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Improvements In Norwin

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Here’s the Plan At UPMC Health Plan, we believe customer service should be a service to you, not a headache. That’s why we offer you a personal health care concierge. A live person who lives here and can answer all your questions in just one phone call. Sure, we win awards for our customer service. But it’s the reaction we get from satisfied members that we find most rewarding.

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Welcome to the Spring issue of IN Norwin magazine! I hope that you are as anxious as I am to get the cold and snow behind us and get busy planning projects around the house. This issue is dedicated to home-improvement projects great and small. Some projects will give you curb appeal, some will increase your home’s value, and others are for the sheer enjoyment or luxury of it. Regardless of your aims with your home, whether gutting the walls, or just planting the perfect tree in the yard, our homes are a source of pride for us, and not in a status sense. They are where we raise our families, where we feel safe, and where we invite our friends and loved ones for parties and fellowship. Our homes are where our children play, and where oftentimes we tend to sick loved ones. They are where we try hardest in life, and where the challenges of life hit us the most. Our homes bear witness to our triumphs as well as our sorrows, and they are as much a part of our personalities as what we choose to wear or adorn ourselves with. So with so much importance placed on the walls that contain us, we hope that you can find at least one project within these pages to be fodder for your next project around the home. Have a wonderful spring!

Wayne Dollard Publisher

Summer content deadline: May 13


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G 2013 SPRIN

IN Norwin is a community publication dedicated to representing, encouraging and promoting the Norwin area and its comprising municipalities by focusing on the talents and gifts of the people who live and work here. Our goal is to provide readers with the most informative and professional regional publication in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

IN Norwin | SPRING 2013 |


e ents Homvem Impro In Norwin



The 6th Annual Race For Grace . . |


North Huntingdon EMS . . . . . . . . . . . . | 14 An Interesting History

“Books Come Alive” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . | 26 Productions by Stage Right! Bring Children’s Literature to Life ON THE COVER


The entire cast of “42nd Street,” a song and dance production set in 1933, presented by Norwin Theatre Club. – Cover photo by Gary Yon Photography.

Carlow University Soccer Team . . | 28 Wins Championship Thanks to Norwin Connection INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

A Better Choice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . | 16 Grace Wellness Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . | 38 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT 5


Energy Swing Windows . . . . . . . . . . . . | 37




UPMC | New Advanced Treatment for Skin Cancer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |


Norwin School District. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |


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


The Norwin Theatre Club Presents 42nd Street . . . . . . . . . . |


Home Improvements In Norwin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |


A Glimmer of Hope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |


UPMC | Tomosynthesis Offers Women Greater Detection of Breast Abnormalities. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . |


Irwin Borough Residents Eager to See the Lamp Theatre Shine Bright Once Again

Holiday Homes Tour Article Correction: Norwin Historical Society President Carl Huszar penned the wonderful article profiling the area’s historical homes for the annual holiday tour and took accompanying photos. The piece was not written by Hallie Chatfield as was originally credited. Our apologies to Carl and the historical society.


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The 6th Annual

Race For Grace

Brings Love and Hope to the Norwin Area By Autumn A. Altieri

Grace Elizabeth Ekis


fter nearly a year of discussion, deliberation and planning, Brian and Tamara Ekis formally established the Reflections Of Grace Foundation in December, 2008, following the death of their daughter, Grace Elizabeth from a cancerous brain tumor on Valentine’s Day 2008. Little Grace Elizabeth touched so many lives, despite the fact that she was just five years old at the time of her death. The Reflections Of Grace Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about pediatric brain tumors, providing support to families affected by it and joining with other organizations in aiding, educating, and funding the search for a cure. The foundation hosts yearly fundraisers that include Golf For Grace, Breakfast With Santa, the “Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve” dress-down employee program at various companies in the area and Candy For A Cure in which Sarris candy is sold to raise money. The foundation’s largest fundraiser is the annual Race For Grace, a highly popular 5K that is held at Norwin High School. The first Race For Grace was held at Woodland Hills High School, before the

Brian and Tamara Ekis, Grace’s parents, at the 2011 Race For Grace

Reflections Of Grace Foundation was established. The Metz family, close friends of the Ekis family, organized the event in only six weeks. That first race raised $11,300 and had approximately 300 people in attendance. Grace attended that first race and, according to Tamara, she was a bit overwhelmed until she noticed her teacher, Sarah Bouldin Costa, who was in attendance. After running to her teacher and giving her a big hug Grace felt much more at ease. Tamara says that Grace wasn’t fully aware of the scope of the race and the fact that everyone in attendance was there out of love for her. Grace simply enjoyed visiting with so many friends and relatives and had a great time. The Race For Grace has grown phenomenally since that first race in 2007 and has become a highly anticipated event in the Norwin area. This year marks the 6th annual Race For Grace which will take place on April 6. Opening activities will begin at 7:00 a.m. Pre-race activities include entertainment from a live band, a concession stand breakfast, a warm-up routine led by Zumba instructors, and the Opening Ceremony which includes the traditional singing of “Amazing Grace.” The race will officially begin at 9:00 a.m. and participants will have the choice to participate in the 5K or a 1-mile course.

Throughout the day participants can enjoy the many activities inside the high school, including bake sales, a 50/50 raffle, Chinese and silent auctions and children’s activities. Participants will also have an opportunity to sign the “Why Do You Race For Grace?” banner. The Reflections Of Grace Foundation has donated $149,000 to 104 families of children with brain cancer and $105,000 to research grants to find a cure and raise awareness for pediatric brain cancer. Tamara says of her daughter, “Grace was a typical girl, who loved dancing, ponies, princesses and her family. She dealt with her illness with courage...She captivated her nurses and doctors with her smile and personality and was always concerned with the well-being of others.” On the way home from a party with other sick children, Grace once remarked to her mother, “Mommy, I feel so sad for all of those kids today...they are so sick.” In reality, she was a child with one of the worst prognoses in the room. She never dwelt on her situation. She looked to comfort others in theirs. That was the epitome of Grace. “We like to think that we are exemplifying her character by helping other families as they endure a situation that no family should ever have to endure,” adds Tamara. Anyone interested in registering for this year’s Race For Grace or would like to make a donation to the Reflections Of Grace Foundation can visit for more information.

Norwin | Spring 2013 | 5



orwin School District honored the members of the Norwin Board of Education in January, which is School Director Recognition Month across Pennsylvania. Each January, the District reminds members of the community to take time in some way to thank a school director for the time and effort they put into helping our schools. These individuals see great value in standing up for public education. This year’s theme was “Serving Every Child Every Day.” Superintendent Dr. William Kerr acknowledged the Board of Education for its leadership and dedication toward improving the quality of education in a special presentation at the regular Board meeting on Monday, January 21, 2013. Norwin Board of Education FRONT ROW (L-R): Becky A. Gediminskas; Thomas J. Sturm, vice president; Robert J. Perkins, president; Barbara A. Viola BACK ROW (L-R): Darlene J. Ciocca; Dennis J. Rittenhouse; Jerry P. O’Donnell; Donald W. Rhodes, Jr.; Raymond Kocak





he Norwin School District is now registering children for the 2013-2014 kindergarten classes. Children must reside within School District boundaries (North Huntingdon Township, Irwin Borough, or North Irwin Borough) and be five years of age before September 1, 2013. Parents were requested to visit their local elementary school in February to be placed on the school’s mailing list and receive an information packet to help prepare for the formal registration in March. Anyone who has not already registered should contact the school building secretary immediately.


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orwin Middle School’s National Junior Honor Society collected 936 pairs of gently worn blue jeans in February as part of the nationwide Teens for Jeans program sponsored by Aeropostale. According to the Teens for Jeans Web site, 1.7 million teens are homeless, and the No. 1 item they request from shelters is a pair of jeans. Across the United States, the school that collects the most jeans will win the grand prize of $10,000, Aeropostale hoodies and a party. At Norwin Middle School, the top two winning teams will get a breakfast treat during activity period, compliments of NJHS.


