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

IN Bedford County | SPRING 2013

on the cover


Industry Insights

Homewood at Spring House Estates............................................... | 3 Cover photo by Ryan Chandler Photography

Personal Solutions, Inc. What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us....... | 12


Health and Wellness News You Can Use | Spring 2013


The Missing Semester................... | 21 Circulatory Centers........................ | 23

What’s Inside 2 3 4

Making the Connections Hope and Healing A Healing Touch Food in a Glass

5 6 7

Clinical Trials Can Change Lives Depression and Older Adults Welcoming New Physicians What’s Happening at UPMC Bedford Memorial


© 2013 UPMC

UPMC Today_Bedford_Spring_2013_Final.indd 1


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Wedding in a Cave Couple Wed in Bedford County Cave................ | 4 Heaven Sent............................................................................................ | 6 Award-Winning Author Loree Lough Finds a True “Home Away from Home” in Bedford County.................... | 8 Home Sweet Home at the Bedford Senior Center .............. | 10 In the Classroom and Beyond: The Students of Bedford County Technical Center Shine...................................................... | 24 A 1980 Chevrolet El Camino – One Thing Led to Another................................................................................................ | 31

community interests

UPMC Today | Health and Wellness News .................................... | 13 The Bedford County Historical Society: Embracing the Past, Preserving it for the Future.................................... | 22 Eric Feather Finds Passion in Painting and Teaching ........ | 29

SEE page


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

Have a wonderful spring! Wayne Dollard, Publisher

we want to know

How did you get into

Gardening? Gardens are commonplace in Western Pennsylvania, but why?

Summer content deadline: 5/23/13

What’s the allure of gardening that prompted you to first turn the dirt? Was it a relative who helped you plant your first tulip bulb, or was it your spouse who first introduced you to succulent, vine-ripened homegrown tomatoes? Let us know how you first got into gardening and send us some pictures of your garden as well! Email your submissions to: and please indicate which of our magazines you receive so we know where to place your story. second to none! Bedford County has quickly grown in popularity in the last several years with many folks from Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., as well as points east, choosing Bedford County for retiring and second-home purchases. We attribute this to the county’s convenient location, small town charm of our boroughs, recreational activities, cleanliness, and affordability. Spring House Estates offers quick access to major highways leading north, south, east, and west, and is just minutes to physicians, hospital, shopping, and banking! Spring House Estates is surrounded by mountains and sits serenely on 49 acres.’ll leave work behind when you

join our community! Our superior staff is very accommodating. Whether its special-order meals delivered, or changing a light bulb - our staff is there to accommodate! No more cutting grass, weeding, removing snow, power washing the exterior, washing windows, replacing appliances or costly repairs. We take care of it all! Within the Spring House community you will also find a convenience store, beauty and barber shop, library, fitness center, pool (new in 2013), game room with Wii and pool table, bocce court, horseshoes, picnic pavilion, and pond! The park that is adjacent to Spring House Estates offers tennis, baseball, and basketball! What you don’t find in the community, you’ll find literally within a couple-minute drive! all about choice at Spring House Estates! Call Spring House to discuss specific financing options that will help you decide which plan works best for you. Our life lease prices range from $100,000 - $189,500 with rents ranging from $1,515 - $1,870 (includes monthly maintenance/ service fee). If you have a healthy monthly income but have taken a loss on investments, you may want to consider a “hybrid” plan, specifically designed for you!

NOW taking reservations on new 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartments. Still time to choose your floor and floor plan! Call 814.623.0349 for details! “Spring House Estates offers a location that has quick access to roads heading north, south, east, and west! We can see our children in Arlington within 2 hours! We have travelled a great deal throughout the year and we never worry about our cottage, or our dog and cat as the staff takes care of everything for us!“ – Camie & Retired Colonel D. Braendel


Best of The Best in 2011 an d 201

Two years

2! in a row!

Spring House Estates – Where neighbors become friends and friends become family 150 Victoria Ave. • Everett, PA 15537 • 814.623.0349 •

Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 3


in a Couple Wed in Bedford County Cave

By Heather Holtschlag


s a couple, Jeff and Brenda Cosola lived their relationship privately, or as Brenda said, “in a cave.” So it was quite symbolic that they took that phrase literally when they married recently – also in a cave in Bedford County. “The ceremony symbolized us officially uniting and finally ‘coming out of the cave,’” Brenda said. The Mars residents met when Jeff, a Marine, was on temporary duty with the Air Force Reserve in Maryland, and the two conducted a long-distance relationship for three years until both of them relocated to Mars in November 2011. “The evening we received the keys to our new home, we posed on the stairs of our foyer for a photo,” Brenda recalled. “Just as the camera shutter clicked, Jeff whispered, ‘Marry me’ in my ear.” Because both had been married previously, neither wanted a traditional wedding. And, through her work as a freelance and contract photographer, Brenda photographs a number of weddings, all of which seemed the same with only bits and pieces of the couple’s own unique flair. They sort of all blended together. “While on a drive one day, we passed a sign about a cave and joked that we should get married there. It was one of those moments when you finish each other’s sentences and it just seemed so right for us,” she explained. “We 4

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Bedford County

weren’t serious at first, but after telling a friend, it started to sink in and just seemed metaphoric of our relationship,” she explained. The wedding took place on Halloween in 2012. The beautiful cave, Coral Caverns in Manns Choice, was the unique backdrop for their nuptials and only the second wedding to have taken place there. According to Brenda, it is the only fossilized coral reef cavern known to be in existence. The community surrounding the cave is historic, rural and charming – a perfect setting for a wedding. “The people were so hospitable; it was the kind of town where everyone knows each other. It really seemed untouched by time and the perfect place for us to elope!” According to Brenda, they had to pay a small fee to use the cave, but the owner did everything he could to ensure that they had a special day. He even introduced Brenda and Jeff to a violin and fiddle player, and offered them advice about the ceremony and helped decorate. “Deciding to elope was the hardest part for us,” Brenda said. “We are both in our 30s and have friends and family all over the world. Although we wanted to include everyone, it seemed impossible. We also felt that if we had a big wedding, that the planning and execution of the day’s events might take away from the real meaning behind the marriage. For us, it

was more important to focus on our ‘finish line’ and the marriage itself, without the worry, stress and expense of a big wedding.” In keeping with their non-traditional theme, Brenda and Jeff decided that they wanted to see each other on the day of their wedding, prior to the ceremony. With the help of their photographer, Ryan Chandler, they did a “first look” series of photographs, whereby Jeff sat on an outdoor tree swing at the farmhouse they rented. Brenda sneaked up behind him, and the look on his face was one that she will never forget. “I knew that if we saw each other for the first time in the cave, I might miss that moment.” Brenda was dressed in a beautiful floor-length gown covered in white lace with a keyhole back and just a touch of bling with a jewel-encrusted belt. In keeping with the cave theme, she carried a lantern along with her bouquet of flowers. Their day was celebrated with about 20 people, including parents, family members, friends and Brenda’s two children and took place amid the café lights that hung at the mouth of the cave. Mason jar candles lit the pathway into the cave and more than 200 candles and fairy lights decorated the inside of the cave for an incredibly romantic setting. “One of the guests remarked that she was shocked at how beautiful

a stunning woman. That day, however, I wasn’t truly sure that I wouldn’t just evaporate. When she walked down to me and her father placed her hand in mine, the only thing that evaporated were the vows I’d memorized for the past week. The only thing I could get out was, ‘I’ll love you the rest of your life.’ I’m truly the luckiest man on earth.” A video of the couple is posted on YouTube under “Coral Caverns Cave Wedding.” The couple plan to return to their wedding location on their anniversary, which also happens to be during the same month as Bedford’s Fall Foliage Festival. “I recommend to any bride to seek out a unique and innovative venue for their wedding and reception, one that helps tell the story of their love for each other and makes the day even more special for them,” Brenda said. “At the end of your wedding day, it’s just a day. It’s more about the marriage and the joining of your lives together.” Brenda Haines Cosola is a freelance writer/photographer and regular contributor to IN Community Magazines.

