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D ecemb er 2 0 1 7 E d itio n


Connecting Our Communities

The Gift of Giving


BRIDGES Pennsylvania Bridges is published online at

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once a month, 12x a year carla@pabridges.com All Rights Reserved© Pennsylvania Bridges is... Carla E. Anderton, Editor-in-Chief Fred Terling, Managing Editor Hayley Lynn Martin, Associate Editor Chuck Brutz, Staff Writer Cass Currie, Staff Writer Keren Lee Dreyer, Staff Writer Tasha Oskey, Columnist Reanna Roberts, Columnist Eric J. Worton, Columnist Contributors: Jennifer Benford, Noah Churchel, Brianne Bayer Mitchell, Dr. Michele Pagen, Lauren Rearick, Bruce Wald, Ashley Wise & Dave Zuchowski

Have a story idea? Do you like to write? Want to share an original photo? Get in touch with us at (724) 769-0123 e-mail: carla@pabridges.com We’re also on Facebook facebook.com/ pennsylvaniabridges


The Gift of Giving In the Bible, Jesus tells us "tis more blessed to give than to receive," and at no time of year is this more true than at Christmas. Indeed, the season itself is kicked off by Black Friday, the biggest shopping of the day, when billions of Americans brave the crowds in search of the latest toy or gadget sure to put a gleam in the eyes of the recipient. From onset to ending, the holiday celebrates the joy to be had in giving to others, whether it's a present we can hold in our hands or an ideal we can cherish in our hearts. We originally planned for this issue to serve as a handy shopping guide for those in search of the perfect gifts for their loved ones at affordable prices. To this end, we dispatched reporters to local businesses to discover where the best bargains could be found. We also know that the holidays are a time for both entertaining and being entertained, so we put together a fairly lengthy list of must see shows and exhibits not to be missed. With everything from perennial staple The Nutcracker to a Stranger Things themed exhibit, there's an activity for every one of the twelve days of Christmas and all the days leading up to them. What struck us, however, as our phones began ringing with story tips, was the sheer number of people and organizations who spend their holidays giving of themselves to help others. Whether it's coordinating a food drive for needy families, collecting coats for the cold, delivering meals to the elderly and/or disabled, or ensuring kids all across the region would have presents to unwrap on Christmas morning, it seems our region is resplendent with people who find joy and purpose in blessing others. Some of their stories are con-

Questions? We’ve got answers!

tained in the page of this edition. Speaking of blessings, we also learned about a growing number of ministries that have taken root and flourished here in our own backyard. We spoke to one in Belle Vernon called The Bag Brigade whose aim is to provide meals for hungry kids who might not otherwise eat on the weekends. A great and worthy cause, likeminded ministries exist throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Check with your local church to see if they have a similar program and - if not - perhaps offer to start one. Feeding the most helpless among us is surely a goal we can all get behind. However you choose to give of yourself this holiday season, we hope it is a happy and healthy one for you and yours. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all us! Until next month, Carla E. Anderton

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

“For it is in giving that we receive.” Francis of Assisi Italian Saint 2

Pennsylvania Bridges is distributed free 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 pabridges.com, 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 carla@pabridges.com with your address to be added to our distribution list. For info on advertising, call 724-7690123 or email carla@pabridges.com for a rate sheet and more details.

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 printed once a month and regularly updated online. 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. Get in touch.

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In this issue of Pennsylvania Bridges...





Craft & Vendor Show...p. 3 Exhibits on display at 707 and 709 Penn Galleries...p. 8 Local artist wins Danny Trejo tshirt contest...p. 15 On display at The Warhol...p. 23 Waynesburg student art exhibit on display...p. 26

COMMUNITY & LOCAL BIZ EDUCATION & TECHNOLOGY Cal U GACO Seminars...p. 5 Seminars for legal professionals focus on family/work issues...p. 14 Carnegie Museum After Dark: Strangest Things...p. 22 The legend of Krampus...p. 25 Third Thursday: Art Wars at Carnegie Museum of Art...p. 27

BOOKS & LITERATURE Uniontown Author Series...p. 9 Brownsville Library...p. 29 Bentleyville Library...p. 28 California Library...p. 28 Chartiers-Houston Library..p. 28 Citizens Library Events...p. 28 Donora Library Events...p. 29 Frank Sarris Library...p. 30 Fredericktown Library...p. 28 Monessen Library...p. 29 Charleroi Library...p. 29 Peters Township Library...p. 29 Rostraver Library...p. 29

STAGE & SCREEN On stage at Geyer PAC...p. 6 Home for the Holidays...p. 11 On stage at State Theatre...p. 17 The Happy Elf to take stage at Cal U...p. 15 Lyrical Christmas Carol...p. 16 Adam Trent on stage...p. 19 On stage at Little Lake...p. 21 The Grinch takes stage...p. 22 On stage at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg....p. 26 Cal U Theatre season...p. 30

Christmas service in local barn features Living Nativity...p. 4 Bag Brigade Ministry...p. 7 Free Produce to People ...p. 8 California Holly Day...p. 15 The Yoga Garden and Bee You Cafe open in Uniontown...p. 16 Head of Estate offers great bargains in Bentleyville...p. 17 Country Thrift Market celebrates first year in business...p. 23 Donora Historical Society News...p. 8 Greater Monessen Historical Society News...p. 22 This Month in History...p. 24



FAITH & SPIRITUALITY Advent Open House....p. 5 Brownsville Ministerium events...p. 5 Journey to Bethlehem living nativity...p. 14

HEALTH & LIFESTYLE Open Enrollment for Affordable Care Act...p. 23 The stages of grief...p. 19 Mental Health Spotlight with Fred Terling...p. 21 Holiday Lights Run...p. 25 Exploring the Paranormal...p. 26 On the Road w/ Bob Willis...p. 31

SPECIAL EVENTS Cal U Student Holiday Musical Performances...p. 8 Center in the Woods December events & daily offerings...p. 8 & 9 Cal U Theatre season...p. 30

The Bag Brigade Ministry aims to help combat child hunger in Belle Vernon. Details about this excellent cause are on page 7 of this edition. Submit your photos for consideration for Editor’s Choice “Pic” of the Issue to carla@pabridges.com. Original photography only accepted for consideration.

PENNSYLVANIA BRIDGES - Arts, Entertainment, Education & Lifestyle - pabridges.com


WORKS BY XAVIER F. AGUILAR Two varied expressions of the time & place in which the author lives. Like his previous work, “Where Grandma Lived,” “First Snow” is a collection of Mr. Aguilar’s prose & poetry.

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To order either collection (or both), send $12 for “First Snow” and $10 for “Where Grandma Lived” plus 6% PA sales tax to: Xavier F. Aguilar, 1329 Gilmore Avenue, Donora, PA 15033



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A Craft & Vendor Show will be held at Center on the Hill, 100 Summit Road, Belle Vernon, on Saturday, March 3, 2018, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Featuring a Chinese Auction & Baked Good Sale. Lunch will be available for purchase. ADMISSION IS FREE! Vendor tables are $20 and can be reserved by calling Pat at 724-929-6366.The deadline for reserving tables is January 2, 2018.

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Christmas Eve Service in Historic Old Barn to Feature Live Nativity Story by Dave Zuchowski When Pastor John Smith was driving around the area near his church one day, he came across a big old barn located at 38 Emory Road near Richeyville that gave him an interesting idea. He envisioned the huge barn as the perfect setting for a live Christmas nativity. To help realize his vision, Pastor Smith, now retired from Grace United Methodist Church in Coal Center, asked owners, Chuck and Bunny Waleski, if his congregation could have the use the barn on Christmas Eve. After mulling over the idea, the Waleskis said yes. “I was very surprised, then pleased when the asked and thought it was a great idea,” Bunny said.. A few decades ago the barn had served as the venue for the straw hat, summer Rankin Playhouse, so why not open its doors once more for the public to enjoy a beautiful, magical experience on Christmas Eve? Many area residents are already familiar with the barn when the Waleskis stage their annual Bluegrass festival in mid-May during the National Road Festival. Over the past 11 years they've also congregated in the barn at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve for a moving event organized by Grace United Methodist Church that begins with a brass ensemble of 7 to 12 students from California High School playing Christmas carols and led by Jeff Miller. As 200 to 300 people fill the barn, Pastor Kenneth Custer opens the service with a welcoming message, and narrator Ross Golden, dressed as the Biblical

innkeeper tells the story of the first Christmas. To further the mood of the moment, actors portraying the Holy Family, including the baby Jesus, are surrounded by others that represent shepherd boys, angels and the three Wise Men. “In the past, we even had live animals like donkeys, camels, goats and sheep until we stopped because it got too expensive to continue renting them,” said Joyce Hill, service coordinator and parishioner from Finleyville. The service is free and open to the public because in the words of Hill, “the church wants to give something back to the community.” Parking is also free as well as plentiful in the field directly across from the barn, and the entire event lasts about a half hour. Every year since the service began, organizers have videotaped the event that features the singing of carols led by church choir conductor, Todd Reagan.. Many in the audience make the service, which begins at 5 p.m., a stop over before Christmas Eve service at their own places of worship. Grace United Methodist Church, located on a hill just off Route 481 at 420 California Drive in Coal Center, holds

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subsequent Christmas Eve services at 7 and 9 p.m.. At 10:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 17, the church choir will also perform a Christmas Cantata as part of the service. “Each year when we phone Bunny and Chuck [Waleski] to ask if we can use their barn for our Christmas Eve service they say they are thrilled by the idea,” Hill said. Judging by the turnout each year, so is its audience. Photo by Will Klorczyk.

Cal U's GACO Sponsoring DoD Contractors Seminar on Cybersecurity California University of Pennsylvania's Government Agency Coordination Office (GACO), PTAC is sponsoring a seminar on “Cybersecurity Requirements for DoD Contractors” from 9 a.m. to Noon on Dec. 6, 2017 at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Bigelow Square, Pittsburgh, Pa. At this free seminar, companies will learn about the cybersecurity controls required for government contractors on DoD procurements containing DFAR

252.204-7012. This DFARS clause cites NIST Special Publication 800-171 containing minimum cybersecurity standards to become compliant. It describes fourteen areas of security requirements for protecting the confidentiality of Covered Unclassified Information (CUI). What does this mean for companies that hold prime contracts or subcontracts with DoD? Each of these NIST areas contain specific security requirements that DoD contractors must

implement by Dec. 31, 2017. Scott Zimmerman, Principal Cybersecurity Engineer, and John Bartholomew, Executive Director, Corporate Governance & Compliance, of Concurrent Technologies Corporation will present on this very important topic. The seminar is free but pre-registration is suggested by Dec. 4. FMI or to register, contact Tracy Julian at 724938-5881 or julian@calu.edu.

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Brownsville Ministerium December 2017 events On Sunday, Dec. 3, the Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir will be sharing their Christmas Cantata “Night of the Father’s Love” at the Christian Assembly of God Church (100 Meadow St., Bentleyville) at 7 p.m. South Brownsville United Methodist Church (412 2nd St., Brownsville) will be having a free "Brunch With Santa" for all community children on Sat., Dec. 9, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lower hall. The event will include activities and a movie with free hot dogs and snacks. On Sunday, Dec. 10, the Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir will be sharing their Christmas Cantata “Night of the Father’s Love” at Christ Anglican Church (319 Church St., Brownsville) at 7 p.m. Help is needed for the Food Bank at Calvin U.P. Church (307 Spring St., Brownsville) on Fri., Dec. 15, at 8:30 a.m. to unload and help is needed again to distribute the food on Sat., Dec. 16, at 9:15 a.m. The food distribution begins


at 10 a.m. On Sun., Dec. 17 there will be a “Blue Christmas Service” held at Fort Burd United Presbyterian Church (200 Thornton Road-Route 166, Brownsville) at 2:30 p.m. A Blue Christmas service is aimed at those who are having difficulties in life, who have lost a loved one, etc. Pastors, if you would like to participate in this service, Pastor Katy Yates Brungraber is the contact person and can be reached at 24-785-3080. The St. Vincent de Paul sponsored Food Bank will be held on Wed., Dec. 20, at the First United Methodist Church (215 Church St., Brownsville). Pick up food from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. New clients can come at this time to register.

THERE IS HOPE Addiction Recovery Ministry offers a Christ centered 12 Step Program for people struggling with addiction and for those in recovery. Meetings will be held every Monday 6:30-8:30 at Malden Christian Fellowship at 343 Old National Pike in Brownsville. Fliers are available for distribution. FMI: 724-434-4597 or 734-785-3042

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Bag Brigade Ministry aims to help feed hungry children in Belle Vernon Story by Keren Lee Dreyer During the approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas season, giving from the heart, and one's resources, is a common annual theme. Emphasis is typically placed on those in need, with children rightly receiving special attention. But when the holidays end and memories of giving fade with the onset of post-holiday hangover and a mailbox full of credit card bills, help for needy children tends to fade as well. It is here that the “Bag Brigade,” founded by Kathy Kelly and Ashlee Eisengart, fills the gap through the year for kids in need within the Belle Vernon School District. Snacks, fruit, cereal, and single serving type food are included, all tucked within drawstring style backpacks the students take home for the weekend. Bag Brigade's genesis began while Kelly was doing copy work at Marion Elementary, when teacher and friend, Bernadette Sokol, approached her with a Christmas drive for needy children. It was then that Kelly saw there were needy children in the district, and wondered if they couldn't be helped before and beyond the holidays. Sokol, who has since passed on, according to Kelly had “started programs for kids at Christmas, and (created) 'Stuff the Truck,' where kids donated toys and stuffed a truck (with them). Firemen took the toys to kids in need so they could have a nice Christmas.” Kelly's sister, Mary Beth Sweeny, a teacher at Southmoreland School District, provided another part of the idea for helping children by providing information about the district's own program for their students in need. “Bernadette showed me the need, and my sister showed me the pro-

gram,” Kelly said, though the final solution for a way to help kids would come through her church, and new church friend, Ashlee Eisengart. Kelly, a member of Gospel Alliance Church on Fells Church Road in Belle Vernon, said the church tag is “To know Christ and to make Him known, so we're always doing outreach to bring Christ to the community. And I met Ashlee, who had a backpack idea with supplies, but I said 'Ash, what do you think about putting food in those backpacks year round?' She said yes, and we approached our pastor, Brad Sickler, and he was on board...and there was the ministry born.” While Pastor Sickler opened the church door for the new Bag Brigade ministry, there was still potential for a less than receptive audience in other quarters. However, Kelly notes “We say all the time this is a God thing. We never got a closed door wherever we approached (within the school district).” After pitching the Bag Brigade idea to Marion Elementary Principal, Michelle Dowell, Superintendent Dr. John Wilkinson was informed and came on board. With help from Marion guidance counselor, Angie Margaronis, the number of children in need--though not named personally--was determined to be 20. All were helped starting in October of 2015. For the drawstring backpacks, Kelly approached Bee Graphix, “A Creative Apparel Co.” which

promptly donated 50 backpacks, complete with logo, upon hearing about the district's needs. As time passed and news of the Bag Brigade spread, Walmart and other local businesses also began donating food items, while “the Lions Club gave us a donation of over $1,000 to start the program. We were blown away,” Kelly said. For a time, the Bag Brigade supplied food to children at Marion Elementary, yet, because one little girl kept forgetting to bring her bag back to school, it was made clear that more district kids were in need than first imagined. Kelly relates that the forgetful girl “was told to keep her bag on the counter to remember to bring in Monday. She said 'I can't do that because my brothers and sisters will eat my food.' I knew right then that this needed to be school wide.” When one district guidance counselor asked if there was a limit to the number of bags that could be donated, Kelly responded “You can't limit God.” Now, with 150 Belle Vernon School District children benefitting from the Bag Brigade program, Kelly says it is The Gospel Alliance Church parishioners' weekly donations keeping the program in full swing. “It's a monumental path” Kelly said “but the Lord has blessed us in so many ways.” The Bag Brigade supplies kids with single serving food items, snacks, fruit, and any items kids can fix themselves using only water or milk, and perhaps a microwave, Kelly said, adding “We want people to know there are kids in need, and want people to know there's always a need.” Year-round donations of these items is gladly accepted at the Gospel Alliance Church on Fells Church Road in Belle Vernon.