BOYS VARSITY 3/22 3/25 3/26 4/3 4/5 4/8 4/10 4/11 4/12 4/15 4/16 4/18 4/22 4/24 4/26 4/29 4/30 5/6 5/8

Penn Hills Away Fox Chapel Home North Allegheny Away Hempfield Away Connellsville Home Albert Gallatin Away Latrobe Home Gateway Home Butler Away Kiski Away Franklin Regional Home Penn Trafford Home Hempfield Home Connellsville Away Albert Gallatin Home Latrobe Away Woodland Hills Away Penn Trafford Away Pittsburgh Central Catholic Away

4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 7:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM


GIRLS VARSITY 3/22 3/25 3/27 3/28 4/2 4/4 4/5 4/9 4/11 4/13 4/15 4/16 4/18 4/23 4/24 4/26 4/29 4/30 5/2 5/7

Penn Hills Latrobe Kiski Bethel Park Franklin Regional Hempfield Gateway Connellsville Penn Trafford Latrobe Yough Kiski Franklin Regional Hempfield Woodland Hills Mt. Pleasant McKeesport Connellsville Penn Trafford Penn Hills

Home Away Home Away Away Home Away Away Home Home Away Away Home Away Away Home Home Home Away Away

4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 3:45PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 12:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 3:30PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 3:45PM

Away Home Home Away Away

3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 4:00PM 4:00PM


BOYS VARSITY 3/13 3/15 3/18 3/20 3/22

South Park Gateway Franklin Regional Penn Trafford Kiski

3/25 3/27 4/2 4/4 4/5 4/8 4/9 4/10 4/12 4/15 4/16 4/17 4/19 4/22 4/23 4/24 4/26 4/29 4/30

Greensburg Salem Hempfield Connellsville Latrobe Franklin Regional (Section Singles) (Section Singles) Penn Trafford Kiski (WPIAL Singles) (WPIAL Singles) Greensburg Salem Hempfield (Section Doubles) (Section Doubles) Connellsville Latrobe (WPIAL Doubles) (WPIAL Doubles)

Home Away Home Away Away Away Away Home Home Away Away Away Home Away Away Away Home Away Away

3:30PM 4:00PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM TBA TBA 3:30PM 3:30PM TBA TBA 3:30PM 3:30PM TBA TBA 3:30PM 3:30PM TBA TBA

Vincentian Away Shaler Home Baldwin Away North Allegheny Away Moon Area Home Fox Chapel Away Canon-Mcmillan Away Indiana Area Senior HS Away Seton LaSalle Home Allderdice High School Home Trinity Home Chartiers Valley Home Greensburg C. C. Home Quaker Valley High School Home Latrobe Away Winchester Thurston School Away Gateway Home

7:30PM 7:15PM 7:30PM 7:00PM 7:15PM 7:00PM 7:30PM 7:30PM 7:15PM 7:15PM 7:15PM 7:15PM 7:15PM 7:00PM 7:00PM


BOYS VARSITY 3/22 3/25 3/27 3/28 4/3 4/5 4/8 4/10 4/15 4/17 4/19 4/22 4/25 4/29 5/1 5/6 5/8

4/15 4/16 4/20 4/23 4/25 4/27 4/30 5/2 5/7 5/9

North Allegheny Away Penn Trafford Home (Hempfield Tournament) Away Hempfield Home Gateway Away (Plum Varsity Tournament) Away Penn Hills Home Plum Away Latrobe Home Penn Trafford Away

7:30PM 7:15PM 9:00AM 7:15PM 7:30PM 8:30AM 7:15PM 7:30PM 7:15PM 7:00PM

Track & Field COED VARSITY 3/27 4/3 4/10 4/17 4/24 4/27 5/1 5/3 5/7 5/9 5/16 5/24 5/25

Penn Trafford Home (Indiana/Greensburg Salem/Norwin) Away (Derry/Hempfield/Norwin) Home Latrobe Away (Norwin 9/10 Invitational) Home (WCCA Track Meet) Away (WPIAL Team Semi-Finals) Away (Baldwin Invitational) Away (WPIAL Qualifier) Home (WPIAL Team Championships) Away (WPIAL Individual Championships) Away (PIAA Championships) Away (PIAA Championships) Away

4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 3:30PM 9:00AM TBA 12:00PM 2:00PM 2:00PM 1:00PM TBA TBA

For the most recent sports schedule visit

4:00PM 7:15PM


BOYS VARSITY 3/22 3/23 3/28 4/2 4/4 4/6 4/9 4/11

Baldwin (Norwin Tournament) Hempfield Gateway Penn Hills (Derry Varsity Volleyball Invitational) Plum Latrobe

Home Home Away Home Away

5:00PM 8:30AM 7:30PM 7:15PM 7:30PM

Away Home Away

TBA 7:15PM 7:30PM

Norwin | Spring 2013 | 7




orwin School District is proposing to help equip students for the high-tech jobs of the future through the construction of a new facility on campus called the Norwin STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Innovation Center. The proposal relies heavily on business-education partnerships, and as such, it is anticipated that this building can be constructed without local taxpayer money. Recently, Norwin Superintendent Dr. William Kerr presented a white paper titled “Norwin STEM Innovation Center for Teaching and Learning: Proposal for an Exemplary Business-Education Collaboration Model” to the Norwin Board of Education. To read more about the proposed Norwin STEM Innovation Center, visit or scan the QR code to the left with a smartphone.






welve students from Norwin Middle School’s Robotics Club competed against Gateway Middle School in a robotics competition on December 6, 2012 at Norwin Middle School. Students were challenged to build and program their robots to maneuver through a maze with a “Frosty the Snowman” theme. Robots had to travel through the maze, collect a corn cob pipe, nose, eyes and top hat and take them to the snowman at the end of the maze.



n a recent Monday morning in January, a classroom of third-grade students at Stewartsville Elementary School had an Internet video chat session with an engineer from California. They talked about futuristic flying cars, problem solving challenges, and the upcoming Stewartsville Talent Show, among other things. It was all part of a new pilot program that’s designed to show elementary students that scientists are normal, approachable, interesting people who do interesting things for their job – not frizzy-haired, unkempt mad scientists. Learn more at under “About Us” and “News.”

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ore than 500 educators representing 75 school districts, schools and universities experienced a major conference about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education that was co-sponsored by Norwin School District and ASSET STEM Education. The conference -- titled “A Vision for STEM Education: Exploring Connecting Transforming” -- was designed to support teachers’ efforts in improving STEM education. It was held February 18, 2013 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Attendees traveled from Kentucky, New York, Ohio, and right here in western Pennsylvania to learn from 57 presenters who shared best practices at 22 breakout sessions throughout the day. The keynote speakers were David Burns, Director of STEM Innovation Networks at Battelle; and Dewayne Rideout, Vice President of Human Resources for All-Clad Metalcrafters LLC. Those who attended are taking what they learned at the conference back to their school districts and businesses to ignite the conversation and continue their forward movement on a course to becoming model STEM schools.

David Burns

Dewayne Rideout

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ighth-grade students Jeremy Bass, Olivia Bazanos, Marina Novotnak and Zane Varner presented Norwin Middle School’s robotics program as part of a panel discussion with students from South Fayette High School at the Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference in Cranberry on November 14, 2012. Students from both schools presented their schools’ programs in STEM education, then fielded audience questions. The students also attended breakout sessions about gigipan technology, career exploration, and creating video games. Olivia Bazanos won a Gigapan Epic robotic camera mount while

participating in the Gigipan session. Norwin Middle School was the first Westmoreland County school to be invited to present at the conference. “It was a great experience for all of us,” said Mr. Matt Mincucci, a technology education teacher at Norwin Middle School who oversees the robotics club. “I’m extremely proud of these kids and their hard work in preparing for the conference. I really enjoyed hearing the STEM presentations from both sets of students. I’ve already received a lot of positive feedback from people who attended our breakout session.”



amp Invention, a weeklong summer learning adventure led by qualified educators, returns to Norwin School District June 10 through 14, 2013 at Hillcrest Intermediate School. Camp Invention’s new program, GEO-QUEST, features Cache Dash, where students can navigate to treasure-filled caches containing global challenges presented by youth around the world. There is a $25 discount for those who register by March 28, 2013. The director is Mrs. Larissa Sturm. Visit for a flyer and a description of the curriculum and activities.


Norwin | Spring 2013 | 9




fourth-grade student at Sunset Valley Elementary School launched a District-wide scarf collection drive from January 28 to February 1 to help her grandmother as she battles cancer. Madison Buscemi, age 9, came up with the idea for the scarf collection program, called “Smiles for Grandma,” in December in response to the news that her grandmother, Jerilyn Johnson, had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, an aggressive cancer. Through numerous school and community events, Maddie’s efforts resulted in the collection of 600 scarves, which she delivered to Hillman Cancer Center in February.




leven Norwin High School students auditioned and succeeded in being placed into the Bands of America Honor Band in the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade. This Honor Band is put together only every four years for the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena, California. The Honor Band performed January 1, 2013 with 300 outstanding high school student musicians and color guard performers, who were selected from band programs across the country. The Norwin students who performed were Kyle Albright, Matt Bertoty, Tyler Frye, Megan Grindle, Davis Herchko, Johnny Murray, Josey Murray, Matt Seiler, Megan Seiler, Anthony Princeton, and Robert Swenson.


