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A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition

Winter 2013

The Technology Issue

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Squirrel Hill In Every Issue 3

SHUC President’s Message SHUC Begins Its 41st Year


This Just In


Squirrel Hill Poetry Junco by Robert Gibb


Squirrel Hill Historical Society Developing Technology In Squirrel Hill


Events Calendar

Cover art: Illustration, iStock Photography, Photoshop enhanced, Patricia Tsagaris.

Features 6 8

Squirrel Hill Snapshot Summerset Fall Festival

Interested in sharing your event or announcement in an upcoming issue of the Magazine? Visit our website at for rates and more information.

Squirrel Hill Feature Squirrel Hill: Home for Technological Innovation


Squirrel Hill Feature Workout Smarter, Not Harder


Squirrel Hill Library Embracing New Technology


Squirrel Hill Spotlight Squirrel Hill Treasures


Squirrel Hill Info JCC Tech/JFilm

Our 2012 Squirrel Hill Treasures awardees. More from the Treasures dinner on page 25

We want to hear from you! Adrienne Block has lived in or near Squirrel Hill for almost her entire life, and is thrilled to take a leading role in the advancement of the Magazine. “I’ve watched Squirrel Hill develop into such a diverse and lively community. It’s an honor to be the Magazine’s new editor,” she says. Adrienne is a graduate of Chatham University’s MFA in Creative Writing and recently served as Managing Editor of Autumn House Press, an independent literary publisher located in Mount Washington. I want to hear your comments and suggestions! Send me an email at

Murray the Squirrel

Murray is available free of charge for visits and events to local organizations and schools. Give SHUC a call at 412.422.7666 or email

The Technology Issue PAGE1

SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION OFFICERS: Raymond N. Baum, President Richard Feder, Vice President Lori Fitzgerald, Vice President Erik Wagner, Vice President Judy Feldman, Secretary Francine D. Abraham, Assistant Secretary Ceci Sommers, Assistant Secretary James Burnham, Treasurer Harry M. Goern, Assistant Treasurer Steven Hawkins, Immediate Past President BOARD OF DIRECTORS: Francine D. Abraham, Kevin Acklin, Raymond N. Baum, James Burnham, Norman Childs, Andrew J. DeWitt, Vivian Didomenico, Andy Dlinn, Alan Dunn, Richard Feder, Judy Feldman, Lori Fitzgerald, Harry M. Goern, Ed Goldfarb, Barbara Grover, Steve Hawkins, Ryan W. Hopkins, Lois Liberman, David Miles, Tracy Royston, Ceci Sommers, Sidney Stark, Brandon Trombatt, Erik Wagner, Roger Westman, Chris Zurawsky

Our Mission The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is a non-profit community organization dedicated to preserving, improving and celebrating the quality of life in the 14th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh.Volunteer-supported standing committees provide leadership to our community by studying, debating, and advocating positions on issues affecting our neighborhood’s vitality. Our mission is implemented through a long range planning process, which fosters community-based initiatives in the areas of education, public safety, transportation, parks and open spaces, and commercial, institutional, and residential development.

MAGAZINE STAFF: Adrienne Block, Editor Kathryn Walker, Marketing & Development Consultant Merle Weitz, Administrative Assistant CONTRIBUTORS: Raymond N. Baum, Adrienne Block, Maria Emerson, Robert Gibb, Ryan Hopkins, Josh Knauer, Anne McCafferty, Lisa McCormick, Holly McCullough, Darren Olson, Paul Sandberg, Ben Tabas, Helen Wilson

Lisa A. Osachy, Psy.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist

DESIGN & PRINT: Patricia Tsagaris, Pinkhaus Design, Creative Director Typecraft Press Inc., Printer Printed with soy—based ink!


A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition

Fall 2012

The Community Service Issue

Squirrel Hill Magazine, Vol. 10, Issue 4, is published through the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, 5604 Solway Street. Pittsburgh, PA 15217. Please direct any questions or comments to SHUC by calling 412.422.7666 or emailing To inquire about advertising, please contact Please support our advertisers—their ads solely finance this magazine!

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Connect to your inner Wisdom • Power • Strength • Creativity PAGE2 The Technology Issue

shuc presidentʼs message

The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition begins its 41st year. Why? By Raymond N. Baum, President, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition


s our mission statement says, “The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is a non-profit community organization dedicated to preserving, improving and celebrating the quality of life in the 14th Ward of the City of Pittsburgh.” That’s our commitment to you. How do we pull that off? We possess few financial resources. We don’t start businesses, build buildings, own property, pave streets, improve parks, practice medicine or teach your children. But, we do try to make the environment a little more hospitable for those who do. When the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Federation, the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and their affiliates invested over $50,000,000 to expand the JCC, build Weinberg Terrace and Weinberg Village, rehabilitate three Jewish day schools and much more, it was not the Coalition’s money that was spent or its initiative. When the developers of Summerset at Frick Park reclaimed the Nine Mile Run slag dump and converted it into a state of the art urban residential community, it was not our capital that was at risk. When synagogues, churches, private schools and service institutions grow and make living in the 14th Ward more attractive, it is principally through the efforts of their members and supporters. But we do have a hand in it. In fact, most of the successful developments constructed over the past twenty years were generally called for in the 1991 Squirrel Hill Master Plan or otherwise received our support.