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December News from the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum

Free Produce to People Food Distribution - Fayette County Thursday, December 14 at 10 a.m. 12 p.m. - Fayette County Fair Fairgrounds, 132 Pechin Rd, Connellsville - The program provides supplemental food items to families each month.Typically families receive about 60 pounds of food each month. Residents of Fayette County who receive the food are asked to bring a large box, wheeled cart or laundry basket to put their food in. In an effort to speed up the process at the distribution center, we have implemented what is known as a Passcard. In order to receive the Passcard you will need to bring with you a copy of a utility bill with your name and address on the bill.You will also need a photo ID. Registration for the distribution begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 11:30. All food is distributed based on a first come first serve basis.To ensure you receive food please arrive no later than 10 a.m.You are able to attend if you live in another county other than Fayette. FMI: freshfirechurch.net

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Donora was founded in 1901 and our sports teams were originally known as the Orange and Black. Around 1920, we adopted the Dragon as our official mascot. As we close in on a century of honoring the Dragon, we decided to modernize the Dragon design and portray it on our freshly minted T-shirts thanks to two artists with Donora roots: Jesse Francis and Jared Altamare. The black T-shirts with orange and white ink are for sale at the Smog Museum for $20 on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and at the Donora Library Monday through Thursday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and until 5:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. You can also order using the email address or phone number below. T-shirts sent by mail will require additional S&H. We may consider long sleeves or sweatshirts in the future depending on demand. In the summer of 2017, we worked with Blink Publishing from London, England with the use of our “Clean Air Started Here” image for their book “The Crown - The Inside History.” In the book we have a two page spread that shows our Smog Museum image, as well as a brief story on the 1948 Smog and a mention of the Smog Museum. “The Crown” has brought newfound attention to the 1948 Smog, as fans of

the Netflix show, who never heard of Donora before, are researching our town's history and sending inquiries to the Historical Society. You can read about the 1948 Smog on our website: Our second annual Eldora Park Walking Tour, scheduled for Saturday, March 24th and/or March 31st at noon in 2018, already has a long waiting list, but we are continuing to accept RSVPs. We have enough RSVPs right now to fill up one of the Saturdays. The Eldora Walking tour will start at the Smog Museum in Donora with a photo and newspaper article presentation on Eldora Park where you can also see our newly acquired century-old Eldora Park 48”x10” panoramic photo. We will then drive the three miles to conduct the walking tour portion in the Eldora section of Carroll Township on the historic Wickerham farm. The cost is $10 per person and you should allow two hours for the presentation and walking tour. If you have any questions about the tour itself or would like to be added to a signup list, please contact the historical society. All phone messages and emails will be returned and you will be notified on the status of the tour date. Our spring Cement City Home and Walking Tour and your chance to see Thomas Edison's solution for worker

housing created 101 years ago in 1917 is scheduled for Sunday, April 22 at 1 p.m. If Sunday sells out, Saturday, April 21st will be the overflow date. The cost of the tour is $13/person and space is limited. It is encouraged to call or email to get your name added to a pre-RSVP signup list to be contacted when the tour date gets closer. If you have any questions about Cement City or one of our Home and Walking Tours, please consult our website and click the “Cement City” tab, or contact the historical society. If you have additional questions about the subjects mentioned above, the historical society, museum, presentations or possibly volunteering, feel free to stop by on Saturdays or by special appointment (with at least a week's notice), email us at DonoraHistoricalSociety@gmail.com, call us at 724-823-0364 and leave a message, visit us on the web at www.DonoraHistoricalSociety.org, or follow us and Like Us on Facebook at “Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum.”

California University of PA Musicians Perform On and Off Campus California University of Pennsylvania's talented student musicians are tuning up for holiday performances. The Young and Gifted Gospel Choir, directed by Dr. Randy Tillmutt, will perform its fall concert at 5 p.m. Dec. 2, in Old Main Chapel. The performance will include African folk songs and a selection of holiday favorites. This event is free and open to the community. At 8 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 p.m. Dec. 3, the Cal U Choir will join the Washington Symphony Orchestra at Trinity High School in Washington, Pa., to sing several selections at Ho Ho Ho with the WSO. Choir director Dr. Yugo Ikach, co-chair of Cal U's Department of Music and Theatre, is the WSO's music director and principal conductor. The choir will perform Craig Courtney's “A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of

Christmas,” John Rutters' “Angels' Carol,” Leroy Anderson's “A Christmas Festival,” and “Hallelujah” from Handel's Messiah. In addition, Cal U Commercial Music Technology majors Kate Snyder, Meghan McPherson and Nick Linder will be soloists with the orchestra for Trans-Siberian Orchestra's “Dreams of

Fireflies.” The California Singers vocal ensemble will be part of the “Christmaspalooza” celebration at the Washington Crown Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 9. For details about performances by Cal U musicians, contact the Department of Music and Theatre at 724-938-4878 or email ikach@calu.edu, stetar@calu.edu or tillmutt@calu.edu. Tickets for the Washington Symphony Orchestra are available online at www.washsym.org or by calling 1-88871-TICKETS. Advance tickets for “Ho, Ho, Ho with the WSO” are available at Citizens Library and Peters Township Public Library; tickets also are available at the door. Cal U students with a valid CalCard are admitted free of charge to WSO concerts.

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Center in the Woods December ‘17 Activities The Center in the Woods is a non-profit, senior facility with the goal of hosting fun activities and community events for adults ages 60+. Lunch is served at 12 noon; please call one day in advance to order. Daily activities include: Mondays: Pianlessons, Watercolor, Choir & Cards; Tuesdays: Lab services, Billiards lessons, Chair dancing, Healthy Steps, Bingo, Dart ball & Cards; Wednesdays: Bible study, Bean bag toss, Oil painting, Basket guild & Beauty shop; Thursdays: Lab services, Chair dancing, Healthy Steps, Jam Session & Bingo; Fridays: Beauty shop, Wii Bowling & Euchre Visit the beauty shop on Wednesdays, & Fridays by appointment. Bethany offers massage therapy by appointment. Call 724-678-3308. Jam sessions every Thursday at 1 p.m. feature local talented musicians. Piano lessons are offered on Mondays. Call Judy at 724-785-6959 tschedule. Birthday celebration the last Tuesday of the month at 12 noon. Bridge on Monday and Thursday, 500 Bid on Wednesday and Euchre on Friday. Games start at 1:15 p.m. Mon Valley Hospital Lab Services

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-10 p.m. Koffee Klatch presented by Edward Jones on the first Friday of the month at 10 a.m. The Adult Day Center is in need of volunteers. If you are interested in giving some of your time to assist our participants with activities or just being a friend, please contact Mary Beth at 724-938-3554, Ext. 123. Volunteers are needed to serve as drivers or runners for the daily Home Delivered Meals program throughout the California, Daisytown, Brownsville and West Brownsville areas. Volunteers report tthe Center in the Woods by 10:30 am. on assigned days and distribute meals to registered participants. Reimbursement for gas mileage is available. Volunteers are also needed in the kitchen. We also need volunteers to help with various fundraising activities and administration work. FMI, please contact Maria at 724-938-3554, Ext. 103. The Center’s hall is available for rental. Call for details. FMI on programs and other activities, call 724-938-3554 Ext. 103. CITW is located at 130 Woodland Court, Brownsville. FMI: centerinthewoods.org

Uniontown Library Author Series: 12/9 at 4 p.m. Throughout 2017, the Uniontown Public Library will showcase the talent of novelists, short story writers, and poets. Each month, a writer will visit the Library to share their experiences as published authors. They will offer a short talk on a subject related to their genre, do a reading from their work, and participate in a question and answer session with the audience. A meet-and-greet and book signing will follow. These events are free and open to the public. Each event will be ticketed, with the free tickets becoming available at the Library's main desk before each author's visit. Seats are limited, so we encourage you to get your tickets early. Refreshments will be offered by sponsoring businesses or by the Library. At each event, attendees will have a chance to win a copy of the author's featured

book in a free raffle! December’s speaker is Matt Betts. Ohio native Matt Betts is a pop culture junkie, sometimes to levels that are considered unhealthy by the Surgeon General. He grew up on a steady diet of giant monsters, comic books, and horror novels, all of which creep into his own work. Matt’s speculative poetry and short fiction have appeared in a number of anthologies and journals. Matt’s first novel, the steampunk/zombie/alternate history adventure Odd Men Out was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Award for excellence in independent publishing. He is also the author of the urban fantasy novel, Indelible Ink, and the poetry collection Underwater Fistfight. For the Author Series, Matt will give us the inside scoop on the steampunk genre and its growing presence in science fiction and fantasy. FMI: uniontownlib.org

STAY SAFE & TOASTY WARM THIS HOLIDAY SEASON It’s especially easy to get pulled away from the stove around the holidays, when family and friends gather to celebrate. So if you’re cooking this year, check out these tips recommended by the Home Safety Council and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to prevent fires and burns. COOK UP SAFELY Always stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Use a timer to remind you that you have food simmering, baking, roasting or boiling. Keep things that burn ? dishtowels, paper or plastic bags, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, paper towels and curtains ? at least 3 feet away from the stovetop. Keep your cooking area clean. Do not let grease build up on the range top, toaster oven or in the oven. Check your outlets. Kitchen electrical outlets should have ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs).This can prevent dangerous shock and some electrical fires by interrupting the flow of the electric current, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. If you don’t have them, contact an electrician to install them in your home. CHECK YOUR COVERAGE As a basic precaution, purchase a home, tenant or condominium insurance policy.These usually come in two coverage varieties. Named perils policies specifically list the perils for which they provide coverage. A peril is a specific risk or cause of loss covered by the policy, such as a fire, windstorm or theft. Open perils policies provide coverage for all perils except those specifically listed as being excluded. There are also two main settlement varieties. Replacement cost settlements pay today's cost to rebuild or replace a structure with materials of like kind

and quality. Actual cash value settlements will deduct for depreciation due to age and condition of the property. For more information about coverage and protecting your home from a devastating fire, contact an Erie Insurance Agent. TIPS FOR SAFE AND COST EFFECTIVE HOME HEATING Checking your furnace can lower operating costs, protect your family against fire hazards and carbon monoxide poisoning and prevent your furnace from quitting at an inopportune time, such as in the middle of a dark and snowy night. WE’RE HERE TO HELP Just as you would schedule a professional furnace inspection each year, you should also meet with your local ERIE Agent for an annual insurance review.Your Agent will help ensure that your home is insured properly and your family is well protected. Contact your ERIE Agent today. This information provided courtesy of Mariscotti Insurance Agency, 324 Third Street, California. Need coverage? Have a question? Call us at 724-938-9302. Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us at Mariscotti Insurance!

MARISCOTTI INSURANCE AGENCY 324 Third Street, California (724) 938-9302 A commitment of spirit, pride & service in our community. mariscottiinsurance.com

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MVR Chamber Director announces retirement Deb Keefer announced her plans for retirement at a Board Retreat of the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors held at the Charleroi Alumni Center today. The retirement as full time Executive Director will be effective April 6, 2018. Keefer has worked at the Chamber since April 1, 1997, first as an administrator for the Greater Charleroi Chamber of Commerce and then was promoted to Executive Director later that year. Under her watch, the Board made a historic move in 2001 to regionalize the organization, and the name was changed to the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. The membership in 1997 was 123 members, Keefer recalls, and it now stands at 340. In addition to Chamber member activities, the MVRCC also embarked on several economic development projects that Keefer coordinated, most notably the acquisition and development of the former Montgomery Ward space after the retailer closed in 2001. The Chamber also purchased dilapidated properties in downtown Charleroi and partnered with Threshold Housing to create a $1.3 million senior housing project which earned a Townie Award from the Pennsylvania Downtown Center in 2002. “I have worked my entire adult life,” she said, “and this job by far was the most fun, diverse and rewarding. It has been quite the journey and I navigated it with some remarkable people.” The Board of Directors has formed a

reorganization team to meet staffing and transitional needs at the MVRCC for the next five months. Keefer will most likely be involved after the April 6 date in a consulting role to mentor new staff and for the management of Chamber properties, including Chamber Plaza and the Trustees Community Park. “We expect a seamless transition and our membership will not experience any interruption in service,” said Jim Protin, Chamber President. “They will receive the same great benefits and programming they are accustomed to,” he added. Jerry Zahand, Sr. of Highway Appliance interviewed and recommending the hiring of Keefer back in 1997. “We didn't know each other at all,” she said. “And he continues to be a good friend and mentor to me. He gave me a chance to grow personally and professionally when I really needed it, and the rest is history.” The Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce serves the business community of the Mid Mon Valley Region of Southwestern Pennsylvania. It is a fully staffed, full-time Chamber of Commerce with its office located in Charleroi, Pa. Its mission is to provide quality networking and educational opportunities to its membership and to advocate economic development activities that will enhance the quality of life and business climate of the Mid Mon Valley.

Dual exhibition at 707 and 709 Penn Galleries The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces On Looking and White Noise, a dual exhibition by Kristen Letts Kovak in 707 and 709 Penn Galleries. The exhibits will remain on view through January 28, 2018. Patrons can traverse the exhibits with Kovak, as she discusses her inspirations and processes, during an artist talk on January 25 at 7 p.m., and a closing reception will coincide with the Winter Gallery Crawl in the 10

Cultural District on January 26. Kristen Letts Kovak is an artist, professor, and curator based in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information, visit .klkovak.com. 707 and 709 Penn Galleries feature exhibits by local and regional artists working in multiple disciplines. Gallery hours are Wed., Thurs. from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri., Sat. from 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sun. from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. FMI about all gallery exhibitions, visit TrustArts.org.

AUDITIONS FOR CABARET Please visit the following web page to schedule an audition time: geyerpac.com/cabaret See our Facebook event page for more information.

