Page 1

Kyra Kaylor Kurt Keller Dwight Kennedy Thomas Kikta David Kimmel Herbert C. Kirkwood Kathleen Kirsch Sheryl Klick-Strobl Laura Koerner Terrence Kushner David Lander Amy Lienhardt-Hochanadel David J. Lind Catherine Luke Donald Lund Kenneth Lund Joseph Luxbacher D’nis L. Lynch Jack Maitland Julia Scheib Martin David Mathews Daniel Mazzarini William McArdle Obbie McClintock George McClintock George McClintock Kristin McClintock-LeBeau Sean P McHugh Chris McIntyre Timothy Meehan Nathan Meerstein Trisha Meili Donald Mincher Joe Moore Marty Moran Catherine Moraytis-Ulicny Christina Greenwell Mullins Anne B. Newman Randall Morgan Newsome Niles Norman Rebecca Norman-Harbaugh David E. Norton Sarah O’Brien-Zirwas Deirdre O’Connor Kevin Orie Heather Page Simona Pautler Paul Pavlov Alex Perinis Brian Phillips Jack Phillips William A. Pope Alan T. Popp Paul Pryor Amy Purdy James

USCHS Halls of Fame Celebrates Ten Years


Purdy Jack W. Radke Lesley Retallick-Lee Rosemarie Rocher Douglas Roth James Saunders Paul Savidge Rhonda Schaffler Gary Schick Paul A. Schlachter Laura Schrock Linda Serene John F. Sholl, Jr. Margaret Shortridge-Werd Shari Shriver-Opfermann Marty Sieckmann Preston Simpson John Small Peter Smith Martin J. Smith Amy Snyder-Kaminski Karen Sommer-Turnbull Andrea Spadaro-Morrison Jessica Spencer Richard St. John Sandra L. Stein Donnan Stoicovy Don Stoicovy Carl Streams Leigh Sulkowski Robert Swartz Karen Swartz Ann Talman Steven Tazza Carissa Tener Nancy Tomich Kathy Tomko-Kappert Robert Truver Vida Tyc Rick Valicenti Dave Vanchina Frank Vancin Heidi R. Vollmer-Snarr Norman Wagner William Warren John Welch Melisa Wenna-Lai Michael Werner Mandy West Doug Whaley Mark White Douglas Williams Charles Wood Caryn Wunderlich-Gott Stanley A. Zingle Vic Zuraw

Joe Argiro Beth Babbitt-Bales Kavita Babu Jonathan Baker Ray Bandi Arlene Brown Baratz Dave Barzler Mark Battaglia Jacqueline Bayne Meredith Bell James Bennett Missy Berteotti George Betcher Jonathan Bickham Joseph A. Bonasso III David Brewton Robert Brosnahan John Bruno, Jr. Cheryl Bruno-Gamber Joseph J. Buggy Edward Callahan Barbara Carney Bruce N. Carney Frank Carr Sean Casey Raj Chakrabarti Stephen Chbosky Ed Chekan Tom Cherry Lori Cherup Robert Christiana Joseph Wesley Coltman III Ponny Conomos-Jahn Daniel Cooper Jeffrey Cooper Nick Cullen Claudia Curley-Benack Joey David George Davis Kathy DeBlassio John DeBlassio Linda Decker-Steindorf Gail Deibler-Finke Jeff Delaney Gary DePalma Jennifer DePalma

Joseph DePalma Rebecca Desman Lynn Digby-Baxter Kelly Doran Shawn Douglas Ed Driscoll Craig Dunaway Patricia Dunkis Philip Michael Dunn John Edkins Donald Eichhorn Kristen Elias-Pakela Jack W. Elliott Zachary Ellis Joseph Ferderbar Kirk Ferentz Charles Fleming Susan Forry-Locke Beth Friday Marcia Froehlich William F. Froehlich Melanie Brown Fukui Stephanie Fulmer-Smentek Sean Garnhart Robert J. Gielas Ann Gladden John Graulty Katherine Haddox-Clark Scott Hahn Terrence Hammons Douglas Harmon Wynn Harmon Lori Harris Lonny W. Harrison Tom Harshman Willard Hartley Cullen Hawkins Scott Hawkins Samuel R. Hazo Walter Henricks Jane Hollman Merel Hommen-Wilson Mark Hondru Susan N. Hughes Camilie Hulin Tricia Hwang-Connerly Bob Johnston Jeff Joyce Mark Katlic

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IT’S TIME WE REDEFINED H O N O R S T U D E N T. 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.

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Winter 2009


Winter 2009

Volume 15

Issue 4

Features and Around the Township 10 Tunch—One Word Says it All

USC resident and former Steeler Tunch Ilkin shares his story in more than a word.

What do you collect?

Deborah Waller, USC Fire Marshal, always pays attention to detail.

According to Nancy Chase, winter is the best season to walk the trails at Boyce Mayview Park.

A mission trip to the Dominican Republic turns strangers into family.


ches lives.

Zumba tou

14 A Drawer Full of Shoelaces

18 Hashing it Out With Hammurabi 22 Musings on a Winter Walk 70 We are Family Now


27 USC Township Bulletin Board

Quick information about deer, dogs, tree recycling, and trash.

The Public Works Department is ready for the "let it snow" days (and nights!).

Volunteers at the REEC contribute in many ways.

USCVFD shares tips to help you enjoy your holidays safely.

A four-page centerfold, pull out map of Boyce Mayview to use, and re-use, on your walks in the park.

30 Ready for the Season


the library ctivities at a 's n re d il Ch

34 A Helping Hand for the REEC 35 Holiday Fire Safety Tips

39 Boyce Mayview Park Map

School District


Learn about WAN, Google Apps, and more.

The earth is moving as renovations begin at Boyce and Fort Couch Middle Schools.

Based on proposals, Highmark Healthy High 5 awards USC schools PE grants.

For an overview, read about happenings in our District's six schools.

Our cameras were out this fall. Are you in?

54 Middle School Renovations

56 District Schools Receive Grants


eer players ch . nd footballlls of Fame recipients a s er d ea Cheerl 09 USCHC Ha for the 20

58 Pawprints

64 A Day in the District


44 Pinebridge Commons 46 Life Planning 66 The Gift of Giving



, holidays

Castriota For Susan

come early.

52 Shown on the cover of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY are 2009 USC Halls of Fame recipients who spent a day at USCHS

mentoring students and celebrating the HOF’s ten-year anniversary. Bordering the photo is a list of all HOF recipients since 2000. Cover photography compliments of Harry Coleman Photography. Winter 2009



Celebrates its 60th edition 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 contributions of the people who live and work here.

Publishers Matthew R. Serakowski Township Manager Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole Superintendent of Schools Steering Committee Mark S. Mansfield Assistant 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 Andrew McCreery, Finance Lynn Dempsey, Senior Advertising Associate Erin Gibson Allen, Advertising Associate Alison Hess, Advertising Associate Julie Sweet, Advertising Associate Thank you to our volunteer contributors this issue: Amy Bahm, Alexa Bartusiak, Raymond Berrott, Dr. John Bornyas, Cindy Brophy, Kathy Burch, Susan Castriota, Nancy Chase, Debbie Colditz, Debra Conn, Joe DeMar, Diane Dolanch, Chester Dudzinski, Jan Falk, Dina Fulmer, Kathy Gillen, Lindsay Hasse, Wayne Herrod, Sara Homol, George Kostelich, Jr., Gary Lemasters, John Link, Neale Misquitta, Nancy Page, Vasso Paliouras, Lynn Rogers, John Rozzo, Bonnie Sandman, Mary Lynne Spazok, Jessica Spencer, Tyler Vallano, John VanCleve, Christine Waller, Jay Walsh The 60th issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY is a joint publication of the Township and School District of Upper St. Clair. © Copyright 2009. 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 4


The 60 th 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.

Board of School Directors

Township Board of Commissioners

Amy L. Billerbeck, President Harry F. Kunselman, Vice President Barbara L. Bolas Carol B. Coliane Frank J. Kerber Angela B. Petersen Louis A. Piconi Rebecca A. Stern William M. Sulkowski

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

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 USPS re-assigned postal carrier routes in the Upper St. Clair area. UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY is in the process of updating its mailing files. If you are currently receiving more than one magazine to your address or have other mailing concerns, call our office at 412-833-1600, extension 2284. Thank you. The next issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY will be the Spring 2010 issue and will be published in March 2010. 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. Errata Please note that Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor is Joe Scarnati. Mr. Scarnati filled the vacancy created by the passing of Catherine Baker Knoll. Mr. Scarnati will serve in this capacity until January 18, 2011. Incorrect information was listed on page 86 of the magazine’s fall 2009 issue. Accept our apologies for not listing Fort Couch Middle School guidance counselor Jayna Rubin as contributing author of the article titled “Smooth Transition” that appeared on page 53 of the fall 2009 issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY. Also note that Brinda Doshi was not listed in the "Talented Test Takers" section of Did You Know, page 60, fall 2009 issue of the magazines. Our apologies.

Deadline for articles and advertising for the Spring 2010 issue is January 4, 2010. 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

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With the winter 2009 issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY, it is our pleasure to welcome you to the magazine’s 60th edition of our community publication. Beginning in 1994 and spanning almost 16 years, the Township of Upper St. Clair and the Upper St. Clair School District, together with staff and volunteers, have provided its citizens with a communications vehicle to keep you informed about what’s going on in and around our Township. In this issue, the School District shares information about the celebration of the ten-year anniversary of the Upper St. Clair High School Halls of Fame. Our magazine’s front cover features 2009 HOF recipients with the USCHS student body, while pages 52 and 53 give a current and historical perspective about this annual ceremony. The School District contributes other interesting stories, including an update on technology at our schools (page 51) and information about the middle schools renovations project (page 54). The centerfold of our magazine (page 39-42) showcases a pull out map of Boyce Mayview Park, courtesy of Upper St. Clair Township, which includes identification of the completed interior trails system, perimeter trails, specific park activity locations, and other areas of interest. Keep this map handy for your many walks in the park! Take a look at the library’s offering for classes to interest those of all ages (pages 28, 29) and information about the Township’s Public Works Department and its care in handling winter storm emergencies for USC residents (pages 30 and 32). Learn holiday safety tips from the USCVFD (page 35). Did you know that the tradition of celebrating a 60th anniversary is to commemorate the event with diamonds? This custom came into popularity after Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. “Diamond” comes from the Greek word adamas, which means unconquerable and enduring—words fittingly describing our Township and School District through the many services offered to residents. As you gear up to welcome the seasonal wintery weather, think of it as a diamond-like opportunity to cozy up and enjoy the contents of our community magazine, as the “white stuff” swirls around just steps away outside your front door.



Matthew R. Serakowski Township Manager

Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole Superintendent of Schools

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

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

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Fly it Proudly The American flag; no symbol better expresses our honor to this country. In USC, we fly the flag at our homes and in public venues throughout our Township, expressing our belief in what the flag and this country stand for. It also honors those who have fought hard to protect our nation. Flying proudly, the flag was recently spotted in a number of USC locations. Below, Jay Walsh shares a poem he wrote specifically for this feature. n


USC Municipal building, Police Department

Lead by the American flag, the USCHS band takes the field at the beginning of a football game.

I’m sure you know her by this name Flying ever high to show her fame Always in the lead for every parade Waving on fields as games are played. Boyce Road Gardens

In buildings, schools, and parks galore She is what we are really looking for Those wonderful feelings that we are free Bringing that inner pride to you and me. She stands for freedom on every day That’s why we salute her in every way Old Glory is our red, white, and blue We truly love her through and through. —Jay Walsh

Upper St. Clair High School

Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department, Route 19

Future site of USC Veterans Park Boyce Mayview Park fields U.S. Post Office, Upper St. Clair



Winter 2009

UpperStClairad-FallIssue_7-5x4-875 v01:Layout 1 6/29/2009 9:24 AM Page 1



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Tunch—One Word Says it All Wayne Herrod

Tiger. Cher. Madonna. Oprah. Pele. Prince. This list of names represents a few of the people who are easily recognizable by only one name. Upper St. Clair resident Tunch Ilkin is another: Tunch. One need say no more. A Pittsburgh Steeler for 13 years, Steelers broadcaster for 11, and Upper St. Clair resident for nearly 30, Tunch is recognized merely by his first name. During a recent interview with Tunch, I found him to be much more than a football player; he is very much a man involved in his family, his faith, and his community. The first thing to know about Tunch is his name; it's his birth name, not a nickname. Tunch Ali Ilkin was born in Istanbul, Turkey. His mom, Ayten, and dad, Mehmet, immigrated to Chicago when Tunch was two-and-a-half years old. Tunch was raised as a Muslim, but has since converted to Christianity. Tunch attended Indiana State University, graduating in 1980. While becoming an outstanding football player at Indiana, he met his wife, Sharon. They’ve been married for 27 years. According to Tunch, there are three important things that he revolves his life around: family, faith, and football.

Family “The best thing I do is take time to travel with family. I have three children: Tanner, 24; Natalie, 21; and Clay, 18. Sharon and I have traveled the country watching them play their sports. It’s been a very important part of our family life. I remember thinking and saying to Sharon as we walked away from the football field where Clay played his last high school football game, ‘It’s the last time we’ll be doing this.’ It was a tough moment, but a nice one.” Sharon has one up on Tunch, though. An apparent dream of every athlete is to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. You would think that after 177 games and all the SI Steelers’ covers that Tunch would have been in the background of at least one cover. But, no, he has not. That honor goes to Sharon. In November 1977, SI did a cover story on an up-and-coming college basketball player. The player was Larry Bird. SI also selected two of the Indiana State cheerleaders to appear on the cover with him, one of them being Sharon. Tunch laughed and said, “I am on the inside of SI, although it’s not something 10


At USC’s 2008 senior recognition night are Sharon, Clay, and Tunch Ilkin.

I’m proud of. The photo is of me giving up a sack against the Oakland Raiders. It was the worst game I’d ever played. But, I learned from it. I vowed never to be that bad again, and I continually pushed myself hard to get better and I did. It taught me a very important lesson in life about hard work. I’ve never forgotten that game or what I learned because of it. By the way, my kids really give it to me about Mom being on SI’s cover and me only being on the inside.” I kidded Tunch about the athlete always getting the beautiful girl. His reply: “I definitely outkicked my coverage.” Faith Since 2004, Tunch has been the men’s director of the South Hills Bible Ministry. “I have a passion to serve God and my goal is to encourage men to be that which God wants them to be. I feel privileged just to be a part of this universe. I am blessed to be able to be so involved. Faith has changed my life and I have found that everything positive in my life is due to my faith.” Football “I was drafted in the sixth round, which came as a surprise. My agent and other people had told me that I would probably not get drafted due to my lack of size, but I would be signed as a free agent. There were 12 rounds in the draft back in 1980 and I wasn’t expecting any calls. The phone rang, and my mom told me that it was Chuck Noll from the Pittsburgh Steelers. I got on the phone thinking I was going to have to figure out who was pulling a joke on me. Winter 2009

It wasn’t a joke; it was Chuck Noll, and I actually was a draft choice. I went to training camp, but was cut before the season opened. I went back to Chicago and took a job at a fitness club. I joined an adult touch football team and was playing on Monday nights. Six weeks later, Steve Coursin got hurt and the Steelers called me. They asked if I was in shape. I was. They signed me and I went from playing touch football on Monday nights to playing Monday Night NFL Football against the Oakland Raiders the following week.” Tunch never looked back. He played in the NFL for 14 seasons (one with the Green Bay Packers, the rest as a Steeler). Tunch played in two Pro Bowls and was selected to the 75th anniversary All Time Steeler football team. “It was an unbelievable honor to be selected to this team. The talent on the dais that night was top notch and second to none. I was totally blown away to be a part of it.” I asked Tunch what he got most out of his career. I expected to hear about the glory of playing, of being an acclaimed Steeler or the way football helped financially. Tunch’s answer tells you about this man. “I loved the game, but I loved the guys. We were a group and I made many deep friendships. Most importantly, I learned about faith and Jesus. It became the biggest change in my life. Jon Kolb, Donnie Shell, and John Stallworth had a sense of purpose and an air of humility about them. They loved each other and they loved God openly. Through their lives I saw this love and I wanted to learn more about it.”

