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enn Hills


Eastern Area Youth Chorale Hits The Right

s e t o N


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Contents Penn Hills | SUMMER 2011 |



Publisher’s Message


13 |


Hitting a Homer for History



Peoples Natural Gas – Your Energy Partner On the Road to Recovery





Penn Hills Superintendent Talks Leadership & Vision | 8 IN Kids | 10 Penn Hills Spring Craft/Vendor Show | 12 UPMC Today


Health and Wellness News You Can Use | 13

Talk with Your Hands | 21 Eastern Area Youth Chorale Hits the Right Notes | 22 Older Adults in Penn Hills



William E. Anderson Library | 26 Penn Hills Chamber of Commerce | 28 FEATURES


Real Estate Section


An Enjoyable Living Space is as Close to Your Backyard | 30 George Washington Slept Here | 31 Trading Spaces | 32 INDUSTRY INSIGHTS |

HearWell Center


Musically Trained Ears & Learning to Hear with Hearing Loss | 29 ON THE COVER


Eastern Area Youth Chorale Senior Ensemble in Paris

enn Hills SUMMER 2011 Welcome to the Summer issue of Penn Hills. Summer is so ripe with opportunities for communities to come together. There are Community Days, Fourth of July fireworks, church picnics, Little League baseball games, swimming at the local pool, summer reading activities at the local library, Farmer's Markets. The list goes on and on. And some of those activities are listed in this edition. Summer's also a great time for traveling, although, with gas prices the way they are, many of us won't be going too far from home. That's okay because there are some wonderful sites right in your own backyard. For example, there are some wonderful programs going on at the William E. Anderson Library in Penn Hills. We dropped in on an American Sign Language Class being taught there. We also got a chance see new Penn Hills Superintendent Thomas Washington and hear his thoughts on leadership. The Eastern Area Youth Chorale provides a fantastic opportunity for young people to study and perform vocal music. We profile them here. Yes, it's finally summer! So let's throw some burgers on the grill, find a shady tree, a lounge chair and a cold glass of lemonade and enjoy the sunshine!

IN Penn Hills is a community publication dedicated to representing, encouraging and promoting the Penn Hills 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. PUBLISHER

Wayne Dollard M A N AG I N G E D I TO R

Marybeth Jeffries R E G I O N A L E D I TO R

Monica L. Haynes O F F I C E M A N AG E R

Leo Vighetti STA F F P H OTO G R A P H E R

Jack Megaw WRITERS

Wayne Dollard Publisher

Hello. I'm Monica Haynes, the new Eastern Regional Editor for In Community Magazine. I'm quite at home in the eastern suburbs because, well, that's where I live, too. I also have quite a bit of experience with suburban news coverage, having done so for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I also was a magazine writer and entertainment columnist for the PG. Some of you I've had the opportunity to meet out and about as we've been working on stories for this edition of In Penn Hills Magazine. I look forward to getting out to the community even more, to meet the people, attend the events and see the sites and sounds that help make your community what it is. Community Magazine is about community, YOUR community. We really can't do this without your input. We want to know what's going on in your municipal governments, your schools, churches, libraries, civic organizations. We want to honor those members of your community who are serving in the armed forces; those who are serving others in the community, those who have fascinating hobbies or who have done something extraordinary. If there are things going on in your community or people in your community that we should know about, please email me at As you enjoy the warmth of the summer sun, I hope you enjoy this edition of Penn Hills Magazine!

Monica L. Haynes Eastern Regional Editor

Pamela Palongue GRAPHIC DESIGN

Cassie Brkich Sharon Cobb Susie Doak

Jan McEvoy Joe Milne Tamara Tylenda


Autumn Altieri Kathleen Rudolph

Debbie Mountain


Derek Bayer Brian Daley Gina D’Alicandro Tina Dollard Rose Estes John Gartley Jason Huffman Lori Jeffries Rita Lengvarsky Connie McDaniel Brian McKee

David Mitchell Tamara Myers Gabriel Negri Robert Ojeda Annette Petrone Vincent Sabatini Michael Silvert RJ Vighetti Nikki CapezioWatson

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 2011. CORRESPONDENCE All inquiries, comments and press releases should be directed to: IN Community Magazines Attn: Editorial 603 East McMurray Road McMurray, PA 15317 Ph: 724.942.0940 Fax: 724.942.0968

Fall content deadline: 7/25

Please recycle this magazine when you are through enjoying it.

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hroughout the course of his 65 years, Penn Hills resident Ron Hill has encountered and/or become friends with any number of entertainers, from James Brown to Lionel Richie to rap pioneers The Sugar Hill Gang and late punk funk musician Rick James. But the well-known person who is closest to his heart is someone who isn’t all that well known, at least not outside the circles of baseball historians. That person is Hill’s great uncle John Preston “Pete” Hill, arguably the best player in the Negro Baseball League. He knows that title has been bestowed upon Negro League legend Josh Gibson of the famed Pittsburgh Crawfords and Homestead Grays. But Hill contends that it is his uncle who paved the way for more well-known players like Gibson and Satchel Paige because Pete Hill played initially in the preNeg ro Leagues before joining the Negro Leagues. His career spanned from 1899 to 1925. Ron Hill, a retired Allegheny County Jail major, has made it his mission to make sure that his uncle receives the credit and recognition he believes is due. When Pete Hill was enshrined in the National Baseball Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 2006, his first name was incorrect as was his birthplace. While he grew up in Pi ttsburgh, he was born in Culpeper County, Va. When his mother moved to Pittsburgh in 1879, she had been only 20 years out of slavery. Ron Hill contacted the editor of the Culpeper Star-Exponent, who in turn called upon freelance writer and historian Zann Nelson. Nelson dug deep and sent the Baseball Hall of Fame enough documentation that, in 2010, the organization recast Pete Hill’s plaque with the correct information. “My father told us there was a baseball player in our family, but he never said how great he was,” Hill explained. So he began researching his family and his baseball-playing uncle to learn about his accomplishments. Pete Hill played for the Pittsburgh Keystones, the Cuba Giants, and the Philadelphia Giants. He was also played for and managed the Detroit Stars, the Milwaukee Bears, and the Baltimore Black Sox, and wrote sports columns for black newspapers. Hill is working to have his uncle included in the Highmark Legacy Square at PNC Park, which includes life-sized bronze statues of other Negro Leagues greats. While his uncle has accomplished a lot, Hill is no slacker himself. In the early 1980s, he served as a road manager for The Sugar Hill Gang,

National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum (Cooperstown, NY)>>

whose seminal hit “Rapper’s Delight” helped usher in rap music. Hill, who was working for DiCesare-Engler at the time, was offered the road manager job by the group’s manager Sylvia Robinson. He also took care of other acts on the Sugar Hill Record label including Grand Master Flash, girl rap group Sequence, Spoonie G. and the Funky Four Plus One. “I got to go all over the country and out of the country,” he says. Acts touring with the S ugar Hill artists included Rick James. On the walls of Hill’s home hang three gold records from his time with Sugar Hill. Also on those walls are autographed photos from singers Johnny Mathis, Al Jarreau, Marvin Gaye, Randy Crawford, Angela Bofill, Peabo Bryson, and reggae band Third World, among others. After about three years of being on and off the road, Hill gave up the position to spend more time w ith his family. As if being the road manager for Sugar Hill wasn’t enough of a claim to fame, Hill attended Tuskegee University with Lionel Richie and other members of The Commodores, who back in their college days were called The Jays, he said. “They used to always have talent shows on the campus and [The Commodores] used to always be in the talent show…When Lionel Richie started out he was just a shy guy on campus. He was an engineering student,” Hill recalled. Now, of course, Ritchie is an international star, but he and Hill are still friends. “He's on my Facebook page,” Hill said.

 (left) Ron Hill, former road manager for Sugar Hill Gang, with his three gold albums. (right) Wall of Ron Hill's home with autographed photos of entertainers he's met or worked with.

