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orth Allegheny COMMUNITY


Peter Pan and Captain Hook

face off in the NA High School Musical


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

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 1

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IN North Allegheny is a community magazine dedicated to representing, encouraging and promoting the people of Bradford Woods, Franklin Park, Marshall Township and the Town of McCandless 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. By Heather Holtschlag

Curb appeal is not necessarily something that most people will be able to define in precise terms, but they will know it when they see it. Simply put, it is about making your front yard and the front of your house stand out and look better than the rest. And, if people like what they see on the outside, including potential buyers, the chances are good that they will want to see what the house looks like on the inside. But what can you do to make your house stand apart? To begin, play up your home’s doorway—one of the first areas people see when looking at your house—with color, a clean door free of nicks, and clean metal fixtures. Consider adding a wreath or some other type of door decoration.

Low-voltage landscape lighting, particularly accent lighting displayed in nearby trees or throughout other outdoor fixtures, can not only enhance a yard’s appearance but provide a pathway of lighted safety for visitors. Potted colorful flowers can provide instant curb appeal and can be purchased already assembled at a local garden center, or you may choose to buy an empty container to fill with all of your favorite flowers on your own.

To achieve the best curb appeal, paint the shutters in a color that matches the outside of your house and the rest of your yard. In addition, new garden beds are always a welcome sight. Consider planting new gardens in spots that will be most pleasing to the eye, such as along the driveway and in front of the house.

On a similar note, window boxes can be filled with your favorite flowers to match the rest of your yard’s color scheme. Consider adding some fixtures like birdbaths and wind chimes to add visual appeal to a yard, and a water fountain can sound heavenly on a warm summer day (but be sure to place them on level ground for optimum enjoyment). Shutters and trim work not only add texture and ventilation to a home, but provide added security as well.

IN North Allegheny | SPRING 2012 |

On a similar note, window boxes can be filled with your favorite flowers to match the rest of your yard’s color scheme.



Real Estate in North Allegheny

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Advanced Vein Center Vein Sclerotherapy

The Goddard School ON THE COVER


Preventing Summer Learning Losses

North Allegheny High School Students Rehearsing for Peter Pan. Photo by Gary Yon.

Raise Your Glass and Your Body to Greet the New Year


Health and Wellness News You Can Use

State Farm Insurance Safety Must-Haves for Your First Home

Let’s Get Physical




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Beleza Plastic Surgery

Passavant 8.375 x 10.875_8.375 x 10.875 3/7/12 12:35 PM Page 1

What can a daily dose of moderate physical activity do for you? Plenty! As you get older, regular exercise is a key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy. To learn more about the link between fitness and aging, turn to page 3.


What’s Inside page 2

Pioneering New Cancer Treatments

page 3

Fit at Any Age

page 4

Surviving Allergies: What You Can Do Putting Ergonomics to Work for You

page 5

Brightening Lives With Light

page 6

A Walk to Remember

page 7 © 2012 UPMC


Sperling Funeral Home Weddings and Funerals

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What’s Happening at UPMC Passavant

Genesis Chiropractic


Did You Know Chiropractic Therapies Prevent Low Back Pain?

Northway Food Pantry Works to Fight Hunger



Rising from the Water



Swift Audiology & Hearing Aid Services

Back-to-Back! Tigers Repeat as Quad-A Champs



Flying Through the Air with Peter Pan



Addresses Your Thoughts About Hearing Loss and Why You Should Seek Hearing Help

North Allegheny School District Poetry Contest



UPMC Today | Health and Wellness News You Can Use



On the Trail to Good Health



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King Orthodontics

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Welcome to the Spring issue of North Allegheny magazine. Hopefully, we are all enjoying the lengthening days as we forge on to summer. While spring usually brings more rain to the region than we normally get throughout the rest of the year, I’m glad we’ve had a few days of nice weather to get outside and remember what the snow covered up. We’ve grown once again over the winter, and have shifted some staff around to accommodate that growth. I want to point this out because you, the readers, give us many of the great story ideas that you see featured in these pages, and I want you to have the right point of contact so that your story can be heard. As always, we are looking for good news from the community! Please forward your ideas to our north zone coordinator, Pamela Palongue, at p.palongue@incommunitymagazines. com, and she’ll make sure they find a place in the magazine. If you’re not sure whether you have a good story, give Pamela a call at 724.942.0940 and ask! You should know also that we really appreciate your feedback (good and bad) to let us know where we missed the mark and where we hit it out of the park. Lastly, it’s not too soon to start thinking about the rest of the year! I know we just got through the holidays, and are thawing out, but since we’re quarterly, we’re already looking ahead to fall and beyond. So if you have events planned and would like to promote them, call or email Pamela. If you have an event coming up earlier, let us know so we can send our photographers and document the occasion! Here’s hoping that the start to your year has been a good one!

Wayne Dollard Publisher


Marybeth Jeffries REGIONAL EDITORS

Mark Berton [South and West] Monica L. Haynes [East] N O R T H Z O N E C O O R D I N AT O R

Pamela Palongue S C H O O L & M U N I C I PA L C O N T E N T C O O R D I N AT O R


Leo Vighetti A D P L A C E M E N T C O O R D I N AT O R

Debbie Mountain GRAPHIC DESIGN

Cassie Brkich Anna Buzzelli Sharon Cobb Susie Doak

Jan McEvoy Joe Milne Tamara Tylenda


Heather Holtschlage Pamela Palongue Leigh Lyons Gina Salinger Dana Black McGrath Judith Schardt Joann Naser PHOTOGRAPHERS

Ginni Hartle Brad Lauer

Kathleen Rudolph Gary Yon


Well spring sure seems to be right around the corner! This balmy end of winter weather sure gives me hope that I should be able to get out in the garden soon! While looking through the pages, I had to laugh. I was just lamenting over all of the money I have spent on the kid’s lessons this past month! Our resident profile features Andrea Ronk, North Allegheny’s Spring Musical Director. She maintains that all of those dance lessons she took as a child have lead her to where she is now. She is such a nice person, you can’t help but be inspired by her! And, if you have time to catch one of the performances of the NA Spring Musical, Peter Pan you will understand her passion! I want to remind you that this is your magazine. IN North Allegheny is all about what is happening in the North Allegheny Community. I hope you will let us know what you want to read about, what’s going on, and people we should be writing about for a future magazine. You can always email me at the magazine – or call me at 724.942.0940.

Derek Bayer Tom Poljak

Tamara Myers


Brian Daley Gina D’Alicandro Tina Dollard Karen Fadzen Julie Graf Jason Huffman Lori Jeffries Connie McDaniel Brian McKee Gabriel Negri Aimee Nicolia

Robert Ojeda Ralph Palaski Annette Petrone Vincent Sabatini Jennifer Schaefer Michael Silvert Karen Turkovich RJ Vighetti Nikki Capezio-Watson Sophia Williard

This magazine is carrier route mailed to all district households and businesses. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Copyright 2012. CORRESPONDENCE

Direct all inquiries, comments and press releases to: IN COMMUNITY MAGAZINES

Marybeth Jeffries Managing Editor

Attn: Editorial 603 E. McMurray Rd. Ph: 724.942.0940 McMurray, PA 15317 Fax: 724.942.0968 Summer content deadline: 5/4/12 Please recycle this magazine when you are through enjoying it.

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North Allegheny

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 5

Works to

Northway Food Pantry


By Pamela Palongue


o many, hunger is someone else’s problem; a difficulty that will happen to someone else’s family. But according to a 2004 study by Washington University of St. Louis, at least 42% of Americans will deal with food insecurity at some time during their lives. It is interesting to note that this study was done four years prior to the beginning of the recession. It is hard to overestimate the importance of food to quality of life and overall health. Medical experts now tell us that the major factors in determining disease are DNA, exercise and nutrition. A person may be able to stay alive by eating cereal every day, but how healthy is a consistent diet of nothing but cereal? Unfortunately, the poor are many times forced to buy what is cheap without regard for nutritional value. Indeed, many people are lucky to have enough money to buy food at all. As people age, nutrition becomes even more important to sustaining life. For individuals with health problems

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North Allegheny

such as diabetes or heart problems, good food is essential. To growing children, proper nutrition is vitally important for optimal learning in school and normal physical development. Unfortunately, many people in our area do not have enough food to eat, much less the financial resources to buy healthy, nutritious food. One common misconception is that people who are hungry are unemployed. Although this is sometimes the case, many individuals who work at full-time jobs do not have enough to eat. With employee benefits such as health care decreasing, many workers are faced with the choice of paying for their health care insurance and prescriptions —or food. Workers have also accepted cutbacks in the number of hours worked or decreases in hourly wages in order to retain their jobs. This shortage in pay has to be made up in other areas and one way that individuals stretch their paycheck is by skipping meals to the detriment of their health. According to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, since August of 2008, area food banks have been serving an average of 2,500 new households every month! This dramatic increase correlates directly to the economic hard times of the past few years. The North Allegheny community is served by Northway Food Pantry which is an outreach ministry of Northway Christian Community Church. The pantry distributes food the second Thursday of every month, helping many individuals and families in the area to cope with food shortages. In many situations, economic hardship can be the result of unforeseeable circumstances. “Susan” and “Bob” held good jobs and were raising their two children, living in an attractive cottage home. Although they were young and healthy, Susan suddenly fell ill and had to be hospitalized for several weeks. Insurance took care of the hospital bills, however the loss of Susan’s income left the family without enough money to pay for groceries. A long rehab process had to be completed before Susan would be able to return to work. For the first two weeks after her discharge, Bob had to stay home with Susan to care for her since she was unable to walk, cook a meal or bathe. This further depleted the family income. During this difficult time, Bob and Susan were able to receive enough groceries from the local food pantry to help sustain their family. The provisions from the food pantry were a great relief for Bob, who knew that at least his family would have enough to eat. As Susan recovered, they were slowly able to

un ger H catch up on their bills and get their finances back on track. Luckily, their dependence on the food pantry was fairly short-lived. Many situations can cause a person or family to be in a position of need for food. Unexpected job loss and health problems like the family previously mentioned are just a couple of reasons that individuals may experience a food shortage. Many persons work in low-paying jobs with limited education and are unable to make ends meet even in stable times. Divorce often leaves mothers with small children in difficult financial situations, unable to provide for their families, especially if child support is non-existent. The death of a spouse or other wageearner in the household can deal a sharp economic blow to any family. Individuals who live with very little disposable income may find themselves with food insecurity if expensive car repairs are needed in order to maintain transportation to work. The causes of food insecurity are as numerous as the people dealing with the problem of hunger. If a family is fortunate enough to have enough to eat, there are important things that anyone can do to help those who are hungry. One of the most obvious ways is to donate money to your local food pantry. This enables the food bank to buy the nutritious foods that are needed, rather than having to cope with limited amounts of random food items. Although many businesses and corporations support the food banks, they could not survive without help from the general population at large. The support of individuals in the community is crucial. For some families, a donation of $25 or $50 may pose a hardship on their budget. But even with limited incomes, there are things that almost anyone can do to help. Some grocery stores offer shoppers the opportunity to make a contribution to the local food pantry at the check-out line. If every family who is able makes a donation of $1 each week when they shop for groceries, think of the money that could be generated to help feed the hungry! By donating a smaller amount more frequently, it is less painful than writing a check for $20 or more. A small donation of one dollar will most likely not be missed in the family budget, but will help make a big impact when combined with the dollars from other area households. Although monetary donations allow the food pantry the ability to buy food supplies to fill their particular needs, food donations are also helpful. Many times we buy things at the store with good intentions, but those items at the back of the cupboard are just not being eaten. Chances are if you take a quick inventory of your pantry, there are a few items that could be donated to your local food bank. In particular need are high fiber cereals, rice, pasta, canned beans such as kidney, black and navy which are an important source of protein. Peanut butter, canned tuna and salmon also supply much needed protein. Canned vegetables and fruits are always welcomed as well as fruit and vegetable juices, although they should be 100% juice, so be sure to check the ingredients label before donating. Chili, stews and soups are also valuable items because they offer a quick and easy way to get several daily nutrients in one, convenient source. Although many foods remain nutritious and palatable after they expire, some do not.

Therefore donated food items should not be expired. Another practically painless way to donate food is to take advantage of store specials. When your local grocery runs a special where two items may be purchased and the third one is free or a ‘two for the price of one’ special, consider donating that extra can of carrots to the food pantry. If this is done weekly, the items will add up quickly and the surplus will help feed hungry families. Last of all, but in no way least, if individuals cannot afford even small sacrifices of money or groceries, time is another valuable commodity. Most food banks are operated largely by volunteers. There are many different jobs to do which allow a person to be matched with a task that fits his/her own unique personality. Groceries must be organized and stocked on the shelves and later packed into boxes for food pantry clients. Individuals are also needed to work directly with clients to determine eligibility and the distribution of food. Still other persons are needed for fundraising activities, food drive events and marketing duties. One of the best things about helping your local food pantry is that you are helping your neighbors. Oftentimes the hungry go unnoticed because hunger cannot be seen or felt by those around it. The person who is hungry could even be your neighbor, a co-worker or the waitress at your local coffee shop. If 42% of U.S. citizens will be visiting a food bank at some time in their lives, the hungry person may even be you or your family. Helping the food pantry to help others will build a stronger, healthier community for us all. For more information on the Northway Food Pantry, please call 724.935.6800.

“Unfortunately, many people in our area do not have enough food to eat, much less the financial resources to buy healthy, nutritious food.” North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 7

North Allegheny Students Tops at DECA Conference by Dana Black McGrath


tudents from North Allegheny High School earned a whopping 15 first place awards at the recent District 2 DECA Career Development Conference. For many, this stunning accomplishment was not much of a surprise. NA’s DECA program has a reputation for being a competition powerhouse. “We usually do very well at the conference,” says Joanne Sullivan, who serves as advisor for the group, along with Jessica McHugh and Nancy Boyle. Ms. Boyle recently retired from the district, but is continuing to serve as a DECA advisor. Boyle’s decades of involvement in the program dates back to Sullivan’s school days. Coincidentally, Boyle was Sullivan’s teacher at Bethel Park. Years later, after earning her own teaching certification, Sullivan stepped in when Boyle went on maternity leave. At NA, the friends and colleagues have been working together to support the DECA program. “It’s really great that we’ve been able to work together all these years,” says Sullivan. DECA, which stands for Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a co-curricular organization, Sullivan explains. Students learn skills in the classroom that help them to succeed in DECA, but instructors do not “teach DECA.” The advisors help to prepare students for competition by providing sample tests, role playing and supporting whatever preparation the students decide to do on their own. The program helps to prepare students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit student organization, DECA, Inc. was founded in 1946. According to the organization’s website: “With over a 60-year history, the organization has touched the lives of more than 10 million students, educators, school administrators and business professionals. “DECA is organized into two unique student divisions, each with programs designed to

address the learning styles, interest and focus of its members. The High School Division includes 185,000 members in 5,000 schools representing all 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, China, Germany, Guam, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The United States Congress, the United States Department of Education and state and international departments of education authorize DECA’s programs.” Competitions are held at the district, state and national level. Each year, North Allegheny takes between 50 and 70 students to the DECA District 2 Career Development Conference, according to Sullivan, and that group is usually the largest at the conference, which includes a competition. There were a total of 66 North Allegheny High School marketing students who competed in the conference, which was held in December. As part of the program, the students took two exams related to marketing. They also solved a case problem and participated in a role-play situation pertaining to their chosen careerrelated area of competition. Of the 66 students who competed, 54 qualified for the state competition, which wwas held February 22-24 in Hershey, Pa. Results of that competition were not available at press time. “Our kids seem to be very polished,” Sullivan says of the school’s contingent. “It is a really good program for students, especially those who are shy, because it enables them to develop confidence.” Sullivan says she remembers one student who was very shy, but went on to compete at the national conference. “It’s just wonderful to see them blossom like that,” she says of her DECA students. The program, she believes, gives everyone a chance to excel because there is ample opportunity to prepare for the competition. “I have seen many average students do very, very well. It gives them something to excel in and builds their confidence.”