Do we need more parking? What businesses will the consumers support? Should the business district be rebuilt? Expanded? Built higher? How can we provide more apartments in and near our business district? Should we? How do we deal with the severe storm water issues that are damaging so many homes and businesses? We review all proposed developments, particularly those that require any zoning approvals, and work with the developers, the public, our City Council members, the Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Department of City Planning to facilitate discussion and understanding and to bring about the best possible result. ■

We work with and support our schools, the JCC, the Carnegie Library, our many non-profit human service agencies and all our essential institutions. ■

We monitor our streets, buildings and developments to see that they are maintained and that building codes, zoning requirements, health regulations and the like are enforced. ■

We support public safety and sanitation and work with the police and citizens. Our Squirrel Hill Citizens Patrol and our Litter Patrol have been working consistently and tirelessly for many years. ■

We annually honor our Squirrel Hill Treasures, all of whom and which contribute so much to our quality of life. ■

We take on special projects such as the Squirrel Hill Storm Water Taskforce, the Squirrel Hill Gateway Taskforce and the Urban Forest Taskforce. ■

We employ multiple strategies: First, we plan. We lead community dialogues about the future and support cooperation among all of our constituents. We work to foster a climate of cooperation and a shared vision of our needs and our future. We assess our resources and assess our potential as a neighborhood and community. We find ways to help protect and encourage everyone’s investments in their businesses, institutions, homes and families. ■

The Squirrel Hill Master Plan was developed by the Coalition through the extensive support and efforts of the community, and it is now being updated to meet our future needs and help answer questions such as:

We work with our elected officials to facilitate communication and cooperation and help focus their attention on a common agenda. ■

Squirrel Hill is in a very strong position. We have a well educated population with virtually unlimited capacity to work together. We have strong public and private institutions that serve us well. We have two great public parks. We have a location that offers high quality residential living and quick and easy access to all that Pittsburgh has to offer. Continued on page 4 The Technology Issue PAGE3

message continued


The challenge is to make sure we keep the strengths we have and build on them. That takes a lot of public involvement. The Coalition presently has a 28 member board of directors and a long list of active committees and taskforces made up of people who live, work and invest here. The only way we can succeed is to expand our base. We invite you to join the Coalition and especially to become an active member. We need your ideas, your time and involvement. The names of our board members are on page two of this magazine. Please contact any of them or our office (412-422-7666 or and we will do everything we can to facilitate your involvement. And if you are unhappy with something we are doing, please let us know and get involved. We are you...


childs communications / designer jennifer habetler photographer michael sahaida

Visit our website at for a link to a recent Post-Gazette article celebrating 40 years of SHUC’s accomplishments.


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fresh off the street

This Just In Squirrel Hillbilliesʼ New CD From deep within the urban forest, the Squirrel Hillbillies often emerge to share their eclectic repertoire of acoustic folk, country, and blues. The duo has appeared at the Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival, on the Saturday Light Brigade public radio show, at SongSpace at First Unitarian, and in Calliope's “Emerging Legends” series, and regularly infests the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Old Produce Terminal Building at 17th and Smallman in the Strip District. You can catch them there on Sunday, February 3, 12pm-1pm, for a free lunchtime concert. “Our band’s name gets a lot of chuckles around town,” says Jenny Wolsk Bain who lives in Squirrel Hill, just around the corner from her duo partner, Gary Crouth. “But when we perform outside of Pittsburgh, folks don’t get the joke, so that gives us an opening to talk about the East End and how great it is. We consider ourselves musical ambassadors.” The Squirrel Hillbillies’ debut CD of all original songs – featuring artwork by Pittsburgh watercolor painter, Bill Vrscak -- is available locally at Acoustic Music Works and the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and online at CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes. For more information:

New Mural — Artist & Craftsman Supply Artist & Craftsman Supply, located on the corner of Hobart and Wightman Streets in Squirrel Hill, boasts the largest selection of art materials in the city, not to mention all the toys and novelty items. With a friendly, knowledgeable staff you’ll leave with the right supplies for your project at a great price. Artist & Craftsman Supply is open from 9-7:30 weekdays, 9-7 Saturdays, and 11-5 on Sundays. Stay current on sales, demonstrations, and new products, by visiting Phone: 412-421-3002 E-mail:

New Manager at First Commonwealth Bank Pete Stumpp, the new manager at First Commonwealth Bank on Forbes, is making a difference in our community. He’s volunteering his marketing expertise to help SHUC expand its membership base and increase fundraising, and he helped arrange First Commonwealth’s table sponsorship at the recent SHUC Treasures Dinner. Last spring he worked on the garden near the Squirrel Hill parkway entrance. A strong supporter of local businesses, Pete even bought his fiancée’s engagement ring at Orr’s! His involvement is a great example of the community spirit that makes Squirrel Hill such a wonderful place to live.

The Technology Issue PAGE5

squirrel hill snapshot

The Get Better Place

Summerset Fall Festival

On October 27, Summerset celebrated goals reached, construction underway and a new community park dedicated to the memory of a former Pittsburgh leader and visionary. State and City leaders including Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Councilman Corey O’Connor participated in a ribbon cutting to recognize completion of the streets that connect Commercial Street and Browns Hill Road, and Summerset announced the construction of a new 131-unit rental community that will be ready for occupancy in April 2013. The day’s celebratory feel took on a more contemplative tone as dozens of colleagues, friends, family and neighborhood residents gathered in a new neighborhood park to remember Mark C. Schneider. Mr. Schneider was instrumental in the creation of Summerset at Frick Park as well as other important and transformative projects in the region. The new park was dedicated in Mr. Schneider’s memory and October 27, 2012 was proclaimed by Pittsburgh City Council member William Peduto as “Mark C. Schneider Day.” Following the dedication ceremony, a parade led by Grand Marshall Rick Sebak and the Allderdice Marching Band led the assembled group to Summerset’s Crescent Park for a Fall Festival where many Pittsburgh organizations and restaurants offered activities for families, visitors and residents.