PA 037930

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Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 3

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community-driven                                                

                                                   

y o u r e n e r g y p a rt n e r

id you know that the William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills hosted a Penn Hills Coffeehouse Songwriter's Showcase every Wednesday in May? Sponsored by the library and the Penn Hills QCP (Quality Community Project), the showcase was hosted by Howard Davidson and

featured different acts each week, including Rick Bruening, Mark Muretisch and Deborah Webb, performing as Blue Sky & Sunshine, Tracy Drach, Mike Strasser, Broken Fences, Howard and Claire Davidson, Gordon Neidinger, Greg Davis, Chris Jones, Dennis McCurdy, and Bruce Hoffman. The evenings featured 90 minutes of great music, plus coffee and gourmet cupcakes by Kerr Church. Davidson said the Coffeehouse may be moving outdoors for the summer and will be starting up in the library again this fall.

Interested performers should contact Howard Davidson at 412-798-2127 or Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 5

Robert Friedlander, MD, left, and Michael Horowitz, MD, discuss treatment options with a patient who has an unruptured aneurysm.

On the


ROAD By Mark Berton

Ashly Hunt

UPMC neurosurgery patient making strides after suffering a near fatal brain hemorrhage.

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When you think of someone who has suffered a stroke, common images arise: paralysis on one side of the body and difficulty with speech and coordination. While stroke can occur at any age, most people associate strokes with older people. So if you’re an athletic 24-year-old with no history of brain injury, on the beach at Ocean City, Maryland during the Fourth of July holiday with stroke-like symptoms, denial is a natural response. And for Ashly Hunt, she denied her symptoms until the moment she was loaded into a helicopter. “I remember thinking I wanted water. I am a huge runner. I ran before this and thought I was dehydrated,” she said. “It literally took the life-flight to believe that I wasn’t dehydrated. When it’s happening to you you’re not thinking the worst.” Within a matter of hours, what she thought was a simple headache evolved and robbed her of her sight and ability to speak. She also had trouble moving her arms and hands. Emergency responders decided to life-flight her to the nearest hospital in Baltimore, where she was diagnosed with a brain stem hemorrhage. Blood from the hemorrhage was pooling in an area that connects her brain to her spinal cord, causing her to lose movement on her right side, and creating a major dilemma for the neurosurgeons because they believed the site was too risky to treat with surgery. Soon after the diagnosis, Ashly entered a rehabilitation program in her hometown of Johnstown, Pa., to help her regain movement of the extremities that were affected by the hemorrhage. However, after several weeks in rehabilitation and slight improvements in her vision and speech, Ashly’s overall condition began to worsen. Ashly still maintained her hearing, but what she heard going on around her, she didn’t like. Until she met Robert Friedlander, MD, at UPMC.

“I’m pretty close to 100 percent now. My hand and foot are the last things I’m waiting for to come back. I’m writing again. It’s like a 3-year-old, but I am. I’m going to be 100 percent.” Ashly Hunt

From left to right, Brian Jankowitz, MD, Paul Gardner, MD, Daniel Wecht, MD, and L. Dade Lunsford, MD, discuss a complex neurovascular case.

Dr. Friedlander was called after Ashly’s family doctor consulted with a neurosurgeon at The Johns Hopkins University, who recommended that Dr. Friedlander manage this complex situation. Within four hours of the initial consultation, Ashly was in an ambulance headed for Pittsburgh where, she said, she met the doctor who made all the difference. “I couldn’t speak and had a hard time seeing, but my brain was processing everything. All of the other doctors were talking above me and not looking at me, not doing anything with me even though I understood them all,” she said. “Until I went to Dr. Friedlander and he worked with me through my condition to give him the answers he needed. He never came off as pompous. He’s the most caring person I’ve dealt with to this day.” Ashly’s hemorrhage was caused by an underlying condition called a cavernous malformation, which is an abnormal, berry-like patch of blood vessels located inside her brain stem. Because the brain stem is deeply situated within the base of the brain and controls important functions such as movement, sensation, breathing, and instructing the heart to beat, surgery to remove the malformation was extremely risky. However, if left untreated, the malformed vessels could again bleed and result in additional critical neurologic damage or even death. Dr. Friedlander and the neurosurgeons at UPMC faced the challenging task of removing the malformation without causing further complications. Using advanced brain imaging technology known as High Definition Fiber Tracking, pioneered at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Friedlander was able to view the detailed wiring of Ashly’s brain fibers to determine the best way to execute the surgery with as little damage to her brain as possible. In order to obtain appropriate access to the brain stem, Dr. Friedlander turned to Dr. Barry Hirsch, a skull base ENT surgeon at UPMC. Using a special microscope and image guidance device, Dr. Friedlander approached the brain stem and was able to completely remove the cavernous malformation.

After surgery, Ashly’s vision and speech began to improve. She also could move her right hand, which had been paralyzed. She improved daily, making strides with her balance, speech, movements, and other functions, and credits her improvement to her strict discipline in following her doctors’ recommendations and her physical therapy program. “If I could say one thing to inspire anyone going through this it’s that you can’t just sit there. It becomes your job,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of people who have had strokes. You can’t just sit down and think you’ll get better. You have to follow the therapy and give your body time.” While she’s been living with her parents in Johnstown during her recovery, Ashly is looking forward to getting back to her life in Baltimore. “I’m pretty close to 100 percent now. My hand and foot are the last things I’m waiting for to come back,” she said. “I’m writing again. It’s like a 3-year-old, but I am. I’m going to be 100 percent.” Her road to recovery has been long. Approaching the anniversary of her ordeal, she and her family are thankful to Dr. Friedlander and everyone on the UPMC staff who helped her through this challenging time. She maintains a blog at, where family and friends post updates on her condition. “I’ll never forget, Dr. Friedlander said to me, ‘We’re a team. I’ll do my part as long as you do yours,’” she said. “That’s big in my mind. That made an impact.” For more information, please call the UPMC Department of Neurological Surgery at 1-866-979-1336 or visit This patient’s treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 7

Penn Hills Superintendent Talks

Leadership & Vision                  The evening, which featured the Penn Hills High School ROTC Color Guard, the senior high choirs, and the high school jazz band, also gave people the opportunity to learn about the many programs and services available in the municipality. After being introduced by radio personality and master of ceremonies for the evening Ron Antill (“a proud parent of a 2008 Penn Hills graduate”), Washington talked about leadership and vision and how they apply to education. He recalled watching a student production of “The Wizard of Oz” a few years back and pointed to the things that were being sought from the wizard – courage, knowledge and heart. “These three things are the essence of leadership,” he said. He added that a leader “needs to have a vision. He needs to be able to look over the horizon.” Washington, 47, had served as assistant superintendent for human resources in the Bethlehem Area School District. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and education from State University of New York, and his master’s in education from Kutztown University. He is pursing a doctorate at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Courage, knowledge, and heart.       Thomas K. Washington Penn Hills Superintendent

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W ORSHIP N EWS C HURCHES S ERVING P ENN H ILLS All Saints Episcopal Church 412.793.0270

Mt. Hope Community Church 412.793.0227

Apostles Lutheran Church 412.793.4899

Mt. Olive Church of God in Christ 412.361.0503

Beulah Presbyterian Church 412.242.4570

New Vision Community Church 412.241.6160

Christadelphian Ecclesia of Pittsburgh 412.828.6157

Parkway Jewish Center 412.823.4338

Christian Science Church 412.731.1204 Church of Latter Day Saints 412.798.3011

During the evening, Washington carried out a little exercise in which he had people from the audience come up and pull items out of a bag. Each of the items belonged to him and gave some insight into his life, he said. One person pulled out his iPad. “I enjoy technology,” the new superintendent said, adding that he has books, board agendas and various versions of the Bible on his iPad. Someone else reached into the bag and pulled out a photo of Washington’s family, which includes his wife of 24 years, Monica, his three children and one grandchild. Another item in the bag was a book containing various thank-you notes that he had been given over the years. “I collect words that people say to me,” he explained. He said he wanted his life to be used up in serving others, so he keeps the thank-yous as a reminder of how he’s been able to touch other people’s lives.

