Northern Connection Magazine - November 2021 issue

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November 2021


Best of Both Worlds: Local Care, Top-Notch Delivery Also... Family & Small Businesses Holiday Guide | Living Pittsburgh History First Thanksgiving Trivia Pages 22-23 | NOVEMBER 2021





P.O. Box 425 Mars, Pa. 16046


Cover photo: David Badway, MD, and Emily Curtin, MD, of UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services Cover Inset: Alisha Kuntz with Lydia and Alexa at home. Photo Credit: Carmen Angela Photography

Phone: 724-940-2444 President & Publisher

NC Features 13 16 17 22 28 31 32

Facts from the Farm: Talkin” Turkey Ron Eichner Love is an Action: Foster Love Project Dispelling Adoption Myths TRAC Living Pittsburgh History with UPMC Senior Communities Family & Small Business Profiles Home Guide Veterans Have an Advocate in Realtor Deb Walton Janice Lane Palko

Holiday Guide 9

2021 Holiday Guide

Health & Wellness

14 Cover Story – Best of Both Worlds: Local Care, Top-Notch Delivery 20 Enjoy a Guilt-Free Holiday Season Belinda Burchick, RPh, BPharm

Kids & Education 26 School Movers & Shakers

Advertorials 5

Peripheral Neuropathy Sufferers Have Hope Dr. Shawn Richey

In Every Issue...

4 6 8 10 25

Movers & Shakers Mover & Shaker of the Month: Jim Vinski Paula Green From the Editor: The Great Equalizer Janice Lane Palko Trivia Connection: The First Thanksgiving Trivia Paula Green Support Our Troops: Adventures in Training with a Purpose Paula Green Welcome to the November issue of Northern Connection Magazine! We are now in our 22nd year of connecting you to the community. We would like to thank all our advertisers and readers for your support. Together we continue to make our community an outstanding place to live and work. Enjoy reading our November issue! Marion Piotrowski, President & Publisher



Marion Swanson Piotrowski Executive Editor

Janice Lane Palko Managing Editor/Public Relations Coordinator

Paula M. Green Marketing & Account Executive and Office Coordinator

Laura Lyn Arnold Marketing & Account Executive

Mary L. Simpson Design & Production

Kostilnik & Associates Graphics, Inc. Web Master

Swanson Publishing Company Core Writers

Belinda Burchick Ron Eichner Paula M. Green Janice Lane Palko Northern Connection is published twelve times a year by Swanson Publishing Co., Inc. (P.O. Box 425, Mars, PA 16046, 724-940-2444) and is distributed free of charge to the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh. Subscription can be purchased from the publisher at $25 for one year. The mission of the Swanson Publishing Co., Inc. is to connect the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh by publishing the area’s finest community publication, Northern Connection. The publication is dedicated to the people, communities, educational, religious, travel, and recreational needs of the area. The contents of Northern Connection magazine may not be reproduced or copied in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Northern Connection magazine reserves the right to refuse editorial or advertisements that do not meet the standards of this publication.


Clearview Federal Credit Union fought hunger during September for Hunger Action Month in support of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Their fundraising efforts resulted in 2,600 packed boxes of food. The total funds raised (over $6,000 online donations and other miscellaneous donations) will help provide over 30,000 meals to the southwestern Pennsylvania region through the Food Bank. McAuley Ministries, Pittsburgh Mercy’s grant-making foundation, announced two new appointments to its board Thelma Micaela of directors: Young Thelma Lovette Lovette Morris Morris and Micaela Young. Each will serve a three-year term. McAuley Ministries, Pittsburgh Mercy’s grantmaking foundation, announced that 17 new grants have been awarded totaling $935,500. PetPeople has opened at McCandless Crossing and will host a leash cutting event on November 4 to celebrate its Grand Opening.





Frank S.

Peripheral Neuropathy Sufferers Have

Ten years ago I hurt my foot and it continued to get worse over the years. It got to the point that my feet were so sore and cold all the time. Outdoor activities are very important to me and I was losing the ability to do them. I felt there was no hope. A friend of mine learned of Tri-State Neuropathy Centers and I made an appointment. The results have been unbelievable. I have no more pain and my feet are no longer cold. My range of motion is so much better, and my balance is back. I am now enjoying all the outdoor activities I use to and am nearly 100% better.

Don’t Give Up!

Janie C. It seems like it became noticeable about 20 years ago. At first my feet would ache from time-to-time, then my feet would ache so bad that I had to limit my time standing or walking. In the last two years I have had to change the way I have lived my life. I could no longer go hiking with my husband or just take a walk. I knew it was just a matter of time before I would need a wheelchair. I heard about Tri-State Neuropathy Centers and went for my free consultation to see if I was a candidate. To date, I see a significant improvement. I can take short walks, cook and I have even been gardening. It feels like a miracle. I plan to get back into volunteer work.

Paula C. It all began with major surgery in October 2020 with an ankle break on two major bones from a fall. I was getting very depressed as my foot was numb on the side of the incision and it was affecting my life. I decided to meet with Tri-State Neuropathy Centers for a free consultation. I have completed the program I am pain free and 90 percent better. I highly recommend anyone needing help to go see a Tri-State Neuropathy Center. I am 68 and a Grammy of six grandchildren. The treatment has helped me walk without a cane and be more active with my active family as my balance has improved tremendously. The staff is truly compassionate and kind. Thank you Tri-State Neuropathy and your staff for your kindness and helping me walk again!

Peripheral Neuropathy occurs when nerves are damaged or destroyed and can’t send messages to the muscles, skin and other parts of the body. Peripheral nerves go from the brain and spinal cord to the arms, hands, legs and feet. When damage to the nerves takes place, numbness and pain in these areas may occur. A specialized treatment protocol utilizing brand new technologies is available at the TRI-STATE NEUROPATHY CENTERS. It includes the combination of very specific, noninvasive, FDA approved and painless treatments that are designed to get rid of symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. With over 90 percent satisfaction rate and the experience of seeing over 8000 patients, they are able to tailor a specific and successful treatment plan for each individual to provide maximum results. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, don’t wait until they get worse.

Peripheral Neuropathy symptoms can include: • Sharp Pains or Cramps in the Feet or Legs Take o • Burning Pain in the Legs, Feet or Hands PREQUA ur LIFYING • Extreme Sensitivity to Touch SU www.M RVEY at aryDan • Loss of Balance or Coordination cedIn.c om • Feelings of Walking on Pins and Needles • Weakness in the Arms and Legs • Numbness and Tingling or Pain in the Toes, Feet, Hands, Arms and Fingers • Dependency on Medications If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t wait till they get worse. Call today to schedule your FREE consultation.

Call for your FREE consultation to begin your path to recovery. Call Dr. Shawn Richey at 724-940-9000 to schedule your time.

