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Holiday 2015 Edition


Connecting Our Communities

To All a Good Night!


BRIDGES Pennsylvania Bridges is published online at and in print format

six times a year e-mail: All Rights Reserved© Pennsylvania Bridges is... Carla E. Anderton, Editor-in-Chief Hayley Lynn Martin, Assistant Editor Chuck Brutz, Staff Writer Aaron Dalzell, Staff Writer Reanna Roberts, Staff Writer Fred Terling, Staff Writer Contributors: David Boehm, Keren Lee Dryer, Zachary Filtz, B.T. Gilligan, Kelly Newcomer, Michele Pagen, Meghan Swarz, Kelly Tunney, Bruce Wald, Eric Worton & Dave Zuchowski

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To All a Good Night! “It's not fair.” How many times have you heard or uttered this phrase? Log into social media at practically any time of the day and you'll find a dozen instances of the harsh reality that life isn't fair. The last month has been particularly momentous and, too often, those momentous occasions have been marked by tragedy. So much sadness and outright ugliness has invaded my Facebook feed that, some days, I actually find myself at a loss for words to combat it. “Life just isn't fair,” I think, and reconcile myself to the fact there's really not much I can do about the poisoned well except refuse to drink from it. So, I pause before I share that political meme or repost that obviously biased news article. I think twice before I comment on someone's status update, always asking myself: Is it worth it? Does it matter? What's the point in alienating friends, family and members of my community simply because I want to have an opinion? “Life just isn't fair,” I repeat, and continue scrolling. It's just easier that way. Easier, except for the fact that it's dead wrong. Wrong, because you can't make a right with two wrongs. Indifference to the knowledge the playing field isn't level is part of the problem and I, along with every other person who adapts that attitude, am the reason life will continue to be unfair

for so many people. Realizing this, I've begun a conscious journey of trying to discover ways I can help make life a little better for others, both in my community and on a more global level. That journey is reflected in the pages of this edition, and it's a wellworn path to follow, trod by so many others before me. One major change I've made was a fairly quick fix, not to mention an innocuous way for me to make a statement. I've started voting with my dollar, and refusing to support companies and organization whose business practices I find reprehensible. Speaking of dollars, I'm also trying to spend mine locally when possible. Sure, I'm just one person, but I believe I can make a difference, even if it's just by leading by example. We talked to so many great people for the edition it's impossible to name them all here. A quick glance at the table of contents reveals no shortage of people trying to restore a sense of fairness to their communities, people seeking to assure everyone has an equal opportunity to experience the "good night" wished for all by Dicken's Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. “To all a good night,” he exclaims, expressing a sentiment we at Pennsylvania Bridges wish to share with our readers this holiday season. Merry Christmas, and happiest of New Year’s to you and yours. Until next time, Carla E. Anderton

Check out our special Reader’s Choice Holiday Gift Guide on p. 31 of this edition! We asked what gift valued at $100 or less you’d most like to receive or give as a gift this holiday season, and you shared your thoughts.

Where can I find more? How can I advertise my business?

“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” Eleanor Roosevelt American First Lady


Pennsylvania Bridges is distributed to schools, libraries, colleges and universities, community centers, organizations and better businesses throughout Washington, Fayette, Greene, Westmoreland & Allegheny counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. We’re also online at, where we continuously update our site with the latest in arts, entertainment, education and lifestyle news, which we

share via our social media networks. If you or your organization would like to obtain copies of Pennsylvania Bridges, email with your address to be added to our distribution list. For information on advertising, call 724-769-0123 or email us at for a rate sheet and more details about our publication.

You’ve got questions? We’ve got answers... Pennsylvania Bridges is a free publication bridging communities in Fayette, Greene, Washington, Westmoreland and Allegheny counties. We feature profiles and articles about individuals and groups contributing to the advancement of the arts, education, healthcare, wellness, technology and other avenues of interest to our readers. Pennsylvania Bridges is regularly updated online and is printed every other month. Each edition of the publication includes fresh and original stories about area personalities and events of note as well as event listings. We welcome your story ideas and event listings . We adhere to the philosophy that media should be both inspirational and thought provoking. We subscribe to the belief that media should be easy to access and share. We routinely use social media to distribute news and updates and invite our readers to share us with their networks. Our site’s interface is designed with this aim in mind. We welcome your input. Have questions, comments or angry exhortations? Call us at 724-769-0123. Email us. We want to hear your voice. On the cover: Sydney Willson (Fredericktown) and Ally Grodz (California) on stage for “Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical.” See p. 4.

***Important Notice*** All material contained in this issue is the property of Pennsylvania Bridges and may not be reprinted, reproduced or redistributed without our express written permission.

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In this issue of Pennsylvania Bridges...


A RT, M U S I C & C U LT U R E Douglas Education Center grad Nora Hewitt”faces off” and wins big on Syfy TV show...p. 16-17 Chatting with “FaceOff” judge Glenn Hetrick...p. 17-18 Jakobs Ferry Stragglers celebrate momentous year...p. 29-30 Unleash your creativity: Liz Jones Arts offers group painting parties...p. 26 New Public Art Bike Racks unveiled in Pittsburgh...p. 25


E D U C AT I O N & T E C H N O L O G Y


California Area School District welcomes new band teacher...p. 7 Give your child a head start with Head Start...p. 4 Microsoft’s Windows 10 & Other Bad Ideas...p. 12 Adjunct professors face host of challenges...p. 27-28

The Entertainment Chuckwagon: Chuck’s Top Holiday Movie Picks...p. 4 It’s a “Miracle” on 34th Street at Cal U...p. 5 Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre set to present “The Nutcracker”...p. 21 “Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer: The Musical” takes stage...p. 21 New professors join Cal U’s Dept of Theatre & Dance...p. 22 What I’m Looking Forward To: The Force Awakens...p. 31 “Sancho” to take stage...p. 25

Living Nativity in 26th Year at United Christian Church...p. 6 Senator Bartoletta visits Residence at Hilltop...p. 8 Donors make gift to Bentleyville Community Center project...p. 9 Library to benefit from local Eagle Scout project...p. 15 Retired nuclear engineer fires up new fine cigar shop in Canonsburg...p. 19 Foster Friends of Washington County seek donations...p. 28 Mon Valley Hospital holds Light Up Night...p. 15

E D I TO R ’ S C H O I C E “ P I C ” B O O K S & L I T E R AT U R E This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Reading: Our 2015 Fiction Picks...p. 14 Citizens Library Events...p. 20


F A I T H & S P I R I T UA L I T Y Pastor B.T. Gilligan remarks on the blessings of peace...p. 8

SPECIAL EVENTS H E A LT H & L I F E S T Y L E Exploring the Paranormal with Reanna: The Investigation Process, Demystified...p. 10 Better Health, One “Footprint” at a Time: Footprint Farms...p. 11 Social Media Inspires Social Change...p. 23

Center in the Woods Holiday 2015 Activity Schedule...p. 9 At the Palace Theatre in Greensburg...p. 18 At the State Theatre Center for the Arts in Uniontown...p. 22 At Jozart Center for the Arts in California...p. 24 At the Geyer Performing Arts Center in Scottdale...p. 28

“Take my alligator.... please!” Photo: Ryan Johnson (R.H. Macy) and Clayton Rush (Mr. Shellhammer) rehearse for Cal U’s “Miracle on 34th Street,The Musical”




Submit your photos for consideration for Editor’s Choice “Pic” of the Issue to Original photography only accepted for consideration.

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The Entertainment Chuckwagon: Ho-Ho-Holiday 2015 Edition Written by Chuck Brutz

Community Action Southwest Early Childhood Services is now enrolling children throughout Washington and Greene Counties for the 2015-2016 school year. CAS Early Childhood Services provides high-quality early childhood pre-school services for children from birth to age 5 including pregnant women. Services Include: Center Base & Home Base Options Full Day/Full Year School Readiness Skills Kindergarten Transition Health, Dental, Nutritional & Developmental Screenings Prenatal Services Breakfast & Lunch for Center Base Option Disability Support Services Social Services Parent Engagement. For eligibility requirements call 1-800-719-9963. Call today!

This edition's installment of The Entertainment Chuckwagon focuses on that special time of year, when chestnuts are roasting, trees are being trimmed and on a cold day, you can sit inside and relax with a cup of hot cocoa. In celebration of the season, I put together my top two picks for Christmas viewing fun. Maybe you've seen them before, but they're both worth a rewatch. If you haven't seen them, the holidays are the perfect time to check them out. First up is the modern classic, Scrooged. There have been many retellings of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, but none quite like this great film. Directed by Richard Donner, this 1988 comedy set in New York features Bill Murray in the Ebenezer Scrooge role of network president Frank Cross, who's spearheaded the production of a live broadcast of A Christmas Carol set to air on Christmas Eve. Accused by his brother of not liking Christmas, Frank retorts, “Like it? I love it. It's col. People stay home and watch television. Ad revenues go up 30 percent. All these idiots are gonna be home watching the boob tube for me tonight. I'm the biggest fan Christmas ever had.� What makes this adaptation different from others it it's not a direct retelling of the story. Murray plays a Scrooge like character but the setting is contemporary and A Christmas Carol is already a known, beloved tradition. It's more of a satire with a fresh spin on

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the tale. A crass cab driver, an abusive pixie and a mysterious cloaked figure with bony hands reprise the roles of the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. While revisiting the past, Frank encounters his long lost love, Claire, who is portrayed by actress Karen Allen. Murray and Allen have a sweet chemistry together, leading the audience to root for a romantic reconciliation. Murray himself is masterful in the role of Frank, occasionally revealing a vulnerability long suppressed on his climb to the top of the television industry. The film also contains a number of clever jabs at the industry. Give Scrooged a watch this Christmas. Yule love it! Next up is a film most of you, unless you've been living under a rock on

Jupiter, have probably seen at least once, It's a Wonderful Life. For a while it seemed you couldn't escape this film at Christmas time as it was shown during all of December on various channels. In the 90s however, NBC bought the exclusive rights, and now the movie only airs once before Christmas. This classic film is not only one of my favorite Christmas movies but also ranks high on my list of top ten favorite films of all time. First released in 1946, the movie tells the tale of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), a dreamer with big ideas who's never quite made it out of his hometown of Bedford Falls. Though George has a beautiful wife, Mary (Donna Reed) and loving children, he feels he's never truly accomplished anything, unlike his brother Harry, the war hero. On Christmas Eve, faced with going to jail on charges trumped up by the greedy town miser, Mr. Potter, George contemplates ending his life. However, he is saved by his guardian angel, Clarence. Clarence offers George a glimpse of what life would've been like had George never been born, giving him new insight into the importance of his existence to his family and friends. Stewart gives a stellar performance in the lead role and the rest of the cast is top notch. The film is a wonderful mix of humor and drama with an uplifting message many need to hear during the holidays. I defy you to finish this film with dry eye. Simply put, It's a Wonderful Movie! 724-986-5480 Give Me a Call!

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Living Drive-Through Nativity Now in 26th Year at United Christian Church in California evening's Nativity. Through the years, the event has grown to 12 scenes complete with a big Twenty-six years ago, Rev. Norman spotlight shining up into the sky to repHunt, former minister at the United Christian Church near California, want- resent the Star of Bethlehem. The very first scene depicts the Old Testament ed to do something for the community Prophet Isaiah who predicts the coming during the Christmas season and came up with the idea of organizing a living, of the Messiah. Other scenes show the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus prodrive-through Nativity. claiming the census decree, Mary and “He saw an article in the paper Joseph arriving in Bethlehem and the describing the event and thought it infant Jesus lying in a manger. All would be a challenge for his congregahave live people in costume portraying tion [to put on],” said David Boehm, Ph.D., a biology professor at California the Biblical narrative except for Jesus University of Pennsylvania. He's partic- who is represented by a doll. “The Nativity is like a series of still ipated in the event since 1991. photos with people standing still and Boehm joined many others from the not speaking,” said Boehm, who's porcongregation building seven scenes trayed a Roman soldier, Isaiah and a with backdrops and scenery, putting shepherd in the past as well as serving together the costumes and laying out as behind the scenes coordinator to milk jugs with sand on the bottom to create luminaries. To enhance the expe- make sure everything is going as rience, the church also contacted sever- planned. “Patrons can al area petting zoos to see if they could drive past the scenes in their cars and bring in animals for the nativity scene. “About 15 minutes before we opened read what each one represents for the first time, the animals arrived, and the driver asked us where we want- by perusing the text ed to put the sheep,” Boehm said. in our “While we did have people playing program.” shepherds, they didn't know anything For this about herding sheep so the five animals year's Live went running about everywhere with Nativity, the shepherds in pursuit. It was scheduled from very funny.” 6 to 8 p.m. on Along with the sheep came donkeys, Dec. 12 and 13 at calves, llamas and goats, which were wisely kept in pens. That evening, after the church, located at 499 Malden Road the event was over, the congregation near California, about 100 stabled the animals in a barn on a people will participate in the recreation neighbor's farm till the next of the Biblical account of the first Christmas. More will help out behind the scenes. The experience includes background music, mostly instrumental versions of carols with occasional singing. At the end of the drivethrough, children are rewarded with a candy cane, and Caesar Augustus commanding all to return to their place of birth for a dogs are given Story by Dave Zuchowski

census of citizens. Pictured: Olivia Nicholson (left), Orval Watson as Caesar, and Haley Higginbotham (right)

