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FALL 2010

COMMUNITY MAGAZINE

Wings Over Pittsburgh

ALSO INSIDE: West Mifflin Community Information Plus: Older Adults in West Mifflin


Introducing a health plan option for small business designed to save green. asy to use, conomical and Environmentally friendly.

Enjoy a discount and the ease of 24/7 on-line access for all of your health plan needs. Has there ever been an easier business decision? At UPMC Health Plan, we want to make it that simple. That’s why we’ve introduced the region’s most comprehensive all-electronic option. It’s called and it’s an easy-to-use, paperless option that complements any of our Small Business Advantage health plans. With , all enrollment, billing, claims, and payments are conducted online – providing you and your employees with greater convenience. Your employees also enjoy easy access to all their health information, wellness tools, and health support. And, as always, you and your employees have access to our network of more than 80 hospitals and 7,000 physicians, and the award-winning member service you expect from UPMC Health Plan. In other words you get more for less. To learn more about how you can save, go to upmchealthplan.com.

Shouldn’t the people who insure your health understand it? This managed care plan may not cover all your health care expenses. Read your contract carefully to determine which health care services are covered. If you have questions, call Member Services at 1-888-876-2756.


FALL 2010

Welcome to the debut issue of West Mifflin. As summer winds down, I hope that you and your family had some time to get away and enjoy yourselves – even if it was for the day at some local hidden treasure spot. Those are the places we love to highlight in these pages. I met one of our readers while I was finishing up some business with one of the municipalities we serve. He was sitting at a picnic table n ear a veterans’ monument under a pristine blue sky on a quiet and hot July day. The man recognized my photo from the magazine and said his dad used to enjoy reading about local things. He explained that his father had passed away several years ago. He pointed to the monument and said his father never spoke about the war, but always talked about some close friends he served with that didn’t come home. “I c ome by here about once a week or so to enjoy a cup of coffee and listen to the birds,” he said. “We miss him, but here, I know that he's catching up with some old friends.” To say that I was touched would be an understatement, but you can see how this one little area can mean so much to someone. Tell us about places that are special to you – places with history and a story behind them. Send your story to : marybeth@incommunitymagazines.com or mail them to Community Magazines, 603 East McMurray Road, McMurray, PA 15317.

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

Wayne Dollard AS S I STA N T TO T H E P U B L I S H E R

Mark Berton mark@incommunitymagazines.com M A N AG I N G E D I TO R

Marybeth Jeffries marybeth@incommunitymagazines.com O F F I C E M A N AG E R

Leo Vighetti leo@incommunitymagazines.com WRITERS

Jonathan Barnes Kelli McElhinny Pamela Palongue Sandy Trozzo Josh Wetmore GRAPHIC DESIGN

Cassie Brkich Anna Buzzelli Susie Doak Pati Ingold

Wayne Dollard Publisher

Jan McEvoy Joe Milne Tamara Tylenda Tracey Wasilco

P H OTO G R A P H E R S

Garyyonphotography.com A DV E RT I S I N G S A L E S

Welcome to the first edition of West Mifflin! I’m looking forward to getting to know the community through features that we create here about residents of the West Mifflin Community. As the kids head back to school, we thought it was important to address education. I firmly believe that education and the family’s role in supporting the educational process for all family members is a responsibility we shouldn’t take lightly. I hope you find the features informative as you navigate the new school year. A few notes about the magazine — we want to hear from you! If you know of someone in the community who is volunteering, or has made your community a better place to live and work, will you let us know? We get some of our very best features from ideas our readers suggest to us. Also, please let us know if you have a member of your family who is serving in our nation’s military. We want to recognize their dedication to our country. You can send along their photo, name and where they are stationed to us. We will post in the very next edition of the magazine. You can write to me at the magazine — marybeth@incommunitymagazines.com. I look forward to hearing from you. Enjoy!

Nicholas Buzzell Brian McKee Brian Daley David Mitchell Gina D’Alicandro Tamara Myers Tina Dollard Gabriel Negri Rose Estes Annette Petrone Jason Huffman Tara Reis Jessie Jones Vincent Sabatini Connie McDaniel Michael Silvert RJ Vighetti

This magazine is carrier route mailed to all district households and businesses. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Copyright 2010. CORRESPONDENCE All inquiries, comments and press releases should be directed to: IN Community Magazines Attn: Editorial 603 East McMurray Road McMurray, PA 15317 Ph: 724.942.0940 Fax: 724.942.0968

Winter content deadline: 11/10 www.incommunitymagazines.com Marybeth Jeffries Managing Editor


Contents West Mifflin | FALL 2010 |

FA L L 2 0 1 0

Health and Wellness News You Can Use

What’s Inside

6

11 Publisher’s Message

FEATURES

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Play It Safe

Education Section

page 2

page 3

Play It Safe Minimally Invasive Surgery Available Close to Home

page 4

Are You Concussion-Savvy? School Lunches That Make the Grade

page 5

© 2010 UPMC

|

Why Go With the Flow? Incontinence Is Treatable

13

Kick off the fall sports season and keep your kids in the game with this guide to help prevent sports injuries. (page 3)

32

Who Knew Rehab Could Be So Much Fun?

page 6

A New Era of Treatment for High-Risk Pregnancies

page 7

What’s Happening at UPMC McKeesport

1

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Secrets of the Successful Middle School Student | 6 Moms Returning To School Face Uphill, But Not Impossible, Battle | 7 Alternatives to College | 26 | | | | | | | | |

COMMUNITY INTEREST

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ON THE COVER

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The Perfect Hostess Gift | 3 The Garden Club of Allegheny County | 4 Taking Flight Over Western Pennsylvania | 8 UPMC Today Health and Wellness News You Can Use | 13 Automated Hell | 23 Wings Over Pittsburgh | 28 Mon Valley Initiative | 31 West Mifflin VFW Helps Feed Local Navy Unit with BBQ for Our Troops | 32 West Mifflin VFW 914 ‘Intrepid’ Hosts Top VFW Eagle Scout in State | 33

Celebrating Our Community | West Mifflin | 10 In Kids | 21 Older Adults in West Mifflin | 24 West Mifflin Community Information

West Mifflin

30

Rhianna Yocum, 11, of West View, PA, jumps up to take a better look at an F-18F Super Hornet jet airplane during the Wings Over Pittsburgh show hosted by the 911th Air Force Base in Moon Township on Sept. 11, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret)

Please recycle this magazine when you are through enjoying it.

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When attending a party, I always try to remember to take a hostess gift. Hostess gifts are really just a small gesture – something to thank your host for being so welcoming. But, what to bring? It depends on how well you know your hostess and how formal the party.

Casual Parties Gifts of food and beverage are always welcome. In a pinch, your host can set out your cookies or drinks if supplies run low. Just check with your hostess to make sure they are serving alcohol before you decide on the Cabernet or Riesling.

Formal Parties For parties that are more formal in nature, a gift of chocolates or bottle of champagne are wonderful and thoughtful gifts. Flowers are a great option if you have them arranged in a vase before you arrive or delivered the day before the party. Your hostess will be so grateful not to have to stop and tend to your gift while trying to welcome her guests!

Something More Personal? Scented candles, lotions or a CD of your host’s favorite type of music make great gifts. A homemade jar of jam, or muffins wrapped in a cellophane bag and tied with ribbon will be something your hostess will truly appreciate. For someone who loves the kitchen, soap and lotion caddies for the kitchen sink or beautiful kitchen towels are memorable gifts that won’t go unnoticed. Last fall, I received a basket of tomatoes from my friend’s Peter’s Township garden and was so thrilled! Always remember to place a small note with your gift. The next day, you host won’t be scratching her head wondering who was so thoughtful to remember her with that lovely gift!

West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 3


THE GARDEN CLUB OF ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Creating Beauty and Preserving it for Future Generations A Garden in Every School

he Garden Club of Allegheny County has been helping to create beautiful outdoor surroundings and educating all ages about the importance of conserving our natural spaces since 1914. Some of their projects in the recent past include creating a Therapy Garden in Swissvale for women in the Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery (POWER) program. This program helps women through the early stages of recovery from dependence on drugs or alcohol. The Therapy Garden was designed to help the women focus on creating beauty and to bring inner peace. At the Powdermill Nature Reserve, the Garden Club of Allegheny County helped contribute funds to launch a program that manages wastewater using completely natural processes that do not disturb the ecosystem of the reserve. Referred to as the Marsh Machine, the mechanism naturally purifies the wastewater through the use of gravity and natural sunlight. Conservation is a core objective for the club and they have supported many local projects in an effort to educate our youth about preserving our natural environment. One program in which they have been actively involved is “A Garden in Every School.” This initiative helps schools to create vegetable gardens on campus where the children can learn about growing their own produce which is then served in the school cafeteria.