Five Locations: Sewickley

2591 Wexford-Bayne Rd., Suite 207


4314 Old William Penn Hwy, Suite 105

Washington, PA

1385 Washington Rd., #100

Poland, OH

70 W McKinley Way, Poland, OH 44514

Weirton, WV

3350 Pennsylvania Ave., Suite A, Weirton, WV 26062 • (724) 940 -9000  |  Fall 2021



Mover & Shaker of the Month

101 Donations Jim Vinski reaches a significant milestone By Paula Green


o many of us are familiar with the Disney movie 101 Dalmatians. This month, instead of sharing a story of Dalmatian puppies with you, we focus on something else – specifically blood. A McCandless man has been donating blood for many years. On Saturday, October 2, Jim Vinski reached a significant milestone when he entered the doors of Vitalant and made his 101st blood donation. Vinski is in his 60s and has been generously giving since he was in his 20s. Although as he notes, “I’ve been donating blood for years, and I’m happy that I’ve been able to do so, not everyone can,” said Vinski. At least he has a sense of humor about it quipping, “Every time I go there, I get needled,” he said.






When Vinski started donating blood over 40 years ago, the donation site was called Central Blood Bank. CBB opened its doors in the Pittsburgh area in 1951. In September 2018, due to a national rebranding effort with affiliated blood donation operations, Central Blood Bank changed its name to Vitalant. The conversion was an attempt to draw in younger donors. On the day that Vinski made his historical contribution, he made sure that he sported his Croatian heritage shirt because there is a unique connection. “My heritage is Croatian. Dalmatia is part of Croatia. It is located on the Adriatic Coast. So, there’s a tie-in with the dogs in the movie and their country of origin.” The motivating force behind why Vinski gives his blood is to assist others in need. “I had heard that donations can help many people, and fortunately, I’ve been able to make those donations. You’re doing good by giving yourself to help others. I give a few times a year,” Vinski said. Finally, he wanted people to know that it’s not hard to do, as he remarked, “Donating blood is easy - it’s done on your schedule, it’s quick, and as many as three people can be helped by each pint. I am hopeful that this will encourage others to donate.” n | NOVEMBER 2021



The Great Equalizer By Janice Lane Palko


s a teen growing up in the 1970s, I went to a lot of rock concerts from Bruce Springsteen and Styx to Foreigner and Tom Petty to Kansas, Queen and many others. Back then there was little access to rock stars. There was no following them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. They made very few appearances on television outside of The Midnight Special or Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert. Most news about rock stars came through magazines like Creem, Circus, and Rolling Stone. Consequently, rock stars were treated as . . . well, as rock stars. They were lionized, placed on pedestals, and lived larger than life in the minds of most fans. For instance, graffiti in London in the mid-1960s proclaimed that “Clapton is God.” John Lennon of The Beatles stirred controversy when he cheekily stated in March 1966 interview that The Beatles were “More popular than Jesus.” Led Zeppelin’s lead singer Robert Plant was bestowed the title of “The Golden God.” Fast forward four decades, and many of these rock stars are still touring.


Several years ago, Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in Warrendale, brought Lou Graham, Foreigner’s lead singer, to town, and we happened to get tickets. Before the concert began, I went to the ladies room, and as I left, I had to pass through a vestibule and glass doors to get back into the main room. And guess who held the door for me? Lou Graham. When I got back to our seats, I told my husband about it and laughed that had that happened 40 years ago, I’d have been delirious, but now he was just an average-looking middle-aged man, and I just said thanks. We saw The Who about five years ago, and although Pete Townsend didn’t jump as high while strumming his guitar and Roger Daltrey laughed about how his voice would probably crack when he screamed on We Don’t Get Fooled Again, the concert was great. In 2019, Phil Collins came to town. He can no longer play the drums for health reasons, and on the big screen with his glasses and bald head, he looked like my dad singing In the Air Tonight. But Phil still had it and made the concert fun and amazing.


Rod Stewart came to town a few years ago too. Everyone in the crowd had a good laugh, when on the big screen, the cover of a Rolling Stone issue with a picture of him in 1978 appeared. It was published when his song Da Ya Think I’m Sexy came out. He quoted the article back then when he said he didn’t want to be in his 60s and still singing that song. It would be ridiculous. He laughed, and said, “Guess what, I’m 72 and I’m singing it tonight.” This past October 4, I saw The Rolling Stones for the first time at Heinz Field, and although Mick Jagger is nearing 80, he still strutted, posed and rocked the stadium. But with all these concerts there was a difference from the ones I attended when I was in my youth. From Phil Collins to Mick Jagger— all of them seemed to be more humble, relaxed and happier. In fact, Mick quipped, that he didn’t have much time to spend in Pittsburgh; he didn’t get a chance to go “to the Warhol Museum and gaze at myself.” It’s not often that an entertainer who comes to town has a portrait in a museum. But rather than being haughty about it, he seemed to be amused by it all. These rock stars are no longer gods but mortals just like the rest of us. Aging is the great equalizer. And I find myself liking these performers even more now that we have become acquainted with their human sides. n


HOLIDAY GUIDE Holiday Sale starts Nov. 22 | NOVEMBER 2021



The First Thanksgiving Trivia Celebrating 400 Years

hanksgiving is a special time for family and friends to gather and thank God for their many blessings. This year marks a significant milestone for this holiday, for it was four hundred years ago that the first Thanksgiving feast occurred in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What we’ve learned about that inaugural event comes from an eyewitness report—a letter written in 1621 by Edward Winslow. He was one of the 102 people who sailed from England aboard the Mayflower in 1620. Winslow wrote about the feast in a pamphlet more than 20 years after the actual first celebration. The Pilgrims’ Thanksgiving didn’t occur on the fourth Thursday in November; instead, it took place over three days sometime between late September and mid-November in 1621. The festivity was a harvest celebration. Fortunately, the settler’s (Pilgrims) first corn harvest was relatively prosperous. It was so plentiful that Governor William Bradford invited their Native American allies to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Members of the Wampanoag tribe came bearing food to share. They had so much bounty; the revelers decided to extend the affair a few days. While most of us love turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and trimmings, that is not the actual food served 400 years ago. There was fowl, but it is not known if the celebrants ate wild turkey, goose or duck. In addition to the bird, the first Thanksgiving feast consisted of shellfish and vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, cucumber, leeks, lettuce, pumpkins and squash. Instead of bread-based stuffing, the colonists might have added herbs, onions, or nuts to the bird for extra flavor. What else missing were potatoes; this vegetable wasn’t around in 1621. If they served cranberry sauce, it was tart, not sweet. Pumpkin pie would have been impossible, as the colony didn’t have butter, wheat flour or an oven. Speaking of ovens, fast-forward 332 years for information on this tasty tidbit. In 1953, the Swanson TV dinner company had 260 tons of frozen turkey leftover after Thanksgiving. So they packaged them into trays with peas and potatoes, which evolved into the TV dinners America knows and loves today. Since we’ve stuffed you with first Thanksgiving info, we must now test your knowledge of this Pilgrims’ query; get set to don those capotains, because it’s time to get a little trivial. 1. The Wampanoag guests arrived at the first Thanksgiving feast with this gamey meat.



