Page 1


Spring 2008


Terry Abbott

Donna Angle

Barbara Baker/ Bob Main

Lynn Banbury

Jodi Bilski

Rob Buel

Janice Caputo

The Platinum Standard

Frank Conroy

Diane Damian & Helane Tobin

in Buying and Selling Homes

Lisa DeBartolo

Bob Dini

Prudential Preferred Realty Route 19 South Office

Alexis Fitch

George Herrington

Charlene Lemper

Jo Ann Robb

Karen Frank

Pat Hogan

Elva Marotta

Bryan Russo

Liz Hoyson

Bobbie Mikita

Michelle Schocker/ Ruth Weigers

Sally Kauper

Angela Mize

Judy Ward

Wayne Freund

Debbie Graulty

Florine Kelly

Bob Kohler

Barbara Kurdys-Miller

Darietta Oliverio

Betsy Raber

Mary Ann Zupon Jane Compagnone Manager

Preferred Realty

1679 Washington Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15228 Independently Owned and Operated

(412) 833-7700 • 


Jenny Ramaley

Diane Paul

Assistant Manager



At St. Clair Hospital, excellence means combining advanced technologies with exceptional medical expertise. Delivering exemplary clinical outcomes and patient safety measures that are consistently recognized with national awards. And providing outstanding healthcare and specialty services for you, close to home. In everything we do, excellence is our specialty. SPECIALIZING IN EXCELLENCE

1000 Bower Hill Road


Pittsburgh, PA 15243

Spring 2008

. 412-942-4000 .


E N G I N E E R I N G G R A D U AT E | A RT I S T | R I S K TA K E R

FEAR NOTHING BUT A CLOSED MIND You have the confidence to offer new ideas. To embrace change. To create something out of nothing. Some people call that risky. You call it rewarding.

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Seton Hill University’s Admissions Office will host an Open House on Sunday, April 13, 2008. Please call 1-800-826-6234 or e-mail for more information and to register. BFA.UpperS.C.Ad


11:22 AM

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Now you’re closer than ever to a great financial plan.

Introducing Our New South Hills Office. Bill Few Associates is now right around the corner, bringing to your neighborhood more than 20 years of wealth management experience. In our new South Hills office on Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon, you’ll find financial advisors with the expertise to help you reach your personal goals— from retirement and college educations to estate planning and smarter investments. Visit to find out more. Or call us at 412 801 4900. You’ll see, a better financial future is now just down the road. Your best interest is our only interest. •

740 Washington Road, South Hills � 4900 Perry Highway, North Hills


Spring 2008 • Volume 14 • Issue 1

Features and Around the Township 8 Publishers’ Letter

The publishers respond to TODAY’S resident survey and roll out our color magazine.

16 Busy as a Bee

Frannie Brown has taken on the family hobby of beekeeping at Gilfillan Farm.

18 Mulch Day

We mark many days as holidays, but who created “Mulch Day?”

28 Chief Ronald Pardini

Dedicated to Upper St. Clair, the Chief leads by example.

36 Firefighter Survival


USC Trail Bike Club


Boyce Road Gardeners look forward to spring.


A mission trip to the Dominican Republic

USCVFD members train how to survive in hazardous conditions.

68 Medallion Ball

Twenty-four USC students received deserved recognition for their volunteerism.

Township 25 Meet Our New Township Commissioners

Commissioners Dandoy and Del Re set aside time for an interview.

26 Budget Highlights

The Finance Department reports on the Township’s revenues and expenses.

30 Upper St. Clair Citizens’ Police Academy

Personal accounts from graduates of the academy reveal an “unexpected education.”

34 Join the Circle of Knowledge @ Your Library

Become more knowledgeable about “being green” or have your child take the Kid’s Korner riddle quiz.

38 Youth Steering Committee

This group involves students and their families in its outreach towards a healthier community.

School District 50 Meet Our New Board of School Directors

Four new school board members lead us into 2008. Meet them!

52 MSA Evaluation

This spring, the Middle States Association validation team will be evaluating Upper St. Clair High School.

54 Pawprints

An overview of what’s happening in our schools.

60 Homecoming—From a German View

Called a “uniquely American” celebration, German foreign exchange students review USCHS homecoming.

62 USC and REEC—a Partnership in Learning

K-4 SWEP and the REEC make a great learning team for our elementary students.

Guides 10 40 48 75

Celebration Home Improvement Pinebridge Dining

Cover 12 Honored on the cover of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY for its receipt of the 2007 Ambulance Service of the Year award

from the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council is Tri-Community South EMS. Serving three South Hills communities for the past 30 years, TCS initiated the first instructional program on the use of the automated external defibrillator (AED) in USC. Feature articles of Tri-Community South can Spring be found2008 on pages UPPER 12 and 13.ST. CLAIR TODAY Cover photography provided by Harry Coleman Photography.

Publishers Mark S. Mansfield Acting Township Manager Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole Superintendent of Schools

The staff of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY would like to thank Douglas A. Watkins for his oversight and hands-on approach to publishing this magazine since its inception in 1994. Without his guidance and suggestions, this publication would not be the Township communication tool that it is today. Having served the Township as manager for 26 years, Mr. Watkins left his post this past January. We wish him well. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY is a community magazine that is dedicated to promoting the Township

Steering Committee Mark S. Mansfield Acting Township Manager Paul K. Fox School District Representative Editors and Staff Linda M. Dudzinski, Editor-in-Chief Terry Kish, Associate Editor Colleen DeMarco, Office Manager Lynn Dempsey, Senior Advertising Associate Erin Gibson Allen, Advertising Associate Julie Sweet, Advertising Associate Thank you to our volunteer contributors this issue: Erin Gibson Allen, Mike Brusco, Sue Clark, Ray Cursi, Marcus Drzymalla (YWG), Jan Falk, Lena Finder (YWG), Dina Fulmer, Paul Giba, Wayne Herrod, Liyun Jin (YWG), Jerry Kender, David Kish, Patti Kolsosky, Jeff Krantz, Chrissy Lee (YWG), Teres Lucot, Congressman Tim Murphy, Barry Novisel, Liz Scheurer, Rafael Sciullo, Mary Lynne Spazok, August Stache, Jessica Stombaugh, Connie Wilson, Holly White (YWG), Robert Wittig, and Liza Zinsser (YWG). A special thank you to Cullyn Thompson for her help with this issue. Young Writers Guild (YWG) promotes and encourages young writers in the Upper St. Clair School District to provide articles of interest for this community magazine. The 53rd issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY is a joint publication of the Township and School District of Upper St. Clair. © Copyright 2008. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this magazine, in whole or in part, without the express written consent of the Editor is strictly prohibited. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY 1820 McLaughlin Run Road Upper St. Clair, PA 15241 Phone: 412-833-1600, extension 2284 Fax: 412-851-2592 Email: Township­: 412-831-9000 School District: 412-833-1600 Printed by Herrmann Printing & Litho, Inc. 1709 Douglass Drive • Pittsburgh, PA 15221 412-243-4100 • Fax: 412-731-2268 

and School District of Upper St. Clair by recognizing the gifts and contributions of the people who live and work here. The 53nd issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY magazine is made possible through the combined resources of the staff and volunteers of the Township and School District of Upper St. Clair. Thanks are extended to the staff and volunteers for their enthusiasm and efforts on this continuing project.

School Board Directors

Township Board of Commissioners

Angela B. Petersen, President Amy L. Billerbeck, Vice President Barbara L. Bolas Carol B. Coliane Daniel A. Iracki Louis A. Piconi Rebecca A. Stern

Ched Mertz, President, Ward 4 Karen M. McElhinny, Vice President, At Large Preston W. Shimer, Ward 1 Kenneth L. Brown, Ward 2 Robert W. Orchowski, Ward 3 Russell R. Del Re, Ward 5 Glenn R. Dandoy, At Large

William M. Sulkowski UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY is a non-partisan Township, School District, and community magazine.

Political advertising and political commentary are not accepted. The publishers of this magazine reserve the right to reject advertising or articles inconsistent with the objectives, image, and aesthetic standards of the magazine. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY magazine is published and mailed quarterly to residents and businesses

in Upper St. Clair. Extra copies of the magazine are available at the Township of Upper St. Clair Municipal Building and Township Library. If you did not receive a copy in the mail, please call 412-833-1600, extension 2284. The next issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY will be the Summer 2008 issue and will be published in May 2008. Articles that were submitted but not published in this issue are on file for consideration in upcoming issues. Articles and announcements may be sent to: Editor, UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, 1820 McLaughlin Run Road, Upper St. Clair, PA 15241 or email UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY at Subscription Information If you know someone living outside the Township who would enjoy receiving UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, please send $12 to cover mailing and handling for the next four issues with name and address, including zip code, to our address listed to the left. Add $10 to cover international mailings.

Deadline for articles and advertising for the Fall 2008 issue is June 1, 2008. Article Information Editor-in-Chief Linda Dudzinski–phone: 412-833-1600, extension 2681 Advertising Information Office Manager Colleen DeMarco–phone: 412-833-1600, extension 2284 fax: 412-851-2592 Website



Spring 2008


1820 McLaughlin Run Road • Upper St. Clair, PA 15241

Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole

Mark S. Mansfield

Now in its 14th year of publication, UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY introduces you to its 53rd issue, our spring edition. The buzz word from our residents who’ve expressed opinions about our publication over the years and those who responded to the magazine’s survey last fall was, “Color! Use more color!” Adding color to the magazine, both in advertising and editorial isn’t as easy as it sounds, though, and the staff, steering committee, and publishers (see staff listing, page 6) of this not-for-profit, community publication spent numerous hours looking for ways to make a “full color” magazine a possibility. The year 2008 is a turning point for us, as we venture into the full color world. Thanks to the financial backing of our wonderful advertisers (see Advertiser Index, page 78) and the support from both the Township and School District, our possibility has become a reality! With this issue, color is prominently displayed throughout the editorial sections and in most of the advertising. The continuation of adding more color in future issues is the path we’ve chosen to take. Resident survey results, overwhelmingly complimentary, also suggested the desire for more photos in the magazine and for articles to further focus on people. Our original goal of 14 years ago, which we formalized in a mission statement, does just that. “UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY is a community magazine that is dedicated to promoting the Township and School District of Upper St. Clair by recognizing the gifts and contribution of the people who live and work here.” Substantive articles about our community and our schools will continue to relay newsworthy information, along with articles of interest peppered throughout. As before, you will find the magazine categorized into three sections: Township, School District, and Features and Around the Township to promote that which is important to us and to you. Lastly, some residents wanted to see the magazine increase its frequency of publication beyond that of its current quarterly production. Some even asked for a monthly magazine! While we are pleased to hear this request (substantiating our belief in its benefits to the residents), we feel we are satisfying the needs of the residents within our limited funds and our commitment to keep this a product of local volunteer effort. Therefore, as each of the four seasons bow out to make room for the next, this should be a reminder to you to look for this quarterly publication in your mailbox. As winter becomes a distant memory, may this issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY put colorful spring in your step. Sincerely,


Mark S. Mansfield Acting Township Manager

Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole Superintendent of Schools

Township of Upper St. Clair 412-831-9000 Fax: 412-831-9882 Website: Email: 10


Upper St. Clair School District 412-833-1600 Fax: 412-833-5535 Website: Email:


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Spring 2008

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Celebration Guide IT’S NOT 2008






Dressing for Spring Teres Lucot, Owner, Trunk Shows Boutique Sensual dressing has changed.

Perfect Gifts, Perfect Accessories, Perfect Prices. An Experience To Make Your One-stop Shopping Simply Perfect!

One time use only. Not valid with any other offer or discount. Exp. May 31, 2008


Gone are the belly baring, body hugging, showing everything outfits adored by today’s pop princesses. New soft, fluid shapes, often in veiled translucent layering, reign on the spring season’s runways, proving just how sexy the power of suggestion can be. Bold color is back, as well as strong prints that explode in dramatic mixes, giving a modern edge to the new silhouettes. Waistline emphasis continues and the newest interest is in the shoulder line. Mini and maxi lengths lived equally on the catwalks. Accessories add fantasy for the finishing touches. Fabric for this spring and summer season is transparent. Think chiffon, organza, lace, and tulle, layered to make new color mixes. Jersey, stronger than ever, is joined by innovative polyesters. Silk is classic, but updated. Charmeuse is the newest shine, and the green movement continues as organic fabrics gain importance.


Details this season are about craftsmanship, inspired by haute couture. These are artistic details ready to wear: global inspirations, Japanese influences, peplums, ruffles, bows, twisting, draping, pleats, crystals, and gemstones. New textures include feathers, soft eyelash fringe, and nature inspired elements. Sophisticated tailoring, sporty looks, safari details, and the 70s touches update sportswear separates. Dresses show no sign of stopping. Long for day and short for night! Shirt dresses, loose shifts, 50s silhouettes, in both short and longer lengths, A-line dresses, bare looks, strapless, halter, and one shoulder looks. Simple columns, draped dresses, and back interest for evening wear continue. There is a lot to see and shop for in your new spring and summer wardrobe. Have fun! n See ad on this page. Mention it, and get 10% off prom accessories and something for Mother’s Day, too!

You are Your Own Best Accessory Connie Wilson, Owner, Serenity Day Spa & Salon Of course, the dress is what most girls spend the majority of their time, energy, focus, and frustration on when prom season approaches. However, the little details can be just as important. Thankfully, you already have the key components to making them even more special. Your prom make-up must be flawless, just like your dress, shoes, and hair. Sound overwhelming? If so, try not to worry. This is something that you can do yourself or with a group of friends. Most spas and salons offer these services or “prom packages” containing everything from skin care and nail care needs before your big day arrives to hair styling and makeup applications on prom day. Remember though, that prom season is a very busy time for many businesses in this service industry, and you should schedule your appointments as early as possible to keep prom day less hectic and stressful. If you are doing it yourself, remember that creating the perfect prom look can take time. Try different products several times until you get the look you desire. Clipping pictures of your favorite celebrity for inspiration is a good idea, whether you are doing it yourself or taking a photo along with you to the salon or spa. Here are a few tips to help you get started preparing for your prom look this year. • Avoid painting your face with too much foundation. Put on just enough makeup so you look natural, only better. • Don’t forget to blend in your makeup so you avoid lines at your jaw, neck, or chest. Using makeup sponges gives you a super smooth application. • Your eye shadow should match the shade of your dress. The darker the eye makeup the more glamorous you look. For a more

natural look, apply a shimmery beige eye shadow to your lids. • Curl your lashes to help them appear longer and for extra volume. • Soft lips give you a sexy look. Pump up your lips with an outline in pencil, then add creamy lipstick. You do not want to see a dark line around your lips. Blend it together with a lip brush for a more natural look. Don’t forget to dress up your hands and feet with a manicure and pedicure. It’s best to get those calluses and dry skin removed before sporting open-toed or -heeled shoes. Save money by having an at-home spa party where girlfriends do each other’s fingernails and toenails. Remember, for the best polish job, you need a base coat, polish, and top coat. In a hurry to get your nails dry? Use an air blow dryer set on cool. The key thing to remember is less is better! You want to look dressed up, but not overdone. You still want to be you and that’s who your friends want to see, too! Decide whether to play up your eyes or your mouth, but never both. Prom hair style should compliment, never compete with, your gown or jewelry. Adding a little powder, bronzer, or lotion to your bare arms, shoulders, and chest is a sure way to make you shimmer all evening, giving off a nice healthy glow from your skin. Above all, smile and have a great time! Nothing can top a great smile while having fun to make your night perfect! n Serenity Day Spa & Salon, a full service day spa and hair salon, is located in Bridgeville. See ad on page 10.

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Spring 2008



Tri-Community South EMS—Our Emergency Medical Service Provider Working Together for Healthy Residents What do Nora Helfrich and Phil Vargo, from TriCommunity South EMS, have in common with Ted Petersen, Joe Graceffo, Bebe Mielcusny, and Dr. Vince Mosesso? Other than the fact that they are all featured on the cover of this issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, they are all also working to keep the citizens of Upper St. Clair healthy and fit. Dr. Vince Mosesso, an Upper St. Clair resident and medical director of UPMC Prehospital Care, believes that Tri-Community South is a vital asset to the community. “I have been involved with emergency medical services for nearly 30 years, and can say without hesitation that Tri-Community South is a premier service,” he said. Each year Tri-Community South provides standby service for well over 200 sporting events, including local football and soccer games. The service offers training and educational opportunities through affiliations with the Community College of Allegheny County, the American Heart Association, and the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania. Tri-Community South initiated the first instructional program on the use of the automated external defibrillator, or AED (a portable automatic device used to restore normal heart rhythm in patients in cardiac arrest), in Upper St. Clair. Under the medical direction of Dr. Mosesso, this training has been taught to the police force, the volunteer fire department, the athletic coaches and coordinators, as well as USC teachers and students. Ted Petersen, the athletic director at Upper St. Clair High School, was trained by Tri-Community South in the use of external defibrillators, as was Joe Graceffo, the high school’s athletic trainer.

Left to right: Phil Vargo, Tri-Community South Supervisor; Nora Helfrich, Tri-Community South Director; and Dr. Vince Mosesso, displaying a portable AED unit

Left to right: Dr. Vince Mosesso, Phil Vargo, and Nora Helfrich prepare a cardiac patient to transmit a 12-lead ECG to the hospital’s emergency department.

Photos courtesy of Harry Coleman Photography

Dr. Mosesso also collaborated with Tri-Community South and Joe DeMarco, USC resident and member of the USC Athletic Association, to provide CPR and AED training to the USC recreational league coaches. By acquiring and placing two AEDs in the Morton and Founders’ field complexes, coaches like Bebe Mielcusny have access to this life-saving technology, should a young athlete go into cardiac arrest. Tri-Community offers CPR training for interested groups. n

A Year in Review

Tri-Community South EMS employees receive the 2007 PEHSC Ambulance Service of the Year award from Pennsylvania EMS Director Joe Schmider (right center). 14


The year 2007 was a big one for Tri-Community South EMS, Upper St. Clair’s emergency medical service provider. The service was proud to receive several awards last year recognizing the accomplishments of its hard-working staff and volunteers. The receipt of the 2007 Ambulance Service of the Year award for Pennsylvania was a highlight. The award, given by the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Services Council, the EMS advisory body to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, identifies Tri-Community South as among the best in the 1500 emergency medical service agencies in Pennsylvania. (See article UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, winter 2007, page 38.) The Pennsylvania Ambulance Association, the lead organization for the advancement of the needs of its members in the emergency and medical transportation industry, recognized TriCommunity South employee Randy Eshelman by awarding him the 2007 Star of Life award. This award is given to an EMS provider who “exemplifies the efforts and importance of the job our everyday heroes provide to the residents of the Commonwealth.”

John Brewer, NREMT-P, Tri-Community South EMS CPR and the U.S., Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, and South Korea went Program Coordinator received the Community Educator of the through field training and graduated as paramedics. Year award from the Emergency Medical Service Institute. EMSI Tri-Community South depends on community residents for is the Regional EMS Council for Southwestern Pennsylvania. its operating budget through the annual subscription drive, user Through John’s leadership, Tri-Community South is noted for fees, and third-party reimbursements. In 2007, the system again having one of the strongest AED programs in the United States. remained fully self-supporting. The municipalities and townships In addition to its awards, 2007 was also a busy year for ser- consisting of Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park, and South Park that own vice. Tri-Community South responded to 6678 emergency calls, and operate Tri-Community South did not contribute municipal an increase of 557 calls from the prior year. Eighty percent of all tax monies to support this EMS system. n the emergency patients transported to hospitals received advanced life support—treatment performed by paramedics with invasive therapy. Paramedics and emergency medical technicians also provided over 303 hours of medical coverage for athletic events for school districts and community gatherings over and above working their normal 40-hour workweek. Every employee of Tri-Community South is a CPR instructor. In 2007, over 14,925 individuals were trained in CPR, advanced cardiac life support, pediatric life support, first aid, and canine CPR, making Tri-Community one of the top ten AHA training centers in the United States. Tri-Community South is also a field-training site for the Center John B re Randy Eshelman, (left) recipient for Emergency Medicine and Community College 2007 wer, (right of an Comm ) recip AAPA Star of Life award, with guest ie u n n of Allegheny County paramedic programs. it t award y Edu o pres f ente t r Ran h dy Man e EM tooth, who played Tri-Co , and his cator of Paramedic Johnny Gage in the the Ye SI mmun wife, D Thirty-one students from across Pennsylvania 1970s ar ity e South

bb EMS v ie, a olunte e

television series, Emergency!


Minutes Matter in Chance for Survival A heart attack is a medical emergency that demands immediate attention. It is estimated that about every 26 seconds, someone in the U.S. will suffer a coronary event and about every minute someone will die from a heart attack. We must recognize the warning signs of a heart attack and activate the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) system to help. Minutes matter to increase the chance for survival. The warning signs of a heart attack can be sudden and intense, but more often the symptoms start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Often, people are not sure what is wrong, which causes them to wait too long before seeking help. The warning signs of a heart attack include: • Chest pain or discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. It may go away and come back, usually feeling like an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. • Discomfort in other areas of the body. Sometimes, heart attack pain may move around and include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, jaw, neck, or stomach. • Shortness of breath with or without chest pain. • Other warning signs include breaking into a cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness, or even loss of consciousness. • Women may experience other symptoms, more vague in nature. • Denial—“this is not happening to me”—often leads to delay in treatment. If you experience any of these systems, or if you see someone else with these symptoms, call EMS immediately. Tri-Community South has long been a leader in improving the survival of heart attack victims. Each ambulance is equipped with the latest technology to treat

cardiac events. Time to definitive care begins with the activation of the EMS system. To increase survival is to improve the time to definitive care within the EMS system. Tri- The continuous positive airway pressure deCommunity South is vice, or CPAP, delivers a high concentration of able to bring life saving oxygen under pressure for a patient in severe care to the victim, utilize respiratory distress with congestive heart a diagnostic 12–lead failure. Without this device, a patient would ECG and transmit that be intubated and placed on a portable respidata to a receiving hos- rator. CPAP decreases the need for tracheal intubation and, therefore, decreases a patient’s pital. These simple steps hospital stay. have been proven to reduce the care time in a cardiac catherization lab by as much as one hour. The emergency room physician, through this technology, can diagnose a heart attack before the patient arrives at the hospital. Nearly half, or 48%, of the people that require an emergency cardiac catherization due to heart attack symptoms arrive at the hospital by car. This dangerous practice is heightened if you drive yourself to the hospital and your condition worsens. A fatal car crash can be caused if the driver has a medical emergency while at the wheel. For your safety and for the safety of others, activate EMS immediately if you recognize any heart attack symptom. If you are driving and experience a heart attack symptom, pull your vehicle over and call 911. Minutes do matter. Activate the EMS system and increase your chance for survival. n

For more information on Tri-Community South EMS, to schedule a child safety seat inspection, to register for a CPR class, or for any other questions on emergency medical services, call Tri-Community South at 412-831-3710, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or visit its website at

Spring 2008



Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair­ “Creating a sense of community by enhancing the quality of life for all the people of Upper St. Clair.”

Three Clubs—Three Ways to Have Fun! The Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair sponsors three clubs: the Bocce League, the Trail Bike Club, and the Fly Fishing Club; all three are open to residents of the community.

USC Trail Bike Club

an mpions D bocce cha am and C S U 7 0 h Gra e 20 ague. h Denise ght are th Left to ri iane DeGrave wit the USC bocce le f o D d rs an ade son, co-le Roy John

The Upper St. Clair Trail Bike Club’s outing, the “October ’07 fall leaf bike ride” along the Youghiogheny River trail at Ohiopyle, was highly successful Enjoying the fall foliage during the fall leaf bike ride are, left to right, John Donahoe, Alka Rambhia, and exhilarating. Twelve riders George Pitcairn, and Rekha Mehta. participated in the morning outing, followed by a picnic lunch. The weather was perfect, and the scenery spectacular! A “wild flower ride” is planned for May. This mid-day outing on the Yough River trail will start at the YRT Visitors Center in Ohiopyle. The distance will be at the rider’s discretion. The date of this event will be announced on the Bike Club’s website at or contact George Pitcairn at 412-831-7126. New members are always welcome.

USC Bocce League Over the past two summers, the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair has sponsored a community bocce league at the Baker Park Bocce Courts located off Morrow Road. The 2007 USC bocce couples champions were Dan and Diane DeGrave. If you would like information regarding a bocce clinic or joining the league this spring, contact Roy Johnson at 412-835-7330 or Denise Graham at 412-221-1692. It’s a great way to meet people and have fun. Experience is not a requirement.

