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SUMMER 2012

COMMUNITY NITY MAGAZINE MAGAZIN

At Home in Murrysville—

Building Trends of Today

❋ The Children’s Library Will Be Bigger & Better Than Ever!

PLUS! Venango Trails – Come Home to a Place You Know


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INSIDE

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

12 INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

Zacharia and Brown

Elder law firms provide the ulitmate peace of mind ..........................................

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FEATURES

ON THE COVER | A beautiful federal-style mansion in the heart of Murrysville. Nestled within 15 acres

of rolling country, the property is offered by Leslie Schupp of Re/Max Realty Centre.

View from the Front Porch ...........

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Home Trends .....................................

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Venango Trails

An exceptional lifestyle .............................

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UPMC TODAY

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.

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You’re Invited! UPMC East Community Open House is June 16 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 Summer Travels for Seniors

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COMMUNITY INTEREST

Murrysville Mayor’s Report ..............................................

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Murrysville Resident Profile .............................................

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Murrysville Annual Easter Egg Hunt .............................

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Franklin Regional School District News ......................

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Murrysville Photo Contest ................................................

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UPMC Today | Health and Wellness News You Can Use ........

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Relay for Life .........................................................................

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MWC Fashion Show ............................................................

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Murrysville Meals on Wheels ...........................................

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Welcome to the Summer issue of Murrysville 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 the garage, let us know! Email our editor, Pamela Palongue, at p.palongue@incommunitymagazines.com 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 that 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 whether 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! 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 p.palongue@incommunitymagazines.com

Wayne Dollard Publisher

Fall Content Deadline: July 18

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A LETTER from the MAYOR M U N I C I P A L I T Y

O F

M U R R Y S V I L L E

A letter to the community in support of the Murrysville Community Library’s Capital Campaign. Dear Fellow Citizens:

being a quiet place to read, work, and study, Murrysville Community Library has become a living library-a vital and dynamic community center that offers free Wi-Fi, e-books to download, and access to the world wide web, including online databases.

In the next few months, we will be seeing great changes to the Children’s Room of our Library. The award-winning children’s library program has outgrown its physical space. This year over 1,000 kids are participating in the Summer Reading Club Program, “Dream Big – Read!” Children account for 40% of library circulation, in only 16% of the available space in the library. A major renovation of the Children’s Room will begin in the fall of 2012 with a focus on 1. expansion of the area to allow flexible use of space for children’s programming, 2. updated computers dedicated for use by children and parents, and 3. new family-friendly furnishings. As the Murrysville Community Library celebrates its 90th birthday, the community can look back with pride on its accomplishments. The Library has grown from an initial collection of 660 books to over 64,000 items in a variety of formats. With the Westmoreland Library Network card, you can access over 750,000 items countywide 24/7! In addition to

The Murrysville Community Library Foundation is spearheading this Capital Campaign to finance the renovation and has reached half of its fundraising goal of $500,000. The Library needs your support to make sure that we meet this challenging goal. With your help, the Murrysville Community Library will continue to be an important resource that we can count on long into the future! I urge everyone to consider making a contribution now to the Murrysville Community Library Foundation at: murrysvillelibraryfoundation.org. Best regards, Robert J. Brooks Mayor Municipality of Murrysville

2012 Municipality of Murrysville Council Members:   Joan C. Kearns – Council President Regis Synan – Council Vice-President Jeffery L. Kepler Joshua R. Lorenz David R. Perry Ron Summerhill William Vance

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murrysville

Resident Profile

Lynn Staab – A Passion for Volunteering By Dana Black McGrath • Photo by Brad Lauer

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It is hard to imagine that someone who works so much to help others in her community can view herself as being selfish. But Lynn Staab, coordinator of Murrysville Meals on Wheels, has an unexpected view of her tireless volunteer work. “It’s kind of selfish because I enjoy it so much,” she says. Meals on Wheels is just one of the many community organizations to which Staab has contributed her time and talents over the years. But for now, it is the primary focus of her volunteer efforts. She first started working with Meals on Wheels 16 years ago. “I decided I wanted to cook for Meals on Wheels,” she says, “and that is what I did first.” A few years later, Staab was approached by some of the women in charge of the program who asked if she would be interested in taking over as coordinator. “They thought I would have the skills to do it, so I did,” she says. That was in 1996, and she has served as coordinator ever since. This year, the organization is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Murrysville Meals on Wheels serves those who are homebound and living within the Franklin Regional School District, providing a hot and a cold meal once a day, four days a week – Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Although the number of people served by the program

may fluctuate, Staab says typically there are anywhere from 40 to 50 served each day of operation. Murrysville Meals on Wheels operates out of Laird Hall at the First Presbyterian Church, where Staab also serves on the Board of Deacons, as Christian education director, and as a Sunday School teacher. “We make about 100 meals each day,” she says, and is quick to credit the work of the program’s force of nearly 200 volunteers. “They definitely make our program. Without them, we couldn’t do this.” Staab also serves as treasurer and is a past president of Symphony East, a group that does fundraising to benefit the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In that capacity, she keeps track of money raised during the group’s fundraising events, manages deposits, and advises the organization’s board as to the amount that they will be able to give to the PSO. Symphony East meets monthly and hosts two major fundraising events each year – a fashion show at Edgewood Country Club and a card party. She also is a past president of the Murrysville Woman’s Club, the group that founded the Murrysville Community Library, an effort of which she is especially proud. The club continues to support the library and also offers a scholarship for non-traditional students, typically mature women who are returning to school in an effort to advance in the workforce, she explains. Often recipients of the scholarships have been abused or

“My father always taught me to be a giving person... I enjoy helping others.”