2. This Native American spoke fluent English and served as a translator at the feast. 3. Which U.S. President first ordered a national day of Thanksgiving? 4. Thomas Jefferson was the only Founding Father who refused to declare days of thanksgiving and fasting in the United States. Why? 5. What was the traditional eating utensil not used on the first Thanksgiving? (it was invented in 1631) 6. Who led the Wampanoags during the first Thanksgiving? 7. How many pilgrim women who came over on the Mayflower survived to celebrate the 1621 feast? 8. What did Wampanoag teach the Pilgrims? 9. Name the journal by William Bradford, the leader of the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts that he wrote over several years. 10. What year did the Pilgrims hold their second Thanksgiving celebration, which marked the end of a long drought that threatened the harvest? 11. This Mary Had a Little Lamb author is known as the “Mother of Thanksgiving.” She launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. 12. It is said that 53 colonists attended the first Thanksgiving feast; how many Wampanoags were present? 13. Some feel this U.S. city may have been the actual site of the first Thanksgiving. In 1565, a Spanish fleet planted a cross in the sandy beach to christen this new settlement. 14. The first official proclamation of a national Thanksgiving holiday didn’t come until 1863, but by whom? 15. What was the name of Edward Winslow’s Thanksgiving journal? n Sources:,,,,,

Answers 1. venison (deer) 2. Squato 3. George Washington 4. because of separation of church and state 5. fork 6. Massasoit 7. four 8. land cultivation or gardening 9. Of Plymouth Plantation 10. 1623 11. Sarah Josepha Hale 12. 90 13. St. Augustine, Florida 14. Abraham Lincoln 15. Mourt’s Relation


By Paula Green | NOVEMBER 2021





Talkin’ Turkey! By Ron Eichner

Hi folks, fall is a busy season of enjoyment each year.

October finishes up with Halloween and pumpkins of many sizes and trick-or-treating. Then November has Thanksgiving, which takes place on the fourth Thursday. It is a national holiday that brings together family and friends who celebrate the year’s harvest and other blessings from the past year. Turkeys are the focus this month, and most people feel it all starts with picking a turkey up frozen from a local store and then preparing it for the holiday. As a family farm, my grandfather started to raise turkeys back in the 1930s, and every year since then, we begin with day-old poults, raising them for five months. The two-day help from friends and family members, gives us the team for processing the turkeys at our farm. Fortunately, this allows us the opportunity to offer fresh turkeys for our valued year-round customers every year. Each fall season starts with us getting ready our two heated nurseries for when the day-old poults arrive, each one receives three swallows of a vitamin and electrolyte fortified water. This process continues for the first three weeks of drinking, and then fresh water is available. This is a natural vegetable-based three-step program; starter, grower, and finisher with pre and probiotics, and essential oils, antibiotic-free support the health of our turkeys. The turkeys are happiest when they have a simple triangle—feed, water, and a place to roost, like a couch potato. They are active in large open pens as a controlled-free range. Allowing turkeys to roam free-range outside would give them a 24-hour threat to predators like coyotes, foxes, fishers, raccoons, hawks, domesticated dogs, and cats, all looking for their next meal. In the eastern states, the bald eagle is the number one predator for free-range poultry like chickens and turkeys. In recent times, we have been harassed by a few people using social media saying how we “cruelly raise and process” our turkeys. The Humane Society of Pittsburgh has visited our farm to investigate the only complaint each year, the Friday before Thanksgiving. The Humane Society and Animal Friends agents have found no violations and were pleased with our humane practices. People say it probably is PETA and vegans who have their agendas to push, and the traditional turkeys are absent from their tables. So instead, they substitute the popular holiday with “Thanks Vegan,” and dishes are made vegan-style, including meatless roasts, dairy-free mashed potatoes, and no egg desserts. God gives us all free-will to choose, and if people want humanely treated livestock, we may be Wexford’s best-kept secret. We wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! You are welcome to stop by Eichner’s Whole Farm & Greenhouses if you are seeking your trimmings for a traditional Thanksgiving at 285 Richard Road in Wexford and get “the rest of the story.” n | NOVEMBER 2021



Lydia and Alexa at home after being delivered at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital. Photo Credit: Carmen Angela Photography

Best of Both Worlds: Local Care, Top-Notch Delivery Complications can happen during a pregnancy, and that’s why it’s important to find the right care for you and your baby. If you’re a mother-to-be in Pittsburgh’s northern communities, you’ll find best-practice obstetrics care closer to home at UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services. Your delivery will be supported by the full resources of UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital — a nationally renowned women’s specialty hospital.


hen Wexford resident Alisha Kuntz found out she was pregnant with twins, she knew exactly where to go for prenatal care — the same doctor who delivered her son five years earlier: David Badway, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist at UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services in Cranberry, Moon Township, and West Mifflin. “Having a Magee doctor was very important to us. My husband and I knew this

David Badway, MD, and Emily Curtin, MD


pregnancy was high risk and that they had the best knowledge and ability to take care of us and our children,” says Alisha, now 35, who works as a registered nurse at UPMC.

why you want to go where you can receive world-class care. The highest level of care is available at Magee,” he adds.

World-Class Care — From The Routine to The Complex

Throughout her pregnancy, Alisha had prenatal visits with Dr. Badway at UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services, which opened in 2020 at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry. “It’s a beautiful facility and it’s just 10 minutes from my home,” says Alisha. “As a pregnant mom, I appreciated that parking was never an issue.” Although Dr. Badway was her primary doctor, she also had appointments with two other obstetricians in the practice: Emily Curtin, MD, and Stephanie Nicholas, MD. “I had every intention of having Dr. Badway deliver my twins. But you can’t choose that moment,” says Alisha. “I thought it was a good idea to see other doctors in case things didn’t go as planned.” Stephanie Nicholas, MD, She also was referred to the maternal fetal medi- UPMC MageeWomens Specialty cine (MFM) specialists at

Alisha’s first pregnancy was routine — until it wasn’t. Diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) at 24 weeks, she needed constant monitoring of her blood sugar and took insulin for the remainder of her pregnancy. Because of GDM, she was induced at 39 weeks and delivered a healthy boy, Luca, now 5, via cesarean section (C-section). With her history of GDM and a previous C-section, Alisha’s second pregnancy was considered high risk from the start. Carrying twins was an added risk factor. As it turns out, those were just the beginning of multiple complications she and her team of UPMC doctors would deal with over the next nine months. “She started out with one high-risk condition, then developed three more during her pregnancy,” says Dr. Badway. “No one becomes pregnant thinking these things are going to happen to them. That’s


“I Knew I Was in Good Hands”


UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital for extra monitoring and care. One of Alisha’s consults was done via telemedicine, but she saw MFM specialists in person at UPMC Magee in Oakland — just a 25-minute drive away — for her other visits. As her pregnancy progressed, Alisha’s doctors kept a close watch on her and the babies. At 16 weeks, a routine glucose test confirmed she had GDM and needed insulin. In addition to regular monitoring of Alisha’s blood sugar and insulin use, Magee’s MFM specialists began scheduling ultrasounds at 20 weeks to check on the twins’ growth. At 31 weeks, Alisha experienced another complication — pre-term labor — that led to twice-weekly non-stress tests at UPMC Magee to check on the babies’ health and monitor for contractions. At 34 weeks, she was diagnosed with gestational hypertension, or high blood pressure, yet another complication that required additional monitoring. A C-section initially was scheduled for 38 weeks, but that diagnosis — and the fact both babies were breech (facing legs forward) — prompted Dr. Badway to move the planned delivery ahead by a week. Alisha was understandably nervous about the multiple complications she faced during her pregnancy. But she felt confident in her doctors’ abilities. “I knew I was in good hands,” says Alisha. “I had full confidence in my doctors and Magee. I knew no matter what I would be going through, they’ve seen it all and they’ve taken care of it. That was very reassuring. I knew the babies were going to be okay — and I was going to be okay, too.” Alisha also appreciated the support she received from the staff at both her obstetrician’s office and at UPMC Magee. “They saw me so frequently we became like friends. They celebrated along with me each milestone we reached with the babies,” she says.

