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LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST A Magazine from the Heart of Western Pennsylvania

Girl Gone Postal Find Your Holiday Spirit ... in Glenshaw! A Home for the Holidays Indiana County

The Christmas Christmas Tree Tree Capital Capital of of the the World World The

Listening to the Snow Reader Recipes What Do You Want for Christmas?

Tech Talk Talk about about Media Media Players Players Tech

NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2008 cover art: The first Christmas stamp issued by the United States Postal Service, 1962. Every Story Begins At Home.

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LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


W NOV/DEC 2008 (Volume V, Issue 6)

The Laurel Mountain Post is a bimonthly publication designed to focus on the people, places and events of Westmoreland County and the surrounding areas in the heart of western Pennsylvania. We print stories about real people and their daily lives; feature local merchants, craftsmen and professionals; present short pieces of art & literature; and never lose sight of what makes this area a great place to call home. Most of our writers are not professional reporters, but accomplished local practitioners with years of experience in their respective fields who bring credibility and personality to every article. In October 2006, the BBC News quoted us as “the voice of Pennsylvania.”

Laurel Mountain Post P.O. Box 227 206 Weldon Street Latrobe, PA 15650

724-537-6845 Cathi Gerhard Williams Editor & Publisher editor@laurelmountainpost.com

Briana Dwire Tomack Marketing Director & Business Manager advertising@laurelmountainpost.com Proud members of the Latrobe, Ligonier, and Strongland Chambers of Commerce, The Pittsburgh Advertising Federation, and The Pennsylvania Newspaper Assocation Special thanks to our advertisers for supporting this community publication!

www.LaurelMountainPost.com

Our distribution of 15,000 reaches beyond Westmoreland County into the neighboring counties of Allegheny, Washington, Armstrong, Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset and Fayette. In 2006 our web traffic increased by 53% and continues to grow. Every day, more and more readers and advertisers across western Pennsylvania are discovering the Laurel Mountain Post.

Every Story Begins At Home.

“So here I sit gossiping in the early candle-light of old age — I and my book — casting backward glances over our travel’d road.”

– Walt Whitman

elcome . . . MOUNTAIN VIEWS Cathi Gerhard Williams

Backward Glances My onetime classmates and I are turning 40 this year – time being marked in terms of the many school calendars during which we met, not the one that hangs on our walls and soon turns over. In December, the early candlelight of “old age” will shine on Joe and Greg. In April, it brightens Scott’s world, and way down the road in August it will blind me. Megan will be illuminated in September, but Briana is safe in “darkness” for another year. Looking ahead to the “second half” of our lives, we can’t help but look back on where we have been. It’s especially poignant for us considering the New Year’s Eve standard Auld Lang Syne that we’ll all be singing or suffering through soon. That song is from a Scottish poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 that is literally translated to mean “old long since” or “long, long ago.” In her autobiography, published way back in 1934, Edith Wharton wrote that she used to think: “There’s no such thing as old age; there is only sorrow.” She went on to explain . . . I have learned with the passing of time that this, though true, is not the whole truth. The other producer of old age is habit: the deathly process of doing the same thing in the same way at the same hour day after day, first from carelessness, then from inclination, at last from cowardice or inertia. Luckily, the inconsequent life is not the only alternative; for caprice is

as ruinous as routine. Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be fought incessantly against if one is to remain alive.

I loved looking through Pat Kintigh’s collection of stamps and postcards while working on our cover story. It was so much fun to look at the postmarks and artwork and think about the worlds I’m not in the habit of quoting othin those past lives and how ers so extensively. But in this they’ve changed for better and case, Wharton completely capworse. I studied the graphic design of the stamps and noted styles and trends, some of which keep com“They grow of circumstances, and are ing back . . . and others evolutionary. The actual living light is always curiously from elsewhere — that were simply misfollows unaccountable sources, and takes – just like fashis lunar and relative at the best.” ion. Examining history and evaluating its evo– Walt Whitman lution is pure continuing education that everyone can afford.

tured the focus of my recent thoughts. Looking back, we tend to suffer from nostalgia – wishing things could be the way they once were. That leads us to those sorrowful hamster wheels to nowhere. Instead, the first question to ask is “How did I get here?” Once we start to answer that, we can examine what worked, what didn’t, and how to invest the best of those experiences toward an even better future. Father Time gets a bad rap when he’s portrayed like a grim reaper. He’s both a celebration of where we’ve been and where we are going with the time we have been given. Sentimentality should inspire, not restrain.

And so I am always trying to learn from my experiences, valuing the good along with the bad and the ugly; to move forward instead of fight the hands of time. I weigh my successes and failures equally and credit those who have influenced me, both positively and negatively. Sometimes I light a candle to mourn my past. At others, I use one to light my way. The Laurel Mountain Post has some exciting things planned as we start down the road of another year together. Here’s hoping the joyful glow of the holiday season shines on all of you. Not just now, but all year long.

November/December 2008 - 3


REPARTEE FOR TWO Barbara M. Neill

Girl Gone Postal: Pat Kintigh One of these fine days I am going to contact the United States Postal Service and tell them precisely what I think they should do with the Postmaster of Bradenville, PA. I think they should feature her in a USPS commercial. She has been employed by our governmental postal agency for 32 years and is a walking, talking endorsement for her profession. She’s a media natural – plenty of personality, boundless enthusiasm and a wellhoned sense of humor to boot. Unlike many of us, she knows just about everything there is to know about the mail delivery system. I have spent incalculable dollars on postage in my lifetime, but the intricacies of the USPS rank high on my short list of muddles. (Please do not tell me to go to the website and everything will become perfectly clear. BTDT.) So, imagine my pleasure when I realized that I had a postal pundit practically working in my backyard. Pat Kintigh, who is married to Bradenville native John Troiani, grew up in Alverton, but has been a Greensburg resident for two decades. She is also the niece of Oregon tree farmer Bob Kintigh, who was featured in the 2007 holiday edition of the LMP. (BTW: a woman in charge of a post office is referred to by some as a Postmistress; Ms. Kintigh likes the preferred title of Postmaster; I think of her as The Postmeister.) Pat has many career accomplishments to be proud of, and she has the certificates and citations to prove it. However, projects and presentations for children seem to be her specialty. Whether as the Pat Westmoreland County Coordinator for a Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive, the Ben Franklin Stamp Club Coordinator for the Pittsburgh District, the Stamp Collecting Merit Badge Counsel for the Boy 4 - November/December 2008

Scouts of America (WestmorelandFayette Council Laurel Hills District) or the designer of games and activities for schools, fairs, festivals, jamborees and stamp shows, her commitment has been obvious and the interest and appreciation of the students evident. She created and developed a philatelic training manual that led to a feature story in Linn’s Stamp News, a national weekly stamp news publication. If you ever pass through the portals of the post office in Bradenville, ask to see her scrapbook. It’s a testament to good intentions achieved. Admittedly, there are several postal aspects that I do find endlessly fascinating. I view stamps as cultural thumbnails of

an island in the South Pacific, Australia, England and Fairfield, Iowa had me creating a well-worn path to the Lyons family mailbox for years.) As an elementary music instructor, I often incorporated stamps into my cross-curricular lesson plans and found students intrigued with and inquisitive about the informative ministickers. Today deltiology, the study and collection of postcards, is another globally-popular leisure pursuit. Although not personally a collector, I appreciate the appeal of postcards as mail art and examples of expediency. Much-coveted vintage specimens are acquired by hook or by crook, by chance or by eBay, by many, including my sister. Pat enjoys both pastimes during her post-post office hours. In anticipation of this holiday season she agreed to “talk turkey” with me about these wee windows to the world and her career and life in general. ********** LMP: It appears that you have an inherited the rare USPS gene.

PK: I guess it has to do with DNA bug bites. My maternal great-great grandfather, Philip Alexander Sherbondy, had the Mendon post office in his store. (Mendon is now part of Ruffsdale.) Funny thing about that PO is that it would actually move between two separate stores owned by two brothers – one Republican, one Democrat. Depending on which party was in power, the PO would exist on opposite sides of the displays “a little Love.” – Photo by Bill Zaken street. Another brother was the Postmaster at communication, commemoration Normalville. My Dad’s great and celebration and have been an grandfather, George Weddell, was amateur philatelist since my pen PM at Rillton and George Kintigh, pal-writing days in the late 50s and my Dad, was the PM at Alverton. 60s. (Anticipation for missives from

I was the second born of four children and the only girl. My brother Tim didn’t come along for 6 years, so I had lots of time to set things in place to be “Daddy’s Girl.” Several lifetimes ago my goal was to be a teacher, write children’s books, grow old on the farm and take care of my Dad. It was only natural for me to follow in his footsteps, but working at the Post Office was only supposed to be a summer job while going to college to study English and journalism. LMP: Would you reflect upon the changes you have seen during your 32 years with the USPS? PK: Computers have been a big change; computers are why my Dad retired. He was afraid of the changes. We used to use a scale, an adding machine and paper rate charts. Now I press a dozen keys and my gray matter expands. For the administrative side you used to need an entire file cabinet full of forms that were often updated, so the forms you had might be obsolete. Forms are now online so you always have the most up to date. Fax machines enable reports to be sent NOW. Back in the day they were “in the mail.” At one time we sorted by hand – ALL NIGHT LONG. Handwritten mail, magazines and parcels are all sorted by machines now. Today mail can be shipped to Pittsburgh for processing and returned for delivery the next day economically. That would have been unheard of in the 70’s. Being in partnership with the competition might have been like starting the joke that started the whole world laughing. (Our only competitor was UPS when I started.) Now we are partnering with many of the alternative delivery services and it is working! LMP: I prefer smaller POs. They add the personal touch and often seem to be the daytime hub of communities. What have you observed in your tenures at Crabtree, Stockdale, Youngwood and your workday home of 20 years, Bradenville?

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


Aber, Mayor Maggie, Chris Fennimore) they remember me as The Sweater Lady. Mr. McFeely, David Newell, calls me ”The Real Speedy Delivery Person.” LMP: How did your interest in postcards originate?

Warm and Fuzzy in Bradenville!

In 1998 Pat organized the county effort for the 30 th Anniversary Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sweater Drive. Her son, Josh, happily accompanied the driver and the 13,000+ sweaters, donated by area residents and collected by Westmoreland County postal workers, to the WQED studios in Pittsburgh. (He is seen here peeking from the driver’s window.) The truck was generously loaned by Geano Agostino, Barkley Beer Distributor proprietor, who often contributes to worthy local causes.

PK: I was given postcard collections from both my grandmother Kintigh and my grandmother Suter. Although I was only 18 months old when my grandmother Kintigh died, I feel like I have come to know her and her friends through the cards they mailed. LMP: When did you first become a stamp collector?

PK: Working at a small town post office as long as I have is probably like being a bartender at a local pub. You are not an integral part of the life of the residents, but they see you every day and will often share bits and chunks of their lives with you. They “hang” and talk; some more than others. In a sense you become a part of the extended family to those who let you in. You are there for births and first days of school (lots of tears); for driver’s licenses, proms and graduations (more tears); then you help pack those boxes for college

The Postmaster of Bradenville prepares her office for this year’s peak postal season. – Photo by Barbara M. Neill

Every Story Begins At Home.

kids (LOTS more tears). You’re there for the empty nest and the death of the spouse (the tears I have never gotten used to). One thing I knew from the beginning was to never betray their trust or the bond would be gone. LMP: You have been involved in numerous community initiatives that benefited others. You organized an outstanding care package project for the 1990s US troops in Bosnia. One of your most gratifying ventures was a WQEDsponsored Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood 30th Anniversary Sweater Drive. PK: At the time that I saw the article about the sweater drive being conducted by WQED in the paper, my son Josh was a HUGE Mr. Rogers fan. We watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood several times a day. Yo-Yo Ma, the cellist, is a household name because of that show. I thought if I took a bunch of sweaters to WQED, just maybe Josh could meet Mr. Rogers. Little did I know that we would end up with a tractor trailer filled with more than 13,000 sweaters for the needy of the region. To this day, ten years later, when I see any of the folks from WQED (e.g. Neighbor

PK: For most of my growing up years we did not have a TV in our home. Stamp collecting was an inexpensive way to spend timeless hours and also, I did it with my Dad. From the first US stamp in 1847 through roughly the 1940’s stamps were beautifully engraved and detailed sketches of the people, places and things important to America. The engraving process (a process by which a stamp’s design is cut into a metal die) that was used to achieve these miniature works of art just amazes me. I am hoping to add more of these timeless treasures to my collection as time goes on. LMP: Why are Christmas stamps so near and dear to your heart?

PK: Christmas stamps are the only world-wide stamps that I accumulate. (I have to say they are an accumulation, as they are not organized into a topical collection yet.) Why Christmas? I love Christmas! It isn’t the giving and the getting. I could very easily do without that. It’s the peace that comes after the storm of “Sparkle Season.” Families get together and usually forget their fights; wars are paused for soldiers on both sides to celebrate. If I’m lucky snow blankets my world with a cleansing calm. People of other cultures are unashamed to say “Merry Christmas” and nearly every other country in the world puts angels, managers, shepherds, wise men and even Bible verses on their stamps without retribution. I am continually amazed that the US strives harder each year to abort Christ from all aspects of the Christmas holiday. To me, Jesus is the reason for the season. LMP: What can one do to insure the “speedy delivery” of correspondence to the North Pole? PK: Here are some helpful guidelines: • Write legibly. Some of Santa’s helpers have a hard time reading the writing on the envelope, so let an adult or older sibling proofread your letter for spelling errors. • Please keep the letter to one sheet of paper. There’s a paper reduction act in place at the North Pole. • BE HONEST. Do you really want to start that letter with “Dear Santa, I have been really good this year…?” Santa is an expert at seeing thru the snow drifts, so please say “NO” to those tempting snow job thoughts. Those letters only go on the bottom of the pile. • Most importantly: sign your letters with your full name and always use your complete return address. Santa’s good, but he doesn’t get his information through osmosis and do you have a clue how many Bubbas there are in the world? • Address all letters to: Santa Claus, North Pole LMP: What do you count instead of sheep as your blessings this holiday season?

The Sweater Lady, Josh and Mr. Rogers (sans sweater!).

PK: Being a Mom to Josh, being a family with John continued on page 8

November/December 2008 - 5


Getting Married?

Do You Really Need A Professional Video? by Eric Pensenstadler

Greensburg, PA 15601

SALES ASSOCIATE, RECS/ASR

YES. In the past, having a professional video produced of your wedding was considered a luxury. When planning for your much-anticipated day, you typically reserve your church and reception hall first. Next are the caterer and photographer. Then come the details, such as flowers, invitations, whether to use a DJ or live band, and any other special touches to delight your guests. Then, you start to think about hiring a professional videographer, rather than depending on Uncle Fred’s movie camera. Nowadays, though, the quality of both video production and equipment for this once in a lifetime event is vastly greater than those taken with home movie cameras. Videographers are often being booked a year in advance. Brides in western Pennsylvania, on average, only invest about 3.3% of their wedding budget in video services. Conversely, an amazing 95% of brides say that after the wedding their video is one of the most memorable keepsakes they have. Unfortunately, you truly do “get what you pay for”, and 3% of a $20,000 budget (average budget for Southwestern Pa) is only $600! A respectable professional wedding video should cost, on average, between $1500 and $3000, depending on the number of cameras used at the wedding and at the reception. So then, what’s the difference between a $600 wedding video and a $2000 one? A lot. Any videographer charging as little as $600 for a complete wedding video is either a beginner, or is not a professional. This means that their equipment will most likely not be much different than what uncle Fred would use, and, they do not have the experience to know where to be when. What I mean is, an amateur will hear the first dance beginning, get his camera into position, and then start recording. A professional will already be in place and recording before the DJ even introduces the first dance. Shaky camera work is a tale-tell sign of an amateur. A professional will use fluid camera support systems so that every shot is steady, level, and smooth. Audio is a big factor too. An amateur will simply use the microphone on the camera. A professional will have a wireless microphone on the groom or the officient assuring clear audio of the vows, combined with a professional grade microphone to clearly pick up the music and other audio sources such as readings and singing. How the audio is recorded at the reception is important too. Ideally a wireless microphone will be placed near the DJ’s speakers so that no matter where the camera is it is receiving clear consistent audio. Now that you understand some basic differences between an amateur videographer and a professional, let’s explore some common questions.

We’ll Have Photos, Do We Really Need A Video Too?

KIDS CARE PEDIATRICS Kids Are Our Priority

CHRISTINE C. FLORENDO, MD MELANIE B. SEMELKA, DO 5927 Route 981, Suite 8 • Latrobe, PA 15650 Phone: 724-537-2131 • Fax: 724-537-2153 Hours: Monday–Friday 9 AM to 6 PM

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Photos are very important. But video offers so much more. Remember, you can’t hear photos. Without video of your wedding, you will never again hear the music as you walk down the aisle, nor will you again hear the sermon or your vows. There are many things you will not witness yourself, such as your bridal party walking down the aisle. At the reception, video allows you to again hear the funny and emotional toast, and to relive your first dance together as husband and wife.

My Friend Had A Video Made of Her Wedding, But She Never Watches It. Why Should We Get One? It is important to realize that you are creating this wedding day video as a memory keepsake not only for yourselves, but also for your parents, children, and even friends and family who could not attend. Some couples watch their video every anniversary.

Some more often than that. Some relive the day once and then store the video for archival purposes. Imagine if you could watch the wedding of your grandparents! Imagine hearing them exchange vows! This is a legacy you are leaving for your grandchildren, too.

Why Do We Need Editing? Editing a wedding video involves the addition of titles, music, still photos, etc. If more than one camera is used, the editor will switch back and forth between the cameras using whichever camera has the best angle at any given moment. Editing can also be used creatively to give a video better pacing. For example, a lengthy scene of guests dancing can be broken up by including interviews with guests every few minutes. A well-edited video looks far more polished and thus will be more enjoyable to watch than amateur videos which lend themselves to the “fast-forward syndrome”.