and breathtaking it was,” Brenda said. “But even when I tell people now that we got married in a cave, they wrinkle their nose or give me a puzzled look.” Judge Tonya Osman, a judge in Bedford, officiated the ceremony, which lasted about five minutes, and allowed for Brenda and Jeff to exchange their own vows. And although the whole day was special for each of them from start to finish, there are certain moments that will remain at the forefront of their memories forever. “The one special moment I’ll remember is standing in the cave waiting for her to walk to the mouth of the cave,” Jeff said. “Though it was no secret what she looked like, when she came around the small bend and appeared, I could not breathe. On a normal day, she is Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 5


Heaven Sent Bedford Family’s Faith Sustains Them Through Unbelievable Moments By Jennifer Brozak

“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak Whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break.” - William Shakespeare There is likely no greater pain a person can experience than the loss of a child. And yet, for those who must endure the anguish that accompanies the loss of a child, life must go on. How the family endures such a tragic loss is nothing short of a true testament to the spirit. In October of 2008, Bedford residents Wendy and Meach Miller were forced to confront what no parents should ever have to: their beloved daughter, Heather, just 10 years old at the time, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare cancer that would claim the life of the girl with the “Hershey Bar Smile” a short 16 months later. And yet, despite their grief, despite their loss, despite the pain that bore down on them like a freight train, the Millers chose to give their sorrow words. In January, three years after Heather’s death, Wendy Miller, working with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review sports reporter Scott Brown, released Heaven Sent: The Heather Miller Story. The book, Wendy says, is a story about commitment from friends, family, community, and even the Pittsburgh Steelers. Still, the book holds a larger message that she hopes transcends life here on Earth. 6

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Bedford County

“An even larger message, ‘Fully Rely on God,’ or F.R.O.G., was Heather’s commitment to her faith,” said Wendy. “The book serves as an honest look at a family and the unpredictable journey that we all face. It’s about survival, before, during and after the grieving process. Knowing that so many were supporting us and praying for us was the key many times to us taking our next breath.” The idea for the book arose from an unlikely source: Wendy’s postings on the website CarePages, which provides free blogs that allow users to connect with others during a health crisis. “I wrote extensively on CarePages when Heather was sick. They were my survival tool,” she said. “I needed to ‘talk’ and as selfish as this sounds, many times I didn’t really want anyone to talk back – I just needed to get things off my chest. To bottle them in would have been disastrous.” Writing, she said, became her therapy. “What started out as an avenue to get accurate information out there turned into a very valuable resource for me to get through the moment, write it out, yell, cry, pray, praise and do all those things, many times all in the same entry, just so I could move forward to the next decision or next request by either the doctors or Heather,” she said. One particular update, she said, got the attention of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ community relations manager. The post was entitled “Men Beyond the Pads,” and was in defense of the men who routinely lifted the spirits of her beloved little girl, whom she describes as faithful, loyal, witty, competitive and, in spite of her illness, incredibly brave. Over the course of Heather’s diagnosis and treatment, she developed a profound friendship with some of the Steelers, particularly with defensive player Troy Polamalu. Heather, a fervent sports fan and

Steelers fanatic, first met the talented, yet unassuming player while she was in the hospital being prepped for another round of chemotherapy. The friendship blossomed, a relationship for which Wendy says she is forever grateful. “They lifted her to places we couldn’t emotionally,” she said. “The relationship wasn’t about me, or the fact that we knew someone famous. It’s so hard for people to understand, but I truly like to remember them with her. It was her time.” The post, she said, served as a response to the negative publicity the team was garnering for its off-the-field conduct. “It was an outpouring of affection and appreciation I had for the Black and Gold and for putting a smile on my daughter’s face in the toughest of times, when my husband and I couldn’t,” she said. After the post, the community relations manager asked Wendy if she would be interested in meeting with Brown to write a “feel-good” story about Heather’s relationship with the team. “I got involved with the story while I was covering the Steelers for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,” said Brown. “I had been told about Wendy and how she wanted to talk about the Steelers she knew after the team had experienced a wave of bad publicity.” Scott said he drove to Bedford “having no idea what to expect” and ended up talking to the family for close to eight hours. “I became so engrossed with the story that I went back a couple of weeks later to do more reporting,” he said. After he wrote the initial story in June of 2010, he joked with a colleague that he had so much material left over that he could write a book. “Heather’s story stuck with me and after the 2010 season, which didn’t end for me until February since the Steelers went to the Super Bowl, I approached Wendy about doing the book,” he said. However, after a series of interviews, the project stalled. “I wasn’t sure I was ready,” said Wendy. “I prayed and prayed about it.” Once the football season ended, and wanting to give the book one last chance, Brown contacted Wendy again. He drove to Bedford with no expectations, but this time, he said, something “clicked.” The project finally moved forward, Wendy said, because she took the time to become a healthier person spiritually, emotionally and physically. “Once I ventured on that journey, the book flowed. Although not easy at times, and quite painful even though it served as a therapeutic tool for our family, we were all on different pages of the grieving cycle. I would only choose the best to write about my Heather. Scott was the best, and I am forever grateful that, as a team, we were able to retell and relive some of the most memorable moments of her life,” she said. “Our family has received another family member in Scott Brown.” Brown is also thankful to Wendy for the experience, and for the family’s willingness to share their story. “It still amazes me how open she was and how she relived so many moments that no parent should ever have

to endure. Without her willingness to share her story, there would be no book,” he said. One aspect of the story that Wendy hopes resonates with readers is a lesson that she said she was forced to learn the hard way. Before Heather was diagnosed, Wendy, a teacher at Central Elementary School said that she was a typical working mom. “I was teaching and coaching and was very, very caught up in the ‘routine’ and sometimes, that routine can lead us to forget what’s truly important. Those extra hugs and kisses and conversations – REAL conversations you should be having with your kids, but time just doesn’t seem to allow,” she said. Wendy, who is also mother to older daughter Hannah, said, “I always took for granted that my kids knew I loved them, knew I cared. I really felt without a doubt that they would always be there. I didn’t cherish things the way I should have. I pray the book can speak to other parents and explain that tomorrow is not a guarantee.” Continued on page 9 ›

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Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 7