Planning and Teamwork

Throughout Alisha’s pregnancy, Dr. Badway kept abreast of her testing and care with maternal fetal medicine specialists via UPMC’s electronic medical records (EMR). “EMR allows us to communicate and coordinate care. I can read notes from the MFM specialists and see what they recommend and any tests they order,” he says. In addition, Dr. Badway and his colleagues at Magee-Womens Specialty Services meet regularly to discuss care of high-risk patients like Alisha. “We review each case so everyone is familiar with the patient, no matter who is

on call when she delivers,” he says. Patients also benefit from having an ob-gyn from the practice on call — and onsite — at UPMC Magee at all times to handle deliveries. Anesthesiologists, neonatal intensive care (NICU) specialists, and other practitioners are also onsite 24/7. “When we’re on call, we’re there and we’re ready for anything,” says Dr. Curtin.

A Speedy Delivery

One week before her planned C-section, Alisha’s water broke. By the time she arrived at UPMC Magee, she was fully dilated, and the first baby was breech. “There was no time to wait. We had to act immediately,” says Dr. Curtin, who was on call at the hospital and waiting for Alisha. “Emergency deliveries like this were always a challenge when I worked at a community hospital,” she says. “But here at Magee, we’re always ready and we have every resource we need right here.” Alisha was quickly wheeled into the operating room where two separate NICU teams and an obstetric team were waiting to jump into action. “It was scary, but I knew there was nowhere else I’d rather be. I knew they would take the very best care of me and my girls,” says Alisha. Just 69 minutes after her water broke, Dr. Curtin delivered Alexa, followed one minute later by Lydia. The babies were placed in incubators for temperature control, had their blood sugar tested regularly, and were monitored for jaundice. Three days later, they went home. For her post-partum visit, Alisha made an appointment with Dr. Curtin. “I wanted to see her because she was the one who delivered my babies, and I wanted to thank her for getting my girls into the world safely,” she says. “We are blessed with two healthy, happy babies,” adds Alisha. “We are so thankful for everyone at Magee-Womens Specialty Services and UPMC MageeWomens Hospital who made this possible.” And, with UPMC’s strong network of pediatric care north of the city and beyond, Alisha’s family continues to receive top-notch medical care, right in their neighborhood. Today, the children regularly see Lawrence Butler, MD, a pediatrician at UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics – Pittsburgh Pediatrics, Wexford office. n The information in this article was provided by UPMC.

It’s All Here: The Specialists You Need, Closer to Home


he unique health care needs of women require specialized medical expertise and services. That’s why UPMC MageeWomens Specialty Services offers women convenient access to diagnostic and advanced specialty care to patients in the northern communities of Allegheny, Beaver, and Butler counties. Whether you need routine wellness exams and health screenings, prenatal care, fertility treatments, advanced breast cancer diagnostics, or specialized gynecologic care, you’ll find the services you need close to home.

UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services locations in the north include: • UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex • UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services– Butler • UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services– Wexford • UPMC Outpatient Center in Hampton • UPMC Passavant–Cranberry • UPMC Passavant–McCandless

Specialty Services

• Breast cancer risk assessment • General obstetrics and gynecology • Gynecologic oncology • Lymphedema services • Maternal fetal medicine • Midlife health • Midwifery • Reproductive endocrinology and infertility • Urogynecology • Women’s imaging • Surgery – Advanced laparoscopic surgery – Breast surgery – Minimally invasive gynecologic surgery

Schedule your visit today with UPMC Magee-Womens Specialty Services at NOVEMBER 2021



National Adoption Month Love Is an Action: Foster Love Project


ith often short notice, children in foster care and kinship care transition to a new or unfamiliar home with only a few clothing items and necessities to call their own. For some children, their stay in foster care is brief; for others, their stay may last one to three years. In some cases, longer. To support youth in transition, Foster Love Project (FLP), a Pittsburgh-based 501(c)(3) organization, works to ensure that children, foster families, kinship families and families facing hardship have the resources they need in order to thrive. Every November and December thanks to the community’s generosity and the Transition Bag program, Foster Love Project’s commitment to supporting youth in transition is made possible. The Transition Bag program provides a child with a new backpack or duffel bag filled with new pajamas, socks, a book, blanket, hygiene items, and more - all items youth can take pride in calling their own. Each year, the region unites to donate complete transition bags for over 2,000 children in need. Once donated, in partnership with foster and adoption agencies throughout Western PA, dedicated caseworkers distribute transition bags directly to youth in need. In addition to the Transition Bag Program and FLP’s other direct service programs, FLP operates the first free shopping center in Western Pennsylvania for youth impacted by foster care. This winter, youth



will shop at The Center for tangible items like warm clothes, bedding, snow boats, cribs and hygiene items. Foster Love Project remains committed to impacting the lives of youth in transition by meeting their practical needs and touching hearts and minds. We believe love is not just a word that we use, but it is seen in the actions of how we are actively caring for youth and families in crisis. To learn more about ways to give or receive support through The Transition Bag Program, The Center, or Foster Love Projects other programs, visit today. n

Dispelling Adoption Myths With Jami Lyn Duane-Brady, Sr. Outpatient Therapist with TRAC


RAC offers outpatient therapy for all children and adults. Our specialty is working with those who have experienced trauma. We offer individual therapy, family therapy, sibling therapy and co-parenting therapy. Our goal is to meet the needs of the communities that we serve to heal from the trauma they have experienced.

What type of treatments do you provide?

TRAC therapists have been trained in multiple of evidence-based techniques including: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, All Families Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trust Based Relational Interventions and Parent Child Interaction Therapy. TRAC also provides psychiatric services with a board-certified child psychiatrist.

What myths do you think people have about adopting and fostering children?