After Tunch’s football career ended, he pursued a career in broadcasting. Starting on Pittsburgh’s Channel 11 for Steelers’ pregame shows with Sam Nover, in 1995 he did NFL on NBC. “I enjoyed it, but it was a lot of travel. When you did a game there could not be emotional attachment. It was a great stepping stone to what I do today.” In 1998, Tunch joined the Steelers’ broadcast team along with Bill Hillgrove and Myron Cope. He remains in this position today. Near the end of our interview, I asked Tunch several questions. His answers showed the humility and the gentleness of a man who still looks like he could suit up and play. What is your greatest accomplishment? “I don’t think of anything I have done as an accomplishment. I would consider many things I have done as a privilege.” Best moment in the broadcast booth? “My first time in the booth with legends Hillgrove and Cope. I was honored to be a part of that and will never forget it.” Best moment in football? “The Houston Oilers game in the playoffs in ’89. They had beaten us twice and were favored. They trash-talked the entire game. When Anderson kicked the 51-yard field goal in overtime to win, the Oilers were devastated.”

Funniest moment? “Thanksgiving Day football game against Detroit. Keith Willis gave a fiery talk about playing hard and not quitting at halftime of a game that we were losing. We played worse in the second half and lost by 40-something points. As Keith walked into the locker room, Gary Dunn said, ‘Nice speech, Keith.’ The room exploded in laughter.” Future “I like things the way they are. I enjoy my community and I plan on staying here in Pittsburgh,” said Tunch. Tunch is currently doing a radio show during the Steelers’ season with good friend Craig Wolfley. In the past, they’ve done a yearround sports show, which required him to talk about various sports. “While I enjoyed that, my gig is football, and this show allows me to talk mainly about the sport for which I’m passionate.” Tunch is a man who gives a lot of himself. Since 1987, he has been on the Light of Life Rescue board of directors. “The people that work at this mission are unbelievable,” said Tunch. “They are all heroes to me!” My mind’s response: Because of who you are and what you represent, you are a hero. Three words say it all—family, faith, and football—about this man known to many only as “Tunch.” n

Offensive tackle #62, Tunch Ilkin played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1980 to 1992. Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers and Mike Fabus

Sharon (left) on the 1977 cover of Sports Illustrated Winter 2009



An Evening with Marvin Hamlisch sponsored by the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair on August 31, 2009

Linda Serene, Foundation trustee and Director of Donor Relations, and Celeste Acinapura, Executive Director, chat with Marvin. The evening was preceded by a reception at the home of Melanie and Frank Kerber. Here, Melanie cuts a piece of cake for Marvin before he departed for the theatre.  Looking on are (l-r):  Becky Beynon, Cindy Rowan, Angela Petersen, Janet Mosesso, Ruth Campbell, Celeste Acinapura and Dina Fulmer.

The evening was also a dedication of the “Julie Mathews Klym Memorial Piano.” Aleen Mathews, a major donor of the Steinway D Concert Grand Piano, poses with her granddaughters, Berit (l) and Alee (r), and their father, Ed Klym. 

Marvin Hamlisch and lyric tenor, Gary Mauer, thrilled the audience in the Upper St. Clair Theatre.

The Steinway, which will be enjoyed by Theatre audiences for years to come, now sports Marvin Hamlisch’s autograph.

State Representative John Maher, through a Department of Community & Economic Development grant, was able to secure major funding to help make it possible to purchase the piano. Receiving the check from Rep. Maher are trustees Linda Serene, Director of Donor Relations, and Jim Bennett, Fine and Performing Arts Committee Chair.

Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair

Phone: 412-831-1107 • Fax: 412-220-7780 • Website: • Email: 12


Winter 2009

Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band March 19th, 2010 8:00 PM Upper St. Clair High School Theatre Call 412-851-2599 for tickets and information Presented by Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair and MCG


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A Drawer Full of Shoelaces Mary Lynne Spazok

We all have it, but hate to admit it—a drawer full of nothing that is, in fact, really something! Is it collectible? Whether it’s shoelaces, kitchen gadgets, or lost and found keys, we just can’t seem to part with them. At the USC Historical Society holiday party, Jean Brown proudly proclaimed the ultimate functionality of her ongoing “shoelace drawer.” Amused, I had to admit that the premise is priceless. After all, shoelaces are not only utilitarian, but often sophisticated works of art. Some are squiggly, some are multi-colored, while others elasticized. In the end, they all perform the same basic function—to secure the shoe on the foot. So, why a drawer full of orphaned shoelaces? Ultimately, their application is perpetual. Depression era as well as “green” Americans restore, reuse, recycle. Shoelaces make sturdy string. • When gardening, tie tomato and bean plants to stakes so they don’t topple. • Create cat toys by tying a jingly bell or catnip mouse to shoe strings. • Dried flowers, herbs, and holiday symbols tied to ceiling beams or chandeliers create a flight of fancy. • Attach a bauble to get a unisex necklace!

During this holiday season, we gleefully showcase splendid treasures. Margaret Gilfillan’s anthology of distinctive holiday greetings is maintained by the Historical Society. Sending greeting cards to friends and family is a tradition that goes back

A beekeeper nutcracker 14


about 200 years. The Christmas card was introduced and popularized by John Calcott Horsley, the artist of what is known as the world’s first holiday salute. Louis Prang is known as the Father of the American Christmas Card. Although residents of the Gilfillan farm did not celebrate Christmas in a secular way, they were amiable neighbors. Their gesture—uniquely hand crafted items depicting farm scenes, including sheep and outbuildings. Early on, cards were hand delivered. With the onset of the first postage stamp in 1840, mass mailings gained popularity. By the 1850s, ambitious printers and manufacturers engaged quality artists to design elaborate, thus expensive, cards as well as charming, less costly versions. Art competitions resulted in fresh ideas that awarded winners with upwards of $1000. Today’s sophisticated collectors seek out supreme mechanical pop-up and filigree (cut-out) cards. An unselfish person, Margaret created engaging, tactile, and highly personal ink-on-paper cards that connected the sender with the recipient. Thoughtful, her talent made it easy to express feelings that may have gone unsaid. Then and now, sentimental greeting cards are cherished keepsakes.

A trio of life-size nutcrackers Winter 2009

Jean Brown, displaying Margaret Gilfillan’s handcrafted greeting cards

Significant icons, nutcrackers embody the “cycle of life.” A lowly nut seed of the elder tree tumbles to the earth and matures into a burly tree, all the while providing sustenance for man, bird, and beast. To collectors of this mystical idol, this object d’art of the elder exudes the promise of celebrated good fortune with a spirited quality of life. From a collection of more than one hundred Steinbach Nutcrackers, a local apiarist’s favorite nutcracker is, of course, the beekeeper. Received as cherished keepsakes throughout the years, nutcrackers represent power and strength as well as being time-honored messengers of good luck and goodwill. They command respect as fierce defenders against evil. Manly nutcrackers bare their teeth to ward off menace, while those depicting female characters are demure with brightly painted, but closed lips. Whether mini or maxi, whimsical nutcrackers continue to be a part of amusing conversation at social settings. A proper hostess would certainly serve sweetmeats, including pecans and hazelnuts. “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice,” written between 1776 and 1822 by fantasy author E.T.A. Hoffman, is the story behind Tchaikovsky’s glorious ballet The Nutcracker. Premiered in St. Petersburg in 1892, this famous ballet has become a Christmas tradition throughout the west. Although their rich European his-

USC school “snowday” snowman

Frosty the Snowman paper maché creation

tory extends over 300 years, nutcrackers only recently became popular in the United States about 60 years ago. Their compelling expressions, enchanting costumes, and mysterious charm attracted World War II GIs while visiting the German open air Kristkrindl bazaars. Intrigued, soldiers returned home with a new comrade, the Nutcracker. Captivated by the fable of their heroic ability to ward off wickedness, the soldiers’ souvenirs were a symbol of power and protection for loved ones. Nutcrackers, with their fairytale history, had arrived in the United States and are here to stay. “Snowman making is one of man’s oldest folk arts,” says Bob Eckstein, author of The History of the Snowman. As early as the Middle Ages, the art of snow sculpting by clever artists was popular at winter festivals. First used by American advertisers in 1949, this plump, button-nosed icon advertised a range of products—from electric razors to life insurance. A welcomed diversion during bleak winter months, snowman building is as popular as ever, most especially on no school “snow days!” Melting hearts, whimsical snow people are a year-round collectibles in every size, shape, material, and image imaginable. Predominantly showcased on holiday greeting cards, they sweetly reflect festive celebrations. How could you not fall in love with Frosty’s charming snow-white face? From dollar to dear, this collectible is great for kids and a crystal-clear favorite of nostalgic adults. After all, they don’t take up much space, don’t eat much, can be beautifully displayed until the spring thaw and then easily stored. Massive or mini, inside or out, an eye-catching flag or bedazzled paper mache, the snowman’s charm is classic. An avid collector would embrace the gift of the vintage version—A Little Golden Book storybook of the popular song (1950) Frosty the Snowman. Bob Eckstein concludes from years of research that, “the noble snowman is a simple portrait of our humanity.” Whether it’s a drawer full of shoelaces or splendid childhood treasures, there’s no end to the passion of collecting. Enjoy Margaret Gilfillan’s greeting card handiwork at USC’s Community Day, held this coming year on May 15. The Historical Society

Whimsical Frosty

welcomes you to tour the Gilfillan Homestead house and grounds from noon until three. In the meantime, continue to restore, reuse, and recycle last year’s greeting cards as notepaper and gift package embellishments. From the USC Historical Society to you: Best wishes 223-171_H01_WINTER09_USC_QTRFASTR.qxp 9/16/09 3:50forPM a healthy, prosperous 2010! n


Winter 2009




Touching Lives With a Latin Beat Debbie Colditz

For most people, there is a big difference between work and play. Work is something you have to do; play is something you choose to do. I believe the best job is one in which there is no difference and you are happiest when you love what you are doing. I feel fortunate that I absolutely love what I do, but my job provided an even bigger reward, one I never expected. After reading an article in the newspaper in April 2007 about Zumba and its claim of being the newest fitness craze, I knew I had to try it. I headed to a gym in the North Hills for a class, because there were no classes in the South Hills at that time. With 17 years of dancing in my background, I realized after that first class I wanted to become certified to teach this new, fastpaced Latin dance phenomenon. Zumba fuses Latin and international dance themes to create a dynamic, exciting, and effective fitness system. The routines feature aerobic/fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body. The high-energy Latin workout allows everyone to have fun and burn calories at the same time. I soon became certified and taught my first Zumba class in September at the Westminster Recreational Outreach Center (WROC) to a small group. Once the music started and we began to dance, it felt more like a party than a fitness class. Everyone was dancing, sweating, and having fun, and most students left with a smile. In my opinion, there was nothing better than watching the students exercise while enjoying themselves. Six months later, The Almanac featured an article describing the Zumba fitness

program. Word about Zumba spread and attendance dramatically increased. Many other South Hills health and fitness facilities began to offer classes—Zumba was exploding everywhere! Now, two years later, Zumba classes are available in 40,000 locations in 75 countries. But, more importantly, many of my students have shown improvements both physically and mentally. Some have lost weight, some are more toned, and many have improved their overall fitness levels. Others say they have gained self confidence, becoming happier people. One of the most notable changes I’ve noticed was in one of my students from Upper St. Clair, Fran Joyce. Eighteen months ago Fran came to class at the WROC to work out with her friends. Fran and I felt an immediate connection, since we were both mothers of three sons. But after her first year of Zumba, her reason for coming to class changed. She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. In addition to battling cancer, her youngest son, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and is in a wheelchair, required her daily assistance. Because Fran’s spouse frequently travels away from home for business, Fran often finds herself being a single parent. Zumba class soon became a necessity for Fran, providing her with a healthy outlet and helping her to stay strong through her treatments and eventual surgery. Fran requested that I not mention her illness to classmates because she wanted to feel healthy, like everyone else. It became our secret for seven months. As time passed, I began to realize how much Zumba was helping Fran. She missed only four classes through her

Beto Perez, the creator of Zumba, invited breast cancer survivors, including Fran Joyce, to dance on stage during the fundraiser held at PNC Park. 16


Winter 2009

Fran Joyce and Debbie Colditz at the Zumba fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

treatments of chemo and radiation, as well as mastectomy and reconstruction surgeries. Through her chemo treatments, she came to class wearing a wig. No one noticed. As we exercised, I would periodically give her a smile or a wink to let her know I cared. Every Zumba class is special in its own way. Participants, of all fitness levels, range in age from teenagers to retirees. The class which Fran attends is a wonderful group of people, very friendly and warm—almost family-like. When she completed her recovery process, Fran agreed to let me share her story with the class. Her classmates were deeply moved and impressed by her successful journey. At the same time, I mentioned her story to the Pittsburgh Zumba facilitator who then passed it on to the Zumba office. Because of her tremendous strength and loyalty to the Zumba program, Fran was invited to dance on stage with Beto Perez, the creator of Zumba, along with four other breast cancer survivors. The event was held this past July and benefitted the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Approximately 420 Zumba enthusiasts danced on Federal Street near PNC Park, and many of Fran’s classmates attended to support her. Fran did an outstanding job! The bond between Fran and me remains strong, and the relationships I’ve made through Zumba are very precious. I’m thankful I drove to the North Hills that day in 2007. My life has been forever touched by Zumba, and I’ve had the privilege of watching it touch the lives of many others. n Debbie Colditz lives in Upper St. Clair with her husband, Steve, and their sons Rob (20), Chris (17), and Brad (12). You can try Zumba classes at the USC Community & Recreation Center, Peters Township Recreation Center, Westminster Recreational Outreach Center (WROC), or go to to find a class.

It’s time to show off our doors! As you travel through USC, you certainly will see different styles of houses that make up our residential neighborhoods. A welcoming and receptive community, each of our homes invites neighbors, family, friends, and strangers through its front doors for many occasions and reasons. UPPER ST CLAIR TODAY would like to focus on our community’s friendly efforts and decorating styles with a “Doors of USC” feature. The magazine staff is looking for photos of seasonally decorated front doors of the homes in our Township.

How to participate? Take a digital photo of your decorated front door (spring, summer, fall, and winter, including holiday adornment). Download the photo, then email it as a jpg file attachment to, placing “Doors of USC” in the subject line. In the body of the email, please list contact information, including your name and your home’s street address (USC zip code required). When to start? Now! The winter holiday season is a great time for decorating our homes, both inside and out. Dress warmly, step outside, and snap away! Then send your best front door photo our way. We hope that you participate and that when you open our community magazine you see a photo of your front door as part of our seasonal representation of the “Doors of USC.” n 223-171_H01_WINTER09_USC_QTRBETTR.qxp

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Hashing it out with Hammurabi (and Mother) Christine Waller

My mother, Deborah A. Waller, has served as the Fire Marshal for Upper St. Clair Township since 1990, and you can’t miss her in the details. Sometimes you’ll have to pay extra attention—it can be a thankless way to show love—but she’s always there. I’m sure you’ll find her, for example, in the red raspberries that she handpicks from the patch in our backyard and uses to make summer cobbler. Or in the warmth my family feels while sleeping under one of her handmade log cabin quilts in the winter. Or even in the piles of newspaper clippings she saves year-round, always marked “this article reminded me of you,” to help my sister and me stay up-to-date on life in Pittsburgh. She’s in the details for sure, but honestly, Mother is kind of everywhere else as well. (I still haven’t figured out how she knew I was going to ditch an afternoon of classes in middle school before I’d even plotted an escape route). I remember sitting in church one Christmas Eve for the 11 p.m. service, and just as I was lifting my candle to arm’s length above my head while singing the last verse of Silent Night, a drop of wax fell “thud” on my bulletin. It landed on top of the church’s only safety disclaimer for hundreds of people standing shoulder to shoulder, quite literally playing with fire: “All candles must be properly extinguished by hymn’s end. This sanctuary shall be occupied by a maximum of 749 persons, by order of the Fire Marshal.” As a young girl, I recall feeling surprised and proud to see my mom’s signature, right there on the church program for everyone to see. In fact, her John Hancock sprawls across many large, public spaces in Upper St. Clair: “occupancy limit 500,” “these doors to remain unlocked while building is occupied,” “stop work until permit applied for,” “keep fire sprinkler control valves in the fully open and locked position,” “storage not allowed in electrical room,” “do not silence or reset fire alarm system,” all by order of my mother. Anytime we go anywhere, Mother always makes some comment to call her family’s attention to important fire safety measures (or lack thereof) put in place to protect us. “This building is up to code,” she’ll say, or “Honey, I can’t let you rent this apartment. It’s just not built to current regulation.” (Please don’t tell her about the first Thanksgiving dinner I hosted away from home while living abroad in Mexico. I may have lit some candles a little too close to

Christine and Deborah Waller at the Rodin Museum in Paris 18


Winter 2009

Christine, Rex, and Deborah Waller at Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, France.

