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Clark Renovations Bringing Kitchens and Baths Back to Life

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Upper St. Clair

Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 3

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

t. Lebanon

Wayne Dollard, Publisher

Summer content deadline: 4/23/13

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Upper St. Clair

New Advanced Treatment for Skin Cancer Patricia Sinicki found a scratch on her nose back in 2010 and didn’t think much of it. “I thought that one of my cats had scratched me,” she said. At the time, she was undergoing total knee reconstruction followed by physical therapy, so she didn’t have time to really worry about that scratch. As time went on, however, the scratch continued to get worse. Her primary care physician referred her to a dermatologist who biopsied the lesion and confirmed the diagnosis: basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer, according to Melissa Pugliano-Mauro, MD, assistant professor of dermatology at UPMC St. Margaret and Mohs surgeon. “I have a strong family history of skin cancer, so my primary care physician had prepared me for this type of diagnosis,” Sinicki explained. Fortunately for Sinicki, her dermatologist referred her to Hakeem Sam, MD, PhD, director, Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery at UPMC Presbyterian and in April 2012, she underwent Mohs surgery, a procedure performed for skin cancer that offers the highest potential cure rate; 99 percent. During the surgery, Dr. Sam removed layers of tumor until it was gone. Sinicki now ranks among that 99 percent, and though she continues to visit Dr. Sam regularly for follow-up, she feels very happy with the progress she has made. “I just look at it as one more thing in my life that I have conquered,” she said. Physicians have been performing Mohs surgery for more than 50 years, according to Dr. Sam, with the majority of procedures done on non-melanoma cancers on the head and neck, specifically the areas of skin around the eyes, nose, mouth, lips, and ears. There also is a type of melanoma, called melanoma insitu, on which Mohs surgery is effective.

Dr. Sam explained that the procedure is done in stages, or layers, of tumor removal and is performed under local anesthetic. “We remove a layer of tumor along with a small margin of surrounding healthy tissue and examine it under a microscope. If, upon examination, which can take up to one hour, we find more cancer, we remove another layer. This process is repeated until all of the cancer is removed. This is the most conservative way of removing the entire tumor while still leaving behind as much healthy tissue as possible.” When that part of the surgery is finished, reconstruction begins, and that could be as simple as side-to-side closures or as extensive as flaps and grafts. In cases where the tumor is more extensive, the patient also may be referred to appropriate specialists. “Patients can go home the same day with a pressure dressing applied to the surgical area,” Dr. Sam said. “Pain is primarily managed with over-the-counter medications, though patients who experience more pain can be given a prescription.” More than 3.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer annually, Dr. Pugliano-Mauro said, and one in five will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas are the most common types of skin cancer, with basal cell being the most common out of the two, and melanoma is the deadliest form. “There are similar risk factors for both melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers, and those include fair skin complexion, a lot of outdoor sun exposure, or the use of indoor tanning beds, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently determined are linked to melanoma,” Dr. Pugliano-Mauro explained. “The most effective way to prevent skin cancer is to limit sun exposure. We also strongly advise using sunscreen labeled ‘broad spectrum and water resistant’ and with an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreen should be applied every two hours or more often after swimming or sweating.” To learn more about skin cancer and Mohs micrographic surgery, visit or call 855-SKN-SPOT (855-756-7768).

Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 5



IN Upper St. Clair is a non-partisan community publication dedicated to representing, encouraging and promoting the Upper St. Clair 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.


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IN Upper St. Clair Magazine | SPRING 2013 |


Industry Insights

Poli Mortgage Group Exploring Your Mortgage Options ............. | 23

Southpointe Chiropractic To Stretch or Not to Stretch ..................... | 37 Bill Few Associates on the cover


Fiscal Cliff Deal Revives Giving IRA Assets to Charity .................................... | 53

Steve Clark of Clark Renovations in one of his creations.

St. Louise de Marillac Catholic School Setting Down Roots ................................ | 76


Health and Wellness News You Can Use | Spring 2013

The Goddard School Preventing Summer Learning Losses During Early Childhood ...................................... | 80

What’s Inside 2 3 4

When It’s More than Just Heartburn

Pediatric Alliance

Hope and Healing A Healing Touch Food in a Glass



Clinical Trials Can Change Lives

6 7

Depression and Older Adults Comprehensive Care for Today’s Urology Patients

© 2013 UPMC

UPMC Today_Mercy_Spring_2013_v16.indd 1


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Steeped in History ..................................................................... | 8

Mental Health Issues in Children .............. | 82

Julian Gray Associates Pennsylvania Death Taxes ....................... | 85

NovaCare Rehabilitation

The Outdoor Classroom Spring & Summer Events ......... | 26

Defy Gravity .......................................... | 87

Clark Renovations - Bringing Old Kitchens Back to Life for More than 43 Years ........................................................... | 54

Dr. Daniel Rairigh Straighter Teeth in Six Months ................ | 90

Home Improvements in Upper St. Clair .............................. | 56 community interests

New Advanced Treatment for Skin Cancer .......................... | 5 UPMC Today | Health and Wellness News ...................................... | 45 Home Improvement Special Value Coupons ..................... | 75 Special Value Coupons ........................................................... | 94 Tomosynthesis Offers Women Greater Detection of Breast Abnormalities ................................................................. | 96 Dining Out

Peters Place ............................................................................... | 25

Business Spotlight

Pittsburgh Computer Solutions, Inc. .................................... | 10 Circulatory Centers ......................... | 21 Pleasure Pool & Deck LLC ........... | 60 Stover Interior Solutions, LLC ... | 68 Visions Remodeling & Home Repair ....................................... | 73 Patio Concepts .................................. | 95

Postcard photograph of baskets of vegetables, Date range: c. 1900/1915 public domain



he Historical Society of Upper St. Clair (HSUSC) started in 1988 as a group of residents who were interested in preserving the history of the community and sharing their appreciation of its local history. It is a 501(c)(3) organization. Since 2001, the Historical Society has been located at the Gilfillan house and farm. Margaret Gilfillan left the property and buildings to the Historical Society upon her death in May 2001 at 100 years of age. She was the last direct descendent of John Gilfillan, who built the house in 1855-57. The Historical Society seeks to provide a repository and reference resource for local historical records. Their preserved records provide a window into the past life of the township.

Daffodils at the Gilfillan Farm 2011

The purpose of the HSUSC is to research and protect the history of the community through activities such as collecting and archiving artifacts, distributing historical information to the residents and maintaining the 15-acre Gilfillan Farm. This is only made possible through the invaluable contribution of past and present residents, who have shared their pictures, artifacts, stories and lives that make up the history of Upper St. Clair. Jean Brown, President of the Historical Society believes, “It is exciting to see how much is being done to preserve and share the history of our community. Many have given of their homes and time, and residents have participated in events like the annual Gilfillan tours and the photo history Images of America: Upper St. Clair. The commitment to excellence so apparent in Upper St. Clair’s past is now being seen in the history of tomorrow.”

Frannie Brown in the garden 2012

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The Upper St. Clair Women’s Club was inspired by Margaret Gilfillan’s documentary, Upper St. Clair As It Was and therefore, the HSUSC had its beginnings in 1974 as the Historical Committee of the Friends of the Library. Then in 1977, An Historic Album, containing photos of many of the historic homes in the area, was released through the work of Suellen Welty, Margaret Gilfillan, Joyce Keller, Bill Stevenson, E.H. Lybarger, Ned Garnhart and Katherine Griswold. Because of their dedication, the group evolved into the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair as it is known today.

There are two ways you can help: through a financial donation or through artifact donations. Either is welcome and will be well used and enjoyed. Volunteer opportunities are so Upper St. Clair

in History

“A country without a past has the emptiness of a barren continent; and a city without old buildings is like a man without a memory.”

By Judith Schardt

numerous that they can use just about everyone’s talents and ideas at the Historical Society. Everything from architecture to fund raising to web page management is appreciated and they’ll find a place and a way to use your skills.

(Graeme Shankland, British Architect)

The image collection of the HSUSC consists of pictures of Upper St. Clair dating back to 1875. The digital images depict residents and families, schools, houses, major roads, local landmarks, and the overall development of the area from an agrarian community to the current day. The majority of the collection is available online. The HSUSC holds the records on numerous prominent local families, the records of several clubs and local organizations, as well as the personal papers of Upper St. Clair’s first police chief, John Klancher. In addition, the Historical Society has information about local schools and churches, past and present. The Historical Society has obtained dozens of oral histories from local residents and turned them into audio recordings and transcripts, a valuable cache of personal memories. They also have visual representations of the people and places involved in and important to the community. Anyone with records related to Upper St. Clair history, especially of local businesses, families, and organizations, is encouraged to donate them to the Historical Society. They will be protected and enjoyed for generations. If you cannot visit their site, they have some booklets that might be of interest to any history buff out there: A Pictorial History, Upper St. Clair as It Was and School Days, 1970s to 1990s. These booklets can be found in the Vertical File at the library. You might also want to watch the video The Several St. Clairs produced about 10 years ago and available in the library. The president of HSUSC is proud of their extensive slide collection which is used to instruct the second graders in the schools every year. The slides have interesting historical information on everything from the emergency crews like police and firefighters to transportation, Indians, Arthur St. Clair, and the Mayview Property. Unbelievably, they even have a collection of mining equipment from the Beadling Area and have placed many artifacts from the old post office the “Old Beadling Post Office” in their display case.

McMillan School Room 8. Date range: c.1900/1905 public domain

Unidentified group of people posing on a horse drawn wagon. Date range: c.1880-1930 public domain

They participate in the Upper St. Clair Community Day which this year is scheduled for May 18th. The house will be open from 12 - 3 p.m. and the barnyard from 12 - 4 p.m. for that event. Activities include house tours, hayrides, sheep shearing and cow milking demonstrations, a blacksmith horse shoeing demonstration, barnyard animal petting zoo and garden tours. The visitors will experience an operating farm while also learning some history of their neighborhoods. To learn more about the Historical Society of Upper St. Clair’s recent and upcoming events, please visit their website. If you have comments, questions, or would like to use one of their images, please contact them for more information or to inquire about copyright permissions. Rachel Carlson, Secretary, will be happy to help you and she can be reached at 412.835.2050 or at or on their Facebook page, www. Horse drawn wagon from Greenfield Farms at 2012

Community Day at Gilfillan Farm Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 9



Your Personal IT Department for Home and Work

“Pittsburgh Computer Solutions, Inc. has become an integral part of our IT team. Their professional staff quickly resolves our computer problems and provides us with state-of-theart technology and superior service. We highly recommend Pittsburgh Computer Solutions!” — Dr. Janet Stout Special Pathogens Laboratory, Inc.

This month, Pittsburgh Computer Solutions will celebrate fifteen years of serving the Information Technology needs of the Pittsburgh region. When asked why his company has been successful enough to make the Pittsburgh Business Times list of Top 100 growth companies two years in a row, Martin Stranges, the owner, was quick with an answer: “We are successful because of our commitment to client satisfaction…we work very hard to exceed expectations for every client all the time. It may sound cliché, but that’s what we believe.” “On any given day, half my team may be troubleshooting computer problems for our residential and home office clients and the other half may be installing new Dell servers at small or medium size businesses in Southpointe, Upper St. Clair or Squirrel Hill. The diversity in our day-to-day mix is what keeps us effective and efficient,” Stranges said. Pittsburgh Computer Solutions is Microsoft, Dell and SonicWALL certified. Their experts stay current with technology through continuing education programs, constant training, and exposure to every type of issue in the field. “We answer our phones and we are accountable for the work we do,” Stranges said. “We have very little employee turnover, so the guy you talked to last year can be the same guy you’ll talk to three years from now. We have hundreds of clients who ask for their favorite computer technician by name and that’s unusual in this big box store world. We take care of our staff and that translates into happy clients.” With homes becoming more and more connected and complex, the current residential client is having Pittsburgh Computer Solutions set up not only

the traditional laptop or desktop, but also iPads and other Apple products, smart phones, gaming devices, televisions and even some appliances that communicate over the Internet. “We are proud to serve over 250 residential clients and more than 65 business clients in Upper St. Clair,” Stranges said. “We can set up a wireless repeater so they can take their iPad out to their patio. We can recover lost data for them or remove viruses and malware that they may have downloaded accidentally. And what’s interesting to us is how sophisticated our residential clients have become, which makes our jobs easier. They don’t just call and say, ‘My computer’s broken.’ They call us and say, ‘I have the FBI Virus and need your help.’” If a client’s computer cannot be repaired, they offer a “one stop” solution… they sell Dell desktops, laptops and monitors right in their Service Center. For businesses, Pittsburgh Computer Solutions will monitor networks in real time around the clock and alert management when something is amiss. Their technicians are committed to 100% satisfaction on all services, and will explain in plain English what they did to make your network safer or more efficient. In addition, Pittsburgh Computer Solutions can save business owners from having to pay a large salary and benefits for a full-time IT person, by doing the same job at a fraction of the cost. For more information on Pittsburgh Computer Solutions and how they can help you in your home or office, call them at 724.942.1337, or stop by their Service Center at 3035 Washington Road in McMurray. You can also go to their website:

Save $20 on your next IT Service Expires: May 11, 2013 Use the code: INC-USC

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Upper St. Clair

Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 11

Congratulations to the Recent Retirees from Upper St. Clair School District

By Tracy Fedkoe

Kathleen Kuzma retired on February 1, 2013. She started at Baker Elementary as a substitute and became a second grade teacher there in 1972. After taking a few years off to raise her family, she came back as a teacher’s aide and taught kindergarten before moving to her final position as a first grade teacher. “The kids were the best part,” she said. “It was hard to leave.”

Kathleen Kuzma before her retirement party

Ruth Underwood with her grandchildren (L to R) Emma, Kaycee, and Jake at her retirement party 12 724.942.0940 to advertise |

Ms. Kuzma was involved in setting the foundation to develop reading skills at younger ages and contributed to the process of Baker Elementary becoming a Blue Ribbon School. “The community is so strong and supportive. The kids are well prepared when they come to school,” she said. She has several grandchildren on the way and will be heading to Houston, TX to visit them. She and her husband plan to travel to national parks in the future. Leslie Leeds retired after 31 years with the district as a Spanish teacher. She started at USC with her student teaching and worked for four years after graduation before taking a few years off to raise a family. She taught at Boyce Middle School for 14 years and then moved to the high school to end her career with honors Spanish 3 and 5. “I had the best kids in the world,” she said. Ms. Leeds was also the high school Spanish club sponsor and traveled to Spain several times with students as well as hosted an exchange Spanish teacher. She was the 2012 recipient of the Coca-Cola Educator of Distinction Award and served as a mentor for new teachers, a district trainer, and was chair of the Middle States Evaluation Accreditation Program for several years. She is also a co-sponsor of the Community Cultural Alliance International Marketing Project and hopes to continue to volunteer with programs such as this in her retirement. She is heading to Florida for the rest of the winter and is looking forward to spending more time with her granddaughter. Upper St. Clair

Ruth Underwood retired on January 11, 2013 after 25 years in the Nutrition Center at the High School. She started part time and was hired full time as the Head Cook in 1990. She prepared and managed all of the lunch meals in the cafeteria and contributed to many positive changes in the food selection. “My favorite was football camp. I liked it because we could make special meals and got to interact with the kids,” said Underwood. She recently enjoyed a retirement party hosted by her friends from work and looks forward to helping to take care of her three grandchildren in her retirement. “I can’t imagine having a better job. I enjoyed every minute of it,” she added. Carolyn Seymour retired on February 1, 2013 after 19 years with the school district. She has been a teacher’s aide, clerical aide, and technical instructional aide at Boyce Middle School and more recently Baker Elementary School. Seymour has also served as a host for foreign exchange students from Thailand who attended Upper St. Clair High School. In her retirement, she is enjoying spending time with her grandson. Dave Walk has had the longest career with the district with over 45 years of service. January 2013 was actually his second retirement from USC. He spent 35 years with the district as a maintenance foreman before retiring. A short time later, he was hired by Aramark, who manages the facilities department. “The only thing that changed was my shirt,” said Walk. He started at USC in 1968 in a maintenance position with previous training from his father who was also in the facilities department at USC and often took Dave to work with him. Walk was responsible for managing many of the major construction projects at USC including the high school and renovations of Boyce, Fort Couch and several elementary schools. He became an expert on capital budgets and contributed to a big improvement in the air quality inside the high school as well as reducing the effects of high chlorine content in the pool. He is considering consulting on construction and computerized maintenance management programs in the future. “St. Clair was a second home to me,” he concluded.