People often think that you have to be the perfect family to foster or adopt. Research has shown the difference that one committed person in a child’s life can make. What we need in both foster and adoptive families is a commitment to love and to be present. What is also needed is a willingness to be flexible and to realize that life is going to be different! There are many myths about adoption and foster care. My favorite is that love and a good home will cure all sorts of ills. It would be nice, but typically it takes love, perseverance, patience, resilience, therapy, activities

and connection. It is all of the things that one provides for any child except maybe therapy. Another myth is that all birth parents are “bad” people. Most of the birth parents we work with have also experienced complex trauma. Connected to this is the myth that birth parents always resent foster parents. This is sometimes true, but there are many times that birth parents and foster parents develop a relationship that is supportive to the child, supportive for the birth parent and rewarding to the foster parent. Another myth is that if you adopt when a child is very young, they won’t have much trauma and shouldn’t be affected by behaviors etc. Unfortunately, many of our children

experience trauma in utero. Understanding what makes a child stiffen and cry when being held allows us to work with a family to start to build healthy connections as quickly as possible. TRAC is also one of the agencies who provides services through the State Wide Adoption Network (SWAN) to children post adoption. These services are available for any adopted child in Pennsylvania. There are three components to post services:. Post adoption services can be accessed by calling SWAN at 1-800-585-7926. They will ask for some basic information about your child & their adoption in order for you to access services. n | NOVEMBER 2021





H E A LT H & W E L L N E S S

Enjoy a Guilt-Free Holiday Season By Belinda Burchick, RPh, BPharm Ready for the holidays? Such an exciting time of year, from decorations to family gatherings to great food…oh the food!


uring the holiday season, we all get a little lax on healthy eating and exercise. All of the temptations, with foods from your childhood to new treats you have never tasted, makes trying to stay healthy or lose weight a challenge during these times, but not impossible. A little bit of balance and planning will allow you to taste your favorites and still maintain your weight and your health. Don’t skip the holiday events and gatherings because of the enticing foods, as it is more important to go and spend this time with family and friends. Follow some of the below tips, and be on your way to a healthier and enjoyable holiday season: • Eat extra slow. Focus on flavor with 1 minute between bites, and you will recognize the fullness signal. Ask yourself between bites, “Am I still enjoying this?”

• Eat small meals throughout the day. Eat early, then every 2-3 hours using a very small plate. This will keep your blood sugar steady and give you more energy. • Eat healthy snacks in between meals. For example, nuts, seeds, fruits and raw veggies. • Eat healthier selections first. For example, roasted vegetables, lean meats, select cheeses. • Eat mini desserts. Also, cut into smaller pieces. • After every meal, get up and move. Walking is best or help clean up the kitchen. • Breathe right before a meal and various times throughout the day. Breathe in slowly through nose, hold for count of 5, breathe out slowly, repeat at least 3 times. • Increase fiber in-take. Induces fullness, found in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, whole grains. • Cut back on taste-testing. Try not to taste food while cooking and baking. • Limit liquid calories. Keep beverages free of sugar and empty calories. Drink less alcohol by mixing with carbonated water or simply sip your drink to last longer and cut down on calories. • Drink water or low-calorie beverages. This will keep you hydrated and reduce cravings and calories. • Get sleep. Sleep deprivation may increase hunger hormones and lower metabolism; try to get 7-8 hours of sleep. • Plan ahead. Ask what foods will be served at party or bring your own healthy dish. Decide ahead on how much you will eat. • Don’t go back for seconds. Limit yourself to one plate one time. • Weigh yourself regularly. This may help you make careful selections of foods and snacks. • Keep meals balanced with protein. Promotes fullness and may increase metabolism and appetite-reducing hormones. Include at least 30 grams of protein in each meal. Good sources include poultry, beef, pork, fish, beans, cheeses and some veggies. Following some of these guidelines may not only prevent you from expanding your waistline but may even make you feel good and even lose weight. What not to do: Don’t use this month-long window of time as a reason to overeat or overindulge, thinking you will get back on track in January 2022. This method makes you feel “blah” at the beginning of a new year, and harder to get back on track after the holidays. The holiday season is a time to cherish with loved ones. Keep your focus on family, friends, and fun—not food. During gatherings, spend your time chatting with friends and family instead of eating. Bottom line, it’s O.K. to indulge a little during the holidays, keeping in mind a balance with healthy foods and walking. Keep it guilt-free, so that you can enjoy this magical holiday season. Happy Holidays! n Belinda Burchick, RPh, BPharm, has focused her career on geriatric pharmacy and automated dispensing systems to promote patient safety and improve health outcomes. For the last 10 years, she has served as Chief Pharmacy Officer (CPO) for a long-term care pharmacy, servicing the geriatric population in nursing homes, assisted living, independent living, and the senior day programs, such as, Pennsylvania’s LIFE programs and the PACE programs in multiple states. Belinda oversees the pharmacy operations in three pharmacies, located in Denver, Philadelphia and headquarters in Pittsburgh.



Living Pittsburgh


with UPMC Senior Communities

Longtime residents of Pittsburgh know how it is – when the roads are “slippy,” you put your lawn chairs in the street to save a parking spot for your buddy when he comes over to watch the Steelers game!


hese kinds of Pittsburgh originals are woven into the genetic makeup of everyone who has called “the Burgh” home for any length of time. At UPMC Senior Communities, we celebrate our residents as participants in Pittsburgh history. The opportunity to revisit and recreate some of those iconic people, places, and things via a photo shoot at our independent living facilities made for some wonderful new memories, even as we were revisiting old ones! Along the way, our residents described some of their experiences and impressions of vintage Pittsburgh, and we are pleased to share some of the results here in picture and word.


Heinz “I remember the original ‘pickle pin’ was made of a piece of wood that was attached to a pin.” Jean, Cumberland Woods Village “I took tours of the factory with school groups and the Boy Scouts. We always got free samples at the end of the tour. The last sample was a cup of vinegar. I never went back after that, but I still have my pickle pin!” Jack, Cumberland Crossing Manor

Incline “We lived in New Castle, and we would make a special trip to visit the incline.


My family and I loved the ride.” Jean, Strabane Woods “I was on a date there in the 70s. The date was okay, but the view was beautiful.” Judy, Strabane Woods “Around 1945, you paid 25 cents to ride the incline all day, and we did!” Joan, Seneca Manor

Kaufmann’s Clock “I met my date under the Kaufmann’s clock. I took the streetcar to town to meet him. He brought me the most beautiful gardenia corsage. We went to the 7th Avenue Hotel for dinner and dancing. After the date he got a cab and

took me home. He asked me if I wanted to go on another date, and I told him ‘no.’ The reason I didn’t want to go on a second date is because I figured out he dyed his hair blonde. I was worried what people would think about me dating a man that dyed his hair.” Dorothy, Asbury Heights “I worked downtown for many years. Underneath the Kaufmann’s clock was THE spot to meet my friends for lunch.” Marie, Cumberland Crossing Manor

Kennywood “Growing up in Mt. Lebanon, I would take the streetcar all the way to Kennywood. The streetcar had to stop to change the rails and the top streetcar cable because this was not a normal route. I remember getting sick on hot dogs from Kennywood. Roller coasters and hot dogs don’t mix!” Jean, Cumberland Woods Village “My favorite memory from Kennywood was going in 8th grade. I went with 2 guys, one was in 7th grade, and one was in 8th grade, and I got a kiss from both before the day was over!” Catherine, Strabane Trails Village “We went by trolley on our school’s Kennywood Day. I remember the tunnel of love, dances in the pavilion, and the swimming pool.” Audrey, Hampton Fields Village “We would get to Kennywood by riding the streetcar through the woods. I remember the clanky-clank and the swaying of the streetcar. We sang