Award-Winning Author Loree Lough Finds a True

“Home Away from Home” in Bedford County

By Jennifer Brozak

“Colorful foliage, a rocky hillside and ample opportunities to watch the black bears, coyotes, foxes and other wildlife that my Baltimore neighbors can only see if they visit the zoo.” These are the words that award-winning author Loree Lough uses to describe the idyllic setting of her Bedford County cabin, a rustic dwelling in which she finds solace, motivation, and inspiration to write. Although she was born in Wisconsin, raised in Illinois and has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, Lough’s connection to Bedford runs deep – four decades deep, in fact. The story begins in 1973, when Lough’s husband Larry, and father-in-law – who were born in Flintstone, Maryland, which Lough says is a “hop, skip and a jump” from Bedford 8

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– purchased a plot of land in Bedford where they could hunt, fish “and escape their wives,” she said, jokingly. “They were very familiar with the area, and when they heard about that plot of land for sale, they jumped on it.” The men pitched tents on the property “until they realized that, with a solid roof over their heads, wives might come along to keep them company – i.e. cook and clean up,” she said. The family purchased a one-bedroom trailer that it quickly outgrew, so they erected an 8-foot addition and a second floor. Today, the retreat is affectionately known simply as “The Cabin” by Lough’s friends and family, and serves as a haven for family members who travel to the annual Lough Family Reunion. As a writer, she appreciates The Cabin’s distraction-free tranquility. Bedford County

“The quiet serenity is very conducive to creativity, and keeps this humble author’s soul relaxed enough to find the right words to describe a scene,” she said. Lough’s path to becoming a best-selling author is as colorful is it is diverse. During her college years at the University of Illinois, she toured the U.S. as a singer and acoustic guitarist, performing in small clubs and lounges as well as for house bands that opened for feature artists. After college, she taught at the high school level until her children were born. “Old-fashioned by nature, I wanted to spend every possible moment with them. So my husband and I cut back in every spending area we could so we could afford the ‘stay-athome-mom’ lifestyle,” she said. As her children grew, she wanted the flexibility to be able to take them to school and pick them up again, so each year, she worked a different part-time job, serving as a receptionist, a secretary, a bookkeeper, and even as a “go-fer.” Then, in 1986, her husband’s temporary job transfer to Richmond, Virginia, set her on the path to becoming a full-time writer. “Because I knew my husband’s job transfer

would be temporary, I searched for something to do to occupy my time and add to the family coffers,” she said. While in Virginia, Lough took a job at the Chesterfield Gazette as a neighborhood correspondent, a position that required her to deliver news about graduations, military deployments, babies, births, athletic accomplishments and other community events and happenings. That seemingly simple job move would allow her writing career to advance – exponentially. “After a few reports, the editor said she liked my style and assigned me to write a feature story about EMTs. She liked it so well that she began assigning more stories. And when editors at other area publications saw the articles, they called and asked me to write for them, too,” said Lough. Lough’s status as a freelancer gave her the freedom to write for multiple publications at once, and by the time she and her husband returned to Baltimore two years later, she had amassed more than 200 published articles. These placements enabled her to secure assignments from a number of newspapers and magazines in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. areas, which led to even greater exposure writing for national publications as well. That experience set in motion a career that has spawned a score of fiction and non-fiction books: Lough currently has more than 4 million books in circulation. Four of her novels have been optioned for movies. She’s also written 68 short stories and has more than 2,500 articles in print. Over the course of her career, she has garnered a host of “Reader’s Choice” awards, as well as 4- and 5-star reviews. Notably, Lough is set to reach a career milestone; with the release of her next novel, The Long Road Home, this summer, she’ll have published her 100th book. The novel is part of a three-book series about characters who “must overcome physical and emotional hurdles before they can enjoy their ‘happily ever after,’” she said. Lough also uses her experience as a writer to inspire and teach others. She attends and leads workshops at writers’ conferences all around the country, and will lead two workshops at the Wisconsin Romance Writers’ annual conference in May. “Writing is a very solitary profession, so conferences allow me to visit with writer friends,” she said. “I’ve made some lasting friendships at conferences.” In addition to her prolific writing career, Lough is also an avid supporter of various nonprofit causes and donates a generous portion of her income to organizations like the Autism Society of America, Soldier’s Angels, ovarian and pancreatic cancer research funds and the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, among others. “My 10-year-old grandson is on the autism spectrum, so my duties there stretch beyond monetary donations. I also feel it’s important to help others understand the nature of the disorder,” she said. Lough estimates that she spends about half to two-thirds of every year writing at The Cabin. She said that her husband, daughters and grandchildren all share her fondness for Bedford. “The mountain backdrop makes for gorgeous views from every window, and having a few cabins and homes located nearby makes it feel very much like a neighborhood,” she said. “Bedford truly is our second home in every way.”

Heaven Sent Continued from page 7

Throughout it all, she said, it was Hannah’s upbeat, positive outlook that kept the family together. “I have learned so much from Hannah, and each day she surprises me with her maturity and grace,” she said. The response to the book has been overwhelmingly positive. Wendy said that not only has she mailed books to every single state in the U.S., but she’s also mailed books to Denmark, and Thailand. And although it is obvious that Wendy would much rather be holding her daughter’s hand than a book about her life, she is thankful for the support that she has received for the project. “I don’t regret it for a minute, especially after reading the reviews and getting so many emails from people I most likely will never meet, telling me that the book touched them or made them appreciate their kids more,” she said. “I wanted a way to give back to so many who gave to us, and I truly feel God led us on the journey of Heaven Sent.” Information about purchasing Heaven Sent can be found on the book’s website, Copies are available for $17.95 at local businesses, or can be ordered directly from the site.

For more information about Lough, visit her website,

Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 9


at the B edford S enior C enter By Heather Holtschlag

Life is just beginning at age 60 or older – at least that’s the way it seems for residents at the Bedford Senior Center. “There are a number of activities that take place in any given month at the center,” says Mick Gordon, director. “We schedule several chartered bus trips throughout the year – some are day trips and some span an entire week and have included destinations such as the Jaffa Shrine Circus, Sight and Sound, Allenberry Playhouse, Gettysburg, Jennerstown Playhouse, Cape Cod and Myrtle Beach. And thanks to the Agency on Aging Transportation ‘CART’ vans, we are able to take day trips to places within a certain radius, like Raystown Lake, shopping in Altoona and Johnstown and other local points of interest.” Members also enjoy Summer Meet and Eat Mystery Trips, visiting other senior centers in the three-county region, and celebrating holidays together and the monthly birthday parties hosted at the center. According to Gordon, the center opened in July 1990 and is located 10

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Bedford County

in the Fort Bedford Inn. The inn is a former hotel that was purchased by the Bedford County Housing Authority and restored as senior living apartments. “There are 39 apartments on four floors,” he explained. “The senior center is located in what was formerly the ballroom of the inn. In fact, its elegant pillars, tall long windows and spacious room make for a beautiful, cheery setting.” The average daily attendance is around 60 people, and the center is open to anyone age 60 and over. And for anyone who wants to lead an active lifestyle, this is the place to be. “The center is busy in the mornings with educational programs, Bible study, art classes, bingo and exercise,” Gordon said. “It also is alive with activities in the afternoon, which consist of card games and the VITA Tax Program, in addition to Mah-Jong. We also serve a homecooked breakfast once a month from January to April and offer guest speakers, guest entertainment, and health screenings, which consist of weekly blood pressure checks and foot exams.” To participate in any activities, members or interested individuals can sign up on the sheets located at the center or simply call to register. What makes the center unique is its easy access, since the building is positioned in the middle of downtown Bedford. And, each person who attends center activities is unique in what he/she has to offer. For