(L to R) Clare Froehlich-Walk, Dr. Patrick O’Toole- superintendent, and David Walk

Leslie Leeds with her granddaughter, Ella

Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 13

Harry Peterson:

Beloved Swim Club Manager By Michelle Zehr

As a member of the Upper Saint Clair community, perhaps you have heard of the Woodland Hills Club. The Woodland Hills Club was founded in 1958 and has been a staple in the Upper Saint Clair community ever since. When the grey skies clear and the snow finally melts, families from all over the area dig out their swim suits, goggles and beach towels and visit the Woodland Hills Club for a relaxing dip in the pool (or for some, a meet with the competitive swim team). After all, a dip in the pool is the perfect way to enjoy a hot summer day. If you’ve visited the Woodland Hills Club, there is probably one person you have certainly met (if not, you certainly should meet!). That person is Harry Peterson, the beloved Woodland Hills Swim Club manager.

Harry Peterson is a man that is truly dedicated to education, whether it is the education of children or educating those big kids interested in following in his footsteps and becoming life guards.

Plans for the Woodland Hills Club began in 1958 and by August of 1959, the club was ready for use. Over time, the pool and its members may have changed, but one thing has remained constant – Harry Peterson. If you are unfamiliar with the Woodland Hills Club, the club features a 4,800 square foot, heated main pool with dual slides as well as a diving board. There is also a children’s pool, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball and shuffleboard courts. There is something for everyone to enjoy each summer at Woodland Hills. To make a day of it, members can enjoy a large pavilion with gas grills and picnic tables with an excellent view of the main pool. The man in charge of running it all is Harry Peterson. Mr. Peterson, with the help of his Board, works hard all summer long

to ensure that the Woodland Hills Club is a place families want to return to summer after summer.

“I’ve been with Woodland Hills since 1959 because of an inquiry by the club to the University of Pittsburgh while I was a student in the Physical Education Department there,” Mr. Peterson stated. Peterson started working as a lifeguard and became manager in 1964, which is a job he still holds to this day. While most of the community knows Mr. Peterson for his work with the swim club, there are sides to this beloved man that you may or may not know about. Mr. Peterson grew up in Dormont and eventually moved to Bellevue where he taught physical education for 36 years. In addition to teaching, Harry also taught health classes, coached varsity swimming and coached junior high basketball in the Bellevue Schools, now referred to as Northgate School District. Mr. Peterson moved back to South Hills in 1993. Harry Peterson is a man that is truly dedicated to education, whether it is the education of children or educating those big kids interested in following in his footsteps and becoming life guards. “The most rewarding [part of teaching] was probably the years teaching elementary aged children, seeing their happy, smiling faces and knowing they looked forward to gym class. I enjoyed the special programs I was able to create and the gym shows I put on with the students and the elementary swim program, where we bused grade school children to the high school swimming pool to teach them to swim,” Mr. Peterson modestly stated. In addition to teaching and coaching in Bellevue, Harry also taught swimming and life guarding for the American Red Cross for 35 years. Mr. Peterson has dedicated much of his time and efforts to education as well as the sport of swimming. Mr. Peterson is right at home in the water and the Woodland Hills Club is like a second home to Harry. However, Harry does have a side that you may or may not have gotten to know over the years. Whether it’s sports, education, entertainment

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Upper St. Clair

or fitness, Mr. Peterson is a man dedicated to making a difference in the Upper Saint Clair community. For instance, did you know that your beloved swim club manager is also a musician? It’s true; Mr. Peterson is a multi-talented man. He can play the drums as well as the marimba. He has been a life-long member of the Pittsburgh Musicians Union, local 60. Mr. Peterson began playing professionally as a student at the Dormont High School, now referred to as Keystone Oaks High School. He continued to play throughout his college years at the University of Pittsburgh. To this day, Mr. Peterson can be occasionally spotted playing the drums or marimba. Mr. Peterson may have retired from teaching physical education, but he is still a very active and high-energy individual. If you are one of the many individuals who make the commute to downtown Pittsburgh to work, you may have even spotted Mr. Peterson. Harry has been known to go downtown and walk the city streets for exercise. If you see him, be sure to say “hi!” or maybe even join him for a stroll on your break at work. Mr. Peterson can offer you great conversation. Mr. Peterson returns to the club year after year because he loves his job and the people. “The best part about being affiliated [with the Woodland Hills Club] would be the associations and friendships I have made over the years. Knowing the families and watching their children grow up and return as members themselves has been very rewarding,” Mr. Peterson stated. It is clear that the Woodland Hills Club holds a very special place in the heart of Harry Peterson, just as Harry Peterson holds a special place in the hearts of many of the swim club’s members. Next time you are at the Woodland Hills Club, be sure to look out for this Woodland Hills Club legion – he’d be happy to meet you. You may even want to ask him when his next musical appearance is going to be. For more information on the Woodland Hills Club, e-mail the Board of Directors at The pool is opened Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 15

ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA Hosts 13th Annual Gala to Continue Their Mission to Help Families Deal with Autism

Steve Crane and MJ Crane, Gala Organizers

By Kathy Rudolph


diagnosis of Autism for a child can cause a parent to experience a gamut of emotions, from fear to sadness, to the anxiety of deciding on a course of action. Research has shown that early intervention, behavior modification, communication therapy, dietary modifications and medication can sometimes greatly improve a child’s life. But how does a parent know where to start?

Steve Crane and MJ Crane, Gala Organizers Luciana Randall, Executive Director of ABOARD’S Autism Connection of Pittsburgh

To assist in raising funds so that the growing number of people that contact the organization can continue to receive support, ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA hosted their 13th

John Lovelace, Honorary Chairman and Dr. Jonathan Pletcher

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For over 17 years and serving over 15,000 families, adults and professionals, ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA has been there to provide support, information and referrals. Led by executive director, Luciana Randall, the grassroots, non-profit organization also includes an experienced board of directors and a professional advisory council.

Upper St. Clair

continued on page 18

Janice Bollman and Joseph Kleppick, finalists and Jillian Zacks, 2013 Grandin Award Winner

Jennifer Salaman and Marie Mambuca of ABOARD’S Autism Connection of Pittsburgh

Rebecca Williams-Thomas and Ross Thibault Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 17

Annual Gala at Phipps Conservatory. Over 265 guests enjoyed the inspiring botanical gardens while enjoying libations and hors d’oeuvres, dinner stations and live music provided by Patrick Lah on piano and Vincent Wallace on Marimba. Entertainment by Art Madness with George Williams, fortune telling, auctions and raffles were also part of the fundraiser. The 2013 Honorary Chair for the event was John Lovelace, President, Government Programs and Individual Advantage and UPMC Health Plan Chief Program Officer, Community Care Behavioral Health. MJ and Stephen Crane, along with Luciana Randall and Jennifer Salaman organized and executed the event.

Art Madness by George Williams

“Tonight is a wonderful opportunity for people, families, advocates, providers and organizations that support ABOARD’s Autism Connection to come together and celebrate the successes and claim the challenges,” said Lovelace. Part of the festivities included an award given to Joseph Lucot, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer on behalf of Giant Eagle, Inc. “because of their strong commitment to give those with disabilities the chance to become productive members of their communities,” according to the organization. In his role, Lucot “works to accommodate employees with disabilities through creative scheduling and adapts tasks to maximize their skills and success.”

Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lucot

“It is really a tribute to the 37,000 Giant Eagle team members that are able to pull together as a team,” said Lucot. “Hiring people with special needs and others and bringing them together as a family of Giant Eagle team members is a great way to support our customers.” The 2013 Grandin Award, named for Temple Grandin, who is one of the world’s most accomplished and well known adults with autism, was presented to Jillian Zacks, Esq., of Metz, Lewis, Brodman, Must, O’Keefe, LLC. A mother of 14-year-old twins on the spectrum, she is “highly praised for her 18 724.942.0940 to advertise |

Vince Wallace Upper St. Clair

$ Karen Boros, volunteer

patience and kindness as she helps families navigate the intricacies of special needs trusts and wills,” according to the organization. Zack’s volunteerism has included free, estate planning seminars to families with special needs children along with giving advice on the topics of age of majority and government benefits. She is also a board member of ARC of Greater Pittsburgh, Friendship Circle of Pittsburgh, Special Needs Advisory Committee of the Agency for Jewish Learning, the United Way’s 21 and Able Advisory and Policy Committees. She is “passionate about the needs of the autism community and many have benefitted from her commitment to this cause.”



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“I am really honored, especially to be awarded after someone like Temple Grandin,” said Zack. “I think the wonder about the Autism Connection of Pittsburgh is that they help so many families become educated and provide understanding so they do not feel alone. They were one of the first calls that I made when my twins were first diagnosed on the spectrum. Now, as an attorney, I can take what they have given me and give back by helping families that have children with special needs in their estate planning.”

Sara Revitsky

To learn more about ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA, visit the website at autism-support. org/. Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 19

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Upper St. Clair

Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 21

Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” This type of positivity has defined the life of Upper St. Clair Junior Shannon Spence, who not only excels at sports, but also in the classroom and in life. The Upper St. Clair High School field hockey and lacrosse player received the Hines Ward Positive Athlete Award during the Hines Ward Show at the end of November. The award is given to high-character athletes in western Pennsylvania to promote the benefits of positivity to young athletes. Spence found out she was going to be on the show as she was boarding a plane to go to the Dominican Republic for a community service trip with the high school— one of the many reasons she was chosen for the award. Once she got on the show, she was nervous at first, but everything went quite well and she had a terrific time with Hines Ward, whom Shannon and her family have admired from afar for so many years. Spence’s lacrosse coach, Stephanie Melnik, is very proud of her. “She is an extremely hard worker with great determination,” said Melnik. “That carries over into the classroom and her volunteer work and everything else she does. She is a captain and one of the better players, but she brings so much more than that to the table. She is extremely well-liked, always has a great attitude and doesn’t allow herself to be distracted.” Spence is in her fourth year of lacrosse and plays the position of mid-field. The lacrosse season starts in March, but the girls have been practicing since November. The official season lasts ten weeks, with five weeks of regular season games starting in April. Upper St. Clair plays in one of the toughest leagues and divisions in the area, but they are looking forward to continuing to build their program into a consistent winner. The girls know it will take persistence and dedication, but they are up for the challenge. Spence is now preparing for her last high school lacrosse season and finishing up her college applications. She doesn’t know yet if she’ll play sports in college. One thing is certain – whatever Spence decides to do, she will give it her all and she will succeed at it. They say youth is wasted on the young, but not in this case. Spence is a young lady that truly gets it and lives it every single day.

By Matthew J. Fascetti 22 724.942.0940 to advertise |

Upper St. Clair

Hines Ward Recognizes Upper St. Clair’s Shannon Spence

Exploring Your Mortgage Options The 30 Year vs. the 15 Year Rate


kay, you’ve done your homework, made your phone calls and conducted countless interviews. But you’ve done it. You’ve decided that Poli Mortgage Group has the best rates available. It’s all downhill from here, right? Well, maybe. Now you have to decide which loan program is best for you. Loan programs fall into two basic categories when it comes to type: fixed and adjustable. A fixed rate mortgage is just that; it’s fixed throughout the term of the loan. That also means your monthly payment will never change. An adjustable rate mortgage, as its name implies, can change throughout the term of the mortgage based upon a predetermined set of guidelines that both you and the lender agree to. Which to choose? That can vary based upon the current interest rate environment but historically when rates are low then you should lock in a fixed rate and when rates are high perhaps an adjustable rate mortgage is your better bet in anticipation of rates falling in the near future. With that advice as your guide, fixed rates are likely your best choice, especially if you intend to hold onto the property for any length of time. Once you’ve decided on a fixed rate, you now have another choice; loan term.

Not so fast. Poli Mortgage Group offers other loan terms besides the 30 and 15 year fixed rate mortgage. It’s rare that you see lenders advertise these terms but we do in fact offer other them, typically in five year increments. This means we can offer a 30, 25, 20, 15 and 10 year fixed rate loan even if it’s not advertised. Now let’s look at the difference in payments and long term interest: Term Payment Lifetime Interest 30 yr – $1,740 – $226,400 25 yr – $1,949 – $184,700 20 yr – $2,218 – $132,320 15 yr – $2,762 – $97,160 10 yr – $3,862 – $63,440 The choice is no longer between a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and a 15 year fixed rate; there are others. By using this information, a borrower can still find a comfortable payment that results in less interest paid when compared to a 30 year loan. All lenders have these options: sometimes you just have to find one willing to take the time with you to explore them for your benefit. We work with our clients to assist them in identifying their options and help them determine what is in their own best interest.

Do you want a 30 year fixed rate or a 15 year fixed rate? Financial planners and other number gurus will suggest that a 15 year fixed rate loan is your best bet because you’re paying much less in interest over the course of the mortgage. How much? Let’s consider a $400,000 mortgage loan at 3.25% (APR 3.272%) for a 30 year and 3.00% (APR 3.04%) for a 15 year, a typical spread. Term Payment Lifetime Interest 30 yr – $1,740 – $226,400 15 yr – $2,762 – $97,160 Difference $129,240 As the chart above clearly shows, by selecting the 15 year fixed rate mortgage you will save $129,240 in interest savings over the course of the loan term, who wouldn’t take that? Well, there are many who wouldn’t. Why? Notice one other thing about the chart; the difference in monthly payments. While there is a considerable amount of interest saved when compared to a 30 year mortgage the monthly payments on the 15 year loan are much higher. So much higher that the borrower no longer qualifies for the mortgage due to the higher monthly payments. Back to the 30 year mortgage then, right? This Industry Insight was written by Derek Bayer NMLS #130169, Branch Manager of Poli Mortgage Group, located right here in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Derek has been serving local residents with their mortgage needs for over 12 years. Find out more at: or call 412.564.5146

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Got the Fever for a Fish Fry? Here are some local fish fry events available through the end of Lent: St. Bernard, Mount Lebanon

St. Thomas More, Bethel Park

Fridays of Lent, except Good Friday, 4 - 7:30 p.m., Clairvaux Hall, 311 Washington Road. Menu: fried and baked fish dinner, macaroni and cheese dinner, baked and fried fish sandwiches, pizza, pierogies, nightly specials, including pasta, homemade gumbo and clam chowder, french fries, cole slaw, beer, beverages and desserts. Also, special fish taco, with baked fish in a tortilla with crunchy red cabbage, tomatoes, and homemade corn and black bean salsa. Prices: dinner, $8.50; pizza, $2/slice; fish sandwich, $6.50; specials, $8.50; homemade gumbo and clam chowder, $3.50. Takeout available, call 412.341.1565.

Fridays of Lent, except Good Friday, 4:30 - 7:30 p.m., Family Life Center, 126 Fort Couch Road. Choose from baked cod, with a side of pasta, or featured pasta. Weekly featured pastas: Feb. 15 linguini with shrimp; Feb. 22, vegetable lasagna; March 1, linguini with asparagus and mushrooms; March 8, linguini with three pepper sauce; March 15, lasagna with salmon; March 22, tortellini with mushroom marsala sauce. Other dinner options available. Kids’ menu and gluten-free pasta available. Tossed salad, roll and beverage included. Dinner: $9 for adults, $5 for kids 10 and under. Pasta prepared by chef Lucie Facco. Takeout available. For information, call 412.833.0031.

Holy Child, Bridgeville Ash Wednesday and Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday, 4 - 7 p.m., school cafeteria, 220 Station St. Fried fish and baked fish dinners and sandwiches, fried shrimp and cheese pizza. Note, special beer-battered fish on Feb. 22 and March 15. Sides include french fries, cole slaw, haluski, pierogies, stewed tomatoes and macaroni and cheese. Dessert is included with meal. Dinners are $9 for adults, $5.50 for kids, and include two sides. A $1 “frequent flyer card” entitles holder to a fish sandwich after purchasing five adult dinners. Also, weekly prize raffles and lottery tickets. To order or more information, call 412.221.4720.

St. Valentine, Bethel Park Ash Wednesday and Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday, 4 - 7:30 p.m. (2 - 6:30 p.m. for takeout), 2710 Ohio St. Featuring jumbo cod sandwich, along with baked fish, pasta dinner, pierogies, butterfly shrimp and a variety of side dishes. Desserts and drinks available. Cost: jumbo beer-battered cod sandwich, $7.25; child-size fried cod sandwich, $4; Nantucket baked cod, $7.25; fried butterfly shrimp, $7; pasta dinner, $5; homemade pierogies, $5.50. Takeout available. To order, call 412.851.9176. For information, call 412.835.4415, or visit and click on Lenten fish fry.