Those who join DECA have taken the first year of marketing and a semester of advertising/ promotions, along with a second-year marketing class. This year membership also was open to those taking other business courses. In all, about 80 students joined DECA at NA and 66 of those competed in the district conference. Participants from NA did exceptionally well. The International DECA Career Development Conference will be held in Salt Lake City from April 28 to May 1. For more information about DECA, visit the website at NA Honors included: First Place Individual Event Winners: Stephen Kelly (Accounting Applications) Tim Makkar (Business Finance) Jake Sullivan (Food Marketing) Anis Adnani (Human Resources Management) Nirmal Bhangal (Marketing Management) Julia Hagle (Quick Serve Restaurant Management) Matt Goda (Sports and Entertainment Marketing) Joey Huber (Principles of Hospitality and Tourism) First Place Team Decision Making Event Winners: Dani Binz and Alexa Klinvex (Business Law and Ethics) Zach Flesher and Maggie Howison (Buying and Merchandising) Jake Elich and Adrian Enica (Financial Services) Devin Malone and Zach Morton (Hospitality Services) Melissa Sokulski and Gabriella Tomko (Marketing Communications) Lucas Hilderbrand and Chas Smith (Sports and Entertainment Marketing) Emily Caracciolo and Amanda Hopta (Travel and Tourism)

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 9

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Fashion s Candyla in nd T

he theme of this year’s North Allegheny High School fashion show will be “Candyland,” which will be carried out in the decorations and the designs themselves. The show will take place on April 14 and will benefit the non-profit organization Urban Impact, whose mission is fulfilling a holistic Christian ministry by helping at-risk children, youth and families. Students are constructing garments reflecting the Candyland theme, including one sewn by Olivia Weiers made of Capri-Sun wrappers! There will be an after-party held in the school cafeteria with refreshments and dancing.

Fashions designed by North Allegheny students on the runway at last year’s “Jungle Fashion Show.”

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 11

Water Rising from the

by Pamela Palongue


any years ago, before settlers arrived in the North Hills, much of the area was a flood plain. But as the land was purchased it was drained for use as farmland. Now, a small part of the land is returning to what it once was: a wetland supporting a rich variety of trees, plants, birds and animals. The wetland area (which is part of North Park) is aptly named “Wahdo:gwas,” a Seneca phrase that translates to “rising from the water.” In fact, the idea for the name was suggested by a woman of the Seneca nation who volunteers at the park on a regular basis. The Seneca were one of the five original Native American peoples who lived and hunted in southwestern Pennsylvania. The Turnpike Commission was able to re-contour the area, lowering the grade so that certain areas are once again able to collect water, creating ponding areas. The new trail which transverses the area will be compliant with American Disabilities Association standards, making it accessible to all individuals wishing to enjoy the new nature area. The Dragonfly Interpretive Trail has been completed, which consists of about 1,500 feet of the entire five-acre wetland area. Also completed are the Hummingbird and Butterfly Garden, a bridge connecting the area to the ice rink and the installation of three large bat boxes. According to Interpretive Naturalist Meg Scanlon, the bats in our area are not cave dwellers. “The most common species is the little brown bat and those bats live mostly in trees,” explains Scanlon. A visitor to the park might see them in the warmer months at dusk or later when they come out to feed on insects. Bluebird boxes and wood duck boxes have also been installed in the park to make the area more hospitable to feathered residents. “The bluebirds use the boxes almost exclusively. We have seen a decline in recent years in the number of bluebirds in the area,” says Scanlon. However, she doesn’t believe that the bluebirds are disappearing, just moving to a more remote location as increasing development limits the natural habitat for the birds. Scanlon also adds that mallard ducks, red tail hawks, red wing blackbirds, marsh wrens, woodpeckers,

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killdeer, green herons and great blue herons have all been spotted in the area. Several thousand cuttings of a combination of sycamore, maple, dogwood and willow trees have been planted to help preserve the soil and prevent erosion. When the area is complete, educational signs will provide visitors with information about each of the areas and benches will provide a place for rest and quietly viewing nature which may include coyotes, whitetail deer, muskrats and even an occasional beaver. There have been many volunteers working on the trail, including local Boy Scout troops and several individuals who have come and worked on Public Project Days. According to Scanlon, “Virtually anyone can do the work. We would welcome more individuals or groups who would like to come and participate in the development of the area.” To volunteer or for more information on year-round events, please visit the Latodami Nature Center website at

North Allegheny

The wetland area (which is part of North Park) is aptly named “Wahdo:gwas,” a Seneca phrase that translates to “rising from the water.” North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 13

Back-to-Back! Tigers Repeat as Quad-A Champs

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by Stephen Jeffries


he 2011 edition of the North Allegheny Tigers came into the season looking to defend not only their WPIAL Class AAAA gold medal, but also their PIAA gold. The 2010 team reeled off seven straight wins to take home both WPIAL and state titles. The Tigers lost star running back Alex Papson and quarterback Mike Buchert to graduation. However, the backup running backs helped key the state title run after Papson got hurt in the WPIAL title game. The major question heading into the 2011 season revolved around the most important position on the field – quarterback. Mack Leftwich transferred into North Allegheny after his father was hired to be the University of Pittsburgh’s offensive line coach. It didn’t take long for the quarterback question to be answered on the field. Leftwich stepped right in and directed a very explosive offense from start to finish. Three monster running backs were the Tigers’ secret weapon all season long. Alex Deciantis, Nick Passodelis, and Vinnie Congedo combined for 2,179 yards and 36 touchdowns on the ground. Leftwich chipped in with 933 yards and 16 touchdowns of his own. The receiving corps, led by James Kleinhampl and Brandon Coniker, racked up over 2,200 receiving yards and 20 trips to the end zone. After hammering State College 53-21 and Butler 49-7, the Tigers faced an early test when Upper St. Clair came to Newman Stadium in week 3. The Panthers raced to a 14-0 halftime lead and appeared to be in control. That lead had disappeared by the end of the quarter. The offense made it 3-for-3 with the go-ahead touchdown. The Tiger defense held for a hard-fought 28-21 victory. The Tigers extended their winning streak to 14 with a 35-7 destruction of Pine-Richland on homecoming night. All that stood between NA and a section title was a trip to Shaler in week 8. The heavyweight battle never materialized. The Tigers were up 21-10 at the half. Shaler scored midway through the third quarter to cut the lead to 4. Deciantis restored the 11-point margin early in the fourth, and

added another score with 2:39 left to ice the section title, 34-17. A 17-0 shutout of rival North Hills capped a 9-0 regular season for the defending champs. That earned them the top seed in the WPIAL playoffs. They opened the playoffs with a 53-20 pounding of Fox Chapel and a 35-10 beatdown of Seneca Valley to advance to the semifinals. The opponent was Gateway. The stakes were a trip to Heinz Field. The Tigers raced to a 14-0 halftime lead and seemed in total control. However, a fake punt sparked a Gateway rally. Passodelis plunged across for the go-ahead score with only 41 seconds left. James Kleinhampl sealed the 21-17 win with an interception. Upper St. Clair entered the AAAA title game with revenge on their minds. Their record stood at 11-1. The Panthers opened the scoring early in the second with a short touchdown run. It took exactly two plays for the Tigers to respond. Leftwich completed an 11-yard pass to Kleinhampl for a first down. Leftwich capped a 78-yard drive with a beautiful throw to Coniker for a 23-yard scoring strike. Congedo gave the Tigers their first lead midway through the third, 21-14. An interception gave USC a short field and they cashed in the tying score with 4:36 left. The gold medal would be decided in overtime. The Tigers got the ball first. Leftwich put the Tigers ahead with a 1-yard plunge. The Panthers went backwards and were left with a 4th-and-goal from the Tiger 16. The Tiger defense sacked the Panther quarterback to seal the win. The Tigers blasted State College 40-14 in the PIAA quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals. They battled Central Dauphin for a return trip to Hershey. The Tigers fell behind 20-7 in the third quarter before rallying to forge a 20-20 tie with 5:14 left to play. Central Dauphin got the ball back after an exchange of punts and drove to the Tigers’ 4 with 0:04 on the clock. They converted a 21-yard field goal as time expired, ending the Tigers’ hopes of a second straight PIAA gold. The Tigers’ 21-game win streak was snapped as they finished the season at 14-1. They still have a 17-game win streak against WPIAL opponents and have gone 29-2 over the past two seasons with two WPIAL titles and a state title. The 2012 Tigers get many key players back and have a great chance to get back to Hershey. Photos by Gary Yon

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 15



The Chamber of Commerce, Inc.

for Local Business

she says. “We are lucky to be where we are.” Balla says she anticipates 2012 will be a banner year for the chamber. Last year, it welcomed 245 new members HE CHAMBER of Commerce, Inc. has a very and is looking to increase that number this year – so far, distinct and clear vision: to be the leading unified she says, the organization is on pace to do that. voice for business and economic growth and to Currently there are nearly 1,000 members. They range help businesses become the best. in size from sole proprietorships to large corporations, And, the relatively newly-formed organization already and that range can sometimes present a unique has an impressive track record. “We have become the challenge for the chamber. “We go from one-person fastest growing business organization in this region,” says firms to Westinghouse,” says Balla. “Our challenge is Susan Balla, executive director. THE CHAMBER of Commerce, Inc. was created Susan Balla, Executive Director to offer something for all the different segments of our membership.” on January 1, 2010, when the former Cranberry Area Each year, THE CHAMBER of Commerce, Inc. offers about 245 Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Allegheny County Chamber events. That includes networking events, business after hours, internal of Commerce were merged. The two chambers had been in talks about programs for members, legislative events, as well as six to eight signature merging for about 10 years, explains Balla. Then, about three years ago, fundraising events. Nearly 216 of the total events are free to members. when the commerce corridors in the area began to grow ever closer Signature events include two business expos, the annual meeting, A together, it became more evident that such a merger made sense. Taste of Cranberry, the Food and Wine Classic, a spring golf outing Both chambers offered similar programs and services, and if combined, had the opportunity to create a larger legislative voice, and, as at Cranberry Highlands, a fall golf outing at Treesdale, a community business fair in McCandless, the Chamber Chase 5K Race, and a holiday a result, could better represent the commerce arena. social in Warrendale. The business expo events are routinely sold to Balla says the merger has worked out even better than anticipated. capacity for vendors/participants (a total of 140 exhibit) and attract Today, as a result of the merger, the chamber’s footprint stretches nearly 1,000 attendees, according to Shawn Bliss, events and marketing/ from Zelienople to the Allegheny River and from Route 8 into Beaver public relations coordinator for the chamber. County. That area spans three counties (Allegheny, Beaver and Butler), For each of the signature events, a nonprofit is selected to benefit. At including 16 municipalities. least $500 is donated to the chosen nonprofit. “It’s a good way to give “We spent 2010 building our infrastructure,” Balla explains, back,” says Balla. merging membership, finances, business operations, etc., and also One of the newest programs to emerge is the Women in Business hired additional staff. That poised the organization for its 2011 focus University. Launched in December, it is a course designed specifically – expanding and rebranding with a new name and new look, as well as for women business owners. Developed specifically for women business introducing new programs and services. The increased presence and rapid growth of the organization has been owners, the program’s requirements stipulate that the participant must have at least 51 percent ownership of the business, the business must advantageous. “It has brought a lot of attention and a lot of exposure,” be operating anywhere from one to seven years since its formation, says Balla. It also has worked to attract members from the downtown and annual revenues from the business must range from $200,000 to Pittsburgh area as well. $300,000 or less. Another factor that has positively impacted the chamber’s growth, according to Balla, is the energy industry and the tremendous resources that have been situated in the area. “It really helps the chamber to grow,” Women in Business University Class of 2012

by Dana Black McGrath


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Faculty for the yearlong program consists of chamber members, as well as community leaders and those who are experienced in their field. From January through June, the 10 participants will attend monthly classroom sessions. From July through November, participants will be paired with a mentor to work on the issues and needs they are facing with their business. Meetings with mentors are designed as an opportunity to work on those identified issues. A graduation ceremony will be held in December. Another new program offered is the Veterans Program, which is designed to help veterans work on their interviewing and networking skills. Through a recent survey, members asked for more professional development opportunities, explains Balla. In response to that request, the chamber will initiate another new program, the Chamber Institute for Professional Development, to address a wide variety of topics. Sessions will be held monthly. Another important function of the chamber is to monitor legislation. “We have a good relationship with all of our elected officials, on the local, state and national level,” says Balla. Typically the organization hosts three to four legislative events each year, addressing topics such as energy, Marcellus shale and health care. This year, the chamber will kick off its legislative series with an event to address the economic forecast for 2012. And, because this is an election year, there will be events centered on the upcoming primary and general elections. Moving forward, THE CHAMBER of Commerce, Inc. is in the midst of developing a five-year strategic plan that will carry forward from 2012 through 2017. Financially, the organization is doing very well and even managed to end last year with excess revenue. This is the third year that there has been no increase in dues for the membership, which Balla attributes to good fiscal management. “It was a banner year for sponsorships and for memberships,” Balla says. “It exceeded our expectations.” The chamber’s business office is located in a renovated building at 5000 Brooktree Road in Wexford (Pine Township). Another office is located in the Cranberry Municipal Center. Its six-person staff is split between the two locations, and a board of 21 members oversees the vision and mission. Upcoming events include the Business After Hours at Rivers Casino on April 18, and the Nonprofit Conference set for April 24. For more information about THE CHAMBER of Commerce, Inc., including membership and event information, visit the website at www.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 17


Through the Air with PeterPan

by Pamela Palongue


orth Allegheny High School’s spring musical, “Peter Pan,” will feature actors flying through the air – with a little help from some heavy-duty cable. Musical Director Andrea Ronk explained, “Peter will fly the length of the stage and into the audience, while the other children will hover. It’s very exciting.” This year’s musical was chosen because, according to Ronk, it’s a “little bit lighter than our previous productions of ‘Cats’ and ‘Les Miserables.’” It contains some comical moments as well as action scenes which were choreographed by Shaun Rolley. The musical also features dance sequences choreographed by Ronk for Laura McCarthy in the role of Wendy Darling and Lexie Pontiere as Tiger Lily along with 11 other dancers. The title role of Peter Pan will 18 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE


North Allegheny

actually be played by a female senior student, Keaton Micucci. According to Ronk, who is in her sixth year as musical director for North Allegheny High School, the staff “looks at the strengths of the kids auditioning when choosing a production and this year we had a lot of really strong dancers.” Ronk also works as an elementary art teacher at Marshall and McKnight schools. This year’s musical is also unique in that a fifth grader named Brandon Alexander from Marshall Elementary will be playing the part of Michael, the youngest Darling child. Ronk notes, “All of the kids work really hard at this.” The musical will have a special free performance exclusively for senior citizens on Tuesday, March 13, at 3:30 p.m. Nightly performances at 7 p.m. will run from Wednesday, March 14, through Saturday, March 17, with a Sunday afternoon matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets for the event are $13 for general admission and $10 for students and may be purchased at the North Allegheny High School box office beginning March 5. A breakfast will also be held on March 3 at the Chadwick Banquet Hall in Wexford with 20 of the cast members attending in costume. For more information on purchasing tickets for the performances or attending the breakfast, please contact Karen at 724.799.1022.