Valentine’s Party

Kenny Fetterman Entertains instance, some are bingo callers, others volunteer their skills in the kitchen and help to serve the noon meal, and still others work at the desk each day from 9 a.m. to noon. “The center is kept clean and tidy and is always beautifully decorated for the current holiday or season,” Gordon noted. As an Area Agency on Aging sponsored nutrition site, the Bedford Senior Center offers a “noon meal” that consists of a nutritious lunch for a recommended donation of just $2. Meal reservations can be made by calling the center at 814.623.5140 between 9 a.m. and noon on the day before the meal is requested. There is no cost to attend the center, according to Gordon, however the cost of annual dues is $8 for people who would like to become members. In addition, certain activities may require payment, such as a planned lunch at an area restaurant when attendees are responsible for the cost of their own meals. Chartered bus trips also entail a cost. “Members at the center say they most like interacting with each other, the weekly bingo games, playing Mah-Jong and taking trips together,” Gordon said. “We have quite an active group.” For more information about the center, call 814.623.5140 or 814.623.6674. Although there is not yet a website a Facebook page is in the works.

Fall Foliage Festival

Queen and Runners-Up

Lauren Morris, 1st runner-up; Megan Foster, Queen; Sienna Bowser, 2nd runner-up; and Kelsey Wareham, 3rd runner-up. Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 11

PA State Police Tpr. Shawn Clark collected over 90 pounds of unwanted prescription medications at the Take Back event in Alum Bank on Sept 29, 2012

Industry Insight

What We Don’t Know

Can Hur t Us

As concerned adults, we spend a lot of time helping teens circumvent challenges that could ruin their lives. One of the most dangerous trends we (and they) now face is prescription drug abuse. The fact is that one in five teens or 4.5 million young people have abused prescription drugs (National Council on Patient Information and Education). They are abusing medications to get high, fall asleep, wake up and deal with stress. Local statistics indicate that teens believe that because prescription medications are legal, they are safer than their illicit counterparts—heroin, marijuana and cocaine. Young people are strongly influenced by the behavior of those around them (including parents) and the messages they receive through media sources. In our world today, • Patients leave the doctor’s office with a prescription in 7 out of 10 visits. • Direct-to-consumer advertising on TV and in magazines is strongly pervasive. • Many people don’t know how to safely use these medications or ignore their doctor’s instructions by increasing or decreasing dosages without consulting the doctor. • Teens learn by example. When they see mom, dad, a sibling or grandparent taking a pill – even responsibly – it doesn’t seem so bad. • Many teens report that their parents have the greatest influence on their drug use attitudes and decisions.


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Bedford County

Saxton Police Chief Harker, PA State Police Tpr. John Straub watch as community member Branden Diehl disposes of unwanted prescription medications at the Saxton Prescription Drug Take Back event in April 2012.

• Kids who continue to learn about the risks of drugs at home are up to 50% less likely to use drugs than those who are not taught about these dangers. The Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) is administered every two years in school districts across the state—including those in Bedford County. Students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 are anonymously surveyed to determine relevant issues concerning substance abuse. According to the most recent 2011 PAYS, students reported the following information: • Over 11% of Bedford County 12th graders reported that they had abused prescription pain relievers (such as Vicodin®, OxyContin® or Tylox®) without a doctor’s orders in their lifetime. • Over 5% of Bedford County 10th graders had abused prescription tranquilizers (such as Xanax®, Valium® or Ambien®) without a doctor’s orders in their lifetime. • More than 7% of Bedford County 12th graders abused prescription stimulants (such as Ritalin® or Adderall®) without a doctor’s orders in their lifetime. Prescription drugs are also easy to get. Fifty-six percent of people who use prescription medications non-medically (illegally) say they obtain these drugs from friends and relatives (NSDUH 2008), meaning that these drugs are freely shared or taken from medicine cabinets or other accessible places. Adults need to lock up their meds, keep track of their medication quantities and learn how to properly dispose of unused medications. It can be very difficult to identify the signs of prescription drug abuse. Parents should be aware of the following changes in their teen or other family member: • Sudden mood changes, including irritability, negative attitude, and personality change • Extreme changes in groups of friends or hangout locations • Lying or being deceitful, unaccounted time away from home/missed school days, avoiding eye contact • Losing interest in personal appearance, extracurricular activities or sports • Poor performance at school • Borrowing money or having extra cash • Visiting and even purchasing from pro-drug abuse (illegal) web sites. There is a solution to the problem of prescription drug abuse. The BCDAPP works to (1) educate and inform the public about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and (2) to remove unused and expired prescription drugs from the community—thereby reducing access. The BCDAPP collaborates with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the PA State Police Troop G/Bedford to conduct two Prescription Drug Take Back Events each year. We plan to obtain and place three permanent prescription drug collection units within the county this year. Be a part of the solution. Join the Bedford County Drug and Alcohol Prevention Partnership. For more information call (814) 623-5009.

That Mysterious and Dollar Oscar Wilde once said, “There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor.”


oney, or the lack of it, can affect every area of your life from healthcare to an individual’s peace of mind. And the lack thereof can cause it to take on an even greater significance to the point of obsession. In our society people feel that wealth is a matter of luck and happenstance, never realizing that is it actually the result of a series good financial decisions, guided by common sense and discipline. “With 7 out of every 10 American families living paycheck-to-paycheck, it’s all about changing the way that people think about money,” explains Gene Natali, co-author of The Missing Semester. “I recently spoke with a couple in their 30s who were able to save $1,000 in a 4-month period – not by avoiding big purchases, but by becoming more aware of small impulse buys that were chipping away at their monthly budget. A cup of coffee on the way to work every day, the purchase of a seldom-used kitchen gadget or the cost of those extra text messages, can all add up to hundreds of dollars each month collectively.”


he Missing Semester is a short course in making wise financial decisions that in turn can lead to financial freedom. The book offers timeless advice on money that demystifies the process of accumulating wealth. “Two things that every individual should ask themselves before making any purchase is if they actually need what they are purchasing and if so, why do they need it. It’s all about awareness and realizing that financial choices, even small ones, have consequences,” adds Natali. Although the book targets those between the ages of 18 to 30, the common sense approach can make an immense difference in

anyone’s financial status. “Take the analogy of a hammer, it works the same, no matter what age you start using it. The tools in this book work for anyone at any age. It’s never too late to start making good financial decisions, nor is it ever too early.”


he culture of living from paycheck to paycheck doesn’t have to be the norm for the masses, and there is a benefit to forming good habits and starting young. Natali has

already seen the effects of the methods described in the book on students and their new perspective of the future. Several high schools and colleges have made use of the book in their curriculum, with students as young as high school freshmen benefiting from the lessons of The Missing Semester. “We are beginning to hear more and more firsthand accounts from folks who have been positively impacted by this book. This provides a lot of energy for Matt (co-author Matt Kabala a fellow Pittsburgh native) and I to continue working hard to introduce this book across the country. We want to help a lot of people.”