St. Louise de Marillac, Upper St. Clair Fridays of Lent (except Good Friday), 4:30 - 7:30 p.m., LaGras Parish Center, 320 McMurray Road. Fried fish sandwich and dinner, crab cakes, fried shrimp, baked fish sandwich or dinner, macaroni and cheese, pierogies, haluski, pizza, french fries, salad and wide variety of desserts. Also, weekly featured soup. Takeout available.

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St. Winifred, Mount Lebanon Ash Wednesday and Fridays of Lent, including Good Friday, 4 - 7 p.m., Benedict Hall. Fried and baked fish, crab cakes and shrimp dinners. A la carte menus includes pizza, clam chowder, macaroni and cheese, french fries, onion rings, haluski and cole slaw. Dinners are $9. Takeout available. To order, call 412.563.1415.


tarted by brothers Bill and Mike Peters more than 25 years ago, Peters Place is a destination restaurant known for its fresh, unique recipes and calm, warm atmosphere. The restaurant’s menu is so good, Peters Place has carved out a niche as the place to go for wedding receptions. “We do more than 40 weddings a year and can hold anywhere from 30 to 300 people in our banquet rooms,” said Mike Peters. “Our wedding packages start at $29.95 per person and include a complete dinner, 4-hour bar, champagne toasts and custom wedding cake.” If you have your own hall, Peters Place does offsite catering as well. But for everyday lunch and dinner, you can’t go wrong at Peters Place. Open seven days a week at 11 a.m., patrons can get a typical lunch entrée for around $9, and a dinner entrée for around $18. “We also do daily specials,” Peters said. “We typically have six lunch specials and six dinner specials every day.” We had the opportunity to sample the Orange Glazed Salmon, which arrived at the table a feast to the eyes as well as the palate. Visually, the pink salmon covered in a thick layer of orange marmalade, was served with a side of fresh, crisp green beans and a strawberry garnish. The salmon was moist, supple and perfectly done. The glaze complemented the salmon and the green beans, for a savory, fruity mix that recalls the fresh bounties of the fall farmers’ markets. To say our chocolate mousse was decadent would be cliché, but very apropos. Fluffy and thick at the same time, the mousse was sweet, but not too sweet, and covered with a blanket

of whipped cream streaming with chocolate sauce. This is a dessert that merits a trip to Peters Place on its own. Peters Place and their experienced

chefs never hesitate to take on a challenge. So if you like your meal prepared a certain way, just ask and they’ll do their best to accommodate your needs and flavors to your liking. No challenge is too great for their more than 70 years of combined culinary experience. Peters Place is conveniently located at 1199 Washington Pike, just off the I-79 exit before the Great Southern Shopping Center. With plenty of on-site parking, you and your party will never want for a space. The kitchen closes at 9 p.m. weeknights, 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays and 8 p.m. on Sundays. Peters Place also does off-site catering for showers, anniversaries, corporate events and more. For more information, go to www., where you can view banquet room design plans, wedding menus and more. Or you can call 412.221.5000 to make reservations, although they are not required. Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 25

2013 Spring-Summer Events SNEAK PEEK! Register online at Contact Jessica Kester, Program Manager at 412.838.0064 or Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities If you really weren’t too busy this year, you could spend over two months volunteering at The Outdoor Classroom! In reality, that may be a little too much time for any one person, but there are quite a variety of opportunities for people of all ages to lend a hand! Garden Gang will meet the first and third Tuesday from April through September to maintain the four native plant gardens. Penn State Master Gardeners will be on hand the first Tuesday to help and answer your personal gardening questions! SIT Days are NOT for sitting and relaxing! They are “Saturday Invasive and Trail Days.” We’ll work on keeping the trails trimmed and invasive plants at bay so our native species can flourish. Join the crew on the first Saturday of the month from April to September. Camp Counselors are needed in June and July. If you are a high school

sophomore or junior planning on majoring in education, this is a great chance to enhance your college application with real-life experience! Build your resumé and have fun with the little kids at the same time! Call the office for details.

The Outreach Outfit could be your ticket to an exciting summer! If you like

to meet and talk to lots of people, why not join us at Community Days and events around town? Tell the world about the programs and adventures at The Outdoor Classroom and work on your tan at the same time! Various Saturdays throughout the summer.

Special Events are often held by The Outdoor Classroom. That means there are usually large numbers of participants and we can always use an extra pair of hands to run the programs. It could be you! Polish up your leadership skills and be a staff assistant for the day! Spring Migratory Bird Count – The hundreds of wooded acres of Boyce

Mayview Park attract thousands of two legged creatures every year; people and birds! Today we’re going to ask one species to count the other! Join The Outdoor Classroom and the USC Citizens for Land Stewardship for an hour or the day as we participate as part of the Pittsburgh South Hills Bird Circle. Saturday, May 11, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. For full details and a complete calendar of volunteer events or to register for your favorites, contact John Masilunas, Volunteer Coordinator at 412.838.0064 or

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Family and Community Programs Wonderland Gardens: Take a Nibble

Date: Thursday, March 14 Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Office Audience: Family friendly Fee: $40 per person or $50 per couple (receive one garden kit) Just as Alice found a wondrous garden in Wonderland, we’ll be creating our own wonderland gardens in containers that will bring a kick start the spring gardening season. This particular garden has a tasty benefit! We’ll be creating a beautiful culinary herb container garden! Come on your own or as a couple. The class is appropriate for children in 4th grade and up. All children require an adult which makes this day a great event for scout families. Garden clubs are welcome!

In Balance Series 1: In Balance with the Earth Dates: Wednesdays, March 20 (Rebuild), April 10 (Cleanse) and May 1 (Nourish) Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Audience: Adults and children age 12 and up with an adult Fee: $20 per class or $50 for the three part series. Want to know how to decrease the number of chemicals your family encounter each day? Want to know if the food you’re eating is as healthy and green as it can be? Join us for the final two workshops in this series as we learn from local experts. Find more details on the Classroom website.


Date: Saturday, March 23 Time: 1 – 5:30 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Audience: Girl Scout Cadettes and interested girls in 6th – 8th grade Fee: $20 per child; parent/leader free Get a jump on the spring and learn about the wonderful diversity of tree species we have here in the Boyce Mayview Park. Girl Scout Cadettes will complete their Trees badge and all participating children will receive a participation patch from the Classroom. Visit our website for more details and to register.

ABOARD Family Day at The Outdoor Classroom

Date: Sunday, April 21 Time: 10 a.m. – 2p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Audience: Adults and children with Autism Spectrum Disorders & Their Families Register: Join ABOARD’s Autism Connection of PA and The Outdoor Classroom for a FREE day of science, crafts and nature while hiking through the meadows and forests of Upper St. Clair’s Boyce Mayview Park. Activities take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. so come anytime! Bring your loved one with autism and the entire family to enjoy the day outdoors!

Moonstruck Hikes

Dates: March 27, April 25, May 25, June 23, July 22, August 21 Time: Varies slightly by season, check website. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Kiosk next to the Pavilion Audience: Family friendly Fee: $4 per person over age two One of The Outdoor Classroom’s most popular family friendly events! A walk in the dark on the peaceful trails of Boyce Mayview Park as the nocturnal world begins to come alive! Listen for owls, hear an insect symphony or just enjoy the quiet stillness of the forest. The constellations and the moon will be the “stars of the show” as the moon crests the eastern horizon. We walk on relatively flat trails, but appropriate clothing and footwear are recommended.

Outdoor Skills for Babysitters

Date: Saturday, April 27 Time: 9 a.m. – noon Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Audience: Babysitters & Older Siblings ages 12 and up Fee: $35 per person. Take your babysitting skills to the next level! We’ll explore tons of fun, safe and even educational outdoor activities that you can add to your “toolbox of skills.” Games, crafts, songs and explorations will fill the time in this course. You’ll even walk away with a goody bag of items to fill your toolbox!

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Talk ‘N Walk Series

Date: Sundays, March 24 (EcoHiking), April 28 (Spring Birding*), May 19 (Spring’s Bounty-Wild Edibles), June 16 (Spiders), July 21 (Insects), August 18 (Creek Ecology) Time: *8:00 – 10:00 a.m. for Spring Birding all others are 2 – 4 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Audience: Family friendly Fee: $8 adults, $3 children under twelve. 10% discount for 3 or more. Topics change every month and include a hands-on 30-45 minute presentation, followed by a hike focusing on the day’s topic. These are especially good for scout troops and leaders and educators will receive two Act 48 hours. Pre-registration is requested and required for groups and to receive the 10% group discount.

Mother-Daughter Geocaching 101

Date: Saturday, May 4 Time: 10 a.m. – noon Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Audience: Mothers & Daughters ages 6 and up, Scouts Welcome! Fee: $15 per couple, $5 per additional child Have a hard time prying the cell phone from your daughter’s hand? No need to today! We’ll use smartphone technology and GPS units to create a mother-daughter bounding adventure! Geocaching is a fast growing and free outdoor activity you can do together. We’ll teach you the basics, show you how to start and even provide help finding temporary and permanent caches. Already into geocaching? Not a problem; there’s something for you too! Great for almost any age. Scouts,why not make this a family outing? Fun patches will be available!

Wildflower Geocaching

Date:: Saturday, May 4 Time: Noon – 3 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Audience: Family friendly Fee: Free Experienced geocachers, listen up! We’ll be hiding temporary caches highlighting the 28 724.942.0940 to advertise |

beautiful wildflowers blooming in the park. Temporary caches will be throughout the park so be ready to do some hiking! Not to mention the permanent caches of the Boyce Mayview Park! There will be the usual door prizes and raffles that Pittsburgh Area Geocachers Assoc. (PAGA) is known for. Feel free to bring a snack to share, be creative and make it a flower theme! “Will Attend” RSVPs on are appreciated.

Wonderland Gardens: Take a Sip

Date: Thursday, May 9 Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Office Audience: Family friendly Fee: $40 per person or $50 per couple (receive one garden kit) Just as Alice found a wondrous garden in Wonderland, we’ll be creating our own wonderland gardens in containers that will bring a kick start the spring gardening season. This particular garden has a tasty benefit! We’ll be creating an aromatic tea container garden that will provide endless scents and beauty! Come on your own or as a couple. The class is appropriate for children in 4th grade and up. All children require an adult which makes this day a great event for scout families. Garden clubs are welcome!

Saturday OutDoor Hikes

Dates: Saturday, May 11 – Wildflowers Saturday, August 10 – Plants Time: 10 – 11 a.m. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Kiosk (next to the pavilion) Audience: Family friendly Fee: $4 per person Spend an hour on the trails of Boyce Mayview Park and explore its unique habitats. Each session will focus on a different portion of the habitat and illustrate how the areas interact to create our wonderfully diverse ecosystem. Attend both sessions and you’ll experience the park changing from the vibrant colors of spring to the lush abundance of summer. This is a great way to illustrate “cycles of nature” for your children and an all-around great family activity.

Upper St. Clair

In Balance Series 2: In Balance with Yourself

Date: Wednesdays, May 22 (Replenish), June 12 (Relax), July 10 (Strengthen) Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Audience: Adults and children age 12 and up with an adult Fee: $20 per class or $50 for the three part series Join us for this the second in our three series of workshops on balance. We’ll learn how to gain energy, distress ourselves and strengthen our mind and body naturally without stimulants or chemicals. Learn from local experts. Find more details on the Classroom’s website.

Amphibians and Reptiles of Western Pennsylvania

Dates: Friday, May 31 Time: 6 – 8 p.m. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Audience: Family friendly Fee: $10 person over age two. 10% discount for 3 or more. Does your child want to be a herpetologist? If they have an affinity for things that hop, slither and spend time in wet places, then they’ll love this presentation. April Claus, of Interactive Environmental Programs, will bring her collection of reptiles and amphibians to The Outdoor Classroom for two sessions this summer. Learn about the homes and habits of these unique creatures and be prepared for some hands-on encounters! These sessions are very popular, so sign up early! Registration is required.

Pretty in the Park Luncheon

Dates: Saturday, June 1 Time: 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Audience: Ladies of All Ages Fee: Tickets limited. Available at www. Find a hat, grab the ladies and join us for lunch! Enjoy local food and tea on a beautiful June afternoon. Have your group’s picture taken by a local photographer. Admire the female fashions of the past and enjoy the

artwork of local gardeners as you chose the winner of the Centerpiece Arrangement competition. Prizes will be given for the most family members, the most family generations and the fanciest hat.

Campout in the Park

Dates: Saturday, June 22 Time: 8 – 10 p.m. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Audience: Family friendly Fee: $10 person. Family Pak of four for $35 Join us for a fun family campout with tents, campfire treats, songs, and star gazing as part of the Great American Backyard Campout Night! Great as a scout family night and fun for all ages!

Cozy Campfire Nights

Dates: Saturdays, July 27, August 31 Time: 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Audience: Family friendly Fee: $6 person. Family Pak of four for $20 Bring the family for an evening of fun to jump start the summer! Enjoy the crackling fire, experience the woods at dusk and feast on every child’s favorite campfire treat; s’mores and more! You can tell your favorite campfire story or make it comedy night and share a knee-slapping joke! The perfect ending to a summer night!

In Balance Series 3: In Balance with the Basics

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Audience: Adults and children age 12 and up with an adult Fee: $20 per class or $50 for the three part series During the final of three series we’ll be looking at making our habitats healthy and green. We’ll learn from local experts in food, shelter and special arrangement. Find out how changes in your environment can make a happier, healthier, greener you!

Geo-Pupping: Geocaching with Your Dog!

Dates: Saturday, August 17 Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Audience: Family & Dog friendly Fee: Free Bring your family’s furry friends to our first dog friendly event! We’ll have activities and temporary caches for people and pups alike! The Pittsburgh Area Geocaching Assoc. (PAGA) will have their normal raffles and door prizes. All dogs must be on leash, well mannered and up to date on their shots. Watch for more information on our website and

Date: Wednesdays, July 31(Food), August 21 (Shelter), and September 11 (Space) Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 29

SUMMER CAMPS Bullfrogs and Pollywogs “Flowers, Feet, Fins ‘N Fun”

Eligibility: Children ages 2-4 and an adult Dates: July 10, July 17, July 24, July 31 & August 7 Day: Wednesdays Time: 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Fee: $75 for the series, or $20 per class; $2 each additional adult What if you had fins instead of hands? What kind of feet do water birds need? Do flowers ever move from place to place? Preschoolers and their caregivers will change into flowers, fish and grow funny feet as they explore the natural cycles of the world. Each day includes a craft, story time and a walk in the park! Designed for preschool children ages 2-4 and their adult caregivers.

Jr. Naturalists “Insects: Going Buggy”

Eligibility: Ages 4 - 6 Dates: June 24 - 28 Day: Monday through Friday Time: 9 a.m. – noon Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Fee: $140 per student Buzzzzz ... Buzzzzz ... Summer time is all “buzzzness” for the insect world! For many humans, summer is a time when bugs drive them buggy! But what would happen if there were no bugs? Campers will look at the part insects play in the ecosystem and how we can learn to live in their world. Do insects need plants? Do plants need insects? We’ll examine the life cycles of each and look for the connections. Is it possible that humans need bugs? (We can’t tell you right now because we’re very “buzzzzy!”) Each day will include a lesson, craft, snack and time on the trails to enter and explore the insect’s habitat.

Eco-Kids Summer Day Camp “Life in the Garden”

Eligibility: Ages 7 - 10 Dates: July 8 - 12 Day: Monday through Friday Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Fee: $150 per student Almost everyone has planted a garden at one time or another. But each of those gardeners probably has a very different “picture” of what that garden should contain. The Eco-Kids will take a look at a garden as an ecosystem

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and examine everything needed to make it work properly. How do the life cycles of plants affect what we can grow in a Pittsburgh garden? How can we control pests above and below the ground? How does a garden affect the animals? We’ll save time for hiking, crafts and games and unique “garden snacks” each day. Come and grow with us as an Eco-Kid this summer!

Seasonal Scientist Series: 20 “Budding Science – Plant Personalities”

Eligibility: Ages 8 – 12 Dates: July 22 - 26 Day: Monday - Friday Time: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Meeting Place: The Outdoor Classroom Learning Lab Fee: $140 per student Everyone around us has a unique and different personality. Some people are more fun than others! Like people, some plants are easier to be around than others! Some plants make you itch and some stick you like a needle. Others provide shade and food for us to eat, while a few seem to have no use at all! This summer we’ll look at the wide variety of plant life found in the park and study the phases of their life cycle. Students will determine how they interact with the human life cycle and chart the connections to our daily lives. Are they all essential or are there some we can do without? We’ll study them all, big and small!