December 3 at 2, 4, and 6 p.m. December 4 at 7 and 8 p.m.




The saga of George Bailey, the Everyman from the small town of Bedford Falls, whose dreams of escape and adventure have been quashed by family obligation and civic duty, whose guardian angel has to descent on Christmas Eve to save him from despair and to remind him-by showing him what the world would have been like had he never been born

December 14-16 at 7:30 p.m. December 17 at 2:30 p.m.

A GEYER CHOIR CHRISTMAS Join us for a holiday concert featuring numbers such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” “Christmas Time Is Here” “Winter Wonderland” “Don't Worry be Happy” “God Bless Us Everyone” “A Christmas Cannon, and a few surprises!! General Admission only $10.00, Directed by Mandy Onder and Rebekah Laughlin.

December 21 at 7:30 p.m.

GEYER PERFORMING ARTS CENTER Pittsburgh St., Scottdale geyerpac.com or 724-887-0887

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Home for the Holidays takes stage at the Benedum Center Pittsburgh Winery and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust are pleased to announce Home for the Holidays, a rock, blues, and soul entertainment showcase featuring local musicians performing their renditions of holiday classics and their favorites on Wednesday, December 20, at 7:30 p.m., at the Benedum Center, 237 7th Street, Pittsburgh. Home for the Holidays is a celebration of the incredible talent and diversity of the Pittsburgh music scene for all ages to enjoy. The showcase began at the Pittsburgh Winery where it immediately became a must see, sell out show, featuring some of the best musicians Pittsburgh has to offer. As the holidays are a time when friends and local musicians return 'home for the holidays,' this concert continues that tradition of bringing everyone together to celebrate the season. This event also provides everyone with an uplifting musical experience, as well as helps the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank with donation items that attendees can bring for a good cause. Tim Gaber, founder of Pittsburgh Winery, shares, “This production is an amazing musical and emotional journey that gives the audience all the feels. Home for the Holidays, showcases the incredible level of talent our city has given birth to, featuring vocalists, songwriters and musicians doing unique renditions of holiday classics along with their own original hit songs. We are thrilled to bring this uplifting celebration of the season to its new 'home', the Benedum Center, Pittsburgh's premier theater venue.” Trio+ and The Steeltown Horns will

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accompany the Home for the Holidays performers, featuring (listed in alphabetical order) Margot Bingham (from Boardwalk Empire Band), Scott Blasey (from The Clarks), Clinton Clegg (from The Commonheart), Bill Deasy (from The Gathering Field), Kelsey Friday (from Brownie Mary), Kevin Garrett, Joy Ike, Jimbo Jackson (from Jimbo and the Soupbones), Phil MacDowell (from Buzz Poets) with Florraine Darlin, Billy Price, and Lyndsey Smith (from Soul Distribution). Home for the Holidays will also feature special guest radio emcees throughout the evening's festive program. This year's Home for the Ho lidays presentation at the Benedum Center continues the tradition of giving back to the community and helping others in need. Donations to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will be accepted during the event. Event attendees may bring suggested, most needed items, including diapers, laundry


detergent, paper products as well as non-perishable food items (no glass containers), such as pasta sauce, peanut butter, dried or canned beans, pouched or canned tuna, rice and instant mashed potatoes. Tickets ($29-$49) are available at the following official Pittsburgh Cultural Trust ticket sources: online at TrustArts.org, by calling Guest Services at 412-456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. For groups of 10+ call 412-471-6930, online at TrustArts.org/GroupSales or in person at Theater Square Box Office. In addition, an exclusive Preshow Wine Tasting Reception Ticket is available ($54-$74) and includes one ticket to Home for the Holidays, a pre-show guided wine tasting from Pittsburgh Winery, a glass of your favorite wine selection, and a one year introductory Partners membership to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. FMI: TrustArts.org/Partners





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Popular a cappella group Straight No Chaser celebrates the third volume of the beloved “SIX PACK” series with a major U.S. tour. “The Speakeasy Tour” launched October 27 at Turing Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, and will continue through the end of the year, culminating with a visit to Hawaii, set for January 2 at Honolulu’s Blaisdell Hall. In Pittsburgh, Straight No Chaser will appear at the Benedum Center on Tuesday, December 12, and Wednesday, December 13, both at 8:00 p.m. “SIX PACK: VOLUME 3” sees the world famous a cappella group cracking open a number of contemporary pop hits and rock classics, highlighted by “Sweet Dreams/HandClap” – their one-of-akind mash-up of Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” and Fitz and the Tantrums’ “HandClap” – as well as their show-stopping “Beyoncé Medley.” “SIX PACK: VOLUME 3” follows 2016’s “I’LL HAVE ANOTHER…CHRISTMAS ALBUM,” the a cappella group’s sixth full-length release and first full-length holiday release in seven years. Widely beloved for their trademark takes on Yuletide favorites, Straight No Chaser made their now classic debut with 2008’s “HOLIDAY SPIRITS,” followed in the next year by “CHRISTMAS CHEERS.” Both albums reached the top of the holiday charts at Amazon and the iTunes Store and are now certified gold by the RIAA. Like the preceding “SIX PACK” and “SIX PACK: VOLUME 2,” the new EP

continues Straight No Chaser’s long history of bringing their unique touch and inimitable vocal style to a stunning range of contemporary standards. Their most recent non-holiday release, 2015’s “THE NEW OLD FASHIONED,” saw the renowned group putting their matchless touch upon songs spanning The Weeknd and Radiohead to Bob Dylan and Atlantic label mate Charlie Puth. Ticket prices range from $48.75 to $73.75, and are available at these official ticket sources: online at www.TrustArts.org, by calling the box office at (412) 456-6666, or in person at the Box Office at Theater Square (655 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh). These performances are a part of the Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series. The Cohen & Grigsby Trust Presents series will feature an exceptional season of dazzling area premiers, returning favorites and one of a kind performances – for all ages. From music to dance, comedy, theater and more, the series will bring an array of national and international award-winning performers to the unique stages of the Benedum Center, Byham Theater and August Wilson Center located in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Cohen & Grigsby has been the presenting sponsor of the series since the 2008-2009 season. For more information about the current Cohen &Grigsby Trust Presents series, visit: www.TrustArts.org.

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Seminars for legal pros on work & family issues Work and family law are the topics of upcoming seminars presented by the Institute for Law and Public Policy at California University of Pennsylvania. The programs for attorneys and other legal professionals are held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14 at the Cal U Educational Resources Center at Southpointe. Each is approved for Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (PACLE) credits. Registration is open now for these seminars: Hiring to Firing and Everything in Between: Tackling Legal Issues that Arise in All Aspects of the Employment Relationship - 9 a.m.noon Dec. 13. Attorneys Nikki Velisaris Lykos and Colleen Ramage Johnston explore legal issues that arise during the hiring, managing and firing of employees. Focusing on recent case law, the program addresses legal ramifications of hiring decisions, handling complaints and requests for accommodation by existing employees, and recent trends and developments in employment litigation. PACLE approved: 3 substantive credits. Cost is $75. Bankruptcy Nuts and Bolts and Related Issues - 1-4 p.m. Dec. 13. Four attorneys - John W. Teitz, Eric D. Rosenberg, Justin M. Tuskan and John R. O'Keefe - present a primer on chapters 7, 11 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, along with a discussion of other creditors' rights issues, including foreclosures, receiverships and consumer protection actions. PACLE approved: 3 substantive credits. Cost is $75. Making Effective Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution Tools - 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 14. Presented by attorney Rebecca Bowman, this intermediate-level seminar provides practitioners with techniques and insights to assist 14

clients in choosing the optimal path for alternative dispute resolution. Discussion includes dispute risk vs. benefit analysis. PACLE approved: 2 substantive credits, 1 ethics credit. Cost is $79. Family Law: Custody and Relocation - Change in the Law and Hot Topics - 1-4 p.m. Dec. 14. Attorney Elizabeth A. Beroes addresses changes in Pennsylvania law regarding custody and relocation factors. She also offers helpful hints for strategy and filing of Motions for Special Relief and Custody Petitions for Relocation. Beroes will compare procedures when filing for custody and relocation in Allegheny, Butler, Beaver, Westmoreland and Washington counties. PACLE approved: 2 substantive credits, 1 ethics credit. Cost is $79. Legal professionals may register now for these continuing education programs. For seminar details, costs and online registration, visit calu.edu/ilpp

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Concerts at Old St. Luke’s a gift for music lovers

Now in its fourth season, Chamber Music at Old St. Luke's once again gifts Pittsburgh music lovers with the opportunity to enjoy intimate chamber music concerts in beautiful Old St. Luke's Church in Carnegie PA. This charming, historic building is an ideal setting for the close communion between performers and audience that makes chamber music such a special, rewarding experience. The 2017-2018 season of “Chamber Music at Old St. Luke's” features some of Pittsburgh's foremost

musicians performing a wide variety of music, from classical treasures to traditional Appalachian carols in a series of eight lively programs. Performances will be held on Sundays at 2 PM with one noted exception: December 17 - Early Mays Appalachian Folk Songs and Carols *7 p.m. evening performance February 18 - Academy Chamber Ensemble and Slippery Rock University Chamber Singers - “Austria and Croatia” - 2 p.m. March 25 - Gypsy Stringz - virtuoso violinist George Batyi and his band play Hungarian gypsy music and more - 2 p.m. April 22 - Academy Baroque Ensemble - “Tutto Italiano” - 2 p.m. May 20 - harpist Marissa Avon - 2 p.m. All concerts are free to the public. Donations are accepted and appreciated.

Journey to Bethlehem Join us for our Living Nativity December 9-10 from 6-8 p.m. Experience this inspiring live recreation of the Biblical account of the first Christmas, now in our 28th year. Visitors are invited to drive through and witness 12 different scenes telling the story of our Savior’s birth, featuring actors & live animals. This annual event is free and open to the public.

If you have prayer concerns, or would like more information on events, worship times, or youth & young adult groups, please call the church!

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You can now support the ministries of the United Christian Church with online giving on our web site at uccdoc.org.

Mon Valley artist creates winning design for Danny Trejo t-shirt challenge Story by Keren Lee Dreyer Phil Miceli, 26, of Belle Vernon, PA is a self taught artist who says “I always just drew from when I was a little kid. I work in anything from acrylic to ink, woodburning and digital.” While Miceli's body of work increases through his studious efforts, it is his recent t-shirt design contest win that stands to be a jewel of recognition in his portfolio. Active on social media, Miceli first learned that Hollywood actor and real life tough guy, Danny Trejo (starring in Machete, 2010, and Machete Kills, 2013) was calling out on Instagram for t-shirt designs to promote his new restaurant ventures, along with his personal interests. The contest, which ended in July of this year, comprised the following categories: Trejo Portraits; Holidays; Movie/TV Crossovers; Anime/Cartoon; Lowriders/Cars; and Motivational. Under his artist alter-ego, Petey, Miceli set to work, creating an initial sketch for the contest in pencil before moving it over to ink. Once finished, he scanned the image into his computer to experiment with various color schemes until he “found one I liked best.” Miceli's favorite rendering, “Skull Tacos,” became Trejo's favorite for the Movie/TV Crossovers category.

Combining inspiration from Trejo's new restaurant ventures with his starring role in “Machete,” Miceli explains his design: “He just opened a taco shop, and in the drawing, I have him laying back with his machete, with a big pile of skulls and tacos.” It has been said that “winning isn't everything,” but winners beg to differ. Sometime after his April, 2017, “Skull Tacos” entry, Miceli “Got a notification on Instagram that Danny is following me. Then, I got a text asking what size t-shirt I wear. I asked if I won and was told I did.” Winning is good news, and Petey's winning design, chosen by Trejo, is represented in a short video by Trejo himself at dannytrejo.net/product/tacoskulls-tee. Once all winners are declared, each

will receive t-shirts with the winning design from every category, autographed posters, a personal video by Trejo on dannytrejo.net and his social media, and Trejo will follow all winners on Twitter and Instagram. While winning is good, Miceli isn't sitting back enjoying the limelight; he already has another entry in the Pabst Blue Ribbon's PBR Art Contest, which offers $30,000 in cash prizes, including a $10,000 top prize. In addition to his extensive work in acrylic and other media, Miceli is busy expanding his artful talents to a more technical side, animation. As he explains “I built a computer a few years ago for the sole purpose of doing animation. I've been working with OpenToonz (Open Source software for producing 2D animation) and teaching myself, and would like to make it a career.” With a body of work available for viewing or purchase across several sites on line, along with his Trejo t-shirt contest win, Miceli is on a good path for a career in art. Find Miceli's art work at: dannytrejo.net/product/taco-skulls-tee fineartamerica.com/profiles/phil-miceli and on Instagram @peteyisking

The Happy Elf to be performed at Cal U in Steele Hall Mainstage Theater Community members ages 5 to 50 will join Cal U students onstage and behind the scenes when the Department of Music and Theatre performs The Happy Elf, a musical comedy based on a song by Grammy award-winner Harry Connick Jr. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 8, 9 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9-10 in Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre, on the California University of Pennsylvania campus in California, Pa. All performances are open to the public. Children from area school districts will attend a special show at 10 a.m. Dec. 8. “Our audiences really enjoyed this holiday performance last year, so we are excited to be producing this show once

again,” says Dr. Michele Pagen, who directs the production. “We always enjoy working alongside members of the community, who become part of our theater family. There have been many changes this year - and

we are having a great time!” The family-friendly musical tells the story of Eubie the Elf, one of Santa's helpers, whose rose-colored view of the holiday season is put to the test when he sets out to bring Christmas joy to a dreary town called Bluesville. 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 by phone, call the Steele Hall Box Office at 724-938-5943. Photo: Norbert: Mark Barrett/Senior, Theatre/Washington, PA, Santa: Nicholas Franczak & Mrs. Claus: Alexis Hawk/Senior, Theatre/South Park

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CALIFORNIA HOLLY DAY Sunday, Dec. 3 at 4 - 6 p.m. NATALI STUDENT CENTER, CAL U Celebrate the arrival of the holiday season with horse and carriage rides, crafts, entertainment, refreshments, a holiday movie, and photos with Santa! The cast of The Happy Elf kicks off the event with a performance at 4. Santa arrives at 4:30 p.m.Treat bags for first 140 children, Build-a-Buddy for first 100 children. Bookstore discount. Holly Day House Decorating Contest Winner announced at 6 p.m. Sponsored by the California Borough Recreation Authority and California University of PA.Toys for Tots donations will be accepted. Free parking behind Natali Student Center on the Cal U campus.