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early three dozen college students and recent graduates in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) returned to their alma mater, Norwin, for the Fifth-Annual Science Alumni Days on Thursday, December 20 and Friday, December 21, 2012. The alumni teamed up to offer seminars on a variety of topics designed to inform and excite current students about STEM opportunities available right now in the real world. Norwin science alumni presented workshops at Norwin Middle School on Thursday, December 20. They also presented workshops at both Norwin High School and Hillcrest Intermediate School on Friday, December 21. Top photo: Angela Russo, a graduate student in audiology at the University of Pittsburgh and 2008 graduate of Norwin High School. Right photo: Teresa (Russo) Lucchetti, a 2001 Norwin graduate and graduate student in nursing at the University of Pittsburgh, demonstrates a surgical drill to High School students. In the background is Angela Russo. Bottom photo: High School senior Luke Sige, Norwin alum Kevin Bartuska, and High School senior Erin Popovic observe a 25-inch “spaghetti tower” students built in a lesson about structural engineering.




tudents raised $2,200 in five days for the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund in the first fund-raiser of its kind at Norwin High School. The High School’s Marketing Applications Class, which is taught by teacher Mrs. Kristen Kelly, encouraged all students and teachers to give generously to the Free Care Fund by having a weeklong fund-raiser in the school store (called “Knight’s Korner”) from December 10 through 14. In the photo above, from left to right: Ms. Amanda Olar, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation; Ms. Kristen Kelly, teacher, Marketing Applications class; and students Mary Odioso (Grade 11), Heather Marsico (Grade 12), and Caylyn Oliver (Grade 12), who led the effort. Behind them are the windows of the school store, which are decorated with personalized ornaments.


he Norwin School District received a $1,000 grant from Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania (CISPA) to help empower students to be drug and alcohol free while promoting each individual’s interest and the need to make positive choices. The grant is helping to promote the My Life. My Choice. Drug Free. Campaign in the District. The campaign, which is being coordinated by Ms. Doreen Harris, Principal of Stewartsville Elementary School, has two inter-related initiatives: 1. Reality Tour: Scholarships, for a select number, of Norwin School District students in grades 5 and 6 will be set up for them to attend the Norwin Reality Tour, sponsored by the Norwin Lions Club. This three-hour interactive program gives families the tools to reduce the risk of substance abuse. This tour is conducted on the second Tuesday of every month through June. A staff team from Hillcrest will create a process to nominate students who will receive

he Norwin Percussion Ensemble was selected, from nearly 100 CD entries, to perform at the 2013 Pennsylvania Music Educator’s Association Convention in Erie this spring. This the second time the group has been selected to perform at this annual convention. Student member Austin Schmidt said, “It is a great opportunity for us and a great group of students who have the honor to represent Norwin.” The ensemble has 26 members who are also members of the Norwin High School Band. Mrs. Glover is in her eighth year as the Associate Band Director/Director of Percussion Studies for the District. She credits the success of the ensemble to the High School Band program and the support of the Board of Education and community. “We feel very fortunate to be in an educationally minded community that provides opportunities for success in every facet of a child’s education,” Mrs. Glover said. The ensemble performs on April 18 at 4:45 p.m. at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, PA. The ensemble is under the direction of Mrs. Kimberly Glover and Mr. Matthew O’Neil.

a scholarship. The scholarship will include registration for the student and 3 family members plus 1 drug testing kit for them. 2. Postcard Pledge: A postcard has been created that incorporates a message promoting both the campaign My Life. My Choice. Drug Free. and the Norwin School District Character Education Initiative. Elementary and Intermediate students in grades 4 and 5 will sign their name on a postcard pledging, “A Good Knight Will Always Do What Is Good and Right.” These postcards will be signed by the students during a health lesson and will then be sent to local businesses reinforcing, to our community and stakeholders, our students’ pledge to stay drug free. The School District’s Wellness and Nutrition Committee, along with the Character Education Committee, have helped to make this program a reality. Norwin | Spring 2013 | 11





yler Funk, a sixth-grader at Hillcrest Intermediate School, and Zach Waugh, a fifth-grader at Hillcrest Intermediate School, led a T-shirt fund-raiser in February that sold 593 shirts to students and community members, which resulted in an impressive donation of $889.50 to the Norwin Relay for Life. Tyler and Zach came up with the idea of selling purple shirts for National Cancer Awareness Day on February 4, 2013, to raise money for Norwin Relay for Life and to show support for those who have fought and who are still fighting. They created the design for the shirts and made announcements to the students and staff at Hillcrest to tell them about our “Purple Fighter Day.” They created the flyers to be distributed about the T-shirt sale and Purple Fighter Day as well. They also participated in a “purple blitz” one

Hillcrest Intermediate School students Tyler Funk, left, and Zach Waugh, right, led a T-shirt fund-raiser in February that sold 593 shirts to students and community members. This resulted in an impressive donation of $889.50 to the Norwin Relay for Life.

morning before school where they dressed in purple and passed out additional forms for the purple fighter day t-shirts to the students as they entered the building. They helped to tag and organize the t-shirts once they arrived for distribution to the school. They were interviewed by the newspapers and TV stations to promote their fund raiser as well. Additionally, all the homerooms at Hillcrest made Valentines to send to Hillman Cancer

Center for the patients there. The Hillcrest Principal’s Council representatives for each homeroom even made a large card for all the homeroom students to sign and send. Tyler and Zack traveled to Hillman Cancer Center and a few other hospice groups to pass out the valentines the students from Hillcrest and Hahntown created.



ongratulations to Katie Kratzenberg, a Norwin High School junior, who has been selected to represent Norwin and the state of Pennsylvania at the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-Eastern Conference. Katie was selected from among the best students in 11 Northeastern states and the District of Columbia. The Eastern Division Conference is held every two years and will take place from April 4 through 7, 2013 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, CT. She auditioned at the state conference last April. The All-Eastern Honors Mixed Chorus will have approximately 350 members and the Treble Voice Chorus will have 120 members. The NAfME Eastern Division Conference is a regional event that attracts thousands of music educators from northeastern states.


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42ND STREET: H HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL Norwin Theatre Club will present the musical 42nd Street March 14-17, 2013 at the Norwin High School Center for the Performing Arts. Prices for adults are $12; students, $10; and senior citizens (age 65 and over), $10. Additional information is available at under “headlines.” (Look for photos on page 25)




n 2006, Google was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary, so do you Google? Can you do something besides Google? The Internet changed our world from a place where it could be a challenge to find information to place were you have to weed out the overload of information. The word Google has become synonymous with searching the Internet. Tips and tricks on how to use Google, along with other Internet searching tools, will be presented. Required Skills: Basic mouse skills and general familiarity with the Windows operating system. Date: Registration Deadline: April 18, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. April 10, 2013 Norwin High School COURSE LIMITED TO 20 PARTICIPANTS



icasa, free software from Google, provides a simple way to view, edit, and organize the photos on your computer. In this session we will upload photos into Picasa and learn to organize them into albums and by people. Time permitting, we will make a collage and/or a video from your photos. Required Skills: General familiarity with the Windows operating system, mouse skills and comfort with your digital camera. Must Bring: SD Camera Card OR Digital Camera and USB Cable Date: Registration Deadline: April 5, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. March 27, 2013 Norwin High School COURSE LIMITED TO 10 PARTICIPANTS


ant to “like” your favorite store or TV show on Facebook? This class will show you how to create a Facebook page, “like” TV shows, sports teams or businesses, request friends and review some basic privacy settings. Required Skills: Basic mouse skills and general familiarity with the Windows operating system. Participants will need to have an email account in order to create a Facebook page. Date: Registration Deadline: March 26, 9:00 a.m.– 10:30 a.m. March 18, 2013 Norwin High School COURSE LIMITED TO 20 PARTICIPANTS



n this hands-on session the group will explore the Apple iPad 2. The iPad2 is an example of a tablet computer. This session will provide an overview of how to navigate around the iPad, review the connection between iTunes and the iPad, introduce you to the app store and ideally make you feel a bit more aware of what an iPad is and what you can do with it. Required Skills: Adventurous spirit and a willingness to experiment and learn. Date: Registration Deadline: April 10, 9:00 a.m.– 10:30 a.m. April 2, 2013 Norwin High School COURSE LIMITED TO 20 PARTICIPANTS These classes are intended for first-time participants only. If you attended one of these classes previously, the District asks that you not repeat the course at this time so that more members of the community will have an opportunity to participate. They are offered for free to people aged 65 or older who live in North Huntingdon, Irwin or North Irwin. Norwin School District began offering the courses in 2011 to say “thank you” for the support that senior citizens have given to the school community over the years. To register for a course, please contact Cheryll Plecenik at 724.861.3022.



he annual Senior Citizens Dinner sponsored by the Norwin High School Student Council will be held Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 12:30 p.m. at

Norwin High School. “We’re Not Getting Older, We’re Getting Better” is the theme for the dinner. It is for Norwin School District residents only who are aged 67 and older. The menu for the dinner is pasta, salad, rolls and butter and peach cobbler for dessert. Coffee and bottled water will also be served. The Show Choir and the Jazz Band will also perform. As always, prizes will be given away.