Scout Programs Cub Scout Spring Adventure Day: Wildlife Conservation

Eligibility: All Cub Scout levels and children in grades 1-5 Dates: Saturday, April 13 Time: 1 – 4 p.m. Fee: $15 per scout, adults free Wildlife Conservation Day will be packed with fun games and activities that will teach scouts the importance of conservation and the many wonders found within the animal kingdom. Upon completion Scouts will achieve their Wildlife Conservation Pin and Belt Loop. This program is open to all Cub Scouts, but since group size is limited early registration is recommended. Individual scouts and boys in grades 1st – 5th will be accepted.

All About Birds

Eligibility: All levels of Cub/Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts Brownies – Cadettes Dates: Saturday, May 11 Time: 1 – 6 p.m. Fee: $20 per scout, adults free Become a “citizen scientist” and help count some of the 200 species of birds that utilize Boyce Mayview Park’s many habitats. No birding experience is necessary for this program; we’ll teach you all you need to know to spot and ID our most common local birds as well as some of the species that are just passing through. Boy Scouts will earn their Bird Study Merit Badge while Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts of all ages will cover various requirements throughout the day! Each Troop/Pack will receive two adult spaces free with additional adults $5 each. Individual scouts and children in grades 3rd – 12th are encouraged to attend.

Environmental Science Merit Badge Workshop

Eligibility: Boy Scouts and children age 12 and up Dates: Sunday, June 2 Time: Noon – 5 p.m. Fee: $20 per scout, adults free Complete your Environmental Science Merit Badge in one day! Join us for this activity-filled workshop and get outdoors as we explore the Boyce Mayview Park. A merit badge counselor will be there to sign your blue cards. Troops are encouraged to sign up as a group but individual scouts and children are welcome to attend. Earn this merit badge now and save time for others during summer camp! Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 31

Teacher Workshops Rain Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms

Date: Saturday, June 22 Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Act 48 Hours: 6.25 Fee: $40, includes course manual This one-day course introduces educators to the concept of rain gardens and their value as schoolyard habitats. Participants will understand how rain gardens benefit the environment by improving the watershed and how they can be used as an extension of the classroom. Participants will leave with the basic knowledge of how to plan, design and implement a rain garden from start to finish. Space is limited. Please register no later than June 14. A $5 discount is available when registering for this and the Wetland Plant ID: Know ‘em and Grow ‘em workshop by May 1! To register, contact Environmental Concern at 410.745.9620 or register online at

Wetland Plant ID: Know ‘em and Grow ‘em

Date: Sunday, June 23 Time: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Act 48 Hours: 6.25 Fee: $40, includes course manual This course provides educators with an understanding of wetland plant ecology and adaptations and the resources to identify plant species in the field. Materials will also cover native and non-native species and planting tips. Educators will gain valuable tools to increase students’

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interest in wetland plants, and inspiration to construct schoolyard wetland habitats. Space is limited. Please register no later than June 14. A $5 discount is available when registering for this and the Rain Gardens as Outdoor Classrooms workshop by May 1! To register contact Environmental Concern at 410.745.9620 or register online at

Environmental Education Leadership Academy: Natural History, Interdisciplinary Curriculum & Green Leadership

Date: Monday, July 29 – Wednesday, July 31 Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Location: The Outdoor Classroom Offices Act 48 Hours: 15 Fee: $90, includes materials This course will introduce teachers to the integration of environmental education across the disciplines of math, reading, writing, social studies and the arts. Teachers will create a final project that includes an integrated lesson plan combining environmental education and at least one other discipline, preferably from their district‘s core curriculum, as well as an environmental educational integration plan. Teachers will participate in and evaluate example lessons from each discipline. In addition to curricular training, teachers will be trained in outdoor teaching practices, Pennsylvania natural history, teaching outdoors using a small space, and greening within the classroom.

New State Senator Representing USC Sworn In Matt Smith (D-Allegheny/Washington) took the oath of office beginning his freshman term as state senator at a swearing in ceremony at the Capitol on January 1. The Pennsylvania Constitution mandates that the legislature convene on the first Tuesday of January. Smith was surrounded by family, friends and staff for the noontime event in the Senate Chamber. He comes to the Senate after serving three terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “It has been an amazing and humbling journey to arrive at this moment,” Smith said. “I am thankful to reach this milestone, and look forward to returning home and getting back to work to serve the constituents of the 37th Senatorial District.” As senator, Smith said he would build upon his previous efforts to grow the economy, create jobs, reform state government, invest in education and promote student health and safety. “I look forward to working collaboratively with colleagues from across the state and across the aisle to address the challenges we face as a Commonwealth,” Smith said. With two offices currently open to serve constituents, Smith encourages individuals to reach out to his office for assistance or to share their thoughts or concerns on any state issue. Smith’s South Hills office is located at 319 Castle Shannon Blvd. and is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The phone number is 412.571.2169 and the toll free number is 866.736.7477. Smith’s satellite office in the Peters Township Municipal Building, located at 610 East McMurray Road in McMurray is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The phone number is 724.942.7210. Smith plans to open another district office in Moon Twp. in the near future. Constituents seeking assistance may learn more or contact his office via his website,

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USC Representative Tim Murphy co-sponsors legislation rating the new Distinguished Warfare Medal U.S. Representatives Tim Murphy, a U.S. Navy Reservist; Duncan Hunter, a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan; and Tom Rooney, a veteran of the U.S. Army, introduced legislation today prohibiting the Department of Defense from rating the Distinguished Warfare Medal equal to or higher than the Purple Heart. “I know personally from my Navy service with combat-wounded veterans at Walter Reed that their Purple Heart should and must rank above the Distinguished Warfare Medal,” said Congressman Murphy. “If the Pentagon will not reconsider the decision to rank this medal above

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the Purple Heart, the House will take action.” “Combat valor awards have a deep and significant meaning to those who serve in America’s military,” said Representative Hunter. “These awards represent not just actions, but also the courage and sacrifice that derive from experiences while in harm’s way. And those engaged in direct combat put their lives on the line, accepting extraordinary personal risk. There is nothing wrong with having a military award that recognizes commendable actions off the battlefield, but it’s absolutely necessary to ensure that combat valor awards are not diminished in any way.” Representative Rooney concluded, “Like many fellow veterans in my district and across the country, I have grave concerns with the decision to rank the new Distinguished Warfare Medal above traditional combat valor medals like the Purple Heart. There is no greater sacrifice than risking your own life to save another on the battlefield, and the order of precedence should appropriately reflect the reverence we hold for those willing to make that sacrifice.”

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To stretch or not to stretch


he recent success of the NFC Champion, San Francisco 49ers avoiding injuries has renewed debate amongst the medical and training community about the value of stretching decreasing injury risk. The 49ers have instituted higher standards and expectations for flexibility training than most teams in the NFL. According to STATS LLC, the results have been dramatic in that the 49ers have had far fewer injuries than most NFL teams. In the highly competitive NFL, avoiding injuries is a must for a successful season. Most players on the 49ers, including former Steeler Clark Haggans, are sold on the value of their extensive flexibility training in preventing injuries. He was surprised as to how much time the team spent on stretching compared to his past teams, but has become an advocate after seeing the results. For decades stretching was seen as important in preventing injury in athletes, but was not emphasized in the training regimen of most athletic teams. Research conducted over the last decade in regards to static stretching has actually shown that force production is decreased in some sports if stretching is done prior to an event. This has led some trainers to ill advisedly recommend athletes not to stretch and led to a de-emphasis on flexibility. The truth is that flexibility training is a science and needs to be done correctly. Dynamic or “moving stretches” need greater emphasis as opposed to static stretches. With this in mind, try following these 10 recommended guidelines for your flexibility training.

10 Stretching Rules: 1. Know the flexibility demands of your sport. Each sport requires different ranges of motion and flexibility. In addition, players at different positions often have different flexibility demands in the same sport. Study what is required of an athlete during a competition setting. It is important to understand and be sports specific when stretching.

7. Get off your butt! Most sports aren’t played in a seated position, so stretching in a seated or lying position does little to prepare you for a game or match. Dynamic stretches will most often be done while standing or in a sport specific position. 8. Stretching is for more than injury prevention. Reminding athletes that a full and proper range of motion will improve their power production will help keep them motivated. Most young athletes are not concerned about injury. 9. If you continue to stretch and continue to be tight, something is wrong. Sometimes tight muscles are a stability issue, not a mobility issue. Other times joint fixation, not muscle tightness is the problem. Sometimes you are using the wrong stretching technique. Seek the help of a professional. 10. Make it fun. Most athletes, males in particular, find stretching boring. Try to make it more fun by adding a competitive element or by adding music or other incentives. Still have questions or concerns? The staff at Southpointe Chiropractic and Fitness is available to assist you. Invite us to your team practice for a demonstration. Continued injury prevention and performance enhancement programs are available for athletes of all ages.

2. Stretch during and after practice, not before. Static stretching before practice has little benefit and may actually increase injury risk and decrease performance. Stretching after an athlete has warmed –up has been demonstrated to be 11 times more effective in developing flexibility. 3. Do not attempt to make large flexibility gains during the competitive season. Increased flexibility and the resultant increased power takes time to get used to. Work on flexibility during the off season and preseason while maintaining during the competitive season. 4. Anybody can stretch. Do not fall into the trap of believing that being a male or having bad genetics will keep you from being flexible. All that is required is time and patience. 5. Young athletes need to stretch more. Although less likely to be injured, young athletes are typically in a higher learning curve and need proper muscle and joint motion in order to quickly learn the skills of a sport. 6. Hold your stretches for at least 45 seconds. Short duration holds of stretches has little effect on flexibility gains. Don’t waste your time. As general rule, use one minute as a benchmark and hold stretches until you notice no additional stretch. Remember to never bounce your stretch. This Industry Insight was written by Marcella and Tyson Swigart. Tyson Swigart, DC, CCSP, CSCS, has been the owner and founder of Southpointe Chiropractic and Fitness since 1999. He is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and the University of Maryland. In addition to his experience as a physician, Dr. Swigart is an exercise physiologist, former college professor, and former collegiate strength and conditioning coach. He has worked extensively with athletes of all ages and levels of competitive sports. Dr. Swigart and his wife Marcella, a registered nurse, reside in Upper St. Clair with their four children.

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I Upper St. Clair Tennis Development Program offers many different programs at all levels taught by certified teaching pros:

• Clinics for Juniors and Adults • 10 and under Tennis • Cardio Tennis- Burn calories while having fun

playing tennis to upbeat music

• TRX Cardio Tennis • Tiny Tots Tennis • USC Summer Travel Team • Play Days for 10 and under tennis • Teenager Beginner Tennis Clinics • High Performance Camps and Champs • Match Play and Conditioning

remember our first lesson. Alison Riske was seven years old, and even then she showed signs of greatness on the court. Most of the time she was more interested in running to the bench to give her mom, Carol Riske, a big hug. That’s when I suggested that her dad, Al Riske, start bringing her to the courts.

Jan and Ali’s tour through Europe By Jan Irwin, head teaching pro of USCTDP

Al became the driving force in Ali’s tennis. It has always been a family affair. Sarah, Ali’s sister, who also played the tour, coached Ali when she reached her highest ranking of 104. Ali‘s playing style has always been an exciting one to watch. She steps up to the ball and cracks it looking for opportunities to come forward and finish the point.

2013 Spring and Summer Registration starts NOW. To sign up or if you would like more information on any of our programs, please call 412.831.2630 or visit our website at USCTDP, Inc. is very excited to announce a new partnership with Dynamic Correspondence Sports Training, LLC. Chris Canady and Jeff Moyer founded DC Sports Training with the objective of providing the most sophisticated and efficient sports training system to the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Our only goal is to dramatically improve each of our athletes in the sport(s) they play. We are not interested in setting weight room records unless it directly translates onto the field or court of competition. For more information please visit or contact Chris Canady at

She has stayed focused and has always given her best effort on the practice court. She is known by her friends, family and opponents for her kindness and her respect for others. This past October, Ali asked me to travel with her to Europe for 35 days on the professional tour. She played in four tournaments, three in France and one in Germany. It was an easy decision, and before I knew it, we were flying to Paris, France. Sounds exciting but all we saw of Paris was the airport!! From the airport we caught a train than got in a taxi to our first destination. This was my first experience hauling around our luggage packed for 35 days. The word challenging comes to mind. Trains, planes and automobiles could have been one of our mottos throughout our trip. Our first tournament was in Joue-les-Tours. Ali had won this tournament two years in a row. She had also won the hearts of the French people. She was a Rock Star, and the people loved her. I became a celebrity just because I was with her. She lost in the semifinals. It was a disappointment not to

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get a third title but we were off to the next destination, Limoges, France, where she made it to the Quarterfinals. It did not take me long to realize how grueling this lifestyle is. A typical day on tour consists of getting up early, eating breakfast, which we would look forward to every morning. Then we would go practice, eat lunch, go practice or on match days play a match. Then, we would go back to the hotel, take a shower and go to dinner. We did this every day, unless I was going to the laundromat! These girls are putting it all on the line. They are away from family and friends. They have to deal with pressure of finding ways to get from place to place. They have to fund all this with their earnings which depends on winning their matches. Most cannot afford to pay a coach and yet if you don’t have someone in your corner it becomes lonely and harder to deal with the losses. There is no time or energy for sightseeing. Your pastimes consist of reading books or connecting online. It is lonely because it is hard to socialize with your opponents.

This takes a strong individual to handle the emotional ups and downs. I always believed as a coach and a player you must be unreasonably positive. I’ve never been more convinced of this than now. Our last two destinations were Isaming, Germany and Nantes, France. Although the results weren’t quite as good, we had a successful trip. For me, this experience gave me new insights and understanding and increased my confidence not only as a teaching professional, but as a person. It was a thrill to watch Ali compete and help her through the end of a long tough season. I cherish the relationship we have and thank God for the opportunity that was given to me, when an extraordinary, 7 year old little girl walked onto my court 15 years ago. I believe the time Ali spends on the tour will prepare her for any challenge life throws her way. We are so proud of Ali’s accomplishments and wish her the very best this upcoming year. I want to thank her for giving me an opportunity to coach her those 35 days in Europe. It was a blast. We will be keeping a close watch on her. If you like to follow her on her tour, please visit Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 39

Target to Celebrate Opening of New Store in Upper St. Clair

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Local officials welcome Target to the community After much anticipation, Target finally symbolically opened for business with a ribbon cutting celebration on March 5. Bethel Park Mayor Clifford Morton and other community leaders were on hand to help celebrate, and attendees had the first opportunity to tour and shop the new store. The Upper St. Clair store will offer guests the everyday essentials and exclusive brands they have come to expect from Target. In addition, it will include an expanded selection of fresh groceries, including fresh produce, meats and bakery items, along with a pharmacy and Starbucks. The store opened on Wednesday, March 6 with the official grand opening on Sunday, March 10. The 145,000 square-foot store will employ more than 200 team members. Target is excited to open its first store in Upper St. Clair,” said Samir Shah, Target’s senior vice president of East Coast stores. “We are committed to being a good neighbor to the Upper St. Clair and surrounding Pennsylvania communities, and developing long-lasting relationships with our guests.” Target creates strong partnerships with local organizations in all of the communities where the company does business through Target’s community giving programs. This store will start a local grant program, contribute to the United Way and donate food to a Feeding America member, or approved agency. Target also encourages team members to volunteer their time to serve the needs of their community.

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Flock Leaders

This space is reserved for leaders of religious congregations to submit ecumenical messages for our readers. If you want to submit your message, email Space is available on a first-come/ first-served basis. Topics should be of interest to people of all faiths. IN Community Magazines realizes the value of faith in people’s lives, however, we do not endorse or promote any specific religion in our magazines.

“The Cross of The Rev. Ronald M. Weryha Faith Lutheran Church 80 Bartley Road

In light of the events that occurred in Connecticut last fall, people were on the news talk shows and call-in radio programs asking why God allowed this. Why didn’t God DO something? That question always surfaces when tragedies occur. But maybe that’s the wrong question. “Why” takes you into philosophical speculation of all sorts, which ultimately remain a mystery. Why are things set up the way they are? These are the kind of questions that keep one up at night, and the kind of questions that Job and his friends asked God. “How do you answer these questions?” they demanded of God. “What do you have to say for yourself, God?” And God says, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the universe?” In other words, we weren’t even in existence and yet now we come along demanding to know all the mysteries of how and why life is the way it is with its beginnings and endings, and joys and sorrows in between. Tell us, God. We want an answer! Why is life the way it is, why do terrible things happen and why don’t you DO something about it? All the “answers” that I’ve ever heard have not been satisfactory or comforting.