the table’s synthetic centerpiece, and I might have caused a minor panic among guests when the table top spontaneously burst into flames. “Quick somebody save the sweet potato soufflé!”) Even when we travel as a family, Mother doesn’t take a vacation from the details. This past May, she and Dad came to visit me in Paris (for more information on my semester sabbatical across Europe, please see the author’s note at the end of this article). Mother spent months researching and planning a caffeinated itinerary for our week together (none of us had ever been, so we were anxious to see it all). We visited the Chantilly and Chambord Chateaus, Monet’s Gardens at Giverny, Versailles, the Musee d’Orsay, Notre Dame and Chartres Cathedrals, Rodin’s Museum, the Arc de Triumph and Champs Elysees, Napoleon’s Tomb, the Eiffel Tower, and more. And in between, we savored macaroons, sipped on espressos, and enjoyed crunchy-smooth crème brûlée. Mother came to Paris with maps she’d marked with dots for the must sees, dots for the if-we-have-time sights, and lines for walking distances and metro stops. She even took online French courses to practice the basics. The first word Mother learns in any foreign language? Fuego, le feu, fire. By the time we make it to the Louvre Museum, I’m overwhelmed. It’s a place so huge and so full that even the most experienced antique mall auctioneer couldn’t make sense of it all. The halls are a whirlwind, back to the future kind of experience (turn left to visit ancient Greece and right to skip ahead to the Italian Renaissance). The Louvre is the marathon of all museums, but leave it to my mother to get her second wind on mile 23, somewhere near the Egyptian stuff. She finds it at Hammurabi’s Stone. When I first see the artifact, I’m thinking heavy, ancient bat with which to pummel large lions. But Mother sees something altogether different—remember, details! The seven-foot, five-inch tall piece of basalt is actually the only surviving representation of Hammurabi’s Code—a well-

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preserved law code created sometime around 1790 BC in Babylon by the sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi. Laws 228 to 233 apply to the building code, stating such rules as: “If a builder builds a house for someone, and does not construct it properly, and the house which he built falls in and kills its owner, then that builder shall be put to death.” Mother explains the significance of the piece to my father and me, and then says, “We’re fortunate to have stringent building code requirements in Upper St. Clair to keep our residents safe today, but thank goodness they’re not this strict!” Recently, Mother’s focus on fire safety and building code enforcement has expanded to a statewide level as she was appointed by Governor Ed Rendell to serve on the Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council. This new 19-member council, which meets regularly in Harrisburg, advises the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry on building and fire code issues. Right now I’m trying to imagine what it would be like for Mother to lug Hammurabi’s Stone straight into one of those council meetings as an illustration of how the details eventually paint a big and important picture. But instead of letting that daydream play out, I think I’ll make a trip to the fridge and serve up some of that nice summer cobbler. Thanks, Mother. Please feel free to contact my mother, Deborah A. Waller, at Upper St. Clair Township at 412-831-9000 with any fire code questions or concerns. n

Author’s Note: Christine Waller is a first year Latin American Social and Public Policy Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of International and Public Affairs. She recently took a semester sabbatical to travel quite literally across the European continent, from above the Arctic Circle to the middle of the Mediterranean. She’d love for you to read some stories about her adventures at

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Haiti School Building—So Welcome! John VanCleve

Living in Upper St. Clair makes it hard to imagine a school building project that isn’t surrounded by controversy. But it is possible and Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair has significant involvement in just such a project in Haiti. The New Testament Mission in La Croix, Haiti, was started by Pastor Vaugelas Pierre in 1975. Early on, Pastor Pierre built a school and started educating about 200 students a year. Over the past 34 years, the mission has grown to seven schools and churches and now more than 3500 students attend classes from kindergarten through 12th grade. For many of the students the one meal they receive at school is the only hot meal they have all day. The schools in the mission are always bursting at the seams. This year, Pastor Pierre decided to replace one of the oldest and most dilapidated buildings with a larger structure. Planning for the new building began in 2008 when Rev. Jim Gilchrist from Westminster Presbyterian Church joined one of the annual mission trips the church sponsored to the mission at La Croix. The new building will cost an estimated $100,000. Westminster, as part of its New Cornfield’s Capital Campaign, is committing $65,000 to the effort and another $10,000 is coming from a generous local benefactor. Architectural work is being provided by Tom Hartman, also of Westminster. When completed, the school will educate approximately 1000 students per academic year. The importance of the new school cannot be overestimated. Haiti is the poorest

Somehow children turn up every day in uniforms that are clean and pressed.

country in the western hemisphere and a low 146th of 177 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. While about two thirds of all children start school, less than 30% complete the sixth grade and less than 20% receive any secondary education. Approximately half

of the population is illiterate. The mission boasts a dentist, several nurses, teachers, and preachers among its graduates. With the new building, several hundred more children will be able to attend school. Westminster has been supporting the mission at La Croix since 1998. Over the years, the church has sent doctors, nurses, engineers, and others to work at the mission. The church has been instrumental in building a clinic, a doctor’s residence, a grain mill, and a housing project. Unfortunately, in recent years the church’s ability to support La Croix and other missions has diminished as the church’s salary expense and local building Pastor Pierre (right) inspects the foundation stage of the new building. costs were increasing. The congregation felt strongly that the church needed to give more to the various missions the church supports. In 2007 the church kicked off a capital campaign, called the New Cornfield Campaign, to raise money to make various structural improvements to the physical plant of the church and to expand support for mission. The new school building is the largest and most visible of the initiatives the church is The oldest school building in LaCroix is being replaced. sponsoring. n



Winter 2009

Make Your Home Visitable; Earn Tax Credits The Visitability Tax Credit is a new tax incentive created in 2008 to help residents make their homes accessible to friends or family who use wheelchairs or have trouble climbing stairs. Even if you currently do not know anyone who has a mobility limitation, you are still eligible for this tax credit. You, a family member, or even a friend may need these design advantages in the future. The tax credit is worth up to $2500 and can be spread over the course of five years. Making your home “visitable” is not a difficult task, especially when building a new home or doing other renovations. This tax credit will be helpful to offset construction costs. While renovating or constructing a new home, keep a few design features in mind:

• Each residence must have at least one no-step entrance into the main floor of the home, which can be located in the front, rear, or at the side of the residence. The entrance must be firm, stable, and slip resistant. • Hallways on the same floor as the nostep entrance must be at least 36 inches wide. • There must be a powder room or bathroom which can be used by a person in a wheelchair located on the main floor of the home. • Light switches on the main floor must be mounted at 42 inches above the floor, and door handles must be lever-type rather than knobs. Allegheny County encourages all residents to make their homes visitable. Residents can find out more about the specific requirements and the application process from their local municipal office when applying for a building permit. For more information, contact Richard Meritzer, staff person for the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County Task Force on Disabilities, at richard.meritzer@city. or call 412-255-2102. n

Winter 2009



Musings on a Winter Walk Nancy Chase

If you call Upper St. Clair “home,” but you haven’t walked the Boyce Mayview Park trails yet, I say, “What a pity!” Take two hours, maybe four, and explore the trails. They are truly treasures in your own backyard. Will your walk be like a visit to wildlife at the edge of a West Indies forest? Will your walk be like peering off the rim of an Arctic snow ridge? Or will you imagine yourself at the edge of the Grand Canyon as you hike along a narrow path casting a glance at Chartiers Creek below? Your walk can be all of these, or none. Your mind’s eye chooses its focus. One day, I decided I was overdue for a hike on the trails. I started my walk at the Regional Educational Environmental Center (REEC) parking lot and walked up a slight grade toward the grassy meadow and toward Beech Valley Trail. A 55 degree, breezy day is an excellent excuse to get out of the house. I planned to be out for the duration of an epic movie and knew I would be equally entertained. The grass was wet with morning dew. Tall wheat grasses clicked and rattled in the breeze. A flock of crows cawed intermittently in the distance. The sky was delicious; clouds swirled like cake batter stuck to the sides of a giant blue bowl. I checked my backpack for my lunch and walked toward the trail. The late Gilda Radner from Saturday Night Live often repeated, “It’s always something.” This is true of walks as well—in a good way—something special always happens. This day was no exception, but I’ll share my “special happening” after a few words about the land. The Land Before I entered the woody Beech Valley Trail, I turned my head for a glimpse of a cheery red cardinal in the undergrowth of briers. This bird reminded me to watch closely the scenes and to walk all paths, whether rutted or smooth, with optimistic anticipation. The trail was dry, which surprised me. We had had a brief rain three days earlier and heavy dew in the morning, but my first guess was that the canopy of trees, even if the limbs are bare, shelters the ground somewhat and certainly the fallen leaves help to keep the trail dry. Upon closer observation, I saw that thin shadows of tree

Little Falls Trail rises quickly for a short distance as you leave the lower Boyce Road parking area, then levels to immerse you among the trees. The winding trail gives you a view of the valley and falls from many vantage points prior to opening upon the hidden pond. A left on Hidden Pond Trail easily returns you to Bird Meadow Drive and the parking area. 22


Winter 2009

trunks formed slats across the trail. The eastern exposure to mid-morning and early afternoon sun quickly dries dew or rainfall on this part of the trail. Also, the mindful construction of the trails in a series of small hills and valleys allows for rain runoff. I haven’t been on many muddy hikes here at Boyce Mayview, a testament to well laid trails. At this point, I looked for the Carolina wren I saw the first time I participated in REEC’s Family Bird Walk. No wren this day, though. A quarter of a mile from the start of the trail, I saw what I thought were two bluebirds in the trees. I often wish I had the vision of a crow or hawk, but that’s what my trusty binoculars do for me—if I would only remember to use them. Wouldn’t bluebirds fly south this time of year (November) and leave the northeastern snowstorms behind? I check my bird book to see that most eastern bluebirds stay in their area of habitat, regardless of the weather or season. Some say certain migratory birds are becoming permanent residents of the north because of the warmer winters. Even Annie Dillard, writing in the 1980s, states in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek that birds migrate for food, not for warmth. With generous feeding stations, birds will stay farther north and not migrate south. Sibley’s Birding Basics emphasizes using clues such as habitats, behaviors, and sounds to identify birds rather than only by sight and color. Nevertheless, I always want a closer view. Then again, isn’t using clues to know the unknown of nature an essential part of its fascination? Beech Valley Trail slopes steeply down toward the valley, and as I walk on I realize that each time I’m on the trail it appears new. I think this has to do, in part, to the changing seasons—each one allowing for a new experience. My preference is winter walks because they allow an expansive view. Winter is a walk along the naked truth—death up close and personal. The summer months are wild with weeds, briers, and vines growing almost before your eyes. You may not agree with me, but I’ll stick to my love of winter weather for walking the trails, where one can see the bare, skeletal outlines of the earth. I walked on until I came to Chartiers Creek. At the creek, I stop to listen. I hear the bubbling of the creek, the chickadees, a woodpecker, ducks, and, of course, crows. I see a path of grass off the trail near the creek, in a kind of shallow fiord or valley. It appeared to have been swept clean of the leaves by the wind. I take this path, which parallels the creek, vowing to walk more quietly and get a closer view of the ducks I see in the distance. The Happening I stop often along the grassy matted deer trail to think. The ducks are further downstream, drifting at the edge of the water. Here, I remember my binoculars hanging off my shoulder and use them to get a better view. Mallards. At two fallen trees, I stop

and take a closer look around. Suddenly and directly in front of me, something heavy, brown, and fuzzy falls out of a tree. My first thought is: it’s a dead squirrel, either from the tree or from the clutches of a hawk overhead. Then I think maybe it’s a giant piece of lodged fungus loosened from the tree. It wasn’t a dead branch—too fuzzy. Edward Abbey in his wonderfully poetic book Desert Solitaire tells of a large sandstone chunk that fell out of the Skyline Arch in Moab, Utah. No one saw this happen, but as he said, “The before and after photographs prove it.” I take two steps closer and look up. What was up the tree—the before? No picture there. Then I look down. A stunned squirrel got up and moved away slowly— the after. This prompted me to ask, “Do squirrels fall? Do they sleep in trees? Did he fall during a deep sleep?” I was convinced that this acrobatic squirrel blundered and fell out of the tree. I made a mental note to ask Jeeves.* As I make my way farther on, there is a better view of the mallards, but as I get a little closer they fly up from the creek and travel in V-formation towards the wetlands. Their rising thrills my senses; their wings rustle like ruffled gowns of southern belles at a party. The mallards’ wings cut through the azure sky. Their tandem flight fades, then disappears as they cruise over the distant ridge, out of sight. I retrace my steps and follow the posted sign to Meadow Edges Trail and then get on Butterfly Trail. I hurry along the path and take a right onto Milkweed Trail. My favorite spot is the upper part of Between Two Worlds Trail. Here, the wooded ridge overlooks the U-shaped portion of Chartiers Creek and the wetlands. I’ve been told by an avid USC birdwatcher that this is the most panoramic view of the Boyce Mayview property and I believe it! I slow my pace and breathe in this scene once again. I could idle away a whole day gazing down at the shimmering creek and wetlands from this treetop view. A little further on, after the “P.C., My Best Friend, K-9” tombstone there’s a mossy ledge where I settle to eat a late lunch. This comfortable, sunny ledge is always a good place to let thoughts drift. Although, isn’t this what I’ve been doing all day? The Return Home Maybe the squirrel didn’t fall after all, but only jumped down from the tree to hide in the leaves, getting up and moving away as I came closer. In any case, I notched this “something special” event onto my sunny outing and chronicled the date. Off the Between Two Worlds Trail is the Old Farm Road Trail. This trail is a grassy lane with two tire tracks paralleling into the distance. I am happy that there are trail markers. I think how easy

it is for me to get off an elevator and walk in the wrong direction. I also sometimes think that if my car didn’t know the way home, I would get lost more often than I do. On the Old Farm Road Trail, as the sun hits my back, I think of my grandparents—produce farmers who hauled their fruits and vegetables to the Youngstown Farmer’s Market each summer day. This day, I am my grandmother on her farm. I carry a half-full pail of milk for the cats in my left hand and clutch a cabbage, cucumber, and onion in my right, walking away from the barn with my sight on home. I’ve traveled well beyond the blue dome of heaven, beyond this miniature Grand Canyon, beyond a common thought. I’ve had my own adventure afar, basking in the musings of this winter walk. This day, another “something special” happened I thought, as I stroll towards the parking lot and my car. I recognize an acquaintance from years past. She is walking her dog. We both stop, talk, and plan a future walk together (off the interior trails and on dog-friendly paths, of course). I am happy to have a walking companion, in any weather and at any location, but especially at Boyce Mayview Park. n * The Ask Jeeves (now search engine told me squirrels do sleep in tree dens or drays (a nest of leaves and twigs high in a tree). Do squirrels ever fall? Squirrels do fall, but they use their tails as parachutes and when landing they use them as cushions. They rarely get hurt from a short fall, but they can sustain broken bones or severe spinal injuries from an awkward landing. Sources: Ohio State University Extension Service and the Squirrel Place website.

Chartiers Creek, as seen from Beech Valley Trail Photos provided by Walter Jarosh, Township Forester. Winter 2009



Nancy Beaulieu

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Virginia Montgomery, Manager.


Rt. 19 South/Galleria Office

1539 Washington Rd. • Pittsburgh, PA 15228 • 412-344-0500 Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Owned And Operated By NRT LLC.

Hope Bassichis

Jay Clemens

Barbara Cusick

Dal Goldstein

Bonnie Frear

Elaine Krelis

Kathy Sekeras

Lynn Dempsey

Joan Hirsch

Joanne Fibbi

Judy Hlister

Carol Marks

Pete Krelis

Karen McCartney

Deona Miller

Lisa Moeser

Nancy Morgan

Pat Paslowski

Toni Petrucci

Tulla Rakoczy

Stacy Romanias

Jim Walsh

Sandy Wiedt

Mary Wolf

Barbara Boyle, Manager.

South Hills/USC Office

1699 Washington Rd. • Pittsburgh, PA 15228 • 412-833-5405

T Township of Upper St. Clair

Highlights of Board of Commissioners’ Meetings

Ched Mertz

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

June 1, 2009

Approximately 20 people attended.

Karen M. McElhinny

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

Preston W. Shimer 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*

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*

Jay Jones (center) receives his Certificate of Achievement from Commissioner Mertz. Recognitions and Proclamations • Commissioner Mertz presented a Certificate of Achievement to Jay Jones, a senior at Upper St. Clair High School, for winning a gold medal for WPIAL Singles Title for Boys’ Tennis. • Commissioner Orchowski presented a Certificate of Achievement to Elizabeth Kline, a senior at Upper St. Clair High School, for winning two gold medals at the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) Class Triple A Track and Field Championships. She received her gold medals for the 300-meter intermediate hurdle competition and the 100-meter high hurdles, setting school records in the process. The Board • Adopted Bill No. 7-09 granting Fort Couch Middle School, Additions and Renovations–Unified Conditional Use/ Preliminary and Final Land Development. • Adopted Bill No. 8-09 granting Boyce Middle School, Additions and Renovations–Unified Conditional Use/ Preliminary and Final Land Development.