This year, Student Council is asking the senior citizens to kindly bring one canned good that can be donated to local food pantries. There is a limit of 725 tickets that will be sold. To order, mail a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Lynn Clark, Norwin HS Student Council, 251 McMahon Drive, North Huntingdon, PA 15642. Tickets cannot be mailed if an envelope is not enclosed. Norwin | Spring 2013 | 13


North Huntingdon EMS An Interesting History By Brenda Haines


rior to the 1940s, when Norwinarea residents required emergency ambulance service, local funeral directors answered their call. To assist them in caring for the sick and injured, the Irwin Volunteer Fire Department established the area’s first official ambulance service in 1941. Technology advancements during the late 1950s caught up with ambulance services. The use of supplemental oxygen, resuscitators and other life-saving equipment became a necessity, and soon funeral directors retreated to their primary duties. As a result, the North Huntingdon Township Fireman’s Association formed an ambulance and rescue company in 1959 that consisted of 50 firemen. With the help of locals like American Red Cross first aid instructor Bob Peterson of Peterson’s Drug Store and William Snyder of William Snyder’s Funeral Home, the firemen learned first aid, the proper way to handle patients and how to load and unload a stretcher from an ambulance. The newly-formed North Huntingdon Township Volunteer Rescue Squad and Relief Association, Company No. 8 members, known locally at the time as Rescue 8, clad in their first gray work uniforms, took to the streets driving a 1960 Ford Station Wagon equipped with an oxygen unit donated by the police department and a first aid kit. After their first emergency call in January 1960, Rescue 8 expanded to meet the growing needs of the community. They added a nurses unit, whose participants were later incorporated as members, and a junior corps for teenage


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volunteers. In 1974 two members received specialized training and became Rescue 8’s first emergency management technicians. During that same time, a television show called “Emergency!” made the word “paramedic” a household name and children everywhere began dreaming of working in the emergency rescue world when they grew up. The show highlighted the adventures of the then-fledgling paramedic program, and its popularity coincided with the widespread improvement of emergency medical services. “I became interested in becoming a firefighter and paramedic while watching the 1970s television show,” said Christopher Price, executive director for North Huntingdon EMS/Rescue (NHEMS). “When I became old enough, I joined the local volunteer fire department and had the opportunity to participate in fire, rescue and medical responses.” Price said he especially enjoyed caring for people, so he migrated to the local ambulance service and has been involved in emergency medical services in one aspect or another for approximately 30 years. “NHEMS is not your typical ambulance service,” said Price, who has been with the organization for almost five years. “While taking care of the sick and injured is our primary focus, since our inception we have provided additional emergency services, such as vehicle extrication and low and high-angle rescues using ropes and accessories.” NHEMS has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Staff and equipment were originally housed in the Maintenance building

on Main Street with limited space. In 1975, they moved to the existing location on Center Highway where they currently house four ambulances and a rescue truck. What began as merely a volunteer organization grew to a career and volunteer department that is now run by a five-person community board of directors and two township commissioners. Although they are still known informally as Rescue 8, in 2009 the name was changed to North Huntingdon EMS/ Rescue, which Price said better identifies their ideals and vision for the future. “We continue to offer services in partnership with North Huntingdon’s volunteer fire departments,” he said. “In addition, we have partnered with Penn Township Ambulance Service to offer technical rescue services that include confined space rescue and water rescue capabilities. [This partnership] also allows us

to provide tactical EMS support to both the North Huntingdon Township Police Department and Penn Township Police Department.” However, NHEMS does not stop there. The organization is staffed 24 hours a day and provides more than just emergency medical services to North Huntingdon Township; it also gives mutual assistance to Irwin, North Irwin, Trafford, White Oak, North Versailles and Sewickley Township. “We have a team of specially trained paramedics who are the medical component for high-risk law enforcement situations that may occur in our two communities,” Price says. “We also have a very active safety and injury prevention program. We offer child car seat inspections and installations, and conduct an annual Kids Safety Fair. Our latest project is a community wide fall-prevention program in partnership with local businesses and health care providers.” NHEMS does all of this without the help of tax dollars. All of the funding comes from third-party billing, a yearly fund drive, donations and grant money. For more information on NHEMS, please visit the website at

Norwin | Spring 2013 | 15






Better Choice Inc. is a family owned corporation and has been conducting business in Western Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York and West Virginia since 1996. They specialize in Basement Waterproofing, Foundation Repair, Game Room Finishing Systems, exclusive “PG2K” custom coatings and Mold Testing. The crews are in-house employees and no subcontractors are utilized. There are currently five inspectors that have been trained and certified to give on-site free estimates to homeowners, realtors and commercial accounts. A Better Choice Inc. is insured and bondable. They have successfully completed projects for the Greensburg County Courthouse, Pittsburgh Housing Authority, the Catholic Diocese, Ryan Homes, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the University of Indiana, Sunoco Corporation, Salvation Army, American Legion, the U.S. Department of Energy and over 10,000 residential properties. Historic Preservation is a growing industry. A Better Choice Inc. has been a pioneer in developing state of the art systems for


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foundation repair with historically approved methods. They completed a project for the Daughters of the Revolution (DAR), located in Mt. Pleasant, PA. They waterproofed the basement, and stabilized and coated the stone walls of the 100-year old building to a pristine, dry basement. A Better Choice Inc. is a proud member of the National Association of Waterproofing and Structural Repair Contractors (NAWSRC), and is committed to conducting business according to the organization’s Business Standards and Ethics and has agreed to treat customers ethically and to use quality products. “A Better Choice stands out for its adherence to a national association code of ethics, the level of employee training and the integration of value throughout their firm. They have the formal policies and procedures as well as communication practices to assure ethical decision-making and ethical behavior. Their personnel policies (and actions), and their communication with customers exemplify the commitment needed to run an ethical business,” states Dr. Virginia Gerde, a Better Business Bureau Torch Award winner, and Judge and Director of the Beard Center for Leadership in Ethics. “Their application demonstrated a willingness to make the ‘hard decisions’ where personal relationships or the quest for profit came into the conflict with the firm’s values. Not only did they show they had ethical practices, but they also had the courage to address unethical actions.” “Equally impressive is A Better Choice’s commitment to helping those that are in need and giving back to the community,” states Warren King, former President of the Better Business Bureau. “Their dedication to the growth and progress of the community is another core value which demonstrates their strong belief in doing what is ethical in the marketplace.” “One Team, One Direction is our company motto,”states Richard Pack, president of A Better Choice, Inc. “We all work together to satisfy our customers’ requests, needs and many times, strong demands. We take great pride in our quality of workmanship and customer satisfaction. We are honored to be selected by the BBB for the prestigious honor of Runner Up for the Western Pennsylvania Area Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics and pledge to continue ethical behavior to our trusted customers.” The company is located in North Huntingdon, PA, and has offices in Erie and Johnstown. Senior citizens and military families are eligible for special discounts. Financing options are also available, as well as a referral rewards program. Contact the staff for a free, no obligation inspection by calling 800.343.2357, or visit the company’s website at







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n March 14 – 17, the Tony Awardwinning musical “42nd Street” will come to life at the Norwin High School Center for the Performing Arts. Set in depression-era 1933, the story follows the exploits of director Julian Marsh in his attempt to bring an elaborately-styled musical to the stage, despite the dire economic climate of the times and some feuding between his established star, Dorothy, and young upstart, Peggy. With wonderful dance numbers and classic songs, including the lively “42nd Street” title song, the production will be an entertaining evening for all ages. Performances will begin at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with a special matinee on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at the Norwin Theatre Club’s website, ww Adults are $12, students $10 and senior citizens (age 65 and over) $10.

