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Connecting Our Communities

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BRIDGES Pennsylvania Bridges is published online at and in print form

once a month, 12x a year 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 Keren Lee Dreyer, Staff Writer Pastor Dawn Hargraves, Columnist Tasha Oskey, Columnist Reanna Roberts, Columnist Eric J. Worton, Columnist Contributors: Jennifer Benford, Lisa J. Buday, Noah Churchel, Christine Haines, Dr. Michele Pagen, Mark Pawelec, Kelly Tunney, Missy Tunney, Bruce Wald, Dave Zuchowski & Daniel Zyglowicz

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“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” CHARLES M. SCHULZ American Cartoonist 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, where we continuously update our site with the latest in arts, entertainment, education and lifestyle news, which we share via our social media networks. If you or your organization would like to obtain copies of Pennsylvania

Bridges, email with your address to be added to our distribution list. For information on advertising opportunities with Pennsylvania Bridges, call 724-769-0123 or email for a rate sheet and more details. We’ve done our research and we’re proud to offer the lowest rates of any publication in southwestern Pennsylvania! We also offer free, custom ad design.

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. On the Cover: The Outdoor Garden at Phipps Conservatory. Photo by Paul G. Wiegman.

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

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Write local, buy local at the Book Nook Story by Keren Lee Dreyer Writing a book, even a short one, is a time-consuming process fraught with any number of pitfalls, editorial decisions, and seemingly endless revisions waiting to set back hopes of stocking bookstore shelves sooner rather than later. And while world renowned authors have developed a fairly direct route from pen to the front shelves of chain bookstores, those on the local writing scene need to be more...crafty...when lining up space to display and sell their creations. To ease this process for area writers, local author, Mary Ann Mogus, created a dedicated consignment space called the Book Nook, now in its fifth year, at her own craft area inside Craftique Creations at 770 E Pittsburgh Street in Greensburg, PA. “Read Local” is the Book Nook’s theme, with works ranging in topic from science fiction to the inspirational - and beyond - gracing the shelves. Current Book Nook authors include: Linda Celetti, Ed Kelemen,Tom Beck, Barbara Miller, Marge Burke, Jan McLauglin, Ron Murphy, Alicia Stanley, Kieth Neil, Joanne McGaugh, Pat Slye, April Serock, Mary Ann Mogus, Lucey

Beyer, and Jim Hardin. “The problem authors have with selling books locally is they don’t have a space, and no-one ever sees them...the idea is to get the author’s books into the public’s notice so they know they can always come and get these books from the authors,” Mogus explained. “It’s

really a local support for the authors, and we’ve done fairly well.” Fans and would-be fans of these local authors also have the pleasure of meeting them in person by attending any of several book signings held by Book Nook throughout the year. Not only is it a draw for the writers, Craftique Collections benefits through increased foot traffic while visitors enjoy browsing through numerous, well made craft items such as scented candles, handmade jewelry - including that of Mogus - themed gift baskets, and more. Providing local writers another outlet for publication is a juried journal by Ligonier Valley Writers called the Loyalhanna Review, Mogus said, adding that their purpose “is the same as ours” to give local writers (and now photographers, essayists, and artists) a place to be seen. Additionally, some of these writers contribute to an anthology called the “Phantom Detectives,” available at the Book Nook or from Ligonier Valley Writers. “Phantom Detectives is a collection of stories by supposed authors alter-egos - and these authors have a muse to help solve murder mystery and cold case mysteries” Mogus said of the anthology, continuing “We only do so

many when they come through. We’re on number three and will have number four out in January. We’re going to do a publication party when it’s ready, and the money from this is a fundraiser for the Loyalhanna Review.” Mogus, a retired university physics professor now writing fiction and nonfiction, has penned a science fiction fantasy trilogy, the “Shadow Hands Series,” and a murder mystery, in addition to writing fiction and non-fiction for magazines and other publications. Though she doesn’t personally staff the Book Nook at all times, Mogus assures buyers that the helpful personnel at Craftique Creations can take care of book sales. Find Craftique Collections and all of its creative vendors, along with business hours, on facebook at: Stop by Ligonier Valley Writers’ web site at, and friend them on facebook at:


Three varied expressions of the time & place in which the author lives.

------Works by -----XAVIER F. AGUILAR To order either collection (or all three), send $15 for “From My Father’s House”, $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


Beloved comics icon Stan Lee tragically passed away this past month. Leaving behind a incredible legacy of work, Lee touched many lives and inspired countless others, including our own Managing Editor Fred Terling, who penned a moving ode to the late, great Stan Lee on page 21 of this edition of Pennsylvania Bridges. Submit your photos for consideration for Editor’s Choice “Pic”of the Issue to Original photography only accepted for consideration.

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Civil War-Era Musical Performance Offered at Peters Township Public Library The popular folk group Acoustic Shadows of the Blue and Gray will present a variety of Civil War-era music in period dress at the Peters Township Public Library on Sunday, December 9 at 1:30 p.m. The group will share familiar favorite songs including “Lorena,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “The Bonnie Blue Flag,” “Rally Round the Flag,” “Goober Peas,” and “It is Well with My Soul.” Other Civil War favorites featured will include “Dixie,” “The Battle of Shiloh Hill,” and “Shenandoah.” Led by Band Leader Harry Fisher, Acoustic Shadows of the Blue and Gray will perform in Civil War era uniforms and offer guests with an afternoon of unique music including a sing along

with the band. Members of the group include Harry Fisher who plays banjo, Michael Fisher on the mandolin and guitar, Bill Kistler on guitar, and Mark Kinan, who doubles on the banjo and as a percussionist. For some two decades, the band has performed for area audiences including the California University of Pennsylvania Civil War Roundtable. Walt Klorczyk, facilitator of the Civil War Roundtable, brings this popular Civil War holiday program to the Peters Township Community. The Peters Township Public Library is located at 616 East McMurray Road, McMurray. To attend this free event, register online at or call 724.941.9430 #1.

Photo: Acoustic Shadows of the Blue and Gray

Tri-County Division - Patsy Alfano, Assoc. Broker (Office) 724-330-5800 -

©2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchise of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity. Information not verified or guaranteed. If your home is currently listed with a Broker, this is not a solicitation.

Warming Up to Christmas with a European Tradition


Story by Dave Zuchowski Alex Shields isn't timid when it comes to pushing the envelope a bit. As winemaker at Shields Demesne Winery in Spraggs (Greene County), he specializes in wines made with fruit and honey. Now, if you're thinking mead you'd be wrong. Traditional mead is made with only honey, water and yeast. Shields makes what's known as melomel (pronounced mellow-mel), which uses fruit in the mix along with honey. Shields' father, Leigh, started making melomel in small batches in 2003, Three years later, he tested out a variety of different grape varietals - some 15 to 20 different kinds, he got as juice from producers in the area around Erie. To these he added wildflower honey purchased from suppliers in Lancaster County. Following Alex's graduation from Penn State University in 2010, the young, now 31-year old winemaker returned home to immerse himself in the winery component of the family business, which includes a significant garden center operation. To make his melomel, Shields uses 20% honey by volume, a lesser amount by half to make dry versions. "If I added just a little bit of honey to the mix, you wouldn't even notice it," he said. "But, because I use a lot of honey, many people who try my melomels the first time say they can really taste it." The wine is also a bit more viscous than most, and, because his wines are aged in charred reused bourbon barrels, they come with caramel and butterscotch overtones. 2016 proved a momentous year for the winery. That's when Shields noticed several barrels of aged wine that dated back to 2006. Pondering what to do with the aged melomels, he began blending them in various ratios until he found just the right proportion. The end result is a mix of reds and whites that seem to shine with an orange, brick red color. Because the wines are all ten years old, Shields calls his Rub of the Brush, as the blend is called, a special reserve. But Shields wasn't finished with

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his boundary pushing innovations. At home. he'd been making mulled wine (heated and spiced) for several years and tried warming up his newly blended Rub of the Brush. "It proved very tasty," he said. Tapping into European traditions of enjoying mulled wine during the Christmas season, Shields began serving the warm and tasty beverage from a crock pot at festivals he attended To make this simple and easy concoction, he pours a couple bottles of Rub of the Brush into a crock pot along a piece of cinnamon stick and lets it simmer for about 20 minutes. Viola! It's like visiting a German Christmas market in December. The mulled wine can also be heated on top a stove but only to the point of simmer. Always, he stresses, leave a lid on the pot because the alcohol will evaporate if you don't. You can also spice up the wine with cloves, lemon or orange peel and allspice. Just remember to put the loose spices in a small cheesecloth bag to keep them together and NEVER use powdered spices. Shields says the mulled wine made from the Rub of the Brush is reminiscent of honey-lemon tea but is much tastier. Described as medium sweet, the wine is balanced by a tinge of tartness. If you're wondering where on Earth the name of the special reserve comes from Shields credits his father with coming up with the title. It seems as if Leigh is an old Western film buff and remembers

the intriguing phrase from a 1940 epic titled "The Westerner" starring Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan. Turns out the bartender in the film had a habit of saving left over whiskies left in shot glasses on the bar by pouring them all into a bottle at the end of an evening of drinking. This special blend he liked to call the Rub of the Brush, a quaint phrase he coined to give his blend an intriguing aura. If you'd like to sample Shields' version of Rub of the Brush, you'll find him at the Park Inn by Radisson, 700 W. Main Street in Uniontown, at the "I'm Dreaming of a Wine Christmas" event from noon to 10 p.m. on December 1. He'll be serving his mulled version, which will also be available for purchase by the glass. Other wineries as well as craft vendors will be showing their products there as well, and food will be also be available. If you miss the event, you can catch him at his winery at 374 Smith Creek Road in Spraggs. There you can try some of his dozen versions of grape melomels along with 8 varieties of other fruit and honey melomels including blueberry, cherry, cranberry, blackberry, peach and plum. Unlike other wineries, tastings are free of charge. For more information, directions and hours of operation, phone 724-435-7246 or visit website

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The holidays are upon us and with them the urge to overeat. Keep in mind that a “serving” is the amount of food recommended, while a “portion” is the amount actually consumed. Remember to always check the food label. Fast food restaurants have inundated the roadsides of America and eating out has become a recreational activity. Here are some tips to win the Battle of the Bulge: Plan ahead - Look up menu items and their nutritional content ahead of time. Don’t arrive starving and always skip the bread basket, sugared beverages and alcohol Follow-My-Plate: When is the last time you saw a 9-inch plate at a restaurant? Fill up on fruits and vegetables Look for “light items” Practice portion control Take half of your meal home or share with a friend Choose steamed, broiled, grilled or baked foods Avoid fried, sauteed or crispy items Have all dressings, sauces and condiments served on the side and use them sparingly Substitute a side salad for fries or whole wheat for white products Eat slowly and stop when satisfied, not stuffed. Skip dessert or choose fruit for something sweet. Drink plenty of water Choose low fat milk Keep 100% juice to 4-6oz a day Beware of all other caloric beverages by checking out their nutrition facts label. For more info about healthy choices, ask your pharmacy.

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“Elf” the musical to take Pittsburgh stage 12/26-30

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The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announces that NETworks Presentations, LLC, Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures and Unique Features are bringing the Broadway musical ELF to Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh. Tickets are available now for performances Wednesday, December 26 to Sunday, December 30. Performance dates and times for ELF at Heinz Hall are Wednesday, December 26, Thursday, December 27, and Friday, December 28 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, December 29 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sunday, December 30 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toymaking abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy

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OPEN YEAR ROUND 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


embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity, and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas. This modern day Christmas classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner ELF. Based on the beloved 2003 New Line Cinema hit, ELF features songs by Tony Award nominees Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), with a book by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan (Annie, The Producers, Hairspray) and Bob Martin (The Drowsy Chaperone). The production will feature direction by Sam Scalamoni and choreography by Connor Gallagher. Tickets (starting at $31) are available at these official ticketing sources:, by calling the Heinz Hall Box Office at 412-392-4900, or in person at either Heinz Hall Box Office (600 Penn Avenue), or Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. TO


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City Mission Opens Expanded Women with Children Shelter

Helping people just like you!


Lisa J. Buday On Thursday, October 25, City Mission celebrated the grand opening of its newly-renovated Women with Children Shelter, nearly doubling its capacity to house women with children, the fastest-growing homeless population in the United States. “When we first started serving women with children,” said Leah Dietrich, City Mission’s Director of Residential Programs, “we only had enough room for 6 families. Now, we can house 11 families, and instead of just a bedroom space, each family has their own apartment. So we’re not only serving more people, but we’re also serving them in a dignified way.” Dietrich, acting as emcee for the celebration, introduced the speakers, including Lisa Scarmazzi, who designed the 11 suites that make up the shelter. Scarmazzi, who is an interior

designer by trade, selected furniture, hung photos, prewashed sheets, and even folded eleven rooms worth of towels. Her goal, she said, was to create a “warm, inviting, nurturing, and safe environment.” In reflecting on the process, she explained, “I learned more than I could have imagined. With dedication, love, and a genuine desire to help people, you are unstoppable.” Next, Dietrich introduced Guest Speaker, Washington County Commissioner, Diana Irey Vaughan, who has raised money for the shelter by running several marathons and other long-distance races. She plans to raise more money for the shelter in 2019 by running in Dopey’s 48.6 Mile Run Challenge at Disney World. Irey Vaughan explained that she supports City Mission because of its success in restoring broken lives to sustainable

independence. “City Mission has a 67% success rate for residents who stay in the program for at least 90 days,” she explained. She spoke about City Mission’s commitment to “fostering a woman’s path to independence, a path of forgiveness, mercy, grace, and hope.” And she challenged everyone in attendance to “rise to the challenge of the unmet needs in our community.” She ended her speech by saying, “These families are God’s children just like us. I pray that all the women and children that walk through the doors of City Mission’s Women with Children Shelter will find safety, security, and most importantly, God’s love and mercy.” One of the most important aspects of the new Women with Children program that was highlighted during the celebration is the childcare services that City Mission is able to provide. “We are blessed to be able to provide full-time childcare,” said Dietrich. “So our residents can focus on their recovery and removing whatever barriers and challenges brought them to us in the first place. And they can know that their children are safe. We’ve never been able to give our women with children everything that they need…but now we can.” City Mission’s new Women with Children Shelter helps to strengthen our community by building stronger families. For more details about the new shelter and how you can help, please visit or call City Mission at (724) 222-8530.