‘Ninety-nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall’ the whole way there. Our parents would meet us later in the day, and we would all eat together. Such a great memory!” Mary, Strabane Trails Village

Parking Chairs “A very Pittsburgh thing – and very necessary on the South Side!” Judith, Sherwood Oaks “Parking in Pittsburgh is serious business. We went to deliver presents to a less fortunate family in Mt. Washington one Christmas Eve. It was something my wife always liked to do. When we came out from delivering packages, there was a man screaming at me for taking his spot.” Al, Vanadium Woods Village

Vic, the Dancing Cop “He directed traffic and danced. I saw him once – he had a lot of moves.” Helen, Strabane Woods “He was always Downtown on the corner, smiling and dancing.” Audrey, Hampton Fields Village

Almost every Pittsburgher has their quintessential Pittsburgh story. And with it being such a dynamic city, the stories vary as much as the town itself. For some, it’s the thrill of wooden coasters and stolen kisses. For others, it’s the ketchup capital of the world. For our residents, it’s where home and history intersect. n Please note: All photos were taken before universal masking and social distancing guidelines.

For more information about UPMC Senior Communities, call 1-800-324-5523, visit, or follow us on Facebook. | NOVEMBER 2021



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Adventures in Training with a Purpose By Paula Green

In 2015, former Pittsburgh Steeler and four-time Super Bowl champion Jon Kolb founded Adventures in Training with a Purpose (ATP). This nonprofit organization is focused on helping those most in need to improve their quality of life through an adventure of purposeful, physical training.


ne group that ATP works closely with is military veterans and first responders suffering both physically and mentally. They have a special division geared towards service members and first responders called Aurelius, which named after the Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius. According to ATP’s executive director, Caleb Kolb, “We offer a 12-week program for veterans and first responders. Part of the program concentrates on functional training and complex movement patterns. Another portion is ‘adventures’ where we venture outdoors. For the outdoor portion, we offer a variety of activities; some are on a small scale such a bonfire or hiking in North Park or McConnell’s Mill, to whitewater sports. Then we offer larger scale events like going to the Grand Canyon or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Once the vets graduate from the 12-week program, they are welcome to come back to ATP anytime and utilize our facility.” “We are pleased to be in a partnership with Fortis Future. Fortis has certified professionals who assist clients with mental health, neuroscience and regenerative medicine. Fortis is located in the same office as ATP,” said Caleb. So together, ATP and Fortis integrate a physical functional wellness program to help restore quality of life and improve mental wellbeing. “The beauty of having ATP and Fortis together in one office is clients have the benefit of having a one-stop shop, and the movement builds the mind. When we start with clients and do an assessment, we have them set a goal, and no goal is too small” said Caleb’s wife Sarah Kolb, who serves as ATP’s director of development and operations. “We set up a schedule for each client that works best for their needs. We have specialized equipment that helps with physical recovery. One piece that is beneficial is our HydroWorx tank. The aquatic water helps the person with

their mobility. Jon’s former teammate Tunch Ilkin enjoyed using the HydroWorks; it helped him with battle of ALS. Since we recently lost him, we now refer to the HydroWorks tank as the “Tunch tank,” said Sarah. In addition to helping disabled veterans, ATP works with chronic conditions such as Parkinson’s disease; boxing is a big part of their therapy. We also work with patients that have MS, ALS, strokes and paralyzed individuals. Adventures in Training with a Purpose is located at 7000 Stonewood Drive, Suite 115A, in Wexford, which serves as their headquarters. They also have two other locations at the First Assembly of God Church in Hermitage, and the YMCA of Youngtown in Youngstown, Ohio. For more information on their facility, visit their website at n | NOVEMBER 2021


K I D S & E D U C AT I O N

School Movers & Shakers Aquinas Academy Seven Aquinas Academy seniors have been recognized in the 2022 National Merit Competition as Commended students. They are: Andrew D’Angelo, Helayna Baer, Samuel Everson, Emilia Kartsonas, Joanna Knight, Alica Lenartova, and Nicholas Santucci.

STEM Education The Citizen Science Lab, a nonprofit organization that provides STEM education to underserved youth in Pittsburgh, has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the Eden Hall Foundation to enhance its SeaPerch program.

Shady Side Academy Niche has released its 2022 Best Schools rankings. Shady Side was ranked No. 1 in the Pittsburgh Area in the Best Private High Schools, Best College Prep Private High Schools, Best Boarding High Schools, and Best High Schools for STEM categories, and No. 2 in the Most Diverse Private High Schools category.


Seven members of the Shady Side Academy Class of 2022 were named semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The SSA semifinalists are: Baramee Bhakdibhumi, Braden Crow, Grace Greeno, Jack Hathaway, Jamila Snyder, Prayag Vemulapalli, Anker Zhao.

Mars Area Members of PineRichland/Mars Area U.S. Air Force JROTC prepare to welcome home local veterans who participated in an Honor Flight Pittsburgh trip to Washington, D.C. Mars Area High School Girls Varsity Volleyball Team took second place in the 2021 MAC Girls Varsity Volleyball Tournament, held Sept. 18 at Moon Area High School. Mars Area High School Boys JV Golf Team ended the 2021 season undefeated with an overall record


of 13-0. Team members are Colin Stevenson, Charlie Bickel, Max Solich, Jonah Kozora, James Kinghorn, Cory Killian, Ryan Mitchell and Max Prazer. Mars Area High School golfers Ryan Steigerwald, Raghav Kalbhor, Lucas Kuremsky, Wes Scurci, Blake Bertolo and Will Campbell competed in the 2021 WPIAL Class 3A Boys Golf Team Championships. Members of Mars Area High School Marching Band paused for a picture with their first place trophy, earned at the Moon Area Marching Band Festival on Oct. 9.

Seneca Valley Seneca Valley seniors Nicholas Foulkrod, Chris Helmsen, Kason Kunkelmann, Nick Nedzesky, Alex Neff, Shanker Pillai, Veronica Pimenova, Xavier

Reese, Aidan Uher, Liam Volk-Klos and Merrick Wimer have been named Commended Students in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program. Seneca Valley 2021 graduates Taylor Wagstaff and Nick Logero were honored with the 2021 Unified Champion Schools (UCS) Leadership Award for helping to raise over $4,000 for the Polar Bear Plunge for Special Olympics. Seneca Valley senior Daniel Spear has been named as a Semifinalist in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Pennsylvania School Bus Association (PSBA) announced that five Seneca Valley drivers were selected for the 2020-21 PSBA Safe Driver Awards. Each driver was awarded for providing service that goes above and beyond and having at least 20 consecutive years of bus driving without accidents. ABC Transit drivers Herb Fletcher, Kathy Richards, Linda Scheidemantle, Pam Cosky and the late Ray Albert were selected for the award.

Fox Chapel The Fox Chapel Area High School Marching Band placed first in its division at a Pennsylvania Interscholastic Marching Band Association (PIMBA) competition. They also received awards for Music and General Effect. Two Fox Chapel Area High School students, Ian Mackey-Piccolo and Adhitya Thirumala were recognized for their performance at the Mid-America Cup Debate Tournament. The duo finished as quarterfinalists, meaning they were in the top eight Policy Debate teams.