a special puppy treat. “The experience can be absolutely beautiful, especially if there's a light snow fall,” Boehm said. “Often people will drive through more than once to pick up details they might have missed the first Wise men (Lloyd Shawley, Randy Tunney, Blaine Winfield), Roman soldier time through. (Patrick Tunney), and King Herod (Chris Teagarden) The Nativity gives people a thing else, have increased exponentially chance to relax during the holidays and since the first years of the event. be thankful for the gift we got a long “We like to thank our community time ago in Jesus.” partners who help us fund the rentals,” Free of charge, the said Rev. Jana Quisenberry, the Nativity is held rain or church's current minister. “W e include shine. One year, the their names in our program and church event was bulletin and list them in our Nativity held in Thank You on Facebook.” five degree California residents, Kent and Debbie temperatures. Neil have been helping out with the Another year, Nativity for years. Kent organizes the it made it music, and Debbie helps out with the through a costuming. In the last three years, she blizzard that and Lois Gayman of Richeyville have blew over taken on leadership roles in organizing some of the the event. scenery and scat“We're grateful to be able to bless the tered it across the community in this special way at road. The congregaChristmas,” Rev Quisenberry said. “I tion made a special feel it makes a great impact on the pareffort to get it back up in ticipants and viewers by focusing on time, even the snow was inches deep. the concept of the birth of Christ.” At any rate, Boehm said he still prays FMI: 724-938-2098. for some snow because it “makes Photos courtesy of David Boehm. everything magical.” Middle: Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus Attendance the first three years of welcome unexpected guests. (left-right) the Nativity was huge, but even though Jeff Buday as a king/wise man, David there has been a decrease in patrons Gayman as a king, Alex Adams as since, attendance is still holding Joseph, Emily Murray as Mary, Jenna its own. Fox as cherub angel on left, Lily “The purpose of the Nativity is to Quisenberry as cherub angel on right, give a gift to the entire surrounding Jacob Kotchman as shepherd boy, and community, which is why we waive a Vernon Bloom as third king/wise man. fee,” Boehm said. “The first year, some Read these stories and others at: people insisted on making a donation, which is why we have someone standing near the end of the drive for those who might want to donate something.” Continuously updated with the Boehm said expenses for renting the arts, education, entertainment animals and the skylight, like every-

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Open your heart... and your home! The Southwestern Area Agency on Aging, Inc. is looking for individuals in the area to open their homes and offer a safe, nurturing family environment for eligible adults that are unable to live independently due to physical, intellectual or age related impairments. The Area Agency on Aging has been offering Domiciliary Care services throughout Fayette, Greene and Washington counties for over 30 years. Domiciliary Care Providers come from all walks of life. They are everyday people making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. In return, they retain $978 a month for each individual residing in their home for services provided, including cooking, cleaning, laundry, medication set up, scheduling and providing transportation to medical appointments. Domiciliary Care homes can accommodate 1-3 residents and are certified


to meet the required fire, health and local zoning standards. If you’re interested in becoming a certified Domiciliary Care provider and providing quality living alternative, or want to refer someone who will benefit from the programs services contact: Southwestern PA Area Agency on Aging Domiciliary Care Program at 1-800-411-5655.

Community members will be onstage and high school students will be working behind the scenes when the Department of Theatre and Dance performs Miracle on 34th Street, The Musical. This is the third consecutive year that local singers, actors, dancers and technicians will join Cal U students for the holiday production in Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre. Showtime is 7 p.m. Dec. 3, 4, and 5, with matinees at 2 p.m. Dec. 5 and 6. All performances are open to the public. Children from area school districts will attend a school matinee at 10 a.m. Dec. 4 in Steele Hall. “It's exciting for our department and the university to come together with the local community to bring this heartwarming show to life,” said department chair Dr. Michele Pagen, who directs the production. “The local community cast, children through adults, become part of the theater family, and we love it.” The family-friendly musical is filled with humor, spectacle and such familiar songs as “Pinecones and Hollyberries” and “It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” Based on the 20th Century-Fox Pictures production, its book, music and lyrics are all by Meredith Willson. The story takes place between the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Christmas. It centers on a white-bearded gentleman who claims to be the real Santa Claus - and who brings about a genuine “miracle” on 34th Street, spreading a wave of love throughout

New York City. Among the Cal U students handling behind-the-scenes roles are Mikey Rogers, assistant director; Sidney Popielarcheck, dance captain; and Kellee Cohlhepp, production stage manager. Assistant stage managers are Mark Barrett, Grant Prodan and Evan Peffer, all from Brownsville High School. Brian Eisiminger is providing musical direction, and choreography is by Maria Gismondi '02. “What better way to ring in the holiday season than with the magic of theater and the touching story about faith in the unknown and the unseen?” Pagen asked. Ticket price is $12 for patrons of all ages. Students with valid CalCards are admitted for 50 cents; a $5 deposit will be returned when the student attends a performance. For more information, or to order tickets (with a credit card) by phone, call the Steele Hall Box Office at 724-938-5943. Pictured above: Kris Kringle (History major Jon Veres, center, from Pittsburgh) spreads holiday cheer to Shellhammer (Theatre and Dance major Clayton Rush, from Avella) and Doris (Theatre and Dance major Summer Gobel, from Port Vue ) in California University of Pennsylvania's production of Meredith Willson's “Miracle on 34th Street, the Musical.”

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California Area School District welcomes new K-12 Band Teacher so there's something for everybody listening.” Jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, California Area School District's new and choir concerts will be held at the K-12 band teacher, Jerianne Larson, high school auditorium, with middle has fit a lot of music into her 24 years school performances on December 15 and she's planning plenty more. at 7 p.m., and high school performanc“The first instrument I played was the es on December 16, 7 p.m. piano,” Larson recounted, “My parents Additionally, Larson is planning a forced me to take it in first grade, but I middle school concert, with dates and began to enjoy it.” times to be announced. By fifth grade, she began playing Larson's musical skills and education clarinet in the band at school in her forhaven't stopped with her new role. mer hometown of Greenville, PA, then She's earning a Masters in Wind went on to provide piano accompaniConducting at Messiah College in ment for the high school choir. musical horizons. Mechanicsville, PA (near Harrisburg), But it was while playing steel drums The jazz ensemble meets one time while also performing with in high school, being exposed to differper week, and “Kids enjoy that they Westmoreland Symphonic Winds, a ent kinds of music, and traveling have to sight-read on a different level,” concert band in residence at Seton around the east coast for steel drum Larson said. Hill University. performances that she became truly Any steel drummer appreciates perSummer time might be break time for excited about music. cussion, and Larson's high school permany in the educational system, but not However, the excitement didn't end cussion ensemble carries her rhythmic Larson, who takes kick-boxing, is a with high school graduation in 2009; ideas there. movie enthusiast, and works at J. Crew. Larson started at Westminster College The percussion ensemble, according As she explains “I like to keep busy, as a double major in music and busito Larson, includes those who play even when I'm not working.” ness. However, Larson said “That lastdrums and percussion, while those who A tall work-load like Larson's could ed about one week and I switched to play brass and woodwinds are also make one crazy, but Larson credits the Music Ed because I hated accounting.” encouraged to play. “Anyone in band district's marching band staff who have As most music majors might agree, who can read music can join,” Larson “made sure I haven't lost my mind subdividing measures is more interestsaid, continuing “Right now, there are this year.” ing than calculating financial ratios on five percussionists and seven woodShe gives kudos to Assistant Band a balance sheet. winds in the percussion ensemble.” Director Steve Ventura; Wind Larson's change from a dual major to Middle school and high school choirs Instrument and Drill Design director Music Education has not only benefitgive voice to the new programs at Nate Wright; Drum Instructor Rob ted her, but also the California Area California Area Schools. Middle Berletich and Assistant Drum Line School District, with Larson assuming school choir members are “trying Instructor Pete Harris, and Guard the post of district-wide band teacher harder things to improve as musicians,” Instructor Krista Wineland. this year. Larson said, adding that the high Larson's advice for student musicians With her new position, expanded school choir will be singing a cappella, is simple: “Keep with it. There will be from her previous year's post as K-8 singing in different languages, and times it's easy, other times when it's General Music Instructor for the diswill be doing a “wide variety of music hard, but if you push trict, Larson has begun through it, it creating a new music pays off.” scene for California Area Her advice extends to High school in the form parents as well, whom of a jazz ensemble, pershe advises to keep cussion ensemble, and encouraging their young middle and high school musicians, and keep choirs, in addition to the helping them. regular marching band. Most of all, Larson “Jazz is completely difenjoys what she does, ferent from band music,” saying “It's really great Larson said. working with these kids The Latin charts, baland supportive parents lads, and more modern who bring their kids. The styles of music will help parents here go the extra stretch the students' mile for their kids to do instrumental abilities and New California Area School District K-12 Band Teacher Jerianne Larson brings awesome things.” new energy to district’s music scene Story by Keren Lee Dryer

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Blessed are the Peacemakers, at Christmas & Throughout the Year By Pastor B.T. Gilligan Originally, I had my article for this edition written. It was beautiful, filled with words arranged in such a way you would have laughed, cried, and had your heart strings tugged by all of the emotions that were poured into it. Then I watched the events in Paris unfold. When I first saw the events unfolding, with the pain and suffering being inflicted on innocent civilians, my first thought was that it was not fair! I wanted to scream at the TV. These were men, women, and children who just wanted to watch a soccer match, or hear a concert, and they'll never get to go home again. That is not fair. I wanted to find those who were responsible and repay their acts with more violence and, at the same time, I wanted to find the victims and hold them close and comfort them and remind them that God is with them. One day, Jesus sees a large crowd gathering so he walks up a certain hill and he sits down and starts teaching the people around him. He reached them by saying “Blessed are those who make peace, for they will be called God's children.” On days like today, when events unfold that shake our lives, we often

find ourselves asking questions that revolve around “What do I do next?” or “How do I go forward?” We look for answers and sometimes we respond with violence, invasions, or military action. Other times we answer those questions with tighter borders and security pat-downs. However, Jesus answers that question by telling the crowds the best response is to work for peace and that by working for peace, we are acting as a child of God. Working for peace is never easy. It is always easier to throw a fist, yell, scream and hit back just a little bit harder than we were hurt. But, the way forward for God's children is not through revenge, guilt, or blaming others, rather, it is through working for peace. Working for peace is about giving up our right to get revenge and to

instead seek to comfort those who mourn and extend love to those who are suffering. When we extend love to those who are hurting we make a way for peace. Through love, we make a way for peace to exist in the midst of chaos and violence. Too often though, making peace by extending love is confused with excusing behavior, consenting to the violence, or participating in the oppression to “keep the peace.” This is not what love does. This is not what peace is. Sometimes peace is a quiet strength that comforts the hurting and cares for the wounded. Sometimes peace is a line in the sand that says “this is not right.” Sometimes love is a deep bear hug and tears shed along with those who have lost a loved one. Other times, love is a refusal to tolerate the wickedness that exists in this

world, not just against humans and organizations but against the darkness that surrounds us and the sin that invades the hearts of people. As we approach Christmas we see this peacemaking being lived out in the birth of Jesus. With the birth of the Christ child, the God of the universe makes a declaration that all people are loved and that this world matters but God can no longer tolerate the injustice, darkness, and evil that has become so prevalent. Through the birth of Jesus, we see not just a new life but a new hope that this world is not too far gone, that peace will prevail, and that God will set this world right again. So then, in the midst of our dark days, whether they are caused by terrorism, poverty, injustice, disease, or our own stupid mistakes, may we be called God's children by working for peace and extending love to all those around us. Worship services are held at California United Methodist Church, 227 Third St., every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. On the first Wednesday of each month, the church hosts a community potluck at 6:30 p.m. To help support the CUMC’s Weekend Feeding program, which feeds hungry kids, visit

Senator Camera Bartolotta Visits the Residence at Hilltop It was almost as if she was attending a family reunion when Senator Camera Bartolotta recently toured the Residence at Hilltop. Making her way from the foyer to the dining room, she cheerfully greeted a number of residents including Dolores Mascara, widow of former U.S. Representative Frank Mascara and longtime friend of the Bartolotta family; Michael “Chummy” Lignelli, Donora's former mayor; and Marge Farr, a retired Monessen English teacher and former president of the Monessen Teacher's Union. It wasn't until she noticed Betty Huzway, who was the first babysitter to the senator's daughter, that she was moved to tears. The senator even paused to take a “selfie” with Mrs. Huzway to share with her daughter after the visit. Sen. Bartolotta was visiting the Residence at Hilltop at the invitation of


Walter Young, who is the administrator of the Carroll Township personal care community and a member of the Board of the Pennsylvania Health Care Association (PHCA). “It is very important for our legislators to be able to put a face on long-term care,” said Mr. Young. “As issues come up in the legislature, we want to serve as a resource for Senator Bartolotta.” During her visit, the senator toured resident rooms, the Aviary, Nickelodeon theatre and the newly furnished dining room. As she walked the halls, Sen. Bartolotta reminisced about her own family members who had lived at the Residence. “This is a nice place to be,” the sena-

tor said. “It is really one of the very best. It's beautiful here.” Also participating in the tour were PHCA staff Brandon Smeltzer, who serves as director of Personal Care and Assisted Living, and Zach Shamberg, director of Advocacy and Legislative Affairs. They joined the senator and

representatives from the Residence's management staff for lunch in the Community Room. Following the meal, Sen. Bartolotta addressed the group. “As you can see, I know quite a number of people here and it is especially important to me to see that they receive exceptional care. I know that this facility is one of the very, very best available.” The Residence at Hilltop is one of the largest personal care homes in the area. The staff helps residents maintain their independence and dignity balancing comfort and security. To learn more about the Residence at Hilltop, contact Walt Young at 724258-8940 or Pictured: Walt Young listens as Senator Bartolotta and retired schoolteacher Marge Farr discuss education.