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Christ and the Joy of Easter”

So let’s ask a different question; not why, but WHAT. What, if anything, has God done? And the answer, as the Christian faith teaches, is that God indeed did do something; and this is not in the realm of speculation, but of history and proclamation. God came among us in this vulnerable world. God lived as Jesus and died on the cross (under the rule of Pontius Pilate) experiencing death, taking our sin on himself, and putting an end to our attempts to earn or climb our way to God. Through the cross and resurrection, God has done something, He’s defeated death! In this world, this sometimes cruel and senseless world, we still experience death. As one of my theology professors used to say, “Even with all of the technology and medical advances society has made, the death rate is still one death per person.” This is not heaven. We die. Sometimes naturally, sometimes tragically, sometimes cruelly, unjustly and far too prematurely. Yet, the promise and sign (who is Jesus) is that resurrection trumps death. God, in Jesus, confronts the senseless and bad things in life – sin, death, and evil, once and for all – and WINS! That’s what the Cross announces and why it is central to our faith and proclaimed to the world. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the calling forth by God of an all together new thing! Death does not have the final word. That’s WHAT God has done! For all of our loved ones who have died, the hurt and pain are still there, but we grieve not as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13) but as those who trust this news and love of God demonstrated precisely by WHAT God has done and WHAT God gives us; resurrection and life eternal with loved ones, in and through Christ.

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Health and Wellness News You Can Use | Spring 2013

What’s Inside 2

When It’s More than Just Heartburn

3 4

Hope and Healing A Healing Touch Food in a Glass


Clinical Trials Can Change Lives

6 7

Depression and Older Adults Comprehensive Care for Today’s Urology Patients

© 2013 UPMC

When It’s More Than Just Heartburn UPMC Mercy offers comprehensive testing and minimally invasive surgery for complex problems of the esophagus.

Most of us can count on an antacid or two to tame a bad case of heartburn. But acid reflux, of which heartburn is a symptom, can lead to a far more uncomfortable and potentially dangerous condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

• Large hiatal hernia (also known as giant paraesophageal hernia) repair • Achalasia (a rare swallowing disorder) surgical therapy • Esophageal diverticulum repair and removal “Patients travel hundreds of miles, and most have had prior surgeries,” notes Dr. Awais. “Before and after operating, we use a quality of life test to measure a patient’s degree of reflux. We’ve learned that our patients typically experience better outcomes, less pain, and faster recovery times through our efforts. We also work with patients on long-term lifestyle changes to maintain their health.” Linette says her re-operation “saved my life. I feel like a new person.” She has lost weight and no longer takes medication for diabetes, cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Testing is key A variety of tests are needed prior to any esophageal or gastric surgery. At UPMC Mercy, patients can get these tests done quickly and efficiently at one location, including: Endoscopy — Allows a doctor to use a thin, narrow tube with a camera and light to view the inside of the throat and stomach Motility testing — Identifies how well the muscles of the esophagus are functioning

Linette Johns of Upper Burrell first underwent surgery for GERD in 2000. But in recent years, severe heartburn and other symptoms reappeared. “I knew the success rate of a repeat surgery on the esophagus wasn’t good, so I was hesitant to have it done,” says Linette. “But my son, Jeff, who’s studying to be a doctor, told me that I could be at risk for esophageal cancer. That motivated me to take the next step.”

Tackling complicated cases In March 2012, Omar Awais, DO, chief of thoracic surgery at UPMC Mercy, performed the repeat surgery on Linette. Under his expertise, some of the region’s most complex, minimally invasive esophageal surgeries are taking place at UPMC Mercy, including: • Minimally invasive surgery to remove all or part of the esophagus to treat esophageal cancer • Repair of recurrent hiatal hernia • Repeat esophageal surgery


Acid ph testing — Measures the amount of acid exposure into the esophagus Impedance testing — Measures the frequency and amount of gastric fluids (both acidic and non-acidic) entering the esophagus and larynx from the stomach

Are you at risk? “Certainly not everyone with GERD requires surgery. Most cases can be controlled through medical therapy, weight loss, modified diet, and medication,” says Dr. Awais. “But early detection and treatment of GERD is key because of its associated risk with esophageal cancer.” At greatest risk are men over the age of 50 who are obese and have suffered from heartburn three or more times a week for five years or longer. To learn more about UPMC Mercy’s programs to diagnose and treat complex problems of the esophagus, call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).

Hope and Healing UPMC is leading the way with new treatment options for hepatitis C.

Decades after receiving a childhood blood transfusion, Chris Sosinski was shocked to learn he had the hepatitis C virus, which had led to cirrhosis and the prospect of a liver transplant. Today, Chris remains hepatitis C negative, thanks to a new direct-acting antiviral therapy he received at the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases last year. Months after ending treatment in October, his viral load remains at zero. “That means it’s gone,” says Chris, 49, of Jeannette. “No more medicine and — if I take care of myself — no transplant.”

Baby boomers beware Chris is one of a growing number of baby boomers diagnosed with hepatitis C, a problem so serious that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that everyone born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for the virus. The CDC estimates that more than 75 percent of the nation’s 3 million adults currently living with hepatitis C are baby boomers — and most don’t know they’re infected. “Hepatitis C is a silent disease; most people have no symptoms,” says Kapil Chopra, MD, director, UPMC Center for Liver Diseases. “But if diagnosed early, it can be cured or managed successfully before it can develop into cirrhosis or liver cancer.”

A new era of treatment Thankfully for Chris and other hepatitis C patients, two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 ushered in a new era of treatment, delivering improved cure rates and shorter treatment time for the most prevalent — and hardest to treat — strain of the virus. Playing a critical role was the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases, where specialists have been at the forefront in the evaluation and clinical trials of promising new therapies.

Hundreds of UPMC patients took part in groundbreaking clinical trials for those new drugs. (Turn to page 5 to learn about other clinical trials and how they are affecting patients’ lives.) Today, even more are participating in clinical trials of new therapies at UPMC with the potential for even better results in fighting chronic hepatitis C infections. “These are exciting times. Over the next few years, we expect to have several new options that will eradicate the hepatitis C virus in most patients without side effects,” says Dr. Chopra. “It’s a new era of treatment and hope for our patients.”

A leading resource for complex care Treating and managing hepatitis C can be complex for both patients and health care providers. In the tri-state area, UPMC is the leading provider of comprehensive and advanced specialty care for patients with the virus. “Our multidisciplinary specialists are involved in researching and evaluating new treatments. They bring a unique perspective for managing these complex therapies,” explains Dr. Chopra. These specialists work together to assess patients, select appropriate antiviral therapies, educate patients, monitor for adverse effects and drug interactions, and provide support for patients and family members. “They are familiar with the latest, cutting-edge therapies and developing new ones,” adds Dr. Chopra. For those patients who don’t respond to treatment and are experiencing liver failure, the program also provides seamless transition to UPMC’s internationally renowned transplant program. To read about the risk factors for hepatitis C and what you can do, visit For more information about treatments for hepatitis C, contact the UPMC Center for Liver Diseases at 1-800-447-1651.



Health Tips from UPMC Health Plan

A Healing Touch There are ways to relieve pain and nausea through alternative medicine. A growing number of patients are adding acupuncture and other alternative therapies to their medical care.

“You don’t have to be a believer for it to work,” says Betty Liu, MD, a physician and acupuncture specialist at the UPMC Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “I’ve seen dramatic reductions in pain and nausea — some instantaneous, some after multiple sessions.”

Who uses it? Patients frequently turn to acupuncture and other therapies to control pain, including arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, migraines, and spasms, or to ease nausea due to pregnancy or chemotherapy. Integrating these therapies with conventional medicine can help patients find relief more quickly, or continue making progress toward their goals.

What are some treatments? Acupuncture, one of the most popular therapies, uses thin needles to stimulate various points around the body. “We’re not certain how it works, but we know it releases endorphins, which act like opiates to relieve pain,” Dr. Liu says. Massage therapy uses acupressure and deep tissue massage to increase blood flow to an injured area and release endorphins.

What is alternative medicine? If you visit an acupuncturist or chiropractor, you’re seeking treatment in the field of complementary and alternative medicine — an increasingly mainstream tool for doctors.

Chiropractic medicine adjusts the spine through manipulation to put the body into better alignment. For more information about alternative treatments, visit

Food in a Glass Choosing the best milk option for you. Are you lingering longer in the dairy aisle, pondering your ever-increasing options? Should you reach for your usual skim milk — or be adventurous and try rice, almond, or soy? Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, UPMC’s director of sports nutrition, says making the right choice is this simple: “Essentially, milk is food in a glass. Choose the drink that offers the best nutrition for your needs.” Not all milk and dairy alternatives are equal: read labels carefully, comparing the fat and carbohydrate contents. “For example, to reduce soy milk’s ‘beanie’ taste, sugar is added,” explains Ms. Bonci. “That can jump the carbohydrate count from 12 to 24 grams.” Look beyond just calories, too: milk is rich in protein, calcium, and minerals. “An 8-ounce serving of milk has 8 grams of protein, compared to 6 grams for soy milk and just 1 gram for almond and rice milk,” she adds. Unless a food allergy is present, the best choice for most of us is cow’s milk. “For children under two, select whole milk,” says Ms. Bonci. “Otherwise, reach for 1 percent or skim milk — both offer a lower saturated fat content and higher calcium. Enhanced or ‘super’ skim milk features a richer texture many people prefer.” And if you’re debating about organic versus regular milk, Ms. Bonci advises that your pocketbook be your guide. “There’s no nutritional difference between the two,” she says.


Clinical Trials Can Change Lives Bringing patients, physicians, and researchers together to change the future of medicine.

Research opens the door for new possibilities in patient care. But long before a drug, medical device, treatment, or surgical procedure becomes widely available, it must first be proven safe and effective.

therapy from a patient’s own fat tissue,” explains Dr. Rubin. “By harnessing the body’s own regenerative capabilities, we’re applying new technologies and scientific advancements to restore both form and function in patients.” For more information, visit or call 412-864-2587. Solutions for out-of-control blood pressure. Of the 67 million Americans with high blood pressure, more than half fail to keep it under control. Many have difficulty battling the disease despite taking three or more medications, a condition known as treatment-resistant hypertension. As part of the body’s sympathetic nervous system, our kidneys play an important role in regulating long-term blood pressure. In most patients with hypertension, the sympathetic nervous system is overactive, thereby increasing blood pressure and causing heart, kidney, and blood vessel damage.

At UPMC, clinical trials are the bridge between research and the future of modern medicine. As one of the nation’s top-ranked health care systems, UPMC annually directs or participates in hundreds of groundbreaking clinical trials in virtually every medical specialty. Some are offered only at UPMC, while others are part of national and even international trials. Each is carefully monitored and measured by expert UPMC physicians who are leaders in their fields. For a patients whose illness has no cure or no longer responds to current treatment, UPMC’s clinical trials offer potentially life-saving medical breakthroughs. Other patients enroll in clinical trials with the hope of finding a better or more costeffective treatment. The following three UPMC trials currently are seeking qualified patient volunteers: Healing soldiers disfigured in battle. A flash of light, the sound of an explosion … and a soldier’s life is forever changed by a traumatic facial injury. But thanks to two government-funded clinical trials, efforts are under way at UPMC to improve the lives of wounded soldiers through facial reconstruction using the person’s own tissue. The study is enrolling military and civilian patients with visible deformities of the head or face following trauma, applying minimally invasive therapy to restore a more normal appearance. These trials are led by J. Peter Rubin, MD, director of UPMC’s Center for Innovation in Restorative Medicine and an expert in adult stem cells derived from fat. “We’re using stem cell

John Schindler, MD, an interventional cardiologist with UPMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute, is participating in an industryfunded clinical trial in which a device is placed in an artery leading to the kidney. “This therapy uses a catheter to deliver low radiofrequency energy to destroy or disable the renal nerves,” says Dr. Schindler. “If effective, this device could be a valuable alternative to medications for patients with resistant hypertension.” For more information, contact Lisa Baxendell, RN, at 412-802-8672. Eliminating blood clots. In 2013, nearly a quarter-million adults will be diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), in which blood clots form mainly in a deep vein in the leg. DVT can result in persistent leg pain and swelling; if the clot breaks loose and moves to the lungs, a potentially deadly pulmonary embolism can occur. Conventional treatment involves blood thinners and wearing compression hosiery. “We want to dissolve the clot to eliminate its consequences,” says Rabih Chaer, MD, a UPMC vascular surgeon. Dr. Chaer is participating in a national, multidisciplinary clinical trial to determine if DVT patients would benefit from a more aggressive treatment involving the use of an image-guided catheter to dissolve the clot. “In vascular surgery, our work is technology driven; medical devices are constantly changing,” says Dr. Chaer. “By testing innovative devices, we offer our patients new opportunities to alleviate or resolve their illness.” For more information, contact Susan Tamburro at 412-623-8452. For a complete list of clinical trials now available, please visit To learn more about the benefits of clinical trials in patient care, please turn to page 3 and read about UPMC’s advancements in the treatment of hepatitis C.



Depression and Older Adults While it may be common, it’s important to know that depression is not a normal part of aging.

Its services include: • Preventive services, evaluation, and consultation • Treatment through therapy and/or medication • Participation in innovative research studies • Educational support • Referrals for assistance

Research studies benefit patients today and tomorrow Among the center’s current research studies are efforts to improve sleep patterns, lower stress levels, promote brain health, and reduce pain as a way of preventing depression among adults age 60 and older. These include: RECALL: A study about reducing stress among seniors experiencing mild memory, language, or judgment loss RAPID: A study for adults with osteoarthritis knee pain More than 6.5 million Americans over age 65 experience latelife depression that can last for months and even years. But many older adults and their caretakers don’t seek treatment because they think depression is inevitable as we age. Its symptoms — irritability, social isolation, poor sleep, loss of appetite, and memory loss — also are easily mistaken as signs of other illnesses. “Depression erodes our quality of life, our productivity, and our ability to have fulfilling relationships,” explains Charles Reynolds III, MD, director, Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh. He also is director of the Center of Excellence in Late Life Depression Prevention and Treatment Research at the University of Pittsburgh. The center is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “Untreated, late-life depression puts older adults at risk for significant declines in their mental and physical health. It can be so debilitating that it threatens their ability to live independently,” he notes. “But the right professional help and medications can be life changing for these individuals.”

A wide range of support The center offers expertise in the detection, prevention, and treatment of depression, stress, complicated bereavement, or bipolar disorders in older adults. Through its research focus, all visits and medications are provided at no cost.


Addressing Pain and Depression Together (ADAPT): A study for adults living with both depression and back pain Healing Emotions After Loss (HEAL): A study for adults ages 18 to 95 who are experiencing prolonged or acute grief lasting six months or more over the loss of a loved one

One of the nation’s leading programs of its kind The Center of Excellence in Late Life Depression Prevention and Treatment Research is located in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh at both the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC. It is one of only three centers of excellence in geriatric psychiatry funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the John A. Hartford Foundation. To learn more about the center’s services or to participate in one of its current research programs, call 412-246-6006 or visit

Comprehensive Care for Today’s Urology Patients From medication to radiation to surgical robotic technology, the new UPMC Mercy urology center offers tailored, cutting-edge care for patients.

Whether you need medical care for bladder cancer, an enlarged prostate, urinary tract infection, or sexual dysfunction, UPMC Mercy offers comprehensive care to treat the special urological health needs of both men and women.

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy — A highly specialized, minimally invasive keyhole procedure to remove large kidney stones by using high frequency sound waves to break them down and a vacuum to quickly remove fragments.

“Our urologists are experts in caring for even the most complicated and difficult cases,” says Ronald Benoit, MD, a urologic surgeon and director of the UPMC Mercy urology center, where he leads a team of highly trained specialists in general urology, urologic oncology, reconstructive surgery, and kidney stone removal.

To schedule an appointment with a urologist at UPMC Mercy, call 412-232-5850.

As a Center of Excellence in Urologic Care, UPMC Mercy features a skilled multidisciplinary team of urologists trained in treating patients who have disorders and diseases of the kidneys, bladder, or prostate.

The latest in diagnosis and treatment techniques According to Dr. Benoit, the hospital’s urology specialists use advanced technologies, medical equipment, and treatments — including minimally invasive surgical technology and robotic surgery — aimed at reducing postoperative pain, recovery time, and side effects. “Robotic urology uses endoscopic techniques, so patients have smaller incisions and a faster recovery time,” says Dr. Benoit. This technology is ideal for complex and delicate urologic surgeries, such as a prostatectomy, where doctors must operate in a tightly confined area surrounded by nerves affecting urinary control and sexual function. Special procedures at UPMC Mercy’s urology center include: Robotic-assisted prostatectomy — A minimally invasive, nerve-sparing procedure for prostate cancer that preserves potency and urinary control. Laparoscopic nephrectomy — A minimally invasive procedure that allows all or part of the kidney to be removed through a keyhole procedure instead of a large open incision. Prostate brachytherapy (seed implants) — An effective treatment for patients with prostate cancer where seed implants are used to deliver a high dose of radiation to the tumor while reducing the risk of complications to surrounding tissue. UPMC Mercy is the only Pittsburgh hospital using Cesium-131, a newer compound that does not remain in the body as long as traditional treatments, resulting in faster resolution of side effects.

