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Keeping History Alive! Mifflin Township Historical Society

PLUS! Student Poets Impress!


West Mifflin Lions Club Never Turn A Blind Eye

West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | C1

Welcome to the spring issue of West Mifflin. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with family, friends, and fun. Typically, I use this space to talk about your community or features in the magazine that spotlight the people in your community who are doing wonderful things. Well, this time I want to update you regarding our newest feature for 2011— our new website. Without venturing too far into the realm of shameless self-promotion, I want to emphasize that this website is something for you, our readers. How so? Well, you can have input and help shape the website just like your ideas help shape your magazine. Now you have a place to list all of the nonprofit community organizations that are active in the community. We are also developing pages where we list the local houses of worship. In addition, we now offer every magazine in a fully downloadable PDF format, rather than the outdated flipbook format we used to have. This will allow you to send the magazine, or links to it, to friends and family both near and far. We tied our website into Facebook as well, not to get the biggest list of “friends” we could get but to have a place to keep our readers abreast of all the news we get between issues. It also gives us a place to upload all the photos from community events that we don’t have room for in the magazine. As with all things, there’s always room for improvement, but we always have open ears. If you have comments about our new website or want to see your organization listed, e-mail with your link or feedback. There’s no charge for listing your church, synagogue, or scout troop’s link, so send your links in today! And if you happen to be on Facebook and like what you see in the magazine, don’t hesitate to click that “Like” button. It’s always nice to be liked! I hope you have a wonderful spring!

SPRING 2011 IN West Mifflin is a non-partisan community publication dedicated to representing, encouraging and promoting the West Mifflin area and its comprising municipalities by focusing on the talents and gifts of the people who live and work here. Our goal is to provide readers with the most informative and professional regional publication in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. PUBLISHER



Marybeth Jeffries OFFICE MANAGER


Jamie Ward WRITERS

Mark Berton Kelli McElhinny

Wayne Dollard Publisher

When I think about spring, I can’t help but think about light. The days get “lighter,” and the sun stays with us a little longer each day. When we have a great idea, a light bulb goes off in our minds. At West Mifflin Magazine we try to spot-light our communities. What are you doing to be a “light”? If you or an organization that you volunteer or work for is a light in the community, will you let me know? So many good deeds are left unsung! If you have a family member who is in the armed forces, or if your your church group or even Mom or Dad are providing a service to someone in need, we want to know! Please e-mail your ideas and photos to me at On page 6 of this edition, I want to introduce you to poets Monica Ballard and Richard Hilliard, students at West Mifflin Area High School. We truly value the words of everyone who puts “pen to paper,” but when you read some of the talented writing from these students, I’m sure you will be impressed!

Marybeth Jeffries Managing Editor

Pamela Palongue


Cassie Brkich Anna Buzzelli Susie Doak Pati Ingold

Jan McEvoy Joe Milne Tamara Tylenda Tracey Wasilco


Nicholas Buzzell Brian Daley Gina D’Alicandro Tina Dollard Rose Estes Jason Huffman Jessie Jones Connie McDaniel Brian McKee

David Mitchell Tamara Myers Gabriel Negri Robert Ojeda Annette Petrone Vincent Sabatini 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 2011. CORRESPONDENCE All inquiries, comments and press releases should be directed to: IN Community Magazines Attn: Editorial 603 East McMurray Road McMurray, PA 15317 Ph: 724.942.0940 Fax: 724.942.0968

Summer content deadline: 5/9

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – CHARLES DICKENS

Please recycle this magazine when you are through enjoying it.

Contents West Mifflin | SPRING 2011 |




Publisher’s Message





Couple Celebrates 70 Years of Marriage | 3 Mifflin Township Historical Society | | 4 Keeping History Alive West Mifflin School District Poetry Contest | 6 West Mifflin Students Give Back to the Community Year-Round | 7 West Mifflin Lions Club | Never Turn a Blind Eye | 8 | 11 West Mifflin Community Information UPMC Today | Health and Wellness News You Can Use | 13 In Kids | 22 Older Adults in West Mifflin | 24 Houses of Worship | 27 Real Estate in West Mifflin | Both Buyers and Sellers Need to Beware of Overpricing | 29



Home Improvement


Female Fit-It-Yourself Revolution | 30 Rethinking the Attic | 31



Venue Planning for Your Wedding | 32 Wedding Etiquette for the Socially Inept | 33 INDUSTRY INSIGHTS


Steel City Chiropractic The Art of Adjusting | 10 Rothrock’s Kung Fu & Tai Chi Studio |


What are the Benefits of Kung Fu and Tai Chi? | 21 BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT


Century III Chevrolet


New Management for a New Year | 5

Kaybrook Real Estate


Old Fashioned Charm in Today’s Real Estate Market | 28 ON THE COVER


Beautfiful artwork by West Mifflin Area School District Student Gabby Mooney. Submitted by West Mifflin Art Teacher Donna Bajoras.



 

Some relationships begin by wishing on a flower petal. Elizabeth Ordos’ began by stepping on a crabapple tree thorn. “I stepped on a crabapple thorn on a farm in Harmony. I went to get the cows, and it went right through my foot,” Ordos said. “I was in Homestead Hospital, had my foot operated on. My girlfriend brought Bernie over there for a visit and introduced us.” That was in September. By November the two took the $5 they had between them, drove to Catlettsburg, Kentucky, and eloped. Elizabeth Ordos was in her third year of high school.

bombs all around where he was at.” After the war was over, Bernie came home in August, and reunited with Elizabeth in Seattle, where she was working for Boeing. They finally had a proper honeymoon, thanks to the gratitude shone to returning U.S. soldiers by the Biltmore Hotel in North Carolina. “For a whole month, we got free room and board and meals,” Ordos said. “We had a ball.”

“We came home and my husband’s mother found the marriage license in his vest,” she said. “We played hooky and we went to Kentucky on $5. Can you believe it?”

Since then, the Ordos family has grown, with three children, three grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Elizabeth said that the family has become so large, that it’s literally a “birthday every month.”

Now, 70 years later, the two still share a love that has spanned more time than most people have on Earth.

The couple celebrated their anniversary with a small, family dinner party on Nov. 19.

Elizabeth Ordos is especially thankful for her husband because he’s believed to be the last surviving WWII veteran in Allegheny County who served at Pearl Harbor during the Dec. 7, 1941, attack by the Japanese. “Bernie was there for five years, at Schofield Barracks and was a Private, First Class,” she said. “I missed him, but I got through it pretty good. I worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad and Westinghouse during that time.” When she found out about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Ordos said her concern was great. “Oh, I was worried about that. That was on Sunday morning,” she said. “My husband was on guard duty. At 7 a.m. he saw the Japanese fly over. It made him sick. He didn’t have breakfast for two days. He went and hid under some mattresses because they were dropping

Elizabeth Ordos said that she really doesn’t have a secret to her marriage’s longevity, and attributes her 70 years of marriage to good living and faith. “As long as you just keep living and go to church, you’ll be fine. We’ve just been living,” she said. “I never threw him out in all them years, and he agrees with what I do and I agree with him.”