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Merry Christmas from Attorney Buday, her staff, & Oliver the Office Cat! May peace be with you during this holy season. 7

December news from the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum

Free Produce to People Food Distribution - Fayette County Thursday, December 13 at 10 a.m. 12 p.m. - Fayette County Fair Fairgrounds, 132 Pechin Road, 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:

As the saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Last April, after a Carnegie Science Center representative took one of our Cement City Home and Walking Tours, the Donora Historical Society was approached to consider a project with them to possibly replicate a Cement City home for their Miniature Railroad & Village. Considering that we have original blueprints and photographs from when Cement City was created in 1916, we felt that the replication effort would not be an issue, and the project was launched, but we were sworn to secrecy. Through the summer months we continued to answer their questions about architectural details (i.e., stucco paint, shingle colors, etc.) and provided even more photographs. We were then informed that there would not be just one home, but a grouping of six completed homes and one under construction, circa 1916/1917, that would make up the featured addition of the Miniature Railroad & Village in 2018, their 99th year – a huge honor for our town of Donora, our Cement City Historic District residents and the Donora Historical Society. By October, the miniature Cement City homes were nearly complete when Carnegie Science Center’s railroad modelers, marketers and docents visited Donora for their very own private Cement City tour so they could prepare to tell the Cement City story for their Miniature Railroad

& Village visitors. In December, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Miniature Railroad & Village and invitation to the opening day press conference were provided to members of the Donora Historical Society. The Cement City homes were then unveiled to the general public December 15th. During this season’s winter months and for years to come, please visit the Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad & Village to see Cement City in miniature, then consider taking one of our Cement City Home and Walking Tours in 2019 (April 14th or 15th or May 4th or 5th) to see the homes full scale. Please RSVP by emailing us or calling and leaving a message. If you have any questions about Cement City, one of our Home and Walking Tours or our project with the Carnegie Science Center’s Miniature Railroad & Village, please consult our website and click the “Cement City” tab, or contact the historical society. Since the unveiling, various regional news outlets have carried the Carnegie Science Center’s Cement City story that also show pictures, as well as videos. They include: KDKA – Pittsburgh Today Live, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, TribuneReview, Pittsburgh City Paper: ELDORA PARK WALKING TOUR Our third annual Eldora Park Walking Tours are scheduled for Saturday, March 30th and April 6th at noon. The tours

will start at the Smog Museum in Donora with a photo and newspaper article presentation on Eldora Park. 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 $12 per person and you should allow two hours for the presentation and walking tour. Please contact the Historical Society to RSVP as space is limited. You will be contacted to confirm the date(s) of the tour(s). NEW DONORA AND MONONGAHELA FOOTBALL GAME FILMS We were recently given three new football game films featuring the Donora Dragons and the Monongahela Wildcats. The games are Donora vs. Monongahela from 1955, Monongahela vs. Redstone from 1957, and Monongahela vs. Washington from 1958. None have been converted to DVD as of this writing. If anyone has an interest in these games, please consult our website and click the “Game Films” tab, or contact the historical society. FMI, feel free to stop by on Saturdays or by special appointment (with at least a week’s notice), email us at DonoraHistoricalSoci, call us at 724-823-0364 and leave a message, visit us at, or follow us and Like Us on Facebook at “Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum.”

Award winning children’s book series to release third book this January

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The award-winning Della and Lila children's book series is proud to announce the release of the third book in their series, Della and Lila Meet the Monongahela Monster. Della and Lila Meet the Monongahela Monster is a heart-warming tale of two little girls, who befriend the legendary monster, give him a special name, and help their community realize that what a person (or, in this case a "monster") looks like on the outside, isn't really who they are on the inside. Never judge a book by its cover or a monster by the color of his scales. Children and adults alike will fall in love with this story of our region's most fabled "monster". Be sure to stay up to date on Della and Lila's website and social media accounts: and @dellaandlila

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Center in the Woods December 2018 Activities Center in the Woods would like to extend a warm welcome to anyone who would like to come and be a part of our community. Whether you’re looking for fellowship, a new activity, or you’d like to volunteer, we encourage you to stop in. No membership is required. Make a reservation a day ahead and join us for lunch at noon. 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: Piano lessons, 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. Sit and enjoy or bring an instrument and join in. Piano lessons are offered on Mondays. Call Judy at 724-785-6959 to schedule. 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. 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 par-

ticipants with activities or just being a friend, please contact Mary Beth at 724938-3554, 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 are also needed in the kitchen. We also need volunteers to help with various fundraising activities and administration work. FMI, please call 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:

GACO Office to Host Federal Contracting Seminar California University of Pennsylvania's Government Agency Coordination Office, a Procurement Technical Assistance Center, is sponsoring a seminar on federal contracting from 9 a.m.-noon Dec. 5. “Wage Rates, Contract Changes, and How to Avoid Conflict: A Seminar on Federal Construction Contracting” will be held at Nova Place (formerly Allegheny Center), in Pittsburgh. This seminar focuses on wage rates related to the Davis-Bacon Act, contract

changes and how to avoid conflict in getting paid. Maria L. Panichelli, a government contracting attorney, and Karen Welton, from the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, will discuss these topics and answers questions. The seminar is free, but pre-registration is suggested by Dec. 3. For additional information or to register, contact Tyler Verin at 412-237-6098 or


Personal catastrophe liability coverage (personal umbrella insurance) can give you an extra layer of protection in case something tragic happens. We all like to think it will never happen to us, but the reality is that it might. ACCIDENTS CAN HAPPEN TO ANYONE Unfortunately, bad things happen from time to time. And sometimes really bad things happen – like a horrific car crash or a terrible accident on the backyard trampoline or in your swimming pool. If you have personal catastrophe liability insurance, you get additional liability coverage to help protect you. Another outcome of a catastrophic event can be a staggering jury award as a result of a lawsuit. You’ve probably seen the headlines. It could happen to anyone, and it could mean financial ruin if you’re not properly protected. PROTECTION AGAINST THE UNEXPECTED Most of us have auto and home coverage, but having protection against a catastrophic liability claim is often overlooked. Would you have enough coverage if something tragic happened to you? Personal catastrophe liability insurance coverage, also known as personal umbrella insurance, gives you and your family an extra layer of protection above the limits in your auto, homeowners or boat insurance policy. Erie Insurance’s personal catastrophe liability coverage1 offers you an

additional $1 million in coverage for covered claims brought against you or your family for things like bodily injury, emotional stress, libel, slander and accidental damage to another person’s property. (Higher coverage amounts can be purchased. An ERIE agent can help you decide what’s right for you.) ERIE’s coverage can also help protect you if: You cause a car accident that results in injuries or property damage Someone is hurt on your property (someone other than you or residents of your household) You cause damage or are in an accident while travelling (it follows you anywhere in the world) Have to pay to defend a claim that’s not covered by your primary policy2 LOW COST, HIGH VALUE INSURANCE COVERAGE You might be surprised to learn how much coverage you can buy from ERIE for a modest cost. For most people, an extra $1 million in coverage costs less than $20 a month. (Let’s face it; you really can’t afford not to have this insurance.) GET THE PROTECTION YOU NEED Affordable protection is just a phone call away. This information provided by Mariscotti Insurance Agency, 324 Third Street, California, PA. Contact your agent, Kim Mariscotti, at 724938-9302.

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

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Westmoreland to hold Xpress Enrollment Days

48 law enforcement agencies recruit at Waynesburg

Westmoreland County Community College will hold a series of Xpress Enrollment Days on Saturdays, December 1, December 15 and January 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its Youngwood campus and centers in Latrobe, Mt. Pleasant, New Kensington, Murrysville, Uniontown and Indiana. Xpress Enrollment Days provide a convenient “one-stop shop” for timestretched prospective students. They can complete the free application for admission, find their fit in classes and register for classes offered at any Westmoreland location or online, all in the same day. New students should bring a copy of their high school transcript. Classes start January 10 for the 15week semester and February 14 for the 12-week semester. During Xpress Enrollment Days, FAFSA (Free Application for Federal

Waynesburg University’s Department of Criminal Justice Administration and Social Sciences hosted a Job & Internship Fair yesterday, connecting more than 300 students and alumni with recruiters from 48 federal, state, local and private agencies. “I am tremendously proud of the quality of students that we have in the Criminal Justice Program,” said Adam Jack, chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Social Sciences, associate professor of criminal justice and director of the Master of Arts in Criminal Investigation Program. “The agencies appeared to be very impressed with their demeanor and professionalism today. Many of the students walked away with internship and job opportunities that they would not have otherwise known about.” Recruiters from the ATF, the IRSCID, Arlington County Police Department, Pennsylvania State Police, and the United States Pentagon Police, among others, attended the Job & Internship Fair. Numerous alumni returned to Waynesburg University for the event, both to recruit for their agency and to job search. “We were immediately impressed with the caliber of students at this school and the quality of education they are getting,” said Sergeant Matt Lafley of the Arlington County Police Department. “To be a police officer, you have to have high standards, integrity, commitment, courage…there’s no tradeoff for

Student Aid) workshops will be held at the Youngwood campus. Financial aid assistance at all other locations will be completed over the phone. Students can learn about financial aid, ask questions and receive assistance completing the form. For more information or to reserve a spot on any of the dates, visit or visit to view the spring class schedules.

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Brownsville Historical Society Events: Wine Tastings & Holiday Tours "SIPPING THROUGH THE AGES" Wine tasting fundraiser event at Nemacolin Castle - Sat. Nov. 17 7 p.m.9 p.m. - Spend an evening sampling wines and spirits from various wineries in a classic historical setting. Guests will also get an opportunity to get an early view of the castle decorated for the upcoming holiday season. Tickets will be available soon. Cost is $40 per person. Must bring valid and proper ID. No persons under 21 years of age will


be admitted. "HOLIDAY LIGHT-UP NIGHT 2018” - Fri. Nov. 23 beginning at 5 p.m. Come to Nemacolin Castle and help Brownsville kick-off the Christmas season on Holiday Light up Night 2018. The castle grounds will be buzzing with things to do: holiday musical entertainment, characters, vendors, Civil War soldiers, and delicious food as well as our famous "wassail". Santa and his friends will be outside to greet the guests. The Castle will be beautifully decorated both

inside and out and will be available for tours. Tour cost is $15 per person. NEMACOLIN CASTLE CHRISTMAS TOURS - Beginning on light up night and all weekend evenings in December. Visit Nemacolin Castle at one of the best times of the year. See the castle decorated as the Bowman family would have seen it, in the colonial, Victorian, and turn of the century fashion! Tour cost is $15 per person. For any questions regarding these events, please call 724-785-6882.

those things. And that’s what we see in these kids here.” Criminal justice administration, forensic science, forensic accounting, psychology, sociology and computer science and forensics majors were invited to attend the event, in addition to alumni of relevant majors. “Today we are recruiting for internships or special agent positions,” said Amanda Lauth of IRS-CID. “We’re looking for students who have a background in accounting. Waynesburg actually has a forensic accounting major, which is exactly what we do. We’ve talked to a lot of qualified candidates today.” Those who attended the event had the opportunity to network with professionals in the field, exploring potential job leads and learning from alumni who have launched successful careers. Offering students the opportunity to learn technical skills from experienced professionals in a hands-on setting from day one, Waynesburg’s Criminal Justice Administration Program was recently ranked in the top five percent nationwide in College Factual’s ranking, published by USA Today. THE CAST IRON GALLERY HAS OPENED IN BROWNSVILLE, PA. We would like to invite you to visit us at 200 Bank Street. We are open Saturday & Sunday from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m.. Weekdays by Appointment. Come explore Brownsville and be inspired by the rich history. There are new photos by Stephen Beckman, the creator of the gallery, and Charles Hoopes, his business partner. Our photos are on the website and available for purchase. Questions? Call 973-652-5324. We are searching for old photos of the area and artifacts to coincide with the same. Schedule your free tour today!

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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s ‘The Nutcracker’ Takes the Stage Through December Complete with growing Christmas tree, falling snow and mesmerizing magic tricks, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s “The Nutcracker” returns to the Benedum Center for a 26-performance run Nov. 30 - Dec. 27. Tickets start at $28 and are available at, 412-456-6666 or at the Box Office at Theater Square. The annual production features P.I. Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, choreography and concept by PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr, and costume and scenic designs by Emmy-winning designer Zack Brown. Each performance features five scene changes and 170 roles for both professional company members and student dancers from PBT School. “‘The Nutcracker’ is pure Pittsburgh tradition. But with new surprises and choreographic tweaks, it’s also everchanging,” said PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. “For me, it’s important to create unique casting combinations for all 26 performances to keep the excitement alive and ensure that no two performances are exactly alike.” The festivities start as soon as audience members walk through the Benedum Center doors with opportunities to take a souvenir photo with the Sugar Plum Fairy ($10/photo benefitting PBT School), shop for holiday gifts at the PBT boutique, and listen to lobby entertainment by local musical ensembles before select performances. “The Nutcracker” is one of the bestknown ballets of all time, based on German author E.T.A. Hoffman’s classic 1816 tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” The first ballet adaptation premiered in 1892 at the Imperial Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg.