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Donors Make Generous Gift to Bentleyville Community Center Project The family of Senator J. Barry Stout and Lenore Thompson Stout has made a Presidential Level gift to the Bentworth Community Center Building Project. The President Level includes gifts of $50,000 or more. The gift was made in honor of Nelle Thompson Weir, a beloved aunt of the Stout's and the first librarian at the Bentleyville Public Library. Nelle Weir served as head librarian at the Library for over 35 years. The Bentworth Community Center is the name of the building that houses the Bentleyville Public Library, the Bentworth Senior Center, and the Bentleyville Area Historical Society. The Bentworth Community Center Building Project is a comprehensive plan to renovate and enlarge the community center building to better meet the needs of the Library, Senior Center, and Historical Society and to better meet the needs of the community. During the coming holiday season, the Capital Campaign Committee of the Bentworth Community Center Building Project will continue to accept financial gifts for the center's renovation and expansion project. Yvonne Baker, President of the Library's Board of Trustees, noted, “During this season of goodwill and giving, we humbly ask area residents and businesses to consider a gift to our building project.” She added, “Your

gift will be one that will last long after the holiday season.” As a fundraising activity, the Capital Campaign Committee is accepting orders for commemorative bricks for the patio at the renovated community center. Baker noted, “Commemorative bricks provide an opportunity to honor a special person or special event in your life while supporting this worthwhile community project.” During the holiday season a 4” x 8” personalized, engraved brick, which normally sells for $125, can be purchased for $100. An 8” x 8” personalized, engraved brick, which normally sells for $225, can be purchased for $200. The holiday sale ends on

January 1st. Order forms for commemorative bricks and additional information about the building project can be obtained at the Bentleyville Public Library or at The Bentworth Community Center serves residents of the boroughs of Bentleyville, Cokeburg, and Ellsworth and the townships of North Bethlehem and Somerset. Pictured above in a family photograph are Senator J. Barry Stout and (standing left to right) Bethany Stout, Lisa Stout-Bashioum, John Stout, Lenore Thompson Stout, Shannon Hemmingson, Sharee Stout, and Lori Jansante.

Center in the Woods 2015 Holiday Activities The Center in the Woods is a nonprofit, senior facility with the goal of hosting fun activities and community events for adults ages 60+. Activities planned for December: Sat., 12/5 - Sparkle Dance with Best Of Times from 6-10 p.m. Cost is $20 which includes a catered dinner and deserts. Gray's Photography will be taking prom style pictures for purchase in front of our beautiful fire place. Mon., 12/7 - Holiday performance by our CITW Choir at 11 a.m. Wed, 12/9 - 2 Jolly Hearts Holiday Show at 11 a.m. Friday, 12/11 - Holiday Performance from the Beth Center High School Choir at 11 a.m. Mon, 12/14 - Holiday Show by Kenny & Chip at 11 a.m. Wed, 12/16 - Christmas Lunch.

Please call to RSVP. Also a Holiday sing - a - long with Nova Hospice, basket raffle, and our annual Adult Day Center bake sale. Thurs, 12/17 - Sing - A Long with our friend Jacob at 11 a.m. Also, join us for our Ugly Sweater Contest. The ugliest sweater will win a prize. Mon, 12/21 - Join us for some trivia

games at 11 a.m. Wed, 12/23 - Movie and Popcorn. Come watch A Christmas Story with us, and enjoy some fresh popped popcorn. Showtime is at 1:15 p.m. We will be closed for Christmas. Wed, 12/30 - Birthday Celebration at lunch. (Noon) Thurs, 12/31 - New Years Eve party. Bring in your favorite appetizer, and enjoy a dance performance by Betsy's Dance Center at 11 a.m. For more information on programs and other activities, contact Kelly Newcomer at 724-938-3554 Ext. 103, or Visit for a listing of all services, activities and programs. CITW is located at 130 Woodland Court, Brownsville, PA.

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Exploring the Paranormal: The Investigation Process, Demystified By Reanna Roberts There are many steps we take in the paranormal investigation process. Each group handles this differently, but many follow a similar format. First, we interview clients over the phone. Then we do a walkthrough of the property in question and a face to face interview with clients, followed by an investigation. Finally, we do a “reveal� and close the case. Generally, clients initially contact us either by phone or email. The information is passed on to our case manager who contacts them within 48 hours. The initial phone interview gives us some basic information regarding what's going on in the business or residence, tells us who is being affected and, if it's known, we ask for a brief history of the building. A lot of clients don't know the history and that's okay. We also have a team of historical researchers that can find a lot of the information we need. We try to get this done as quickly as possible and if it's a high risk case (generally involving physical harm, children, or the elderly) we will expedite the process. All of this information needs to be reviewed by everyone participating in the case before we move on to the next step, the walkthrough. The walkthrough is different than the investigation with regards to the equipment used and how it's conducted. We use this time to interview others in the house about their experiences and also find out if anything new has happened. We also generally try to do the walkthrough at minimum a few days before the investigation and it's generally done at a non-peak time for the activity. We want to be able to record baseline readings of the location that reveal what the atmosphere is normally like. We take temperature readings and EMF (electromagnetic frequency) readings, still photographs, and record audio. We do not conduct a vigil or ask questions at this time. Getting these readings ahead


of time help us identify when there is a fluctuation during the investigation. We also do not use a DVR/video camera system at this time. The walkthrough also gives us a chance to debunk what may be causing the issues. A lot of people jump to a paranormal conclusion when it could be as simple as a draft pulling a door closed or a building settling. We only conduct the investigation if we find no other potential causes of the happenings. The investigation is conducted at a time that's convenient for the owner and at a peak time for activity. It's a common misconception that activity is only at night. One of the reasons that a lot of groups conduct investigations at night is because the world is asleep then. There is less outside sound, less lighting, and less traffic. This can help heighten your other senses. We generally do use camera systems during the investigation along with audio recordings and other equipment. A pen and paper is your best friend during an investigation. We go room by room and conduct vigils, which is where we attempt to speak with to whatever entity is in the building. The investigation can take as little as an hour to an entire day/night. Once this is complete, we review the evidence, compare notes, and compare our thoughts on the potential audio and video evidence. At this point, what we do is up to the client. Some want to know our findings in detail, some only want a yes or no answer as to whether we found any-

thing. We offer the option of doing a cleansing to help bring peace of mind to the client. After evidence is compiled and we reveal to the client (if they want,) give them a copy of any audio or video, we then close the case. We share no private information with anyone but those in the group. There is a lot more behind the scenes work done in preparation for a paranormal investigation that clients do not see. It can be a very lengthy process once it's started. We do our best, though, to leave our clients' minds at ease. Have a question about the paranormal for columnist Reanna Roberts? Email


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Better Health, One “Footprint” at a Time: Footprint Farms Story by Aaron Dalzell Footprints Farm is a local, sustainably designed family farm that grows premium quality meats, vegetables, and herbs by using natural and traditional farming systems. These systems incorporate animal grazing, horse-drawn power and nutrient-recycling-crop rotations to provide the healthiest foods from the farm to the table. “Our motto is providing healthy land for healthy food for families, using sustainable regenerative agricultural practices,” said Jeremy Swartzfager, owner and farmer at Footprints Farm. The key to raising animals for quality meat is grass. By allowing animals to graze throughout their lives, the percentage of healthy fats increases in the meat and egg products because of the natural environment in which the animals live. Consuming healthy fats improves their overall health and quality of life. “We want our customers to know their farmers and how their animals are cared for,” said Swartzfager. “Our animals leave a healthy footprint on the farm,” said Ellen Swartzfager, co-owner and farmer at Footprints. “Grass is key for our animals and them being outside and active is much healthier than being pinned up. Manure isn't a bad thing, it's a blessing.” All of the animals on Footprints Farm spend their waking hours outside.Fresh air, sun, wind, bugs, dirt and minerals adds exceptional taste to the meat, unlike meat from animals on factory-

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grown farms. Footprint's products have higher levels of soluble vitamin E. Eating them is like getting a boost of sunshine in the winter and improves overall health. Vitamin E is an important antioxidant for defense against cancer, heart health, and vision. “How healthy would we be eating corn-chips opposed to spinach? We prefer our animals to eat the spinach,” said Swartzfager. Products are delivered locally throughout the Pittsburgh area including Sharpsburg, New Stanton, Wexford, Canonsburg, and California. They also deliver to Uniontown and offer several local businesses a “buyers' club.” Footprint's “buyers' club” is a mobile grocery store that delivers healthy foods fresh from the farm directly to the consumer's neighborhood. Footprints' customers range from four and five star restaurants to local families. They offer opportunities to visit the Farm. “We love building long term relationships and look forward to meeting consumer needs.” Let Footprints' spoil your taste buds with edible produce delights including scallions/onions, squash/blossoms, tomatoes, basil/pars-

ley/herbs, pumpkins, garlic, peppers/popcorn, cucumbers/beets, and edible flowers. According to Facebook reviews, a visit to the farm is a wonderful, enriching experience. “Everyone felt like family, even though it was my first visit to the farm,” said Amie Bulna, visitor. “Such a peaceful place.” “Wonderful family, wonderful farming practices, wonderful food!” said Jenny Shimmersizzle about her visit. Footprints' unique status as a small family farm allows them to plan and customize specific produce, products and growing condition to meet consumer needs, whether they're working with chefs, caterers or family meal planners. Contact Footprints early in the year to learn about customizable opportunities. Footprints offers different custom farming options to suit consumer needs including larder, pasture steady, and a la carte. For 2016, the farm will introduce Holiday and Soup CSA's, providing families with ready to prep holiday meals. Soup CSA's will include deliveries of pot pies and soup packages. To order, email Footprints Farm at or call the farm 724-329-8254. For more information on Footprints Farm and their services, visit Footprints Farm is located at 184 McClellan Lane, Gibbon Glade, Pa.

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Microsoft’s Windows 10 & Other Bad Ideas By Eric J. Worton There are very few companies not engaging in some level of intrusive behavior. Samsung admitted that some of its smart TVs may inadvertently upload some of your conversations if you turn on the Voice Recognition feature. Vizio has a monitoring feature, turned on by default, that analyzes your viewing and internet habits and then sends that data to third party advertisers. Volkswagen has been playing fast and loose with emissions standards for years. The sheer volume of it forces me to focus on just a couple companies based only on recent events and in no way should it be seen as singling them out as worse than any other. If you haven't upgraded to Windows 10 yet, I highly advise you continue to wait. We see an average of five machines each week with failed upgrades that effectively render the computer useless. Although Microsoft has stated that you will have a 30 day trial period go back to Windows 7 or 8, a failed update would negate that ability. Even if you are successful with the upgrade, the latest service pack dubbed Threshold 2 deletes your restore partition which kills any rollback option. Now let's take a quick look at privacy issues with Microsoft's Windows 10. Here is a bit of the language used in the almost 12,000 word service agreement: “We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary.” Pretty chilling. As I said before, Microsoft isn't alone in its invasive ways. Two years ago, it came to light Lenovo had been banned from supplying equipment for the networks of the intelligence and defense services of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. According to the Australian Financial Review, the ban was introduced “after intensive laboratory testing of its equipment allegedly docu-

mented 'back-door' hardware and 'firmware' vulnerabilities in Lenovo chips.” This became effective around 2005, the same time IBM sold their PC business to the Chinese firm. Details remain classified, but that decision couldn't have been made lightly. Fast-forward to just last February and Lenovo was caught yet again preinstalling software, dubbed 'SuperFish Malware' that watches users' computer usage. The information collected is sent to advertising partners who in turn force ads into browsers like Chrome and Firefox. There is no off switch, and you can't opt out but you can, after a fair amount of digging, uninstall it. In May, Lenovo was once again caught creating spy software they called “Lenovo Service Engine” (LSE) and hard coding it on many computers' firmware. Using the firmware for installation makes it impossible for the average user to uninstall it. Just three months later, Michael Horowitz of Computer World identified a program called “Lenovo Customer Feedback Program 64” that was “phoning home” daily usage reports and sharing with a company called Omniture. Omniture is an online marketing and web analytics firm that uses that data to market products to you based on your interests and web usage. I don't believe in black helicopter theories but, does anyone else see more than a passing similarity between some of these companies' actions and Cyberdyne System's creation of Skynet? Be sure to pick up the next edition of Pennsylvania Bridges for an article about Cord Cutters and ditching your cable bill.

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This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Reading: Our 2015 Fiction Picks Historical mystery author Victoria Thompson released a new novel in November of this year, Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue. Synopsis- Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue is a special, Christmas book featuring the secondary characters from the bestselling Gaslight Mystery Series. They are solving a mystery while Frank Malloy and Sarah Brandt are on their honeymoon. Nanny Maeve and Policeman Gino find themselves working very closely together, with help from Sarah's parents and Frank's mother. Available wherever books are sold in hardcover, eBook, and audio formats. FMI: Follow her on Facebook at Victoria Thompson.Author or on Twitter @gaslightvt.