PAGE6 The Technology Issue




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squirrel hill feature

Squirrel Hill: A Home for Technology These six companies are bringing technological innovation to Squirrel Hill

PHRQL (pronounced Freckle) builds web and mobile applications designed to empower people to take control of their health through better nutrition, education, and connectivity. Two years ago a group of CMU grad students began studying how technology could help people with diabetes and other chronic diseases better manage their health. PHRQL, which stands for Personal Health Recording for Quality of Life, was formed in May 2011. The company was accepted into the AlphaLab startup accelerator program in June and began developing their first smart phone application for managing diabetes. Since that time PHRQL has added more capability in nutrition and healthy eating in order to support a wider range of people and chronic conditions. Paul Sandberg, CEO and a Squirrel Hill resident, is focused on solutions that change the way health care is delivered. “Studies have shown that 70% of our health care cost, which currently represents 17% of GDP, is related to lifestyle choices. If we are going to get healthier as a nation and get spending under control, people need to take more responsibility for their own health. That means eating healthier, exercising, and taking our meds. PHRQL’s mission is to provide tools that help people do that.” PHRQL has partnered with Flipside Media, another company with Squirrel Hill ties (Brad Ummer, President, lives in Squirrel Hill) to create Connect & CoachTM, a Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) product designed for registered dietitians in the retail supermarket/pharmacy setting. Around the country supermarket/pharmacy chains like Giant Eagle, Hy-Vee, and Price Chopper are delivering health and wellness dietetic services to their customers with diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other chronic conditions. Connect & CoachTM combines an electronic record system used by dietitians and pharmacists, and mobile applications used by their customers. Today PHRQL is the software behind Giant Eagle’s dietetic services.

You sit down at a nice restaurant on a date. You’re handed a 20 page wine menu. If you’re like most consumers, you have no idea how to choose a good wine, so you choose the second least expensive wine on the menu. This is a problem for two reasons: First, your experience is likely less enjoyable than it could have been. The purchase process was uncomfortable for you, and this decision method is not likely to steer you to the optimal wine. Second, the restaurant missed out on the possibility of you selecting a slightly more expensive bottle of wine which may have been more enjoyable to you. Now multiply this problem across 250,000 US restaurants, and we’re seeing the restaurant industry leaving approximately $20 billion on the table. RhoMania has developed a mobile device based menu system which gives consumers the tools and information to make better purchase decisions at the tableside. Put simply, RhoMania makes iPad wine, beer and spirits menus for restaurants. “As consumers become more tech savvy, they begin to expect a richer purchase experience, like buying books on Amazon,” says Darren Olson, president and CEO. “One of the reasons Amazon is besting the brickand-mortar stores is because there is a wealth of information literally at your fingertips, including expert and consumer reviews, price comparisons, product ratings, and much more that are not available at the local bookstore.” RhoMania is bringing the Amazon-like purchase experience to the tableside, and increasing restaurants’ profitability. This is the future of the restaurant industry! Learn more at:

To learn more about PHRQL, please visit PAGE8 The Technology Issue

Continued on page 10

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squirrel hill feature cont.

Vivisimo, an IBM company, has its heritage in the information access space. Started as a research project at Carnegie Mellon by its three founders—Raul Valdes-Perez, Jerome Pesenti and Chris Palmer— Vivisimo went on to become one of the industry’s leading companies in Information Optimization. Its widely acclaimed “made in Pittsburgh” software has transformed information management across the globe and helped to cement the prominence of Pittsburgh’s technology sector. Creating over 150 well-paying technology jobs in the past few years, Vivisimo continues to hire local university graduates and seasoned boomerang professionals who now call Pittsburgh home and the corner of Forbes and Murray their ideal place to work and play. Named a “Best Place to Work” and “IT Company of the Year,” Vivisimo/IBM continues to attract top technical talent and drive the region’s economic development agenda with job creation and technology innovation. In 2012, Vivisimo was acquired by IBM, a feather for Pittsburgh’s technology cap, to strengthen its Big Data portfolio of solutions. The term Big Data refers to the explosive growth in the volume and variety of data available to organizations—data that used to be stored but not really used. With Big Data software tools, information can be analyzed, optimized for decision making, and new insights and discoveries uncovered—leveraging competitive advantage and cost savings. The acquisition by IBM continues to be a positive development for Vivisimo and the Pittsburgh community at large. As part of its commitment to Pittsburgh, Vivisimo/IBM is now working on a new initiative to build a Big Data Center of Excellence in Pittsburgh. This project will provide the technical resources and expertise for promoting Big Data education, learning and experience. Just as the internet changed our lives over the past twenty years, Big Data will change the way we live, work and play. With this initiative, Pittsburgh will be wellpositioned to benefit from this new Big Data economy.