PET PHOTOS WITH SANTA AT THE MON VALLEY YMCA Sunday, Dec. 3 from 12-1:30 p.m. Cost: $5 per pet *Receive 2, 4x6 photos and a treat *Must pre-register in the Business Office. Call 724-483-8077 HOLIDAY LUNCHEON AT THE RIVER HOUSE CAFE, 506 McKean Avenue, Charleroi. Thursday, Dec. 7 from 1-3 p.m. Lunch includes ham or turkey wrap, soup, cake, coffee, tea and soft drinks. Raffles and Door Prizes. Cost: Adult - $16. Child - $10 Register in the Business Office of the Y or call at 724-483-8077. MON VALLEY YMCA, 101 TAYLOR RUN RD RTE 88, MONONGAHELA 15

The Yoga Garden and Bee You Cafe now open in downtown Uniontown Story by Keren Lee Dreyer

This Christmas, shop for beautiful, handcrafted items right in your backyard! The annual pre-holiday Cal U Student Pottery Sale will be held from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 11 and from 10 a.m. -4 p.m. Dec. 12-13 in the Ceramics Studio, near Vulcan Hall on the Cal U campus.The sale is open to the public, and complimentary refreshments will be served. An array of handcrafted holiday gifts will be available, including mugs, bowls, pitchers, jars and vases of all sizes. Members of the Student Pottery Association create all the handmade items. FMI about the sale or Cal U art programs, contact the Department of Art and Languages at 724-938-4182 or Professor Richard “Duke” Miecznikowski at 724-938-4083 or miecznikowski@calu.edu.

A Lyrical Christmas Carol is set to take the stage at the New Hazlett Theater, 6 Allegheny Square East, Pittsburgh, from Dec. 14-17. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge sits in his house with not a kind word for anyone; he just wants to be left alone until the 'humbug' of Christmas is over. But four ghostly visitors-his former business partner, followed by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Comeshow him the error of his ways, and by the time Christmas Day dawns, Scrooge is a changed person.Tickets are as low as $20. Call 412-539-0900 for tickets and show times.


Upon entering almost any yoga studio, one typically finds shelves for shoes, essential oils for healing, various books of awareness and self-help, and incense for a sweet essence. Enter The Yoga Garden at 39 West Main Street in Uniontown, however, and discover the essence of coffee from the Bee-You Cafe in the studio's lobby, complete with healthful menu items sure to enhance any yoga practice. Yogini, co-founder of The Yoga Garden, and owner of Bee-You Cafe, Courtney Rae Singer, said the shop fulfills “a dream I had to open a coffee shop since I was 30. Since we're so close (to the yoga studio), it was as good a time as ever.” According to Singer, Uniontown “needed a coffee shop,” but it was when “three people in the same day said 'you need to open a coffee shop'” she knew it was time to act on her dream. “They were random people, and it happened on the same day. It was kind of serendipitous,” Singer said. Working with Caitlin Livingston, founder of The Yoga Garden, the pair decided the coffee shop and yoga studio should have a feeling of togetherness. Singer explains that Bees were chosen as the theme “because of their hive nature and love of community. They help each other out - it's an uplifting community.” Where Bee-You Cafe differs from most coffee shops its focus not only on flavorful, high quality drinks, but the positive impact those can have on one's body. “We put a lot of thought about what our drinks do for the body,” Singer said, adding that inflammation causes a lot of problems within the body. To help combat inflammation, Singer created the TYG Golden Milk Latte. Golden milk, which has no dairy, is based on turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties, coconut's antioxidant and nutritional benefits, sweetened with a bit of honey. And...it's delicious. Bee-You Cafe's coffee and espresso drinks start life with Bulletproof Coffee beans, while a host of other wholesome drinks graces the menu, including chai

tea, green tea, and healthful array of juices and tonics. As with most new business ventures, quality products and word-of-mouth by satisfied customers drives success, and for the fledgling Bee-You Cafe, wordof-mouth is bringing more customers to the coffee hive. “I have a couple of regulars already” Singer recounted, continuing, “Whenever I've given people my product, I've had almost everyone return. I was concerned about whether the product is good, but they come back.” Making it through the coffee shop, difficult though it may be, leads to The Yoga Garden, a bright and welcoming creation of owner/yogini, Caitlin Livingston. The connected sensation between Bee-You Café and The Yoga Garden is both a reflection of the friendship between Livingston and Singer and a purposeful desire by Livingston to create a space that has “a very homelike atmosphere. A place that is cozy, welcoming, and safe. A space where you can be yourself, free of judgment, and without fear. A space where you can simply, be you.” Through e-mail correspondence, Livingston said her original idea was to create a space to be used as a donation facility and meeting space for peer groups to foster “a sense of community and support for those in need.” However, once her 200 hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) training at Asheville Yoga Center was complete, Livingston realized that those concepts

could be integrated into a yoga studio, which would also provide a “more foundational way of sustaining the business.” Having a strong bottom line is good, but the heart of The Yoga Garden's business is not merely about dollars. Instead, Livingston said their mission is to provide the community with somewhere “to come and learn, grow, get inspired, cultivate generosity, and expand. We intend to do these things though our yoga teachings, wellness services, workshops and work within the community.” With plenty of floor space available, a comprehensive selection of yoga classes from Hot Buti to sessions which include moms and children (and plenty more), there is a welcoming class taught by trained instructors suitable for most anyone. In addition, The Yoga Garden offers wellness services, including massage using Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports, Lomi Lomi, Medical/Therapeutic, Prenatal, and Chakra. Rounding out the Garden's comprehensive offerings are Reiki, Doula Care, Breastfeeding Support, Lamaze Classes, and more. “I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to serve our community in these ways, and I look forward to seeing how we can touch the lives of all of our future clients,” Livingston said, adding that those with “something to offer that can further propel our symbiotic goal to help others, please let us know! We would love to give you a platform to do that very thing!” Find complete information, including hours and upcoming promotions for Bee-You Cafe and The Yoga Garden, visit them at: https://www.theyogagarden.rocks/ and friend them on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/theyogagarden.rocks/ and https://www.facebook.com/beeyoucafe/

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Mother daughter duo turn lifelong hobby into brick & mortar thrift store through stuff ready to donate and take

Story by Keren Lee Dreyer Converting a hobby into a business ventures is a risky endeavor, fraught with red tape, long hours, and unplanned expenses. Because of this, many opt for a steady paycheck over the day-to-day stress of running, say, a brick and mortar shop. But for avid yard and estate sale enthusiasts Ambur Ames and her mother, Cindy Ames, there came time to make a leap from paycheck to entrepreneur. With a backlog of items to sell for numerous people, and a January of 2016 layoff, Ambur Ames turned her proclivity for collecting and sales into Head of Estate, LLC, a thrift and consignment shop located at 401 Washington Street, Bentleyville. The Ames duo's history of gleaning prime items from yard and estate sales has been a life-long adventure, as Ambur Ames explains “My mother and I have gone to yard sales our entire lives. We've been having sales at the family farm about two times per year, and a few years ago started selling on line for ourselves and others. The house was full of other people's stuff. I got laid off last January (of 2016). My mother and I had been discussing opening a store for a couple of years. We gave it a go and it literally exploded.” And explode it did. “We were in one location until March of 2017” Ames said, “and we tripled our space when we moved. It definitely brought in a lot more business as well. We tripled our income in the first four weeks. We're getting really well known and have a customer base that comes in weekly.” With business booming, and Cindy Ames handling accounting duties, the pair hired employees to handle the volume. One associate, Jena Pust, hosts a


the better things and put them into boxes until they are full.” For those clearing out an estate, Head of Estate offers in-home estate sale services for two days at 35% of sales. However, Ames said most people bring their estate items in, and those needing large items picked up and delivered may contact the store for more details. free craft night once a month, with the store remaining open during those hours. A craft night before Christmas is planned, with more information available on Head of Estate, LLC's facebook page, below. In addition to estate and yard sale items, Head of Estate takes consignments three days per week, with a 60/40 split. Most items are welcome, but leave the firearms and old, box style televisions at home. Customers searching for a bargain full of surprises may choose to purchase a “mystery box,” which Ames says she does “once in a while, probably once a month. I fill a box and sell it for five dollars. It's some of our old stock. I go

Owning a business suits Ames, who finds the everyday challenges something worthwhile, and as she says “It's a lot of fun. After doing it for a year and a half, I don't know if I could go back to work.” And with a successful business where “work” is no longer a four letter word, Ames, happily, won't make a return to the job market anytime soon. Visit Head of Estate, LLC on facebook to find out more about the store and upcoming events at: facebook.com/headofestate, or call 724239-2103 for pick-up and delivery information.

CHRISTMAS COOKIE SALE Join us for our annual cookie sale


For More Information: facebook.com/events/2075353692701902

FIND YOUR INNER “WOO HOO”! ZUMBA WITH LYNNE “Woo Hoo” your way to a New You with certified Zumba & fitness instructor Lynne Hayes Langley. Classes meet at the California Young Men’s Club on Mondays & Wednesdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays,Tuesdays & Fridays at 6 p.m. CALIFORNIA YOUNG MEN’S CLUB, 1140 EDWARDS STREET, CALIFORNIA PENNSYLVANIA BRIDGES - Arts, Entertainment, Education & Lifestyle - pabridges.com

The Nutcracker Ballet Dec. 15 & 16 at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. Reserved Tickets $15 This year, the State Theatre is bringing back The Nutcracker Ballet featuring local dancers of all ages performing this classic story to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score, choreographed by Donna Marovic. If you consider The Nutcracker a part of your annual holiday tradition – Don’t miss this show produced by The State Theatre Center for the Arts in cooperation with California University’s Department of Theatre and Dance. Subscribers’ seats will be held for the Saturday Performance. A School time showing will be available as part of the Education Series.

Classic Film Series Dec. 8 at 2 & 7 p.m. Jan. 12 at 2 & 7 p.m. December’s film is White Christmas January’s film is Airplane! Adults $5, Students, senior citizens & children $3

724-439-1360 STATETHEATRE.INFO 27 East Main St., Uniontown 17

College students considering a transfer to California University of Pennsylvania get one-stop assistance when they visit the Cal U campus on their upcoming Destination Day — Thurs, Jan. 4, 2018. All services are free, and the university will waive the $25 application fee for students who apply on Destination Days. Students considering a transfer are invited to visit Dixon Hall, Room 312, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Evening hours are available by appointment only; phone appointments also are available. Students may visit calu.edu/destination to register online for a particular day and time — or just walk in to receive these services: Free transcript evaluation, Application fee waiver, Information and support & Orientation scheduling. FMI: calu.edu

Seven Springs Holiday 2017 Activity Schedule The magical Holiday Village is open Fridays from 5-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 4-9 p.m. - Holiday Light display from 5-10 p.m., Friday through Sunday. - Admission to Holidays in the Highlands is free! FRI, DEC. 15 - Holiday Lights display from 5-10 p.m. Holiday Village in Exhibit Hall opens at 5 p.m. Musician plays holiday favorites in the Center Lobby from 5-8 p.m. Seven Springs Express Train in the Holiday Village from 5-9 p.m. Rides are $5 per person. Carolers singing in the Holiday Village from 5-9 p.m. Face painting, family photos with Santa, crafts and ornament decorating in the Holiday Village from 5-9 p.m. Downhill thrills at the Snow Tubing Park and bonfire from 6-10 p.m., weather permitting Mrs. Claus will be in the Hotel Lobby at 7:30 p.m. with cookies and stories before bed. SAT, DEC. 16 - Breakfast with Frosty

B A B Y, I T ’ S C O L D O U T S I D E ! Is your heating system ready for winter? Frigid temps are here! Time to press your heating system into service. Here are some maintenance tips from your friends at Petrucci’s: 1. Check air filters monthly and replace if needed. 2. Clean air return grilles with a house hold vacuum cleaner. 3. Change batteries in your digital thermostat

annually. (People forget that most digital thermostats have batteries in them, getting into a good habit of changing the batteries can help you eliminate a no heat situation). 4. Seal air leaks around the house (doors, windows, pipes, attic hatches) with caulking and weather stripping material to keep temperatures in

the home controlled. 5. Make sure all registers and grilles are not covered up. 6. Pour bleach into your condensate pump and then let it pump out, next pour ½ cup in and let pump out on its own. 7. If you have any concerns or it seems that something is not working correctly don’t hesitate to give us a call!

at 8 a.m. The Indoor Pool Snowball Swim from 11a.m.-1 p.m. Wagon Ride with Frosty from 12 - 4 p.m. Rides depart from the Center Lobby and are $5 per person. Children ages 5 & under are free with adult. Reservations can be made by calling ext. 7629 Holiday Village in Exhibit Hall opens at 4 p.m. Seven Springs Express Train in the Holiday Village from 4-9 p.m. Rides are $5 per person. Carolers singing in the Holiday Village from 4-9 p.m. Face painting, family photos with Santa, crafts and ornament decorating in the Holiday Village from 4-9 p.m. Special Holiday Farmers' Buffet in the Slopeside from 4-9 p.m. Musician plays holiday favorites in the Center Lobby from 5-8 p.m. Holiday Lights display from 5-10 p.m. Downhill thrills at the Snow Tubing Park and bonfire from 6-10 p.m., weath-


er permitting Blues Christmas featuring Billy Price on the Grand Ballroom Stage beginning at 8 p.m. - This is a ticketed event. SUN, DEC. 17 - Breakfast with Santa from 8-11 a.m. in the Slopeside Decorate a cookie in Gingerbread Dreams from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Carolers singing in the Center Lobby from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday Brunch with Frosty and Seven from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Wagon Rides from 12 - 4 p.m. Rides depart from the Center Lobby and are $5 per person. Children ages 5 & under are free with adult. Reservations can be made by calling ext. 7629 Downhill thrills at the Snow Tubing Park, weather permitting Holiday Lights display from 5-10 p.m. FMI: 7springs.com/events/holidaysin-the-highlands-10/


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Illusionist Adam Trent to bring signature brand of magic to Pittsburgh The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is pleased to announce Broadway and television star Adam Trent is bringing his signature brand of magic and illusion to Pittsburgh, in a 90-minute stage spectacle, on Saturday, December 2, at 7:30 p.m., at the Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street, Pittsburgh. Produced by the creative team behind The Illusionists, the world's best-selling touring magic show, The Illusionists Present Adam Trent, is an immersive entertainment extravaganza of magic, comedy, and music designed to entertain the entire family. The press have raved, “A big creative talent,” -The Chicago Tribune, “Amazing,” -CBS News KKTV, and “A form of entertainment you've never seen!” -Broadway World. Showcasing his “futuristic” brand of magic, Trent has mesmerized live audiences around the globe, in person and as a featured guest on America's Got Talent, The Today Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the Travel Channel and Disney Channel, as well as many more television appearances. The 31-year-old also stars in his own, recently launched, 10episode television series, The Road Trick, on Red Bull TV. Trent inaugurated the first two years of

The Illusionists' record breaking Broadway runs, which served as a launching pad for his own live show and tour. “I am so excited to hit the road and bring an entirely new show to audiences around the world,” says Trent, who has always thought that magic should be entertaining first and tricky second. He doesn't want people to remember “tricks” as much as the laughs and memories made with the performance. “This will be a show like you've never

seen.” Tickets ($55.75-$75.75) are on sale at the following official Pittsburgh Cultural Trust ticket sources: online at TrustArts.org, by calling Guest Services at 412-456-6666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. For groups of 10+ call 412-471-6930, online at TrustArts.org/GroupSales or in person at Theater Square Box Office.