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otherwise disadvantaged. After joining Murrysville Friends of the Library in 1986, she served as treasurer of the group from 1994-95. During that time, the friends, in partnership with the library board, ran the New Edition campaign that raised more than $150,000 in donations for the library’s move to its current location at the Municipal Center. She later joined the library staff as payroll clerk, a position she held until funding cuts led to outsourcing of payroll. Additionally, Staab is a past president of the Murrysville Kiwanis Club. Staab grew up in the Turtle Creek Valley and worked at Westinghouse Credit Corporation as an administrative assistant to the operation manager for 18 years. She moved to Murrysville after marrying her husband, Carl Staab, in 1979. While raising their son, Randy, she frequently volunteered at his school. Over the years, she has tried to strike a balance in her volunteer efforts among church, school and community, she explains. “My father always taught me to be a giving person,” she says of her motivation. “I enjoy helping others.” Her husband has always supported her volunteer efforts. “I feel privileged and blessed that my husband supports me,” she says. “I feel fortunate that I have the time to do this.” Staab has been recognized for her contributions to the community. Her awards have included being named Murrysville Municipality Volunteer of the Year and the 2010 Citizen of the Year by the local newspaper. The American Association of University Women contributed to its Education Foundation in honor of Staab for her volunteer efforts to better the community. For more information about Murrysville Meals on Wheels, call or visit the website at www.murrysville-mow.org. Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com 7


easter * * Celebration L

ocal children enjoyed the Murrysville Annual Easter Egg Hunt held at Townsend Park on Saturday, March 31. After the long winter, it was a great chance for kids to get out and enjoy the nice weather outdoors. Children brought their own Easter baskets and hunted for the colored eggs which were hidden in special areas throughout the park. After collecting the plastic eggs, the children exchanged them for a bag of goodies. This was a free event for all the children attending who had a wonderful day!

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FRANKLIN REGIONAL S C H O O L

D I S T R I C T

Superintendent’s message MISSION STATEMENT: We, the Franklin Regional School community, strive for excellence, learning, achievement and citizenship in all we do.

Dr. P. Emery D’Arcangelo Superintendent Shelley Shaneyfelt Director of Instructional Services and Public Relations Dr. Charles Koren Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Jon C. Perry Director of Financial Services Linda Miller Assistant to the Director of Financial Services Frank J. Muto Supervisor of Technology Services Dennis Majewski Director of District Services Zachary Kessler Director of Athletics & Student Activities Richard E. Regelski, Jr. Director of Special Education Allan Mikach Director of Counseling Services Karen Cadwell School Board Secretary/ Executive Assistant to the Superintendent Ronald Suvak, Principal Senior High School Chris Kelly, Principal Middle School Shelley Shaneyfelt Interim Principal Heritage Elementary Judith Morrison, Interim Principal Newlonsburg Elementary Tina Burns, Principal Sloan Elementary 10

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Parent and Community Volunteers

he Franklin Regional School District continues to be an exemplary school district for student growth and learning. The Franklin Regional school community is proud of our exceptional academic and co-/extra-curricular tradition. We are fortunate to have a community that values education and recognizes the importance of preparing our students to be contributing members of our global society. We are extremely pleased to partner with parents and community volunteers who recognize this partnership as an essential component of Franklin Regional’s success. Parents and community volunteers are an integral part of the Franklin Regional school community and have historically contributed greatly to our shared mission to support a quality education for all students. Parent and community volunteers add their talents and energy to that of our professional staff to accomplish all of the necessary tasks we undertake to help our students in their quest for excellence. Our school community is greatly enriched because of the time our volunteers freely give to the school district. Through contributing their time, our volunteers also model an important behavior regarding the value of giving to others. Their input is sought and valued at every level of the organization. We continue our quest to encourage and solicit parent and community volunteer support by providing the following examples of how you can contribute to the success of our students at Franklin Regional: Building Academic Advisory Councils are functional in each building with parent representatives from all stakeholder groups invited to participate. These groups meet on a monthly basis and provide valuable insight for decisions that affect the operations of our schools and help to produce a positive impact on student learning. Steering Committee for the Strategic Plan are members of a large, diverse volunteer community committee who survey constituents in the community to gather data that is used to establish long-range goals in the school district’s Strategic Plan which is then approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Curriculum Cyclical Review Committees include interested members of the community who possess an expertise in a specific area and sit on the review panels through the Cyclical Review process that encompasses all academic disciplines. The sharing of information through Cyclical Review is an ongoing five-year cycle which encourages dialogue to predict future student needs by examining various types of pupil data. Parent Teacher Organizations (PTOs) are active organizations in each building providing support for the educational programs through service and financial contributions. Representative members from the PTOs in each building also meet monthly with the superintendent to review specifics from public board meeting agendas and to share common concerns for the betterment of our students. Classroom Volunteers provide for a wide range of opportunities to assist students in the classroom under the direct supervision of the teacher. Chaperones are always needed for dances, field trips and other school-related activities at all levels. Volunteer Coaches allow an avenue for volunteers to assist coaches and advisors in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.

