then given to people in need. The program has been highly successful, having provided more than 5,000 pieces of medical equipment to nearly 4,000 recipients. This year’s golf outing will take place June 25 at the Avalon Golf and Country Club at Buhl Park located at 1030 Forker Boulevard in Hermitage. Participants can register for $175 per person which includes dinner. Individuals interested in attending only the dinner may register for $50. There will be a Chinese auction, a 50/50 raffle and prizes awarded for various feats, including a hole-in-one contest. For questions regarding registration, you may call 724.983.7159. For more information on UPMC Horizon Community Health Foundation, you may visit the webpage at www.upmc. com/HospitalsFacilities and click on “Hospitals,” then “UPMC Horizon.”

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Mercer County

Real Estate

Mercer County


Real Estate Agent I By Dana Black McGrath t’s no secret that this is the time of year when more and more “for sale” signs start to dot neighborhood streets. Whether you are planning to buy or sell a home, build a new one or renovate a century-old one, upsize or downsize, chances are you will be looking for a real estate agent to help guide you through the process. Choosing the right professional to represent you is an important decision, one that could end up saving you money or adding to your bottom line. You need a seasoned professional to best represent your interests. But, when it comes to selecting an agent, one should realize that not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) website explains that: “The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of NAR and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.” The organization is the nation’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members— including NAR’s institutes, societies and councils—involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. This is an important consideration when choosing an agent, whether you are a buyer or a seller. No matter which side of the real estate transaction you find yourself on, an agent can ensure that your interests are best represented. “I believe when a consumer hires any type of professional, it is always prudent to review his resume and check references. The same holds true for a real estate agent,” said Karen Berberick, GRI, Associate Broker-Manager for Northwood Realty Services. “How many homes did that agent sell in the past year? Do they have references from their past customers? What type of written marketing plan will they follow to help sell the property? Does the marketing plan encompass different types of media to include the internet, print media, television, etc.? What is a business relationship agreement and when should it be signed? There are many facets to a successful relationship between a real estate professional and the consumer.” If you are planning to sell a property, a seller’s agent is obliged to get the best deal for the seller. He/she is permitted to give potential buyers only material facts about the listing. Loyalty is to the seller, not the potential buyer. On the other hand, if you find yourself in the market for a new home, a buyer’s agent is

obligated to secure the best deal possible for the buyer. He/she is permitted to pass on any information obtained about the property or seller to his/her buying client. According to the website, the following are some questions you should ask during your selection process when interviewing potential agents: Are you a REALTOR®? Does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information, you can check with your state’s governing agency. Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyer’s search service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORS® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region. Is real estate the person’s full-time career? What real estate designations does the agent hold? Which party is he or she representing: you or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early on, at “first serious contact” with you. The agent should discuss your state’s particular definitions of agency, so you’ll know where you stand. In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? Show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you? “Licensed Real Estate Agents have taken real estate courses and have passed a licensing

exam and the vast majority truly works in this profession to serve and advocate for their clients,” said Ann Allsopp of Northwood Realty Services. “There is a special relationship between a buyer or seller and their agent. However, every agent is different and not every agent has the same background and experience so it’s best for potential buyers and sellers to do their homework and ask some questions of their potential Real Estate Agent. “Understand where the agent practices most of their business, said Karena Allsopp, also of Northwood Realty Services. “Just because an agent office is in one location, does not mean that that is their only area of practice or knowledge. Most agents tend to practice in various locations in order to meet the demands of their clients. Particularly, if an agent is working frequently with clients relocating to the Pittsburgh area, they have to be knowledgeable all over Pittsburgh. For example, I love living and practicing in the South Hills. However, I grew up north of Pittsburgh and also tend to practice quite a bit in the Northern Pittsburgh Suburbs. So when selecting an agent, understand how active or inactive the agent is in the market in which you are selling or buying.”