Gift Guide by Cass Currie The holiday season is the perfect time to curl up by a roaring fire with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book, and a great read makes the perfect gift for any occasion. Here are some of our picks by authors who are also graduates of or students in Seton Hill University's Writing Popular Fiction Master in Fine Arts program. FMI about the SHU WPF MFA program, visit

Know of a great title we should feature and/or review in an upcoming edition of Pennsylvania Bridges? SEND YOUR BOOK SUGGESTIONS TO CARLA@PABRIDGES.COM

From author Chris VonHalle comes a young adult dystopian novel, The Fourth Generation. Synopsis- In the future, no adults exist. Ever since the plague swept the world 100 years ago, no one has lived past seventeen. Sixteen-year-old Gorin, a collector of curious artifacts left over from the pre-plague civilization, is on the verge of perishing from that deadly epidemic. And his last wish is to find a way to visit the rulers' reputedly magnificent, off-limits mansion.Up against the clock, he and his friend Stausha steal into the mansion and discover a secret more horrifying than they ever could've imagined-a secret that holds the key to the survival of the whole human race. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords. FMI:


Greensburg author Mary Ann Mogus's Cloud Walker is available locally at Craftique Collections, 770 E. Pittsburgh Street in Greensburg as well as on Amazon in electronic or print format. Synopsis - Called to check on an occurrence at the White House, a group of scientists from a mid-twentieth century universe has a deadly encounter with the Khysids. The scientists steal Khysid technology and discover how to create a Source Gate. Hunted by a rogue army general and the Khysids, the scientists flee to the 1861 universe and the Civil War where they are sheltered by Colonel Crittenden of the Confederate Army. The scientists upset Khysid plans for the invasion. Both the Union and Confederacy learn the fate intended for them, one with a special irony for the South. The Khysids treat war as a game and the scientists will serve as additional fodder, but these newcomers have upped the stakes by forcing the

North and South to fight as one. Using their skills to bring technology into the 1861 universe to counter the Khysids, the scientists halt the invasion, but the war is just beginning and one set of combatants will eventually become history. FMI:

Jennifer Loring is a fresh new voice on the contemporary romance scene. Check out Firebird, the first novel in her Firebird Trilogy. Synopsis - When superstar hockey player and notorious bad boy Aleksandr Volynsky is traded to the Seattle Earthquakes in a blockbuster deal, Stephanie Hartwell demands the opportunity to prove herself by scoring an exclusive interview with a man with no love for the media…the same man she once thought, as a naïve teenager, she'd someday marry. An Olympian and Stanley Cup Champion, Aleksandr has achieved every goal he's ever set… Now expected to carry a failing team on his shoulders, Aleksandr's troubles deepen when he encounters Stephanie after a season-opening loss. His lifestyle of drinking and random hookups has been a futile attempt to forget the beautiful tomboy who stole his heart nine years ago. Worse, fame and fortune have made it impossible for him to trust anyone-especially Stephanie, who is engaged to another man. Romance rekindles, but tragedy reveals Aleksandr's dark side… Once Aleksandr discovers the truth behind his self-destructive behavior, will his newfound self-awareness be enough to convince Stephanie to give him one last chance… Or will his revelation drive her away for good? Available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon. FMI:

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California Area Public Library to benefit from local Eagle Scout project By Aaron Dalzell Local Scout Elek Buday (pictured right) will complete a beautification and enhancement project for the California Public Library as part of his quest to obtain the rank of Eagle Scout. A member of Troop 1391, Buday is seeking to restore and improve various aspects of the library facility and grounds. With the help of his fellow scouts and any other volunteers willing to donate their time, Buday will begin a threephase project aimed at enhancing the library. The first phase of the project will include replacing the chain-link fence behind the library between the building and the railroad tracks. During the second phase of the project, Elek, his troop, and volunteers will be taking out all the brick around the foundation and allaying a base for both new bricks and any older bricks that can be salvaged. During the third and final phase, benches, tables, and even a new bike rack will be placed on the library grounds. This phase is contingent on donations and donor suggestions. The second part of phase three will include taking down the lampposts and painting them black. “To accomplish this task, the whole troop of 1391 will be involved as well as whoever else is interested in volunteering,” said Buday. As a visitor to the library since early childhood, Buday spent a lot of time on the back patio. Several years ago his troop was one

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of the participants in a community service project that planted flower bulbs. His mom, Lisa, is very active in the community and often plants flowers in the borough's planters. “She is one of best library champions and she would be aware that the board often considers how to improve the ambience of the back patio. She was probably also aware that some years ago we had a problem with after-hours vandals (broken windows) and party-goers. She also knows that we have safety worries for our young children because the train tracks are so close and the fence is not truly adequate. She knows, too, that we tend to lose patio furniture. Anyone with two eyes can see that the brick is eroding,” said Claudia Bennett, librarian at the California Area Public Library. Buday approached the library with his plan. He made a formal presentation to the board after having informal conversations with an architect. “We were surprised (and delighted) by the level of ambition he had. I should note here that the library building is owned by California Borough, with upkeep shared by them and the library,” said Bennett. Buday's project requires approval

from both entities. “We are excited about the idea,” said Bennett. “A lovely, safe patio will expand our programming options. The library is small and we don't have space for gatherings.” Currently the project is still in its fundraising phase and Buday hopes to collect $4,500 for the first phase of the project. Phase two and three will proceed as donations allow. Looking ahead, the chain-link fence behind the library will be completed by next spring. New benches and tables are slated to be added by summer of 2016, with the lampposts to be repainted by the following summer. Help Buday achieve the rank of Eagle Scout as he aims to provide the community and library patrons with an inviting place to sit and read. Fundraising is currently underway. Donations can be made to “Troop 1391” and mailed to Elek Buday, 422 Wilkins Avenue, California, PA 15419.

A lighted balloon release, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas carols, Jasmine from Aladdin, colorful decorations and a 7-foot-tall Frosty the Snowman entertained patients watching from their windows as well as nearly 1,000 community members who gathered for Monongahela Valley Hospital's (MVH) 31st Annual LightUp Night on Nov. 23. The evening's grand moment came as two lucky children flipped the giant light switch, lighting the two-story tree and several acres of decorations throughout campus. Randomly chosen from among MVH employees' children, grandchildren and nieces and nephews ages 5 to 10, the

boys who flipped the giant switch were: Jaxson Welsh, age 6, and Kage Tillman, age 5. Charleroi High School's Show Choir, under the direction of Ms. Laura Piecknick, entertained the crowd before the lights were turned on. Members of the school's marching band led Santa and Mrs. Claus onto the campus. Pictured left: At Monongahela Valley Hospital's Annual Light-Up Night celebration, 6-year old Jaxson Welsh (left) and 5-year old Kage Tillman flipped the giant light switch to light up the holiday decorations throughout several acres of the hospital's campus.

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Hemophilia is a rare inherited disorder caused by a lack of factors in the blood that help with clotting. Sudden abnormal bleeding may occur for no obvious reason, or after minor scrapes or bumps. The severity depends on the clotting factor present in the blood. Hemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency) makes up about 85% of all cases of hemophilia. It affects males almost exclusively. Hemophilia B (factor IV deficiency), which also primarily affects males, makes up about 15% of cases. Hemophilia C (factor XI deficiency) affects both males and females and makes up less than 5% of total cases. Symptoms of hemophilia include: Unusual bruising or bleeding (mouth, nose or after injections) Blood in urine or stool Continual bleeding from minor scratches, scrapes or bumps Prolonged bleeding after surgery or tooth extraction Bleeding into joints (swelling, pain, limited movement of arm or leg, especially in younger children) Contact your doctor right away if you have these symptoms.

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Douglas Education Center graduate Nora Hewitt faces off on “FaceOff” & wins big Story by Hayley Lynn Martin Most college graduates don't expect all their dreams to come true overnight. However, that wasn't the case for Nora Hewitt. Only days after graduating from the Tom Savini Special Effects Make Up Program at Douglas Education Center in Monessen, Hewitt joined the cast of season nine of FaceOff where she outlasted 15 other contestants to win $100,000, a new Fiat, major bragging rights, and a fantastic addition to her resume. FaceOff is a reality competition on Syfy that takes special effects make up artists and challenges them each week to create characters based on themes. The artists have a limited amount of time to produce the characters from concept through final product. It's a grueling process and Hewitt admitted that many of the techniques on the show, she learned on the fly. Though the Savini Program gave her a strong foundation, FaceOff is known for surprising twists. Fans watch, week after week, as contestants make stunning characters with little time to spare, but there's a lot of activity going on behind the scenes we don't get to see. As she watched her scenes, Hewitt was surprised how many “gems” she said didn't make the final cut. As with many reality shows, contestants are cut off from actual reality and spend a lot of time with the same group of people. On most reality shows, it's a ratings boosting recipe for disaster filled with drama. On FaceOff contestants engaged in crazy antics depicted in short films. With difficult challenges, each contestant faced their own battles, with their enemies ranging from inexperience to themselves. “I can get in my own way,” Hewitt said. “It's never good enough [for me]. I was never thinking of just the challenge. I always thought about what potential employers were going to think. More or less, I'm my own worst critic. I'm always making something better than what I made it before. You shouldn't be totally satisfied with your work if you're a true artist., You should want to rip it apart.” While Hewitt may rip her work apart


FaceOff Season 9 winner, Nora Hewitt, looks at one of her final pieces before filming.

internally, it was the judges on the show that held all the power. For the contestants, it's a chance for renowned industry professionals to inspect every seam, every ounce of paint and the overall concept for a full package,and they never hold back. This season was comprised of fan favorite judges, Glenn Hetrick (Hunger Games, CSI, and costume designer for Lady Gaga), Ve Neill (Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire, and Ed Wood), and Neville Page (Watchman, Cloverfield and Avatar). “I loved Glenn. He's super nice. Sometimes he would get so excited about a make up but he's always so intense. He's hard to read,” Hewitt said about working with Hetrick. “The same with Neville. He's such a genius and very critical and analytical. I really wanted to impress all of them,” she added. “Ve was the hardest to impress for me. I don't know if it's because she's a female in the industry and knows what it's like to be starting off in a male dominated industry. Each week the contestants face a new challenge on the show, but it's never an easy task. One of Hewitt's favorite challenges was a double elimination before the finale where the five artists had to create a macabre family member inspired by shows like The Munsters

and The Addams Family. Hewitt's character was a black sheep cousin, which secured her spot in the finale. Her character, a literal sheep dressed in gothic clothes, was truly iconic and memorable. “The black sheep character was the smoothest challenge for me,” said Hewitt. “I felt really good about it. I wish I painted her differently, but she was awesome. I thought a lot about her character. On the show, you're in charge of figuring out what they're wearing and there's a team that rents the wardrobe or they will custom make it for you.” Of course, not every challenge goes smoothly. For one challenge, contestants had to team up to create a whimsically undead duo that would be married later in an official wedding ceremony. From the onset of the challenge, Hewitt struggled with the concept and design and it ultimately landed her in front of the judges facing potential elimination. However, it was the only time she ever found herself there. “The whole episode was stressful,” Hewitt said. “I was just lost and Meg came up with the concept. We just didn't execute it properly.” After weeks of exhausting work, the finale challenge was bigger and better than any previous season of the show.

This challenge was so big, it spanned two episodes. During the first part of the challenge, the contestants worked with director, Patrick Tatopoulous, to create two characters that would be featured in a short film with the help of a small team of past contestants. During the first part of the finale, the makeups are put through a screen test where Tatopoulous gave contestants feedback before the final shoot. Of course, as with any good reality competition, there was more. At the end, the contestants were asked to create a third make up before the final shoot. This challenge was truly the dream of any special effects makeup artist, seeing your work on camera. “When we wrapped our movie at the finale, they showed us a clip,” Hewitt said. “The whole day was amazing. I mean, when will we ever get the chance to work with someone like that again? And it ended with a big group hug!” Of course, the worst part of the whole experience was keeping her win a huge secret from everyone she knew for six long months. “My parents didn't even know,” Hewitt said. “They found out at the finale with everyone else. They knew I made it to the end, but they didn't know I won. I did an event at the school for the finale. Tom [Savini] was there. He didn't even know!” Hewitt relocated to Pennsylvania to attend school on a whim. After high school, she didn't have any real direction but found the Tom Savini Special Makeup Effect program at Douglas Education Center online by chance while she was living with some friends. “People collect books. I have a library of movies,” Hewitt said. “If I could do something in the film industry, it'd be great. I had a strong art background so I thought I'd check out the school. I just rented a car and came out here. I knew it was where I wanted to be.” Hewitt spent 16 months preparing for her new career. The Savini Program gave her a solid foundation for the show, which she auditioned for in her second semester. “The last semester at school was crazy,” Hewitt said. “I was building my final projects and working full time so I

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Douglas Education Center graduate Nora Hewitt faces off & wins big, continued... didn't have a ton of time to get ready for FaceOff.” “There are so many more hours of lab time and we shot a lot of house reality, but I don't know where all the fun footage is,” Hewitt said. “You're in this… alternative universe with good people. It's very strange. You don't have your phone or your wallet. We played a lot of games, talked a lot and made a few short films. Shasta sponsored our show so we made a short commercial called the Shastaing. We found ways to entertain ourselves.” Though she didn't know them personally prior to the show, Hewitt was joined on stage by two other Savini Program graduates: runner up, Evan Hedges and Ricky Vitus. In the nine seasons of FaceOff, 24 students from the Program have competed, but Hewitt was the first winner. “Nora's artistic vision is very confident even though she's so young,” said

Glenn Hetrick. “She came back every week stronger regardless of whether it was a win or loss.” So after a whirlwind experience, what's next for Hewitt? Well, she's packing her bags and heading to California where the special effects makeup opportunities are plentiful. She's sure she would have ended up there with or without FaceOff but the show has certainly given her a bit of leverage as she starts applying for internships and positions. For any future makeup artists reading this, Hewitt has one piece of advice. “Put everything you have into it,” said Hewitt. “If you want to do special effects, follow your dreams. It's not going to be easy, but it's obtainable. Have a positive mental attitude and be forward thinking. The sky is the limit.”

