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Plum Elementary Schools Celebrate “Read Across America” & More School

District NEWS

PLUS! Bell Choir of Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek

Resident Profile: Mike Bowman


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

IN Plum | SPRING 2012 |



Spring Kids Page ...............................

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Traveling Green It’s Easier Than You Think ...........................



Plum Elementary Schools Celebrate Read Across America Monroeville V4_Layout 1 3/7/12 12:45 PM Page 1


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

Let’s Get Physical

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

What’s Inside page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5


page 6 page 7

© 2012 UPMC

To Create the Ideal Hospital ... Start with a Dream Team Fit at Any Age Surviving Allergies: What You Can Do Putting Ergonomics to Work for You Brightening Lives With Light A Walk to Remember



Partnering with the Community for Excellence in Emergency Care


Plum Borough Resident Profile .......................................



Plum Creek Bell Choir ........................................................



Plum Library Happenings ..................................................



Plum Borough School District News ............................



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



Pressley Ridge School for Autism The Path to Full Potential ...............................................................



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Welcome to the Spring issue of Plum Magazine! Hopefully, we are all enjoying the lengthening days as we forge on to summer. While spring usually brings more rain to the region than we normally get throughout the rest of the year, I’m glad we’ve had a few days of nice weather to get outside and remember what the snow covered up. We’ve grown once again over the winter, and have shifted some staff around to accommodate that growth. I want to point this out because you, the readers, give us many of the great story ideas that you see featured in these pages, and I want you to have the right point of contact so that your story can be heard. The editor for the east region is Monica Haynes ( Please forward your good news to Monica , and she’ll make sure it finds a place in the magazine. If you’re not sure whether you have a good story, give Monica a call at 412.254.8704 and ask! While our editors have realigned into better-organized zones, we still want everything in those zones to be 100 percent local to you. We also appreciate your feedback (good and bad) to let us know where we missed the mark and where we hit it out of the park. Lastly, it’s not too soon to start thinking about the rest of the year! I know we just got through the holidays, and are thawing out, but since we’re quarterly, we’re already looking ahead to fall and beyond. So if you have events planned and would like to promote them, call or email Monica. If you have an event coming up earlier, let us know so we can send our photographers and document the occasion! Here’s hoping that the start to your year has been a good one!


Marybeth Jeffries REGIONAL EDITORS

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

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


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

Debbie Mountain GRAPHIC DESIGN

Cassie Brkich Anna Buzzelli Sharon Cobb Susie Doak

Jan McEvoy Joe Milne Tamara Tylenda


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

Wayne Dollard Publisher Welcome Spring! While June may not be busting out all over yet, hope springs eternal for warmer weather, blooming flowers, and more occasions to walk in the sunshine, and more opportunities to get out meet and your fellow residents and neighbors. Speaking of meeting your neighbors, in this edition of Plum, we meet local author Mike Bowman, who turned losing his job into an opportunity. This edition of Plum also includes all the wonderful things happening in the Plum School District. We also have a feature on the Bell Choir from the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek. Plum was also out at the Plum Borough Community Library to hang out with the Lego Club and the Teen Reading Lounge. Remember, this is your magazine. It’s about what’s happening in your community. So let us know what you want to read about, what’s going on, what’s important to you. For now, it’s time to think spring, and time to enjoy this edition of Plum Magazine!

Monica L. Haynes Eastern Regional Editor

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Ginni Hartle Brad Lauer

Kathleen Rudolph Gary Yon


Derek Bayer Tom Poljak

Tamara Myers


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

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

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

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

Attn: Editorial 603 E. McMurray Rd. Ph: 724.942.0940 McMurray, PA 15317 Fax: 724.942.0968 Summer content deadline: April 27 Please recycle this magazine when you are through enjoying it.

Plum | Spring 2012 | 3

Plum Borough

Resident Standing up to Profile the Bully By Matthew J. Fascetti

Mike Bowman Shares the Secrets to Knocking Out America’s Biggest Bully…Unemployment.


any of us have fallen prey to a bully during our school years. This tormentor instilled fear, anxiety and depression into our daily routine. It wasn’t until later in life that most of us realized the best way to deal with a bully is to confront them because most back down when challenged. In his new book, How To Scare The Hell Out Of Unemployment, Mike Bowman explains how we can use the same principle against America’s most prominent bully, unemployment. Bowman is a native of Butler, and has been a Verona resident for the past 10 years. He is a graduate of Duquesne University with a degree in financial planning. Currently, Bowman works as founder and owner of The Quarter Roll magazine, a publication about personal finance issues told through the stories of celebrities and individuals from every walk of life. With his experience and knowledge, Bowman has molded How To Scare The Hell Out Of Unemployment into the ultimate guidebook to not just surviving unemployment, but conquering it swiftly and confidently. He has sold 1,100 books since October, and said he was driven to write it after experiencing both sides of unemployment.

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A few years ago, Bowman was working at Roomful Express when the company’s difficult economic time hit. In his position, he sometimes had to tell co-workers that they were being laid off. Their reactions really hit home. “Some were shocked and didn’t know what to say, others got angry and others cried,” he said. It wasn’t long until the entire company collapsed and Bowman lost his job in 2010. It was then that he formulated an aggressive plan to tackle unemployment head on; a plan that would eventually lead to the creation of How To Scare The Hell Out Of Unemployment. While many people become depressed and lose selfesteem when a job is lost, Bowman had a different idea… he attacked. “The first thing you should do when you lose your job is call everyone you know and tell them what happened, and let them know you are looking for work,” he said. “Utilize family, friends, anyone you have ever done business with.” It is simple odds, the more people that know you are looking the better chance something will materialize. Another important point to remember when becoming unemployed is simply to get out of your house and hit the pavement, the sooner the better. In this day and age of

constant resume bombardment, most resumes end up in an employer’s trash can. It is vital to knock on doors, and network yourself through job fairs, your local Chamber of Commerce and other community groups. The unemployed should also be realistic about where they are financially. Even with unemployment benefits your income is going to be considerably less until you find your next job, so it is essential to develop a common sense plan. As outlined in great detail in this book, it is possible to maintain your lifestyle while living on less money by doing things such as reducing your cell phone plan and couponing, just to name a few. Bowman also points out that a key component to regaining employment is to have a secondary marketable skill. Having only one skill limits your options. The more

Mike Bowman

“Utilize family, friends, anyone you have ever done business with” – Mike Bowman you can offer an employer, the better chance you will be chosen over another candidate. These are just a few of the strategies for combating unemployment that are discussed in this book. Other strategies include: tips on health, how to strategically plan each day, financial planning, best ways and places to find jobs, resume and job interview strategies, how to make the Internet work for you, working from home, how to avoid the psychological pitfalls of unemployment and a list of valuable resources to utilize during this trying time. Through his own experiences, Bowman has been able to help others stand up to the bully of unemployment. How To Scare The Hell Out Of Unemployment is available for purchase at For more ongoing and updated tips on unemployment you can visit, and for financial news visit Plum | Spring 2012 | 5

Bell Ringers The

of the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek Photos by

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andbell ringing has a long and storied history.