Will The Equipment Be Distracting? Because modern video equipment is compact and silent, the most important consideration here is whether or not the videographer has the skill to avoid intruding on the ceremony. I feel strongly

that both the ceremony and reception should be taped in as unobtrusive a manner as possible. Most people are concerned about the use of flood lights during the wedding service. A professional will use low-light digital cameras which can produce images in all but the most dimly-lit interiors without additional video lights. A small light of varying intensity is often used throughout the reception. This is both common and necessary since reception halls are typically dimly lit.

Where Do We Start? Most videographers offer a free, no-obligation consultation. Visit as many different videographers as your time permits. Of course, asking a friend or relative who has been married in recent years is one of the best methods. Watch their video, and ask them how good the videographer was to work with. For more information, or for your free consultation, visit our website at www.videohorizonsllc.com and call Eric directly at 724-216-5803 to schedule your appointment. Evening and weekend appointments can be made to accommodate your schedule. A graduate of Norwin High School, Eric Pensenstadler is the owner of Video Horizons, LLC in Greensburg and the vice president of the Pittsburgh Professional Videographers Association (PPVA). Eric is also a member of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association as a photographer/videographer.

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


FOCUS ON CHILDREN Nicole Vitale Smith, M.S.W.

Children and Their Heritage “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” At the end of September, I went to Clarion’s wonderful Autumn Leaf Festival. My relatives and I had a chuckle when we saw the vendor selling Ethnic wares; in particular, an item that said “you bet your dupa, I’m a Slovak!” For those of you wondering, dupa is slavish for your bottom or bum. I remember my Baba (maternal Grandma) using that term and my cousin Eleanor telling her grandson about that word. Walking down the crafters lane with thousands of people reminded me how important our individual backgrounds can be. As Americans, we may forget our family heritage and over the years or generations, lose certain ethnic customs and traditions. As a parent you have many responsibilities, but teaching your children about their cultural heritage is certainly a gift you may pass onto them. From a young age, my sons knew they were part Italian. My Dad often told them “always remember that you are Italiano!” He was very proud of his ethnicity and wanted to instill that pride in his grandchildren. He introduced them to black olives and salami, and he was happy to show them how to slurp up a single strand of spaghetti. He would have been very happy that my husband and I took the boys to Italy, and showed them the land where his parents were born. I’m sure he smiled knowing that my eight year old has mastered the curl of a well thrown bocce ball or seeing them proudly peacock around in their blue Italian soccer jerseys. Not everyone is able to take a trip to Europe, but you can still explain ethnicity to your children. Looking at maps and reading books about your heritage is a great place to start. You could create a family tree. Talk to older relatives about family customs and beliefs and try to incorporate those ideas into your daily life. Recording information and others memories may be helpful to future generations. I love to show my boys old photos and tell them stories about past family reunions and holiday get-togethers with tons of cousins and aunts and uncles. Why not start a cultural tradition of your own! My family enjoys simple activities like playing bocce ball, exploring the shops in the Strip District (in Pittsburgh), and Every Story Begins At Home.

– John Donne

attending ethnic festivals such as the Italian festivals this year at Idlewild & Bloomfield (The Little Italy of Pittsburgh). We cook Italian, Ukrainian/Hungarian and Irish (my husband’s ethnicity) dishes and have special meals for holidays. Maybe there is a distinctive dessert you may bake or clothes that identify your heritage. You may consider borrowing tapes from the library and trying to learn a new language. Information about a famous person with your cultural background can be found on the Internet or search genealogy websites and research your ancestors together. Try a fun cultural outing- my boys look forward to attending the St. Patrick’s Day parade. A gem that I visited last winter is The Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh. There are 27 ethnic rooms located on the first and third floors. New rooms are dedicated periodically, with a Welsh room opening in June. The rooms are beautifully decorated with furniture and art that represents their culture. In most cases the items were donated from the country they represent. It was a terrific experience for me, my husband and our sons. Each room is so unique and allows for discussion with your children. Pitt has a Holiday Open House that offers free tours with guides in ethnic dress. The rooms are adorned as each country would celebrate the end of year holidays. Also, there is ethnic food, entertainment, and a marketplace. The date this year is Sunday, December 7 from noon to 4 pm. The United States is called a melting pot–people from many cultures coming together to be Americans. As Americans, we value our national identity. I believe, however, that we must continue to celebrate our unique cultural differences. As the holidays approach and we create memories with loved ones, let us remember our ethnicity and share that culture and custom with our children. To our readers and your families, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy Kwanzaa!

166 Fava Farm Road • Scenery Hill, PA 724-323-3324 • www.emeraldvalleyfarm.com

Thanks to all of our customers for a wonderful season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

If you have any child development questions, issues or topics that you would like Nicole to address, please send an email to editor@laurelmountainpost.com.

November/December 2008 - 7


Listening to the Snow

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As your life changes, we are there to keep you fully insured. Our agents and client representatives have 15-35 years of professional experience providing the coverages you need and the personal customer service you deserve. Come in from the cold and stop by our office today for a free quote and evaluation of all your insurance needs.

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by Marge Burke

I was lying in bed, listening to the snow fall.

drifting down of the snow to cover the ground in a blanket of white.

At first I thought I was imagining it, that I couldn’t hear it. I closed my eyes and pictured the heavy, white flakes drifting in thick layers from the over-laden sky. Surely it was just memory, playing a trick, picturing what I had seen last season.

The tiniest of flakes clung to the screen, which I had not yet removed. I hadn’t anticipated the snow so early in the season. It might be a mistake. Maybe my imagination – a writer’s imagination – had played a trick once again and the ground would be a trampled green, the tree limbs would be bare and gray, and the gardens would still be rippling with the earthy tints of autumn. I could creep from the bed and sneak up to the window and see for myself those clouds barely visible in the pre-dawn light, opening their coffers and spilling their wares.

But I knew that wasn’t true. I heard the snow. It was cold and thick and wet, and it was coating everything it touched. I could hear the soft whiff as some of the flakes clung to the balcony. It was softer still as it draped the tall evergreens that hedged the property between my house and the neighbor’s house. It was clearly louder as it jumped from the rooftops to the gutters and the fence by the driveway. It spread like icing as it coated the lawn and gardens. As it deepened, the sounds changed. They were muffled and muted, but still clearly there. I loved lying there in bed in the early morning hours, before the alarm and before the dog’s gentle nudge, knowing that I could cocoon into my quilts and stay there until lunch if I chose. Seldom could I take the luxury of sleeping in, but today was that chance. The snow and I, we could talk. It didn’t have to say anything. It wasn’t a voice that I heard. It was just the placement of flakes, the

continued from page 5

and Josh, remaining sane while juggling work, home and church and keeping my faith when the world is falling apart. LMP: You have mentioned that during your future retirement you look forward to pursuing a longsmoldering interest in your family tree and spending more time with your Mom. With that in mind, please fill in the blank. Old postal workers never die, ___________.

I could stand it no more. I slipped from the covers, leaving the dog to peer at me with one eye open, questioning my absence. I moved silently to the kitchen and flipped on the floodlights. My little world whispered the soft sounds of falling flakes, drifting and dancing and finding the perfect place to rest after their long descent. Yes, it was snowing, and I could hear it snowing. The beauty of the glittering diamond-like surfaces paled in comparison to those soft sounds of the gently falling snow. With a flip of the switch, the world become dark once more. In my room, I climbed beneath the quilts and lay perfectly still in the quiet darkness, listening. Listening to the snow fall.

********** When Santa Claus gets those letters, he has devoted professionals like “Post Office Pat” to thank. In fact, she rates a huge “stamp of approval.” Perhaps she’ll even get a little something extra in her Christmas stocking. You know, good things come in small postages. Cover photo and vintage stamps throughout this issue, courtesy of Pat Kintigh

PK: They’re just returned to sender.

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


“We Refuse to Participate in a Recession” The Greensburg Inner Circle Chapter of Business Networking International (BNI) received the organization’s Founder’s Award in October. Only the third chapter in western Pennsylvania to ever receive this honor, the members of Inner Circle work together to encourage and grow each other’s local business by meeting weekly to share referrals. Founded in 1985 by Dr. Ivan Meisner (a western PA native!), the BNI program provides a structured, supportive business environment in which local business people can get together to network, learn valuable new marketing skills and develop the strong personal relationships that lead to trust and the consequent generation of significant business for each other. Being active in a BNI chapter is like having up to 40 sales people working for you because your fellow members will be

carrying your business cards and referring your business to people they meet. Successful businesses depend on “wordof-mouth” marketing as the most powerful form of promotion there is. The outstanding power of Inner Circle chapter’s word-of-mouth philosophy is evident in their statistics. Last year, they averaged 1000 referrals, yielding $132,500 in net income. Members consistently attend continuing education training, utilize a business mentoring program, and work together with other local chapters to expand membership and contact spheres. Visitors are welcome every Wednesday morning at 7:00 am at the Greensburg Courtyard by Marriott. For more information, call Inner Circle chapter president Jerry Felton at 834-7400 or www.bni-westernpa.com.

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We are now taking orders for holiday gift baskets and custom-labeled wine bottles. Please stop by during business hours or call for information. We invite you to visit Walnut Hill Winery, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the tasteful atmosphere. Treat yourself to complimentary samplings of our flavorful wines created by Al McClinton, one of the owners.

Every Story Begins At Home.

Laurel Area Faith in Action volunteers are busy with annual fall projects. Once again, over 150 youth from Adelphoi Village, scout troops, church youth groups, and Saint Vincent College will spread out over many miles in the Greater Latrobe and Ligonier areas to rake leaves – tens of thousands of red, and yellow, and orange leaves. According to Jane Kerr, Executive Director for Laurel Faith in Action, “In some areas, the leaves are so thick, we use trucks to remove them. The year that we counted 480 bags at one home in Unity Township, we decided there had to be a better way.” The youth and supervisors meet at Saint Vincent Grove to enjoy pizza (donated by local businesses) before going out to rake. “This gives the volunteers the chance to see the enormity of the project and get a real sense of the “community” in this event “said Kerr. Just as the last leaves are being raked and bagged, the Faith in Action volunteers are switching into high gear to complete the annual Advent project. For the past seven years, the volunteers have assembled gift baskets that include Advent stories and gifts for the program care recipients. “It is a way to help reduce

the isolation for many lonely residents and help them to enjoy the Christmas season”, explained Ms. Fay Frye, an active volunteer who serves on the Advent committee and is one of the program’s original volunteers. The project this year will be a cookie tin filled with 5 stories and 5 gifts. It will be delivered before the first Sunday in Advent so that the recipients can open one story and one gift on each Sunday in Advent. The final story and gift is opened on Christmas Eve. “We just ordered over 3,000 items that the volunteers will be wrapping and assembling in mid-November in time for delivery to over 250 recipients. There will be additional gifts for sale to the community at large, but they go quickly”, commented Ms. Kerr. The program asks for donations of just $10 for a recipient gift (they need 250!) and additional gifts are just $15. Volunteers are being recruited and donations are being taken now. For details, please call Laurel Area Faith in Action at 724-539-4357. Jane Kerr added, “The volunteers get as much from these projects as those who receive the help. Working together, we are changing lives, two at a time and making a real difference in our community.”

November/December 2008 - 9


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Cause and Effect: The Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis and How It Benefits You by Matt Damich It seems like every time I turn the channel on my television to a news station, the housing market seems to be taking up the bulk of the headlines. I see words scroll across the bottom of the screen and I ask myself: “Why shouldn’t these stories about mortgage foreclosure be the stories that are making headlines, isn’t purchasing a home the most precious and important investment most all of us make in our lifetime?” Before we all start going over the deep end when we hear phrases like “Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis” and “Government Bailout “, maybe we all should pause and take a more detailed look at the facts, and not just the skew the news headlines may (or may not) be telling us. It is definitely true that all news stations need viewers in order to gain profits, and the most eye-catching headlines always appear to be in a negative skew because negative press adds more shock value. When watching the headlines about the real estate market, though, we need to put a few important things into perspective when we look at how the mortgage foreclosure crisis affects the Pittsburgh area as compared to the country as a whole. In a recent listing of mortgage foreclosure rates put out by RealtyTrac; of the top 100 metropolitan areas throughout the nation, Pittsburgh was ranked #86. Also, the percentage of foreclosed homes in Pittsburgh actually dropped 30% from 2006 to 2007. In 2007, only .367 % of all homes in the Pittsburgh area were actually foreclosed upon, compared to the national average of 1.033%. What this means is that whenever you see “BREAKING NEWS: mortgage foreclosure rates increase by 79 %!!” this figure actually only represents an increase from .816 % to 1.033% of the housing population nationally. Since 30% of all homes nationally are currently owned mortgage-free, this means that for all the noise we hear about a foreclosure crisis, only seven-tenths of one percent of all homes are actually being affected in terms of mortgage foreclosure!! From a national perspective, mortgage foreclosures have had a more profound effect on other cities in comparison to Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas. The cities hit hardest in the past year from mortgage foreclosures are located in the states of Nevada, California, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan. Ironically, Nevada, California, and Florida were the States which benefitted most from the home price appreciations from the real estate boom which occurred a few years ago. Seven out of the top ten foreclosure areas in the United States experienced major price appreciation spikes within the past five years. Recently, these seven areas averaged an outrageous 91.6% increase in mortgage foreclosures, nearly double the national average. The national average, in turn was close to triple the inflation rate for this period as well. It’s a small wonder why the national foreclosure rate is booming now as well – any person who purchased a home within the past few

years with a 5% or 10% down payment had a good chance to already be upside down on their mortgage right from the start in certain areas!! But that is just speaking for those areas with the greatest price appreciation over that certain time period. Pittsburgh home values did not increase nearly as much over the same time period in comparison to these other cities. So what do these numbers mean? They mean that from a national perspective, the real estate market in our area holds up very formidably. Over the long term, our home prices have not spiked nearly as much as other cities. For the most part, homeowners are not upside down on their mortgage payments due to the slow and steady appreciation in home values in our area, which is a primary cause of mortgage foreclosures. Also, Pittsburgh has not experienced the economic strife seen in certain areas like the cities of Michigan and Ohio have. Due to steady price appreciation and a relatively stable economic environment Pittsburgh’s foreclosure numbers rank among the lowest of all metropolitan areas nationally. Intense speculation in any market can make commodities seem undervalued or overvalued. The current real estate crisis nationally has left Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas real estate values in a relatively unique situation. Nationally, foreclosures are increasing whereas in our area foreclosures have decreased. The national attention focusing on housing and foreclosures has caused speculators to undervalue real estate. Because of this, there are many deals to be had currently in our local real estate market. The real estate values in Pittsburgh and its surrounding areas are undervalued in a location where foreclosures haven’t really influenced real estate. With all of these factors combined, Pittsburgh looks like a great place to be buying real estate at this juncture. The weak real estate market nationally has driven prices down locally. This means that you can buy a great house with little to no risk of foreclosure at a discount. The real estate market is ripe for the picking now. If you are a prospective homebuyer, chances are you can get a great home at a steal. You just need to do your homework. In the words of Warren Buffett, possibly the greatest investment mind the world has ever seen: “Look at market fluctuations as your friend rather than your enemy; profit from folly rather than participate in it.” Translation: in the current real estate market, now is the time for us to do our homework and reap the benefits of the undervalued local real estate market. Matt Damich is Director of Operations for Premiere Settlement Professionals, LLC. He strives to help homeowners protect the most important investment they will make in their lives – the investment of their home. You can contact Matt at mtdamich@mysettlementpros.com or visit his website at www.mysettlementpros.com.

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


READER RECIPES Favorite Formulas from Neighborhood Kitchens

Feta Supreme Here’s a twist on old-fashioned cabbage rolls. Ground lamb, soy sauce and feta cheese punch up the flavors in this longtime favorite, which feeds a crowd. • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

New Patients Only • Limited Availability

Five Ideas for Staying Sane in a Crazy Market

Presented by: Lindsay Turchetta AWMA, Financial Advisor with Waddell & Reed A key part of managing your money is managing your emotions, particularly when the stock market is going through a period of uncertainty. Being able to keep your cool is one of the most valuable skills you can have as an investor. • Stay on course by continuing to save Even if the value of your holdings fluctuates, regularly adding to an account that’s designed for a long-term goal may cushion the emotional impact of market swings. If losses are offset even in part by new savings, the bottom-line number on your statement might not be quite so discouraging. If you’re using dollar-cost averaging—investing a specific amount regularly regardless of fluctuating price levels—you may be getting a bargain by buying when prices are down. However, dollar-cost averaging can’t guarantee a profit or protect against a loss, and you should consider your financial ability to continue purchases through periods of low price levels. • Stick with your game plan Solid asset allocation is the basis of sound investing. One of the reasons a diversified portfolio is so important is that strong performance of some investments may help offset poor performance by others. Even with an appropriate asset allocation, some parts of a portfolio may struggle at any given time. Diversification can’t guarantee a profit or protect against a loss, but it can help you balance risks. • Look in the rear-view mirror If you’re investing long term, sometimes it helps to take a look back and see how far you’ve come. If your portfolio is down this year, it can be easy to forget any progress you may already have made over the years, though past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Think about why you made a specific investment in the first place. That can help you determine if it still deserves a place in your investing strategy. Understanding how a specific holding fits in your portfolio also can help you consider whether a lower price might actually represent a buying opportunity. If you don’t know an investment’s purpose in your overall strategy, now’s the time to find out. • Remember that everything’s relative Most of the variance in the returns of different portfolios is generally attributable to their asset allocations. If you’ve got a well-diversified portfolio, it could be useful to compare its overall performance to relevant benchmarks. If you find that your investments are at least matching those benchmarks that realization might help you feel better about your overall strategy. • Remind yourself that nothing lasts forever Ups and downs are normal for the stock market. If you regret not selling at a market peak, or missed a bargain, remember that you’re likely to have other opportunities at some point. Having predetermined guidelines for buying and selling can prevent emotion from dictating investment decisions. This article was written by Forefield, Inc. – Copyright 2008 and is being provided by Lindsay Turchetta, Financial Advisor with Waddell & Reed. Her office is located at 2016 Highland Avenue Greensburg, PA 15601 and she can be reached at 724-493-9473. The article should not be construed as advice meeting the particular investment needs of any investor and does not constitute a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. You are encouraged to seek advice from a professional advisor prior to making any financial decisions. Waddell & Reed and Forefield are not affiliated companies.