EVERYONE HAS A STORY Would you or someone you know like to be featured IN West Mifflin Magazine for our newest feature – Resident Profiles? Please suggest a resident for the community to get to know! E-mail our Managing Editor at

(Must be a resident of the West Mifflin community)

     West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 3



by Jim Hartman



of the original Mifflin Township. There The Mifflin Township Historical is usually a volunteer that mans the Society covers 14 communities. This room daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., accounts for over 10% of all Allegheny Monday through Friday. But since we County municipalities, over 40 square are a volunteer organization, visitors miles, and 80,000 residents. The should call Jim Hartman, president present-day communities of Baldwin, of the society, at 412.600.0229 to make Clairton, Duquesne, Dravosburg, sure that someone is there. Visitors Hays, Homestead, Jefferson Hills, are welcome, and there is no charge. Lincoln Place, Munhall, Pleasant Hills, Our reference room has for West Elizabeth, West Homestead, West viewing the Duquesne, Clairton, and Mifflin, and Whitaker are in this area. Homestead newspapers from 1881. The goal of our society is to document, We have a database of over 50,000 chronicle and preserve, whenever obituaries from those newspapers, possible, the artifacts and sites and this list grows. Many old photos, of historical significance from the maps, documents, school yearbooks, original Mifflin Township of 1788. obituaries, etc., of the bygone days  We openly invite all members of our community are housed of the communities above, and in this room. anyone else interested in the The society publishes a history of those communities, monthly newsletter with many to join the society as active interesting articles concerning our volunteers to accomplish this past history. All paid memberships goal of preserving our heritage receive this informative newsletter. for future generations. We have published many books Our society was formed on our local history (Duquesne, in 2001 and met with the Homestead and the Steel Valley, members of the Homestead Slovak immigrants, etc.), and they Historical Society. The are available for purchase. Homestead Historical Society Volunteers are needed at the was formed in 1980 when society to help archive items into Homestead was celebrating its our files and databases, digitally centennial. The two societies photograph items for future joined forces to become the reference, and other upcoming Mifflin Township Historical Our newsletter staff prepares a monthly mailing of our newsletters to members. L-R: Mary projects. Why not become a part of Society, which is a non-profit Lou Manns, Fran Thompson, Lois Havrilla, Dolores Mattson, Joan Hess history and join us as a member and 501(3)(c) corporation. also a volunteer? More information The society has a reference room located in the West Mifflin Borough can be viewed on our website at The website has building, at 3000 Lebanon Church Road. This space was donated to the local histories, photos, etc., of our communities. society so that it would be a safe repository for documents and artifacts


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NEW MANAGEMENT FOR A NEW YEAR If you haven’t been to Century III Chevrolet in a while, now’s the time to become reacquainted.

license plate frames. Random people will be chosen to receive cash and prizes.

New General Manager Gary Lee is bringing his 20-plus years of experience in the automotive dealership business to Century III Chevrolet and is making customer service his top priority.

“It could work like this,” Lee said. “If we see someone pulling into Best Buy with one of our license plate frame, our people would wait for them, or follow them into the store and pay for their purchase. There’s no entry requirements other than you have to be driving one of our vehicles.”

“We’re the new Century III Chevrolet. We’ve changed everything about the company from top to bottom,” Lee said. “We’ve totally revamped operations for this location, and our customer service index ratings are reflecting that.” In fact, in the few short months he’s been righting the ship, Century III Chevrolet’s customer service index ratings are reflecting a 97.1 percent satisfaction rate.

Lee said the program will begin once a snappy and creative title for the program is selected. For more information on the new Century III Chevrolet, go to, or call 1.866.999.0372.

“I don’t think they’ve ever seen those kinds of numbers in this store,” Lee said. “We’ve made tons of changes to how we do business and the feedback we’re getting is nothing but good.” Lee, who’s run dealerships in Monroeville and Houston, Texas, said making the customer number one outweighs any advertising campaign that money can buy because word of mouth is free. Part of Lee’s plan to improve Century III’s business started with meeting with the employees and retraining them. “We told them what we expect and how to treat customers. Referral business, return business, that all comes from how people are treated when they’re here,” he said. “Our expectations are very high because our dedication to our customers is very high, and we’re doing everything possible to convey to our customers that they are our first priority.” In addition to improving customer service, Lee said that in the next few months Century III Chevrolet will be improving its physical appearance as well. “We are going to rebuild the dealership. We’re going to overhaul the front of the store, the service drive. It will be neat and clean and meet GM standards,” Lee said. Once that’s complete, Lee said that incentive programs will follow. A specially-wrapped Chevrolet HHR already has been designed and will be put into service. The car will drive around West Mifflin, looking for people who have Century III Chevrolet

West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 5

West Mifflin School District

Poetry Contest WEST MIFFLIN POETRY SUBMISSIONS Richard Hilliard is a Senior at West Mifflin Area High School. He is currently planning to attend Duquesne University this fall, where he will major in Psychology. Richard wrote these two poems last year.


Beauty is..

Monica Ballard is a Junior at West Mifflin Area High School She has been writing since sixth grade, publishing her work on She enjoys writing because it allows you to not only release emotion, but it allows you to use your imagination and to create whole people and places without having to worry about meter or form. "It’s really liberating and without it, I’m not sure what kind of person I’d be. Writing has really molded me into a different person and has made me see what I want to do with the rest of my life. It’s a pretty profound thing." - Monica Ballard

With Pride In Her Heart

By Richard Hilliard

By Monica Ballard

Beauty is something that lies beneath the surface Something that serves a deeper meaning and purpose Although sometimes, beauty is what hurts us Out of our control, beauty is what flirts us. Beauty is something rarely found But is is everywhere; you just need to look around Beauty is the quality of pitch and sound Not of definite shape; straight, squared or round. Beauty is something derived from pain All of the hard work from the monsters being slain Beauty is something that falls as freely as rain And if even attempted cannot be tamed. Beauty is what you make it out to be So make sure you make it out to be free Even though it shows itself internally Beauty will last forever; an eternity.

sometimes i wish that the space time continuum was a hole with gnarly teeth like a hungry bear and milk eyes like a fish. sometimes i wish that i wasn’t a martyr for my own cause, an incubus at night, probing fingers hybrid frills. mesopotamian backbones.

sometimes we treat sewer systems like mountains.