Nora Hewitt is congratulated on stage by Mackenzie Westmore, host of FaceOff.

Chatting with “FaceOff” Judge Glenn Hetrick of Alchemy Studios Story by Hayley Lynn Martin The world of special effects has changed. As consumers, we have higher expectations of how things should appear on the screen. If we can't suspend our disbelief, the entire effort is wasted. One of the people committed to creating amazing, modern special effects is Glenn Hetrick, owner of newly launched Alchemy Studios. You might not recognize his name, but you know his. He's the creative mind who brought to life smash hits like The Hunger Games and Marvel's Agents of Shield. “Today, with high definition, everything has to be ultra-realistic,” Hetrick said. “HD filming has pushed the boundaries to create new techniques far and beyond. It has to be so realistic there is no disbelief from the audience. If the audience questions something, it affects the sale.” “It can't seem cheesy or faux looking,” he said. “That's why we employ things like silicone that are much harder to work with since it's translucent. These techniques are far more complex but are necessary for the resolution of film that we work in today.” Hetrick's portfolio consists of every-

thing from fantastical monsters to human anatomy for crime shows like CSI. “Forensic stuff is really difficult because everyone knows what a human body looks like,” Hetrick said. “Your anatomical accuracy must be spot on. This translates into the creature world too. There has to be a level of believability.” This is the same advice and critiques Hetrick gives on the show “FaceOff” where he serves as a judge. Many contestants fall to the bottom and are ultimately sent home when their anatomy fails to be believable. “The structure that we're asking them to work in works wonderfully for television, but it's not the same that you

would do in a studio,” said Hetrick. “I'm artistically renewed every week. I can't believe I get to work and see the concept to finished product in two days. You're reinvigorated constantly by their passion and commitment.” As a judge for all nine seasons, Hetrick has seen his share of true success stories. One of his favorite characters was Tate and Miranda's pumpkin jacko-lantern scarecrow. While the experience of being a judge on FaceOff is amazing, Hetrick is very happy with the unintended effect it's had on families and children. “Families are watching the show together,” he said. “It's hard for adults to engage and connect with what's out there for younger viewers and we strad-

Pennsylvania Bridges - Arts, Entertainment, Education & Lifestyle -

dle the gap very efficiently. Families enjoy watching the show together.… Our show is a gateway for them to put down their phones for 30 seconds... It's so good for their minds and their souls and to start growing and learning expression through art. I could not have hoped for a better impact [from] the show and we are so blessed.” As Hetrick embarks on his new journey with Alchemy Studios, he's changing the way audiences experience movies. “Our ultimate goal is that we are magicians,” he said. “We allow the audience to live out their conscious fears. It's very magical that you are conveying these complex concepts that start in the minds of the writers and producers and using their visions to use the make up with the performance of the actors underneath it and make the audience feel as though they live through it. If it seems like a guy in makeup, it's like seeing how the magic trick works on stage.” Today, it's not uncommon for creative artists to take direction from multiple people who focus on certain aspects of a character, sometimes creating conflict

Continued on next page... 17

“FaceOff” Judge Glenn Hetrick, continued...

A Christmas with Shoji Tabuchi December 14 at 2 p.m.

Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra presents The Nutcracker December 12 & 13 at 2 p.m. December 12 at 7 p.m.

- - - - - - A L S O P L A Y I N G- - - - - River City Brass presents Christmas Brasstacular December 5 at 7:30 p.m. Stage Right presents A Charlie Brown Christmas* December 5 & 6 at 7:30 p.m. *Show Held at the Lamp Theatre in Irwin Greensburg Civic Theatre’s Plaid Tidings* December 5 at 8 p.m. December 6 at 2 p.m. *Show Held at Greensburg Garden & Civic Center Latshaw Pops presents Christmas Memories December 6 at 2 p.m. CHRISTMAS w/ John Berry December 8 at 7 p.m.

Brian Duprey & The Rat Pack Sinatra’s 100th Birthday* December 11 & 12 at 7 p.m. *Show Held at the Monroeville Convention Center Cahal Dunne’s Wonderful World of Christmas* December 16 at 2:30 p.m. *Show Held at Ferrante’s Lakeview Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra presents Home for the Holidays December 19 at 7:30 p.m. Get the Led Out January 22 & 23 at 8 p.m. The Musical Box: Selling England by the Pound January 29 at 8 p.m. Duquesne University Tamboritzans January 31 at 2 p.m.

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for the artists. “It's not uncommon for four or five production companies to be involved and the days of the directors having the final say are gone,” Hetrick said. “There's very much a creation by committee. Things that work are when a production team has managed to get to the same place with a shared vision… There's no me, it's us. We're really forward thinking and we're integrating technologies. Neville is very much on the cutting edge of 3D printing. Alchemy Studios is really about combining so many elements to transform reality. I look for it to be the standard in 5-10 years. We love being Glenn Hetric, owner of Alchemy Studios and judge on out there to blaze the path.” FaceOff, is helping pave the way for new Outside of Alchemy Studios and technological advances in the special effects industry. FaceOff, Hetrick attends horror conventions and has several big for his hometown of Bethlehem, projects in the works. While he can't Pennsylvania, that he describes as reveal many details, there's also an “unlike anything you've ever haunted attraction project in the works seen before.”

69 Market Street in Brownsville, Pennsylvania

Telephone # 724-785-9331

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Retired nuclear engineer fires up new fine cigar shop in Canonsburg Story by Fred Terling “A cigar is only as good as the memories you have when you smoked it.” A great quote from Raul Julia, it's the perfect introduction to Magenis Fine Cigar Shop, located on 58 West Pike Street in Canonsburg. Its owner and proprietor Brian Magenis, a retired nuclear engineer, would agree. “I want my shop to be a place where people can hang out, have a good cigar and just relax,” Magenis said. Indeed he has created a spot that encourages that experience. From overstuffed leather furniture, football games on weekends, events and even music, it felt like I was in a buddy's man cave, not that cigar smoking is by any means limited to men. I found myself relaxing and just shooting the breeze with Brian and others gathered for the Pitt vs. Duke game on his large 50-inch television. At game's end a local band, The Power of Two, did an acoustic set of classic rock. Oh, and did I mention the crockpot full of ham barbecue in the back? Magenis' desire to open a cigar shop in Western Pennsylvania was a very unique journey. Following his career as a nuclear engineer, he found himself bored and restless in his retirement. “I just didn't want to sit around anymore, you know? I needed to do something,” Magenis said. His initial thoughts from his home in

Oregon gravitated towards opening a bar. He ran into a few hurdles with the establishment's previous owner and her less than attentive bookkeeping and decided to consider other options. Amongst his considerations were a chemical analysis lab and a cannabis retail store, but both had set backs which sent him to his local cigar shop to ponder the future. “So I was sitting in this cigar shop relaxing and I thought, this is it,” he said. He surveyed the country for the perfect location. His girlfriend, Sally Johnson, hails from Eight-Four, Pennsylvania, so he began looking into

properties locally. Fond of Canonsburg and the feeling of community, he decided that would be the spot. To set up the shop, he recruited his girlfriend Sally, or more like, she took over management of the interior decorating. From the color schemes that match cigar wrappers to the wall of famous cigar smokers, which wins you a free cigar if you can name them all, Magenis Fine Cigars just feels like home. Speaking of cigars! That is what the article is about, n'est pas? Brian carries over 44 different brands of cigars and hundreds of types of those brands on the premises. If there is a particular type of cigar you smoke and don't see, he guarantees he can get it for you. Brian himself has a favorite, San Lotano, which he orders on a regular basis as its commercial in-stock availability is always limited. All of his cigars are in humidor display cases and there is even a large walk-in humidor. “Our cases are set to 68-72 percent humidity. Higher or lower can change the flavor of the cigars,” Magenis said. For those budget minded cigar smokers, he also carries a supply of factory throw-outs, which are the same fine cigars but the wrapper colors don't quite measure up to the standards set by the cigar companies. These sell for under a dollar. In addition to his impressive cigar stock, Magenis Fine Cigar also has gift sets, cigar supplies and pipe tobaccos as well. If you're looking for a Casa Magna Tiberius, a nice Cohiba or a factory throw-out, or maybe just a place to hang out and watch a football game with your favorite pipe, stop by Magenis Fine Cigars. Free parking is available at the back of the store and warm casual people congregate inside you will call friends by the time you leave. FMI on Magenis Fine Cigars, check out their site at and/or Facebook at: mageniscigars. (Special thanks to Anthony Wesolowski for his primer on cigars)

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C i t i ze n s L i b r a r y i n Wa s h i n g t o n o f f e r s p ro g ra m s & ev e n t s

Teen Gaming Club - December 8 from 4:30-7 p.m.: Come play video games, board games, card games and much more! Feel free to bring your favorites! RSVP is appreciated. Tween Book Club - December 17 from 4:30-5:30 p.m.: Come talk about your favorite books and make a craft! Pizza and drinks provided. RSVP is appreciated. Gingerbread House Competition - December 16 from 5:30-7 p.m.: Come make your very own gingerbread house and win prizes! Free! All materials are provided. RSVP is required. SAT/ACT Prep with Gale Courses - 6 week online courses available for free with a library card! The online classes begin December 9. Available at our website: Noontime Lunch with Friends Tuesday, December 8.Washington Festival Chorale presents holiday music. Program is free. Lunch is available for purchase after the program. The book of the month for December is 'Taste of Home Christmas 2015 Cookbook' Did you receive a new tablet or eReader? Citizen's Library is offering FREE classes, call 724-222-2400 x222 to sign up. Join Author B.J. Morgan who will discuss her memoir on Wednesday, December 9 from 6-8 p.m. Free and open to the public. Light refreshments served. There will be NO Chess Club in December, and it will not meet again until Saturday, Jan. 9, at 10 a.m. Chess Club is open to all ages and all levels of play. LEGO Club will meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays, December 14 and 28, from 5-6 p.m. The program is open


to all ages, although it is recommended for ages 5 and up. The Children's Department is also accepting donations of new or gently used LEGO sets. The annual “Holiday FUN Day” will be on Saturday, December 12, 2-4 p.m..This FREE program is open to all ages, and will include holiday stories, crafts, movies, and refreshments. Registration is requested by Thursday, December 10 so we know how many to prepare for. The Book-of-the-Month selection for December in the Children's Department is the coloring book, “PrismDesigns” and a box of Crayola colored pencils. The random drawing contest is open to all children 12 years and under.The winning entry will be drawn on Thursday, December 31. The fall session of Preschool and Toddler Story Times finishes up the second week of December, on December 7 and 8. Story Time registration for the spring sessions will occur in mid-January. Visit our selection of downloaded eBooks and audiobooks at Take your Library with you! CitiBooks, a used books bookstore in the lower level of the library, is open from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tues & Wed; 10 a.m to 6 p.m.Thurs; & 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat CitiBooks is staffed by volunteers & all proceeds benefit the library.To volunteer, email Citizen’s Library is located at 55 South College Street,Washington, PA 15301. Phone # is (724) 222-2400



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New professors join Cal U’s Department of Theatre and Dance Story by Aaron Dalzell This year, four new faculty members have joined the Department of Theatre and Dance at California University of Pennsylvania. Sabrina Hykes-Davis, Brian Eisiminger, Deborra Peelor, and John “JP” Staszel (pictured clockwise) are new additions to the department under Dr. Michele A. Pagen, chairperson of the Department of Theatre and Dance. “My immediate goal for the department was to a: fill needs and b: segue into teaching,” said Pagen. Pagen recruited two new faculty members with experience in the technical aspects of theatre and two who have extensive performance experience to fill positions left vacant by retiring professors. Above all, she selected faculty members who have a passion for teaching. Sabrina Hykes-Davis instructs students about the technical aspects of theatre. She studied theatre at West Virginia University and Point Park University. Hykes-Davis interned at Circuit Playhouse where she studied set design. She's worked as a scene shop supervisor at West Virginia University and as a set designer at Mountain Playhouse. Brian Eisiminger specializes in voice training and is a master certified teacher in Estill, a refined vocal method that trains performers on how

State Theatre Center for the Arts

to “control the various structural components of the voice.” Eisiminger is also the department's music director and helps prep students for auditions. He began teaching at Cal U last spring. Deborra Peelor has over 20 years of extensive experience in stage lighting and set design. She's worked with the Pittsburgh Opera House, Quantum Theatre, City Theatre and Civic Light Opera House at the Cabaret. She also dabbles in scenic and projection design. Additionally, she's served as a guest designer/instructor for Chatham College, Point Park Dance, The University of Pittsburgh Dance Ensemble, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center and Seton Hill University. “I am very excited about joining California University and being a part of all of the great plans and energy we have here,” said Peelor. “I love working with students and helping them develop as technicians, designers and performers.” John “JP” Staszel was brought on board to help train budding actors. He “has the creative arts qualification to assist in acting sequences,” said Pagen. Staszel is trained in the Cohen method of acting, but has a background in a variety of other styles. With a Masters in Theatre from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, he caught the acting bug after taking an Intro to Theatre class at Cal U, and switched majors from finance to theatre. He's worked in the Pittsburgh and Erie areas. “My approach is more of a focus on

body than text when it comes to acting,” said Staszel. “My students ask me why I mess with them with these different ideas and methods, [but] I'm not messing with them. My methods are meant to challenge my students. I tell them 'You don't know what something means until you read into it, and that makes them go…whoa, wow I didn't see it like that.'” Peelor and Hykes-Davis will serve as technical consultants for all department shows. Staszel will work with students on the first-year shows, and Eisiminger will be the music director for the department's December 4-6 performance of Miracle on 34th Street. “It's exciting to have a fresh perspective on the department,” said Pagen. “They're forcing me to step-up my game.” As the great bard opined, “all the world’s a stage,” with roles changing.