According to some sources, handbells were created to give the ringers of large bells located in church towers the opportunity to practice without being exposed to the elements. The first handbells were cast in 1660 by William and Robert Cor of Wiltshire, England. However, after awhile, handbell ringers began playing melodies with the handbells instead of using them just to practice for the large bells. “By the end of the 18th century, nearly every village in England had its own handbell choir,” according to the History of English Handbell Ringing website. While the handbell choir of the Presbyterian Church of Plum Creek has not been around quite as long, some of its members have enjoyed being part of the group for more than 20 years. One such member is Karen Delo. “I’m one of the original members,” she said. Delo explained that the church had always had a youth handbell choir and had owned handbells for more than 30 years. About 22 years ago, the church’s musical director at the time started a handbell choir for adults. Gloria Mayo has been the bell choir director for about five years, and was a member of the choir prior to becoming its director. She is also the church’s interim music director. “I’ve been involved in music since I was in elementary school,” she said. “I started piano when I was six, and I’ve just been in music ever since.” While handbell choir members don’t necessarily need to have the kind of musical background as Mayo, she said, it does help to have some rudimentary knowledge. “What most of our choir members do is circle their notes,” she said. Some will circle the left hand in red and the right hand in blue. “Even with that, it helps to know how long a half note is held, how long a quarter note is held, things like that,” Mayo said. She selects a variety of music for the choir, everything from traditional hymns to more Continued next page Plum | Spring 2012 | 7

contemporary Christian music. “You’d be amazed what’s out there for bells,” Mayo said. “There’s some really nice arrangements of just about anything that you would want.” As a child growing up in Minnesota, Mayo played in her church’s bell choir. When she joined Plum Creek, she “jumped at the opportunity” to play in the bell choir there, she said. “When the musical director left, the then-pastor’s wife encouraged me to take over the direction of the choir,” Mayo said. The church’s bell choir has 10 members plus the director. Members range in age from a 10th grade student (one of Mayo’s daughters) to those in their mid-50s. “We perform once a month, a little bit more during the Lenten and Advent seasons,” Mayo said. The choir uses handbells made by England’s Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which has been around since 1570. Delo said her children, who are now young adults, started out with the youth handbell choir and then later rang with the adult choir as they got older. Asked what she enjoys about be-

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ing part of the choir, Delo said, “It’s fellowship with a group of believers, but it’s also one other avenue to worship the Lord through music.” Karen Ewing, one of the church’s newer members, joined the bell choir shortly after she joined the church about three and a half years ago. Like Mayo, she grew up being involved in music at her childhood church. “We had a bell choir and a youth bell choir so I played bells most of my life,” said Ewing, who also played clarinet throughout her school years in the East Allegheny School District. “It’s a different way to worship God,” she said of being in the bell choir. “I don’t have a good voice. I can’t do it by singing. Playing the bells – I enjoy being able to worship God in that way.”

Plum Borough Community Library


The Future Builders of America Children ages 5 and up bring their imagination and building skills to the library to create Lego masterpieces. They enjoy one hour of unstructured free play time.

Plum | Spring 2012 | 9

Statewide Roadside Cleanup Planned, Volunteers Needed PennDOT is seeking volunteers for this year’s Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania, which begins March 1 and runs through May 31. “Cleanup events like this have been a great success in improving the quality of life for Pennsylvanians by creating cleaner roadsides and communities,” said Secretary Barry Schoch. “Many dedicated residents return year after year to show their support, and I encourage more Pennsylvanians to show pride in our state through these great opportunities.” Interested volunteers can find a listing of cleanup events, resources for organizing a cleanup group and other information at Many of PennDOT’s 7,100 Adopt-A-Highway groups, who collect trash yearround, also join in this event. Visit and click on “PennDOT near you” for the phone number of the nearest PennDOT District Office to sign up for Adopt-A-Highway. Last year, more than 159,000 volunteers collected 7 million pounds of trash from 13,140 miles of roads, trails and shorelines during the Great American Cleanup of Pennsylvania. Additionally, PennDOT’s Adopt-AHighway volunteers picked up more than 3.5 million pounds of trash along more than 10,000 miles of roadway during the cleanup event last year. PennDOT provides gloves, trash bags and safety vests to cleanup volunteers.

Plum Borough Community Library

upcoming events Plum Borough Community Library will celebrate the American Library Association’s One Book, One Community, This I Believe, featured title with a free 6-week life story writing class that will focus on storytelling skills aimed to help participants get their life stories down on paper. Anyone who has a story to tell or anyone who simply likes to tell stories is welcome to join the group which will meet from 1-3 p.m. on Fridays beginning April 13 and continuing until May 18. The leader of the group is Elizabeth Anne Kim; registration is necessary, so please come to the Library or call 412.798.7323 to register. The 2012 Summer Reading Program for individuals of all ages will begin on June 11 and will continue until the end of July. For more information on this and all other library programs, go to our website: and click on our online calendar “EventKeeper,” or call the library at 412.793.7323. (Summer Reading information will be available on EventKeeper soon.) The Plum Community Library Friends group has been recently reorganized. Friends of libraries are citizens who value the service of libraries and volunteer to help them. The first organizational meeting was held on March 5, 2012. If you are interested in joining, please contact Library Director Marilyn Klingensmith at 412.798.7323, or inquire at the library. 10 724.942.0940 to advertise |




...Leading The Way A

Message from Dr. Glasspool Parents and Residents, Spring is in the air in Plum Borough. Our students are preparing for the final nine-week term, SATs, AP exams, and the PSSAs. Scholar-athletes, thespians, musicians, and artists are poised for our spring drama productions, concerts, shows, and athletic competitions. I encourage you to attend one of our exciting extracurricular activities to help break out of your winter slumber. The use of technology in our daily lives continues to compound, and our classrooms are no different. The seamless integration of new technologies into our classrooms is rapidly expanding our scope of education and enhancing and extending learning opportunities. Throughout our classrooms children are using web-based products that allow students to access learning resources anywhere and at any time. We have expanded the number of smart classrooms, iPads, laptops, software, online resources, and teacher websites. Please visit our website ( to view a short video highlighting technology integration. As you know through a variety of media sources, the landscape of public education is changing rapidly. Leading stories describe lagging test scores, students leaving for cyber/ charter schools, and budgets in the red. Even though we are

facing challenging financial times, this is not the case in Plum Borough. The upcoming budget is particularly difficult and the Board of School Directors and administration are working hard to ensure that Plum provides a high-quality education for our children in a fiscally responsible manner for our residents. We will devote several pages of our summer IN Plum issue to the 2012-2013 budget prior to final board approval. Preliminary budget information is available on our website under the School Board tab. Last year we conducted our strategic plan midpoint review as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) focusing on curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The district is in the early stages of developing a five-year Operations Plan to align financial forecasting and budgeting, facility operations, academic programming, and support services. This Operations Plan will complement our PDE Strategic Plan and provide the district with economic stability and educational excellence for years to come. This current issue of IN Plum is packed with articles showcasing a small cross section of our outstanding programs, learning activities, and student highlights. I encourage you to visit our district website ( and individual school webpages to view more exciting activities in our district. Best Regards, Dr. Timothy S. Glasspool