Peter Pan Lead Cast: Peter Pan - Keaton Micucci Wendy - Laura McCarthy Mrs. Darling - Elizabeth Jeffries Mr. Darling - Michael Cefalo Captain Hook - Matt Sciarappa Smee - Kevin Vogl Tiger Lily - Lexie Pontiere Starkey - Connor McNelis Nana - Lucas Allen Liza - Carly McCann John Darling - Andy Hosler Michael Darling - Brandon Alexander Mermaids - Emily Carr, Marian Emanuelson, Brooke Turner

Photos by Gary Yon North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 19

North Allegheny School District & IN North Allegheny Magazine

Presenting some of the best poetry in the North Allegheny School District

Poetry Contest

Reluctant Muse

Piece of Sand and Sea

Benjamin T. Wilson

Elizabeth Furiga

I sit and stab at words unseen, The words reflected in the glimmer of light, the ocean eyes with beauty’s gleam An unreal, unmasked, insatiable sight.

An ocean temple Built of hardened calcium Swooping and spiraling.

Every line of every song every poetic stanza I script In all of this I think of you Yet I feel the meter slipped.  Language does not hold the words to make my feelings known, a word to show what I want to say I have not yet been shown. Perfection lies beyond my grasp yet manifests in you, I repeat my words once and again yet none seem to ring true. More precious to me than my own life, you’re every note I sing, your name echoes in my paragraphs in every bell and string. You’re the words in the margin of my melody, the invisible thought lingering from sight, you’re the stunning painting I just can’t see the perfect song I’ll never write.

l Benjamin T. Wilson is a senior at North Allegheny High School. He is a member of the North Park Crusaders Rugby Team, and his interests off the field vary along an artistic spectrum from poetry to music to cinematography. He currently plans on studying film and digital media at Edinboro University, or television production at Robert Morris University.

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Bringing back the thought Of my last trip To sea and sand. Golden like mother’s fresh baked Loaves of bread The ones with a smell That awoke us From the sleep of the dead. Threaded and spun A dome of silk and porcelain. A palace of gold and ivory Whipped by salt spray Polished with sand. A fortress stripped Of its treasure. This fortress is now A treasure onto me. A pendant sitting lonely Abandoned from its cord. An ornament without a tree. A memory without A mind to occupy Missing a soul To cherish and behold it. Just a long lost piece Of sand and sea.

l Elizabeth Furiga is currently a senior at North Allegheny High School. She plans to study international affairs and journalism next year. She enjoys writing fiction and poems and reads almost anything she can get her hands on. Elizabeth runs a blog with her prose and poetry, enjoys nature photography, and watches ‘80s films. She hopes to someday publish a novel.

Sonnet 1 Mehrgol Tiv Crickets weave lullabies of slumberous song – Music that floats over my shuttered eyes. And with the sound of the waves, voices so strong, I dream of dreams that fly high in the skies. The wind, one-eyed and too sore, wails its love. A love of woeful cuts and broken hearts. Lingering, lingering never enough. Though sadness during the night never parts. I listen, ears, heart, soul full of despair. These sorry voices like me want to sleep, But try to soothe me in need of repair. Kind words, they are, but burn when swallowed deep. Without them, though, how could I ever see The light of this bright moon shining on me?

l Mehrgol Tiv is a senior at North Allegheny High School who plans to study neuroscience/cognitive science as she enters college next year. She has played flute in various school and community orchestras and wind ensembles for eight years. With her time she loves to paint and make earrings from Scrabble pieces. She also loves reading witty Jane Austen novels, listening to indie rock music such as Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins, and Tokyo Police Club, and watching iconic ‘80s films like “The Princess Bride.”

Fireflies Dan Merrell Like us, the fireflies are restless this night, Waltzing in pairs across heaven’s painted arch On beating flashing their Christmas-colored lights, To a symphony of night playing in the dark. flicker flicker flicker Two boys, a sunrise away from becoming men, Searching in the blackness for some hidden clue, To the five years past and what had been Of an unlikely friendship formed on a rusted canoe flicker flicker flicker The fireflies’ beacons highlight the spots, Where memories deeper than roots were made. The Oak, that we often climbed, beginning to rot, The roots hold strong yet even they cannot time, evade flicker flicker flicker

Driving Like A Bird Isabella Ryan Sun shining high above, wind filling up my ears. Drivers in their unrest. Waiting for time to pass. Wonders fading to oblivion in their eyes. Only fixed on the checkered flag. While I’m soaking in simple joy, surrounded by noise. No, not just any noise, notes perfect in their arrangement. Telling me about love, comparing it to birds singing. Funny I feel like the birds… Singing, Laughing, Dancing. Dancing like a fool. Receiving odd stares. But WHO CARES? Now I yearn for that feeling. To roll down my windows and catch the breeze. To live like the birds.

l Isabella Ryan is a junior at North Allegheny High

School who has grown up in a house full of art. Her mom and grandmother are both artists. Although Isabella loves to paint and draw, she is striving for a career in medicine as a pediatrician. Most importantly, Isabella strives to do her best in all endeavors.

The glowing pixies dance between our silent reserves As we fight the whisperings we’d soon come to learn. The orchestra slowly fades, and then they curve Across the foggy lake. Their torches burn out, never to return. flicker flicker flicker

l Dan Merrell is a senior at North Allegheny High School. He plans to attend Brigham Young University in the fall as an English major with a minor in creative writing. From there, Dan hopes to become an English professor. He dreams of one day having a novel published. Wherever he goes, Dan can always be seen with either a pen and notebook or a stack of books ranging from Dickens to Tolkien.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 21

North Allegheny SPRING








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TRACK AND FIELD TIME 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 4:00 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:00 PM 3:30 PM TBA TBA 3:30 PM 3:30PM TBA TBA 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM TBA TBA 3:30 PM 3:30 PM 3:30 PM TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA TBA







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MAR. 17 MAR. 24 MAR. 27 MAR. 29 MAR. 31 APRIL 4 APRIL 10 APRIL 12 APRIL 17 APRIL 19 APRIL 21 APRIL 24 APRIL 28 APRIL 30 MAY 1 MAY 3 MAY 8 MAY 10 MAY 11


Show your support and watch your NA Tigers play! North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 23

IN Community Magazines:

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Find out how our 36 direct-mailed, community-sponsored, quarterly magazines can grow your business.

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Summer Learning Losses: Pre-K thru 2nd Grade


hen the school year comes to a close, it is only natural for kids to look forward to the leisurely nature of the summer season. The arrival of beach trips, pool parties and sleepovers, however, doesn’t mean that children should depart completely from their daily routine. Keeping particular elements of a child’s day consistent throughout the summer months keeps the brain focused and helps prevent learning losses during the summer. This may also ease the anxiety that often accompanies transitioning into a new classroom or school come fall. According to research conducted by The National Center for Summer Learning, at the Johns Hopkins School of Education in Baltimore, Maryland, summer learning loss accounts for about twothirds of the difference in the likelihood of a student pursuing a college preparatory path in high school. As these findings indicate, keeping children’s brains challenged throughout the summer is crucial, since the lack of learning that occurs during these months has both shortterm and long-term consequences. And, brain growth is 90% complete by age 10 in most children. Keeping your child challenged in these early years can make a difference in the rest of his/her life. “Routine” provides “structure”, which is often lacking during the summer months when children all too quickly become detached from lessons learned throughout the school year. Maintaining a schedule throughout the summer supports an environment that is less of a contrast to the classroom. It also provides a healthy balance between skill building, play and rest. Families can incorporate these habits into their child’s day to encourage and maintain a routine throughout the summer season: • Early to bed, early to rise: To the best extent possible, children should adhere to a regular bedtime each night and wake up at the same time each day. This will not only ensure proper rest but it will establish a sense of discipline as well. • Clean up and get dressed: Upon waking up, it is important that children brush their teeth, get dressed and perform any other hygienic tasks that they normally would before a school day. Allowing kids to stay in pajamas or dirty clothes longer than necessary can result in lazy behavior.

• Make eating an event: Keeping a child on a consistent meal schedule is critical to maintaining a sharp body and mind. Establish specific times for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sit with children at the table to encourage conversation while eating. • Take a rest: If a child partakes in a scheduled nap time while at school, then he or she should be allotted time at home for regular rest as well. Make this time consistent, perhaps after lunch, and have the child rest in the same place everyday. • Perform daily chores: Asking a child to help around the house is an ideal way to get them involved in a daily routine. A morning chore and an afternoon chore can convey a sense of responsibility and supply a sense of rhythm to the day. In addition to providing consistency, routines can present children with security and comfort as they adjust to the changes that come along with their new summer schedules. The purpose is not to create rigidity but to provide a flexible structure that establishes a sense of purpose kids need to grow and mature. Finding a preschool/early childhood center that runs their program year round can be very beneficial in this regard. The very best early childhood centers also offer school readiness programs for elementary school students. If you are looking for such programs, make sure they are facilitated by degreed teachers as well as tailored to meet the specific needs of your child, whether that is concentrating on advanced material or remedial work. It can also be helpful that the academic program/curriculum is intertwined throughout the center’s program, so the children readily accept the “summer challenge.”

This Industry Insight was written by Mark & Jennifer Rebstock. Prior to opening The Goddard School in Wexford, Mark Rebstock was training manager for a national utility company, and Jennifer worked in early childhood education. 3000 Brooktree Road • Wexford, PA 15090 724.935.1100 or

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 25

Raise Your Glass

and your body

to Greet the New Year The next most obvious question is “Am I a good candidate for lower body lift surgery?” Here are some examples of someone who would benefit from this surgery: • Patients with massive weight loss s people age and gravity is winning the war against aging, patients often ask me • Loose skin in the buttocks, backs or sides of the thighs, hips, arms, or abdomen about lower body lifts. This particular procedure tightens sagging skin in the buttocks, • Would the patient be willing to accept thin scars around the waist? posterior thighs, hips, and inner and outer The anatomy and amount of loose skin in thighs. In the past, Plastic Surgeons treated skin laxity each patient varies greatly. The decision to embark on this path of surgery depends on your of the body with individual procedures, dealing with each body area separately. Oversized arms goals, expectations and the recommendations of your surgeon. were reduced by brachioplasty. Protruding All body lift candidates have extra skin which stomachs were firmed by abdominoplasty. will be removed through excision. Liposuction Drooping breasts were made perkier with may also be used in addition to this to aid in mastopexy or breast lift surgery. Lumps and smoothing and contouring the areas. Again, the bumps all over the body were treated with additional use of liposuction will be determined liposuction. by your surgeon at the time of your initial A lower body lift can transform several areas of the body in just one operation. Women often examination. pursue this surgery after pregnancy, massive What are the advantages of lower body lifts? weight loss or just aging in general. Aging baby First of all, multiple areas can be addressed in boomers and of course gastric bypass patients one single operation—such as buttocks, thighs are the frontrunners in this war against gravity and possibly the abdomen. Secondly, it can be and obesity. This idea gained popularity in its combined with liposuction in selected areas. It infancy stages with women in particular. With women wanting families, careers and wonderful can even be done in combination with other bodies, this one surgery benefiting multiple areas surgeries, such as arm contouring procedures. The next step is the recovery process. If the of the body seemed like their ticket to happiness sutures used require removing, this is usually in a shorter amount of time. done about two weeks after surgery in the Patients think this procedure is performed office. The swelling which commonly occurs mainly for the purpose of excess skin and after body lift surgery is controlled by the use fat removal. Not so—in fact it is quite the of compression garments in addition to drains. contrary. Lower body lifts are performed to Compression garments play a big role in the produce a natural contour and a beautiful recovery period by controlling the swelling, cosmetic outcome requiring the technical supporting the tissue and helping to flatten the expertise, artistic perspective and meticulous skin. The drains collect excess fluid to help the attention to detail that needs to be brought to healing process move along more quickly. The each individual.


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pain associated with this surgery is controlled by oral pain medications. Your activity level is determined by the progress of the healing of your incision. We encourage patients to walk the day after surgery. Once the drains are removed, movement is much easier. Normal activities can usually be resumed in 4-6 weeks after surgery. Another big patient concern is scarring. Your scar will form along the incision line and will be as thin as the doctor can make it. Multiple layers of sutures are used to prevent spread. The one thing that often accompanies these surgeries is the freeing feeling of letting go of all of their insecurities harbored for many years— for some a lifetime. They finally feel like they are no longer held back by body constraints. They feel reborn into this new person who can truly enjoy life to the fullest—doing all of the things they could only dream about before. In my opinion, this is the best “side effect” that happens. If you have any further questions about this surgery or wish to schedule a consultation appointment, please call our office. We would love to welcome you to Beleza Plastic Surgery.

This Industry Insight was written by Anna Wooten, MD. Dr. Wooten, the founder of Beleza Plastic Surgery, is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. She completed her general and plastic surgery residency and fellowship at one of the leading plastic surgery training programs in the country, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Her unique and extensive education and training brings a special perspective to the discipline and art of aesthetic plastic and reconstructive surgery.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 27

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Safety Must-Haves For Your First Home Emergency kit

Have the proper items ready in case of severe weather or a natural disaster. “This kit should include food and supplies to keep your family comfortable for 72 hours,” Benham says. The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests this list of emergency supplies to keep on hand.