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The Nutcracker

Dec. 11 & 12 at 8 p.m. Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. Tickets $10 Produced in collaboration with Cal U of PA’s Dept. of Theatre & Dance Glenn Miller Orchestra Holiday Show

Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. Tickets $38, $34 & $25 Classic Film Series

Dec. 19 at 2 & 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at 2 & 7 p.m. Adults $5, Students, senior citizens & children $3 December’s film is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation January’s film is Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

(724) 439-1360 STATETHEATRE .INFO

27 East Main St., Uniontown 21

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presents “The Nutcracker” at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh Featuring more than 100 dancers and vivid Pittsburgh-inspired scenery, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre stages its sweeping production of “The Nutcracker” Dec. 4-27, at the Benedum Center. “The Nutcracker” opens for a 24-performance run at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's classic “The Nutcracker” has been a Pittsburgh tradition for 14 years. Set to Tchaikovsky's sublime score, a dreamlike journey unfolds through a moonlit snow scape to a whimsical Land of Enchantment. More than 100 dancers bring to life iconic choreography from the wondrous waltz of the snowflakes to the pristine Sugarplum Fairy pas de deux. PBT's “The Nutcracker” brings the story home for a holiday tradition inspired by Pittsburgh landmarks and traditions. This year, Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr will introduce several new touches - adding additional dancers to the Waltz of the Flowers, redesigning the Rat King's elaborate headpiece and

adding new surprises to the Party and Battle scenes. The most dramatic difference will be a brand-new Christmas tree, which famously grows in Act I as the enchantment takes hold. PBT has commissioned a hand-crafted drop, which will heighten the tree and amplify the special effect. “'The Nutcracker' is such a massive, textured production, which leaves a lot of potential to weave new nuances into the tradition each year,” said PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. “You could watch this production all 24 times and discover a new detail each time. It's part of what makes this ballet so magical.” The production features costume and set designs by Emmy-winning theatrical designer Zack Brown. From the romantic white tutus of the Snow Scene

to the bumblebees and flowers of the Land of Enchantment, the production's 200-plus costumes were built in the PBT Costume Shop under the direction of Costumier Janet Groom Campbell. In addition to PBT's 30 company dancers, nearly 130 PBT School students, ages 7 and up, will perform throughout the run as toy soldiers, clowns and other enchanted characters.

Orr creates unique casting combinations for each of the show's 24 performances. One dancer can perform as many as eight character roles during a single season and even multiple roles per show. The variety brings fresh chemistry and highlights emerging talents in principal roles. “The Nutcracker” is one of the most popular ballets of all time, based on a classic tale written by German Author, E.T.A Hoffman. Since the ballet's premiere in 1892, companies have adapted the story by altering choreography and emphasizing themes. Beginning in 2002, Orr recreated the famous production with an unexpected love story, more complex choreography and a Pittsburgh setting. The set design and storyline reflect Pittsburgh landmarks, such as the snow scene's Mt. Washington view and a Land of Enchantment carousel inspired by the city's historic amusement parks. Tickets start at $28, and are available at, 412-456-6666. Photo by Rich Sofranko.

“Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer: The Musical” to take stage at Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh In 1964, the beloved stop-motion animated television classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, made its network television debut delighting audiences across the country. The longest running and highest rated television special comes to life, live on stage with RUDOLPH THE REDNOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL featuring the world's most famous reindeer and a holly jolly cast of iconic characters. Rudolph and friends, including Hermey the Elf, Yukon Cornelius and the Abominable Snow Monster, help Santa


save Christmas during a tour this holiday season. RUDOLPH THE REDNOSED REINDEER: THE MUSICAL is a season special part of the PNC Broadway In Pittsburgh series, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Broadway Across America. Rudolph and friends will visit Pittsburgh's Heinz Hall December 2227, 2015 with performances Tuesday at 7 p.m.; Wednesday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Thursday at 2 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. There are no performances on Friday, December 25 due to the Christmas holiday. The story tells the tale of a young Rudolph who, because of the appearance of his bright, shining nose, is ousted from the reindeer games in Christmas-town. He flees town, meets up with new friends Hermey and Yukon, and a series of funny and

endearing adventures ensue including a visit to The Island of Misfit Toys. Rudolph journeys home, where a snowstorm of epic proportions is threatening Christmas. Can Rudolph save his family and friends and help Santa save the holiday? The productions will also tie in with the #ShineBright social media campaign which is a celebration of uniqueness that will be championed by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. Workshops, lesson plans and special performances will use the story as a platform for teaching important lessons about diversity and tolerance. FMI, visit Tickets ($26-$62) are available for purchase by calling (412) 392-4900, visiting the Heinz Hall Box Office, (600 Penn Avenue) or online at

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Social Media Inspires Social Change: Leveling the Field Story by Cass Currie When Smithton resident Karen Primm saw a Facebook post asking people to donate empty prescription bottles to help the people of Malawi, she was immediately interested. “I researched the organization, The Malawi Project, and found that the Malawi people are currently receiving their medication in small pieces of newspaper. As a mother and grandmother, this seemed to me to be potentially dangerous for children. I also like the ideas of giving to others and finding multiple uses for items instead of automatically throwing them in the trash,” said Primm, when asked why she opted to participate in the project. According to their Facebook page, “The Malawi Project, Inc. is a 501c3 humanitarian organization established in 1999 in the United States of America in order to supply humanitarian, medical, educational, food and other aid programs to the nation of Malawi and other African nations.” The prescription bottle recycling project is one such program. Primm began collecting empty prescription bottles from family and friends. She has since sent several shipments of these bottles to a collection center in Indiana that in turns ships them to Malawi. She is currently accepting donations of empty bottles which she's volunteered to send to the recycling program at periodic intervals. Those interested in donating bottles can contact Carla at the offices of Pennsylvania Bridges via email at or via phone at 724-769-0123 to arrange drop-off/collection. According to the program's guidelines, all empty bottles “need to be boiled to get rid of medication residue and labels,” said Primm. She added the program is seeking prescription bottles only. FMI about the Malawi Project, visit Carla Anderton never thought of herself as label conscious until she started

shopping at the Red, White and Blue thrift store located near the Liberty Tunnels in Pittsburgh. With so many higher end designer clothes suddenly within her price range, she soon discovered why the price of buying new and off the rack was so high: the clothes fit better and last longer. However, upon further research, she discovered to her great dismay a hidden cost, that of human dignity. Some of the labels she loved were being made using child labor. Horrified at this realization, she pledged to try to be better informed about the conditions in which the products she wears and consumes are made. While browsing through her Facebook news feed one afternoon, she noticed an ad for a company called Darn Good Yarn. According to their web site, “Darn Good Yarn, founded in 2008 by Nicole Snow, is a wholesaler and retailer of original recycled yarns, clothing and home goods. Nicole, a US Air Force Veteran, decided she wanted to “unwind” with yarn and to take two of her passions in life - art and helping others - and combine them. The result was Darn Good Yarn. The mission is simple: provide phenomenal quality fibers to enthusiasts, meanwhile helping the women of India and Nepal become autonomous and self-reliant. Darn Good Yarn takes manufactured

waste, which would normally be sent to landfills, and repurposes it to create spectacular pieces of art. All of the yarns are handmade in small batches and undergo extensive quality control. More importantly, however, Darn Good Yarn hand-selects 300 women in Nepal and India for their skill and offers them appropriate means to support their families that not only allows them to survive, but to thrive.” Intrigued by the idea of helping women support themselves and encouraged by the hundreds of positive reviews on Darn Good Yarn's web site, Anderton took advantage of a buy one get one offer and ordered two silk custom made Sari wrap skirts. Upon delivery, she was dazzled by the rich, vibrant patterns, the luxurious fabric and the meticulous workmanship. In fact, she was so impressed she dashed to her PC to place another order for two more skirts while the BOGO offer was still in effect. “These are the most beautiful articles of clothing I've ever worn,” said Anderton. “Furthermore, I feel good about myself - inside and out wearing them, knowing my purchases helped women to become and remain independent.” To browse the available selection of fiber goods at Darn Good Yarn, visit

PENNSYLVANIA BRIDGES - Arts, Entertainment, Education & Lifestyle -

The Five Stages of the Grieving Process There are five stages of normal grief that were first proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying. In our bereavement, we spend different lengths of time working through each step and express each stage with different levels of intensity. Many people do not experience the stages in the order listed below, which is okay. Denial and Isolation: The first reaction to learning of terminal illness or death of a cherished loved one is to deny the reality of the situation. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response. Anger: The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger. The anger may be aimed at inanimate objects, complete strangers, friends or family. Anger may be directed at our dying or deceased loved one. We feel guilty for being angry, and this makes us more angry. Bargaining: The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control. Secretly, we may make a deal with a higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable. This is a weaker line of defense to protect us from the painful reality. Depression: Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words. The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. Acceptance: Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone. Death may be sudden and unexpected or we may never see beyond our anger or denial. This phase is marked by withdrawal and calm. Coping with loss is a deeply personal and singular experience.

Mariscotti Funeral Home 323 Fourth Street California, PA (724) 938-2210 (724) 322-0500 - Cell Anthony Mariscotti, Supervisor



Center for the Arts An Extraordinary Arts Experience in an Unique & Historic Atmosphere

TH E JAKOBS FERRY STRAGGLERS with opening act AM Y MELISSEN Friday, December 11 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Cost $12 - All ages welcome BYOB for over 21 with ID

PAINTING PARTY Tuesday, December 15 6:30 p.m. - Cost $30 - Includes all materials Join teaching artist Liz Jones as she guides you through the creation of a masterpiece of YOUR choice. Bring your creativity, enthusiasm & your beverage of preference and join us to make art!

Jonny D

BENEFIT EVENT FOR JOZART CFTA Call or email to reserve your seat


DJ Jon Difilippo, Owner

Over 10 Years of Experience! Quality, All Occasion Photography


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y h p ra g o ot h P

CALSTOCK MUSIC & AR T FESTIVAL Saturday, January 2 at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. Cost $5 All ages welcome at our annual winter celebration of music & art.

For more information, call 724-938-9730 or email

Daniel C. McKay, Sr.

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Tap Into Your Inner Artist With “Wine & Line” Sessions with Liz Jones Story by Stacie Adams Liz Jones is of the firm belief that deep inside everyone is a great artist just waiting to be discovered. This belief has been a guiding principle throughout her life as both an artist and instructor, and ultimately led to the creation of the Liz Jones Art Studio in the Greater Connellsville Area Community Center. Jones will now be taking over artistic duties at the Jozart Center for the Arts with her Wine and Line sessions, which afford an evening of fun and creativity to those interested in the artistic process. With a background in social work, Jones knows better than most the therapeutic value of art. She has seen firsthand the impact painting can have on kids and adults with developmental difficulties, as well as what it can do for those in her classes who seem convinced they lack the ability to produce art of any kind. “The biggest barrier people have to painting is their own judgment of themselves,” Jones says, expressing a common obstacle in the creative process. According to Jones, this is where the healing power of wine comes in. “Hand that internal critic a glass of wine and say 'You go sit over there, I'm going to paint now.” Thanks to her years of creating art, Jones looks at painting from a logical

perspective, which is perhaps why she is such an effective instructor. Referring to painting as a process, Jones provides students of all skill levels with the tools and techniques they need to make something they can proudly display in their own homes. What does Jones tell those students that offer the usual refrain that they are incapable of drawing even stick figures? “Stick figures are highly overrated,” she replies with a hearty laugh. With experience using multiple mediums, Jones brings sizable artistic knowledge to all of her lessons. While painting features heavily, Jones also assists students in drawing, particularly

in chalk due to its compatibility with painted canvases. She stresses the mutability of chalk, which lets artists experiment with drawing without any lasting consequences. Jones will also collaborate with students, even whipping up a quick sketch to provide some much-needed inspiration. As for what Jones hopes her students take away from their lessons, the artist says, “I hope they find a sense of competence they didn't know they had.” She cites poor experiences with lessthan-supportive art teachers who summarily put a damper on budding artistic impulses with a few harsh words. Jones hopes that her lessons, both at the Jozart Center in addition to those held at her own studio, will help reignite these impulses yet again. Liz Jones's Wine and Line sessions begin at Jozart Center for the Arts on December 15 at 6:30 p.m. To reserve your space, email to or call 724-938-9730. For information on arranging a private art party, contact the Liz Jones Art Studio directly at 724-455-3699, or visit the Facebook page to learn more. Kids in the Connellsville area can also take advantage of free after-school art lessons courtesy of Liz Jones and the Greater Connellsville Area Community Center, which take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4-6 p.m. through December.