Plum | Spring 2012 | 11




...Leading The Way

New Administrators Continue the Tradition of Excellence


anuary 2012 brought many changes for Plum Borough School District in the administrative staff. We would like to introduce our new administrators and share a brief outline of their backgrounds. The new Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Guy Rossi, graduated from Geneva College where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and his Master’s degree in Reading from Slippery Rock University. His teaching career began as a seventh and eighth grade teacher at St. John Catholic School in Monaca. He then moved on to become a reading specialist and later a first grade teacher with the New Brighton Area School District. Dr. Rossi indicated that teaching first grade was such a rewarding experience. In 2001, Dr. Rossi was hired as an assistant principal in the Pine-Richland School District. Later, he became the building principal. Spending 10 years as an administrator in the Pine-Richland School District enabled Dr. Rossi to become a hands-on administrator whose focus was on meeting the needs of all students in a caring and supportive environment. As the assistant superintendent of the Plum Borough School District, one of his main responsibilities will be overseeing the District’s K-12 curriculum. One of Dr. Rossi’s goals is to establish a curriculum renewal cycle that focuses on a pursuit of continuous improvement that helps drive gains in student achievement. Additionally, he wants to ensure that the district is ready and able to meet future academic expectations/demands. Dr. Rossi is married with two sons and lives in Monroeville. Director of Administrative Services Michael Brewer will oversee facilities, food service, transportation, human resources, purchasing, bids and e-rate. Mr. Brewer received his Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences and Mathematics from California University of Pennsylvania as a Presidential Scholar. He went on to earn his Master of Business Administration degree from City University, and is currently enrolled in a Doctoral program at Northcentral University with an anticipated completion in the fall of 2012. Prior to his position at Plum Borough School District, Mr. Brewer worked as Director of Advising and Mathematics Instructor at California University

Dr. Guy Rossi

Mr. Michael Brewer

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Dr. Christopher Davis Mr. Jeff Hadley Ms. Kathleen Shirey of Pennsylvania. In his spare time, outside of work and continuing his education, Mr. Brewer also teaches math and science at some local community colleges. One of his goals as the director of administrative services is to collaboratively develop and implement the Plum Borough School District’s shared vision and mission plan throughout the various areas he manages. He wants to provide the best customer service and information to the public, our constituents, students and fellow workers while pursuing the collective objectives of our school board and planning for the long-term maintenance, modernization and formation of districtwide initiatives. Director of Educational Technology and Plum alumnus, Dr. Christopher Davis’ educational background includes two Bachelor’s degrees in Social Studies Education and Psychology from Clarion University, a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology from Duquesne University and a Doctorate in Instructional Management Leadership from Robert Morris University. He began his career teaching high school social studies at Spring Grove Area School District (York County, Pa.) before moving to West Shore School District as the Student Information System Administrator. He moved back to the Pittsburgh area in 2004 and became an application specialist at Duquesne University and most recently worked at Robert Morris University as Director of Educational Technology and adjunct professor in the School of Education and Social Sciences. Dr. Davis also teaches undergraduate courses at Point Park University and Butler County Community College in the areas of business information technology and political science. Dr. Davis resides in Plum with his wife, Jennifer, and their four children. One of Dr. Davis’ goals is to increase the usage of technology in the classroom through the new “bring your own device” policy and by providing better training and education to the teachers of the district in the

integration of technology into the classroom. Other focal points for Dr. Davis are online education, e-textbooks, and cloud computing. Mr. Jeff Hadley is the new principal at Center Elementary School. Mr. Hadley is a true blue (and gold) Pitt fan, by first earning his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology then a Master’s in Elementary Education, then on to his Principal Certification at the University of Pittsburgh where he is currently enrolled in a Doctoral program. Mr. Hadley began his teaching career as a fifth grade teacher at O’Hara Elementary School in the Fox Chapel Area School District. Advancing because of his education, Mr. Hadley became the Assistant Principal at Riverview Junior/Senior High School before coming to Center Elementary. As the new principal, Mr. Hadley would like to continue the wonderful tradition of academic excellence at Center Elementary School. Additionally, he looks forward to getting to know the students and families who make up this amazing school. It will take some time, but Mr. Hadley looks forward to greeting every student and parent by name. Creating a positive and fun school climate is very important to him. Although Center Elementary will always focus on every student reaching his or her full academic potential, Mr. Hadley also wants to see students excited about and enjoying their education. The mark of a successful day at Center Elementary will be seeing students with smiles on their faces coming and going each day with a thirst and excitement for learning. Successfully reaching each student’s potential is one of the goals of Ms. Kathleen Shirey, Supervisor of Special Education/ Principal of Regency Park. She began her education career by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She then earned a Master’s degree from Penn State University in Curriculum and Instruction. Still learning, she went on to receive her Principal Certification Plum | Spring 2012 | 13




...Leading The Way

Mr. Bob Holleran from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Superintendent Letter of Eligibility from California University of Pennsylvania. Ms. Shirey’s teaching career began at Kiski Area School District teaching second grade and she was then promoted to head teacher. Later she moved to the Highlands School District as an elementary principal. Then three years into her principal position, she took on the additional tasks of Supervisor of Elementary Reading and Director of Early Childhood Programs. Ms. Shirey, as the new Supervisor of Special Education/Regency Park Principal, would like to continue to build strong Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) both at Regency Park and with the Special Education Department. She is a strong believer that working as a team with common goals and mutual respect allows every person to be involved which produces greater successes for staff, students, and parents. At the end of the day, Ms. Shirey thoroughly enjoys the time spent with her two daughters, Samantha, 17, and Amber 7. Mr. Bob Holleran, Facilities Supervisor, has been working with Plum Borough School District since October 2011. Prior to coming to Plum, Mr. Holleran spent 4½ years as Assistant Facilities Supervisor at Bethel Park School District. Before that, he worked two years for Upper St. Clair School District. Mr. Holleran, in a short period of time, has become a vital team member at Plum Borough School District. He thoroughly enjoys his much shorter ride home to Springdale. Although new to administrative positions, the next two administrators are not new to Plum Borough School District. Mr. Scott Mergen, Transportation Manager, began as a mechanic for Plum Borough School District in 2003. While working as a mechanic, Mr. Mergen began his pursuit of a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and Marketing at Penn State University. Prior to working for Plum, Mr. Mergen worked as a service advisor at Hunter Truck Sales & Services. Before that, Mr. Mergen began his career as a mechanic at Don Martin Trucking. While he appreciates the mild winter, he wants to assure parents that he is prepared for any storms headed our way. Operation Snowfall is ready at a moment’s notice.

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Mr. Scott Mergen

Mr. Daniel Reinhard

Mr. Daniel Reinhard is the new Assistant Transportation Supervisor. Mr. Reinhard began his career as a Port Authority Bus Driver for three years before being promoted to Division Dispatcher for Port Authority, where he worked for 22 years. Upon retiring from the Port Authority, Mr. Reinhard began as a bus driver for Plum Borough School District in 2008. Somewhere between working, coaching football and soccer, and raising a daughter, Mr. Reinhard earned his Associate Degree in Business Management from Community College of Allegheny County. He lives in Plum with his wife, Robin, and their daughter. Please join us in welcoming the newest members of our administrative staff. Each member of the Plum Borough School District administrative staff works tirelessly to promote education by providing academically challenging materials for our students in a safe learning environment. Working together, administrators, teachers, and support staff, with the help of parents and community members, will build a strong educational foundation for the students of Plum Borough.