   

   

Covenant Church of Pittsburgh 412.731.6221 Emmanuel Lutheran Church 412.824.4525 Faith Community Church 412.242.0210

Penn Hills Alliance Church 412.795.1818 Penn Hills Baptist Church 412.793.6640 Penn Hills Free Methodist Church 412.793.7263 Praise Center Full Gospel Church 412.244.3343 Redeemer Orthodox Presbyterian Church 412.795.2956

First Baptist Church 412.371.5335

Queen of the Rosary Church 412.672.6390

First Reformed Presbyterian Church 412.793.7117

Rolling Hills Baptist Church 412.795.1133

Grace Evangelical Lutheran 412.793.1394

Rosedale United Methodist 412.793.2019

Hebron United Presbyterian Church 412.371.2307

Sri Venkateswara Temple 412.373.3380

In Him Ministries 412.795.4272

Second Baptist Church 412.371.6445

Jehovah’s Witnesses Pittsburgh 412.241.8188

St. Bartholomew’s Church 412.242.3374

Kerr Presbyterian Church 412.793.5508

Saint Gerard Majella 412.793.3333

Laketon Heights Methodist 412.241.9170

St. James Anglican Church 412.242.2300

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church 412.793.4511 Saint Joseph 412.795.5114 St. Susanna 412.798.3591 Three Rivers Assembly of God 412.372.3453 Trinity Lutheran Church 412.828.7799 Trinity Tower United Methodist 412.793.9000 Universal United Presbyterian Church 412.793.1355 Verona United Methodist Church 412.828.8844 Verona United Presbyterian Church 412.828.4494 Victory Temple Orig. Church of God 412.243.5308 Zion Lutheran Church 412.242.2626 If your church is missing from this list, please e-mail mark@incommunity

Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 9

Penn Hills Celebrates

Memorial << Shiloh Rouse of Penn Hills waits for the parade to pass by. Memorial to Fallen Officers outside the Penn Hills Municipal Building >>

<< Stacey and David White with K (daughter), Destiny Collwood a White (daughter)

Deighan Family: Dennis, Susan and daughters, Nicolette, Emily and Elizabeth >> << Cooper Pietropaolo, 8 months, with his grandmother Rita Hardin

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Day 2011 Classic Car >>

<< Mr. McFeeley of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood

Kenya White and Kristian

<< Carrie Blazinia with father Ed Blazina

Kamren Prince, 1 ½ relaxes in his stroller >>

Penn Hills High School Marching Band >>

Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 11


Penn Hills Spring Craft/Vendor Show

Craft enthusiasts enjoyed the Ninth Annual Penn Hills Spring Craft/Vendor Show on Saturday, March 12. Sponsored by the Penn Hills PTA, the show was held at Linton Middle School and featured approximately 70 vendors including Avon, Pampered Chef, and a variety of artists and crafters. Attendees also enjoyed refreshments and a Chinese Auction.


The craft show raised approximately $1500 to benefit the PTA Council Scholarship fund which awards 40 to 60 $500 scholarships per year to deserving seniors. This is a long standing tradition at Penn Hills, and the PTA welcomes community and business donations all year round.



Christine Polaski, Penn Hills PTA Council President and Craft/Vendor Show Coordinator remarked about her experience, “This is the first year I have run this event and although it presented a challenge, I feel that I met my personal goal of satisfied vendors, a positive community event and fundraising for our wonderful scholarship program.” 5




(1) (2) (3) (4)

Hilary Moyes, Cindy Vanhorn, and MJ Gula Lucy, Mary Grace and Jennifer Gauntner Kelly and Sheila Walker Meryl Thomas, Ray Labertew, and Janet DeLucia (5) Michelle, Alex and Abbey Kinzel (6) Alanna and Ashley Butler (7) Michelle and Seth King

Photography by Autumn Altieri

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Health and Wellness News You Can Use For residents of eastern communities

What’s Inside page 2

Enhancing Your Surgical Options in Monroeville

page 3

The Good News About Heart Disease Six Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

page 4

Young Athletes and Sudden Cardiac Death What Parents Need to Know Exercise: Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Harmful

© 2011 UPMC

page 5

The Downside of Falls

page 6

Choosing the Right Doctor for You

page 7

Improve the Quality of Your Life

Enhancing Your Surgical Options in Monroeville Changes focus on improved resources for greater access, convenience, and care Watch for a new look for the surgery center

Delivering expert care — and more “Our location and amenities definitely make the surgery center an attractive option for area residents, but it’s the quality of care that patients appreciate the most,” says Robert A. Kaufmann, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at UPMC. “We have warm and caring people who work together as a team to provide outstanding care. Our patients have come to expect that from us.”

This summer, visitors to UPMC’s surgery center in Monroeville will see the completion of some impressive new physical changes. “We’ve always provided our patients with top quality care,” says Melissa L. Kovtun, executive director of Monroeville-based services. “Now that care will be offered in even more comfortable and warm surroundings.” In addition to updating the center’s reception area, waiting rooms, and other public spaces, new pre- and post-operative facilities are being modernized.

For Dr. Kaufmann, the surgery center has been home base since 2003. “We treat very complex problems at a world-class level in a surgery center that is convenient to those who live in the eastern suburbs and would rather avoid traveling into Pittsburgh if possible,” says Dr. Kaufmann. “The surgery staff is well-qualified, and we benefit from an excellent anesthesia department.”

Same-day surgery trend continues to grow Many procedures that once required patients to be hospitalized can now be done on an outpatient basis. In fact, last year 35 million same-day surgery procedures were performed in the United States. It’s a growing trend at the surgery center. “We currently average about 700 to 750 cases per month,” says Ms. Kovtun, “and we expect those numbers will increase in the years to come.”

The surgery center can accommodate nearly any outpatient surgical procedure in these specialty areas: • Ear, nose, and throat • Gastroenterology (digestive disorders) • General surgery • Gynecology • Ophthalmology

Did You Know? The new UPMC East, a full-service community hospital with 156 patient rooms, opens in summer 2012. The new hospital will be capable of handling complex medical cases and procedures, allowing you to be cared for in your own community.


• Orthopaedics • Pain management • Plastic surgery • Podiatry • Surgical oncology (breast care specialists) • Urology

Most physicians who provide surgical care for patients at the surgery center also operate at other UPMC hospitals and facilities. The Monroeville location represents a convenience for some physicians as it does for their patients. “Many of our doctors live in and around the Monroeville area. They value the ability to work in their own community, and they want their patients to be able to stay close to home, too,” says Ms. Kovtun. The surgery center will continue to serve the community after the new UPMC East hospital opens in summer 2012. To learn more, go to, click Hospitals and Facilities, then Community Medical and Surgical Facilities. To schedule an appointment with a UPMC-affiliated physician, visit, or call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).

The Good News About Heart Disease Take charge of your heart through health screenings and heart-healthy lifestyle changes Heart disease is the nation’s leading cause of death for both men and women. Every 25 seconds, someone experiences a coronary event; every minute, it claims a life.

For example, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can damage your heart and blood vessels, but you wouldn’t know you have these conditions without testing for them.

The good news? You can take steps to reduce your risk of heart disease through routine screening and lifestyle changes — even if you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke.

UPMC cardiologists in Monroeville use tools such as EKGs, ultrasound, and CT scans to look for signs of atherosclerosis in the heart, neck, legs, and arms — especially if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease. At UPMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute, you can take advantage of the region’s only low radiation electron beam CT scan, which looks specifically for calcium in the coronary arteries as a marker of the cholesterol accumulation that can cause sudden heart attacks.