Norwin | Spring 2013 | 25



oung children often wish that the characters from their favorite stories could come to life to talk and play. Through the ingenuity of a program known as “Books Come Alive” – and the talents of its local student actors – their wishes can be fulfilled. Books Come Alive is a series of live productions presented by Greensburg’s Stage Right! School for the Performing Arts & Professional Theatre Company. The series transforms beloved children’s stories into live performances at area libraries, including the Norwin Public Library. According to Barbara Flynn, children’s librarian at the Norwin Public Library, Books Come Alive productions enable families with young children to experience the thrill of live theater. For instance, in December, dozens of small tots eagerly gathered at the library for a charming live performance of the beloved children’s story “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” “The Books Come Alive productions are not only presented by young actors and actresses, which I believe is even more fun for the younger children to see, but they are based on familiar children’s stories – a win-win! The shows afford children the chance to see free, live theater productions in a familiar setting,” said Flynn. “What a great introduction to the art of theater.” Tony Marino, the artistic director at Stage Right!, said that his company works with local librarians to determine which books they would like to see adapted into stage performances. All of the Books Come Alive actors are Stage Right! students. Barbara Flynn “Some of the scripts are tightly based on the original story, and others are loosely adapted,” Marino said. For instance, in the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” adaptation, one of Santa’s elves caused an explosion in an Xbox factory – a detail that was obviously not included in the original 1939 version of the story. 26

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“I appreciate that Tony and Chris Orosz from Stage Right! will oftentimes ask the county’s librarians for input about ‘hot’ books or something that we think will adapt well to the stage,” said Flynn. “They also try to tie in a book or two to our summer reading themes to aid us in our programming.” Stage Right! has been producing Books Come Alive for nearly 10 years. Marino said that the series is part of Stage Right!’s outreach productions and requires a special commitment from its young actors because of the short two- to three-day rehearsal process. The Books Come Alive events are “a unique performance experience,” he said. “It truly is baptism by fire in a really exciting way for these young performers. They get the opportunity to think on their feet, to interact with the audience, and build their improv skills. They’re going for it right off the bat.”

Cesare Muccari, director of the Greensburg Hempfield Area Library, was instrumental in developing the Books Come Alive program and said that the response to the program has been “fantastic.” “I see the faces of these children during the performances, and they’re really excited about it. The point of the program – of any children’s library program – is to encourage kids to read. The Books Come Alive program has been incredibly successful,” said Muccari, noting that the program has even encouraged children who were once audience members to join Stage Right! as performers. Flynn could not agree more, and said the community’s response to the series has been overwhelmingly positive. “Of all of the programs the children’s library offers, which are plentiful, the ones I get the most inquiries about are the Stage Right! performances: ‘When are they?’ ‘What stories will be featured?’” she said. The performances are tailored to children ages 3-11. Lasting only 30 to 40 minutes each, they are enhanced with costumes, props, singing and dancing, and are set before a large, colorful backdrop. The main goal of the program is to foster a love of reading and literacy in young children, and, according to Flynn, it is doing just that. “Many times, after a play is presented, if the children weren’t already familiar with the story, they want the book,” she said. “Or they want to read more in the series of books and get to know more about the characters. It does, in a way, make the ‘books come alive!’” To learn more about upcoming Books Come Alive productions at the Norwin Public Library, visit

Norwin | Spring 2013 | 27



University Soccer Team

Wins Championship Thanks to Norwin Connection


hen Carlow University’s soccer team achieved its goal of a first-ever NAIA conference championship in November, it was due in no small part to the goals scored by its Norwin High School connection. Carlow head coach Marcus Pollidore’s 2012 Celtics finished the season with a 15-3-1 record and the championship of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC). His roster includes six players from Norwin High School including senior Amanda Cotherman, an Irwin, resident, who scored the winning goal in overtime to give the Celtics a 1-0 win over Point Park University on November 10 in the KIAC Championship game. “I can’t believe four years went by so quickly and to have it end with a championship is more than any of us expected,” said Cotherman, a nursing major, shortly after the game, which was scoreless for 90 minutes of play and just under two minutes in overtime. “This is unbelievable!” The journey actually started five seasons ago when Pollidore teamed with Stephanie Demalon, Carlow’s assistant director of admissions, to recruit the first of several Norwin players who saw Carlow as an opportunity to continue playing a sport they loved in


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Several of the Norwin studentathletes earned recognition as NAIA and United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Scholar-Athletes, too. Such recognition requires a minimum 3.5 GPA upon reaching junior academic standing, and this year Bacco and Czapor were named scholarathletes by both organizations. Bacco, who will graduate in May 2013 with a degree in nursing, already has her name etched in stone at Carlow, as she was inducted into the university’s Walk of Fame as the 2011-12 Outstanding Student-Athlete, one of three annual awards presented by the athletic department.

college, earn an athletic scholarship and get a great education at the private, comprehensive, liberal arts institution located in Oakland. Tara Imbarlina, a May 2012 nursing graduate and now a Celtics assistant coach, became the first of the recent string of Norwin players to join the Celtics, along with teammates Samantha Noll and Lauren Czapor in the fall of 2008. That year Carlow finished with a record of 1-15-2. “At the beginning of my Carlow career, I was one of 10 new recruits to a team that was slowly growing,” reflected Imbarlina, fresh off a 12-hour shift as a nurse. “I watched the team go from not being able to bring home a win, to bringing home a championship. I am honored to have been a part of a growing program and am thankful for all I learned from my time at Carlow. I hope to be able to continue contributing as a coach and help the program continue its growth.” Once word spread back to Norwin about scholarship opportunities, the connection continued. The following season Norwin’s Lindsay Bacco, Nicole Yusko, and Amanda Cotherman joined the Celtics and the team finished 4-13. In 2010, Marisa Czapor joined her sister, Lauren, on the team and started every game up until a knee injury sidelined her just before the playoff run this season. In 2011, two more Norwin players joined the Celtics, Janelle McIntyre and Lauren Closser, soon to be followed by Jordan Huffman in 2012. All in all, the 2012 roster of 24 players consisted of six from Norwin, five of which started for the championship team, and the sixth, Bacco, serving as a team captain. “The impact of the Norwin players has been tremendous as they enable a culture of success through hard work and discipline,” said Pollidore, now in his sixth season as head coach. For his team’s efforts, Pollidore was also named the KIAC Coach of the Year.

This marked back-to-back selections of Norwin students for the Outstanding Student-Athlete Award, as the 2010-2011 award went to Lauren Czapor, who graduated last spring with an education degree. Czapor’s and Bacco’s honors might just be the first step for Norwin athletes as first-year player Jordan Huffman, sophomore McIntyre, and junior Czapor – all from North Huntingdon – were named to KIAC’s First Team All-Conference. “With all these honors, it can easily be concluded that the goals of a quality education and soccer success are being scored by Norwin grads at Carlow University,” said George Sliman, Carlow’s director of athletics.

Norwin | Spring 2013 | 29


Improvements In Norwin If you have a home, you know how challenging it is to maintain it. Roofs leak, landscapes need weeding, and kitchens and baths need facelifts. If you’re handy, you can get by with your own sweat equity. However, most people don’t have the skills, let alone the time, to tackle major household projects – many of which will require you spending more time at the office just to be able to tackle the price tags such projects come with. Here, we try to cover it all for you – from financing your project to enjoying it when it’s complete. Building a home addition can be a good alternative to buying a new home or building a house from scratch. Besides saving money, it can be a means of investing in your home and customizing your home to serve your family’s specific needs and desires. But additions also bring up potential problems that may not make them the best option for everyone. An addition can drastically change the way a house looks from the road or yard. An addition that isn’t well planned can look like it doesn’t belong or doesn’t match the rest of the house in terms of style or overall shape. Planning an addition carefully with a skilled architect is the best way to ensure that the house looks as good, or even better, than it did before the addition. An architect should be able to produce sketches that give a sense of how the finished addition will look. To minimize the appearance of an addition, homeowners can usually choose to build onto the back of the existing house, thereby hiding the new construction from the road. Depending on the size of an addition and the construction schedule, it may take weeks or months before an addition is completed. Bad weather can cause unanticipated delays, and working with an unreliable contractor can prolong the process even further. If a homeowner can’t afford to be patient 30

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during the planning and construction process, moving into a new, larger home may be a better option. An addition can be a good investment, helping to increase the value of a home. Using a home equity line of credit or getting a new mortgage that includes money to pay for the addition can be a wise financial decision, especially when interest rates are low. However, if the expected value of an addition – which a homeowner can estimate by studying the sale prices of nearby homes with similar characteristics – is less than its cost, it may be a poor investment. An addition is likely to raise the value of a home. After the addition is completed, a new assessment will raise property taxes. Prior to adding on, homeowners should estimate the value of their home with the addition and compute a new annual tax liability based on current tax rates. Building an addition is an ideal time to invest in energy-efficient fixtures and construction. Windows that prevent hot or cool air from escaping and low-energy-consuming appliances can minimize the cost of an addition by reducing energy bills and its environmental impact. Remodeling your bathroom is another popular way to jazz up your home as well as build equity. In some cases, not only is remodeling the bathroom an aesthetic choice but a functional choice as well. Giving your bathroom a boost doesn’t always have to require a boatload of cash or space – just a little planning and creativity before you get started. Refresh your bath’s look with a wow-worthy makeover that improves its style and function. Perhaps you have an old toilet that you want to replace with a highefficiency model that will lower your water bill. Or perhaps the old tile is falling off your shower and you need to replace

it. Whatever your situation is, there are many options to choose from, including do-ityourself options. One popular and inexpensive option is to have a theme for your bathroom. Examples could be a Disney theme for a child’s bathroom, or perhaps a beach theme. This can be accomplished by painting the walls, adding a wall border and by well-placed décor. Some larger and more costly bathroom updates include new flooring, new sink and vanity and a new bathtub or shower. These improvements will get even costlier if you paid someone to do it for you.