Every Story Begins At Home.

10 ounces chopped ripe tomato 1 pound ground lamb, browned and drained 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce 2 cups cooked rice 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 12 ounces feta cheese, crumbled Water 20 cabbage leaves 2 cups whole tomatoes in puree 1-2 cups vegetable cocktail juice, such as V-8, to taste 2 bay leaves

• Mix the ripe tomato, cooked lamb, salt, pepper, thyme, soy sauce, rice, parsley and feta cheese. (This will make enough filling for 16 to 20 cabbage leaves.) • Parboil (1-2 minutes) a cabbage head in water and remove 20 leaves, returning the cabbage to the water as needed to soften leaves. • Place {1/4} cup stuffing on the bottom of each cabbage leaf; roll up and place in a large saute pan. Cover with the whole tomatoes in puree and the vegetable cocktail juice. Tuck in the bay leaves. • Cover and simmer on top of the stove for 35-50 minutes. The rolls can be made a day ahead and then reheated, covered, for 45-50 minutes in a 350-degree oven. – Submitted by Sukey Jamison Makes 12 servings

Pumpkin Brownies • • • • •

2 C. all-purpose flour 1/2 C. instant mashed potato flakes 2 t. baking powder 1 t. salt 1 t. ground cinnamon

• • • • •

1 3 2 1 1

C. melted butter or margarine C. granulated sugar eggs 1/2 C. canned pumpkin C. chopped pecans or walnuts

Sift together flour, potato flakes, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Combine melted butter, sugar, eggs and pumpkin. Add sifted ingredients and nuts. Stir until well-blended, Pour into greased 9" x 13.5" glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. (Test with a toothpick inserted into center to determine if done.) Cut into squares when cool. – Submitted by Barbara M. Neill

The Black & Gold Martini (In honor of Pittsburgh’s 250th Anniversary) Pour 1.5 ounces of Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka into a martini shaker. Add 1.5 ounces of your favorite, tartest lemonade (we recommend “Simply Lemonade”) and shake. Serve in a cold martini glass or an old-fashion glass with crushed ice. Add a swizzle stick of black licorice, or a cube of blackdyed sugar. – from www.boydandblair.com (see our story on page 28)

Our Reader Recipe section has returned by popular demand! If you would like to share your favorite formulas with us, please mail them to: Laurel Mountain Post, PO Box 227, Latrobe PA 15650; or drop by our office, located at 206 Weldon Street in Latrobe.

November/December 2008 - 11


TECH TALK Bob Appleby

What Do You Want for Christmas? Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a gadget hound. I love almost anything digital, whether it is computer hardware or software, a digital camera or video recorder, any kind of entertainment device. I love working with them. I have one of the greatest jobs because it gives me the opportunity to try out new products every day. In this issue I am going to share some of my thoughts about media players and how to choose the best one for you. Whether you want to use a media player while you exercise, to fill time when you commute to work, or to be entertained while you are doing odd jobs around the house, you probably have lots of time you could fill. You can listen to music, news, podcasts or seminars that enhance or train you for a new skill, job or hobby. You may want to be entertained with video like TV shows, movies or some of the other amazing content that is popping up all over the Internet. All of these different ways of using media devices should be considered before you purchase. There is a definite line drawn in the sand between manufacturers of media devices. Apple has the lion’s share of this market. I’m sure you have heard of the iPod. I would be surprised if you haven’t. Apple makes many different devices to fill the different needs of this market. Other manufacturers make products that provide different features that might have a better fit for the way you use a media player and give you more flexibility. I’ll be talking about products that have the widest range of compatibility with the different music and audio book services. I used to be an avid book reader and when electronic book devices arrived on the scene, I was one of the first adopters. The only problem that I had with them was that there were many times that it was inopportune to use them. So I migrated to listening to books on tape. Audio books eventually evolved to CD’s and then became fully digital from online sources like Audible.com, who now provides 12 - November/December 2008

over 50,000 titles in audio format at a reasonable cost. So when I look at media devices, the first criteria that I have is whether it will support Audible.com’s audio format directly. If the device does so it is much easier to move the data onto the player. All of the products that I will be talking about support this feature.

Once you have purchased your device you need a way to manage your content both on and off of the device. Most of the players come with software to make this fairly easy, but only Apple’s iTunes and Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace put it all together in a simple, easy-touse interface that also lets you purchase new content and manage it. Apple’s iTunes is your primary method of purchasing music, TV shows, audio books, games and applications for iPod devices. With the iTunes program you can also import media from other sources like your CD collection or other online content you may purchase from sources like Amazon and others. If you want one simple interface for managing your media you will probably want to stick with iTunes or Microsoft Marketplace. Microsoft’s Marketplace encompasses not only their Zune media players, but also Xbox and other internet services you might use with your computer. Let’s begin with the simple mp3 players that do not support video. Apple makes a product called the iPod Shuffle that is priced at $49 for the 1GB version and $69 for the 2GB and comes in many colors. The best competition here is probably the

Creative MuVo T100 with 4GB storage direct USB connection to you PC and costs less at $44.95. Not as cute a design but it will do the job. The MuVo T200 has a 4GB version, sports FM radio and a voice recorder and adds a LED in the design to make it easier to work with the unit, $69.95. These devices are no frill units that have one purpose, to play mp3 files. You can listen to music or other audio content, but there is little or no visual control of the content on the device. These units are great for people who use the devices while they are working out, if you want something lightweight and don’t need the control. For more storage and control, Apple’s iPod nano might be a better choice. It is available in an 8GB

($149) or 16GB ($199) version, again with many colors to choose from. It has a 2 inch diagonal LCD screen support and 320x240 pixels. It uses Apple’s iPod dock connector for charging and connectivity. I bring this up because so many third party manufacturers’ make add-on products that work with this connection. I have an under counter TV that has a built-in iPod bay connector. This allows you to play back content through the device while you are charging it. These devices are also lightweight, and small, all solid state and will give you better flexibility. The screen is small but will work for watching short videos, showing off your snapshots and of course give you on screen control.

Microsoft has come out with their Zune media player that competes in this space. It is available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB versions, has a 1.8 inch screen and is priced at $129, $149 and $199 respectively. The Zune has some added features that may peak your interest that include FM Radio, 802.11 wireless connectivity and software that supports purchasing content wirelessly as well as syncing wirelessly. Microsoft has built these units around compatibility with the rest of their product line including connectivity and control through your Xbox as well. The Marketplace is easy to use but the software for pushing content to the unit is a little slow moving between screens. While it is better than when it first came out, it is still a little clunky. Like iTunes, the Marketplace works well for podcast distribution and works well with both audio and video podcasts. Their interface is simple and easy to use to control your subscriptions. Since we are a Microsoft household, the Zune was my unit of choice. I jumped on the bandwagon with the larger hard drive version which takes us to the next level. If you like carrying around most of your music collection, photos, lots of audio books, movies, TV shows and other video then you are going to need

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


the larger storage capacity. Apple and Microsoft have both addressed this need. Microsoft with their 30, 80 and 120GB units priced at $169, $229 and $249 respectively. These units have all the same capabilities as the smaller units but with a larger 3.2 inch screen. The iPod Classic comes in just a 120GB version and is priced the same as the Zune at $249. It has a slightly smaller screen, 2.5 inches, and still requires direct connection to control content. I like the Zune’s extra features but it is hard to beat the large number of add-on products that Apple’s players work with. Apple’s dock connector has become the industry standard and you have a large number of accessories that take full advantage of this connectivity. So if the wireless and radio features don’t entice you, the iPod is still the better choice.

A year and a half ago, Apple introduced the iPhone and shortly thereafter the iPod Touch unit was released for those that wanted the features of the iPhone without the phone. This is where Apple totally Every Story Begins At Home.

owns the market without any real competition to speak of. Except for one control button that takes you back to the main menu the iPod touch is controlled through its touch screen interface. This is an awesome entertainment device supporting audio, video, gaming, internet access, personal information management (PIM) and much more. This unit does have wireless connectivity that gets you onto the internet wherever you have WiFi access. If you need full access while on the road the iPhone supplies that. The iPod touch is available in 8, 16 and 32GB models, is solid state, and ranges in price from $229, $299 and $399 respectively. It is thin, light and has a 3.5 inch screen with an awesome interface. Its only drawback is its storage capacity. So if you are eager to have everything at your fingertips, you’ll love these products. As you can see, there are a lot of choices out there and most of them are based on how you want to use the media device, how much capacity you need and the features that you want at your fingertips. There are a lot of other devices on the market to choose from as well. I have mainly focused on those that have the supporting network to drive the media onto the device. This is usually half the battle. I have owned and used a great many products and the software that controls the interface has always been the most critical part of using these devices. The easier it is, the less frustrated you will be when using it. I hope this has given you some insight into the products and their capabilities and will make your purchasing decision much easier. Have a wonderful Holiday Season, and I will see you soon in the next issue. Bob has been working in the computer field since 1975 and started Computer Connections with his partner Jude Daigle in 1981 at the beginning of the personal computer revolution. Bob grew up in Ligonier and graduated from Ligonier H.S. in 1972. George Washington University is his college alma mater and he is currently living in the Greensburg area. You can see more tech tips and product reviews in Bob’s Blog pages at www.bobstechtalk.com .

Advent Tins:

A Unique and Meaningful Gift Each cookie tin has 5 new gifts and 5 new inspirational stories for 2008– one for each Sunday in Advent and one for Christmas. It’s a wonderful way to help someone enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. They are ideal for someone you love who is alone or lonely for the holidays. They are also enjoyed by families and children as well. Great for your mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, neighbor, co-worker, or friend. Please consider donating a gift to a program recipient. There are over 260 recipients in the Faith in Action Program who will receive the gifts and we need your help to fund this holiday project. Each donation of $10 will provide a gift for a Recipient. The Faith in Action Program is offering additional gifts for a donation of only $15 each- all beautifully wrapped and ready to deliver before Sunday, November 30, the first Sunday in Advent. The supply is very limited for this wonderful holiday gift.

Order by mail quickly; we generally sell out before the deadline. Order Deadline is November 17, 2008. Checks are payable to “Faith in Action” Program Donation: $10 per recipient Additional gifts/tins $15 per tin

Laurel Area Faith in Action P. O. Box 854 1414 Ligonier Street Latrobe, PA 15650 (724) 539-4357 faithinaction@msn.com www.laurelfia.org

November/December 2008 - 13


The Annual Art Gala: A Vision for Tomrorow

The GLSD Art Conservation Trust is pleased to announce the Annual Art Gala fundraiser at the Greater Latrobe Senior High School on Thursday, November 6, 2008. Gala proceeds benefit the Special Art Collection of the Greater Latrobe School District. The Gala marks 72 years of the tradition of students voting and purchasing original art for the high school. Cynthia S. Busch is the chair of the event and has announced the Rotary Club of Latrobe as the honorees. Gala attendees are able to view the art that lines the high school while they enjoy sumptuous hors d’oeuvres from: Chef Dato, Ernest Gourmet, Rizzo’s and Touch of Class. Attendees will also have an opportunity to preview the art that students are considering for purchase. Students have selected works from the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Annual exhibition, Southwestern PA Council for the Arts Annual exhibition, Westmoreland Museum of American Art Juried Biennial and Latrobe Art Center. Senior high docents will present the art under consideration and the evening concludes with the announcement of the student body’s vote and the Gala attendees vote. Each year, the Art Gala marks the time to renew or become a member of the Latrobe One Hundred Friends of Art. The Greater Latrobe community has supported the art collection from

Student-Selected Work Under Consideration Westmoreland Museum of American Art

Diana Williams Shall We Picnic Thru Latrobe Oil

Daniel Bolick Shut Up Acrylic & Latex 42 x 32 Carolyn Carson Conversion Fiber: cotton batiks 24 x 25

Leaves on Concrete Acrylic, 48 x 48

its beginnings in 1936. James R. Beatty and Mary Martha Himler were the founding teachers of the collection, recognized that if the concept were to succeed, it would need outside help. He sent out his Student Council to enroll members of the Latrobe One Hundred Friends of Art with dues of $1.00 a year, a not inconsiderable sum in the depression time of the late 1930s. The Latrobe One Hundred Friends of Art continues to support the art collection although the number has grown far beyond 100. In 1991, at the recommendation of Mr. Beatty, the Board of School Directors formed the GLSD Art Conservation Trust to oversee the care and conservation of the collection. The Art Trust is comprised of community members, faculty, school district administrators and members of the School Board. The Art Trust assists with the purchase of new paintings and oversees the professional conservation of the collection. In addition, the Art Conservation Trust secured funding for nearly a mile of museum-quality track lighting to showcase the paintings and to build the Center for Student Creativity in the senior high school.

Associated Artists of Pittsburgh Daniel Bolick Duality Acrylic and latex 40 x 40"

Wayne Forbes Resurrection Cast bronze 21 x 9 x 9

Joseph Ryznar

Kathy Rafferty Railroad Crossing Acrylic

Robert Anthony Jones Titan Oil on linen 48 x 36 David Ludwig Structure #3081 (red) Acrylic, granular quartz on wood 18 x 18 x 3 ½ Carl McGrady Covered Bridge Oil 24 x 24

Joyce Werwie Perry Joe Oil with knives on canvas 72 x 60 Lilli June Nieland Pittsburgh Parkway Oil on panel, diptych 10 x 45 Carol R. Brode Shadows at 1:48pm Mixed 16 x 16 x 2.5 Ellen Chisdes Nueberg Actualization Acrylic on canvas 48 x 60

Angela Pasquale Whitesand Island Mixed media 17 x 26

SPCarts at SAMA

Patrick Ruane Black Cherry Oil on canvas 60 x 40

Melinda Myers Grass Brugmansia IX Oil on canvas 20 x 20

Joseph Ryznar Leaves on Concrete Acrylic 48 x 48 Douglas Wynn Stigmatical Chac. Mool Oil on canvas 40 x 40 x 3

Latrobe Art Center Patricia Dickun Ydra Village Oil Becky Mormack Fall Harvest Oil

Melinda Myers Grass Fan Dance II Oil on Canvas 20 x 30 Gloria Goldsmith Hersch A Day in Autumn Acrylic 26 x 30 Richard Hower Conemaugh River Gap Acrylic 24 x 36 Alison Newman Derbyshire Dales II Acrylic 30 x 40

A Vision for Tomorrow: Charting the Course 2008 Art Gala Thursday, November 6

Patrick Ruane

Black Cherry Oil on canvas, 60 x 40

14 - November/December 2008

Art Gala tickets are $25 per person and walk-in registration is allowed. If you would like to be added to the Art Conservation Trust mailing list please contact Jessica Golden at 724.539.4220 or jessica.golden@glsd.k12.pa.us.

Patricia Dickun

Ydra Village Oil

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


Christmas in Ligonier! Get away from the hectic pace of the holidays and visit the participating merchants as they provide special holiday cheer. Make visiting Ligonier a holiday tradition.

November 28: Light-Up Night and Santa's Arrival 5:45-6:15 PM - Sweet Adelines 6:30 PM - Santa Arrives via Idlewild Park Trolley December 7: Town-Wide Open House Noon - 5 PM Scottdale Heritage Singers• Carriage Rides • Visits from Santa• Kettle Korn Valley Players presents A Ligonier Christmas, 2:30 PM Concert - Town Hall, 7 PM December 6 - 14: Festival of Lights Ligonier Town Hall Community Room December 6 - 14: Gingerbread House Contest Ramada Ligonier - Loyalhanna Street November 28 - December 29: Merchant Raffle Window 104 E. Main Street. Tickets available at participating merchants Free 2-hour parking these Saturdays: Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20. Chamber Gift Certificates available. Can be used town wide.

Sponsored by the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce 120 East Main Street • Ligonier, PA 15658 • 724-238-4200 • www.ligonier.com

There’s no magic to saving money on auto insurance. At Jerich Insurance, we do it every day. Don’t settle for one company’s quote. As Independent Insurance Agents, we work with several great insurance companies to find you the best coverage . . . at the lowest rates. We’ll make it fast and easy to switch your policy. We’ll do the paperwork – so you won’t have to. Add it up, and you can’t afford to miss this opportunity.

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Every Story Begins At Home.

November/December 2008 - 15


724-465-8848 724-349-2789

Indiana County, PA

1099 Poulos Road Indiana, Pennsylvania 15701

The Christmas Tree Capital of the World offers you the chance to . . . • Start a family holiday tradition • Visit a Christmas Tree Farm

Gregg VanHorn’s Christmas Tree Farm 5601 Highway 954 North Creekside, PA 15732 724-463-8201

OPEN 7 DAYS!

Owner Gregg VanHorn (ICCTGA President)

A Ukrainian Christmas tree has a spider and web for good luck. Legend has it that a poor woman with nothing to put on her children’s tree woke on Christmas morning to find the branches covered with spider webs turned to silver by the rising sun.