Shaler Scholarships available to Shaler Area students. Shaler Garden Club is offering thirteen scholarships to students who plan to further their education in horticulture, floriculture, landscape architecture, conservation, forestry, botany, biology, agronomy, plant pathology, environmental control, city planning, land management, and/or allied subjects. Each scholarship award is a minimum of $1,000. Application deadline is February 1, 2022. For info, call Joanne at (607) 738-5002.

Saint Joseph High School (Natrona Heights) Principal: Beverly K. Kaniecki (724) 224-5552

BC3 In September, elected officials who helped to secure funding for the construction of the $4.2 million facility joined one of the project’s donors and BC3’s president in the ceremonial groundbreaking near 1100 Fourth Ave., the two-acre property that for a century was home to Ford City Junior-Senior High School. By spring 2023, BC3 @ Armstrong will move from Manor Township to a 12,500-square-foot facility at 1100 Fourth Ave. | NOVEMBER 2021



Family & Small Business P R O F I L E S There’s something special about a family or small business. Perhaps it’s because we like to see people working together for something larger than themselves. Perhaps we like to see how generations come together. Perhaps it’s because we like seeing a dream turn into a reality, and the family or small businesses we are featuring all started with someone having a good idea. Whatever the reason, Northern Connection is proud to feature these small and family businesses in this issue.

The Camelot Event Center The Camelot has been a part of the community for over 30 years, and Ryan and Valerie Sarel take pride carrying on this local tradition for the past 8 years and into the future. The original Warrendale venue is a charming historic building surrounded by the original stained glass windows, and The Camelot has recently added a larger and newly renovated venue in Wexford into their offerings. Executive Chef Ryan Sarel has over 15 years of professional, high-end catering and leadership experience, and Event Manager Valerie Sarel has over 20 years of customer service and design experience. Together, they strive to provide their community with elegant, expertly-catered, professionally executed events ranging from weddings to sports banquets, corporate functions, and everything in between. The Camelot Event Center - Wexford & Warrendale is proud to be a local family-run small business! | 724-935-4550

McGroarty & Bradburn Insurance, LLC McGroarty & Bradburn Insurance, LLC, is owned and operated by siblings Michael McGroarty, Jr. and Megan McGroarty, who purchased the agency from Mike McGroarty Sr. McGroarty Insurance Agency, Inc., was founded in 1926 by their grandfather, and it merged in 1989 with Bradburn Insurance Agency, which also had a long family history, having been founded in 1946. The company specializes in Auto, Home, Business & Life Insurance. They insure all types of businesses including rental properties, contractors, restaurants, retail stores, and much more. “We are a third- generation, family-owned business that considers our clients and team members as part of the family. Our No. 1 core value is ‘Do the right thing,’” said Michael McGroarty, Jr. “We help our clients find the right insurance coverage at the best price. We accomplish this by working with multiple, highly rated insurance companies and customizing a policy to meet your needs and budget.” (412) 444-4470 |



| Surrett & Anspaugh, LLC

Karen Anspaugh is a partner at the law firm of Surrett & Anspaugh LLC. She has helped companies form and thrive for over 30 years. Combining her business law practice with her experience in estate planning, asset protection, and wealth management, she helps businesses and individuals implement beneficial tax strategies and safeguard all they have worked for. Karen also operates Adrienne Abstract & Closing Company, where she manages every stage of residential and commercial real estate transactions, from drafting documents to settlement. She routinely works with real estate investors and wholesalers and assists with transactions involving nontraditional financing. 724-831-1410 | |

Landau Building Company Established over 130 years ago, Landau Building Company has become one of the premier family-owned and operated construction management and general contracting firms in Western Pennsylvania. In 2006, Landau Building Company expanded its construction services to include the northern West Virginia region when it created the subsidiary Marks-Landau Construction. Now in its fifth generation, Landau continues to build strong RELATIONSHIPS with its clients by focusing on their need to build a safe, high-quality project on time and within budget. Our commitment to integrity, honesty, and excellent client service has built the solid REPUTATION we exhibit every day on every project. We deliver exceptional RESULTS that exceed our client’s expectations for quality and service which makes Landau Building Company their builder of choice. We welcome the opportunity to be your builder of choice. WE MOVED! New Address: 4377 William Flynn Hwy., Allison Park, PA 15101-1432 724-935-8800 |

Katie’s Clay Studio

Family & Small Business

Karen Anspaugh

Katie’s Clay studio is the North Hill’s premier family and community art studio. As a small business, owned and staffed by members of the community, we provide personal connection and specialized attention to our customers. We seek out new and exciting mediums as well as specialize in old favorites. Let us teach you how to throw a pot on the potter’s wheel, sculpt and hand build with clay sculpting, paint on canvas or wood, break some glass while doing glass fusion, and of course, glaze some pre-made pottery from Pittsburgh’s largest selection of paint your own pottery items, which now include microwavable and dishwasher safe stoneware. We offer regular workshops and classes, clay studio memberships, and the option of hosting private birthday parties, ladies nights and corporate events. We also have projects to-go, perfect for any artist that wants to create at home! New this year is our artist gallery featuring Katie’s and staff artwork for sale. Join us over the holidays for any of our workshops or classes better yet give the gift of an experience with a class. Visit our website for more details and how to sign up! Katie’s Clay Studio wants to help you “get muddy” 412-486-2184 |

Jewelry by Alicia & Scott Jewelry by Alicia & Scott is a husband and wife-owned jewelry business located in Wexford. They have over 20 years’ experience in custom design, fine jewelry, diamonds and gemstones. Modernizing their approach to the industry, Alicia & Scott’s custom jewelry is designed through CAD design with precision and only the finest materials. All setting work and repairs are done in-house so that nothing leaves their showroom. Alicia & Scott’s dedication to their craft and their clients shows through in every piece of jewelry they design. They are truly passionate about their clients and are thankful to be a part of their journey through life. Alicia has been designing jewelry and grading diamonds for the past 24 years. Scott has over 15 years in metal fabrication from aircraft to jewelry. Together, these two are an incredible team. Check out their Facebook and Instagram profiles to learn more about their designs and services. 724-934-6296 | | NOVEMBER 2021