900 Elicker Road Plum, PA 15239 District Information Line 412.795.0100 ext. 1

3411 Leechburg Road Plum, PA 15239 Phone: 412.795.3600

Dr. Timothy Glasspool Superintendent Extension 6359 Dr. Guy Rossi Assistant Superintendent Extension 6352 Mr. Eugene Marraccini Director of Business Affairs Extension 6356 Mr. Michael Brewer Director of Administrative Services Extension 6370 Dr. Christopher Davis Director of Educational Technology Extension 6319 Ms. Kathleen Shirey Supervisor of Special Education Extension 6368

Mr. Scott Mergen Transportation Manager Extension 6388 Mr. Dan Reinhard Assistant Transportation Manager Extension 6369 SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Mr. Joseph Fishell Principal Extension 6325 ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS ADLAI STEVENSON 313 Holiday Park Drive Plum, PA 15239 Phone: 412.798.6335

PLUM HIGH SCHOOL 900 Elicker Road Plum, PA 15239 Phone: 412.795.4880

Mr. Jason Knisely Principal Extension 6330

Mr. Ryan Kociela Principal Extension 6312

CENTER 201 Center-New Texas Road Plum, PA 15239 Phone: 412.795.4420

Mr. Michael Loughren Assistant Principal Extension 6311 Mr. Justin Stephans Assistant Principal Extension 6313

Mrs. Dawn Andrews School Psychologist Extension 6358

Mr. Robert Alpino Athletic Director Extension 6318

Mr. Bob Holleran Facilities Supervisor Extension 6366

Mr. Jeff Wolfe Director of Student Activities/ Assist. Athletic Director/Safety Administrator Extension 6310

Mrs. Maryann Lazzaro Food Service Supervisor Extension 6367

OBLOCK JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL 440 Presque Isle Drive Plum, PA 15239 Phone: 412.798.6322

Mr. Jeffrey Hadley Principal Extension 6380 HOLIDAY PARK 4795 Havana Drive Plum, PA 15239 Phone: 412.795.4430 Mr. Francis Sciullo Principal Extension 6375

PIVIK 100 School Road Plum, PA 15239 Phone: 412.795.4580 Dr. Gail Yamnitzky Principal Extension 6384 REGENCY PARK 606 Millers Lane Plum, PA 15239 Phone: 412.795.0660 Ms. Kathleen Shirey Principal Extension 6372 The Office of U.S. Representative Jason Altmire and Plum Borough School District will host an Internet Safety Workshop on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 7p.m. Representatives from Facebook and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office will present information responsible social networking, privacy settings, online safety, and related topics. Federal resources on internet safety will also be available from the Federal Trade Commission. The workshop is open to students and their families, teachers and staff, Borough residents, and interested individuals in surrounding communities. The event will take place in the Oblock Junior High School Auditorium, 440 Presque Isle Drive, Plum, PA 15239. For additional information, contact Congressman Altmire’s office at 724.226.1304 or Plum Borough School District at 412.798.6359

Plum | Spring 2012 | 15




...Leading The Way

Engineering Program Evolves at Plum High School


he Plum High Robotics Team has evolved into much more than an afterschool activity. Through the leadership and initiative of technology teacher Mr. Martin Griffith, corporate sponsors are donating materials for our engineering program and Robitics competition. Cygnus Manufacturing has provided our technology education department with router bits for the CNC (computer numerical control) router and additional materials such as plastics and aluminum. Mr. Joe Karpinski, Engineering Supervisor at Cygnus Manufacturing Company, LLC, has been a driving force in providing support, insight, and materials for the program. As it reads on the bottom of Mr. Karpinski’s e-mails, “Leaders help people join forces to bring about positive results.” The Cygnus Manufacturing Company sponsors two high school robotics teams. In addition to his company’s sponsorship, Mr. Karpinski will host tours for Plum High School engineering students in April and plans to offer job-shadowing opportunities to students seeking engineering careers. Plum graduates studying engineering in college can contact Cygnus for internship opportunities. Mr. Karpinski has reached out to other industry leaders for assistance. Curbell Plastics has donated polycarbonate and other plastics worth $3,000 to the program. As soon as the plastic from the company arrived, students began constructing a small battlebot arena to test their creations. Other notable partnerships and donations have come from Jennison Corporation (the main sponsor for the Battlebots Program), Precision Machining, Clinton Aluminum, Apogee Technologies, J & C Hobbies, Hamill Manufacturing Company, DLK Performance, University of Pittsburgh (MAC), Keystone Rustproofing, Inc., NTMA, and United States Air Force. With the generous contri-

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butions of local companies, the engineering program at Plum High School continues to keep pace with technology. In an effort to infuse new engineering innovations into our curricular and extra-curricular program, Mr. Griffith has contacted Mr. George Fortin, creator of the electric ZKart. Mr. Griffith is in the process of developing curriculum to build an electric car. As part of the process, he has enlisted Mr. Fortin’s assistance through an interactive web-based communication tool called Skype. Hands-on learning has always been part of Plum High School and with the cooperation of corporate America, we will continue to grow and evolve. Plum Borough School District is looking for additional business and industry partners to grow our educational program and economic region. Please contact Superintendent Dr. Glasspool if your company is interested in exploring partnership opportunities.


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

Let’s Get Physical

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

© 2012 UPMC

What’s Inside page 2

To Create the Ideal Hospital ... Start with a Dream Team

page 3

Fit at Any Age

page 4

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

page 5

Brightening Lives With Light

page 6

A Walk to Remember

page 7

Partnering with the Community for Excellence in Emergency Care

To Create the Ideal Hospital ...


DreamTeam Ultimately, the people who work there will be the defining difference at UPMC East — the first new hospital in Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs in more than three decades. If you’ve ever been hospitalized, you probably have more than a few ideas on how your stay could have been made more comfortable or the quality of your care improved. For the last few years, planning the ideal patient experience has been the full-time job of Mark Sevco, president of UPMC East, UPMC’s newest facility opening July 2012. “Our goal is to bring a world-class community hospital to the eastern region with the kind of medical excellence, technology, and care that will make us the destination of choice for patients,” he says.

Building a dream team The first step in creating the ideal hospital? Recruit a dream team staff. “At UPMC East, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create our own work culture from the ground up,” says Mr. Sevco. “We want a team of associates with more than just outstanding skills. We’re looking for staff who will embrace UPMC’s core values and are committed to providing the best in patient care at every level.”

Selecting associates who will thrive Michael Anderson, vice president for Human Resources at UPMC East, is spearheading efforts to hire more than 400 new staff before UPMC East opens its doors. An experienced management team is now in place at UPMC East, and more than 500 high quality UPMC and private practice physicians from throughout the area have already requested medical staff privileges. “The community shares our excitement about the opportunities here,” notes Mr. Anderson. “More than 3,000 people attended our job fair in February. We’ve also received tremendous interest on Facebook, and through e-mails, letters, and phone calls.” The recruiting process strives to identify individuals who will thrive in UPMC East’s patient-focused culture and contribute to its growth.“Any hospital can add state-of-the-art technology or create beautiful patient rooms. While those are important, we know we’ll ultimately be judged on the quality of our people and how we treat and care for our patients,” says Mr. Anderson.

That’s why, in addition to interviews and careful reviews of their background and experience, all new staff — from clinical to clerical — will complete an online assessment designed to determine their competencies in five key areas: • • • • •

Focus on patients and customers Dignity and respect Integrity Teamwork Continuous improvement

“Depending on the job, there are other competencies we’ll be measuring as well,” says Mr. Anderson. They include adaptability, dependability, professionalism, leadership, and critical thinking.