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West Mifflin

The Garden Club of Allegheny County was also instrumental in marketing for PASA, (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) and is supportive of their initiatives. In addition to the wonderful local projects, the Garden Club of Allegheny County has been able to contribute to vital research that is effecting positive global change. Longtime club members Paula Sculley and Susan Clancy launched a program in 1995 called “Botany in Action.” The program was in direct response to the concern for our vanishing rainforests and the loss of indigenous plant species. Many of these plant species are indispensable in the treatment of certain diseases. The Botany in Action program sponsors graduate students who are working in endangered hotspots, such as the South American rainforests to aid them in continuing their education and the groundbreaking research that they are conducting. Some of this research has led to the discovery of using plants for medicinal purposes such as saw palmetto to treat enlarged prostate and a plant commonly known as dragon’s blood to promote faster healing. Although the Garden Club turned the Botany in Action program over to Phipps Conservatory in 2000, they still actively contribute to its funding. Without fundraising, the Garden Club of Allegheny County would not have been able to support so many meaningful projects. Surprisingly, the club holds only one major fundraiser a year called Pizzazz. Sculley and Clancy were also the catalysts in launching this event in 1995. Sculley explains that her daughter was weaving beautiful shawls at the time and Clancy’s daughter was crafting monogrammed duffel bags. The two women got together and decided to hold a trunk show selling the hand-crafted wares to benefit the Garden Club. When other club members learned of the idea, they quickly contacted other vendors to participate. The first Pizzazz event was held at Clancy’s house and according to Clancy was a rainy, stormy, horrible day. “It was terrible weather for getting outside, but wonderful weather for shopping.” In just a few hours they had made $17,000 to sponsor their projects! “There were so many people we had to have them come in and shop in shifts,” says Sculley.


This one-day trunk show has evolved into a three-day boutique shopping event. Pizzazz 2010 was held at the Fox Chapel Golf Club, from October 20 – 22. Proceeds this year will help benefit local projects and the rooftop garden of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes Building at Phipps Conservatory. This rooftop garden will be beautifully landscaped and contain an edible vegetable garden. Several different green building methods will be used to generate energy onsite and to treat and re-use all water used in the building in an attempt to conserve our natural resources. Sculley adds, “A lot of people think of the outdoors as a dangerous place. But in fact it’s very healing and stress relieving. Nature gives us a different perspective on human life.” If you would like more information on the activities of the Garden Club of Allegheny County, you may visit their website at www. gcacpgh.org.

Introducing our newest doctor Dr. Darcy Giger & Associates–UPMC is pleased to welcome our newest doctor to our office in West Mifflin. Mamta Patel, MD Family Medicine Dr. Patel received her medical degree from the Government Medical College, Veer Narmad South Gujarat Uni, India. She completed her residency in family medicine at UPMC McKeesport. To schedule an appointment at Dr. Darcy Giger & Associates–UPMC, or for more information, call 412-650-9700. Dr. Darcy Giger & Associates–UPMC 2397 Mountain View Drive West Mifflin, PA 15122 412-650-9700

UPMC.com

West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 5


d d i l e M S l chool udent u o s f t f t h s e e S s u e c c r c St Se

ccess u S o t s p Ste ok

t bo assignmen • Use an r of le one hou r day u d e h c S • time pe homework nments ls for assig a o g t e S •

By Kelli McElhinny

When a preteen leaves elementary school behind to move on to the middle grades, the transition can be a daunting one. The building’s bigger, and it houses more students. All of the new experiences can add up to a trying time for incoming students.

Interest rates are at historic lows and make it a great time to buy or sell For the servicemen and servicewomen, call Kathleen today for details on the extension of the home buyers tax credit For honest and reliable service Kathleen Masley Cunningham Northwood Realty Services OFFICE 412.885.8530 Ext.109 CELL 412.916.8117 FAX 412.885.1461 EMAIL kcunningham@northwood.com

Pleasant Hills Office • 5301 Clairton Blvd. • Suite C • Pittsburgh, PA 15236

www.northwood.com

6

West Mifflin

Most middle graders are anxious about the change that is coming. Going beyond the safety net of elementary school is sometimes hard for a child. Along with the physical, emotional, and social changes they bring, the middle school years can be difficult for a child. Experts agree that a middle school program that emphasizes the importance of addressing any remedial needs is important. The opportunities to do so beyond middle school are few and far between. Honing basic math and reading skills are particularly important. Reading is really the first step towards independent learning. In addition to taking more challenging classes, middle school students also get instruction from a wider variety of teachers, an experience many students relish. Middle school also gives students the chance to explore extracurricular activities like athletics and the arts. Middle school brings adjustments beyond the classroom as well. Changes in the brain can prompt changes in behavior and emotions. The social climate evolves as well, with students meeting an entirely new pool of classmates. Fortunately, parents can take steps to make the transition to middle school a smooth one. The first step is to help students build a good foundation for keeping track of assignments and completing them. Students need to develop a set of study and organizational skills at this age. Students can build those skills by using the assignment book they’re given on the first day of class, for starters. It is also suggested that parents schedule one hour of non-negotiable homework time. Even if a student doesn’t have any assignments on a particular day, that time can be used to plan ahead or review the day’s lessons, for example. Goal-setting, with a focus on short-term objectives rather than longterm ones, also is a priority. As far as the social changes go, parents should be accepting as their children place a greater emphasis on relationships with peers rather than those with family members. Parents should be available, but not nosy, regarding a student’s business. In helping their children conquer middle school, parents’ efforts will endure beyond the eighth grade. Students who are successful in middle school generally can go on to be successful in high school and beyond. Mastering the social and organizational skill set is of utmost importance to a student’s success.


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By Pamela Palongue

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 With the high rate of unemployment, it will not come as a shock that many mothers are returning to school for more education in order to be more employable and to be able to provide better benefits for their families. What might surprise you is that more than ever, universities, trade and specialty schools are offering extremely flexible schedules and payment plans for the special challenges that moms face in furthering their education. One of the major drawbacks to attending college is the loss of income while in school. Although night classes have been available at most universities for years now, Saturday classes are now becoming more common and many of the schedules include meeting every other weekend. This gives working moms the ability to hold down a day job for 40 hours during the week, while still retaining the all-important health insurance benefits for their family while attending college on the weekends. More classes than ever are being offered on Saturdays. And, of course, night classes offer greater flexibility for employed mothers as well. Another challenge for moms attempting to advance their education is finding care for their child while they are in school. The high cost of daycare can be prohibitive for those already on a tight budget. Many mothers have the advantage of family members close by to pitch in with child care duties, but this may not be practical for some mothers whose parents or in-laws live hours away. One great way to resolve this issue is to trade babysitting time. When mothers coordinate their class schedules, they can attend classes at opposite times so the other mother can babysit both

mothers’ children. Another great way to overcome the high cost of daycare is to trade services. An individual may be willing to provide child care in exchange for house cleaning or having errands performed. Retired individuals who have the most flexible hours are a great solution in this arrangement. For some, completing a four year college may not be practical either for time consider ations or financial reasons. There are many careers available with educational programs that are less than two years. Education and the medical field consistently rank highest for career fields experiencing the most growth. For individuals who already have a four-year degree, universities offer a teaching program that can be completed in one year. Although a bachelor of science in nursing is a four y ear degree program, some local hospitals offer two year nursing programs sans the degree. Some of these facilities offer free education in exchange for two years of devoted service at their facility. For even shorter programs in the medical field, medical assistants and emergency medical technicians offer alternatives. Local EMT programs last approximately four months and the tuition is under $200. In addition to the above-mentioned career fields, information technology, massage therapists, barbers, cosmetologists and medical insurance billing all offer programs with shorter duration for busy moms and most offer payment options so that upfront payment of full tuition is not required.

Each woman’s path to educational advancement is different, but perseverance is the common denominator. With dedication and hard work, every woman can accomplish her goals. And now more than ever, there are many avenues to achieving your dream.

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412-563-2425

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412-563-2425

6506 Steubenville Pike Pittsburgh, PA 15205 EdibleArrangements.com ©2010 Edible Arrangements, LLC. Containers may vary. Delivery not available in all areas. Available in a variety of sizes. Franchises available call 1-888-727-4258 or visit eafranchise.com

West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 7


  Over Western Pennsylvania

Phil Martini grew up with planes and the idea of flight. His parents started taking him to air shows when he was only three years old. As a child, he played with toy planes and colored in airplane coloring books. As a teen, he owned the very first version of Microsoft Flight Simulator and has owned every version since. Despite an obvious disposition towards flight, Martini never really thought about becoming a pilot until he heard about the Pittsburgh Flight Training Center. When he sat down to consider the option, he knew he had to give it a shot. Not only did it fit his lifelong interest, but it also made logical sense. “This was a chance for me to both get an associates degree and flight training,” Martini said. The Pittsburgh Flight Training Center is located at the Allegheny County Airport and does exactly what its name suggests. The center is partnered with the Community College of Allegheny County and through the college, PFTC students are trained in the classroom as well as through personal flight training sessions. In-plane training sessions take place in one of the center’s 12 aircrafts. Students can work towards their private, instrument, commercial, multi-engine, and CFI ratings.

West Mifflin 16 8 IN McKeesport

by Josh Wetmore

The PFTC started in 1980 and is the oldest flight training school in the Pittsburgh area. The school offers training for Part 61 and Part 141 certification and provided 4,910 hours of training in 2009. The center also believes they are a friendlier and cheaper alternative to bigger flight training schools that don’t have locations near Pittsburgh. “Some people say this is like a hidden gem because everyone doesn’t know about it. The quality of flight training here for the value in Pittsburgh, without ever leaving home, is unbelievable,” said Mike Kramer, the general manager of PFTC. Kramer isn’t the only source making that statement; the numbers make it as well. According to the Airline Transport Professionals website, it costs a student $8,495 to earn a private pilot’s license at their school and $39,991 to earn a commercial license. ATP is one of the country’s largest flight training schools. In comparison to ATP, Kramer said that PFTC’s prices, while they vary depending on the progression of each student, average around $5,523 for a private license and $9,582 for a commercial license. Those prices don’t include $2,457 and $4,818 government subsidies for private and commercial training, respectively.