Illusions of Life

Beauty can’t be stopped, only hidden it lies everywhere; the divine and the forbidden Beauty shines brightly in the forgiven So do those a favor and forgive them. Beauty is what hatred is not Even though some may have forgot Beauty is lost but never forgotten So the forgetful are never fully rotten.

By Richard Hilliard

A language without emotion is not a language at all Just as pointless as the sounds and the syllables they fall! Searching and searching, but I have not found A meaning to life in which my senses surround. Concept after concept possibilities never end Reaching the limit, but the limit will bend.

Beauty is in the shade and the light So beauty can be made to light up the night Beauty is the starts twinkling so bright Beauty is whatever is right.

Never stop learning, never stop living God takes care of those who are caring and giving! Willing to exceed but failing to execute Shocking the system, lightning electrocute. Illusions of life, leaving you destitute illusions they are so let them not get the best of you!


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Volunteer Tax Preparers Are Needed!

   By Jamie Ward

This past fall the West Mifflin School District participated in its fourth food drive to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank—just one of its fundraisers to help out the community year-round.

The District says it “attempts to not only teach the curriculum, but also show its students that we all have a part to play in order to make our community better.� In the past few years, the “Fill the Bus� food drive has grown from a West Mifflin Area Middle School-only operation to where it is now, a district-wide event. “My next goal is to expand it to a true community-wide event by getting local companies to join in as well,� says Glenn Gougler, organizer of the drive. The collection takes place during the last full week before the Thanksgiving holiday. “Students have really gotten into it each year,� says Gougler. “The coordinators at every one of our schools have been instrumental in generating excitement for the drive.� In the middle school each grade is split into two teams for the drive. “We offer various incentives to the team that donates the most food,� says Gougler. The elementary schools offer incentives to students as well and usually tie the drive in with math by charting their collection progress. “The energy and involvement of the high school students seems to be growing more every year,� says

Gougler. “You can see how good kids feel about bringing their donations just by the look on their faces as they bring their bags to the bus. They’re proud.� The collection has been right around the 4,000-pound mark for the past two years. Gougler says the project teaches the students that a lot of doing a little is better than a little doing a lot. “They get the chance to see how their contribution of maybe only one bag, times hundreds of others like theirs, ends up resulting in two full busses of food.� In addition to the food drive, students help out in other ways throughout the year. In February middle school students volunteered for the day at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Overall, the students packed a total of 11,200 pounds of meat to be shipped to the local food pantries for families in need. The District also started a “Toys for Tots� campaign. In early December the schools start collecting new and unwrapped toys to be donated. On December 10 the Marines bring an army collection truck to pick up donations from each school. This past year the collection successfully filled the truck and provided the Marines with a cash donation of $191. The West Mifflin Turkey Bowl fundraiser for Make-A-Wish was also a success this year, with a total of $1,127 raised, beating last year’s total by $253.39. For more information on the West Mifflin School District's community service, visit

Volunteer Tax Preparers are needed to provide free income tax assistance for hardworking individuals and families in Allegheny County. Your volunteer experience is a short-term commitment (3+ hours per week from January-April), convenient (our six free tax sites are located across Allegheny County and close to where you live and work), and easy to schedule (daytime, evening, and weekend hours are available). If you have experience preparing your own tax returns, we need you! Learn more about the Free Tax Campaign at

West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 7


 Lionism in our area started with the Homestead District Lions Club in 1947 and later in Duquesne. Many of the original charter members of our club were members of the Homestead or Duquesne clubs. These gentlemen, seeing the growth of their area (known as West Mifflin) and wishing to serve their area, asked for the sponsorship of a new club from the Homestead District Lions Club. The West Mifflin Lions Club was chartered on October 20, 1953, with 58 members: Carl Albrecht, Lawrence Allen, Robert Arnfield, Stephen Bell, John Benyak, Leonard J. Benyak, Allen Bryce, John Chizmar, Joseph A. Chunko, Edward David, Albert H. Davies, Philip F. Davis, Clarence N. Dean, Robert J. Devey, George C. Dias, Regis W. Ditmore, Stanley R. Duda, Glenn Dunlap, Daniel Filo, Charles Fitzgibbons, John V. Gedris, Emil Greenhalgh, Thomas Hartland, Charles F. Howe, Frank G. Horn, John T. Hovanec, Robert A. Istvan, William M. Kirsch, Edward Kohut, Frank Kutch, Francis E. Link, Jr., George W. Lynn, Frank A. Lyskava, Robert McGinnis, William H. Miller, William F. Nagy, Albert Novack, William Olsavick, John Paule, Michael Pazey, Albert R. Perun, Joseph B. Perun, Harold W. Redpath, John S. Reeves, Lawrence J. Richards, Peter W. Richards, Michael Reidosh, Albert Savolskis, Thomas T. Smith, Paul Cyril Starr, Raymond C. Steputis, LeRoy Timms, William G. Ulevich, William J. Ulevich, John E. Watkins, Jack Watkins, David Wilson, Walter Wilson. The club’s first charter president was Albert Savolskis. The West Mifflin Lions Club had a membership as high as one-hundred, and we now have 56 members (2010-11). Lion Albert Savolskis was our first president and last charter member passed away in 2009.

Our present fundraisers are the “White Cane Days” chaired by Lions Irene Parkinson and William Scharritter; the Spaghetti Night Dinner Dance, the Pancake Breakfast (started in 1997), the Gun Bash (started in 2004); the gum ball and candy machines are chaired by Lion John Donis; the Blind Seals Campaign is chaired by Lion Edward Manfredi; and the trash bags and brooms are chaired by Lion Enzo Colantoni. The White Cane Days campaign has been the biggest fundraiser the club has had so far. Since 1975 the club has raised over $190,000 from the campaign for blind charities. The White Cane Days campaign was headed for many years by Lion Ted Turocy, PIC. The West Mifflin Lions have made as many as 54 charitable donations each year. The principle donations are given to the Western Pennsylvania Children’s School for the Blind in Oakland, the Blind and Vision Rehabilitation Services in Homestead (formerly Pittsburgh Vision Services); Leader Dog School for the Blind at Rochester, Mich.; Radio Information Services; and Beacon Lodge (Lions summer camp for the blind) near Mount Union, Pa. Financially, we help the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, Little League, the food bank, veterans at the Veterans Hospital, McKeesport Hospital Diabetes Lions Foundation, the four West Mifflin and Whitaker volunteer fire companies, Prism Health Services (EMS), and other local community groups. The West Mifflin Lions have furnished through the years about $40,000 worth of eyeglasses and eye exams for the needy. Collection boxes are in

The first meetings of the West Mifflin Lions Club were held at the Homeville Volunteer Fire Company on Greensprings Avenue in the Homeville area of West Mifflin. Subsequently the meeting place was changed to Paule’s Look-Out Restaurant on Skyline Drive and were held there for some 35 years until its closing. Presently the board meetings are held at the Homeville Fire Hall on Greensprings Avenue on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Our dinner meetings are held at the Thompson Run Athletic Club in West Mifflin on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. Many various fundraisers were held over our years of Lionism to help the community, District 14-B, State of Pennsylvania and Lions International. Some of those early fundraisers were the old fashioned New England Auction, the Penny Auction (at G&K Hall in 1977), bingo games; $1,400 raffle based on the Pennsylvania Lottery three times yearly (1978-1990); Lions Mints, and golf scramble (1984-1996), with the Homestead District Lions taking it over as a fundraiser. The $5,000 raffle, which has also been a big fundraiser, was originally chaired by Lion John Watkins and was later chaired by Lions Rich Fialkovich and Jim Hartman.