Working toward opening day “Our plan is to be fully operational when we open our doors in July,” notes Mr. Sevco. Staff will begin working at the hospital in early May. “During the 60 days before opening, we’ll literally test drive every part of the hospital, from making sure our equipment and labs are running smoothly to simulating the actual patient experience. The minute people come through our doors, we want them to know we are prepared and ready. Our goal is to make them feel welcomed and at home!” For more information about UPMC East, visit


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

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

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

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

Getting started

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

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

Should you see a doctor first? You’re 50 years old and a pack-a-day smoker. You also have high blood pressure, and you haven’t exercised since Ronald Reagan was president. Should you see your doctor before hitting the local gym? “Regular exercise is the best gift you can give yourself. But it’s important to use common sense when getting started,” says Robert Kaufmann, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at UPMC, 600 Oxford Drive in Monroeville. If you’re in generally good health and starting off with light to moderate physical activity, an extensive medical workup probably isn’t necessary. “But if you’ve been diagnosed with any medical condition, have been sedentary for some time, or are at risk for potential heart problems, it’s essential to talk to your doctor,” advises Dr. Kaufmann. “Working together, you and your doctor can create the right exercise plan based on your age, physical condition, family history, and other key factors.” If you’re over the age of 40, visit to take the American College of Sports Medicine’s Physical Activity Readiness Self-Exam.



Health Tips from UPMC Health Plan

Surviving Allergies:

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

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

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

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


Putting Ergonomics to Work for You

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

Brightening Lives with Light

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

New treatment shows bright promise

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

How and why it works

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

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

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

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

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



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

Megan Dow was an athletic, carefree 27-year-old with so much to look forward to — from her upcoming wedding to a new house and barn. But a freak ATV accident on Memorial Day 2010 changed her life in an instant, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. It took a week for Megan to realize her broken neck and back wouldn’t be a quick fix and another six months to acknowledge that her paralysis might have permanent effects. Despite the diagnosis, the Negley, Ohio, resident was determined to walk down the aisle on her wedding day 16 months later. “What means more to a girl than walking down the aisle at her wedding?” asks Megan, who became engaged just weeks before the accident.

Regaining the life she lost Initially, she couldn’t sit up without help and wore braces to support her back, neck, and legs. “I went from doing everything to not being able to brush my teeth; from being able to throw a bale of hay to not being able to pick up a gallon of milk,” Megan says. An avid outdoorswoman, Megan longed to return to her activities, including horseback riding, camping, volunteering as a 4H Club adviser, and working as an interior designer. “I absolutely loved the life I had before the accident. I had to work to bring these things back into my life,” she says.


At the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute’s spinal cord injury unit at UPMC Mercy, Megan’s team of specialists put her to work four hours a day, six days a week in an intensive rehabilitation program. Luckily, she had use of her quadriceps, which allowed her to walk with the help of braces and a walker. Slowly, she relearned everyday skills like dressing herself and walking. She also learned new skills, such as transferring to a shower chair from her wheelchair, and did exercises to build her strength. Megan vowed she’d walk without the walker by that Christmas (a goal she met by Thanksgiving) and down the aisle without a cane. A few weeks before her wedding, Megan donned her gown and practiced walking in the gym with her physical therapist.

Walking happily into the future On her wedding day — Oct. 1, 2011 — Megan did walk down the aisle. Among the guests were her UPMC doctor, physical therapist, and occupational therapist. “They’re a huge part of my life and the reason I’m where I am today. They had to be there!” exclaims Megan. “I’m so grateful to everyone at the Rehabilitation Institute. They gave me the tools I needed, and they encouraged and steered me in the right direction.”

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

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

Partnering with the Community forExcellenceinEmergencyCare Long before the opening of UPMC East this summer, Emergency Department staff began developing relationships with area emergency medical services (EMS) providers. Their mutual goal: to ensure prompt, quality care for area patients when time is of the essence. When the Emergency Department (ED) at UPMC East opens in July, EMS providers from throughout the region will be familiar with its layout, procedures, and people. That’s because the ED team at UPMC East has joined emergency workers on emergency runs, and EMS workers have visited the new facility. “When it comes to providing emergency care, mutual understanding is key,” says Tamra Minton, chief nursing officer and vice president of Patient Care Services at UPMC East. “We value the incredible work EMS professionals provide, and we’re committed to providing them with the support and technology they need.” That includes access to a room at UPMC East that is specifically designated for emergency simulation training in real-life emergencies like cardiac arrest or breathing difficulties.

Working together to help save lives According to Ms. Minton, nearly two dozen EMS companies from throughout the UPMC East service area — eastern Allegheny County, Westmoreland County, Indiana County, and Armstrong County — have toured the new ED and have received information about its services. “Emergency workers need to know where to go and what to expect when they come in our doors,” says Tim VanFleet, MD, medical director of Emergency Services at UPMC East. “Community paramedic services are stretched thin. Our job is to get them back into service quickly after coming to us with an emergency.” Patient information will be transferred electronically to the nursing staff and back to the EMS station, so that paramedics can drop off the patient, get restocked, and be back in service in about 20 minutes.

High-tech care with a personal touch Dr. VanFleet says UPMC East brings a new, full-service, state-of-the-art ED to the eastern suburbs. Technology incorporated into the design will mean a more streamlined process with shorter wait times for patients and emergency workers. An electronic tracking board will inform arriving EMS exactly where to take patients. The ED’s electronic system includes bedside registration and records, allowing doctors to “spend more quality time seeing patients and giving care in a timely fashion,” says Dr. VanFleet.

UPMC East ED Special Features • 22 treatment rooms, including two extra-large resuscitation rooms to accommodate a team of doctors and nurses. • Breakaway doors on all exam rooms, allowing multiple emergency workers to move through with patients and equipment. • Smart glass technology, enabling care staff to monitor patients through clear glass or switch instantly to opaque for patient privacy. This technology eliminates curtains and improves infection control. • Point-of-care testing, providing diagnostic testing at the patient’s bedside in as little as 15 minutes, enabling doctors to make quicker treatment decisions. Radiology services are conveniently located adjacent to the ED. • Telemedicine services, allowing “virtual consultations” with UPMC specialists, such as a neurologist, plastic surgeon, or burn expert, who can see and talk to the patient, family members, and doctors, view data, and help assess and determine treatment. • High-tech beds, offering built-in fall alarms and electronic controls patients can use to make adjustments.




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 physician’s medical assessment. Always consult first with your physician about anything related to your personal health.

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OPENING SUMMER 2012 For more information, visit

Community Service Alive & Well at PHS


he Girls’ Leaders Association (GLA) at Plum Senior High School is celebrating its Golden Jubilee – 50th year in existence this school year. Club founder and driving force behind GLA is Ms. Marilyn Bott, a retired health and physical education teacher at the high school who started the group as a service club for girls. After teaching for 36 years, she retired in 2000 and handed over the leadership to Ms. Susan Pinal then Ms. Kristy Smethwick, who took over until 2002 when Mrs. Rose Shrout began as its sponsor. This year, Ms. Amy Griska is joining Mrs. Shrout in sponsoring the club. The purpose of the club is to provide a service or funds to individuals or groups of the community in need. Many of the projects are the same each year but where there’s a need, the group continues finding ways to serve those who require help. Each school year, GLA participates in approximately 40 projects, such as: upkeep of historic Laird Cemetery on the corner of Saltsburg and New Texas Roads; acting as guides at Open House; sponsoring the Breast Cancer Walk; hosting Halloween parties at different senior citizen facilities; supporting four blood drives each school year; participating in Operation Christmas Child (shoeboxes of toys); delivering poinsettias while caroling at assisted living facilities; collecting gifts for Presents for Patients; collecting donations for the Plum Food Pantry and Supplies for Soldiers; assisting with the Holiday Park United Methodist Church Easter Egg Hunt; and this year, hosting a talent show.