PBT has performed versions of “The Nutcracker” since the 1970s and has presented Orr’s adaptation since 2002, introducing a coming-of-age story, more complex choreography and a Pittsburgh setting. Pittsburghers can spot references to the city’s own landmarks and cultural heritage, including the Snow Scene’s Mount Washington view, a Kaufmann’sinspired proscenium clock and a Land of Enchantment inspired by Pittsburgh’s historic amusement parks. Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s version of the classic tale opens with a Christmas Eve party in early 20th-century Shadyside, where a gift from the mysterious Drosselmeyer sparks a wondrous

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adventure for young Marie Stahlbaum. The story unfolds through classical dancing, ranging from the ethereal Snow Scene to the virtuosic national dances of the Land of Enchantment. The choreography culminates with a grand pas de deux performed by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier, before the story returns to the Stahlbaum home, leaving Marie to wonder, “Was it all a dream?” Among the 170 costumes featured in each performance, highlights include 18 shimmering snowflakes, 16 colorful tutus resembling flower petals, a stage full of elaborate Victorian party dresses and many more hand-crafted ensembles. Among the total 215-costume inventory,

110 were built locally in the PBT costume shop under the direction of Costumier Janet Groom Campbell. The scenery completes the picture with 3D set pieces, like the Land of Enchantment Carousel, and hand-painted drops. Special effects add to the enchantment with a growing Christmas tree, flurries of falling snow and magic tricks conceived by a professional magician. Among the 26 performances, the company will present a Student Matinee performance, sponsored by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7, and a sensory-friendly Continued on next page...

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performance adapted for patrons with special needs at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec 27. Tickets start at $28, and are available at, 412-456-6666 or by visiting the Box Office at Theater Square. Theater Programs - Audience members are invited to join the artists for a series of pre- and post-show programs at the Benedum Center. Free and open to all ticket holders unless otherwise noted. Talks with Terry | Dec. 2, at 11 a.m. Pre-show preview, including a peek at company class and Q&A with Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr. Audio-described performance | Dec. 2, at 12 p.m. - A live narration of the ballet for individuals with visual impairments. Headsets are available at the Guest Services Center with a valid ID. Family Pointe | Dec. 8 and 15, at 1 p.m. - Pre-show opportunity to learn steps from the ballet and talk with ballet dancers. Reservations required at 412-454-9109 or Ballet Adventures: The Nutcracker | Dec. 15, at 11:30 a.m. - Pre-show ballet class, including steps from “The Nutcracker.” For ages 5 - 12; additional fee required. Registration required at or by calling 412-

454-9107. Performance Times Friday, December 30 – 7 p.m. Saturday, December 1 – 2 p.m. Saturday, December 1 – 7 p.m. Sunday, December 2 – 12 p.m. Sunday, December 2 – 4:30 p.m. Friday, December 7 – 11 a.m. Student Matinee Friday, December 7 – 7 p.m. Saturday, December 8 – 2 p.m. Saturday, December 8 – 7 p.m. Sunday, December 9 – 12 p.m. Sunday, December 9 – 4:30 p.m. Friday, December 14 – 7 p.m. Saturday, December 15 – 2 p.m. Saturday, December 15 – 7 p.m. Sunday, December 16 – 12 p.m. Sunday, December 16 – 4:30 p.m. Thursday, December 20 – 7 p.m. Friday, December 21 – 7 p.m. Saturday, December 22 – 2 p.m. Saturday, December 22 – 7 p.m. Sunday, December 23 – 12 p.m. Sunday, December 23 – 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 26 – 2 p.m. Wednesday, December 26 – 7 p.m. Thursday, December 27 – 2 p.m. Sensory-friendly Performance Thursday, December 27 – 7 p.m. Photo Credit: Rich Sofranko

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BAMA announces December 2018 events Allison Nazarene Church (416 Vernon St., Allison) is hosting a Grace on the Hill Bible Study on December 2. The studies begin at 5:13 p.m. with a light dinner, singing, prayer time, and Bible Study. Pastor Roger Diehl is leading the evenings. The events are free and open to the public. On Sunday, December 2 the Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir will be sharing their Christmas Cantata at 7 p.m. “Journey of a King” at the Washington Alliance Church (246 Sanitarium Road, Washington, PA). The public is invited to this free event! Sunday, December 9 - FISH (Faithful In Serving Him) Clan Youth Group – 1:11 to 3:33 p.m. at the Fort Burd Presbyterian Church (Route 166 / 200 Thornton Road, Brownsville). This once-a-month ecumenical ministry is hosted by various congregations in the Brownville Area Ministerial Association (BAMA) and led by volunteers. It is open to everyone – free of charge – and youth ages 11-17 all are welcome. You do NOT have to be a member of a congregation in order to participate. If you live in the Brownsville Area, come and grow in faith together, Come for lunch, games, movies, Bible Study, and mission projects to help others. Questions? Contact Pleasant View’s Rev. Blank at 724-677-2149. Free event! On Sunday, December 9 the Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir will be sharing their Christmas Cantata “Journey of a King” at the Christian Assembly of God Church (100 Meadow St., Bentleyville) at 7 p.m. The public is invited to this free event. There will be a food bank at Pleasant View Presbyterian Church (533 Royal Road, Smock) on Saturday, December 15 at 10 a.m. Coffee will be served beginning at 9:30 a.m. Packing for the food bank is on Friday, December 14


at 10 a.m. On Sunday, December 16 there will be a “Blue Christmas Service” held at REPUBLIC’s First Christian Church. On Sunday, December 2, 2018 the Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir will be sharing their Christmas Cantata at 7:00 p.m. “Journey of a King” will be presented at the Washington Alliance Church (246 Sanitarium Road, Washington, PA). The public is invited to this free event! There will be a food bank at Pleasant View Presbyterian Church (533 Royal Road, Smock) on Saturday, December 15, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. Coffee will be served beginning at 9:30 a.m. Packing for the food bank is on Friday, December 14 at 10 a.m. On Sunday, December 16, 2018 there will be a “Children’s Program” held at REPUBLIC’s First Christian Church (Route 166, Republic) during their regular worship service which begins at 10:55 a.m. (almost 11:00 a.m). The public is invited! The St. Vincent de Paul sponsored Food Bank will be held on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 at the First United Methodist Church (215 Church St., Brownsville). Folks can pick up their food from 11:30 a.m. thru 12:30 p.m. New clients can come at this time to register. The next date is January 16, 2019. Help is needed for the Food Bank at Calvin U.P. Church (307 Spring St., Brownsville) on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 8:45 a.m. to unload and help is needed again to distribute the food on Saturday, December 22, 2018 at 9:15 a.m. The food distribution begins at 10:00 a.m. The next distribution date is Saturday, January 26, 2019.The BAMA supported service for Prayer for Christian Unity will be held on Thursday, January 24, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Pleasant View Presbyterian Church (533 Smock Road, Smock). The public is invited. The snow date is Thursday, January 31, 2019.


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JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM Join us on Friday, December 8 & Saturday, December 9 at the United Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 499 E. Malden, Coal Center, for our annual Drive Thru Nativity - “Journey to Bethlehem” - to be held from 68 p.m. Donations will be accepted and all proceeds benefit the Good Eats Ministry - which feeds hungry kids - and the California Volunteer Fire Department. Christmas Eve Services will be held Dec. 24 at 7 and 11:30 p.m.

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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United Christian Church 499 E. Malden Drive, Coal Center - (724) 938-2098 We worship every Sunday at 10 a.m. All are welcome! UCCDOC.ORG


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The Chefs’ Marketplace attracts sell-out crowd and honors alumni “The Chefs’ Table,” held by Westmoreland County Community College’s Educational Foundation, attracted a sell-out crowd for its French countryside-themed fundraising fete Sunday, December 7 at the college in Youngwood. Students and faculty in the college’s School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality prepared and presented the gourmet hors d’oeuvres and market stations featuring the cuisine of the French countryside to over 140 guests. The various stations included cuisine such as steamed mussels with beurre blanc; pomme frites with duck confit; carved roast beef tenderloin with cognac cream; volauvent with wild mushroom demi glaze; bread and roll assortments with flavored butters and fruit spreads; crepes Suzette, and a variety of other pastries. The evening also included The Chef’s Marketplace, a student-created foods marketplace featuring special Marketplace Bags and other specialty items for sale. All proceeds from the event support scholarships for Culinary Arts and Hospitality students. Students and guests had the opportunity to applaud the induction of Westmoreland alumnus Terry Menear into the college’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Hall of Fame. Menear is the general manager and sommelier at Helen’s Restaurant, Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Menear graduated from Westmoreland with an associate degree Culinary Arts and later earned a Level One certification with the Court of Master Sommeliers. His previous professional experience included stints as the Executive Chef for Crown America Hotels, Chef Tournot at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Opening Sous Chef and Chef de Cuisine at the Ritz Carltons in Las Vegas and Cleveland, Chef Tournot at Bellagio in Las Vegas, Assistant General manager and Sommelier at Tillerman in Las Vegas, and General Manager and Sommelier at Savory Hill in Moon Township. He assumed his current position with Helen’s in 2013. “At Helen’s Restaurant, we were able to take our wine program to the next level, creating a world-class wine cellar within the natural cellar

Gallery 86 is now the home of the Uniontown Art Club and is located at 86 West Main St. in downtown Uniontown. The gallery and gift shop is filled with unique and one-of-a-kind works of art made by local artists. Hours of operation are MondaySaturday 12:30-5:30 p.m. The UAC is a local non-profit of our unique and historic restaurant,” Menear said. “After 14 years as a chef, I now have the opportunity to explore exquisite wines from around the world, curate award-winning wine lists and pair them with the fine cuisine offered at Helen’s. What inspires me most is always striving to be the best and delivering an unforgettable experience to our guests.” Menear’s meticulous work has helped Helen’s Restaurant win its seventh consecutive Award of Excellence for Wine Spectator Magazine in 2018. Menear was recognized for his accomplishments by Dr. Cindy Komarinski, program director and professor of Culinary Arts/Hospitality Programs, David W. McDonald, president of the Educational Foundation and college President Tuesday Stanley. “I congratulate Terry on his induction into our Hall of Fame,” said Stanley. “As an outstanding alumnus you give our students an exceptional example of what they can aspire to become.” Stanley also recognized Nemacolin

Woodlands Resort as the event sponsor along with General Carbide, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, West Penn Power, Cannon Design, S & T Bank, Eat ‘n Park Hospitality Group, First Commonwealth, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Innovative Carbide,Intech Solutions, Excela Health, Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, Brainfuse, Clarus Corporation, Hudson Group, Mullen Refrigeration Service, Mrs. Linda Assard and Dr. William and Mrs. Judy Scheeren for their sponsorship. “I am very thankful to everyone who has supported this wonderful event which over the last 30 years has raised nearly $1.5 million for student scholarships. Your generosity helps us to help our amazing culinary arts and hospitality students,” Stanley said.

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that was established in 1927. They have been promoting and generating appreciation of the visual arts in the community for over 90 years. Their web address is Check out their Facebook page for upcoming special events and shows. APPRISE, the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, will hold free presentations that will help answer many questions concerning basic Medicare. Registration is required: Call 724-925-4204 Dec. 11 - WestmorelandYoungwood Campus, 2-4 p.m. 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood Registration code: PRDX 5019-01 FMI: 15

Peeling Off the Labels - Originally presented at at NAMI’s “Stories That Heal Author Series” High functioning. That’s what I’m told I am. What does that even mean? Another label in the endless labels plastering the walls of mental health. Does this mean I am closer to normal than others I meet? Maybe further down the path in my recovery? Some days maybe, others my label is just another torn one on a half dented can alone on the shelf. I mean, I’m not in a wheelchair, no parking placard and can get around without an oxygen tank. Is this what high functioning means? The biggest problem I see is that the huge weight of stigma and getting out from under it before my lungs fill up with the misconceptions of this invisible disease. How many can understand something they can’t see, but quick to label? With every new shooting, rape, domestic violence case or any other deviant behavior, the offender must have a mental disorder, right? That’s what I’m told anyway. Psycho, lunatic, sociopath, crazy, mental patient, nut. The familiar labels. Interesting how those labels get plastered everywhere. Still waiting to see “my student is a mental patient” bumper sticker.