“The Missing Semester gives young adults the facts on how to manage and take ownership of their finances. This book is a gift every graduating student should receive.” – Richard A. Dioli - Director of Schools, Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton, CA

The book is currently available on Amazon, Kindle and Nook with a portion of every sale going to support charities that encourage young entrepreneurs and educational initiatives that bridge the knowledge gap among students. The book will also be carried at select Hallmark stores this spring for graduation season Visit the Facebook page for “The Missing Semester,” for helpful daily tips on money management and making smart financial choices. Gene Natali, Jr. is a Senior Vice President at C.S. McKee, L.P., a Pittsburgh-based investment firm. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Allegheny College, and an MBA with a concentration in finance from Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. He is currently a Level III candidate for accreditation as a Chartered Financial Analyst.

Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 21

Community Interest

First Bedford County Day ceremony on March 9, 2008. Todd Greenawalt is the flag’s designer.

Walk led by ac overed wagon on June 21, 2008, during the “Bloody Run Rendezvous” an event that commemorated the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War

The Bedford County Historical Society:

Embracing the Past, Preserving it for the Future

By Michelle Zehr


he County of Bedford was established on March 9, 1771, and is a county very rich in history. From one of the oldest Pennsylvania County Courthouses still in use to 14 covered bridges scattered throughout the country landscape, Bedford County holds a special place in the hearts of its residents as well as those visitors who return year after year to take in all that Bedford has to offer. With such an interesting past and promising future, the Bedford County Historical Society (BCHS) plays a significant role in preserving area history while embracing the present. The importance of the BCHS is evident in and around the community. Perhaps one of the biggest indicators of the organization’s growth and success was the move to a new and improved location in August 2009 – an historic “bank” barn, which sits right next to a log house on Lincoln Highway. BCHS operates the Pioneer Library as

well as The Hall at Kinton’s Knob. The library is home to Bedford County’s most extensive collection of historical and genealogical materials. And The Hall at Kinton’s Knob provides a unique and historic place to host showers, meetings, receptions and parties. The BCHS was originally referred to as the Pioneer Historical Society. It was founded on July 4, 1937, by Major Simon M. Lutz with the help of Albert S. Ritchey. They were the driving force behind the society for many years. Today, the society is bigger and stronger than ever. The members work hard to provide the community with a number of resources. With the help of a new building, information is readily available and easily accessible by members for the benefit of the community. The BCHS offers both members and non-members the opportunity to find out more about their families’ and county’s past. Paid research services allow anyone to find out more about their own unique history. Utilizing obituaries,

immigration records, tax records, military documents and cemetery records, the society is able to provide individuals with a wide variety of information. BCHS is also very active in educating the youth of the Bedford County area. The society and Pioneer Library have plenty of educational materials made available for use by local schools. Programs are also provided for senior citizens, civil groups and organizations such as scouts and local churches. A presentation is available providing students with information on The Bedford Springs. An interactive presentation is also available on the Treaty of Albany 1754 in which three historical interpreters present a discussion about the treaty and the Juniata Valley. Presenters include John Frazier, a trader, gun maker and blacksmith, as well as Anne Baxter Drenning, who is the wife of the first judge of Bedford County, and a coureur de bois, or Continued on page 25 ›


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Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 23


In the Classroom and Beyond: The Students of Bedford County Technical Center Shine By Michelle Zehr

The Bedford County Technical Center (BCTC) is a sharedtime career and technical school serving the Bedford and Everett school districts. It provides educational services to students in grades 10, 11 and 12. With seven occupational areas and a capstone cooperative education program, high school students are able to apply for early college credit work while still taking classes. Students at BCTC can focus on Agriscience and Biotechnology, Automotive Technology, Building Construction, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Health Assistance or Welding. With extensive in-classroom training as well as a variety of community service projects, students are well prepared to enter the workforce as well as make a difference in their communities. They and the staff are hard at work preparing to be on the front line of tomorrow’s workforce. The agriscience and biotechnology program at Bedford County Technical Center combines traditional plant and animal breeding with genetic engineering techniques that prepare students for an ever-changing industry. Through extensive research as well as laboratory experimentation, students are able to learn about exciting fields including cloning plants. This program prepares students to work in industries such as engineering, education, veterinary medicine and manufacturing. For those with an interest in automotive technology, the hands-on program at BCTC provides training in diagnostics, troubleshooting and repair for all of the latest vehicles. Students are prepared to take certification tests that allow them to work in a shop, as independent garage owners or auto parts managers. High school students with an interest in construction have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of related careers as carpenters, electricians, masons and plumbers. Skills including blueprint reading, fastening, finishing and cutting are taught in a very hands-on setting. Students who complete this program are prepared for entry-level careers in the growing field of construction. 24

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If beauty is a passion, Bedford County Technical Center offers a complete cosmetology program that prepares students for their state board exams. Practical training allows students to build skills in shampooing, scalp treatments, manicuring, hair styling, hair cutting and much more. With the skills taught at BCTC, students are well on their way to learning and perfecting the latest trends. Another unique offering of Bedford County Technical Center is a culinary program taught with state-of-the-art equipment. Students can learn the latest in food preparation, food presentation, design, development and running a kitchen. From pastries to entrees, students perfect some of their favorite meals and acquire new tastes along the way. BCTC also has something for students who have always dreamed of working in the very demanding field of medicine. Students in the health assisting program are given the tools necessary to interact with

patients through hands-on training. They are preparing to work as office assistants, nursing assistants and medical assistants. Another program for interested students is welding. Students are learning the art of welding, gaining a working understanding of safety practices, welding rods and learning about the properties of various metals. As you can see, the students of Bedford County Technical Center are working hard each day to learn the fundamentals in growing career fields from medicine to construction. According to principal David DiPasquale, the efforts of students extend well beyond the classroom and into the community. Each year, the students take on several service projects designed to help make the community and the world a better place. Students take time out from their busy schedule to help support a variety of different causes. Each October, they engage in Red Ribbon Week for Drug and Alcohol Abuse Awareness. With teens in Bedford and around the country faced with constant pressures, understanding the dangers and consequences of drug and alcohol use helps keep BCTC students on the path to success. Raising awareness for the American Cancer Society is another cause that Bedford County Technical Center holds near and dear. In October, Pink Week allows the students to raise awareness for breast cancer, a disease that has affected so many. In February, the students of BCTC gear up again to support the cancer society through its daffodil sale. By purchasing flowers, community members are able to lend their support when it comes to the fight against cancer. In addition, BCTC also works closely with local skilled nursing centers to provide residents with festive tray decorations. Patients are able to get into the spirit of many major holidays thanks to the crafty handiwork of BCTC students. They are truly dedicated to putting a smile on the face of a patient who may have a long road to recovery ahead. The students of Bedford County Technical Center are a well-rounded group of young minds dedicating themselves to a brighter tomorrow for themselves as well as the entire community. For more information about the students, faculty, programs and fundraisers of Bedford County Technical Center, please visit You can also reach BCTC by phone at 814.623.7234.