Left to right: John Donahoe, Geo rge and Hedy Pitca Keith Jackson, and Jody and Dick irn, Valerie Jackson, Beck

USC Fly Fishing Club Look for information in the summer issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY for this club’s activities. Questions? Contact Ed DeGangi at 412-805-1593. n

Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair

Phone: 412-831-1107 • Fax: 412-220-7780 • Website: • Email: In partnership with the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair, the Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Andrés Cárdenes, will be performing two concerts this spring in the Upper St. Clair High School Theatre. See pages 76 and 77 for subscription information. 16


U. S. House of Representatives Timothy F. Murphy

U.S. Congressman for the 18th District of Pennsylvania 322 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 Phone: 202-225-2301 Fax: 202-225-1844

504 Washington Road Pittsburgh, PA 15228 Phone: 412-344-5583 Fax: 412-429-5092



Avoiding a 2008 Energy Crisis The cost to heat our homes, drive our cars, and run our factories is steadily increasing. Meanwhile, the United States is importing more and more of its energy. Currently, 60% of the oil used in this country comes from foreign countries, including some that sponsor terrorism. Our national and economic security depends on America achieving energy independence, and to do so we need a comprehensive plan that includes exploration, diversification, and conservation. For 30 years, neither Congress nor any administration had an energy policy. There were no policies to increase our oil production or encourage the building of new oil refineries or nuclear facilities. Then, in 2005, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, investing more in clean coal technology, nuclear energy, hydrogen fuel cells designed to lower energy prices by increasing supply, creating jobs from increased production demands, and help lead us to energy independence. However, we might not realize these benefits for several years, and in the meantime more needs to be done if we want to secure energy independence in the next decade. The demand for electricity is expected to double by 2050. If we are to meet this demand we will need to build 800 new coal plants in the United States. Additional federal research and investment is needed for the continued development of clean coal technology, ensuring an environmentally friendly energy source. In Southwestern Pennsylvania alone, there are 50,000 jobs dependent on coal and more would become available with the added resources. Furthermore, coal is crucial to America’s energy independence because it is far cheaper than any other energy source—roughly half the cost of wind energy, a quarter the cost of natural gas, and a small fraction of solar energy. The high cost of natural gas has caused many businesses to close its doors and move to foreign countries where the energy costs are lower. Since 2001, Pennsylvania has lost more than 200,000 manufacturing jobs. Across the country, 90,000 jobs at chemical manufacturers that rely on natural gas have been lost. Locally, businesses such as DuPont that rely on natural gas to make its products have seen

costs increase. Natural gas is also used to help make fertilizer, increasing the cost for farmers, and, therefore, at the grocery store. The best way to lower the cost of natural gas is to increase the supply. We have the resources right here in America, but for years efforts to explore off the coast, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Rocky Mountains, and in Alaska have all been blocked. Meanwhile, countries such as Cuba and China are exploring off our coasts. America has the resources right here at home but we are simply not taking advantage of them. To become energy independent we must undertake more environmentally responsible American energy exploration. This, however, is only part of the solution. If we are going to be truly energy independent, America must do more to conserve and renew our energy resources. Recently, Congress passed the Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act, which became law this past December. Under this legislation, vehicle efficiency will be so much improved that by 2020 it will be the equivalent of removing 28 million vehicles from our streets. The new vehicle efficiency standards will save American families up to $1000 a year at the gas pump. New efficiency standards for buildings, electronic appliances, and lightings will help save Americans $400 billion through 2030, and overall greenhouse gas emissions will be significantly reduced as the use of renewable energy sources is being promoted. Energy conservation is something that every American can do. Each person must act responsibly to not waste our energy resources. This includes driving responsibly, avoiding unnecessary trips, turning off appliances and electronics when not in use, and using fluorescent light bulbs. The decision is ours to make. We can either dedicate our nation to energy independence or rely on other nations to determine our future. This decision will be as demanding as any we have faced in our history. Because of what is at risk for our economy, our security, and our families, we cannot wait any longer. Energy independence must be achieved this decade. n Spring 2008


(2) 91-900 ext. 21 UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY


Busy as a Bee Mary Lynne Spazok Busy as a bee, Kimberly Frantz Brown and her husband, Ken, are now empty nesters. After dedicating herself to four children and an entrepreneur husband, Frannie is now free to pursue two personal goals. Volunteering her service at Faith Lutheran Church as a religious educator keeps Fran hopping. However, when the aura of Gilfillan Farm beckons, the intrigue of beekeeping is paramount. Decades ago, she was introduced to beekeeping by her grandfather, Edward Luketic. Back then, many family members lived on the same street, or in the same borough or city. The family’s beekeeping originated in Ambridge (named for American Bridge), then spread throughout Economy Borough, Freedom, and Aliquippa. Every fall, Edward, dedicated to bee keeping, harvested an average of 1000 pounds of honey. To produce one pound of honey, two million blossoms must be visited. Fran states, “I was always fascinated by my grandfather’s hobby and grew up eating honey straight from the comb. I wrote many academic papers on the topic of honeybees with the help of library research.” Her first hive kit was a family birthday gift, which she painted and built. Today,

two new bee Frannie Brown puts es. colonies into hive box

Fran, the ecologically-committed gardener, lives just across from Gilfillan Farm. With support of mentor and fellow apiarist Bill Dawson, her keeping dedication 18

allows the honeybee tradition to flourish in Upper St. Clair. To purchase stamps, mail packages, or pick up vacation mail most of us visit our neighborhood U.S. Postal Service. However, in March, Fran has a very special delivery from the Kelly Bee Company of Kentucky—bees. It’s hard to imagine, but these sweeties are shipped in a sealed cage with the queen housed in a small plastic box. In 2008, the cost of one colony is $60, which includes one queen and three pounds of bees. The queen lives an average of Frannie Brown h one to five years and can lay 1500 olds Ma rgaret’s bee hive eggs daily. Worker bees live two to six artwork . months and perform laborious duties such as housekeeping, nursery, pollen foraging, bees seek and destroy. A healthy hive area building, guarding, and, of course, attend- must be free of tall grass, brush, and vines. ing to the queen. Mating male bees make If the legs of the hives are contained in up a small percentage of the hive popula- cooking oil, it will trap crawling creatures tion. Overall, bees fly a three-to-five-mile that attempt to raid. Mulch is a “no-no” radius for nectar gathering. At the source, since it attracts ground-nesting bees. The they communicate eagerly by dancing in bordering environment must exclude the “round” or “waggle.” When outside insecticides. On the bright side, a steady activity slows during the winter months, succession of color intense blooms such the bee cluster maintains a 45-degree as aster in early spring and goldenrod in Fahrenheit interior temperature while the fall ensure contented bees. Vivid floral clusters of the same variety work best. For relentlessly shielding the queen. Considering beekeeping as a leisure America’s most important pollinators, vigipursuit? Keep in mind that neighborhoods lant planning for a controlled, but natural, have city and county ordinances, as well ecosystem is vital. In 2007, the bee mystery death in 36 as restrictive covenants. The location of a hobby hive must be carefully chosen states was devastating and continues to be with regard to climatic conditions such as alarming in 2008. Colony Collapse Disorwind, shade, and sunrise. The bee’s flight der devastates a cultivated honeybee hive path must be free of people, pets, and in a matter of days. Non-domesticated or pesky predators. Most bees are gentle and wild bees are suffering as well. A bee’s inwill only sting if provoked. For instance, nards are blemished with black scar tissue. surrounding privet hedges will force bees This complex pathogen, thought to be a upwards and away from the populace. virus, is suspected to have entered the U.S. Proper drinking water is a must. Caretakers through imported or vigilante bees. If this provide fresh water for the Gilfillan live- virus is indeed the killer, several outcomes stock, while natural springs are plentiful are possible. Resistant bee strains may around the homestead. Pets are usually emerge while the virus burns itself out. not compatible with bees. Dogs and cats In the meantime, man may have to assist quickly learn not to snap at the bees in with drugs. But, farmers can no longer rely flight or wander too close to the hives. Rac- solely on bee pollination. They must emcoons and opossum will greedily plunder ploy diverse pollinating insects to ensure a hive. Fire ants will swarm and steal the continued natural crop cultivation. In the meantime, though, you can rest assured stored honey. Good news though. Vigorous colonies that honey is safe to consume and will not avoid foreign invaders since vigilant guard cause illness or death to humans.


Certainly not fashion forward, the costume worn by an apiarist has changed little over generations. The basics include the smoker, the veil, gloves, and light colored shirt and pants (preferably a onepiece jumpsuit) with snug fitting elastic cuffs at the wrist and ankles. Since bees respond aggressively to dark colors, light color and fabric is a must. A snug fitting beekeeper’s veil is essential. The face area can be made of netting or wire panels. The design must never allow the veil to touch the face. Gloves protect from any stings, which commonly result if a bee is accidentally crushed. The smoker, a small portable tinderbox, produces large amounts of cool smoke. The bees react by eating stored honey. The smoke will mask any alarm pheromone, which is produced when the hive is disturbed. A pheromone is a chemical that triggers a natural behavioral response in another member of the same species. Thus, the bees remain relatively calm. To avoid toxic smoke, do not use newsprint, as it is not a good fire medium. Burlap and cardboard smolder well and burn for some time. Other desirable materials include dried leaves, rotted damp wood, and corncobs.

Frannie at the hives

with a smoker

Lastly, a hive tool is essential since bees glue the movable, internal sections of the hive together with propolis. Propolis is a wax-like, resinous substance that bees collect from tree buds or other botanical sources to use as a sealant for annoying drafts. The standard hive tool is a teninch sharpened recurved wedge for prying supers apart. A super in the beehive sets on top of the brood chamber and holds the honey comb. The flat end of the tool

releases odd shaped or “burr combs” from inappropriate surfaces. During the Gilfillan house tour, seek out Margaret Gilfillan’s framed artwork. (See photo on page 16.) It illustrates a scene of four hives located in the yard at the rear of the house. The landscape includes the hay barn and an active chicken coop. A sticker on the framed artwork’s backside indicates Margaret entered an art contest. Unfortunately, neither a date nor the entry’s outcome is indicated. However, found in one of the barns was a top hive inner cover that is specific to beekeeping on site. There is no other evidence found on the property, but perhaps the equipment was shared with neighboring farmers. Years ago, this was a very common practice. Sadly, in 2006, the first two colonies Fran tried to establish at the homestead perished. However, the 2007 colonies es were Two hive coloni ntucky arrived at the USC shipped from Ke Clair . Post Office in great to the Upper St Post Office. shape, have adapted to their farm environment nicely, and seem to be doing quite well. Memorable beekeeping moments include: • Putting the bees in their new hive. • Finding and removing a swarm from a tree at the Westminster Church parking lot. • Observing a new bee emerge from the comb cell. • Watching the bee inspector check for mites. Busy as a bee, Kimberly Frantz Brown declares that, “living closer to nature is a joy.” Exploring the mysteries of daily beekeeping is a challenge. Like humans, honeybees constantly adapt to conditions around and within their hive. What role does the sun have in bee navigation? How are the bees’ separate and discrete jobs coordinated in such a way that colony survival is optimized? The mating of queens with drones, the waggle communication dance, and the swarming instinct are just a few of the mystifying aspects of colony life. Intrigued? Experience the “buzz about bees” by visiting apiarists Fran Brown and Bill Dawson at Gilfillan Homestead on USC Community Day, held this year on Saturday, May 17. Bee seeing you! n

Spring 2008

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e r e H Mulch Day From

Erin Gibson Allen

L a s t y e a r my no other time of the year. My husband gives family created them rides in the wheelbarrow back to the i t s o w n n e w shrinking pile of mulch. holiday. Covered in a fine layer of brown dust, we

Like many suburban families, we have mulch delivered on the first spring weekend day that the weatherman predicts will be warm and sunny. This day, which has become known in our family as Mulch Day, has become a day set apart from others, replete with anticipation and tradition. Although my husband and I have been spreading mulch together for more than a decade, it is the recent excitement of our young boys about Mulch Day that has elevated the day of shared, outdoor labor to holiday status. The day officially reached its status last year when my younger son woke up and, remembering that the mulch was scheduled to arrive later that morning, ran into his brother’s room to wake him up, shouting, “Wake up! It’s Mulch Day!” Preparations for this day begin early in the morning when we put on old clothes, eat a filling breakfast, and pass around a bottle of sunscreen. We then head outside to pull weeds, many of which have grown larger than the boys. We edge the grass. A ramp is built up the backyard stairs to make a smooth ride for the wheelbarrow. Cars are pulled onto the street to clear the driveway. The day begins in earnest in the midmorning when the mulch man backs his enormous truck into our driveway. With a pull of a lever, he slowly releases a mammoth heap of splendid, fresh, weed-choking, double-shredded brown mulch, which always seems too large to possibly fit in the grassless pockets of our yard. The family then spends a moment in silence, gazing at the seven-yard pile. Neighbors nod their heads in approval, and even a little awe. I break the silence by turning on some loud music. As the mulch is gradually spread across the yard, our excitement at the idea of transforming our neglected winter yard into a place for summertime recreation grows. With Amish barn-raising determination, the family shovels, transports, and spreads. Our boys work with a single-minded focus seen at 20

take a break for lunch. We finish spreading the mulch in the late afternoon, and then wash the porch furniture, put out the hummingbird feeder, and plant a few flowers as well. We’re exhausted by the end of the day. We hose down the driveway and call it a day. There are, of course, differences between our new family holiday and other holidays. Mulch Day has no spiritual significance. Formal menus are not planned. Travel is off the table and no gifts are exchanged. No office parties are scheduled. Stores do not decorate six months out for this day and do not encourage spending with Mulch Day sales. There is much that I love about the holidays in December. As darkness claims the streets in the early evening, the holiday lights on my neighbors’ houses make for a beautiful drive through the neighborhood. As cold weather pushes into the area, our family burns logs in the fireplace and the inside of our house is decorated with lights and greenery, and football games flicker on the television. Despite these fine points, the Christmas season has, in many ways, come to feel like a looming deadline. The stringing of lights in the yard in November is just a warm-up for a holiday that has become increasingly overgrown with obligations. I snap picture after picture of my kids, hoping to get a decent image to turn into a card. I write a long list of people deserving of thanks from me, hoping that I don’t overlook anyone. I strategize to buy gifts early or online, hoping to avoid the crowded department stores where only one checkout counter is open, and one weary woman waits on dozens of tired and desperate customers. I winnow through dresses in my closet, looking for something appropriate to wear to the holiday party being held just a few days away. I call the spa, hopefully to schedule a last-minute manicure to have my nails painted a color that coordinates with the chosen dress. I plan holiday menus, and try to grocery shop before 10 a.m. three to four days before Christmas, since this is the only time when there are still empty parking spots in front of


the grocery store. As I shop, I check my list 18 times, lest I forget something crucial and have to make a second trip into the holiday crowds for that indispensable parsley or heavy whipping cream. I would buy my food weeks in advance if I could, but the freshness dates on various packages make me worry that I would hospitalize family members if I did this. All these details make pulling off the holidays a delicate balance between submerging myself in the spirit of generous giving and operating with executive-like organization and drone-like efficiency. The reward of all of the scrambling and scheduling comes at the end of December when family members set aside obligations like work and school to be together with a single focus. This sense of familial engagement is the shared beauty of Mulch Day, and is perhaps the reason my boys have grown to enjoy the day so much. The advantage of Mulch Day, however, is its brevity, simplicity, and, frankly, its obscurity. n I’d like to hear your thoughts on contemporary living and parenting in Upper St. Clair. Please share your ideas about my column with me in person, or email your thoughts to me at Let me know if, like me, you’re from here.

How about some free leaf mulch for your outdoor projects? Processed by the Township’s Public Works Department from the leaf and yard waste collected at curbside, a mulch pile, meant for use by USC residents, is located across from Boyce Gardens, off Boyce and Morton Roads. The pile is replenished as necessary. Note: The mulch pile behind Ardolino’s Pizza is not for public use.

Surprise Wedding Delights Guests

Mr. and Mrs. Mino Fazio

Her name was Lori Duvall. Well, it was until this past December. With invitations to an Upper St. Clair home party sent out to 50 of the couple’s families and closest friends under the disguise of a “holiday” gathering, Lori Duvall became Mrs. Mino Fazio on Saturday, December 1, 2007, when she married him at a surprise wedding ceremony in the their home. During the wedding’s planning stages, Lori asked Mino if they should hire a catering company for the wedding, and (if you know Mino... in his Italian vernacular) he said, “Lori, whose food would be better than mine?” Mino, a well-known chef in the area (formerly of LaStrada and Ciao Baby Restaurant) was honored as one of Pittsburgh’s Most Beautiful People this past year. Was he right! It was a lovely party and the guests dined on antipasto, smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, lobster ravioli, tortellini alfredo, oreccheitte bolognese, roasted prime rib, Chilean sea bass, bakala, and chicken piccata (all personally prepared by Chef Mino). Blaise Laratonda, District Justice of Mt. Lebanon, performed the ceremony and recited a lovely blessing in Italian, translating the blessing to English for the guests, which included USC residents Dr. Jesse and Carole Mantel. At the end of the ceremony, Mino surprised Lori, too! Although she already had a lovely engagement ring that he chose for her in the Bahamas, Mino slipped a fabulous Asscher-cut diamond ring on her finger and said, “Four carats for four beautiful years together!” Tom Allen, owner of A Taste of Chocolate and the couple’s dear friend, showered the guests with complimentary delights from his store. Bethel Bakery supplied the chocolate ganache-covered wedding cake (white cake with chocolate mousse filling) and Don Bufalo of Bufalo Flowers provided the beautiful floral arrangements. The couple, with their two-year-old daughter, Ava, and Mino’s two daughters, Teressa, age 11, and Daniella, age nine, who both reside in New York, hopes to enjoy a “belated” family honeymoon in Positano, Italy, near where four of Mino’s sisters and their families live. n

Comforting “I didn’t want to worry about the unexpected.” Mr. Jim Jones, resident of Friendship Village of South Hills

“Being a life-care community and having on-site health care and 24-hour security are especially important as I become older. I like not having to worry about the unexpected so I can enjoy activities like billiards and golf. I like that Friendship Village has a great staff to take care of things, and that I’m the one making decisions about my future. I’ve seen how the health care has helped many people. It’s nice to know it’s there if I need it. I’m glad I made the choice I did.” Call Friendship Village of South Hills, the area’s premier retirement community, at (724) 941-3100 today to find out how comforting it is to be prepared.

A Tradition of Community

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Spring 2008

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Spring 2008



Township of Upper St. Clair Upper St. Clair Township Manager Leaves Post

Ched Mertz

President, Ward 4 Day 412-831-9000 Evening 412-833-3631 2009*

Karen M. McElhinny

Vice President, At-Large Day 412-831-9000 Evening 412-221-1732 2009*

Preston W. Shimer

Douglas A. Watkins, who has served as Upper St. Clair’s Township Manager, left that post as of January 4, 2008, for health reasons. The Township’s Board of Commissioners and entire Township staff appreciate his dedication and loyalty to the Township and its residents through the 26 years he served in this capacity. Speaking at the January 7, 2008, Township Board of Commissioners’ meeting, board president Ched Mertz remarked, “The Board of Commissioners, on behalf of the Township, wishes Doug and his family only the best in the future, and we appreciDouglas A. Watkins ate his willingness to assist the Township as we transition to a new manager.” At a future date, the Township of Upper St. Clair will more formally recognize Doug’s long and valued service to this community.

Township News

Ward 1

Day 412-831-9000 Evening 412-221-1736 2011*

Kenneth L. Brown Ward 2

Day 412-831-9000 Evening 412-854-4512 2009*

Gratitude for Years of Service Thank you to Bill Bates (commissioner 1994-97 and 2000-07 and vice president 1996-97 and 2006-07) and to the family of Frank Marsh (commissioner 1997-2007 and president 2000-05). Frank Marsh passed away on January 13, 2008. Bill and Frank’s dedication and hard work as members of the Board of Commissioners of Upper St. Clair Township will long be remembered.

Robert W. Orchowski Ward 3

Day 412-831-9000 Evening 412-854-1868 2011*

Russell R. Del Re Ward 5

Day 412-831-9000 Evening 724-941-3336 2011*

Frank Marsh (front, center), surrounded by family members, receives a certificate of recognition from Board of Commissioners’ president Ched Mertz (right) at the December board meeting.

Bill Bates (left) receives a certificate of recognition from Board of Commissioners’ president Ched Mertz at the December board meeting.

2008 Township of Upper St. Clair Meeting Dates Glenn R. Dandoy At-Large

Day 412-831-9000 Evening 412-833-6243 2011*

• The Board of Commissioners meets at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building. The regular public meeting is held the first Monday of the month in the Board Meeting Room. The informational and general affairs meeting is held the last Monday of the month in the Board Meeting Room.

• The Planning Commission meets the third Thursday of the month at 7:30 p.m.

• The Parks and Recreation Board meets the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m., no meeting in December.

• The Zoning Hearing Board meets the fourth Wednesday of the month at 8 p.m.

• The Civil Hearing Board meets as needed.

• The Building/Fire Codes Appeals and Advisory Board meets as needed. *Date indicates expiration of term.


Visit the Township’s website


T Highlights of the Board of Commissioners Meetings All business regarding the operation of the Township is conducted at the regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners. Citizens are invited to comment on any Township matter. Complete Board minutes can be found at the Upper St. Clair Township Library or on the website at For more information, call 412-831-9000. September 4, 2007

October 1, 2007

November 5, 2007

Approximately 65 people attended.

Approximately 62 people attended.

Approximately 65 people attended.

Recognitions and Proclamations: • Commissioner McElhinny presented a Proclamation to Michelle Catherine Perry to recognize her attainment of the Girl Scout Gold Award.

Recognitions and Proclamations: • Commissioner Bates presented a Proclamation to Nora Helfrich, recognizing Tri-Community South EMS being honored by the Pennsylvania Emergency Health Systems Service as the 2007 Ambulance Service of the Year for the Commonwealth. • Commissioner Mertz presented a Proclamation designating October 7-13, 2007, as Fire Prevention Week in Upper St. Clair. Steve Moore, Chief of the Volunteer Fire Department, was present to receive the Proclamation. • Commissioner Mertz presented Certificates of Appreciation to members of the Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department recognizing their years of service: Heidi Cohen (five years), Robert Desantis (five years), Anthony Messina (five years), Matthew Romah (five years), Michael Thomas (ten years), David Ickes (15 years), and Steven Moore (25 years). • Commissioner Mertz presented the Volunteer Fire Department with a check in the amount of $171,909.13 distributed from the 2007 State Allocation. • Commissioner Mertz recognized Deborah Waller, Township Fire Marshal, for the work that she accomplished for the residents of the Township.

The Board: • Adopted Bill No. 17-07, closing public hearing re. PLC070009 Woman’s Club Plan, conditional use approval–2541 Edgewood Drive. • Tabled public hearing re. PLC07-0008–YMCA McMurray Road–unified conditional use/preliminary and final subdivision and land development approval to the regular meeting on December 3, 2007. • Adopted Bill No. 19-07 granting conditional use approval to Dave’s Toy Box–1700 Painters Run Road. • Continued public hearing re. PLC07-0011–Hastings Village Plan Revised to the regular meeting on December 3, 2007. • Adopted Bill No. 18-07 amending Chapter 96 of the Code of the Township entitled “Peddling and Soliciting.” • Adopted Resolution 1480 authorizing the purchase by the Township of real estate presently owned by the Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department–2005 Washington Road for $150,000. • Adopted Bill No. 13-07 amending Chapter 105A of the Code of the Township entitled “Sewer Accounts, Delinquent.” • Approved the special use culling permit/prescribed activities. • Adopted Resolution 1481 authorizing participation in a joint bid through SHACOG for solid waste collection and disposal services.

Michelle Catherine Perry (right, center) with her parents and Commissioner Karen McElhinny The Board: • Tabled public hearing re. PLC07-0002–Fox Chase Phase 4, Lot 410, 1836 Winchester Drive–conditional use approval to the regular meeting on October 1, 2007. • Continued public hearing re. PLC07-1141 Amendment to Chapter 114 of the Code of the Township entitled “Subdivision and Land Development” to the regular meeting of October 1, 2007. • Continued public hearing re. PLC07-1301 Amendment to Chapter 130 of the Code of the Township entitled “Zoning” to the regular meeting on October 1, 2007. • Approved Decision USC-PRD 1-07 for PLC07-0006-Apache Woods PRD, Tennis Court removal. • Adopted Bill No. 12-07 granting site plan approval to the Boyce Mayview Park Community Recreation Center–1551 Mayview Road. • Continued the public hearing re. PLC07-0009–Woman’s Club Plan to the regular meeting of October 1, 2007. • Continued public hearing re. PLC07-0010 St. John Capistran Church parking lot expansion, unified conditional use/preliminary and final land development approval to the regular meeting on October 1, 2007. • Approved staff’s recommendation to proceed with bids for the Boyce Mayview Park Community Recreation Center. • Approved recommendation to consider three alternative fee structures for Boyce Mayview Park Community Recreation Center at the regular meeting on October 1, 2007. • Adopted Bill No. 11-07 regarding pre-tax status of contributions into Police Pension Plan.

The Board: • Tabled public hearing re. PLC07-0002–Fox Chase Phase 4, Lot 410, 1836 Winchester Drive–conditional use approval to the regular meeting on December 3, 2007. • Adopted Bill No. 14-07, Amendment to Chapter 114 of the Code of the Township entitled “Subdivision and Land Development.” • Adopted Bill No. 15-07, Amendment to Chapter 130 of the Code of the Township entitled “Zoning.” • Adopted Bill No. 16-07, St. John Capistran Church parking lot expansion. • Tabled public hearing re. PLC07-0009–Woman’s Club Plan to the regular meeting on November 5, 2007. • Continued public hearing re. PLC07-0008–YMCA of Pittsburgh–51 McMurray Road–unified conditional use/ preliminary and final subdivision and land development approval to the regular meeting on November 5, 2007. • Continued public hearing re. PLC07-0013–Dave’s Toy Box to the regular meeting on November 5, 2007. • Adopted a range of $600-$900 yearly family (of five) fee for the indoor facilities of the Community Recreation Center.

Board Approval of Contracts: • Glassmere Fuel Service, Inc.......Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Tarentum OPIS Daily Pittsburgh Average Index Plus Fixed Margin of $.0789/Gallon • Herrmann Printing....................Preparation, printing, Pittsburgh and mailing of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY magazine • USDA Wildlife Services..............Special Use Culling Raleigh, NC Permit/Prescribed Activities Not to exceed $37,500

Board Approval of Contract: • Cargill, Inc.–North Olmsted, OH Sodium Chloride.......................................... $42.93/ton

Groundbreaking for the new Community Recreation Center took place on November 26, 2007. Shown here, celebrating this momentous occasion, are Upper St. Clair Township commissioners, administration, and governmental dignitaries. For project updates, look for information in the summer 2008 issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY.