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West Mifflin

Lions Clubs acknowledge their members with various awards for their accomplishments. L-R Jim Leerberg, Rich Fialkovich, Maria Demko, Roger Hruby, Rich McGartland, Mike Denko (seated).

many locations in the area for the public to make their donations. It is estimated that we have collected some 225,000 pairs of glasses for this project. We have also helped the Lions International campaign, “Campaign Sight First,” to help eradicate unnecessary blindness in the world. This was a world campaign, and Lions in 188 countries were asked to support this project. The West Mifflin Lions Club pledged $12,000 and paid off their pledge in four years for Campaign Sight First. Their dedication to the blind stems from a 1925 address to the Lions at the International Convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, by Helen Keller, who challenged the Lions to be “knights for the blind in the crusade against darkness.” Every year, the Lions celebrate Helen Keller Day on June 1 and work on sight-related service projects around the world. The organization was founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones in Chicago. The name “Lions” was chosen because the organization believed the lion to be symbolic of strength, courage, fidelity, and vital action. Jones was an insurance agent who started his agency in 1913 in Chicago and joined a networking group called the “Business Circle” to further establish his business. Jones believed that groups based solely around financial gain were destined to ultimately wither, and therefore he set out to form an organization of community and business leaders dedicated to improving the community as a whole. By 1945, he was presenting on behalf of Lions International before the United Nations. Jones died in 1961, but the group he founded lives on today with more than 45,000 clubs worldwide comprised of more than 1.35 million members. In the West Mifflin community park, the West Mifflin Lions have built a large picnic shelter with picnic tables and two large charcoal stoves. The shelter was donated to the Borough of West Mifflin and can be used by anyone reserving the shelter, through the Borough, for picnics. The Lions also have built a beautiful permanent memorial monument to remember our deceased members in the West Mifflin Memorial Park at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Homeville Road. Each year, on the Wednesday before Memorial Day, we honor and remember our deceased members. At one time we also participated in the “Adopt a Highway” campaign. This project was founded and headed by Lion James Leerberg in 1993. The West Mifflin Lions were the first group in the state to volunteer. This was done as a volunteer project for the Pennsylvania Road commission. We maintained a stretch of Kennywood Boulevard, about two-miles long, from Whitaker to Duquesne, until 2000. Being a Lion does not mean just fundraising but also social gatherings for our club. In 1984 past President Jim Leerberg started our annual Lions Picnic. The first picnic was held at Lion Ed Kohut’s home and was strictly “stag.” With this success, the decision was made to make it an open picnic for all the members of the club with their families attending. At Christmas time we also get together and have our yearly Christmas party. The West Mifflin Lions Club now has 19 Melvin Jones Fellows, which is the most prestigious acknowledgement that Lions International presents to its members.. The West Mifflin Lions Club had four past district governors as members of their club, namely Ted Turocy (1956-57, served in District 13G), Martin Yuhasz (1958-59), Cornelius McConville (1982-83), and James Hartman (2006-07 and 2009-10). The present officers of the West Mifflin Lions are Maria Demko, President; Jean Colantoni, 1st Vice President; Mike Demko, 2nd Vice President; Enzo Colantoni, 3rd Vice President; Secretary, James Hartman, PDG; and Jim Stone, Treasurer. Trustees are Florence Davis, Patrice Hlad, Santo Hruby, and Cathy Yurosko. The West Mifflin community is invited to our Annual Spaghetti Dinner Dance on February 12 at the Thompson Run Athletic Club, and the 5th Annual Gun Bash on Sunday, March 20 at Homeville Fire Hall. Visit our website at for more information on how you can help your local Lions Club by participating in our charitable fundraisers or by joining.

West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 9

 By Becky Mack

Sometimes the biggest fear in life is change. Change means an adjustment to something different and unknown. But in chiropractic care, an adjustment is a positive step towards a better body and overall health. “Chiropractic itself is a science, art and philosophy,” says Dr. John Montesano, D.C., of Steel City Chiropractic in West Mifflin. “The art is the delivery of a proper adjustment.” An adjustment involves a quick movement that helps add motion to spinal joints that are misaligned. Improper motion or position of the moving bones of the spine, called a subluxation, can interfere with this vital exchange by irritating nerves and compromising the function of affected organs and tissues. Common symptoms of subluxations are back and neck pain, headaches, numbness, and sinus and digestive problems. There are three basic causes of subluxations. Physical causes include falls, accidents or repetitive motions and improper lifting. Emotions, namely stress, can cause subluxations. Chemical causes could include alcohol, drugs, pollution and poor diet. Adjustments correct subluxations which relieve symptoms. “Structure dictates function,” Montesano says. “Just as in a building, if it is not built properly, it will prematurely deteriorate. Our bodies are no different.”


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West Mifflin

Steel City Chiropractic’s mission is to improve the quality of life in as many people as possible through education and chiropractic adjustments. “Our goal is to promote chiropractic care to every family and individual so they can live a happy, healthy life,” Montesano says. Montesano and his staff strive for superior patient care and satisfaction and take care of people of all ages, from infancy to the elderly. From the first phone call to the first exam, Steel City Chiropractic’s goal is to leave a long-lasting impression on everyone who steps foot into the office. According to the American Chiropractic Association, only 10 percent of the population sees a chiropractor. “I want to change the mindset of people only coming when in pain. Why only address something when there’s a problem?” he asks. “In any time of crisis, it requires more time, more money and multiple levels of frustration, much like car trouble, home maintenance and dental issues.” When it comes to chiropractic care the best offense is a great defense. Prevention with chiropractic care is key in achieving perfect function, better alignment and eliminates pain, Montesano emphasizes. In order to help avoid crisis situations Montesano hopes to help as many people as he can before they get in a situation where they need serious help. According to The Association of Chiropractic Colleges, chiropractic care focuses on the relationship of structure and function, as coordinated by the nervous system and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of a health. Chiropractic care restores health and prevents injury by improving the structural integrity of the body, primarily the spine. The brain communicates with the rest of the body via the spinal cord and nervous system. When functioning perfectly, this communication is uninterrupted, and the messages go to and from the brain without interference. At Steel City Chiropractic, Montesano strives to have a personal relationship with his patients. “Everyone has a separate and distinct goal and treatment plan tailored to their individual needs,” he says. His focus is for each patient to achieve their goal through chiropractic care and the other services he provides. “The key is looking at the body as a whole. Everything works together,” Montesano says. “Our focus is to become the community’s wellness center by providing chiropractic adjustments, nutrition counseling and rehabilitation. The key to optimal health is multifaceted. The more you embrace the higher level of wellness you will achieve.” To learn more about Dr. John Montesano and Steel City Chiropractic, visit or call 412-205-3096. Steel City Chiropractic accepts most major insurances and offers affordable financing according to recommendations for care.