Continued from page 22 Memorial Day Ceremony in Fishertown in 2011 commemorating Civil War Veterans

wood runner. They give students a look into the lives of those who lived years and years before them. The BCHS offers a wide variety of events including Bedford County Day, which is designed to celebrate the many notable moments Bedford County has hosted in our nation’s history. Coming up in 2013 are the Annual History Banquet, which takes place on April 20, a bus trip to Gettysburg on May 9, which includes lunch at the historic Dobbin House, and the ongoing commemoration of the Civil War with re-enactments, lectures and exhibits. The Bedford County Historical Society can help you discover new and exciting facts about Bedford as well as make new memories that you and your family will treasure for years to come. For more information about the Bedford County Historical Society, please visit, call 814.623.2011 or e-mail

Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 25


Improvements In Bedford County If you have a home, you know how challenging it is to maintain it. Roofs leak, landscapes need weeding, and kitchens and baths need facelifts. If you’re handy, you can get by with your own sweat equity. However, most people don’t have the skills, let alone the time, to tackle major household projects – many of which will require you spending more time at the office just to be able to tackle the price tags such projects come with. Here, we try to cover it all for you – from financing your project to enjoying it when it’s complete. Building a home addition can be a good alternative to buying a new home or building a house from scratch. Besides saving money, it can be a means of investing in your home and customizing your home to serve your family’s specific needs and desires. But additions also bring up potential problems that may not make them the best option for everyone. An addition can drastically change the way a house looks from the road or yard. An addition that isn’t well planned can look like it doesn’t belong or doesn’t match the rest of the house in terms of style or overall shape. Planning an addition carefully with a skilled architect is the best way to ensure that the house looks as good, or even better, than it did before the addition. An architect should be able to produce sketches that give a sense of how the finished addition will look. To minimize the appearance of an addition, homeowners can usually choose to build onto the back of the existing house, thereby hiding the new construction from the road. Depending on the size of an addition and the construction schedule, it may take weeks or months before an addition is completed. Bad weather can cause unanticipated delays, and working with an unreliable contractor can prolong the process even further. If a homeowner can’t afford to be patient 26

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during the planning and construction process, moving into a new, larger home may be a better option. An addition can be a good investment, helping to increase the value of a home. Using a home equity line of credit or getting a new mortgage that includes money to pay for the addition can be a wise financial decision, especially when interest rates are low. However, if the expected value of an addition – which a homeowner can estimate by studying the sale prices of nearby homes with similar characteristics – is less than its cost, it may be a poor investment. An addition is likely to raise the value of a home. After the addition is completed, a new assessment will raise property taxes. Prior to adding on, homeowners should estimate the value of their home with the addition and compute a new annual tax liability based on current tax rates. Building an addition is an ideal time to invest in energy-efficient fixtures and construction. Windows that prevent hot or cool air from escaping and low-energy-consuming appliances can minimize the cost of an addition by reducing energy bills and its environmental impact. Remodeling your bathroom is another popular way to jazz up your home as well as build equity. In some cases, not only is remodeling the bathroom an aesthetic choice but a functional choice as well. Giving your bathroom a boost doesn’t always have to require a boatload of cash or space – just a little planning and creativity before you get started. Refresh your bath’s look with a wow-worthy makeover that improves its style and function. Perhaps you have an old toilet that you want to replace with a highefficiency model that will lower your water bill. Or perhaps the old tile is falling off your shower and you need to replace

it. Whatever your situation is, there are many options to choose from, including do-ityourself options. One popular and inexpensive option is to have a theme for your bathroom. Examples could be a Disney theme for a child’s bathroom, or perhaps a beach theme. This can be accomplished by painting the walls, adding a wall border and by well-placed décor. Some larger and more costly bathroom updates include new flooring, new sink and vanity and a new bathtub or shower. These improvements will get even costlier if you paid someone to do it for you. Decks on the rear or side of homes have become extremely popular in the United States. Used for entertaining or just relaxing, decks come in all shapes, sizes, designs and material. The most popular, and least expensive, deck material is treated wood. It is durable, however it will need to be painted or stained yearly or every other year depending on your climate. Composite decking products are building materials manufactured using a mixture of plastic and wood fiber. Composite decking materials are very popular because they require less maintenance than wood and often use recycled materials. Composite decking is easy to install and is guaranteed with a 20-year warranty against rotting, splitting, splintering or termite damage. However, composite decking can be very costly. Vinyl decking made from Cellular PVC is a great choice for decking because it is essentially resistant to stains, mold, insects and fading. PVC material is low maintenance and is a sustainable building material. But like composite, it can get costly. Powder coated aluminum decking can be used to create a watertight floor for your deck. This unique material will never splinter, rot or rust. LockDry Aluminum decking is cool to the touch and is available in five colors. Aluminum decking is strong and lightweight. The LockDry system can be used to create a dry space to use under your deck on rainy days. Decks can be built right on the ground, or be elevated high in the air, depending on the design of your home. If you are building a deck yourself it is very important to check all local building codes and follow all of the guidelines very closely to ensure the safety and long-term durability of your deck. Bringing your family together is often difficult. A family game room is a fantastic way to upgrade your home and bring the family together. Whether you have an unfinished basement, an unused attic room or an empty garage, you can transform it into a fantastic oasis where your family can spend countless enjoyable hours. There are many aspects to making your game room remodel a success. First you should talk to a Design/ Build contractor about water access, waste lines and additional electricity needs. The contractor can also offer advice on any changes that might be necessary to update the space, whether it be additional insulation for a garage or attic room or waterproofing for a basement room. Water access could also be an important aspect if you plan to have a bar or sink area. A Design/Build contractor can offer advice on what needs to be done to make the area completely usable. You might also want to speak with the contractor about creating an additional half bathroom for guests and family members to use when you’re entertaining.

Electricity for lighting and appliances is also incredibly important. If you are updating an unused area of your home, the current electric wiring may not be able to handle the additional demands of a game room. The Design/ Build contractor can guide you through what will need to be updated and how much it will cost. If finances are an issue there are definitely still projects you can complete yourself including painting, laying carpet, adding shelves or simply updating the décor. Gone are the days when it was frowned upon to bring work home. Today a home is not a home unless it has a home office. Whether you are turning an extra bedroom into a workspace with store-bought furniture or constructing a full-scale two-level library and office, home offices are a regular part of what makes a house a home in 2013. Making the space your own is essential to effective use of a home office. Create a space that makes you more productive and relaxed at the same time and that is a winning combination. A desk is an essential part of most offices. Choose one that meets your needs. If all you need is a work top to use your laptop from, consider a computer cart and save the space for a comfortable chair or small sofa. If you are in the market for a larger desk, consider office furniture resellers. They sell executive-grade used furniture for a fraction of the cost. Bookcases or other storage can be a nice addition. Not only can they store books, but they are also great places to display awards or showcase your favorite collection of nicknacks or memorabilia. Decide whether you prefer furniture pieces or built-ins. Antique shops have great deals on beautiful bookcases, and most local cabinet shops can design and install custom built-ins. If you have a closet in your office, visit your local home center for a plethora of storage and organizing options. A comfortable chair or two is a necessity. Choose long-lasting fabrics and sturdy frames. Go with classic styles that won’t end up as next year’s garage sale item. Test out the chair before you buy it. Desk chairs especially need to provide good support and be comfortable. We live in a society of overindulgence. Nothing shows this like the home theater. So many popular home magazines have a page dedicated to converting your basement into a home theater, or something similar. The HGTV website has 16 home theater features alone. But how doable is the home theater in reality? First, you need a fairly large space, either a big family room or a basement. Second, you need to budget for all the furnishings including, of course, the stars of the show: home theater equipment – a big-screen TV, DVD player and speakers – and comfy seating. Also very popular for home theaters is floor and aisle lighting similar to real movie theaters, and perhaps even an old-fashioned popcorn maker. Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 27