Protect your pets during winter weather Help your pets remain happy and healthy during the colder months by following these simple guidelines: Don't leave dogs or cats outdoors when the temperature drops. Regardless of the season, short-haired, very young or old dogs and all cats should never be left outside without supervision. Dogs and cats are safer indoors, except when taken out for exercise. Pets are sensitive to severe cold and are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia when they are outdoors during extreme cold snaps. Exposed skin on noses, ears and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage. A dog or cat is happiest and healthiest when kept indoors. If for some reason

your dog is outdoors much of the day, he or she must be protected by a dry, draft-free shelter that is large enough to allow the dog to sit and lie down comfortably but small enough to hold in his/her body heat. If there are outdoor cats in your area, remember that they need protection from the elements as well as food and water. Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy. Routinely check your pet's water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal. Warm engines in parked cars attract cats and small wildlife, who may crawl up under the hood. To avoid injuring

any hidden animals, bang on your car's hood to scare them away before starting your engine. The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of your pet's feet. Wipe all paws with a damp towel before your pet licks them and irritates his/her mouth. Antifreeze is a deadly poison. Wipe up spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach. Speak out if you see a pet left in the cold! Document cases of abuse when safe and possible and call the authorities to report neglected pets. Adapted from the Humane Society’s web site:

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“It's the story of MY FAIR LADY... Gone horribly, tragically wrong.”

The Heart Absent 14-year-old James Nemo spent most of his youth motherless and under the thumb of a father who hates him. These injustices he quickly forgets, however, in the arms of a beautiful young prostitute named Nelly. Reality conspires against the young lovers, and James is left, alone and angry, to confront the truth behind his mother's abandonment. Twenty years pass. James, now a respected artist, meets Mary Jane Kelly, an Irish prostitute who bears more than a passing resemblance to Nelly. Convinced his redemption lies in her, James slowly ensnares her into his ever darkening world. His passion for her escalates to a frenzy, amidst the backdrop of Victorian London in the heyday of Jack the Ripper, and threatens to consume them both. Novel by Carla E. Anderton, a recognized expert on the subject of Jack the Ripper. Available for purchase online at and Barnes & Noble bookstores among other fine retailers.

Curious about Jack?

This summer, revisit the scene of a century plus year old crime... 25


Westmoreland Country Community College will hold a Spring Enrollment Day at all WCCC locations on December 9 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Spring Enrollment Day provides one stop for everything new and returning WCCC students need to schedule classes.The December 9 event is geared for new and returning students. New students will get help completing the WCCC no-fee application for admission and assistance in completing their FAFSA form for financial aid.They will complete the placement assessment and should bring their high school transcript.

“Sancho: An Act of Remembrance” to take Pittsburgh stage The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces Sancho: An Act of Remembrance, part of the 2015-2016 Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents Series, will take place on December 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. at the August Wilson Center (980 Liberty Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh). Step back in time and submerse yourself into the incomparable story of Charles Ignatius Sancho. A man born on a slave ship but never a slave, who was immortalized by the great English painter Thomas Gainsborough, and in 1774, became the first BritishAfrican to cast a vote. In this endlessly revealing, often funny one-man show, celebrated Royal Shakespeare Company actor Paterson Joseph deliv-

New Public Art Bike Racks unveiled in Downtown Pittsburgh

Prospective and returning students will have an opportunity to talk one-on-one with staff and schedule classes offered at any WCCC location or online. Reservations are requested by calling 724-925-4243. WCCC spring classes begin January 19, 2016 at all locations. The Spring Enrollment Day will be held at: WCCC,Youngwood WCCC-Advanced Technology Center, RIDC-Westmoreland, Mount Pleasant WCCC-Bushy Run, Export WCCC-Fayette, Uniontown Greene County Education Center,Waynesburg Indiana County Community College Center, Indiana WCCC-Latrobe, Latrobe WCCC-Mon Valley Center, Belle Vernon WCCC-New Kensington, New Kensington


ers a masters touch as he inhabits the curious, daringly determined life of the composer, social satirist and general man of refinement. Joseph abundantly

illustrates and uncovers the grit and passion of a man forgotten by history but who deserves praise and illumination. You owe it to yourself to experience this rare glimpse into the often-misunderstood narrative of the African-British diaspora. For more information on the show, please visit: Sancho is produced by Tim Smith for Pemberley Productions in association with the Oxford Playhouse. Tickets are currently on sale for $20-$30. Tickets are available at, by calling 412-456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. For groups of 10 or more, call 412-471-6930.

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is pleased to announce the unveiling of new Public Art Bike Racks. The installation of eleven new artist designed bike racks marks the completion of the second phase of this new public art initiative. “We are very proud to showcase the incredible work of twelve talented artists who show that a humble bicycle rack can be transformed into a work of art in a marriage of art and function,” remarked Murray Horne, curator of the Wood Street

Galleries and curator of the project. Currently, Pittsburgh is listed among the Top 50 Bike Friendly Cities in Bicycling Magazine ranked as such according to criteria that includes the proliferation of “segregated bike lanes, municipal bike racks and bike boulevards….” In order to address the national trend of cycling, the Trust has developed a way to create a bike-friendly community that will not only have an impact on Pittsburgh's economy, but will also increase the overall health and vitality of its residents. The new bike racks will be installed along Penn Avenue from 10th Street to 7th Street, 8th Street and Liberty Ave. Participating artists include: Brandon Boan, David Calfo, Josh Caputo/ Elise Walton, Myra Falisz, Stephen House, Alanna James, Keny Marshall, John Peña, Finnbogi Petursson, Robert Raczka, and Brett Yasko. For over 30 years, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has kept quality aesthet-

ics and design as a guiding principle in the development Pittsburgh's Cultural District. We believe how our environment looks and feels really does contribute greatly to how we look at and shape the world around us. Nearly two years ago, the Trust announced a call for Pittsburgh-area artists to design and develop functional bicycle racks for permanent usage around the Cultural District. A selection committee accepted five submissions under the parameters that the racks would be fabricated from aluminum, powder-coated stainless steel or galvanized steel in order to minimize maintenance concerns and adhere to sizing and other accessibility standards. In a close collaboration with the City of Pittsburgh, Kristin Saunders current Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh, the Trust established the racks' locations and acquired the appropriate permitting.The Cultural District Public Art Bike Racks have been made possible through the generous support of Colcom Foundation. A complete map along with artist names, project title and materials as well as the specific Cultural District locations is at:

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Pennsylvania Bridges Investigates: Adjunct Professors Face Increasing Challenges Story by Zachary Filtz Many students may expect their professors to make a living wage. However, not all professors have a steady, one-job income, as there have been some trends that have risen in which more and more adjunct (sometimes referred to as “part time,” as differing universities define it differently) professors are having to work multiple jobs. This especially applies if they have been unable to find full-time work in their field in a tenure-track position. Instead, they end up teaching part time, with no guarantee of a university hiring them back for the following semester, according to Barb Hess, the California University APSCUF chapter president. APSCUF is the union for Pennsylvania state universities, including California University. It stands for Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties. According to a 2009 article entitled “Who are the Part Time Faculty?” published by the American Association of University Professors, adjunct professors now make up approximately 48 percent of their respective college faculties, compared to just 30 percent in 1975. While this may not seem significant, comparisons of average salaries show a more significant difference between the full time and adjunct faculty. The average base salary for a full time tenure-track professor, according to the above article, was $65,407. In contrast, adjunct faculty members received $11,160. For the latter, this shows the need for these inviduals to work more than one job. Although colleges can use their adjunct faculties differently, at state colleges, they are allowed and encouraged to join the full time professors union, according to Barb Hess, president of APSCUF, California University’s professors union. “What colleges have been trying to do in recent years to cut cost and not pay faculty as much,” Hess said, who also teaches math at Cal. Hess said that although they may be trying eliminate some of their costs, it is not fair to a professor who may not

be a part of their respective union. According to Hess, adjuncts at California University have the option to join the faculty union but are not required to. “We [the union] have been trying to prevent this practice of cost-cutting,” Hess said. Hess also said that the union stops the university from only hiring adjunct faculty to teach classes. To join the APSCUF union, faculty need to fill out a form stating the acceptance for the union dues to be drawn from the person's paycheck. Although adjunct professors have the option to join APSCUF, some choose not to. A California University adjunct who is not part of APSCUF spoke about this issue. John Float, an adjunct professor of math, works many teaching jobs to get by. He teaches at California University’s main campus, CCAC Boyce campus in Monroeville, as well as at University of Pittsburgh, Greensburg campus. He is also enrolled in classes for his doctorate of education at the latter. “Mondays are the only day that I drive to all three campuses,” he said. “However, last fall I drove to all three

schools four days a week.” Float said when he travels to all three campuses, he will put on more than 100 miles on his car, an older Honda Civic. During that semester, he worked approximately about twice the time that full-time professors teach. He would begin teaching at 8 a.m. and finish teaching his night class at 9:45 p.m. that same night, according to Float. He then finishes any grading for classes before he begins work on his doctor of education degree, which can vary from day to day. “Sleep has been a luxury item for a while,” Float said. “I only get around five to six hours at most.” Float also explained that he is grateful for where he is at, as he can teach and learn during the day and night. He is not married and has no children, so he does not “need to be home,” he said. He gets paid approximately $1,500 per credit for the semester. Since he currently teaches one 3-credit class at Cal, his pay for that class would be approximately $4500 for the semester before taxes were taken out. He is able to make ends meet because he teaches more than tenure-track faculty teach, and does not live a luxurious lifestyle,

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according to Float. Some adjuncts experience this, even if they are part of the union, but not necessarily because they have to. While Float is able to find work, not all adjunct professors are able to find consistent work. Another California University adjunct spoke about this issue. “Adjuncts do all of the things in college that tenure-track faculty do,” said Jody Spedaliere, an adjunct English professor at Cal. “We present at conferences, publish, and provide services to the university.” He has been employed by California University since 2004. He has published scholarly material and completed his PhD, similar to other faculty who are in tenure-track positions. Despite his accomplishments and terminal degree, he is temporarily laid off from Cal. He used to teach several English courses when he first joined California University, according to Spedaliere. However, due to changing demand for higher education, “it did not work out that way,” Spedaliere said in an interview last spring. “I wish it would have worked out differently,” Spedaliere said. He said that online teaching has helped him find some work. The above mentioned “change in demand” can be attributed to a change in English course requirements by California University, according to Margo Wilson, chairperson of California University's English department. To major in English, ENG 102 has been a required course for any English field of study. It was also required by academic departments outside the English department, such as the business department. Wilson said that some departments felt that ENG 102 was not necessary for their students. ENG 102 also has a cap of 25 students per section, while some similar 100-level English classes have a cap of 35 or more students. By allowing students to take other 100level classes rather than ENG 102, the university found that it could save money, according to Wilson. She gave the example of courses like Woman as Continued on next page...


Adjunct Professors Face Host of Challenges, continued...

FOSTER FRIENDS OF WASHINGTON COUNTY SEEKS CARE PACK DONATIONS Children that are transitioning into foster care have little to no time to collect any personal belongings. It is our desire to offer these children something to call their own- a new toy, a pair of jammies that fit just right, because they deserve it. We want the care packs to help comfort the children during their transition. The packs will be distributed to children entering into the foster care system. How can I (or my organization) get involved in this great cause? Make a care pack. Decide on a gender/age that you would like to make a care pack for. The care pack should include a blanket, a pair of pajamas, small stuffed animal/toy, book, tooth brush, tooth paste and body wash, as well as a back pack or duffle bag that is big enough to contain the items. All items must be new with tags. OR Donate a gift card of any value that could be used to purchase items for a care pack. Donations can be made at The care packs will be collected during the week of Dec. 6-12 at the following locations: Mon Valley YMCA (100 Taylor Run Road, Monongahela) M-F from 5:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat. from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. & Sun. from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., City Motors (775 W. Chestnut St., Washington) MF from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., or Hollowood Heating (1 Mechanic St., California) M-F from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. For more info, email: or visit their Facebook group, Foster Friends of Washington County.