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Decks can be built right on the ground, or be elevated high in the air, depending on the design of your home. If you are building a deck yourself it is very important to check all local building codes and follow all of the guidelines very closely to ensure the safety and long-term durability of your deck. Bringing your family together is often difficult. A family game room is a fantastic way to upgrade your home and bring the family together. Whether you have an unfinished basement, an unused attic room or an empty garage, you can transform it into a fantastic oasis where your family can spend countless enjoyable hours. There are many aspects to making your game room remodel a success. First you should talk to a Design/ Build contractor about water access, waste lines and additional electricity needs. The contractor can also offer advice on any changes that might be necessary to update the space, whether it be additional insulation

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Home Improvements In Norwin for a garage or attic room or waterproofing for a basement room. Water access could also be an important aspect if you plan to have a bar or sink area. A Design/Build contractor can offer advice on what needs to be done to make the area completely usable. You might also want to speak with the contractor about creating an additional half bathroom for guests and family members to use when you’re entertaining. Electricity for lighting and appliances is also incredibly important. If you are updating an unused area of your home, the current electric wiring may not be able to handle the additional demands of a game room. The Design/Build contractor can guide you through what will need to be updated and how much it will cost. If finances are an issue there are definitely still projects you can complete yourself including painting, laying carpet, adding shelves or simply updating the décor.

Gone are the days when it was frowned upon to bring work home. Today a home is not a home unless it has a home office. Whether you are turning an extra bedroom into a workspace with store-bought furniture or constructing a full-scale two-level library and office, home offices are a regular part of what makes a house a home in 2013. Making the space your own is essential to effective use of a home office. Create a space that makes you more productive and relaxed at the same time and that is a winning combination. A desk is an essential part of most offices. Choose one that meets your needs. If all you need is a work top to use your laptop from, consider a computer cart and save the space for a comfortable chair or small sofa. If you are in the market for a larger desk, consider office furniture resellers. They sell executive-grade used furniture for a fraction of the cost. Bookcases or other storage can be a nice addition. Not only can they store books, but they are also great places to display awards or showcase your favorite collection of nicknacks or memorabilia. Decide whether you prefer furniture pieces or built-ins. Antique shops have great deals on beautiful bookcases, and most local cabinet shops can design and install custom built-ins. If you have a closet in your office, visit your local home center for a plethora of storage and organizing options. A comfortable chair or two is a necessity. Choose long-lasting fabrics and sturdy frames. Go with classic styles that won’t end up as next year’s garage sale item. Test out the chair before you buy it. Desk chairs especially need to provide good support and be comfortable. We live in a society of over-indulgence. Nothing shows this like the home theater. So many popular home magazines have a page dedicated to converting your basement into a home theater, or something similar. The HGTV website has 16 home theater features alone. But how doable is the home theater in reality? First, you need a fairly large space, either a big family room or a basement. Second, you need to budget for all the furnishings including, of course, the stars of the show: home theater equipment – a big-screen TV, DVD player and speakers – and comfy seating. Also very popular for home theaters is floor and aisle lighting similar to real movie theaters, and perhaps even an old-fashioned popcorn maker. Frankly, home theaters are generally for those with deep pockets because there really is no way to make a home theater cheaply. Still thinking of taking the plunge? The home improvement website Home Time has a really useful feature on home theater planning. It covers everything you’ll need to consider, like the space you’ll need and even suggested room layouts, to maximize your viewing pleasure. Kitchens are the most popular room in the house to remodel. Many people consider the kitchen to be the center of the home and its most important component. Another reason it is so popular to remodel is there are so


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many things in the kitchen that can be remodeled….cabinets, cabinet hardware, countertops, floor, appliances, lighting, walls and sinks. There is very little right or wrong when it comes to remodeling your kitchen; it comes down to personal taste. There are so many choices when it comes to style, design and type of material for every component of your kitchen. When remodeling there is much to consider: cost, what is your goal, what is your situation (pets or small children could help decide what type of flooring to use, for example) and what is the cost vs. equity value of the remodel. If finances are an issue and you are not the handiest individual, there are still many simple and easy things you can do to add pizzazz and value to your kitchen. For example, you can paint your cabinets and add new handles rather than buying new cabinets. Adding a stylish splashguard behind your stove and sink is easy to do and adds great appeal. Painting the walls can also make a huge difference in your kitchen, as can changing the light fixture.

only understand a plant’s particular watering requirements, but also evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration (Et) is the amount of water that is evaporated from the soil and transpired through the plant’s leaves. This amount of water needs to be replaced through watering. If you know your area’s Et rate, you can plan the amount of water to be replaced through irrigation. It’s best to water or irrigate your plants in the early morning when evaporation rates are low. This also provides plants with water before midday when the evaporation rate is the highest. Lighting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to cast an enchanting spell on any outdoor space. It is also very effective for safety and security purposes. Examples of exterior lighting include: torches, candles, lanterns, solar ground lighting, flood lights, lamp posts, landscape lighting and general light fixtures. For setting a mood the most popular lighting is candles or small lanterns. For security and safety purposes, it is critical to have flood light or lamp posts

If done well, landscaping can completely change the character and perception of a home. Landscaping encompasses anything on the outside of the home including grass cutting, plants, flowers, rock, mulch, borders, vegetable gardens and more. Beyond the aesthetics, landscaping can be beneficial to a property if designed properly. Solar heat absorbed through windows and roofs can increase cooling costs, and incorporating shade from landscaping elements can help reduce this solar heat gain. Shading and evapotranspiration (the process by which a plant actively moves and releases water vapor) from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 9° F (5°C). Because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25°F (14°C) cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop. Using shade effectively requires you to know the size, shape, and location of the moving shadow that your shading device casts. Also, homes in cool regions may never overheat and may not require shading. Therefore, you need to know what landscape shade strategies will work best in your regional climate and your microclimate. Also, if you can determine how much water your plants actually need, then you won’t overwater them and waste water. It is important to not

Norwin | Spring 2013 | 33

Home Improvements In Norwin or ground solar lighting or all. A burglar is much more likely to enter a home without a lot of light on the outside illuminating the property. With countless styles and options available, there are no right or wrong choices. The outdoor lighting a homeowner will choose will come down to budget and personal preference. Many of us take pride in our homes, investing countless hours rearranging and remodeling the interior. But it can also be refreshing to step out of the confines of the inside and spend some time outside. It’s especially enjoyable during the spring, summer and fall months. When the weather is favorable, it’s difficult to miss out on a nice day outside. But spending time outside doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your creature comforts. With a few small adjustments you can make your outdoor space comfortable and inviting. Turning a yard, patio, porch or other outdoor area into a functional living space can be a rewarding task, and will expand your living space to the outdoors. With the right setup, you can spend

more time in the sunshine and fresh air, and host events al fresco for friends, family and neighbors. Options for outdoor living include outdoor kitchens, dramatic lighting, fireplaces or fire pits, a water feature (like a fountain), outdoor living rooms, gazebos and pavilions. With so many options to choose from, for most people it will come down to price, climate where they live and available space in which to be creative. Ponds can be a wonderful addition to your property’s outdoor experience. Surprisingly, they are not as difficult to build as one might think. Before you start, call 811 or your local one-call center to have electric and gas lines marked so you know where to dig to steer clear of them. Then, when you map out the location of your pond, put it where it will be noticed – visible from a window, off a patio, or along a walkway – but away from the play areas of small children or pets. Keep clear of major root systems or mature trees, which can block too much of the sunlight plants and fish

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need. You’ll also need to be within reach of a grounded exterior outlet so you can plug in a pump, an essential tool for keeping the water aerated; most pumps come with a maximum cord length of 25 feet, and extension cords are not recommended. You may need to bury the power cord a few inches down in PVC pipe to hide it. Space permitting, you need at least 40 cubic feet for your pond – about 7 feet by 4 feet – to keep the water clean. An initial shallow terrace just inside the perimeter of the pond holds rocks that conceal the liner edge and keep it in place. A second, deeper terrace supports plants that live in the water and help balance the pond’s ecosystem. As you dig, you must slope the sides of the pond so that if the water freezes, the ice will push up instead of against the liner. Even in warmer climates, small ponds can change temperature rapidly, so if you’re adding fish you’ll want a deeper pond that will maintain a more consistent temperature and accommodate the fish – 18 to 24 inches for goldfish and at least 3 feet for koi. To maintain the consistent depth of the water, you need to line the pond. A thin layer of sand and old newspapers or burlap bags softens the jagged edges of rocks and roots. But over that you will need to put a waterproof skin. There are several types of flexible liners meant for small ponds – made from polypropylene and EPDM, among other materials. Look for one that’s weatherresistant, so it will stand up to UV rays and freezing temperatures. It should also be rated “fish-safe” if you plan to stock your pond and come with a warranty of 10 to 20 years so your pond will be watertight for many years to come. Remodeling your home can generate tremendous equity for the future, as well as personal enjoyment in the present. Remodeling projects come in all shapes, sizes and costs. Projects can range from replacing flooring or a faucet, to installing new trim work or tile and replacing windows and doors. Remodeling can also take on the form of revamping or adding a bathroom, redoing a kitchen, overhauling your home’s exterior for improved curb appeal, or completing an addition to increase your home’s square footage and add valuable space. Big and small changes can both have an impact and will improve the way your home looks and functions, increasing its value and making it more enjoyable for you and your family.