Spring 2008




Community Development Flood Protection Flooding and other surface drainage problems can occur well away from a river, lake, or ocean. When you are looking at a property, it is always a good idea to check possible flood hazards. Be aware: • The force of moving water or waves can destroy a building. • Slow moving floodwaters are forceful enough to knock people off their feet or to float a car. • Water-soaked contents, such as carpeting, upholstered furniture, and mattresses often suffer irreparable damage and may have to be disposed of after a flood. • Some items, such as photographs and heirlooms, may never be restored to their original conditions.

Municipal Building, can provide more information, such as depth of flooding above a building’s first floor, location of floodplains, and past flood problems in the area. For your safety, Upper St. Clair regulates all construction and development in floodplains to ensure that buildings will be protected from flood damage.

What You Can Do The Township’s efforts depend on your cooperation and assistance. Here is how you can help: • Do not dump debris of any kind into creeks, ditches, ravines, or streams. Dumping is a violation of Chapter 83 of the Township Code. Even grass clippings and

If you see building or filling without a Township permit posted, contact the Department of Planning and Community Development at 412-831-9000.

Flood Insurance If you do not have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Homeowners’ insurance policies typically do not cover damage from floods. However, because the Township of Upper St. Clair participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, local residents can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. The Township has received a lower rating of an eight out of ten, which provides for a ten percent reduction in insurance. It is backed by the federal government and is available to all residents, even for property outside of a floodplain. Any property is subject to flooding. Surface water can accumulate from heavy rain, melting snow, a broken water main, or a ruptured swimming pool. Insurance agents may require photographs of the front and back of your house, an elevation certificate (if you are in a floodplain), a completed and signed application, and a check for the first year’s premium. For sample flood insurance applications, visit the Flood Protection Library in the Township Library.

Stormwater Information • Floodwaters are not clean; they carry mud, disease, farm chemicals, road oil, and other noxious substances that are serious health hazards. • The impact of a flood (cleaning up, making repairs, and suffering personal losses) causes great stress to you, your family, and your finances.

Township Flood Services Upper St. Clair participates in the Community Rating System, which is a program of providing flood hazard information and services. The first step to protect your home from flood damage is to assess the flood hazard. A complete Flood Protection Library, including flood maps and flood protection references, is available at the Upper St. Clair Township Library. The Department of Planning and Community Development, located in the 26

branches accumulate and plug channels, causing danger during rains. • If your property is next to a creek or ditch, keep the banks clear of brush and debris. The Township has a response program to help remove major blockage such as downed trees. • If you see evidence of dumping of debris in creeks or ditches, contact the Public Works Department or the Department of Planning and Community Development. • Always check with the Department of Planning and Community Development before you build, alter, grade, or fill on your property. A permit may be needed to ensure that projects do not cause problems on other properties. If you are in a floodplain, special building codes may apply. The Community Development Department personnel will walk you through any application and answer your questions.


The Township is in the process of submitting an application for a permit to the Department of Environmental Protection for the Stormwater Phase II program as mandated by the federal government. This program places requirements on stormwater discharges associated with construction activities and discharges for municipal storm sewers. There are projects that the Township has currently undertaken to protect our streams and waterways from hazardous discharge. Be sure to check the website on a regular basis for updates on Stormwater Management and Flood Protection and the steps the Township is taking to meet the federal requirements in order to keep Upper St. Clair a safer place to reside. This information is published annually as a part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System recertification and is also available on the Township website at

Meet Our New Township Commissioners Glenn Dandoy is Upper St. Clair’s new At-Large Commissioner. A resident of Upper St. Clair for over 19 years, Glenn graduated from Grove City High School before attending Grove City College, where he was awarded a BA in business administration and economics. He is Regional Marketing Manager for Country Meadows Retirement Community. Glenn and his wife, Bobbie, have three children at the high school—Hannah and Russell are seniors, and Natalie is a freshman—and two grown children: Amy, an RN at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Jim, an apartment manager, living in Erie. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY asked Glenn the following questions. • Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? There are several, but the biggest influence would be former Pennsylvania governor George M. Leader, founder of Country Meadows. While I now report to Governor Leader’s sons, Michael and David, it was Governor Leader who personally hired me 20 years ago. He is a living example that any one of us, individually, can make a positive difference in the lives of others, each and every day. • What are your goals as Township Commissioner? My goal is to give effective representation to all voters in the Township. Each resident should have an equal voice. While we may not always agree, all citizens need to feel they’ve been heard. • Hobbies? Canadohta Lake in Crawford County is where my family spends its summers. We own a little general store at the lake which sells groceries and souvenirs. We also have some rental cottages which we offer to the public. Our whole family participates in some aspect of these seasonal businesses that operate from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year. • What’s your dream vacation? I want to go to Egypt with my family and see the pyramids and the Sphinx. I want to look at the same things that Cleopatra looked at. We talk about this trip often. Some day soon, we want to actually do it. Glenn Dandoy (left) and Russell Del Re were sworn in on January 7, 2008, by Judge Paul F. Lutty.

Ward 5 Township Commissioner Russell Del Re and his wife, Sharon, have called Upper St. Clair home for almost 23 years. A graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School, Russell attended the University of Pittsburgh and graduated from the carpenter apprenticeship program. A union carpenter by trade, Russell has worked for P.J. Dick, Inc. since 1995, where he is currently General Superintendent. Russell and Sharon have been married for 23 years and are the parents of four sons: Derek, 22, a student at the University of Pittsburgh; Brandon, 20, a student at CCAC; Michael, a senior at USCHS; and Garrett, a USCHS freshman. While new to the Board of Commissioners, Russell is no stranger to serving the community. A member of the Board of School Directors from 2003-05, Russell also served on the Township Fields Committee. He’s been actively involved with Upper St. Clair Athletic Association (USCAA) youth sports as a basketball and football coach. Russell is also a PIAA basketball official and a girls’ fast pitch softball official. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY asked Russell the following questions. • Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? My wife, Sharon. • What are your goals as Township Commissioner? My goals as Commissioner are very simple. We get a great return on our tax dollars as residents of Upper St. Clair, and I want to continue the camaraderie among the Board and maintain the Township services we provide. We have a good foundation and I look forward to working for the good of the community. • Hobbies? I like to golf, but I really don’t have time for hobbies. • What’s your dream vacation? Italy and Greece, and maybe Israel—for the history, architecture, and my Italian heritage. Australia would be great, too, but there are a lot of wonderful places in this country to see, as well.

Spring 2008


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Department of Finance August G. Stache, Jr., Director of Finance

2008 Budget Highlights

For more information see

General Fund Budget Overview The 2008 Annual Operating Budget will maintain all or most of the 2007 municipal service levels. The real estate tax rate will remain at 2.60 mills and earned income tax rate will remain at .80%. General Fund revenues are projected to increase from $14,552,345 estimated for 2007 to $15,375,592, while 2008 operating expenses will increase from 2007 estimates of $12,822,572 to $13,117,579. The remaining difference of projected revenues over operating expenses of $2,258,013 would be used to fund the Debt Service Costs for 2008 of $1,004,520 and the transfer to Capital Projects Fund of $1,253,493. The overall increase in General Fund expenditures is anticipated to be 5.66% over 2007 expenditures. The 2008 General Fund Budget assumes that all currently authorized personnel positions are filled and that salary and wage increases range from 3.0% to 3.5%. Health Insurance costs are budgeted to increase by 15%, and the pension minimum municipal obligation (MMO) for the police decreases from $446,805 (2007) to $222,410 (2008). Workers’ Compensation has decreased by 8% due to State mandated ratings and downward adjustment of the experience modification factor. The 2008 General Fund Budget reflects the scheduled increase in the present refuse collection contract of 3.25%. No additional costs such as proposed environmental fees or fuel surcharges have been included. Other costs and materials have been budgeted to increase at or below the CPI rate. The 2008 Proposed Budget will maintain the General Fund Balance at a level necessary for the Township to maintain its AA+ Bond Rating.

Sanitary Sewer Fund Revenues for this fund are derived from user fees calculated as a percentage of each resident’s ALCOSAN charge. For 2008, staff recommends that the multiplier be increased from 1.80 to 1.85 because ALCOSAN raised its rates by 9% and to account for the implementation of the “Winter Averaging” program. Major Expenses for this fund consist of the following items: 1. Personal services represent 7.96% of this budget and increased by $21,157 due to a revised allocation of human resources to this fund and related fringe benefit cost. This revised personnel allocation is necessitated by additional duties undertaken to meet DEP and EPA requirements. 2. Sewage processing fees from the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) represents 54.7% of the Annual Budget. The multiplier used to calculate the fee will increase from 1.80 to 1.85 due to rate increase of 9% from ALCOSAN for 2008. 3. The debt service payment for 2008 increased from $543,031 in 2007 to $616,592 due to the additional borrowing of $3,800,000 with the 2007 Bond Issue and the Fund Balance at the end of 2008 is projected to be $1,052,420 from $1,473,639 as estimated at the end of 2007. 4. Corrective Action Plan of $600,000 has been allocated to carry on the DEP and EPA mandated repair and reconstruction of sewer lines. 28


5. The Township is currently proceeding with work mandated under the consent order with the EPA and DEP. Bond proceeds amounting to $7,350,000 from the 2003 General Obligation Bond Issue and $3,800,000 from the 2007 General Obligation Bond Issue were allocated to be spent for this purpose and these activities are not reflected in the Sanitary Sewer Fund. The Debt Service payment referred to under item #3 for the borrowed amount for this activity is paid for from this fund.

Capital Projects Fund • The bulk of revenues for 2008 comes from an appropriation from the General Fund of $673,703. Interest earned for 2008 is budgeted at $40,000. • Major Expenses for this fund consist of the Annual Paving Program–$660,000; Police Department vehicles and equipment– $188,600; data processing equipment and software–$94,500; interior and exterior building maintenance–$249,500; and Public Works vehicles and equipment–$256,000. • The bulk of the fund balance, which is estimated to be $1,438,345 at the end of 2007, will be used to fund a portion of the annual paving program and various other street related projects for 2008.

Upper St. Clair Township 2008 Sewer User Multiplier Rate The Township of Upper St. Clair hereby gives public notice to all Township sewer users that ALCOSAN has increased its charges by approximately 9%, and the 2008 Sewer User Multiplier rate used to calculate the Township’s cost reimbursement has increased from 1.80 for 2007 to 1.85 for 2008.* In July 2005, the Township of Upper St. Clair contracted with Pennsylvania American Water Company (PAWC) to provide the billing and collection of its monthly sewer user fees, which are now included with a resident’s water bill. The benefit of billing in this manner was to allow customers to see their exact water usage for comparison with their wastewater charges. To illustrate the impact of the new rates for 2008, a monthly sewer bill assuming a usage of 7000 gallons of water has been calculated and compared to the 2007 rates: 2007 rate 2008 rate Water Usage Charge (7000 gallons) $37.55 $ 42.09 ALCOSAN Service Charge 3.77 4.22 Total Monthly Bill



* The new rates should have appeared on the February 2008 PAWC billing.


2008 Earned Income and Net Profits Tax Rate Notice and Payment Schedule

2008 Real Estate Tax Notice and Payment Schedule

The Township of Upper St. Clair and the Upper St. Clair School District hereby give public notice to all earned income and net profits taxpayers of the Township of the rate and payment schedule for each taxing body for the year 2008.

The Township of Upper St. Clair and the Upper St. Clair School District hereby give public notice to all real estate taxpayers of the Township of the payment schedule of each taxing body for the year 2008.

Earned Income and Net Profits Tax Rate for 2008 For 2008, the Earned Income and Net Profits tax rates of the Township and the School District are .80% and .50%, respectively, of taxable income as defined by Act 166 of 2002. Thus, the total USC taxpayer’s rate for 2008 is 1.30%.

Township Real Estate Tax Schedule for 2008 Date Tax Period May 1.......................................... Tax bills mailed May 1–June 30............................ 2% discount July 1–September 2..................... Face amount September 3–December 1........... 10% penalty December 2................................. Lien date

Earned Income and Net Profits Tax Payment Schedule for 2008 Date Tax Period January 31................. 4th quarter, 2007 Tax Estimate due April 15..................... 2007 USC-40 Due April 30..................... 1st quarter, 2008 Tax Estimate due July 31....................... 2nd quarter, 2008 Tax Estimate due October 31................. 3rd quarter, 2008 Tax Estimate due

For 2008, the Township millage rate is 2.60 mills of the assessed valuation of your property. School District Real Estate Tax Schedule for 2008 Date Tax Period July 1........................................... Tax bills mailed July 1–September 2..................... 2% discount September 2–October 31............ Face amount November 1–December 1........... 10% penalty December 2................................. Lien date

This notice reminds all taxpayers that they are responsible for filing all estimates and final returns in a timely manner. If a taxpayer does not receive quarterly tax estimates for 2008 or a 2007 USC-40 form by mail, they should contact the Township Tax Office at 412-831-9000. No appeals will be granted to a taxpayer for not receiving these forms by mail. Only quarterly tax estimates received in the tax office or postmarked by the appropriate tax period due date will avoid penalty and interest assessments. Also, in accordance with section of the Upper St. Clair Earned Income and Net Profits Tax Ordinance, 90% of a taxpayer’s liability for 2008 must be paid by January 31, 2009, or a taxpayer will be subject to underpayment penalties and interest. This notice also reminds taxpayers that all 2007 USC-40s will be audited by the Township’s Tax Office through a comparison of data shared by the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. This information is usually shared with the Tax office approximately two to three years after a return has been filed. Tax notices assessing the additional tax and underpayment penalties and interest will be sent to any taxpayers that have understated their income.

The School District will adopt its real estate tax millage rate for the fiscal year 2008-09 at the June 2008 School Board Meeting. This notice reminds all taxpayers that they are responsible to see that their property is properly assessed and taxed and to ask for appropriate tax bills if they have not received them by mail. No appeals will be granted due to a taxpayer not receiving a real estate tax bill. Only payments received in the tax office or postmarked by the tax period due date will be given the two percent discount or avoid the ten percent penalty. n

2007 and 2008 General Fund Budget Major Revenue Sources

General Fund Appropriations by Major Programs 2007 Budget

Real Estate Tax $4,223,050 Earned Income Tax 6,888,750 Community Services Tax 335,000 Real Estate Transfer Tax 850,000 Public Utilities Tax 19,000 Local Option Sales & Use Tax 300,000 Licenses and Permits 124,150 Fees and Fines 358,200 Rental Income 68,800 Investment Earnings 125,000 Service Agreements 273,410 Other Non-Tax Revenue 582,000 Recreation Fees 404,985 Total Revenues

2008 Budget

$4,294,440 7,672,975 235,000 850,000 19,000 305,000 125,150 366,700 70,900 150,000 284,030 618,200 384,197

2007 Budget

Increase Percentage (Decrease) Change

$71,390 1.69% 784,225 11.38% (100,000) -29.85% - 0.00% - 0.00% 5,000 1.67% 1,000 0.81% 8,500 2.37% 2,100 3.05% 25,000 20.00% 10,620 3.88% 36,200 6.22% (20,788) -5.13%

$14,552,345 $15,375,592 $823,247


General Government $1,444,597 Public Safety 4,565,703 Community Development 572,312 Public Works 3,917,864 Refuse Collection 813,815 Recreation and Leisure Services 682,477 Library 784,954 Unallocated Insurance Costs 40,850 Total Operating Expenditures

Capital Improvements

2008 Increase Percentage Budget (Decrease) Change

$1,480,589 4,489,595 612,799 4,088,145 860,700

$35,992 (76,108) 40,487 170,281 46,885

2.49% -1.67% 7.07% 4.35% 5.76%

740,615 793,146 51,990

58,138 8,192 11,140

8.52% 1.04% 27.27%

$12,822,572 $13,117,579 $295,007




716,409 133.39%

Debt Service Payments



(188,169) -15.78%

Sub Total





Total Appropriations $14,552,345 $15,375,592 $823,247


Spring 2008




The Chief—Ronald Pardini Wayne Herrod

Upper St. Clair Police Chief Ronald Pardini in dress blues

Webster’s Dictionary defines chief as one who is higher ranking or influential. It also defines excellent as superior or first-class. These two words well describe Upper St. Clair Police Chief Ronald Pardini, who was appointed to this position in 1986. Who is Ronald Pardini? A highly educated, extremely focused, and passionate individual who has a criminal justice degree from Community College of Allegheny County, a BA in sociology from Duquesne University, and a master’s degree in regional planning from California University. He earned all three degrees while attending night school. Chief Pardini was not always a policeman. A graduate of Dormont High School, Pardini was a milkman for Colteryahn Dairy for nine years before turning to law enforcement when he joined the Upper St. Clair Police Department in 1969. In 1977 he moved into the Township and remains a resident of this community today. He built the home he currently lives in, along with building five other homes as well. Rather than following his talents in the building industry, Pardini chose law enforcement as his career, and Upper St. Clair became the beneficiary of his talents in this area. Do not think that law enforcement is the Chief’s only passion. To relax, he enjoys fly fishing, making his own flies. Pardini also participates in Judo, which, to him, is no run-of-the-mill hobby. He is a seventh-degree black belt (ninth is the highest honored belt) and is one of the top ranking Caucasians in the country. He has competed in and won the national championship in his weight division for 13 of the last 14 years. I asked Upper St. Clair Police Deputy Chief Doug Burkholder how good the Chief was in this art. Doug replied with a smile, “There is no one on this force that would mess with him!” Pardini is also passionate about his Italian heritage. “I am proud to be 100% Toscano,” Pardini said. “I credit my parents for teaching me the love of God, country, and family and friends, which I live by every day. Together with Nancy, my wife of 48 years, we have five great kids of whom we are very proud. I’m



fortunate to have had a great life, and it’s my parents and Nancy who have helped shape me into what I am today.” Most people agree that the Upper St. Clair Police Department is one of the most highly trained police departments in the country. “When I became chief in 1986, I wanted each member of the force to become a professional in every way, and I wanted the training to be individually focused on what interested each officer. Our officer training is so complete that now training focuses mainly on refresher courses and new techniques.” Some examples of the training programs completed by department members are Navy Seal training, FBI Academy, Dignitary Protection, Fingerprinting, hostage negotiation, defensive driving, and media relations. The department continues to log approximately 3000 training hours a year. “The Upper St. Clair Police Department has not had an officer leave since the late 90s,” said Pardini. “Many of my officers could go to other forces and take higher positions, but they choose to remain here because of who we are as a group; it’s a reflection of what this force has become—a highly trained, proficient, and professional group of officers. Members of the force average less than three sick days a year (minus injuries), an exceptionally low number of sick days for those in this line of duty.” Chief Pardini has placed nine of his officers through the FBI Academy, an intensive 14-week training program that all FBI agents must complete. He created the first on-duty fitness program for the officers, and the force is equipped with state-ofthe-art weaponry and equipment (including ATVs) to handle any crisis that might arise. “To name a few specialists, we have eight state-certified AR (Accident Reconstruction) technicians, two polygraph officers, and two ACTAR (Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction) technicians. In the eight years between 1996 and 2004, the entire force completed over 35,000 hours of training. I took the position a long time ago that preventing crime is much better than responding to it.” “These men want to come to work,” commented Burkholder. “The Chief has a passion for his job, and his drive and enthusiasm rub off on everyone. His dedication to this force and his commitment to the job are second to none. He continues to work out with weights and has a daily exercise program. In fact, he initiated the first police department “at work” fitness program. I came here

Upper St. Clair Police Deputy Chief Doug Burkholder (left) and Police Chief Ronald Pardini

Chief Ronald Pardini (left) with Whoopie Goldberg at the 2005 Panacea Investigations held at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall

USC Police Department Warns of Scam The Upper St. Clair Police Department would like to share with you the latest scam that is quickly spreading across the U.S. With most citizens taking a summons for jury duty seriously, this scam has had widespread, negative consequences. Scammers are calling private residences claiming to be a jury coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your social security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel your arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and your identity was just stolen! This scam is particularly insidious because the scammers use intimidation over the phone in an attempt to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system. To date, this fraud has been reported in Florida, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Colorado, Oregon, California, Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Hampshire. n

Spring 2008


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in 1977 and I have never had any regrets about my career choice. The Chief is a great boss and role model. He simply leads by example.” Former Township Manager Douglas A. Watkins spoke about Chief Pardini. “When I looked for a replacement for former Chief John Kelly, who was retiring, the choice couldn’t have been easier. We were fortunate to have such a high caliber man ready for this position. Chief Pardini’s leadership abilities, both direct and indirect, are invaluable to our Township. In addition, he has surrounded himself with outstanding officers and patrolmen. He has dealt with so many changes and challenges over the years and has always stood up to the task. I could not be happier with this force and his leadership.” “A lot of people believe that being a police officer in an affluent community is an easy job. They are wrong,” said Pardini. “Crime is crime, no matter what type it is and where it happens. There are certainly many different kinds of crime, but the potential for anything to happen is always present.” A main reason for the low crime rate in Upper St. Clair is the professiona1ism and preparedness of each officer on this force. “Because of our training, we are prepared for anything. We will handle a crisis or emergency quickly, efficiently, and professionally,” said Pardini. “Police work has changed dramatically since I started in this business. The main reason is technology. You have to stay current. You must be able to use the techniques and equipment of today, especially the computer. The computer has changed how we do everything.” “I thank the Township commissioners for continuing to support all that we do,” said the Chief. “They have allowed us to keep Upper St. Clair a safe and wonderful place to live. Over the years, I have watched Upper St. Clair grow from a small township to a large, affluent community. People feel safe here because of our dedicated police department. We are here to help. I stress a positive ‘can do’ approach. However, we must all remember that crime is everywhere. When we are presented with crimes and situations needing our attention, we individually focus on how to proactively respond to each one. We never know when something is going to happen, but I give you my word—we are always ready for whatever does happen.” “I try to live my life as a fair and honorable person. My father taught me to always keep my word and to never do anything to damage the family name. These things are paramount to me,” Pardini said. Thank you, Chief, for choosing Upper St. Clair as the place you work and the place you call home, and for your continued dedication and commitment to this community. n




Upper St. Clair Police Department Citizens’ Police Academy Upper St. Clair Police Department Citizens’ Police Academy Robert Wittig, Citizens’ Police Academy graduate My partner and I got out of the patrol car. Our guns were drawn. I shouted to the suspected felons, “Get out of the car slowly with your hands on your head!” The person on the passenger side jumped out with his hands in the air, shouting, “I don’t have a gun!” and ran for cover behind a tree. My partner, Don, said, “I’ve got the passenger.” I shouted again to the other suspect, “Get out of the car with your hands on your head!” Immediately, he jumped out of the car, gun in hand, and started firing it at us. The other suspect behind the tree began firing also. My partner and I immediately returned fire. Both suspects were killed. A real life situation? Perhaps, but not in this case. Don and I, along with 16 other classmates, were at the Allegheny County Police Academy in North Park as part of the Upper St. Clair Police Department Citizens’ Police Academy. In the role of police officers, we were placed in computerized real life situations requiring quick “shoot, don’t-shoot” decisions as we faced criminals and innocent citizens. This experience made me very aware of the everyday difficulty of a police officer’s job and the risks they take to make our community safe. They put their lives on the line every day. The Citizens’ Police Academy group devoted six Wednesday evenings from October through November 2007 to attend classes at the Upper St. Clair Police Department. Lt. John Sakoian conducted the classes, periodically engaging help from fellow officers in demonstrating the training of the day. After our initial session of police department orientation and a facilities tour, we had succeeding classes on criminal and civil law, the criminal justice system, and the

Pennsylvania Crimes and Vehicle Codes. As part of our training, we had demonstrations of the DUI Breathalyzer process, accident reconstruction, role playing in felony traffic stops, VASCAR and radar demonstrations, and self-defense. We concluded our training discussing local issues, such as Project Safe Neighbor, and viewing some rather graphic photos of serious crime scenes, including murders that had occurred in our community, and suicides, which are often drug related. A briefing on current investigations brought us to the end of our training and graduation. Of the 28 officers on the Upper St. Clair Police force, including Chief Ronald Pardini, nine have been through the FBI academy in Quantico, Virginia. All officers have been schooled in all areas of law enforcement. Physical training is paramount. Officers are required to put in two hours a week of physical training in the station training facility. Quite a few officers have degrees in karate at various levels. The moral and ethical standards required of Upper St. Clair police officers in upholding the law contribute greatly to their being respected and admired by Upper St. Clair citizens, as well as by other Allegheny County law enforcement agencies. Their primary duty is to make Upper St. Clair the safest community in which to live. Having been with about a dozen officers throughout the training sessions, I see their dedication and I feel good about living in Upper St. Clair. The Upper St. Clair Citizens’ Police Academy is an unexpected avenue of education for Upper St. Clair citizens. Sign up! You won’t regret it. n

Upper St. Clair Police Department Citizens’ Police Academy graduates of the seventh session, seated, left to right: Donald Tate, Joseph Locke, Jessica Locke, Eileen Dickson, Robert Wittig, Patti Kolsosky, and Darlene Durate; standing: Lieutenant James Englert, Deputy Chief Douglas Burkholder, Lieutenant John Sakoian, Christina Hohmann, Catherine Hathaway, Christopher Tobias, Rick Rabak, Christopher Kentner, John Duarte, and Robert Gerlack. 32


John Duarte, with Sergeant Robert Williams, during a police ride-a-long

Police Academy Training— a Highlight of My Week Patti Kolsosky, Citizens’ Police Academy graduate Wednesday night class, wow! What will be the topic tonight? Every night has been great and the police instructors fantastic. If you want to learn more about what is going on in our Township, this is the place to be. If you want to learn how to protect yourself, your employees, or your family, whether it be on the job or in your home, this is the place to learn. Being a substitute in the Upper St. Clair School District, I know that the police continue to make efforts to educate teachers and staff on what to do in any emergency situation that may occur in our schools. For the past three years, I’ve been taking Criminal Justice classes at California University at Southpointe. Therefore, a considerable amount of information relayed through the Upper St. Clair Citizens’ Police Academy has been a refresher of the many facts and laws that I had learned from my professors. The evening class at North Park, learning how to handle a gun and the decision process of when to shoot and when not to shoot, was of great interest to me. TV police shows just can’t compare. The class of self-defense, which taught us how to disarm and how to get out of certain holds, was excellent as well. Each of the six classes left me eager to learn more. It also gave me a great respect for what our police officers do every day of their lives. Many thanks to all of them! n

SSA UpperSt Clair Today.qxd


4:29 PM

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5 days here. 2 days at home.