M*Modal is one of the nation’s leading healthcare technology companies, with strong historical ties to Pittsburgh and the Squirrel Hill area. In fact, the company’s technology and development facilities on Murray Avenue represent some of the most advanced technology solutions in the healthcare industry in the US and the world today. Specifically, M*Modal provides advanced clinical documentation technology and services to hospitals and physicians to enrich the content of patient electronic health records (EHR), which result in improved healthcare at the point of care, and comprehensive billing integrity for the healthcare providers. As the largest clinical transcription service provider in the U.S., with a global network of medical editors, M*Modal also provides advanced cloud-based Speech Understanding technology and data analytics that enable physicians and clinicians to capture and include the context of their patient narratives in a single step into electronic health records, further enhancing their productivity and cost-savings. The technology that drives those leading solutions today was developed in Pittsburgh by the company’s founders and a small team, beginning more than 11 years ago. M*Modal’s Squirrel Hill facility is home to more than 120 technology professionals, many local to the area, from schools like Carnegie Mellon and Pitt, and many from around the world. The M*Modal team is also an active contributor to the community, working closely with Rainbow Kitchen, Christmas toy drives and more. The company serves more than 3,800 hospitals, clinics and medical practices, and more than 200,000 physicians across the US, which accounts for about one-third of all the patient visits in the US each day. M*Modal has been recognized as one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America, placing in the top third of Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 for 2012. For more information, please visit

To learn more about Vivisimo, please visit PAGE10 The Technology Issue

Continued on page 13


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Intermedix Corporation is the leading provider of revenue cycle management services and technologies to the emergency services industry. Intermedix serves thousands of clients across the nation, including emergency medical services providers, hospitals, emergency departments, physicians, urgent care centers, and state and local governments. The Intermedix Pittsburgh office—technology headquarters—began as a startup in 2000. Founders Atila Omer and Bryan Kaplan started the company while attending Carnegie Mellon University, and opened the first office in Squirrel Hill. The company joined forces with Intermedix in 2011, and the office has grown to nearly 50 employees. Mike McHale, one of the original employees and now VP of Software Engineering for Intermedix describes the company’s success: “Our founders created a collaborative and supportive environment, and that’s built significant loyalty among our employees. The Squirrel Hill neighborhood has been an important factor in helping us maintain this culture.” Intermedix takes pride in this unique environment in Pittsburgh, where team members can experience a collaborative and supportive process. Day-to-day life continues to feel like a startup, with small agile teams breaking out into spontaneous whiteboard sessions and a casual dress code. However, Intermedix also offers the benefits of a large company, including diverse technologies and solutions. Team members at Intermedix take pride in building technology used across the nation for both every-day and life-saving functions. From web to mobile, solutions span clinical documentation, emergency preparedness, situational awareness, and incident response. Intermedix has strong representation from many local colleges and universities, including University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. The office also drives many specialized teams for Intermedix, such as integrations, release engineering, front end development, user experience, and technical writing

Tucked away in the East End is Rhiza, a rapidly growing software analytics company that helps advertisers understand and connect with local communities. Led by a team of CMU trained engineers, human scientists and data visualization experts, Rhiza helps advertisers make smarter, more cost effective local advertising decisions. Media giants like Comcast turn to Rhiza to help both national and local businesses grow through deeper connections with local customers. There's a lot of big data and sophisticated modeling that goes into Rhiza's software, but at the heart of Rhiza's company and software is people. Designed for people and not machines, Rhiza's software is intuitive and fun to use, helping everyday business people make smarter, data-driven advertising decisions quickly. Josh Knauer, Rhiza’s CEO, came to Pittsburgh from New Jersey in 1991 to attend Carnegie Mellon and he’s lived in Squirrel Hill ever since. Being a member of the Squirrel Hill community is important to Knauer personally, and also from a business standpoint. “We’re changing the world of advertising from our home base in Pittsburgh,” he says. With offices located in the East End, Rhiza offers a convenient working location for their many Squirrel Hill employees. It’s not just the bike-friendly or free bus-pass commute that matters, but what awaits on the other end. The Rhiza team is made up of brilliant thinkers who pull double time as moms, dads, friends, artists, dog-lovers, foodies, and civic leaders. Rhiza makes room for the whole person in many ways, including Flex Time and a Babies at Work program, weekly Whole Foods trips to stock the kitchen, and a benefits plan that is fiercely competitive with the tech industry elites, all set in a bright open working space. Rhiza is now hiring! Visit to learn more about the company and to view current job openings.


To learn more about Intermedix, please visit

Compiled by Adrienne Block Thanks to the following people for contributing content: Maria Emerson (Intermedix), Ryan Hopkins (M*Modal), Josh Knauer (Rhiza), Anne C. McCafferty (Vivisimo), Lisa McCormick (M*Modal), Darren Olson (RhoMania), Paul Sandberg (PHRQL) The Technology Issue PAGE13



i. Slate to dusk to snow, like the sky Against the winter roofs, the junco Lights below the feeder, out of the wind, In the copse of shelter the crab apples Make, untrimmed beside the porch. Monochrome and charcoal, the white Of the belly looks almost lit, almost Immaculate as a sheet of vellum Nothing’s been permitted to touch— Not even the city air, or the smoke From chimneys down-drafting in gusts. Not even the snow’s less smudged. Beyond the trees I can see the dark Thatch of hedges bordering the alley, The black vines climbing a garden wall. ii. Even Audubon glimpsed them in winter, But south, on the sprigs of a cotton-gum, Dark fruit tasseled and out of season, The background blank as snow, Though tinted so the white of the belly Stands out. And yet even Audubon Has not caught how fully the slate Feathers blot up light, softly as lamp-black, The slender chimney’s plume of ash. The scale seems slight. Or perhaps It’s the lack of winter in the scale Of light as it flurries into evening All afternoon, that one dull arc-lamp Burning in the alley, the shadow Of the bird below it, darkening the snow.