Mercer County| Summer 2012 | 31

Lakeview Area Public Library

Story in Itself

is a By Sandy Marwick


t began in the 1940s, when a handful of women donated books to start a community library. Some 60 years later, people are still giving. The Lakeview Area Public Library hosted an open house in April, when a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorated the library’s new location at 56 E. Lacock St. “We have very, very devoted volunteers who see the need for a library in the community, so they gave way above and beyond,” said Theresa Panner, director of the library since 2004. Over the years, community members have donated thousands of books and volunteered their time to operate the nonprofit library, which receives no state or federal funds. The library’s biggest coup, however, is moving from a 15-by-30-foot room in the Sandy Lake Borough building to the 1800s Victorian “Wright House”—gifted in 2010 by Leon “Bill” and Carolyn Silzle of Marietta, Ga. The house was purchased in the early 1900s by Bill Silzle’s maternal great-grandfather, Albert Wright. The property was among adjoining parcels that extended to what is now the Wright Village townhouse complex on Dunn Street. Silzle inherited the house from his parents, Leon “Lee” and Lois Silzle, who had inherited the house in the 1960s from Lois’ parents, John and Nannie “Nancy” Clingan. The Silzles lived there full time from the 1970s until sometime around 2000, when health issues prompted a move. Lee and Lois Silzle died in 2009 and 2005, respectively. Although the couple hoped their house would remain in the family, they had discussed with their son the alternate choice of making sure it was put to good use. Lois Silzle had been a librarian, so her son approached the Sandy Lake library after exhausting his efforts with relatives. “I was half surprised they wanted a big, old house—but they loved the idea,” Bill Silzle said. “At the end of the day, we wanted to see the house used for something good. I sure think this is something good—and I think Mom and Dad would feel the same way.”


ince taking occupancy in December 2011, the library has retained the home’s historic look as well as a family feel. Panner describes it as “a friendly place, where people can come and get a hug. We have people who call a friend and say ‘I’m going to the library. I’ll meet you

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there.’ I think that’s more important than books we have or don’t have,” she said. “All the librarians have been friendly,” said 79-year-old Verna Sherman, a patron since 2002. “If I go in … and they’re not too busy, we [chat] awhile. I’m glad they got bigger quarters, because they definitely needed it.” When Panner envisions that space in the future, she sees loving grandmas in rockers who tutor children after school. Longtime volunteer Sandy Nosker plans to repair a stone hearth in the yard, where Silzle recalls roasting corn from the gardens (also on Nosker’s list to restore). Eventually, Wright family documents found on-site will reside in a genealogy room upstairs, Nosker added. Although those achievements are yet undone, the library has evolved. Its original collection of about 600 books has grown to around 10,000, with audio books, movies, computers and a fax machine among its many offerings. Popular sections include Christian Fiction, which occupies the better part of a room. “When I started we had two shelves that said ‘Religion’ (that held) four very old Bibles,” Panner said.

Lakeview Area Public Library 56 E. Lacock St. Sandy Lake, PA 16145 724.376.4217 HOURS: Mon: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tues: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Wed: 1 p.m.- 7 p.m.

Thurs: 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Fri: 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Sat: 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.

With expanded space, local Girl Scouts now lead a story time on Saturdays, but it took some help to get them there. During a year of ongoing work, the roof was repaired and a handicapped-accessible entry and bathroom were installed as part of remodeling. “We had over 40 different volunteers and I think I counted nine different businesses,” Panner said, noting a gravel parking area and porch also among the upgrades. For regular operations, volunteers do everything from mow the yard and empty trash to staff the fundraising book sales hosted in the borough building two or three times annually.


ntil now, the book sales have offset much of the library’s overhead, and the United Way helps finance the eight-week summer reading program held at a local church. Membership dues from 650-plus patrons also keep the library going. But owning a building has increased operating costs. In an effort to improve fundraising, Panner said the library has begun to add board members who have professional affiliations in the community. “We have a retired principal, retired teachers…They have a reach into the community we’ve not had before. We’re hoping that eventually the community will see the need for the library … and will be willing to support it.” But the library has come this far, and Panner, for one, has faith it will flourish. “In 2004, we started praying. And we’ve been praying all along,” she said. So far, the community has answered.


603 East McMurray Road McMurray I PA I 15317 724.942.0940


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