Live at school during the week and spend the weekend at home. Boarding students immerse themselves in the perfect blend of academics, athletics and arts with the support of dedicated teachers and good friends who will stay with them forever. Come visit us and see for yourself why 5:2 is the perfect ratio for you. Call today for a personal tour of the dorms and to learn more about Shady Side Academy. 412.968.3206 or WWW. SHADYSIDEACADEMY. ORG

spring open house

Senior School Sat, May 3 11:00 am




General Primary Election—Tuesday, April 22, 2008 Polls Open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, March 24, 2008, is Voter Registration Deadline Date. (Date subject to change pending Pennsylvania legislative action.)

If you have questions regarding the election, registration, or absentee ballots, please call the Allegheny County Elections Department at 412-350-4500 or visit The Township Library and the post office have voter registration forms. Please exercise your right to vote! Ward District Polling Place 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 2 1 2 2 2 3 2 4

Ward District Polling Place

3 1 3 2 Baker Elementary School, Gymnasium 3 3 Morton Road Fort Couch Middle School, Multi-purpose Room 4 1 (Miranda Drive Entrance) - Fort Couch Road Fort Couch Middle School, Multi-purpose Room 4 2 (Miranda Drive Entrance) - Fort Couch Road 4 3 Fort Couch Middle School, Gymnasium (Miranda Drive Entrance) - Fort Couch Road 4 4 Westminster Presbyterian Church - Washington Road 5 1 Fort Couch Middle School, Multi-purpose Room (Miranda Drive Entrance) - Fort Couch Road 5 2 Fort Couch Middle School, Gymnasium 5 3 (Miranda Drive Entrance) - Fort Couch Road Township Building, Library Multi-purpose Room, Ground Floor - McLaughlin Run Road

Recreation Center - McLaughlin Run Road St. Louise de Marillac School - McMurray Road Recreation Center - McLaughlin Run Road Baker Elementary School, Gymnasium Morton Road Boyce Middle School, Gymnasium - Boyce Road Boyce Middle School, Gymnasium - Boyce Road Boyce Middle School, Gymnasium - Boyce Road Wesley Institute, Gymnasium - Johnston Road Wesley Institute, Gymnasium - Johnston Road Boyce Middle School, Gymnasium - Boyce Road Spring 2008

Sanitary Sewer Backups AND your homeowner’s coverage The Township maintains over 158 miles of underground sewer lines. There is no way to predict when the next sanitary sewer backup will occur. And while only a handful of our residents experience a significant sanitary sewer backup each year, we know that when it does occur, it is a distressing situation. It can be even more devastating if a resident is not insured for losses—losses that can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars. Sewer Backup Insurance Homeowners can alleviate possible sewer-related damage expenses by contacting their property insurance provider to verify that they have sewer backup coverage. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not automatically include coverage for these occurrences. Given the potential for significant loss, it would be advisable for homeowners served by a public sewer system, particularly those with finished basements, to obtain some level of coverage. Lastly, if you experience a floor drain backup or otherwise suspect a sanitary sewer problem, please contact the Township’s Public Works Department immediately at 412-831-9000, extension 271.




USC-USTC The United Senior Citizens of Upper St. Clair

Consider This an Open Invitation Amy Kerman, USC Township Older Adult Coordinator The United Senior Citizens of Upper St. Clair holds its meetings in the old Teen Center that we now know as the Recreation Center on McLaughlin Run Road. The group first met in 1975. During the past 33 years, the organization has seen many residents join its ranks for fun and camaraderie. The group elects a new president and board of directors every other year, and the Township provides a coordinator to work with the seniors. The United Senior Citizens meet every Wednesday. The Recreation Center building opens at 10 a.m., when a few members arrive to prepare coffee and lunch. Other members drift in throughout the morning. Some play cards, some bring their newspapers, and some come early just to visit with friends, old and new. There is a short meeting at 12:30 p.m., when they catch up on who is celebrating a birthday or anniversary, who is returning after travel or an illness, and who is not in attendance. After the meeting, lunch is served, and a program follows. Some weeks, the crowd is entertained by school or community groups, sometimes there is a speaker on an important current issue or a topic of interest, and sometimes the group goes on

an adventure to a local restaurant or other site. There are certain traditions this group has, including a Thanksgiving feast and the annual holiday party when various VIPs and dignitaries are also invited. Currently, there are 81 members in the group, ranging in age from 62 to 92. The average age is 77. Membership is open to any USC resident, age 55 or older and retired; or any resident age 62 and older, regardless of employment status. There are 19 member couples, and four members whose respective spouses do not belong to the group. More than one third of the membership is men. Consider this an open invitation to any eligible resident. Stop in for lunch and a program on any Wednesday. You may want to call the Recreation Department at 412-831-9000, extension 256 first to make sure the group is meeting at the Recreation Center that day, and not off gallivanting around. There’s plenty of food for a few

extra, and the group hopes to make more new friends at every meeting each week. If you have questions, contact Amy Kerman at 412-831-9000, extension 296 or email her at n

The December 2007 annual holiday luncheon, where members enjoyed time with local elected officials and representatives from USC Township.

Gold Card

Silver Card

Senior Citizens of Upper St. Clair, apply now for your Gold Card. See and enjoy drama and musical performances, exciting athletic events, and other activities, courtesy of the Upper St. Clair School District. If you are a resident 62 years of age or older just stop by the School District receptionist desk and ask for your Gold Card. It’s a great way to experience your community!

Senior Citizens of Upper St. Clair are entitled to apply for a Silver Card that will admit holders to the Upper St. Clair Municipal three-hole golf course, outdoor tennis facilities, family swim program, and to attend other activities designated and sponsored by the Township of Upper St. Clair. Any resident age 62 and retired or age 65 with no restrictions is eligible for the Silver Card program. Applications are available at the Recreation Department.

Robert Gastineau provides entertainment on the piano. 34

Left to right: Madeline Berster , a resident since 1941 when the Townsh ip had only approximately 2500 residen ts, Malinda Kelly, a resident sinc and e 1959



Department of Recreation and Leisure Services Help Wanted Are you looking for a summer job where you can make a difference? The Department of Recreation and Leisure Services is currently taking applications for part-time summer staff positions. If you’re not afraid of hard work and enjoy working with children, the Department of Recreation would like to talk to you! Upcoming programs will include Summer Playground, Little Panther Paws, and various recreational sports. The Department of Recreation is accepting applications for program directors, assistants, and counselors, as well as certified lifeguards to staff the summer family swim program and workers to staff the tennis and golf administration building. Maybe you are looking for a way to become more involved with the community. Let’s talk about developing a program around your interests, talents, and schedule. The Recreation Department is looking for qualified, enthusiastic individuals to run a variety of programs for all age groups, toddlers through older adults.

To express your interest in working for the Department of Recreation, contact the program coordinator at 412-831-9000, extension 255.

Upcoming Events

Easter Egg Hunt The Bethel-St. Clair Evening Rotary Club and the Upper St. Clair High School Interact Club will sponsor an Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 15 (rain date: Saturday, March 22) at 11 a.m. at the Municipal three-hole golf course. Mark your calendar now and watch for a flyer in your child’s Good News school envelope. Community Day 2008 Save the date: Upper St. Clair Community Day—Saturday, May 17. This fun-filled day includes a Run for Fun, Bake-off, Dog Contest, Country Fair Games, tours at Gilfillan Farm, a petting zoo, pony rides, bingo, game booths, music bands, water balloons, a parade, and more!

In addition to coming out and enjoying the day, all school, community, and civic groups are encouraged to participate in the parade. Walk, ride, or create a float. Floats can be made on landscape trailers or flat bed trucks, or they can be as simple as decorated pick-up trucks. Float-building is a great activity that everyone can enjoy. What a great opportunity to showcase your group. Prizes are awarded for first, second, and third place entries. If you have a classic car, convertible, or pick-up truck that you would like to drive in the parade, we would love to have you join in and help out! Do you have new ideas or suggestions for Community Day? Would you like to volunteer to help? Contact the Department of Recreation at 412-831-9000, extension 256. Parade entry registration forms and booth applications are available through the Department of Recreation and Leisure Services. Be sure to check out the summer issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, due out early May, for a complete Community Day preview and schedule of events. n



Balancing life’s roles can be both a joy and a challenge. But “doing it all” isn’t always the best answer. Sunrise Senior Living understands. For 25 years, we have been committed to helping families make senior living decisions that satisfy both their hearts and their heads. We appreciate the importance of living the life you want to live and we are passionate about championing quality of life for seniors. That’s why we offer a variety of lifestyle, service, and care options — so, together, you can choose the one that’s just right. Take the first step in learning how to balance your newest role in life by visiting a Sunrise community near you today.

Call or stop by today for a personal tour.

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AL=Assisted Living ALZ=Alzheimer’s Care

For more information and a FREE online newsletter, visit

Spring 2008




USC Library

It Can Be Easy Being Green

Do you live an earth-friendly life? Are you looking for a way to help the environment, but don’t know where to start? Renewable energy sources and sustainable lifestyle choices are major issues facing all of us, but simple steps can make a substantial difference. The Upper St. Clair Township Library has a wide selection of materials to guide you along greener paths. A small sampling of titles available is shown below. Feeding People is Easy, by Colin Tudge, 2007, 630.01 TUD The Green Book: Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time, by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas Kostigen, 2007, 640.4 ROG Green This! Greening Your Cleaning, by Deirdre Imus, 2007, 648.5 IMU Homeowner’s Guide to Energy Independence: Alternative Power Sources for the Average American, by Christine Woodside, 2007, 621.3121 WOO Making Kind Choices: Everyday Ways to Enhance Your Life Through Earth and Animal Friendly Living, by Ingrid Newkirk, 2005, 179.3 NEW Raising Baby Green: The Earth-friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Baby Care, by Alan Greene, 2007, 649.1 GRE The Simple Home: The Luxury of Enough, by Sarah Nettleton, 2007, 720.019 NET A Slice of Organic Life: Bake Bread, Plant an Apple Tree, 2007, 630 SLI (See U.S. Congressman Murphy’s article on page 15.)

Fractured Fairy Tales Ok, who remembers “Fractured Fairy Tales” on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show? If you do, you’ve just dated yourself, but you also may have remembered with delight this zany take on famous fairy tales. This genre is still alive and well today. In 2002, David Wiesner received the Caldecott Medal for The Three Pigs (JCAL WIESNER). In this book, the pigs jump off the page and traipse through “Hey Diddle Diddle” where the cat with the fiddle joins the journey. Next, they encounter a dragon with a golden rose and together all of these characters take care of that wolf! Fairy tales are part of our literary heritage, the body of work passed down from generation to generation. And these stories exist in all the world’s cultures. These stories are important in helping children make sense of the world. They are kid-tested and timeless. In addition to the traditional renditions of these tales, altered or fractured renditions are sure to capture children’s attention and imaginations. Stop by the children’s library on the third floor, and the library staff will be happy to recommend some of their favorites. Below are a few titles from the staff’s “favorites” list. The Princess and the Pea, by Lauren Child Once Upon a Time, the End, by Geoffrey Kloske Frog Prince, by Jan Ormerod And the Dish Ran Away with the Spoon, by Janet Stevens Deep in the Forest, by Brinton Turkle Falling for Rapunzel, by Leah Wilcox 36


The Library is Open Monday–Thursday 9:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Friday–Saturday 9:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday 1–5 p.m. The Library will be closed Sunday, March 23 in observance of the Easter holiday.

National Library Week April 13–19, 2008



Children’s Library

“Join the Circle of Knowledge @ Your Library” One Book, Every Young Child Pennsylvania is one of only three states that has initiated a one-book, one-state program to highlight the need for activities and practices that promote early literacy development in preschool children. This year, 2008, will be the third year of this important program and the picture book Up, Down, and Around has been chosen as the selection for the “One Book, Every Young Child” initiative. Written by children’s author and Pittsburgh native Katherine Ayres, Up, Down, and Around tells the story of a garden that produces a variety of edible plants, such as corn that grows up, onions that grow down, and tomato vines that twine all around. The Upper St. Clair Township Library, as part of this statewide program, will be hosting a come-and-go event on April 19 from 2:15-5 p.m. for the entire family to celebrate the book. This program will feature Concept’s Corner games, crafts, bingo, gardening activities, and a storytime featuring Up, Down, and Around. Each family that attends the library’s event will receive one copy of Up, Down, and Around to continue the program fun at home. For complete program information, please check at the library or on the library’s website at

Play to le

arn at th

e childre

n’s libra


tures a different rary play table fea month. The children’s lib ch y toys ea set of dramatic pla

Kids’ Korner A fun page designed by the Upper St. Clair Township Children’s Library Mother Goose has put together a set of riddles. Read out loud each rhyme and guess the song where all the “riddledy” things belong. Have you guessed all the rhymes? Write them down and come into the children’s library to collect a small prize! 1. A cake marked “B” that still feels hot. Someone must be missing it a lot. What’s the answer? Let me see… Have a think. Now, what can it be? _____________________________________________ 2. A funny little fiddle that’s out of tune, found by the light of the silvery moon (and some way off: a dish and a spoon). What’s the answer? Let me see… Have a think. Now, what can it be? _____________________________________________

3. A dented bucket not far from a well. Maybe somebody slipped and fell (who can tell?). What’s the answer? Let me see… Have a think. Now, what can it be? _____________________________________________ 4. A bowl and a spoon (with cobwebs on), but nobody knows where the owner’s gone. What’s the answer? Let me see… Have a think. Now, what can it be? _____________________________________________ 5. Three tiny pairs of dark glasses (dropped). Three little gray tails (cropped). What’s the answer? Let me see… Have a think. Now, what can it be? _____________________________________________

Riddles taken from Riddledy Piggledy: A Book of Rhymes and Riddles, by Tony Mitton (Random House Children’s Books, 2003) Spring 2008




Firefighter Survival David Kish, USCVFD volunteer Each year, approximately 100 firefighters lose their lives in the line of duty, with most of the deaths occurring due to heart disease. However, others are killed from becoming disoriented in structures and running out of air, equipment malfunction, structural collapse, falling through weakened floors and roofs, and various other reasons. While training and equipment have greatly improved, changes in building design, materials, and other factors continue to present challenges to the firefighter. Simple things such as plastic vent piping with wires embedded become an entanglement hazard. In a matter of minutes, the firefighter can be stressed by intense physical exertion, hazardous environments, intense heat and smoke, and lack of visibility. Last fall, members of the Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department underwent training in firefighter survival. While some of the techniques cannot be condoned by OSHA due to their risky nature, the techniques may be the only way for a firefighter to overcome a situation which puts his life at risk. The training was provided through the Allegheny County Fire Academy and Community College of Allegheny County. The lead instructor was Chief Nick Sohyda from the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department, a certified Pennsylvania Fire Academy instructor. Training was accomplished in an actual home provided to the fire department for training. Firefighters had the full benefit of being able to simulate real time scenarios in the home using actual techniques, even though they caused damage to the structure. The class combined lecture with strenuous hands-on training. One of the main goals was to teach firefighters situational awareness. An emphasis was placed on calling for help early and in a standard manner. The distress signal is a “Mayday” call by radio. But what should the firefighter do if the radio is lost, nonexistent, or malfunctions?

Ladder dive

This was an actual scenario practiced; however in addition to not having a radio, the firefighter was blinded by obscuring his mask. They were also pinned to the floor without warning by other team members simulating a structural collapse, which resulted in not being able to move and barely breathe due to the actual weight on his body. While the instinct is to continue to move, the firefighter’s best option is to remain completely motionless until their PASS device (Personal Alert Safety System) alarms. The PASS device alarms typically after 30 seconds of non-movement, or can be activated manually if the firefighter can reach the buttons. Once in alarm mode, the firefighter can continue to move, use his feet to kick the floor to make noise, or any other activity that can alert rescuers to his presence. Another skill the firefighters worked on was practicing search methods. An instructor would randomly shut off a firefighter’s air supply. Working in an environment of no visibility, the firefighter would call a “Mayday” and get assistance from his partner to make “buddy breathing” connections and then exit the structure. In one exercise, firefighters were “entangled” in wire, while having their vision completely obscured. The trainees had to use different methods to disentangle themselves. As previously mentioned, wire used in plastic venting has become a major safety hazard. As the plastic melts, miles of wire can drop from the ceiling which entangle and entrap a firefighter until he runs out of air. Wire cutters are one of the firefighter’s best tools and are carried by more and more firefighters. This inexpensive investment can save someone’s life. Another drill practiced was breaching walls and using low profile techniques to squeeze through studs if an escape route becomes blocked. This technique is accomplished in full gear and can be done by backing through the studs. Several techniques that dealt with the sudden flashover of a room were simulated. The first technique was for the firefighter to dive through a window, but hang on the window ledge with one arm and foot just inside. A second firefighter followed and hung onto the first firefighter. The firefighter then either waited for help, or if help was not coming (and now being safe from the heat) made a decision to drop or hang on. Another flashover escape method was to dive through the window head first onto a ladder, hooking one arm through the rungs, allowing the weight of the body to pivot into a feet down position, then sliding the remaining length of the ladder to the ground. While a safety line was in place for the training, the sensation of diving head first out of a window still caused some Rope escape




Demonstration of a rope

escape technique

anxiety. A lot of bruising and some minor orthopedic injuries did occur, which showed the seriousness of the training. Hasty rope techniques, using hand tools driven into the floor or wedged on the window frame or any other fixed points, were practiced. The firefighter wrapped the rope around the tool and then his body. The next step was to lower himself from the second floor window. Firefighters train so that “everyone goes home.” The theme is to “risk a lot to save a lot, or risk little to save little.” In other words, firefighters need to examine the risk-benefit of an incident. Firefighters need to ask themselves if it is worth the risk to enter abandoned buildings or other structures if there is no risk to human life. The determination of the risk vs. benefit analysis has always been the philosophy of the Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department. That message was made clear by the officers of the department during the training. n

New Location

Amelia Pare’, M.D. Plastic Surgeon

Spring Yard Debris and Leaf Waste Collection—April 26 It’s time to spring clean! Township collection of yard debris and leaf waste will take place on Saturday, April 26. Place your filled compostable paper bags at curbside by 6 a.m. the morning of pick up. No other spring collection is scheduled. n

123 Hidden Valley Road McMurray, PA 15317

724-941-8838 Spring 2008




YSC—Good for Our Youth and Community Jeff Krantz, Youth Steering Committee Chair If you’ve never heard of the Youth Steering Committee (YSC), let me share some information and ask for your assistance. The mission of YSC is to involve the Upper St. Clair community in providing positive direction and support to our youth, as well as their families. YSC is a community action group, whose members are jointly appointed for four-year terms by the Township’s Board of Commissioners and the District’s Board of School Directors. YSC members are adult residents, students, parents, as well as members of both appointing boards. YSC works to link members of the community in a comprehensive effort to increase community awareness about various problems among our youth. The committee’s objectives are as follows: • To create an alcohol- and drug-free community. YSC strives to inform and educate the community on conditions underlying the use and abuse of drugs, including alcohol. The goal is to reduce the incidences of drug and alcohol abuse among the youth of our community. • To affect the positive well-being of our youth. YSC strives to inform and educate the community on pertinent youth-related issues. The goal is to assist youth, through community-wide efforts, toward constructive and positive social development. The flexibility of YSC to continually apprise current programs and develop new ones, in response to local needs and accessible resources as appropriate, is an obvious advantage in serving the community. What do we do? YSC maintains as its foci: • To promote positive behavior and activities for the community’s youth. • To foster a supportive nurturing environment. • To foster community awareness and social benevolence. How do we do this? YSC believes that effective communication is paramount. • YSC strives to maintain a pulse on issues and concerns affecting our youth. • YSC offers a monthly meeting forum to identify and discern these concerns. • YSC periodically sponsors community presentations, workshops, and forums. • YSC educates the community at-large. • YSC links with other like-minded organizations and efforts. Why do we do this? • YSC wants to develop and maintain a healthy, caring community. • YSC understands that the community may be exposed to other than positive behaviors. • YSC wants to inform the community of proactive, constructive alternatives. When does YSC meet? YSC meets the second Wednesday of every month from September through June. The meetings are held 7:30 p.m. in the School District Central Office board meeting room in the Township Municipal building. 40


How can one assist the efforts of YSC? You may assist YSC through your membership and your input. • YSC welcomes Youth Steering Co mmitt the ideas of Kate Swenson, Ma ee student members ry Schwar all interested and Barbara Balza zwaelder, rini residents. • Meetings are open to all residents. • Applicants for YSC should complete the Township’s Talent Bank Form. This form is available on the Township website at or by calling 412-831-9000. The efforts of YSC are towards a healthier community. Please work with us to help our youth and help our community. Email for more information. n

Leaping into 2008— REEC Gaining Speed Jessica Stombaugh, Program Manager, REEC Brilliant warm colors dance across the autumn trails as the sounds of children’s “ah ha!” moments echo across the meadow grasses. As the fall season came to a close at the Regional Environmental Education Center (REEC) this past November, a record number of students had trodden the trails and discovered the wonders of the outdoors. This time last year I was wondering where the students were, waiting somewhat impatiently for people to find the hidden treasure of Upper St. Clair’s REEC. As of this winter my wondering has stopped. The REEC has reached over 6500 people in 2007, a significant increase from the mere 2500 the year before! Thanks to community involvement, eager individuals, and local school districts, the REEC is growing stronger. Many of you may have visited the REEC for one of its Saturday Outdoor hikes (SOD) that run the second Saturday of each month from April to November. Or perhaps you’ve ventured out into the moonlit forest on one of the Moonstruck Full Moon hikes that run on every full moon. Do you know a USC student in one of our three elementary schools? Then you know a student who has been enriched by our academic standards based school programs specifically designed to enhance the USC school curriculum. What’s that you say? You still have not been out to the REEC! Then take a look at the new programs we have lined up for 2008.


Boyce Road Gardeners Enjoy Organic Gardening Jerry Kender Boyce Road Gardeners (BRG) enjoyed another fun-filled and successful gardening year in 2007. The gardens were started in 1975 and continue with a great group of gardeners, both young and old. The gardening year kicks off with the arrival of the first seed catalogues in the winter, but officially begins with a 7 p.m. meeting on Tuesday, April 1 at the USC Township Library meeting room. The meeting is always educational and social, and this year will feature Nancy Heraud, Penn State master gardener, who will speak

on herbs in the garden. The BRG committee tries to have the gardens ready for planting by mid-April, but, of course, this depends on cooperative weather. Sandy Feather, Penn State extension educator, is scheduled for a mid-July visit to address problems that may have come up in individual gardens. The highlight of the year is the Garden Festival, scheduled this year for Saturday, August 16, when member gardeners submit their prize veggies for judging. There are both adult tables and a special children’s table where blue ribbons are awarded. It is always amazing to see the variety of items submitted, which include everything from vegetables and canned goods, to flowers and herbs. A great potluck picnic follows, and the highlight last year was banjo and fiddle music provided by Hal Kaufmann and Rosemary Nulton, both Boyce Road Gardeners. BRG will continue to support the Hester Joseph has been gardening for over 30 years. St. Winifred Food Pantry, a member

• Talk-n-Walk series, which began January 2008, runs the second and the fourth Sunday of every month from 2-4 p.m. This adult-focused series introduces a new and exciting topic with each presentation. Learn about the topic of the day inside, and then head outdoors for a one-hour hike through the beautiful forests, meadows, and creek that surround the REEC. • A Leave No Trace Hike on, Sunday, May 18 will have participants hiking from one end of Boyce Mayview Park to the other, taking in the picturesque beauty of spring, while presenting hands-on information about Leave No Trace ethics. • Summer camps have been a huge hit within the community, with last year’s camps filling completely. This year, the REEC is offering four weeks of camp for students ages four to 12. And let’s not forget the Seasonal Science Series program that runs in May and again in November for ages eight to 12. Volunteer with our growing environmental center. Students, retirees, and all other community members with time to share are encouraged to consider this meaningful volunteer opportunity. Volunteering at the REEC is a great way to earn community service hours, gain work experience,

of the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank, which helps local families in need. This has been a longtime project of the gardens, and fresh produce is especially welcomed at the pantry. The garden is an organic garden. Though space is limited, membership is open to all. The plot size is 40 feet by 40 feet, but can be shared with another gardener for an additional $5 fee. Membership is $5, and plot rental is $10. Further information can be obtained by calling Jerry Kender at 412-221-3118. n

meet community members with similar interests, help a growing environmental education center, and have fun! Boy and Girl Scouts have many options for outdoor learning with the REEC from special multi-troop events to individual badge workshops and volunteer opportunities. In short, “thank you” to those who have helped the REEC grow by attending programs, offering support, and contributing at The REEC is looking forward to another exciting and student-packed year! Contact Jessica Stombaugh at 412-838-0064 or for more information, to sign up for an event, or to just ask for directions to the REEC. See you in the park! n

ives SSS-7

David surv

A sample of vegetable s from BRG members’ gardens.

Spring 2008

Facilitator N icole, ovens. Thank with Matthew, make so lar s Ardolino’s Pizza!





Spring ahead.