“Real Trees Make Scents”

E-MAR ACRES TREE FARM

• Choose and cut your own live tree • Enjoy our tree farm festivals • Ride a horse drawn wagon or hayride • Buy a unique holiday gift • Smell the fresh scent of pine • Explore the winter beauty of our county For more information on Christmas Trees, go online www.christmastreecapital.com For Calendar of Events, go online www.visitindianacountypa.org or call 1-877-7INDIANA

wholesale • retail • spruce • pine • fir

724-639-3610 or 639-3823 Growers Outlet and Maps located at The All American Barber Shop

222 Point Street in Saltsburg CHOOSE & CUT BY APPOINTMENT 1 Mile Off Rt. 286 on Nowrytown Rd. (look for signs)

Ron & Margie Mancabelli, Owners

Johnston Nursery 4842 Chambersville Rd. Creekside,Pa. 15732

724-463-8456

Christmas Trees • Wholesale/Retail • U-Cut Trees

16 - November/December 2008

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


Indiana County

Christmas Tree Capital of the World When winter arrives, it goes without saying that as the snow begins to fall in Indiana County, the choices of activities to choose from are endless during the holiday season. There are family sleigh rides, winter festivals, choirs singing, holiday parades and unique shopping experiences. Indiana County is also fortunate to have a claim to fame that surfaces more during the Christmas Holiday Season than any other time of the year. The fame is the fact that Indiana County claims to be the Christmas Tree Capital of the World. There are other parts of the world that have also made this claim; such as Nova Scotia and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and, just as they have their own justifications for using that title, Indiana County is also highly qualified. Even though other areas may now produce more trees, Indiana County, as reported by newspapers, was first to announce their claim and is the only region to stake their claim on highway signs and promote such notoriety. The story of how Christmas tree farming began in Indiana County is one of interest and certainly worth telling. According to the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, an organization that was formed on March 5, 1956, the story goes something like this: Growing Christmas trees as a farm crop seems to have started in Indiana County in the years following 1918 by Murray Stewart, Sam Dible, Walter Schroth, Silas Streams, Fred Musser and others who planted various pines and spruces. Pioneering in any line is usually a slow process, and Christmas tree farming was no exception. So, it was not until in the 1930’s and 40’s that the industry expanded. By 1960 it was estimated that there were more than 200 Christmas tree growers in the county marketing one million or more trees annually. Through extensive experimentation and research, the quality of Indiana County trees has been upgraded through the years by improving cultural practices. Proper methods were developed for site selection, planting techniques, control of grasses, weeds and woody brush, shearing trees for best shape, removal of cult trees, and control of diseases and insect pests. This care must continue for seven to as many as fifteen years. The climate, topography and type of soil and moisture in the county are amazingly well adapted to the growing of the various species of evergreen trees used for Christmas. Evergreens have always been part of the natural Indiana County growth. As family farming declined, thousands of acres of cleared land

Every Story Begins At Home.

became available for Christmas tree culture. Though much of this land was poorly suited for conventional crop farming, it has proven excellent for evergreen trees. According to Gregg Van Horn, president of the Indiana County Tree Growers Association, “about five dozen commercial tree farms thrive throughout the county, but there are also lots of smaller growers who might have an acre or so of trees planted on their land.” Indiana County’s location in West Central Pennsylvania is a natural advantage for distribution of Christmas trees that are shipped throughout the United States. Today, thousands of trees – including Douglas, Fraser, Canaan and Concolor firs, Scotch and White Pine, as well as Colorado spruce – are harvested each year. While most are shipped to cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC, several farms set up “tree lots” for the season allowing families to choose their own trees grown among the rolling hillsides of Indiana County. A few farms, such as Flemings Christmas Tree Farms and Gamble Tree Farms host holiday weekends where visitors can walk or take a horse drawn wagon ride into the fields to make their selection of that “perfect tree” to take home and decorate. Musser Forests continues to be the largest wholesale and retail producer in Indiana County, having started their operation in 1928. In addition to the fragrant aroma of a real tree, here are some reasons why real trees should be chosen over fake Christmas trees. Real trees clean air and produce oxygen; in fact, one acre of Christmas trees produce enough air for 18 people per day. Also, real trees provide a natural habitat for birds and animals while fake trees carry the potential for lead poisoning in the coloring used. Real trees help keep our water clean, our soil stable, and our countryside more ethically pleasing. When recycled, real trees make excellent garden mulch compared to what happens when recycling fake trees. In landfills, fake trees leech toxins into our groundwater. In the spirit of supporting our claim to fame, Indiana County encourages you to visit a local Christmas tree farm and pick your own live tree this year. In fact, why not make that a holiday tradition? For more information on the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers Association visit www.christmastreecapital.com or for information on holiday events in Indiana County visit www.visitindianacountypa.org – Penny Perman, Executive Director Indiana County Tourist Bureau

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November/December 2008 - 17


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18 - November/December 2008

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


DOWN ON THE FARM Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture

Welcome to the Good Food Neighborhood! Linking Local Food, Farms and People

A new online resource, Good Food Neighborhood (found at www.buylocalpa.org), is making it easier for Pennsylvanians to make thoughtful food choices by linking together local farms, food and people. Consumers hear more and more each day about the nutritional, environmental, economic and social benefits of eating local food that is produced in a responsible manner. But in this age of information overload, what consumers want most is exactly what the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) can offer: practical advice on finding the best foods available in their region. “The general public today is more aware of food quality issues than ever before, and they are yearning to reconnect in a meaningful way with the sources of their nourishment,” explained Brian Snyder, PASA’s Executive Director. “We intend to help satisfy that desire here in Pennsylvania, and in so doing, keep our farmers on the land, doing what they do better than any in the world . . . provide good food for their neighbors.” A new web-based initiative of statewide Buy Fresh Buy Local ® program, Good Food Neighborhood delivers membership benefits for those whose main role in the food system is shopping, cooking and eating. “Over the past 16 years, PASA has built a community of farmers who help each other to make better choices in their farming operations,” added Chris Fullerton, PASA’s Director of Consumer Outreach. “With Good Food Neighborhood, we hope to do something similar for consumers, by giving them tools to make finding and choosing local foods easier, both individually and in cooperation with their neighbors.” For an annual contribution of $30 members receive: • Personalized seasonal product updates from local food providers on buylocalpa.org • A subscription to Eaters Digest, an enewsletter on good food news in Pennsylvania (and beyond) • Occasional offers or other rewards from local food businesses • An online social networking site called Community Table, where neighbors can connect around local food shopping, cooking and learning • Discounts at the buylocalpa.org online store Every Story Begins At Home.

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The updated version of buylocalpa.org, PASA’s online home for the Pennsylvania Buy Fresh Buy Local ® program, “went live” just after Labor Day, with a brand new design and many new features. Many of the improvements on the site give producers and sellers of local food new tools for reaching potential customers:

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• What’s In Season Now? That’s a big question for consumers. If someone goes looking for local sweet corn in February, that shopper should be able to find out that they’re a little late! Farmers with a profile on the site can create a list of all their products at the beginning of the season with general start and end dates of availability. Software that runs the site takes a look at that list each week and automatically adds and removes products that should be in or out of season. Of course, there is the ability to override the system just in case a strawberry crop fails or the first frost comes later than expected.

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• Mapped Locations: If a farm with a CSA (community-supported agriculture) program is located 50 miles outside of the city, but it has 15 drop points within the city, potential members will now be able to locate all the dropoff points rather than just the actual farm location. • Trading Partners: Farms, restaurants, stores, markets and even consumers can map out their food-shed by creating links on their profiles to the businesses they work with (as long as these other businesses are also listed on the site). For example, a consumer visiting a restaurant profile can see that it buys from a certain farm, learn that this farm sells at three local markets and two stores, and then find out that one of these stores acts as a drop point for a CSA and is holding a tasting event soon. The introduction of Google mapping technology to the site now makes it easier for consumers to search for (and find) all kinds of local food providers by entering just a zip code (which results in an interactive map showing all their local food options). A Glossary of food terms was added to help shoppers understand the choices they face in the marketplace, as well as a Community Cookbook and even a Blog.

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some local events, and even craft their own online profile, linking directly to their favorite local food providers and telling the world why they love local food. The first 100 neighbors to join the Good Food Neighborhood will receive a Buy Fresh Buy Local® cap or t-shirt. The Good Food Neighborhood makes it easier for Pennsylvania consumers to find, choose and appreciate great locally-grown foods and support the farmers and lands that produce them. Visit www.buylocalpa.org — it’s a delicious new day in the neighborhood! PASA is the only statewide, member-based, sustainable farming organization in Pennsylvania and is one of the largest in the nation. Through its history, regular membership in the organization has grown steadily, reaching approximately 1,000 at the ten-year point, and almost 5,000 by the 16th anniversary earlier this year. Consistently, about two-thirds of PASA members are farmers .

Consumers who fill out a simple registration form on the site can add their own comments to online business profiles (e.g. “don’t miss the blueberries - they’re to die for!”), upload recipes (e.g. “Uncle George’s Corn Fritters”), register for November/December 2008 - 19


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2008 COMMUNITY CALENDAR Through November 15 Joan Coate Milsom : Breaking Free Free Exhibition of Paintings Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley, Ligonier, PA 724-238-6015. www.sama-art.org Weekends Through December 14 Harvest Candlelight Tours 3-7 PM Compass Inn Museum 724-238-4983. www.compassinn.com Through December 28 From the Ruhr Valley to the Steel City: Industrial Scenes from the Rhineland Industrial Museum Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA. 724-837-1500 www.wmuseumaa.org Nov.1 Murder Mystery Dinner Show 7 PM Ramada Historic Ligonier 724-238-9545. www.ramadaligonier.com Nov 1 River City Brass Band Presents “Birth Of A Great City” 8 PM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 1-800-292-7222. www.thepalacetheatre.org Nov. 1 Murder Mystery Dinner Theater Halloween Edition Christian W. Klay Winery,Chalk Hill, PA. 724-439-3424 www.cwklaywinery.com Nov. 1 Phyllis Chen Toy Piano St. Vincent Concert Series 8 PM Robert S Carey Performing Arts Center. Latrobe, PA 724-805-2565 Nov. 2 Bridal Fair 2008 12 PM-4 PM Mountain View Inn, Greensburg, PA 724-834-5300 ext. 556 www.mountainviewinn.com Nov.4 Senior Social 2 PM Country Café & Video, Pleasant Unity, PA. 724-537-4331 www.latroberecreation.org Nov. 6 Latshaw Productions Presents Ricky Skaggs 8 PM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-836-8000 www.palacetheatre.org Nov. 6 Senior Social 2 PM Valley Dairy on Jefferson St., Latrobe,PA. 724-537-4331 www.latroberecreation.org Nov. 6 – 9 IlluXcon Art Convention Altoona Heritage Discover Center, Altoona, PA. 814-940-1922 www.illuxcon.com

20 - November/December 2008

Nov. 7 Light-Up Night & Santa Arrival 7 PM Westmoreland Mall, Greensburg, PA. www.westmorelandmall.com Nov. 7-9 Smicksburg Old-Fashioned Country Christmas Open House Downtown, Smicksburg, PA 814-257-0192 www.smicksburg-dayton.com Nov. 9 thru Feb. 1, 2009 Scalp Level Revisited Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA. 724-837-1500 www.wmuseumaa.org Nov. 13 Ron White IUP, Fisher Auditorium, Indiana, PA 724-357-1313 www.onstageatiup.com Nov. 14-16 Christmas Open House Old General Store, Mt. Pleasant, PA 724-547-7112 www.oldgeneralstore.com Nov. 14-22 The Bald Soprano & The Lesson Reeves Theatre, Seton Hill University Greensburg, PA 724-838-4241 www.setonhill.edu Nov. 15 Ligonier Valley Writers Help Desk 2 PM-4 PM at Barnes & Noble, Greensburg, PA Nov. 16 Christmas in the City 12PM-5 PM Downtown Shopping District, Greensburg, PA 724-853-7145 Nov. 16 Share the Spirit Shopping Night 6 PM-9PM Uniontown Mall, Uniontown, PA 724-437-9411 www.shopuniontownmall.com Nov. 16-18 Light-Up Night Weekend Glades Court Mall, Somerset, PA 814-443-9166 www.lhmrc.org

Nov 18 Westmoreland Cultural Trust Presents Rockapella 7 PM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-836-8000 www.palacetheatre.org

Nov. 23 Holiday Craft Show Mountain View Inn, Greensburg, PA 724-834-5300 or 800-537-8709 www.mountainviewinn.com

Nov 20 An Evening with Travis Tritt & Marty Stuart IUP, Fisher Auditorium, Indiana, PA 724-357-1313 www.onstageatiup.com

Nov. 23 Westmoreland Cultural Trust Presents “Babes in Toyland” Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-836-8000 www.palacetheatre.org

Nov. 21 Light Up Night on the Diamond 3 PM- 9 PM Somerset, PA 814-443-9166 www.lhmrc.org

Nov. 23 thru Jan. 13, 2009 Holiday Toy Exhibition Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA. 724-837-1500 www.wmuseumaa.org

Nov. 21 Seton Hill University Dance Academy Ballet Presents The Wizard Of Oz 7 PM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-836-8000 www.palacetheatre.org Nov 21-23 Greater Pittsburgh Arts & Crafts Holiday Spectacular Laurel Highlands Event Center (behind Westmoreland Mall), Greensburg, PA 724-863-4577 www.familyfestivals.com Nov. 21-Jan 1, 2009 Overly’s Country Christmas Westmoreland County Fairgrounds, Greensburg, PA 724-423-1400 or 800-968-3759 www.overlys.com

Nov. 27 14th Annual Latrobe Turkey Trot Legion Keener Park, Latrobe, PA 724-537-4331 www.latroberecreation.org Nov. 28 Charity Benefit for Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity Featuring 3 Bricks Shy Plus Food, Fun, Music and Raffles- 50/50 7 to Midnight Ligonier Country Inn 724-523-0308 www.3bricks.com Nov. 28 Rocker Dave Mason 7:30 PM Seven Springs Mountain Resort. 800-452-2223 www.7springs.com

Nov 22 Gary Pratt 8 PM Greensburg Garden & Civic Center 724-836-3074 www.westmorelandcultraltrust.org

Nov. 28 Ligonier Light Up Night Downtown, Ligonier, PA 724-238-4200 www.ligonier.com

Nov 22 Santa’s Arrival Parade 1 PM Uniontown Mall, Uniontown, PA 724-437-9411 www.shopuniontownmall.com

Nov. 28 Vandergrift Light Up Night & Parade 6PM-8PM Grant Ave, Vandergrift, PA 724-567-5286 www.officalvandergrift.com

Nov. 22 Holiday Parade 12 PM Main Street, Greensburg, PA www.city.greensburg.pa.us

Nov. 28 Westmoreland Cultural Trust & America Family Theater present Babes in Toyland 10 AM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-836-8000 www.palacetheatre.org

Nov. 22 Woods Tea Company St. Vincent College Concert Series 8 PM LRobert S Carey Performing Arts Center, St. Vincent College, Latrobe, PA

Nov. 28-30 Open House Stone Villa Wine Cellars, Acme, PA 724-423-5604 www.stonevilla.com

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


Nov. 28 – 30, Dec 6-7, 13-14 Christmas Candlelight tours Compass Inn Museum, Laughlintown, PA. 724-238-4983 www.compassinn.com Nov. 28 – 30, Weekends Dec 1-23 Christmas Candlelight tours Nemacolin Castle, Brownsville, PA 724-785-6882 www.nemacolincastle.org Nov. 28-30 Scenes of Christmas Casino Theatre, Vandergrift, PA 724-567-5049 www.casinotheatre.org Nov. 29-30 19th Annual Festival of Lights 1:30PM-9:30 PM Bradock Trail Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution former Warden Mansion, Mt. Pleasant, PA. 724-423-3275 www.geocities.com/ fol15666 Nov. 29- Feb. 14, 2009 Southwestern PA Council for the Arts 13th Annual Regional Juried Art Exhibition Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley, Ligonier, PA 724-238-6015 www.sama-art.org Dec. 1- 30 Christmas at Mountain View Inn Mountain View Inn, Greensburg, PA 724-834-5300 www.mountainviewinn.com

Dec. 6 Holiday Home Tour Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art at Ligonier Valley, Ligonier, PA 724-238-6015 www.sama-art.org

Dec. 9 Slovak Christmas Eve (Stedry Vecer) 4-8 PM Bishop Connare Center, Rt. 30 East, Greensburg, PA 724-423-2616

Dec. 6 River City Brass Band Presents “And the Angels Sing” 2PM & 8 PM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 800-292-7222 www.palacetheatre.org

Dec. 11 Pennsylvania’s Native Landscape (Free Event) 7 PM Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA 724-837-1500 www.wmuseumaa.org

Dec. 6 3rd Annual Holiday Benefit Concert proceeds benefit local animal shelters 7:30 PM Casino Theatre, Vandergrift, PA. 724-567-5049 www.casinotheatre.org

Dec. 12 WCCC Community Choir & Orchestra Holiday Concert 7:30 PM Science Hall Theater,Westmoreland Community College, Youngwood, PA 724-925-6890 www.wccc.edu

Dec. 6-7, 13-14 Christmas in Salem Crossroads Delmont, PA 724-468-4003 Dec. 6-14 Ligonier Festival of Lights Ligonier Town Hall, Ligonier, PA 724-238-6818 www.ligonierhistoricalsociety.org Dec. 6-14 Gingerbread House Contest Historic Ramada Inn, Ligonier, PA 724-238-4200 www.ligonier.com

Dec. 18 Westmoreland Jazz Society: Lisa Ferraro 7:30 PM Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA 724-837-1500 ext. 27 www.wmuseumaa.org

Dec.4-7 Festival of Lights Braddock Trail Chapter House/ Warden Mansion. Mt. Pleasant, PA 724-423-3275 www.geocities.com/fol15666

Dec. 5-7 3rd Annual Dickens of a Christmas Downtown Ebensburg, PA 814-472-8780 www.ebensburgdickens.com Dec. 5-7 Christmas in the Mountains Rt. 31 Donegal/ Somerset Corridor, Somerset, PA. 814-443-2897 www.christmasinthemountains.net Dec. 5-7 Pittsburgh Arts & Crafts Christmas Extravaganza Laurel Highlands Event Center (behind Westmoreland Mall), Greensburg, PA 724-863-4577 www.familyfestivals.com Dec. 6 Free Christmas Cookie Tour 10AM-3 PM Historic Downtown Irwin, PA. 724-296-8074 www.irwinpa.org Dec. 6 Christmas Open House Christian W. Klay Winery, Chalk Hill, PA. 724-439-3424 www.cwklaywinery.com

Every Story Begins At Home.