Leaders in urologic care As a Center of Excellence in Urologic Care, UPMC Mercy has recently recruited several prominent experts — all of whom earned medical degrees at the University of Pittsburgh, including: Mang Chen, MD, a reconstructive urology specialist, completed a fellowship in urologic trauma and reconstruction at the Detroit Medical Center. Michelle Jo Semins, MD, a kidney stone specialist, completed her residency in urology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where she also underwent special training in endourology, a minimally invasive technique to treat kidney stones. Tatum Tarin, MD, a urologic oncology specialist, completed his residency in urology at Stanford University Medical Center and a urologic oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.



UPMC Mercy

1400 Locust St. Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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

Follow UPMC on Facebook.

Care that women can believe in as strongly as their Catholic faith.

UPMC Mercy provides a full range of women’s health services rooted in the Catholic tradition. From prenatal education, to menopause diagnosis and treatment, to complete oncological care, and much more, UPMC Mercy strives to ensure the comfort of patients in body, mind, and spirit. This holistic approach is the foundation of more than 150 years of women’s health services. To learn more about UPMC Mercy OB/GYN services, or to schedule an appointment, call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) or visit

Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC is ranked among the nation’s top 10 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.

Fiscal Cliff Deal

Revives Giving IRA Assets To Charity


he so-called IRA charitable rollover is an on-again, off-again rule, first introduced in 2006, that allows people 70½ and older to transfer as much as $100,000 per year from their traditional IRAs to charity. The provision last expired at the end of 2011. In the tax deal enacted at the start of the year, Congress has extended it through 2013. Here’s how it works. Once an IRA owner reaches the age of 70 ½, the IRA owner must begin minimum required distributions. These minimum withdrawals are then usually taxed at the account owner’s ordinary income tax rate. Instead of taking money out of an IRA, the owner can instruct the IRA custodian to send a certain sum directly to a qualified charity. This donation will then count against the minimum required distribution you would otherwise be required to take. By sending the distribution directly to the charity, it is no longer included as taxable income. However, by sending it directly to the charity, the distribution will not count as a charitable deduction on your itemized deductions.

As always, it is a good idea to consult your tax professional to make sure you meet every qualification. This has been a very popular planning technique with IRA owners I work with every day. And why not? You get to meet your charitable giving goals while minimizing the tax hit. Not too bad.

This industry insight was written by Edward G. Snyder of Bill Few Associates. For more information or to speak with a Bill Few Associates financial consultant, call 412.630.6000 or visit OUR LOCATIONS:

740 Washington Road, Suite 100 Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228

107 Mt. Nebo Pointe, Suite 200 Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Edward G. Snyder, CFP® Senior Vice President

The advantage of this is that the older donor isn’t subject to percentage limitations on charitable deductions and may be able to avoid certain penalties that come with a higher adjusted gross income, such as higher Medicare premiums. IRA funds donated this way can not be used for contributions to donoradvised funds, supporting organizations or private non-operating foundations. Subject to those constraints, the money can go to any organization to which you can make a gift that would qualify as a charitable deduction on your tax return. So who is a good candidate to take advantage of this opportunity? Anyone using the standard deduction rather than itemizing deductions. Under normal rules, your charitable contributions are counted as an itemized deduction. If you take a standard deduction, you cannot take advantage of the deduction. If you make your charitable contributions directly from your IRA, the contribution is not included in your income. Another good candidate is the account owner whose charitable donations would be affected by the 50% of adjusted gross income limitations. This is a bit complicated to explain here, but suffice it to say, if you are affected by this rule, you know it! This is also an effective and easy estate reduction strategy. Imagine being able to transfer up to $100,000 of otherwise taxable money to your favorite charities without the government taking its cut! What about owners of a Roth IRA. Any qualified distribution from a Roth IRA is already tax-free, so there is no benefit to making your charitable donations from a Roth IRA. Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 53



Bringing Old Kitchens Back to Life for More than 43 Years


iving your kitchen a new lease on life does not necessarily mean a complete overhaul. Clark Renovations of Bethel Park helped this Upper St. Clair couple create a fantastic new kitchen environment without the expense of replacing their cabinetry. “We have access to something that very few companies can provide,” says Steve Clark, General Manager. “As the exclusive dealer for Schrock’s of Walnut Creek cabinetry in Pennsylvania, we can have custom cabinetry made to our specifications and color matched to your existing pieces.” What this means to Clark’s customers is that they can add cabinetry to your existing floor plan, replace some cabinetry with a new purpose, or even modify existing components with options like pullout drawers. The owners of this Tall Trees kitchen had beautiful hickory cabinets, but were in need of updated appliances, new counter tops, backsplash tile, and wanted to replace their ceramic tile flooring with hardwood. Ron Clark of Clark Renovations had worked with these homeowners several times over the

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years and was more than happy to accommodate their needs. “Often when changing appliances, modifications are required to existing cabinets such as widening cutouts for ovens, shortening over refrigerator cabinets and modifying ductwork for cooktops,” Ron said. “This USC home required all of the above. In addition, the homeowners wanted to add a double pullout trash cabinet and a 24inch wine cooler in place of their current desk.” Clark’s craftsmen removed the existing appliances and modified the openings as necessary. The new cabinetry was designed and a door sample was removed and sent along to ensure the new pieces were an exact match to those existing. The wallpaper was removed, the ceramic tile flooring was uprooted, and the existing laminate counter tops were hauled away. New unfinished hardwood flooring was installed in the kitchen and the existing hardwoods in the dining room were sanded prior to refinishing. Beautiful granite tops from Vangura were installed along with a Kohler Staccato stainless steel sink and a Kohler Forte brushed nickel faucet. With more than 43 years of experience, there isn’t too much that Clark Renovations hasn’t seen or done in the last four plus decades, but the customer’s next request was a first. Having one left handed cook and one right handed cook in the family, the request was made to have two garbage disposals – one on each side of the sink. A combination of square and subway natural stone tiles was installed along the backsplash and a custom feature inlay was positioned above the new gas cooktop. Stainless steel appliances from Don’s Appliance, a fresh coat of paint and a perimeter of decorative crown molding top off this transformation. Clark Renovations has been remodeling homes in Pittsburgh for over 43 years. Quality products, skilled craftsmen, experienced designers, and a large support staff help to ensure your project starts on time, stays on track, and is completed efficiently. Their five-year warranty leads the industry and provides added peace of mind. If you are considering remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, windows or doors, visit their showroom located at 3180 Industrial Blvd. in Bethel Park, or visit them on the web at Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 55


Improvements In Upper St. Clair I

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

Depending on the size of an addition and the construction schedule, it may take weeks or months before an addition is completed. Bad weather can cause unanticipated delays, and working with an unreliable contractor can prolong the process even further. If a homeowner can’t afford to be patient during the planning and construction process, moving into a new, larger home may be a better option. An addition can be a good investment, helping to increase the value of a home. Using a home equity line of credit or getting a new mortgage that includes money to pay for the addition can be a wise financial decision, especially when interest rates are low. However, if the expected value of an addition – which a homeowner can estimate by studying the sale prices of nearby homes with similar characteristics – is less than its cost, it may be a poor investment. An addition is likely to raise the value of a home. After the addition is completed, a new assessment will raise property taxes. Prior to adding on, homeowners should estimate the value of their home with the addition and compute a new annual tax liability based on current tax rates. Building an addition is an ideal time to invest in energy-efficient fixtures and construction. Windows that prevent hot or cool air from escaping and low-energy-consuming appliances can minimize the cost of an addition by reducing energy bills and its environmental impact. Remodeling your bathroom is another popular way to jazz up your home as well as build equity. In some cases, not only is remodeling the bathroom an aesthetic choice but a functional choice as well. Giving your bathroom a boost doesn’t always have to require a boatload of cash or space – just a little planning and creativity before you get started. Refresh your bath’s

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look with a wow-worthy makeover that improves its style and function. Perhaps you have an old toilet that you want to replace with a high-efficiency model that will lower your water bill. Or perhaps the old tile is falling off your shower and you need to replace it. Whatever your situation is, there are many options to choose from, including do-it-yourself options. One popular and inexpensive option is to have a theme for your bathroom. Examples could be a Disney theme for a child’s bathroom, or perhaps a beach theme. This can be accomplished by painting the walls, adding a wall border and by well-placed décor. Some larger and more costly bathroom updates include new flooring, new sink and vanity and a new bathtub or shower. These improvements will get even costlier if you paid someone to do it for you. Decks on the rear or side of homes have become extremely popular in the United States. Used for entertaining or just relaxing, decks come in all shapes, sizes, designs and material. The most popular, and least expensive, deck material is treated wood. It is durable, however it will need to be painted or stained yearly or every other year depending on your climate. Composite decking products are building materials manufactured using a mixture of plastic and wood fiber. Composite decking materials are very popular because they require less maintenance than wood and often use recycled materials. Composite decking is easy to install and is guaranteed with a 20-year warranty against rotting, splitting, splintering or termite damage. However, composite decking can be very costly. Vinyl decking made from Cellular PVC is a great choice for decking because it is essentially resistant to stains, mold, insects and fading. PVC material is low maintenance and is a sustainable building material. But like composite, it can get costly.

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Our Home Improvement Partners Action Builders is a Design Build company. We believe in listening to our customers and designing within a budget. We pride ourselves on professionalism, quality and total commitment to your project. We back our projects with 30 years of experience and a five year warranty. Check out our website for more details. AB Action Builders 412.212.6009 •

We specialize in fabricating granite counter tops for all jobs, whether it is for kitchen, island, vanity or decks. We provide the best price because we import our granite slabs directly and do our own fabrication onsite with no middleman markups. We will be happy to assist you with choosing colors, designs and provide you with information about granite counter top fabrication. New Choice Home Deco., Inc. 412.567.0596 •

With Angelo Associates, a professional installation means your work will be done by skilled, experienced craftsmen using the finest tools and equipment available. We want to serve you. Please visit our office/showroom or call for a free design consultation and estimate in your home. You can also visit our website at: Angelo Associates Inc. 412.655.3430 •

Whether it’s building your dream home or making a livable space come alive, Prime 1 Builders, Inc. excels in single home residential projects. From sustainable and energy efficient home design to custom renovations, we work to exceed your expectations and stay within your budget. Let Dan Meade and his team of craftsman, make your dream home become a reality. Call us today to discuss your project. Prime 1 Builders 412.257.0161 • Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 57

Home Improvements In Upper St. Clair Powder coated aluminum decking can be used to create a watertight floor for your deck. This unique material will never splinter, rot or rust. LockDry Aluminum decking is cool to the touch and is available in five colors. Aluminum decking is strong and lightweight. The LockDry system can be used to create a dry space to use under your deck on rainy days. Decks can be built right on the ground, or be elevated high in the air, depending on the design of your home. If you are building a deck yourself it is very important to check all local building codes and follow all of the guidelines very closely to ensure the safety and longterm durability of your deck. Bringing your family together is often difficult. A family game room is a fantastic way to upgrade your home and bring the family together. Whether you have an unfinished basement, an unused attic room or an empty garage, you can transform it into a fantastic oasis where your family can spend countless enjoyable hours. There are many aspects to making your game room remodel a

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success. First you should talk to a Design/Build contractor about water access, waste lines and additional electricity needs. The contractor can also offer advice on any changes that might be necessary to update the space, whether it be additional insulation for a garage or attic room or waterproofing for a basement room. Water access could also be an important aspect if you plan to have a bar or sink area. A Design/Build contractor can offer advice on what needs to be done to make the area completely usable. You might also want to speak with the contractor about creating an additional half bathroom for guests and family members to use when you’re entertaining. Electricity for lighting and appliances is also incredibly important. If you are updating an unused area of your home, the current electric wiring may not be able to handle the additional demands of a game room. The Design/Build contractor can guide you through what will need to be updated and how much it will cost. If finances are an issue there are definitely still projects you can complete yourself including painting, laying carpet, adding shelves or simply updating the dÊcor. Gone are the days when it was frowned upon to bring work home. Today a home is not a home unless it has a home office. Whether you are turning an extra bedroom into a workspace with store-bought furniture or

Our Home Improvement Partners constructing a full-scale two-level library and office, home offices are a regular part of what makes a house a home in 2012. Making the space your own is essential to effective use of a home office. Create a space that makes you more productive and relaxed at the same

In 1987 Inks Installations, a home remodeling business was established by Michael T. Inks. Today, Inks Installations is ranked at the top of the businesses involved in home remodeling. Inks is family owned and operated, serving Allegheny County and the surrounding areas, specializing in bathrooms, kitchens, additions, game rooms, roofing, siding, and other small jobs. For more information call or stop by the showroom! Inks Installations 412.653.0850 •

From small projects to major renovations, we are here for you. With more than 20 years of experience, we have the expertise to get the job done right. Your complete satisfaction is our first priority, and we work with you on a one-on-one basis to ensure you get exactly what you want with the quality you deserve. We have been in the local community since 1993. R.D. Boehm Contracting 412.831.3676 •

time and that is a winning combination. A desk is an essential part of most offices. Choose one that meets your needs. If all you need is a work top to use your laptop from, consider a computer cart and save the space for a comfortable chair or small sofa. If you are in the market for a larger desk, consider office furniture resellers. They sell executivegrade used furniture for a fraction of the cost. Bookcases or other storage can be a nice addition. Not only can they store books, but they are also great places to display awards or showcase your favorite collection of knickknacks or memorabilia. Decide whether you prefer furniture pieces or builtins. Antique shops have great deals on beautiful bookcases, and most local cabinet shops can design and install custom built-ins. If you have a closet in your office, visit your local home center for a plethora of storage and organizing options. A comfortable chair or two is a necessity. Choose long-lasting fabrics and sturdy frames. Go with classic styles that won’t end up as next

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Pittsburgh Rug Company has been providing the region with the most stunningly beautiful collection of Oriental rugs at the guaranteed lowest prices. Now, in addition to receiving accolades as the best source for rugs, Pittsburgh Rug Company is now being recognized as the area’s number one source for Oriental rug Cleaning. Pittsburgh Rug Company 412.325.RUGS (7847) • Visions Remodeling & Home Repair (formerly Case Handyman and Remodeling) is your fullservice, locally-owned, expert home repair and remodeling company, based in Canonsburg. We offer the full range of home improvement services, including complete design and installation of the latest kitchen and bath concepts, and most any home repair or improvement project – large or small. For more information visit our web site at Visions Remodeling & Home Repair 724.745.9888 • Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 59



Pleasure Pool & Deck LLC Our Philosophy is Simple:


he Bethel Park based company has been installing top-of-line in-ground swimming pools for over 25 years. This family-owned business is devoted to making the customer experience a pleasant one by taking pride in being upfront with their customers. We think buying and owning a pool should be fun and exciting so we work with the customers to keep them informed throughout the entire installation process and beyond. We specialize in the installation of steel-walled, vinyl-lined pools manufactured by Seablue, a company that has a reputation for highquality products. We believe that a steel wall pool is most suitable to the climate here in southwestern Pennsylvania and as an owner of a steel wall pool, you’ll know that beneath the surface, rests an advanced three-part structure dedicated to providing the ultimate in strength. Pool sizes and shapes vary and Pleasure Pool offers a large selection of pre-designed shapes or custom design pools. New advancement in the pool industry has allowed us to offer our customers numerous options when it comes to pool steps, benches, sunledges and lounges. Our qualified and experienced team of Pleasure Pool and Deck employees can handle all stages of the installation and oversee the job from start to finish. As their mission statement indicates, they have made a commitment to “Give you the opportunity to purchase a quality pool, at a reasonable price and installed in a timely manner.” Our retail store offers computerized water testing, liner replacements, chemicals and supplies. With our expertise, we help take the guesswork out of maintaining a clean and balanced pool. We offer pool openings and closings services to our in-ground pool customers and have been installing two of the most innovative pool products – the Salt Water System (a modern alternative to traditional chlorine systems) and the Automatic Pool Cover, which serves as a safety cover, solar cover and winter cover. So if you are entertaining the dream of an in-ground pool in your backyard for you and your family, please contact Pleasure Pool & Deck at 412.835.7727 for a FREE consultation.