Murrysville


Title I and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs offer training and familycentered activity nights several times a year and encourage the parents to engage in educational outreach programs at home. The Special Education program encourages family involvement with all educational decisions, and operates a recreational program for children with disabilities paired with students without them for fun and relaxation known as “S.N.A.P.” Connections Program invites senior citizen volunteers to our campus on a regular basis to provide tutoring services for our struggling learners. Community Volunteers are used to assist our coaches and lend support to our athletic and musical events. Students in our small music ensembles also provide community entertainment at various functions throughout the school community. The Franklin Regional School District will continue to strengthen our partnerships with all members of the “school community.” We encourage you to volunteer your services and expertise to Franklin Regional. Please contact any member of the school’s administration to receive more information. Contact information can also be found at www. franklinregional.k12.pa.us under the links “Schools” and “Administration.” Details regarding the attainment of proper clearances can be found under “School Board,” Policy 7407 – School Volunteers. I look forward to seeing you in our schools! Sincerely, Dr. P. Emery D’Arcangelo Superintendent Franklin Regional School District

Margie Ritson Wins

Science

Award

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By D ana Blac kM cGr ath

ranklin Regional Middle School science teacher Margie Ritson has been honored with the Carnegie Science Center’s Educator Award at the Middle School Level in recognition of her effort to keep students engaged in learning – even up until the last days of the school year. Ritson leads the charge for the middle school’s “Ultimate Inquiry Days,” an event held during the last two weeks of the school year, during which students focus on science. She received her award during a celebration held May 11 at Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. Carnegie Science Center established the Carnegie Science Awards program in 1997 to recognize and promote innovation in science and technology across western Pennsylvania. Supported through sponsors including the Eaton Corporation, the program has recognized the work of more than 250 committed individuals and organizations. This is Ritson’s 32nd year of teaching. Before coming to Franklin Regional, she taught in the Woodland Hills School District where she was asked to become part of the ASSET program, a teacher enhancement program that promotes inquiry-based learning for students. Eventually, she was released from her position to serve as a resource person, working with other teachers to provide ideas and training on content. As an educator, Ritson says she frequently visited Carnegie Science Center, but admits, ironically, that she never really had a strong interest in science. But now she finds her work in the subject very rewarding. “Many elementary teachers are scared of science,” she says. “Because of my ASSET experience, I got to go many places for trainings and conferences,” Ritson says. Now she serves on the faculty of the National Science Resource Center. Franklin Regional staff saw one of her presentations and the District offered her a position at the middle school. She accepted and now has been with the District for 13 years. Continued on next page Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com 11


Margie Ritson

A sixth grade science teacher, her inquiry-driven approach in the classroom, she says, “makes for a much more creative and fun class.” Part of that fun is the Ultimate Inquiry Days event that keeps students excited about coming to school, even when others already have their minds on summer vacation. The idea for the program came to her almost as soon as she arrived at the district. “I saw that pool at Franklin Regional and I knew I needed to build a boat to go across it,” she laughs. Now the “Anything That Floats” event is one of four held during the Ultimate Inquiry Days, which Ritson describes as “a science fair on steroids.” During the last four days of the academic year, she explains, “we stop everything and just teach science.” Approximately 80 students participate in each event, Ritson says, and, “in three days we go from a pile of scrap to a project that will actually work.” There are certain guidelines that must be followed for each of the events. For example, in the Anything That Floats event, the boats cannot consist of anything that has floated before, and there is no pre-testing. On race day, it is, quite literally, sink or swim. “Ultimately, we want the kids to realize

that they are smart enough to work this out on their own.” To gather materials for the students’ projects, the school sends home a letter asking parents to donate items such as lumber, wheels and other various materials that can be used for project building. Some fundraising also is conducted. This is the fourth year that PPG has supported the program with grant funding. This year, the staff wanted to have the children more involved with fundraising for the program, so fellow teacher A.J. Danny organized a holiday wreath sale. “We are still learning as we go,” Ritson says of the ongoing experience with growing and expanding the program. She says that school principal Christopher Kelly is very supportive of the event. “Where else can you find children excited up to the end of the school year? It is really heartwarming,” says Ritson. Ritson also works with the Math and Science Partnership and serves as an adjunct professor at Chatham University teaching elementary science teachers. “I love it,” she says of her position at Chatham. “It’s very rewarding and keeps me fresh in new practices and curriculum. Teachers can tell you first-hand what is working and what is not working.”