July 6, 2009

• Adopted Bill No.9-09 enacting an amendment to Chapter 125 entitled “Vehicles and Traffic” to add Mayview Road to Schedule XIV: “No parking at any lot or site other than in a parking area.” • Adopted Bill No. 10-09 granting preliminary and final subdivision approval subject to the conditions as outlined. • Approved a traffic calming plan for Clairmont Drive. • At this time, did not approve a traffic calming plan for two traffic calming devices on Truxton Drive. Appointments to Boards and Commissions • Approved the following, each for a three-year term from June 1, 2009 to December 21, 2011: Building and Fire Codes Appeals and Advisory Board— John Rizzi (Alternate) Civil Service Board—Paul Battisti Library Board—Paula Holmes Zoning Hearing Board—Robert Coury

Elizabeth Kline (center) receives her Certificate of Achievement from Commissioner Orchowski.

August 3, 2009

Approximately 3 people attended.

Approximately 10 people attended.

The Board: • Continued public hearing re: PLC08-1301 Amendment to Chapter 130 entitled “Zoning” allowing for additional requirements with respect to Massage Therapy Establishments to the regular Board of Commissioners meeting of August 3, 2009. • Approved revisions to the By-Laws of the Youth Steering Committee, Article Five, Meetings, 5.3 Meeting Quorum. • Approved traffic calming plan for Truxton Drive.

The Board: • Continued public hearing re: PLC08-1301–Amendment to Chapter 130 entitled “Zoning” allowing for additional requirements with respect to Massage Therapy Establishments. • Adopted Bill No. 11-09 to amend Chapter 130 entitled “Zoning” allowing for additional requirements with respect to Massage Therapy Establishments. • Adopted Resolution No. 1500 approving the Five-Year Capital Improvement Program for the years 2010 through 2014.

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. 2009/2010 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 Winter 2009

T W i n t e r

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Dog Owners Please purchase a County license for dogs three months or older by January 1 every year. Applications are available at the Township reception desk. The fines can be up to $300 a day for each unlicensed dog.

Deer Management Update

The Township has partnered with Whitetail Management Associates and contracted with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services to help manage the Whitetail deer population within the Township. Before USDA involvement with USC in 2004, the Township recorded an alltime high number of reported deer vehicle collisions (207). The Township reversed this trend through more aggressive culling efforts and last year saw the reported accidents drop to 87. The deer population in some areas of the Township appears to be normalized. However, due to limited culling opportunities in other portions of the Township there is still significant herd growth, which creates a challenge to reduce the deer vehicle collision occurrences much beyond the current level. The Township has been fortunate to have residents assist the Township efforts by offering private property for the culling programs. Residents who would like consideration for inclusion in private property culling for the Deer Management program should contact Debi Bakowski, Township personnel, at 412-831-9000. n

You are invited to participate in the

Township of Upper St. Clair’s Township of Upper St. Clair’s Christmas Tree Recycling Project! Christmas Tree Recycling Project! Bring your tree, without decorations, to the YMCA upper parking lot January 1-23, 2010. The trees will be ground for mulch for residents’ use.

Please remove all plastic tree bags! For more information, call 412-831-9000, extension 271 or visit

Code requirements concerning animal control can be found on the Township website at

2009-10 Trash and Recycling Holiday Collection Week of Thanksgiving Day Wednesday, November 25 (no change) Friday, November 27 (Delayed one day) Week of Christmas Regular schedule Week of New Year’s Regular schedule

2009 Fall Yard Debris and Leaf Waste Collection—Saturdays

Place your fall yard debris and leaf waste in compostable paper bags, then place the bags at curbside by 6 a.m. the morning of pick up. Collection will take place the following three Saturdays: November 14 and 21, and December 5.

Winter 2009




USC Library Come Together @ the Library Now

Save the Date!

Come Together and help others in our community. • Used ink cartridge recycling program benefits the Multiple Sclerosis Service Society of Pittsburgh. Bring your empty inkjet and laser jet cartridges to the adult circulation desk. • Lion’s Club Eye Glasses collection box, Recycle for Sight, in the lobby of the library, provides usable eyeglasses to children and adults around the world. • The Library Food for Fines program runs December 1-17. Bring in a non-perishable food item or monetary contribution and have current fines waived on overdue library materials. This year, the Food for Fines program will benefit the South Hills Interfaith Ministry Food Bank. Come Together with other library users during the following ongoing library programs. • Conversation Salon. Bring your heart and mind and willingness to enter into the discussion and to listen to the ideas of others. First Friday of the month at 10 a.m. • Library Ladies Book Group. If you love books, and more importantly, you love reading, then this is the group for you! Fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. • Global Happenings: a current events discussion group. Leader Terry Jeggle, visiting scholar at the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, will lead the discussions. Third Wednesday of the month at 10 a.m. Come Together in the Library Multipurpose Room. • This room, on the first floor of the municipal building, is available for non-profit groups looking for a meeting space. Come to the Adult Reference Desk for information on meeting room policies and applications for a use permit. You can also call the library to check the availability of the room. Come Together July quick facts: • 1064 children registered for Summer Reading 2009. • 1274 people asked reference questions and were helped by reference librarians. • 2348 people logged into computer stations in the library. • 4223 children and adults attended library programs. • 17,001 people visited the library, checking out a total of 34,227 items.

Join in for a library luncheon celebrating National Poetry Month on Sunday, April 18, 2010, at St. Clair Country Club and hear award winning poet and featured speaker Dr. Samuel Hazo, founder and director of the International Poetry Forum. Further details will be available beginning in January. Dr. Samuel Hazo

Maintain Your Brain—Use It or Lose It! USC Township Library intends to Use it with a capital “U.” Research proves that there are numerous ways to keep our brains sharp, and that it is never too early or too late to build new brain cells and strengthen synapses. The key to brain regeneration is to stimulate the brain. In follow up to October’s presentation by the Alzheimer’s Association, the library will offer weekly “Maintain Your Brain” activities in the library’s Multipurpose Room. Participants will be keeping their brains healthy through a variety of stimulating activities, including Scrabble, chess, cards, brain teasers, and Neurobics. (A neurobic activity uses the five senses in novel ways to stimulate patterns of neural activity that create more connections between different brain areas.) Call the library for dates and times, then join in!

Music at the Library

Library patrons stimulated their brains by participating in the adult summer reading program.

A chamber group of Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) musicians returned to the USC Township Library for an afternoon of music and discussion on June 26. Musicians Michael Lipman, James Rodgers, Yuko Uchiyama, and Isaias Zelkowicz performed for a large crowd, then answered questions afterward. The program was sponsored by the Education and Community Programs Department of the PSO.

USC Township Library Hours Monday–Thursday 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday 1-5 p.m. Outside book and video return available 24 hours a day, collected daily at 9 a.m.

Holiday Hours • The Library will close early at 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 25, and at 1 p.m. Thursday, December 31 • The Library is closed on the following days: Thursday, November 26; Friday, November 27; Thursday, December 24; Friday, December 25; Saturday, December 26; and Friday, January 1 28


Winter 2009


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ers to help rned Parent, of leveled read Dear Conce uses a system nation ct sig ri de ist r te D let l oo USC Sch ate books. The ri op he pr T . ap ty ith ili sw readab match student imate level of ability: book’s approx levels of read ur fo describes the to in d de vi di 3. is r de ry ea children’s libra eader 1, Reader 2, and R ’s level. ,R s on your child help Easy-Readers you locate book ill w lp he at n th s ca ok ff bo Library sta to find other show you how so al n ca e W ills. sit the rn reading sk hope you’ll vi your child lea to help you! I re he e e’r w Remember, library soon. Sincerely, Librarian Debra Conn,

Fourth and fifth grade participants read in front of an audience during their performances of Bigfoot Cinderella and The Frog Prince, Continued. Participants practiced for five weeks and created their own hats to wear during their presentations.

Many Thanks to the Summer Reading Supporters The library could not offer the Summer Reading program without its supporters! Last summer over 1000 children participated in the Summer Reading and Ready-to-Read programs and benefited from the following business and personal donors: The Friends of the Upper St. Clair Library, Allegheny County Library Association, Allegheny County Department of Public Works/Park Division, Applebee’s, Ardolino’s Pizza, Barnes & Noble, Betsy Ann American Chocolates, Carmike Cinemas, Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Science Center, Chick-fil-A, Dellicarri Family, Eat-N-Park, Giant Eagle, Loafers, Patti Petite Cookies, Inc., Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Norman and Rona Pookman, Rice Enterprises (McDonalds), Senator John Heinz Regional History Center, Starbucks at the Galleria, TGI Fridays, and The Pittsburgh Children’s Museum. Consider being a donor for next year’s programs by providing: • Coupons from local businesses for free items like ice cream or kid’s meals. • Duplicate or unwanted, never-been-used gifts that your child receives for birthdays, holidays, or other occasions. • Small monetary donations.


Upcoming Events and Activities

New! Family Storytime (Children ages 2-7 years of age and parents, grandparents, or caregivers) If you have kids between two and seven years of age, you’re invited to spend a fun evening sharing stories, songs, and games. Active participation by kids and parents is strongly encouraged! Dates: Thursday, November 5, Registration begins Monday, October 19 Thursday, December 10, Registration begins Monday, November 30 Time: 7 p.m. Celebrate Thanksgiving (Children of all ages with a caregiver) Get ready for Thanksgiving by creating great decorations at the library. Parents are encouraged to accompany and assist their children with the projects. Dates: Saturday, November 21–Tuesday, November 24 Time: Library Hours Celebrate the Holidays (Children of all ages with a caregiver) Get ready for the winter holiday season by creating great decorations at the library. Parents are encouraged to accompany and assist their children with the projects. Dates: Friday, December 18–Tuesday, December 22 Time: Library Hours Celebrate the New Year (Children of all ages with a caregiver) Get ready for the New Year by creating some decorations at the library. Parents are encouraged to accompany and assist their children with the projects. Dates: Monday, December 28–Wednesday, December 30 Time: Library Hours Parenting a Reader (Especially for parents and caregivers of first graders) This information session will offer tips for helping your children as they learn to read. Library books, materials and programs, and web-based reading sites will be emphasized. The program will conclude with a quick tour of the library’s children’s floor. “Parenting a Reader” will be presented by Debra Conn, the head of Youth Services. Date and time: Thursday, December 3, 7-8:15 p.m. Registration begins Monday, November 30. 2010 Battle of the Books Typical of every March, the children’s library will once again hold its annual Battle of the Books programs. Children in third and fourth grades are invited to participate with an adult family member. Each team will be faced with the task of reading ten books in six weeks and then coming back to the library to compete in a quiz show style program, answering questions based on the books they have read. This is the fifth year that the library will host a Battle of the Books challenge. Kids in seventh or eighth grades will also be given a chance to showcase their memorization and hand-eye coordination skills in the second annual Teen Battle of the Books. These children can pair up with a friend to “compete” against other readers. Visit the library for further information about these two exciting programs. Winter 2009




Let It Snow—Public Works is Ready

George Kostelich, Jr., Public Works Superintendent of Operations Every year around mid-September, the Public Works Department begins to prepare its fleet of snow removal equipment for one of the department’s largest tasks: keeping USC streets clear of snow and ice to keep traffic flowing safely. Preparing for winter weather involves the installation of salt spreaders and snow plows on all snow removal trucks, building tire chains for the larger trucks, which use them for traction 100% of the time, stocking of all de-icing materials, including 4800 tons of sodium chloride (rock salt), 5000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride, four tons of sidewalk safe de-icer, and approximately 2000 tons of anti-skid aggregate. Public Works, on average, will use 4500-5500 tons of sodium chloride (rock salt) per season to treat USC Township

roadways, state roadways, and school roadways. In addition, the department will use an average of 5000 gallons of liquid calcium chloride, which is added to the rock salt when temperatures dip below 23 degrees. Due to the lack of effectiveness of rock salt at lower temperatures, anti-skid is only used in extraordinary circumstances and on the few bare-maintenance roads located in the community. During a normal snow removal effort (a storm event which requires salting only to remove the snow) Public Works will deploy eight 33,000 GVW dump trucks, seven 17,500 GVW dump trucks, one front end wheel loader, and a crew of personnel to clear the many sidewalks around USC buildings and roadways. During this normal event, Public Works crews will expend an average of 120-150 tons of rock salt

to de-ice the roadways the department is responsible for. Currently, Public Works is responsible for clearing and maintaining a total of 203 lane miles of roadway, including 38 miles which are state owned, but cleared by Public Works under a standard agreement with PennDOT. In addition, Public Works crews are under contract with the USC School District to care for and clear the walkways and parking lots of our six USC schools. The Township is divided into 15 snow removal routes or “wards” that each Public Works driver is assigned to and responsible for. Once loaded with salt, each driver and his truck will move to his ward to complete the salting task. Each ward and driver has a specific and calculated order in which the route is run, with priority roads being

Public Works—the Winter Schedule

Date: Any given winter day. Time: 3 a.m. Event: Your pager goes off (The Township will issue pagers to those employees who wish to have one for their convenience)! It’s the Police Department

notifying you to report for work because it has snowed overnight and the roads need to be salted. You dress, get into your vehicle, and travel to work. Guess what? The roads are covered with snow, no one has salted—they never do—but you still have to get to work! The Public Works Department (PW) has three on-call superintendents who handle snow removal. In a situation when the roads need attention, the Police Department dispatch will contact the on-call supervisor and notify him of the conditions if he is not already aware of them. The supervisor will then instruct the dispatcher to notify all PW employees needed to clear the roads by page or by phone. If the Public Works crews are out early in the morning and it is a school day, the USCSD transportation director is contacted by police dispatch and notified that the PW crews are out, clearing snow off of the roadways. As the morning progresses, the transportation director continues to have direct contact with the PW supervisor 30


concerning the condition of the roads so together they can determine to keep the school day on schedule, delay it, or close it. This decision is ultimately made by the School District. In heavy snow events, some of the priorities change, but not many. PW has the ability to add more trucks equipped with plows to the snow removal fleet to assist in the opening of the roadways. Crews will continue to plow in an extended event for as long as it takes. It’s not uncommon to talk to a sleep-deprived PW employee during the winter months. During extended storm events, drivers will spend a lot of time in their trucks and will stop only for fuel and a quick bite to eat. When they are instructed to come in and get some rest, they know they will soon be back out in just a few short hours to do it all over again. PW employees will average over 40 callouts for snow during the winter season. PW employees with 20 years of experience have endured all types of weather and snowstorms, but none worse than March 1993, when the Township received more than 21 inches of continual snow. Crews worked around the clock for over 36 hours to open roadways and allow residents to move about freely in the Township. However, PW spent weeks afterwards cleaning up the remnants of this particular storm. Winter 2009

So, the next time you reach for the phone to call and report a street or roadway that hasn’t been plowed or salted, please remember: • The crews are most likely already out salting and will be there soon. • They are performing a dangerous job by having to drive on untreated roads. • They always have to drive to work on untreated roadways. • They, too, have family and are concerned about traveling on bad roads. • They miss many holidays, birthdays, and dinners to make sure the roads are safe for you. How You Can Help as a Motorist? • Be patient! Give Public Works employees time to do their job. • Slow down! Most accidents occur when motorists travel too fast for conditions. • Be safe! Remember the driver is not always aware of all the vehicles around his truck. They back up and turn around often; give them some space! n


Public Works employees get ready for winter weather with chains and snow plows.

at the beginning of the route. Are you lucky enough to be at the beginning of the pre-established salting route? From resident feedback, Public Works personnel experience is that every resident seems to be at the end of each ward! n

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, contact the Township’s Public Works Department immediately at 412-831-9000, extension 271.