Dec. 17 What is the Nature of Nature? 19th Century Literature & the Landscape 12 PM Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA 724-837-1500 www.wmuseumaa.org Dec. 17 Gary Latshaw’s “Big Band Christmas Spectacular 2 & 8 PM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-836-8000 www.palacetheatre.org

Dec. 4 Luminary Night 5PM-9PMGreensburg Shopping District, Greensburg, PA 724-853-7145

Dec. 5 Latshaw Productions Presents The Smothers Brothers Christmas Show Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-836-8000 www.palacetheatre.org

Dec.13-14 Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra Presents “The Nutcracker” Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-837-1850 www.palacetheatre.org

Dec. 7 Christmas Town-Wide Open House 12PM-5 PM Downtown Ligonier 724-238-4200 www.ligonier.com Dec. 7 Holiday Tour of Homes 12 PM-4 PM Academy Hill Historic District. Greensburg, PA Call for reservations 724-832-9095 www.academy-hill.org Dec. 7 Stage Right Presents “A Christmas Carol” 2 & 7 PM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA 724-836-8000 www.palacetheatre.org Dec. 7- March 29, 2009 Violet Oakley: The Founding of the State Of Liberty Spiritual Westmoreland Museum of American Art, Greensburg, PA 724-837-1500 www.wmuseumaa.org Dec. 9 Cahal Dunne’s Wonderful World of Christmas Mountain View Inn, Greensburg, PA 724-853-4050 www.mountainviewinn.com

Dec. 20 Home for the Holidays! Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra. 8 PM Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA. 724-837-1850 www.palacetheatre.org Dec. 20- Feb. 15, 2009 Covered Bridges: Spanning the American Landscape (Free Event) Altoona Heritage Discovery Center, Altoona, PA 814-940-1922 Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve Celebration with “Back in Time” 9 PM-1 AM Mountain View Inn, Greensburg, PA 724-834-5300 www.mountainviewinn.com Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve with Finesse Chestnut Ridge Resort 724-459-7191 www.chestnutridgeresort.com Jan 2-3, 2009 An Evening with Ralphie May Seven Prings Mountain Resort, Seven Springs, PA 800-703-7625 www.7springs.com

WINTER BARN HOURS Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 1st Saturday ONLY of each month 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. CLOSED Monday and Sunday

FOUR SEASONS OF WINNIE PALMER NATURE RESERVE RECEPTION Saturday, November 1, 2008 10:00 a.m. - Noon A cookies and hot apple cider reception will be held at Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve Barn to open the "FOUR SEASONS of WINNIE PALMER NATURE RESERVE" SHOW. Hosted by the Reserve and cosponsored by the Latrobe Art Center, the show is in two parts and will display and sell works in a variety of media, but ALL work will be concerned with the Nature Reserve. Water colors, pastel, oil, acrylic, and other media pieces will be made available for sale- check or cash only at the Reserve. 10% of the proceeds will benefit WPNR programs and events. The show will also be displayed at Latrobe Art Center 819 Ligonier Street. Both parts of the show will be on display until November 29th. Latrobe Art Center is open M-F 10:00 am 5:00 pm and Sat 10:00am-3:00pm.

NATIVE AMERICANS MYTHS AND LEGENDS Saturday, December 6, 2008 Noon - 2:00 p.m. Master story teller, Michael Muchnock will share selected Indian stories. Some believable to modern people, others not so believable, but none the less, entertaining. The soothing sound of his music, The Buffalo Spirit will be featured. Most of the stories will teach a lesson to young and old alike. All ages are invited to attend for a traditional interactive drumming circle experience! For more information, please call 724-537-5284 or 724-537-5285, or visit our website: http://facweb.stvincent.edu.eec. Trails Open Year Round 7 Days a Week, Dawn to Dusk

To submit your community event to this calendar, please email complete information to: advertising@LaurelMountainPost.com Questions? Call 724-331-3936 November/December 2008 - 21


DERRY REMEMBRANCES Ruth Richardson

My wedding anniversary is coming Daddy would have handed me the few apartments, and the rent was up. On November 18, Doug and I Bulletin and told me to check the about what a house payment would will be married 41 years. 41 years, want ads, or to’ travel’ down to the be. I remember all the landlords how can that possibly be true? I so unemployment office, and ‘find asking us for a marriage license. vividly recall the day we drove my myself’ a job. Some of my friends Most of them would not rent to you mom to the Greensburg who went to college were engaged, unless you were married. It was courthouse where she had to sign and sometimes even married, by virtually unheard of back then to papers giving permission for her 19 their junior or senior year. And if live together. Not until that ring year old daughter to obtain a they did wait until they got their was on your finger. We both had marriage license. When I think degree, they were married very exact ideas of what our place was about the early twenty-somethings shortly after they had that going to look like and some that I know today, they seem so very sheepskin safely in hand. Many landlords didn’t appreciate our young to me. Is it just growing older boys were drafted and decided to tie decorating ideas. So, the hunt for that changes our perception, or was the knot with their sweethearts the perfect house was on. We both the typical 19 year old in the 60’s before they were shipped half way decided we wanted a big old barn of very different from today’s around the world. The unwritten a place, and we found the perfect counterpart? When we got engaged and vague rule for girls was, if you one on North Chestnut Street in in the summer of 1967, I had been had no engagement ring or Derry. It was the old Humphrey’s working as a secretary for a year, prospects for getting one by the homestead, and was located less (starting just 5 days after time you were 25, you sensed the than a mile from both of our commencement) at VASCO dreaded term ‘old maid’ creeping families. When we walked (Vanadium Alloys Steel through the front door Company – it later for the first time and became Teledyne.) My saw the Victorian, fiancé had completed circular staircase in two years of computer the front foyer, we school at The Pittsburgh were smitten. Automation Institute The next step was and had been gainfully to bring our parents employed for a year at over to have a look. Walworth Valve The four of them were Company in South oddly silent as they Greensburg as a looked around. For production coordinator. some reason, they In those days, after weren’t quite as we turned 18, we knew enthusiastic as we it was time to start were. Both of our dads planning our futures. walked into the Ruthie and Doug honeymooning in the Pocono’s. For a great many of us, kitchen (or what would this is when we started become the kitchen thinking about since it had nary a marriage, of buying a house and into your existence. So there we cabinet) talking quietly to each starting a family. After high school were, at the ripe old ages of 19 and other and chuckling. We joined graduation, we were officially 21, “Mr. and Mrs. I- Don’t- Have- Athem in the living room, anxious considered grown ups and expected Clue!” to be congratulated on our fabulous to act as such, whether that meant The wedding was set for find, only to hear my dad ask, with going to college, getting a job, or November, so we decided the a puzzled look on his face, “Are you joining the service. I can imagine summer before the nuptials that both nuts?” Unlike the two of us, my parents’ reaction had I told it would be silly to pay rent on an they weren’t blinded by stars in them I wanted to take a year off to apartment when we could buy a their eyes, and could easily see the ‘find myself’ or to ‘travel.’ I’m sure house instead. We had looked at a unfathomable amount of work it 22 - November/December 2008

would take to turn that old beauty into the modern, updated home we envisioned. Undaunted, we made the trip to The Fidelity Deposit Bank in Derry, (or the Upper Bank, as it was known). We sat down across the desk from Don Herald, as he eyed us warily, the smoke from his cigarette curling towards the ceiling. After diligently reading the mountain of paperwork, we signed the papers for our mortgage. The amount of this loan was staggering to us - $9,000.00. And all we were getting for this exorbitant amount was a three story, five bedroom house with a two car garage and workshop. This vast amount was to be repaid in increments of a whopping $53.00 per month for what seemed like the rest of our natural lives. We then had to take out a personal loan for remodeling. That $2,500.00 loan added on another $28.00 a month to our crushing debt. This loan had to be secured by Doug’s dad, Vaughn, since our credit limit had been reached, and back then, you needed a co-signer in case you defaulted. Maybe the big boys of banking today could take a lesson. I remember sitting at my mom’s kitchen table with a tablet and pencil shortly after receiving my .78 carat oval cut diamond (Elizabeth Taylor’s could not have been more spectacular!) I was figuring out a family budget for my future little family, and my dad sat down with me to see how it was going. I said to him, “Daddy, you can’t imagine how much money Doug and I will be making after we get married!” He was sipping a cup of coffee and it almost shot out of his nose, as he choked on his laughter. I had no idea what he could possibly think was so funny, and made no bones about telling LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


him so. He apologized and promised me we would revisit this topic on my 6 month anniversary, and celebrate just how wealthy we had become. All of the steel mills in the area offered top wages with full benefits in those days, and my job at VASCO paid me a king’s ransom of $285.00 a month. Of course that was before taxes, but still, an awful lot of money for a girl who lived at home with no expenses. And as for Doug, he was really knocking down the bucks $365.00 a month. Sure, we had a car payment, and added on to that, a new mortgage, and no furniture, but surely that wouldn’t cause a problem. We knew we would be living large. And since we would be rolling in all that dough, we made our first household purchase. We plunked down $600 on a record player at Penn Furniture in Latrobe (actually it went on their revolving charge) so we could play the entire 17 minute album version of In-A-Gadda-DaVida by Iron Butterfly. Followed by the newly released Jimi Hendrix, Are You Experienced album featuring Purple Haze, my personal fave! Our parents nearly had a fit about this purchase (not to mention their reaction to the actual music.) I can still hear their raised voices, “No sofa, no chairs, no kitchen table, and you two pay that amount of money for a stereo?” Doug and I were baffled by their reaction, but what did we know? We hadn’t yet figured into our budget those pesky utilities, and property taxes, and insurances, and groceries, and all the various other sundry expenses that have become so familiar to us over the years. We were young and starry-eyed, the world was our oyster, and now it would be filled with wonderful music. Once the house was ours, the wedding planning began in earnest. Our reception choice was Green Gables in Jennerstown. Mom and I made the trip and got all the prices. What a gorgeous and unique room it was, and still is today. Doug had taken me to dinner there often while we were dating, and it held a special place in our hearts. We also liked the banquet room at the Latrobe Elks where Doug’s dad was a lifelong member. We wanted the champagne to be flowing, the tables to be groaning under the weight of a multitude of gourmet selections, and the dancing to last all night. Every Story Begins At Home.

But my parents were not the Rockefellers. Mom sat me down halfway into the preparations, and said she had a proposition for me. She told me she and daddy had a set amount of money to spend for the wedding, the reception, and a wedding gift. And her budget was $2,000.00, an enormous sum in my young eyes. I knew how hard my parents had worked and saved for that money, and it meant the world that they would use it to give

me a day to remember. Mom proceeded to explain to me that I could have the wedding of my dreams, complete with Champaign (or maybe even Boones Farm Strawberry Hill, a favorite vintage of the day!) She said we could have it all, with all the trimmings at Green Gables……..or……..we could choose a scaled down version and she and daddy would buy the wall to wall carpeting for our entire house (which at this point was

coming along quite nicely.) We had to decide which one, because they couldn’t afford both. Doug and I mulled it over. What to do? Have a big party so all our friends could wake up the next day with a headache, or go for that big purchase item that we couldn’t afford. It took us about five minutes to decide on the carpet. We would have the parties later on, at our house. continued on page 24

November/December 2008 - 23


continued from page 23

Our big day arrived on a cold and snowy Saturday in 1967, and Mom, Daddy and I drove up the street to the E.U.B. Church in West Derry. The ceremony went off without a hitch and our little reception took place in the church social hall. Our wedding cake came from Ziegler’s Bakery on First Avenue, and it was beautiful and delicious, with clusters of pink roses. I didn’t even mind that Francis Kistler (with her tidy white bun at the nape of her neck) had been unable to find a cake topper that featured a bride with blond hair, and I had to settle for a brunette. All the flowers were created by Glenn Gundaker, or Gunny as he was known, and they were even more beautiful than I had imagined. I had originally wanted lilacs and lily of the valley, but in those days, no one I knew ordered out of season blossoms. We didn’t special order any pricy imports from Holland, no tulips in the middle of winter. It was November and I had to make do. Sweet Mr. Gundaker helped me to choose a beautiful alternative. He even managed to find some little silk lilies of the valley and surprised me by tucking them in with my white carnations and gardenias. He had created a separate little nosegay with those gardenias, and attached it to the center of my bouquet. He showed me how to remove this little corsage after the wedding so I could pin it on the jacket of my ‘going away’ outfit, thereby saving us the cost of an extra corsage. How thoughtful was that? The ladies of

the church cooked a wonderful feast (as only ladies from the church can do) and a good time was had by all. Next step – we were off to our honeymoon in the magnificent Pocono’s, where everything was heart-shaped! We were there the week of Thanksgiving, and had an absolute blast. The resort was called Honeymoon Haven, and consisted of groups of individual cottages, each having a bedroom, a little sitting room with a fireplace, and a bathroom with a heart shaped tub. In the center of the complex was a beautiful old lodge where they provided entertainment every night and excursions into the mountains every day. Everyone staying there that week had been married the previous Saturday, the same day as we had, and most of them had brought a big stash of ‘refreshments’ left over from their weddings. There were couples honeymooning there from all over the country, and it turned into a fabulous week-long party. From what I hear, a scaled down wedding today can set you back $20,000, easy. And for a real blow-out, count on at least $50 grand. The wedding gowns alone can start at two or three thousand dollars and $75 to $100 per plate is about right for a nice dinner including liqueur. Does the word ‘elope’ come to mind? So come November 18 we will be celebrating 41 years of wedded bliss, and the bride and groom have turned into –Mr. and Mrs. Boy-WeSure-Learned-A-Lot! We have shared exhilarating joys, and devastating losses, always putting one foot in front of the other, aiming our heads into the wind and

The happy couple, leaving the church right after the I do’s! 11/18/67

24 - November/December 2008

marching forward - together. We have been each others champions. Sometimes one of us was called upon to be a stalwart warrior, and act as a buttress for the slings and arrows being cast towards the one we love. And we were always aware that in the next breath, that the warrior could be brought to his or her knees, could be dealt the kind of devastating blows that life allots to all of us. How comforting to know that no matter what, we could always reach up and grasp that familiar and loving hand. The one we had learned to depend on, the one that was always there, ready to lift us up. We have weathered the overwhelming grief of losing all four of our parents, and the profound joy of the birth of our daughter, Nicole, and more recently, our granddaughter, RileyBelle. We have experienced every triumph and every loss together, walking side by side. Sometimes, I have to admit, we were also nose to nose in the epic battles that only

long-time married couples can wage. But, for me, it is the laughter, that side splitting laughter that comes from a lifetime of ‘inside jokes’ that stands out the most. All those years of fun, all the dances we have shared, all of the adventures – big and small, is what we will remember. All the hardships and worries can’t compete with a lifetime of triumphs and joys. And I can’t wait to see just how much mischief we can create in the next 41 years! Ruth loves to share memories with you. Email her at: Ruth-Elaine@comcast.net

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


HO-HO-HO: Holiday Safety Is No Laughing Matter by Brian Mischler Once upon a time as a young lad, my family had a dog like so many other families do. Our dog, Snooper, was a short little terrier mix, perhaps a foot tall at the shoulder, with wiry brown hair, a lighter brown underbelly, short muzzle, straight up pointy ears, and a tail that curled up and touched his back. A fun and constant companion, although diminutive in size, Snooper was ever the lion-hearted watchdog, ready to protect his pack from harm, foreign or domestic. After having set up our annual “live” Christmas tree, and installing the train around its base, Snooper was quick to investigate. Sitting in my chair, watching him check things out, he seemed to be ready to give it his approval, when he decided to lick the model railroad track. For those of you who may not be familiar, , as Snooper was about to learn, a model train receives its power through its track! When his wet tongue contacted the track, I heard what would now be referred to as a

Every Story Begins At Home.

fly-zapper noise, and my poor dog made a vertical leap into the air that would make an NBA point guard proud!!! His feet were running before they hit the floor, and he vanished!!! Snooper lived another 10 years after that, always giving the Christmas tree wide berth. Ahh, the good ol’ days!!! Unfortunately we people are not too different from Snooper; we have to have something bad happen in order to learn, and hopefully this article will help prevent a shock. August is the time of year when the Christmas tree harvest actually begins, and if you didn’t know, Indiana county Pennsylvania is the Christmas tree capital. Most folks purchase their “live” tree sometime around Thanksgiving, and put it up in their living rooms. Wait a second, so that “live” tree was cut and harvested kept without water, and shipped three months before it was purchased? In the boy scouts we had a name for three month old dry wood. “Kindling”. So as tradition dictates, we put our tree into a flimsy stand and decorate

it with 90 year old Chinese made Christmas lights and regularly water the tree for two – three days before forgetting about it entirely. Ask any firefighter, and it’s no surprise that there is an average of 210 reported tree related structure fires every year, causing $12.1 million in property damage, not to mention the “little” incidents that go unreported. Also, there is an average of 15,600 fires started by candles, with the peak month being December. As you set forth this year to prepare for the holiday festivities, follow these guidelines, available from the National Fire Protection Association, and available on their website, www.nfpa.org: • Never purchase a tree with dry or drooping needles, keep it in a sturdy stand, and keep it moist and live as possible by giving it plenty of fresh water daily. Position the tree close to an outlet to minimize the amount of cord, and at least three feet away from heat sources; fireplaces, heat ducts, space heaters, etc.