“We make flight training as affordable as we possibly can, and we mean that,” Kramer said. “You can go straight from here to the regional airline, nothing gapped at all.” PFTC is also different from schools like ATP in that they don’t have a set timetable for its flight training milestones. While Part 141 training, the more demanding and professional training regimen, requires students to fly three days a week, some students choose to fly as many as five times a week, helping them earn their license sooner and at a lower cost. For Part 61, the frequency of training sessions is up to the student’s discretion but the center recommends at least twice a week. At a pace of two to three flights a week, a student can earn his/her private license in seven or eight months and get a commercial license in two and a half years. “We want you to do well. We don’t want you to keep repeating everything,” Kramer said. Martini, who taught Kramer how to fly as an instructor for PFTC and is now a corporate pilot, said the Pittsburgh Flight Training Center was the opportunity he needed. “If it wasn’t for the program, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Martini who added that although learning to fly is fun, it also takes effort. “It’s not easy, it takes a lot of time, a lot of effort, a lot of study, and a lot of money.” Flight training might not be a walk in the park but the Pittsburgh Flight Training Center prides itself on making flight training as easy as possible. The center gives each student a primary instructor who will administer each of the student’s lessons unless the instructor is absent, in which a secondary instructor will take over. Also all of the center’s planes are Cessna models meaning students aren’t tied to one specific airplane. Along with making the process short, Kramer believes flight training in general is worth a shot as either a profession or a hobby. “It’s a good time right now,” Kramer said about the piloting job market. “There are more people leaving the industry than there are trained to take over.” Martini agrees that becoming a professional pilot is worth the work. And that even the training can be exciting. “The first time you get into an airplane… it’s… I don’t even know how to describe it,” Martini said. “It’s like a lifelong thing.”

For those who are interested in but unsure about flight training, PFTC offers a half hour intro flight for $87 and an hour flight for $165. Once training begins, the training center’s instructors are prepared for any kind of student. “We’ve seen it all here,” Kramer said. “The apprehension is natural and that’s what we want to tell them. If you come in here the first couple of times, you’re going to be nervous. We don’t just sit there in the right seat with our arms crossed and say ‘take off’ or ‘land,’ you know – abrasive. Its nothing like that, we’re in tune to if they’re uncomfortable; we can tell.” Kramer does admit that flying isn’t for everyone. Some people do find it too intense and others just aren’t made to be pilots, but those people tend to be in the minority. From his experience, the more people fly, the more they love it. “You can get hooked on aviation real quick. That’s why everyone does it for a living,” Kramer said. “It’s a lot of fun.” For more information on the Pittsburgh Flight Training Center, call 412.466.1111, e-mail at Freedom@PghFlight.com or visit their website at www.pghflight.com.

SUBMIT YOUR EVENT! Please submit your information, including a phone number and e-mail information to: marybeth@incommunitymagazines.com or call 724.942.0940

West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 9


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The Borough of West Mifflin celebrated Community Day on Saturday, September 11, at the Allegheny County Airport. Festivities began with the traditional Community Day Parade, led by this year's grand marshal Andrew Hall. Locals enjoyed lots of delicious food, games, activities, and performances throughout the day. The celebration concluded with an exciting fireworks display!

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Gina & Brian Englert Nancy &

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West Mifflin

Josh Koenig

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Alli & Eliza Reset ar Jean, Andrew, Lauren & Jim Hall

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The Mitchell Family

Tyree A & Colin tkinson, Luke C Killins entofan ti

 The Honor Guard of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ West Mifflin proudly carries the colors during the Borough’s parade near the Allegheny County Airport on Community Day Sept. 11. The Post members are, from left to right, Vietnam veteran David Luikart, Post Commander Charles Krebs, Vietnam veteran, Jay Jabbour, Korean War veteran, and Kenneth J Curcio, Persian Gulf War veteran.

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Ga Krebs, Chuck reker F & Bud

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West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 11


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Early Childhood Education Center IMPORTANT SCHEDULE CHANGE! In order to maximize student learning at the Early Childhood Education Center, there has been an adjustment made to the student day for the all Pre-K and all Kindergarten students. • The new time for the morning session of the Pre-K will be 8:30 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.

logna, atrina Cata K , p o o L n e Laur age ey & Gina P Alexis Mac

eeman, Courtney S

• The new time for the afternoon session of the Pre-K will be 12:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. • The new time for the Kindergarten students is 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Carolyn Madely Whitney & n Meye rs

lan

No en & d e a Br henson Step

Gino & Mario Rybacki 12

West Mifflin

  Introducing the first customized West Mifflin Area Titanopoly game! Featuring local businesses, Kennywood, unique school money and a “Go to the Office” space! The game was designed and produced by the West Mifflin Area High School Graphic Communications III students. Games are on sale at each school in the main office for $20, now through summer or until supplies last.


FA L L 2 0 1 0

Health and Wellness News You Can Use

What’s Inside

Play It Safe Kick off the fall sports season and keep your kids in the game with this guide to help prevent sports injuries. (page 3)

© 2010 UPMC

page 2

Why Go With the Flow? Incontinence Is Treatable

page 3

Play It Safe Minimally Invasive Surgery Available Close to Home

page 4

Are You Concussion-Savvy? School Lunches That Make the Grade

page 5

Who Knew Rehab Could Be So Much Fun?

page 6

A New Era of Treatment for High-Risk Pregnancies

page 7

What’s Happening at UPMC McKeesport


Why Go With the Flow? Urinary incontinence affects women and men of all ages — but most people don’t talk about it with their doctor. The good news: It is treatable. If you’re experiencing the embarrassment and discomfort that accompany urinary incontinence, you’re not alone. More than 25 million Americans have some form of urinary incontinence or overactive bladder. Urinary incontinence is the loss of voluntary bladder control causing leakage of urine. Symptoms can range from mild urine leakage to uncontrollable wetting. “There are lots of people with this problem,” says Jay A. Lutins, MD, a urologist at UPMC McKeesport. But many people are ashamed to discuss bladder issues with their doctor.

Types of Incontinence Incontinence can occur for a number of reasons, and each cause has its own form of diagnosis and treatment. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing these common types of incontinence: Stress incontinence — loss of urine when you exert pressure on the bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting something heavy. Urge incontinence — a sudden, intense urge to urinate followed by an involuntary loss of urine. Overflow incontinence — frequent or constant dribbling of urine, indicating an inability to empty the bladder. Mixed incontinence — symptoms of more than one type of incontinence.

Get the Help You Need “No one has to live with urinary incontinence,” says Dr. Lutins. “While incontinence is frequently associated with aging, it can happen to anyone. With the medications and surgical techniques we now have available, this problem is definitely treatable.” One of the latest treatments Dr. Lutins utilizes is sacral nerve stimulation (SNS), a procedure that involves the electrical stimulation of the nerves that control the bladder. The outpatient procedure involves implanting a tiny neurotransmitter under the skin. The device is connected to the sacral nerve by a lead that also is positioned under the skin. Mild electrical impulses travel through the lead to the muscles of the bladder, sphincter, and pelvic floor, helping to reduce or eliminate bladder control problems. “SNS has been successful in about 75 percent of patients with overactive bladders for whom medications just didn’t work,” says Dr. Lutins.

Reclaim Your Social Life Many people who experience bladder problems become isolated and withdrawn, avoiding social situations for fear of embarrassment. That’s why Dr. Lutins and the other UPMC McKeesport urologists view the diagnosis and treatment of urinary incontinence is an important service. “Reducing a patient’s urine leakage by just 50 percent significantly reduces their stress level, and helps to keep them active and engaged. The quality of life changes they experience are just amazing,” adds Dr. Lutins.

Did You Know? • Urinary incontinence is common, but it is not normal. • Women represent 75 percent of people who have urinary incontinence. Kegel exercises can help women decrease their risk of stress incontinence. • Anyone can experience urinary incontinence, not just older adults. • Urinary incontinence is often the symptom of another condition.

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Play It Safe Many youth sports injuries can be prevented by following these practical suggestions Sports and exercise offer undeniable benefits. But for millions of young athletes, they also bring risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sports injuries among high school athletes alone are on the rise, accounting for nearly two million injuries, 500,000 doctor visits, and 30,000 hospitalizations every year. Injuries range from strains, sprains, and fractures to concussions and heat stroke.

Freddie H. Fu, MD, chairman of the UPMC Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and renowned sports medicine expert, blames much of the increase in injuries on today’s trend of kids focusing year-round on one sport.

Experts attribute the high rate of youth sports injuries to:

Dr. Fu says it’s important for parents and coaches alike to understand the dangers and take steps to keep children safe. He recommends the following:

• overuse • trauma • lack of preventive measures (including proper equipment, training, and conditioning) The CDC estimates that more than half of all sports injuries involving children and teens are preventable.

“Kids are doing too much. Now, there’s no off-season. When they’re not playing, they are practicing and at a very intense level,” he says.

Keep Your Kids in the Game

1) Cross-train and avoid specializing in one sport to create balance and avoid breakdowns in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones. 2) Take time off from competition to allow muscles and joints time to rest and recover.

3) Use the right gear and make sure it’s in good condition and fits properly. Insist your child uses the recommended safety gear. 4) Ensure proper techniques are used for throwing, running, and swinging. 5) Take time to stretch before a workout/game and cool down after. 6) Maintain good hydration when playing to avoid fatigue and keep the body cool. Remember, playing sports should be fun. Check out our website at www.UPMC.com/Today for details on the top four injuries that occur among young athletes.