Phipps Winter Flower Show and Light Garden tickets now on sale Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens’ Winter Flower Show and Light Garden: Holiday Magic! tickets are on sale to the public. New Timed Ticketing reservations allow guests to conveniently book their visit entry time at phipps.conservatory.org in advance to experience this spectacular holiday attraction. Phipps’ Winter Flower Show and Light Garden: Holiday Magic! is magical, bigger and better than ever! The most magical time of the year arrives with more dazzling indoor and outdoor lights, expanded stunning flower displays, plus delightful interactive trains in Garden Railroad: Treasure Island – displayed together for the first time in this year’s all-new holiday show. The magic will be brought to life in signature Phipps fashion with artful lights, detailed props, decorated fir

trees, amaryllis, orchids and over 2,000 poinsettias. Don’t miss the chance to see captivating holiday displays featuring heartwarming vignettes including an abundant winter feast, Santa's workshop, sparkling New Year's Eve celebration and more. With the show’s widespread appeal, guests are urged to book tickets in advance for all days of the show running through Sun., Jan. 7, with Timed Tickets required during peak times. Once guests enter Phipps to experience Holiday Magic!, they may stay as long as Phipps is open - until 11 p.m.

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carla@pabridges.com We want to hear from you!

every night. Reserving Timed Tickets is easy! Visit phipps.conservatory.org and follow these three easy steps: Select an available date and entry time for your Phipps visit and place your order. Look for an email confirmation with your tickets. Print the confirmation email or show it on a mobile phone at Phipps’ entrance — and get ready to enjoy the holiday show! Tickets to Winter Flower Show and Light Garden are included in Phipps memberships. Members should also reserve tickets to confirm their visit time at phipps.conservatory.org. Plan your visit today at phipps.conservatory.org. Timed Tickets can also be reserved in advance at Phipps, located at One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh.

PENNSYLVANIA BRIDGES - Arts, Entertainment, Education & Lifestyle - pabridges.com

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



‘ B U R G H”



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


Get your copy today! Learn more at dellaandlila.com or facebook.com/dellaandlila

Congratulations to Della & Lila on being voted



‘BURGH 2017”


Mental Health Spotlight: Helpful Holiday Hints It's December. We all made it through another year. Yay, us! Congratulations. One more hurdle remains until we can welcome in a year of new opportunities, hopes and dreams. This hurdle can be a really big one for most of us: the holiday season. We are barraged with Black Friday, Cyber Monday, close-outs, clearances and more commercials than should be permitted everywhere we turn. Then there are the attitudes, the hustle and bustle, the rushing, the pressure and expectations. Is this the right gift, how early should I get to the mall, what if that certain relative shows up that I completely disagree with on everything? Ugh, I get exhausted typing this! I checked out of this years ago as I thought that this holiday brings out the worst in people and is in exact opposition of what it is supposed to be about. However, I know not everyone can do this or wants to. There is always striking a balance. In doing a little research on how to approach the holiday season, I found a couple of really cool things that people do. One, I'd like to share as this month's Spotlight. The idea is to keep a holiday notebook. We can keep these for our therapy, family or support groups. Sort of like a mood tracker, the idea here is to

do something we are told never to do in therapy, look back. Start with jotting down your favorite memories of the holiday. Go all the way back to your youth. You know the memories, the ones that make you smile automatically. Now write a few memories of the past few holidays, good or bad, the ones that you feel. We don't have to solve any problems, just getting us back in the moment where we need to be. Now is where we begin. Answer the following questions: How can you plan your holiday so it won't be so overwhelming? How will you deal with expectations? Are there specific relationships you won't be able to avoid and

how will you prepare for those? Finally, what is the TRUE meaning of the holidays for you, specifically? Once you have this initial list created, add to it. As always, track your mood and monitor you medications. Don't get lost in the haze of a few weeks. Also, as I create mine, I thought while writing what an excellent foundation this will be for starting the New Year when setting goals. Speaking of goals, set yourself one for the beginning of the year. Plan something special for yourself, enjoyable for making through another year on your path to the road to recovery. See you all on the other side of 2017, Mental Health Spotlight readers. I look forward to bringing more insight, advocacy and support as I too, travel down that same road to recovery. Be good to each other and especially, yourselves. NEED HELP? IN THE U.S., CALL 1800-273-8255 FOR THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE. *Mental Health Spotlight is an opinion based column. Any resources mentioned are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialized training and professional judgment of a health care or mental health care professional.

Strangest Things at Carnegie Museum of National History: After Dark Five times a year, Carnegie Museum of Natural History keeps its doors open late for a 21+ party with bars, live music, and curated programming designed to give guests a whole new museum experience. Each event features a pop-culture inspired theme, unique activities, and shows. Forget your weekend routine, or shake up date night. Come see who you’ll meet and what you’ll discover at the museum…After Dark. Discover what is science and what is fiction at a special paranormal and sci-fi-themed 21+ after hours event on Friday, Dec. 15 from 6-10 p.m. Inspired by popular series like Stranger Things and The X-Files, this After Dark will explore the oddities of the natural history museum and mysterious specimens from our collections. Use walkie talkies

on a scavenger hunt throughout the museum. Come dressed up to enter a Stranger Things costume competition, or play some Dungeons and Dragons. Mega Cat Studios will be on-site with some original 1980s-style video games that you can play on vintage game consoles. Dissect Demogorgon-like creatures, and enter a different dimension with an “upside down” experience in the Carnegie Music Hall Foyer. Snap a picture with some “government employees” in hazmat suits, and catch a classic 1980s movie on the big screen in the Earth Theater. Enjoy a waffle bar, drinks, dancing, hands-on activities, and more at a supernatural night of mystery. Please note that no weapons (fake or otherwise), masks, or backpacks are

allowed. (Face paint is permitted.) Beer, wine, and light bites are available for purchase. Registration for each event includes museum admission. A selection of beverages and light bites are available for purchase (cash only). Parking is available for a flat rate of $7 in the museum's lot. All After Dark guests must be at least 21 years old. Proper identification is required, and all guests must show ID at the door. $15 in advance; $20 at the door; $13.50 for members Evening parking is available in the museum's lot for a flat rate of $7. Buy tickets at afterdark.carnegiemnh.org. (Refunds are not available for After Dark events.)

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YES,VIRGINIA,THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS! on December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 & 17 at 2 p.m. Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon has always loved Christmas.When a classmate asks “Is there a Santa Claus?” Virginia ventures into the city to find out for herself. A scraggly Santa, a kindly librarian, and even Virginia’s quirky father can’t give her a satisfactory answer. So,Virginia writes to Francis Church, the editor of The New York Sun.The answer she receives is one that will become the most famous newspaper editorial of all time. A TUNA CHRISTMAS on December 2, 7-9 & 14-16 A hysterical holiday barrel of laughs—A Tuna Christmas chronicles the Yuletide celebrations of the good folks of Tuna,Texas. For many of our patrons, it hardly seems like Christmas has arrived until Bertha and Arles,Vera Carp, Didi and R.R. Snavely, Aunt Pearl, Petey Fisk, Helen Bedd and Inita Goodwin turn on the holiday cheer. A Little Lake audience favorite- come see what all the hootin’, hollerin’ and laugh-out-loud fun is all about! Order your ticket early–this smash hit comedy is always a sell-out! FMI: littlelake.org 21

News from Greater Monessen Historical Society

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” takes stage

The Greater Monessen Historical Society Museum Shoppe has many items, which would be perfect as holiday gifts, from ethnic cookbooks to local history items. A newly added item is “Celebrate Christmas - Italian Style” by local author, Lawrence G. Kozlowski. It features recipes, traditions, customs and folklore and is available for a $12.00 donation. The Museum also has his books covering aspects of Polish and Slovak Christmas. The Society is looking for photos of old Monessen Christmas scenes. Photos can be dropped off at the Heritage Museum to be scanned or emailed to monessen@verizon.net . The Society is also still seeking photos of the Washington and Linden Elementary Schools. The Greater Monessen Historical Society membership renewal and fund campaign for the 2018 year is underway. Individual memberships are $15 per year. A family membership is $20, with a business membership being $50. Membership is based on the calendar year and includes four issues of the newsletter, “Valley Historian”. Donations fund the operation of the Monessen Heritage Museum and allow the Society to adhere to its mission of preserving the ethnic and industrial history of Monessen and the Mon Valley region. Future plans include renovating the Milsom/Endicott Johnson Building into a museum annex for additional exhibit and event space. The Historical Society will participate in Monessen's “Celebrate Christmas” event at Monessen Public Library & Cultural Center on Saturday, December 2, 2017, from 11 AM to 2 PM. GMHS will sponsor free photos with Santa Claus, which will be mailed to the

Dr. Seuss’How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical will be performed on stage at Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, from Wednesday, December 20 through Sunday, December 24, 2017. This touring production is a season special, part of the 2017-2018 PNC Broadway in Pittsburgh series, presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Broadway Across America. Hailed by The New York Times as “100 times better than any bedtime story,” this classic holiday musical will enchant adults and children alike. The Grinch broke box office records for two consecutive years on Broadway during its holiday engagements at the St. James and Hilton theaters in New York. More than 1.8 million theater-goers across America have been delighted by this heart-warming holiday musical, which the Gannett papers hailed as “A genius of a show! A total delight for both kids and adults.” Audiences will discover the magic of Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday tale as it comes to life live on stage. Featuring the hit songs “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Welcome Christmas,” The Grinch discovers there’s more to Christmas than he bargained for in this heart-warming holiday classic. Max the Dog narrates as the mean and scheming GRINCH, whose heart is “two sizes too small,” decides to steal Christmas away

recipient. The annual Holiday Open House event will be on Saturday, December 9, 2017, from 11 AM to 2 PM, at the Heritage Museum. The Autumn Exhibit at the Monessen Heritage Museum is called “Treasures from the Archives”. It showcases individual panels such as “Presidential visits”, the life of Colonel Schoonmaker, river transportation, firefighting history, early baseball, local art, radios, and the burning of the second Monessen High School. The display will be open through the end of the year during regular business hours. The spring exhibit in 2018 will focus on local bridges and river transportation. The Monessen Heritage Museum will be closed from December 24, 2017 through January 9, 2018. During the winter months, the museum will be open on its normal schedule, weather permitting. Please call to check before making a trip. The Greater Monessen Historical Society has a Twitter account. Follow us at @MonessenHistory. We are also on Facebook and have over 3000 followers worldwide! We can be located on Facebook under “Greater Monessen Historical Society”. See our latest events, news and photos of previous events. Google us and find our webpage filled with all the necessary information to visit, donate, join or learn about us! The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 AM until 3 PM. The address is 505 Donner Avenue, Monessen, PA, 15062. The phone number is 724-684-8460. Admission is always free.

Attention Vietnam Era Veterans (and families) Plans for an Honor Roll for Vietnam Era Veterans are moving along quickly in California, PA. The committee is collecting information about anyone in the California Area School District who served in the Armed Forces any time during the following dates: November 1, 1955-April 30, 1975. Vets (or their families) should send the following information to California, PA Vietnam War Honor Roll, P.O. Box 605, California, PA 15419: First, middle, and last name of the Veteran, Branch of


Service, Division, Years Served, Service Location, Current Address, Email Address, and Telephone Number. You may also email this information to VietnamWarHonorRoll@gmail.com.

from the holiday-loving Whos. Dr. Seuss’How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical features magnificent sets designed by John Lee Beatty and costumes designed by Robert Morgan, inspired by Dr. Seuss’ original book. Mel Marvin and Timothy Mason’s music and book breathe new life into this timeless story. The 2017 production is directed by Matt August and choreographed by Bob Richard, based on the original choreography by John DeLuca and originally created by three-time Tony Award®winning director, Jack O’Brien. In Pittsburgh, tickets currently start at $30* and are available online at www.TrustArts.org, by calling the Heinz Hall box office at 412-392-4900, or in person at the Heinz Hall Box Office (600 Penn Avenue). Performances for Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical, on stage at Heinz Hall, take place on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m., Friday evening at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m

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Country Thrift Market offers one stop shopping for all your gift needs Story by Lauren Rearick The holiday season is generally thought as a time of giving, whether sharing meals with family or gathering for gift swaps, it's the one season where it's better to give than to receive. One local business is taking this ideal to heart, with an operation that gives all its profits back to the community. For more than a year, Country Thrift Market, 909 National Pike West, Brownsville has operated alongside the Greater Washington County Food Bank. The store uses all the proceeds from its donated merchandise to help offset the expenses incurred in running the food bank. More than 25,000 residents in Washington County rely on the food bank, which provides groceries along with nutritional information and education to food insecure residents. More than 30 percent of the food bank recipients are children under the age of 18 and nearly 20 percent are seniors, making Country Thrift Market an integral operation. “Everything in the store has been donated in some form or another, either by a private individual or a company,” Rachel Wilson, manager said. “All of the proceeds we raise from the sale of

items go back to help offset the cost of running the food bank, like putting fuel in the trucks so we can deliver the groceries to people.” The market celebrated their one year anniversary in October and Wilson wants residents of the community and beyond to know that the market is there and open to the public. She notes that anyone is welcome to come and shop in the store. Although they accept donations of clothing and other goods for the store, there is a limitation on what items they can take. The market is unable to accept mattresses, televisions, computers or any electronics that might be broken. They also don't accept musty books or encyclopedias as well as car seats and

cribs. “We're pretty open with what donations we accept, but we tell everyone to consider that if they wouldn't give their donation to a friend, then please don't donate it here,” Wilson said. Throughout the various seasons and holidays during the year, the market will tailor their offerings and specials to meet the needs of consumers. Previous sales have featured Thanksgiving items, highly discounted makeup and special sales during Veterans Day. “We have a wide variety of items here,” Wilson said. “In the past, snacks foods have been donated, along with new health and beauty items. We also have glassware, brand new cleaning supplies and brand name items.” Wilson advises potential shoppers that all donated items are checked thoroughly before they are sold and new merchandise is constantly arriving. “Shopping here gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling because you're buying items that you love and the money is going to those in need,” she said. “The community support is greatly appreciated.” For more information on Country Thrift Market visit http://www.gwcfb.org/ or follow the market on Facebook.