From Sheet Music by Robert Gibb. Copyright 2012 by Robert Gibb. Reprinted by permission of Autumn House Press. Acclaimed poet Robert Gibb is a Homestead native and author of eight books of poetry. His awards include two Poetry Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and seven Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grants. PAGE14 The Technology Issue


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squirrel hill feature

Workout Smarter, Not Harder with These Tech Tools By Annie Federoff

With recent obesity statistics reaching an all time high many people are taking steps toward reversing these trends. Luckily, advances in technology are making it easier than ever to fight back. Devices that measure anything from heart rate, to body fat percentage, to quality of sleep are getting increasingly smaller, more powerful, and more comfortable to wear. If you are on a fitness journey of your own, here are a few hot devices that may help you on your way. Heart Rate Monitors: Not enough hours in the day to get a workout in? No sweat! Research has shown that the intensity level of exercise is more important than the length of time spent exercising. A sure way to measure a workout’s intensity is to pair your “sweat session” with a heart rate monitor. The standard heart rate monitor on the market includes a watch and a comfortable chest strap which transmits heart beats per minute wirelessly to the watch. A new, more expensive option includes just a watch, eliminating the need for the chest strap completely. Exercising in the optimal “beats per minute” (BPM) zone provides maximum results, and saves the user from wasted energy expenditure. Along with helping find the exerciser’s peak target zone, these nifty little devices generally provide the user with helpful information such as calories burned, time spent training per week, and stats on whether the workout was mainly for fat burn, maximum performance or fitness improvement. Recommendation: Polar FT 40 Fitness Apps: Personal trainers and gym memberships can be expensive, but fitness apps that provide workouts, nutrition tips, recipes, and much more are available at a fraction of the cost. The best part... they are readily available on smart phones, computers, and tablet devices. Recommendations: Lose It! Easily track calorie intake, exercise, and weight loss, and “lose it” with this app. PAGE16 The Technology Issue

Fitness Buddy Fitness routines, body metrics tracking, HD videos of exercise moves, and detailed instructions are at the user’s fingertips with this app. Body Fat Analyzing Scales: Many people have heard of the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart— a simple way to roughly assess the health of a person based on height and weight. The simple fact that muscle is a much more dense tissue than fat can often leave the more muscular user discouraged. A much more accurate assessment of health is to test body fat percentage. Body fat testing previously required an expensive, time consuming process to achieve an accurate assessment. New advances in technology make obtaining this number quicker and more painless than ever before. The bioelectrical impedance method sends a small electrical current through the body, measuring the resistance of body tissues to the flow. The proportion of body fat is calculated as the current flows more easily through muscle tissue, water, and blood, than it does through bone or fat. Body fat analyzing scales take about 45 seconds to provide the user with their body fat percentage, hydration level, bone mass, and weight, and are available for under $50. Recommendation: Escali BFBW-200 Body Fat & Water Scale Activity Level Measurement Devices: These convenient gadgets take the guess work out of tracking a user’s daily activity levels. Generally, activity is measured by a small armband or device that can be placed in the user’s pocket. The best part about these devices is that they come with an online database where people can track progress, calories, steps, and even the quality of sleep. Recommendations: Fitbit, and Bodybugg Any one of the above tools will be a great addition to a daily routine of exercise and a healthy diet. These technological advances may make achieving a desired fitness goal easier, but at the end of the day these goals can only be reached through hard work and discipline, so get out there and get moving!


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library spotlight

Embracing New Technology at the Squirrel Hill Library By Holly McCullough

Because I’m a librarian people often like to try to pull me into a debate about print versus electronic books. They assume because of my choice of profession that I must believe printed books are sacred objects. They share with me that while they might grudgingly give into the efficiency of the e-reader for things like long vacation trips, they are unwilling to commit to a permanent move to e-books. They insist that the printed book will never die. As evidence they point to the physical experience of reading. They describe the smell and feel of the pages. The heft of the hardcover and the sound of the pages turning deep into the night of the book that just can’t be put down. All of this is described in a slightly ecstatic state of the true devotee. I certainly understand that feeling of love. Books after all make us feel. And in the midst of any strong emotion we tend to memorize the physical sensations of the experience. I know intimately the heady rush of emotion that can be conjured by the right combination of letters, words, and sentences. For those who’ve experienced that transcendent pleasure you know that the act of just holding and opening a book can invoke those feelings. Printed books have been the ideal delivery method of ideas, truth, knowledge, comfort, wisdom, challenge, solace, sympathy, laughter, and inspiration for centuries. It is no wonder we love them and that we are so attached to their traditional packaging. But it is a package we’re talking about—a simply elegant designed combination of glue, print, and paper. The printed book is obviously a tried-and-true, time-tested delivery and storage method, and yet I’m undaunted by the emergence of other possible formats. That’s because the librarian’s job is to get you to the heart, soul, and mind contained within the book no matter the mode of delivery. I have no doubt that book enthusiasts will learn to accept any package our beloved novels and texts are delivered in as long as we can read them. My colleagues and I at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh are working to ensure continued public access to books (and music, and movies, and computers) no matter the changing technologies and formats involved. And who knows, stalwart printed book PAGE18 The Technology Issue

lovers may one day even find themselves affectionately describing the feel of their finger sliding on the screen late into the night with that e-book they just couldn’t put down. Check out and keep up with the latest technology and delivery methods from your library at our e-CLP website! Here’s a sampling of what we have to offer: LIBRARY APPS Browse our favorite library related apps and download CLP’s own app to your Android or iPhone to search the library catalog, check your account, checkout e-books, or to search for the latest library events. eBooks Whether you’re just thinking of taking the plunge into the electronic book pool or you’re an experienced swimmer, the library as always is here to help guide you. We have thousands of books available to check-out and download for your phones, tablets, and e-readers. We also can give you information on selecting and purchasing e-readers and give hands-on assistance after you buy one. Audio books Download and listen to books from your phone, iPod, computer, or other compatible device. eVideo Instructional, educational and entertainment videos for all ages. Music In addition to loads of free streaming music, we now have a new service that provides downloadable access to 3 million songs! Library cardholders can download three FREE MP3 songs a week to keep and play anywhere. eNewsstand How about access to more than 300 free digital magazines including Consumer Reports, Cosmopolitan, Forbes, Good Housekeeping, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and Seventeen? Yes, the library now has that too with a new service called Zinio. Think of all those stacks of old magazines you’ll be able to avoid!