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year’s garage sale item. Test out the chair before you buy it. Desk chairs especially need to provide good support and be comfortable. We live in a society of over-indulgence. Nothing shows this like the home theater. So many popular home magazines have a page dedicated to converting your basement into a home theater, or something similar. The HGTV website has 16 home theater features alone. But how doable is the home theater in reality? First, you need a fairly large space, either a big family room or a basement. Second, you need to budget for all the furnishings including, of course, the

stars of the show: home theater equipment – a big-screen TV, DVD player and speakers – and comfy seating. Also very popular for home theaters is floor and aisle lighting similar to real movie theaters, and perhaps even an old-fashioned popcorn maker. Frankly, home theaters are generally for those with deep pockets because there really is no way to make a home theater cheaply. Still thinking of taking the plunge? The home improvement website Home Time has a really useful feature on home theater planning. It covers everything you’ll need to consider, like the space you’ll need and even suggested room layouts, to maximize your viewing pleasure. Kitchens are the most popular room in the house to remodel. Many people consider the kitchen to be the center of the home and its most important component. Another reason it is so popular to remodel is there are so many things in the kitchen that can be remodeled... cabinets, cabinet hardware, countertops, floor, appliances, lighting, walls and sinks. 62 724.942.0940 to advertise |

Upper St. Clair


In Upper St. Clair

There is very little right or wrong when it comes to remodeling your kitchen; it comes down to personal taste. There are so many choices when it comes to style, design and type of material for every component of your kitchen. When remodeling there is much to consider: cost, what is your goal, what is your situation (pets or small children could help decide what type of flooring to use, for example) and what is the cost vs. equity value of the remodel. If finances are an issue and you are not the handiest individual, there are still many simple and easy things you can do to add pizzazz and value to your kitchen. For example, you can paint your cabinets and add new handles rather than buying new cabinets. Adding a stylish splashguard behind your stove and sink is easy to do and adds great appeal. Painting the walls can also make a huge difference in your kitchen, as can changing the light fixture. If done well, landscaping can completely change the character and perception of a home. Landscaping encompasses anything on the outside of the home including grass cutting, plants, flowers, rock, mulch, borders, vegetable gardens and more. Beyond the aesthetics, landscaping can be beneficial to a property if designed properly. Solar heat absorbed through windows and roofs can increase cooling costs, and incorporating shade from landscaping elements can help reduce this solar heat gain. Shading and evapotranspiration (the process by which a plant actively moves and releases water vapor) from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 9째F (5째C). Because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under trees can be as much as 25째F (14째C) cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop. Using shade effectively requires you to know the size, shape, and location of the moving shadow that your shading device casts. Also, homes in

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Home Improvements

In Upper St. Clair cool regions may never overheat and may not require shading. Therefore, you need to know what landscape shade strategies will work best in your regional climate and your microclimate. Also, if you can determine how much water your plants actually need, then you won’t overwater them and waste water. It is important to not only understand a plant’s particular watering requirements, but also evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration (Et) is the amount of water that is evaporated from the soil and transpired through the plant’s leaves. This amount of water needs to be replaced through watering. If you know your area’s Et rate, you can plan the amount of water to be replaced through irrigation. It’s best to water or irrigate your plants in the early morning when evaporation rates are low. This also provides plants with water before midday when the evaporation rate is the highest.

Our Home Improvement Partners ARK Home Improvements has been owned and operated by Tony Konopka and has been servicing the South Hills area with all phases of interior and exterior remodeling, garages and custom addition renovations. As well as offering preliminary design consultation and final architectural renderings of a proposed project. We have built an excellent reputation in our 28 years of business and our customer service record is impeccable. ARK Home Improvements 724.942.4222 •

Habitat for Humanity’s Pittsburgh ReStore sells reusable house building and home improvement materials to the public. The ReStore accepts donated goods which are sold at 50-70% off the retail value. All proceeds help secure affordable, safe housing for low-income families in the Greater Pittsburgh area. We accept new and gently-used building materials, furniture, appliances, and home décor. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh ReStore 412.271.HOME (4663) • Taylor Rental, a premier rental center, has been serving the Pittsburgh area for 34 years. Our products include canopies, tables, chairs, concession equipment, pipe/drape, staging, contractor’s equipment (Bobcats, excavators), lawn/garden, floor care, plumbing, home improvement, etc. Delivery and pickup service is available. Reservations recommended. We fill propane tanks and motorhomes. New and used equipment for sale, and equipment repair available. Visit our newly renovated showroom. Taylor Rental Center 412.833.7300 •

Lighting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to cast an enchanting spell on any outdoor space. It is also very effective for safety and security purposes. Examples of exterior lighting include: torches, candles, lanterns, solar ground lighting, flood lights, lamp posts, landscape lighting and general light fixtures. For setting a mood the most popular lighting is candles or small lanterns. For security and safety purposes, it is critical to have flood light or lamp posts or ground solar lighting or all. A burglar is much more likely to enter a home without a lot of light on the outside illuminating the property. With countless styles and options available, there are no right or wrong

John R. Swentosky, owner of Oxford Landscaping, has been providing landscaping/construction services to the South Hills of Pittsburgh for over 25 years. We are proud to offer an extensive variety of hard and soft scape services to commercial and residential customers. Phone 412.996.7589. Fax 412.221.6145. Follow us on Facebook for project photos and tips. P.L.N.A. Member Oxford Landscaping 412.996.7589 •

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In Upper St. Clair

choices. The outdoor lighting a homeowner will choose will come down to budget and personal preference. Many of us take pride in our homes, investing countless hours rearranging and remodeling the interior. But it can also be refreshing to step out of the confines of the inside and spend some time outside. It’s especially enjoyable during the spring, summer and fall months. When the weather is favorable, it’s difficult to miss out on a nice day outside. But spending time outside doesn’t mean you have to forfeit your creature comforts. With a few small adjustments you can make your outdoor space comfortable and inviting. Turning a yard, patio, porch or other outdoor area into a functional living space can be a rewarding task, and will expand your living space to the outdoors.

Our Home Improvement Partners Stover Interior Solutions, LLC., is a family owned full-service remodeling company specializing in custom kitchens and bathrooms. Owner Dennis Stover earned his degree in Interior Design and has over 15 years of experience in remodeling and project management. Dennis is on project site daily and his personalized approach ensures exceptional customer satisfaction. Stover Interior Solutions, LLC. 412.596.6644 • Provides a full range of remodeling, design, and decorating products since 1995. Locally owned and operated, we offer complimentary initial design service, friendly, knowledgeable staff, and quality professional installation. Products offered include kitchen and bath cabinetry, countertops, tile, hardwood, cork and bamboo flooring, carpet, area rugs, bath fixtures, and wallpaper. Walls, Floors, & More, Inc. 412.344.2400 •

Jim Jenkins Lawn & Garden Center is the place “Where Every Lawn & Garden Should Begin.” We are a family owned business with 30 years of experience providing our customers with top-quality plants, products, and the knowledge to teach you to be a successful gardener. We offer the hottest trends in lawn and garden design and care, including unique and exclusive plants and decorating items.

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

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Jim Jenkins Lawn & Garden Center 412.221.3070 •

Pleasure Pool & Deck is your neighborhood pool builder of steel wall, vinyl liner pools for over 25 years. Want to do business with a family owned operation where the boss still sells the pool and is on every job from start to finish? Then Pleasure Pool is the right choice for you! Beat the Heat and Call Us Today! Free Consultations! Pleasure Pool & Deck LLC 412.835.7727 • Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 67

business spotlight

When Creativity is Key Home remodeling is a big business, especially now, when homeowners see the value in renovating versus moving. And like any big business market, getting a personal touch from your contractor is something that’s often missing. But with Stover Interior Solutions, you’re not just getting a contractor, you’re getting an advocate for your home. Started by Dennis Stover in 2005, Stover Interior Solutions has been creating gorgeous kitchens and bathrooms ever since with particular attention paid to the wants and needs of the people who live with them. “What I offer that others don’t is a personal touch,” Stover said. “I have my hands in everything from answering the phones to ordering supplies to working onsite. You’re going to see me on the job site and I’m going to make sure what’s happening there is happening correctly.” Stover said his goals are to minimize the time his crew is on site so that the homeowner can start using the space as soon as

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possible, as well as educating the homeowner as to why things are done the way they are done. “Remodeling isn’t always fun for a homeowner. It’s inconvenient to be without your kitchen or bathroom, so we try to make it an enjoyable process instead of a painful one,” Stover said. “I get feedback all the time about how people like dealing with me directly

Upper St. Clair

onsite because I educate them as I go, and I make sure that we’re working efficiently.” Stover said that people are moving towards upgrading their kitchen and bath decisions towards quality and convenience, and that’s reflected in the choices they are making with their designs. “People are doing what they’re not used to doing – they are treating themselves, and stepping it up a bit,” he said. “I have a job right now where the owners decided to upgrade to a copper sink in the kitchen over stainless steel, for example. They’re getting higher-end appliances, even choosing 48-inch ranges in bright colors. They’ve decided that they’re going to be in their homes longer, so why not enjoy their homes as much as possible within their budget?” Some of the other upgrades people are opting for are items that are functional and energy efficient, such as heated flooring, and some things that are purely frivolous, such as a Bluetooth shower head that can sync with your phone so you can enjoy your favorite tunes in the tub wirelessly. “Technology is definitely in every aspect of today’s living.” Stover said. Stover Interior Solutions is based in Eighty-four, where they have a design review center, which is less of a showroom and more of a comfortable atmosphere where homeowners can get inspired without being overwhelmed. They work in the greater Pittsburgh area, and have been extremely popular in Upper St. Clair, where most of their current work is coming from. For further information contact Dennis Stover/ Stover Interior Solutions LLC. at 412.596.6644. To see examples of some of their work, go to www. online, where you can see some exquisite kitchen and bath remodels.

Home Improvements In Upper St. Clair or pets. Keep clear of major root systems or mature trees, which can block too much of the sunlight plants and fish need. You’ll also need to be within reach of a grounded exterior outlet so you can plug in a pump, an essential tool for keeping the water aerated; most pumps come with a maximum cord length of 25 feet, and extension cords are not recommended. You may need to bury the power cord a few inches down in PVC pipe to hide it. Space permitting, you need at least 40 cubic feet for your pond – about 7 feet by 4 feet – to keep the water clean. An initial shallow terrace just inside the perimeter of the pond holds rocks that conceal the liner edge and keep it in place. A second, deeper terrace supports plants that live in the water and help balance the pond’s ecosystem. As you dig, you must slope the sides of the pond so that if the water freezes, the ice will push up instead of against the liner. Even in warmer climates, small ponds can change temperature rapidly, so if you’re adding fish you’ll want a deeper pond that will maintain a more consistent temperature and accommodate the fish – 18 to 24 inches for goldfish and at least 3 feet for koi. To maintain the consistent depth of the water, you need to line the pond. A thin layer of sand and old newspapers or burlap bags softens the jagged edges of rocks and roots. But over that you will need to put a waterproof skin. There are several types of flexible liners meant for small ponds – made from polypropylene and EPDM, among other materials. Look for one that’s weather-resistant, so it will stand up to UV rays and freezing temperatures. It should also be rated “fish-safe” if you plan to stock your pond and come with a warranty of 10 to 20 years so your pond will be watertight for many years to come.

Our Home Improvement Partners Clark Renovations has turned dreams into reality for over 40 years. Beautiful new kitchens, windows and doors transform your home into an energy efficient, updated space. Bathroom renovations with certain recommendations allow you to remain at home comfortably throughout the golden years. Visit our showroom at 3180 Industrial Blvd. Bethel Park or online at www. Clark Renovations 412.833.7222 •

Remodeling your home can generate tremendous equity for the future, as well as personal enjoyment in the present. Remodeling projects come in all shapes, sizes and costs. Projects can range from replacing flooring or a faucet, to installing new trim work or tile and replacing windows and doors. Remodeling can also take on the form of revamping or adding a bathroom, redoing a kitchen, overhauling your home’s exterior for improved curb appeal, or completing an addition to increase your home’s square footage and add valuable space. Big and small changes can both have an impact and will improve the way your home looks and functions, increasing its value and making it more enjoyable for you and your family. The key to any remodeling job is to make sure it makes sense financially. Not all remodeling jobs are cost-effective. For example, it is possible to pay $75,000 for a new addition, but an appraiser may be of the opinion that it only raised the value of your house by $50,000. It is very important that you do as much research as possible and talk to as many experienced professionals as possible so you can make an informed decision about what is best for you.

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Home Improvements

In Upper St. Clair

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

Purchase a Variable-Rate CD What it’s good for: Projects that can wait until a fixed time in the future with a price tag you can pay by saving. If you plan to pay for the kitchen of your dreams the old-fashioned way – by saving for it – consider a variable-rate certificate of deposit. This savings vehicle is similar to a traditional savings account in that you can add money to it at any time (a fixed-rate CD does not allow additional deposits during the term of the CD). In return for an interest rate that may go up or down, the interest rate often is slightly higher than a traditional CD when you buy it. You make a low minimum deposit and lock in your money for a fixed time – usually at least 6 or 12 months. If you withdraw your funds before then, you pay penalties and lose the interest.

Open a Home Equity Line of Credit What it’s good for: Long-term projects that can be paid off over five or fewer years. The beauty of using the equity in your home is that you write yourself checks from a line of credit and pay interest on only what you borrow. Plus, the interest is typically tax deductible. While current low interest rates add to the allure, these credit lines can be tough to come by in this climate of lowered home values and tight credit. When interest rates rise, your home improvement project may become more expensive than you anticipated.

Refinance Your Home What it’s good for: Larger projects for a home you plan to live in for the long term. A “cash-out” refinance allows you to refinance your mortgage for an amount that is larger than your current mortgage. You get the difference in a check – effectively rolling the sum into a newly financed 15- or 30-year mortgage. This can be an attractive option, as mortgage rates have hovered at historic lows in recent years.

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business spotlight

Visions Remodeling & Home Repair (formerly Case Handyman & Remodeling)

Covering the full range of home remodeling and repair services.


ase Handyman & Remodeling has long been known in the South Hills area as a reliable company for everything from complete kitchen and bath remodeling to small “handyman” projects. That tradition is carried on now with a new name – Visions Remodeling & Home Repair. Founder Jeff Morris and his son Jeffrey remain with the company, and are joined by David Neff, a lifelong area resident and businessman who intends to be even more responsive to the home project needs of area residents. The company began operations seven years ago as a franchisee of Case Remodeling, and has grown significantly since then. But while the franchise model made sense as a startup company, it became unnecessary for an existing, thriving business. Visions will continue to operate with the same staff, services, and consistent quality that Case has been known for, but under a different name. Visions is a rather unique company in the scope of services that it offers to homeowners. While some companies may offer kitchen and bath remodeling, few of them are interested in working on small projects. On the other hand, there are many small handyman companies (sometimes one person) that don’t have broad capabilities, and may be unreliable. Visions can perform almost any home service – full remodeling, small repairs, roofs, basements, window replacements, and more. “We know how frustrating it can be for homeowners to find a good reliable, reputable source for their home repair and improvement needs,”

explains Neff. “I have experienced it many times myself. You need somebody that you can trust, even on small repairs that don’t involve a large dollar value. We want to be that company that you rely on. Many of our customers that count on us for the small stuff become clients for major projects, because they have experienced our quality and reliability, and they know that we are not just there for the high priced jobs.” Also different about Visions is the depth of their capabilities. Their office at 2544 Washington Road in North Strabane contains a showroom for kitchen cabinets, countertops and other items, but also has an inhouse granite fabrication facility, a complete wood shop, and a painting and staining facility. Having the granite fabrication allows Visions to offer not only complete kitchen countertops, but also smaller pieces for bathroom vanities, bar surfaces, tabletops and sills. These are usually carved from remnant pieces left over from larger projects, and are on display in the outside Visions lot. They fabricate from granite, marble, quartz, soapstone, and other popular materials. On top of all that, Visions also operates Pittsburgh Shed Company, one of the area’s largest suppliers of backyard sheds, garages and barns. Unlike many of Pittsburgh Shed’s competitors, sheds are built at the customer premises, and many varieties and options are offered. Several examples are in place on the Visions lot. For more information regarding Visions Remodeling & Home Repair, please visit the web site at, or for Pittsburgh Shed, Upper St. Clair | Spring 2013 | 73

Home Improvements

In Upper St. Clair The downsides include closing fees that can be in the thousands of dollars. Plus, the threshold to qualify, including income and home-value requirements, can be high – both of which can pose a challenge in this economy.