Winter 2009



T Winter Storm Emergencies Winter storm emergencies are just that—emergencies. The Township of Upper St. Clair’s administrative staff, Police Department, and Public Works Department are on call 24 hours a day to help residents and businesses by making the streets safe. During the winter season, Township residents are asked to be patient and understanding. To help the Police and Public Works Department during storms, the Township asks the cooperation of residents in the following areas:

1. Keep calls concerning snow removal to a minimum. Public Works and Police phone lines need to be kept open for emergency calls only during storm situations. The Township is as eager as you to have the streets cleared quickly. Major roads such as Route 19, Boyce Road, McLaughlin Run Road, Lesnett Road, McMillan Road, Fort Couch Road, and Mayview Road are plowed first as a matter of public safety and for emergency vehicles.

private snow removal. Please refer to the Verizon Yellow Pages. 7. The Township receives numerous calls regarding sidewalks not being adequately maintained during heavy snow periods. Sidewalks with unshoveled snow may cause problems for residents, school children, mail carriers, delivery persons, etc. Chapter 109 of the Township Code states that the standard removal time of snow and ice from sidewalks is within 12 hours after the snow or ice has ceased to fall or be formed. There are several Township-owned sidewalks that are posted “No Winter Maintenance” and are not covered under this ordinance. 8. Please keep fire hydrants clear of snow. They are for your safety.

3. When streets are plowed, snow will be pushed in front of driveways. Unfortunately, there is no other place for the snow to go.



2. Air Science Consultants are available to the Public Works Department on a 24-hour contracted basis and provide periodic advance weather forecasting. 3. Peak traffic occurs between the hours of 4-8 a.m. and 2-9 p.m. Decisions to delay school must be made by school administration by 5:30 a.m. to permit contacting School District personnel.

5. Constant monitoring of road conditions helps the Public Works administration coordinate snow removal actions to ensure total roadway coverage. All snow removal vehicle drivers assist and back each other up to ensure effective roadway salting and plowing.

4. The Public Works Department is not permitted to assist residents by clearing driveways, sidewalks, or paths to mailboxes. Public Works employees work as many hours as necessary to make streets, inlets, cul-de-sacs, sidewalks, and parking lots safe for all vehicles and pedestrians.

6. The Township cannot recommend contractors or companies that provide

1. The Public Works Department must be alert to air temperatures and road surface temperatures. Sodium chloride (rock salt) is effective to about 23° fahrenheit. At temperatures below 23°, road surfaces will require additions of liquid calcium chloride. Traffic causes rock salt to act more quickly, so streets with heavier traffic will show the results of sodium chloride application sooner than less traveled roadways.

4. The Public Works Department minimizes the use of chemicals and anti-skid materials by plowing whenever possible. Generally, accumulations over two inches with additional snow predicted may require plowing as dictated by temperatures and information obtained from Air Science Consultants.

2. Do not shovel or plow snow back into the streets. This is a violation of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code and creates additional traffic safety problems.

5. Under emergency situations, there may be delays or cancellations of garbage collection and recycling pickup. Please do not call the Township during a snow emergency to ask about garbage collection. Until the snow situation is under control, it is impossible to say when garbage collection will be back on schedule. Check Cable 7 or the Township’s website at for information on garbage collection.

Public Works Snow Removal— How It Works

The Public Works Department is on call 24 hours a day to help residents with snow removal emergencies and related situations. During severe snow situations where plowing is needed, the main state and Township roads have priority, which in some cases require residential roadways to be designated secondary priority. Some considerations regarding the snow removal services that you receive as a resident of USC:

Winter 2009

6. Walks will be cleared at the Township building and tennis bubbles as soon as possible. The Recreation Center schedule is checked to ensure clear walkways prior to scheduled activities. 7. Excessive snow may require opening of inlets or location of fire plugs.


Recreation and Leisure Services What’s New? USC Recreation and Leisure Services now offers a variety of programs and classes for all ages. A sampling includes water aerobics, personal training, children’s Yoga, nutrition counseling, senior fitness classes, art workshops, chess for beginners, and swim lessons. Stop by the administration office at the Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park to learn more. Give the Gift of Health When you give the gift of health to family and friends you provide them the opportunity to nourish the body, mind, and soul. You can now purchase gift certificates for the Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park for memberships, programs, and classes. Call 412-221-1099 for more information. Community Wellness Contest The Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park will begin a community wellness contest for USC residents beginning January 1, 2010. The contest will run for the month of January, with the winning team announced February 5, 2010. Stop by the administration office beginning Tuesday, December 15 to learn more and to complete an entry form. To qualify for the contest, you must submit your entry by Monday, December 21. United Senior Citizens of Upper St. Clair Sponsored by the Township of Upper St. Clair Department of Recreation and Leisure Services, the United Senior Citizens meetings are held every Wednesday. Informal activities begin at 10 a.m., including time for members to play cards and to assist with lunch preparation. At 12:30 p.m., there is a short business meeting of the membership, followed by a hot lunch and a planned program. Membership in the organization is open to any resident of USC Township, retired, and 55 years of age or older. Spouses of eligible members may also become members, regardless of age. Questions? Contact Amy Kerman, Older Adult Coordinator for the Township, at 412-221-1099, extension 603. n

Silver Card

Gold Card

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, 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 Community & Recreation Center.

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!

Attention Senior Citizens, age 65 and older: If you would like to register for the ACCESS 65 PLUS shared-ride transportation program or make application for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Senior Citizen Identification Card to be used for the Port Authority Transit system, please contact Amy Kerman, Older Adult Coordinator, Township of Upper St. Clair, 412-221-1099, extension 603. Winter 2009


ediscover your smile.

A smile is a precious thing to share. But for so many who are self-conscious about their teeth, a smile is simply an awkward moment of embarrassment. Damaged, missing, or crooked teeth can rob you of one of life’s simple pleasures. But our advanced cosmetic dental techniques and precision-crafted implants can give you a whole new smile and take away your inhibitions. To learn more about what we can do to put a smile back on your face, simply call and schedule and appointment. It’s a simple way to see what you’ve been missing.

Dr. Steven R. Crandall, DMD can restore the smile of your youth and correct virtually any dental problem. • Replace missing teeth • Relieve headaches • Replace old deteriorated fillings • Relieve jaw muscle and joint pain

• Repair abscessed teeth • Repair gum disease • Correct an unstable bite • Invisalign Provider • ZOOM Whitening

We process all insurance plans. 70 Fort Couch Road, Upper St. Clair (Next to McDonalds, Adjacent to South Hills Village)

412-833-6166 w w w. s t eve n rc r a n d a l l d m d . c o m UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY



A Helping Hand for the REEC

Sara Homol, REEC Program Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator As many non-profits know, volunteers are the heart of any organization. Here at the Regional Environmental Education Center (REEC), we quickly learned the truth behind this statement. During the past few seasons, the volunteer program at the REEC has grown tremendously. At the end of the 2009 summer season our volunteers surpassed all expectations and quadrupled the number of hours that were contributed in 2008! The volunteers at the REEC have contributed in many ways, from assisting staff members during the REEC’s many camp programs, to building a beautiful walkway in one of our native wildflower gardens, to installing a new educational trail. This summer, the REEC welcomed 15 volunteers from McClintock & Associates, P.C, an accounting firm in Bridgeville. These volunteers assisted in our native pollinator garden by painting educational signs, weeding, building toad homes, and constructing a walkway made of stones and ceramics from the old Mayview Farm. Another group of volunteers that visited the REEC this summer was from the Eastern Great Lakes Mission Center Junior High Camp. This group, led by Jeff McLaughlin and Kevin Williams, was made up of junior high students from many areas, including the state of Ohio, as well as Upper St. Clair and Peters Townships. These students worked vigorously picking up trash, working in the gardens, and installing a new educational trail in Boyce Mayview Park. This trail runs through the old Mayview Farm landfill and will be used to teach students of all ages about the consequences of our actions as to how we dispose of our trash and our impact on the environment. David Dameron, a local Eagle Scout, also constructed two bird viewing blinds and wooden benches that are located on this trail. Keep your eyes open for this new trail on the finalized Boyce Mayview Park map. See centerfold. Staff at the REEC welcomes everyone to visit the gardens located next to the REEC office buildings, admire the hard work of our volunteers and the beautiful plants, and to walk the new

trail located next to the outdoor classroom. If you are interested in volunteering for the REEC, contact Sara Homol, REEC volunteer coordinator, at Not up to walking the trails alone? Visit for more information and join in for one of the REEC’s upcoming programs. • Explorers Club Hiking Camp, ages 10-15, will explore the ethics of “Leave No Trace” while we hike the expansive trail network of Boyce Mayview Park. Held Thursdays and Sundays through November. • Seasonal Science Series 15, ages 8-12, will explore the myths and lore that make the late fall season spine tingling! • Orienteering Talk-N-Walk will explain the uses of maps and compasses for finding your way on Sunday, November 15. • Once in a Blue Moon has come again! Join in to celebrate the double full moon in December as the REEC meets on Wednesday, December 2, 6-8 p.m., for family-friendly nighttime adventures, stories, and crafts. • Winter Birding Basics Talk-N-Walk will return on Saturday, December 6 to refresh and renew birding skills in time for the Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, December 19. No previous birding experience necessary. • Girl Scouts, get your mittens ready and be on the look out for our Juniors’, Frosty Fun Day and Brownies’, Winter Fun Day coming in February 2010. n

Andrew, a REEC student, and Ms. Brit, a REEC volunteer, make T-shirts.

Volunteers from McClintock and Associates P.C., left to right, are Logan Mills, Jayme Verslype, Chris Albecker, Sandy Croushore, Heather Ostrowski, Pam Scureman, Pete Evans, Wendy Vietmeier, Bill Fisher, Bruce McClintock, Dale Hartzel, Mary Rueckl, Angie Evans, Clif Chioda, and Chad Dinco with REEC volunteer coordinator Sara Homol. 34


Winter 2009

Brendan finds a leaf.


USCVFD’s Holiday Fire Safety Tips The Upper St. Clair Volunteer Fire Department offers the following safety tips for the holiday season: Trees A holiday Christmas tree is a source of joy; but if you’re not careful, it can also lead to a fire. • Buy a tree whose needles haven’t dried out. • Place the tree away from any heat source such as a space heater or fireplace. • Keep the tree away from exits. • Discard the tree as soon as the holidays are over, and even sooner if it starts to dry out. • Remember, tree fires move fast! Lights Christmas tree lights and other decorations set the theme for Christmas holidays. Below are important points to remember when using them. • Use only lights that have been tested for safety. Identify these by the UL Label from Underwriters Laboratories. • Check each set of lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, and loose connections. Discard any of this equipment that you deem unsafe. • Check labels of lights to be used outdoors to see that they are suitable for outdoor use. Never use indoor lights outside. Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, walls, or other firm support to protect them from wind damage. • Do not overload the circuit with wiring. Use no more than three sets of lights per single extension. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and do not use more than the recommended number of lights in one circuit. • Always turn off lights on trees and other decorations when you leave your home or go to bed. A short circuit in any of this equipment could cause a fire. • Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. Damaged insulation in lighting on a metallic tree could cause the entire tree to be charged with electricity. To avoid this danger, use colored spotlights above or beside a metal tree, never fastened to it. • Keep children away from light sets and electrical decorations. All lights present the problem of shock and casualty hazard for curious kids.

Each December the USCVFD escorts Santa throughout the Township. This year's visit is scheduled for December 12.

Candles • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. • Always use non-flammable holders. • Keep candles away from other decorations and wrapping paper. • Place candles where they cannot be knocked down or blown over. Decorations The trimming of your Christmas tree is a very important part of your holiday festivities. Keep the safety of your family in mind when selecting trimmings and decorating your tree. • When choosing the finishing touches for the tree, purchase tinsel or artificial icicles of a non-leaded material. Leaded materials may be hazardous if eaten by children or pets. If youngsters are a part of your family, take special care to: • Avoid any decorations that tend to break easily, or have sharp edges. • Keep tree trimmings that are small, or have removable parts, out of your child’s reach. Small pieces may be swallowed. • Don’t purchase ornaments that resemble candy or foods. A small child may try to eat them. Wrappings The opening of Christmas presents is always a special time during the holidays. Take special precautions when disposing of the wrappings: • Always dispose of wrappings immediately after opening. • Place trash in a metal container. Don’t burn wrappings in the fireplace, they may ignite suddenly and cause a flash fire. Plan Ahead An emergency could strike your home at any time. Below are a few simple rules to follow to help your family through a crisis. • Keep fire department, police, ambulance, doctor, and other emergency service numbers posted on or near your telephone. • Keep a UL listed multi-purpose fire extinguisher in your kitchen when preparing holiday meals, and know how to use it. n

Winter Fire Safety Tips Each season presents its own home fire safety concerns. In winter, you depend heavily on your heating appliances. Remember to: • Keep your furnace clean and check that the pilot light is working. • If you use a space heater, keep it away from combustible materials. • Make sure the wiring is in good condition. • Have all alternative heating sources, including a wood stove, examined by an expert to make sure they are functioning properly. • Do not use the oven for heating. • Clean and check fireplaces and chimneys regularly.

Winter 2009




Tri-Community South EMS Personnel and the Stanley Cup Gary Lemasters, Paramedic, Tri-Community South EMS

Tri-Community South EMS regularly attends block parties throughout the year as part of its public relations and awareness program. On July 11, 2009, Tri-Community South EMS attended a block party on Siesta Drive in Upper St. Clair, a very special event for everyone on the block. Pittsburgh Penguins senior adviser Eddie Johnston brought the Stanley Cup to Siesta Drive to fulfill a promise to the community. While people were lining up to have their picture taken with the Stanley Cup, Johnston approached the Tri-Community South EMS crew and told them, “You take care of everyone else, now it’s time we take care of you.” He told the crew, EMT Blake Bendel and paramedic Alan Jackson, to come up and be the first ones to get their picture taken with the most coveted trophy in the National Hockey League, the Stanley Cup. n

Blake Bendel and Alan Jackson pose with the Stanley Cup.

TCS Reaccredited by CAAS Tri-Community South EMS

(TCS) has been awarded a three-year reaccreditation from the Commission for the Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) for its compliance with national standards of excellence. The CAAS board of directors voted unanimously to award the accreditation at its quarterly meeting this past June. In April, CAAS evaluators inspected the system’s records, vehicles and facilities, and interviewed personnel. Their inspection showed full compliance with all CAAS accreditation standards. TCS is one of six services in Pennsylvania, and one of very few municipally-owned services in the nation, to achieve this accreditation. The accreditation process is open to all types of ambulance services, including private, fire-based, public authority, municipal third-service, regulated public utility, and inter-facility transport. At present, only 125 ambulance services in the U.S., Canada, and the West Indies have CAAS accreditation. To achieve re-accreditation, TCS demonstrated that its policies, procedures, and documentation continue to meet the

accreditation standards, and that continuous quality improvement processes and accurate data about system performance have helped the system better meet the needs of the community. The accreditation granted to TCS is for three years. This is the longest period for which CAAS grants accreditation, which shows that TCS met or exceeded the most stringent standards in all operational and administrative areas in personnel, equipment, policies and procedures, documentation, and community responsibility. CAAS is an independent, non-profit organization comprising EMS and healthcare experts, established to encourage and promote quality patient care in America’s medical transportation system. The primary focus of the commission’s standards is high-quality patient care. This is accomplished by establishing national standards, which not only address the delivery of patient care, but, also, the ambulance service’s total operation and its relationships with other agencies, the general public, and the medical community. The commission’s standards often exceed

state or local licensing requirements. TCS EMS Director Nora Helfrich said accreditation “represents our firm commitment to our patients and community. We continuously strive to do our best, and we view accreditation as another step toward excellence. Our staff has been key to our successful completion of the process. I think it gives the feeling of prestige and pride to work in an accredited ambulance service. Everyone played a valuable role in our ability to meet the commission’s high standards. We have achieved accreditation, but I believe it is only a stimulus for continued improvement.” Several states now recognize CAAS accreditation as evidence of qualification for state licensure. Pennsylvania does not do this, so TCS has also completed its triennial state licensure inspection. This inspection is conducted by the regional EMS council to insure that the service complies with all state laws and regulations, and that the personnel and equipment meet all state standards. n

Tri-Community South EMS, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Website: Phone: 412-831-3710 36


Winter 2009

T Directory of Important Numbers Police/Fire/Ambulance Emergency

412-833-7500 • 724-941-7500 Township Offices are open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday - Friday Administration/Township Manager 412-831-9000, ext. 216 Community Development 412-831-9000, ext. 501 Finance/Tax – 412-831-9000, ext. 226 Recreation – 412-221-1099 Public Works – 412-831-9000, ext. 271 Public Works Hotline (Emergency After Hours) 412-833-7500 Police Administration – 412-833-1113 Animal Control 412-833-7500 or 724-941-7500 Tri-Community South EMS 412-831-3710 Volunteer Fire Department (Fire Station) 412-835-0660 Library – 412-835-5540 Frequently Called Numbers

Cable 7 (Public Access Television) 412-831-1030 Robert C. Wyda (District Justice) 412-835-1661 League Of Women Voters 412-261-4284 Neighborhood Greetings 412-561-8845 Post Office – 1-800-275-8777 School District – 412-833-1600 Tennis Administration – 412-831-7556 Three-Hole Golf Course 412-831-7556 USC Chamber of Commerce 412-833-9111

Aurie loves her grandchildren. And a hard slap shot through the five-hole. With each new subject he learns,

General Dan teaches us a lesson on life. As a teenager, Dan lied his way into the Army and 36 years later retired as a Brigadier General. He’d learned a lot, taught others all about it, and now he wants to learn more. Since coming to Country Meadows, Dan has begun studying art and comparative religion, volunteers for just about everything, and is generally keeping us whipped into shape around the campus. There seems to be no end to his passion for new knowledge. And with every new subject that General Dan learns, he’s teaching us a lesson about life. At Country Meadows, we have independent living, assisted living and specialized care options to fit the individual needs of most seniors. Like General Dan, every one of our residents is unique. So for many of them, having more choices about how they live makes a world of difference. Call us today or visit our web site for more information.