“Heart disease is a disease we can do something about. In most instances, it is preventable,” says Daniel Edmundowicz, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and director of preventive cardiology at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute. “Screening absolutely saves lives. We can help people change the outcome once we know their risk factor levels,” Dr. Edmundowicz says.

Heart-Healthy Resources in Monroeville

“The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart disease,” says Dr. Allen. “While you can’t control genetics, you can take steps to control many other risk factors by eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Some changes — like quitting smoking — can have an immediate impact.”

Christopher C. Allen, MD, cardiologist at UPMC at Oxford Drive in Monroeville, recommends regular health screenings “The bottom line: If you know your that tell you your numbers and whether numbers and know your risk, you can you need to take action. do something about it,” says Dr. Allen.

Risk factors that can’t be changed • Family history of heart disease, carotid artery disease, or peripheral artery disease • Age (65 and older) • Gender (men have a greater risk of heart attack)

Risk factors that can be changed • • • • •

Smoking High blood pressure High cholesterol levels Obesity Physical inactivity

Six Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure High blood pressure puts you at risk for heart attack, stroke, and other serious diseases. Follow these recommendations from Dr. Allen to take charge of this “silent killer”: • Increase physical activity. Aim for at least 30 minutes each day (most days) of brisk walking, bike riding, or other aerobic activity that you enjoy. • Monitor your sodium. Limit your sodium intake to less than two grams (2,000 mg) a day. Beware of “hidden” sodium in processed foods, including canned soup, lunch meats, frozen dinners, and crackers. • Eat healthy. Follow a lower-fat diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods. • Control your stress. Take 15 minutes each day to decompress and focus on yourself. Listen to music, read, pray, or meditate. • Don’t smoke! Nicotine has a direct effect on your blood vessels as well as your lungs. It causes your heart to beat faster, and raises your blood pressure. • Take your medicine. If medicine is needed to control your blood pressure, make sure you take it as prescribed by your doctor.

Know your numbers

Become heart smart

Aim for these vital numbers to keep your ticker in good working condition:

Take time to educate yourself about heart disease and the treatments available. The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute website is a one-stop source of information about cardiac conditions, as well as UPMC’s full spectrum of cardiovascular services from routine screenings to advanced cardiac care. Be sure to check it out at


Target Levels


less than 200 mg/dL

Blood Pressure

below 120/80

BMI (body mass index) 18.5–24.9

Ask your doctor If you have questions or concerns about your heart health, call your physician to schedule an appointment.



Health Tips from UPMC Health Plan

Young Athletes and Sudden Cardiac Death

What Parents Need to Know Is your child among the three to five million young people in the United States who play organized sports each year? If so, you know that a pre-participation physical examination can help identify young athletes who may be at risk for an injury or illness that could require additional medical evaluation. Recently, identifying young athletes who may be at risk of sudden cardiac death has become a hot topic among sports medicine professionals, focusing the attention of parents on the need for better cardiovascular screening of young athletes. “Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in young athletes is extremely rare,” says Vivekanand Allada, MD, clinical director of pediatric cardiology at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and professor of pediatrics. “In fact, it’s a one in a million risk.” According to Dr. Allada, sudden death in young athletes is most often due to heart problems, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (an abnormal thickening of the heart). Other causes include congenital coronary anomalies, arrhythmia (which can be caused by a blow to the chest), and Marfan syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that can weaken the aorta and lead to a tear or rupture. “Unfortunately, there’s no perfect test to find a needle in a haystack,” says Dr. Allada. However, parents can take steps to uncover risk factors that may require more testing or a consultation with a pediatric cardiologist. The American Heart Association recommends that young athletes undergo a screening medical history to check specifically for: • Chest pain, palpitations, or fainting during exercise (red flags that require immediate attention) • A history of a heart murmur or hypertension • Family history of coronary disease, sudden death, or Marfan syndrome Children with any of these risk factors or an abnormal physical exam should see a pediatric cardiologist, who is specially trained to look for cardiac problems in children and teens, Dr. Allada says. Further testing might include an EKG, echocardiogram, and stress test. He offers these tips to parents: • Don’t let your child play through chest pain. Pain can be a warning sign. • Teach your child to avoid energy drinks that have high levels of caffeine. Such drinks can make the heart race and cause cardiac arrhythmias. They are particularly dangerous for athletes with undiagnosed cardiac problems. To learn more about caring for your child’s heart, visit, then click on Child Health A-Z. To schedule an appointment with a Children’s-affiliated physician, call 412-692-PEDS (7337).


Exercise: Too Much of a Good Thing Can Be Harmful Regular exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy life. Many of us, however, still struggle to fit even a moderate amount of exercise into our schedules. But there are plenty of people who are getting too much exercise. If some exercise is good, they think more will be better. Not true. In fact, excessive exercise can lead to a host of physical issues, including injuries, the loss of lean muscle mass, a weakened immune system, sleep problems, irritability, and depression. A study in the American Journal of Cardiology suggests that too much vigorous exercise also can increase the risk of heart problems.

Are you exercising too much? Experts say that if your workouts suddenly seem more difficult than usual and you aren’t making progress, you may be overexercising. Other trouble signs include: • Insomnia • Aches or pain in muscles and/or joints • Fatigue • Feeling unmotivated and lacking energy • Increased susceptibility to colds, sore throats, and other illnesses If you’re experiencing any of these signs, see your doctor to find out if something else is causing the problem.

Just starting an exercise program? Congratulations on taking an important step to improve your health. Here are a few tips to help your body adjust to a new routine: • Create a reasonable exercise program based on attainable goals. • Exercise in moderation. • Begin slowly and build up gradually to avoid injuries. • Cut back the volume and intensity of your workouts at the first sign of injury. • Listen to your body. When it needs a rest, give it a rest. Sources: American College of Sports Medicine, American Heart Association

UPMC Spotlight

The Downside of Falls Preventing tripping, falling can be key to maintaining independence Falls may be funny on comedy shows, but they can be traumatic for older adults. Simply tripping on a rug or slipping on a wet floor can change an older person’s life in an instant — posing serious threats to his or her health and independence. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three people over 65 experience at least one fall each year, and more than two-thirds of them are likely to fall again within six months. Falls also are the leading cause of accidental death in seniors. And, as many as 30 percent of those who fall end up with debilitating hip, pelvic, or spine fractures that make it harder to get around and adversely affect self-confidence. Even those who don’t suffer serious injury can become fearful. “The most obvious concern when an older adult falls or trips is injury,” says Stephanie Studenski, MD, MPH, director of the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at the University of Pittsburgh and associate director of research at the Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh. “But the fear of falling can cause people to restrict their activity and sacrifice their independence. In some cases, it can lead to social isolation,” she says. Everyone is at risk for falls, but that risk increases with the changes that come with aging, plus other medical conditions such as arthritis, cataracts and glaucoma, and balance problems. “Fortunately, there’s a lot people can do to prevent most risk factors,” says Dr. Studenski. “Taking care of your overall health, staying active, socializing with friends, and taking a few common-sense precautions can help you avoid falls and broken bones.” To learn more about the Falls Clinic, located at UPMC Senior Care-Benedum Geriatric Center in Oakland, call 412-692-4200.

Three things you can do to prevent falls Exercise! Exercises such as tai chi or other relaxation exercises that improve balance and coordination can help lower your chances of falling and make you feel stronger. See your doctor regularly. Annual physical and eye examinations can uncover underlying medical problems that can lead to falls. See your doctor if you feel unstable or dizzy, possibly due to medications. Tell your doctor if you fall; a medical evaluation can help. Make your home safer. Seventy-five percent of all falls occur at home. To help make your home fall-proof: • Improve lighting. As you get older, you need brighter lights to see well. Use night lights in your bedroom, hall, and bathroom. • Remove small throw rugs. Tack down all carpets and area rugs so they are firmly fastened to the floor. • Remove things you can trip over. Clear books, clothes, and shoes from stairs and places you walk. Keep cords and wires near walls. • Use handrails. Install grab bars near toilets, and both inside and outside your tub and shower. Always use the handrail when using the stairs. • Store items within easy reach. Don’t store things too high or too low. Avoid using stepladders or step stools. Most of all, think before you reach. • Wear shoes with non-skid, non-friction soles. Avoid going barefoot or wearing only socks or loose-fitting slippers.