Spring 2008



Bathroom Remodeling—People Friendly, Ageless Design Sue Clark, Clark Construction Company Most of us hope to remain in our homes as we age. The bathroom is a very important room in the house and making it more accessible can have a huge impact on the quality of everyday life. As savvy homeowners remodel, they should do so with an eye to the future. Changes to accommodate later needs can be people friendly for today, as well. The needs of seniors vary greatly. Additional considerations would be needed for those with more concerns. Many of the below mentioned items are a normal part of a complete bath remodel anyway. Making smart selections is the key. The following is a list of possibilities for your renovation. • Turn a five-foot standard tub into a low or no threshold shower (one of the most requested modifications). • Permanent seating or a wall mounted folding chair, or use a portable chair when needed. • Grab bars in the shower and possibly also at the toilet.

• Handheld shower spray that adjusts to heights for standing or sitting. • Easy to reach shower shelves for shower toiletries. • Anti-scald faucets (required in Allegheny County). • Insulated lighting within the shower and more lighting around the entire bathroom. • Non slip flooring. • Comfort height toilets (several inches higher and easier on the knees). • Mount the sink and countertop 34 inches off the floor. • Lever handles (not round knobs) on the faucets and door. • Rounded edges on the countertop. • Contrast floor, counter, and cabinet colors for better visibility. • Ventilate well by using an exhaust fan. • Magnified mirror.

• Toilet paper holder with an open end—for easy paper replacement. • Enlarge the bathroom door/opening to 32 inches. • Phone jack. • Heat mat under the tile floor for warmth and to aid in circulation. Bathroom (and kitchen) updating is most essential for greater resale value of your home. If you sell your home under current market conditions, you will recuperate between 56-62% of the cost of your renovations. That number had been much higher in previous years, but has dropped recently under current market changes. It is normally recommended to have at least one bathtub for your home’s resale value. But if you only have one bathroom, it may be more important for you to change it to a shower. The next homeowner may prefer a shower and he always has the option to change it back again. Plan early for your future, so you can be the decision maker. n See ad on this page.

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Spring 2008



Building Beyond Basics Barry Novisel, Design and Sales Consultant, Action Builders Co., Inc.

Design-build companies offer many advantages over the basic architect/builder relationship. Design-builders streamline the construction process by locating everything needed to complete a project in one place. A project designed and built by one company can avoid the pitfalls commonly associated with remodeling. A successful design-builder’s goal is simple: Finish the job on time and on budget. Time is money. A recent project in Upper St. Clair emphasizes a positive homeowner/builder relationship. As with many young families, the Risings experienced a few growing pains. A home that seemed very large a few years ago, now felt smaller with the addition of children. Very much at home in Upper St. Clair and moving not an option, they decided an addition to their home would provide the space they needed and the opportunity to include features and amenities found in custom homes. This would prove to be their best solution. An initial meeting at the homeowner’s property was scheduled to measure the home and take photographs for reference. Back at the office, preliminary drawings were sketched and a design concept was developed. The proposed design involved several technical challenges that were solved by incorporating innovative design techniques. Engineering consultants helped to ensure


The Rising’s new kitchen

as much creativity as possible under the home’s structural limitations. Project goals and objectives were established with the Risings, while a realistic budget that met their expectations was maintained. The kitchen was the starting point—open and modern with lots of seating. The second floor master suite design included a spiral staircase that descended into the new kitchen. The addition of a master suite allowed enlarging the existing bedrooms and bathrooms. The first floor family room design created an area for recreation with a large fireplace.


After a few meetings, the design began taking shape with furnishings, cabinets, and lighting. Modifications to the main hall improved circulation and privacy. Exterior elements included an attractive concrete patio with a curved mosaic retaining wall, which refined the transition from the addition to the rear yard. A pergola provided cool shade from the summer sun when entertaining outdoors. The construction phase of the project went well due to the planning and communication added by the design-builder concept. The owners selected all the fixtures and finishes prior to the start of construction, which allowed all the material needed for the project to be ordered well in advance, saving both time and money. Construction benchmarks were also coordinated with the owners in advance to minimize disruptions to the household. When the project was completed, the Risings were asked why they chose a design-builder. Kirsten remarked, “The fact that design-builders are all under one roof is huge!” When embarking on a major project with many things to consider, don’t involve too many people. A single company that can handle the entire project might be your best choice. n

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Ten Questions to Ask About a Home’s Electrical System Mike Brusco, Residential Division Manager, Ferry Electric Company Your home’s electrical system is one of its most vital components, providing people with the power needed for the electrical lighting and devices used in every day life. It’s important to maintain a safe and reliable system, but an electrical shortcoming may seem minor or even go unnoticed. It’s up to you, the homeowner, to keep an eye out for signs that may indicate the need for help from a professional electrician. Consider these ten questions: 1. Do circuit breakers in your home trip often, or do fuses keep blowing? A home’s electrical system has built-in safeguards to prevent an electrical overload. Too much current on a given conductor should cause a breaker or fuse to open the circuit. When a circuit shuts down repeatedly, it’s a warning sign that should not be ignored. A new circuit may need to be installed to remedy this problem.

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2. Are extension cords needed to reach the outlets in any room? Electrical outlets, especially in older homes, are often spaced too far apart for modern living. This not only creates too much demand on too few outlets, it also poses a hazard when extension cords are run under carpet or furniture. 3. Do lights dim when an appliance turns on? High-demand appliances such as air conditioners, clothes dryers, refrigerators, and furnaces need extra power when started. This temporary current draw can be more than just a nuisance; it can damage sensitive equipment. 4. Do your electrical outlets need accessory plug-strips? Too many things plugged in at one location can create more current than a single outlet can handle. Adding multiple plug strips won’t solve the problem. New, permanently installed outlets may need to be added. 5. Is the wiring in your outlet boxes old and brittle? Older homes may have wiring with dry, crumbling insulation. This may require re-insulation of the conductors contained in the junction boxes or possible rewiring. 6. Is the cable on your main electrical service line frayed? Many homes with the older style cloth insulating jacket on the main electrical service cable have rust and corrosion problems. This older exterior cable is often frayed and allows water to penetrate the main electrical service and breaker or fuse panel. 7. Are GFCI outlets installed where required by code? The National Electric Code requires GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) protection in specific areas of the home where water and electricity may come into contact with one another, including the kitchen, bathroom, laundry area, garage, and any outlets located outdoors. GFCI outlets provide protection to the user of the electrical device. 8. Do electrical switches or outlets feel warm to the touch? Loose or deteriorating electrical connections impede current flow and create resistance and heat, creating a potentially dangerous condition. 9. Do your outlets accept three-pronged plugs? The third, or grounding, prong on a typical outlet provides an extra measure of safety against electrical shock. Older type two-prong outlets are not grounded and do not provide this protection. 10. Do you have screw-in type fuses? If you have screw-in type fuses instead of breakers, you should upgrade your service sooner than later. The problem with the old style screw-in fuse is that any size can be installed to protect a given circuit. Often, the fuse size is much larger than it should be, potentially causing a serious overload problem with the internal wiring of your home. If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to call a qualified electrician to perform a thorough evaluation. Carefully consider having these issues rectified, as they often involve the safety of your family and your home. n Ferry Electric Company Residential Division performs new construction, remodeling, repair, and upgrade work for residential electrical, telephone, and data systems. See ad on this page.

“Homes for the Holidays” Tour Benefits Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund Article by Paul Giba, photos by Coral Stengel The same day Santa’s fire truck was seen making its way through the streets of Upper St. Clair, the Upper St. Clair Office of Howard Hanna Real Estate and Mortgage Services held its annual fundraiser, benefiting the Children’s Hospital Free Care Fund. This year’s day-long event, organized by cochairs Connie Hickey and Regina Quinn, began with “Breakfast with Santa” played by yours truly with the help of my youngest children, Gillian, age 11, and Jack, age seven. St. Louise de Marillac provided the space at its newly constructed LeGras Parish Center, which served as the venue for the day’s events of breakfast, donated by the Crowne Plaza Hotel; lunch, donated by Armstrong’s; the silent auction of theme baskets and sports memorabilia; bake sale; and 50/50 raffle. Five homes in Upper St. Clair were open for the annual “Homes for the Holidays” tour and luncheon. This year’s home tour, organized by Diane Horvath, featured interesting architectural designs and interior decorating as well as colorful holiday decor. Each of the families that donated their homes for the tour was presented with a commemorative black and white framed photo of their home taken by photographer and real estate agent Coral Stengel. For the tour, my home, located at 217 Seegar Road, featured five holiday-decorated trees. Built in 1941, this house was originally used as a country home set on 42 acres of land for an East End wealthy jeweler and his family. In the 50s and 60s, the property was subdivided into

generous size lots (the USC area now known as Old Trotwood), leaving this house with nearly an acre. According to the original owner’s grandson, also a previous dweller, this property was once the site of an old tavern and hotel which collapsed in the 30s when Seegar Road, then known as Noblestown McKeesport Road, was transformed from an old “red dog” road to asphalt. We were told that the hand-carved mahogany banister on our center hall staircase was salvaged from that old hotel. We were also told that the smallest bedroom in the house originally served as the maid’s quarters. When my wife, Julie Unitas Giba, and I purchased this home in 1993, both the house and the yard were in disrepair and in need of total updating. With the work of architects, skilled master carpenters, and electricians, every corner of the house has since been renovated. A two-story great room was added in the year 2000, featuring radiant heat under the hardwood floor, an 18-foot-high Southern ledgestone dry stacked fireplace with a custom mahogany arched mantel and oversized hearth flanked by two window seats, an over-head library loft, wet bar, and a maintenance-free cantilevered rear deck accessed through French doors. The deck provides a great view of the many flower beds and the Williamsburg-style vegetable, herb, and cutting flower gardens with greenhouse. The first floor also includes a formal living, dining room, kitchen, and breakfast room. All have been renovated, but

me phy of the ho hite photogra Black and w at 217 Seegar Road. on tour Two-story great

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have preserved the interesting original architectural features, such as pegged hardwood floors, tiled walls in the three original bathrooms, mini antique sink in the powder room, exposed brick walls, bead board ceilings, and former windows made into niches. The lower level of the house contains a large study with the original stone fireplace, hardwood floor, and plastered ceiling. The study was updated to become a fully functional office with built-in bookcases, wet bar, pocket doors, and separate client entrance. In the yard is a custom-made whimsical two-story play house featuring hardwood floors, faux fireplace, garage for our children’s battery powered jeep, loft, balcony, porch, and its own landscaping. Of course, it is always decorated for the holidays! My family and I were especially happy to be a part of this wonderful annual fundraising event by sharing our home for the tour. n

Paul, a USC resident for 14 years and realtor with Howard Hanna in Upper St. Clair, plays Santa each year for the “Breakfast with Santa.” UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY


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Cover Contest Out of the couple dozen responses we had to our Fall 2007 UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY Cover Contest, unfortunately we were unable to declare a winner. We asked our readers to take a look at the magazine’s fall 2007 cover and determine where in Upper St. Clair this computer-enhanced photograph was taken. We had the most guesses for McMillan, followed by Morton, Johnston, and Hays Roads. The cat is out of the bag; the fall 2007 cover shot was taken along Old Washington Road at the southern most end of the Township. Thanks for submitting Actual photograph (Inset photo is the fall 2007 cover.) your entries. Better luck next time! n Spring 2008



Upper St. Clair School District

School District News

Board of School Directors

Angela B. Petersen President 412-831-7182 2011*

Amy Billerbeck Vice President 412-833-2712 2011*

Barbara L. Bolas 412-833-9841 2011*

Carol B. Coliane 412-851-0784 2009*

Daniel A. Iracki 412-833-6882 2009*

Harry F. Kunselman 412-851-1115 2009*

Louis A. Piconi 412-831-1880 2011*

Rebecca A. Stern 412-220-0745 2011*

William M. Sulkowski 412-221-9516 2009*

The 2008 regular meetings of the Upper St. Clair Township Board of School Directors are held at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at the High School LGI room, unless otherwise noted. No regular meeting is scheduled for July.

*Date indicates expiration of term.



Meet Our New School Board of Directors Newly elected School Director Amy Billerbeck grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from Brandywine High School. She attended Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, earning a BA in economics. Amy earned her MBA from Indiana University at Bloomington, Indiana. Following graduation, she worked for a bank in Dallas, and then worked for Mellon in corporate credit recovery when she and her husband, Chuck, moved to Pittsburgh. Amy and Chuck have been married for 22 years and are the parents of two daughters: Kate, 19, a student at the University of Michigan, and Michelle, a sophomore at USCHS. During the 15 years Amy has lived in Upper St. Clair, she has made an impact on our community through her many volunteer activities. In addition to serving as a Girl Scout troop leader for 13 years, she has volunteered as a tutor in our District schools. Amy has been a leader in PTA and PTSO, and served as PTA Council president. She is a member of the Youth Steering Committee, the steering committee for the community-wide Drug and Alcohol Committee, the Curriculum Input Committee, the Principal’s Advisory Committee, and the USCHS Band Parents. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY asked Amy the following questions.

• Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? My parents were always passionate about education, and I believe that is why I am so passionate about it. They were my foundation for believing in education. • What are your goals as School Director? I want to regain a sense of the community and the Board working together. I also want the Board and the community to do some visionary thinking about where the District wants to be in the future. Our youngest students will be graduating in the year 2020, and we need to look ahead to what they will need to be able to function successfully when they graduate. • Hobbies? I love to garden, like to swim, enjoy music, and travel with my family. • What is your dream vacation? I’d like to travel to Africa or Greece, especially the ancient Greek ruins. I’ve always had a fascination with Greek mythology and the ruins.

Louis Piconi has lived in Upper St. Clair since he was in fifth grade. A graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, he earned his BA in political science from Penn State and his MBA from the University of Pittsburgh. His career includes positions as Managing Director for the Pittsburgh High Technology Council, CEO of Wired Org, and COO of Commnav. In 2002 he started his own company, Apangea Learning, a firm that combines artificial intelligence with human teachers. Louis said that this company tutors 40,000 kids across the country (including some in Pittsburgh’s inner city), driving down the cost of tutoring to $1 per hour. Louis and his wife, Eden, have been married for 12 years and are the parents of four children: Kallan, ten; Lucas, seven; Keaton, four; and Griffin, two. Louis has been involved with USC soccer and was a girls’ soccer coach last year and an assistant this past year.


UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY asked Louis the following questions.

• Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? My biggest influence was my father. He did incredible work for Rotary International, raising money to eradicate polio in the world. He believed that we all have a social mission in this world to fulfill, and I never thought differently. • What are your goals as School Director? Upper St. Clair as a district is at a crossroads, and I think the community needs to decide what it should be and in which direction it should go. When we impact the residents it is on two key issues: balancing the tax burden and the quality of education. The question for the Board is how to balance the tax burden but still achieve what this community wants to achieve. • Hobbies? Mountain biking. • What is your dream vacation? With four young children, my dream vacation is anywhere… but just with my wife! Rebecca Stern and her husband of 26 years, Larry, have lived in Upper St. Clair since 2000. Rebecca and Larry have two children: Jason, a senior at Cornell University; and Danielle, a sophomore at Muhlenberg College. Rebecca graduated from Rippowam High School in Stamford, Connecticut. At Boston University she earned a degree in career education for special needs, and earned a MPM at Carnegie Mellon University. Her career has predominantly been in education, including site technology contact in Humble, Texas, and training at different intermediate units and at a private education company. Rebecca has also done a lot of volunteer work in the schools, including serving on the PTSO board at the high school. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY asked Rebecca the following questions.

• Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? Overall, in my role as a School Board member, my biggest influence is my dad. Although he’s been deceased for some time, he was involved with volunteer work. While he never ran for office, he was politically involved and was a driving force by speaking honestly and questioning what was happening. He was also especially good at talking and listening to people with whom he may not necessarily have agreed. His level of community service had an impact on me. • What are your goals as School Director? I want to see our nine-member Board work as a team—speaking, listening, and working together. We may have disagreements— we’re nine individuals—but we can work through them. I would like to see the District and our community look not only at our neighbors, but nationwide as well, to be visionary about our priorities. Finally, our community is very engaged in education, and I’d like to harness that energy and utilize those resources to continue to improve the District. • Hobbies? I enjoy music and play the piano. I also love to cook, entertain, and travel. • What is your dream vacation? My dream vacation is wherever my next opportunity takes me, as long as I’m with family.

New Board of School Directors are, left to right, Harry Kunselman, Amy Billerbeck, Rebecca Stern, and Louis Piconi

In January, the board of school directors appointed Harry Kunselman to the seat vacated by David Bluey. Harry and his wife, Frankie, have been residents of Upper St. Clair since May 1999. Their son, Colin, is in seventh grade at Fort Couch and daughter, Jenna, is in fifth grade at Boyce. Harry grew up in Beaver, graduating from Beaver Area High School. He earned his BA in political science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1985. Harry continued his education at Pitt, earning his law degree in 1989. He started his law career with Dickey McCamey Chilcote in Pittsburgh. In 1994, Harry joined the firm of Strassburger McKenna Gutnick Potter, where he works as a civil litigation attorney. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY asked Harry the following questions.

• Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? My father, who was a model of integrity, was the greatest influence in my life. His greatest assets were his integrity, work ethic, and devotion to faith and family. • What are your goals as School Director? While I have no specific policies, my general goal is to have the Board work together as a team. Our kids are watching how we conduct business, and we should be positive role models. • Hobbies? I enjoy fly fishing and am a big fan of college basketball. • What’s your dream vacation? My dream vacation would be to visit Alaska, where I would fish and observe the wildlife. I’ve never known anyone who went to Alaska and didn’t love it. A close second would be a trip to Africa. n

Many Thanks for Years of Service Thank you to outgoing Upper St. Clair School Board of Directors David Bluey (2001-07), Glenn Groninger (2003-07), Jeffrey Joyce (2002-07), and Mark Trombetta (1999-2007) for their dedication and commitment to the residents and students of Upper St. Clair.

Spring 2008



SD MSA Evaluation— a Foundation for Quality Education Paul Fox, Performing Arts Curriculum Leader Any student or teacher will tell Upper St. Clair High School you: preparation for final exams begins Beliefs Statement Upper St. Clair High School Middle States Planning Team

We believe that… • Children are our community’s most valuable asset. • All students and staff have the right to a safe learning environment. • Interaction with individuals of diverse backgrounds and character encourages tolerance, open-mindedness, appreciation for others, and fosters the ability for effective collaboration. • An exemplary educational institution aims to promote an environment of academic excellence and pride in the school community. • An education is a shared responsibility and requires collaboration of the institution, the governing authority, the student, the family, and the community. • Education is most effective when decisions are made in the best interests of the students. • The involvement of the parents and community in the schools is critical to the education of students and sets an example for children to grow as responsible citizens. • Life-long learning, a process that begins with parents in the home and is cultivated by teachers and staff in the schools, is essential for success in a changing society. • Children achieve their maximum potential in an environment where expectations are high and when they understand the purpose for learning. • Effective education develops the whole person—ethically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically—and promotes self esteem and personal happiness. • Education can encourage children to be altruistic, to strive to be the best that they can be, and to find their own individuality. • Service to others encourages students to develop an understanding of and appreciation for others and to become contributing members of society. • Because students learn at different rates and in different ways, it is essential to recognize each student’s needs and interests when creating opportunities for learning • Exposure to a balanced curriculum including academics, arts, and athletics expands the human experience and allows each student to discover his or her own particular interests and abilities. • An individual’s maximum potential is achieved through hard work and dedication. • Children do best when they learn from their failures as well as their successes. • The citizens and the leaders of tomorrow need to be able to function successfully in a global society. • Students excel when they are encouraged to think critically, synthesize information, develop decision-making skills, and apply their knowledge. • A wide variety of extra-curricular activities develops a sense of leadership, teamwork, and altruism in students. • An educated citizenry is essential for society to flourish.


long before finals week starts. And as the Upper St. Clair High School plans for a spring visit from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), work is ongoing to ensure that the high school is ready not only for the evaluation, but also far into the future. The MSA validation team will visit, observe, and evaluate Upper St. Clair High School from April 29 through May 2. A Middle States evaluation is based on “accreditation standards,” a complement to content area standards, and designates what students are expected to learn in various curriculum areas. As part of the accreditation process, self-study instruments are offered. According to MSA, the self-study evaluation model requires the school to define itself rather than respond to pre-set criteria. “The visiting team then uses the self-definition as a lens to determine whether the nature and quality of the students’ experiences in the school are consistent with those called for in the self-definition. The visiting team provides the school with a critique to strengthen the school’s ability to move forward. Trained readers apply the standards after carefully analyzing the


school’s self-study and the visiting team’s report. The coherence of these documents and adherence to standards leads to the Commission’s decision on accreditation.” The staff and administration of Upper St. Clair High School elected to use a strategic planning self-study protocol—a “looking ahead” approach (prospective) rather than past review of achievements (retrospective). This method addresses the standards during the self-study phase and determines its own degree of adherence to the standards, allowing its use as a school improvement tool against which to judge development and performance. In these cases, the visiting team applies the standards during the visit and provides specific judgments in a written report on major strengths and areas for improvement. Many local people are involved in the MSA project. A planning team of community and school board members, students, faculty, and administrators met to review and revise the mission statement, brainstorm strengths and weaknesses of the high school, propose ideas for new goals, and draft a Beliefs Statement, Graduate Profile, and other documents. For detailed analysis of school performance, there are 12 standards committees with teachers and administrators

ts with high school cipal Lou Angelo (left) mee Assistant high school prin rs Nancy Dombrowsky and Debbie Rentschler. rdinato ator.) teachers and internal coo sch, also an internal coordin (Not pictured is Kathy Kir

SD Profile of Upper St. Clair High School Graduates

Upper St. Clair High School Middle States Planning Team

High school teach ers an table) are Joe Kallis d members of the tech committee at wo , Janine Despines, Carolyn Cusick, Do rk (counterclockwise from head of ug Kirchner, and Gi ulia Gouker.

as members. An educational departments committee, facilitated by curriculum leaders and department heads, is currently gathering data and documentation on class procedures, objectives, curriculum development, instructional strategies, budget, and student assessment. Finally, action teams will define specific targets for improvement and develop action plans to address school needs. High school teacher Nancy Dombrowsky is one of three internal coordinators for the MSA accreditation for growth evaluation. She said ethics and technology were two specific areas identified for improvement. For ethics, Dombrowsky said they are looking at an increase in ethical and responsible behavior, which will be measured through student surveys, teacher surveys, and monitoring the number of discipline referrals for cheating and plagiarism. For technology, the emphasis will be on an increase in student proficiency in the use of technology for learning, focusing on the use of databases, spreadsheets, word processing, and Internet searches. The MSA will make final accreditation determinations based on recommendations from this review process. The Commissions conduct multiple levels of review to ensure a consistent, informed, and fair decision regarding accreditation is made.

What is MSA? Established in 1887 as a nongovernmental, nonprofit, peer-administered organization, MSA provides leadership in school improvement for its member schools in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The Commission on Secondary Schools (MSCSS) evaluates and accredits institutions providing middle and/or secondary education. Middle States accreditation standards have several important functions in the accreditation process: • They are based on research and reflect best practices. • They serve as a school improvement mechanism. • They serve as a qualitative guide to expectations for an accredited school. • They are used to determine candidacy, the first stage of the process to determine the school’s ability and readiness to engage in a rigorous accreditation protocol. MSA Foundational Standards address best practices of a school to provide quality in the educational program, services, and results in terms of student learning. n

Self-directed learners, who… • Acquire a wide range of learned and experimental knowledge in various academic fields. • Embrace learning as a life-long pursuit. • Adapt effectively to change by using the knowledge they have acquired. • Pursue fulfilling career opportunities and vocational interests. Critical thinkers, who… • Understand and employ higher level thinking skills of application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. • Make informed decisions and choices. • Set realistic goals and devise the plans to achieve them. • Apply their acquired knowledge to real world situations that benefit themselves and others. Effective communicators, who… • Speak and write clearly and coherently. • Listen to and read the communication of others, correctly inferring tone, purpose, and potential biases. • Utilize effectively current and emerging technologies in giving and receiving information. Responsible citizens, who… • Contribute productively to their community, nation, and world. • Appreciate and respect other people, cultures, and societies. • Balance effectively work, play, and volunteerism. • Work well with others in a spirit of collaboration, both in holding positions of leadership and in respecting the leadership of others. • Know and observe acceptable social conventions. People of character, who… • Act ethically, morally, and responsibly. • Positively impact their own lives and the lives of others. • Demonstrate a productive work ethic. • Exhibit a sense of self-confidence and determination. • Act with empathy and sympathy for others.

Spring 2008




Pawprints A USC PTA Council Highlight of Our Schools


Fort Couch Middle School

PTA Council is the umbrella PTA organization in Upper St. Clair that provides leadership and coordination for all the PTAs at the individual schools (units), grades K through 8. USC PTA Council is responsible for the District-wide directory and Internet communications, among other things. By pooling resources, Council can provide better quality programming that addresses issues in parenting, education, and special needs through the Together in Parenting (TIP), Topics in Education (TIE), Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), and Partners in Education (PIE). Look for these programs throughout the year. In addition, through various committees, Council keeps the local units apprised of legislative and current issues relative to the health, safety, and education of our children.