Financing Remodeling Projects While home sales may be sluggish, home remodels are roaring. In the second quarter of 2011, Americans were expected to spend $132.8 billion on remodeling – up 12.8% over the previous year, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. And it’s no surprise that these projects aren’t cheap. In fact, the same studies report that 57% of home-remodeling projects cost at least $20,000. Since saving your pennies in a pickle jar is probably not enough to update your master bathroom with a slate walk-in shower or add granite countertops to your kitchen, explore these options to finance your newand-improved home.

Purchase a Variable-Rate CD What it’s good for: Projects that can wait until a fixed time in the future with a price tag you can pay by saving. If you plan to pay for the kitchen of your dreams the old-fashioned way – by saving for it – consider a variable-rate certificate of deposit. This savings vehicle is similar to a traditional savings account in that you can add money to it at any time (a fixed-rate CD does not allow additional deposits during the term of the CD). In return for an interest rate that may go up or down, the interest rate often is slightly higher than a traditional CD when you buy it. You make a low minimum deposit and lock in your money for a fixed time – usually at least six or 12 months. If you withdraw your funds before then, you pay penalties and lose the interest.

Open a Home Equity Line of Credit What it’s good for: Long-term projects that can be paid off over five or fewer years. The beauty of using the equity in your home is that you write yourself checks from a line

The key to any remodeling job is to make sure it makes sense financially. Not all remodeling jobs are cost-effective. For example, it is possible to pay $75,000 for a new addition, but an appraiser may be of the opinion that it only raised the value of your house by $50,000. It is very important that you do as much research as possible and talk to as many experienced professionals as possible so you can make an informed decision about what is best for you.

Norwin | Spring 2013 | 35

Home Improvements In Norwin of credit and pay interest on only what you borrow. Plus, the interest is typically tax deductible. While current low interest rates add to the allure, these credit lines can be tough to come by in this climate of lowered home values and tight credit. When interest rates rise, your home improvement project may become more expensive than you anticipated.

What it’s good for: Larger projects for a home you plan to live in for the long term. A “cash-out” refinance allows you to refinance your mortgage for an amount that is larger than your current mortgage. You get the difference in a check – effectively rolling the sum into a newly financed 15- or 30-year mortgage. This can be an attractive option, as mortgage rates have hovered at historic lows in recent years. The downsides include closing fees that can be in the thousands of dollars. Plus, the threshold to qualify, including income and home-value requirements, can be high – both of which can pose a challenge in this economy.

Return on your Investment Thinking about adding a deck or revamping the kitchen so you can up the price of your home before you sell? You might want to crunch the 2010-11 Cost vs. Value numbers, compiled by Remodeling magazine, before you do.

Projects with highest return on investment • Replacing entry door with steel door (102%) • Garage door replacement (84%) • Adding a wood deck (73%) • Minor kitchen remodel (73%) • Vinyl siding replacement (72%) • Wood window replacement (72%) • Attic bedroom addition (72%)

Project with lowest rate of return on investment • Home office remodel (46%) • Sunroom addition (49%) 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE

• Garage addition (59%) The data includes national and regional averages on over 20 common home improvement projects ranging from kitchens and baths to roofs and decks. Data for both midrange and upscale projects is provided on: • Average cost of project.

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• Bathroom addition (53%)


• Added resale value. • Percentage of investment recouped. • Change from last year’s report. The above numbers assume you’re hiring out the labor on the project. If it’s a do-it-yourself project, and you do a good job, the rate of return on your investment will be higher. Unless you plan on doing the work yourself, or not doing the project makes your house undesirable or unsellable, most home improvement projects will return less from your investment than you put in, so you might want to consider staying in your home a while to enjoy the results of your improved home!


How A Home Improvement Company Literally Does Everything Right


teve Rennekamp could have been content to continue working away at his job designing, testing and manufacturing windows for a major corporation until his retirement. But he learned a long time ago from his father that things should be built correctly and made to last. He knew that he could design a much better window for homeowners that would be more energy-efficient and easier to clean. So in 1999, he launched Energy Swing Windows, manufacturing the products locally in Murrysville, Pa. “I saw a lot of deficiencies as far as the way windows were designed,” explains Rennekamp. “I knew there was a better way.” So he designed a window that opens the same way as a door, which is much easier than tilt windows to clean. The unique design also makes the windows much more energy-efficient. Special Low-E, argon-filled glass complements the energy efficiency of the design.

Energy Swing President Steve Rennekamp (r) and Vice President of Sales Don Darragh (l)

Low-E glass reflects heat rays away from the house in summer, and reflects heat back into the house in winter, reducing heating costs. Each window opening is carefully measured, and then a window is custom-built to those exact measurements, ensuring the perfect fit every time. “We do not make a window until we have an order,” says Rennekamp. “A standard size window will not fit your exact space. Because we are in charge of the entire process from the selection of the window, the manufacture and installation, we are able to custom-fit a window taking into account all of the unique characteristics of your home, rather than trying to make your home accommodate the standard size window,” adds Rennekamp. Energy Swing Windows boasts one of the greatest customer service records of any business. Unlike almost every other window company, Energy Swing controls every phase of the business from the beginning to the end. In most cases, a homeowner unknowingly has three different companies involved in their job so when the ball gets dropped, the sales company, the window manufacturer and the installer will end up blaming each other, leaving the homeowner abandoned. Energy Swing Windows eliminates all of these issues by handling all three aspects. In customer service satisfaction surveys performed by independent auditor, Guild Quality, Energy Swing constantly ranks at the top of their nationwide list. In its own client satisfaction surveys performed over the last ten years, 71% of Energy Swing Windows customers felt that they had received greater value for the money they invested, while 29% of customers felt they had received an equal amount of value. No one has ever said they received less value. In 13 years, they have never received a single Better Business Bureau (BBB) complaint, which is one of the reasons they were honored for the second time by the BBB with a well-deserved Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. Energy Swing windows come with a true lifetime product and installation guarantee, which will even cover inadvertent baseballs thrown through a window. Rennekamp and his employees have also taken the time to give back to the community by participating in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s annual walk and by providing specially-designed oxygen masks to area fire departments for treating animals with smoke inhalation at fire scenes. “My parents raised me right,” says Rennekamp, “I believe in doing things right the first time and making people my first priority.” Norwin | Spring 2013 | 37







f I walked around with a big open wound on my body, I would This alternativebeapproach to medicine has given many people immediately confronted by several caring people who would who have suffered with chronic conditions new hope. In many offer help and healing. They would be shocked if I told them cases, I thedidn’t dysfunction beenthe completely reversed eliminated. want to has address problem and insteadand preferred to just walk around bleeding on everything. While this might sound farfetched, “When we lookisatfull a dysfunction, we don’t treatwith theopen disease. We look our community of people walking around wounds at what is causing the in problem in the firstareplace,” explains Cole. on their hearts and their lives. They choosing not toDr. deal with the problem. “Whereas conventional medicine might look at one piece of the puzzle, These people the of “walking wounded. ” They may havethat trieddetermine we look beyond thearelabel the disease, at the complexities to get help, but people didn’t understand or rejected them. If what needs to be done to improve the physiology of the body.their I have wound has been withwith themthe forsame a longailments time, they may have seen patients, suffering that took thegrown lives of their comfortable with the problem or may even believe it is normal. parents, find new life and hope with the right solutions.”



Take off the MASK: We need to begin the healing process by being genuine and open about our pain.


Heal the WOUNDS: Just like physical wounds, emotional, spiritual and relational wounds need to be treated and healed. Remove the TOXINS: Toxins are the false beliefs that result from unhealed wounds and a life of covering our pain with masks. Replace with TRUTH: The Bible tells us we are to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” We need to examine our life under the light of truth and replace the false and destructive beliefs with those that are true and healthy.