Probably grow old waiting for that one. Add this to the daily task of maintaining my head above the water of functionality that most don’t have to deal with consistently. Think about that for a moment. Most people get up, hop in the shower, pour that first cup of coffee, choke down a piece of toast and off to work. Two to three days a week, if I’m lucky, that doesn’t work like that for me. My constant companion is boundless rage and/or racing thoughts. My rage has no cause or effect, it just rises from the ashes and burns everything in its wakes. Impossible to extinguish as it has no origin. The rac-

ing thoughts serve as tinder. Any clue how frustrating it is to be unable to harness thoughts ricocheting in a hundred different directions, spawning new ones with every bounce? Not sure if there’s a label for this, but there is for the result, “paralysis.” Walls that can be chipped away brick by brick if people simply took the time to extend a little patience and understanding with educating themselves. There’s this really cool infinite library called, “the internet” for such stuff. I know all of we crazies use it to unlock all the mysteries surrounding our own diagnoses. I’m pretty sure to maintain my lofty high-functioning status, being proactive in my own treatment is a prerequisite. Then there’s acceptance. Simply put, without working on it, this untreatable illness of mine morphs into a terminal illness. My label is bipolar, rapid-cycling. I’d figured you ask at some point, so let’s get that out of the way post haste. Back to the terminal label. Statistically speaking, as many as 15 percent of people with bipolar disorder will die by their own hands, half will attempt to, and near-

ly 80 percent will contemplate doing so. Not real good odds, if I were a betting man. So yeah, terminal is aptly applied in my case if I don’t tend house. That is, if I don’t wander off, self-harm or hit one of those racing thought modes while I’m behind the wheel of my car. Then those odds increase. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t wear the high-functioning label like a scarlet letter, but there are times where it can make me feel like a faker a cheater. My passionate lover of self-doubt stalks me, even when I don’t need a fix. She’s brazen, sitting boldly on my lap, particularly in group environments where people are bearing their souls and I have nothing but good news to add. Should I strive to be a shiny can, or stay that dented one with the halftorn label? Will others in the group see me as an inspiration or a jerk. That tug of war goes on constantly as she longs to be kissed. Then there are the days when I’m anything but high-functioning. Getting out of bed is a chore. Bathing is a burden. Eating is a waste of time. I just want to sack out in front of the television, which I despise. Misery loves company, but in my case, when I bottom out, I assume the role of misery. But again, just another label. High-functioning, low-functioning, middle-functioning. Whatever the label, we all make up varying wavelengths in the light spectrum of mental wellness. Even if outside understanding isn’t fueling any of that energy, we still collectively have the capacity to create our own beautiful rainbows, free of labels. I guess that’s better than what most would call “normal.” Who wants to be normal anyway. In the words of the novelist Gregory Macguire, “As long as people are going to call you lunatic anyway, why not get the benefit of it? It liberates you from convention.” 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.

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From Charlemange to modern day students, cursive connects communities Story by Keren Lee Dreyer In the eighth century, Charlemange requested an English monk to begin standardizing the varying evolutions of the day’s primitive cursive handwriting. The result, Carolingian miniscule, featured lowercase letters and an emphasis on word separation and legibility. However, it was fifteenth century “Italian humanists,” in revolt against the Gutenberg printing press and its “gothic” stylistic bent, who would develop Carolingian miniscule into a form of Italic still recognizable today. Over the ensuing centuries, educators discovered that cursive’s sweeping beauty had sublime benefits for students, including improvements in fine motor coordination, enhanced memory of what was written, and, surprisingly, it could help many dyslexic students distinguish between commonly confused letters while enhancing their overall learning skills. As happens with many things of beauty, they fall out of favor as something passe or, worse, unnecessary. One of the controversial changes in school curricula, advancing from the 1990s and punctuated by Common Core standards, is the divesting of cursive writing. While Common Core does not demand dropping cursive instruction, it remains silent on its teaching, choosing instead to focus on computer keyboarding (though it could easily be argued that many students still cannot properly touch-type). As also happens when things of beauty are seemingly doomed to obscurity, like a long-forgotten red Barchetta, there are those who recognize the importance and functionality of those things and champion their preservation, or even their resurrection. In the case of cursive writing, that champion is California Area Middle School language arts teacher, Jenny Edwards. Edwards, who teaches seventh and eighth grade, realized that her students weren’t receiving much cursive practice though, according to Pennsylvania state standards, they had some prior instruction. The opportunity for her students to use cursive in a meaningful way was inspired when former teacher, Susan Hurley, found an article describing how elementary students in a different area had written letters to seniors. She sent it along to Edwards asking if she’d like to do that at Cal. “I thought this would be a good idea for kids to write to people at the Center in the Woods,” Edwards said, adding “I want my middle school students to practice cursive, to practice their communication skills, and understand the differ-


THE NUTCRACKER BALLET December 14-15 at 7 p.m. December 16 at 2 p.m. ence between formal and informal writing, to know their audience, and to reach out to members of our community and see what spark happens from that.” As serendipity would have it, Center in the Woods, a fully accredited adult day care center in Brownsville, PA, was ready for contact. Jane Crawford, Center in the Woods Activities and Fund Development Coordinator, had also wanted to bridge the gap between the Center in the Woods and the community, explaining that “The intention is to make a connection between students and seniors, like a well-being project, and to help kids with their cursive writing skills,” Crawford said. While many seniors greeted the idea with enthusiasm, they “couldn’t believe we’re not teaching students cursive anymore. They should (learn cursive) and the seniors feel that way, too. It’ll be a dying art, and if we stop cursive now,

oh, how sad” Crawford opined, while commenting that some seniors write in cursive “...fine, and some of them do beautifully...they do a good job.” As the seniors continue responding to some 80-odd letters from Edwards’s middle school students, each group of pen-pals stands to learn from the other; for the seniors, how students of today think of the world and, for the students, some first-hand historical knowledge is likely in store. But most all of their connections and sharing will be communicated through an art that, thanks to caring people and willing participants, still has a heartbeat of its own. Visit to discover more about Center in the Woods facilities and programs. For “A Brief History of Penmanship,” check out the History Channel’s History Stories at:

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The State Theatre is proud to produce the annual production of The Nutcracker Ballet featuring local dancers of all ages performing the classic story to Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score. Make this beautiful production of The Nutcracker part of your family holiday tradition with this beautiful performance! Tix $15

HOLIDAY CONCERT December 2 at 3 p.m. FREE ADMISSION Get into the holiday spirit with the VFW Post 8543 Band’s annual holiday concert featuring your favorite songs of the season! Admission is FREE with a donation to the Food Bank or Toys for Tots. Non-perishable food items, unopened new toys, & monetary donations only, please.

Classic Film Series December 7 at 2 & 7 p.m. January 11 at 2 & 7 p.m. December’s film is Christmas Vacation January’s film is Bringing Up Baby Adults $5, Students, senior citizens & children $3

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

Grammy-Award winning band America will perform in Pittsburgh Iconic multi-platinum-selling group AMERICA--lead singers, songwriters and guitarists Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell—have announced additional tour dates as part of their 2018 and 2019 world tour leading up to their 50th anniversary next year. The renowned duo makes their way to Pittsburgh on Thursday, February 21, 2019 and will be performing at the Byham Theater, 101 Sixth Street, at 8:00 p.m. This event is presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and WME Entertainment. In Pittsburgh, tickets are on sale Friday, December 9, 2018, at the following Pittsburgh Cultural Trust official ticket sources: online at, by calling Guest Services at 412-456-6666, or in person at the Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. Writing about a recent show, Scott Mervis of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 5/14/18 noted: “…an array of irresistible hits and more rock edge than expected…If you could have measured the level of ecstasy in the room when Beckley played the opening riff and the band launched into ‘Ventura Highway,’ it would have been staggering…” Almost 50 years ago, the Grammy Awardwinning band was formed by Gerry Beckley,

Dewey Bunnell and Dan Peek (who departed the band in 1977 and passed away in 2011) after meeting as sons of U.S. Air Force personnel stationed in London, where they began performing live. They released their debut album on Capitol in 1971, which hit #1 in the U.S and featured the #1

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Billboard pop hit “Horse With No Name.” The Wall Street Journal (7/17/18) recently interviewed Dewey and Gerry about the evolution of the classic song for Marc Meyers’ recurring “Anatomy of a Song” feature. AMERICA has influenced generations of musicians with their distinctive brand of

acoustic-driven, harmony-rich rock, mixed with pop smarts, in soul-searching classic songs that reflected the times they were living in. The band’s huge radio success throughout the ‘70s and early ‘80s at times overshadowed the lyrical depth of their songs such as the questing “Horse With No Name” (with its environmental message at the end); the frank romantic politics of “Sister Golden Hair”; the war paranoia of “Sandman” (written in part from conversations with returning airmen from Vietnam); and the cautionary life advice of “Don’t Cross The River.” As further testament to the band’s staying power and influence, AMERICA’s recordings have been licensed for a multitude of placement in films including, American Hustle, The Nice Guys, The Last Unicorn, and Girl Most Likely. In addition to films, AMERICA’s recordings have been licensed for television shows including, The Sopranos, Friends, Breaking Bad, and Saturday Night Live, as well as Grand Theft Auto video games. For more information about AMERICA, visit

724-938-7800 Visit the new SPUDS web site! Follow SPUDS on Twitter @spudscalpa NEW Facebook Page:

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Westmoreland County Natives Debut the Release of Their Christmas CD Westmoreland Cultural Trust and Tonic Recordings are proud to celebrate the Holiday CD release of Angels in the Snow by local artists Gary Pratt and Dawn Noelle. Gary Pratt, a local business owner, and Dawn Noelle have always dreamed of releasing a Christmas CD that shares a message of what's important in life and the true meaning of Christmas. Pratt explains, “Angels in the Snow is a journey through Christmas with a message of hope. It features songs about taking the time to slow down, enjoy the holiday and make new memories with those we love. It's about holding on to the memories of those who can't be with us. It's about the true meaning of Christmas...the birth of Christ.” The album is a compilation of classic Christmas songs sprinkled with a few new, original tunes. Traditional songs range from ballads such as a remake of Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” and “Silent Night” to more up-tempo tunes including “Merry Christmas Everyone” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas.” “Once Upon a Christmas,” written by Dolly Parton, will feature a chorus of children. The title song, “Angels in the Snow”, is an original song about hope and believing in signs from those that have passed- knowing that they are here with us, while “The Magic of Christmas" reminds listeners to enjoy and appreciate the activities of the season with family. Guests will have the opportunity to meet Gary and Dawn following the performance and view the special art exhibit Angel, Winter and Inspirational Art featuring

works from local artists Pamela Cooper, Patrick Mahoney, Suzanne Panchura, Moira Richardson and Michael Riggs. The “Angels in the Snow” CD will be available for purchase during the evening. Dawn and Gary both attended Greensburg-Salem High School and were raised in the small town of Slickville. They sang together in their high school days and have now reunited through music. They perform together each summer as a featured act at Westmoreland Cultural Trust’s TGIS Outdoor Concert Series and at many venues, festivals and special events throughout the region. Gary has been the opening act for national acts Dwight Yoakum, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan and Ronnie Milsap at The Palace Theatre. He is also a songwriter and in

2009, released his country CD “Don’t Walk There in My Shadow” available on iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby and Amazon. He has performed at many of the venues in Nashville. In addition to music, Gary owns and operates Le Jardin Florals & Home Décor, a unique full-service floral shop in Greensburg. Dawn is an experienced entertainer and has performed everything from hard rock to country. She has been a member of local bands Tammany Hall, Night Wing, Main Street, Trilogy, Rareform and Moonshine Steel. Visit them on Facebook: or on their website at garyprattcountry

Waynesburg ACS receives Outstanding Chapter award for 2017-2018 year The Waynesburg University chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS) recently received the Outstanding Chapter Award for the 2017-2018 academic year. The American Chemical Society requires student chapters to submit a year-end report encompassing all of the activities performed during the school year. They are evaluated in the areas of outreach, professional development and chapter development. Waynesburg’s ACS chapter participated in more than 100 activities last year, said Evonne Baldauff, chairperson for the

Department of Chemistry and Forensic Science. Events included a Science Symposium Series, participation in National Chemistry Week and ChemFest at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, as well as hosting the Haunted Lab and monthly homeschool labs. “Bauldauff said this is the 11th Outstanding Chapter award the Waynesburg ACS chapter has received since 2006. “Waynesburg University’s ACS student chapter has a very solid reputation because of their readiness to volunteer and the

quality work they yield... I am excited that we have been able to maintain the level of

Dealing with Grief & Loss During the Holidays Holidays mark the passage of time in our lives. They are part of the milestones we share with each other and they generally represent time spent with family. They bring meaning to certain days and we bring much meaning back to them. But since holidays are for being with those we love the most, how on earth can anyone be expected to cope with them when a loved one has died? For many people, this is the hardest part of grieving, when we miss our loved ones even more than usual.How can you celebrate togetherness when there is none? When you have lost someone special, your world losses its celebratory qualities. Holidays only magnify the loss. The sadness feels sadder and the loneliness goes deeper. The need for support may be the greatest during the holidays. Pretending you don’t hurt and or it is not a harder time of the year is just not the truth for you. If it wasn’t harder you probably wouldn’t be here. You can and will get through the holidays. Rather than avoiding the feelings of grief, lean into them. It is not the grief you want to avoid, it is the pain. Grief is the way out of the pain. There are a number of ways to incorporate your loved one and your loss into the holidays. Ways to externalize the loss – give it a time and a place A prayer before the Holiday dinner, about your loved one. Light a candle for your loved one. Create an online tribute for them. Share a favorite story about your loved one. Have everyone tell a funny story about your loved one. At your place of worship remember them in a prayer. Chat online about them.

activity required to achieve this accomplishment for over 10 years,” she said. “It is really a tremendous amount of work that goes into the planning and implementing all of these activities all year, every year. The impact of doing good work on the campus and in the community is definitely worth the effort.” FMI, contact Baldauff at ebaldauf@ or call 724-852-7617.

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


Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The second book in the Della and Lila series, Della and Lila and the Treasure Adventure, is now available to purchase online at Amazon or at our official site.