Leading the Work in Falls Prevention Dr. Stephanie Studenski received the 2010 National Award for Falls Prevention Research and will be honored as the grand champion at the third annual Celebrating Senior Champions benefit dinner and auction Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011. For more information about the event, sponsored by UPMC Senior Services, the Aging Institute, and the Division of Geriatric Medicine of the University of Pittsburgh, call Peggy VanHorn, benevolent care advocate, at 412-622-9239.



Choosing the Right Doctor for You Taking the time to find “Dr. Right” is one of the most important investments you can make. We’ve all heard about the importance of the doctor/patient relationship, often described as the cornerstone of quality medical care. “In fact, the stronger that relationship, the better your chances of receiving the right care at the right time in the right way,” says Tami Minnier, vice president of UPMC’s Donald J. Wolff, Jr. Center for Quality Improvement and Innovation. “At UPMC, our goal is to help you develop a long-term partnership in which your doctor is your number one health care champion.” According to a 2010 survey by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, most of us are very satisfied with our physicians. It usually takes something major — like moving to a new area, changing medical insurance, or being diagnosed with a serious condition — to prompt us to look for a new doctor. “If you’re in the process of changing doctors, there are some exciting new options to consider,” says Ms. Minnier. “For example, UPMC’s Health Plan is working with a growing number of primary care physicians to implement patient-centered medical homes in their practices.” In this medical model, your family doctor becomes the hub for all your care by linking you to a collaborative team of medical professionals — from physician assistants to specialists. Medical homes are designed to ensure that you receive appropriate and comprehensive care over your entire lifetime, including preventive health care, treatment for acute or chronic illness, and assistance with end-of-life care. Studies show that medical homes are resulting in improved care, access, and communication between patients and their “medical team” — as well as improved quality, safety, and cost of care.


When searching for “Dr. Right,” here are five helpful tips to locate the best match:

Determine what’s important to you “Finding the ‘right’ doctor often involves personal preferences apart from a physician’s skills or qualifications,” says Ms. Minnier. “For example, are you more comfortable with a doctor of your gender? Is a primary care physician right for you, or do you have a medical condition that requires treatment by a specialist? And if easy access is a concern, do you need a doctor located close to your home or workplace?”

Get the opinion of people you trust “Begin your search by asking your circle of family, friends, and co-workers about the positive experiences they’ve had,” she advises. “If you’re moving, or seeking a specialist, your current doctor also can be an excellent referral source.”

Do some homework “There are a number of credible online resources, including UPMC’s Find a Doctor (, with information on more than 5,000 physicians, that allow you to confirm a physician’s medical credentials, board certifications, and specialties,” says Ms. Minnier. You also can check with the state medical board at In general, avoid “doctor ranking” sites, which are unregulated and difficult to verify for accuracy.

At UPMC, a variety of tools are used to assess physician quality, including patient satisfaction surveys. “We literally review thousands of surveys monthly, which provide us with invaluable insights and feedback,” says Ms. Minnier.

Verify your doctor’s insurance plans and hospital affiliations “Most practices accept a variety of insurance plans, but be sure yours is among them,” advises Ms. Minnier. “And should you ever require hospitalization or special tests, it’s important that your doctor be affiliated with a hospital you know and trust.”

Call for an appointment “Bring a written set of questions covering your concerns and expectations. When your visit is over, evaluate the experience,” suggests Ms. Minnier. “Was it easy to get an appointment? Were you treated with respect by both the doctor and the staff? If your answers are positive, you’re on the right path to a doctor/patient relationship characterized by quality care, compassion, and open communication.” For more information, or to schedule an appointment with a UPMC-affiliated physician, visit, or call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).

Improve the Quality of Your Life Physical medicine and rehabilitation in Monroeville What does a grandmother who no longer gardens due to chronic knee pain, a mailman who has trouble walking his route due to debilitating back pain, and a high school soccer player who’s out of the game after suffering a concussion have in common? All of them can receive physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) services aimed at restoring their movement and function at our outpatient center on Oxford Drive, located next to Monroeville Mall. Also known as physiatry, PM&R is a medical specialty in which physicians diagnose, evaluate, and care for injuries and illnesses — primarily of the nerves, muscles, and bones. PM&R is often called the quality of life specialty because it improves quality of life by restoring the body’s function to the fullest degree possible. ”One of the things I love most about my work is the holistic approach we take to a patient’s primary medical complaint, and then we explore how physical, social, and psychological factors affect that condition,” explains Shailen Greene Woods, MD, a physician in physical medicine and rehabilitation. “We’re partners in helping the body heal through neuromuscular re-education, physical and occupational therapy, and medication management. “Our goal is to help every patient return to an active and healthy lifestyle — including resumption of work, hobbies, or sports,” says Dr. Greene Woods, who also is completing a fellowship in sports medicine and spine rehabilitation. “Ultimately, we help our patients feel their best — and that’s very rewarding work.”

More about Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UPMC Services include balance therapy, hand therapy, lymphedema management, neurorehabilitation, occupational and physical therapy, sports rehabilitation programs, and a women’s rehabilitation program. • Patients may be referred by an orthopaedic surgeon, neurologist, or family doctor for follow-up care after surgery, illness, or injury. They also can seek direct care. • PM&R uses a variety of tools, from medical history and physical examination to imaging studies and electrodiagnostic techniques, to determine the source of pain, weakness, or numbness. • Physiatrists can prescribe medications and assistive devices, and perform joint injections or interventional spine procedures. • PM&R patients also may receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy as part of their treatment. • Promising new treatments include the use of ultrasound to both diagnose and treat certain medical conditions.

To learn about UPMC’s physical medicine and rehabilitation services in Monroeville, contact: UPMC Centers for Rehab Services 600 Oxford Drive, Suite 310 Monroeville, PA 15146 Phone: 412-380-0551 To schedule an appointment with a UPMC-affiliated physician, visit, or call 412-533-UPMC (8762).



UPMC 600 Oxford Drive Monroeville, PA 15146

UPMC Today is published quarterly to provide you with health and wellness information and classes and events available at UPMC. This publication is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice or replace a physicianâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s medical assessment. Always consult first with your physician about anything related to your personal health.

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Our Monroeville-based services are rooted in your community. UPMC has always been proud to be a part of Monroeville, providing residents access to all of the resources of a nationally recognized academic medical center. We offer a breadth of services close to home, including primary care, advanced diagnostic capabilities, specialty physician and surgical services, and cancer care. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s our tradition, and commitment, to bring advanced and compassionate care to you where it matters most ... in your very own community. For aa comprehensive comprehensivelist listof ofour ourMonroeville-based Monroeville-basedservices servicesororfor fordirections directionstotoany anyof For of our convenient locations, 1-800-533-UPMC oror visit our convenient locations, call call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) visit


UPMC East Opens Summer 2012

TALK Your H T I W Hands


ake one young, engaging teacher and a classroom of eager students and what do you get? The “Read My Hands” American Sign Language class at the William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills. Instructor Crystal Reed, who moved to the area 2½ years ago right before getting married, began this inaugural 12-week class April 20 and if the enthusiasm of her students is any indication, it’s a success. Students range from grade schoolers to more seasoned citizens, from those who’ve had experience with American Sign Language (ASL) to those who are making their first foray into speaking with their hands.