“I saw that pool at Franklin Regional and I knew I needed to build a boat to go across it”

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eachers and students in the Franklin Regional School District are benefiting from a mathematics and science partnership grant program designed to improve student achievement in these areas through special training for district teachers. The focus of the program is on student learning, and helping students to understand and apply what they are learning, explains Sam Shaneyfelt, K-12 project director for the Math and Science Collaborative of Southwest Pennsylvania (MSC), which administers the professional development program for educators, as well as the grant funding that supports the program. MSC provides professional development opportunities and support initiatives in math and science education designed to improve teaching and learning. Ongoing professional development programs strengthen math and science education at the classroom, school, district and regional levels, according to the organization’s website. MSP grants, which are awarded through MSC, serve a number of school districts in the region. The MSC program is now in its 18th year, and Franklin Regional’s involvement in the program started 17 years ago, explains Shaneyfelt. Although he now works for MSC, Shaneyfelt is a familiar face in the Franklin Regional community. He retired from the district after 35 years of service, during which time he was a Teacher, Head Teacher, Principal at Sloan Elementary, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Director of Personnel. In 2003, MSC applied for and received an $18.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to increase student achievement in school districts that wanted to participate in the partnership, Shaneyfelt explains. The initiative was structured as a five-year grant and promoted partnerships among school districts and higher education institutions including St. Vincent College, Robert Morris University, Carlow University and Chatham University. The University of Pittsburgh served as evaluator for the grants. Initially, under that grant, 40 school districts, including Franklin Regional, participated in the program which trained teachers to increase student achievement through the utilization of best practices. Teachers who participated and were trained then went back to their schools to share those best practices with their fellow educators in an effort to improve achievement among a large number of students.

Then, in 2004, the U.S. Department of Education, recognizing the success of the National Science Foundation, decided it also would issue grants. That funding was distributed at the state level through competitive grant awards, which enabled MSC to obtain more money for its program and to work with more school districts, Shaneyfelt says. Again, Franklin Regional continued as a partner in the program. Now that grant program, which continues to be renewed, is stretching into its eighth year and supports many different forms of training for educators from participating school districts. One form of training brought participating teacher leaders to train with the collaborative and then return to their schools, serving as teacher leaders there to share the skills and information they learned with their fellow educators to improve student achievement. This year, a new pilot program, supported by U.S. Department of Education grants, takes teams into the school districts to work on-site with teacher leaders and administrators. Of the MSC’s 26 participating school districts, eight have opted to be part of the pilot program, including Franklin Regional which is participating at the elementary and middle school level, says Shaneyfelt. Through the pilot program, teachers are able to find help for some of the challenges they face. “We work with them on good practices,” says Shaneyfelt, “and what the teachers recognize Continued on next page Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com 13


Continued from page 13

as problems of practices that are necessary to deal with improving student achievement.” Utilizing the Instructional Rounds Model, the program focuses on the process of learning well, he continued. “We don’t observe teachers; we observe students and their thinking and learning.” So far, the District is making good progress, Shaneyfelt reports. The teachers who are involved in the program meet for one hour a week. “Those involved get together to sit as a community of learners and look at student learning,” says Shaneyfelt. The process, he believes, will better prepare educators and students for the introduction of Common Core Standards, which will be instituted in 2014. According to corestandards.org, the Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort to establish a shared set of clear educational standards for English language, arts and mathematics that states can voluntarily adopt. “These standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to go to college or enter the workforce and that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. The standards are benchmarked to international standards to guarantee that our students are competitive in the emerging global marketplace.” “What is going to be nice is the problems of practice that the District is dealing with will better prepare them for when the Common Core Standards come into play,” says Shaneyfelt. The Common Core emphasizes eight standards of practice in math and science that precede the content standards, he explains. The goal is that students should be able to understand content, rather than just regurgitate it; emphasis is on the element of thinking. Shaneyfelt also believes this will help to better prepare students for the Keystone Tests and any other type of testing. The Keystone Tests, he explains, differ from other standardized achievement tests because they require that information be applied, so thinking is involved. “In some cases, that can be very difficult for some school districts,” he says. “As we prepare to move in that direction, we need to be moving with the school districts.” Franklin Regional’s participation in the MSC pilot program will continue through next school year.

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Backpacks

to go

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hen teachers and staff at Heritage Elementary School realized that some students were returning to school on Mondays with empty stomachs, they knew they had to do something to help. “Several students were coming back to school on Mondays hungry,” says counselor Anna Quiggle. “On Monday morning, we


couldn’t get them back on track because they were eating and snacking.” The subject was one of much discussion at staff meetings. “We take the needs of our students very seriously,” she says. “It was affecting their Monday routine, classes and testing.” Staff realized that oftentimes students didn’t have the same meal availability at home over the weekends as they did during the week at school where they could eat breakfast and lunch each day. “Some children go between families on the weekends,” Quiggle explains. “Some are homeless and even though they may receive some type of services, those services often change on the weekends.” Fellow counselor Patrice Klimchock did some research into the issue and found that there were some programs that provided take-home food for needy students over the weekend, but most were run through local food banks. No such program was available in the Franklin Regional area because of the income distribution within the district. So, they looked at a number of different programs and tried to model one after some that had been instituted in other areas. “Backpacks to Go” was the solution. On designated Fridays, those students who are in need are given a backpack filled with ready-to-eat or easily prepared foods to sustain them over the weekend. Backpacks are filled with enough food for dinner Friday night and breakfast, lunch and dinner for Saturday and Sunday. Foods are intended to be able to mix and match, and most can simply be opened and eaten. “Everything is mobile and nutritious,” Quiggle adds. For instance, some of the items that often are included are small boxes of cereal that can be eaten even without milk, granola-type bars, easy-open containers of fruit, peanut butter, a loaf of bread, crackers and other types of ready-to-eat foods. For foods such as macaroni and cheese in microwavable single-serve containers, the children are taught how to prepare the food themselves. Menu ideas are included in the backpacks as well, so students and their caregivers know how to prepare, mix and match the foods provided. Even utensils are included so the students can be as independent as possible with the contents of their backpack. Shampoo and toothpaste also are provided, Quiggle says, because the goal is to help the children be as self-sufficient as possible in taking care of their own needs.