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

Administration Mayor: Chris Kelly

Borough Manager:

Recreation Administrator:

Public Works

Lance Maha 412.464.1918


Council President: Regis L. Stephenson

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

Richard Janus


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

Recreation/Community Development

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

Administrative Assistant:


Diane Wrobleski

Ambulance Service

Chief Building Inspector:

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

Administrative Assistant: Anna Marie Kuzma

Public Works Director:

Walter "Butch" Anthony

James Hess

Field Inspector: William L. Best

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 | Spring 2011 | 11

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

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 Director of Security: Mr. Joseph Gajdos 412.466.9131 ext. 1006 Public Relations Coordinator /Grant Writer: Mrs. Robyn Tedesco 412.466.9131 ext. 3019

School Board

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


Board Vice President:

West Mifflin Area High School

Director of Buildings & Grounds: Mrs. Sandra Wells 412.466.9131 ext. 3006

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

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West Mifflin

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

New Emerson Elementary

Homeville Elementary

Mr. Michael Price Term Ends: 2013


Clara Barton Elementary

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

Board President:

Mrs. Kathleen Bracco Term Ends: 2011 412.466.9131

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

Mr. Phil Shar Term Ends: 2013 412.466.9131

Mr. Dennis Cmar 412.466.9131 ext. 3004

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

Early Childhood Education Center

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

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

     

his is a great question people often ask when they enroll in a Kung available with those goals in mind. Some might be geared just towards self defense, while others might just be concerned about tournaments. Pick a Fu or Tai Chi course. Of course, there are many obvious benefits Kung Fu academy that stresses life improvement over just the such as stress relief, self-defense, and social and sports physical techniques. aspects, but did you know Kung Fu training is also a great Before choosing a course, try a free VIP course. form of fitness? Kung Fu training is not only great for The VIP course should allow you to try at least 2 toning your body, but it also offers a great cardio a thought, concept, or object to 4 lessons. This way you can determine what workout. The best part is you get all the other formed by the imagination. the training might involve and if it does values while getting into shape. match your goals. Classes should be Another benefit over the typical gym is separated by age and level of ability. That we have professional instructors to allows the instructor to concentrate on motivate you and keep you on track to that class’s particular needs. If you’re meet your fitness goals. Keep in mind, just starting, you don’t want to be in a results don’t happen overnight but you class with highly skilled black belts, will start feeling the benefits right away. but rather a class of other beginner’s Chinese Kung Fu is a fast-paced learning the proper way to do the cardio workout geared toward self Many times, we set goals without even realizing techniques. defense. Tai Chi (which means Grand that’s what we’re doing. Have you ever thought The other great benefit of Kung Fu Ultimate Fist) stresses relaxation, and and Tai Chi is that you’re always the slow-paced postures are great for about getting an ‘A’ in math or nailing a learning something new. So as you older adults looking for a low impact way complicated technique in Kung Fu? You knew how workout and increase your flexibility and to get in shape. excited you would be when it happened. strength, you’re learning new techniques Both Kung Fu and Tai Chi offer many You dreamed about it. You thought about it that challenge you both mentally and great physical benefits such as muscle tone, every time you were in class. Guess what? physically. In addition, you improve improved flexibility, cardiovascular strength, You had a vision to reach a goal. coordination, which helps your muscles work stress relief, relaxation, coordination, balance, together for smoother movement and improved strength, posture, energy, and weight control. In posture. You improve your breathing because Kung Fu and addition, there are many mental benefits such as Tai Chi uses low abdominal breathing for improving the internal discipline, concentration, confidence, awareness, leadership, organs. You also learn self defense, which is important for protecting responsibility, positive attitude, control, and perseverance. yourself or your loved ones. When starting a Kung Fu or Tai Chi program, Children benefit because they learn the tools necessary to be it’s important to study at a regular pace. Many students start with successful in life. These include the 3 Rules of Concentration, 4 Rules of enthusiasm that can quickly fade because of over training… just as it would Discipline, 7 Rules of Leadership and the 7 Magic Words. As you know be difficult to go from three meals a day to one meal a day. The most most of these attributes are not taught in school, which is one of the important thing is to have commitment and regular attendance. reasons for children with poor grades. When choosing a school, make sure you know what your goals are for This Industry Insight was written by Master Rothrock. yourself or your child. Then explore the different Kung Fu schools


Rothrock's Kung Fu & Tai Chi Studio has been offering instruction and training in Kung Fu & Tai Chi since 1973. The academy is headed by Master Rothrock with 40 years of experience and has a staff of expert back belt instructors. 3222 Lebanon Church Rd, West Mifflin, PA 15122; 412.469.2427;

West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 21



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                     

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     

                        

          ✓    ✓            ✓   ✓ 

     

           

 ✓              ✓    22

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West Mifflin

    

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Good Tidings for the Greatest Generation

Older Adults in West Mifflin 

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ow that the holidays are behind us, you’re hopefully putting that smoking credit card back into your wallet or purse for a while. But even though this may be a down time for you and your credit card, it’s no time to be lax about your credit card security. So what do you need to know about keeping your credit card safe? First, off, don’t give yourself a pin number that’s easy to guess. Issuing banks typically assign you a random pin number when you first get your card that you can change later. Keep this assigned number and avoid picking a pin for yourself like “1234” or your birth date. While it may be easy for you to remember, those choices are also very easy for predators to figure out. If you make a lot of online purchases or just want to dip your toes into the world of Internet shopping, get yourself a dedicated card with a low credit limit. You can open up a secured credit card at most financial institutions that require you to deposit a balance to borrow against, allowing you to open a card with a $500 limit. Your deposit will gain interest and you will be able to use your card for online purchases. What’s more, most scammers try to run a small purchase through before running a larger purchase on 24

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the card. You may not notice a $0.32 charge right away, but when your bank calls you asking if you tried to purchase a $779 laptop, you’ll be happy your limit was low enough to be declined. If your credit card number is compromised, you should call your bank immediately and report it. While police are able to enforce credit card fraud on a local level, with the Internet the person trying to run your numbers may be six states away, if they’re in the United States at all. In all cases, the sooner it’s reported, the better. Your bank will cancel the card number and reissue you another card. While you’re online, keep in mind that your bank will most likely never contact you via email regarding your account. If you do get an e-mail from a bank that you use, double check the address. Chances are it will be slightly askew from any legitimate address. Instead of “,”

West Mifflin

you may see, “” or “” Banks understand that scammers routinely try to get you to give up your personal information via e-mail. Therefore, most have secured e-mail available through their websites, where you can be sure you’re talking straight to legitimate bank representatives. Lastly, if you have several credit cards that you use often, take the time to flip them over and write down the 1-800 customer service numbers on the back and keep that list in a safe place. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy in your purse or wallet. This way, when you notice your card is missing and are frantic, you can at least go to your list and call to report the missing card. In the end, you should treat your credit card like you would treat your cash—never leave it lying around.