December exhibits and programs at The Warhol Museum Farhad Moshiri: Go West - Through January 14 - Go West is the first solo museum exhibition of Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri. Encompassing several bodies of work created over decades, this mid-career survey focuses on Moshiri's varied Pop subject matter, deft use of language, and wide-ranging materials and methods. Moshiri's interest in Pop art and kitsch resonates throughout his work. Sensory-Friendly Event for Adults (21+): Farhad Moshiri - Wednesday, December 6 - 6-7:30 p.m. - Join The Warhol in our continued efforts to make our programming inclusive to all as we host a sensory-friendly gallery tour and hands-on workshop designed for adults with autism spectrum disorders and sensory sensitivities. Registration is limited to 15 participants. Virtual Senior Academy: The Iranian

Pop Art of Farhad Moshiri - Friday, December 8, 2017 & January 5 - 1-2 p.m. - The Andy Warhol Museum is offering online courses through the Virtual Senior Academy, a learning center for senior citizens in the Pittsburgh area. Courses will focus on Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri and our current exhibition, Farhad Moshiri: Go West. The course explores Moshiri's dazzling mixed media Pop canvases, conceptual connections between Moshiri and Warhol, and includes information about Warhol's 1976 visit to Iran. Visit virtualsenioracademy.org, sign up, browse for the courses taught by The Warhol and register. Free to all VSA participants (registration is free) Sensory-Friendly Event for Teens and Young Adults: Farhad Moshiri Saturday, December 9 - 9-10:30 a.m Join The Warhol in our continued efforts

to make our programming inclusive to all as we host a sensory-friendly gallery tour and hands-on workshop designed for teens and young adults (ages 13-21) with autism spectrum disorders and sensory sensitivities. Registration is limited to 15 participants. Art in Context: Border Crossings Friday, January 5 - 7 p.m. - The Warhol theater - Artists, scholars, and community members come together to consider creative expression in relation to timely political and social concerns. Explore shifting perspectives on historic and contemporary immigrant and refugee experiences in Pittsburgh and beyond. Free; Registration suggested. FMI: warhol.org or call 412-237-8300

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The open enrollment period for the ACA has been shortened considerably for the coming year. In previous years, the enrollment period lasted three months.This year, however, it has been shortened to only SIX WEEKS. For coverage beginning January 1, 2018, open enrollment begins November 1, 2017 and ends on December 15, 2017. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services has cut navigator grant funding by as much as 75 to 92 percent, forcing programs to scale back or close. Navigator organizations help consumers enroll in exchange plans through the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, there are no funds for advertising and getting the word out about the shortened enrollment period. The reduction in assistance from navigator organizations mean public awareness efforts have become limited to volunteer actions and word of mouth. Please pass this information on to every person that you know that may be impacted by these changes in existing enrollment. Copy it and paste it in local places you may visit, make flyers and/or email blast friends and relatives. This could mean the difference in someone having coverage or going without healthcare. For free, local assistance in choosing coverage options call a Healthcare Navigator at 1-855-2745626.


Remember When: This Month in History with Fred “Tomato” Terling: Important Dates in December

December 1, 1941 - The American Civil Air Patrol (CAP), a U.S. Air Force auxiliary, was founded as Director of Civilian Defense, former New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, signed the formal order. The CAP currently provides aerospace education, a CAP cadet program, and emergency services such as locating missing aircraft. December 1, 1955 - The birth of the modern American civil rights movement occurred as Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back section of a municipal bus. Her arrest resulted in a year-long boycott of the city bus system by African Americans and led to legal actions ending racial segregation on municipal buses throughout the South. December 2, 1982 - The first permanent artificial heart was implanted in 61year-old Barney C. Clark by Dr. William De Vries at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Clark, who was near death at the time of the operation, survived 112 days after the implantation. December 4, 1791 - The Observer, now the oldest Sunday newspaper in the world, was first published in Britain. December 6, 1877 - At his laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, Thomas Edison spoke the children's verse “Mary had a Little Lamb...” while demonstrating his newly invented phonograph which utilized a revolving cylinder wrapped in tinfoil to record sounds. December 6, 1898 - Photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995) was born in Dirschau, Prussia. Best known for his Life magazine cover photos, including the sailor kissing a nurse in Time's Square, celebrating the end of


World War II. December 8, 1987 - President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Russia's General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the INF Treaty eliminating all intermediaterange and shorter-range nuclear missiles December 10, 1881 - American librarian Melvil Dewey (1851-1931) was born in Adams Center, New York. He invented the Dewey decimal book classification system, advocated spelling reform, and urged use of the metric system December 11, 1901 - The first transatlantic radio signal was transmitted by Guglielmo Marconi from Cornwall, England, to St. John's, Newfoundland. December 12, 1870 - Joseph Hayne Rainey of Georgetown, South Carolina, became the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. He filled a seat which had been declared vacant by the House and served until 1879. December 14, 1918 - British women voted for the first time in a general election and were allowed to run for office. December 15, 1791 - The Bill of Rights (first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution) became effective following ratification by Virginia. December 15, 1832 - French engineer Alexandre Eiffel (1832-1923) was born in Dijon, France. He designed the Eiffel Tower for the Paris International Exposition of 1889. He also helped design the Statue of Liberty. December 16, 1777 - Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was born in Bonn, Germany. He created powerful, emotional music and is widely consider the greatest orchestral composer who

ever lived. He suffered from hearing loss before he was 30 and by the time of his last (Ninth) symphony, he was completely deaf. December 17, 1903 - After three years of experimentation, Orville and Wilbur Wright ach ieved the first powered, controlled airplane flights. They made four flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the longest lasting about a minute. December 19, 1732 - Benjamin Franklin first published Poor Richard's Almanac containing weather predictions, humor, proverbs and epigrams, eventually selling nearly 10,000 copies per year. December 20, 1606 - The Virginia Company expedition to America began as three small ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, departed London under the command of Captain Christopher Newport. In May of 1607, the royally chartered company established the first permanent English settlement in America at Jamestown (Virginia). December 21, 1846 - Anesthesia was used for the first time in Britain during an operation at University College Hospital in London performed by Robert Liston who amputated the leg of a servant. December 23, 1947 - The transistor was invented at Bell Laboratories by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley, who shared the Nobel Prize for their invention which sparked a worldwide revolution in electronics. December 24, 1745 - American patriot Benjamin Rush (1745-1813) was born on a plantation in Byberry, Pennsylvania. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a doctor and humanitarian, whose writings on

mental illness earned him the title “Father of Psychiatry.” He also countered the prevailing notion that alcohol was generally good for people and was one of the first to describe alcoholism as a chronic disease. December 25, 1642 - Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was born in Woolsthorpe, Lincolnshire, England. He was a mathematician, scientist and author, best known for his work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica on the theory of gravitation. He died in London and was the first scientist to be honored with burial in Westminster Abbey. December 26th - Boxing Day in the United Kingdom and many other countries, a day of gift giving when boxes of food, clothing and other gifts are traditionally given to employees, tradespeople and other service providers. December 27, 1831 - Charles Darwin set out from Plymouth, England, aboard the ship HMS Beagle on his five-year global scientific expedition. Darwin collected fossils and studied plants and animals, gradually beginning to doubt that many diverse species of living things had sprung into existence at one moment (creationism). In 1859, he published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. December 30, 1803 - The Stars and Stripes flag was raised over New Orleans as the United States took formal possession of the territory of Louisiana, an area of 885,000 square miles, nearly doubling the size of the U.S. The territory had been purchased from France for approximately $15 million. December 30, 1865 - Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was born in Bombay, India. He was a British poet, novelist, short story writer, best known for his children's stories such as the Jungle Book. December 31, 1879 - Thomas Edison provided the first public demonstration of his electric incandescent lamp at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.

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The legend of Krampus adds terrifying spectre to holiday season Austria, Germany, Slovenia and the

Story by Fred Terling We all know about Santa Claus, his reindeer and his workshop in the North Pole. Here in the United States, he is part of our Christmas and Holiday celebrations that peak on December 25th each year. The American Santa Claus, as well as the British Father Christmas, derive in part from Saint Nicholas and in part from the Dutch Sinterklaas, the saint's name in that language. However the gift giving associated with these figures is associated with Christmas Day, rather than Saint Nicholas Day itself. As for Saint Nicholas Day, we have to look to Western Christian Countries in which the season is observed each year on December 6th. In Europe, especially in Germany and Poland, boys dress as bishops begging “alms for the poor.� In Ukraine, children wait for St. Nicholas to come and to put a present under their pillows. In the Netherlands, Dutch children put out a clog filled with hay and a carrot for Saint Nicholas' horse. Also on Saint Nicholas' Day, gifts are tagged with personal humorous rhymes written by the sender. These are all for the kids who made the good list. For those who make the bad list, Krampus awaits! Krampus is the sidekick of St. Nicholas. His origin is unknown, but believed by folklorist to pre-date

Czech Republic. Most recently, Krampus has even made his way to the United States with two movies and organized bar crawls named after the mythological character. In 2015, Orlando, Florida hosted its first Krumpnuslauf (Krampus) Festival. Typical Krampus festivals throughout communities kick off the holiday season with townspeople dressing in Krampus costumes, running rampant through the streets and putting a scare in the youngsters. After the children have been given Christian origin. Unlike his counterpart, Krampus is a horned half demon - half man who dispenses punishment to all the naughty children. He may taunt them or chase them with sticks, spank them or even take them back to his lair for dinner. His name originates with the German krampen, meaning claw and tradition has it that he is the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel. The Krampus figure and his popularity for some reason has taken off world-wide over the past few years. Originally celebrated in Alpine towns, he has become popular in

a scared enough to ensure they stay on the straight and narrow, the rowdy Krampus impersonators are rewarded with holiday spirits, traditionally beer and schnapps. In fact, Krampus celebrations have become so popular that they can last for days before the arrival of Saint Nicholas on December 6th. So kiddies, if you're not on the nice list, you may want to put in some extra effort for next year. This year may be too late to hide from Krampus!

Holiday Lights Run way for Pittsburgh runners to give back to community Put on your best holiday socks and wrap yourself in lights for the most wonderful run of the year. The tradition keeps getting bigger, and this year's extravaganza will be no exception. Run or walk the best indoor and outdoor holiday displays in the city with hundreds of others. After logging hundreds of miles in our fabulous city all year long, the Holiday Lights Run is a meaningful way for Pittsburgh runners and walkers to give back to our community. Back by popular demand, last year's over-the-top holiday Chinese raffle of prizes from Fleet Feet Sports, our vendors and local business partners is back. Tickets are $1 each. Arrive early to get your tickets for the chance to win some

amazing prizes. Again, everyone is asked to make a donation and/or purchase raffle tickets to benefit the UPMC Children's Hospital Free Care Fund. Raffle tickets will be on sale before the run. Raffle tickets

must be purchased by 6:30 p.m. This year's event will take place on Thursday, December 14 at 6:00 p.m. at the PPG Wintergarden in downtown Pittsburgh. There will be maps for 6 & 4-miles and a 1-mile Holiday Stroll map. Don't miss a single bulb, evergreen bough or strand of tinsel. Routes cover all the best indoor and outdoor holiday displays downtown with something for everyone. Families can remain in the Wintergarden and enjoy the giant tree, Santa's of the World and gingerbread house collection or venture outside to the nearby Holiday Market in Market Square. FMI: facebook.com/events/ 438079709920638

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O PEN YOUR H EART & H OME The Southwestern Area Agency on Aging, Inc. is looking for individuals in your area to open their homes and offer a caring, safe, and nurturing family environment for eligible adults who cannot live independently due to physical, intellectual or age related impairments. Domiciliary Care Providers are typically individuals who open their homes and are willing to provide residents with housing, support, care and encouragement in a family-like setting.They are everyday people making a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. When you share your home and provide services, you receive $979.00 a month for each individual residing in your home. Services include meals, housekeeping, 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 are interested in becoming a certified Domiciliary Care provider and providing quality living alternative for a person who meets the criteria, or want to refer someone who will benefit from the programs services contact: Southwestern Pennsylvania Area Agency on Aging Domiciliary Care Program at 1-800-411-5655.


earning her a second Grammy. For this special holiday show, Melissa will be performing songs from her 2008 holiday album, A New Thought For Christmas. Songs will include fan favorites and holiday classics such as “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Have

NOW PLAYING! Saturday, December 2 at 7:30 PM CHRISTMAS BRASSTACULAR Adult $25 – 31; Senior $23 - $29; Student $10; Children 6 and under free Celebrate the magic of Christmas with your River City Brass. Their holiday show is fun for the whole family, with classic carols, favorite Christmas movie music, and special surprises. Ho, ho, ho! Tickets available by visiting www.rivercitybrass.org or calling 412.434.7222 Tuesday, December 5 at 7:30 PM MICHAEL BOLTON - Greatest Hits and Holiday Favorites - $49, $59, $69, $79 An unforgettable evening with Michael Bolton – the multi-Grammy award-winning, iconic voice on over 53 million records sold, with hits like When a Man Loves a Woman, How am I Supposed to Live Without You, Time, Love and Tenderness, How Can We be Lovers, Georgia on my Mind, and many more! Saturday, December 9 at 2 PM & 7 PM & Sunday, December 10 at 2 PM WSO presents THE NUTCRACKER featuring Laurel Ballet - $13, $20, $21, $27, $30, $38 Join the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra and Laurel Ballet Company on a magical, musical trip to the land of the Sugarplum Fairy, waltzing snowflakes and enchanted toys. You’ll experience Tchaikovsky’s magical score performed by the full orchestra. Wednesday, December 13 at 8 PM MELISSA ETHERIDGE: MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY - $48, $58, $72 ($7/$8 additional per ticket day of show); VIP Packages available Melissa Etheridge is one of rock music’s great female icons. She hit her commercial and artistic stride with her fourth album, Yes I Am, featuring the massive hits “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window,”

Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “O Night Divine” and more. Friday, December 15 at 7:30 PM LATSHAW POPS CHRISTMAS SHOW - $25, $30, $35, $40 The Latshaw Pops Christmas Show is the area's most enjoyable holiday tradition for over 10 years. Celebrate the Christmas season with this heartwarming variety show featuring The Latshaw Pops, singers & dancers. Saturday, December 16 at 7:30 PM WSO presents HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS - $15, $27, $33, $35, $48 Celebrate the sounds of the season with a concert of carols and holiday music perfect for the whole family - featuring special guests and the All-Star Choir of Westmoreland County. Tickets available by visiting www.westmorelandsymphony.org or calling 724.837.1850 Monday, December 18 at 7:30 PM THE TENORS - Christmas Together Tour - $34.50, $44.50, $54.50 Ticket includes a copy of the Tenors’ CD. $1 from every ticket sold will be donated to The Tenors charity association MusiCares. All Your Holiday Favorites in a Spectacular New Show. Since 2008 The Tenors have been thrilling audiences around the world with their powerful songs and outstanding harmonies. Blending classical music and contemporary pop, the award winning and multi-platinum selling band have achieved international success, showcasing their undeniable charm and diverse vocal styles performing over 700 shows on five continents.