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squirrel hill historical society

Developing Technology in Squirrel Hill By Helen Wilson Vice-President, Squirrel Hill Historical Society

Thousands of years ago, a Native American hunting on Squirrel Hill hurled his spear at an animal that flashed by. He lost the spear in the vastness of the primeval forest. It lay where it had fallen and eventually was buried under centuries of fallen leaves. This scenario is pure speculation, but the fact remains that some years ago Bert Ackerman, always on the lookout for arrowheads, found one at the edge of Turner Cemetery on Saline Street when the sidewalk was being repaired. In 2011, archeologists at Mercyhurst University identified it as a Steubenville Stemmed spear point, an artifact of a Late Archaic culture that existed near Steubenville, Ohio, around 3,000 years ago. A report says the spear points of that culture exhibit superior workmanship and more advanced technology than those of the culture preceding it. Technology is the appropriate word. It means “application of tools and methods.” It took knowledge to select a stone that wouldn’t crack when knapped and skill to turn it into a usable weapon. How the spear point got to Squirrel Hill can never be known, but its discovery suggests that Native Americans may have been roaming Squirrel Hill at least 3,000 years ago and possibly longer. Native Americans traveled along routes they carefully plotted through the wilderness. In the book Indian Paths of Pennsylvania, Paul A. W. Wallace writes that the notion that European settlers found a trackless wilderness when they came to North America is just plain wrong. Native Americans had a complex system of trails that made use of the most efficient ways of getting from place to place over long distances, keeping to the middle heights between mountaintops and floodplains as much as possible. Many modern roads, including Route 40 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, follow Native American trails. Saline Street is one of the oldest roads in Squirrel Hill. Like many other old roads, it might have originated as a Native American path. A salt lick was located at the bottom of the hill by the mouth of Nine Mile Run. Saline Street wound from there to the top of the hill, where a small farming community began to develop in the 1760s. The settlers needed salt, so they constructed a brine mine at the salt lick—an example of technological development driven by need and know-how. The same factors were responsible for the building of a gristmill on Nine Mile Run to grind grain from the fields that farmers were able to plant because of plows and horse PAGE20 The Technology Issue

A Wichert truss on the Homestead Grays Bridge.

power. They distilled their excess grain into whiskey in a process still used today, although the equipment has greatly improved. Nine Mile Run flows into the Monongahela River, a hazardous barrier for people wanting to cross it. First crossings were by fords and canoes. Later, ferryboats took people and goods across the river. The crossing remained difficult until bridge building technology advanced. The first bridge built near the mouth of Nine Mile Run was Brown’s Bridge, also called the Homestead and Highland Bridge, a five-span truss bridge built in 1897. Its main purpose was to carry another developing piece of technology, street railways (trolleys), across the river. By 1936 Brown’s Bridge was outmoded, so it was replaced by the Homestead High Level Bridge, now the Homestead Grays Bridge. That huge structure represents an awesome leap of technology. In the 1930s engineers had no computers to calculate the effects of complicated forces acting on long truss bridges, so they had to experiment with innovative methods of dealing with those forces. The Homestead Grays Bridge uses a design developed by Pittsburgh engineer E. M. Wichert that has rhomboidshaped hinged assemblies at bridge supports to allow each continuous span to flex independently. It was state of the art in 1936. Every age marvels at its technological innovations. Those of the past seem old-fashioned today—just as the present ones will seem to future generations.


Anyone interested in learning more about Squirrel Hill history is invited to attend the meetings of the Squirrel Hill Historical Society held on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Ave. Go to to view upcoming lectures and events. Also, consider joining the SHHS. Membership is only $10 per year. There is no charge for attending the meetings.

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events & happenings

Calendar Squirrel Hill Historical Society The Church of the Redeemer, 5700 Forbes Avenue Events are held on the second Tuesday of each month FREE at 7:30 p.m.

One play-all-day pass: $10 2 play-all-day passes/$18 3 play-all-day passes/$26 4 tickets/$1

Tuesday, January 8: “The Development of the August Wilson Center” Speaker: Oliver Byrd, Founder and Interim Co-Director, August Wilson Center

PJ Library Pancakes Before Passover Sunday, March 17 10-11:30 am Levinson Hall

One of only two major arts institutions in the world named for Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright and Pittsburgh native August Wilson, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture engages regional and national audiences in its mission of preserving, presenting, interpreting, celebrating and shaping the art, culture and history of African Americans utilizing the rich history, legacy and culture of African Americans from Western Pennsylvania as a foundation.

Join us for a pre-Passover Pancake breakfast. Enjoy PJ Library stories, songs, crafts, and lots and lots of yummy pancakes!