“Reach Out,” Fort Couch’s holiday fundraising project, began 21 years ago as a means of involving students in sharing with the less fortunate families in our area. Each student is encouraged to earn and raise money for the “holiday spirit” project. School faculty and PTA help in this school-wide project with funds going towards providing local families with gift certificates from Giant Eagle (distributed by the USC police), supporting the Multiple Sclerosis Bike-a-thon, supporting a Wellness Fund used to help our own students and families throughout the year, and supporting charities designated by Fort Couch Student Council. This year Fort Couch students raised over $10,000. In conjunction with the Reach Out program and in the spirit of giving, each Fort Couch student sent a holiday card to a war veteran through an organization called “A Million Thanks.” A Million Thanks is a year-round campaign to offer U.S. military men and women, past and present, our appreciation for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country through letters, emails, cards, and thoughts. Close to 700 cards were sent. Fort Couch Middle School has a rich tradition of academic achievement, Student council president Utkarsh Rajawat (left), student council vice president Mich ele Mellick, extracurricular inno- and stude nt council advisor and foreign language vation, and charitable teacher Connie Montgomery give a “Reach Out” fundraising check to Lt. John contributions. Sakoian for

High School This past winter, many high school students helped others throughout our community and the world. In November, the Kids Helping Kids group went to the Dominican Republic (see story on page 56). Twenty-four USC seniors received the prestigious St. Joan of Arc medallion at the 43rd St Lucy’s Medallion Ball this past November (see information on page 68). The high school Make-A-Wish Club was recently formed. This club hopes to raise enough money to grant at least one child’s wish per year. The Interact Club held its annual coat drive from November 12 to December 14, with the coats donated to inner-city Pittsburgh dwellers in need. Leisure Interaction Networking Kids (LINK) is a club where USC students go to the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children to do activities each month. In the Community Helping Alliance for Neighborhood Goals in Education and Service (CHANGES) club, students do volunteer work alongside students of diverse backgrounds from Oliver High School. Members of the Students Taking Action Now for Darfur (STAND) club raise money to protect civilians in Darfur. Cathy Bowen’s Foods 3 class donated baked goods to Meals on Wheels. Jennifer Wagner’s class is involved in a monthly community service project with an inner city day care center. Several high school students go after school to Fort Couch each week to help the younger students with math. Thirty-two students (four boys and four girls per grade), along with eight adult staff members, are part of the Natural Helpers program, a way of helping adolescents in the school environment to deal with problems they confront. This winter, Student Council members sent packages to four USC alumni who are serving their country overseas, and collected money for the annual holiday project for gifts and food baskets for the needy. In December, the USC cheerleaders donated over 60 gifts to the South Hills Interfaith Ministries (SHIM) for the annual holiday store, while Athletes Taking Action collected money for Toys for Tots.



distribution to local needy families.

Boyce Middle School Whether it’s an outdoor learning experience or a tasty treat in French class, students at Boyce have some of the most interesting lessons! Teachers go out of their way to make learning fun. This spring, sixth grade students look forward to Deer Valley and fifth grade students look forward to the NASA Challenger Center in Wheeling.

A taste of France for sixth grade students at Boyce as French teacher Abdel Khila, a former chef, cooks up a French treat (crème brûlée and tea) for his class.

Sixth grade students at Boyce learn and explore in an outdoor classroom during a daylong field trip to Mingo Creek State Park.


Baker Elementary In these first months of the New Year, many exciting events happened at Baker. On January 11, Baker hosted its annual Family Read-In. This year’s theme was “Around the World” and there were some special guest readers there to teach the students about life and traditions in Egypt, Syria, Japan, Kenya, England, India, Greece, France, and the Netherlands. The children had a wonderful time visiting different countries and having their passports stamped along the way. This was a great evening and Robbie Schuldt (right) and daughter, Julie, perform Japane se experience for the students and their parents to share Baker’s Japan Room drumming in during Read-In this past Jan Family together! uary. On February 8, the CLO brought their “Innovative Innovators” to a school assembly. The Baker Caper, the school’s annual carnival and major fundraiser was held on February 22. This huge family event, with this year’s theme “Baker’s Science Center,” featured games, food, auctions of different types, classroom theme basket raffles, face painting, and much more. The fun-filled evening brings together parents and their children, and takes the hard work and dedication of many Baker volunteers each year.

Eisenhower Elementary The winter cold brought Eisenhower families inside to enjoy many family-fun activities. Kindergarten, first, and second graders, and their families participated in a grade level bowling competition. In late January, students “snuggled up with their dads” and spent a Friday night together visiting different themed classrooms where special guests read or told stories. Also in January, the PTA sponsored its third annual Book Swap. Students were able to swap their gently used books for “new” used books of their choice. What a great opportunity it was to refresh at-home libraries and keep children reading! In late February, Eisenhower families gathered again in the high school cafeteria for friendly games of Bingo. The third graders and their parents squared danced at their grade level social. First grade families gathered to see an animal show, and kindergarten families were entertained by a magic show. Early one February morning, second graders, and their teachers and parents, gathered for breakfast. What a busy winter it has been! Thanks to all the PTA volunteers, who spent countless hours creating opportunities to build a strong sense of community in and around Eisenhower.

Streams Elementary Streams PTA has been very busy during the winter months. January brought cold, snow, and the annual ice skating party. Many families used the District scheduled day off from school to meet with their Streams friends and skate the day away. A very successful charity silent auction was held in January; Streams students love helping other children! In Streams students pick February, the high school cafeteria was transformed into new books in exchange for their old ones during New Orleans at Mardi the Book Exchange. Gras and the shouts of “B-I-N-G-O” could be heard throughout the halls! The winter months came to a close with a Streams favorite: Snuggle Up and Read. Lastly, the second annual PTA sponsored Book Exchange was held to promote even more reading. Everyone is practicing hard for the biennial Streams talent show in April. n ents stud ams ch kids helping Stre Fort Cou BINGO night. make Mardi Gras masks for

Questions about PTA or PTSO?

Call Geralyn Austin (PTA) 412-833-3282 or Edyce Rizzi (PTSO) 412-835-6482.

Spring 2008




Kids Helping Kids Holly White

Since we were fortunate enough to grow up in such a privileged community as Upper St. Clair, it’s easy to be blinded to the world outside of our “bubble.” For many high school students having country club memberships, designer jeans, and luxury cars are social norms; for 18 of us these norms were radically altered after a trip to the Dominican Republic this past November. In early June 2007, the preparation for our weeklong outreach began. A group of three teachers, Todd Flynn, Keera Dwulit, and Tracy Smith, and four medical personnel, Dr. Frank Gaudio, Dr. Daniel Lattanzi, Mike Ehland, and Mel Grubisha, was formed to lead a team of 18 students who had been chosen from over 40 applicants. We planned many fundraisers, including a Max & Erma’s “FUNdraising” event, a donation drive at the high school, collections at football games, and a collection at Fort Couch Middle School. The donations of clothing and supplies allowed us to pack nearly 20 suitcases filled to the maximum capacity of 50 pounds each. The cash

donations, which totaled approximately $3000, allowed us to purchase rice and beans to distribute among the villages we would visit. Other preparations also included many vaccinations and medications for protection against diseases commonly found in impoverished areas. As the first group of students from Upper St. Clair to travel to the Dominican Republic, our primary purpose was to form a relationship between Upper St. Clair and the people of Bonao. We traveled to many villages and delivered food and clothing to these villagers. We also visited clinics to provide health care. Many of the people the doctors cared for brought small children with the hopes of receiving infant Tylenol and vitamins—simple healthcare products to us, unattainable to them. Any pregnant woman who came to these clinics had her blood drawn and tested for malaria, HIV, and syphilis. Many of the most impoverished villages we visited required hour-long hikes to reach. One of these villages had been cut off from communication with the rest of the world for eight days due to a hurricane

Elvie, in

the “base b group vis all village” that th ited twice e .

and tropical storms. Despite their poverty, the people we met showed us how much the little things in life mean. They had so little, but were grateful for anything we could give them. Whether it was an old T-shirt or stuffed animal, their gratitude was unwavering. The Kids Helping Kids team would like to thank the adults that lead us and thank the Upper St. Clair community for its continued support. Without you, none of this would have been possible. n Holly White, a USCHS senior, is the daughter of Russell and Cathy White.

History of Kids Helping Kids Several years ago, Todd Flynn, a teacher at Upper St. Clair High School, started a service organization known as Kids Helping Kids. Students in this organization, as well as teachers, paired up with local medical professionals and traveled to Haiti to help that country’s impoverished citizens. Due to several successful fundraising efforts, the projects that were completed during these trips to Haiti ranged from delivering clothing and medical supplies to needy children and adults to building a local school. The impact that the trips had on the individuals who attended were life altering. After the attacks of September 11th, the logistics of safe travel into an increasingly tumultuous country placed the trips to Haiti on hold. The trips resumed in 2007, but to a new destination—the poverty stricken mountains of the Dominican Republic to continue with the original plan of delivering food, clothing, and medical supplies to a needy people. 58

tt Yanak (bottom USCHS students Sco (standing, bent ns Ga e col Ni d right) an rming pills at one over) give out de-wo emados. Giving Qu s Lo in of the clinics l child, they would tel out the pill to each rk ma n the uld wo ey them to chew it. Th they wouldn’t step so the children’s hands another pill. back in line for


USC students share time and smil es with children from a village school outside of Bonao.

Why Would You Study History? Students of the Yoder-O’Roark

sixth grade team at Boyce Middle School got the answer to “Why would you study history?” and many other questions when WQED’s Rick Sebak spoke to them this past December. Sebak, producer, writer, and narrator of numerous documentaries for public television is also Dawn Yoder’s neighbor. When she asked him if he’d be willing to speak to her class about why he studies history, he said he’d be happy to. Sebak laughed that getting ready for his visit to Boyce really forced him to think, since the groups he usually speaks to are a lot older than sixth graders. Sebak’s preparation paid off as he engaged the students during his presentation, fashioning much of his discussion as a quiz show. After showing the students a brief clip of one of his documentaries, he asked if anyone in the class knew where Lower St. Clair was. Stumping most of the audience, Sebak explained that in 1788 General Arthur St. Clair received a parcel of land that extended from Chartiers Creek along the Monongahela to Streets Run Road at the Glenwood Bridge to the

Washington County border. Lower St. Clair, now known as Pittsburgh’s South Side, was the lowest land next to the river. He continued to ask the students several more questions, with the winners receiving a Sebak documentary as a prize. Sebak is well known for his national documentaries, including “A Hot Dog Program,” “An Ice Cream Program,” and “A Shore Thing.” His Pittsburgh history series covers a range of topics, from “North Side Story” and “The Strip Show” to “Holy Pittsburgh” and “Kennywood Memories.” Even though he is well known for his work in history, Sebak confessed that as a kid, history was not one of his favorite subjects. He thinks that many students don’t care for history while they are in school because the subject focuses on political, government, and military history. “As you get older,” he continued, “you discover that history is the history of everything. I got interested in how things got started— amusement parks, hot dog places—and the history of one thing led to the history of another. It all connects!” Jim Niece, a student of the Yoder-


Students of attempt to an the Yoder-O’Roark te am eagerl swer M to win one r. Sebak’s questions, ho y of his docum ping entaries.

O’Roark team, thought Sebak’s presentation was interesting. “I learned a lot,” he commented, adding that he hadn’t considered how one event connects to another. “History is really cool.” His classmate, Meaghan Welch, liked Sebak’s talk about Lower St. Clair, and his discussion about Pittsburgh’s rivers. “It’s good to know about the area and our heritage,” she remarked. Both students admitted to not being history fans, but think they’ll look at history differently after hearing Sebak. Dawn Yoder said her students really enjoyed Sebak’s visit, with the overwhelming sentiment being, “He was so interesting!” n

Contract With Bus Driver Bargaining Unit Signed This past October, the Upper St. Clair School District announced that an agreement with the bus driver collective bargaining unit (Educational Support Association ESPA/PSEA/NEA) was reached for a three-year period. Key highlights of the agreement include no increase in wages in the first year of the contract, an average annual increase of three percent starting in the second year of the contract, and a lower-tiered wage scale for new drivers. The new contract expands the District’s ability to outsource certain school bus routes and provides it with additional operational and scheduling flexibility, as well as potential cost reductions. “We are very pleased that we reached an amenable agreement with the union that allowed the school to continue to operate without any disruption in service,” reported Upper St. Clair School District Superintendent Dr. Patrick O’Toole. The 2007-08 budget for student transportation is estimated at $2.5 million, or 4.7% of the total $53.4 million of the 2007-08 budget. n

Managed Services, Managed Better

Russ Phillips, Food Services Director Joe Wightkin, Support Services Director

Spring 2008



SD The High School Yearbook—a Glimpse into the Past, Present, and Future Liyun Jin, Clairvoyant Editor-in-Chief Yearbooks can be thought of as literary time first in Upper St. Clair history. This capsules. Offering glimpses into the past, they record, cap- development, of course, translates

ture, and celebrate memories of each school year. Unlike other journalistic media such as newspapers and magazines that comment on the present and speculate about the future, a yearbook is concerned solely with revisiting what has already occurred. Nevertheless, for the staff of the high school yearbook, the Clairvoyant, excitement is brewing over what the future holds for the publication. The Clairvoyant has undergone many changes over its more than 40-year history. From the black-and-white 50-page publications of yesteryear to the current all-color 250-page one, the yearbook has progressed and evolved in more ways than just the fashion trends illustrated by the photographs printed in them. In some years, minimalism was de rigueur, with pithy captions averaging only a few words and spreads dominated by dramatic white space, while in other volumes, pages were crammed with text and photographs. Just three years ago, the yearbook was still being produced using paper, physical photographs, scissors, and tape, a seemingly caveman-esque approach compared to the completely web-based method of today. Over the past seven years, the yearbook has been supervised by four different faculty advisors, and just last year, the position of advisor transferred yet again. Currently, the publication is entirely student-produced, and over one thousand copies are purchased each year by students, faculty, and community members. One aspect that has remained unchanged, though, is the yearbook’s commitment to originality, attractive design, and top-notch writing and reporting. It was with the objective to represent the personality, diversity, and achievements of the high school population that the staff introduced a number of new features to the yearbook this year. In the past, many students and staff members alike expressed frustration over the largely black-and-white yearbook, a bland anachronism in a world of progressing technology. Responding to the demand for sharper pictures that would spark memories of high school life, the editors decided to produce the yearbook in full-color, a

into a more expensive yearbook, but many believe that the increased cost is well-worth the improved appearance. “Color allows us to be more creative with the layouts, and although the price went up, the pictures look better because they are more eye-catching. I think a lot of people are glad that the yearbook is finally g o i n g a l l - c o l o r, ” says section editor Julie Christman, a junior. Another new aspect of the yearbook, introduced in part to raise money for the up- Clairvoyant staff me mbers working on a sports page grade to color, is the presence of advertising space. Recognition advertisements, ranging in size, layout, and price, and featuring photographs and text, could be designed and purchased online and will be included in the yearbook to commemorate the achievements of seniors. Section editor Matt Boyas says, “The ads allow the seniors to create their own little personal space in the yearbook, something that’s uniquely theirs, so not everything is left up to the editors.” In addition, patron advertisements will be printed to acknowledge the local businesses that provided the Clairvoyant financial support. With the large number of students now working on the yearbook—there are 20 students in the high school’s yearbook class and a similar number in the after-school club—the staff hopes to showcase the spirit of a broad cross-section of the student population. Aside from the staff’s direct input in the yearbook’s production, all students and faculty in the high school are also welcome to upload their photographs online for the editors’ perusal. Thus, as high school teaacher and yearbook advisor Todd Ollendyke states, “All sectors of the school population are represented since the yearbook is open to everyone.” With incredibly diverse and creative content printed in a rainbow array of colors, one does not need the ability of clairvoyance to predict that this year’s Clairvoyant will be one of the best! n If you wish to order a yearbook or purchase a business advertisement, contact yearbook advisor Todd Ollendyke at 412-833-1600, extension 2610. To submit pictures to the Clairvoyant, visit; the user ID is “1143826” and the password is “pantherpix.”

Clairvoyant staff


members each work


on their assigned lay


A USCHS senior, Liyun is the daughter of Juping and ZeyuSu Jin.


International Education Week The high school’s 2007 International Education Week, “Make Your Mark on the World,” was held November 26-30 and offered the students a variety of activities and displays celebrating diversity. With speakers, art displays, language tables, games, crafts, foods, and performances, there were different activities each day of the week. New this year was the introduction of Globey, the mascot for International Education Week. n Students learn Chine


acher s creator, art te Globey, with hi n Smigel Roby

Students tour the intern

ational art museum.

w language.

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Students take tim

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Spring 2008



SD Homecoming 2007— From a German View This past fall, exchange students from Germany were in Upper St. Clair for homecoming. Two exchange students share their impressions of this uniquely American celebration.

The Five Rules of Homecoming Markus Drzymalla Saturday, October 6, 2007. It is five o’clock and everybody tries to get ready to be on time. Today is the Homecoming dance, where the whole school is supposed to wear very formal clothes. Girls wear beautiful dresses and boys wear suits. I don’t know why the Americans celebrate something so big, but who cares? Before you go to that dance, there are plenty more things you need to do. First, you meet other people at someone’s house to take pictures. Rule No. 1: Everyone wants a picture of you, to memorialize this special event. These “other people” are your so-called “Homecoming group” you are going with. You can have a date in this group or you can go as friends— both sound like a lot of fun. This year I joined the group of my host-brother, and after that little photo shooting we went with our six people group to a pretty Italian restaurant to eat dinner. The food was delicious and we all had good conversations. It was a lot of fun to sit together with people of your age in a restaurant, wear formal clothes, and behave a little bit like grown ups do. After that good dinner we all were ready for the dance, but keep this in mind: Don’t come as early as it begins. No one does, and it’s sort of “VIP-ish” to come late. Rule No. 2: Always come late for big events like this. As soon as we reached the school, you could see all the other students wearing these cool clothes everywhere. It was an overwhelming feeling to go through the school doors and to see this big “CASINO” sign right in front of you with so many good looking people behind it. After you put your stuff on tables in the cafeteria, you go to that hall where all the dance crazy people are. Rule No. 3: Never take all of your stuff with you, and for the girls— Rule No. 4: Always take off your shoes! The music was loud and the hall was warm and sweaty, but just when you join that dancing crowd in the middle you forget about everything else and you just have a good time. The dancing was probably the best part of this night, because everyone was going wild and crazy and we all had a lot of fun. The dance was over at eleven o’clock, but don’t think everyone was going home “that early.” Dude, this is America! Rule No. 5: There’s always an “after-party” after the party! We went to someone’s house and chilled. At some point in time we went home and fell asleep. It was a pretty exciting event for all of us, and we all had a great time. There is no comparable dance in Germany like Homecoming, so it was a new experience for all the Germans. I still don’t know the sense of Homecoming, but I would attend it over and over again. n 62


German students Ke vin De Dostert, and Markus nnull, Katharina Klein, Melanie Drzymalla pose for the camera.

My Impressions of Homecoming Lisa Zinsser This year I had my first Homecoming. When I came to Pittsburgh, I only knew that everybody was going to wear nice and expensive dresses and suits and that we were going out for dinner in groups. Then we would meet everybody back at school for the dance. My day started with me sleeping in. Great! When I awoke, I took a nice shower and ate breakfast. At noon my host sister, Faith, my German friend, Lisa-Marie, and I were dropped off at a salon. There we got our nails and hair done. How long did we stay there? At least three and a half hours—a very long time, but we looked awesome. I loved it! Next, we were picked up, and at home we put on our nice dresses and some make-up. Of course we took a lot of pictures outside. Then we drove to a Chinese restaurant. The dinner was very delicious and we already saw some nice dresses there. After the dinner we drove to school. “To school”—that sounded weird to me, because I’ve never been dancing in a school. But I’m open-minded, so I danced in a gym. It was very funny, and I had a lot of fun, and, of course, I liked it. In such a gym there is so much room to dance. The most surprising part for me was that all the girls were dancing with their shoes off, so the cafeteria was full of shoes. All in all, I had a lot of fun this day and I’m very grateful for this nice experience, and for all experiences which I have made in America. I think I can speak for every German exchange student. We had a very nice time, which we’ll never forget, and we want to thank our host families, every other American who welcomed us so nicely, and the teachers who organized the exchange very well. Thank you! Auf Wiedersehen (Good Enjoying the USCHS homecoming dance were bye). n Melanie Dostert and Markus Drzymalla.

TLC—Teens Making a Difference

What a Team! $75 We’ve sold $67 million together since 2002. Interview us!

Lena Finder Martin Luther King, Jr. once declared, “The time is always right to do what is right.” King acted as a leader by motivating others to make the world he lived in a better place. In an ideal world, we would have thousands of Martin Luther Kings deliberately trying to make a difference. Unfortunately, in the reality of the society in which we live today, we too often do not do what is right. However, many adults are working together with students to help influence students to make a difference in their communities. At Upper St. Clair High School, TLC, which stands for Teen Leadership Council, is a group of students who were recommended by teachers and ultimately chosen by principal Dr. Mike Ghilani. The group consists of 14 students from all four grades. Dr. Ghilani is our leader, and is one of the many adults who helps encourage me and the other members of TLC to make a difference. Every month, Dr. Ghilani takes us to different locations around the Pittsburgh area to meet with TLC members from other schools. During each field trip a different topic is discussed. For example, we went to Alderdice High School in Squirrel Hill to discuss the topic of stereotyping. We listened to students speak about the challenges they face concerning their race or ethnicity. People like to call Upper St. Clair “the bubble,” so it’s nice to leave our bubble and work with students from all over the Pittsburgh area. On each field trip we meet other high school students with whom we

Left to right, front row: Jordan McDonough, Danielle Spozarski, Molly McCann, Marissa Hillier, Katie Kennedy. Back row: Dave Doman, Matt Doman, Kyle Dudzinski, Gordon Mathews, Louis Tambellini, Ben Benack. Not pictured: Alivia Kandabarow, Lena Finder, Erena Lanza.

can share our beliefs and ideas. It is very interesting, because many school students have preconceived notions about another school’s students. But when we sit down and talk to one another, we realize that it doesn’t matter what school we come from because we all have similar qualities and interests. Another field trip involved going to Carrick Elementary, an inner city school. Each of us was paired with a first grader where we got the opportunity to read, teach, and play with them. When we were leaving, the girl I was paired with asked me if I wanted to go home with her. She told me her mom wouldn’t mind. It felt rewarding to know that I had an impact on this sevenyear-old girl’s day. My fellow TLC members and I are being taught to help society in the best ways we can. Face it, several years from now we will be the leaders of businesses, schools, the government, and our own homes. It is important that students continue to attend seminars about stereotyping, minorities, and simply helping people. If Martin Luther King could make a difference, we can, too! n Lena, a USCHS senior, is the daughter of Richard and Susan Finder.

Working Together Works Best! The Home & School Connection newsletter provides parents of elementary school students with practical ideas that promote school success, parent involvement, and effective parenting. The newsletter provides tips to parents that will help improve school success, strengthen the home and school partnership, make learning fun with simple activities, enhance parenting skills and discipline, strengthen family life, and build positive character traits.


Home&School Working Together December 2007


for School Success





Message, please Your child can practice responsibility as well by taking telephone as writing skills messages. Start by letting her watch you. Show her how you write down the caller’s name and number and then repeat the information back to be sure it’s right. Tip: To encourage message taking, keep a pencil and pad next to the phone.

Family rules



Rules help your child’s classroom run smoothly. Why not have family rules to help your household run smoothly, too? Try these ideas. Involve everyone Your youngster will be more agreeable to rules that Helping from she helps write. Ask home family If you have a little members for suggestions free time at night or on weekends, ask on getting along better, your staying teacher how you can youngster’s safe, and keeping volunteer from the home. She may want Make a note of every house neat. you to make flash idea — you can cards or prepare craft narrow the list down projects. Let your later. child help, and he’ll feel special when Keep it simple they’re broken. Come his class uses the up with a logical materials. A short list of clear consequence for each one: “If you to follow. Consider rules will be easier over a toy, fight Money lessons it will be put putting them in “we” format to show that talk back, you’ll have away.” “If you Does your child get they apply to everyan allowance? Try one. For example, Post the consequenc a timeout.” Tip: giving her a wallet you es alongside the and piggy bank, put things back where might write, “We too. She can keep they belong,” and rules. her “We speak nicely money in the wallet spending Refer to rules to each other.” Or and put the rest you can make a list of in her bank. As an dos and don’ts: “Do When your youngster incentive to save, your homework on time.” you might give your help her take responsibil breaks a rule, “Don’t interyoungster a little rupt when someone ity. You can “interest” on the have her look at the is talking.” amount in her bank list, read the rule Set conseque each month. she has broken, and nces tell you the conseRules will be taken quence. If she asks to do something when children know more seriously Worth quoting that’s against the what will happen if room), remind rules (eat in the living “Life is a great big her why your family canvas, and you set should throw all the rule (to keep the paint on it the furniture clean). you can.” ♥ Getting ready for Danny Kaye a test begins long your youngster before test day. do well with these Help tips. Before. Have him mark test JUST FOR FUN dates on work out a study schedule. Example: a calendar. Together, 20 minutes each Q: Where can you During. Encourage night. find an ocean your without water? child to read test fully (show work directions on tences) and follow math problems, answer in full careA: On a map! senthem. If he has reread the directions time at the end, he can and make sure he did what was After. When asked. your youngster brings tests home, must be proud of how hard you be sure to praise studied.” He’ll ing and better see the connectio his effort: “You grades. Note: Have n between studyhim correct any © 2007 Resources for Educators, a division wrong answers. of Aspen Publishers, Inc. ♥

The Home & School Connection newsletter can be accessed from the home page of any of the District’s elementary schools. Visit, then click on any of the three elementary schools to reach its home page where monthly issues of the newsletter can by displayed and printed. n Test tips

Spring 2008

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SD USC and REEC—a Partnership in Learning Jan Falk, Baker Elementary Enrichment Resource Teacher Ray Cursi, Eisenhower Elementary Enrichment Resource Teacher Kindergarten students creating a tree symphony Third graders exploring the geological history of our community Fourth graders performing percolation experiments to test ground water absorption These and many other thought-provoking enrichment experiences are part of an initiative between the Regional Environmental Education Center (REEC) and the Upper St. Clair School District. This is occurring through the USC School Wide Enrichment Program, known as SWEP. Although SWEP I/Exploratory Activities are not new, the commitment to a partnership with the REEC in developing a spiraled K-4 educational experience for all elementary age students presents a new enrichment option for the District. This partnership forges a connection with a community resource while fulfilling the goals of strengthening higher-level thinking strategies and fostering student curiosity about the environment. A treasure in our own backyard, the REEC, located on Mayview Road, provides the setting for these stimulating opportunities. Collaboration for this initiative began one year ago when the elementary enrichment resource teachers, curriculum leaders, and Jessica Stombaugh, REEC program manager, teamed to create lessons to enrich and extend the thinking of our elementary students. With an interdisciplinary focus, hands-on investigations were created to enhance student problem solving, reasoning, and strategic thinking skills. This was done within the context of the science and social studies curricula. This past August, elementary teachers completed training sessions at the REEC site. Modeled grade level lessons were demonstrated ensuring a seamless delivery of instruction from classroom to field site. Kindergarten and fourth grade students from all three elementary schools attended REEC field trips in

Students Danny William Friedla Ferriss, Jacob Ross, and nd Back Polypore muer examine a Pheasant shroom growin Box Elder tree in the terrestria g on a l (forest) environment.