THE PALACE THEATRE 34 W.Otterman Street, Greensburg

Box Office: 724-836-8000 26


Exploring the Paranormal with Reanna Roberts You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Santa, Belsnickel and Krampus and Joulupukki …wait, what? You are not familiar with Belsnickel and thought Krampus was just created for a Hollywood horror holiday film in the past few years? Joulupukki, either? Well, my holiday gift to you, then, will be to let you know who all of these companions of St. Nick, or Santa, are. Krampus is quite frightening to most who would see him. Half goat and half demon, he sounds a bit like a mythological satyr but much more sinister. He carries a bunch of sticks with him to swat children who have been bad, and he actually doesn't show up on Christmas, his arrival is closer to the beginning of December to torment children, and, perhaps, give them a chance to shape up before the 'good guy,' St. Nick, comes later. The really bad children, though? According to some legends, they are not just beaten, kidnapped to not only be tortured, but occasionally eaten! While this is an antiquated belief in most areas, in Liez, Austria, they still have a festival and parade central to Krampus, so if you find yourself there during the holiday season, check it out! Belsnickel, although he is generally a European/German character, is probably the one that is the most local. He not only is in the folklore in German areas of Europe, but he has roots in the PA Dutch culture, as well. Santa has his list of naughty or nice, but when Belsnickel arrives, generally a few weeks before Christmas, he's a frightening character. He just knows which children were bad and, when it was still socially accept-

able, would beat them with the switch he carried. Belsnickel is human, he is not a demon, animal, or hybrid like Krampus is, but is often dressed in furs. Other times he's described as being dressed in rags, and believed to scare kids into being good. The last that I've mentioned is probably the least known, unless you happen to be Finnish. Joulupukki translates, literally, to “Christmas Goat.” That doesn't sound very festive, does it? He is a bit of a mixture of pagan and norse mythology, and his style and clothing choices are, to say the least, a bit more contemporary sounding, being dressed in tight red leather pants and a fur trimmed. red leather coat. Other ideologies of him are a lot more like the traditional Santa, all the way down to the reindeer pulled -sleigh, except that his don't fly. He also has a wife, but again, like Mrs. Claus, you don't hear much about her. In two different beliefs about Joulupukki, he is either thought to be ugly and frightening or nice, and invisible to help prepare for the holidays. This, by far, to me anyway, is the nicest of the three that I've reviewed today!

Waynesburg Student Art Exhibit on Display Waynesburg University's Department of Fine Arts will showcase a collection of student artwork through Friday, Dec. 8. The art show will be held in the Benedum Fine Arts Gallery. The exhibit is free, and the public is cordially invited to attend. “The goal of this exhibit is to show the best work made within each art class [from the semester],” said Andrew Heisey, assistant professor of art and chair of the Fine Arts Department. “It is always exciting to see these students discover a hidden talent that they did not know they possessed.” The art show will include the follow-

ing types of work: drawings, functional ceramic pieces, jewelry, prints and sculptures, among other types of art. “When students make artwork in the classroom, they are used to seeing art in the process,” said Heisey. “When their work hangs in the gallery, it changes. What looked like an ordinary drawing, sculpture or painting now appears to be a masterpiece.” The Benedum Fine Arts Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact the gallery at 724-852-3247.

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Applications being accepted for Three Rivers Art Festival through 1/16/18 The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is officially accepting applications for participants in the 59th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 1-10, 2018. The nation's premier free, community arts festival seeks a diverse group of visual and performing artists of all disciplines and career stages. The festival attracts half a million visitors annually to enjoy an extensive array of music, performance, visual arts, crafts/art-making activities and a renowned Artist Market. This year's call for visual and performing artists welcomes artists and performers who have never before participated in Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, emphasizing brand new art and original work. Applications will be accepted from October 2, 2017, through January 16, 2018. Application status notifications will be sent to all applicants in late March of 2018. Travel + Leisure named Pittsburgh one of the Best Places to Travel in 2016, stating “the Steel City is reforging itself into the Arts City.” Thrillist listed Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival in Every Outdoor Concert Worth Attending In Pittsburgh This Summer. The 10-day arts celebration in downtown Pittsburgh has grown to attract local, regional, national and international artist participation, showcasing a broad spectrum of works and talent. In 2018, artists will have the opportunity to explore the following opportunities: Artist Market presented by Peoples Featuring 350+ independent artists selling handmade work in an open-air setting, the Artist Market is attended by hundreds of thousands of visitors. The show is ranked among the nation's best by Sunshine Artist Magazine, offers $10,000 in cash awards, and features a new selection jury in a wide variety

of media. Juried Visual Art Exhibition Showcasing exceptional new art by regional artists (150-mile radius) in various stages of their careers, and in a variety of media, the JVAE delivers highquality visual arts to Festival fans in an indoor gallery setting. The jury process is “blind” and cash awards go to the best in show and jurors' top picks. Emerging Artist Scholarship Program Established in 2002, the Emerging Artist Scholarship Program of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival provides individuals the opportunity to take an important first step towards a future in fine art and craft shows. The program supports the growth and longevity of fine arts and fine crafts in the Pittsburgh region with a special devotion to introducing new art forms to the Festival and new audiences to emerging artists. Music & Performing Arts Musicians, dancers, actors, literary, and performance artists from around the region and globe present original work on stages and in spaces throughout the Festival, including Point State Park, Gateway Center, and the Cultural District. Special Project / Collaboration Creative original concepts, multidisciplinary work, and multi-artist collaborations leave lasting impressions with visitors each year. The Festival's geographic



footprint and artists' imaginations are the only bounds for proposals. About Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, is a 10-day celebration of the arts in downtown Pittsburgh unlike any other in the nation. This worldclass, multi-disciplinary festival is free to attend and open to the public. Attracting over 500,000 visitors annually, the Festival begins on the first Friday in June and takes place at the confluence of Pittsburgh's famed three rivers in Point State Park, throughout picturesque Gateway Center, and in the city's world-renowned Cultural District. Now in its 58th year, the Festival's loyal visitors have enjoyed an extensive array of music, performance, visual arts, crafts/art-making activities and a renowned Artist's Market featuring over 300 artists from around the country. Artists are selected through a rigorous jury process-emphasizing quality, craftsmanship, and presentation in a wide variety of media, from jewelry to painting, woodworking to photography. The programming line-up for the 59th annual Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival will be announced in the spring of 2018. Applications will be accepted from October 2, 2017, through January 16, 2018. To learn more about the submission categories and to apply, visit www.TrustArts.org/TRAF or call (412) 456-6666.


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Third Thursday: Art Wars Dec 21 from 8 p.m.-11 p.m. Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh Early-Bird Tickets (by Dec. 15): $10 (Members $8; Students $5) Regular Tickets (after Dec 15): $15 (Members and Students $10) Join CMOA for our final Third Thursday of the year as we celebrate the launch of another entry into the Star Wars universe with a spaced-out art and dance party. Choose the light or dark side of the force, dress up in your intergalactic gear, and enjoy: Special Star Wars-themed gallery tours Jedi (or Sith) training academy with stage fight choreographer Tonya Lynn Special appearances by some of your favorite costumed characters REkOGNIZE, a three-channel video installation by Han Solo standalone film cinematographer Bradford Young Dance beats from a galaxy far, far away with Keith DeVries (aka KMFD) In-gallery discussions of Ian Cheng's artificially-intelligent artwork Emissary Sunsets The Self Galactic drawing in Carnegie Science Center's mobile planetarium A Star Wars costume contest, featuring great museum prizes Space cocktails in our alien cantina (The Café Carnegie) We'll also be giving away tickets throughout the night to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi at Carnegie Science Center's new Rangos Giant Cinema, the most technologically advanced movie theater in western Pennsylvania. Use the force (of a mouse click) to buy your tickets today! Please note that no guns (fake or otherwise) including lightsabers, masks, or backpacks are allowed. (Face paint is permitted.) We will offer several lightsabers for photo opportunities, don't you worry! FMI: cmoa.org


BENTLEYVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY 931 Main St. in Bentleyville washlibs.org/bentleyville

CALIFORNIA PUBLIC LIBRARY 100 Wood St., California calpublib.org


Every Monday at 10 a.m. is STORY TIME with Ellen, a retired elementary librarian. Ellen presents a fresh Story Time every Monday at 10 a.m. and Story Time with Kristen and Friends is presented on select Saturdays at 10 a.m. Each Story Time includes a snack & craft. Story Time is open to any child with a desire to learn and play. Reservations are recommended. The California Recreation Authority sponsors Saturday Story Time. FMI: Call 724-938-2907. The Bentleyville Public Library has moved to a temporary location at the Fairway Communications building at 608 Main Street, Bentleyville. Every Tues - TOPS - 5-6:15 p.m. Weight loss group Coffee and Crayons - Every Friday at 10:30 a.m. - Bring in a book or try one of our pages and stop and enjoy each other’s company as we color.This program is for adults of any age. Make It Monday - Every Monday from 12 p.m. on we will have a Make It Monday sponsored by Friends of the Bentleyville Library where we will have an activity, or craft out all day that you can make here at the library.We will change it every week. Dec. 4 - Bentleyville Historical Society - 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 - Board Meeting - Board meets the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 13 - Family Craft Night - We will be making Gingerbread Houses open to all ages - 5:30 p.m. - Register by calling the library at 724-239-5122 Dec. 14 - Book Club (reading A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg) at 6:00 p.m. Dec. 18 - Friends of Bentleyville Library - Help support the library and plan fun events - 6:30 p.m. Dec. 25 & 26 CLOSED for Christmas LEGO Club at 5:30 p.m. the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month ages 7 & up FMI: Call us at 724-239-5122.


CHARTIERS-HOUSTON LIBRARY 730 West Grant St., Houston washlibs.org/chartiers-houston TAG:Teen Advisory Group meets First Saturday of every month at 12 noon. Are you in grades 6-12? Want to earn volunteer hours in the company of your friends? Join our Teen Advisory Group and meet once a month to brainstorm ideas about programs you’d like to see in the library, books you’d want to recommend, or projects you and other volunteers could help the library complete. “Brainfood”, aka, snacks, will be provided and the library Wii video games, and board games will be made available at each meeting. Looking for crafting buddies to inspire your creative projects? Come to our monthly crafterdays. Here we welcome crafters of all kinds to sit and knit, crochet, or even paper mache in the company of other creative crafters. Each crafterday will also include printed instructions and a live demo on how to make a simple craft. Event held 3rd Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. Join our Lego club on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. The program is open to all ages, although it is recommended for ages 5 and up.The library is also accepting donations of new or gently used Lego sets. Wednesdays at 6 p.m. - “Shut Up & Write” - This is a venue for writers to work in the company of other writers on a regular basis. First Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. - Join our Mystery Book Club for a riveting read and book discussion. Register at the library or call us at 724-745-4300.

Preschool Story Time, for ages 3-5, is on Tuess, 2:00 – 2:30, from Oct. 3 through December 5. Toddler Story Times are on Wednesday mornings from Oct. 4 through December 6.Toddler Story Times are: 10:30 – 11:00 for ages 1 ½ to 2 years, and 11:30 – 12:00 for ages 2 ½ to 3 years. Registration is required for all story times. Call 724-222- 2400, ext. 235 or stop in the Children’s Dept. for moreinformation or to register; “Parent’s Guide to Story Time” brochures are available at the desk. Teen Time - Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. 6 p.m. - Come hang out, play games, use our Maker Space, and much more. New activities every week. - For grades 6 and

up Middle Grade Book Club - Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. - Discuss books, make a craft, and eat some pizza. - For grades 6-8 Monthly Chess Club - Meets the first Saturday of the month from 10-11:30 a.m., and is open to all ages and all levels of play. Instructors will be available. Chess Club is free, and is open to all ages, including adults. LEGO Club will meet on the 2nd and 4th Mons, from 5-6 p.m.The program is open to all ages, and there are sets of larger building blocks for children who are too young for regular sized Lego bricks.The Children’s Dept. is also accepting donations of new or gently used LEGO sets. 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 friendsofcitizenslibrary@gmail.com. Citizen’s Library is located at 55 South College Street,Washington, PA 15301. Phone # is 724-222-2400 FMI: washlibs.org/citizens

FREDERICKTOWN AREA LIBRARY - 38 WATER ST., FREDERICKTOWN WEBSITE: washlibs.org/fredericktown - PHONE: 724-377-0017 Book Buddies Book Club will meet Sunday, Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m. at the Riveria Restaurant. by Peter Guralnick will be discussed. John Dusha is the host. Library Board of Trustees will meet Wed. Dec. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the library. Winter Story Hour will be held Thursday Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. at the library. Reading Club will meet on the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the library. Discovery Detectives will meet the 4 Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the library. Please call the library to register your child. Teen Book Club will meet the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the library. Call to register. SIT N KNIT/CROCHET will meet the second and fourth Thursday of the month. Beginner through expert is wel-

come. Rep. Pam Snyder's Community Outreach staff is at the library every third Tuesday of each month from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Just stop in. No appointment needed! Would you like to be a powerful advocate for the Fredericktown Area Public Library? We are looking for a few good men and women who would like to serve as library trustees. If interested just stop in the library. The library will be closed Dec. 25 & 26th for the Christmas Holiday. Our underwriters for December are: BCR Lions Club for underwriting the cost of our Internet service for one year and Michael J. & Sylvia Burke for underwriting the cost of one public access computer.

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ROSTRAVER PUBLIC LIBRARY 700 Plaza Drive, Belle Vernon rostraverlibrary.org

PETERS TOWNSHIP LIBRARY December Activities ptlibrary.org

MONESSEN PUBLIC LIBRARY 326 Donner Ave., Monessen monessenlibrary.org

Free Monday Movie Matinee. Stop by the library on the first Monday of each month at 1:00pm for the viewing of a newly released film to DVD. Popcorn and water are provided. Friends of the Library - Monthly meetings are held at 6:30pm on the 4th Monday of each month. Knitting at the Library meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m. & the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. Contact: Judy Yoskosky Afternoon Book Club meets the 2nd Wednesday of each Month at 1 p.m. Contact: Judy Wasko Every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. - Tiny Tykes Program - For kids ages 18 months-3 years old. Please call 724-379-5511 to register.

Tiny Tunes Music - Mondays at 11 a.m. - Ages: 2½ - 5 with an adult.Tiny Tunes Music is a fun, casual program of playing with and learning about music. Book Babies - Tues at 10 a.m. - Birth12 months with an adult. Mother Goose Storytime - Tues at 11 a.m. - Ages: 12 - 24 months with an adult.They're just learning to talk -give them something to talk about. Toddler Tales - Wednesdays at 10 a.m. - Ages: 2 - 3½ with an adult. Wii Sports for Adults - Every Wednesday - Stay active in the comfort of your library. No registration required. Kindergarten Storytime - Thursdays at 10 a.m. & 1:15 p.m. - Ages: Kindergartners and 5-year-olds.This full-hour program goes the next step in learning and loving reading. Register at the Youth Services Desk. Coloring, Coffee & Classics - 9:15 a.m. - For ages 18 and up. Every Wednesday in Café Lee. Enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee. Drop In Chess - Tues at 11 a.m.-2 p.m. - Every Tues in Café Lee. Drop in with a partner and challenge yourselves to a game or two of chess. FMI, call 724-941-9430.