Return on your Investment Thinking about adding a deck or revamping the kitchen so you can up the price of your home before you sell? You might want to crunch the 201011 Cost vs. Value numbers, compiled by Remodeling magazine, before you do.

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

Project with lowest rate of return on investment • Home office remodel (46%) • Sunroom addition (49%) • Bathroom addition (53%) • Garage addition (59%) The data includes national and regional averages on over 20 common home improvement projects ranging from kitchens and baths to roofs and decks. Data for both midrange and upscale projects is provided on: • Average cost of project. • Added resale value. • Percentage of investment recouped. • Change from last year’s report. The above numbers assume you’re hiring out the labor on the project. If it’s a do-it-yourself project, and you do a good job, the rate of return on your investment will be higher. Unless you plan on doing the work yourself, or not doing the project makes your house undesirable or unsellable, most home improvement projects will return less from your investment than you put in, so you might want to consider staying in your home a while to enjoy the results of your improved home!

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Home Improvements

In Upper St. Clair


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Leaders from Upper St. Clair and other local municipalities were honored for their achievements in removing barriers to solar installation in their communities at a recognition ceremony on February 13, at Rodef Shalom Congregation, in Pittsburgh. The advancements have come in just one year of cooperative actions to design model zoning laws and innovative funding approaches to make solar power installations possible for homes and small businesses. The work is part of a U.S. Department of Energy grant awarded to Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture) and its Three Rivers Solar Source project, in conjunction with the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, CONNECT (Congress of Neighboring Communities), and Solar Unified Network of Western Pennsylvania (SUNWPA). The other municipalities participating in the initiative include Aspinwall, Baldwin Borough, Brentwood, Carnegie, Collier, Dormont, Etna, Forest Hills, Green Tree, McKees Rocks, Monroeville, Mount Oliver, O’Hara, Pittsburgh, 78 724.942.0940 to advertise |

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USC Leaders Honored for Solar Achievements

412.221.2248 724.745.7422



Richland, Scott, Sharpsburg, Shaler, Stowe, Upper St. Clair, West Mifflin, and Wilkinsburg in Allegheny County and Midland and Monaca in Beaver County. PennFuture is a statewide public interest membership organization founded in 1998, with staff in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Wilkes-Barre. Working from the premise that “Every environmental victory grows the economy,” PennFuture has successfully advocated for landmark environmental legislation, including passage of the largest-ever environmental funding bond, public investment in green energy and energy savings programs, passage of the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act, adoption of the Clean Vehicles Program, and adoption of a regulation to protect Pennsylvania’s babies by restricting mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants. The Philadelphia Inquirer called PennFuture the “state’s leading environmental advocacy organization;” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named the organization “one of the ten most influential groups on the issue of natural gas drilling;” and StateImpact Pennsylvania, an online collaboration of NPR stations across the state, called PennFuture “the commonwealth’s main environmental advocate.”






March 1 to June 30, 2013


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Industry Insights

Mental health issues

in children

More than 14 million children and adolescents in the United States, or 1 in 5, have a diagnosable mental health (MH) disorder that requires intervention or monitoring and interferes with daily functioning.¹ Sadly, there is a well-known shortage of experts (child psychiatrists and psychologists) to access in times of need. Primary care physicians also cannot directly replace a specialist, and struggle daily to deal with important diagnoses that crop up, often very unpredictably and unscheduled. Additionally, few parents have any experience dealing with MH issues and often have great difficulty trying to help their children. Thus, children are often left with unmet MH care needs because parents, primary care doctors, and experts are having difficulty providing care. At our practice we take the access problem very seriously and have brought in outside child psychological services to facilitate access to good care. Even then, we still struggle. Few other aspects of medical care are met with as much stigma, misinformation, and resistance to care as MH care. It is my sincere wish to alleviate some common parental concerns and help struggling families team up with caring professionals. I thought it might be useful to discuss, with some levity, some of the concerns most people have. Here are a few… “The doctor will just try and put my child on psych medication.” Families often recall many bad medication stories, witnessed or perceived. As a parent, I agree, medicating children is not to be taken lightly. I let parents know that medicating children is usually last on the list of considerations. A long comprehensive examination of the problems and

getting proper diagnoses is paramount. Only then can we begin to help our children. Education, insight, and support are usually what follow next. I encourage parents to initially, “just say no to drugs” if they wish, but please don’t avoid seeking care and getting more informed. Going It Alone: Americans are fiercely independent. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment, often via the University of Google, have all but become a national pastime. Unfortunately, child psychology can be quite dynamic and abstract. Proper diagnosis can be difficult even for the trained clinician. The Stigma of Crazy: This, by far, is the silent big kahuna for avoiding MH care. We often assume only severely mentally ill people should be “forced” to go to “the shrink.” Nothing could be further from the truth since significant treatable MH issues are found quietly, quite unexpectedly, in people all around us. Remember 1 in 5. ¹ Bad Experiences With Care: Pediatricians, psychologists, and psychiatrists are all unique. I encourage parents not to forsake the whole system because a prior encounter was a poor fit. Clinicians often will have specialized knowledge which may or may not fit “special situations.” Psychology is almost universally made up of “special situations,” by definition. I encourage parents to talk to their friends and physician’s practices to find a good fit. Keep trying. All fixed with one encounter: “One symptom, one diagnosis, one treatment” is rare in MH care issues, certainly not with growing, changing children. Over time children’s diagnoses can lessen/improve based on developmental stage. Often, new diagnoses can arise unexpectedly. “If there is a problem, the school or my doctor will pick it up and let me know.” Although there are many fine teachers in our schools, they are neither trained nor mandated to actively diagnose many MH issues. They may sometimes, as a courtesy, alert you in the early stages. They often may not bring it to your attention until advanced symptoms are noticeably interfering with the school process. Primary care physicians will rarely be able to properly address a MH care issue added onto another appointment. If you have any concerns for your child’s mental health, we encourage parents not to be afraid, get involved, get informed, and see your trusted health care provider. Dr. Edwin King, a board-certified pediatrician, practices at Pediatric Alliance-St. Clair Division in Upper St. Clair. He trained at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He and his wife Leslie, a family physician, have two children, seven and eleven years old. Dr. King is interested in healthcare reform at the clinical level, taking into account the whole person, and how mental health affects overall health. Dr. King has an eclectic collection of personal interests including the outdoors and art. He is an accomplished glassblowing artist. He can be found twice a week in karate class with his two children. 1. U.S. D.H.H.S., Mental Health Report: 2000. Available online.

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USCSD Announces Kindergarten Registration Dates and Procedures Registration dates and procedures for students entering kindergarten in August 2013 have been determined. Parents/guardians of children who reside in the District may register their children for kindergarten if their child turns 5 years old on or before September 1, 2013.

Parents of elementary children may elect to apply for the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program (PYP) at Streams. PYP serves students in grades K-4. Due to space limitations, preference is given to students whose home school is Streams. A waitlist is maintained annually.

Starting February 12, registration packets will be available at each elementary school. These packets contain general information and forms that may be completed prior to registration.

An informational meeting regarding PYP will be held at Streams Elementary School Gym on April 4 at 6:30 pm. This informational meeting is for any elementary parents who are interested in learning about PYP. The deadline for PYP application forms (K-4) is April 25.

Children do not need to accompany their parents to registration. At the time of registration, parents must provide proof of District residency, proof of the child’s date of birth, and the child’s immunization history. See the District website, under Headlines, at www.uscsd.k12. for more information regarding documents that will provide proof of residency and proof of the child’s date of birth. The District’s attendance areas for the three elementary schools remain unchanged from 2012-13. Parents may call the District office at 412.833.1600, ext. 2202 if they have a question about the attendance area of their home.

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Parents of students in the Streams attendance area who do not wish to enroll in PYP may enroll their child at Baker Elementary. School visits to Baker will be arranged on an individual basis. The deadline for Streams parents (K-4) to select Baker is also April 25. Questions regarding the District elementary enrollment process may be directed to Ms. Ellie Stoehr, Supervisor of Pupil Personnel, at 412.833.1600 ext. 2214 or the building principals.

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Straighter Teeth in Six Months after efor e


hen people hear that someone is getting braces, immediately images of “metal mouth” come to mind. This treatment is most commonly associated with teenagers and at one time may have led to embarrassment and insecurity. However, today braces are so widely accepted during the school-age years that children are sometimes eager to begin orthodontic treatment. It is refreshing to see this shift in acceptance among teenagers. What about the adults who have crooked, crowded, uneven, or spaced smiles? There are adults who may have missed the opportunity to straighten their teeth when they were younger and are now looking at their options. The workplace can be as unforgiving as high schools once were. However, this shouldn’t limit adults from the opportunity to have a straighter, more attractive smile. There are currently a few options for adults to have their teeth straightened. The traditional method of metal braces and wires over a treatment time of a couple years is still a great option for a

straighter smile. For some patients’ teeth this may be the only real option. Many people do, however, fall into a category that can benefit from Invisalign or “Short Term Orthodontics.” Almost everyone has heard of Invisalign, and it is a great treatment option for patients with mild crowding and moderate spacing. However, there are limitations in tooth movement for more severe cases. Short Term Orthodontics can provide an alternative to traditional braces and Invisalign. All three options have their benefits and limitations that should be explored before making a decision. 6 Month Smiles is a cosmetic short-term orthodontic option that uses clear brackets and tooth-colored wires. The average treatment time is six months. The technique works by focusing treatment on the patient’s primary concern. The faster treatment times are accomplished by treating only the teeth you see when you smile, not by increasing the forces on the teeth. 6 Month Smiles does not make major changes to the alignment of the back teeth as traditional braces can. Fortunately, most adults’ primary cosmetic concerns do not involve the back teeth. The treatment comfort is comparable to traditional braces. With 6 Month Smiles, your smile can be straighter and more symmetrical in 5 -8 months. Whitening is also included with treatment. Another benefit of 6 Month Smiles is that it is typically a more economical choice due to shorter treatment times and lower cost. 6 Month Smiles is not a replacement for traditional braces, but rather an alternative that can provide a more symmetrical and pleasing smile for adults who are not interested in the time, costs, or cosmetics of traditional braces. Children are still best treated by traditional comprehensive orthodontics, but it is nice for adults to have one more option for a straighter smile. Dr. Rairigh is a certified Invisalign and 6 Month Smiles provider. Learn more at or This Industry Insight was written by Dr. Daniel Rairigh. Dr. Daniel Rairigh practices at Advanced Dental Solutions of Pittsburgh on Fort Couch Road. He received his degree from West Virginia University School of Dentistry. Dr. Rairigh is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the Academy of General Dentistry. He is a certified Invisalign provider and is certified in MDI placement. Dr. Rairigh is also an accomplished artist who has won numerous awards for his artwork. You can learn more about Dr. Rairigh or send him an email if you have article suggestions at

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Patio Concepts – The Finest Furnishings for Outdoor Living


f you plan to transform your backyard into the outdoor room of your dreams, you’re not going to find the perfect matching furniture at a local big box store. That’s where Patio Concepts comes in. With unparalleled customer service and attention to detail, Bob Drescher, CEO, and Doug Stone, General Manager, work one-to-one to ensure that the furniture or fire pit you choose meets your unique tastes, needs and budget. Customers are no longer purchasing just a table and chairs for outside dining anymore. Those are almost secondary anymore. They are creating spaces that are extentions of their living rooms and kitchens for lounging, relaxing and visiting. The outdoor rooom is the gathering spot, just as the kitchen is indoors. Patio Concepts offers a great selection of comfortable deep seating pieces that make it possible for people to spend just as much time entertaining outdoors as they do indoors. Conveniently located at 2500 Washington Road in Canonsburg, Patio Concepts has been in business for over 15 years, and carries lines such as Agio, Gensun, Patio Renaissance, North Cape Internationals, Gloster, Poly-wood and Telescope, to name a few. “All of our brands are designed to be very low maintenance so they can be easily maintained by the homeowner, typically just by washing off with a hose,” Stone said. “Materials we offer include extruded and cast aluminum, wicker, which is very popular these days, and high-end woods such as epay or teak. These woods are very dense, and also require minimum maintenance. Our furniture is designed to last for up to 30 years, and many pieces are customizable to whatever our customers want. Our ability to work individually with customers and meet their specific needs allows us to stand out. Much of our business is custom order, special fabrics, special finishes, pretty much whatever our customers want, we do. Custom orders can be delivered as quickly as two to four weeks.” Patio Concepts also carries fire pits so you can enjoy your patio longer into the evening and during the colder seasons. “Our most popular fire pits are 42- to 54-inch diameter, and frequently include a seating chat group around them with four, ultra-comfortable swivel rocking lounge chairs,” Stone said. “Propane models are the most popular, and the faux, granite and aluminum finishes make your patio stand out. We also offer wood burning fire pits as well, affordably priced at $1,200.” And don’t forget about matching accessories, such as patio umbrellas in multiple sizes, shapes, fabrics and colors, to shade you and your guests from the hot summer sun. Patio Concepts has those covered for you as well. For more information on Patio Concepts, visit their Canonsburg showroom at 2500 Washington Road, near Cardello Electric, where you can see the quality and custom options for your patio needs, or call them at 724.745.5061. Hours are Mondays through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m.

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Tomosynthesis Offers Women Greater Detection of Breast Abnormalities Donna Peters, 46, was told she had breast cancer in July 2012 – a diagnosis that almost had not happened, had it not been for tomosynthesis, a revolutionary three-dimensional mammography imaging technology being used at Magee-Womens Imaging. Peters explained that she had a standard mammogram at a local hospital in March, only to be called to have a second one a few weeks later. “My doctors said that my breast tissue was dense, but they were not sure if something else might be going on,” she explained. She returned for the second mammogram, and had a sonogram immediately after, as her physicians were still somewhat unclear of what they were seeing.

“This is the biggest advance we’ve seen in breast imaging in a long time, and we are excited to provide it to our patients.”

A few weeks later, she had an MRI, which concluded a possibly benign tumor, so another MRI was performed, but this time with a guided biopsy. The results were in and showed no cancer. That is when Peters took matters into her own hands and sought a second opinion.

“I knew in my heart that they were wrong, so I called Dr. (Marguerite) Bonaventura’s office at Magee and made an appointment for a second opinion,” Peters said. “Thank goodness I did! She and Dr. (Denise) Chough saw something that my previous doctors had missed.”

- Dr. Margarita Zuley

Dr. Chough ordered tomosynthesis for Peters, who said that it did not feel any different from that of a standard mammogram. The diagnosis was confirmed. Peters had infiltrated ductal carcinoma, the most common kind of breast cancer. “Tomosynthesis provides physicians with the ability to improve upon the limitations of the standard two-dimensional mammography, which will hopefully allow us to find more cancers with fewer false-positives and limit the number of additional workups and potentially unnecessary biopsies,” said Margarita Zuley, M.D., director of breast imaging at Magee-Womens Imaging. 96 724.942.0940 to advertise |

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“And although tomosynthesis currently does not replace traditional 2-D mammography, especially in women with dense breast tissue, it does reduce the recall rate of patients by 30 to 40 percent.” The technology uses precise 3-D digital imaging to create a complete reconstruction of the breast, which gives radiologists the ability to identify certain abnormalities which can be more difficult to detect with traditional 2-D digital mammography screening. One of the main differences between tomosynthesis and 2-D mammography is its ability to capture 60 to 100 pictures through use of an advanced digital platform, compared to two pictures produced by the standard mammogram. Although the test can be performed on anyone, for now, tomosynthesis is used for patients who have an inconclusive mammogram or for patients who request it, according to Dr. Zuley, who does feel that it will eventually replace the two-dimensional test. Dr. Zuley also stressed that the radiation levels in tomosynthesis are equal to that of traditional two-dimensional mammography. Much of the research on tomosynthesis was conducted at Magee-Womens Imaging, and researchers there are the most widely published group in the country on the technology. “I am so grateful for this new technology,” Peters said. “I feel it was a big part in my diagnosis, because it gave my doctors a clearer image of what was going on inside my body. But the equipment is only as good as the doctors who know how and when to use it, and when Drs. Bonaventura and Chough saw something that they did not like, they immediately opted to use tomosynthesis to verify their suspicions. They made the process easy!” “This is the biggest advance we’ve seen in breast imaging in a long time, and we are excited to provide it to our patients,” Dr. Zuley said. Tomosynthesis is currently available at Magee-Womens Imaging locations in Oakland and Monroeville and at the Magee Breast Center at UPMC St. Margaret.


IN Upper St. Clair  

IN Upper St. Clair Spring 2013

IN Upper St. Clair  

IN Upper St. Clair Spring 2013