October, while first, second, and third grade student experiences will take place this spring. An additional goal of this initiative is to encourage a longterm connection and sense of responsibility to the environment and community for our students. This classroom to community link will occur as voluntary opportunities to participate in age appropriate service projects are presented. This year, the service project will occur at USC Community Day’s Run for Fun, where students will raise funds for REEC items that are directly related to grade level field experiences. This initiative has been made possible with the financial commitment from Baker, Eisenhower, and Streams PTAs, as well as a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair. n

Students Rachael VanRyzin, Kyle Shero, Connan Rooney, and Mattie Groninger look for evidence of animal inhabitants in Hawk Meadow as (animal droppings) or brush whic they search for scat h has been disturbed.

during e REEC s. th t a ts Studen EP I field trip SW

Students explore the sem pond near the RE i-aquatic wetland EC parking lot. 64


c an aquati ts explore s the fourth en d u st ry ta ort tify This supp er Elemen Eisenhow Chartiers Creek. dies. Students iden trial tu t, es S rr en l a te m n d im it An enviro tic, an iculum un ls and semi-aqua grade curr ts of an aquatic, s to gather anima . en et n n life o the comp ent. They use dip t support aquatic environm the elements tha identify


Redefining the Classroom Chinese Style Chrissy Lee When I first met my Chinese teacher Mr. Zhang Yancheng, or as I call him Zhang La˘o shı¯ (teacher), I had already been taking Chinese for several weeks. However, due to our class’s unique video conference lessons, it was the first time I had seen him in the flesh. He was much taller than he seemed on the television screen. Video conferencing through the Internet is such an incredibly exciting, technologically advanced way to learn. Every day I walk into a small room at the high school. If the connection is not already made, I use the remote, similar to a television remote, to call Zhang La˘o shı¯ at the Beattie Career Center. Once the connection is made, Zhang La˘o shı¯ pops up on my television screen and I on his. A speaker on the table completes the set-up and it almost seems as if we are both in the same room. The visual and auditory qualities are excellent, comparable to DVD quality. Then, Zhang La˘o shı¯ embarks on his fast-paced teaching style. Each day we learn a new lesson, far surpassing the lessons in the book I was given. The lessons always include Chinese student Wáng Jia¯míng and his exploits with his friends Jiékè (Jack), Dàwèi (David), and Ma˘lì (Mary). Recently, we role-played a tense scene where Jia¯míng planned to go to the movies during the weekend without inviting Ma˘lì. This type of practice is extremely important since it is the type of conversation one would normally have with a Chinese speaker. In addition to social events, we have reviewed sports, holidays, and weather. I’ve learned pronunciations with the infamous four tones, ma¯ má ma˘ mà, and the pinyin, or phonetic

Meet the Teacher

Mary Zora is this issue’s featured teacher. Mary and her husband, Jeff, have called Upper St. Clair home for 13 years. Their son Dan, 13, is an eighth grader at Fort Couch, while Jon, 19, is a freshman at Alfred University in Alfred, New York. Their family loves the outdoors, and they have a small mountain home in West Virginia where they enjoy the outdoors and walking. Before teaching in the District, Mary taught math and reading in the Pittsburgh city schools and also taught college level English. Keep reading to learn more about this special teacher! Name: Mary Margaret Zora School and subject area: A teacher at Baker Elementary, Mary is part of a resource team for grades K through 4. The team includes a math, reading, and enrichment teacher; she is the reading specialist. Education: Mary earned her BS in elementary

writing, of the words, as well. Oftentimes, Zhang La˘o shı¯ connects his computer to Chinese students Sarah Les nett and the screen so I Vince Schreiber video conference. can watch him type the spellings on a word processor. Other times, he plays Chinese songs for me. I can proudly say that a Chinese preschooler would probably understand my singing of a Chinese nursery rhyme. The class is always enjoyable, due in no small part to Zhang La˘o shı¯’s patient, thorough teaching style. Yet, all of this would not be possible without the Beattie Career Center. When Upper St. Clair’s original Chinese program did not materialize, high school xiàozha˘ng (principal) Dr. Michael Ghilani learned of the opportunity at Beattie from former Upper St. Clair assistant superintendent Dr. Catherine Luke, a consultant there. After talking with Beattie technology consultant Matt Roberts, the Chinese class became a reality. Next semester, a Chinese teacher from China will be coming to Upper St. Clair courtesy of a program through the University of Pittsburgh. Speaking Chinese is certainly challenging, and I often have to say “Wo˘ bù zhı¯ dào” (“I don’t know”). However, the chance to learn in such a futuristic style and have such a he˘n ha˘ode (amazing) teacher is well worth the effort. n

The daughter of Stephen and Elaine Lee, Chrissy is a senior at USCHS.

Mary Zora (right), with fourth level students Hunter Lanzman and Joe Paul

education, specializing in math, from West Virginia University and her master’s degree in reading from Duquesne University. Favorite subject when she was in school: Math. Least favorite subject: Social studies. Why she became a teacher: Both of Mary’s grandfathers were high school principals and her mother was a high school math teacher, so she credits her family of educators for sparking her interest in teaching at an early age. What people might be surprised to know about her: Mary’s mother was her math teacher for all of her high school math classes! n Spring 2008



SD Did

You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? USC Marching Band Plays in Veterans Day Parade Did You Know? To celebrate and honor the nation’s veterans, the Upper Did You Know? St. Clair High School marching band performed in the 2007 Pittsburgh Veterans Day Parade on November 11. Assistant drum Did You Know? major Scott Samolovitch and one trumpet player from each band Did You Know? in attendance stepped forward to play a rendition of “Taps” in

Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Two from USC Selected as Pittsburgh CLO Mini Stars Luke Steinhauer, an eighth grader at Fort Couch Middle Did You Know? School, and Michael Zaitz, a freshman at USCHS, are among Did You 18 local young performers who have Know? been chosen to star as the 2007-08 Pittsburgh CLO Mini Stars. These talented youngsters Did You Know? have participated in numerous productions for the Pittsburgh Did You Know? CLO, the Pittsburgh Opera, the Pittsburgh Playhouse, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater, and the Pittsburgh Public Theater. Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know?

Did You Know?

honor of the fallen soldiers. Fort Couch Takes First in Stock Market Game Congratulations to the Fort Couch Middle School team for coming in first place in the region in the Stock Market Game! The winning team members are Paul Austin, Adam Bussey, Sean Gaudio, and Vijay Viswanathan. The team was coached by Fort Couch gifted teacher Susan Fleckenstein. Boyce’s Perry Publishes Second Poetry Collection Andrea Perry, a Boyce Middle School para-educator as well as Boyce’s unofficial Poet in Residence, published her second poetry collection “The Snack Smasher.” This collection of poems about zany villains follows her equally hilarious “Here’s What You Do When You Can’t Find Your Shoe.”

Team Cross-Country (boys) Cross-Country (girls) Field Hockey Football Golf (boys) Golf (girls) Soccer (boys) Soccer (girls) Tennis (girls) Volleyball (girls) 66

NHS Hosts Replac ement Blood Driv e The National Ho nor Society hoste d a replacement blood drive for head custodian Ken Med vid on November 20, collecting 108 units that day. Ken was diagnosed with a rare form of Mye lodysplastic Syndro me, called Chronic Myelomonocytic Le ukemia.

Great Performance at AMC 8 Congratulations to the following students who tied for first place in the AMC 8 (American Mathematics Competition 8th Level) contest: Owen Meiman, John Rutkowski, Andy Tomiczek, and Vijay Viswanathan. Second USCHS Fall 2007 Sports Results place winners were Suraj Sundar, Wins Losses Ties Achievement Rachel Szucs, and Benjamin Zhang. 3 4 Third place contestants were 3 4 Poorwa Godbole, Ryan Miller, 9 4 and Akhil Venkatesh. This was 7 4 the first time that Fort Couch 20 1 Section champions, WPIAL champions Middle School hosted the inter5 10 national 25-question contest. The 12 7 2 contest was sponsored by Fort 16 8 Couch teachers Jessica Brickett and 18 2 Section champions Susan Fleckenstein. 16 3 Section champions



Upper St. Clair School District Calendar (Mid-March to Mid-May 2008)

All events are subject to change. For the most up to date information, please check the calendar on the School District’s website at

Legend: BA – Baker Elementary • BO – Boyce Middle • CO – Central Office • EI – Eisenhower Elementary FC – Fort Couch Middle • HS – High School • ST – Streams Elementary

Mid-March 10 10-14 11 12 13 14 15 17-21 24 26 27 28 29 31

BO–PTA Executive Board Meeting–9:30 a.m. BA/EI/ST–Terra Nova and TCS Grades 1 and 2 HS–River City Brass Band–8 p.m. (Theatre) HS–Partners In Education Meeting–7-9 p.m. (FC-LGI) FC–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (MPR) BA–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) ST–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. EI–Kindergarten Social–7-8 p.m. CO–Kindergarten Registration–6:30-8 p.m. BO–PTA Board Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) EI–Spring Picture Day CO–Youth Steering Committee–7:30 p.m. HS–Prom Fashion Show ST–Grade 2 Open Mike ST–Grade 3 Special Night–7 p.m. (Gym/Nutrition Center) EI–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. HS–Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra–7:30 p.m. (Theatre) No School–Spring Recess Teacher In-Service (Flex Day) HS–PTSO Meeting–9:30 a.m. ST–Grade 2 Special Night–7 p.m. (Gym/Nutrition Center) FC–Social–7-9 p.m. (Gym/MPR/Nutrition Center) HS–Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Theatre) HS–IB Art Assessment (Rifle Range) HS–PSSA Math/Reading Tests BA/EI/ST/BO/FC/HS–PSSA Reading and Math Assessment–Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11

April 1 ST–PTA Executive Board Meeting–9:30 a.m. 1-4 HS–IB Art Assessment (Rifle Range) 1-10 BA/EI/ST/BO/FC/HS–PSSA Reading and Math Assessment–Grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11 2-4 HS–2008 Leadership Conference (Hershey Lodge and Convention Center) 3 EI–PTA Executive Board–9 a.m. 5 HS–PMEA Junior High Orchestra Festival– 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (Theatre) 7 BO–PTA Executive Board Meeting–9:30 a.m. 8 HS–River City Brass Band–8 p.m (Theatre) BA–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) ST–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) 9 BO–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) CO–Youth Steering Committee–7:30 p.m. 10 EI–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. Third Marking Period Ends 11 Teacher In-Service (Classroom Management) HS–PMEA Junior High Orchestra Festival– 7 a.m.-10 p.m. (Theatre) 12 HS–ACT (Alternate Location) 13 EI–Fashion Show 15 FC–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (MPR) HS–Partners In Education Program–7-10 p.m. (LGI) 16 HS–PTSO Meeting–9:30 a.m. HS–Deans’ Breakfast ST–Talent Show Dress Rehearsal (HS Theatre) 17 HS–MESH Program/Meeting–6:30 p.m. (Nutrition Center) 18 ST–Talent Show (HS Theatre) Half Day Early Dismissal for Students (Teachers’ Professional Development) 19 BO–Deer Valley Meetings General Meeting–9-10 a.m. Training Session–10 a.m.-noon 21 BO–Band Rehearsal–1-5 p.m. (HS Theatre) 22 BO–Band Concert–7 p.m. (HS Theatre) 23 BO–Chorus Rehearsal–1-5 p.m. (HS Theatre) 24 BO–Chorus Concert–7 p.m. (HS Theatre)

25 28 28-30 29-30 30

ST–Arbor Day BO–Deer Valley Begins EI–Staff Appreciation BA/EI/ST/FC/HS–PSSA Science Assessment– Grades 4, 8, 11 EI–Book Fair HS–Senior Cap/Gown Distribution HS–Jazz Fest–7 p.m. (Theatre)

1 1-2 1-9 1-30 3 5 5-9 5-23 6 7 8 9 10 12 12-16 13 14 14-16 15 16 17

HS–Senior Cap/Gown Distribution BA–PTA Book Fair EI–Book Fair BA/EI/ST–Elementary Open Houses or Other Educational Events EI–Staff Appreciation BA/EI/ST/FC/HS–PSSA Science Assessment– Grades 4, 8, 11 HS–Spring Art Exhibit HS–SAT (Alternate Location) FC–Chorus Rehearsal–4-6 p.m. (HS Theatre) EI–PTA Executive Board–9 a.m. BO–Grade 5 NASA HS–AP Tests HS–River City Brass Band–8 p.m. (Theatre) ST–PTA Executive Board Meeting–9:30 a.m. HS–Deans’ Breakfast HS–National Honor Society Induction–6 p.m. (Theatre) FC–Musical Rehearsal–1-4 p.m. (HS Theatre) CO–PTA Council Changeover Meeting/Luncheon CO–Youth Steering Committee–7:30 p.m. FC–Musical–7:30 p.m. (HS Theatre) BA–Variety Show EI–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. ST–Musical HS–Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra–7:30 p.m. (Theatre) FC–Band Rehearsal–1-4 p.m. (HS Theatre) BO–PTA Executive Board Meeting–9:30 a.m. BA/EI/ST/FC–Terra Nova and TCS–Grades 4, 7 FC–Band Concert–7:30 p.m. (HS Theatre) BA–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) ST–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) HS–Winter and Spring Sports Banquet–6:30 p.m. BO–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) ST–PTA Faculty Luncheon HS–Mini Band Camp BO–Grade 5 NASA BA/EI–Musicals ST–Grade 4 Graduation–6 p.m. (HS Pool/Gym/Nutrition Center) FC–Social–7-9 p.m. (Gym/MPR/Nutrition Center) FC–PTA Teachers’ Appreciation Luncheon– 11:15 a.m. (Library) BO–Deer Valley Ends BA/EI/ST–Elementary Strings Rehearsal– 9:30-11 a.m. (HS Theatre) BA–Field Events Day Community Day HS–Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Theatre)

Maureen Cavanaugh


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Upper St. Clair School District Calendar 2008 March 17-21–No School (Spring Recess) March 24–Teacher Inservice, No School April 11–Teacher Inservice, No School April 18–Half Day Early Dismissal for Students (Teachers’ Professional Development) May 26–No School (Memorial Day) June 13–Last Day of School for Students June 16–Possible Snow Make-Up Day & Kennywood Day Spring 2008

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Around the Township Author Visits Upper St. Clair Book Group News from Around the Township

Last March, author Eliot Schrefer attended an Upper St. Clair book group

gathering at the home of Karen Woefel to discuss his book, Glamorous Disasters. Book group members Michelle Aloe, Susan Beresik, Lynn Dempsey, Mary Jo Elliott, Lynne Federle, Mary Herrmann, Elaine McCue, Terri Radke, Marcie Reese, Becky Surma, Kim Thompson, and Karen Woefel enjoyed the vibrant and interesting discussion and took away good advice about how to help high school students prepare for the SATs. Eliot is a good friend of Tim Federle, whose mother, Lynne, is an active member of the book group. Eliot, who currently lives in New York City, grew up in Florida and graduated from Harvard in 2001. He started writing at the age of 13, and has not put his pen down since. In 2002, Eliot started tutoring students in Upper Manhattan to help them improve their SAT scores. He said that his novel reflects the lives of many of the individuals that he has taught, although the names of the individuals have been changed. His main piece of advice for those students who will be taking the SAT is to read, read, read! He said that taking the SAT is like taking a course in reasoning and logic. For the verbal portion, students must practice grammar rules he said. With his help, most students gained an average of 300 points on their total SAT score, and according to Eliot Schrefer (front, center), surrounded by book group enthusiasts.

Eliot, the writing portion was the easiest to teach, while math was the hardest. Eliot said that it took him approximately four months to write Glamorous Disasters, which he began writing in 2006. He completed five to six revisions before the book was published later that year. Eliot is currently working on his new book, The New Kid, a story about a brother and sister who travel to Rome. He hinted to the group that this book has a sinister twist. Eliot studied and traveled in Rome and he said that this experience was quite valuable in helping him to describe the setting, background, and characters of the book. Listed below are two of the “glamorous” reviews of Glamorous Disasters. “(A) gossipy roman a clef... Moral ambiguity, the little-known work of SAT tutoring and pill-popping pediatrician moms make for entertaining fiction.”—Joycelyn McClurg, USA TODAY “A clever debut... (Schrefer) delivers a gleefully biting and witty story.”—Emily Cook, Booklist n

Holiday Charity Event Raises Funds to Help Others Sponsored by Coldwell Banker South Hills/Upper St. Clair office, the annual holiday breakfast and Chinese auction held this past December at the Crowne Plaza on Fort Couch Road raised more than $25,000 for charity. Proceeds from the event benefited the Make A Wish Foundation and The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The event was emceed by WTAE’s Kelly Frey (who did a wonderful job!) and attended by over 400 people. Hats off to Coldwell Banker realtors Stacy Romanias (event chair), Sandy Learish (office manager), Kathryn Gerhart, and Judy Hlister and the rest of the event committee who were essential to the success of the event. Many local and corporate donors and sponsors contributed to this cause, including American General Settlement Services, Don Farr Moving, Thorp Reed & Armstrong, The Pittsburgh Area Jitterbug Club, and The Iannucci Law Group, P.C. Plans are already underway for this year’s event. For details, call 412-833-5405. n 68


Left to right are USCHS sophomores Eleni Romanias and Martina Caruso, who sang at the charity event.

Blossoming Wealth Investment Club Liz Scheurer, BWIC member

Front row, left to right: Dorothy Barter, Judy Stultz; middle row: Cathy Mitchell, Kathy Donoghue, Lisa Churchill, Shirley Tadda, Sue Lambert; back row: Liz Scheurer, Wendy McCormick

Do you want to know about investing in the stock market, managing a stock portfolio, or when to buy and sell stocks? Is your retirement in a 401K managed by a financial planner, and, when you meet, you are not sure what questions to ask? You are not alone. Joining an investment club is one way to become informed. The Blossoming Wealth Investment Club (BWIC) is a small group of women in the community who come together to learn about investing and share ideas in a friendly setting. As they learn the basics of investing, its members enjoy the company of others who have a common interest. They actively participate in a collaborative environment where each member brings her own interests and knowledge to the group, contributing to the club’s personality and investment strategies. BWIC was founded in January 1997, as a special interest group within the Welcome Wagon Club of Upper St. Clair. For six months prior to the official charter, 20 women from the club, who were interested in the stock market, looked into how to organize an investment club. They researched the financial world, investigated terminology and organizations, and read published accounts from groups like the Beardstown Ladies and the National Association of Investments Clubs (NAIC). They initiated the club’s educational mission, forged its affiliation with NAIC, developed the legal partnership agreement, and named the group. Today BWIC still continues its educational focus, has expanded its membership base, and, although no longer associated with Welcome Wagon, has maintained its ties with the NAIC. NAIC is the national, non-profit organization founded in 1951, now known as BetterInvesting. There are thousands of clubs like this all over the country that are part of the

BetterInvesting organization. Over the years, it has provided investment education to over five million individuals. It helps its members gain the knowledge and confidence to participate more fully in the benefits of stock and mutual fund investing. The BetterInvesting philosophy is geared toward long term investing success and its educational resources provide the techniques and understanding to undertake stock research, build investing strategies, and manage portfolios. Each individual investment club is a legal, limited partnership of its members. There are currently nine members in BWIC and several prospective new members. New members must participate for three months before they can request membership and must be willing to make the commitment to actively participate in the research and presentations. Monthly contributions are made by the members, and these funds are then used to trade stocks that are voted on and purchased by the partnership. In addition to the monthly contribution, there is a nominal annual membership fee to BetterInvesting that provides access to club records, stock data, and a monthly publication. BWIC is celebrating its 11th anniversary this year. The club is proud to report that it has weathered the ups and downs of the stock market and its portfolio has grown consistently over the years. Its members continue to improve their research and analysis techniques and to feel confident in their investment abilities and decisions. BWIC continues to stay with BetterInvesting’s approach: 1. Meeting once a month to evaluate the performance of its stock portfolio. 2. Researching and making presentations on stocks to help diversify and improve the club’s portfolio (i.e., looking at company size and industries types, watching stock performance, and following the club’s criteria and goals). 3. Participating in educational programs. Some are organized in-house to address specific research issues, and others are through BetterInvesting to improve the understanding of the resources available. 4. Maintaining BetterInvesting’s long term investing goals and not those determined by analysts’ recommendations or short term market trends. Investment clubs like BWIC provide a safe and supportive atmosphere for novice investors. They offer a great way to stay motivated and improve your investment knowledge and experience. Happy investing! n


Group Benefits Commercial Insurance Individual Financial Planning Professional Liability Coverage Life-Disability-Automobile-Homeowners

Protecting Today. Securing Tomorrow .


Henderson Brothers, Inc. 920 Fort Duquesne Blvd. Pittsburgh, PA 15222 T • 412 261 1842 F • 412 261 4149 E •

To learn more about BWIC, contact BWIC member Liz Scheurer at Spring 2008



Medallion Ball 2007

Retired auxiliary Bishop William Winter presided over the 2007 Medallion Ball held this past November at the Hilton Hotel ballroom, downtown Pittsburgh. Great joy was expressed in the presentation of 24 honorees from Upper St. Clair. Bishop Winter enthusiastically endorses St. Lucy’s Auxiliary to the Blind. The auxiliary’s mission is to encourage and inspire a lifetime commitment of volunteer service in young women. The auxiliary honors qualified candidates with the Joan of Arc Medallion while raising funds for the visually impaired. The highlight is the Medallion Ball which recognizes those who have dedicated 100 or more hours of volunteer service within the community. St. Lucy’s Auxiliary supports the visually impaired through the Blind and Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh. Our community is very proud of these stellar volunteers. Congratulations!


...they carry on the St. Lucy’s tradition of a rich heritage, a mission to serve, and the aspiration of a bright future.

The Medallion Ball honorees were escorted by (in alphabetical order) Michael Baker, Shane Brennan, Christopher Burke, Adam Chrissis, Anthony Christman, David Doman, Stephen Donovan, Jeremy Drischler, Alden English, Zachary Fabi, Brendan Fowler, Patrick Glass, Theodore Huckestein, Benjamin Kikta, Brian Lattanzi, Douglas Lohman, Daniel Poljak, Jacob Rosati, Scott Samolovitch, Grant Serdy, Louis Tambellini, Raymond Van Cleve, Ian Winner, and Scott Yanak. n

Daina Allison

Lindsay Bates

Catherine Batz

Jennifer Boyd

Alexandra Coury

Lauren Crockett

Alexandra Davin

Anne Duffy


Alana English

Alexandra Evans

Nicole Gans

Krista Goldbach

Natalie Hill

Marissa Hillier

Colleen Lloyd

Catherine Madden

Hannah Mann

Molly McCann

Patricia Meegan

Andrea Pion

Bridget Scotti

Kelsey Short

Laura Simon

Jamie Unitus

Article by Mary Lynne Spazok. Photos courtesy of Rocky Racco.

Spring 2008



Prof iles on People with USC Connections

A 1985 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, Tade Bua-Bell found her calling early in real estate after college. Following in her mother’s footsteps— Emily Bua a realtor for 30+ years— Tade found real estate a relationship business, not only making business clients, but also business clients becoming friends. For 17 years this relationship existed in and around Upper St. Clair. Tade Bua-Bell In 2006, Tade’s husband, Brad, had an a warmer climate opportunity to change his business territory to ng first grade. starti be d (Florida) while their son, Trent, woul already in the , mom s ’ Tade The timing for a move was perfect! formed a Tade and da, Flori luxury real estate market in Naples, ive and posit very both are great partnership. “My mother and I , dediledge know e, rienc enthusiastic people and we bring expe rity, integ with ined comb cation, and professionalism to the table . Tade said ter,” kindness, loyalty, and, of course, laugh t, and golf Specializing in luxury beachfront, waterfron at Premier d foun be can course residences, Tade and Emily deal of great a see “We Properties of Southwest Florida, Inc. hine, suns of bit little a for Pittsburgh clients coming to Naples . Tade said ” here, re and I hope they look us up while they’ f rm o a w f i cticl e h t a te, pr ined a d j o an associa efense of r n o d C LP as stin n the C . J u Williams L ntrating i and conce White ation and r a c g lp ti ing li i o n a l m a dles s s an e h f o e pr .H e s m i a l pellat t i c e c ial and ap i a n s , tr sic both r phy ro f e s o f s r matte l s , a n d p ance ur ita h o s p iability ins l l siona . rs gradu carrie in, a 1999 i a l C r Just r S t . n of e p p so f U a t e o hool, is the and c r S h h C is Hig dents . i s e r USC nrad tie Co Chris

Erin Elizabeth Tw erdok w as re ce nt ly re co gn iz ed as Pe nn St at e C ol le ge of Education’s fall 20 07 student marshal during the school’s December underg raduate commencement on Penn State’s University Park ca mpus. Er in w as bo rn in N ew Britain, Connectic ut, and grew up in Upper St. Clair, where she graduated as valedictorian in 2004. She major elementary and ki ed in ndergarten educat io n and completed student teaching her practicum in a fo urth-grade classr Jefferson Elemen oom at tary School in Jeffe rson Hills. In addition to her 3.98 grade-point average, Erin boas several honors an ts d awards received during her time Penn State. As a at member of the Sc hreyer Honors Co she earned numer llege, ous accolades incl uding multiple D List Honors, indu ean’s ction into the Nat ional Scholars Hon Society, and both ors the President’s Fr eshman Award an Pugh Scholar Aw d Evan ard. Erin is active in he r community, volu nteering as a clas room teacher at Fa sith Lutheran Chur ch, a library intern reading program and instructor at the U pper St. Clair Tow Library, and a teac nship her’s aide at Eise nhower Elementa the District. ry in Erin lives in Upp er St. Clair with he r parents, John an Maribeth Twerdo d k. She is planning a June 2008 wed with her fiancé, ding Stephen Ritchey, also a 2004 grad USCHS and 2007 uate of graduate of Penn State. After their ding, the couple w wedill reside in their re cently purchased St. Clair home, an Upper d Erin will be seek ing a full-time teac position in the Pi hing ttsburgh area.