Voted “Best of the ‘Burgh” by Pittsburgh Magazine and “Best of the Best” by the Observer-Reporter. Author Brianne Bayer Mitchell was the proud recipient of the Inspiring Lives Magazine Empowering Women in Philanthropy Award for 2017. Local Readers, get your copy of Della and Lila and the Treasure Adventure or Della and Lila Meet the Monongahela Mermaid (or both!) at Flowers by Regina in California, PA. Learn more at or

Save the dates for Cal U Theatre performances Harry Connick Jr.’s The Happy Elf – Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre December 6, 7, 8 @ 7 pm, December 89@ 2 pm Beloved bumbling Eubie is back for one more year in Bluesville. Join him, Gilda, Hamm, and the big man himself, Santa, for this heart-warming musical filled with the holiday spirit. Steele Hall will be filled with elves galore as Cal U Theatre students and members of the local community come together to bring this show to life. This production is suitable for all ages! Edges – The Blaney Theatre --February 21, 22, 23 @ 7 pm, February 23 @ 2 pm Music and Lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul - Edges is the first musical attempt by award-winning composer/lyricists Benji Pasek and Justin Paul (of Dear Evan Hansen fame). Edges is a song-cycle about burgeoning adults asking coming-ofage questions. This charming, witty and honest examination of adulthood explores what happens when we are teetering on the edges of our lives. Unexpected: A Selection of Symbolist Plays, Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre April 4, 5, 6 @ 7 pm, April 6 @ 2 pm A night filled with the unexpected sure to make your mind to roam, your heart yearn,

and your hairs stand on edge. One-act plays by Maurice Maeterlinck, Susan Glaspell, and Valery Bryusov will have you on the edge of your seat. As symbolist plays traditionally handle thought provoking content, our selections are sure to provide a night full of surprises. Commit to the Bit: An Evening of Sketch Comedy and Improvisation. Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre – April 17 & 18 @ 7pm Graduating senior Jeshua Myers, known to audiences for his portrayal of Ram (Heathers, the Musical) and Barfeé (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Jesh will combine his training in theatre and improvisation in this showcase. An Evening of One Acts*** – The Blaney Theatre- May 2, 3, 4 @ 7 pm, May 4th @ 2pm. Join us as we welcome our new crop of directors with this evening of one act plays ranging from laugh out-loud comedies to through-provoking dramas. ***Some subject matter may not be suitable for younger patrons.

Lunch Buffet $6.50 a person Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

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344 3rd Street, California, PA Tel.: (724) 938-8888 or (724) 938-8500 Please phone your order in for quicker service OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Fri-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday 12 noon-10 p.m.

Tribute to Stan Lee: December 28, 1922 – December 12, 2018 By Fred “Torchy Tomato” Terling The worst part about getting older is seeing my heroes die. Especially ones I’ve never had the opportunity to meet. All those missed hours exchanging ideas, exploring possibilities reliving origins. Like tears in the rain, moments lost forever of what could-have-beens. Most of us don’t get those moments, but it’s wonderful to dream. For those who have passed that I held on some imaginary pedestal, dreams of those moments swarm like fireflies in my imagination. They provide escape in times where I’ve needed it and respite when I craved it. In a way, with each death, I move a little closer to those in my real world, knowing that my time with them is limited as the only constant in this brief time on earth is eventually, we all shuffle off this mortal coil. For every heartbreak like Cobain, Nimoy, Mercury, et al., there are those that cut even deeper. Harvey Pekar was the first person who moved me to the point that upon his passing, I sent a sympathy card to his wife, Joyce. He was more than a voice that still continues to speak directly to me through his comic, American Splendor, but that particular format started me reading as a youth. My first comic book was Avengers #57. It was the origin story of what would become my favorite character of all-time. The Vision, although created by Jack “King” Kirby in 1940, was given an upgrade by Stan Lee, John Buscema and Roy Thomas. I was four years old at the time and accompanied my father into the Book Store in Canonsburg where he bought his favorite cigars that came in glass tubes. This was decades before I understood why this character appealed to me so much, but that day my first seed was planted. Stan Lee. So hard to put into words what he means to me. From that moment in 1968 until today, December 12, 2018, he has been a part of my life. I’ve never met the man, but a good portion of his creations have resided in my imagination. He created, according to last wiki check, 362 comic book charac-


ters. You’ve heard of a few: Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Avengers, Black Panther, Hulk, Thor, etc. Mind boggling. I know most of them personally as once characters are born in my head, they tend to interact. What attracted me to Marvel over all other comics was the genuine sincerity of each and every character. Good guys or bad guys, they all had relatable motivations. Some characters even blurred that sympathetic line between hero and villain. This taught me a lot about what awaited me in my adolescence and putting it into real practice in adulthood. I’m fifty-four years old, but I never strayed far from that comic universe. How could I? Those characters accompanied me through college, the Marine Corps, two marriages, four kids, multiple jobs and still I suit up on occasion for a cosplay event. Yes, Stan’s influence has been there through it all. Of course, I can type out a history of Stan the Man here, but that’s kind of the purpose of the internet. The only nugget I’ll toss out here is that one of the saddest days in his history, other than today, was when he stopped writing monthly comic books to assume the role of publisher of Marvel. His final issue of The Amazing Spiderman was #110 (July 1972) and his last Fantastic Four was #125 (August 1972). Today is only comparable to Amazing Spiderman 121-122.

Those who are fans understand. No, this tribute is more of a personal one. Through all of my years, the pages of his comic creations have served as wallpaper, sealing holes in my heart, kindling my imagination and wrapping the presents that Marvel delivered monthly without fail. Stan Lee will always be immortal to me. Indeed, he will remain immortal. I will continue to cosplay and break the seals on my bagged and boarded silver age comics. Those were flat out the best and Stan in his prime when he pushed the comics code for change. I’ll share them with my nephews, grandson and grandchildren that have yet to be born until my time eventually comes. Hopefully, they will continue this same tradition. In closing, when my editor tasked me with the important responsibility of penning this tribute, I enthusiastically accepted that great power. I believe my exact response was, “it’s mine.” I wonder what type of character Stan would have created for a staff writer with a monthly column on mental health? For this purpose, Torchy Tomato maybe? I can live with that. I hope I delivered a tribute worthy of the man. Afterall, with great power, comes great responsibility. ‘nuff said and Excelsior…

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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.


Monessen Historical Society December ‘18 News The annual Greater Monessen Historical Society Holiday Party will be held on Saturday, December 8, 2018, from 11 AM until 2 PM. Stop by to see old friends and view the exhibits. Don’t forget to shop locally at the Museum Shoppe. We have the largest collection of ethnic cookbooks in the area. The Shoppe has other great gift ideas for the holiday season. The Heritage Museum will close on December 22, 2018 and remain closed until January 9, 2019 to give our dedicated volunteers a well-deserved vacation. Beginning in January and lasting until mid-March, the Museum will not be open on Saturdays, except by special appointment. Also, if planning to visit during the week, please call ahead to make sure someone is on duty, as our regular hours are weather permitting only. The Membership Renewal letter and fund appeal for the Historical Society has been mailed. Please return your membership renewal, so we can update your records. You are the reason for why we are here! We depend on your generosity to sustain us and help us grow! Please be as generous as you can be. We need your donations to continue the Annex renovation work! Memberships cover the expenses of keeping the museum open and preserving local history. Gift memberships make great gifts! Individual memberships are $15 a calendar year with family memberships being $20.00. Business memberships are $50. Do you have talents to share? Do you have spare time? Do you want to give back to the community? Do you enjoy history? If so, please consider joining our group and volunteering at the Museum. Call for details. The Historical Society is also searching for interested individuals who are able to create models of well-known Monessen buildings that can be displayed inside the

Monessen Heritage Museum. The Historical Society is looking for: *Ledger books *Society minute books *Membership lists of organizations *Church bulletins *Funeral prayer cards *Advertising items for local businesses *Photos of ethnic celebrations *Photos of religious celebrations *Photos of old businesses *Photos of schools *Photos of industries *Event programs *Family genealogies The Historical Society is researching the history of Monessen’s African American community. If anyone has photographs, memorabilia, and items related to Monessen’s African American community, please consider loaning or donating them to the Heritage Museum. 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 724684-8460.

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Jerry Seinfeld to return to Benedum Center

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and JS Touring announced today that America’s premier comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, will return to the Benedum Center, 237 7th Street, Pittsburgh, PA, on Friday, March 8, 2019 for two shows, at 7:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, December 16, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.EST. In Pittsburgh, tickets (starting at $52) will be available at the following official Pittsburgh Cultural Trust ticket sources: online at, by calling Guest Services at 412-4566666, or in person at Theater Square Box Office, 655 Penn Avenue. Seinfeld has been hailed for his uncanny ability to joke about the little things in life that relate to audiences everywhere. His latest projects include the Emmy nominated web series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and his Netflix special Jerry Before Seinfeld. Seinfeld continues to perform both nationally and internationally. Entertainment icon Jerry Seinfeld’s comedy career took off after his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1981. Eight years later, he teamed up with fellow comedian Larry David to create what was to become the most successful comedy series in the history of television: Seinfeld. The show ran on NBC for nine seasons, winning numerous Emmy, Golden Globe and People’s Choice awards, and was named the greatest television show of all time in

2009 by TV Guide, and in 2012 was identified as the best sitcom ever in a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll. Seinfeld has also starred in, written and produced movies (Comedian, Bee Movie), directed and produced a Broadway hit (Colin Quinn Long Story Short), and even wrote a bestselling book (Seinlanguage) and a children’s book (Halloween). Seinfeld directed the off-Broadway production of Colin Quinn: The New York Story and the Netflix stand-up special. Seinfeld’s latest project is the Emmy nominated and critically-acclaimed web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee which has garnered over 100 million views, and which the New York Times describes as “impressively complex and artful” and Variety calls “a game changer.” Most recently, Seinfeld has been performing at the Beacon Theatre as part of a year-long residency entitled, “Jerry Seinfeld: The Homestand.” He recently made his Netflix debut with the original stand-up special “Jerry Before Seinfeld.” Seinfeld resides in New York City with his wife and three children. He remains active as a standup comedy performer, continuously touring both nationally and internationally. This event is a JS Touring production. FMI:

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Miss Thea’s Drag Queen Bingo offers lucrative cure for mundane fundraising Story by Keren Lee Dreyer Residing within the pantheon of fundraising activities are traditional stalwarts such as Chinese auctions, delicious spaghetti dinners, and bake sales stacked with homemade delectables. These are comfortable, familiar ways to raise dollars for worthy charities while providing a sanguine sense of accomplishment, and full bellies, to those in attendance. However, organizations wanting to dress up their fundraisers with a more flamboyant, outrageous, and fun style need look no further than Miss Thea’s Drag Queen Bingo, a non-profit fundraising organization with the emphasis on “fun.” Jason Zubovic of Uniontown, PA, who is Miss Thea Trix (pictured below left), says of the bingo fundraisers “It’s a fun night for people to laugh and enjoy themselves, and there’s a chance for people to make money on the bingo. People bring cheese trays and veggie trays and we hoot n’ holler and have a good time.” Miss Thea Trix and her team storm the floor between bingo games, with some arriving as the “true, big, wild drag queen with big hair and ruffled costumes as you would think.” Interacting with the players is a great part of the routine, as are comedy bits and lip-syncing song performances - which are sometimes interrupted with a “big bang” during song

changes as a queen “rips off a costume to reveal another costume” according to Zubovic. Zubovic created his character, Miss Thea Trix, after unknowingly attending a drag show at a Pittsburgh bar around 25 years ago. “I went to Duquesne University and a friend took me to a bar in town,” Zubovic explained, “I said ‘those girls were great,’ and my friend said ‘those aren’t girls.’ I did a lot of theatre and thought about how to do it. I bought books on how to style hair and do makeup to create my looks. I already knew costuming...and Miss Thea Trix was born.” While hosting Outrageous Bingo in Pittsburgh 12 years ago, itself a fundraiser for the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh, a student who had been to an event with his mother enquired if this could be done for a Relay for Life Fundraiser. However, Zubovic was aware that what flew in the city might flop in more rural areas (though that fundraiser was ultimately a success). “I was skeptical of doing this where I came from. I never thought I could get my art form out of the city and into the country” Zubovic said. But driving the idea was an awareness that the bar scene was in decline,

meaning fewer places to perform, so he employed his experience working with people with disabilities, along with his college education, as a way to use the Drag Queen art form to help others. On a whim, Zubovic posted fliers at one fundraiser in Perryopolis stating that Miss Thea Trix is available for events and parties, along with weddings (where he had already performed). “I ended up getting seven different bookings out of that one” Zubovic enthused. Those bookings helped raise money “for fire halls, and some people (who) wanted to put in a park. From those, I started putting out more fliers.” And within the last three years, Zubovic put together a team of five other drag queens, each with her own style and personality, to amp up their presence, and audience participation, for ensuing fundraising events. Zubovic’s whim has since paid attractive fundraising dividends through numerous drag queen performances, which are a delightfully novel, and lucrative, way to raise money. For example, Zubovic stated that during the weekend of December 9, 2018, he and his team raised $29,000 for local charities, and estimates total revenues raised for vari-