...Leading The Way

To raise money for various projects, GLA members sell Mardi Gras beads at home football games and sponsor car washes throughout the year. Membership in the club numbers around 100 in grades 9-12. Each girl learns important life qualities that develop by assisting others — leadership, responsibility, character, enthusiasm, and service. These skills carry through with our young girls as they continue in life’s journeys and make a positive impact on their lives as well as the lives of others in the community. We hope that the Plum community will continue to support the efforts of these fine girls who reach out to help others in need. As GLA’s motto states, “If only all the hands that reach…could touch.” 1) Ashley Wunschel (GLA Co-VP), and Shea Metzgar walking the PHS track during the Breast Cancer Walk in Oct., 2011; $900 was raised for the Pa. Breast Cancer Coalition 2) Mike Hoysen donates blood for GLA in the Dec. 2011 blood drive 3) Poinsettia delivery at Ridgewood Assisted Living facility (60 plants delivered in Dec., 2011) L to R (top): Amy Griska (Ass’t Sponsor), Kristina Matvey, Nina Linhart, Rose Shrout (Sponsor) L to R (bottom): Leanna Plunkett, Allison Pietryga 4) GLA girls sing carols and visis residents of Independence Court in Monroeville (Dec. 12, 2011) 5) ‘Presents for Patients’ at Independence Court in Monroeville: Lauren Cupps and Courtney Yuska (Pres.) present gifts to one of the residents (Dec. 12, 2011)

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...Leading The Way

Sweet Charity


Plum High School Spring Musical

fter an electrifying performance of Footloose in 2011, the students of Plum High School are returning to wow the crowds with another fantastic production on the school’s stage. This time, the students are taking on Sweet Charity. The show first opened on Broadway in 1966 at the Palace Theater under the direction of the infamous Bob Fosse, and has since become a musical theater classic. The story revolves around Charity Hope Valentine, a naïve dance hall hostess at the Fandango Ballroom who has terrible luck with men. Charity, along with her friends from the ballroom, dream about life on the outside – a better life than what they’re living, filled with love and happiness. After being disappointed by Vittorio Vidal, a famous movie star, Charity continues with her search for true love acceptance. She then meets Oscar, a nervous tax accountant, and he shows her a love she’s never experienced before. But even after some wonderful times with Oscar, Charity can’t seem to find true love. But she doesn’t let that stop her. Alexa Anderson, who plays Charity in Plum’s production, says that audiences will admire Charity’s optimism: “She always finds herself [discovering] love but never being able to keep it,” says Alexa. “What I love about her is that she never stops looking; she keeps her head high and moves on.” 26 724.942.0940 to advertise |


Rehearsals for Plum’s show started in behind the scenes of Plum musicals,” he January and will continue through March. comments. “You will build extremely tight Over one hundred students are involved in friendships with the [people] around you, the production this year. Student director and it will be unlike any other experience and senior, Amanda Rees, is excited about you have ever encountered.” what the students have to offer and how These friendships and fun times are hard everyone works. what keep the students coming back each “Work won’t stop until the curtain year to participate in the show. While the comes down the final night,” she says. audiences have the privilege of watching “Everyone is really good about coming a wonderful show onstage each year, untogether to get things done well. They fortunately they miss what all the students are always encouraging each other and would agree to be the best part about having fun.” This attitude is most certainly evident in the production. The cast, crew, and rmation o f n I t e k pit orchestra all pay close Tic Charity t e e w S attention to detail and are r fo h 22 currently in the process of ursday, Marc ates are Th d . creating something fabulous. w .m o p h 7 s 24 at Our rday, March “It will be a wonderful through Satu uditorium. A l o o h igh Sc production when all is said in the Plum H . and done,” Amanda says. ts are $8 e k c i t l l A rin The audiences that come ntact Mrs. E ts, please co ke c ti r . to Plum’s production will see a u 21 yo 82 e nsion To reserv 795.4880 exte fantastic show, but they won’t Morris at 412. urs are posted on see the chemistry between Box office ho te at chool websi the cast, crew, and orchestra ome.aspx. Plum High S seniorhigh_h um pl s/ .u pa 2. ars old offstage. Senior cast member, www.pbsd.k1 at least 60 ye re a o h w ts n Ryan Pietryga, says that the rd for one Plum reside nior Gold ca musical is an experience that is can use a Se sical. on to the mu free admissi memorable and quite worth the Plum High le availab at re a s rd a c ld effort: y through Senior Go ffice Monda o e c n a d n e tt “There are countless learnof of age School a p.m. with pro 2 – . ). .m a 9 y ing experiences and fun times Frida ver’s license how your dri (s y c n e d si and re

Adlai Stevenson Elementary

T the production: the laughs, friendship building, and fun times that occur between the first rehearsal and the last curtain call. Not only is the show an incredibly enjoyable experience for all the students involved, but it also gives them a sense of accomplishment. Senior cast member, Chris Boggess, says that he feels the musical productions at Plum have positively affected him. “Because of musical I get to expand my circle of friends. I feel like it challenges me to do new things and push my boundaries.” The experience certainly encourages many students to step out of their comfort zones and to try new things. This, senior cast member Bryan Romell says, is what makes musical so special, “[We are]able to put together a show we are truly proud of.” On opening night, the audience will most definitely see why the students participating in Plum’s production of Sweet Charity have a reason to be proud. Great music, fantastic performances, and a hilarious script will put smiles on many faces when the show plays from March 22nd through March 24th. Thanks to the hard work and determination of everyone involved, Sweet Charity will be nothing short of fantastic, and audiences will not walk away disappointed. – By Jonathan Andrew

continues to focus on learning and improvement throughout the year.

his year we have focused on providing students with support at all levels. For the continued support of all students, a school based intervention program is in place. Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTII), as it is referred to, provides a daily time for intervention support and enrichment of students. Students have RTII time once a day for 30 minutes. During this time students have the opportunity to receive additional instruction as needed. For students with academic or behavioral difficulty, a team works together as effective problem solvers. This team includes the principal, teachers, parents, and professional support staff. Using data, assessments, and differentiated approaches, teachers will design lessons to meet the needs of students. Students are progress monitored every two weeks to adjust their instruction based on their needs. Students also have the opportunity to extend and enrich learning during this time. A prime example of this is our sixth grade students publishing our school newspaper The Adlai Times. You can visit our website to read the latest edition of the school newspaper at The University of Pittsburgh’s Mobile Science Lab recently visited Adlai Stevenson. Adlai’s PTA graciously organized the activity to coincide with our Science Fair. Students in grades four through six were given the opportunity to try real-life experiments including analyzing DNA banding patterns to predict the probability of genetic traits and diseases such as sickle cell anemia. Students were excited about learning and extending their knowledge in the area of science. Visitors to our Science Fair from all grade levels had an opportunity as well to visit the Pitt Mobile Science Lab during the evening. Parents and students alike had a chance to learn more about science in the real world. Adlai Stevenson Elementary School also offers a variety of guidance support for all students. Services range from school support to small group and one-onone support. During the school year, K - 6 guidance supports will be available Tuesday, Thursday, and every other Friday. This year groups are focusing on welcoming new students and handling grief and loss. The Guidance Department is also working in each classroom this year focusing on positive behaviors and bully prevention activities. Our guidance department is also in the middle of planning our Fifth Grade Career Day on March 30. The world of work is changing so rapidly through technology; therefore, it is becoming increasingly important that we start early in educating our children about the workplace. Our goal is to help our students understand that everyone works. We want them to learn about different careers and the skills required in each of the jobs. Following this experience, our fifth graders will be able to identify their interests. They will also be able to make the connection between what they are learning in school and why it will be important to their future success. If you have any questions about our guidance department, contact our school guidance counselor, Mrs. Christine Bossung, at 724.733.1500, extension 3513. Plum | Spring 2012 | 27