Utilities & Services

Comcast Cable Communications Sales, Service, and Billing 1-800-266-2278 Allegheny Power – 1-800-255-3443 Columbia Gas Company 724-416-6300 Dominion People’s Gas Company 1-800-764-0111 Equitable Gas Company 412-395-3050 PA American Water Company 412-344-4400 Verizon – 1-800-660-2215 3570 Washington Pike | Bridgeville, PA 15017 | 412.257.4581 A Continuing Care Retirement Community Independent Living | Assisted Living | Memory Care Restorative Care | Skilled Nursing Care | At Home Services Country Meadows does not discriminate in resident admission on the basis of race, ancestry, religious creed, age, sex, handicap, disability or national origin, provided the resident, in the sole opinion of Country Meadows, can be cared for legally and responsibly. CM Gen Dan_USCT.indd 1

Winter 2009

6/29/09 10:09 AM




2010 EMS Subscription Drive

The Tri-Community South EMS (TCS) annual subscription will begin close to the time you receive this issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY. Subscription information will be mailed to each known residence in Upper St. Clair, Bethel Park, and South Park. If you do not receive your subscription mailing by December 15, contact the TCS office at 412-831-3710, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Your subscription to TCS EMS means that should you need medically necessary ambulance transportation, TCS EMS will accept reimbursement from your health insurance carrier as payment in full for the services rendered and you will not receive any direct bill for these services. Non-subscribers must pay the full amount of the invoice, regardless of what the insurer pays. Your subscription helps TCS continue to provide quality ambulance service when you need it, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. TCS EMS is owned and operated by the Municipality of Bethel Park and the Townships of South Park and Upper St. Clair. The system attempts to recover operating costs by billing for services and

Smarter Live

accepting insurance reimbursements, and by conducting the annual subscription drive. In 2008, of the 25,447 households in the service area, only 7095 (or less than 28%) subscribed to TCS. The cost to operate the service is reflected in the fees for service, but insurers generally pay much less than this. If operating costs cannot be recovered by the fees and the subscription drive, the system must take money from municipal tax revenues to make up the shortfall. At present, the system is completely self-supporting, and no municipal tax revenue is being used for EMS operation, nor does TCS receive any revenue from the Local Services Tax enacted in 2005 to replace the Occupational Privilege Tax. Your subscription entitles you to medically necessary emergency ambulance service anywhere in the Municipality of Bethel Park, South Park Township, and Upper St. Clair Township, and also in Mt. Lebanon Township, Dormont Borough, Castle Shannon Borough, Whitehall Borough, Green Tree Borough, Baldwin Township, Baldwin Borough, Pleasant Hills Borough, Brentwood Borough,

Peters Township, Jefferson Hills Borough, and Scott Township. Your subscription covers all family members living at your home address and any guests or visitors at your home. Your subscription also covers pre-scheduled non-emergency ambulance service when medically necessary, when the service meets the requirements or guidelines of your health care insurance provider and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Services that are not “reasonable and necessary” are not covered by your subscription. n Subscribe Now! Your subscription takes effect as soon as payment is received and accepted by TCS. Regardless of the day it is received, it remains in effect through December 31, 2010.


★ Become A Member Today and create memories that will last a lifetime. ★ State-of-the-Art Fitness Certified Personal Trainers  Certified Nutritionist  FREE Fitness Orientations One FREE Personal Training Session  FREE Fitness & Water Aerobic Classes 1/8 Mile Indoor Walking TrackFree WeightsStrength Training & Cardio Equipment Virtual Training Bikes Hammer Strength & Life Fitness  2 Group Exercise Studios

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Celebrate in Style

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Party Rooms available for birthdays, reunions, receptions, corporate events and private parties!

Community & Recreation Center at Boyce Mayview Park 1551 Mayview Road Upper St. Clair, PA 15241 412.221.1099



Winter 2009

Indoor & Outdoor Aquatic Center  Four-lane lap pool  Zero depth entry leisure pools  Interactive water play  Handicap accessible throughout  Resistance Current Channel  Vortex  Whirlpool  Slides

Winter 2009





Winter 2009

Winter 2009





Winter 2009

Traveling with TODAY UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY traveled abroad! Can you spot our community magazine in the hands of students and teachers who traveled to Spain this past summer? Students who went on the trip, alphabetically listed, are Mario Arjona, Jeff Barkas, Layla Bohila, Rachel Boyd, Helene Brandy, Tatiana Bravo, Kevin Christie, Daniel Codeluppi, Jenna Cummings, Dana DiSante, Carrie Dodd, Hannah Gross, Charles Hassenfeldt, Walter Kappler, Sam Klein, Zachary Lammel, Patricia Madden, Carly McCann, Celine Montcerisier, Shannen Murphy, Troy Murphy, Parker Phillips, Sarah Rich, Jillian Rosen, Robert Senge, Daniel Stapor, Madison Stromberg, Carolyn Thompson, Kevin Underwood, Stephanie Verheyen, and Sarah Walter-Slezak.

• Email one digital photo with details to usctoday@uscsd.k12., with “TODAY” listed in subject line. Note: Submitted photos and information will remain on file for upcoming editions until published. n

UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY is proud to travel with you, too! Read to find out how with our “Traveling with TODAY” featuure criteria:

• Clear, close-up photo of USC resident(s) with his or her TODAY magazine in hand. • Digital photo preferred, but hard copy 35 mm also accepted. ° For digital, attach one jpg photo of at least 300 dpi, and send via email, including detail in body of email (see bullet items #3-5 below). ° For 35 mm, attach post-it to back of photo, including detail (see bullet items #3-5 below). • List name(s) of resident(s), group, and specific photo location. • List objective of visit—leisure, volunteer, career, etc. • Include your email address or telephone number should further contact be necessary. • Deliver one 35 mm photo with details to the USC Township receptionist in an envelope marked “USC TODAY,” or

With a group photo taken in front of the Cathedral in Barcelona known as “La Sagrada Familia,” this Roman Catholic church erected in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain in 1882, has been under construction and is not expected to be complete until at least 2026. Considered the master-work of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926), the project’s vast scale and idiosyncratic design have made it one of Barcelona’s (and Spain’s) top tourist attractions for many years. A portion of the building’s interior is scheduled to open for public worship and tours September 2010.

L u m i n a r i a Luminaria have come to represent warmth, peace, and friendliness in Upper St. Clair and draws visitors from far and wide to enjoy our candlelit streets. Order by Friday, December 4. Delivery on Saturday, December 12. Luminaria kits, including 12 candles, bags, and sand, are $10. The luminaria sale is sponsored by the USC Band Parents Association. Proceeds benefit USCHS music department students. For more information, call 412-831-2991, 412-851-1199, or visit

Luminaria Kit Order Form Name: _________________________________________________________ Address: _______________________________________________________ Zip: ___________________________________________________________ Phone: ________________________________________________________ Number of kits _______ x $10 per kit = $ _______Total enclosed Make check payable to: USC Band Parents Association Mail to: USC Band Parents Association 2583 Rossmoor Drive, Upper St. Clair, PA 15241

Winter 2009



P I NEBR I DG E Pinebridge Commons McLaughlin Run Road at Lesnett Road Come by and see what’s new ••••••••••••••••• Carlson Wagonlit Travel Davin Interiors, LLC Design Image Salon Emma’s Market & Deli, Inc. Peter Gialames & Associates Interior Designs by Mary Kay Chaffee Jimcor Associates, Inc. Timothy Kerr, DMD & Romana Pautler Kerr, DMD Larry E. Manalo, DMD Pediatric Alliance

Pediatric Dentistry South Piccolina’s Restaurant Pinebridge Commons Associates Primary Physicians Research Questa Petroleum Co. Eric J. Reitz DMD & Gary J. Yanniello, DMD Richardson Family South Hills Financial Group State Farm Insurance Suburban Dry Cleaners Wininsky Law Offices


for leasing information, please call Pinebridge Commons Associates (412) 220-9288

LARRY E. MANALO, D.M.D. General Dentist & Prostodontic Specialist

Quality Gentle Dentistry for the entire family!

Brighten your smile with


chairside whitening system! “New research indicates that healthy teeth and gums may improve overall health. By receiving REGULAR DENTAL CLEANINGS, diabetes, low birth weight babies, & heart disease may be prevented!”







Graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. Proud resident of Upper St. Clair. Provider of most major insurance plans.

Piccolina’s—Where the Cup Runneth Over

Northern Italian Restaurant “ Come visit with the little one”

Private Party and Banquet Room Al Fresco Dining Expanded Dining Room Reservations suggested Gift Certificates available

Phone (412) 257-1880 Fax (412) 257-2895 1580 McLaughlin Run Rd., Upper St. Clair, PA 15241 Visit our website: 44


Winter 2009

Ed and Debbie Curigliano, owners of Piccolina’s Restaurant at USC’s Pinebridge Commons, wondered why their son, Anthony, was engaged in serious conversation with E.J. and Diane Johnston. They later found out that the conversation was about Anthony’s “need” to see the Stanley Cup. The Johnstons, known for their generosity and kind hearts, were only too happy to grant Anthony’s request. The cup arrived at Piccolina’s on a sunny summer Saturday afternoon to the delight of staff and friends. Photos were taken and the cup was held by all. Thanks to E.J. and Diane for fulfilling many children’s (children of all ages) Ed and Debbie Curigliano, owners of dreams! n Piccolina’s, enjoyed their turn showing off the Stanley Cup.



Let us make you smile!

When was the last time you had that conversation about Life Insurance? Talk to me today about your life insurance needs.

Cindy S Brophy, Agent 1580 McLaughlin Run Rd Pittsburgh, PA 15241 Bus: 412-221-2775

T imothy J. K err , D.M.D. R omana P autler K err , D.M.D.

KK 412-257-4250 Pinebridge Commons Suite 207


Chairside Whitening System

State Farm Life Insurance Company (Not licensed in NY or WI) • State Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company (Licensed in NY and WI) • Home Offices: Bloomington, IL •® P062020 0806

Frozen Pipes and Ice Dams—Cold Weather Culprits Cindy S. Brophy, State Farm® Agent

Have you ever had the misfortune of cleaning up a smelly, wet, and very cold mess on a freezing winter day? Thousands of people suffer through this nightmare every year because of unprotected water pipes in their homes that freeze and break. A more subtle destructive winter wonder is the phenomenon known as “ice damming.” Snow on your roof can lead to ice dams that damage the roof, gutters, walls, interior ceiling, and even items inside the home. There are ways to prevent frozen pipes and ice dams—simple solutions to avoiding the hassles and costs of cleaning and repairing your home.

The Value of Two Minutes Two minutes. That’s about as long as it takes to begin a small trickle of water from your home’s hot and cold faucets and to open the doors of cabinets with water pipes running through them. Two weeks. That could be the length of time needed to find and hire contractors to tear out smelly, water-soaked carpet and wallboard, dry the remaining flooring of your house, and replace all that might have been destroyed by flooding from burst, frozen pipes. An eighth-inch (three millimeter) break in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons (946 liters) of water a day, wrecking floors, furniture, and keepsakes. Spend a couple of minutes taking simple, no-cost precautions to help prevent frozen pipes. The saying “time well spent” is an understatement when you consider the soggy consequences of doing nothing. Here are a few additional tips to protect your home.

• Insulate pipes in crawl spaces and your attic. • Use heat tape to wrap pipes, using only approved products, and only for the use intended (interior or exterior). • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. • Close air vents leading under the house. • Disconnect garden hoses and, if practical, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. What are Ice Dams? After several days of melting-freezing cycles, it’s common for the melted water and ice to work up under the shingles until water enters the attic and eventually causes damage to ceilings, walls, and contents. If an ice dam goes unnoticed for an extended period of time, significant damage to the building and its contents can occur. Take these precautionary steps to reduce the chances of an ice dam forming. • Thoroughly clean leaves, sticks, and other debris from your home’s gutters and downspouts. • Make every effort to keep snow on your roof to a minimum, reducing the chances for both ice dam formation and roof failure due to the weight. Long-handled devices called “roof rakes” let you stand on the ground and pull the snow off the roof. • Keep gutters and down spouts clear of snow and icicles. • Evaluate the insulation (minimum of R-30) and ventilation in your attic. n

See ad on this page.

Winter 2009





8:06 AM

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A rich life begins with a healthy plan. First shoes, piano lessons, top university. When you’re with the right investment firm, there is a security in the idea that whatever the risk, there is a path to the future. Sound, steady financial strategies based on your vision are offered only after a careful review by the professionals at Hefren-Tillotson. In the South Hills, contact one of our Financial Advisors at 412.833.5777 or visit


Hefren-Tillotson Meticulous Wealth Management Summerfield Commons • 2551 Washington Road • Pittsburgh, PA 15241

member SIPC

Your Guide to College Funding Tyler Vallano, Hefren-Tillotson The high cost of college tuition might be frightening at first glance. With tuition costs over the past decade outpacing inflation an average of 4.2% per year for public colleges and 2.4% per year for private institutions, it is important to start saving as early as possible. Before deciding which investment vehicle is best, one must determine if the student qualifies for financial aid. To do this, the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) must be computed. The EFC is the amount that a family is expected to contribute toward the cost of higher education. EFC takes into consideration the income of a family as well as their “reportable” assets. The cost of attendance subtracted by the EFC results in the amount of aid for which a student is eligible. It is important to keep in mind that not all college savings options are considered reportable. Of the assets that are considered reportable, 20% of the student’s and 5.64% of the parent’s

are expected to be contributed to the cost of attendance. The first savings option is to create custodial accounts (also referred to as UGMA or UTMA accounts). These are irrevocable accounts which hold assets for the benefit of a minor until they reach the age of majority (21 in Pennsylvania). This means the custodian will lose control of the account when the beneficiary reaches

this account has on the EFC calculation. Because a custodial account is considered the child’s asset, 20% of the holdings are expected to be used for educational purposes. Therefore, this account would be more beneficial to someone who already does not qualify for financial aid. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts are another viable college savings option. The primary benefits of this type of account are that funds grow taxdeferred and are not taxed when used for qualified educational expenses. These accounts are funded with after-tax money and are also considered as parental assets in the EFC calculation (5.64%) as long as the parent is the account owner. One drawback to the Coverdell accounts is that annual contributions are capped at $2000 per beneficiary. There are income limitations as well ($220,000 per year if married filing jointly or $110,000 per year if single).

It is important to understand all of the options when saving for college education.



the age of majority, giving the beneficiary the option to use the monies for something other than educational purposes. The advantage to the UGMA or UTMA account is that earnings are taxed at the child’s tax rate (subject to the kiddie tax rules). Also, one must consider the effect Winter 2009

LIFE PLANNING Finally, there are two types of 529 plans. First is the Prepaid Tuition Plan. The idea of the Prepaid Tuition Plan is to pay for future college expenses in today’s dollars. The returns on the investments in this account are directly linked to the increase in tuition expenses. Although very safe there is no potential to outpace the rate at which tuition rises. However, the 529 Savings Plan does provide this opportunity by allowing the owner to invest in mutual funds. Along with this upside potential, comes the possibility of losing capital on your investments. Contributions to these accounts by Pennsylvania residents are tax deductible at the state level and grow taxdeferred. Assets then may be withdrawn tax free at the state level, for a Pennsylvania resident, and at the federal level as long as they are used for qualified educational purposes. A ten percent penalty is assessed if the money is used for unqualified expenses and it is taxed at the account owner’s rate. Unlike a custodial account, both types of 529 plans are considered an asset of the account holder and therefore could be beneficial to the EFC calculation. It is important to understand all of the options when saving for college education. Without the proper guidance it is very easy to miss out on the opportunities certain vehicles provide for different financial situations. n

Tyler Vallano is a financial advisor with Hefren-Tillotson, Inc. and can be reached at the firm’s South Hills branch by calling 412-833-5777, extension 5307 or by email to See ad on page46. Winter 2009



LIFE PLANNING A personal, more meaningful approach to financial planning John D. Link, CFP®, MS CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner Whether you’re starting a small business, obtaining life insurance, or sending your kids to college, I can help you plan to reach your financial goals through personal, customized financial planning.