Protective supplies

If you’re planning to make home improvements, Benham also recommends purchasing proper personal protective equipment, including gloves, safety goggles, hearing protection and dust masks. When you’re shopping for safety products, always look for an independent testing laboratory’s mark of approval to be sure the product meets established safety standards. This Industry Insight was written by Peter J. Piotrwoski, who has been in the insurance and financial services industry for over 10 years. His State Farm Agency is located in the flats of Wexford where Route 19 crosses over Route 910 and serves the Pittsburgh community. Unwavering commitment to always doing what is in the best interest of our clients and providing unmatched service and support for all of their insurance and financial services needs have been the catalyst for our continued growth and success. For more information contact Pete directly at 724.935.6330/ or via his website at


hile shopping for furniture and accessories to fill your new home, make sure to add basic safety supplies to your list. As important as stocking the cupboards with pots and pans, equipping your home with safety products like the ones below can help keep you, your property and your possessions safe.

Smoke detectors

Purchase dual sensor alarms and install one on every level of your home, inside every bedroom and outside sleeping areas. Test alarms every month to be sure they’re operating properly.

Fire extinguishers

Purchase an “ABC” dry chemical extinguisher for your kitchen and every level of your home and learn how to use it “This will cover the most common types of fires in a home,” says Tess Benham, program manager at the National Safety Council. These include wood and paper fires, grease and oil fires and electrical fires.

Carbon monoxide detectors

Install these battery-operated devices outside sleeping areas—especially if your home uses fuel-burning appliances— to help protect you from deadly carbon monoxide gas.

First aid kit

Be prepared in the event of an injury with a well-stocked first aid kit. Purchase a kit or put one together on your own. The American Red Cross offers a full list of first aid supplies that are important to have in your home.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 29

St. Alphonsus Parish


t. Al’s annual fish fry brings in a hungry crowd every Friday during Lent. With more than 120 volunteers, they have quite an organized operation. Delicious North Atlantic cod is the most popular item on the menu, available baked, breaded or fried. There’s also fried shrimp, a wide variety of soups, sides and desserts! Diners always receive a warm welcome and excellent service inside the parish cafeteria. For those who prefer takeout, volunteers will prepare your meal to go. The Annual Fish Fry began in 2008 and benefits the parish building fund.

Fish Fry Frank M cSorley , Volun teer

Volunteer Bus Boys

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Volunteer Waitresses with Mary Morreale

an orma Lym Frank & N

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 31

McCandless Rotary Club

“Service Above Self” by Pamela Palongue


he McCandless Rotary Club accomplishes so many good things in the community, it’s almost hard to believe that there are only 20 members. “We always need new members,” says Doug Fehr, current president. “We have a lot of service projects.” This might be the understatement of the year. The local organization, founded in 1988, helps support a nonprofit called Hearth which endeavors to make sure that all families in the area have safe, affordable housing. It also contributes to North Hills Community Outreach which aids people in poverty and crisis situations. An organization called The Doorway, which assists youths struggling with addiction, has also been a beneficiary of the Rotary. Additionally, members help with Christmas gifts for children under Angel Tree programs and provide third graders at Avalon and Bellevue elementary schools with dictionaries annually. “We distributed 120 dictionaries to school children this past year,” adds Fehr. Each year McCandless Rotary awards four $1,000 scholarships to local high school students based on their grades and community service hours. And the group’s help is not limited to local charities; it is currently partnering with an orphanage in Ghana through House of Hope Ministries and trying to secure a bus to transport the orphaned children to school. Another important global project to which Rotary is committed is the eradication of polio through vaccination. The international organization partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to ensure that everyone is vaccinated, especially in the countries of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria where there are areas with reported polio cases. The Rotary Club is winning the war against polio in India, celebrating one year with no new cases reported there. The McCandless Rotary Club must raise funds in order to ensure that its important service projects continue. The biggest fundraiser of the year, The Spring Fling, will take place on March 24, 2012, at the Rivers Club in downtown Pittsburgh. The black-tie-optional Rotary members present third graders with dictionaries.

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event will include a dinner, a reverse-raffle for $5,000, a Chinese auction and a popular local band, Airborne. Tickets will be $150 for a couple and will include dinner and one raffle ticket. If you would like tickets to the event or are interested in volunteering with the McCandless Rotary, please visit the website at www. The group can always use a few more hands to do their good works in the community. “Our motto, ‘Service above self,’ means a lot to me,” adds Fehr. “We’re helping to make the world a better place.” *The McCandless Rotary Club meets every Tuesday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at the clubhouse of the Diamond Run Golf Club. All individuals interested in becoming a member are welcome to attend.


Health and Wellness News You Can Use

Let’s Get Physical

What can a daily dose of moderate physical activity do for you? Plenty! As you get older, regular exercise is a key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy. To learn more about the link between fitness and aging, turn to page 3.

© 2012 UPMC

What’s Inside page 2

Pioneering New Cancer Treatments

page 3

Fit at Any Age

page 4

Surviving Allergies: What You Can Do Putting Ergonomics to Work for You

page 5

Brightening Lives With Light

page 6

A Walk to Remember

page 7

What’s Happening at UPMC Passavant

PioneeringNew CancerTreatments

UPMC Passavant is at the forefront of minimally invasive treatments for lung and esophageal cancers Four days after undergoing lung cancer surgery at UPMC Passavant, Carolyn Berfield felt slightly out of breath, but with good reason. She had just completed a mile-long walk in her daughter’s hilly neighborhood.

Thoracoscopic surgeries are done in UPMC Passavant’s state-of-the-art hybrid operating room (OR), which includes a CT scanner and a surgical robot system. “There’s not a more modern OR available,” says Dr. Abbas. “These resources allow us to perform complex and advanced surgeries faster and more efficiently, using minimally invasive techniques. For most patients, that usually means faster recovery and less pain.”

The 58-year-old avid exerciser from Potter County, Pa., had two-thirds of the right lower lobe of her right lung removed during a minimally invasive procedure known as a thoracoscopy (or “keyhole” surgery). “I was astonished at how little pain I had and how quickly I recovered,” she says. “It’s almost like it didn’t happen. There’s really not even an incision — just a few pinholes on my right side.”

New discoveries for better care

Using the latest technology “In recent years, there have been tremendous advancements in managing cancers of the lung and esophagus — and UPMC Passavant is among those at the forefront in these treatments,” says her surgeon, Ghulam Abbas, MD, chief of the Department of Surgery and director of Image-Guided Thoracic Surgery at UPMC Passavant. “Fewer than 7 percent of all hospitals worldwide perform thoracoscopies, where we use a video-guided camera to locate and remove the tumor, preserving as much of the lung as possible.” Bertha Jackman of Kane, Pa., also underwent a thoracoscopy in 2010 after doctors discovered a tumor during a routine MRI for a heart condition. “I was fortunate,” she says. Because Dr. Abbas was able to get all the cancer, Bertha didn’t need chemotherapy. “My husband and I are back to dancing every weekend,” laughs the 71-year-old.


Cancer Care at UPMC Passavant As part of one of the largest cancer care networks in the country, UPMC Cancer Center at UPMC Passavant offers comprehensive and seamless care for cancer patients, from early identification to pioneering surgical care, as well as the latest in chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Its specializations include: • Breast cancer • Colorectal cancer • Esophageal cancer • Liver cancer • Lung cancer • Thoracic cancer • Women’s cancers (gynecologic) To learn more about UPMC Passavant’s cancer services, visit

Nearly a quarter of all patients with early-stage lung and esophageal cancer have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and complications that make traditional surgery impossible. “These individuals often do best with microwave and radiofrequency ablation therapies,” he explains. “Here, we’ve pioneered ablation therapies, which use a probe to burn and destroy cancer cells.” UPMC Passavant also uses ablation therapy for a precancerous condition arising from Barrett’s Esophagus, a disorder caused by acid reflux that puts patients at a 40 times greater risk of developing esophageal cancer. “There previously was no meaningful treatment available, but with radiofrequency ablation, we’re seeing remarkable success rates,” says Dr. Abbas. “Patients with early esophageal cancer can also be treated by endoscopic surgery using ultrasound so that no cutting is needed.”

Fit atAnyAge Comedian George Burns — who lived to be 100 — often advised his audience to “Look to the future, because that’s where you’ll spend the rest of your life.” Vonda Wright, MD — a practicing orthopaedic surgeon at the UPMC Center for Sports Medicine and a nationally recognized author of several books on active aging and fitness — thinks that’s sound advice. “Nothing is more natural than aging,” she says. “Adults over 40 today are redefining what it means to age. They’re looking ahead — and doing what it takes to stay fit and vital. “With just 30 minutes of daily exercise, you can minimize your risk for 35 common illnesses — including high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes,” says Dr. Wright, who also directs the center’s Performance and Research Initiative for Masters Athletes (PRIMA®), which focuses on maximizing the performance of both elite and recreational athletes over age 40.

Staying fit as you age “As we enter our 40s and 50s, we’re just starting to hit our stride, with the potential for many years of wonderful living ahead of us. A well-balanced exercise plan is a key to maintaining that quality of life as we grow older,” she maintains.

Many say that 50 is the new 30 as today’s mature adults enjoy more active, fitter, and healthier lives than any other generation.

“There’s no age or activity level to prevent any older adult from being active,” explains Dr. Wright. In fact, studies of 90-year-old men doing resistance training on a daily basis showed improvements in their strength and functioning.

Getting started

Starting — and sticking with — a fitness plan initially can be hard, says Dr. Wright. “The first step is to make exercise a part of your daily routine. Schedule it on your calendar, like an appointment,” she advises. “Don’t be a weekend warrior. Instead, try to maintain a moderate activity level throughout the week, and increase your exercise level gradually to reduce your chance of overuse or injury.” She tells her patients to FACE the future with a balanced, total body workout designed to achieve maximum benefits while avoiding injury:

F — Flexibility with daily stretching exercises A — Aerobic cardiovascular exercises every other day, using interval-style training Carry a load (or strength train) to build and maintain muscles in your arms, C — legs, and core (stomach, back, and abdomen) E — Equilibrium and balance through simple exercises like standing on one foot “Whenever possible, mix up activities like running, swimming, cycling, or rowing,” encourages Dr. Wright. “Cross training helps promote total fitness while reducing the chance for injury. Most of all, take that first step!” To learn more about UPMC’s PRIMA program for mature athletes, call 412-432-3651 or visit You’ll find PRIMA listed under Performance in the Our Services section.

Should you see a doctor first? You’re 50 years old and a pack-a-day smoker. You also have high blood pressure, and you haven’t exercised since Ronald Reagan was president. Should you see your doctor before hitting the local gym? “Regular exercise is the best gift you can give yourself. But it’s important to use common sense when getting started,” says Brian F. Jewell, chairman of the orthopaedics department at UPMC Passavant. If you’re in generally good health and starting off with light to moderate physical activity, an extensive medical workup probably isn’t necessary. “But if you’ve been diagnosed with any medical condition, have been sedentary for some time, or are at risk for potential heart problems, it’s essential to talk to your doctor,” advises Dr. Jewell. “Working together, you and your doctor can create the right exercise plan based on your age, physical condition, family history, and other key factors.” If you’re over the age of 40, visit to take the American College of Sports Medicine’s Physical Activity Readiness Self-Exam.



Health Tips from UPMC Health Plan

Surviving Allergies:

What You Can Do If you dread the approach of spring and the arrival of allergy season, here are a few ways to reduce your sniffling, sneezing, and itchy eyes

What to do If you take medication to control your symptoms, start treatment early — before your seasonal allergies flare up, says BJ Ferguson, MD, director of the Division of Sino-Nasal Disorders and Allergy at UPMC, and a professor of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In western Pennsylvania, tree pollen starts flying around by the end of February or in early March, when it warms up enough for trees to begin budding.

Medications to take Dr. Ferguson recommends starting with an over-thecounter (OTC) medication, preferably a non-sedating antihistamine. She cautions that some products can be sedating or even result in extreme drowsiness that can impair driving. Be sure to read the accompanying instructions or ask your pharmacist about side effects. OTC decongestants can relieve nasal congestion but should only be used on a short-term basis, Dr. Ferguson says. Decongestants can cause significant side effects, such as insomnia, agitation, heart palpitations, and a rise in blood pressure. A saline nasal wash also can help relieve congestion.

When to see a doctor “If you are getting no relief and it is impairing your quality of life, you should see a doctor about more effective alternatives and testing,” says Dr. Ferguson. • A doctor can prescribe medications that can provide effective relief from chronic congestion. • Allergy testing can determine precisely what you are or aren’t allergic to. A new sublingual immunotherapy administered under the tongue is just as effective as allergy shots, and with fewer side effects, says Dr. Ferguson. • Your doctor also can determine if your nasal blockage is caused by inflammation or nasal polyps, a deviated septum, enlarged adenoids, or an infection.


Putting Ergonomics to Work for You

At home and on the job, ergonomics can help you avoid injury and discomfort — and even increase your productivity The goal of ergonomics is to make our places of work as safe, comfortable, and efficient as possible. But let’s not limit its uses to our day jobs! “Many of the aches and pains people experience can be attributed to ergonomic issues like poor posture, excessive repetitive movement, or improper lifting techniques,” says Cynthia Tomazich, Center for Rehab Services facility director for therapy at UPMC Passavant. “Whether you’re at work, home, or play, applying basic ergonomic principles can help you avoid injury and perform at your best,” adds Ms. Tomazich. Here are a few tips to get you started: • Use the right equipment. Make sure the tool fits the job and your body, whether you’re sitting at a desk, vacuuming, riding a bike, or swinging a golf club. • Work at the right height for you. A too-low computer chair or a too-high kitchen counter can wreak havoc on your neck, back, and shoulders. • Avoid contact stress. Wear gloves or use tools designed to reduce pressure on soft tissue to avoid blisters and other skin damage. • Keep items within easy reach. Extend your arms out on each side. Picture an imaginary arc in front of you from left to right. Place the tools or supplies you use most often within that area. • Avoid repetitive movements and working long periods in one position. Alternate tasks and change your body position regularly. Stretch every 20 to 30 minutes. Visit where you can find more ergonomic tips to use at work and at home.

Brightening Lives with Light

Light therapy is proving to be an effective treatment for bipolar depression and other mood disorders Michele Twyman of Penn Hills always dreaded the approach of winter and the holidays. As the days shortened, she grew increasingly tired, sleepy, and depressed. All she wanted to do was crawl into bed — and stay there. “I didn’t enjoy anything — from decorating to shopping. I never felt like celebrating,” says Ms. Twyman, who has a bipolar disorder and has battled depression for more than 30 years. But last Christmas was different. For the first time in years, she decorated, shopped, and made wreaths and centerpieces. “I enjoy the holidays again. I realize now how much I missed being happy about life’s little things,” she says.

New treatment shows bright promise

People with bipolar depression are especially sensitive to changes in outdoor ambient light and the seasons, she explains. The onset of fall and winter can trigger symptoms similar to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), including fatigue, sluggishness, daytime sleepiness, carb cravings, loss of interest, and inability to experience pleasure. Individuals with bipolar depression also may have suicidal thoughts.