...Leading The Way

Ten to One


n such a technology-driven and connected society, schools can sometimes feel disconnected. With the help of some laptops, webcams, Skype and motivated students, secondary teacher Lindsay Sciullo and elementary teacher Shannon Wroblewski created a holiday reading unit to connect their classrooms and curriculums. This past December, Mrs. Sciullo’s tenth grade Survey of World Literature class read to and engaged Mrs. Wroblewski’s first grade students with holiday themed activities and stories. Given the holiday season, Mrs. Wroblewski selected a variety of fun holiday themed stories such as The Abominable Snow Teacher, The Magic Dreidels, Santa’s Stuck, Rudolph to the Rescue, and Merry UnChristmas for Mrs. Sciullo’s class to read to her students. The main goal that the two teachers wanted this lesson to focus on was fluent reading and comprehension, which are two major elements of being a good reader. Therefore, the objectives for the high school students were to practice and demonstrate what fluent reading sounds like and to analyze and examine the story structure of the literature given to them. As for the first graders, they needed to demonstrate good

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Reading Lesson

listening skills while hearing fluent reading and exhibit an understanding of different types of story structure within the literature being read to them. At the high school, Mrs. Sciullo’s students, divided into five groups, spent a week of class time preparing pre-reading and post-reading activities for their holiday stories. Every member of the group was responsible for teaching a part of the reading process. Prereading members were responsible for creating exciting ways to encourage predictions and make connections, while post-reading members were responsible for extending the story through story elements and structure. These students made their own materials, added music, and truly made learning fun! In addition, readers practiced fluency by marking texts for inflection, pauses and punctuation, while enthusiastically and expressively reading the story. Over a two-day period, with the help of the technology department, Mrs. Sciullo’s class connected and taught Mrs. Wroblewski’s first graders by using Skype, face-to-face communication through the computer. Rather than a whole group lesson, Mrs. Sciullo’s groups were paired up with groups of three or four of Mrs. Wroblewski’s students. Both elementary and secondary students were excited and nervous to meet

for the first time. Introductions were followed by pre-reading activities such as singing songs, talking about traditions, making snowflakes, and spinning marshmallow dreidels. Next, students took turns sitting in front of the computer and reading to their assigned first grade groups. Readers modeled “good” reading by reading with enthusiasm and inflection. As beginner readers, this was an excellent and unique way for the first grade students to hear how fluent reading should sound. In addition, while reading, other group members of secondary students asked questions about the pictures and made connections to the primary students’ own experiences with the holiday season. Again, this encouraged the younger students to apply reading skills that they have been learning and focusing on in class all year. Some groups even finished their story by creating a sing-a-long to popular holiday songs and using their phones to show animated movie clips to accentuate their story. Day two was just as busy and successful as the first day. Readers began their lesson by reviewing the story, which they had read the previous day. Then, members assigned to post-reading activities took over and taught story elements along with story structure. With the help of their high school mentors, the first grade students drew settings, created characters, placed events in sequential order, or completed graphic organizers based on their group’s holiday book and activity. Both classes truly enjoyed being able to watch and compare each other while teaching, creating, and completing the activities. Smiling was contagious because students enjoyed learning by using the technology and connecting with each other. As a result, the holiday reading unit using Skype turned out to be a huge success for both the teachers and the students! Mrs. Sciullo and Mrs. Wroblewski wanted to teach reading in a unique and engaging approach. This lesson encouraged the high school students to become the teachers and role models for good reading and allowed the primary students to practice and improve skills that will help them develop into better readers over time. Both sets of students went above and beyond to achieve the teachers’ purpose for this project. To continue promoting the importance of reading, Mrs. Sciullo and Mrs. Wroblewski plan to make this reading activity a “holiday tradition” every year in their classrooms! Plum | Spring 2012 | 29


Regency Park Buddies-Up! While the focus on the PSSAs in elementary schools is usually on Grades 3-6, the primary students at Regency Park Elementary are working hard to support their “Big Buddy Classrooms.” Each Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grade class are buddies with two 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade classrooms. To prepare for the state assessments, the primary buddies are making posters, cards, and encouraging notes to present to their big buddies throughout the testing period. As a kickoff to the testing window, the buddy classrooms will participate in a book sharing activity where they read a book with a partner from their buddy classroom and story map the piece with illustrations. The collaboration pieces will be displayed in the hallways for the Regency Park Art Fair in March. For all students who try their hardest to complete the tests by utilizing good test taking skills and for all the primary students who supported their buddies, the PTA is organizing an Endangered Species Assembly in April which will include live animals.

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Career Day in

Mrs. Kerrigan’s Class


y implementing Career Day, the students in Mrs. Kerrigan’s first grade class at Regency Park Elementary School addressed the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening. The experience was both educational, focusing mainly on PA Standard 1.6 (Speaking and Listening), and fun for the first graders. Each student first completed a questionnaire about a desired profession. Questions included career choice, responsibilities of the job, transportation required to get to their job, and whether they would provide a service in their community. The students arrived on February 3rd dressed in their profession of choice. There were veterinarians, a sports reporter, teachers, doctors, construction workers, an artist, an FBI agent, a chef, and a police officer just to name a few. Each student presented a speech about their profession in front of their classmates based on the questionnaire. The boys and girls were well prepared and had clearly done their research. The students spoke with confidence and ease. They were sure to use the vocabulary terms discussed in their Social Studies Unit. Students in the audience sat and listened respectfully making Career Day a huge success. It was a positive learning experience for the first grade students at Regency Park.


Impact Learning and Instructio n in 6th Gra de Classroom s


n today’s world it only makes sense that technol technology be prevalent within the educational setting. In the Plum Borough School District the value of technology in education is highly regarded. A perfect example of this belief exists in the 6th grade classrooms at Center Elementary School. Last year, teachers at Plum Borough School District were offered an opportunity to apply for a technology grant. Center Elementary 6th grade teachers jumped at the opportunity to obtain more technology in the classroom. They applied for a grant for a classroom set of iPads. Since they were approved, an exciting new doorway to learning has been opened in their classrooms! The iPads are used in every subject and enhance all areas of the curriculum. They allow teachers to easily differentiate instruction for all levels of learning. They inspire students to learn about things they may not have previously wanted to learn and at a much quicker pace. Students are engaged in learning, focused on the material, and motivated to learn. Resources are more readily available and tasks, more easily attainable. Some of the tasks that can be accomplished with different apps include looking up vocabulary, creating electronic flashcards, annotating and bookmarking materials, taking notes, practicing math skills, copying and pasting text information, reading and summarizing current events, and creating graphic organizers which enhance study and organizational skills.