On Friday, recipients stop by the office to pick up their backpacks on the way out to the bus. Great care is taken to keep the process discreet. They return the backpacks on Monday to prepare for the next distribution. The backpacks are given every other Friday, but sometimes there may be a student with a need to receive food on the opposite Fridays as well. The school identified those who may be in need of the program through teacher referral, parent requests and even students’ self-referral. Of the 640 students enrolled at Heritage, about 20 to 40 receive help through the Backpacks to Go program. “We feel really good about trying to meet the needs of our students,” says Quiggle. At holiday times, the program also tries to provide boxes of food to help their families. This is the second year for the program at Heritage, and Quiggle expects that it will continue next school year. “It has taken a lot of organization, but it all runs very smoothly now,” she says. For the summer months, the school will help to link those in need with the local food pantries so students and their families can get help through the summer break. The Backpacks to Go program, Quiggle explains, is completely run by parent volunteers from the school’s PTO. “We have a wonderful core group that worked to get it started and continued to work on it this year.” Volunteers run food drives and ask for specific types of foods based on the grade level of the recipients. A letter is sent home at the beginning of the school year to ask for donations of specific types of food. “When our supply is down, somehow we always seem to have something show up in the way of donations.” Although the program welcomes all donations, it is preferable that those intending to make a contribution provide items in small serving sizes in easy-open, non-breakable containers so that they are easily portable for students who carry the backpacks on their own. ❋ Some of the donation requests by grade include: Kindergarten and first grade – peanut butter in plastic containers, jelly in plastic containers and applesauce cups. Second grade – 100 percent fruit juice boxes, tuna, and fruit cups. Third grade – Granola bars or fiber fruit Pop-Tarts, raisins/fruit snacks/fruit roll-ups, puddings and gelatin (the type that does not require refrigeration). Fourth grade – Crackers with peanut butter or cheese, easyto-open prepared pasta, and oatmeal (low-sugar varieties in various flavors). The school’s PTO also has a special fund that can be used to purchase items for the program, if needed.“We get an enormous response,” says Quiggle. “It is really lovely. We have been lucky because people respond in such a positive way. It’s neighbors helping neighbors.” Besides making sure that children do not go hungry, Quiggle says, “Kids know they can go to a safe place for help.”

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Murrysville

PHOTO

Contest

Grand Prize winning photo: Chickadee (PV Park) by Dale Matuza 1st/2nd Place, tied, Close-ups: Song sparrow on Cattail (MCP Wetlands) by Pat Comas 1st/2nd Place, tied, Close-ups: Trout Lily (MCP Wetlands) by Jeff McMahill 1st Place, Landscapes and Scenery: Reflections in Turtle Creek (Duff Park) by Douglas Bauman 1st Place, People and Pets: Playing in the Creek (Bear Hollow Park) by Megan Tomley 1st Place, Action: Steel City Rewind Halftime Show by Ken Reabe Jr. 1st Place, Young Photographers: Sky with Clouds (PV Park) by Lindsey Powers

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UPMC TODAY

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

You’re Invited! UPMC East Community Open House is June 16

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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 Summer Travels for Seniors

© 2012 UPMC

Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com 17


You’re Invited!

GET CONNECTED to UPMC East

UPMC East Community Open House Saturday, June 16 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Join friends and neighbors for a sneak peek inside your new community hospital. UPMC East President Mark Sevco, members of the medical and professional staff, and many of our associates will be on hand to welcome you.

HOSPITAL SELF-GUIDED TOUR

REFRESHMENTS & MORE A bright and airy space near the Café is the perfect place to enjoy light refreshments, chat with hospital representatives and other visitors, and end your tour. Each guest also will receive a gift as our thanks for being part of this special day.

Register online and choose your preferred tour time.

FREE PARKING

Offered throughout the day, these self-guided tours include: • Emergency Department • Surgical Suites (closed to the • Private patient rooms public after today) • The Café • And more!

Free onsite parking is available in the hospital parking garage located on Fox Plan Road. To access the garage, please enter the facility through gate entrance C (near the front of Lowe’s), and follow signs to the garage.

UPMC East 2775 Mosside Blvd., Monroeville, PA 15146 (near the intersection of Route 48 and Route 22/William Penn Highway)

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To make your tour as enjoyable and informative as possible, be sure to preregister online at UPMCEast.com/OpenHouse and choose the tour time that best fits your plans for the day. And bring your registration confirmation to the event.


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 UPMC.com and click Our Services for an alphabetical listing of departments and services.

Other health consequences of sleep apnea Sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, weight gain, memory problems, and daytime sleepiness. “Loud snoring is a very common feature of sleep apnea and often the most bothersome symptom for patients and other family members,” says Dr. Strollo. “Successful treatment of snoring and sleep apnea can improve quality of life as well as reduce health risks. A variety of medical and surgical treatment options are available, and the treatment plan can be customized to each individual patient.” The UPMC Sleep Medicine Center at Monroeville is located at 400 Oxford Drive. For information about its services or to schedule a sleep study, call 412-692-2880.