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f the last time you took holiday photos required clumsily spooling film into your 35 mm camera, don’t be intimidated by what technology has done to photography in the past few years. In fact, once you have some basics down, you may find that your digital camera is easier to use than you thought. So let’s start at the beginning and go over your new toy from stem to stern. We can’t go into detail about every feature of every camera, but luckily most cameras share the same properties, so we can cover most scenarios. More than likely, your camera came with a lithium ion battery pack and charger. All you need to know about this is that this battery can last a long time. Thanks to self-timers built into your camera, if you forget to shut it off, it will shut off automatically for you, saving battery life and allowing you to take that unexpected shot when the time comes. That said, the battery won’t last forever, especially if you are shooting with the flash often or shooting video, if your camera has that feature. If you know you’re going to be somewhere with a lot of natural light, turn your flash off altogether and shoot longer. The second thing to familiarize yourself with is your memory card. Cameras come with a variety of memory cards to choose from. Regardless of the kind your camera takes, just remember that bigger is better. A 16 gigabyte memory card can hold hundreds of photos, and if you’re not in the habit of printing your photos right away or moving them to your computer, the extra space is a must. How many pictures you can store on your memory card depends on your resolution setting for your pictures. Your resolution is how big the picture is. If you’re shooting for a website, low resolutions are better because the file size is smaller. However, if you try to print the same low resolution photo as an 8x10, it will appear distorted or “pixilated” because the camera wasn’t set to capture all of the fine details of the image. With most point-and-shoot cameras on high resolution, you can print very large prints or zoom in to crop shots for better composition. The last thing to get to know is the USB cable. This is the cable that came with your camera and connects it to any USB port on your computer. Through this cable, you can transfer your images for future sorting, correction, or sharing. Believe it or not, once you have those things down, your digital camera has many of the same features of your old 35 mm. You can zoom in, set a timer so you have a chance to get into frame, and set a scenic mode where you can select how the camera operates in certain conditions, such as a portrait, sports shot, night shot, or landscape. Your manual will list the specific icons and their meanings. Don’t be afraid to leaf through it if you get stuck. Manuals have come a long way as well and are clearly written for users of all experience levels.

SeniorAgencies 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

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. 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 with your center’s name and phone number.

West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 25

Older Adults in West Mifflin   The Allegheny County Area Agency on Aging’s Dom Care Program has been in existence for over 30 years providing foster care homes to adults, age 18 years or older who are not able to live alone. Dom Care has enabled many people to live a comfortable life in safe and nurturing surroundings. Through Dom Care, individuals are matched with families who offer a home and assistance with daily activities, as well as support and companionship. The Dom Care Program is particularly helpful to seniors and people with intellectual disabilities who might benefit from the care and supervision of a family home. By opening their homes, Dom Care Providers enable these individuals to remain within the community in a home-like setting. Providers are only permitted to care for up to three residents. Dom Care providers assist with activities such as personal hygiene, grooming and medication management. They also provide three nutritious provide meals a day along with housekeeping and laundry services. To become a Dom Care provider an approval and certification process must be completed. It includes home inspections by both a care manager and the Allegheny County Health Department. Providers are also required to have certification in First Aid and CPR. Additionally, they must present personal and financial references, submit to a police record search and obtain a medical clearance from a physician. Care managers will assist with this process. Anyone interested in becoming a resident in a Dom Care home can inquire on their own or can be referred by someone else, including family members, health care professionals or agencies that serve people with disabilities. In return for the room, board and personalized care they receive, Dom Care residents pay a set monthly fee. Those with limited income and resources may be eligible for a financial supplement to assist with the payment and to assure that they have personal spending money. The benefits of being a Dom Care provider include companionship, support from professional staff, and a monthly payment for the services they give. Most importantly, it is the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment for sharing a warm and caring home. To learn more about the Dom Care Program, to make a referral for an individual or to find out how to become a provider, call the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, Area Agency on Aging Dom Care Program at 412.350.5105 or visit: 26

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Interest rates are at historic lows, spring is here and make it a great time to buy or sell! Home sellers wanted in the West Mifflin area! Call Kathleen today to list your home for buyers that are currently looking. 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

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

Calvary Baptist Church Walker & Anborn Drives, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.461.2006

Christ Lutheran Church 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110 412.466.7773

First Baptist Church 3427 Cypress Street, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.461.2522

Holy Spirit Catholic Church 2603 Old Elizabeth Road, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.894.8805

Holy Trinity Catholic Church 529 Grant Avenue Extension, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.466.6545

Homeville Christian Church 4702 Eliza Street, West Mifflin, PA 15122

Jehovah’s Witness Pittsburgh Congregation 1075 Camp Hollow Road, West Mifflin, PA 15122, 412.466.2644

Lebanon Presbyterian Church 2702 Old Elizabeth Road, West Mifflin, PA15122 412.466.7184

Lincoln Place Church Of The Nazarene 5604 Interboro Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15207 412.461.1133

Morning Star Baptist Church 816 Oak Street, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.461.7861

Mount Zion United Church Of Christ 236 Bellwood Drive, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.461.5202

Resurrection Catholic Church 3909 Donna Avenue, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.461.8087

St. Agnes Catholic Church 622 St. Agnes Lane, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.466.2655

St. Rita’s Parish Community 219 West Schwab Avenue, Whitaker, PA 15120 412.461.4204

Terrace Church Of The Nazarene 1815 Worton Blvd., West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.346.0228

Walnut Grove Assembly Of God 44 Adams Avenue, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.469.3010

West Mifflin Community Baptist Church 3813 Fleetwood Drive, West Mifflin, PA 15122 412.466.5924

Whitaker United Methodist Church 124 Arkansas Avenue, Whitaker, PA 15120 412.461.5884