LET US HELP! Do you know people who are hurting and can’t seem to break the destructive or avoidant patterns in their lives? Are there people you know who just don’t ever seem to get it and are spiritually stuck? Is there ongoing and unresolved conflict within families you know? Maybe this even describes you? Consider having Grace Wellness Center come along side you and walk with you as you go through the healing process.


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Grace Wellness Center has many convenient locations throughout Western PA and most insurances are accepted.

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Many of us have become accustomed to just accepting the masks people wear. It is more comfortable to accept that people are ok than to dig deeper and get to the truth. The truth is, many in our churches and communities are the “walking wounded” who have put on a mask to convince us they are ok. Are you willing to see the truth? Are you open to what you will see? Will the love of Christ in you be enough to keep you from running? I suggest that it’s time we stop letting people walk around wounded and do something about it. We at Grace Wellness Center specialize in helping the walking wounded become healed and whole again. Please take a few minutes to look at the outline of our philosophy on healing wounds. If you or someone you know is part of the “walking wounded” please contact us for help. Also, consider having us come and present a seminar at your church or community organization that will encourage people to take off the mask and deal with the problem.

Visit us at or call 724.863.7223 MAIN OFFICE: 8320 Pennsylvania Ave., North Huntingdon, PA 15642 38

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A Glimmer of Hope

Irwin Borough Residents Eager to See the Lamp Theatre Shine Bright Once Again

Photo by Gary Yon Photography

By Jennifer Brozak

Submitted by Kathleen Heuer from the Relight the Lamp committee


n today’s era of 3-D cineplexes and highdefinition home theaters, it’s hard to imagine that the best place to catch a flick in the Irwin area was once a quaint, singlescreen theater that now sits idle and empty on Main Street, ripe for resurrection. For generations, the Lamp Theatre served as the Norwin area’s premier entertainment destination. When it first opened its doors in March of 1937 to a showing of “Come and Get It,” matinee prices were 16 cents, evening shows cost 21 cents and tickets were sold in an enclosed booth in front of the building. In a bit of local history, resident Thelma Weston Knoel won a contest to name the theater, and reportedly chose “The Lamp” because of its proximity to the Aladdin Theater (now the Masonic Building) – she felt that Aladdin needed a lamp. The Aladdin Theater Company owned and operated the Lamp until the company dissolved in 1942. At that point, two of the company’s three partners took it over. The Lamp’s ownership then changed hands several times: in 1953, it was sold to a regional bank; in 1964, Irwin newspaper publisher Abraham Beter and his partner Adelaide DelVitto purchased it; and then, in 1976, DelVitto sold her share of the theater to Beter and his wife. The Beters’ daughters, Catherine Jean Rebich and Eileen Eddy, took over the theater after their parents died. Then when Eddy died in 1992, Rebich owned the theater with her husband, George, until she sold it to KCS Realty Investments, her cousin’s real

estate firm, in 2005. In 2007, ownership was transferred to the Westmoreland Cultural Trust. Rebich said that her family decided to sell the theater because they could no longer afford the cost of repairs, and the theater’s dilapidated condition began to drive customers away. “We didn’t want to sell it,” she said. “It just needed too much done to it, and we could no

longer get out of it what we were putting into it.” Along with the maintenance costs, Rebich said that, during the early 2000s, changes in the movie business made showing new movies more expensive than ever. Firstrun movie licenses can cost theaters tens of thousands of dollars – a fee that many independent theaters like the Lamp cannot afford.

According to news reports about the 2005 sale of the theater, the KCS Realty group originally planned to open the theater after a few months of renovations. However, since its sale, the Lamp has remained silent, a situation that frustrates Rebich, since her family maintained the theater for many generations. The trust began renovations to the theater in 2009, but a devastating fire at the adjacent Irwin Hotel stalled plans once again. Since then, the trust has received bids from only two contractors to renovate the theater, and did not respond to requests for comment on the project’s status. However, according to borough manager Mary Benko, initial bids came in higher than expected, which put plans on hold indefinitely. Despite these setbacks, hope flamed anew in January when news surfaced that Irwin council is considering purchasing the theater to transfer ownership to Irwin Borough. “We feel strongly that borough ownership would be a boon not only to Irwin, but also to our surrounding communities,” said Benko. “It would provide a tremendous cultural benefit for everyone involved, and would provide quality entertainment at an affordable price.” At the time of publication, Benko indicated that the borough was in the process of securing appraisals to determine the market value of the theater, which is currently valued at $35,140 on Westmoreland County’s property assessment website. continued on page 41 Norwin | Spring 2013 | 39


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A Glimmer of Hope continued

“We’d like to work with the trust toward a positive end to their ownership,” she said. “Once we have it in our hands, we’re hoping the project will snowball and people will get involved. The theater has great potential.” Benko pointed to the Casino Theatre in Vandergrift as a model and as “proof that

Submitted by Kathleen Heuer from the Relight the Lamp committee

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borough ownership can work.” The historic theater was slated for demolition when a group of citizens stepped in and formed the nonprofit corporation Casino Theatre Restoration and Management, Inc. (CTRM) to save it. According to CTRM project manager and vice president Anthony Ferrante, the Casino’s resurrection and resulting success was – and continues to be – the result of his team of volunteers donating their time and energy to the project. When his group took it over, they knew they needed to move quickly or risk losing the public’s interest. They hurriedly installed inexpensive, used seating and opened the theater to a Vaudeville act using only temporary electricity, and with no heat, no air conditioning and no stage lights. Despite these limitations, the show quickly sold out all 500 tickets, and from there, the project gained momentum. Over the past decade, the CTRM group has been able to complete numerous structural and aesthetic improvements without spending a single dime on labor. Building materials, Ferrante said, are provided through fundraising or donations. His advice for the Lamp’s restoration? “Once a few people

can see something happening, more people will get involved. Progress attracts more volunteers,” he said. Kathleen Heuer, an arts advocate and founder of Irwin’s Relight the Lamp committee, would like to see similar progress in Irwin. “To me, the Lamp Theatre isn’t just a shell of a building littered with shards of memories from days gone by,” Heuer says. “To me, relighting the Lamp is inspirational. It speaks to the kind of community we want to live in. This project has real potential, and though it’s been an uphill climb, I feel I have an obligation to try.” Her group, which falls under the umbrella of the Irwin Project, meets monthly to promote project awareness and raise funds. So far, the group has raised around $70,000, and agrees that the property changing hands could be a positive move because it might remove some of the restrictions surrounding what her group is able to accomplish within the theater’s walls. Even though Heuer isn’t originally from the area – she moved here about 12 years ago – she understands its significance to the community. “If you grew up in this area, the Lamp

is a link to the past. It was a place where family, friends and community came together, where first kisses happened, where [people] met their future spouses,” she said. “I see it as a place where my kids can go to make their own memories, to meet their friends and enjoy our small town.” These are the kinds of memories that North Huntingdon resident Jennifer Dudek, 32, recalls when she thinks about the theater. “It was certainly a dive, but that’s what made it special,” she said. “I remember walking there when I was in high school before I could drive. You could see current movies for half the price the regular cinemas charged. [It is] truly a legendary establishment for Irwin residents.” Like Benko, Heuer said that reopening the theater could provide a boost to the local economy, and referenced studies showing that investments in the arts pay for themselves five times over.

“A night out at the Lamp Theatre would mean more people going out to eat nearby, shops getting more foot traffic, babysitters getting paid, ice cream cones getting bought. That kind of chain reaction could be a huge boost to our economy. That money is being spent now, just not here in the Norwin area. A relit Lamp would help fix that,” Heuer said. Both Benko and Heuer said they would like to see a refurbished Lamp not only show movies, but also live performances. “Imagine being able to catch a flick on a Friday night, continue Art and Jazz Night all year round, or see a comedian or local variety show,” said Heuer. Still, in terms of reopening the theater, Heuer knows that lack of money is the first obstacle to overcome. It will cost an estimated $650,000 to restore the theater, with the county and state each adding $250,000 to add to the borough’s $150,000 contribution. “Beyond that,” she said, “another major hurdle is public opinion. I understand people’s frustration. This

project has been dragging on an awfully long time, and in its current state, the building is a major eyesore. The progress that has been made is behind the scenes, or structural, so to the observer, nothing is happening. There are a lot of good people working very hard to make this project happen, and we’re not giving up anytime soon.” Relight the Lamp needs both volunteers and donations. The group is offering the opportunity to sponsor a seat in the refurbished theater for $200, and welcomes additional donations of any size. For more information, to volunteer, or to donate, visit the group’s website at or send an email to