Andria Smith, of Penn Hills, said she already knew the alphabet in ASL, but Reed is teaching her whole words and concepts. “I am enjoying it. I really am,” Smith said. “And I feel like I am learning.” She added that Reed emails students after each class offering additional help, suggestions and seeking input on how they think the class went. Kyanna Williams, 15, is taking the class with her mother, Tish Williams. “I did [sign language] in third grade and I liked it, and I wanted to learn more about it,” Kyanna said. She enjoys the class and would like to be fluent in the language. She believes it could help her in her future career as a doctor. “I

love it,” said Tish Williams, who believes learning ASL will help her in her work with nonverbal children. “It’s giving me a chance to learn how to communicate with the deaf community.” Ten-year-old R.J. Williams, a student at Fairmount Elementary in Brackenridge (no relation to the Williams family above), is taking the class with his mother and younger sister, Jocelyn, who is eight. “It’s nice,” he said. Reed began learning ASL when she was seven years old. “My religious organization includes members that speak over 400 languages worldwide with around 50 different translations of sign language,” she said. “Being in a congregation that included deaf individuals sparked my interest in this new language at such a young age because my nature had always been to do whatever I can to help others.” She has been using ASL in her ministry to aid deaf individuals in understanding what the Bible teaches in their own language. “In addition to that, I love working with my hands … being able to talk with them was the perfect match for me.” She believes the best way to learn something is to become fully immersed in it. “So I learned this language by associating with individuals in the deaf community and deaf world that I’ve come to know through my religious organization,” she said. “Many of my associates have been interpreting/translating for many years and were very instrumental in helping me to hone my skills and understand how things work. Also, one of my best childhood friends was deaf since the age of six so that was our greatest form of communication.” Before coming to the Pitt sburgh area, Reed worked as an interpreter in her educational and local community in Ohio. She said she found the hiring structure for interpreters different here, so to keep her skills sharp she offered to teach a class at the library, which is near her home. “The Penn Hills library has such a unique variety of educational and entertaining services that many people are unaware of, so it was the perfect place to add a sign language class,” Reed said. There are currently 24 students in the class, each with “a unique way of expressing themselves in sign and I am utilizing this aspect to help them to appreciate when they communicate with those in the deaf community,” she said. One of those students, Staci Cherry of Penn Hills, said even though she’s studied ASL before, she’s learned more in three classes with Reed than in months of her other training. “She’s very interactive and she’s very expressive and just makes it very easy to learn.”

For more information about this or any other program at the William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills, visit

Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 21

Eastern Area Youth Chorale Hits The Right

he Eastern Area Youth Chorale, now in its 18th year, has given youngsters from the eastern suburbs the opportunity to develop their vocal skills and technique. Founded by music educator Barbara Spiri, this diverse group of young people has been able to present its musical talents throughout the region, as well as overseas. Spiri, who teaches music in the Penn Hills School District and is the music

time and he seemed to be interested in music,” she explained. Also during that time, Spiri was earning a certificate in the Kodály Method of teaching music. She said that every year of study she would have to show an improvement in her choir, which was difficult with an elementary school choir having different students every year. Forming a choir composed of the same students year after year helped to show progress. “The other reason was [that] I was in a small church and had a few children who wanted to sing, but didn’t have a choir,” she said. So for all those myriads of reasons, the Eastern Area Youth Chorale was born. Three of the four students who started with Spiri 18 years ago now teach choir, including her son. “Of course, that’s the icing on the cake,” Spiri said. “That’s not what I intended. I wanted children to enjoy

“I ask for them to have a pleasant voice, and a wish to learn. I’m looking for a child who really wants to do it.” Barbara Spiri Founder of The Eastern Area Youth Chorale

coordinator for kindergarten through 12th grade, said she started the choir for several reasons. “My son was in fourth grade at the

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music and learn to sing properly.” While the majority of her choir members are from Penn Hills, the rest are found throughout the eastern suburbs, some as far

east as Delmont and Norwin. Youngsters with an interest in vocal music start with Prelude, a program Spiri established in 1999 to teach vocal basics. Youngsters in this program receive six months of musical training. “The children who come don’t necessarily have to have a lot of musical ability,” Spiri explained. “I ask for them to have a pleasant voice, and a wish to learn. I’m looking for a child who really wants to do it.” Some move on to the EAYC, also known as the junior group, comprised of fourth through eighth graders. The Senior Select Ensemble is made up of ninth through 12th grade students. Anyone wishing to get into the choirs must take the Prelude training. Spiri, who holds a Master of Music with a Kodály Emphasis, teaches music based on the philosophy developed by Hungarian music educator Zoltan Kodály (pronounced Ko-Dye).“Music is usually taught from an instrumental method,” she explained. “Kodály is a vocal method. I’m teaching a lot of ear training. We do a lot of sight reading and sight singing, and a lot of choirs at this level don’t do that. That’s usually something at a college level. Once you teach students how to do something for a piece of music, you don’t have to teach that skill again.”

Benjamin Blinn, a 16-year-old sophomore at Penn Hills High School, started in Prelude as a third grader and joined the EAYC the following year. “I had always been interested in music,” he said.

Having been in a choir as a young child in his previous hometown, he looked for another musical home when he moved to the area. “I like performing. I like to be in front of an audience and I like to accomplish something as a group. I think that’s the way it is for a lot of us,” added Benjamin, who went to Disney World with the group. “It’s kind of neat to put something together where everyone’s on the same page.” Alexandra Newby, a 16-year-old junior at Penn Hills High School, took the Prelude training in fourth grade and joined the EAYC as a fifth grader. In addition to learning proper singing technique, Alexandra said “you learn dedication and what hard work can do.” An added benefit is making friends with people from other schools, she said. Alexandra has been on three trips with the choir, includin g Disney World, New York and last summer’s trek to Europe. “It was really amazing, and the experience was awesome, seeing a lot of places and getting to sing as well,” she said of the European trip. The group does several concerts a year throughout the area, but every five years, the chorale travels to Europe. “We try to go every five years so every student will have an opportunity,” says Spiri. They also try to take an annual trip closer to home. This summer the group plans to go to Niagara, NY. Next year, Spiri is looking at taking her choir to New England. “I like to go and make connections with other choirs,” she said. The group has performed concerts with the other choirs including the Community College of Allegheny County Boyce Campus Choir. Also, every five years, the group does an alumni concert. “That’s always great,” said Spiri, who is a member of Chorus America, Music Educators National Conference, the American Choral Directors Association, and the Organization of American Kodály Educators. For the final concert of the season, held in June, Spiri asks the graduating choir members to select a favorite song. Those songs are included in the final concert. While one might think they’d go for the pop tunes, which are part of the choir’s repertoire, “they usually pick the more complicated ones, and I just think that’s cool,” Spiri said. Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 23





Exercise is important for every age, and mature adults are no exception. According to UPMC Sports Medicine’s Dr. Jeanne Doperak, “The ultimate goal—whether you’re 3 or 104—is some sort of activity.” Dr. Doperak suggests a combination of aerobic exercise (exercise which raises the heart rate and increases the body’s need for oxygen,) two days a week of strength training, and some sort of balance and flexibility training. Before beginning any type of aggressive workout program, it is always best to consult your physician. Many people make the assumption that running is bad after a certain age, but this actually depends upon the individuals and their physical condition. Dr. Doperak explains, “As we age, our activities don’t necessarily have to change but the way we train has to be adjusted. We do not recommend that anyone over the age of 30 [engage in] impact activities every day.” An example of an impact activity would be jogging. It is recommended that impact activities be staggered with non-impact exercise such as yoga, tai chi or bicycling every other day. If an individual cannot tolerate impact activities due to arthritis or other problems, swimming is an excellent aerobic exercise (as is bicycling, which can be done with a recumbent stationary bike).