1-800-533-UPMC 193 Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com


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 cancer.org. Sources: American Cancer Society, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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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 Eric Hager, MD, a vascular surgeon at UPMC East. “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. Hager. To learn more about all the vascular services at UPMC East, visit UPMCEast.com.


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, adds Dr. Shevchik. 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 UPMCHealthTrak.com. 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. Grant Shevchik, MD, a family physician and geriatrician who is medical director of HealthTrak, and Vice President of the UPMC East medical staff, says online medical care is “the future.” He predicts an explosion of users once word spreads about the overall convenience and newest features — including access for authorized family members.

More patient-centered solutions 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. Parents especially appreciate having instant access to a child’s immunization record when they need it, says Dr. Shevchik. Approved caregivers find eVisit, the online doctor visit service, very useful for the diagnosis of common, non-urgent ailments in their elderly relatives. “HealthTrak gives people immediate accessibility. And that accessibility is improving health care by encouraging patients to accept responsibility for their health,” says Dr. Shevchik.

Sign up today! Easy, direct signup for HealthTrak is available online by going to UPMCHealthTrak.com 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. If you have difficulties, email healthtrak@upmc.edu or call the UPMC HealthTrak Support Line at 1-866-884-8579.

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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 together.” 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.”

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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 TheLegacyLineup.com.

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.

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Summer Travels for Seniors Make your vacation a fun and healthy one with these helpful tips.

Experienced travelers know that the key to a great vacation is good planning. “If you’re a senior hitting the road this summer, take a few minutes to plan for your good health away from home,” says Daniel M. Carter, MD, Family Practice Chair, UPMC East.

Be prepared Whether you’re embarking on an international adventure or heading to your favorite getaway, follow these basics: • Ensure that your vaccinations are current. Since more than half of all tetanus cases occur in adults 65 and older, consider updating your tetanus shot, too. • Going to another country? Check with your county health department on vaccinations required for seasonal diseases in the country you’re visiting, such as yellow fever, malaria, or typhoid. Be aware that many health care plans, including Medicare, don’t cover care provided outside the United States. Supplemental travel medical insurance can be helpful. “Older adults also should carry a comprehensive list of prescriptions and the appropriate dosage when traveling, especially if they have any complicated medical conditions,” says Dr. Carter.

Getting there is half the fun Before you jump into the car or catch a plane, remember to: • Avoid sitting in one position for extended periods. Wearing support stockings can help reduce any numbness or leg pain. • Advise the airport of any special needs you may have, such as wheelchair accommodations. “And if you use oxygen, alert the airline,” says Dr. Carter. “You cannot carry your own oxygen tank on a plane. One will be provided by the airline. However, you will be responsible for making arrangements to have an oxygen tank waiting when you land.” • To minimize problems clearing airport security, carry prescriptions in their original containers with the pharmacy label and prescribing doctor. If you have an implanted medical device or metal prosthesis, such as a knee or hip replacement, notify the security officer.

Fun in the sun is different for seniors “Our ability to tolerate the sun and heat changes dramatically as we age,” notes Dr. Carter. “Many older adults also take medications that put them at an increased risk of phototoxicity (sensitivity to the sun), dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even life-threatening heat stroke.” To minimize your risk, Dr. Carter recommends that you: • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications and potential sun-related problems before heading to the beach or for a day of sightseeing. Medications for depression, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, and Parkinson’s disease are just a few of the drugs with sun-related side effects. • Drink more water to stay hydrated. This is important since our bodies typically retain less water as we grow older. Avoid alcoholic beverages, which increase fluid loss. “Most of all, seek immediate medical help if you experience signs of heat stroke,” says Dr. Carter. Symptoms can include a high body temperature of 103 degrees or greater; skin that is red, hot, and dry without sweating; a rapid pulse, nausea, headache, or dizziness.

1-800-533-UPMC 23 7 Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com


UPMC East

2775 Mosside Blvd. Monroeville, PA 15146

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 East on Facebook.

Ready to see what’s inside?

Saturday, June 16 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Care. Convenience. Community. Connected.

Learn how we’re bringing world-class care to the eastern suburbs.

All you need to do is register to attend.

Register online at UPMCEast.com/OpenHouse

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Relay for Life

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By Ashley Conner

he 2012 Relay for Life of Murrysville took place from Saturday, May 19, to Sunday, May 20, at Franklin Regional High School. This year there were a total of 207 participants among 48 teams. The Relay for Life event gives communities around the world the opportunity to celebrate survivors, remember others, and fight back against cancer. Everyone camped out at the high school while individual teams took their turns to walk or run around the track. The event that lasts for 24 hours is meant to resemble cancer in that it never sleeps. One company, RE/MAX Heritage, sponsored the Murrysville team Moose on the Loose. It provided tethered balloon rides on one of the most recognized balloons around the world, the RE/ MAX hot air balloon. “Unfortunately almost everyone, including our family, friends and neighbors, has been touched by this lifechanging and sometimes devastating disease,” says Anthony Cimino, broker/owner of RE/MAX Heritage located in Murrysville. “This office and our agents are a deep-seated part of this community and we feel passionately about the opportunity to sponsor an event like this that could facilitate cancer research and treatment, and also provide care to those struggling with the disease.” The Susan G. Komen Fund will benefit from team Moose on the Loose.

Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com 25


Fashion

Christine Chesky, Emilie Fierle

Murrysville Woman’s Club

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o the delight of local fashion enthusiasts The Murrysville Woman’s Club held its yearly fashion show on Saturday, March 24 at the Lamplighter in Delmont. Approximately 115 people attended this very popular event, raising over $2,000 for the MWC’s many charitable projects. Attendees of the event were treated to a hot brunch, door prizes, a Chinese auction, and a fashion show courtesy of Phyllis’ Fashions. Proceeds from previous fashion shows have gone towards the Murrysville Library (which was originally founded by the MWC), the Blackburn Center for Abused Women, A Child’s Place at Mercy, the three Murrysville Fire Departments, Meals on Wheels, the Westmoreland County Miracle Field, the Community Food Pantry, and the S.L.A.M. Fishing Derby. This year’s fashion show earnings will allow the MWC to continue to donate to these and other local organizations.

Sarah and Anna Stephens

Pat Shibble, Josie Esch

Keri Bollinger, Valerie Mayer, Jan Bollinger

Amber Balogi, Barbara Leax, Chris Burns

wig ad MWC Fashion Show Planning Committee

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By Matthew J. Fascetti • Photos by Brad Lauer

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“No good deed goes unrewarded,” the classic saying goes. If that’s the case, then the volunteers, sponsors and philanthropists involved with the Murrysville Meals on Wheels program have many blessings headed their way. Murrysville Meals on Wheels will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this year with a banquet on October 3 at The Lamplighter in Delmont. In addition, Murrysville’s mayor, Robert Brooks, is arranging for Franklin Regional High School to produce a video tribute to the program that will air on Cable Access Television. Lynn Staab, coordinator of the Murrysville Meals on Wheels, is very excited to be a part of the program. “I have been the coordinator since 1996 and I am thrilled to be a part of it. I have met so many wonderful friends volunteering, and it feels tremendous to make a difference in the world. Kindness and caring is what it’s all about,” she said. “We have been blessed with generous donations from the community and many caring contributors. Without them, there would be no Murrysville Meals on Wheels.” These contributors include Ferri’s Shur Save grocery store and the First Presbyterian Church in Murrysville, which provide the kitchen and pantry. Staab points to fellow volunteer Kay Fleming as someone who feels the same way as she does about Meals on Wheels. Fleming has been a volunteer for approximately 18 years, and she has enjoyed every minute: “I enjoy working with this great group of people. It makes me very happy to help those in need. I am very dedicated to this program.” Currently she is the head cook, and previously worked as the driver chairman in charge of the deliveries. “It doesn’t matter to me what I do, as long as I can help,” she said. It is just this type of attitude that has made the Meals on Wheels program such a huge success over the years. A common misconception of the general public is that Meals on Wheels is just for the elderly, but that is not the case…it is for anyone who is homebound. The mission is to provide a complete nutritious hot lunch plus cold dinner to people who find it difficult to prepare meals for themselves because of poor health, disabilities or lack of kitchen skills. Sadly, according to a recent government survey, 40% of the elderly in nursing facilities today would not need to be there if this service had been available to them. There is no membership for Meals on Wheels; people can sign up and receive the service just once or for as long as they like. Meals are delivered Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The service delivers to the entire Franklin Regional School District area, which includes Murrysville, Export and parts of Delmont. An example of a menu for any given day may be stuffed cabbage, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and butter and a chocolate chip bar for lunch, an egg salad sandwich and fresh fruit


for dinner along with milk and pineapple juice for beverages. Meals on Wheels boasts over three dozen recipes, which means they don’t repeat the same menu more than once every other month. The cost is $3 a day for the two meals. All meals are low in salt, low in fat and have very little sugar. Dessert is offered to nondiabetic customers, and fruit is given to those with diabetes. Murrysville Meals on Wheels has over 200 volunteers and the organization is run strictly with money given in donations from the community. “We have never had to go out and campaign for donations; people just give. The community has been remarkable,” Staab said. Of the volunteers, 10 to 12 work at a time. There are four to six in the kitchen, and the rest are out making deliveries. Staab adds that there are only two criteria for volunteer drivers: a valid driver’s license and a smile on their faces. “Smiles go a long way,” she has observed over the years. Other volunteer positions include buyers, visitors and steering committee members. But Staab stressed that the role of volunteers is much more than cooking or driving; they also greet each Continued on next page

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Continued from page 29

client cheerfully each day, check on a client’s well-being and handle emergencies if they arise. The first Meals on Wheels program in the United States began in Philadelphia in 1954. The Lutheran Service Society started the first Meals on Wheels kitchen in Pittsburgh in 1968 on the North Side; the program was launched with 17 clients. Nationally, Meals on Wheels serves approximately 2,500 people per day, which is over two million meals per year, and boasts over 5,700 volunteers. The Murrysville Chapter of Meals on Wheels was started February 21, 1972, by Deem Spears and Carole Zinn. They started serving eight clients twice a week, asking for a donation of $1 per day. The Murrysville chapter now has approximately 45 clients. Meals on Wheels is truly an invaluable service to any community. As Staab and all the volunteers at the Murrysville Meals on Wheels program have proven, with dedicated volunteers, generous sponsors, a caring community and a smile on your face, great things can happen! For more information about volunteering, or receiving Meals on Wheels, visit www.murrysville-mow.org or call 724.327.6842.