How and why it works

“There are few effective treatments for bipolar depression. That’s why we’re exploring novel approaches such as light therapy.” — Dorothy Sit, MD

Ms. Twyman credits her new outlook to an artificial light box provided by Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) of UPMC. Every afternoon, she sits in bright light for about a half hour while reading or planning appointments and activities. It took just a few weeks to feel the effects. She now wakes up feeling more rested and relaxed. She’s also better able to care for her 95-year-old father. “There are few effective treatments for bipolar depression. That’s why we’re exploring novel approaches such as light therapy,” says Dorothy Sit, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, and a researcher at WPIC who is leading an ongoing study in the use of light therapy for treatment of bipolar depression. “Most patients feel better within two weeks of starting it, and continue to improve for up to eight weeks.” According to Dr. Sit, treatment is inexpensive and effective. Patients with seasonal depression require 30 to 60 minutes of daily light therapy while patients with non-seasonal depression need 45 to 60 minutes.

Light therapy replaces lost sunlight exposure and resets the body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythms — important for everyone’s general health, mood, and thinking. That’s why light therapy also can help patients with jet lag, shift workers, and people with sleep disorders.

While light therapy is generally safe, patients with bipolar depression also must be on a mood stabilizer or they’ll be at risk for manic episodes, says Dr. Sit. Other possible side effects include headaches, eyestrain, irritation, agitation, and insomnia. These symptoms normally disappear following adjustments in the time and length of treatment.

Light therapy tips • Check with your doctor or mental health professional to see if light therapy is a good option for you. • Follow your doctor’s advice concerning any special precautions you need to take. • Use light therapy only with guidance from your doctor or mental health provider to minimize possible side effects and maximize benefits. Visit for more information on bipolar depression and the light therapy study. To participate in the study, call 1-800-436-2461. For information on light boxes, visit the Center for Environmental Therapeutics website at



AWalk to Remember UPMC Rehabilitation Institute helps make a seemingly impossible wedding dream come true

At the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute’s spinal cord injury unit at UPMC Mercy, Megan’s team of specialists put her to work four hours a day, six days a week in an intensive rehabilitation program.

Megan Dow was an athletic, carefree 27-year-old with so much to look forward to — from her upcoming wedding to a new house and barn. But a freak ATV accident on Memorial Day 2010 changed her life in an instant, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.

Luckily, she had use of her quadriceps, which allowed her to walk with the help of braces and a walker. Slowly, she relearned everyday skills like dressing herself and walking. She also learned new skills, such as transferring to a shower chair from her wheelchair, and did exercises to build her strength.

It took a week for Megan to realize her broken neck and back wouldn’t be a quick fix and another six months to acknowledge that her paralysis might have permanent effects. Despite the diagnosis, the Negley, Ohio, resident was determined to walk down the aisle on her wedding day 16 months later. “What means more to a girl than walking down the aisle at her wedding?” asks Megan, who became engaged just weeks before the accident.

Regaining the life she lost Initially, she couldn’t sit up without help and wore braces to support her back, neck, and legs. “I went from doing everything to not being able to brush my teeth; from being able to throw a bale of hay to not being able to pick up a gallon of milk,” Megan says.

Walking happily into the future On her wedding day — Oct. 1, 2011 — Megan did walk down the aisle. Among the guests were her UPMC doctor, physical therapist, and occupational therapist. “They’re a huge part of my life and the reason I’m where I am today. They had to be there!” exclaims Megan.

An avid outdoorswoman, Megan longed to return to her activities, including horseback riding, camping, volunteering as a 4H Club adviser, and working as an interior designer. “I absolutely loved the life I had before the accident. I had to work to bring these things back into my life,” she says.

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Megan vowed she’d walk without the walker by that Christmas (a goal she met by Thanksgiving) and down the aisle without a cane. A few weeks before her wedding, Megan donned her gown and practiced walking in the gym with her physical therapist.

“I’m so grateful to everyone at the Rehabilitation Institute. They gave me the tools I needed, and they encouraged and steered me in the right direction.”


North Allegheny

Megan and Eric Dow walked down the aisle after exchanging marriage vows on Oct. 1, 2011.

Megan and her husband Eric honeymooned in Cancún, Mexico, where they snorkeled, swam, kayaked, and even explored some ancient ruins. Today, while she still uses a wheelchair and cane, Megan is thankful she can walk up to two hours with just leg braces. She’s also driving again, riding horses, camping, and doing other activities. “It was a miracle. I’m so grateful I can still do what I used to do — I just do them differently,” Megan says. To learn more about UPMC Rehabilitation Institute and its services, visit You’ll also find a link to Megan’s story and those of other patients who’ve benefited from the institute’s specialized care.

Welcoming New Physicians

To schedule an appointment, or for more information about any of our physicians, visit or call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Jose F. Bernardo, MD Nephrology

Fahim A. Malik, MD Nephrology

Ankur Puri, MD Pulmonary/Critical Care

Alexander Marcus Spiess, MD Plastic Surgery

Emily Robinson Dryden, MD Gynecology

Sarah M. Miller, DO Medical Oncology

Manjusha Rajamohanty, MD Nephrology

Wesley David Tuel, MD Radiology

Karen Kulick Luther, DPM Podiatric Surgery

James Paul Ohr, DO Medical Oncology

What’s Happening at UPMC Passavant

These free events are offered by UPMC Passavant and the Passavant Hospital Foundation Concerto Gala Community Concert Friday, April 13 7 p.m. Passavant Hospital Foundation Legacy Theatre, Cumberland Woods Village The UPMC Passavant Hospital Foundation’s Legacy Music Series and the Center for Young Musicians present a memorable performance including works by Seitz, Vivaldi, and J.S. Bach. For more information, please call 412-367-6640.

* Contemporary Approach to Women’s Health ... Magee at Passavant Tuesday, April 17 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. CCAC-North Campus, Perry Highway, McCandless Township Speaker: Robert P. Edwards, MD Most women are so busy juggling careers, home, and family that they often neglect their own health. This program provides the latest information about treatments for women’s health issues and ways to help you stay healthy as you age. Dr. Edwards also will discuss women’s services at Magee at Passavant. Please call 412-369-3701 to register.

Weight Management & Safe Weight Loss for Seniors Wednesday, April 18 12:30 p.m. Senior Center, Cranberry Township Municipal Building Speaker: Registered Dietitian Learn what factors can allow you to lose weight, maintain a weight loss, and improve your health. Please call 412-367-6640 to register.

Autism Through the Lifespan Friday, April 20 8:30 a.m. Passavant Hospital Foundation Legacy Theatre, Cumberland Woods Village This day-long session will be of special interest to families, educators, and providers dealing with autism. CEUs will be available. Registration is required. For more information, visit

Heart Health for Seniors Wednesday, May 2 11 a.m. Zelienople Senior Center Speakers: UPMC Heart and Vascular Team Heart disease is America’s leading killer, but few people really understand how the heart and vascular system work. Learn how to maintain a heart healthy lifestyle at any age. Please call 412-367-6640 to register.

* Balancing Lifestyles for Stress Release Tuesday, May 15 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Senior Center, Cranberry Township Municipal Building Speakers: Rupa Mokkappatti, MD; Linda Nicolaus, PharmD; Marilu Bayer, BSN, RN This seminar will explore what stress is and how it impacts your life and your health, providing tips to reduce stress and to stay healthy in a hectic world. Dietary supplements and exercise also will be discussed. Please call 412-369-3701 to register.

Speech and Language Therapy After a Stroke Wednesday, May 16 12:30 p.m. Senior Center, Cranberry Township Municipal Building Speaker: Linda Edwards, CCC-SLP, Speech Language Pathology Speech and language therapy can help people who have communication problems or swallowing problems after a stroke. Get the facts and ask questions on how this therapy can help, what it involves, and where you can find additional support. Please call 412-367-6640 to register.

Bridge to Hope 7th Annual Vigil of Hope Wednesday, June 6 7 p.m. Passavant Hospital Foundation Legacy Theatre, Cumberland Woods Village Join members of your community in calling attention to drug and alcohol addiction. The vigil offers support for those who have suffered the loss of a loved one to drugs or alcohol and for those who have a loved one currently struggling with drug and/or alcohol abuse. Please call 412-367-6640 for more information.

Support Groups Bridge to Hope Family Support Group Wednesdays, 7 p.m. Passavant Hospital Foundation Conference Center, Cumberland Woods Village The Bridge to Hope support group provides education and support to families touched by addiction. Anonymity respected. No registration necessary. Please call 412-367-6640 for more information.

Mark Your Calendar

Passavant Hospital Foundation 25th Annual Golf Outing Monday, June 11 10 a.m., Registration Noon, Shotgun Start Treesdale Golf & Country Club For more information, contact Pam Taylor 412-635-5788 or There is a registration fee for this event.

* UPMC Passavant is a hospital accredited by The Joint Commission and an approved provider for continuing education requirements for professional nurses. A Certificate of Attendance for 2.0 hours is awarded for this presentation.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 39



UPMC Passavant 9100 Babcock Blvd. Pittsburgh, PA 15237

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

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Semper Fidelis

Never Say Ex-Marine by Pamela Palongue

Bill Howrilla presents Lt. Col. Oliver (Ollie) North his replica in a wood carving.


ill Howrilla served in the U.S. Marines from 1956 to 1958 in Hawaii and later transferred to Camp Lejeune, N.C., as a machine gunner. He is quick to point out that he never saw combat. Howrilla’s battles have been fought a little closer to home for his comrades. He volunteers with the Marine Corps League, giving his time and talent to improve the lives of Marines in the area. Once a month, Howrilla travels to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Aspinwall to visit patients who have served their country and now could use some support and encouragement from the community that they previously protected. Howrilla and his fellow volunteers serve refreshments and play bingo, awarding tickets for prizes that may be used to purchase items in the hospital canteen. If you’ve ever attended a Memorial Day Parade in Westview, you may have seen Howrilla handing out miniature flags to individuals along the parade route and giving candy to children. His detachment of the Marine Corps League is responsible for purchasing the flags for those attending the parade. The Marine Corps League is a national organization with 82 detachments located in Pennsylvania. Howrilla’s detachment (310) is named the Three Rivers Leathernecks and meets the second Wednesday of every month at the VFW Post 2754 in Westview. The “Leatherneck” name comes from the origins of the Marines when they fought aboard ships in the 1700s with swords. According to Howrilla, the early Marines wore collars made of thick leather, up to chin level, to parry fatal blows to the neck. In addition to attending events that honor our veterans and the monthly hospital visits, Howrilla has also helped the Marine Corps League by donating hand-carved caricatures that he creates on a commission basis. His carvings are well known among some of America’s top military leaders. Lt. Col. Oliver (Ollie) North, once

a member of President Reagan’s National Security Council staff, has one of Howrilla’s carvings, as well as Gen. James Conway, 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps, who owns three. It has become a tradition for Howrilla to carve the caricature of the guest speaker at the Annual Officers Mess Night held at the Duquesne Club. In addition to Howrilla’s talents as a woodcarver, he was briefly a nationally-syndicated cartoonist. He created the strip “Sgt. Stripes Forever” which was unusually set in the 1700s. His friend and mentor, the late cartoonist Johnny Hart who created “B.C.,” suggested the time period. He explains, “If I would have done a modern-day cartoon, I would have been competing directly with ‘Beetle Bailey’ which already had a popular following.” Timing was perhaps not on Howrilla’s side as his cartoon was dropped after only a year-and-a-half due to the unpopularity of the Vietnam War and all things military. So for now, Howrilla concentrates on his wood carvings. The carvings that Howrilla creates are generally commissioned and sold at the Marine Corps League’s Annual Golf Outing which takes place in August. He also participates in The Rose Campaign which involves members handing out red silk Marine Roses to patrons at local businesses. According to Howrilla, “We give everyone a rose and people give us donations. Some people are so generous...and those who don’t give us a donation, well they still get a rose anyway.” The league’s volunteers usually are posted at grocery stores or other high-traffic businesses about three times per year to raise funds. Some of the funds raised are used to purchase toiletries, socks, golf balls, volleyballs and other items to be shipped to troops stationed overseas. Operation Troop Appreciation at Century III Mall makes sure that each service member gets a treasured item. “We packaged 1,200 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to send to the troops,” says Howrilla. Howrilla has also attended the funerals of fallen Marines killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I hope to never attend any more of those,” he says, before adding that a Marine’s funeral is an extremely moving experience of patriotism and honor. When Howrilla is asked why he volunteers with the league, he simply replies, “Semper Fidelis,” the well-known Marine Corps motto meaning “always faithful.” “It means something if we can give back.” Individuals interested in more information on the local Marine Corps League may visit the website at for a full listing of services to veterans. Individuals who are not Marines are eligible to become associate members of the organization. North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 41

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Leave the Mess to Us

Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays from 11a.m. to 5 p.m.

By Pamela Palongue


any of you may be asking yourselves, ‘Just what is Bark-n-Go’? Well it is a place where dogs can go to get washed and groomed and can leave looking like a show dog. The family-owned business is run by Holly and Tony Walker and their children, (both the two-legged and four-legged variety). When Holly moved to the area from Maine about 18 months ago, she found she missed her work. She had operated a dog and cat boarding/day care that also groomed pets. “My home was surrounded every day by wags, licks and the occasional bark. I knew that I needed to be with those furry friends again.” Newly married, she and her husband Tony spent months creating their new business which they affectionately refer to as their “family adventure.” After searching for just the right place to set up their new pet supply store and dog grooming business, they found the perfect spot in Franklin Village Shopping Center at the corner of Route 910 and Brandt School Road in Wexford. It was probably important to choose a convenient location, because Holly was still using her GPS to find her way around the meandering streets of Pittsburgh. “We wanted to make washing your dog easy,” explains Holly, “and also fun and affordable.” They offer two services for bathing; the Do-It-Yourself Wash, or the Full Service Wash. For those who choose to wash the dog themselves, Bark-n-Go provides

the shampoo, conditioner, comb, brushes, nail clippers, towels and dryers. If the idea of wrestling your dog to the ground for his weekly washing does not appeal to you, they will happily do the job for only $10 more and you can drive home in nice dry clothes. As Holly says, “Bring your dirty dog and leave the mess to us.” Full service grooming is also available by appointment for style-conscious dogs that need a great hair cut and style. Bark-n-Go also provides a spa experience for senior dogs with a relaxing, hydraulic tub that makes bath time more comfortable for dogs with mobility issues. The special tub rests on the floor for pain-free access and then elevates for washing, which eliminates bending over to wash the dog. No appointment is necessary for owners to wash the pet themselves and the whole family is welcome to come and help. Bark-n-Go also carries a large selection of pet supplies including specialty cat and dog foods, Taste of the Wild grain-free pet food and Blue Buffalo dog food. They also have a large supply of toys, collars, leashes and beds for four-legged family members, along with Frontline Flea and Tick products to protect your pet. “We are constantly adding new items to our store and will be happy to order whatever you need,” adds Holly. For more information on Bark-n-Go, please visit


North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 43

Weddings and Funerals


hese are words I often hear echoed in our funeral home. Most of the time it refers to being the only time that extended family seem to get together. To an obvious degree one is a happy occasion and one not so happy. I often wonder why only weddings and funerals provide these reunions. This leads into interesting trends that are happening with all of these life events. How, as a society, we seem to be systemically deritutalizing these important events. As our society has become more mobile it is harder for families to spend time together. We are spread out all over the world, not just in our country. So it leaves little time to celebrate as a group. Although I can see people are not having the extravagant wedding or the traditional funeral, they are still keeping in touch and just gearing things down a bit. The trend with funerals has been changing also. The question is, how and what do families expect?