• If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is fire retardant. • Use only UL approved lights, and make sure the lights, sockets, and cords are in good condition. If there is any question, replace the set. Use the lights in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions; yes, read the directions guys!! Usually not more than 3 strands for push type bulbs and 5 strands for screw in type. Too many strings plugged into one another can cause the wire to overheat. • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. • Keep children (and pets!!) away or closely supervised. Other things we often fail to consider, and I’ve learned since my youth: • Don’t burn the wrapping paper in your fireplace; it’s not good for the fireplace, chimney or the environment. Get it out of the house, ready for recycling as soon as possible; it is highly flammable. continued on page 26

November/December 2008 - 25


continued from page 25

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• Keep cords out of the way, but not under rugs, or in locations where they might get damaged. (i.e. behind rocking chairs) • Keep your sidewalks clear of snow, ice and debris. • Do not replace your regular exterior lighting with holiday lights. Keep your white bright lights where they are. Holiday lights were never intended to illuminate walking paths or stairs. • The kitchen and especially unattended cooking is the leading cause of home fires during the holidays. Keep an eye on the kitchen while entertaining. • Keep matches, lighters, etc. up high and out of the sight and reach of children. • Test your smoke alarms, and rehearse a fire escape plan with your family. • Climbing a ladder is especially dangerous when it’s cold; the rungs can freeze, and be slippery. If you insist on hanging those lights high, move carefully, make sure the ladder is in good condition, and set on a stable surface. Also, have a helper there to minimize trips. The only things that fall out of the sky in winter are snowflakes and fools. • If you do put a model train around the tree, make sure to watch your pets; ‘ol Snooper could’ve won me $10,000 if there had been video cameras back then!!

Jerry D. Felton, P.T. integrating traditional and alternative physical therapy services

2000 Tower Way, Suite 2039 • Greensburg, PA 15601 Phone:(724)834-7400 • Fax:(724)834-7402 • www.JerryDFeltonPT.com

Brian Mishler of HomeStudy Professional Home Inspection has enjoyed 14 years experience in the home inspection industry helping to educate buyers and sellers on their current or new home/property.

RuthAnn Kalinowski Independent Beauty Consultant www.marykay.com/rakalinowski 724-989-4979

26 - November/December 2008

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


A Home for the Holidays: Habitat for Humanity by Jennifer Smoker

There is a certain crispness in the air; the nights are turning cooler. It is time for autumn leaves, Steelers football, and fresh baked apple and pumpkin pies. Before you know it, the holidays will be here. Turkey dinners, Christmas lights and all those wonderful cookies! With so many of these activities centering on hearth and home, it is quite shocking to realize that over 3 million people (1.35 million of them children) are without a home. Stereotypically, homelessness conjures up images of the downtrodden sleeping in cardboard boxes or lining up on a freezing cold night for that last bed in a public shelter. Sadly, for some this is indeed the case. But, there are others – individuals and families living in substandard housing or doubling up with friends and/or relatives. They just can’t see their way out of a seemingly hopeless situation. It may appear hopeless, but it doesn’t have to be! For those prospective candidates who are willing to put in the time, effort and “sweat equity,” Habitat for Humanity offers an opportunity to build a home of your own. The idea for what would become Habitat first took root in 1965 as self-made millionaire Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda, began re-evaluating their values and the purpose of their lives. They made some drastic (and some would say crazy) changes, selling all of their possessions, giving the money to the poor and dedicating their lives to helping the less fortunate. In 1996, former U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded Mr. Fuller the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, calling Habitat “…the most successful continuous community service project in the history of the United States.” I knew that Habitat existed, but I never really thought about it being in our area. So, I sat down recently with Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity Executive Director, Leyla Pilon and Board Member/Volunteer Jim Miller to get the facts. According to Ms. Pilon, “Habitat has been in Westmoreland County since 1993 and covers roughly 80% of the total area. We rehabilitated our first house in 1996 on Maple Ave in Greensburg and we’ve basically been doing 1 house per year since Every Story Begins At Home.

then. Our goal is to increase it to 2 houses a year.” Jim Miller relates, “Our most famous sponsor would probably be President Jimmy Carter. He did a lot to bring Habitat to the forefront. The common misconception about Habitat is that we give houses away and that is not the case. There are financial guidelines that must be met, an interest-free mortgage to be paid back and a requisite number of “sweat equity” hours that must be met by each applicant. The truth is you will work much harder for a Habitat house than you would through traditional means, but ultimately you will achieve so much more.” He continues, “We are looking for families in an inhabitable situation. An example would be a family of 5 living in a two-bedroom house. Additionally, our program is aimed at low-income families not eligible for a conventional loan. These are families and people with long-term futures that need simple, decent and affordable housing. We are also looking for more applicants; however, we have an awareness problem. There are people who could qualify, but either they are not aware of the program or think they won’t qualify.” Ms. Pilon states, “You have to start the process to find out. There is no application fee. So write a letter, go to our website or make that call.” (See below) During our exchange the following questions were asked and answered: LMP: So, what’s involved with “sweat equity?” HFH: We like our partnering family to have over 300 hours of “sweat equity” in before we start their project. The nice thing is that you can get your friends and family involved. Habitat will give you credit for hours on a 2 to 1 ratio. For every 2 hours your people are willing to donate on your behalf, you will receive 1 credit hour. You can have up to 100 donated hours. LMP: I can’t build a house, so what can I do? HFH: Cooking, clerical, yard work, etc. are all credited as Habitat hours. There are many things you can do to participate in the building process as well! Lowes in Greens-

burg has partnered with Habitat and together we offer a 6 week course of how-to clinics. The cost is minimal and involves only several hours on Saturdays. It’s called the Women Build Program. There you will learn the basics of how to handle power tools, build a wall, shingle a roof, install siding, and do finish work. A number of ladies have joined us on several Habitat projects and have done very good work. LMP: How does a build work? HFH: We’ve just completed a blitz build in Jeannette. A blitz build takes place nationally every 2 years. Basically, volunteers come together and build a house in about 1 week. This year we had the help of the Westmoreland Builder’s Association. But generally, on a traditional stick build, working 3 days a week and depending on how many volunteers, it could take about 6-8 months to build including prep time. LMP: Who are your volunteers? HFH: We have a lot of retired people; some from our Habitat families. Sometimes the churches get involved. St. Vincent College and Pitt Greensburg are also affiliates of Habitat. We are looking for people with experience and knowledge. Initially, I contacted Habitat because I wanted to make a donation, but I found that with my background as a mortgage broker I had something more to offer. Everyone brings something to the table and all volunteers are welcome! LMP: Where do you find your property and your materials? HFH: We are always looking for a buildable land lot. Sometimes people have had property for years and nobody in the family wants it. They are tired of paying taxes on it, so they donate it. Occasionally, banks or real estate companies direct us to property. We get a lot of our donations through estates and various churches. We also hold fundraisers throughout the year. In fact 3 Bricks Shy has reunited and will be doing a benefit concert from 7 pm-12 am on November 28th at the Ligonier Country Inn in Ligonier for us. Ultimately, we want to become selfsustainable. We are currently

working on a ReStores project. It is similar to Goodwill. People donate housing and building items. We will be able to resale these items at a reduced price and use the proceeds for Habitat. Space was donated on Penn Ave. in Jeannette and we have been working every Saturday for the past 3+ months cleaning out that building and we would like to open ASAP. Materials sold by Habitat ReStores are usually donated from building supply stores, contractors, demolition crews or from individuals who wish to show their support for Habitat. In addition to raising funds, ReStores helps the environment by rechanneling usable materials. LMP: What if I don’t need a house built. Are there other programs? HFH: We are currently in the process of implementing a program called The Brush of Kindness. It’s a program designed to help current homeowners – people who need a roof, windows, siding, yard work, etc. Picture a 70-year-old widow, living on a fixed income. Her house needs a new roof and she just can’t afford it. We can do the work, but the labor itself would be donated. The homeowner would have an interest-free loan to pay back and the cost for materials. (There is some “sweat equity” involved depending on the homeowner’s ability. In this case baking cookies for us may be considered as “sweat equity.”) The program is about accountability; we never want to set anybody up for failure. This is not a hand out, it’s a hand up! We are looking for people who are willing to help themselves. There is a certain pride in homeownership. It is, after all, the ultimate American dream and the holidays are a time for dreams. So dare to dream of a home… for the holidays and all year round. “I see life as both a gift and a responsibility. My responsibility is to use what God has given me to help his people in need.” – Millard Fuller To learn more about the Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity go to www.centralwestmorelandhfh.org or call 724-523-0308. Donations can be sent to Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity P.O. Box 516 Greensburg, PA. 15601-0516 To order tickets for The Habitat for Humanity Benefit Concert featuring 3Bricks Shy call 724-523-0308 or visit 3bricks.com

November/December 2008 - 27


THE LIGONIER CHEF Scott Sinemus

Find Your Holiday Spirit . . . in Glenshaw! I was invited to the Annual Harvest Dinner for PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture) this fall. It is remarkable how much better everything tastes when it’s just been picked, milked or butchered locally. Absolutely everything served at the dinner was locally grown and produced – including the wine, beer and spirits. When I saw spirits on the invitation I wondered what spirit was made in PA. As it turns out, there are two guys in Glenshaw, PA that are brewing small batches of potato vodka! Boyd & Blair is the product name, and the company is called Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries. It is every bit as good as Kettle One, Grey Goose, Chopin or any of the other couture vodkas. There is a sweet finish to it that seems to taste most like Chopin, which is also distilled from potatoes. After the dinner we stopped at Palomino for an espresso and were talking about the vodka. The bartender overheard and proudly produced bottle number 38. He also agreed that it was some of the best vodka he’s had and that it is extremely well received. Then he told us the guys that make it had been in the Palomino and were “very cool.” Not to be slighted, I looked them up online (www.boydandblair.com), and we got in touch with them. Turns out, my friend had Prentiss’ mother for a teacher in grade school. We made an appointment to go down and see the facility. We set the Tom-Tom to the address and started off. When we reached the destination I thought that the GPS was broken: there was no sign, and it looked as if it were a different type of factory. Upon opening the door we were met with the sweet scent of what I could swear was French butter cream icing. Not at all what I was expecting . . . every time I’ve been around a still it’s smelled sweet, but more like a sweet, yeasty bread sort of aroma. I said to my friend, “I hope that heaven smells like this building.” Looking around I noticed it was fairly spartan. There were enormous bags on forklift pallets 28 - November/December 2008

along a tall wall and a huge stainless steel vessel beautifully covered with machine-turned details. The other wall was flanked with oodles of bottles in boxes. Prentiss walked around the corner to greet us. I immediately recognized him from the website. We had to be quiet as Channel 4 was doing their last sound check with Barry for a feature story they were doing. It pleased me to see more press getting the word out about how fantastic these guys and their product are. While they finished the sound check in the distillation area, Prentiss showed us the filter and bottling process.

Solid copper & brass condensing tower where the magic happens.

Since the kickoff party in June they have bottled 72,000 – not including the little minis!! When it was our turn to see the still, Prentiss was telling us about how every potato used is grown and processed here in PA. After the potatoes are harvested they are

sent to a factory north of Harrisburg to be ground and dried on huge heated drums. After drying they are sifted and sorted for businesses like Mrs. T’s Pierogies and Pillsbury. What they can’t use for cooking is ideal for distilling. When we made our way to the front of the still our jaws dropped at not only the gorgeous hammered copper and more machine turned stainless, but the sheer size and height. A row of small windows all framed with brass climbed up the condensing tower. Each batch is distilled three times and then put through a charcoal filter before bottling. Because there are actually three different parts produced when distilling – the heads, hearts and tails – by discarding the heads then only using the hearts and not reintroducing the tails to the next batch there’s really no need to distill or filter any more than that. It takes hours for the process to happen; the cycle by default has them bottling every six days yielding roughly 300 bottles. We were privileged enough to try some of the hearts directly from the still. Having tried moonshine several times at the same stage of production, I was prepared for the immediate warmth that completely envelops your mouth and sinuses; I wasn’t expecting the underlying sweetness that this elixir offers. Prentiss explained that’s precisely the reason they use potatoes. Moonshine is typically made with grains; potatoes make a sweeter spirit because of the sugars and starches in the potatoes. I personally think it is sacrilegious to cover up the subtle flavors of this vodka with a mixer, so I asked them what they recommend for a mixer. Barry said the best recommendation for diluting the alcohol without disturbing flavor is Perrier. Later that evening we tried it and completely agree. As for other mixers, because all of the impurities have been removed, using it for any vodka cocktail is an excellent way to reduce your hangover risk. As we made our way back over to the bottling table I noted that on

the bottle it says “we’re two guys distilling spirits in an authentic copper still. No super-automated process can produce a vodka as pure in character or as smooth in

Even better than the “angel’s share!”

taste”… it is absolutely true. They admit a friend or two occasionally lends a hand if they stop by to visit and there’s something to be done, but at the moment it’s just them. It’s obvious the success of their product is warranting expansion. When I asked if there were plans to, they both agreed it wouldn’t be far off; but they will continue to only produce single batches from scratch, which can easily be accomplished with another still and a few more employees to meet demand. Currently, Boyd & Blair is available statewide except the counties surrounding Philadelphia. It’s refreshing to see a company that would rather wait and make a proper entrance to a huge market than be so greedy as to jump in without enough product to meet demand. The guys at PA Pure are the quintessential example of how buying from and supporting local businesses and products actually does create jobs and stimulate the economy. They also have the distinction of making a product that helps numb the pain while we’re waiting. LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


All of our local state stores are carrying Boyd & Blair, so when you’re stocking up your holiday cheer this year be sure to include several bottles of this sublime spirit. Pictured at right: Barry, Prentiss and Scott Sinemus, The Ligonier Chef, in the distillation room. Story photos by Bruce Henderson.

The rolling Appalachian

Who Are Boyd & Blair? They are the patriarchal inspirations that embodied the values of Boyd & Blair vodka – hard work, the joy of following a dream and the reward from a job well done. Dr. William Blair: A pioneering opthmalogist and homeopathic doctor, he knew the value of hard work, and the rewards of relaxation. Prentiss’ great grandfather, Dr. Blair, too, was a spirited optimist and a man proud of his accomplishments. James Boyd Rafferty: To James Boyd Rafferty, the glass was always half full. It was Boyd’s hard work ethic, uncompromising principles and can-do attitude that inspired his son-in-law Barry to create great vodka with Prentiss.

www.boydandblair.com 412-486-8666

The Ten Dollar Solution . . . A typical carrot travels 1,838 miles to reach your plate. How much money, time and energy does it consume from the beginning to the end of its journey from seed to table, and through how many hands does it pass? It’s almost impossible to calculate the REAL COSTS of industrial food production and processing, excessive product packaging, and long-distance shipping and storage, but there is another number that DOES make sense . . . If every household in Western Pennsylvania spent $10 a week on regionally-produced food, $15 million dollars would stay in the local economy each week. That’s $60 million every month, and over $700 million per year! Spending money on local food not only sustains our economy, it provides us with greater nutrition, preserves family farms, generates job opportunities, and beautifies the rural and urban landscape. And don’t forget that locally grown foods are likely to be fresher, tastier and safer for you and your family. The Laurel Mountain Post would like to thank the advertisers in this issue who provide local food in our community: Boyd & Blair – Glenshaw Brown’s Candy Kitchen – Mt. Pleasant Emerald Valley Artisan Cheese – Scenery Hill Friendship Farms – Lycippus Greenhouse Winery – Rillton Jamison Farm – Latrobe Sib’s Sweet Shoppe – Youngwood St. Vincent Gristmill – Latrobe Walnut Hill Winery – Blairsville

The Perfect Gift Idea for everyone who loves The Great Outdoors!

Choose Your Favorite T-Shirt Design Today at Equine Chic in Ligonier 100 E. Main St. • Ligonier, PA www.EquineChic.com • 724.238.7003

Every Story Begins At Home.

Chestnut Ridge – Blairsville Coffee Klatch Café – Spring Church Earnest Gourmet – Greensburg Foggy Mountain Lodge – Stahlstown Joe’s Store & Deli – Latrobe Palombo’s – Bradenville Parkwood Inn – Greensburg Scotty G’s – Latrobe Pizza Siena – Greensburg & Latrobe

foothills are home to John & Sukey Jamison and their flock of sheep and lambs. There the sheep frolic and nibble on bluegrass and white clover nine months out of the year; and only in the winter are they hand-fed hay and corn. Their 100% natural diet and lifestyle yield meat that is lean, firm, tender, delicate and pink, free of hormones, antibiotics, herbicides and insecticides. Buy local at Jamison Farm in Latrobe or look for our Lamb at Giant Eagle Stores SEND A SPECIAL GIFT - We Ship!

Place Your Holiday Orders Early 171 Jamison Lane Latrobe, PA 15650 Toll Free: 1-800-237-5262 www.jamisonfarm.com

Egypt’s Wonders and Cruising the Nile The Greensburg College Club will present “Egypt’s Wonders and Cruising the Nile” as the 54 th year of its Travelogue Series continues. Join Clint and Sue Denn as they cruise the historic Nile River aboard the MS Sun Goddess with stops in Cairo, Giza, Luxor, Answan and Alexandria. The presentation will be viewed on Monday, November 17 at the Greensburg Salem Senior High School Auditorium at 7:30 pm. The everpopular film travel series, which began with October’s presentation, “The Best of Bavaria,” will complete its 20082009 program with “Pacific Coast Highway – Top to Bottom” on Monday, March 23, 2009 and “La Belle France” on Monday, April 20, 2009. A series ticket is priced at $20.00 and may be used 4 times by 1 individual, 2 times by 2 individuals, or 1 time by 4 individuals and may be purchased at the door. For advance tickets or more information call Barbara Hillis at 724-834-0126 or Nancy Jordan at 724-925-9221. (Travelogue Series proceeds benefit the GCC Scholarship Fund.)