Minimally Invasive Surgery Now Available Close to Home During a recent visit, your doctor recommended surgery and suggested minimally invasive surgery or MIS (also known as laparoscopic surgery). When you asked for details, you were surprised to learn that MIS is becoming more and more common in hospitals and is available at UPMC McKeesport. “The technology has evolved to the point where the majority of general surgical procedures that have been performed with the traditional open approach (larger incisions) can now, in appropriate patients, be done laparoscopically,” explains Steven Gribar, MD, a general surgeon at UPMC McKeesport who is trained in MIS procedures. In MIS or “keyhole surgery,” the operation is done with specialized instruments through several small incisions in the body, explains Dr. Gribar.

The benefits of MIS over traditional open surgery may include reduced blood loss, less scarring, reduced pain, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery times. And because less tissue is involved, MIS patients have less chance of infection. Gallbladder removal was one of the first surgical procedures to be done using minimally invasive procedures. Today, MIS is widely used in many areas of emergency and elective general surgery, including intestinal and colon surgery, and hernia repair. MIS techniques also are routinely applied to other surgical disciplines, including lung and chest surgery, and spine and brain surgery. While the number of MIS procedures being performed is increasing, not all patients are good candidates for minimally invasive surgery. Be sure to talk with your doctor to find out which surgical options are best for you.

1-800-533-UPMC

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Health Tips from UPMC Health Plan

Are You ConcussionSavvy? Measure your understanding of concussions with these five questions. Most of us think of a concussion primarily as a sportsrelated injury — and statistics show that one out of every five reported concussions is sports-related. But any violent shaking or blow to the head can lead to a concussion. “A suspected concussion should be taken seriously — whether it happens on the playing field, in your home, or on the job,” says Michael (Micky) Collins, PhD, assistant director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. A nationally recognized expert in sports-related concussions, Dr. Collins co-created — along with Mark R. Lovell, PhD, director of the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program and Joseph C. Maroon, MD, vice chairman of Neurosurgery at UPMC Presbyterian and neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers — the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) “Concussion Tool Kit for Physicians.”

How much do you really know about concussions? Take this true-false quiz to test your understanding of this common but potentially life-threatening injury: 1. A concussion is a brain injury. True or False 2. Signs and symptoms of concussion can develop right after the injury or even hours or days later. True or False 3. Concussions occur even if the person has not been knocked unconscious. True or False 4. A repeat concussion that occurs before the brain recovers from the first can slow recovery or increase the likelihood of long-term problems. True or False 5. Concussions can have a more serious effect on a young, developing brain. True or False If you answered “true” to all five questions, you’re ahead of the game — but there’s more you should know. Get the facts about concussion symptoms and treatment at www.UPMC.com/Today.

Did You Know? ImPACT , the concussion evaluation system most widely in use worldwide by professional, college, and high school sports teams, was developed at UPMC by Dr. Lovell, Dr. Collins, and Dr. Maroon. TM

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School Lunches That Make the Grade Kids need more than pens, pencils, and notebooks to successfully get through a day at school. They also need healthy lunches. Here are some tips on how to make sure your child eats healthy foods while at school: • Get your child involved with the planning and packing of lunches. • Acknowledge his or her likes and dislikes. • Assemble lunch the night before to avoid morning delays and/or hurried choices. • If your child buys lunch at the school cafeteria, make sure he or she knows the difference between healthy and unhealthy foods. • Teach your child about portions and portion control. • Think healthy and think light. • Teach your child to eat until no longer hungry, not until “stuffed.”

Stumped for ideas on what to pack? Try these healthy options: Main dishes ✔ Sandwich made with wholegrain bread, lean meat, and low-fat cheese; or peanut butter and all-fruit jelly on whole-grain bread ✔ Pita pocket stuffed with shredded turkey, chicken, or light roast beef; or grated vegetables, low-fat cheese, and light salad dressing ✔ Mini pizza, whole-grain English muffin, or bagel topped with turkey pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, and garlic herb cream cheese ✔ Low-fat tuna or chicken salad on a mini bagel Fruits and vegetables ✔ Red pepper strips, carrots, celery, sugar snap peas, or green beans with salsa or light ranch dressing ✔ Fresh fruit ✔ Fruit cups ✔ Applesauce

Healthy snacks ✔ Low-fat yogurt, either in a cup or a tube ✔ Wheat crackers with peanut butter or low-fat cheese ✔ Cottage cheese, with or without fruit ✔ Pudding made with skim milk ✔ String cheese ✔ Salsa with baked chips ✔ Peanuts ✔ Small bag of light popcorn Occasional treats ✔ Baked or low-fat potato chips ✔ Fun-size candy bars ✔ Low-fat cookies Foods to limit ✔ Regular snack chips (potato, tortilla, etc.) ✔ Full-size candy bars ✔ Regular cookies ✔ Canned fruits in sweetened syrup


Innovation at UPMC

Who Knew Rehab Could Be So Much Fun? Last November, John Rizzi,* 50, noticed numbness and tingling in his feet. A few weeks later he suddenly fell while hunting. By January, he was paralyzed from the chest down — only able to move his head and shrug his shoulders. Eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that damaged the protective covering of the nerves (myelin sheath) and interfered with the signaling process, John arrived in March at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute and its Gaming and Robotics Center for intensive therapy. “When I saw the advanced equipment, I was amazed. It inspired me to do whatever I could to walk again,” John says. Playing computer games and doing simulated tasks using robotic devices such as the ArmeoBoom enabled John to move his arms and regain fine motor skills. A robotic treadmill called the Lokomat made it possible for him to walk. “I started seeing gains right away. That made me want to work even harder,” he says.

Fun and Games for Effective Rehabilitation The Armeo Boom — available for clinical use at UPMC and nowhere else in the nation — is one of several cutting-edge devices used in rehabilitation at the center. To use it, patients strap their arm into a sling attached to an overhead boom. Robotic supports allow patients to move their arm while playing reach-and-retrieval computer games, such as solitaire and placing apples in a shopping cart, along with simulated tasks such as cooking or cleaning. “Rehabilitation can be very tedious and painful. A lot of repetition is needed to teach the body to move again,” says Michael Boninger, MD, director of the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute. “Using this technology is kind of sneaky. It’s great to see patients enjoy playing a game when you know they are actually working hard at rehabilitation.” * Mr. Rizzi’s treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

John, who has regained most of his abilities, agrees. “It was more like playing a game. You’re working, the sweat is running down your face, but it’s fun. You’re getting the movement and the repetition you need, but you’re laughing,” he says. Dr. Boninger says patients benefit from using the very latest technology. UPMC researchers have developed their own designs, and companies often send their prototypes here for evaluation. Other innovative devices used at the Center include the GameCycle, a machine invented at the University of Pittsburgh that combines a stationary hand cycle with a commercial video game; the ArmeoSpring — a companion to the Armeo Boom; and several Nintendo Wii systems. “Technology is very important in rehabilitation. Having a therapist move a patient’s arm repeatedly works, but not nearly as well as having the patient move his own arm while it is supported by a robot and while he is playing a game,” says Dr. Boninger. “Computer games also provide quick feedback and measure improvement, which adds to the sense of accomplishment.”

Virtual Therapy at Home The Nintendo Wii can be a useful tool for patients as they maintain their physical rehabilitation program at home. It’s relatively inexpensive, and many of the games incorporate the repetitive motion required in ongoing therapeutic exercises. “We can tell patients to do an exercise 500 times in the next week,” said Dr. Boninger. “But many people just won’t do it. Tell them to play Wii Tennis and they’ll do it and have fun.”

Dr. Michael Boninger shows how the Armeo Boom’s games and simulated tasks allow rehab patients to work hard and have fun.

1-800-533-UPMC

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A Pioneering Force in Maternal-Fetal Medicine

A New Era of Treatment for High-Risk Pregnancies Having a baby is one of the most natural things in the world, but it’s not risk free. For some women and their unborn children, the risks can be especially great, with potential for the development of life-threatening complications. Transforming their treatment and medical outlook is the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. The program has long been recognized as a leader in MFM, an obstetric subspecialty focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, and care of expectant mothers and their fetuses who may be at high risk before, during, and after pregnancy. Many conditions can potentially put women at higher risk during pregnancy, including: • Preterm labor • Becoming pregnant after age 35 • Multiple birth pregnancies (twins or triplets) • Family history of birth defects or genetic disorders • Medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, thyroid or kidney diseases, and pre-eclampsia Working Together for Mother and Child “Many MFM programs nationwide are available only at children’s hospitals. At UPMC, our comprehensive program of caring for mother and fetus is offered through Magee,” explains Stephen P. Emery, MD, director of the division’s Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center. “The maternal component is central to our mission; it’s a natural extension of our hospital’s historic focus on women’s health.” The center’s MFM physicians are supported by a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals with expertise in high-risk pregnancies, including anesthesiologists, geneticists, radiologists, and bioethicists. “We work together and apply our collective knowledge to find solutions for each patient’s needs,” says Dr. Emery.

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The goal is to give women and their families the information they need to make informed decisions about their pregnancies. The center then provides critical counseling and planning support, and state-of-the-art diagnostic, therapeutic, and surgical services. Magee’s close partnership with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC also links newborns with congenital abnormalities to neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, and other specialists for ongoing care after birth. “Thanks to the tremendous technological advancements in MFM in recent years, we get to know an unborn child inside and out during a high-risk pregnancy — from his or her chromosomal makeup to cardiac anatomy. We’re prepared to quickly address any health care needs immediately after birth — or even in utero if needed, ” says Dr. Emery. “Just as importantly, we’re also able to ensure that the mother’s continuing health needs are met.”