Each individual person deals with the crisis of a death differently. Some take it very hard and want to avoid grief; others embrace a chance to say a life well done. The job of a funeral director is to help these different types of families through this crisis and help them say goodbye. Traditionally, past generations said goodbye through a day or two of visitation, a funeral service, all followed by burial. Things were pretty much the same for everyone. This traditional style of a funeral allowed for grief and gave people a chance to mourn together, as a community. Today we see this traditional funeral has changed and the needs and requests of the families have too. Because of the mobility we see shorter viewings and services. We see a greater amount of families choosing cremation over burial. Some families choose funerals that include no services, just immediate burials or direct cremation. We are also discovering that families do want to say goodbye, just in different and creative ways! In essence, families now want a funeral to represent the life of a person. They want to know that a person’s life has been honored the way they wished. Many families 44 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE | North Allegheny

still chose a viewing and gathering period. A time to mourn and share stories, memories and feelings. They just choose to offer them at different times and periods. These gatherings are also more representative of the person, bringing in the things that made that person’s life special. From pictures, awards, favorite fishing poles or golf clubs, these are relics that helped create memories. What a funeral director’s job now is to encourage families to think outside the box and create a funeral that still helps say goodbye, but honors a loved one’s life. We also find that religious groups are embracing this too. With eulogies and music that represents a personality, but over all still incorporates the ritual and worship style of that persons beliefs. Furthermore, secular families are coming forward and still wanting to have services that include their beliefs. We embrace both types of families and work very hard to uphold customs and rituals of families. People also expect more from a funeral home with technology. For starters a web site that is interactive and can allow people to share stories and memories, web cast services and bring those family and friends that can’t make it home a chance to say goodbye. Families expect internet access in the funeral home and memorial videos. They make the experience available to those who cannot be here and help connect our mobile society. So even though our society has changed and become more mobile, the funeral, like a wedding, has become a family reunion. A chance to catch up and honor the memories of the past, while continuing to cherish the memories of the present. At Sperling Funeral Home, we encourage this as a necessary step to keep families connected and help communities understand that it is still important to grieve. Even though traditions and trends change we are still here to help with the core concept of simply saying goodbye.

If you have question about us or our services please feel free to call or email us. You can also learn more about our family and services by visiting Sperling Funeral Home, Inc. 700 Blazier Dr. • Wexford, PA 15090 Jarett D. Sperling, Supervisor 724-933-9200

Experiencing China in

North Allegheny by Pamela Palongue


ith China’s increasing dominance in the world economy, there is a greater demand for employees who understand Chinese culture and business practices. According to Sandy Niggel of the A.W. Beattie Career Center, “With the Internet and technology, the [marketplace] has become more global than ever and China is a large part of that.” Young people graduating from college are now also pursuing jobs more frequently in China in the fields of finance, information technology and English instruction. In an effort to bridge the cultural divide, the Confucius Institute program provides five native Chinese speakers who not only teach the language to high school students, but also impart cultural norms and business etiquette to the future business professionals. The Confucius Institute is offered at A.W. Beattie Career Center in cooperation with the

University of Pittsburgh to students in North Allegheny School District via teleconferencing machines. The instructors appear on a large television screen and can view the entire classroom while conversing with the students. The students can ask questions and interact with the instructor, much the same way as in a normal classroom only through high definition video technology. The native Chinese instructors are graduate students from Wuhan University who will return to teach English in universities in China. “The experience the instructors receive here will help them with their own teaching careers,” explains Niggel, “so it’s a great exchange of information.” Mandarin Chinese is offered in four different levels, with levels 3 and 4 currently being taught at North Allegheny High School. “By the time students reach level 4, they will be able to carry on a conversation in Chinese,” notes Niggel. The language courses

are generally alternated, so that next year beginning levels 1 and 2 may be offered for new students who have not been exposed to Chinese. The cultural elements to the course are embedded in the curriculum itself. The program currently being taught at North Allegheny High School has been recognized as a “Confucius Classroom” by the Chinese Ministry of Education for its high level of instruction and received a $10,000 grant from the Confucius Institute of the University of Pittsburgh for its achievement. In May, the A.W. Beattie Career Center will host Chinese Springfest at the school where all students of the program will come together to celebrate with Chinese dancing, calligraphy, origami and Chinese cuisine. Distance learning has helped to bring people of all cultures together, making the world a little smaller while preparing students for the economy of tomorrow.

The Confucius Institute program provides five native Chinese speakers who not only teach the language to high school students, but also impart cultural norms and business etiquette to the future business professionals. North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 45

Cinderella Ball The 86th Annual

by Kathy Rudolph


wenty area young ladies dressed in their best white gowns and gloves were presented into society by their dads at the 86th Cinderella Ball hosted by the Cinderella Women’s Committee at the Omni William Penn. Besides looking beautiful and knowing just when to curtsy, which signals their entrance into society, the debutantes had to volunteer for 30 hours at Animal Friends, which was this year’s beneficiary of the ball. Each year, the Cinderella Women’s Committee chooses a Pittsburgh-area civic and charitable organization to be the recipient.

Julie Arnold of North Allegheny High School

Betsy Teti and Diane Waldman, Cinderella Ball Co-Chairs 46 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE


North Allegheny

The ballroom looked like a scene from Disney’s “Cinderella” with its rich, purple hues, up lighting, ethereal flower arrangements by Bill Chisnell and, of course, Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. The evening’s other festivities included a delicious dinner, musical entertainment by the Rick Purcell Big Band and Later After Dark featuring Sputzy. To learn more about the Cinderella Ball, visit the website at

You don’t have to live with painful varicose and spider veins. Should I Have My Veins Evaluated?

Q & A WITH A VEIN SPECIALIST: While finishing charts at the end of my day, I took a few moments to listen to my staff answer questions for a patient on the phone. The questions asked were very important as were the answers that were given. Here are some examples:

What is Phlebology?

Phlebology is the branch of medicine that deals with veins and the disease of veins. Two organizations dedicated to the advancement of this field are The American College of Phlebology and the American Venous Forum.

Why should I see a board- certified phlebologist to evaluate my varicose veins

When it comes to any aspect of your health care, it is important to be proactive in the choice and research of who will become medically responsible for your evaluation and treatment. Though venous disease is not always a visible ailment, it can be a serious health problem leading to more serious issues, so choosing a specialist, or board certified phlebologist for your venous care is a wise decision. Board certification in phlebology identifies a physician who has taken the extra step of becoming specialized in the treatment of venous disease. Not only is the physician often a member of organizations such as the American College of Phlebology (ACP) and the American Venous Forum (AVF) but they have met additional requirements set by the certifying board. After meeting these requirements, he or she must then pass a certifying exam allowing the physician to identify him or herself as board-certified.

Is membership the same as board certification?

This question is particularly important as it defines the specialty of a phlebologist. While a physician may be a member of many different organizations, these organizations only require an interest in the field for joining. Thus membership is unlike board certification where qualification is determined through training and testing. Here’s how the ACP defines its board certification: “The establishment of a Board Certification Exam brings recognition to both the field of phlebology and those providers in the field who have the knowledge, skills and experience to provide quality care to phlebology patients.”

I had a free screening at a health fair and was told that I don’t have venous disease, but I still have aching, pain and discoloration at the ankles. What should I do?

While free screenings can be informative, remember that this is just a brief glance into a patient’s venous system. A complete venous exam and venous mapping by a boardcertified phlebologist is best to determine if a patient has venous disease. Since a proper venous ultrasound is such an integral part of this evaluation, the American College of Phlebology has set requirements for it that include the following: • A venous ultrasound should be ordered by a physician. • A lower extremity ultrasound should study the entire leg, from ankle to groin. Failure to identify and treat all sources of reflux may result in outright treatment failure. • Evaluation of the venous system should be performed with the patient in the upright position. Sitting or lying down are inappropriate for the detection of reflux or the measurement of vein diameters. • A venous ultrasound should be performed by a trained physician or a registered vascular ultrasound technician (RVT) and then interpreted by a physician.

If I have had an evaluation elsewhere, can I still be evaluated in your office? Of course. A free evaluation is commonly ‘ free’ because patients are often not meeting with a physician, a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner, so this visit cannot be billed to insurance. However, most insurances allow for a second opinion. If you have any questions about the second opinion being covered, contact member services on the back of your insurance card.

724-934-VEIN (8346) North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 47

r o F

g n i y l F f o e v o L the

by Pamela Palongue


orth Allegheny teacher Chris Jester is leaving the area to pursue his long-held dream of becoming an Army pilot. The Marshall Elementary special education teacher will leave on February 21 to report to basic training in Fort Jackson, S.C. Jester is actually following a tradition of military service in his family. His maternal grandfather, Robert Glen Hargrave, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. It was Hargrave’s grim task to write to the families of fallen service members. His maternal uncle, Robert James Hargrave, served as a pilot in Operation Desert Storm in Iraq. Jester anticipates being stationed overseas although he could possibly be stationed anywhere. Before his assignment he will complete basic training and then be transferred to Fort Rucker, Ala., for flight training. Jester first began flying while a sophomore at the University of Toronto in 2007. He obtained his private pilot license for fixed-wing aircraft the same year. After graduating from college, he returned to his alma mater of North Allegheny to work in special education; he has taught at the high school for one year and Marshall Elementary since September. “I really enjoy teaching special education, but flying is

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my dream,” says Jester. He adds that his father has “mixed feelings” about the career change, knowing that his son will likely be serving overseas, possibly in harm’s way. “My mother is happy for me that I am finally getting to pursue my flying.” Jester was sworn in to the U.S. Army Air Corps in November and hopes to expand his flying expertise to helicopters. One possible assignment is a mission flying medical evacuations, due to the current need for medevac pilots. Jester has a long history with North Allegheny schools since he also worked summers in the maintenance department before completing his degree in special education. He has coached the high school rowing team as well. Jester believes that persistence is the key to pursuing any goal or dream. “I remember my teachers telling me all those years that ‘persistence is important in completing any goal’ but it never really registered with me. Now I see exactly what they were talking about.” Jester will be realizing a goal that he set in 2007 when he first began flying small planes. North Allegheny School District and the community wish him the best in his new flying career. Good luck Chris! North Allegheny

“I remember my teachers telling me all those years that ‘persistence is important in completing any goal’ but it never really registered with me. Now I see exactly what they were talking about.”

King Orthodontics:


the Impression of

Orthodontic Treatment


rthodontic treatment is seldom described as comfortable. In fact, often people will forego treatment because of how uncomfortable the procedures or appliances can be, but that is all changing. Today’s orthodontic treatment reaches far beyond expectations of patients and offers many more comfortable alternatives to some traditional procedures. Once you agree to orthodontic treatment, normally a team member would take an impression or mold of your teeth using a gooey material and trays. This procedure tends to makes patients anxious and can be uncomfortable. Today, with the use of cutting edge technology like the IOC Scanner, orthodontists are able to virtually eliminate those types of impressions. King Orthodontics is the first orthodontic practice in Western Pennsylvania to implement the scanner for use in orthodontic treatment. With the IOC Scanner their technician uses a wand to take digital snapshots of your teeth and then strings those snapshots together to create a 3-D image that the doctors can use in the same way they would traditional models. This process takes no longer than tray impressions and is much more comfortable for many patients. Joan, an adult patient who had put off treatment due to the uncomfortable impression process said, “When my friend told me that King Orthodontics used a scanner instead of the ‘goop’ I called right away. I am so glad I did. I have seen such a difference in my smile in just a few weeks.” The IOC scanner has allowed King Orthodontics to treat many patients in a new way. The digital impressions are used to help produce everything from expanders and retainers to Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. When discussing the accuracy of the scans, Dr. Bryan King has said, “we are noticing that the scans provide a much more accurate starting point for the production of the appliances. We are finding that the Invisalign aligners and all of our appliances in general are fitting much better. This means much less discomfort for the patients at the time of the initial insertion.” Being highly trained and proficient with new technology has been something the doctors and team at King Orthodontics have always strived for. In January 2012 the doctors were ranked among the Top 1% of the Nation’s providers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. This experience, which is unmatched in Western Pennsylvania, allows the doctors of King Orthodontics to treat some of the most difficult orthodontic cases with Invisalign. That means patients receive a more comfortable and convenient treatment that works with their lifestyle when compared to traditional bracket and wire treatment. For over 30 years King Orthodontics has been a technology driven practice. “We try to be in touch with what the newest technology is out there. We do our research, get the training and evaluate the

results before we bring it to our patients. So that by the time patients are in the chair for treatment they know that we have done all we can to provide the best possible result,” said Dr. Earle King. “Our patients are pretty savvy nowadays. They can do a web search for orthodontic treatment and get so much information. It is our responsibility to keep abreast of the latest technology, which is something we take very seriously.” King Orthodontics has two locations in the Greater Pittsburgh area—11200 Perry Highway, Wexford and 951 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh. For more information about orthodontic treatment including Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, visit www.kingorthodontics. com. Call today and set up a free consultation at Wexford: 724.935.5323 or Pittsburgh: 412.246.0600.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 49

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orth Allegheny


724.942.0940 sales@incommunity IN North Allegheny, published quarterly, is carrier route mailed to all Bradford Woods, Franklin Park, Marshall Township and the Town of McCandless households.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 51

Did You Know

Chiropractic Therapies Prevent Low Back Pain?