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ous charities over the past three years to be $400,000. Events typically sell out quickly, sometimes within two hours, And with performances at venues throughout the tri-state area, some of which can host up to 7,000 people, Miss Thea Trix and her team have become a resplendent, fundraising tour de force. The secret to Miss Thea’s successful Drag Queen Bingo fundraisers can be found in hard work, character development, marketing, and a flair for providing attendees the time of their lives while quietly, positively, shifting their perspective about Drag Queens as an art and entertainment form. At first blush, one may believe that drag queens are simply peacockish men playing dress up while dabbling in mascara. But instead, each female alter-ego is thought out and developed by the man behind her. Each character has her own styles of dress, makeup, and personality, all conceived with the intention of providing joyful, boisterous theatrical entertainment without preaching for or against one lifestyle or another. As Zubovic says about himself and other “gender illusion technicians,” “We do what we love to do with this art form, and we love to perform. We don’t just dress up, we’re characters who come out with hot pink eye shadow and big hair, and we come out and we are like a Las Vegas show. And when we go out there, we look pretty darn good. It’s almost like an in thing to have a drag queen at your event...Gay, straight, bisexual, whatever you are, we’re here to raise money for good causes.” To book Miss Thea Trix and her ladies for your next fundraiser, or learn more about an upcoming event, call Jason Zubovic at 724-989-0551, or e-mail through Facebook at 23

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens unveils “Holiday Magic” Let it Glow!” Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has unveiled Holiday Magic: Let It Glow! The annual Winter Flower Show and Light Garden is one of Pittsburgh’s most popular holiday traditions, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. For the second year, guests will purchase timed tickets to confirm their visit dates and entry times at Timed tickets are required in advance for all guests to experience the show. For its 2018 return, Phipps' seasonal spectacular is bigger and brighter than ever, including stunning new floral displays, expanded LED lighting and much more. During its run through Sun., Jan. 6, the show will bring thousands of families and friends together to make memories that will last a lifetime. Top Five Must-See Highlights: Be immersed in a world of color in Phipps’ newly renovated Palm Court complete with historic ogee crest and color-changing architectural lighting. This historic glasshouse room also features a magical oversized music box display rotating a live tree. Bask in the glow of 14,800 LED lights on a 22-foot Fraser fir tree towering over the Victoria Room's reflecting pond, complimented by a remarkable display of holiday trees throughout the Conservatory. In the Winter Light Garden, stroll through 10 new 6-foot-tall winter ice towers designed to resemble frosted windowpanes, along with luminous


orbs, fountains and a tunnel of lights. Imagine you have shrunk to the size of a figurine as you journey beneath a decorated holiday tree in the Serpentine Room. Tree branches and massive topiary ornaments hover above a tree skirt of red poinsettias and larger-than-life Victorian-inspired gifts. Enjoy Phipps’ signature floral delights, including amaryllis, orchids and more than 2,000 poinsettias, capturing the warmth and wonder of the holiday season Top Five Visit Tips: Arrive during the day to take in the dazzling indoor displays, enjoy a meal at Café Phipps and shop for holiday gifts at The Shop at Phipps. Then, head

outside after 5 p.m. to experience lights aglow while sipping hot cocoa from the Holiday Hut. Don’t wait to make plans — reserve your timed tickets at The most popular days and entry times often sell out, and you won’t want to miss out on the magic! See the show in a whole new light! Add limited-edition Holiday Hologram Glasses that use the amazing science of holographic diffraction to reveal festive snowflakes while looking at Phipps’ sparkling LED light displays. Don’t miss all of the extra displays and activities included with admission, such as Phipps’ Garden Railroad: Memories in Motion, which takes guests

on a treasured locomotive journey through 125 years at Phipps with fun, interactive features at every stop. Plus, Phipps’ acclaimed orchid collection, immersive Tropical Forest Cuba exhibit and fragrant Fruit and Spice Room are just a few of the additional gems to discover at Phipps. There are also freewith-admission activities, including Santa Visits, Live Performance Nights and Public Programs. Discovery Programs for kids offer crafts, story time and pot-a-plant activities. See a full listing of events and activities at Snap holiday photos with family and friends amidst beautiful backdrops and tag your pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with #PhippsHoliday to share the magic with others. Holiday Magic: Let It Glow! is open Fri., Nov. 23 – Sun., Jan. 6, with timed tickets required in advance for all guests. Reserving timed tickets is easy! Just follow these three simple steps: Go to Select your visit date and entry time. Print your confirmation email or show it on your mobile phone at Phipps' entrance — and get ready to enjoy the show! Timed tickets can also be reserved in advance at Phipps, located at One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA, or by calling 844/274-1717. Timed tickets are free for members and are required in advance to experience Holiday Magic: Let It Glow! Admission is $17.95 for adults, $16.95 for seniors and students, and $11.95 for children (ages 2 – 18). Daily hours for Winter Flower Show are 9:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. and 5 – 11 p.m. for Winter Light Garden. Phipps closes at 5 p.m. on Mon., Dec. 24 and reopens at 9:30 a.m. on Wed., Dec. 26. Once guests enter, they may stay as long as Phipps is open to experience Holiday Magic: Let It Glow! Learn more at

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Fundraiser to benefit Brownsville Public Library

Security measures in place for Pittsburgh venues

Those Two Women, better known as Margie McKinley and Renee Wamsley have created a fundraiser to benefit the Brownsville Free Public Library. “If You Build It…They Will Donate: Christmas House Challenge” is a play on the traditional Gingerbread House Contest only it has been expanded beyond the edible treat. It began this summer when McKinley wanted to donate her sister’s collection of Christmas Village buildings to the library. Unfortunately they had to turn it down due to their lack of storage space. The collection had belonged to her sister Laura who had just lost her battle with a very rare brain disease, HE. “Our family wanted the village to be displayed locally where people could enjoy them and serve as a tribute to Laura.” Within a week, McKinley and Wamsley turned this missed opportunity into a fundraiser that will benefit the financially strapped Brownsville Library. They designed this fundraiser to be fun and affordable for everyone. If You Build it…They Will Donate: Christmas House Challenge invites participants to create a building of any theme. It may be an edible gingerbread house, a cardboard replica of a Brownsville building or a flower shop made of flowers. The theme and the materials that are used are your decision. Not kits are permitted. The only rule to be followed is the size. The base may be no larger than 14 X 14 inches and no taller than 25 inches. It may be smaller. The Brownsville Area Elementary School homerooms have accepted the first challenge. The school’s guidance counselor, Mrs. Lent said that “this is a wonderful project, not only to help the library but it also meets much of the criteria that we are required to follow in assignments.” Emma Beaver, the librarian expressed her gratitude to the Brownsville community in that so many have stepped up answer the Brownsville Library’s call for help. The creations will be on display at the

After a thorough benchmarking and vetting process against numerous performing arts venues across the country, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is launching enhanced guest entry practices for the Byham Theater, the August Wilson Center, and Benedum Center for the Performing Arts. These practices are designed with the convenience of our guests in mind to ensure a safe environment in which outstanding performances in the arts can be enjoyed by all. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust always seeks to meet national best practices regarding the safety of our guests. These new protection measures will now require persons entering or reentering our largest performing arts venues to be screened by our onsite security personnel. Our staff will utilize equipment and practices similar to those in place at airports, concerts or sporting events. The new screening process will include walk through metal detectors and bag inspections. Not only are more and more performing arts venues switching to similar practices, but venue third-party users and renters are also now requiring the-

American Legion which is located in the town square at 119 Brownsville Avenue, from December 7th to the 15th and open daily noon until 7pm. The community is encouraged to come in and vote for their favorite building. Each submission will have its own voting bank. A vote is done by placing a monetary donation of any amount in the bank. The entry that raises the most money for the library will win a special prize. The creations will also be judged on originality, creativity, and overall appearance. There will be first and second place winners in each of the three categories. As part of this fundraiser, we are also looking for sponsorships from local businesses and individuals. If you would like to support this event please call Margie McKinley at 724-309-8695. McKinley and Wamsley hope that enough money will be raised to lessen the library’s financial burden for 2019. The use of the American Legion has been graciously donated by Kevin Kavanaugh, the 24th District American Legion Commander. “We are presently renovating the building to transform it into a community center and a headquarters for local veterans, states Kavanaugh. This event is wonderful because it gets us back to what a sense of community is all about in Brownsville.”

ater operators to implement these new security measures to better protect their audiences. “We’re always excited about providing amazing experiences and performances in the arts, while at the same time, increasing our ability to reassure our guests they are well protected while with us,” Kevin C. Wilkes, Chief Security Officer of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust stated. “We’ve made sure our new systems utilize the most current and effective screening technology without interfering with the arts experience.” While these new procedures were designed with audience convenience in mind, it is highly recommended that guests arrive to these venues up to 45 minutes earlier than they have in the past, to ensure a timely entry into the venue for the start of the performance. To entice guests to take advantage of this early entry into the theater, the affected venues will offer discounted drinks and concessions during a “Happy Half Hour” prior to each show.

Hip Hop Nutcracker to take stage at Benedum A holiday mash-up for the entire family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker, a contemporary re-imagination of Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, sets out on a fourth national tour following the success of three previous sold-out tours.The Hip Hop Nutcracker with Guest MC Kurtis Blow, is an evening-length production performed by a supercharged cast of a dozen all-star dancers, DJ and violinist. Through the spells cast by the mysterious Drosselmeyer, Maria-Clara and her Nutcracker prince travel back in time to the moment when her parents first meet in a nightclub. Digital scenery transforms E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story of sugarplums into 1980s Brooklyn. The Hip Hop Nutcracker celebrates love, community, and the magic of New Year’s Eve. The Hip Hop Nutcracker is directed and

choreographed by Jennifer Weber, artistic director of the Brooklyn based theatrical hip-hop dance company Decadancetheatre. It was adapted to contemporary New York City by Mike Fitelson, executive director of United Palace of Cultural Arts (UPCA) and includes hip-hop interludes remixed and reimagined by DJ Boo as well as an onstage electric violinist. This performance will take place at the Benedum Center, located at 7th Street and Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh, on Tuesday, December 11 & Wednesday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30 and are available online at

#1 hit true crime podcast coming to Benedum

Chamber Music at Old St. Luke’s Church

Number one hit true crime podcast, My Favorite Murder, is coming to the Benedum Center on Friday, March 15, 2019 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale to the public and can be purchased at About My Favorite Murder - My Favorite Murder is the hit true crime comedy podcast hosted by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. Since

December 23 – *7 p.m. evening performance - Early Mays - Appalachian Folk Songs and Carols February 17, 2019 – 2 p.m. “Amor!”…Ballads and Fado - Chanteuse Daphne Alderson and the St. Michel Band March 24, 2019 – 2 p.m. - “A Bassoon Runs Through It” - Academy Chamber Ensemble with Bassoonist, Amy Baker April 28 – 2 p.m - “Contemporary

its inception in early 2016, the show has broken download records and galvanized a devoted “Murderino” fan base. The show’s live tours are known throughout the world, selling out large theaters across the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe. For additional information about My Favorite Murder, please visit

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Character for Flute and Clarinet" - PM Woodwind Project ~ Dr. Amanda Morrison - clarinet and Dan Parasky flute Old St. Luke's Church is located at 330 Old Washington Pike Carnegie. FMI: Call 412-969-7072 or visit Lukes. Free admission. Donations are accepted and appreciated


NOW PLAYING! Saturday, December 1 at 7:30 PM - River City Brass presents 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! This show is fun for the whole family with classic carols, favorite film music, and special surprises. Choirs from around the region will be joining us as well! Sunday, December 2 at 4 PM Latshaw Productions presents CAROL OF THE KING, THE IRISH DANCE CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR - $30, $35, $40, $65 Led by former lead dancer from Michael Flatley's Lord of the Dance! Featuring 20 of the world's most skilled Irish dancers and musicians, Carol of the King brings the inspiring Christmas story of love and salvation to life. The world-renowned Irish dance troupe performs lightning-fast hard shoe rhythms and graceful soft shoe jigs to an epic orchestral soundtrack, while stateof-the-art lighting and Christmas spirit ignite the stage into an explosive display of dance and music. Monday, December 3 at 7:30 PM - Drusky Entertainment

and Kirschner Concerts presents GENERATION AXE featuring Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi $59, $69, $79 ($5 additional the day of concert); VIP Packages available The term “supergroup” gets thrown around on a regular basis these days, however, Generation Axe undisputedly brings together some of the greatest guitarists of all time. Steve Vai, Zakk Wylde, Yngwie Malmsteen, Nuno Bettencourt, and Tosin Abisi once again will join together to tour North America to stage 32 appearances across the country. Tuesday, December 4 at 7:30 PM - Latshaw Productions presents BEACH BOYS Reason for the Season Christmas Tour - $54, $64, $74, $84, $94, $104 (includes a digital copy of Mike Love’s forthcoming album “Reason for the Season”) You can capsulize most pop music acts by reciting how many hits they’ve had and how many millions of albums sold. But these conventional measurements fall short when you are assessing the impact of The Beach Boys. This band has birthed a torrent of hit singles and sold albums by the tens of millions. But its greater significance lies in the fact that The Beach Boys’ songs have forever changed the musical landscape, profoundly influencing countless performing artists to follow. Saturday, December 8 at 2 PM & 7 PM and Sunday, December 9 at 2 PM Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra presents THE NUTCRACKER featuring Laurel Ballet - $13, $20, $21, $27,