Hero and Introduction to Fiction. “Around late 2009 into 2010, [former Penn. governor Tom] Corbett cut the PASSHE schools' budget by 18 percent,” Wilson said. “It hit us hard, and [former California University president] Armenti allowed the Composition change to occur.” According to Wilson, the policy of ENG 102 being required before other 100-level electives could be taken has not been restored as of academic year 2014-15. According to PASSHE, there were 1790 adjuncts employed by the 14 PASSHE schools statewide. Of those, there were 170 adjuncts working at California University this past academic year according to California University human resources. Some adjuncts leave the part-time teaching business because of the hours. A former adjunct at Duquesne


A Christmas Carol Dec. 10-12 at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13 at 2:30 p.m. “A Christmas Carol” is a spectacular adaptation of Charles Dicken’s most well known story. Tickets $15

Geyer Choir Debut Dec. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Conducted by Gayle Cuneo Pittsburgh Street, Scottdale

University spoke about the issue. “I currently work for an IT business full-time as a consultant,” Jeff Schurman said. Schurman, 56, used to teach a graduate level course for Duquesne's school of business for three semesters. He gave it up for consulting job. It had better pay than what he was doing before, according to Schurman. “The hours were just very long,” he said. “I couldn't say no to this new work-from-home position.” He also could relate with driving long distances just to teach a class, as Float from California University does. “I drove roughly an hour into the city during rush hour,” Schurman said. He did this a few nights per week. Schurman said it gave him experience teaching, but the non-traditional hours aren't for everyone. In addition to teaching the course he would work another job for a total of over 60 hours per week. He also does not possess a doctorate, and he would not be qualified for fulltime teaching if he wanted to enter professorship at Duquesne. An advocate for a professors' union does not see this trend changing any time soon. David Kociemba, a volunteer college union advocate, said that some outside union entities are helping adjunct professors organize unions. “In Pittsburgh, there is the United Steel Workers helping Duquesne organize unions for their adjuncts,” Kociemba said, who does voluntary relational work for American Association of University Professors. “There has also been strong union growth in academia in the Boston area as well.” He is also an adjunct himself at Emerson College in Massachusetts. Approximately 70 percent of the adjunct professors at schools in the District of Columbia are now part of a union or association to protect their wages and benefits, according to Kociemba. He said there have been administrative trends developing behind this issue that numbers and statistics will not explain. “In the past, professors would be required to write a book chapter or two for their university duties, but not much

else extensively,” he said. He said those requirements have changed into a demand to publish full length books in addition to other scholarly research they are required to do. He added some step into an adjunct role instead because they are unable to get their book published, or because they have family commitments and are not able to find the time to write a book. James Monks, the author of the AAUP article “Who are the Part Time Faculty?” that was introduced at the beginning of this article, explained why he took the time to write that article. “As a fellow professor and former adjunct myself, I do not think it's fair to pay them those low numbers,” Monks said. “I wrote that article and found those numbers because I wanted to know who they [adjunct professors] are and where they are coming from.” Monks said he thought that the growth of online higher education may spark demand for hiring more adjunct professors, but he could not predict that with certainty. Although adjuncts face a host of challenges, students are not always aware of the realities facing their professors. “I figured they make a living wage, but the national average salary is really surprising,” said Eric Griffith, a California University English student. “I try to keep up with things going on in the world, but that national average is almost unbelievably low.” Griffith said that it seems graduate school is a “poor investment” if one is unable to find a full-time position. “It is really unfair, and I can say I have never had a conversation about that with one of my friends,” he said. Griffith said he thinks that colleges should better provide for adjuncts if the numbers really are that low. “I don't think it's fair,” he said.

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The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers celebrate momentous year Story by Fred Terling Tuesday, January 26, 2016 will be a special day for the members of the Appalachian Bluegrass Band, Jakob's Ferry Stragglers. The WGN America Original Series “Outsiders” will air with the band's music featured in several episodes. The Pittsburgh area band fresh off of a national tour, featured in Relics Magazine Summer Issue and currently performing several local gigs is simply on a roll. Recently, frontman and guitarist, Gary Antol, sat down with me to discuss Jakob's Ferry Stragglers' roots, life on the road and the music business in general. What is Appalachian Bluegrass? It's sort of old-timey, bluegrass, country, jazz and rockabilly styles all mashed into one performed with all strings. At the heart of the quartet is Gary Antol. Gary started the first incarnation of the Jakob's Ferry Stragglers as the Weedrags in 2010. His father taught him to play guitar at age five and he later went on to study with underground guitar legend, Rick Mals. “Rick always brought a tablet to practice. He would always write everything down by hand. It was just the way he did things. When he went off to Berkley, he left the tablet for me and wrote a final inscription on the back page. It read, “Humility revolves around us.” That has been my core to this day,” Antol recalls. Following his training, Gary set off to travel the world. He played Disney and Carnival Cruise ships and eventually landed a job in the stage band at Cedar Point, without an audition. Shortly thereafter, he formed the Weedrags, where the origins of Jakob's Ferry Stragglers would begin. Gary first met fiddle player and vocalist, Libby Eddy, at a pool table after a gig. He was looking for a fiddle player and was a mutual friend. He had heard her play and after talking with her for two hours, Gary said, “I thought after two hours this is the girl I'm going to marry one day.” Libby plays an amazing fiddle, with rosin dust piling up on her instrument as she has a superstition about cleaning her bow. When striking higher notes on her bow strings, she either raises to her

The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers official promotional photo.

tip toes or strike a crane pose. Her voice is perfectly suited to this quartet's music and when she sings, time stops. Yes, she's that talented and even won first place at the Maryland State Championship Fiddle Contest at age fifteen, among a ton of other honors in her lifetime. Next came the banjo and Mitch Hall. Gary and Libby had known Mitch for about a year and accidentally ran into him at the Ice Jam in Butler, Pennsylvania. After hours, Mitch and a couple of other banjo pickers were playing in a hallway. Gary recalled that session, “There were three of them. The other two were pretty good, but Mitch was on a different level, a different planet. I asked what his plans where?” Hall replied, “Travel the country, meet chicks.” Gary said, “How'd you like to get paid to do that?” Jakob's Ferry Stragglers is the first and only band Mitch has been in. He also plays clawhammer banjo, which is a finger picking style without using the picks. It's incredibly cool to watch. Platooning for a Bass Player, Ed Croft was the final piece. Ed had toured with national acts and bumped into Gary on a Pittsburgh street corner while in town subbing for a show. They got to talking. Antol had always been interested in working with Croft, but band poaching was not his style. Following their conversation, the two

came to an agreement that if Ed could find his own replacement for his present band and give them one month's notice, the deal would be done. Ed plays an upright bass and I mean he plays it! Head, shoulders, arms and neck. His entire body gets into tugging at the strings. I don't work out that hard at the gym. With all the pieces in place and a new name, the Jacob's Ferry Stragglers were born on October 31, 2014. “The thing you have to go in with to understand the music industry is at every level you are expected to buy in,” Antol began our discussion about being on the road. Jakob's Ferry stragglers has just completed a long and successful spring West Coast swing of sixteen shows in 21 days and recently launched an East Coast swing of 27 shows through December of 2015. Some of the shows require traveling one hundred or more miles in a day, with the band leaving a show as soon it's finished to drive through the night to make the next show. “The money you make on the road goes back into the business. You have expenses, equipment, gas, food and a hundred other things. The cost of travel is by far the biggest expense,” Antol said. To most of us, the thought of being on the road, seeing different cities, seems like a glamourous life… but not Continued on next page...

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Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers, continued... so fast. There is the work and the close quarters with the same people, not to mention playing to crowds that you've never met before in cities you've never been before. Gary reaffirmed that notion, “It's tough. There isn't a safety net and you're definitely out of your comfort zone. Then, there's all that time together pent up in a car together. It's human nature to get on each other's nerves.” Antol added, “The crowds, you get used to by taking all the weirdness that happens on the road and just let it explode as energy on the audience… Nothing can make the music more honest than being on the road, bringing those experiences to the work.” With a full year under their belt, what's next for Jakob's Ferry Stragglers? Gary disclosed that he is working on a sort of Appalachian wedding package that will augment the touring and an upcoming project with Sony. “Over the next year, we will have a new album coming out in the spring of 2016 and a music video. As far as any-

thing else, we will continue as long as the music is good. The rest will come as long as we're working hard,” Gary closed. Their music is good. No, better than good, it has to be heard. Everywhere by everyone. I sat in a roadhouse last Friday in Amity, Pennsylvania. I go to a lot of concerts, which is probably the understatement of the century. I've flirted with every genre there is. The Jakob's Ferry Stragglers are unique, refreshing and above all, talented. They have a polish that a lot of national acts don't have and a stage presence that belongs on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. I'd like to take a moment to say “thank you” to Gary Antol for the incredible amount of time he spent talking with me and Libby, Ed and Mitch for their incredible gift of music that I was lucky enough to experience last Friday in Amity, Pennsylvania. For more information on touring dates and how to get their music, visit

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What I’m Looking Forward To... “The Force Awakens” by Carla E. Anderton Shortly after the fall edition was released, I had the honor of being invited to speak to the Publishing the Magazine class at my undergraduate alma mater, California University of Pennsylvania. I spoke briefly on my experiences in the magazine business but most of my talk centered on my passion for the industry. I recalled how during my teens, when most girls were spending their leisure time painting their nails and dreaming of Mr. Right, you'd find me camped out in the family room with a pile of glossy magazines, poring over every word of every article, analyzing every photograph and illustration for meaning. Fast forward a little over 20 years and I still spend my “free time” devouring magazines. I'm the person who'll volunteer to accompany a friend to the doctor just so I can hang out in the waiting room and check out what publications the office subscribes to. It was during one of these excursions that I first encountered O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine. I know, I know, Oprah's been a household name for longer than some of our readers have been alive, but this was my first exposure to the publica-

tion that bears her name. To say I was impressed would be to downplay my appreciation of this beautifully designed, masterfully edited magazine. I read it cover to cover twice, once to simply absorb it and the second time to take detailed notes on what aspects of it I wanted to emulate here in the pages of Pennsylvania Bridges. Now, I'm sorry to disappoint, but I didn't decide in that moment to give all our dear readers a new car. Still, two things struck me that I've tried to incorporate in this edition. First is what you're reading now, the first installment in what I hope to make a regular feature, a piece on something I'm looking forward to. Second is a list stuff we recommend, curated lists of products and services suggested by our readers, our writers and our editors. Want to get in on the fun? Send me an email at So, what is it exactly I'm looking forward to as we approach the holiday season? To answer that question, we must travel back in time to the year of my birth, 1977. My arrival into this world was a mere blip in the cosmos compared to the explosion into the universe the same year that was Star Wars: A New Hope. The first film in the beloved Star Wars series, A New Hope was released in theaters on May 25, 1977. Dubbed an epic space opera, A New Hope was the highest grossing film of all time until the release of E.T., The Extra Terrestrial in 1982. I didn't get to see A New Hope in theaters for obvious reasons; I was only a little over three months old. However, my first trip to the movies was to see the sequel, The Empire Strikes

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Back. The effects were immediate. Han Solo will always be my first love, and I'd be lying if I didn't say there was something about a guy - Darth Vadar who can blow up entire planets on command that, well, speaks to me on some level. While I'd like to think I've spent my life using the “force” for good, there's been times the dark side of the force has seemed equally appealing. Call me a nerd. You won't be the first. I’m so much of a geek I bought some Star Wars toys for my four-year-old godson and - if he behaves - I’ll let him come over to my house and play with them. I’m currently trying to bribe my husband into buying me the 31-inch Darth Vadar figure for Christmas. (Hint, hint, Eric. I’ve got the perfect spot in my office picked out.) All kidding aside, for me the Star Wars story is about more than good spacemen versus bad space guys. It's about the triumph of good over evil, a theme that has resonated throughout history. So, this holiday season, the thing I'm excited about is the arrival in theaters on December 18 of the seventh film in the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens. I'm not much of a crowd person so I'll skip opening night, but come December 19 or 20, you'll definitely find me firmly planted in a movie theater seat, popcorn in hand, with a wad of hankies for the inevitable flood of happy tears I'll shed when after more than 30 years - I'll get to see Han Solo swagger on to the screen. Merry Christmas, and May the Force be with you!

PENNSYLVANIA BRIDGES - Arts, Entertainment, Education & Lifestyle -

Gordon Hooper - One of those eco gifts. Like “With this card 100 trees have been planted in Africa.” Reanna Roberts - A puppy. Rescue, of course! Preferably missing an eye or a leg. Someone needs to love them!” Margie McKinley - SD Ultra Cards and Flash Drives. Deborah Dormitzer - SmartWool socks. Love them and they’re pricey (and of course my dryer eats one a week). Natalie Wolfe Duvall - An Amazon gift card, so I could buy whatever my little evil heart desired! Lee Stivers - An assortment of CDS by local musicians. A tasteful gift and it supports our musicians in a very significant way. Michelle Fontaine - Cook books. Books in general based off a common interest Cass Currie - Steel Victory, an alternate history urban fantasy debut novel by author J.L. Gribble. Jeannie King - Have my grandchildren donate it to a family that just lost everything in a fire, or lost a child, or was homeless so they would receive the warm feeling of knowing what it is to give rather than receive! Robert Currie - Donating to a charity can be a family gift and a learning experience as well as giving you that warm feeling inside that you've done something to help your fellow humans.


Available Now!

Della and Lila Meet the Monongahela Mermaid is the first in a series of books for children that explores the themes of nature, conservation, family, community service, and helping others. Throughout the text children are introduced to research patterns in the forms of charts, maps, and footnotes. Beginning concepts of biology, geography, and environmental science are also presented. A beloved local landscape provides the backdrop for this story about two sisters, Della and Lila, who befriend a mermaid in trouble. As the increasing mistreatment of the Monongahela River persists, Marina the Mermaid turns to two

little girls, Della and Lila, to help her save her home. Della and Lila rally their family and friends and form a summer long campaign to raise awareness about pollution and ecological damages in the Monongahela River. The girls and their friends work very hard to try and save Marina's home. But, will they be able to do it? Find out what happens when Della and Lila work together with their family, friends & community to help save our river.

Get your copy today!

Visit the official Della & Lila shop online. Featuring the first book in the series as well as a variety of plush mermaid & animal friend dolls.

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Pennsylvania Bridges Holiday 2015 Edition  
Pennsylvania Bridges Holiday 2015 Edition