s of January 1, 2012, UPMC Health Plan has implemented a new initiative that focuses on the treatment of low back pain. In order to be considered for low back surgery, a patient must have tried and failed a 3-month course of conservative management that included chiropractic therapy, physical rehabilitation, and medication. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work. It is also one of the most common reasons to visit a doctor’s office or a hospital’s emergency department. According to the American Chiropractic Association, lower back pain will affect up to 80% of Americans at some point in their lifetime and up to 50% will have more than one episode. Low back pain is not a specific disease but a symptom that may occur from a variety of different conditions. Being the chiropractic division of a multi-doctor medical corporation, Genesis Chiropractic has the ability to communicate and work with your physicians to improve your quality of care. In many cases, a combination of medicine, chiropractic therapy to align unbalanced joints, and physical rehabilitation to strengthen the muscles surrounding the painful areas has been used to decrease pain. The body’s main support column is the spine and the hips. As the spine misaligns and the hips become unbalanced, the muscles are forced to work harder to keep you standing up-right. Like a tire out of alignment, your body starts to wear out one joint faster than another. Over years of degeneration, the joints breakdown and the muscles

are recruited to stabilize the area. However, the muscles can only work so hard before you have a muscle failure and the pain becomes unbearable. At Genesis Chiropractic we will discover the structural problems, stretch chronically tight muscles, strengthen weak and deconditioned muscles and reduce your pain. In few cases, if medication is needed to enhance your improvement we have the capability of speaking to your physician to co-manage your pain and improve your quality of life. Most people with low back pain have acute episodes that get closer together and increase in pain over time. We have found that most patients’ low back pain is caused by the following: • Unbalanced hips causing misaligned vertebrae • Misaligned vertebrae causing pinched nerves • Herniated discs and Bulging discs • Chronically tight muscle spasms protecting the painful areas • Loss of range of motion due to muscle spasms and pain There seems to be a common understanding in the health care community that recognizes the benefits of chiropractic and muscle strengthening therapies to reduce pain. Correcting the causes of chronic back pain and preventing unnecessary surgery can be accomplished through the body’s structural alignment. The goal is to realign the body so that the body is symmetrical and the load of the body weight is dispersed evenly. Remember that when the foundation of your house is level; the house stands up straight. Drs. Bentz and Cook, your Genesis Chiropractors, specialize in the treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of your musculoskeletal system (your spine and your joints) and the effects that these disorders have on the function of your nervous system and your general health.  Treatment at Genesis Chiropractic consists of a consultation and detailed history, a comprehensive examination, therapy, and manual adjustments. Treating pain is only one part of chiropractic care at Genesis Chiropractic. If you are bothered by a recent injury or auto accident, or suffer with chronic pain, let us customize a rehab program to help you eliminate/reduce your pain or discomfort. If you’re looking for a second opinion or a new perspective on a health issue, give us a call at 412-847-0066 to schedule your appointment. This Industry Insight was written by Dr. Jeffrey Bentz and Dr. Matthew Cook. Dr. Bentz is a graduate of North Allegheny High School, Pennsylvania State University, and Palmer College of Chiropractic. Dr. Cook is a graduate of North Hills High School, Duquesne University, and Palmer College of Chiropractic. Drs. Bentz and Cook are Board Certified in chiropractic and adjunctive procedures and also members of the Pennsylvania Chiropractic Association.

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Festival of A by Pamela Palongue


Our Own

fter attending numerous yarn festivals all over the country, Barbara Grossman decided that she would like to see a festival a little closer to home. She organized the first Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival in 2005 and has watched it grow ever since. The location has changed as the popularity of the event has grown, but for the past three years it has been held here at the Four Points Sheraton which has become its permanent home. This marked the 8th year for the festival and was bigger than ever with classes, fashion shows and approximately 60 vendors displaying their wares. The proceeds of the event benefited charities all over Pittsburgh. Some of the past beneficiaries of the Knit and Crochet Festival have been The Waldorf School, The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh,The Midwife Center and a local program for breast cancer. Organizations included in this year’s list of charities were the Hog Heaven Rescue Group which rescues many different kinds of animals and finds suitable homes for them and the Warm Up America Foundation, a non-profit that organizes volunteers to knit and crochet blankets and clothing for people in need. The festival also served as an official drop-off point to collect fabric for the Salvation Army’s Annual Fabric Fair sale which benefits local families in need. According to Grossman, truckloads of fabric have been collected for the Salvation Army in the past. “I open the event up to new smaller [charity] groups every year so that they can gain some exposure and attract new people to help out,” says Grossman. The festival took place on Feb. 10, 11 and 12 and featured well-known designer Iris Schreier who creates yarn patterns and Steven Berg, better known as StevenBe of the Yarn Garage in Minneapolis who was emcee of the program. Classes for beginning knitting and crocheting were offered to visitors. Other forms of fiber art in which classes were offered this year were weaving, spinning, rug hooking, tatting and even jewelry making. Guests of the festival enjoyed wine and cheese, desserts and door prizes were awarded. According to Grossman, the fabric arts are enjoying a surge in popularity in recent years. Crafting your own custom garments from yarn or fabric is less expensive than purchasing ready-made clothing and enables the individual to create unique items that can also serve as a cherished gift or heirloom. “We all still knit and purl just like our grandmothers did, and we honor the tradition by continuing to make wonderful things for our families and friends to treasure,” says Grossman.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 53

On the Trail to

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North Allegheny

Good Health

by Pamela Palongue


alking is one of the best exercises for all ages and according to the Mayo Clinic can help lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. And nothing enhances a good walk like beautiful scenery, the sound of chirping birds and a trickling stream. Peaceful surroundings can make walking a treat, rather than a chore. With the health of its residents and the preservation of nature in mind, Marshall Township is expanding the Brush Creek Trail from its current 7.3 miles to 8.65 miles and making it more accessible for all residents. “We have great plans for trails in Marshall Township,” declares Heather Cuyler Jerry, director of parks and recreation for the township. The Brush Creek Trail expansion will include adding trail heads for easier access to the path and will have signage and benches for a quiet respite along the way. The trail itself will be made of crushed limestone and will be a relatively flat surface suitable for baby strollers and wheelchairs. There will also be a floating trail, similar to a boardwalk, which will consist of concrete paving stones and wooden legs that can be adjusted to different heights. This will provide a safe walking trail with minimal impact to the natural environment. The expansion is part of the Master Trail Plan of 1995 and is scheduled to be completed by December of 2015. The Brush Creek Trail expansion is unique in that both Marshall and Cranberry townships will participate in the maintenance of the trail, with each municipality caring for the portion of the trail within its borders. According to Jerry, RIDC Park and the Brush Creek Watershed have partnered with the municipalities by granting easements, and Erie Insurance has been a financial contributor. “We would welcome more businesses to help support our efforts in completing the [trail expansion],” she says. A $240,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources has also helped to make the expansion of the Brush Creek Trail possible. According to Jerry, Marshall Township is host to several native wetland species of plants and birds, including bluebirds and great blue herons. Another project in Marshall Township is the preservation of the Venango Trail which was a path originated by Native Americans in the area in the 1700s. Jerry states that plans to preserve the trail are still in the developmental stage and will leave the area as natural and undisturbed as possible while preserving this important piece of history. Another local Native American trail known as the Kuskusky Path once meandered along Brandt School Road where a commemorative placard is virtually all that remains of the ancient trail. The natural trails of Marshall Township will help to conserve nature while providing residents with a peaceful getaway that’s right around the corner. North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 55

“Integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.”

Junior ROTC Program Builds Character

by Pamela Palongue


here are only about seven schools in the Pittsburgh area that offer a Junior ROTC program. North Allegheny School District is fortunate to have offered the program for 45 years. According to Master Sgt. Richard Denault, an academic instructor with the program, “It’s something unique. Students can take courses that would not usually be offered.” One area of study that is popular among students is flying. They learn the basics of aerodynamics and are also able to use flight simulators. Each ROTC program is affiliated with a branch of the military service. The program at North Allegheny is associated with the U.S. Air Force and promotes the core values of integrity, service before self and excellence in all endeavors. The academic curriculum focuses on applied flight sciences and space exploration. Students participating in JROTC are called cadets. Although some of the cadets will go on to military careers, many will not. Denault explains that it is a citizenship program to help students achieve their best in education and in life. Cadets learn leadership skills and how to work as a team while helping others through community service. The North Allegheny JROTC was recognized last year with a Distinguished Unit Award, with Merit, and is currently in the process of applying for this year’s award. This is the highest award the U.S. Air Force presents to Junior ROTC programs and is limited to the top 2% of units worldwide. Denault believes the main thing

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North Allegheny

which sets the North Allegheny unit apart is the students’ effort and community service. The unit completed approximately 1,400 hours of community service collectively by volunteering at Cumberland Crossings Nursing Home and providing traffic control at McCandless Community Days. The students also serve as the color guard at football games and other events. “We have a reputation for service,” adds Denault. “Many businesses in the community contact us for help.” In addition to their extensive community service, the students also placed second in “The Academic Challenge” in which the North Allegheny unit competed with other JROTC units from all over the world. The cadets traveled to Washington, D.C., for the final round of competition. They also placed second overall in a drill team competition which featured teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Although there is no military commitment involved in participating in JROTC, students who complete the three- or fouryear program will receive a certificate of completion that will enable them to enter military service at a higher rank. Denault has seen former students go on to graduate from prestigious academies such as West Point, the Citadel and the Air Force Academy. There are also college scholarships available for the 117 cadets enrolled in the JROTC program at North Allegheny. Cadets are given instruction on preparing resumes and the interview process.

*For more information on the program at North Allegheny senior and intermediate schools, please visit the JROTC webpage at The national Air Force Junior ROTC website is www.afoats. North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 57

Andrea Ronk

Those Dance Lessons

Paid Off A

ndrea Ronk began dancing at the tender age of 3 and has never stopped. As a member of the Lakes Area Civic Ballet Company in her native Clarkston, Mich., she performed the role of Clara in “The Nutcracker.” Her love of dance brought her to Pittsburgh where she attended Point Park University and majored in dance pedagogy. As a freshman, she began teaching in a local dance studio before receiving her degree. She toured with the Sesame Street Live show “When Elmo Grows Up,” playing the roles of Rosita and Roxie Marie at venues across the United States. Although the experience was rewarding and fun, she came to a point of realization that perhaps a life spent on the road performing was not the right choice for her as a permanent commitment. “I realized that I wanted to one day have

by Pamela Palongue

children and that I wanted to have a life,” says Ronk. That dream will be well on its way to realization when she marries her fiancé Bob Revell this July. The desire to have a bit more settled life also led Ronk to return to school, obtaining her teaching certificate in art education from Carlow University. She currently teaches art at Marshall and McKnight elementary schools. Her full-time teaching career is just one part of her creative outpouring. She has worked with the North Allegheny High School musical for six years, choreographing “Oklahoma,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cats,” “Les Miserables” and the upcoming spring musical “Peter Pan.” She also finds time to work as the artistic director and stage manager for the children’s nonprofit Jeter Backyard Theater. Ronk believes in the value of children participating in live performance. “Whether you do it as a career or it winds up just being a hobby, it gives you confidence. My parents thought they were wasting their money with all those dance lessons, but here I am today, still dancing.”

Ronk helping cast members with their choreography. Photos by Gary Yon 58 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE


North Allegheny

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 59








by Pamela Palongue


A Fun Evening, Close to Home

he Bradford Woods Couples Club will be producing its biennial theater event which helps support local nonprofit organizations. According to actor/director Roy Wiegand, the club was formed over 50 years ago and the name is a bit of a misnomer. “You don’t really have to be a couple to join; you can be a single,” says Wiegand, who assumed the role of director of the production in 2006. “We have a lot of fun.” In addition to the biennial theater event, the club also has a monthly dinner with a different theme and usually some sort of live entertainment. Wiegand says that entertainment in the past has consisted of holiday get-togethers, an acoustic guitarist, a gentleman with live birds, an Oktoberfest dinner with German dancing and a cookout held each year in September. “It’s a great way to be a part of the community,” he adds. The theater event will be held this year May 16, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. at the Bradford Woods Fire Hall. It will be based on TV and movie classics, although a title for the original work has not been selected yet. With each production, the club

writes its own play, produces its own costumes and acts in all of the roles. Most of the 250 members participate in some phase of producing the event. Wiegand, who has acted in regional theaters such as Prime Stage, Stage Right and Robert Morris University for over 25 years, says the production will be “campy, but very well done,” adding that he is very proud of his amateur thespians. Club members Phil and Eleanor Berger were instrumental in starting the play several decades ago and Phil was director for every production until he passed away in 2005, preceded in death by Eleanor. The biennial event has always supported local charities and this year the Woodlands Foundation, Bradford Woods Volunteer Fire Department and the Bradford Woods Community Church will benefit from the proceeds. Wiegand explains, “The church usually lets us rehearse there.” This year the group will be rehearsing at least part of the time at the local fire hall as well as performing there. According to Wiegand, there has never been a fire call in the middle of a performance. One can only hope that luck continues... Individuals interested in joining the couples club or attending the May performances should consult the borough’s website at www.

What is GolfTEC? For more than 15 years, GolfTEC has been helping golfers of all skill levels play better and enjoy the game more. Whether a complete beginner or an accomplished golfer, GolfTEC’s comprehensive approach to improvement can help all skill levels reach their personal goals. As the undisputed leader in golf improvement, GolfTEC teaches 25% of all U.S. golf lessons annually and delivers a consistent 95% success rate. GolfTEC’s Certified Personal Coaches have given over 3 million golf lessons to more than 200,000 clients. Our Improvement Centers are found across North America.

Game Improvement Products Include: IMPROVEMENT PLANS & LESSON PROGRAMS In order for golfers to improve their game and increase their consistency, it’s essential to have a personalized improvement gameplan. GolfTEC offers two great ways for clients to build on the instruction they received in their Performance Evaluation and help them create a swing they can trust: • IMPROVEMENT PLANS: Our most comprehensive way to improve your game and help you achieve faster results. Improvement Plans include a Lesson Program, club consultation, access to Video-based Practice, Game Tracking and great discounts on GolfTEC services. Pricing upon request. •

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LESSON PROGRAMS: Our Improvement Plans aren’t always the right fit for people with busy lifestyles. For clients who want to focus on taking lessons with a Certified Personal Coach, GolfTEC offers a variety of Lesson Programs that range from 10 lessons to up to 52 lessons. Pricing upon request.

Upcoming Spring Events Olé 5K Race to benefit The Anna Seethaler Hospital in Oaxaca, Mexico North Park, Pie Traynor Field Saturday, April 14, 10 a.m. Lutheran SeniorLife Excellence is Ageless Gala Friday, April 27, Heinz Field Call 724.453.6014 for more information. “NASH Trash Bash” to benefit Girls Hope Friday, May 18, North Allegheny Senior High Open to all female NA High School students Call 724.934.7200 for more information.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 61

By Heather Holtschlag

Curb appeal is not necessarily something that most people will be able to define in precise terms, but they will know it when they see it. Simply put, it is about making your front yard and the front of your house stand out and look better than the rest. And, if people like what they see on the outside, including potential buyers, the chances are good that they will want to see what the house looks like on the inside. But what can you do to make your house stand apart? To begin, play up your home’s doorway—one of the first areas people see when looking at your house—with color, a clean door free of nicks, and clean metal fixtures. Consider adding a wreath or some other type of door decoration.

Low-voltage landscape lighting, particularly accent lighting displayed in nearby trees or throughout other outdoor fixtures, can not only enhance a yard’s appearance but provide a pathway of lighted safety for visitors. Potted colorful flowers can provide instant curb appeal and can be purchased already assembled at a local garden center, or you may choose to buy an empty container to fill with all of your favorite flowers on your own.