Typically, an obstetrician, gynecologist, or midwife will refer a woman to Magee’s MFM team for initial evaluation. However, women can contact Magee directly at 412-641-3382. Learn more about Magee’s Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and its Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center at www.UPMC.com/Magee.

Did You Know? Maternal-fetal medicine services are available at UPMC Mercy (412-232-8111) and UPMC Horizon (412-641-6361).

Advancing the Quality of Care Through Research Despite major medical advancements in recent years, the causes of many fetal complications remain a mystery. That’s why research is so critical to the efforts of Magee’s Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center. “Through our research, the quality of our care extends far beyond what patients see,” says Hyagriv Simhan, MD, chief of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and an experienced investigator at the Magee-Women’s Research Institute (MWRI). “Magee is recognized for its pioneering research and medical advancements in MFM,” adds Dr. Simhan. The first research center devoted exclusively to the health concerns of women and infants, the institute’s current MFM research initiatives include preterm birth, genetics, placental function, and pre-eclampsia.


Meet Our Physicians Please visit www.UPMC.com/FindADoctor or call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information about any of our physicians. To contact the UPMC McKeesport physicians listed below, please use the office phone number provided.

GENERAL SURGEONS University of Pittsburgh Physicians, Department of Surgery Richard Bondi, MD Stuart Chetlin, MD Steven Gribar, MD

UROLOGISTS Krishna Jetti, MD

Kyriakos Davides, MD

Office Phone: 724-864-4470

Office Phone: 412-673-8429

David Liang, MD, PC

David Jacobs, MD

Office Phone: 412-856-4114

Office Phone: 412-673-8600

Office Phone: 412-672-3422

Palepu Surgical Associates

Rong Chung Lin, MD

Mumtaz Alvi, MD

Showri Palepu, MD

Office Phone: 412-244-8091

Office Phone: 412-678-2015

Office Phone: 412-678-7799

Office Phone: 724-379-7250

Premier Medical Associates – General and Vascular Surgery

Arthur Fine, MD

Anthony Tan, MD Peter Naman, MD

Office Phone: 412-469-7035

Office Phone: 412-372-1155

Edgar Cordero, MD, PC

The Center for Urologic Care Jay Lutins, MD Allan Schachter, MD Arthur Thomas, MD David Hepps, MD Office Phone: 412-661-3400

What’s Happening at UPMC McKeesport Harvest of Health Festival UPMC McKeesport, the McKeesport Hospital Foundation, the Mon River Fleet State Health Improvement Partnerships (McKeesport SHIP, Duquesne SHIP, Clairton SHIP, and Braddock SHIP), and a wide array of service agencies and community organizations proudly present: Harvest of Health Festival Saturday, Nov. 6 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. UPMC McKeesport Campus

Featuring: Free health screenings Valuable health information and education booths Health presentations Fitness demonstrations Hospital tours Games and prizes Entertainment Refreshments Door prize drawings Giveaways

Join us for a festival of good health, family fun, and community pride as we celebrate the bounty of the season. For more information about the Harvest of Health Festival, contact Betty Jean Marconi, manager, Community Outreach, at 412-664-2114 or marconibj@upmc.edu. Parking is free.

1-800-533-UPMC

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UPMC McKeesport 1500 Fifth Ave. McKeesport, PA 15132

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

Follow UPMC on Facebook.

Even the smallest discovery is important. Doctors rely on quality images to make accurate diagnoses and treatment decisions for their patients. UPMC is a leader in creating and adopting cutting-edge technologies to enhance medical imaging and improve patient care. In fact, some of the most innovative advances in the field of radiology have happened in our hospitals. And our state-of-the-art computer system allows imaging scans to be quickly accessed and viewed by physicians across our network with just the click of a mouse. Our advanced technology and expert radiologists can make a real difference in your care. Whether you need an x-ray or advanced radiology testing, trust Imaging Services at UPMC McKeesport. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 412-664-CARE (2273) or visit UPMC.com/Imaging.


FALL

2010

Back to School Jokes Adopt a Pet: T-Bone Q: What's the worst thing you're likely to find in the school cafeteria? A: The food! Q: Why did nose not want to go to school? A: He was tired of getting picked on! Q: How do you get straight A's? A: By using a ruler! Q: What did the pen say to the pencil? A: "So, what's your point?" Q: What did you learn in school today? A: "Not enough, I have to go back tomorrow!"

When you meet T-Bone, he will offer you a Beagle smile and shyly, by surely, try to climb into your lap. This gentle fellow is brimming with affection and simply needs someone to give it to. A couple months ago, T-Bone probably felt like the luckiest, most beloved dog in the world. But then, sadly, his owner passed away. T-Bone came to Animal Friends, 10 years old and hoping to find a second chance and a fresh start. T-Bone is calm, lovable, and simply wants to share your company. He is curious and friendly around other dogs and

enjoys peaceful rides in the car. He is crate trained and always polite. But most of all, T-Bone is lovable. He adores people and constantly wants to cuddle. While it’s obvious that he loves all women, we’ve noticed that he is particularly drawn to men. Perhaps they remind him of his Dad, who he misses so much. If you are looking for a companion who’s more interested in cuddling and relaxing than playing, T-Bone could be the one for you. T-Bone is currently in foster care. If you can help a loving and deserving dog, call Animal Friends at 412.847.7002.

on the go...

find these things hiding in this picture.

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R G R O U N D Rules for Being Home Alone L ď€€ď€ E S

you and your mom or dad have decided you're mature enough to take care of yourself after school. Every weekday, you'll come home, let yourself in, and then what? Good question! This is why you'll need to set up some rules - before you're home alone.

Find each of these words in this puzzle.

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go over the rules out loud. But whatever method you use, there are a lot of questions to talk about, like:

âœŞ Should you call mom or dad as soon as you get home?

  

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Some families put up a list of rules where everyone can see them, like on the refrigerator door. Other families write out a contract and have each member sign it, saying they agree to the rules. Or a family might just

 

âœŞ Are you allowed to watch TV, DVDs, videos, or play computer games? If so, which ones and for how long? âœŞ Should homework be done first, even before chores? âœŞ Can friends come over? If so, how many? âœŞ What can you eat if you want a snack? âœŞ Can you go outside, and if so, where? âœŞ Which appliances can be used? (microwave, computer, etc.) âœŞ Which chores need to be done and by when? âœŞ Should your parent call home just before leaving work each day? For example, would it help to have a heads-up in time to finish any lastminute chores before they arrive?






Automated Hell A

s a Catholic, I firmly believe that if you are forced to deal with an automated operator for more than 10 minutes, it should

automatically be credited towards time in purgatory. And if you can accomplish this without throwing the phone against the wall, you should at least be considered for canonization. The strange thing is, if I am calling to subscribe to their services or upgrade my account, there are 346 cheerful operators eagerly standing by to take my call. But if I have a problem with billing, a technical question or need repairs, I hear, “Please hold and the next available representative will be with you shortly,” while I wait for one of the three customer service agents in North America to answer my question. Next I am asked to enter my account number, the last four digits of my social security number and my zip code, only to have Phyllis eventually answer my call and ask for my account number, the last four digits of my social security number and my zip code. Do they do that just to keep you busy? I’m not sure. Then as further protection, I am asked for my mother’s maiden name, my aunt’s street address and the exact measurement of my third molar. All of this precaution is in case there are evil forces who might want to find out if I have call waiting or how many channels I receive. But while I wait for Phyllis, I am treated to 15th century Bulgarian chamber music, interrupted every 20 seconds by a voice saying, “Did you know that you can check your account online at www.Don’tBotherUs.com?” Strangely, I would rather just listen to the Bulgarian chamber music without the interruptions. Or just stick forks into my eyes repeatedly. And instead of an annoying woman’s voice, can’t I at least listen to Gerard Butler’s sexy Scottish accent? Or perhaps Antonio Banderas’ liquid Latino purr? Why must this annoying woman answer the phone no matter where I call? And how much is she getting paid? Is it more or less than $40,000 a year? Could I perhaps be the new automated woman voice? Do I have what it takes? Why don’t tornadoes happen in the winter? Could ice cream be considered a breakfast food? It does have milk in it… These are the things that I think about while I am on the phone waiting…

By Pamela Palongue Automated voices seem to have pervaded every area of our lives. Recently I was taken aback when I called my doctor’s office for lab results after my yearly check-up and was told to call another number where an automated operator coldly gave me the lab numbers with no explanation of what they meant. It is entirely possible that I have Feldspar Disease or cataracts because I don’t have a clue. What’s next, being informed you have a serious disease via an automated operator? For diabetes, press 1. For an insulin prescription, press 2. To freak out that you have diabetes, press 3. For more information on managing your diabetes, try the internet, watch Oprah, ask your next door neighbor, the guy on the bus or just anyone so we don’t have to talk to you. We hate people. Thank you for calling. Goodbye. What has happened to us? Why do we hate talking to each other? Someone, somewhere has to make a stand by taking that first phone call. What if everyone in the entire nation just agreed to start answering their phones tomorrow? When that phone rings, just pick it up and bravely say, “Hello.” Sure the other person may hang up on us or even scream at us, but be strong. They can’t reach through that phone line and wring your neck no matter how threatening they sound. And the world will be a better place that you stood up to that phone and showed it who’s boss. And while we’re on the subject of improving our world, can’t we all just agree to start the workday at 10 a.m.? Would anyone really mind getting a couple of extra hours sleep every morning? We could all have ice cream for breakfast. I was just thinking… West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 23


Good Tidings for the Greatest Generation

Older Adults in West Mifflin

A

survey conducted by the Investor Protection Trust in May 2010 revealed that over 7.3 million senior citizens in the U.S. have “been taken advantage of financially in terms of an inappropriate investment, unreasonably high fees for financial services, or outright fraud.” That equates to about one in five senior citizens who have been scammed. Mary Bach, a member of AARP’s Pennsylvania executive counsel, said that fraud against senior citizens can come in just about any form. Some of the more popular scams include lottery scams, sweepstake scams, email scams, charity scams, and even jury duty scams. “Caution and moving slowly are paramount in any of these situations. And not allowing yourself to be pressured into giving either personal information or any amount of money without doing your own personal due diligence or homework on the issue,” Bach said about how to generally avoid scams. Here are some other tips Bach gives to help senior citizens better avoid scams and fraud:

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

Don’t give money to a charity over the phone. Ask them to mail you something. This gives time to research the charity. Chances are, if the charity is just a scam they won’t send you anything anyway.

than one and someone might recognize a red flag that you didn’t see.