$30, $38 Join the WSO and the 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. Whether going to The Nutcracker Ballet is a family tradition or a once-in-a-lifetime visit, the experience will warm your spirit and stay with you forever. Monday, December 10 at 8 PM - Latshaw Productions presents KENNY G, The Miracles Holidays & Hits Tour - $48, $58, $68, $78, $105 In a recording career that spans almost three decades and 23 albums, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Kenny G has grafted elements of R&B, pop and Latin to a jazz foundation solidifying his reputation as the premiere artist in contemporary jazz. Since the early ‘80s, his combination of unparalleled instrumental chops and indelible melodies has resulted in sales of more than 75 million records worldwide (45 million in the U.S. alone) and more than a dozen climbs to the top of Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart. Thursday, December 13 at 7:30 PM - Drusky Entertainment & Kirshner Concerts present A CLINT BLACK CHRISTMAS - $49.75, $59.75, $69.75, $84.75 ($5.25 additional day of the show) Prolific singer-songwriter Clint Black has long been heralded as one of country music’s brightest stars. His many talents have helped shape his long career, as Black has transcended genres to become one of the most successful artists in all the music industry. To date, Black has written, recorded and released more than 100 songs, a benchmark in any

artist’s career. Friday, December 14 at 7:30 PM - LATSHAW POPS SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS SHOW - $25, $30, $35 This year's Latshaw Pops Orchestra Christmas Show is sure to delight audiences with holiday favorites and carols featuring their gifted 20-piece orchestra, singers and dancers. Spend the most wonderful time of the year enjoying this heartwarming variety show. Saturday, December 15 at 7:30 PM - Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS Celebrate the season with a symphony concert of joyful holiday music conducted by Maria SensiSellner and featuring the 50-member All-Star Choir of Westmoreland County and guest soloists. Bring a sleigh full of family and friends to enjoy this special evening! Friday, December 21 at 8 PM - Live Nation presents THE NIGHT RANGER BEFORE CHRISTMAS featuring NIGHT RANGER - $29.50, $39.50, $49.50 Night Ranger has earned widespread acclaim, multi-platinum and gold album status while leaving their indelible mark on the music charts with a string of best-selling albums, its popularity fueled by an impressive string of instantly recognizable hit singles and signature album tracks. The band produced such legendary hits as "Sister Christian," "Don't Tell Me You Love Me," "When You Close Your Eyes," the anthemic "(You Can Still) Rock In America," along with "Sentimental Street," "Goodbye," "Sing Me Away," "Four in the Morning" and more.

T H E PA L A C E T H E AT R E 34 West Otterman Street, Greensburg

Box Office: 724-836-8000 26

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The Entertainment Chuckwagon: Filmed in Pittsburgh, “Dogma” celebrates 20th anniversary Story by Chuck Brutz Some films shot in Pittsburgh have featured malls, such as 1978’s “Dawn of The Dead”, with a zombie apocalypse taking place at a mall. The 2010 comedy “She’s Out of My League” used many Pittsburgh locations such as Century III Mall’s Food Court, depicted in the film as an airport food court. In 2012, two releases, “The Perks of Being a Wall Flower” featured scenes shot in the Pittsburgh Historic Hollywood Theater in Dormont (which first opened in 1925), and Heinz Field was used the stadium for the Gotham City Rogues Football Team, which is taken hostage by Bane in “The Dark Knight Rises”. But while flesh-eating Zombies strolling around a mall, possibly looking for some good deals at JC Penney’s makes for a good time, this installment features angels, demons, a fight to save humanity from being wiped out of existence, and a poop monster all rolled into one! Let’s get started! Of course I’m talking about “Dogma”, a 1999 comedy/fantasy film written and directed by Kevin Smith (“Clerks”), about two Angels, Bartleby (Ben Affleck) and Loki (Matt Damon) who long ago were banished from Heaven by God, sent to live out the rest of eternity in Wisconsin. But, due to a loophole in Catholic dogma, they’ve found a way back into Heaven. The only problem is, their return will cause the end of existence. The Metatron, (the late, great Alan Rickman) an angel who is the voice of God, recruits the help of Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) a skeptical Catholic going through a crisis of faith to help stop Bartleby and Loki and save existence. But in true “Wizard of Oz” fashion, with Bethany in the Dorothy role, she gets help along the way from a cast of interesting characters including Rufus (Chris Rock, in a role Smith has stated he originally wrote in mind for Samuel L. Jackson), playing the 13th Apostle (who claims he was left out of the Bible because he’s black), a muse with writer’s block turned stripper (Salma Hayek), and two stoner prophets, Jay

and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith). Along the way Azrael (Jason Lee) a demon from hell, threatens to stop Bethany and company, wanting Bartleby and Loki to succeed for his own reasons. Two major locales in the film are Wisconsin and New Jersey, but both locations, in reality, were filmed in Pittsburgh. “A lot of people wondered why shoot in Pittsburgh?” Smith stated in the Dogma DVD commentary. The main reason? A church. In the commentary, Smith stated that he and producer Scott Mosier were looking for a very specific Catholic architecture. They had two possible locations, Pittsburgh and North Carolina. While production scouting, Smith and Mosier discovered Saint Peter and Paul Catholic Church in East Liberty, first built in 1890, and now a historical landmark. In a December 2012 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article written by Kaitlynn Rielythe, the parish ceased to exist in 1992, when it entered a merger with five other Catholic parishes. The church was abandoned, and in 1997 was sold by the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Many other Pittsburgh locations feature prominently in the film. The first scene where the audience is introduced to Bartleby and Loki, is a Wisconsin airport, but it’s actually the Pittsburgh

International Airport. In the “Dogma” DVD commentary, Smith said in order to make the audience believe it was a Wisconsin airport, the crew put up fake signs, and even had a guy wearing a cheese hat, selling cheese hats. When we first meet Loki, he’s having a conversation with a nun who’s collecting for her parish. That nun is probably recognizable to most Pittsburghers as Betty Aberlin, who played Lady Aberlin on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood from 1968-2001. Aberlin went on to appear in three more Kevin Smith films: “Jersey Girl”, (2004), “Zach and Miri Make A Porno” (2008, which was also filmed in Pittsburgh), and “Red State” (2011). A scene where Bethany, Rufus, and Jay and Silent Bob stop to have breakfast at “Mooby Burger” was actually shot at a closed Burger King in Dormont, on Banksville Road. According to the DVD Commentary, Smith said the Burger King was going to be torn down, so he and his crew had free reign to revamp it. Presently, the now torn down Burger King is a Rite Aid. Other Pittsburgh locations featured in the movie include the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon, the USX Steel Tower, and The Grand Concourse Restaurant in Station Square Plaza. According to the Dogma DVD Commentary, before leaving New Jersey to film in Pittsburgh, Smith warned

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Mewes that he had to behave professionally during the making of this movie because they were working with Alan Rickman. When they got to Pittsburgh, Mewes not only had all of his dialogue in the script memorized but everyone else’s as well. Mewes told Smith, “I didn’t want to piss off that Rickman guy”. Originally the role of Loki was written for Jason Lee, who previously had appeared in two other Kevin Smith film’s “Mallrats” (1995), and “Chasing Amy” (1997). But to due previous film role commitments, Lee was unavailable to shoot Loki’s scenes, so Ben Affleck asked his friend Matt Damon to step in. This was before the pair won the best screenplay Oscar in 1998 for “Good Will Hunting” and the two became household names. Smith still wanted Lee to be part of the film, so he cast him in the smaller role of Azrael. Controversial leading up to its December 12, 1999, theatrical release, Smith, a lifelong devout Catholic, described the film as a “love letter to God.” After its release, the controversy died down, and the film does actually have a positive religious message. It was first released as just a barebones DVD release in 2000, with the film’s trailer being its only extra feature. Then in 2001, it was released as a two-disc special edition DVD with two commentary tracks, and the second bonus disc with many great extras including deleted and extended scenes. In 2005, Smith announced he was tinkering with the possibility of a “Dogma” sequel, but in an October 2017 article, it was announced that Smith has now abandoned any plans to make one. This reviewer says give it a try. It’s a funny, clever film with some truly heartfelt moments and great performances. Plus, it features many well known Pittsburgh locations.


BENTLEYVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY 931 Main St. in Bentleyville

Storytime meets every Monday at 11:00 am for ages 30 months to 5 years. TOPS meets every Tuesday, weigh-in is at 5 meeting starts at 5:30. Coffee and Crayons meets every Friday at 10:30 am. Family Craft Night (Gingerbread Houses) meets Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 5:30 registration required. Friends of the Library meet Monday, Dec. 17 at 6:30. The library is closed Dec. 24 and 25. The library is closed Dec. 31.

CHARTIERS HOUSTON LIBRARY 730 W. Grant St., Houston PHONE: 724-745-4300. One & Done Crafts and Cookie/Recipe Swap will be held Thursday, December 6 at 5:30 pm A Very Harry Holiday Party for families & children will be held Saturday, December 8 from 2-4 pm Adult Book Club will meet on Thursday, December 6 at 5:30 pm Adult Craft Night program will meet on Thursday, December 20 at 5:30 pm Yoga for Beginners class meets every Monday at 5:30 pm, cost is $1 per person Tuesday Toddler Tales Storytime for infants to 3 years old with Caregivers meets every Tuesday at 11:40 am until Tuesday 12/18 Lego Club meets every Tuesday at 5pm until Tuesday, 12/18 Writers Group will meet every Wednesday at 5:30 pm Preschool Storytime for children ages 3-5 and their caregivers will meet every Thursday at 11:40 am until 12/20 The library offers FREE individualized homework help for elementary school students and one on one computer training for anyone by appointment FMI, email


FRANK SARRIS LIBRARY - 35 N. JEFFERSON AVE., CANONSBURG - Winter Wonderland - Stop by the library and start your family holiday fun! We will have crafts, activities and pictures with Santa. Visit our website Event Calendar for more details. – Saturday, 12/1 11am-1pm Teen Advisory Board - Grades 7-12 meet to plan, organize and lead activities that will engage and benefit members of the community. New members welcome. Monday 12/3, 6:00-7:00 p.m. Fiction Book Club – We will be discussing Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani and having a Holiday gathering. New members always welcome! Wednesday 12/12, Noon. Teen Writers’ Club (grades 7 – 12) will meet to write, share and support each other through the creative process. Monday 12/17, 6-7pm. Page Turners Book Club –– reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24 - Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - this is for high students and new members are welcome. 12/20, 6-7pm The Library will be closed on December 24-25th in observance of the Christmas Holiday and December 31st and January 1st for the New Year’s Holiday. Weekly Programs: Please note: Children’s programs are

on break Saturday 12/22 through Sunday 1/27/2019. Yoga Story Time - Stretch and be centered at this special yoga session for kids (and their grownups)! Mondays, 10:30-11:00 a.m. Happy Monday! - Rise and Shine and greet the new week. All ages welcome! Mondays, 11:15-11:45 a.m. Madcap Mondays - Crafts, games, and science are just a few of the possibilities. Registration is required at the children’s circulation desk or by calling 724-745-1308 (option #4). Mondays, 4:30-5:30 p.m. for Grades 5-8 and 5:306:30 p.m. for Grades 2-4 Mother Goose Story Time - For infants up to 18 months with a caregiver. Tuesdays, 10:30-11:00 a.m. Toddler Tales - Finger plays and songs based on simple concepts, repetition and lots of movement. Ages 2-3. Tuesdays, 11:15-11:45 a.m Family Night - Stories, crafts, and games. New things to explore each week. Tuesdays, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Little Picassos - Every week is a new make and take creation. Ages 2-5. Wednesdays, 10:30-11:00 a.m. Story Time - Stories, finger plays and songs based on simple concepts, repetition and lots of movement. Ages 2-3

but siblings are welcome. Wednesdays, 11:15-11:45 a.m Wiggles and Giggles - - Bring your little ones to stretch, sing, and dance. Ages 2-5. Wednesdays, 1:30-2:00 p.m. Story Time - Provides active young children with stories, finger plays and songs based on simple concepts, repetition, and lots of movement. Fit for ages 2-3 but siblings are welcome. Thursdays, 10:30-11:00 Wiggles and Giggles - Bring your little ones to stretch, sing, and dance. Ages 2-5. Thursdays, 11:15-11:45 More than A Story –Practice kindergarten readiness skills like listening during stories, making predictions, and following directions. Ages 5-6. Thursdays, 1:30-2:30 Super Science - Kids ages 3-7 and 813. Come have fun with Science! Registration is required. Register at the children’s circulation desk or by calling 724-745-1308 (option #4). Thursdays, 5:30-6:15 Spanish Story Time - Story time favorites – stories and songs – in Spanish. Fridays 10:30-11:00 a.m. FMI:, on the Event page, or call 724-745-1308.

WEST NEWTON LIBRARY - 124 N. WATER ST., WEST NEWTON - The West Newton Library, located at 124 N Water St West Newton, Pa is offering amnesty from any fines owed on overdue books, dvd's and audio tapes until December 31n an effort to have our items returned to the shelves. Hours of operation are Mon, Thurs 125 Wed 12-8 and Sat 10-2. Ongoing projects are welcoming

donations of used jewelry, rings, earrings, bracelets,necklaces, pins, watches for our upcoming 2020 jewelry sale, and used books for our July book sale, newer hardcover books, paperbacks and dvd's that for our patrons that we can catalog and add to the reading shelves. Remember, library cards are free, come in with identification and

join the library, winter is coming, curling up with a good book or a dvd to watch is right around the corner. A wonderful way to honor a loved one or a funeral is Memorial Book donations of $25. We purchase the item requested and place a memorial page inside the front cover. and notify the person being honored.