On Sat. Dec. 9, 2017, from 10-11 a.m., Monessen Public Library & Cultural Center will host a program on investment learning. “How Investor Psychology Affects Us All” will be presented by Ken Kaszak, a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative. Please contact the library at 724-684-4750 to register. The Library is selling copies of the “Enjoy Book” for a donation of $30. In addition, the annual Holiday Boutique, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Library, is open from 12-3 daily, when the Library is operating. It features many unique items that are new or gently used. Most items are under $5. Support your local library! The Library will be the setting for Monessen's “Celebrate Christmas” celebration on Sat., Dec. 2, 2017, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.The event will feature face painting, children's activities, crafts and fun events for all.The Greater Monessen Historical Society will be on hand with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, and take free Santa photos that will be mailed to the recipient.The Library will also distribute donated coats, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to those, who need them. Children's activities for Dec. include: Sat., Dec. 2nd - Celebrate ChristmasFree pictures Mr. & Mrs. Claus, 11 a.m.. Monday, Dec. 4 - A Very Merry Storytime, Santa & Mrs. Claus are coming to visit, 6 p.m.. Toddlers, Dec. 5 - Celebrate Walt Disney's Birthday with Mickey, Minnie and a movie, 1 p.m.. Sat., Dec. 9 -National Hot Cocoa Day. Make & take craft + drink hot chocolate, 11 a.m.. Monday, Dec. 11 - Snowball mini Golf & other snowball games, 6 p.m.. Toddlers, Dec. 12 - Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel fun and prizes for Hanukkah, 1 p.m.. Sat., Dec. 16 - Nutcracker Sweets and treats, 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 18 - Make Rudolph ornaments & join in other reindeer games, 6 p.m.. Toddlers, Dec. 19 - Joy to the World! Let's bounce for joy in the bouncy house, 1 p.m.. Thurs, Dec. 21 - Authentic Kamishibai Theater-all the way from Japan, 4 p.m.

JOHN K.TENER LIBRARY 638 Fallowfield Ave. Charleroi washlibs.org/john-k-tener Craft days for kids. A new craft will be available the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month. FMI about the John K.Tener Library in Charleroi, call 724-483-8282.

BROWNSVILLE FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY - 100 SENECA ST., BROWNSVILLE WEBSITE: bfpl.org/ - PHONE: 724-785-7272 Our Children’s Holiday Party will be held Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.-7 p.m. Join us to hear a story read by Santa Claus himself! Kids will also make ornaments to take home and hang on the Brownsville Christmas Tree in Snowdon Square. The Brownsville Free Public Library provides more than books and DVDs, we also provide: Access to a collection of approximately 900,000 items across three counties, Free internet, computers,WiFi, and one-on-one computer classes, Résumé software and résumé paper, Audiobooks and eBooks at no

charge through the Libby and OverDrive app, Over 375 six-week long online courses through GALE, with courses ranging from personal enrichment through workforce development, Various children's and adult programming throughout the year, Low cost prints, copies, and faxes, and Local history and genealogy collection. Most importantly, you can get your library card free of charge if you live within Fayette,Washington, or Greene County!

LOCAL LIBRARIES, LEND US YOUR NEWS. Is your local library having a special event or fundraiser? Are you having a guest speaker or author reading/signing? Do you offer story hours, tech help and/or classes? Are you having a used book sale? Send us your news. There is NEVER A FEE to list library activities in our pages. Send your library news to carla@pabridges.com or call 724-769-0123.

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DONORA PUBLIC LIBRARY 510 Meldon Avenue in Donora washlibs.org/donora

Storytime with Miss Angie (Preschool ages) - Friday's at 10am Please join us at the Donora Public Library for Storytime with Miss Angie, geared for preschool ages. Flea Market and Book Sale - Large selection of books and donated items November 4th from 10am to 4p.m. Ladies Bridge Club - meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday's of each month from 3:30p.m. to 5:30p.m. Knit and Crochet Club - meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday's of each month from 5:30p.m. to 7:00p.m. Book Club (Adults) - meets the 3rd Thursday of each month from 3:30p.m. to 4:30p.m. Lion's Club Meeting - meet the 3rd Monday each month at 6:00p.m. Monongahela Valley Community Band - meets every Wednesday at 7:00p.m. The Donora Public Library will partner with the Southwestern Goodwill to host a donation drive.We are once again asking anyone and everyone in the community to bring in any unwanted household items and books you no longer need or want.


SAVE THE DATE FOR Cal U’s Upcoming Shows 2017-2018 SEASON

Harry Connick Jr.'s The Happy Elf - Steele Hall Mainstage - December 7, 8, 9, 10, 2017 @ 7 p.m., December 910, 2017 @ 2 p.m. - The Happy Elf brings laughter and the holiday spirit back to the Halls of Steele.The Happy Elf is suitable for students of all ages. Almost, Maine - The Blaney Theatre - March 1, 2, 3, 2018 @ 7 p.m., March 3, 2018 @ 2 p.m. - This show explores gender, sexuality, discrimination, and bullying issues and introduces the concepts of civic responsibility and the nature of the human condition. High schoolers are welcome. Heathers: The Musical Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre April 12, 13, 14, 2018 @ 7 p.m., April 14, 2018 @ 2 p.m. - This laugh-out-loud musical comedy unapologetically explores issues of teen suicide, murder, bullying, homophobia, and gun violence. following the performance. Suitable for high school students. Cognitive Distortions: Spring Dance Concert 2018 - Steele Hall Mainstage - May 3, 4, 5, 2018 @ 7 p.m. - Join student and faculty dancers and choreographers as they explore the communicative aspects of the body. Open to all ages of students interested in dance; and to high school students studying psychology, physical and mental health, and society and cultures. FMI: calu.edu


DECEMBER EVENTS AT THE FRANK SARRIS PUBLIC LIBRARY Ongoing Events Story Time - Monday through Thursday mornings - Programs for children 9 months to 5 years old are offered during the school year to promote early literacy skills. Check our website calendar for days and times appropriate for your child, call the children's desk, or email Miss Barb at bsomma@franksarrislibrary.org. Lego Club - Mondays 5-6p.m. Children in grades K-8 collaborate with other Master Builders on their own designs or special building challenges. Spanish Story Time - Tuesday mornings at 11:15a.m. - Preschool children can join Ms. Noreen for story time favorites - stories and songs - in Spanish. Children will also have fun learning common Spanish words. Email questions to Ms. Noreen at npoploski@franksarrislibrary.org. Family Night - Tuesdays at 6:30p.m. Come join the fun at our all ages evening story hour with stories, games and activities to share. Please check our website's Event Calendar for weekly themes. Little Picassos - Wednesday mornings at 10:15a.m. - Children ages 2 - 5 years old along with their fun loving adult can join Miss Barb at the library to do a craft with messy things like glitter, glue, water, paints, etc. Dress appropriately to get messy. Table Top Gaming - Wednesdays 36p.m. - With more than twenty games to choose from, we invite you and your friends to stop by and play a few. If you can't make this organized playing time, feel free to stop by anytime to play. Knitting & Crocheting - Wednesdays at 6p.m. - Bring your current project and join the knitting group each week. Wiggles and Giggles - Thursdays at 11:15a.m. - This is a motion class for 2 5 year olds.We will be moving and dancing for 35-40 minutes, so no sitting. Email questions to Ms. Barb at bsomma@franksarrislibrary.org. Popcorn & a Movie - Saturdays at 12p.m. - Join us weekly in the Teen Lounge for some free hot, buttered popcorn while taking in a movie on the big screen. Check our website's Event

Calendar for titles. Book Bites - Adults join us as we discuss a book selected by the book club members. Stop by the adult circulation desk to pick up your copy. New members are welcome. Of Dice and Men - Roleplaying Games - Saturdays at 2p.m. - Weekly, tabletop, roleplaying gaming sessions; we play a variety of games, most notably Dungeons & Dragons and Call of Cthulhu. For Teens and adults; newcomers should come an hour early to set up characters for play. Computer Instruction - Designated library staff will provide one-on-one computer help by appointment only.We will have a computer available for the appointment, but you are welcome to bring your own laptop or device. Call the library at 724-745-1308 for more information or to sign up for an appointment. Page Turners (High School Students) Book Club - New members are welcome. Call the library or check the Event Calendar on our website for more information. Upcoming Events Saturday 12/2 - Breakfast with Santa Join us for breakfast with Santa from 10:30-12:00.There will be a holiday craft and a sing-a-long of holiday favorites. Bring your camera for photo ops with Santa! There will be a nominal fee and reservations are required. Call the library or visit our website FMI. Monday 12/4 - Teen Advisory Board 67p.m. - Students in grades 7 - 12 meet monthly to plan, organize and lead activities that will engage and benefit members of the community. Planned activities can be fun, educational, or service related, and they can be for anyone of any age. If you are a student who is interested in making a difference in your community, stop by the meeting or call Beth Kairush,Teen Advisory Board coordinator, at 724-745-1308 FMI. Wednesday 12/13 - Fiction Book Club 12-1p.m. - Join us this month as we discuss The Christmas Train by David Baldacci. New members are always welcome! Monday 12/18 - Teen Writers' Club 67p.m. - Are you a student in grades 7 -

12 who enjoys writing? Whether you enjoy writing fiction, poetry, short stories or more, stop by to meet likeminded teens. Email questions to Beth Kairush,Teen Advisory Board coordinator, at bkairush@franksarrislibrary.org. More from Your Library Accelerated Reader - Canon-McMillan students can earn Accelerated Reading points at the library. Ancestry Resources - Come to the library to take advantage of our subscription to Ancestry.com! Art on Display in the Athena Sarris Gallery - Visit the second floor of the library regularly to enjoy the exhibits. If you're an artist interested in displaying your work in this venue, visit our website or stop in to get an application. Comics Plus - Through the library's website, Frank Sarris Public Library cardholders can access thousands of digital graphic novels and comics. Continuing Education from Universal Class - Check out Typing and Keyboarding 101, Introduction to Gardening, Interview Skills and the other 500+ continuing education courses available at no cost through our website - all you need is a library card! Digital Magazines from Zinio - The Frank Sarris Public Library is the only location in the area to provide this resource, and we offer a selection of more than 40 titles. Our used book sale is ongoing and new titles are being added all the time...you can replenish your bookshelves for just $5 per bag or buy individual books for $0.25, $0.50 or $1.00. OverDrive - Borrow eBooks, audiobooks and Read-Along eBooks anytime, anywhere - all you need is your library card! Young Explorer Kits - Thanks to the Grable Foundation's generous funding of the Young Library Explorers program, we now have a total of 69 kits for infants, toddlers, and elementary school aged (through 4th grade) children. These themed kits are filled with ageappropriate educational toys and other materials, and they are available to borrow. Stop by the Adult Circulation desk to borrow a Kit.

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On the Road with Bob Willis: Playa del Carmen Are you cold enough yet? Time to throw your hands up and head for warmer climes! Having visited more than a dozen islands in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, I recently discovered a very pleasant warm winter destination, the Riviera Maya. There's good daily air service to Cancun. Once you've landed, it's just a short jaunt to the city of Playa del Carmen and just beyond that, the resorts of the Riviera Maya. A thriving, safe city, Playa del Carmen was originally a Maya trading center...it was re-envisioned in the late 1930's and today is a bustling vibrant city. For those of you seeking a city atmosphere, I'd recommend the Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen in the heart of the city's premier zone. You're just around the corner from 5th Avenue shops, restaurants and nightlife. Although they offer nice pools, you're also just a short walk to the beaches. (condohotelsplayadelcarmen.com ) The east coast of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, along the Caribbean Sea is home to many significant early Maya ruins as well as a vast variety of today's luxurious resorts and other accommodations. You'll have no trouble finding a place to suit your interests, and your budget. If your interests lead you to an expansive, all inclusive vacation, you might want to consider the Grand Velas Riviera Maya. It's a five star all inclusive, all suite resort, that compares well with the finest resorts I've ever seen. It's been ranked second best resort in Mexico and 38th overall, worldwide. (grandvelas.com) Notice that I use the word Maya and not Mayan. MAYAN is the language and all other references to the area are MAYA. Tourism help from outer space Some 65 million years ago, a giant asteroid fell to earth and struck the Yucatan Peninsula. Over time, rain filled the crater and nearby basins . Cenotes were created from freshwater sinkholes formed as the limestone bedrock caved in and filled with water from underground rivers. Originally used in Maya ceremonies, today these unique geologic cave features have a great recreational

appeal. That accounts for the various water oriented nature parks scattered through the area. Cenotes can traversed by kayaks, floating and snorkeling, and in the case of the dry caves...simply by walking. You can connect natural history and recreation by visiting a few of the natural theme parks in the region. Actually, though we might tend to call them theme parks, they offer a wealth of outdoor activities. To me the largest and most interesting is Xcaret. (xcaret.com) Here you can spend an entire day, and evening zip lining through the jungle trees, kayaking and floating through the cenotes, visiting lots of indigenous birds and other animals in their natural habitat, have a stingray encounter and even do a sea trek in a small lagoon complete with oxygen helmets. Admission to Xcaret is virtually all inclusive including food and drink. At the end of the day, there's a Tlacho “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular in a large entertain ment pavilion. The show, which includes dinner features the history of Mexico and the Mayas with a cast of over 300 performers. Personally, though I'm not a theme park person, I enjoyed my visit and stayed busy for a full day. Other parks close by are Aktun Chen (aktunchen.com) which has both dry and wet cenotes, a large unique system of zip lines and suspended bridges in the

question. Most folks option to rent a bicycle or hire a two person bicycle cabbie piloted by courteous local youths. In its heyday, Coba spread out for 44 miles, an early urban sprawl; it flourished from about 300 AD to 1000 AD and was, at its height, home to some 50,000 inhabitants. It's always a good idea to pre-read some history before you travel to some of the sites of the ancient world. To that end, I'd recommend the book, “Playa del Carmen, Tulum & the Riviera Maya- A Great Destination.” I read it from cover to cover and surprised myself with the intelligence of my quesoverhead canopy. Then there's Xplor (xplor.travel) which features 14 overhead zip lines that stretch for nearly two and a half miles. Here, you can drive your own amphibious vehicle on a 6.2 mile course through the jungle and into the dry cenotes. If you enjoy the underground, slow moving clear water rivers, you can even float, with a life preserver on a stalactite river trip. Discovering the Ancient Maya Two of the more significant Maya ruins are each less than 50 miles from Playa del Carmen. The less visited Coba is also the less restored. It is so vast that walking from ruin to ruin is pretty much out of the

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tions. Not to be missed is the ancient Maya city of Tulum situated on the coast of the Caribbean Sea , it served as a fortress. The site known as a walled city thrived during the period of 1000 and 1500 AD. Tulum has been wonderfully excavated and it's easy to imagine yourself alive in this city during its peak. I found the area to be exceedingly safe and friendly. The food is wonderful and more continental than what you'd expect to find in a Mexican restaurant. One final thought, be certain to take your camera, especially as you visit to magnificent ruins. Story & Photos by Bob Willis Bob Willis has spent his entire working lifetime as a travel journalist and photographer. Beginning his career with the Baltimore Sun papers and their television stations, he produced and hosted, for ten years, the nation's original TV travel program. His journeys have carried him to every continent, over 90 countries and “across the pond” more than 350 times. Bob and his wife Gloria (also a travel writer) call Washington County home and continue to travel whenever and wherever possible.


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