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View from the

Front Porch

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By Heather Holtschlag

he front porch may rank near the bottom of the list when people talk about their homes, but it ranks near the top in terms of importance. Considered a home’s “welcome mat,” the front porch offers a home’s first – and oftentimes only – impression to family, friends, and passersby. The friendlier it looks, the more appealing the home. And if you’re selling your home, the front porch is a huge part of its curb appeal. So how can you dress up your front porch so that it contributes to the charm of your neighborhood? According to Dee Dee Adams of Northwood Realty, railings should be secure and even replaced if they are worn or damaged. “It’s a good idea to make sure that house numbers are large enough to be visible from the street for safety. When it comes to their appearance, there are many options in decorative house numbers, including tile and several finishes such as brass and brushed pewter that will be both functional and attractive.” Also important are the hardware, lighting and the front door. This is especially important if you are considering selling your home. Adams, who recently purchased a home for herself in Murrysville admits that her own home has wonderful curb appeal and that it did figure in her decision to buy the house. If your goal is to add a front porch onto your home, it’s important to consider your home’s architectural style before making the addition. Also consider whether you want the porch area to be a simple transition into your home, or an entirely new living space. Also, determine how much space you will have to dedicate to a front porch area. If it’s a small, transitional area, you may not be able to give the area a complete overhaul, but rather enhance the space that is already there with charming accents. When it comes time to decorate the front porch, consider what room the porch leads to within the house. If it leads to a traditional living or dining room, for example, you likely will not want to decorate the porch in a tropical theme. Also, choose a type of paint for the front door that contains a high gloss and a color that will be noticeable. Consider changing the hardware as well. Go for house numbers that appear strong and bold, which could give your entire exterior a new look, and add a door knocker for a touch of elegance.

Before adding furniture to a roomier porch, make sure to attend to the paint on the sides and floor. Repair any paint that is peeling and add a fresh coat to the sides and floor first. And when adding the furniture, look for a piece such as a loveseat that can hold two people, and an ottoman that can double as storage space. The largest piece of furniture should face outward, with smaller pieces surrounding it. Artwork that is made to handle the elements of the outdoors can add attention and attractiveness if hung above the sitting area, and look for rugs and pillows that can finish off the space. Blinds or curtains can help prevent sun damage to the furniture and artwork, and can be of aid when people are sitting there. One final note to keep in mind when designing and decorating your porch is to decorate for the seasons. Add pumpkin décor during Halloween or floral accents during the spring and summer. A harvest wreath in the fall and an evergreen wreath in the winter also can add to the beauty of the season. Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com 35


Home

Trends

Influence

Design & Construction

By Dana Black McGrath t used to be that a first-floor laundry or home office was among some of the hottest home construction trends. Now that those are a standard more than a luxury, building trends are emerging that reflect our changing needs as our lifestyle, culture and economy change with the times. Leslie Schupp of Re/Max Realty Centre has noticed a strong trend toward multi-generational dwellings, sometime referred to as the mother-in-law suite. Aging parents are now much more likely to live with their children, partly because it’s more cost effective for everyone concerned. “Older adults are happier living in the home environment and they often help with child care and other household responsibilities,” explains Schupp. Although many homeowners elect to transform their basement into an “elder space,” Schupp has noticed more wing additions to homes for parents. “By having the addition on one level, the older individuals do not have mobility issues with stairs. Ideally though, there should be some separation for the privacy of everyone.” Also dominant in contemporary design is a trend toward classic architecture that blends modern and traditional elements to create timeless, elegant spaces with interiors that are light and simple rather than ornate and heavy.

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Outdoor living spaces are another design essential for all regions, not just for single-family homes but also for multi-family properties. In our area, many have embraced this trend by enhancing their outdoor space with comfortable outdoor furnishings and even outdoor kitchens. Consideration of cost-effectiveness in building is another new trend. For instance, many new homes are rectangular because they are less expensive to build. The trend is moving away from multiple odd roof lines that create unnecessary interior volumes, reducing construction and operating costs for homeowners. These principles can be seen in many of the new construction developments around the Pittsburgh region. Another trend is the elimination of the formal living room in favor of a more flexible space that is adjacent to the kitchen and family room. Many who build new homes opt for only one “formal” room – rather than a formal living room and separate dining room. Homeowners also frequently take out interior walls to open up the space that was once a formal dining room. Schupp agrees. “I talk to buyers everyday who want to take out walls in order to maximize their space. People like multi-functionality. It’s a better use of space and generally there is better lighting to a room when an interior wall is removed.” Kitchens, long known to be the heart of the home and one of the most important design elements of any house, are also being impacted by new trends. Many designers are coming up with creative storage solutions to allow windows above the counter tops rather than cabinets, thus keeping the kitchen light and bright. Another trend in newer homes is the man cave. Once referred to as the recreation room or game room, the man cave may take several different forms, but oftentimes functions as a room for the use of the whole family, despite the misnomer. Murrysville | Summer 2012 | incommunitymagazines.com 37


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