Call (412) 854-4001 today. Home Care • Hospice Care • IV Care We care not only for the mind, body and spirit of patients, but of their family and loved ones too. Contact us anytime, or ask your physician for a no-obligation referral.

John D. Link, CFP®, MS Financial Advisor 2555 Washington Road, Suite 610-B Pittsburgh, PA 15241 (412) 854-4001

412-928-2126 • Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.

Are You Going Broke Paying for Your Kids’ Sports?

John Link, Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. As a parent and keeper of the checkLike many consumer products, book, you have the right and the obligation the price of youth athletics has increased dramatically. Back in the day, kids honed to say “no” if the cost of athletic partheir athletic skills at the neighborhood ticipation is too expensive. Consider the park. In today’s hyper-competitive culfollowing: ture, parks and pick-up games have been • Intramural teams that compete within abandoned in favor of organized sports the community, with fewer practices and teams, camps, and clinics. games and rely on volunteer coaches, When your child first swings a bat or can be a more affordable alternative to kicks a soccer ball, it’s easy to get carried traveling teams. away by dreams of future glory at the high • As a parent, advocate for less rather school level and beyond, and sucked into than more. Do the kids really need new a vortex of increasingly expensive sports warm-ups every year? Can out-of-town obligations. On top of team fees, there’s travel be limited to one trip (or none) often pressure to buy expensive equipper season? ment, pay for private lessons, and attend • Get your child’s team involved in pricey camps. Teams that travel will incur fundraising activities to cover some of costs for chartered buses or plane tickets, the costs. hotel rooms, and meals on the road. And • For every dollar you spend on sports today, invest the same dollar amount the extras—the embroidered sweatshirts, in a college savings plan for your son team photos, post-game celebrations—all or daughter. add up.

• The opportunity to play on varsity teams is reserved for the very best athletes, so discuss with your child the possibility of earning a varsity spot or an athletic scholarship to attend college. Costs aside, there are benefits of athletic participation that you can’t put a price tag on. Sports teach kids important lessons, including teamwork, discipline, and learning to win and lose with grace. Physical fitness is another important benefit. Particularly for girls, participation in sports is linked to lower levels of drug and alcohol use and promiscuity. Make an offensive play for your finances and talk to a financial advisor about what you can afford to put toward athletic participation. A knowledgeable professional can help you to establish a budget for your children’s extracurricular activities based on your current income and savings goals. n

Information should not be relied on without advice of your tax, legal, and/or financial advisors. See ad on this page. 48


Winter 2009

LIFE PLANNING The Case for Career Assessment Bonnie Sandman, PhD, Founder, Insight to Careers, LLC

Change comes about when you become what you are, not when you try to become what you are not. —Arnold Beisser Parents, in an attempt to comfort or encourage their children, may make unrealistic statement like, “Oh, Johnny, you are so smart, you can do anything you want to when you grow up.” In reality, Johnny may not be able to “do anything” he wants to when he grows up. He may have the ability for his “dream job,” but not the personality. Instead of creating comfort and encouragement, such a statement creates a lack of clarity and with it, a lack of grounded vocational direction for students as they approach college or the workforce. Similarly, adults may find themselves wondering what they should “be” when they “grow up.” If your career is not a good match for your true vocational interests, aptitudes, and personality, you will likely not be satisfied in your work. As a parent of a student or an adult considering mid-career change, you need answers to questions like: “What should my major be?” “Should I go to college or vocational school?” “Should I re-train for an occupation I actually like?” “Should I change my career mid-stream?” Vague, unreliable answers and inaccurate results discredit the very real science behind career guidance, and can damage self-esteem. Career direction can be found through matching your interests, abilities, and personality with specific career paths. The field of industrial psychology has developed and tested reliable tools that can help you objectively picture a vocation that fits you. An accurate career assessment considers you as a whole person, evaluating your interests and desires, educational and academic background, leisure and spare time activities, and personality and aptitudes. The more data examined, the more accurate and reliable the results. To start the process of finding a good career fit ask the question, “Who am I?” This includes honestly assessing your likes and dislikes in categories, including supervision in past employment, how you spend your leisure time, academic subjects that engage you (or not), your response to group participation, and the types of work environments you are most comfortable in. Next, research careers that fit who you are. By asking “Where am I going?” you can logically focus on vocational goals—identifying destinations that suit your abilities, personality, and interests. This step includes examination of future job growth in those careers you see as a “fit” and evaluating whether your preparation will lead to a viable future career. Finally, once you have selected several directions in the career world, ask “How do I get there?” Steps include plans for training, experience, and other actions necessary to get you to your career destination. Success in a career does not depend simply on the quality of your education. Career satisfaction is the result of matching different aspects of who you are to career possibilities. By clarifying your vocational “fit” before beginning college, technical training, or graduate school you will enhance your performance in your studies and on your first job. In the middle of a career, career clarity can turn your life’s work from merely a job into a calling. Accurately answering the questions of “Who am I?” and “Where am I going?” will lead to an “aha!” moment that lasts a lifetime. n For more information, visit or contact Dr. Sandman at See ad on this page.

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Winter 2009



SD Upper St. Clair School District Board of School Directors

Amy L. Billerbeck President 412-833-2712 2011*

Angela B. Petersen 412-831-7182 2011*

Harry F. Kunselman Vice President 412-851-1115 2009*

Louis A. Piconi 412-831-1880 2011*

Barbara L. Bolas 412-833-9841 2011*

Carol B. Coliane 412-851-0784 2009*

William M. Sulkowski Rebecca A. Stern 412-221-9516 412-220-0745 2009* 2011* *Date indicates expiration of term.

School District Central Office Administration

Dr. Judy Bulazo Director of Literacy, Assessment, and Professional Development

Jean Toner Director of Human Resources

Frosina Cordisco Director of Finance and Business

Dr. John Bornyas Director of Operations, Community Relations and Special Projects

Ray Berrott Director of Technology

Secretary/Email Address


Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole . . . . . . . . . . . . Mary Ann Stabile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sharon Suritsky . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Donna Faccenda / Cheryl Elison . . . . . Acting Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction/ Supervisor of Special Education Dr. John Bornyas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karen Huckestein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Operations, Community Relations and Special Projects Dr. Judy Bulazo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karen Huckestein . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Literacy, Assessment, and Professional Development Frosina Cordisco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dawn Machi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Finance and Business Ray Berrott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Doreen Leech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Technology Jean Toner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nancy Dunn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Human Resources Eloise Stoehr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Susan Bosco . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Supervisor of Pupil Personnel W. Lee Schafer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Karen Powers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director of Transportation

2201 2266

2204 2204 2220 2211 2286 2283 3450

School District Building Administration

Eloise Stoehr Supervisor of Pupil Personnel

W. Lee Schafer Director of Transportation

Dr. Michael Ghilani ............ Principal of the High School Lou Angelo............................ Assistant Principal of High School Jace Palmer........................... Assistant Principal of High School Dr. William Rullo ............... Supervisor of High School Guidance Joe DeMar ............................ Principal of Fort Couch Middle School John Rozzo............................ Assistant Principal of Fort Couch Middle School Karen Brown ....................... Principal of Boyce Middle School Dr. Ruth Ann Matyuf .......... Principal of Baker Elementary School Mark Miller ......................... Principal of Eisenhower Elementary School Dr. Claire Miller .................. Principal of Streams Elementary School

USC School District website: 50

The 2009 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.

To reach personnel, call 412-833-1600, press 1, enter extension number followed by the # sign. Administrator

Dr. Sharon Suritsky Dr. Patrick T. O’Toole Superintendent of Schools Acting Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction/ Supervisor of Special Education

Frank J. Kerber 412-833-4873 2009*


Winter 2009

SD Raymond Berrott, Director of Technology


Technology continues to expand in our schools.

Many improvements happen behind the scenes to ensure the successful use of technology. This past summer, the Wide Area Network (WAN), which connects the six school buildings and allows USC to share resources throughout the District at a higher capacity, was upgraded. At the building level, computers required a more robust network to take advantage of all the District applications and the Internet. Therefore, network and server upgrades were implemented at each of the buildings to meet this increased demand. Although staff, students, and their families do not actually see this work behind the scenes, the benefits are recognized when using technology resources throughout the District. At the start of the 2009-10 school year, the District joined the Allegheny Connect regional network, a consortium led by the Allegheny County Intermediate Unit. Over the past few years, local school districts had come to the realization that there was a need to start sharing services and applications and to provide distance learning online classes in order to move education and technology beyond school walls and into the 21st century. Through the Act 183 Regional Wide Area Network/ Consortium, all schools in Allegheny County are “connected” through a fiber optic network. The strength of the consortium also allows the District to leverage its buying power to purchase Internet, Internet2, and various other applications. In addition, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) is currently working on becoming part of a statewide educational network, PAIUnet, which will connect all intermediate units across the state. Therefore, when this statewide network is complete, not only will the District have regional connectivity between all school districts in Allegheny County, but also statewide connectivity to all districts in Pennsylvania. USC School District became part of this network at the beginning of the 2009-10 school year. One of the most exciting changes in the past two years has been the Classrooms for the Future program. To date, the District has received $550,000 in grant monies from Pennsylvania to implement this program at the high school. Classrooms for the Future provided USCHS with over six hundred laptops, video projectors, and interactive whiteboards for every math, English, science, and social studies classroom and provided funding for a technology coach to help teachers learn to integrate technology in the classroom. In addition, the grant provided the District with a series of staff development courses. The purpose of the Classrooms for the Future program is to facilitate change in the classroom by teaching and using 21st century skills. Because of the success at the high school, the District implemented its own version of Classrooms for the Future at the elementary buildings. Pennsylvania had no grant mechanism in place for this program at the elementary levels, but the District funded a similar program at Baker, Eisenhower, and Streams Elementary Schools. The District hopes to continue to implement this type of program at Boyce and Fort Couch Middle Schools during the building renovations. This program has been successful because of the fundraising successes of the PTAs,

the support of USC School District Superintendent Dr. Patrick O’Toole, and the funding commitment made by the USC School Board of Directors. Google Apps At the end of the 2008-09 school year, the District’s technology department began the first phase of implementing Google Apps into USCSD. Google Apps provides users with: • Gmail, a powerful email program that includes several gigabytes of Google storage per person. • Google Chat, an instant messaging application. • Google Calendar, a robust electronic calendar to schedule meetings, create events, and share calendars with others. • Google Docs, a suite of applications that allows users to create and share documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online with many other users and allows multiple users to collaborate on the same document at the same time. • Anywhere Access, which provides all users with access from any Internet connection to those documents created or uploaded to their Google account. Another significant addition to technology came about through a grant from State Senator John Pippy’s office. USCSD now has a dedicated video conferencing room at the high school, which is part of the District’s Asian studies initiative. Currently, the video conferencing room is used in conjunction with the Chinese foreign language classes and in partnerships with other school districts. Many other projects and activities are being planned for this room, including various high school courses and staff development alternatives. … and More Other major technology projects for the 2009-10 school year included laptop carts for Baker, Eisenhower, and Streams Elementary Schools and Boyce Middle School, new classroom computers for all second, third, and fourth grade classrooms, computer lab upgrades at USCHS, and networking infrastructure improvements at all schools. USCSD added the School District cable station to Verizon Cable (Channel 41). Because of this, the technology department updated the television production studio to accommodate the broadcasting of the two cable stations: Cable 41 (Verizon) and Cable 19 (Comcast). At Baker, the wireless infrastructure was upgraded to allow for full building coverage and more capacity. At Boyce and Fort Couch, Edline, a student/parent portal that provides assessment data, attendance information, homework assignments, and the sharing of information from the classroom to the home, was introduced. In addition, the use of online learning through BlendedSchools and Blackboard was expanded District-wide. The USCSD technology department continues to work diligently to improve the technology capabilities available to USC students and staff. For further information on technology at USCSD, contact Raymond Berrott, Director of Technology, at n

One of the most exciting changes in the past two years has been the Classrooms for the Future program.

Winter 2009




USCHS Halls of Fame— Celebrating Ten Years of Excellence

The date was October 13, 2000, and 30 individuals with ties to Upper St. Clair and its high school were honored for their achievements in the areas of academics, arts, and athletics as the inaugural class of Upper St. Clair High School’s Halls of Fame (HOF). Since then, over 200 men and women, including the 12 members of this year’s class, have been inducted, all meeting the HOF mission statement of “distinguish(ing) themselves in academics, the arts, or athletics at the high school, collegiate, or professional level and who, in so doing, have contributed to the pride and prestige of Upper St. Clair High School.” HOF steering committee academic chair Jane Hollman, a 2002 Academic Hall of Fame inductee, said that the Halls of Fame is a personal source of inspiration. “The students we have taught and the incredible contributions they have made in the world are amazing to me.” While Hollman has been involved with the HOF since its inception, she said the driving force and creator was athletic chair Jim Render. “We would not have had a Halls of Fame if not for Jim,” she said. Ten years later, Render’s comments about the first HOF induction in 2000 have almost a prophetic ring. “This inaugural year is just the first step in recognizing worthy candidates from four decades and honoring them,” he said. Jim Bennett, 2003 Arts Hall of Fame inductee and HOF arts chair, listed three reasons that the Halls of Fame are important. “First, people who are inducted into the Halls of Fame have done something important in one way or another, be it Broadway, medicine, or sports. Second, it inspires our current students to achieve more, to see that the goals they set can be reached. And third, it acknowledges the role our School District plays in helping our students achieve success.” For those who are curious about why it is “Halls of Fame,” rather than “Hall of Fame,” it has to do with showcasing the three areas for which Upper St. Clair is renowned: academics, arts, and athletics. When you enter the High School through one of the building’s three archways, one of the first things you see is a plaque listing the inductees in that particular Hall of Fame. Lou Angelo, USCHS assistant principal and chair of the HOF steering committee, sees the Halls of Fame as a way of making connections—connections

An afternoon luncheon was served for past and present Halls of Fame recipients where they met with school administrators and students. 52


between current inductees, between current and past inductees, between inductees and the community, and, most importantly, between inductees and students at the high school. Angelo explained that the high school students have always been a part of the HOF festivities: taking inductees and their families on tours of the school, performHalls of Fame recipients were introduced ing during the reception to the student body at a pep rally. prior to the induction ceremony, and escorting the HOF inductees on to the football field as they are honored at the school’s home football game. Angelo said the last few years he has felt what has been missing is a connection between the inductees and the current student body. “Our inductees are tremendous people and leaders who can have an incredible impact on our kids.” With the goal of making those connections between the inductees and students, this year’s HOF inductees were invited to the school to speak, sharing their life experiences, opportunities, and challenges with the students. Six of the ten inductees who were at USC for the HOF ceremony on October 2—Arlene Brown Baratz, Julia Scheib Martin, Christina Greenwell Mullins, Anne B. Newman, Dr. Terrence Kushner, and Douglas Harmon— also spent the day at the school speaking to students in either a classroom setting or a large group session. HOF inductees were each paired with a student host or hostess considering a similar career as the inductee, giving each of them a chance to make a one-on-one connection with a student. The inductees also got to spend time getting to know each other at a special luncheon at the school, as well as relive the time honored tradition of a homecoming pep rally. “We’re trying to bring the Halls of Fame to life and give it meaning for the students,” said Angelo. “If you don’t bring it to life, it’s just a plaque on the wall.” As USC’s Halls of Fame moves into its second decade, Angelo is investigating options to establish and implement a HOF scholarship fund. “I see this as A formal Halls of Fame reception was enjoyed a wonderful opportunity to supby the many that attended. port our students’ endeavors as they strive to become halls of famers themselves.” Building connections with some of Upper St. Clair’s best and brightest of the past, the District’s current students are positioned to lead well into the future. n

Winter 2009

2009 Upper St. Clair High School Halls of Fame


Twelve of Upper St. Clair’s finest were honored on Friday, October 2 at the tenth anniversary of the Upper St. Clair High School Halls of Fame. The newest members of the Halls of Fame were individually recognized during pre-game festivities before the Upper St. Clair football game against Canon McMillan. It is with great pride that we recognize the following inductees of the 2009 Upper St. Clair High School Halls of Fame.