Home Improvements In Bedford County Frankly, home theaters are generally for those with deep pockets because there really is no way to make a home theater cheaply. Still thinking of taking the plunge? The home improvement website Home Time has a really useful feature on home theater planning. It covers everything you’ll need to consider, like the space you’ll need and even suggested room layouts, to maximize your viewing pleasure.

trees can be as much as 25°F (14°C) cooler than air temperatures above nearby blacktop. Using shade effectively requires you to know the size, shape, and location of the moving shadow that your shading device casts. Also, homes in cool regions may never overheat and may not require shading. Therefore, you need to know what landscape shade strategies will work best in your regional climate and your microclimate. Also, if you can determine how much water your plants actually need, then you won’t overwater them and waste water. It is important to not only understand a plant’s particular watering requirements, but also evapotranspiration.

Kitchens are the most popular room in the house to remodel. Many people consider the kitchen to be the center of the home and its most important component. Another reason it is so popular to remodel is there are so many things in the kitchen that can be remodeled….cabinets, cabinet hardware, countertops, floor, appliances, lighting, walls and sinks. There is very little right or wrong when it comes to remodeling your kitchen; it comes down to personal taste. There are so many choices when it comes to style, design and type of material for every component of your kitchen. When remodeling there is much to consider: cost, what is your goal, what is your situation (pets or small children could help decide what type of flooring to use, for example) and what is the cost vs. equity value of the remodel. If finances are an issue and you are not the handiest individual, there are still many simple and easy things you can do to add pizzazz and value to your kitchen. For example, you can paint your cabinets and add new handles rather than buying new cabinets. Adding a stylish splashguard behind your stove and sink is easy to do and adds great appeal. Painting the walls can also make a huge difference in your kitchen, as can changing the light fixture. If done well, landscaping can completely change the character and perception of a home. Landscaping encompasses anything on the outside of the home including grass cutting, plants, flowers, rock, mulch, borders, vegetable gardens and more. Beyond the aesthetics, landscaping can be beneficial to a property if designed properly. Solar heat absorbed through windows and roofs can increase cooling costs, and incorporating shade from landscaping elements can help reduce this solar heat gain. Shading and evapotranspiration (the process by which a plant actively moves and releases water vapor) from trees can reduce surrounding air temperatures as much as 9° F (5°C). Because cool air settles near the ground, air temperatures directly under


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Evapotranspiration (Et) is the amount of water that is evaporated from the soil and transpired through the plant’s leaves. This amount of water needs to be replaced through watering. If you know your area’s Et rate, you can plan the amount of water to be replaced through irrigation. It’s best to water or irrigate your plants in the early morning when evaporation rates are low. This also provides plants with water before midday when the evaporation rate is the highest. Lighting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to cast an enchanting spell on any outdoor space. It is also very effective for safety and security purposes. Examples of exterior lighting include: torches, candles, lanterns, solar ground lighting, flood lights, lamp posts, landscape lighting and general light fixtures. For setting a mood the most popular lighting is candles or small lanterns. For security and safety purposes, it is critical to have flood light or lamp posts or ground solar lighting or all. A burglar is much more likely to enter a home without a lot of light on the outside illuminating the property. With countless styles and options available, there are no right or wrong choices. The outdoor lighting a homeowner will choose will come down to budget and personal preference. Remodeling your home can generate tremendous equity for the future, as well as personal enjoyment in the present. Remodeling projects come in all shapes, sizes and costs. Projects can range from replacing flooring or a faucet, to installing new trim work or tile and replacing windows and doors. Remodeling can also take on the form of revamping or adding a bathroom, redoing a kitchen, overhauling your home’s exterior for improved curb appeal, or completing an addition to increase your home’s square footage and add valuable space. Big and small changes can both have an impact and will improve the way your home looks and functions, increasing its value and making it more enjoyable for you and your family. The key to any remodeling job is to make sure it makes sense financially. Not all remodeling jobs are cost-effective. For example, it is possible to pay $75,000 for a new addition, but an appraiser may be of the opinion that it only raised the value of your house by $50,000. It is very important that you do as much research as possible and talk to as many experienced professionals as possible so you can make an informed decision about what is best for you.

Community Interest

Bed f o rd A rt is t

Eric Feather

Finds Passion in Painting and Teaching

By Jennifer Brozak

Some people are lucky enough to know, from an early age, what they want to do when they grow up. Some will be fortunate enough to find a way to turn their passion into a career. Eric Feather, an artist, teacher and Bedford native, is one who has managed to build a life doing what he loves. Feather, 43, is a freelance artist who creates paintings that are on display in galleries and part of murals throughout central Pennsylvania. He also teaches visual arts courses at Tyrone Area High School, a position he has held for 14 years. Feather’s interest in art blossomed before he had even completed primary school. “I was always sketching and painting,” he said. “I had an obsession with comic books at a young age – not so much with the stories, but with the

artwork. I would buy certain comic books based solely on the artist who drew them.” From the time he was a young boy, Feather’s parents encouraged his desire to create and express himself through art. “At a very early age, maybe six or so, I remember my mother giving me a small set of watercolors to paint with. I’m sure she wanted to promote my creativity, but her immediate concern was probably to keep me occupied while she and Dad worked at the family business,” he recalled. “Either way, it was a very positive experience for me.” As his interest in art grew, Feather’s parents arranged for him to take art lessons from local watercolor artist Jane Gayman. “She was a wonderful teacher and role model. I learned a tremendous amount from her,” he said. Those early experiences contributed to

Feather’s decision to major in studio art when he attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania – but his concerns over being able to “earn a living” influenced his decision to transfer into the art education program. “It would be nice if I said that I’ve always wanted to teach and had a desire to guide youngsters and share my love for art with them and that’s what led me to be a teacher. However, that’s not what initially led me to get my education degree,” he acknowledges. “Switching to art education was a very practical decision.” Now in his 20th year of teaching – in addition to his tenure at Tyrone, Feather spent six years teaching at Bel Air High School – he has found the experience to be “richly rewarding.” Teaching, he says, allows him to share ideas and Continued on next page ›

Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 29

Community Interest themes for artwork with eager students. “Young people are much less reserved than adults when it comes to expressing themselves,” he notes. “They are capable of generating intriguing ideas. Sharing ideas about potential projects is a great source of inspiration for me.” Balancing the demands of a full-time teaching career with his passion for producing his own art is not easy, but Feather is “convinced that the two enhance each other.” He considers himself blessed to be a teacher. “There is great satisfaction in seeing students gain confidence in themselves and their abilities through their artwork,” he pointed out. “I’m also blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the lives of so many people in a single community.” Eric Feather As an artist, Feather finds his greatest inspiration from the Bible and from his faith in Jesus Christ, and his latest creations are narrative paintings based on biblical themes. Through them, he says he “hopes to instruct or inspire people to explore biblical truths.” Still, he continued, he is visually inspired by “everything around me. My subject matter includes all genres and a variety of styles. Sometimes I’m inspired by a landscape, and other times by a Bible passage or sermon, and other but that’s not my primary reason for painting.” times a news story.” For this reason, he feels that aspiring artists Because Feather learned how to paint with should not make money their primary goal for watercolors from a very young age, it is the producing art. Instead, he said, they should focus medium that he is most comfortable using, espeon preparing themselves to be able to perceive cially when creating a quick landscape or sketch. and interpret the world around them – and Even so, he enjoys working with mixed media, should learn to accept constructive criticism. especially on large projects that take an extended Feather’s artwork is on display throughout amount of time. Bedford County. Several of his large paintings Mixed media, he says, “changes things up are hanging in Luigi’s restaurant in Clymer, Pa. and holds my interest. There is an unpredictable Tyrone Area School District commissioned him nature to it that I enjoy.” to paint a mural in honor of Tyrone’s veterans Like all careers, the field of art is not without at the entrance to Gray Veterans Memorial challenges. The most difficult challenge for Field. He painted a collaborative mural that is Feather – as an artist and as a person – was findon display at Crossroads Bible Church with ing a purpose. artist Kevin Kutz, and he also painted a mural at “I think that’s something everyone struggles Christ United Methodist Church in Tyrone. with at some point in their lives,” he said. This May, Feather’s paintings will be featured “Without a purpose, the things I choose to paint in an exhibition at the Bedford County Arts are arbitrary based on indulgence or a desire to Council. He also displays his works during the make money. Don’t get me wrong, I still like to area’s annual Fall Foliage Festival and Arts on the sell my work and get satisfaction from doing it,


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Square event. In addition, Feather’s work is often on display at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art (SAMA) in Altoona, Ligonier and Loretto and at the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania in Lemont. “Eric is a wonderful artist and art teacher, and it’s rare that you find someone who can do both – and do both so well,” said Barbara Hollander, SAMA-Altoona coordinator. “He paints with a freedom of abandon. It’s almost a graffiti-like style, where you have to delve deeper when you’re looking at it to understand it. There’s a sense of mystery there that makes his paintings almost three-dimensional. I just can’t say enough about his work.” Feather resides in King, Pa., with his wife Tracy, a potter, and their dogs, a 13-year-old Beagle named Dylan and a seven-year-old Coonhound named Daisy. More information about Feather and his art can be found at


A 1980 Chevrolet El Camino

One Thing Led to Another

By Pamela Palongue

Way back in 1980 when the Valley Girls reigned supreme on the music scene and really big hair was all the rage, Ron Plummer was busy driving around in his brand new Chevrolet El Camino Super Sport that he had purchased from Thomas Chevrolet in Bedford.


l Caminos are known as a car-truck, sort of the centaur of the automobile world. The front looks like a car, but the back has a truck bed similar to a pickup truck. Ron had to order the vehicle specially to get the gas-saving manual 4-speed transmission he wanted. The car-truck proved to be extremely useful too, since Ron moved his entire household with it twice! Sadly, in 1987 Chevrolet stopped production of the El Camino, but Ron could still be found running around town in his vehicle until 1994. It then sat in his basement for about a year. Although he had several offers to purchase the car-truck, he decided to keep it. And then one winter day, he got a little bored while hanging out in the basement and began to notice all the dents and creases in the truck bed, probably from years of hauling stoves, refrigerators and

washers and dryers. As sometimes happens to men when they are left alone in a basement too long, he began to think of a project. He decided he could restore the 14-year-old-vehicle. “I knew just enough about body work to get me in trouble,” says Ron, “but I thought I’d give it a try and at the very least would have fun doing it.” He drilled, pulled, puttied and worked on the cargo area and then sprayed the whole thing down with primer. “It looked pretty good,” he thought to himself. Then while he was sitting there admiring his work, he began to notice that the headliner was hanging down. “I didn’t know much about this kind of work, but I thought I’d give it a try,” says Ron. He took the entire headliner apart and removed the board on which the fabric was fastened. He took the board to an upholsterer to get it re-covered. Once Continued on next page › Bedford County | Spring 2013 | 31

His wife happened by to see the work in progress and casually remarked, “I hope you know what you are doing...” But Ron persevered and soon had the new carpet inside, the seats repaired and a few other accessories to spruce up the old El Camino.

completed, the upholsterer gave Ron some clips to install it and also gave him some helpful tips on how to make the job look neat and attractive. Once again, it looked pretty good. But then he began to notice that the carpet was old and faded and the seats were torn... Soon he had the entire interior of the car torn out. His wife happened by to see the work in progress and casually remarked, “I hope you know what you are doing...” But Ron persevered and soon had the new carpet inside, the seats repaired and a few other accessories to spruce up the old El Camino. Once again, it looked pretty good. Ron stepped back and looked at it and said, “Wow! That thing looks new on the inside!” Again, he was filled with a feeling of satisfaction. He also pulled out the transmission, put in a new clutch, fixed a few minor oil leaks and cleaned and painted all the parts under the hood. “It looked better than new!” he says. When it came time to fix the body of the car itself, Ron knew it was time to enlist the help of a professional. He took the Chevrolet to a 32

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friend of his who owned a body shop. In the process of sandblasting the old paint off, the metal of the driver-side door disintegrated, so that there was nothing there. This was a setback. But Ron was determined to finish the restoration. He checked with salvage yards and even General Motors, but there were none available. He found a couple of doors in Arizona and California, but the cost of shipping them was extremely expensive. He was about to have them shipped anyway, regardless of the cost, but it just so happened that the company he works for is a charter bus business and they were offering a tour to California. Ron called the driver to find out exactly where he was staying in Anaheim and it turned out to be just a few miles from one of the guys with the El Camino door. The man brought the door to the bus and the driver had just enough cash to pay him for the door. It was stowed away in the luggage compartment for the trip back to Pennsylvania. Imagine Ron’s surprise when he saw that the door looked BRAND NEW! He also had been busily purchasing new chrome Bedford County

trim pieces for the El Camino. The car-truck was painted and he brought it home and did some detailing and cleaned and painted the undercarriage. When it was finally all finished, it looked better than new. This is not the end of the story however, Ron began taking it to local cars show in 2002 and doing really well at them. Then he started going to national car shows, (the GM Nationals and Super Chevy Show). He won first place at Carlisle GM Nationals four times! He has won the Super Chevy an incredible five times with a “Best of Show El Camino” in 2009. In May 2012 it was selected as the El Camino of the month, appearing on the national El Camino calendar. The car was photographed at the Old Bedford Village bridge for the calendar. Well, that’s about the end of the story... You can still see Ron driving around Bedford County, listening to the 8-track tape player in his snazzy El Camino. The moral of the story is, “Don’t leave your husband unattended in the basement for too long.” Thanks to Ron Plummer for submitting his story to us!


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IN Bedford County Spring 2013