Sign up for both the state and national ‘do not call’ lists. These will weed out most legitimate solicitors so if a soliciting call gets through, there is already a warning sign.

When dealing with a financial planner or retirement advisor, make sure that both they and what they are selling are Remember the adage, “if it sounds too registered with the state of Pennsylvania. good to be true, it probably is.” To check on the registration and history of a salesperson, financial plan, or product call either the Pennsylvania Insurance Commission at 1.877.881.6388 or the Pennsylvania Securities Commission at 1.800.600.0007.

Always be wary of any letter, email, or phone call that requires an immediate or quick response. If there isn’t enough time to carefully consider a proposition before committing to it, there is probably a reason.

Discuss what you are thinking of doing with a trusted friend or family member before making any final decisions. Two heads are better


Retirement;

it’s a stage of life

that many people look forward to. It’s a chance to relax, and finally accomplish lifelong goals. It can also be an opportunity to make up for lost time with family and friends. For many, however, retirement can mean having so much time with so little to do, and often no longer having a job can lead to no longer have a sense of accomplishment or self worth. There is a solution to the problem though. Volunteering can not only give retired senior citizens a new sense of purpose but it can also help the community, the economy, and the future of the country.

Senior Agencies Steel Valley Resource Center 530 Miller Ave. Clairton, PA 15025 412.233.3080 Community Program Extension 3075 Clairton Road, Suite 948 Century III Mall, West Mifflin, PA 15123 412.532.0142

“There is just talk about, as the economy continues to be on a bit of a downslide, how important volunteers are,” said Mary Bach, a member of AARP’s Pennsylvania executive counsel. ���Lots of older consumers have really wonderful skills and backgrounds that can be of benefit.” Volunteer opportunities for senior citizens in the Pittsburgh area can range from helping deliver mail at a hospital to working with high school students in a classroom environment through the University of Pittsburgh’s “Generations Together” program. “Volunteering makes people feel good, but it not only is self serving to that degree that you’re happy about doing something

Transportation For Older Adults There are several agencies that offer free or reduced rate transportation services to individuals who qualify. Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) 1.888.547.6287 Provides non-emergency medical transportation to residents of Allegheny County who have a valid Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare Medical Assistance Card. Free Bus Pass for Senior Citizens The Port Authority allows Allegheny County residents, 65 years of age and older, to ride free on local public transportation (buses, trolleys and rapid-transit lines). Participants must obtain identification cards, which are available free of charge, from participating transportation providers. Call 412.442.2000 for the location nearest to you. Older Persons Transportation Transportation for medical appointments, grocery shopping, senior center activities and other needs throughout Allegheny County is available to adults 60 years of age and older who live in Allegheny County. Call SeniorLine at 412.350.5460.

that you enjoy personally, but the beneficiaries of that volunteerism gain so much,” Bach, a senior citizen herself, said. Some other ways for senior citizens to get involved are through senior citizen organizations such as AARP and The Senior Source. Many local libraries also offer volunteer positions. AARP’s “Create the Good” program is focused on helping senior citizens find volunteer opportunities that will fit their schedule, meet their personal interests, and help their community. To get involved with “Create the Good,” go to www.createthegood.org or call 1.800.556.0242.

ACCESS 65 Plus and ACCESS ADA Program 412.562.5353 or TDD 1.800.654.5984 ACCESS is door-to-door, advance reservation, shared-ride transportation provided throughout Port Authority’s service area. It serves primarily senior citizens and persons with disabilities. There are no restrictions on the purpose or number of trips which may be taken by riders, except that riders are required to share their vehicle with others traveling in the same direction and at the same time. Are you a nonprofit Senior Center serving the needs of our community’s older adults? We would be happy to post your contact information. Contact Marybeth@incommunity magazines.com with your center’s name and phone number. West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 25


orking as a fraud investigator for Mellon Bank, Ann Flasck was following the career path she had chosen when she had decided years before to study Criminology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. But Flasck, of Peters Township, through no fault of her own, lost her job and was given severance pay several years ago. The change opened her eyes to other potential opportunities. Flasck used her time on severance pay to take a welding class. “I wanted to learn how to weld to make furniture and artwork,” she said. “Then I found out about the trade unions and in 2005 I took the steamfitters’ [apprenticeship] test.” Flasck, 44, a South Park High School graduate, has had steady work with the union ever since she joined the group. The pay is high—$30 per hour—and a Steamfitters union member can get as much work as she wants, Flasck said, noting that she has become certified as a welder and obtained other skills to increase her ability to be hired for jobs. As many in Western Pennsylvania are learning through the hardships of the recent recession, work in the trades can be a high-paying career bereft of work stoppages. Trade work provides steady employment that is fulfilling to people who don’t enjoy work in an office setting. College is not for everyone and the cost of such an Only about 5 education is becoming more and more difficult for many families percent of college to bear. Newspapers and graduates make magazines are full of stories of students who took on the more money than burdensome college debt that people in the they are struggling to pay off. But for those with a strong building trades. work ethic, some mechanical aptitude and a desire to be a part of building something, becoming a member of a union could be an ideal career choice. Fortunately for those in the Pittsburgh area, the chance to work with the insulators, electricians, laborers, carpenters or other unions is greater than ever, due to the state-of-the-art training programs these and other local unions provide.

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“It’s neat to build things—to see something you’ve worked on turn into something,” Flasck said. The time commitment to becoming a full member of a union might not be for everyone, though. Steamfitters Local #499 takes in anywhere from 12 to 30 new members each year, a group that is winnowed from about 300 who take the initial test and interview for a slot with the union, said Ken Broadbent, business manager for Steamfitters Local #449, located along Woodruff Street in the South Hills. Unlike some jobs, there is no age discrimination in the union apprentice selection process—twenty-somethings and older folks starting a second career have an equal shot at union membership. The Steamfitters apprenticeship program requires 1,000 hours of schooling at night for each apprentice, as well as 2,000 hours per year of guaranteed employment over the five-year apprenticeship. Those man-hours are paid, along with full benefits. Apprentices start at $12 per hour and eventually make $30 per hour as steamfitters, but you have to be fit. “You have to be physically able to perform the work because there’s lifting and climbing, and working in the cold and in the heat,” Broadbent said. “For every hour a journeyman works, we take 50 cents out of his pay to put towards the training program.” The average age of an apprentice is actually 27 years old, said Jason Fincke, executive director of the builder’s Guild of Western Pennsylvania, a labor/management organization that includes both contractors and unions. Apprentices earn between $10 and $15 per hour their first year, receiving average yearly raises of $3.50 annually during their training.


The average building trades worker earns $45,000 per year, Fincke noted. Western Pennsylvania has 17 union apprenticeship schools and all are tuition-free, he said. Studies have shown that a college education might actually be a waste of money for many of those who attend, Fincke said, and so union membership is an increasingly smart career choice. “Only about 5 percent of college graduates make more money than people in the building trades,” he said. While work in construction is hard and physically demanding, the industry isn’t affected in the same way by economic conditions as other industries are impacted, Fincke added. “You can’t outsource construction,” he said. With union workers averaging wages of $25 to $35 per hour, unions are many smart workers’ choice for gainful employment, Fincke said. “There’s a myth out there that to be successful you have to go to college… Building trade work can provide a very good living and a very good wage,” he said. For more information on apprenticeships in the trades in the Pittsburgh area, visit the Builder’s Guild of Western Pennsylvania’s web site, at www.buildersguild.org.

Duquesne Village Foodland Still Participating In Wic Program Families May Continue Using WIC Vouchers at Grocery Store Under New Ownership The Allegheny County Health Department today announced that the Foodland grocery store in Duquesne Village, West Mifflin, is under new ownership and still participating in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) supplemental food program. WIC families may continue to use their food vouchers at the Duquesne Village Foodland or at any other WIC-authorized grocery store. Locations and directions to WIC grocery stores in Allegheny County can be found on the Health Department’s web site at www.achd.net/wic. The vouchers are redeemable for infant formula, milk, eggs, cheese, juice, cereal, peanut butter, whole grains, soy milk, tofu, jarred baby foods, dried and canned beans, pink salmon, sardines, chunk light tuna, and frozen, canned and fresh fruits and vegetables. WIC is a federally funded program that provides food vouchers and nutrition counseling for pregnant or breastfeeding women, postpartum mothers and children under the age of five. Eligibility is based on income and nutritional risk. The income limits are an annual gross income of $20,036 for a family of one; $26,955 for 2; $33,874 for 3; $40,793 for 4; $47,712 for 5; $54,631 for 6; $61,550 for 7; and $68,469 for 8. Add $6,919 for each additional member beyond 8. Unborn children are counted when the woman is pregnant. For more information about WIC and how to apply for benefits, please call the Allegheny County Health Department WIC Program at 412.350.5801. If this number is a toll call or you live outside Allegheny County, please call the statewide toll-free number, 1.800.WIC.WINS.