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FREE NICOTINE PATCHES OFFERED TO HELP SMOKERS QUIT Likelihood of Success Increases with Patches & Counseling Tobacco Free Allegheny, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Allegheny County Health Department, is announcing that free nicotine replacement therapy kits are available to help people quit smoking or stop using smokeless tobacco. A four-week supply of nicotine patches can be obtained, while supplies last, through the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Free Quitline at 1-800-784-8669. Quit coaches ask callers if they are ready to set a quit date and whether they have any medical condition that would rule out the safe use of nicotine patches. In addition, participants will be enrolled in a series of free tobacco counseling sessions. While it takes most tobacco users an average of five to eight attempts before they quit, nicotine replacement therapy with counseling increases the likelihood someone will be successful in their attempt to go tobacco free. Additional information about the state’s tobacco cessation resources is available at The website offers guidance on developing a quit plan, video blogs of people sharing their own stories about quitting, as well as information for friends and family members who wish to support their loved one’s attempt to quit. West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 27



3 Bedroom 2 Bath $69,000

4 Bedroom 3 ½ Bath $225,000 2 Bedroom 1 ½ Bath $77,900

2 Bedroom 1 Bath $59,000

3 Bedroom 1 ½ Bath $60,000

4 Bedroom 1 Bath $83,000

2 Bedroom 1 ½ Bath $89,900

Not Too Big To Provide Personal Service 5055 Buttermilk Hollow Rd. • West Mifflin, PA 15122 Phone: 412-469-2340 • Fax: 412-469-2396 •

Mary C. Bell 412-480-7466 28

Jacqueline Derry 412-260-9509

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Carlene Oskin 412-378-3014 West Mifflin

At Kaybrook Real Estate, you’ll find inviting hometown service that you may not get from other agencies. Based in West Mifflin for more than four years, Kaybrook is dedicated to ensuring that your needs and goals are met when it comes to buying or selling a home. Since they are the only Real Estate office in West Mifflin, who better to serve you! Founded by Mary Bell, who has 18 years experience in Real Estate, she works with her daughter, Jacqueline Derry, and eight other hometown agents. Kaybrook excels in knowing the local market, serving all of West Mifflin, Munhall, Lincoln Place, Duquesne and beyond. “But we really will go anywhere,” Mary said. “What makes us stand out is that we’re not too small to get the job done, and we’re not so big that personal service gets lost. Our customers appreciate the fact that there are no extra fees tacked on the commission. We’ve seen other agencies charge from $150 to $795 in additional fees at the closing. We just won’t do that! Every dollar counts when you are purchasing a home.” At any given time, Kaybrook has between 40 and 50 listings on the market, and the company focuses on residential and commercial sales. Carlene Oskin, one of the Realtors at Kaybrook, said that people come to Kaybrook because they are a local agency and their agents have the ability to really connect with sellers and buyers. “At Kaybrook, we’re like a family and we treat our clients like family. We remain friends with a lot of them, even getting invited to social events. We actually get a lot of referrals from previously satisfied customers.” While Kaybrook has access to the same tools larger companies have, like the Multi List, Mary said that Kaybrook probably advertises more for their clients than their competition...For Free! “Our Realtors advertise weekly in the Valley Mirror and regularly in the local newspapers. Our listings are put on numerous websites, in addition to our own Website.” Kaybrook’s agents have been able to hold steady in a market that has felt the impact of the national real estate woes. Jacqueline added, “We’ve been lucky! I think that’s because our clients know we are here, we’re accessible and we get the job done with a smile!” For more information about listing or buying a home, stop by their office, call 412-469-2340, visit their web site at or contact a Realtor below.

Ken Schweitzer 412-377-0505

Matthew Didjunas 412-760-5460

Patricia Eckert 412-403-8683


West Mifflin

“You have to make sure that your agent But there’s no similar failsafe with overAs with any major purchase, doing your does comparisons to similar homes in the pricing. A home that’s overpriced may get a homework should be something you do bearea, knows the market, and gets supporting nice offer, but ultimately, the final arbiter of fore you sign on a major loan. Never before evidence that the house is really worth what it’s truly worth is the appraiser, assigned has this been more true than in the housing what it’s being advertised at before you independently by the bank or lender. That market, where overpricing can create major put in an offer,” Fincham said. “If the house appraisal will dictate the future of the sale. headaches for buyers and sellers. doesn’t appraise for the agreed upon price, The resulting appraisal could tank the sale For sellers, overpricing can mean that your it is unlikely that you will receive any altogether, or force buyers to seek extra home sits on the market longer, raising flags seller’s assist.” money or alternative financing to to potential buyers that something is amiss. compensate for the missed seller’s For buyers, an overpriced home can assistance. Either way, it’s going to mean a loss in seller’s For buyers, an overpriced home can mean a loss mean a hassle for the buyer and assistance, money that sellers in seller’s assistance, money that sellers frustration for the seller. sometimes bring to the table from sometimes bring to the table from their profits However, if an agent does the their profits to help defray closing homework and knows their business, costs for the buyer. Worse yet, if to help defray closing costs for the buyer. Fincham said the home should be there is no appraisal contingency listed at a fair price, resulting in a addendum attached to the relatively smooth sale in reasonable agreement of sale, a buyer may be length of time. forced to go through with a home “It is now imperative that agents and purchase after being told that it is not worth clients know the recent selling prices of what they have agreed to pay. What’s more, overpricing is a one-way Sharon Fincham, a Realtor with street by way of mistakes. Homeowners who comparable homes,” she said. “Buyers and sellers agreeing on a price is not Prudential Preferred Realty, said that, list their homes for too little may receive necessarily enough anymore. The study in addition to including an appraisal multiple offers, allowing the power of free of a neighborhood before an offer is made contingency addendum to an offer, you market economic supply and demand can save everyone involved a lot of grief need to make sure that your agent is to take over, driving the price up until and frustration.” doing the proper legwork before the it’s comparable to the other homes in offer is even made. the neighborhood.

West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 29





From pink screwdrivers and mini toolboxes to a surge of female-targeted home improvement sites and guidebooks, the fix-it-yourself revolution has come for women in the U.S. More empowered females are taking on household problems themselves instead of spending the money to hire a plumber, electrician or contractor. In fact, a recent study by the Medelia Monitor showed that more than 60 percent of women are more likely to tackle the work on their own. The majority of these women (63 percent) are being more resourceful to avoid the high costs of hiring a professional. And 71 percent of women say the desire to “fix-it-myself” stems from the empowering feeling of having the knowledge to improve their home. Sound familiar? If you’d like to empower yourself and join the fix-it-yourself revolution, start by picking up a few affordable tools and products to tackle quick fixes. Here are easy tips for solving five common household problems: Unstick sticky windows by opening them and rubbing wax or spraying silicone into the tracks on both sides. Move the window up and down several times to work the wax or silicone lubricant into the frame. Fix squeaky wood or tile floors by sprinkling baby powder on the surface of the floor that’s squeaking. Then place a chisel between the boards and gently hammer the top to pry up the tile or floorboard. Sprinkle more baby powder underneath the board to seal the excess space causing the squeaking. If your drains are draining slowly or clogged completely, try a de-clogging gel that clears the toughest clogs at a fraction of the cost of a plumber house call. Liquid-Plumr’s new Penetrex Gel is a fast-acting, powerful formula that can clear the toughest clogs in just seven minutes. Mend unsightly holes or tears in your window screens by using a screwdriver to straighten the bends in the mesh and dabbing clear nail polish to seal the hole. Allow it to dry. Then repeat the polish application until the hole is completely sealed. A wobbly table leg may seem hard, but it’s a surprisingly easy repair. Just figure out how it’s attached to the seat. Then either screw the leg back into its socket or glue it back into place.