November/December 2008 - 29


No En An v. rol nu 15 lm al – en De t i c. s 31 . Our Medicare Advantage members now receive expanded services with our new UPMC Resources for Life program available through their UPMC for Life Health Care Concierge. Choosing a Medicare Advantage plan is an important decision. UPMC for Life offers you: • Choices, including an HMO with a $0 monthly plan premium* • Health Care Concierge** program offering additional UPMC Resources for Life** services, including telephone counseling and resource information to help balance your life, health, and wellness • Silver&Fit™ fitness program • Routine vision and hearing benefits with most plans For more information about UPMC for Life, call us toll-free at the number below. You can also attend one of our informational seminars or request a home visit, where a knowledgeable sales representative can meet with you one-on-one to discuss your options. Call, 7 days a week, 8AM — 8PM***

1-866-400-5076 TTY/ TDD users call 1-800-361-2629 www.upmchealthplan.com/medicare UPMC for Life is a health plan with a Medicare contract. Our Medicare Advantage plans are available to persons entitled to Part A and enrolled in Part B. You must continue to pay Medicare premiums, reside in the service area, and not have ESRD. Plans may be available in certain counties. Please contact UPMC Health Plan to find out what plans are available in your area. UPMC for Life is a product of and operated by UPMC Health Plan, Inc., UPMC Health Network, Inc., and UPMC Health Benefits, Inc. *You will still have to pay your Medicare Part A and Part B premiums as applicable. This plan does not include Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. **Please note: This product or service is neither offered nor guaranteed under our contract with the Medicare program. In addition, it is not subject to the Medicare appeals process. Any dispute regarding this product or service may be subject to the UPMC for Life grievance process. ***Through November 14, 2008, you may receive a messaging service on weekends and holidays. Please leave a message and your call will be returned the next business day. Light up your home with one of our 250 limited-edition Ligonier Lampshades. H3907_H5533_09_070 (08/2008)

30 - November/December 2008

Trimmed in luxurious black silk, each shade is hand-numbered by the photographer, Bruce Henderson. The Ligonier Lampshade is the quintissential way to celebrate Ligonier's heritage this year!

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


Neigh Rides: A Horse for All Seasons

Sleigh Rides, Sleigh Bells, and Shades of Zhivago Snow bunnies cover your ears. Methinks winter stinks. Jaded is bad, but I am so hard-pressed to hum “A Marshmallow World” or “Winter Wonderland” when I’m cleaning the car off for the zillionth time or trying to load the trunk with groceries in frightful weather. However, in an attempt to present a fair portrayal of the year’s final period, I will do my best to consider the sunny side of the season. For all the aggravation that they can cause, snow and ice do have a few saving graces. There follows a plus points inventory of the frosty duo as I see them. Topics for classic wintry weather song lyrics & reasons to cancel classes These benefits go hand in hand for me since as a music teacher I directed many a Winter Holiday concert. There is nothing like cherubic costumed children singing “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow” to get you in the spirit. I must admit I did appreciate the snow days that often came after the weeks of program preparation and performances. (Not to be confused with the snow days that occurred on dress rehearsal or concert days. Talk about chaos.) Subjects for photographs and greeting card illustrations Nature photographers have a field day with dramatic black and white images of icicles and snow-capped mountains and the card artists go to town and country designing picturesque winter solstice scenes. (I favor cards with metallic detail – with or without snowflakes and snowmen.) Backdrops for holidays and winter festivals

inclined and every fourth year the Winter Olympics provide the world’s talented athletes with a showcase while filling in the slots for slower-paced winter TV schedules. Although the word “sleigh” recalls the “tenderer” times of the novels of Wharton, Tolstoy and Pasternak, some of us can remember when Caroline Kennedy and several playmates enjoyed a sleigh ride on the White House lawn in the winter of 1962. Youngsters in 2008 probably think Santa is the only fellow who uses this travel method, but sleigh rides for those without a team of Reindeer can still be found in the 21st century. In the hope of saving you time and effort, listed here are some southwestern PA venues and events where the horses definitely know the way to carry the sleighs, buggies or horsedrawn wagons (weather permitting, of course). Be sure to call ahead or check websites for details. Truly, one of the least likely places to spot this snake-blooded writer during the coming months is in a sleigh. Nevertheless…as a novel way to celebrate our cold-weather birthdays, I might just don a fur-trimmed hooded coat and invite my handsome husband to cuddle up with me in a horse-drawn vehicle this year. Maybe I can even find a venue that will pipe in “Lara’s Theme.” Consider a chilling and thrilling ride of your own. Come on – it’s lovely weather!

Motivations for participation in winter sports and outdoor activities

Every Story Begins At Home.

HOMESTEAD FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Allegheny County Tim Swickrath’s Carriage Services – 1880 Noble Street, Pittsburgh, 412781-4532 or timscarriageservices.com (412) 781-4532

Dragon Run Forge and Livery – 323 Porterfield Hill, Cowansville, 724543-3367 Butler County Saxonburg Annual Christmas Light Up Night & Parade – November 28, Main Street & Roebling Park, Saxonburg, 724-352-8847 & 724-816-4328 or saxonburgareabusiness.com Cambria County Ebensburg Dickens of a Christmas – December 5-7, Downtown Ebensburg, 814-472-8780 or ebensburgdickens.com Fayette County

The siren slopes never succeeded in luring me with their promises of sporty ecstasy, but I have been acquainted with many who live for the day – no, the very moment – the local ski resorts open each year. (I can empathize with their anticipation, since anticipation can be half the fun.) Ice skating, hockey, snow boarding, snowmobiling, sledding and tobogganing are wonderful sources of enjoyment and exercise for anyone so

WEST OVERTON VILLAGE - SCOTTDALE, PA 15683

DECEMBER 6, 7, 13, 14, 20

Armstrong County The “holidays in ice” are often commercialized beyond recognition, but they are by and large observances beyond compare. No other celebrations can hold a candle to Thanksgiving and Christmas; New Years and Valentine’s Day can be memorable due to the aura of hope and romance that surround them. Groundhog Day provides the public with Punxsutawney, PA’s idea of chilly humor and Presidents Day personifies American patriotism. Aside from the exhibiting of clever crystal-like carvings, frost festivities provide a frigid time of year some much-needed warmth with spaghetti dinners, chili cook-offs and (who knew?) – fireworks.

THE HOLIDAYS COME ALIVE AT WEST OVERTON MUSEUMS

Light Up Night – December 5, Downtown Uniontown, 724-438-4289 or shopdowntownuniontown.com Nemacolin Woodlands Resort – 1001 LaFayette Drive, Farmington, 1-800-422-2736 & 724-329-8555 or nemacolin.com

Our Homestead is beautiful in the summer but sparkles in December as each room is decorated with a different theme! You’ll learn about Old World traditions such as feather trees and upside down trees and the importance of holly and evergreen. Our parlor tree alone has over 400 ornaments, our fruit tree has real fruit and the smell of gingerbread, evergreen and pine can be smelled from the parking lot. New in 2008 is a visit from Santa Claus himself with a twist - he and his elves think its 1888! Tours are welcome but must be organized in advance. The homestead and several out-buildings will be open (the musuem will not be open). Tour hours are noon to 6pm; candelight tours at night can be arranged with pre-paid reservations.

Phone: (724) 887-7910 Fax: (724) 887-5010 Email: tourism@westoverton.org www.westoverton.org

continued on page35

November/December 2008 - 31


Ernie’s Ghost Light by JB Rossi

The actors take their final bow, the applause finally dies, and the curtain lowers. Another great performance comes to a close. As the excited patrons file out, the exhausted actors go home and the house lights are killed. All but one. The “Theatre Ghost Light” must remain lit. Otherwise who knows what could happen. Traditionally speaking, the “ghost light” is usually a bare light bulb left on overnight in a theatre after the production is over. This tradition is known worldwide and there are many theories as to its origin. For those who think in only the most practical sense, the illumination of the ghost light is strictly a safety issue. Without any lights on, the last people out and the first people in the theatre are often in peril of falling into the orchestra pit. One recurring tale involves a prowler who broke into a theatre after hours and did indeed fall into the pit, breaking both of his legs. Unable to walk, he was found the next morning still lying in the depths of the pit. Although he was trespassing, in anger he vowed to sue the theatre company for his injuries and he won. Thus the illumination of the ghost light helps protect theatres from liability after hours. However, if you ask any avid theatre patron, there is a more fateful rationale for the illumination of the “Ghost Light”. This superstition of the ghost light can

One of the “Ernie and his Band” ghost light boxes in the front of the stage in the State Theatre in Uniontown.

be traced as far back as the sixteenth century in Europe. Back then it was considered bad luck to turn all the lights out in a theatre because this could cause the show to go dark, or in other words, close, possibly due to the intervention of unhappy spirits who didn’t like being left in the dark. By giving the theatre ghosts their own light by which they may perform their afterhour plays, the ghosts would not interfere with the main performances. The great poet and playwright William Shakespeare himself was quite the advocate of the ghost light. He would insist on leaving a single candle burning after a play to fend off the ghosts of past performances. The Drury Lane Theatre, the second oldest in London, was a favorite of King Charles II, so he gave it a Royal Charter. To this day, the ghost light allows his

32 - November/December 2008

apparition accompanied by his entire retinue to wander From that moment on, it was decided to leave the happily backstage. There is also another manifestation “Ernie and his band” lights on all the time. “We have at Drury Lane that is dressed in a powdered wig and not had a problem since.” long grey coat. He carries a sword around the theatre Miller is not the only one to experience “Ernie”. as he shushes noisy patrons. Anyone who spots the Theresa Teets, a longtime employee of the Theatre, man in grey is said to possess extraordinary ability and had a spiritual encounter just a few years ago. “First of will have continued success in the acting profession. all, I don’t believe in ghosts,” Theresa insisted. “I came But gabby guests should steer clear! out of the office into the front lobby of the theatre to But ghost lights and theatre phantoms are not just grab my sweeper and there he was, standing by the things of the past. Nor are they characters from afar. candy case. He was an older guy. He had gray hair A chance meeting with avid theatre and a gray beard and red tails on. patron and businessman, Jeremy He walked right past me and Burnworth, provided me with through the door on the left that insight to the ghost light traditions go up the stairs. No, it was more and the various apparitions who like floating than walking and he supposedly haunt the State Theatre never opened the door. He just in Uniontown. went through it.” She paused to Hailed as the largest and finest take a breath. “I guess it was playhouse in Western Penn“Ernie”. You know, because of the sylvania, the State Theatre on East lights near the stage. I ran out Main Street in Uniontown, opened the front door screaming. I didn’t its doors in 1922 to show silent go back in that day. It was scary. movies and present vaudeville acts. I haven’t seen him since and I like “The theatre was designed by the it that way.” nationally known theatre architect “When Theresa told me about Thomas Lamb who was known for her experience, she turned white.” his architectural style and fine Miller recalls. “And she’s not the acoustical planning,” Burnworth only one who has seen this explained. particular spirit.” A $40,000.00 Pleubet Master The young granddaughter of a Organ accompanied by the State prominent theatre board member Symphony Orchestra and other has also had a similar experience. house bands provided the sound “I saw a tall man with a high hat for the silent films. carrying a case,” recalls Paige When talkies emerged, some Nagy. “He had a red suit on with of the greatest of Hollywood’s epics tassels. He looked at me and then The “William H. Hunt” memorial seat. including “Gone with the Wind” went out the front door without graced the big screen of the State even opening it.” Since then Paige Theatre. has seen moving shadows and However, the popularity of white balls of light gliding across television caused the State Theatre to close in 1973. It the seats in the balcony on several other occasions. re-emerged a few years later as the State Music Hall “We don’t really know that we have a ghost or that featuring country music legends such as Johnny Cash, his name is Ernie,” Miller said. “But I never come in or Slim Whitman, and Waylon Jennings but was forced to leave this building without giving a shout out to him.” close again shortly after. Apparently “Ernie” may not be the only spirit to In 1988, the Greater Uniontown Heritage remain in the State Theatre. “A few years ago, a man Consortium purchased the theatre, refurbished it, and flew in from out West and requested that a seat be restored its old name. Today the theatre hosts a named in memory of his Grandfather, William H. Hunt,” complete series of professional programs ranging from Miller recalls. “Apparently, Mr. Hunt was a prominent Broadway musicals to symphonies and children’s musician here at the State Theatre. One night in 1923, educational lectures. So now, this “Grand Old Lady of he and several of his musicians went out back to have Main Street”, as it is affectionately called, has been a smoke at intermission. Suddenly a car came around restored to her original splendor along with the the bend, jumped the curb, and pinned Mr. Hunt against important ghost light. Her spectral inhabitants seem to the building, killing him and injuring several of the be pleased. other musicians. What a tragedy!” According to Erica Miller, production coordinator The seat in Section 1, Row B, Seat #1 carries the for the State Theatre, the State Theatre’s ghost light is honorary gold plate in memory of Mr. Hunt. I wonder a bit unusual. “I’ve been with the theatre for eleven how many performances Mr. Hunt has watched from years,” Miller begins. “One day early in my career, I his honorary seat! noticed the light boxes on either side of the arch near Before leaving the State Theatre, I decided to take the stage. Originally, these boxes held signs which a photo of the special “Hunt” seat. I am not the best announced the band that was performing that day. The photographer and I can guarantee that only the dim first sign read “Ernie and his Band”. There were several house lights were on when I was shooting. But other signs behind that one. These had the names of somehow in my photo, this particular seat seems to be other acts that had performed here. After some especially illuminated more than the others research, I learned that “Ernie and his Band” was one surrounding it. Could it just have been my tiny camera’s of the most popular house bands back in the day of the flash or was something or someone else giving it that silent movies. I decided to light up the “Ernie” sign extra glow?........ I’ll consult my photographic expert and to leave it on during all performances. and let you know. One night I forgot to turn the sign on before a So if the spirit grabs you, why not take in one of performance. That night even though I had checked the many fine professional performances that are staged all of the sound equipment ahead of time, the at the State Theatre at 27 East Main Street in microphones suddenly stopped working during the run Uniontown? The 2008-2009 season has just begun. of the show for no apparent reason. The tech crew For tickets or more information, please dial 724-439and I checked everything. Even the soundboard was 1360 or 800-397-2554. The Grand Old Lady of Main lighting up as if there was no problem, but still we had Street guarantees you will experience a superb no sound. That’s when I noticed that I had forgotten performance, perhaps even that of a supernatural nature! to turn on the “Ernie” lights. I flicked them on and Until then, I too will give a shout out to the spirits! within a few moments, the microphones began to Goodnight “Ernie”. Keep that ghost light burning! work properly again.”

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


The Walkwood Album

Boyhood Hikes with Grandfather in Chestnut Ridge Inspire Life’s Work

Adams Falls Linn Run State Park - Rector, PA Photo by Richard S. McWherter

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Local artist Richard S. McWherter has just released his first hardcover book with a collection of his fine art photography, titled The Walkwood Album. With the name Walkwood being a shortening of the phrase a “walk in the woods,” the book was produced by McWherter’s entrepreneurial venture, Walkwood Publishing. With 38 pages and sixteen full-color photographs, the book is now available on-line through the distributing website, www.blurb.com, as well as the artist’s own website at www.walkwood.net. The book features outstanding examples of contemporary fine art photography that he has created over the years, with many of the images made here in Western Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands and Chestnut Ridge areas. But what has become a major milestone for the artist began as a simple idea from a young boy’s childhood memory. “This theme began as a remembrance of the many hours that my grandfather and I would spend hiking on his wooded property in the Chestnut Ridge area near his home here in Pennsylvania,” said McWherter. His grandfather owned the land with a vision of seeing it developed as a place where people would build homes and prosper. “I would often spend time with him in what we all called ‘the ridge,’ as he surveyed and calculated the layout of his plan,” McWherter explained. “However, in retrospect, it sort of had the reverse effect on me as I watched this wooded playground of my youth change over the years. Over time, the places where I caught tadpoles and crayfish, followed deer trails, drank from clear mountain springs and dreamed of adventure, were eventually paved and landscaped with people’s homes and driveways,” lamented McWherter. Although there are many photographs in this book that are from places along “the ridge,” McWherter didn’t begin to work professionally on this theme until many of those childhood spots were gone. “Because of that, my efforts in this work was not to document a place, but rather a feeling that one might get on any day, on any given walk in the woods,” said McWherter. The images are from a portfolio of work that he has created using high-end professional camera equipment and state of the art digital tools to meet his original vision for the work. Each image is also available as a fine art gallery print that he creates himself, using the archival giclee printing process, for the highest degree in image quality and stability. But these are not just pretty calendar pictures. If that is all you see, then McWherter would challenge you to look closer. They are not picture-perfect postcards. There is beauty here of course, but not without flaws. According to McWherter’s artist’s statement that introduces the images in the book, nature is grand, but there are always signs of the decay that signals the continuing cycle of endings and rebirth. McWherter also acknowledges the influence of other artist’s in his work, including the Hudson River artists, painter Asher B. Durand and the romantics, and Caspar David Friedrich to name a few. But of course, much can be made for the case of how the artwork and writings of Ansel Adams has influenced a generation of artists, including McWherter, and established the profession of the fine art photographer. “Certainly, there is an attempt here to capture the majesty that nature surrounds us with. However, as a creative artist, it is not my attempt to sequel a landscape movement. Likewise, trying to illustrate grand vistas of primal America untouched by mankind would make such an effort seem folly, or at least dishonest,” writes McWherter. Young artists are often told to write or illustrate what they know best, so he took this

advice to heart. He didn’t grow up in a New World wilderness, an untamed frontier or a national park. He was born and raised in the post-industrial Rust Belt of America, with telephone poles, abandoned vehicles and empty factories blocking his camera’s viewfinder. “I believed, however, that if I couldn’t find beauty here, in the place of my birth, then I would be forever lost in my journey as an artist,” he explained. McWherter has worked in many different jobs in his career as a visual artist, starting as a photo-journalist, and a photo illustrator for advertising, both while still in high school. His work has been seen in many local publications and art exhibitions, and has also been reproduced in national magazines for fine art photography. Later in his career, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Seton Hill University and in 1996 he began teaching visual arts at the high school in his hometown in Derry, Pennsylvania, where he now serves as the Art Department Chair. He has received many awards for his photographic art, as well as for his innovative ideas in teaching, all of which has earned him recognition from many regional, state, national and international organizations. McWherter continues to work on this and many other photographic portfolios and art projects here in Western Pa, where he lives with his wife Kimberly, who has also won many awards as a science teacher at Derry Area High School. However, he describes his mid-course career correction to education as a call towards a more noble profession than selling consumer products in commercial advertising. “As a young adult, the thought of working in advertising was very exciting, and of course industry and commerce are vital to our economy,” said McWherter. “But before a child can learn to read or do math, they need to know that squiggles on paper are ideas. Simply put, art is what makes all learning possible. So naturally, teaching art is very important to me. In fact, it not only connects all subject areas, but all cultures as well,” he explained. When describing his efforts in photographing the beauty of Western Pennsylvania and specifically the Laurel Highlands, McWherter is just as passionate about his own artwork. “These are places that I’ve grown up in of course, but these are also places I like to be. I can remember as a child being stuck inside at my grandparent’s house while it was raining outside and taking the time to look at a painting that hung in their home. It was a reproduction of a wilderness landscape and I thought, ‘I wish I was there right now’,” McWherter said. “That’s really what many of these photographs are about; when I’m stuck in a bad mindset or physical circumstances that are unpleasant, these are places in my memory that I would like to be in instead. These are my efforts to capture those moments that feel just right,” he added. And from looking at these images first hand, these are certainly pictures that “feel just right.” (The Walkwood Album, by Richard S. McWherter, published by Walkwood Publishing, 7x7 inches (18x18 cm), 38 pages, 16 full-color photographs, hardcover $34.95, softcover $19.95, available on-line from www.walkwood.net and www.blurb.com.) For more information on the artist, contact: Richard S. McWherter 617 West 5th Avenue Derry, PA 15627 724-694-2004 Artist’s Email: eagereye@email.com Artist’s Website: www.walkwood.net The Walkwood Album, book distribution by: www.blurb.com

November/December 2008 - 33


Discover the Magnificent Facelift of a Local Treasure by Scott Sinemus We recently had the opportunity to try out the new spa facilities at the Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort & Conference Center in Blairsville. I have to admit when I heard there was a worldclass spa merely half an hour away from our house I was quite surprised. I hadn’t been to the resort in well over a decade and really couldn’t imagine anything like the Greenbrier existing just off Route 22 in Blairsville. I am, however, pleased to report that it does!!! Well it’s not quite as vast as the Greenbrier or Bedford Springs, but the spa is very nicely done. And there are two golf courses rated 4 and

4.5 stars. There is a complete menu of services including a full service salon. The prices are on par (pardon the pun) with many of the other spas I’ve been. We were greeted by Angela Allen, the spa director, for a tour of the terraces and grounds before we went to meet Rocco Panucci, General Manager, at the spa and salon to try a couple of treatments.