Yoga and tai chi rotated with impact exercise can fulfill the need for balance and flexibility training. Many churches, synagogues, libraries and other non-profit organizations offer classes for free or at reduced rates. Also important to overall optimum physical health is strength training. Although strength training conjures up images of heavy weightlifting, Dr. Doperak suggests that this can be accomplished with weights as light as two pounds. With active workouts, it is vitally important to replenish liquids in the body, especially in the summer months. A vigorous activity such as jogging or tennis for more than 10 to 20 minutes requires fluid replacement. Serious dehydration depletes the body of electrolytes which ensure that the heart’s electrical system works properly. Dr. Doperak recommends water as the best replacement. Although there are many drinks on the market that advertise their benefits of electrolyte replacement, they can also be quite high in calories. Individuals trying to reduce their weight will conversely be adding more calories to their diet. The main thing to remember is that bodies need movement to be healthy. As Dr. Doperak says, “Keep moving.”

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When fair weather arrives, the call of the road beckons. For seniors, travel options abound in various lengths, styles and price ranges. If you find that you are on a limited budget, why not consider a day trip to a nearby attraction? Many churches and civic organizations offer day trips to interesting destinations such as Gettysburg or Fallingwater and you usually do not have to be a member to attend. Transportation, admission and one or two meals are usually included in one reasonable fee. If you can’t find a group going to the destination of your choice, why not form your own? A small group of three or four friends can carpool to save on gas and enjoy a day in the country. McConnells Mill State Park is less than an hour away and features a covered bridge and 19th century gristmill. The hiking trails are scenic and great exercise. A Pennsylvania winery is never more than a 45 minute drive from anywhere in the state. Most offer tours and free samples and some even have a restaurant onsite. Be sure to have a designated driver! If the fact that you are single or widowed is keeping you at home, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that most local travel agencies offer group tours to U.S. and European destinations especially for those over 50 at discounted prices. You may also be surprised to learn that most of the individuals on these tours are also traveling alone or with a friend. Within a few hours into the trip, you will have new friends and feel a part of group. Many older Americans are interested in exploring their European roots. Be sure to let your travel agent know of your interest and they can customize your tour with travel connections to records offices and churches. Before departing on any kind of trip, be sure to take into consideration any mobility issues that you or your travel companions may encounter. Many travel agencies have specially designed itineraries for those with limited mobility. Additionally, don’t forget to pack all the medications you will need for the duration of your visit since refilling them may prove difficult. Be sure to keep them in their original containers. A little planning can make your trip a success, so get out there and have some fun!

RETIREMENT by Pamela Palongue

A neighborhood nursing home filled with quality, compassion and genuine friendliness.



Call or stop in for a tour Specializing in: • Recuperation • Residential Living • Rehabilitation • Respite

enn Hills Reach over 49,933 potential customers in Penn Hills

800 Elsie Street, Turtle Creek, PA 15145 412-825-9000

Call 724.942.0940 Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 25

W I L L I A M E. A N D E R S O N L I B R A R Y

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Tyrone Ward Executive Director

Summer Programs

Mary Ann Zeak Librarian & Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Services

Adult Librarian

The William E. Anderson Library of Penn Hills is offering a plethora of programming this summer for young and old, alike.

Main Branch

Chess Classes

1037 Stotler Road Pittsburgh, PA 15235 412.795.3507

Youngsters and adults wanting to learn or to further hone their chess skills can do so at the library, which is offering chess instruction on Saturdays at 11 am and Tuesdays at 1 pm. No registration. No charge. Just come and have fun!

Jean Kanouff

Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday & Saturday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday: 1-5 p.m.

Lincoln Park Satellite 7300 Ridgeview Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15235 412.362.7729 Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Saturday & Sunday

Friends of the Library The Friends of the Penn Hills Library is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together people who are interested in the well-being of the library. The Friends work to provide many extras for the library, items not included in the regular library budget. The Friends welcome gifts of time, money and materials from their members and the community. These donations are channeled into gifts that benefit the library and its patrons. To join the Friends, choose a membership category below: Individual: $10 Donor: $50 Family: $25 Patron: $100 Organizations/Associations: $30

Dues are paid at the time of registration. Stop in at the library for a membership form or send your name, address, telephone number to: Friends of the Penn Hills Library 1037 Saltsburg Road Pittsburgh, PA 15235

Young Writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Summer Workshop Aspiring authors, poets, ages 10-14 can join the library's writing workshop held Mondays at 2 pm from June 20-July 25. For more information or to register, email Nicole at You can also register in the Children's Library or by calling 412-795-3507, ext.. 115.

Science in the Summer Carnegie Science Center will hold classes Monday through Thursday at the library during the week of July 11 or July 25. MUST be able to attend all classes. Children who will be in grades 2 & 3 in the fall should sign up for 10-11 am either week. Children who'll be in grades 4-6 in the fall should sign up for the 11:30-12:30 session either week.

Mother-Daughter Book Club The Mother-Daughter book club, for young ladies and their mothers, grandmothers, sisters are other interested guardian, will hold its first meeting, Monday, June 20 at 7 pm. Books selected are appropriate for ladies ages 10-14. For more information, contact Nicole at or sign up in the library's Children's Department.

Fishing Club Fishing Club meets the third Tuesday of every month at 7 pm. Don't have your own fishing gear, the library rents fishing poles, and tackle boxes if you've got a library card. Adults may check out fishing supplies from the adult department for three weeks. Equipment is supplied by the Holiday Park Bass Busters and the PA BASS Federation

More events at

Make checks payable to Friends of the Penn Hills Library. Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 27


CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 12013 Frankstown Road • Pittsburgh, PA 15235 • Phone: 412.795.8741 • Fax: 412.795.7993

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Jo Luncher Bruce T. Hall Mary Beth Delpino Scott Yusavage Beth Fischman Jay Hope Bernadette Rose Chris Fedele Dave Smith Bill Trogler Denise Graham Shealey Dominique Ansani Sara Werner Carl Prince

President Vice President Treasurer Secretary Board Member Board Member Board Member Board Member Board Member Board Member Board Member Board Member Co-Director Co-Director

Anywhere Travel Service, LLC Bruce T. Hall, CPA PNC Bank Computer Fellows Maiello, Brungo, Maiello Law Firm Penn Hills YMCA Rapp Funeral Home Fedele Insurance Company Dave Smith Autostar Superstore Penn Hills Police Department First Niagara Bank Penn HIlls School District Penn HIlls Chamber of Commerce P.H.C.C.

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 Third Wednesday of each month  Third Thursday of each month Twice a year  Once each month   As scheduled     April each year November  December Many other events to be announced 28 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE

Penn Hills

Chamber Events Women In Business Luncheons May 18, 2011 June 15, 2011 July 20, 2011 August 17, 2011 September 21, 2011 Men in Business Luncheons May 17, 2011 June 14, 2011 July 19, 2011 August 16, 2011 September 20, 2011 Chamber Community Picnic Penn Hills Community Park August 18, 2011 Check with the Chamber office for more details at 412-795-8741.