Tuesday, February 12: The Labor Movement in Pittsburgh Speaker: Charles McCollester Tuesday, March 12: The Department Stores of Pittsburgh Speaker: John Canning Tuesday, April 9: A History of Ten Thousand Villages: A Nationwide Enterprise of the Presbyterian Church Speakers: Karen Horst and Susan Schneider

Jewish Community Center 5738 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill For more information, please call (412) 521-8010 or visit Manic Motherhood Discussion group for moms with infants. Bring your new baby! Wednesdays, 11:30 am January 9, 23; February 6, 20; March 6, 20; April 17 Brueggers, Murray Avenue, Squirrel Hill No fee; open to the community. Sandy and Edgar Snyder Family Purim Carnival Sunday, February 24 2-4 pm Join us for the BIGGEST indoor fun day at the JCC. Climb Shushan Mountain, play water games at the Purim Pool Party, jump into Mordechai’s Castle, and enjoy snacks at Vashti’s Food Court. Call Liza Baron, ext. 241. PAGE22 The Technology Issue

$10/person; children under the age of 2 are free.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Squirrel Hill Branch 5801 Forbes Avenue, Squirrel Hill (412) 422-9650 or Genre Book Club Meets on third Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. January 16, February 20, March 20, April 17 In January we will start with Pittsburgh-related novels, reading Pittsburgh native Stewart O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster. In February, we will read a Young Adult novel, Going Bovine by Libba Bray; in March, we will read a mystery; and in April, we will read a science fiction title. Future titles will be listed on our website and in the library. Wednesday, January 23 at 10:30 a.m. “Ageless Wisdom” Presented by Linda Raimondi, Coordinator for the Comprehensive Geriatric Education Grant at CCAC, this two-hour workshop is designed to help participants become sensitized to the needs of older adults. Using multimedia training, participants will “walk a mile” in older adults’ shoes to learn about sensory, cognitive, and functional impairment. Wednesday, February 13 at 6 p.m. Caroline Savery, an independent consultant on co-operatives, organizations, and sustainability, will present “Co-ops 101,” a workshop exploring the history, philosophy, principles, and types of co-ops. March 19 at 6 p.m. Jill Yesko, President of Discover Organizing, will present “Downsizing Your Home, Not Your Life”. This course will help people who are looking to move from a larger family home to a smaller one. She will discuss how to preserve memories and get rid of unwanted items and how to get your family involved Continued on page 24

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events & happenings cont.

in the process. Handouts will be provided and registration is required. Contact the library at 412-422-9650 to sign up.

admission. Many Good Fridays also feature special programs including music, film, performances, and more. Be sure to check our online calendar for specific weekly special programming (additional ticket pricing may apply).

Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland Tuesday January 29, 7:30 pm Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Winds + Piano Tuesday March 5, 7:30 pm Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin, with David Allen Wehr, piano Monday April 15, 7:30 pm Ebène Quartet

Raising Resilient Children Community Day School Wednesday, January 23 at 7:00pm Praise based on talent and intelligence, as opposed to effort, doesn’t help kids achieve success. Labeling kids as “smart” or “best” can make them less so. During this free workshop, Dr. Junlei Li will share ideas from current research showing that how you interact with your children in moments of success and challenge has a powerful influence on their development. RSVP to

Andy Warhol Museum Good Fridays 117 Sandusky Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 Fridays, 5-10pm For a more social experience, the Museum is open late with a cash bar in the entrance gallery and special half-price regular Museum

Trouble with a Capital T in Three Rivers City: The Music Man Sing Along Benefit St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral 419 South Dithridge St, Oakland Saturday, March 9 at 2:00pm Join the Pittsburgh School for the Choral Arts in singing along to some of your favorite tunes from The Music Man! Celebrity emcee, Anna Singer, returns as Marian the Librarian in this fun family feature from the 1960s. The event includes many activities for children of all ages, a silent auction and dessert auctions to benefit the choirs, snacks and afternoon delights. Contact Person: Emily Swora, 412-267-7707

Autumn House Fiction Reading Chatham University Campus, Mellon Living Room Friday, March 22 at 7pm Free to the public Award-winning author Steven Schwartz will read from Little Raw Souls, his recently published short story collection. In Little Raw Souls, Schwartz writes of loss and replenishment in eleven suspenseful and affecting stories. Set in the contemporary American West, the stories take on the identity of a place where tradition is still a work in progress and acts of self-discovery arise for characters at any age. Continued on page 26

PAGE24 The Technology Issue

A Night to be Treasured Some highlights from the 2012 SHUC Treasure Awards dinner

2012 Squirrel Hill Treasures Deborah Fidel, Robert Qualters and Holly McCullough with Murray the Squirrel

Robert Levin presenting a plaque to Rick Stern, owner of the Manor Theatre, the 2012 Place Treasure

Please visit our website at for more pictures from the Treasures dinner, and to view the Treasure Awards video produced by Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

bbb Martha Raak, Ray Baum, Barbara Rabner Ceci Sommers and Cindy Ingram

Murray the Squirrel makes an appearance.