On a similar note, window boxes can be filled with your favorite flowers to match the rest of your yard’s color scheme. Consider adding some fixtures like birdbaths and wind chimes to add visual appeal to a yard, and a water fountain can sound heavenly on a warm summer day (but be sure to place them on level ground for optimum enjoyment). Shutters and trim work not only add texture and ventilation to a home, but provide added security as well.

To achieve the best curb appeal, paint the shutters in a color that matches the outside of your house and the rest of your yard. In addition, new garden beds are always a welcome sight. Consider planting new gardens in spots that will be most pleasing to the eye, such as along the driveway and in front of the house.

On a similar note, window boxes can be filled with your favorite flowers to match the rest of your yard’s color scheme.

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Add shutters or accent trim Shutters and trim add a welcoming layer of beauty to your home’s exterior. Shutters also control light and ventilation, and provide additional security. Exterior shutters can be made of wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, or fiberglass. New composite materials make trim details durable and low maintenance.

Replace old hardware House numbers, the entry door lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, and an overhead light fixture are all elements that can add style and interest to your home’s exterior. If they’re out of date, your home may not be conveying the aesthetic you think it is. These elements add the most appeal when they function collectively, rather than as mix-and-match pieces. Oiled-bronze finishes suit traditional homes, while brushed nickel suits more contemporary residences.

Add outdoor art Give your yard a little spunk by adding weather-resistant artwork. Choose pieces that complement your home’s natural palette and exterior elements. Birdbaths, metal cutouts, sculptures, and wind chimes are good choices for outdoor art. Water sculptures not only function as yard art, but the burbling sounds soothe and make hot days feel cooler. Place fountains on level ground in optimum hearing and sight vantage points.

Make a grand entry Even with a small budget, there are ways to draw attention to your front door. Molding acts like an architectural eyeliner when applied to the sides and top of the doorway.

Install window boxes Window boxes offer a fast, easy way to bring color and charm to your home exterior. Choose boxes made from copper or iron for a traditional look, or painted wood for a cottage feel. Mix and match flowers and plants to suit your lighting conditions and color scheme.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 63

By Heather Holtschlag

More than half of the energy used in the average American home goes toward heating and cooling, and if your house is not properly insulated, much of that expense can go to waste. Insulation, particularly when installed in an area such as the attic, requires less work from the air conditioning and furnace systems, translating into less expense and fewer repairs. There are a number of things to note to properly install attic insulation, the first of which is called R-value. R-value measures the effectiveness of types of insulation; the higher an insulation’s R-value, the more effective it is. The recommended R-value for walls and floors in a mild climate is R-11; for ceilings and attics, it is R-19. In moderate climates, R-values should be a minimum of R-19 for walls and floors and R-30 for ceilings and attics. And, in cold climates, R-values for walls and floors should be R-19, and R-38 to R-49 for ceilings and attics. If you use your attic as living space, it is a good idea to install insulation in the walls and ceiling. If it is not used, you should still insulate, and the empty space will provide ample room for installation. If your attic is being insulated for the first time, it should include a vapor barrier, which is any material that does not absorb moisture and through which vapor will not pass. After it snows, it is recommended that you check the roof to see where the snow has fallen. If you notice specific areas on the roof where the snow has melted, this may signal an area that needs to be insulated or where the insulation is damaged. When installing insulation in the attic, the best method is to install it from the eaves toward the center of the room so as to leave more headroom when you need to cut or fit the insulation properly. If, upon installing the insulation, you discover that you need an extra layer, you can simply lay blankets on top of the insulation already there. To reduce fire hazard, cover the panels with wallboard or use fiberglass panels if you must install panels between the rafters in a ceiling that slopes. Also,if you use cellulose insulation, which is the most common type of loose-fill insulation, be sure that it has been treated with a fire retardant.

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Small Updates Pay Off

By Heather Holtschlag

BIG for Home Values

If you are thinking of selling your home or just making some updates to your current living space, you don’t necessarily need to think big expense and lots of work. Small fixes can increase your home’s value for a big payoff. For starters, maintain a regular cleaning schedule. This serves a dual purpose of not just keeping your house tidy and neat, especially for visitors, but will help keep your maintenance issues in check since you will notice relatively early on if something is in need of a fix, thus avoiding costly repairs. Keep your house looking fresh by adding some new paint. When selecting a color, remember that neutrals appeal to a wide variety of people, and if you are selling your home, a neutral color is easy to paint over should the new owners choose a different color. Consider consulting a professional real estate agent or a home inspector. Each can walk through your home and pay close attention to its detail and alert you to areas that require improvement or repair. If repairs are necessary, make them in a timely manner to prevent the problem from getting worse. Buyers tend to favor bathrooms and kitchens, so it could be especially beneficial to keep these rooms clean and updated. Consult a real estate agent if you need ideas for updating. If these rooms are small, consider what could be rearranged to make them look bigger. Also, keep the appliances clean and in working order, even if you are not planning to include them in the sale of the house.

Spend some time in the yard. Remember that curb appeal is a person’s first impression of your overall house, so maintain a yard free of debris and coordinate the colors of your gardens to match the house. Installing modern light switches and power outlets can help your lighting system look newer than it is. Also consider installing dimmer switches, which are a favorite among potential buyers. Show off the bright sides of your house by increasing the wattage in your light bulbs. Finally, keep your house free of clutter by cleaning up after yourself and making sure your children do the same. In addition, keep your carpets clean by vacuuming regularly and administering deep cleaning treatments.

North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 65

Everyone Has A Story Would you or someone you know like to be featured IN North Allegheny Magazine for our newest feature - Resident Profiles? Please suggest a resident for the community to get to know! Email our Managing Editor at

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North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 67


Travelling Green Is Easier Than You Think


e all love our vacations when we can get them. But while travelling may mean leaving town for a dream destination, it also means baggage and one the pitfalls that come with it – waste. From “travel-sized” tubes of toothpaste and shampoo bottles to disposable razors and eating utensils, travelers often plan to return home with less than they take in order to make room for souvenirs or to simply lighten their loads., With a little planning, however, one can achieve the same goal while putting less of a burden on the environment. For starters, many discount stores sell empty plastic flip-top containers that are perfect for shampoos and conditioners. Instead of purchasing travel size versions of your favorite products, just get a few of these containers and fill them from products already in your bathroom. Rather than packing disposable razors, consider purchasing an electric razor for travel. Even after years of use, a quality electric razor that’s been properly maintained will still deliver a close shave. If you’re travelling to a major city or tourist destination, public transportation will almost certainly be available. Just like at home, traveling by bus is the most environmentally n o ti a rm fo friendly way of getting around if For more in rism, or u you can’t walk the distance. Most on ecoto acation v l a port authorities in destination n traditio ll a c , g in n cities have routes to all major n pla vel ra T rs e iv R tourist attractions already in e Thre .5341, 0 6 .2 4 2 7 t a place. If you need a car, many y toda . major rental companies have or visit ave added flex fuel and electric threeriverstr hybrids to their fleets.

Upon arriving plan a grocery stop. Buying from a grocery store for snacks and drinks is cheaper than eating every meal out. If you’re on the go, packing a few sandwiches can also save you time, avoiding long lines at lunch and dinner time. Your hotel room most likely will have a refrigerator; why not use it? The grocery store also will save you from the enormous mark-up on food items in hotel lobbies, restaurants and room service. Dining out can also be a vacation highlight – no need to eat every meal in the room! If you really want to be an eco-tourist, find local restaurants that reflect the culture of your destination. Local cuisine is part of the experience, so treat yourself, and avoid chainrestaurants until you’re back at home. Eating locally also has ecological advantages; smaller restaurants tend to take advantage of locally grown produce, meats and cheeses. By patronizing these mom-and-pop eateries, you’re not only helping to sustain “mom and pop,” you’re helping the local farmers as well. If you’ve chosen an exotic locale, chances are that there are ecotours available. These unique and exhilarating sojourns are planned around responsible tour routes to preserve the local ecology. They typically hire local employees and guides, and will engage local officials to plan operations to minimize negative impacts on the ecology and social structure. Another advantage to ecotours is that they oftentimes allow unprecedented access to the

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eco destinations to consider in


local wildlife, so be sure have your camera ready. The last thing to know about ecotours is that they are educational. Many tours not only point out fauna and wildlife, but will inform you as to what you can do to keep your favorite destination pristine for generations to come. In the end, your vacation is your dream. Whether you’re more comfortable in a hotel room or in a tent in Madagascar, you always have options to minimize your impact during your stay. And by being a conscientious traveler, you also leave the locals with a better opinion of you and the United States as a whole. When it comes to tourism, you’re not just a visitor, you’re an ambassador.

Make 2012 your year to visit an ecofriendly destination with your family. Here are four places where green is good: 1

Oregon. This northwestern haven for all things green is possibly the most eco-conscious state in the nation. With more than 300 miles of stunning coastline preserved as public land, families can visit pristine beaches, bike in two-wheelfriendly cities like Portland and Eugene, and raft on wild and scenic rivers. You can also explore high deserts, farm and wine country and the Columbia River Gorge, all within one grand holiday.

3 Utah. Robert Redford is the eco-

minded force behind this mountain resort that provides a high-altitude lesson in good fun and environmental stewardship. Join guides for a snowshoe trek under the night sky in search of owls. By day, enjoy skiing, hiking, horseback riding, art projects and music. The resort operates on wind power, recycles its own glass and offers organic linens, amenities and vegetables. Carpoolers receive $5 off lift tickets for their energy-saving efforts.

Visit this exotic island to see 2theBorneo. world’s largest flower and to discover 4 St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. sparsely populated beaches, caves, lush jungles and an expansive list of endemic plant species. Trek through the virgin jungle to Mount Kinabalu and explore the Kinabatangang River region. Be on the lookout for wild boars, orangutans, macaques, elephants, kingfishers and proboscis monkeys. Stay in awardwinning eco-lodges featuring solar power, the harvest of rainwater and wildlife rehabilitation efforts.

Follow the underwater trail and enjoy one of the few fully protected marine areas in the world. Run by the National Park Service, the 176-acre island and surrounding coral reef ecosystem form Buck Island Reef National Monument, a nature lover’s paradise. Intensely colored fish and coral thrive in a turquoise sea, providing a visual treat for both novice and experienced snorkelers and divers. The preserve can be reached via half- and full-day charters.

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Blues Winter T Franklin Park Chases Away


by Kathy Rudolph

Daniel Zhang and his mom

he best sled riding in the area, roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate around a blazing bonfire made for some great memories at Franklin Park’s Winter Bonfire and Activities at Blueberry Hill Park. Rides on a horse drawn carriage through the snowy park landscape which resembled a holiday card and creating your own snow sculpture to be judged for a prize were some of the other family-friendly activities. Canned food was collected for a local food bank as admission, which made the event even more special. Volunteers on the Franklin Park Recreation Board, along with Parks and Recreation Director James Watenpool, organize and implement recreational and social activities like the winter bonfire for the residents. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Betty Gail Diez, board member. “We have a great time laughing and talking with the families while we collect the canned goods. We like to introduce ourselves. Everyone is very nice.” Having families utilize the park in the winter is another benefit of the winter bonfire. “Part of the problem was that all the events we hosted in the park were during good weather,” said Bob Peterson, board member. “We needed something to fill in the gaps in the cold weather months and this is a great activity for that.” To learn more about upcoming events, visit Franklin Park Borough’s website at

Opposite page, top to bottom: The Berry and Bellisario Boys; Ava Frailey; Betty Gail Dietz,of the Franklin Park Recreation Board, James J. Watenpool, Parks and Recreation Director,Kevin Lingenfelser, of the Franklin Park Recreation Board.

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North Allegheny | Spring 2012 | 71

Pot Up These Tips by Julie Barnes, Ingomar Garden Club


egardless of garden size, containers full of lush plants fit in every garden. With stunning colorful flowers, foliage or edible fruit, containers can add a whole new dimension to a deck, patio, entryway, or wall. Almost any plant grown in the ground can be planted in a container without heavy digging or weeding. However, plants grown in pots require specific care making them far more reliant on you for their needs than plants grown in the ground. Containers made up of clay, plastic, wood, ceramic, concrete or metal offer endless possibilities to choose from. Just make sure the container has drainage holes so plants do not become waterlogged causing their roots to rot. For containers lacking drainage holes, it is best to grow the plants in clay or plastic pots to slip inside them. Plants should be chosen carefully. Begin with healthy plants purchased from a garden center that has taken special care of them. Annual plants, which last one growing season, offer the best choices as new varieties are introduced each year. They are reasonably priced, easy to care for, and have a long blooming time. A soil mix such as a soil less planting mix is a better choice to use rather than garden soil. Garden soil drains poorly and can contain insects, disease organisms or weed seeds. When a mix is used, it should be soaked with water prior to planting. Watering properly is the secret to success with container gardening. Once planting is complete, make sure the container is wetted thoroughly. A deep drink will give the plants a good start and will also compact the soil to remove air pockets. Throughout the season, the planters must be watered consistently so the soil is kept evenly moist. During hot sunny weather, this can mean watering your plants as much as twice per day. If plants are allowed to wilt too often, they can become stressed making them susceptible to disease problems. Always water until it drains out of the bottom of the pot. Any water left in drain trays should then be emptied. Fertilizing is essential because frequent watering of containers quickly washes out soil nutrients. Adding time release pellets such as osmocote when planting will slowly provide nutrients every time you water. Additional nutrients can also be added by watering with a water soluble fertilizer every week or two throughout the growing season.

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Many gardeners automatically choose one plant type such as geraniums, impatiens, or petunias to fill a container. Now there are many new, beautiful, and unusual varieties of plants to use. Container gardening can be a way to express yourself creatively by putting together arrangements of plants in pots. However, plants that you choose to combine should always have similar water, fertilizer, or light requirements. For an immediate effect in a container, pack plants closely together with taller plants in the center and cascading ones along the edge. Attention to their needs will determine just how healthy and attractive your container plants will repay you.

Mark your calendars for:

The Ingomar Garden Club Plant Sale

Saturday, May 12, 2012 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Corner of Ingomar Road and Rte 19 This is our annual Fundraiser for some great Mother’s Day plant shopping. Highlighting the sale are our “dig’um” perennials that are lovingly raised from plants grown in members’ gardens. We also offer a great selection of hanging baskets, herbs, and lots of unique annuals for you to creatively explore your plant arranging skills. Garden club members will gladly provide assistance. The Ingomar Garden Club always welcomes new members. For more information, contact Julie Barnes 412.367.2685 or Ruth Kirk 412.366.7824.

Business Directory

St. Alphonsus School offers a dynamic educational program that is deeply rooted in Catholic tradition and philosophy. We actively teach our students to be contemporary Christians and tomorrow’s leaders. Our curriculum meets the standards set by the State of Pennsylvania and also follows the guidelines of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.

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