Please visit our Office and our website for more information and a listing of current events.

rofessional and highly skilled musicians have taught researchers in and leaning in towards the speaker. With these skills a good listener, even in audiology and hearing science that the ear can be trained with practice. noise, will be able to follow conversations fairly well. The studies have uncovered that musical training creates more activity Noise is naturally disruptive to understanding speech and more so in the brain of the listener to help sort wanted sounds from unwanted in individuals with hearing loss. Most hearing disorders are a sounds. Research further demonstrated that musicians have a listening result of permanent damage to the delicate structures of the inner skill that is helpful not only in musical applications but in other real world ear including the cochlear hair cells. The more severe the loss, listening situations such as hearing in noise. the more damage there is to these hair cells leading to Noisy environments are challenging for every listener. Normal hearing increasingly distorted and muted sound signals to brain and a individuals will understand between 60-70 % of speech in the presence high loss of specificity for speech. Therefore, individuals with hearing noise levels. Good listeners will employ a number of skills in order to loss who wish to communicate verbally must learn additional understand speech in noise including filling in the blank when a word is not coping and listening skills to offset this specificity loss. heard, watching for visual input (lipreading and gestures), standing closer


Hearing aids and assistive listening devices are very important for treating hearing loss but they are not the only treatment necessary for learning to hear again. Since most people delay getting hearing aids for years the consequence is an under-stimulated auditory system. People with long standing, untreated hearing loss become accustomed to not hearing and consequently, not listening. This is not a surprise since it is hard work to listen when you can’t hear and people with untreated hearing loss often withdraw from communication limiting their opportunities for practice. Wearing hearing aids does not mean the brain will instantly remember how to hear and listen. Hearing aids will return audibility for sound but it takes time to adapt to new sounds and it takes time to learn to listen again. Audiologists are trained to help people in both areas with counseling and follow up being the most important aspects of the hearing aid selection and fitting process. New hearing aid users need to be closely monitored on their progress with hearing devices as well as counseled on auditory training programs when needed. Hearing aid success varies widely and not all listeners are created equal. The most successful hearing aid wearers are those that educate themselves about the adaptive process behind using hearing devices and take on the task of improving their listening skills by doing auditory training exercises. With all that we’ve learned in research with musicians, it is apparent that the ear can and should be trained to help compensate for loss of hearing sensitivity. Thanks to musicians and the researchers in the field we have the tools and resources to make this possible.      

Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 29


Pe nn H il l s

IN Community Magazines proudly announces a comprehensive look at the Penn Hills real estate market. In this section, you’ll find interesting information about creating beautiful spaces to live in, and other interesting facts about your community.


If you’re looking for ways to increase your property value, attract buyers or just improve your way of life, you may find the answer is in your yard. Figures in the last two years suggest that the landscaping of your home is worth somewhere between 5% and 15% of the total home value. We’re all familiar with the term “curb appeal,” which basically means that buyers must be attracted to the outside of the house before they will ever see the inside. If your yard is unappealing, it may kill the sale of your home in the first few seconds. And the new outdoor room is increasingly appearing on the list of “musthave” features for new homebuyers. Today, landscaping is more than just plants and bushes. Some of the features you may want to consider in making your space more attractive are lighting, color, foliage, fencing and water features. Lighting goes a long way in defining an outdoor space for nighttime enjoyment, but it’s also a wise investment for security. Motion detector lights can illuminate pathways and deter crime. They are inexpensive, and solar-powered models are available that are wireless. For more subtle lighting, wall sconces can create ambience in heavily-used areas. For dining spaces, outdoor chandeliers come in a variety of styles from old world to contemporary. Next, try adding some color. Pick a shade that will coordinate with the color and hue of your home, but add some contrast. The color theme can be achieved through the use of chair cushions, throw pillows, table umbrellas, canopies and flowering plants. Keep in mind that wooden patio furniture can also be painted to further carry out the theme.

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Penn Hills



Peters Township

Trees, bushes, plants and flowers can breathe new life into a barren space. Trees increase in value over time as they grow. Bushes and hedges can be used to add beauty and also to add security. Thorny rosebushes or holly bushes with their pointy leaves can be strategically planted in front of ground floor windows to discourage would-be intruders. Lavender bushes generally grow fairly quickly and will add a wonderful scent to your outdoor area. They are also a good deterrent for spiders since they avoid the lavender scent. When choosing plants and flowers, keep in mind that most people prefer low maintenance if you are planning on selling your home. Some good low-maintenance flowers for our area, Zone 6, are Shasta daisies, irises, coneflowers and peonies. These perennials come in a variety of colors to highlight your yard and your color scheme. Don’t forget the lawn. It’s the foundation for your landscape. Be sure to replace all the “bald” spots with new sod to cover these worn areas. Consider using paving stones for heavy traffic areas. If your grass is brown in spots and you are having a party or open-house showing, consider using a green lawn spray that is specially made to dye your lawn, giving it a lush, verdant look. The dye is permanent and will last until you mow the lawn. Although fencing may be one of the more expensive improvements to your landscaping project, it is also one of the most attractive and efficient. A fence defines property lines, and adds privacy and security. A lattice fence is a less-expensive option and lends a cottage flair to most yards. It may be purchased in sections for fairly quick installation. Chain link fencing is a sturdier but more expensive option. Fencing is generally available in brown, green or black to blend in more easily with natural surroundings. Split rail fencing adds a rustic feeling and may be lined with chicken wire to keep small pets secure. Water features are extremely popular and offer the greatest opportunity for creative expression in your landscape design. They can be as complex as a custom-designed waterfall and as simple as a birdbath. Keep in mind that still water breeds mosquitoes. If your water feature is not going to be aerated with a circulation pump, it will need to be flushed out and cleaned weekly or you can add fish which will eat the mosquito larvae. Many solar-powered pumps are available for use with water fountains which eliminate the need for electricity or cords. Most come with a back-up battery for cloudy days and nighttime use. An outdoor space is a great place for the entire family to spend time and enjoy nature while adding to the value to your property.

East Hills Coin Laundry 2766 Robinson Blvd • Open every day of the year 6:30a-10p • Corner of Frankstown and Robinson Boulevards across from the old East Hills shopping center • Always under surveillance for your protection

by Pamela Palongue

Penn Hills | Summer 2011 | 31


When you live in the Pittsburgh area, George Washington may not have slept at your house, but he may well have traveled across your property lines. The man credited as The Father of Our Country figured prominently in the local area and did indeed spend the night at Washingtonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Landing, a tiny island in the Allegheny River when his raft capsized in 1753. Pittsburgh has been the site of many historical events over the years, including French and Indian War battles, the Whiskey Rebellion, the site of the first World Series and the development of the polio vaccine. But have you ever wondered if your home may have played a small part in history too? There are many advantages that come with being awarded the distinction of a National Historic Place. There are tax credits and eligibility for federally assisted projects and historic preservation. Since many older homes require a great deal of maintenance and may need extensive renovations, federal grant money to acquire the materials or assist with the cost of labor is a welcome resource. The most obvious benefit is that it is very prestigious to live in an historic dwelling. Many people fear however, that having a home nationally registered means relinquishing your control as a homeowner and living in a museum. This is not the case. There is no requirement that your home be open to the public. Many nationally registered homes are private dwellings. You also may paint your home any color you wish or make renovations as needed, although qualifyingconsideration for the designation is partially based on the structureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s similarity to its original condition. An individual may also leave his historic home to his heirs as any other homeowner would do under normal circumstances. If you suspect that you live in a home of historic significance, a good place to begin your research is at your local library or by consulting the historic preservation board or society in your borough. One example that would make your home historically significant is if a prominent person once lived, visited or performed there. For example, Gene Kelly once taught dance lessons there. A home may be considered for designation if a historically important 32 724.942.0940 TO ADVERTISE

Penn Hills

Penn Hills

By Pamela Palongue

event happened there such as a civil war battle or the signing of an important document. Other sites may be considered if they contain outstanding architectural elements such as Fallingwater, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In general, the home should be at least 50 years old to be considered and as close to its original condition as possible. If you decide to proceed with the historic designation process, you must start with the State Historic Preservation OďŹ&#x192;ce. In Pennsylvania this is part of the PA Historical and Museum Commission. There are forms listed to begin the process at their website, Once the forms have been completed and submitted it is usually a minimum of

90 days to receive notification if the property has been recommended to the national level. Once the application has been submitted to the National Register of Historic Places, a determination will be made within 45 days. For more information on the national criteria for designation and frequently asked questions, you may visit their website at www. Interestingly, once the designation has been made, the homeowner is actually responsible for acquiring a plaque for the property. In fact, the National Register does not require that the property have any plaque of designation. You just never know what secrets your own, unique home may hold. Whether historical in nature, architecturally interesting, or being registered on the National Register of Historic Places there still truly is, no place like home.

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603 East McMurray Road McMurray I PA I 15317 724.942.0940




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