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 Fix-it resources abound online and at your local bookstore. But here’s a few to get you started: Most clogged drains are caused by hair. Get tips on how to keep all drains clear and while you’re there, enter the Big Locks Rock! Contest before December 15th for a chance to win a trip for four to L.A. to get haircuts by a celebrity stylist. A site where women of all ages and skill levels can find answers to home improvement questions and connect with others for inspiration and advice. “Dare to Repair” by Julie Sussman: This book offers a “do-it-herself” guide to fixing almost anything in the home. 30

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West Mifflin

f you’re more than four feet tall and live in western Pennsylvania, chances are that your attic is not a comfortable space that you would consider livable. Your attic can be modified, however, by the do-ityourselfer into more than adequate storage for a variety of your belongings, if you get creative.

The first thing you need to consider is the space itself. Is it finished at all? Many attics in the area are open spaces broken up by roof and flooring joists and wads of insulation. The first thing you want to do is inspect your attic for leaks and whether those joists are strong enough to support extra weight. You can add flooring by screwing down plywood or other subflooring. Avoid nailing materials down to prevent damaging the ceilings underneath you through the vibrations of hammer blows. Once you have your flooring down, you can decide whether or not you want to finish the ceiling joists. You can insulate and attach drywall or plywood to these joists, depending on how fancy you want to get with the finished look; or you may decide that having the recessed areas between the joists is beneficial to your storage needs. Keep in mind that a triangular space is limiting only if you have boxes or items that you need to store vertically. Items that are smaller and that can be arranged into nooks and crannies can be ideal for these odd-shaped spaces. Also keep in mind that, because of the nature of attic access in older homes, the route to your attic may be through a small trap door in a hall closet, so items you put in the attic might be limited to long-term or permanent storage, like old college textbooks, holiday decorations, luggage, or all those old National Geographics that you can’t throw away because the pictures are too pretty. If you do have easy access to your attic, either by way of a dedicated staircase or pull-down steps, more options may offer themselves to you. Even tight attics have enough room for several two-drawer filing cabinets, allowing you to store many years’ worth of tax returns or product manuals.

Easier access means even more versatility when it comes to your storage plan. Rather than long term, you can use the space for things that require infrequent use—bins for extra blankets and pillows for when guests are in town, large children’s toys or games that don’t get played with during the school week, and sporting equipment when it’s out of season. Storing items like these in the attic will keep them out of dank basement conditions, and, in the case of linens and sporting equipment, keep the smell of mildew away.

Keep in mind that the attic, while dryer than the basement, still has its own set of issues. Temperatures often vary wildly in attics depending on how insulated they are, so items that can’t stand high heat or low temperatures – like candles, for instance – may not fare well in the attic environment. Each space is different, but each is unique, and how you use that space can be a fun project for the whole family.

West Mifflin | Spring 2011 | 31

 When it comes time to plan for the biggest day of your life, you may not know where to start. Planning a wedding is a challenging, time consuming and expensive task, which is why those who can afford it oftentimes hire wedding planners. But for those of us who have to keep an eye on the budget, knowing what to look for in your wedding venue can save you time and money up front, and less hassle when it’s over. Obviously, you want to pick a venue suitable to the size of your anticipated invitation list, and you want to pick it early. Popular venues can be booked well over a year in advance, and if you’re getting married on a date that’s unique – like Dec. 12, 2012, or 12/12/12, you’re going to want to start looking immediately. Robin Craig, Director of Sales for the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/ Southpointe, said couples should plan out 12 to 18 months when booking a venue. “They need to sit down and find out their guest list and their budget. Once they determine the guest list, we can start quoting pricing,” Craig said. “Next year , 9/10/11 is a big date, and we’re already booked. Also, 10/11/12 would be a hot date. Our hot months are September and October and May and June. If you’re a teacher, June and July are busy months.” Once you have that location selected and it appeals to your personal sense of style and aesthetics, you should evaluate anything that may be taken for granted, such as ingress and egress and parking. Is the


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West Mifflin

wedding/reception hall easy to find? Are there covered porticos for dropping off guests in case of inclement weather or for those who have trouble walking without assistance? Will guests be able to find the hall easily, or is it hidden deep in a labyrinth of hallways? And are the restrooms close by? “All of our parking is complimentary,” Craig said. “If you want valet, we can provide it for a fee.” Once you have the building chosen, you should discuss logistics of the day with any facility manager responsible for the site. Important items to discuss include catering – can you hire your own caterer or is there a caterer specific to the venue you’ve chosen? Is there an additional charge for alcohol and can you furnish your own? Will linens be provided and who will be responsible for setting up and tearing down the tables and chairs? Is there a suggested room layout for weddings? Having a tried and true seating arrangement for the venue can save you headaches later on when you’re trying to figure out where to place the bridal table. Lastly, knowing how early you can arrive and how late you can stay will be crucial information for anyone from caterers to your bridal party. Craig said her venue offers full linens with chair covers, sashes, mirrors, candles and champagne toasts. It also offers complimentary bridal party refresher rooms. They can tray cookies at no charge and provide a gourmet coffee station. It also offers a complimentary overnight room for the bride and groom. Lastly, find out all of the financial details up front. Many venues have service charges that are above and beyond your bill. Get all of your charges in writing, up front before you sign for your venue. You don’t want to find out afterwards that there was a food and beverage minimum that you didn’t attain, or that it was ok for you to bring your own wine, but forgot to inquire about corking fees. Craig said service charge at her venue is 21 percent and sales tax is 6 percent. They also have food and drink minimums. However, discounts are offered for group room rentals for overnight guests and for off-peak days and months. Weddings in January-March and November, and those held on Fridays and Sundays, are considered off-peak. If you do your homework up front, there’s nothing stopping you from having the fairytale wedding you’ve always dreamed of. Keep in mind, like any successful marriage, wedding planning is hard work, but work that you’ll reap rewards from in the end.

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