Family & Small Business

Tammy Croftcheck & Katie Watts

| Studio19

Studio 19 Dance Complex opened its doors in 2005 and is a nationally recognized and award-winning dance studio. Located at 164 Brickyard Rd. in Mars, it is co-owned and operated by Tammy Croftcheck and Katie Watts, who serve as co-artistic directors, with 31 years of experience. Together with their extensive team of talented and highly trained professionals, Tammy and Katie are members of all the professional dance organizations and are safetycertified by USA Gymnastics. Studio 19 was voted by Federation of Dance, as one of the top three dance studios in the U.S. and has been featured on every national dance and variety show, including AGT, So You Think You Can Dance, World of Dance, Dance Moms, People’s Choice Awards, AMA’s, VMA’s, and So Sharp. Studio 19 has done choreography for local and international artist Jackie Evancho’s song Pedestal, and recently won a Telly Award for their choreography on a Judge Judy commercial for WPXI. The studio has produced many dance stars throughout the years, including several dancers who have gone on to star in movie motion pictures, as well as performing with Pink, (who’s new documentary,”All I Know So Far” features studio alumni/dancer/choreographer/actress Madelyne Spang) Jonas Brothers, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber and Kidz Bop. Current student Layla Stiscak (Pine Richland) stars in Kidz Bop Layla and is a current Kidz Bop kid @kidzboplayla. Who knows? Maybe the next big superstar or Kidz Bop kid will be coming out of Studio 19 again! In addition to movies and dance tours, many of Studio 19’s dancers go on to dance and perform professionally, as well as dancing for Division I Dance Teams. Studio 19 offers competitive and recreational classes for ages two through adult, at all levels of talent, including Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, Acrobatics, Tumbling and Contortion as well as preschool and tot classes. Cheerleaders are also welcome for tumbling classes. To register for classes or more information, please Call: 724-7790019 or visit our Facebook page: Studio19 Dance Complex or Instagram: @Studio19 Dance Complex.

Heyl Family Practice Heyl Family Practice, a third-generation family practice servicing the Pittsburgh area, is expanding to McCandless! As a practice with over 75 years of experience supporting the immediate and long-term medical needs of patients, the team is excited to continue their growth further into the North Hills of Pittsburgh. Beginning in January 2022, Dr. Louis Heyl, M.D., Dr. Shoenthal, M.D., Dr. Scott Heyl, M.D., and Dr. Matthew Macken, M.D. will take over a retiring physician’s practice at the Passavant McCandless Campus, allowing for a larger service area and more options for their patients. This knowledgeable, dynamic, and forward-thinking team provides a variety of services to their patients, including counseling and mental health services. If you are looking for a new primary care provider in the North Hills, Heyl Family Practice would love to be your provider of choice. We are scheduling new patients at our West View and McCandless Office! West View Office - 1020 Center Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15229 McCandless Office – 9104 Babcock Blvd, Suite 3111, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 Phone: 412-931-3066

Bridge City Braces | Dentistry for Kids Bridge City Braces was founded in 2015 by Drs. Joffre and Kat Martin at Dentistry for Kids Cranberry and McCandless after identifying that their pediatric dentists needed a full-time, in-house orthodontist to streamline patient care during orthodontics. The specialties of pediatric dentistry and orthodontics are uniquely matched to develop healthy mouths and beautiful smiles. They emphasize the importance of being evaluated by an orthodontist by age seven to help with growth and development of healthy bites. This paradigm shift from years past has helped avoid so many challenges that previous generations of dentists have faced. The upside of this is that so much difficult dentistry including extractions and surgery can be avoided. This is a family-focused specialty practice founded and run by an actual family. The Drs. Martin have been fortunate to work together for over seven years and have been married for the past 10. The benefit of having this family focus at the Bridge City Braces/ Dentistry for Kids offices in McCandless and Cranberry locations is that the care is seamless and the communication between specialists is easy. And even more importantly, the staff is friendly and kind. They all love what they do! 724-553-5554 | 412-837-2224 |

Mister Sparky of Pittsburgh Mister Sparky of Pittsburgh is a leading provider of residential electrical services that’s locally owned and operated by franchise owner Patrick McCort, a Pittsburgh resident of over 32 years. Experts at safeguarding homes against potential hazards, the company’s licensed and insured electricians are highly trained and provide customers with installation, repair and replacement services in a fast and reliable manner. Mister Sparky provides customers with the one thing they’re really looking for: peace of mind that comes from trust and confidence. Additionally, our work is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Mister Sparky of Pittsburgh is open 24/7 and serves the towns of Cranberry, Sewickley, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Wexford, and Butler. For more information, visit or call 724-367-6400.




Veterans Have an Advocate in Realtor Deb Walton ®

By Janice Lane Palko


Realtor who is educated and has extensive experience with the VA loan process can help their veteran client significantly when navigating the transaction to closing,” said Deb Walton, Realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty, who has been helping our veterans sell and purchase homes for the last eight years. “One of my real estate specialties is helping activeduty, veteran, and military family members purchase a home. Since my childhood, I have been surrounded by family and friends in the military. I also worked with the military in my former job as a Key Account Manager. For all of their dedication, hard work, and sacrifice, they deserve to live in the home of their dreams. Working with veterans and military members in this way is something I can do to give back to the men and women who have served our country.”


The VA loan process can be a thorny one as the VA appraisal is notoriously strict, and Walton credits the specialized training she has received from Coldwell Banker, as well as being versed in working with military real estate assistance programs such as Navy Federal RealtyPlus and Realogy Military Rewards with PCSgrades. But more importantly, she is noted for providing exemplary service. “We found Deb from one of her listings she had out in Beaver County. I will never forget that day. It was during a snowstorm, and my husband and I were in a time crunch to find a home, and she still showed up for us,” said Amanda N., whose husband, Steve, served in the Army. “After our first meeting with her, she was like family to us. She made the experience and time go by so smoothly. Finding a home in a new town is tough, but like always, she made it easy. Deb is a friend for life.” “When we started looking for a house in the first few months, we dealt with real estate agents who lacked process, financial, property knowledge and basic communication etiquette for what would be the biggest purchase of our lives. We first met with Deb at a beautiful house that my wife, Katie, and I were sold on—that is until Deb showed us issues as new buyers we were blinded by and led us away,” said Kevin B., who also served in the Army. “This was our first home, and Deb’s guidance through the process was invaluable. If we ever decide to move in the future, Deb will be our first choice.” It’s no exaggeration that Walton goes above and beyond for her clients. Recently, she painted numerous exterior windows so that the home Navy veteran Nate M. wanted to purchase would pass the appraisal process. “Deb was extremely helpful throughout my entire buying process. It seemed like whatever could go wrong did…and more. She not only helped me balance and prioritize things that needed to be done, but she also shouldered a lot of work when she could tell I was overwhelmed. She even painted the exterior windows so that the house would pass the final appraisal! I don’t know any other realtor who would sacrifice their time like she did,” said Nate. “She’s legitimately kind and caring, and it’s hard to find anyone like that these days, especially in any type of sales.” Another Navy vet also sings Walton’s praises. “We feel like we won the lottery having Deb assigned to us through Navy


Amanda and Steve Federal’s RealtyPlus program,” said Steve O. “She was amazing through the entire process. Even when we found out that our closing would be delayed, she worked out a way for us to move into our new home on our original closing date, so we didn’t go without a place to stay. Deb seemed to have a contingency plan for everything,” said Steve.

Katie, Kevin and little Ellie “She was a godsend through the entire process, and we couldn’t be more grateful for her help.” Walton serves the Greater Pittsburgh area and is always eager to connect with other active-duty, veteran, and military family members needing real estate services. I will do whatever I can, and I have made sure to equip myself with the necessary resources and knowledge to get them through the process and into their new home,” said Walton. n

To contact Deb Walton, call: cell - 724.480.6690 office - 724.776.2900 or email her at: | NOVEMBER 2021


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