The iPads have also generated an increased level of interest in content specific areas. The excitement and energy can be felt upon entering the classroom while watching the students’ eyes widen over new discoveries, or seeing them excitedly tap their neighbor’s arm to share innovative ideas. It also encourages those who previously weren’t such confident learners, to become more willing to take chances and try new things without feeling the same pressures. Storykit is an example of an app the students currently use to practice fiction and nonfiction writing. Students are able to incorporate text, photographs, sound bits, and/or images from the internet into a story. Finally, all of their work is organized into an electronic book, which can be shared with classmates. Writing was never so much fun! Many students have found the iPads to be so valuable and user friendly that they have purchased their own for personal use and installed some of the same apps used at school. CoopFractions, OhNo!Fractions, Dropbox, SimpleMind+, and Flipboard are a few used in the classroom that can be used to practice skills at home. The iPad is a wonderful learning tool with endless possibilities. As we are seeing in the sixth grade classrooms at Center Elementary, the iPad inspires, engages, and provides increased access to learning for all students regardless of learning style or ability. Plum | Spring 2012 | 31




...Leading The Way

sports schedules Photos courtesy of Ray Viglione

Girls Softball-Varsity Friday Monday Thursday Friday Monday Thursday Tuesday Thursday Saturday Monday Tuesday Thursday Tuesday Thursday Friday Saturday Tuesday Thursday Monday Tuesday

Boys Tennis-Varsity Monday Friday Monday Wednesday Friday Monday Wednesday Friday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Monday Wednesday Thursday Friday Monday

3/19/12 3/23/12 3/26/12 3/28/12 3/30/12 4/2/12 4/11/12 4/13/12 4/16/12 4/17/12 4/18/12 4/19/12 4/20/12 4/23/12 4/25/12 4/26/12 4/27/12 4/30/12

Central Catholic Away Woodland Hills H. S. Home Shady Side Academy Away Fox Chapel High School Home Penn Hills Senior High School Away Gateway High School Home Highlands H. S. Home Knoch High School Home Woodland Hills H. S. Away Hampton High School Away Shady Side Academy Home WPIAL Section Singles@Fox Chapel Away Springdale High School Home Fox Chapel High School Away Penn Hills Senior High School Home WPIAL Section Doubles@Fox Chapel Away Kiski Area Sr. High School Away Gateway High School Away

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3/23/12 3/26/12 3/29/12 3/30/12 4/2/12 4/5/12 4/10/12 4/12/12 4/14/12 4/16/12 4/17/12 4/19/12 4/24/12 4/26/12 4/27/12 4/28/12 5/1/12 5/3/12 5/7/12 5/8/12

3:30PM 3:30PM 4:15PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM TBA 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM TBA 4:00PM 3:30PM

Butler Area High School Shaler Area High School Fox Chapel High School Kittanning High School Penn Trafford High School McKeesport Area H.S. Woodland Hills H. S. Penn Hills Senior High School Gateway High School Valley Senior High School Franklin Regional H. S. Fox Chapel High School McKeesport Area H. S. Woodland Hills H. S. Serra Catholic High School Penn Hills Senior High School Gateway High School Franklin Regional H. S. Hampton High School Kiski Area Sr. High School

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

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

Boys Volleyball-Varsity Saturday Tuesday Thursday Saturday Tuesday Thursday Tuesday Thursday Saturday Tuesday Thursday Tuesday Thursday Saturday Tuesday Thursday Saturday Tuesday Thursday

3/24/12 3/27/12 3/29/12 3/31/12 4/3/12 4/5/12 4/10/12 4/12/12 4/14/12 4/17/12 4/19/12 4/24/12 4/26/12 4/28/12 5/1/12 5/3/12 5/5/12 5/8/12 5/10/12

North Allegheny Tournament Penn Hills Senior High School Bethel Park Senior H. S. Derry Tournament Hempfield Area Senior High School Penn Trafford High School Norwin Senior High School Greater Latrobe H. S. Fox Chapel Tournament Gateway High School Penn Hills Senior High School Seneca Valley High School Hempfield Area Senior High School Plum Invitational Penn Trafford High School Norwin Senior High School Mt. Lebanon Tournament Greater Latrobe H. S. Gateway High School

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

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

Track-Varsity, Co-Ed Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday Wednesday Friday Friday

3/28/12 4/4/12 4/11/12 4/18/12 4/18/12 4/27/12 5/4/12

Penn Hills Senior High School Central Catholic Gateway High School Woodland Hills H. S. McKeesport Area H. S. Mars Invitational Pine Richland Invitational

Home Home Home Home Home Away Away

3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 3:30PM 12:15PM 2:30PM

Boys Baseball-Varsity Friday Saturday Sunday Saturday Monday Wednesday Thursday Wednesday Friday Monday Wednesday Friday Monday Wednesday Friday Wednesday Friday Saturday Monday Wednesday

3/23/12 3/24/12 3/25/12 3/31/12 4/2/12 4/4/12 4/5/12 4/11/12 4/13/12 4/16/12 4/18/12 4/20/12 4/23/12 4/25/12 4/27/12 5/2/12 5/4/12 5/5/12 5/7/12 5/9/12

OPEN DATE (Florida Game) OPEN DATE (Florida Game) OPEN DATE (Florida Game) Mt. Lebanon High School Franklin Regional H. S. Central Catholic Seneca Valley High School Kiski Area Sr. High School North Hills Senior H. S. Penn Hills Senior High School Woodland Hills H. S. Gateway High School Franklin Regional H. S. Central Catholic Kiski Area Sr. High School Penn Hills Senior High School Woodland Hills H. S. North Allegheny Senior High School Gateway High School Shaler Area High School

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

TBA TBA TBA 12:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 2:00PM 4:30PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 3:45PM 4:00PM 4:00PM 7:00PM 7:00PM 4:00 PM

Plum | Spring 2012 | 33




...Leading The Way


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Plum | Spring 2012 | 35

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Plum | Spring 2012 | 37


Travelling Green Is Easier Than You Think


e all love our vacations when we can get them. But while travelling may mean leaving town for a dream destination, it also means baggage and one the pitfalls that come with it – waste. From “travel-sized” tubes of toothpaste and shampoo bottles to disposable razors and eating utensils, travelers often plan to return home with less than they take in order to make room for souvenirs or to simply lighten their loads., With a little planning, however, one can achieve the same goal while putting less of a burden on the environment. For starters, many discount stores sell empty plastic flip-top containers that are perfect for shampoos and conditioners. Instead of purchasing travel size versions of your favorite products, just get a few of these containers and fill them from products already in your bathroom. Rather than packing disposable razors, consider purchasing an electric razor for travel. Even after years of use, a quality electric razor that’s been properly maintained will still deliver a close shave. If you’re travelling to a major city or tourist destination, public transportation will almost certainly be available. Just like at home, traveling by bus is the most environmentally n o ti a rm fo friendly way of getting around if in For more rism, or u you can’t walk the distance. Most to on eco n o ti a c a v l a port authorities in destination n traditio ll a c , g in n cities have routes to all major n pla vel ra T rs e iv R tourist attractions already in e Thre 0.5341, 6 .2 4 2 7 t a place. If you need a car, many y a tod . major rental companies have or visit ave added flex fuel and electric threeriverstr hybrids to their fleets.

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

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eco destinations to consider in


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

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

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

3 Utah. Robert Redford is the eco-

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

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

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

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Dr. Robert Crossey Premier Family Practice

We build better care. At Premier Medical Associates, Dr. Crossey and his staff deliver a standard of care that prioritizes the patient’s care needs. Premier Family Practice focuses on caring for the patient in a proactive and preventative way that minimizes testing, emergency room visits and hospital stays. The results are healthier patients leading healthy lives. Our patients find real value in that. The care is efficient. The care is high quality. At Premier, we are Building Better Care.

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