34 - November/December 2008

Walking past the locker rooms you can catch glimpses of the dining room before you come to the brand new pro shop, which carries Ralph Lauren Golf attire and Chestnut Ridge Golf Resort gear as well as the requisite equipment. We took the elevator up to the second floor to find the Crystal Terrace Room, so named for scads of chandeliers, most of which feature stained glass panels above them. There’s a stunning Bar reclaimed from the Rockwell Museum in Baron Steuben Place in Corning NY. The bar is phenomenally tall and capped off with solid bronze cornices! The massive Ballroom is complete with the original bronze doors from Lloyds of London’s Manchester office. Angela told us they’re used for the bride and groom or guests of honor enter their party. It is impossible to find a disappointing view from any window. The wedding, conference and party planning staff accommodate and customize every event being held. We went downstairs and made our way to the spa. The reception desk and waiting area are filled with rich, dark wood and gold toned fabrics. The featured product lines from Pevonia and Crew for men are opposite the reception desk. Rocco was waiting to meet us and show us the salon. I complimented him on what we had seen thus far and asked why it took so long to update; he said that he’s only been there for a year! What a difference a year makes! The salon is one of his treasures – it should be. The pedicure area features miniature Jacuzzis, comfortable seating and a magnificent view. Everything in the salon is state-of-theart. Rocco sent us off to begin our treatments with arrangements to meet again before dinner. After filling out the release forms, we were escorted to the changing room. It was nice to find robes from size small to 3X. After a quick change, I was taken to the treatment room, which features heated tables, aromatherapy candles, ambient lighting and rich chocolate brown fleece blankets. Since I had never had a

body wrap Angela suggested I try one. We picked Tropical Pineapple & Papaya. An exfoliation with gloves begins the treatment, followed by a brushing with the lotion, back first, then when the front is finished you’re wrapped up like a

Scott Sinemus, Sarah Wilson, Bridget Shirey and Dr. Manas Shirgaokar at the bar that was reclaimed from the Rockwell Museum in Baron Steuben Place in Corning NY.

little enchilada and allowed to simmer for up to an hour. I have to admit I dozed off a couple of times. After a shower you get back onto the heated table (which has been remade) and lightly massaged with a lotion that coordinates with your wrap. The massage is traditional unless you opt for hot stones and seashells (for exfoliating). In keeping with the hottest trend in spas, there is also a couples massage room. One very interesting feature adjacent to the spa is the Wii bar. I’ve never played one, but if the weather is not appropriate for golf, or if you’re waiting for someone to finish up in the spa, it’s a good spot to be entertained. After many thanks we made our way over to the Hampton Inn & Suites. August marked it’s first anniversary. We were very impressed with the lobby area: it was spacious, comfortable and even has a fireplace. There are two large flat screen televisions where every morning you can watch the news while you’re having breakfast. There’s always a hot item, cereals, muffins, pastries juices and coffee – all included in your stay. Monday-Friday there are also pre-made “grab & go” bags. Melissa was extremely convivial and knowledgeable about the hotel and the local area. She was extremely curious to find out how we liked the spa, and is now even more anxious to try it after our glowing report.

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


Our suite was nicely sized, and we really liked the flat screen TV and the vanity basin in the room instead of the bathroom. It’s extremely convenient when two people are trying to get ready at the same time. We’re not sure if it was the spa treatments, but the bed was supremely comfortable with very nice, crisp linens. Although the best unexpected surprise was finding a nice-sized pool with one wall completely open and facing the golf course, the autumn splendor of the Chestnut Ridge and an incomparable sunset. The Jacuzzi was a nice after-dinner treat too. After freshening up for dinner, we walked around the grounds a bit before arriving at the 37 Grille. Chef Dave Courtney met us at the spa earlier, and we decided to try several of the menu items. True to his word, Rocco met us in the dining room. We ordered a drink and walked around the bar and restaurant area where he explained the next phase of renovations. The restaurant is currently the old “Tavern-on-theGreen-esque” with the beveled mirrors on columns and Vegas bulb lighting on the rafters. We joked that if he waits another year it will all be back in style. Although dated, absolutely everything was spotless and clean, which is extremely difficult with that many mirrors. The plans to completely gut the bar and restaurant so that it’s on the same level as the spa & hotel area make sense. The golf courses are also going to be redesigned so that both courses finish at the terrace. There are plans to introduce a spa menu at the 37 Grille, but in the meantime the standard menu, although not avant-garde, had good selections in all categories. The corn & crab chowder was excellent, as was the French Onion Soup Gratinée. We also tried the crab cake, which I always do wherever we go. This one was tasty and although not the colossal lump I’m used to, it did have more meat than filler. The Filet was perfectly cooked and tender. The Parmesan crusted cedar plank salmon was not only perfectly cooked, it was my favorite item. The pasta with garlic & bleu cheese cream was a very close second. Even though we hadn’t eaten all day we couldn’t have dessert. So Kate suggested we take a 37 pie and Tiramisu cake back to the room with us. Good call, Kate!! All of the desserts are homemade: I’m looking forward to getting back as soon as possible to try the apple crisp. After putting the desserts and leftovers in the fridge in the room (there’s a microwave in the rooms as well) we changed into our trunks and made our way down to the Jacuzzi. While we were enjoying the soft bubbles, we talked about how nice the day had been and agreed that we would be back for dinner soon. Even though we only live half an hour away we agreed that an overnight spa sojourn isn’t going to be that far off either. For all venues at Chestnut Ridge contact: 724.459.7191; www.chestnut ridgeresort.com The Hampton Inn: 724.459.5920, www.blairsvillesuites.hamptoninn.com

Every Story Begins At Home.

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continued from page 31 Indiana County Fleming’s Christmas Tree Farms – December 6-7 &13-14, 1803 Fleming Road, Indiana, 724-4630570 or flemingschristmastrees.com Gamble Tree Farm Christmas Festival – November 29-30, December 6-7 & 13-14, 10603 Old Route 56 Highway W., Shelocta, 724-726-5377 or visitindianacountypa.org It’s A Wonderful Life Festival – November 21, Downtown Indiana, 1-877-7INDIANA & 724463-7505 or visitindianacountypa.org Light Up Night – December 5, Homer City, 1-877-7INDIANA, & 724-463-7505 or visitindianacountypa.org Light Up Night – November 28, Downtown Indiana, 1-877-7INDIANA & 724-463-7505 or visitindianacountypa.org Somerset County Misty Haven Carriage – Davidsville, 814-2428450 or mistyhavencarriage.angelfire.com Seven Springs Mountain Resort – 777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs, 1-800-452-2223/814-3527777 or 7springs.com Washington County Olde Fashioned Christmas – December 13, Washington County Courthouse, Washington, 724-225-9550 x404 or caswg.org Westmoreland County Christmas Open House Town-Wide – December 7, Downtown Ligonier, 724-238-4200 or ligonier.com Ligonier’s Ice Fest – January 24-25, On the Diamond, Ligonier, 724-238-4200, ligonier.com Overly’s Country Christmas – November 16-January 1, Westmoreland Fairgrounds, Greensburg, 1-800-9-OVERLY/ 724-423-1400 or overlys.com

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EARTH TALK Questions and Answers About Our Environment Are there natural headache remedies that can get me off of Tylenol, Advil and other medicines whose side effects can be as bad as or worse than the pain that led me to use them? Many of us may be too Another all-natural head- at first, and then more firmly, dependent on over-the-counter ache cure is acupressure (like holding for three to five painkillers to treat the occa- acupuncture, but without the minutes. sional headache, especially needles), which promotes As for migraines, avoiding given the side effects of such healing throughout the body certain trigger foods might be drugs. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) by stimulating channels of key to staving them off. Abreo can increase the risk of heart energy known as meridians. says migraine sufferers should and circulation problems— Victoria Abreo, alternative try steering clear of dairy including heart attack and medicine editor for the website products, processed meat, red stroke—and is also tough on BellaOnline, says that anyone wine, caffeine and chocolate. the digestive tract. Too much suffering from a tension New research has shown that acetaminophen (Tylenol) has headache can employ a simple some people with specific been linked to nausea, acupressure technique to help dietary deficiencies are more diarrhea, and kidney and liver relieve the pain: “With one prone to migraines. problems. Many natural health hand, press the shallow According to Dr. Linda care practitioners dispar-age indention in the back of the White, who writes about drugs for merely masking natural health for Mother the symptoms of larger Earth News, some recent problems. clinical trials have shown All headaches are not three nutritional supplethe same and gobbling ments—magnesium, down pain pills will not riboflavin and coenzyme address the causes, Q10—to be particularly whatever they may be. effective at reducing the Some headaches are frequency and severity of caused by tension; others migraines. Also, a number stem from sinus congesof herbs—including fevertion, caffeine withdrawal, few, butterbur, lavender, constipation, food allergingko biloba, rosemary gies, spinal misalignand chamomile—have ment or lack of sleep. And proven track records in then there are migraines, preventing or stopping which researchers think migraines. Since herbs are neurological in can be potent and are not nature: The brain fails to regulated or tested, headconstrict the nerve ache sufferers should pathways that open the consult a trusted doctor or Massage and techniques such as acupressure arteries to the brain, naturopath before using (acupuncture without the needles) can go a resulting in a pounding alternative remedies. long way to relieve tension headaches withheadache as blood flows in out the need for chemical painkillers. As to CONTACTS: unchecked. Assessing relieving migraine headaches, a number of nutritional supplements and herbs have good what kind of headache Farmers’ Almanac track records, but they should not be used you may have can help (www.farmersalmanac.com without the guidance of a trusted doctor or lead the way to a solution BellaOnline naturopath. (www.bellaonline.com) beyond deadening the (Getty Images) Mother Earth News pain with a pill. (www.motherearthnews.com) To make tension headaches go away, the GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTION? Farmers’ Almanac recommends head at the base of the skull. applying an ice pack to the Simultaneously, with the Send it to: EarthTalk, c/o E/The neck and upper back, or, even thumb and forefinger of the Environmental Magazine, P.O. Box better, getting someone to other hand, press firmly into 5098, Westport, CT 06881; submit it massage those areas. Also, the upper hollows of the eye at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/ soaking the feet in hot water sockets, right where they thisweek/, or e-mail: earthtalk @emagazine.com. Read past columns can divert blood from your head straddle the bridge of the nose at: www.emagazine.com/earthtalk/ to your feet, easing any kind of and meet the ‘t’ of the eyebrow archives.php. headache pain in the process. bridge.” She says to press softy 36 - November/December 2008

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ORDER YOUR HOLIDAY BREADS, PASTRIES AND GIFT BASKETS NOW! ALL NATURAL FRESH TURKEYS AVAILABLE - ORDER BY NOVEMBER 17 Mon-Fri 10am - 6pm • Saturday 10am - 3pm • Closed Sundays Store: 724-423-1545 • Office: 724-423-8727 www.friendshipfarms.com • Email: sales@friendshipfarms.com Bread Available Noon to Close Monday thru Saturday

“too much fun for such a small town” check upcoming events and our menu on line at www.ligoniertavern.com

Contact Sun. 12:00 : SueAnn pm to 8:00 Zippi pm Monday -Thurs. 11:30 am 9:00 pm Independent Consultant

Fri. & Sat 11:30 am - 10:00 pm 724-238-4831 • 137 West Main Street Ligonier, PA

724-681-3184

sueannzippi@comcast.net 38 - November/December 2008

America has seen many transformations in its 230+ years. One of the most grating is the gradual decline in its appreciation of the nation’s senior citizens. Today all you have to do is watch a commercial to get a glimpse of the way the elderly are portrayed by the media and consequently perceived by the public. I appreciate the advertising ploy of appealing to the target base with the music and inside jokes of a certain era, but must companies portray anyone over 50 or 60 as dimwitted and without style? I haven’t a clue what these actors are being paid, but it can’t possibly be worth the price for selling denture paste, hair dye, mobility scooters, retiree community homes and gambling junkets to Vegas while looking and sounding like addled mentally-deficients. I actually emailed one corporation to ask why they insist on making seniors look like fools while selling their product. (No reply was received and the commercials still air.) How did we get from the Mad Men era strategy of sex sells to today’s policy of sex sells best, but senility’s a close second? My advertising instincts tell me they are selling fear. Early in our nation’s history the intelligence, insight and wit of senior statesmen was held in highest regard. The accomplishments of Jefferson, Franklin, Washington and the “old boys club” of which they were members are the stuff of nationally-treasured legend. Later came individuals like Mark Twain, who started out as a young whippersnapper, but matured into a revered journalist, author and wag. Philanthropist Clara Barton founded the Red Cross, remained as its head until the age of 83 and passed away at 91 three days before the Titanic sank. As dysfunctional as the marriage of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt was, few would dispute either’s functional achievements well into their last years. Mid-twentieth century boxoffice queens Elizabeth Taylor and Doris Day, now frequently viewed as laughable relics of a bygone cinema age, accomplished much for their chosen charities while leading lives (and

surviving) that one can only begin to imagine. Sure Liz lost her figure and Doris needs a new “do,” but watching A Place in the Sun or Love Me or Leave Me makes you wonder why anyone thinks Angelina is beautiful and Rihanna can sing. And although Bill Gates turned 53 in October and Caroline Kennedy will be 51 on November 27th, amazingly they continue to lead productive and progressive existences. Every generation has always thought it held all the cards and had all the answers. But, each in turn was proven wrong with time. Games were lost and problems went unsolved (or were sometimes made worse). While they have their advantages to be sure, youth ages and beauty fades. The lifetime of acquired experiences, achievements and memories of society’s “age elite” are not to be discounted or undervalued. Many of these individuals were once, and often still are, as energetic and savvy as the best any era has offered. The tongue-in-cheek attitude toward the mature exhibited by many American youth is humiliating and insulting to witness. If they are lucky enough, they might get to experience the aging process. I have very conflicted feelings about November. I dread its coming like no other month and am always glad to see it go. Over the years three of four grandparents passed away and a number of relatives and friends succumbed during this month. The recollections of these deaths cause extremely depressing thoughts, but thankfully, they also trigger exceptionally positive memories. The loved ones I lost in past Novembers were some of the most important mentors and role-models of my existence. They shared their long lives with me and my life was immeasurably enriched by them. As I reflect in November of 2008 and prepare for my pilgrimage to the cemetery with roses in hand, I’ll try to “accentuate the positive” and “eliminate the negative.” My paternal Grandpap was born on November 11, 1902 (today’s Veteran’s Day) and this month allowed me the opportunity to sit for many years at my Grandma’s incomparable Thanksgiving table. – Barbara M. Neill LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


Indiana County, PA JOIN US FOR OUR HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES! November 7-9 Smicksburg Christmas Open House November 27-30; December 4-7, 11-14, 18-Jan. 1 Festival of Lights at Blue Spruce Park November 29-30; December 6-7, 13-14 Gamble Tree Farm Christmas Festival December 6-7, 13-14 Flemings Christmas Tree Farm Open House December 6-7 Snow Dog Express at Kiski Junction Railroad

Stop by our Visitor Center or Call us for your Complimentary Visitor Guide

INDIANA COUNTY TOURIST BUREAU 2334 Oakland Avenue – Indiana Mall – Indiana, PA 15701 1-877-7INDIANA – WWW.VISITINDIANACOUNTYPA.ORG

Every Story Begins At Home.

November/December 2008 - 39


40 - November/December 2008

LAUREL MOUNTAIN POST


Laurel Mountain Post, November-December 2008