Debbie Gespass and Sally Levin

The Technology Issue PAGE25

events & happenings cont. The Squirrel Hill Project Squirrel Hill’s Jewish Community, Urban History, and American Jewish History A Series of Community Events and Academic Projects in 2012-2013 Presented by the University of Pittsburgh All events are free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested, but not required. To pre-register email: Squirrel Hill and its Jewish community are unusual on the American scene. In contrast to most other 1920s-era Jewish neighborhoods around the country, it remains heavily Jewish and the center of Pittsburgh Jewish life. The public programs in this series address the history of the Pittsburgh Jewish community, the history of Squirrel Hill in particular, larger patterns in Pittsburgh's urban history, and key themes in American Jewish and urban history. Examining the history of Squirrel Hill offers an opportunity for Pittsburgh's Jewish community to think about the current status of the community, the neighborhood, and the city, and to think about the future. Wednesday February 6, 7 pm “It’s All Very Pretty but a Person Cannot Cry There”: Jewish Anxieties over Suburbanization, 1945-1965 Lecture by: Rachel Kranson (University of Pittsburgh) Location: Jewish Community Center, Squirrel Hill Tuesday February 26, 7 pm Jews, Race, and the Twentieth-Century American City Lecture by: Thomas Sugrue (University of Pennsylvania) Location: August Wilson Center, Downtown Sunday April 14, 10 am Squirrel Hill and Jewish Pittsburgh by the Numbers Lecture and Workshop by: Christopher Briem (University of Pittsburgh) and Joshua Donner (Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh) Location: 1500 Posvar Hall, Pitt Campus, on Schenley Plaza. Join us for bagels and coffee as two local experts dig into the data on the Jewish community and Pittsburgh neighborhood trends.

7th Annual “Words To Be Heard” Scholarship Contest Kickoff Graduating High School Seniors Submit Programs to

scholarships of $2,500, and three runners-up scholarships of $1,000 to be used toward the students’ continuing education. “At my law firm, we help the victims of accidents caused by drunk driving and texting while driving,” said Attorney Edgar Snyder. “We designed the scholarship contest so teens would think about how they can influence their peers to prevent tragedies. It’s a way to raise community support and awareness, while offering students a chance to earn a college scholarship.” Since the scholarship contest began in 2007, Edgar Snyder & Associates has awarded 56 scholarships totaling $70,500. Students entering the contest must be high school seniors who plan to attend a four-year college, university, or trade school in the Summer or Fall of 2013. All entries must be postmarked on or before March 29, 2013 to be eligible. To view the official rules or to request more information, visit or call 1-800-394-3660 ext. 4412 or

Prevent Peers from Drunk Driving or Distracted Driving Presented by Edgar Snyder & Assoc. The law firm, which helps people who are injured in accidents, is asking students to create programs that will discourage their peers from underage drinking, drunk driving or texting while driving. Students can submit entries using their preference of creative options, including videos, PowerPoint presentations, brochures, websites, essays, or another original approach. A panel of outside judges will review the entries and will award one grand prize scholarship of $5,000, three second place PAGE26 The Technology Issue

To learn more about the fascinating history of Brown's Bridge and the Homestead Grays Bridge, check out an additional feature by Helen Wilson on our website:

squirrel hill info Technology at the JCC

JFilm Moves to the Manor for Its 20th Festival

As new media forms evolve, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh has incorporated them into its daily practices. Working with a Pittsburgh interactive technology company called Songwhale, the JCC shares information, news, updates and events with its members through text messages. It also uses social media like Twitter and Facebook to foster conversations and connectivity, and in doing so, extends beyond its physical building, situating itself as a virtual community center. The JCC is rewarding community members for engaging in new ways—when they reach 1,000 Facebook page likes they will be giving away a free Amazon Kindle! Connect with the JCC at

JFilm: The Pittsburgh Jewish Film Forum announces its 20th anniversary festival (JFilm Festival) taking place April 11 - 21, 2013, at the Manor Theater and other venues in and around the city. The festival will present narrative and documentary films from around the world, sometimes with their directors speaking afterward. Selections are chosen by a committee of volunteers who rate the films based on their quality and content. Most of the screenings will be Pittsburgh premiers. “Film Schmooze” following selected films enables audience members to discuss what they’ve just seen in an intimate setting. Titles and additional information will be announced in March. JFilm also offers year-round programming in addition to the annual festival. For more information:


JFilm is a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.


“Squirrel Hill Magazine is a great vehicle to reach our audience, and on a personal note, I also like to support the community where I do business.” — Norman Childs, Eyetique

“Squirrel Hill Magazine represents an active and engaged community that has always been supportive of Ten Thousand Villages by making purchases that make a difference and improve the lives of artisans around the world and by volunteering with our organization. Squirrel Hill Magazine is the very best way to CONNECT with customers!” — Jenn Legler, Ten Thousand Villages

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Our Mission

Founded in 1972, The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC) is a non-profit community group dedicated to preserving, improving and celebrating the quality of life in the 14th Ward of the city of Pittsburgh. Members of our volunteer-supported standing committees work to provide leadership to our community by studying, debating, and advocating positions on issues affecting our neighborhood’s vitality. Our shared vision is reflected through a long-range planning process which fosters community-based initiatives in the areas of: ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡

Education Public Safety Residential Quality Parks & Open Spaces Commercial & Institutional Development

WeNeedYou Membership Application Form The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition needs you! Join with us and support our effort to maintain the quality of life in the 14th Ward. Please fill out the form below OR call:

(412) 422–7666

Enclosed is my check for: $500 Benefactor $250 Patron $100 Sponsor $50 Household $25 Individual Other Yes, I will volunteer!

Areas of interest/concern: Education Residential Quality Citizens Patrol Block Watch Parks & Open Spaces Urban Forest Litter Patrol Commercial Development

Name: Address:

Phone: E–mail: Comments:

Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is now seeking volunteers to help with fundraising.

The Coalition relies solely on member dues and grants.

Mail form to:

5604 Solway Street Pittsburgh, PA 15217

Phone: (412) 422-7666 FAX: (412) 422-8802

Website: E-mail


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Squirrel Hill Magazine Winter 2013  

The Technology Issue

Squirrel Hill Magazine Winter 2013  

The Technology Issue