CITIZENS LIBRARY - 55 S. COLLEGE ST., WASHINGTON - Teen Time Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. 6 p.m. Come hang out, play games, use our Maker Space, & 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. To volunteer, email Phone # is 724-222-2400

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MONESSEN PUBLIC LIBRARY - 326 DONNER AVE., MONESSEN - Enjoy Books are being sold at the Library for a donation of $30. Pick up your copy at the Circulation Desk. They make great gifts. The Holiday Boutique, run by the Friends Group, has a large selection of gift ideas at reasonable prices. The Boutique is open each day the Library is open from 10 AM until 3 PM. Monessen Public Library & Cultural Center are joining together with the high school and city hall to collect and recycle plastic bags. The collection will run through Earth Day of 2019. The recycling center will recycle the plastics for use in making outdoor furniture. The Mon Valley Genealogy Forum will meet on Monday, December 17, 2018, at 5:30 PM. New members are always welcome. The Local Author Series closes with M. E. Sutton/Liz Milliron on Saturday, December 8, 2018, at 1 PM. Mary

Sutton has been making up stories, and creating her own endings for other people's stories, for as long as she can remember. After ten years, she decided that making things up was far more satisfying than writing software manuals, and took the jump into fiction. She writes the HERO'S SWORD middlegrade fantasy adventure series as M.E. Sutton and crime fiction as Liz Milliron. Her short fiction has been published at, in LUCKY CHARMS: 12 CRIME TALES, BLOOD ON THE BAYOU (the 2016 Bouchercon anthology) and will appear in FISH OUT OF WATER from the Sisters in Crime Guppy chapter (Spring 2017) and MYSTERY MOST HISTORICAL, from Malice Domestic (Spring 2017). Like her LAUREL HIGHLANDS characters, Mary lives in Southwestern PA (but, unfortunately, she doesn't have a dog).

She is a member of Sisters in Crime. The Crochet/Knitting Club will meet on Wednesday, December 12 and 26,

2018, at 6 PM. Bring your projects. Join club member Candis Elyanich Kelley in her project to knit plastic mats using recyclable plastic bags. Children’s Storytime meets on Monday evenings at 5:30 PM. Toddler Time is Tuesday at 1 PM. Eli’s Game Design/Programming begin at 5:30 PM each Wednesday. Silly Saturday activities are held on Saturday mornings at 11 AM. Activities begin as soon as the clock chimes. The Library will be closed December 24, 25, 31 and January 1. The Board of Trustees wish to thank everyone who contributed to the Annual Fund Campaign or the Give Big, Pittsburgh (online) day of giving. Your support of Monessen Public Library & Cultural Center is greatly appreciated. Check the Library out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

MONONGAHELA AREA LIBRARY - 813 W. MAIN STREET, MONONGAHELA - One-Time Events: Holiday Icing - December 1st 3:30-5 PM - Kids 4 years and up come put the icing on your holiday celebrating by decorating cookies with the Honey Bee Bakery staff. From 3:30-5pm, the Honey Bee Bakery staff will be buzzing to help you ice, sprinkle, and bling out your unique cookie design and create a holiday memory. Children only with a class size limited to 25. The Spanish Lady Invades the Mon Valley - December 3rd 5:30-6:30 PM Dr. Thomas Soltis, PhD (Sociology) Westmoreland Community College, will be here to speak about the 1918 Influenza epidemic in Monongahela and surrounding areas. Join us for a look into local history on the 100th anniversary of the pandemic that claimed more than 50 millions deaths worldwide. *STEM: Gingerbread Engineering December 10th 5:30-6:30 PM - What can you build with graham crackers and icing? Will your structure survive our challenges? Join us for an evening of messy engineering fun. The library will supply all the materials. For children Grades 3 and Up. Registration is required. Girl Scout Registration Night December 12th 5:30-6:30 PM - Join us for our Girl Scout registration night. We

will be talking about forming new troops and adding girls to troops that are already formed in the area. Come hear more about how you and your girl can join us as we build girls of courage, confidence and character through Girl Scouting. Adults will learn about the many ways they can help with a troop. Ornament Class - December 13th 6-7 PM - Love handmade crafts? Join us as we walk you through several different DIY ornament designs. For teens and adults. Registration is required so we know how many supplies to purchase. Add some shiny and unique to your tree this year! Christmas Storytime - December 15th 1-2 PM - Join us for an afternoon of special Christmas stories and block play. Children 18 months and up are welcome to join the fun and socialize with others their age. Holiday Make and Take Crafts December 26th All Day - Pick up a make and take craft for the little ones. We ask that you only take 1 craft per child. Recurring Events: OsmoTime - Every Saturday 1-3 PM OSMO is a award-winning game system that transforms screen time into healthy, hands-on, interactive play. OSMO fosters learning in key areas such as: creative

problem solving, art, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and common core. For children 4 and older. Parental supervision is required. Crochet Club - Mondays and Tuesdays 6-8 PM - Bring your yarn, bring your hook and let's get our crochet on! Join us to sit a while, chat, and work on your creations with fellow crochet enthusiasts Monday and Tuesday evenings. Tutoring Tuesdays: Tuesdays 4:30-5:30 PM - Susan Menzer, paraprofessional educator and Ringgold Middle School teacher’s aide, is offering free tutoring for grades 3-8th every Tuesday from 4:305:30pm. Susan specializes in mathematics, but can help with other subjects. Storytime - Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11 AM-Noon - Story Times are held Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 11:00 am. Ms. Becky reads with the children, completes a small craft, and incorporates some block play. Children 18 months and up are welcome to join the fun and socialize with others their age. (There will not be a Storytime December 26th) Writer's Group - 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month - The Writer's Group meets the first and third Wednesdays of every month at the library to critique and encourage each other's writing. Writing exercises are utilized and tips and advice are given to

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budding writers. Medicare Resource Table - December 6th 11:30-1:00 - As a service to the community, Chuck Karolewski from Greater Pgh Insurance Consultants in North Charleroi will be here weekly through December 6th to answer your Medicare questions. Whether you are just getting started with Medicare, have plan questions, or are looking to change plans, Chuck will try to help you. No reservations needed, just stop by and ask Chuck. (A salesperson will be present with information and applications.) Lego Club - Thursdays 4:30-5:30 PM The cornerstone of an awe-inspiring creation begins with one small Lego. Turn your imagined palace, tower, or fort into a reality; come build with us! The town will marvel at your projects displayed in the library. Each week will have its own theme! Basic Computer Classes - Fridays Need assistance using a mouse, browsing Facebook, conducting internet searches, or Microsoft Word? The library can help! Classes are on Fridays by appointment only. Sign up today! The library will be closed December 24th, 25th, and 31st for the holidays


A Magical Cirque Christmas makes its area premiere at the Benedum Center The producers of Broadway’s smash hit The Illusionists have brought together the world’s greatest entertainers for a spellbinding and incredible new holiday production – A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS. This thrilling, festive, fun-for-the-whole-family holiday spectacular will make its Pittsburgh premiere on stage at the Benedum Center, 237 7th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, on Thursday, December 13, at 7:30 p.m. In A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS, experience the magic of Christmas with dazzling illusions and breathtaking cirque artists performing to all your favorite holiday music. Be captivated by the mind-blowing talent of world-renowned magician Sebastian Nicolas, the fast and furious skill of speed juggler Roberto Carlos, the grace and precision of shoulder ballet acrobats Runfei Deng and Shilei Chen, the gravity-defying performance of husband and wife trapeze team Duo Transcend, finalists on this season’s “America’s Got Talent,” and much more! A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS will be hosted by magician Paul Dabek, who will leave audiences in hysterics while introducing each act with mesmerizing, magical flair as he weaves and guides them through the unimaginable to the unbelievable. As one of the UK’s top entertainers, Paul Dabek has performed across six continents, on the stages of London’s

West End, and headlined his own show in Las Vegas. An accomplished magician, comedian and actor, Paul’s skills have won him critical acclaim, while being named “a superb showman” by

Time Out magazine. Both the Magic Circle and the International Brotherhood of Magicians have recognized Paul’s talent, naming him “Young Magician of the Year” and awarding him the

British Shield. Get into the spirit of the season with this merry treat that’s perfect for the entire family. A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS is produced by Simon Painter, Tim Lawson and MagicSpace Entertainment. Painter and Lawson have created Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus, Le Grand Cirque, Le Noir, Cirque Adrenaline and The Illusionists in over 250 cities from London to Sydney to Broadway, as well as presenting A Chorus Line, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Fiddler on the Roofthrough Australia. MagicSpace Entertainment is headed by Lee D. Marshall, Joe Marsh, John Ballard and Steve Boulay, and has been producing and presenting national tours, Broadway shows, concerts and museum exhibits worldwide for over 35 years. They have an office in Park City, Utah. Follow A MAGICAL CIRQUE CHRISTMAS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Tickets (starting at $33.25) are on sale now and available at the following official Pittsburgh Cultural Trust ticket sources: online at, 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, or online at

Citizens Bank Children’s Theater Series Schedule: Share the magic of theater with a child you love Your Alien– One day, you’ll be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way… and you will want to keep him. Arts Power from the United States presents Your Alien, touching down with a stranded alien who strikes up a fabulous friendship with the boy who finds him. They go to school and have loads of fun together, but as evening approaches, the alien grows homesick. Will the boy be able to figure out how to help his new friend? This funny and uplifting new musical shows how the power of true friendship can last a lifetime. Suitable for children & adults 3+. Byham Theater, BUTLER REGION (Seneca Valley Intermediate High School), EAST REGION (Greensburg-Salem High School), NORTH REGION (Marshall Middle School), WEST REGION (Cornell High School), SOUTH REGION (Mellon


Middle School) - January 6–14, 2019 Flight School the Musical–It’s the first day of Flight School, where they teach birds to fly. Penguin has the soul of an eagle and is ready to live on the wind, but he wasn’t built to soar, as the other birds constantly remind him. Penguin’s spirit won’t be grounded. With some friends of a feather, and a little help on the technical bits, Penguin follows his dream to flip, flap, and fly! Vital Theatre Company from the United States presents this show, based on the book from best-selling author Lita Judge. Suitable for children and adults ages 3+. Byham Theater, BUTLER REGION (Seneca Valley Senior High School), EAST REGION (Greensburg-Salem High School), NORTH REGION (Marshall Middle School), WEST REGION (Cornell High School), SOUTH REGION (Mellon

Middle School) - February 17–24, 2019 Rosie Revere, Engineer–Ms. Greer's classroom includes three inquisitive outof-the-box thinkers. Theatreworks USA presents a fun, new musical based on the books Rosie Revere, Engineer, Iggy Peck, Architect, and Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty, which spotlights the STEM curriculum (focusing on science, technology, engineering, and math). Recommended for children and adults ages 4+. Byham Theater, BUTLER REGION (Seneca Valley Intermediate High School), EAST REGION (Greensburg-Salem High School), NORTH REGION (Marshall Middle School), WEST REGION (Cornell High School), SOUTH REGION (Mellon Middle School) - March 31–April 7, 2019 Emily Brown and the Thing– Something monstrous is keeping Emily Brown awake...One evening, Emily

Brown and her old grey rabbit Stanley hear a Thing crying outside their window. He just can’t get to sleep. Emily Brown and Stanley set off on incredible adventures to the Dark and Scary Wood, the Whirling Wastes, and beyond to find the Thing’s cuddly, his bedtime milk, and his medicine…but nothing seems to help him settle. What’s really troubling the Thing, and will anyone ever get to sleep? Recommended for children and adults 3+. Byham Theater - May 16–19, 2019 Accessible services are available.To purchase tickets, call (412) 456-6666, visit, or visit in person at the Box Office at Theater Square, 655 Penn Avenue.

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PARTING SHOTS Send original photography for consideration for use in “Parting Shots” to Photos selected will be determined according to space and subject matter.

The cast of “The Happy Elf” will take the stage at California University of Pennsylvania on December 6-9. Details about the production as well as information on how to purchase tickets to the show on are the bottom right of this page.

“A Magical Cirque Christmas” will take the stage at the Benedum Center in Pitsburgh on December 13. Experience this one of a kind performance as part of your holiday season. Details about the performance and information on how to purchase tickets to the show are on page 30 of this edition.

For the third consecutive year community members will join Cal U students onstage and behind the scenes when the Department of Music and Theatre performs The Happy Elf. The holiday production is based on a song by Grammy award-winner Harry Connick Jr. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Dec. 6-8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 8-9 in Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre. All performances are open to the public. Children from area school districts will attend a school matinee at 10 a.m. Dec. 7. The family-friendly musical comedy tells the story of Eubie the Elf, one of Santa's helpers, whose rosecolored view of the holiday season is put to the test when he sets out to bring Christmas joy to a dreary town

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

called Bluesville. “We are again excited to do a fun holiday performance that the audiences love which has such a heartwarming message,” said Dr. Michele Pagen, who directs the production. “It’s also always a thrill to have many members of the community come together with our students and bring this show to life.” Ticket price is $12 for adults; $6 for those 55 and older and 12 and younger. Cal U students with valid CalCards pay 50 cents, plus a $5 deposit that is refunded at the show. For ticket information, or to charge tickets by phone, call the Steele Hall Box Office at 724-938-5943. Photos from “The Happy Elf” by Kelly Tunney 31

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Pennsylvania Bridges December 2018 - "Goodness and Light"  

Pennsylvania Bridges December 2018 - "Goodness and Light"

Pennsylvania Bridges December 2018 - "Goodness and Light"  

Pennsylvania Bridges December 2018 - "Goodness and Light"

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