SUBMIT YOUR EVENT! Please submit your information, including a phone number and e-mail information to: marybeth@incommunitymagazines.com or call 724.942.0940

West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 27


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TAKES FLIGHT AFTER ONE YEAR HIATUS By Spc. Justin Snyder, 354th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment U.S. Army Photos by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret

The Challenger II biplane, of Team Oracle, conducts some warm-up flight tricks during the Wings Over Pittsburgh show hosted by the 911th Air Force Base in Moon Township on Sept. 11, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret)

The Challenger II biplane, of Team Oracle, shoots up into the sky during the Wings Over Pittsburgh show hosted by the 911th Air Force Base in Moon Township on Sept. 11, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret)

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CORAOPOLIS, PA. — Just north of the Pittsburgh International Airport, it is nothing out of the ordinary for the residents of Moon Township to hear the roaring engines of arriving and departing airplanes on a daily basis. They have also grown to expect the daily traffic jam of cars commuting to and from the city. However, they were not used to the United States Army Golden Knights parachuting out of planes. This was the site seen by an estimated 5,000 observers during the opening festivities of the “2010 Wings Over Pittsburgh” event hosted by the 911th Airlift Wing at the Air Force Reserve Command Center. “That was like a once in a lifetime thing,” said Christopher Adams. “This is a really nice event that I’m glad my family got to chance to experience.” Created in 1999 as an open house for the community to see the importance of the base, the event had been held annually around Fathers Day up until last year when they were forced to cancel due to a lack of resources and manpower. The free-to-the-public event was moved to Sept. 11 and 12 this year to coincide with Patriot’s Day in remembrance of the World Trade Center attacks and over 175,000 people attended on the first day. The air show featured military and civilian aerial demonstrations, multiple static displays and food vendors as well as activities for children.


Rod Boyer, a native of Boyers, PA, shows his grandson Alex around an Apache helicopter during the “Wings Over Pittsburgh” air show Sept. 11. (U.S. Army photo by Soldier Spc. Justin Snyder)

A line of people leads to an F-18F Super Hornet jet where they can take a closer look into the cockpit during the Wings Over Pittsburgh show hosted by the 911th Air Force Base in Moon Township on Sept. 11, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret)

A C-17 Globemaster airplane is parked and open to the audience during the Wings Over Pittsburgh show hosted by the 911th Air Force Base in Moon Township on Sept. 11, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret)

Christopher Adams Jr., a native of Pittsburgh, tries on an Army Combat Helmet from Army Sgt. Matthew Parsons during the “Wings Over Pittsburgh” air show Sept. 11. (U.S. Army photo by Soldier Spc. Justin Snyder)

“We don’t always think of our service members as human beings,” said Adams, a native of Pittsburgh. “This gives us a chance to get up close and personal and see what they do for us.” For Army Sgt. Matthew Parsons, this was a chance to talk with the general public about his military occupational skill and get to know more about military aircraft. “People don’t generally know what we do as a whole,” said Parsons, a 303rd Tactical Psychological Operations Soldier. “To be able to meet and greet the people who support us on a daily basis, that’s a great thing.” The show also allowed service members of all different branches to work together. Multiple aircraft from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines were on display for the public’s viewing pleasure. “It’s really cool that the people get to see us all out here working together as one,” said Parsons, a native of Pittsburgh. “It’s kind of like when you are overseas. We all have the same mission in the long run and being able to communicate and work together here in country is definitely a plus.” While the event serves as a way for the public to learn, service members are also learning about the different aircraft. “For some Soldiers, this is an opportunity to see some of the aircraft they will find when they head down range,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Jose Grau, 452nd Air Mobility Wing. “To be able to see a C-17 or a Blackhawk here could prove very helpful later on.”

Rhianna Yocum, 11, of West View, PA, jumps up to take a better look at an F-18F Super Hornet jet airplane during the Wings Over Pittsburgh show hosted by the 911th Air Force Base in Moon Township on Sept. 11, 2010. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Michel Sauret)

West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 29


West Mifflin Borough Municipal Building 3000 Lebanon Church Road West Mifflin, PA 15122 Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Phone: 412.466.8170 Fax: 412.466.8173

Administration Mayor: Chris Kelly ckelly@westmifflinborough.com

Borough Manager:

Recreation Administrator:

Public Works

Lance Maha 412.464.1918

412.461.5300

Council President: Regis L. Stephenson

Vice President: John T. Munsie John Andzelik Joseph B. Falce Robert Kostelnik Michael Olack Rhonda Popovich

Richard Janus rjanus@westmifflinborough.com

Departments

Fire Departments Homeville Volunteer Fire Company #1 3900 Greensprings Avenue West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.461.9475 Duquesne Annex Volunteer Fire Company #2 1620 Pennsylvania Avenue West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.466.7500 Volunteer Fire Company #3 3722 Rodeo Drive West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.469.0219

Administrative Assistant:

412.466.8174

Skyview Volunteer Fire Company #4 660 Noble Drive West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.461.9553

Diane Wrobleski dwrobleski@westmifflinborough.com

Chief Building Inspector:

Ambulance Service

Public Works Director:

Walter "Butch" Anthony banthony@westmifflinborough.com

James Hess jhess@westmifflinborough.com

Field Inspector:

Prism Health Services 4821 Buttermilk Hollow Road West Mifflin, PA 15122 Business Office: 412.466.5111 Emergency: 911

Administrative Assistant: Anna Marie Kuzma amkuzma@westmifflinborough.com

Recreation/Community Development

William L. Best bbest@westmifflinborough.com

Police Department Chief of Police: Joseph Popovich 4733 Greensprings Ave West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.461.3125 Fax: 412.461.3944 Emergency: 911

Elected Officials Pa State Representative: William C. Kortz 38th Legislative District 751 Pittsburgh-McKeesport Blvd. Dravosburg, PA 15034 Phone: 412.466.1940 Fax: 412.460.3023

PA State Senator: Jay Costa, Jr. 43rd District 3000 Lebanon Church Road First Floor West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.466.2784 Fax: 412.466.2700

West Mifflin School District West Mifflin 3000 Lebanon Church Road Suite 300 West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.466.9131

Administration Superintendent: Dr. Janet Sardon 412.466-9131 ext. 3002 sardonj@wmasd.org

Assistant Superintendent: Dr. Daniel Castagna 412.466.9131 ext. 3003

Board Secretary/ Business Manager:

Director of Technology: Mr. Joel Tachoir 412.466.9131 ext. 3020 tachoirj@wmasd.org

Director of Security: Mr. Joseph Gajdos 412.466.9131 ext. 1006 gajdosj@wmasd.org

Public Relations Coordinator /Grant Writer: Mrs. Robyn Tedesco 412.466.9131 ext. 3019 tedescor@wmasd.org

School Board Board President:

Mr. John Donis Term Ends: 2011 412.466.9131 Mr. Richard Fialkovich Term Ends: 2011 412.466.9131 Dr. Albert Graham Term Ends: 2011 412.466.9131 Mr. Ned Mervos Term Ends: 2011 412.466.9131 Mr. Phil Shar Term Ends: 2013 412.466.9131

Schools

Mr. Dennis Cmar 412.466.9131 ext. 3004 cmard@wmasd.org

Mr. Michael Price Term Ends: 2013

Director of Buildings & Grounds:

Mr. Ted Cale Term Ends: 2013 412.466.9131

91 Commonwealth Avenue West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.466.9131 Principal: Dr. Mark Hoover

Mr. Nicholas Alexandroff Term Ends: 2013 412.466.9131

West Mifflin Area Middle School

Mrs. Sandra Wells 412.466.9131 ext. 3006 wellss@wmasd.org

Acting Director of Special Projects: Ms. Mary Jane Hudak 412.466.9131 ext. 3028

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Board Vice President:

Mrs. Kathleen Bracco Term Ends: 2011 412.466.9131

West Mifflin Area High School

371 Camp Hollow Road West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.466.9131 Acting Principal: Mr. Brian Plichta

Early Childhood Education Center 515 Camp Hollow Road West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.466.9131 Superintendent/ECEC Principal of Record: Dr. Janet M. Sardon

Clara Barton Elementary 764 Beverly Drive West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.466.9131 Principal: Mrs. Noelle Haney

New Emerson Elementary 1922 Pennsylvania Avenue West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.466.9131 Principal: Mrs. Cathryn Brundage

Homeville Elementary 4315 Eliza Street West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.461.9131 Principal: Melissa Bracco

New England Elementary 2000 Clairton Road West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412.466.9131 Principal: Mr. Michael Sable


Mon Valley Initiative helps improve credit and buy homes In January 2009, a single mother in Pittsburgh decided she was tired of being a renter. Knowing her credit was not the best, she called around to several area non-profit agencies to see if she could get any help. The one that returned her call first was the Mon Valley Initiative. “I’d heard of MVI through a couple of my friends and articles I’d read in the newspaper,” said Lauren Hairston, who is employed as a case manager. “At the time, I’d just had my youngest daughter and wanted a better home. I knew I could never get what I wanted for my children as long as I was paying rent.” At the other end of the telephone was Mike Mauer, housing counselor for MVI. “She seemed a little apprehensive at first,” said Mauer, who has been helping families into homes at the MVI for more than six years. “Many clients are uneasy when I first speak with them. Like Lauren, a good number are skeptical that their credit issues can be resolved.” According to Mauer, taking away any apprehensions by thoroughly explaining the home buying process is how he earns his paycheck. Funded through grant monies provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, MVI’s Housing Counseling Program has assisted more than 600 families into their first homes such April 2004. Mauer’s job as a housing counselor is to individually assess each client during the initial interview by reviewing their credit reports as well as income and ratios, and to mutually develop an action plan that, if followed, will eventually lead a potential buyer to qualify for a mortgage. He also is required to educate clients as to the best mortgage products that are available to help fit their needs, and walk them through each step of the loan process from application to closing. According to Mauer, who holds a NeighborWorks® certification, just two key ingredients are typically needed to repair most credit problems. “Time and money cures most credit issues,” said Mauer. “During Lauren’s initial intake, we identified some past-due debt items that needed to be paid in order for her credit score to increase enough for her to qualify for a mortgage.” Mauer added that with developing Hairston’s action plan, the needs of her family had to be taken into consideration as well as paying bills and past-due debt. “When working out her action plan, we were mindful of the fact that she had two young daughters to care for.”