Upper St. Clair resident Kelly Stephenson has joined the accounting firm of Horovitz, Rudoy & Roteman as an accounting and assurance team member. “Adding Kelly to the firm will strengthen our team of auditing specialists,” said Paul Rudoy, the firm’s managing partner. Stephenson previously worked for Love, Scherle & Bauer, P.C. as an audit and tax accountant. She also served in a management position with The Walking Company, a shoe store. She is a 2002 graduate of USCHS and a 2006 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, concentrating in accounting.

Know of a resident to profile? Send information to: Editor, UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, 1820 McLaughlin Run Road, Upper St. Clair, PA 15241 or usctoday @ 72


Free Income Tax Assistance

W orship CC K spirit filled

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Site #141 will be available at South Hills Bible Chapel, located at 300 Gallery Drive in McMurray. Gallery Drive is approximately six miles south of South Hills Village, on the west side of Route 19, across from Sears Service Center. The chapel is just beyond the strip mall. VITA volunteers will assist taxpayers in the preparation of federal, state and local tax returns, real estate/rent rebate forms, and PACE forms. Individuals seeking assistance should bring pertinent tax documents such as: W-2 forms, interest and dividend statements, pension information, social security and/or railroad retirement statements, total amounts of itemized deductions (medical, interest, taxes, charity, and miscellaneous deductions), copies of Federal and state returns for the 2006 tax year, and the tax packages received in the mail (if you’ve received them). If applicable, also bring copies of real estate tax receipts. Free tax service is offered Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through April 15. The doors of the church will not open before 8 a.m. There are no appointments; walk-ins only. There will be no Saturday hours and VITA will be closed on Friday, March 21 in observance of Good Friday. n

sundays at 10:30 am



New Church Opens Its Doors for Worship in Upper St. Clair Christ the King Church has relocated to the former Upper St. Clair Woman’s Club on Edgewood Drive. Dr. George R. Beninate and Rev. Susan S. Beninate, the founders and current pastors of the church, said that the move from Imperial enables them to focus on local community needs rather than emphasizing a regional outreach. “Our ministry motto, ‘The whole gospel to the whole man,’ could best be facilitated by having our church located in a community where there can be personal interaction with neighbors,” said Dr. Beninate. The ministry of Christ the King Church of Upper St. Clair is focused on biblically-based teachings, which enables individuals to enjoy the blessings and fulfillment of marriage, family, personal relationships, career, and community. The mission statement is to provide families with biblically-centered tools that create a lasting, positive difference in their lives. The teachings enable all members of the family—children, teens, young adults, adults, and senior citizens—to improve the social, educational, and spiritual aspects of their lives. “Those who call this their church home come from all walks of life—religiously, culturally, geographically, racially, and economically. Our members have found a common bond that binds us together,” said Dr. Beninate. Christ the King Church of Upper St. Clair is filled with

people who have a passion for life. Members are encouraged to participate in some sort of ministry. The church is known for its exceptional music ministry and outstanding drama team, along with its liturgical dance and other creative expressions. A great deal of the church’s resources are directed towards youth and children’s ministries. The church has been operating the Abundant Life International Academy, now located on Bower Hill Road in Scott Township, for 20 years. The “Light-brigade” is the youth program that emphasizes moral, spiritual, and relationship values to teens. Christ the King also has a very aggressive mission outreach program, called Lifeline International, which enables members to participate in helping disadvantaged people around the world. Currently, Lifeline is involved in Cambodia where it operates a mission center, school, orphanage, and medical outreach program that provides life saving medicine to children with AIDS. “We are thrilled to be here in Upper St. Clair,” said Dr. Beninate. “Christ the King World Outreach Center is people, not a structure, not a program, not a religious organization. Our main purpose is to introduce and guide people to the fulfillment of an ongoing, ever-growing relationship based on faith.” For information, contact the church office at 412-595-7181 or n Spring 2008



Happenings! Prime Time Sponsors Craft Fair On Saturday, March 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Christian Life Center the at Christ United Methodist Church (44 Highland Road, Bethel Park) will be ate, particip setting for its annual craft fair. Sixty-two tri-state area crafters will selling handpainted items, dried and silk flower arrangements, jewelry, candles, wood-working, pet items, and much more. Lunch and refreshments will be available throughout the day, and a silent auction will be set up with items donated by each of the crafters. There are wide aisles for browsing, plenty of parking, and no admission fee! Proceeds benefit PRIME TIME Adult Care, a non-profit organization specialfrail izing in the medical supervision and mental and physical stimulation of the disease s er’ elderly, those with functional impairments, and those with Alzheim or dementia. For more information, contact Prime Time Adult Care director Mary Ann Weber at 412-835-6661.

DeMarillac Guild Flea Market The DeMarillac Guild will hold its “Timeless Treasures” flea market from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 18 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 19 in the LeGras Parish Center (lower level) on McMurray Road. Items will include gently used children’s clothing (infant to 4T), toys, decorative items, knick knacks, kitchen items, holiday decorations, and much more. ic St. Clair Hospital Hosts Laparoscop inar Sem gery Sur Weight Loss St. Clair Hospital and Hope Bariatrics loss will offer a free laparoscopic weight 21, il Apr day, Mon on inar surgery sem p grou port sup a and . p.m from 6 to 7 s ital’ hosp the in . p.m 9 to 7 meeting from . room ting mee fourth floor G e o f f r e y Wi l c o x , M . D . , a n d s Michael Felix, M.D., of Hope Bariatric one ery, surg ass byp ric gast will discuss of the most effective treatments for mor the for ge char no is re The bid obesity. by seminar, but registration is required s tion Rela lic Pub s l’ pita Hos r calling St. Clai 0. -628 -942 412 at Department

Swim Lessons Offered this Spring Upper St. Clair Swim Club is offering swimming lessons at the USCHS pool. Enroll your children and get them ready for the pools and summer season! Sessions run April through May on Saturdays and Sundays, and Monday through Thursday for two weeks in April. Registration information can be found on USC Swim Club’s website at or contact Coach Christy Rupp at 724-942-3121.

Newcomer’s Club Invites You! The Newcomer’s Club of Upper St . Clair is a social who have moved organization for w to the Township w omen ithin the past two significant lifesty ye ars or who have ha le change. This gr da oup is designed to acquaintances am develop fellowship ong new residents and and also promote life and social activ assimilation into ities of Upper St. the civic Clair. The club of special interest gr fers many activiti oups to choose fro es and m, including book club, Bunko, mom and tots play group, family outings, and girls ’ night out. Th e cl ub in vi te s yo u to at te nd on e of its monthly welcom ing coffees so yo u can learn more about the group. For more information, co nt ac t cl ub pres id en t Ly nn e Am at an ge lo at 412-221-4424 or lamatangelo@veriz

Bereavement Support Group Family Hospice and Palliative Care’s monthly support group is open to anyone in the community. A meeting is held the third Monday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at The Center for Compassionate Care at 50 Moffett Street in Mt. Lebanon (change in location from the Unitarian Church). Free of charge. For more information, call 412-572-8829. (See article on page 74.)

St. Clair Hospital Hosts 54th Annual Harlequin Festival St. Clair Hospital will host its 54th annual harlequin festival, “Harlequin Vegas Style,” at Valley Brook Country Club in McMurray on Friday, April 25 beginning at 6 p.m. Included are a buffet dinner, silent auction, games of chance, high rollers auction, and entertainment by DJ Dean Connors. The cost is $110 per perso n or $1200 for a table of 12, and benefi ts the updat e of St. Clair Hosp ital’s infan t and pediatric security system. For inquires, call 412-942-6290.

USC Lions April Art Auction Date: Saturday, April 12 Where: St. Louise DeMarillac LeGras Parish Center, McMurray Road Time: Preview-7 p.m.; auction-8 p.m. Admission: $15/person, $20/couple Included: Free hors d’oeuvres, wine and cheese, coffee, soft drinks Proceeds: Benefit charities of the USC Lions Club Information: Tickets or questions, contact Paul Rebholz at 412-867-4744 (work) or 412-257-2731 (home). 74


Band Festival Returns to Upper St. Clair More bands, more music! That’s the plan for the fifth annual Three Rivers Community Band Festival that will bring together four of the best community bands in Western Pennsylvania, plus an all-new festival band. The festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 3 from 2:30-5 p.m. at Upper St. Clair High School Theatre, with doors opening at 2 p.m. WQED-FM’s Jim Cunningham returns again this year as program host. Best of all, admission is free! Contributions to support the festival are greatly appreciated, but not required.

Jim Bennett (top left), of USC, leading Community Band South

The festival is a showcase of the many musically-talented individuals in the region, and the concert promises a medley of songs to appeal to a wide range of musical tastes. New this year will be the “ultimate community band” made up of musicians from community bands across Allegheny County and ten other counties in the region. The festival band will perform selections under the baton of guest conductor Max Gonano, director of bands at California University of Pennsylvania. This performance will be the exciting finale to a wonderful afternoon of music. Community Band South represents the South Hills communities. This brass, woodwind, and percussion band of over 80 members is co-directed by Dean Streator, former teacher of instrumental music at Bethel Park High School, and Jim Bennett, retired director of bands and chairman of Fine Arts from the Upper St. Clair School District. Since its premier concert on December 14, 1987, at Upper St. Clair, Community Band South has been entertaining audiences throughout the communities from which its membership is drawn, performing an average of 15 shows each year. The festival was created in 2003 by the East Winds Symphonic Band. Established in 1981 with 24 members, the group now brings together over 60 amateur musicians, primarily from the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh, under conductor Susan Sands. The Blairsville Community Concert Band, formed in October 2000 and conducted by David Brozeski, has approximately 55 members ranging in age from 12 to 81 years old. The West Hills Symphonic Band was founded in 1967 by Joseph Picchi. Since 1998, Anthony L. DiIanni, U.S.N., Retired, has led this group of 55 to 70 members. Festival-goers are invited to enjoy free light refreshments after the concert, as well as have an opportunity to meet and greet the musicians. For more information about the Three Rivers Community Band Festival, visit n

Expires 5pm on 5/31/08 Good for $4 off at Washington Pike

Spring 2008



Home Away From Home— The Center for Compassionate Care Rafael Sciullo, MA, LCSW, MS and President and CEO of Family Hospice and Palliative Care The building is new, but the philosophy and values of care have been connected with Family Hospice and Palliative Care for decades. The new Center for Compassionate Care is not simply a building, but an environment that helps to transform a very difficult and painful time for an individual and his or her loved ones to one of comfort, support, and peacefulness. In keeping with the philosophy of hospice, the center’s design is based on individual choice, personal dignity, and quality of life. After serving the community for 27 years, Family Hospice and Palliative Care has established its own home in the South Hills. The Center for Compassionate Care is on Moffett Street in Mt. Lebanon. Located across from a school, next to the Bower Hill Community Church, and in a residential neighborhood, the center’s location reinforces the time-honored message that hospice and palliative care are part of life. The 48,000-square-foot facility houses an inpatient hospice unit, an educational and conferencing center, and the agency’s central administrative offices. The 12 private inpatient hospice rooms were created to maximize privacy, natural light, and individuality. The entrance to the building was designed to be as welcoming as arriving at a neighbor’s home. A beautiful meditation room is available to all visitors

On November 10, Family Hospice and Palliative Care hosted its tenth annual Toast to Life Celebration. Former Pittsburgh Pirate and Upper St. Clair resident Steve Blass and his wife, Karen (pictured), were the guests of honor. Family Hospice was proud to honor Steve and Karen for their volunteer work and support of the hospice mission. All proceeds from the formal dinner/dance benefited patient and family services. 76

who find comfort in time alone in a quiet and peaceful setting. For many, being near nature softens this time in the life journey. At the center, patients and families have many opportunities to interact with nature. All of the patient rooms have French doors that allow the patient to easily enjoy the blooming flowers, the falling snow, or the light tapping of rain. Many patient rooms have direct access to a lovely courtyard with beautiful gardens. When desired, a patient’s entire bed can be taken into the courtyard. As throughout the history of the hospice movement, patients draw much strength and comfort from being surrounded by loved ones. Many family members, as well, want to remain active in the patient’s care. The design of the center reflects this basic understanding. There is a family overnight room as well as sleeper sofas in many of the patient rooms. The center is family-oriented with a children’s corner, a family room, and a self-service cafe. The Center for Compassionate Care provides care to Family Hospice and Palliative Care patients who are in need of a short stay in a supervised environment. Patients who are having difficulty managing their symptoms may come to the center, as well as patients who are transitioning from one setting to another. In addition, more patients and caregivers might choose home hospice care knowing that the “safety net” of this facility is available when symptoms are too complicated to control at home or when the caregiver needs a rest.


In coming months, the center will begin offering educational programs both for professionals and laypersons. Caregiver training classes, grief support groups, and a children’s bereavement camp are some of the programs that will be offered to the community. Family Hospice and Palliative Care hopes that The Center for Compassionate Care will grow into a community resource for end-of-life care. The vision of The Center for Compassionate Care was not merely for a physical space, but that the new center should reflect the basic foundations of hospice care. It is about creating an environment that cares for the whole person—body, mind, and spirit—positively influencing the experience of patients and their families. n

For more information about The Center for Compassionate Care or Family Hospice and Palliative Care, call 412-572-8821. Rafael Scullio may be reached at or at 412-572-8800.

Spring Dining Guide


• First Place, AOL City Guide 2007 Member’s Vote • First Place, Post-Gazette 2007 Reader’s Poll • First Place, Tribune-Review Reader’s Survey • First Place, South Hills Record Reader’s Vote • 2007 Winner, City Paper’s Reader’s Poll • “Heart Healthy”, UPMC’s Dining-with-Heart

$ Thank You for voting us

Pittsburgh's #1 Chinese Restaurant! “Best Chinese Restaurant” voted by the readers of

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With this coupon, complimentary Red Pepper Hummus or Stuffed Grape Leaves appetizer with purchase of any dinner. Expires April 30, 2008

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Amel’s Restaurant

McNeilly Road at Sussex 412-563-3466

USC Business Celebrates 40 Years For 40 years, Elegant Accent Catering has been a part of the Upper St. Clair business community. Located in the historic area along Painters Run Road, the company has served many local residents, celebrating graduations, weddings, confirmations, and anniversaries. Without a deli or restaurant as a basis, off-premise caterers rarely have longevity. Township residents since 1969, owners George and Dena Zaimes are proud to have reached this milestone. During the 60s, most caterers only had a set menu and always served on disposable plates. Elegant Accent was among the first to customize menus according to tastes and budgets, and to offer china. Dena and George Zaimes Having many repeat customers keeps the staff challenged creatively. Menu offerings are constantly updated with fresh additions. Gone are the days of a wedding buffet for $1.65 per person, but Elegant Accent is proud that the focus on attention to detail and maintaining quality at reasonable prices has never changed. n Spring 2008




pittsburgh symphony


at upper st. clair high school theatre


2 0 0 7 . 2 0 0 8



Join conductor Andrés Cárdenes for two exciting concerts in Upper St. Clair. All concerts performed at the Upper St. Clair High School Theatre, 1825 McLaughlin Run Road


Saturday • March 29, 2008 • 8:00pm



A showcase of PSO talent! Co-Principal Trumpet Charles Lirette performs Tomaso Albinoni’s Trumpet Concerto and Principal Bass Jeffrey Turner performs as soloist in Balada’s Caprichos No. 4. Two works are featured by PSO Composer of the Year, John Corigliano, including Voyage with Co-Principal Flute Damian Bursill-Hall. Plus, hear the lush sounds of Brahms’ masterful Sextet in B-flat major.

Saturday • May 17, 2008 • 8:00pm Mozart’s “Sinfonia Concertante for Winds” is the perfect piece to display the musicality and technical precision of PSO winds; a world premiere written by PSO Principal Timpanist Timothy Adams features both Mr. Adams and Andrés Cárdenes; and Russian composer Leonid Desyatnikov gives us his view of Piazzolla’s Four Seasons in Buenos Aires.





















































































































































































































































































































































































































































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Section 1 - $50.00


Section 2 - $36.00

Section 3 - $26.00

UPPER ST. CLAIR PITTSBURGH SYMPHONY ORDER FORM - WRITE HERE, RIGHT NOW! Please mail to Pittsburgh Symphony, Subscriber & Ticketing Services, Heinz Hall, 600 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA, 15222

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DONATE THE DIFFERENCE When you “donate the difference” between your subscription price and the actual cost of producing concerts and education programs, you help keep the PSO alive as a vibrant resource for the entire community. Yes, I would like to add the following contribution as an additional gift to the Annual Fund.

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PAYMENT INFORMATION � Check enclosed, payable to the Pittsburgh Symphony � American Express � Discover � MasterCard

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Spring 2008



Advertiser Index S p r i n g Advertiser


Action Builders .................................................................................................. 44 Affordable Decks & Additions ............................................................................ 43 Aidan Contracting, Inc. ...................................................................................... 40 * Amel’s Restaurant . ............................................................................................. 75 * Angelo Associates, Inc. ...................................................................................... 45 * ARAMARK . ........................................................................................................ 57 Baxter Remodeling ............................................................................................. 79 Bill Few Associates .............................................................................................. 4 Bill Gray Automotive .......................................................................................... 63 Bistro 19 ............................................................................................................ 75 Boehmer Heating & Cooling Company .............................................................. 41 * Calabro Tire & Auto Service . ............................................................................. 65 California University of Pennsylvania . ............................................................... 80 * Carlson Wagonlit Travel ..................................................................................... 48 Catalucci Painting & Restoration, Interior & Exterior ......................................... 79 Chatham University . ............................................................................................ 9 Cherup, Lori, L., MD, FACS ................................................................................. 7 Christ The King Church ..................................................................................... 71 * Clark Construction Company ............................................................................. 42 * Coffey Contracting Company ............................................................................. 43 * Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Inc. Corporate . ............................Back outside cover * Coldwell Banker–Route 19 South/Galleria ......................................................... 20 * Coldwell Banker–USC, South Hills Offices ........................................................ 21 Coldwell Banker–Waterdam Farms .................................................................... 17 Coldwell Banker–Lynn Dempsey ....................................................................... 29 * Cupelli & Cupelli, Drs. . ..................................................................................... 61 Davey Tree and Lawn Care ................................................................................. 45 Davin Interiors ................................................................................................... 49 * Deckmasters Technologies . ............................................................................... 41 “Dirt” Dugan Landscaping, Inc. . ........................................................................ 45 Extended Day Services . ....................................................................................... 9 * Ferry Electric Company . .................................................................................... 46 Fournier Carpentry . ........................................................................................... 79 Friendship Village of South Hills ....................................................................... 19 * Gateway Engineers ............................................................................................. 29 * George Girty Landscape Design ......................................................................... 43 * Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. ........................................................................................... 7 * Henderson Brothers, Inc. ................................................................................... 67 * Howard Hanna Real Estate Services ...........................................Front inside cover Howard Hanna–Maureen Cavanaugh . ............................................................... 65

2 0 0 8



* Howard Hanna–Susan Highley .......................................................................... 37 * Howard Hanna–Diane Horvath . ......................................................................... 47 * Keller Williams–Sandy and Marshall Goldstein ................................................. 15 * Kerr Family and Cosmetic Dentistry . ................................................................. 48 * Manalo, Larry E., D.M.D. ................................................................................... 49 Mr. Magic Carwash ............................................................................................ 73 Mt. Lebanon Montessori School and Academy .................................................. 79 Nancy Sakino Spears, LLC, Interiors by Decorating Den . .................................. 43 * Northwood Realty–Bonnie Detwiler and Marlene McNaughton . ........................ 61 Pare´, Amelia, M.D. ........................................................................................... 37 Pautler, Simona V., MD, FACS ........................................................................... 11 * Piccolina’s Restaurant ........................................................................................ 48 * Pinebridge Commons Associates ...................................................................... 48 Pittsburgh Audiology ........................................................................................... 9 Port Authority Services ...................................................................................... 79 Providence Point . ................................................................................................ 1 * Prudential Preferred Realty–Route 19 South ........................................................ 2 RDP Studio Ltd. ................................................................................................. 25 * Regis McQuaide & Co. Master Remodelers, Inc. ............................................... 41 Rohrich Cadillac ................................................................................................ 17 * Scott Bros. Windows and Doors ........................................................................ 40 Serenity Day Spa & Salon .................................................................................. 10 * Sesame Inn ........................................................................................................ 75 Seton Hill University ............................................................................................ 4 Shady Side Academy ......................................................................................... 31 * St. Clair Hospital . ................................................................................................ 3 * State Farm Insurance–Cindy Brophy .................................................................. 49 Steel Valley Orthopedic Associates, P.C. ............................................................ 59 Stephen Szabo Salon ......................................................................................... 10 Steven Smith Painting and Renovation .............................................................. 79 Sunrise Senior Living ........................................................................................ 33 * The Thomas Studio of Performing Arts .............................................................. 59 Trunk Shows Boutique ....................................................................................... 10 * Valley Brook Family Dental ................................................................................ 11 Valley Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. .............................................................. 45 Watermark Financial .......................................................................................... 25 Wellington Real Estate–Patty Thomas ................................................................ 55 Westminster Presbyterian Church ...................................................................... 73 Wisp Resort Real Estate ..............................................................Back inside cover

Advertise with UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, in publication since 1994.

Phone: 412-833-1600, extension 2284 • Fax: 412-851-2592 • Website: • Email: *The above VIP advertisers, who are advertising in this issue, have contributed their support for a minimum of 26 issues.

Upcoming guides for the Summer 2008 issue include Dining, Home & Garden, Summer Activities.


To place your small business or professional ad in the classified section, send 35 words or less with a check for $75, made payable to the Township of Upper St. Clair, to UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY magazine, 1820 McLaughlin Run Road, Upper St. Clair, PA 15241 80


The staff of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY would like to thank our advertisers, who make possible this community publication.

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Jackson (Jack), the bull elephant at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium and the subject of “The Lady and the Elephant” article presented in the fall 2007 issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, is pictured with (left to right) Elizabeth and Mary Kathleen Dobrosielski of Upper St. Clair. Jack is the father of elephant babies Callee and Victoria (also at the Pittsburgh Zoo) and is about to become the proud father of two more babies at the zoo later this spring. Jack is currently the only breeding bull in North America.

Spring 2008



IT’S TIME WE REDEFINED HONOR STUDENT. Today’s world demands a definition that encompasses more than academic success. It requires a “transcript” that demonstrates the ability to do the right thing as well as the smart thing. A high grade point average alone will not guarantee a successful career or a purposeful life. This is the very reason why California University of Pennsylvania has, for more than 150 years, dedicated itself to preparing students for both fulfilling careers and meaningful lives. We do more than pay lip service to our core values of integrity, civility and responsibility. We integrate them into the classroom, campus activities and everyday student life. These values are fostered by faculty who devote time and personal attention to help motivate, inspire and bring out the best in every man and woman who studies here. So our students graduate with more than academic kudos and a diploma to show for their efforts.They graduate with a different degree of honor. For livelihood. And for life. That is our mission and our difference. Building Character. Building Careers. A proud member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.



There’s no better time to own at Wisp

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Homesites from the mid-$200’s. Luxury Cottages from the $600’s.

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Stately Tudor w/courtyard entrance & everything you could imagine! Cherry kit, 5Br, 3.5Ba, famrm, gamerm, 3 car garage! $450,000 Maria & Joe Lane 412-344-0500

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Stunning Contemporary, 4Br, 2.5Ba, gourmet kitchen, familyrm fireplace, gamerm, patio, sprinkler system! $324,900 Lynn Dempsey 412-833-5405

Custom built ranch in great condition, 3Br, 3Ba, familyrm & gamerm fireplace, wet bar, enclosed porch! $270,000 Cindy Demel 412-831-5555

Gorgeous 4Br split, 3Ba, 2 fireplaces, livingrm vaulted beam ceiling, den, gamerm, 4 season room overlooks yard. $263,000 Maria Ball 412-833-5405

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Classic 4Br, 2.5Ba colonial on a nice level lot! Familyrm fireplace, gleaming hardwood throughout, on cul de sac! $209,900 Kathi Kernan 412-344-0500

Clean and fresh look! Familyrm fireplace, 4Br, 2.5Ba, huge full basement, deck, patio, security system! $189,000 Sue Robertson 412-831-5555

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1820 McLaughlin Run Road Upper St. Clair, PA 15241


POSTAL CUSTOMER Upper St. Clair, PA 15241

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SPRING 2008  

Spring 2008 issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY Magazine.

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