Mauer added that allowing for the young mother’s extra expenses to cover the needs of two small children in her household budget may have delayed Ms. Hairston from becoming ready for a mortgage as quickly as she would have liked. But according to Mauer, taking the additional few months had an added benefit for her, “When Lauren first came here, the interest rate for the mortgage product that she was to qualify for was 6.25 percent,” the housing counselor said. “About a year later, the interest rate for that particular loan dropped more than a full percentage point.” Mauer also attributed the recently expired tax credit program offered through the Federal Government as a key reason why his agency is seeing more low-to-moderate income homebuyers over the last several months. “Ms. Hairston was able to use part of her tax credit to offset her closing costs thanks to a special program offered through the PHFA,” said Mauer. “That program coupled with some assistance offered through the seller helped give her some extra funds to complete the deal.” As part of her housing counseling, Ms. Hairston also discovered that she was able to qualify for a fully renovated home with updated features and appliances. As part of a neighborhood stabilization program on Maple Street lead through the efforts of the Turtle Creek Development Corporation and developed by the Mon Valley Initiative and Allegheny County, Ms. Hairston’s Turtle Creek house is one of hundreds built by MVI throughout the Mon Valley that has turned formerly eyesore properties into attractive tax generating homes for many area communities. The effort also fills an area need for high qualify affordable family housing. For Ms. Hairston, using the MVI to help with buying her home was a good experience. “They taught me that I never have to be a renter again,” said Hairston. “And believe me, I don’t ever want to be.” Like Ms. Hairston, future homeowners are welcome to schedule individual appointments with MVI’s housing counselor and get information on upcoming MVI home construction. This includes homes being built in Homestead, Swissvale and Charleroi.

West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 31


WEST MIFFLIN VFW HELPS FEED LOCAL NAVY UNIT WITH

BBQ For Our Troops The mess hall filled quickly as members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ West Mifflin and a California-based nonprofit provided a solid meal to more than 200 Navy Reserve Troops and their families July 10 in North Versailles. The veterans teamed up to help dish out chow with BBQ For Our Troops — an eight-year-old outfit that’s dedicated to providing authentic slow cooked barbeque food for military communities. “This is the type of thing our Post likes to do,” said Mike Mauer, quartermaster for VFW Post 914. “We’re able to interact directly with families in the active military and let them know that the West Mifflin Veterans of Foreign Wars is there to help.” Mauer added that several of the unit’s members have already been on multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and at least one sailor was a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. “That type of commitment,” said the quartermaster, “needs to be recognized.” “Local troops and their families are grateful that we here in the Mon Valley support their hard work and sacrifice.” said Mauer. “For us to roll up our sleeves and help dish out a hot meal is the least we can do for those who are helping to preserve our nation’s freedoms.” Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ Commander, Charles Krebs, agreed.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ Commander Charles Krebs helps serve the troops. Krebs and several other members of the West Mifflin VFW Post were on hand to assist in dishing out pulled pork, beef frankfurters, baked beans, rice and cole slaw to area Navy Reserve Troops and family members July 10.

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ West Mifflin Chaplain Ken Curcio, right, presents a Post Certificate of Appreciation and $100 donation to Steve Matthews, event organizer for BBQ For Our Troops. The two units joined together Saturday, July 10, to feed area Navy Reserve Troops and their families from Surgical Company Alpha, 4th Medical Battalion, 4th MLG MARFORRES in North Versailles.

“Everything our VFW Post does is centered around our motto — honoring the dead by helping the living,” said Krebs. “These young men and women are carrying on the proud tradition of the United States Armed Forces. Helping with this meal is a way we can tell them that they are doing a fantastic job and their brothers-in-arms are proud of them.” As part of the effort, VFW Post 914 also presented a certificate of appreciation and a $100 donation to BBQ For Our Troops event organizer, Steve Matthews. The funds will help the non-profit’s OhioMichigan chapter keep to its schedule of providing nearly 5,000 troops with barbeque dinners at nine different events this year. Founded in 2002, BBQ For Our Troops is a volunteer organization of food preparers and organizers who cook and serve authentic slowcooked barbeque to service members and their families. Specializing in pork shoulder and beef briskets, the outfit’s meals often take as long as 15 hours to prepare. Members of VFW Post 914 who were on hand the evening of July 9 to help set up the successful event in North Versailles included Chaplain Ken Curcio, Ernest Basser, Bernie Zurawski and Dave Luikart. Curcio’s wife, Lisa, also participated. For more information about VFW Post 914 and its activities, visit the unit’s website at: http://15122.com/vfwintrepid914/.

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West Mifflin VFW 914 ‘Intrepid’ Hosts Top VFW Eagle Scout in State West Mifflin Eagle Scout Andrew J. Hall

A member of Boy Scout Troop 1111, and graduate of West Mifflin Area High School has been selected by the Department of Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars and its Ladies Auxiliary as Eagle Scout of the Year. Andrew J. Hall, a former Cadet Major with the West Mifflin Area High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, was selected as the Commonwealth’s top Eagle Scout over applicants submitted by hundreds of other VFW Posts throughout Pennsylvania. Hall had his credentials reviewed and accepted by his hometown VFW Post, 914 ‘Intrepid’ of West Mifflin, this past March. His application packet was forwarded to the VFW Department of Pennsylvania, where he bested scores of other candidates to be selected as the state’s top scout. The VFW National Scout of the Year Scholarship program provides a $5,000 award to an outstanding scout who is the recipient of a Boy Scout Eagle Award, a Venture Scouting Silver Award or a Sea Scout Quartermaster Award. The second-place participant receives $3,000, and the thirdplace awardee earns $1,000. To be eligible for the award money, an applicant must be an active member in a scouting program, have received the top rank award in his or her respective scouting program and demonstrated practical citizenship in their school, scouting and community. As the winner in state competition, Hall received an engraved sculpture of an eagle noting his achievement at VFW Post 914’s

monthly meeting on August 26 in the Thompson Run Athletic Association on Ball Avenue, West Mifflin. Representatives from the Pennsylvania Department of the VFW and members of VFW District 20 presented the award.

and expects to be commissioned as an officer in the armed forces of the United States. For more information about VFW Post 914 and its activities, visit the Post’s website at: http://15122.com/vfwintrepid914/.

As a four-year cadet in West Mifflin’s Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, Hall also has earned the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Award, the Outstanding Cadet Award, the Superior Performance Award and the Academic Ribbon. He was also one of four cadets selected in 2008 to receive the Veterans of Foreign Wars Award from VFW Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ Commander, Charles Krebs. Hall also lettered in varsity cross country at WMAHS, and was selected team captain for his last two years. He has also participated in the varsity wrestling and tennis programs. In supporting the Boy Scouts of America program, the VFW recognizes outstanding Eagle Scouts for their community service and for excelling at the Boy Scouts’ programs that develop responsible citizens, future leaders, patriotism, support of veterans and active duty troops, and public service. The list of projects completed by winners of this award program shows that these Scouts have had a very positive impact on their communities, which supports the VFW’s mission of “honoring the dead by helping the living”. According to his Scout of the Year application, Hall intends to participate in a military officers’ training program when he continues his post secondary education,

VFW PA Top Scout Presented Coveted Eagle Award The top scout of Veterans of Foreign Wars Department of Pennsylvania, Andrew Hall of Boy Scout Troop 1111, left, receives a bronze eagle award from James B. Miller, District 23 Commander and Pennsylvania VFW Boy Scout Chairman, at the Aug. 26 meeting of VFW Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ West Mifflin in the Thompson Run Athletic Club on Ball Avenue, West Mifflin. Hall, a former Cadet Major with the West Mifflin Area High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, is currently enrolled as a freshman at Edinboro University in Pennsylvania, where he will participate as a member of the ROTC Program.

Laurels For Buddy Poppy Sales Gary Ruston, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ West Mifflin Buddy Poppy Chairman, left, receives a certificate lauding his efforts from VFW Department of Pennsylvania District Inspector Jim Carey. Ruston was recognized for his superb fundraising organizational skills at the Aug. 26 meeting of VFW Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ West Mifflin in the Thompson Run Athletic Club on Ball Avenue, West Mifflin.

West Mifflin | Fall 2010 | incommunitymagazines.com 33


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