Arts Hall of Fame

Academic Hall of Fame

Douglas Roth

Arlene Brown Baratz

Christina Greenwell Mullins

Melanie Brown Fukui

Anne B. Newman

Dr. Terrence Kushner

Vida Tyc

2009 USCHS Halls of Fame Academic

Student Alumni Honorees Arlene Brown Baratz (1976) Melanie Brown Fukui (1978) Julia Scheib Martin (1997) Christina Greenwell Mullins (1996) Anne B. Newman (1973) Vida Tyc (1978) Administrative/Staff Honorees Dr. Terrence Kushner

Julia Scheib Martin

Rhonda Schaffler Advice to USCHS students from the 2009 Halls of Fame inductees: nt in life. Decide what you wa "Do what makes you happy ing giv r eve out ing you have with and go after it with everyth the tacles you encounter along obs ny ma how up, no matter way.” —Leigh Sulkowski

“Your attitude influences and determines much of what you accomplish, both in school and in life. Make every effo rt to learn from your mistakes and failures and respond positively to setbacks, which will lea d to new opportunities and learning experiences.” —Julia Sch eib Martin

Athletic Hall of Fame


Student Alumni Honorees Douglas Roth (1988) Rhonda Schaffler (1981)


Student Alumni Honorees Douglas Harmon (1981) Chris McIntyre (1994) Leigh Sulkowski (2002) (Year in parentheses indicates year of USCHS graduation)

Douglas Harmon Winter 2009

Chris McIntyre

Leigh Sulkowski




Middle School Renovations Approved

Dr. John Bornyas, Director of Operations, Community Relations, and Special Projects “Although we can’t know exactly how such [educational] trends might play out in the future, their thoughtful consideration during the planning and design process could have a profound effect on how successfully a new or renovated school will perform over its useful life.” —Kenneth R. Stevenson, College of Education, University of South Carolina In the Report Card for American Infrastructure produced by the American Society of Civil Engineers (2009), construction spending on American schools grew from $17 billion in 1998 to a peak of $29 billion in 2004, with a decrease in spending thereafter. Since there has been no comprehensive federal report since the U.S. Department of Education’s report Condition of America’s Public School Facilities:1999, the best estimate to bring the nation’s schools into good repair from the National Education Association is $322 billion: $268.3 billion for infrastructure and $53.7 billion for educational technology. In front of this national backdrop, the Upper St. Clair Board of School Directors approved actions during the month of August 2009 to renovate and modernize both Boyce and Fort Couch Middle Schools, completing the District’s infrastructure modernization efforts that started with the Upper St. Clair High School renovation project (1997 to 2000) and continued with the elementary school renovation projects (2002-2003). A comprehensive modernization of both District middle schools will be directed under a design/construction team consisting of Graves & McLean Architects, providing design and architectural services, and P.J. Dick, Inc., providing construction management services. The process started in May 2005 with Graves & McLean being appointed by the Board of School Directors to update the District’s feasibility study and Districtwide assessment. From the facility issues and options related to the middle school buildings provided by Graves & McLean in its final report, District leadership began in 2007 the process of investigating the educational trends that would impact any educational facility

design. Issues related to school mission, grouping, program choice, technology, special education, and whole child educational practices were reviewed related to facility needs, with the major objective of ensuring that any project would result in facilities that will perform successfully over their useful life. This early work was refined through an educational specification design process conducted by DeJong in April and May 2008. This organization, which specializes in providing educational planning services, was the same company used during the educational specification process for the high school renovation. This time around, DeJong’s work in the District included two key components: middle school educational specifications labs that included participants that represented a broad cross section of the community including teachers, administrative staff, parents, school board members, and community members; and a community workshop and dialogue session attended by over a hundred people. In June 2008, the middle school educational specifications were approved by the Board of School Directors and delivered to Graves & McLean with the direction to execute final architectural and engineering designs for both middle schools. By December 2008, the District had complete designs and estimated costs for the projects. These designs fulfilled the primary requirements identified through the educational specification process. • Provide a transitional learning environment that ensures a sense of belonging and a personalized educational experience for each middle level learner. • Provide facilities spatially organized to serve the middle school program. • Incorporate construction mythology that has a high degree of flexibility to accommodate future program changes. • With the start of 2009, economic realities were beginning to build a construction and lending market that would contain favorable conditions for the District as it proceeded to bid the

Boyce today

Furturistic Boyce 54


Winter 2009

projects during the summer months. On August 3, the Board of School Directors reviewed bid tabulations that contained savings of 17.5% compared to estimated costs for the Boyce Middle School project and savings of 24.5% compared to estimated costs for the Fort Couch Middle School project. On the financial side, the District would be able to use Build America Bonds (BABs) associated with American Recovery Act to fund the projects. The original millage impact of the projects was estimated at 1.92 mills. Using a combination of funding from BABs and tax-exempt bonds, this impact was reduced to 1.6 mills. By the start of the 2011-12 school year, students attending any school site in the Upper St. Clair School District will be attending a school that was renovated within the last ten years. This fact bucks the national trend of a decline in maintaining

school facilities and reinforces the Upper St. Clair community’s commitment to continuing the strong tradition of supporting excellent educational programming. Although school facilities are only part of the formula for successful educational programming, research indicates that districts with updated, attractive facilities maximize energy for learning and enhance the learning experience of every child. n

Fort Couch today

Futuristic Fort Couch

“Faces of the Fort”— Caring for the Whole Child

Joe DeMar, Fort Couch Principal, John Rozzo, Fort Couch Assistant Principal As children embark on the challenging transition to middle school, it is paramount to be aware of the needs of the whole child, especially since one of the primary goals of the Upper St. Clair School District is to educate the “whole child.” Fort Couch Middle School remains supportive of the District’s goal, as it has implemented a student recognition system which encompasses various characteristics of its students. The recognition was devised by a committee of teachers and administrators seeking to recognize children for their successes, not limited to academics. The recognition is known as “Faces of the Fort.” Each month, Fort Couch teachers nominate two students from each of the six academic teams for this recognition. The teachers adhere to the following five criteria when selecting student representatives: • Overall effort. While the staff encourages outstanding academic performance, this award recognizes the student who puts forth quality effort each day at school.

• Citizenship. The student should consistently demonstrate good citizenship. • Progress. The student may be recognized for academic, social, or behavioral progress. • Attitude. The student should always display a positive attitude. • Feedback from other teachers. Before finalizing representatives, teachers communicate with the student’s other teachers, to ensure consistency in all settings. Each nominated “Face of the Fort” student has his or her photo taken, which is then placed in the “Faces of the Fort” display case located outside the main office at Fort Couch, as well as on the Fort Couch website. Additionally, each student receives a certificate and a letter that is sent home to his or her parents. Fort Couch Middle School is nationally recognized as a pioneer for its work and accomplishments in meeting the needs of the “whole child.” n

Winter 2009





District Schools Receive Highmark Grants

Upper St. Clair students are on the road to good health habits, thanks in part to Healthy High 5 School Challenge grants awarded to several of the District’s schools. Highmark Healthy High 5 is a five-year, $100 million children’s health promotion initiative of the Highmark Foundation. Striving to improve the health of our children, Highmark Healthy High 5 promotes lifelong, healthy behaviors in young people ages six to 18 to help them grow physically, mentally, and emotionally in the communities served by the Highmark Foundation. Schools that applied for this grant were asked to address one or more of the following topics: nutrition education or services, opportunities for physical education or activity, self-esteem, or bullying prevention. Grants were then awarded to schools based upon the merits of the proposal and were eligible for as much as $10,000. Upper St. Clair High School’s proposal, submitted by physical education teacher Shawn Morton, was to purchase cardio equipment with the future goal of opening a cardio fitness center at the high school, which would eventually include treadmills, stationary bikes, and elliptical steppers. Currently, students are learning about the importance of aerobic exercise and how to monitor their intensity and duration through the use of 65 heart rate monitors that the school has. Because the school lacks indoor aerobic equipment and has limited opportunities for aerobic activities during the winter months, the wellness department wants to expand the curriculum and purchase equipment so students can continue to increase their cardio endurance. Highmark Healthy High 5 awarded the high school $9960, money the wellness department used to purchase at least 12 spinning bikes that will be used during the winter months. Combined with the heart rate monitors, the equipment will allow students more opportunities to focus on cardio endurance through aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Outcomes will be assessed on students’ cardio endurance improvement through use of the heart rate monitors and the physical fitness mile run test. Students will learn the benefits 56


of aerobic exercise and will be challenged to “build up time in their target zone” through aerobic activity. Morton said USCHS principal Mike Ghilani and assistant principals Lou Angelo and Jace

Palmer were very supportive of moving ahead with the grant and in making the program changes to incorporate the new equipment. Baker Elementary physical education teacher Carolyn Idler submitted a proposal that focused on increasing the physical activity and cardiovascular endurance of her students, earning Baker a $9349 grant from the Highmark Foundation. Idler, the first Upper St. Clair teacher to apply for the Highmark grant, said she and the District’s other elementary physical education teachers found out about the program while observing a teacher in another district. Idler’s purchases were different from that of the high school, in part because of the ages of her students, and in part because of the limited storage space at the elementary school gyms. Purchased with the grant money were two treadmills, a Dance, Dance Revolution (DDR) system (including two tournament metal dance pads and 14 training pads), and two Wii Fit bundles (including Wii system, Wii Fit, Wii Balance Boards, and various fitness games). By purchasing the equipment, Idler hopes to improve the health and overall wellness of her students, especially in the areas of physical activity and cardiovascular endurance. She also hopes to improve her students’ self-esteem through physical activity. Idler explained that some kids are afraid to try different activities in a group setting, but learning the movements and fundamentals on a Wii can help them build their confidence. She plans on evaluating their progress through various Winter 2009

cardio tests, like the shuttle run or how long they can do DDR. Idler started using the new equipment in October, setting it up in stations so students can rotate through the various activities. “They’re really excited,” said Idler. “I had the equipment out the first week of school and all the kids were saying, “Oh my gosh, I can do that!” Every day they were asking, “Are we doing it today?” Eisenhower physical education teacher Carol Olack experienced a similar reaction from her students, as well as a lot of positive feedback from parents. Olack’s grant proposal included comparing each student’s BMI (body mass index) over a period of time, with the help of the school nurse. Equipment purchased for Eisenhower with the grant money included three treadmills, one recumbent bike, and a DDR system with 24 training pads. “We want them to realize that it’s fun to get in shape,” said Olack. Olack plans to use the equipment as a warm up for other activities or as stations during a gym class. Important for students is that they learn to use the equipment correctly. Olack said the equipment could also be used as an alternate activity for students who might not be able to participate in a regular class activity. She said a student with a broken arm could possibly walk on the treadmill rather than having to “sit out.” Studies illustrate that the health habits children develop at a young age continue with them through adulthood. These grants will help to support Upper St. Clair’s efforts in introducing programs that will ultimately lead to healthier, more successful adults. Streams Elementary, and Fort Couch and Boyce Middle Schools are in the process of applying for the grant. n


Pantheon Choir Celebrates America

What better way for a music director to start the school year than to learn that her choir was chosen to perform on national television? Lorraine Milovac of Upper St. Clair High School certainly had her work cut out for her after receiving the honor of preparing the Pantheon Choir to sing in composer Tim Janis’ prestigious program “Celebrate America” on the PBS network. A strong believer in the uplifting and mesmerizing power that music creates within the soul, Tim Janis has been able to share his musical passion as a conductor, musician, and composer with people and organizations all over the world. Music legends such as Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and Maya Angelou all lent their artistic genius to Janis’ most famous project, a CD entitled “Music of Hope” which made its way to number one on Billboard magazine’s classical chart eight years ago. “Celebrate America” is a program designed to feature talented choirs and musicians all over the nation in cities, including Nashville, Detroit, Albany, and Dallas. The music is that of Janis’ own arrangement of classic American songs, including “America the Beautiful” and “This Little Light Of Mine.”

Imagine the excitement that ran through the minds of the high school’s choral students when they heard the news! In a heartbeat, the choir began practicing “Shenandoah,” their selected piece of music for the program. Lorraine does not take for granted her time with her students or their preparation. “Every year, I expect the new choir to be the best one of my career,” she says. “It has to be a shared vision. If the choir shares that vision with me, we will succeed.” And, so, for the 50 minutes of class time everyday, the Pantheon Choir dedicated their full focus and energy to the complexities of “Shenandoah” as well as their other classical material. After tightening their tones and perfecting their pitches, the students felt more than prepared to let their vocal talents shine through the television screen and touch the lives of others with whom they share that same fascination and devotion towards the power of music. Support the USCHS Pantheon Choir and watch Tim Janis’ amazing project “Celebrate America” when it is aired on WQED. Hopefully the positive message of music’s profound impact will serve as inspiration to all those who watch. n


How to Help with Box Tops for Education?

Box Tops for Education helps schools, kindergarten through eighth grade, earn cash for things they need, from books and computers to playground equipment. The program, which started in 1996 when General Mills launched Box Tops for Education in California for Big G cereals like Cheerios®, Total®, Lucky Charms® and other family favorites, has reached the $250 million mark in 2008 and continues its tradition of making a difference for schools, teachers, and students nationwide. All five of USC’s eligible schools, Baker, Eisenhower, and Streams Elementary Schools, and Boyce and Fort Couch Middle Schools, are registered and have together earned more than $40,000 since entering the program in 2002. The amount each school earns goes directly to that school for educational products.

How can you help? You can clip the 10¢ Box Tops coupons from hundreds of your favorite products and have your child or grandchild take the box tops to school for collection. You don’t have a family member enrolled in USC’s elementary or middle schools, but still want to help? No worries! As a resident of USC who supports our schools, you can clip and personally take or mail the box tops to any of the school building offices or give them to a neighbor who has children enrolled in USC’s elementary or middle schools. The Box Tops program is a great way to support our schools by providing purchasing power for educational products used in the classroom. n

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For more information, visit Winter 2009




Pawprints A USC PTA Council Highlight of Our Schools

PTA Council

The PTA Council is the umbrella organization that provides leadership and coordination for all the PTAs in our School District. PTA Council holds its meetings on the first Wednesday of the month in rotating locations. View the District website at for more information on times and locations. The meetings provide a wealth of information. The presidents of all the unit PTAs report on dates and issues at their schools, Superintendent Patrick O’Toole provides a School District overview, and there is usually a School Board director who provides board updates. In addition to focusing on communication and coordination, PTA Council also: • Publishes the USC Student Directory. • Develops and maintains the Constant Contact email list for communicating with parents. • Provides information and support for parents of gifted and academically talented students through the GATE Committee. • Provides support to families of Special Education students through “Partners In Education” program (PIE). • Presents “Topics in Parenting” programs (TIP). • Provides an annual appreciation breakfast for the District’s central office administrators and staff. • Helps coordinate the new family welcome event with PTSO. • Conducts, with the League of Women Voters, the School Board Candidate Forum. • Provides District-wide training for the PTA officers. • Coordinates and maintains consistency for all the PTAs in the District. Last year, parents volunteered for more than 250 PTA committees District-wide and invested close to $145,000 in our schools. Consider becoming involved with the USC PTA Council.

High School

USCHS offers the opportunity for students to meet with college admissions representatives during the school day in an individualized or small group meeting session. The College Representative program, organized by the Counseling Department, allows students to get a private introduction to a school that interests them. Representatives begin their visits during the second week of September and continue through late November. Students are generally given an overview of the college and then can obtain more in-depth information regarding tuition, studies of interest, extra-curricular activities, and school size. There are generally two or three different school representatives scheduled each day. If parents or students have questions regarding this program, call the counseling office at 412-833-1600, extension 2293. To view the college visitation list, visit, click “USC High School,” then “Counseling Department,” and then “College Visitation.”

Fort Couch

Fort Couch had a great start to the year with a wonderful welcome back breakfast for the teachers. Students have enjoyed socializing and getting to know each other at their first two socials for the year. Many of our seventh and eighth graders had a wild time on the Cedar Point/Castaway Bay trip in October. The entire school is 58


Winter 2009

fired up and working hard for their annual Reach Out Project and Caught You Being Good.


Boyce PTA was busy before school started this year, handing out bookmarks with the Boyce PTA website URL and the PTA meeting schedule for the year to students who came to the school to pick up their schedules. New this school year, the Boyce PTA initiated $25 student dues as its major source of funding. In addition to providing program support, student dues provide each student with a binder reminder, a spiral bound planner for students to keep track of classroom assignments. The change was made for several reasons, including the increased cost of the sixth grade Deer Valley Earth Warden trip. In recent years, the Sally Foster fundraiser has raised less and less money directly for the PTA, although it continues to enable many students to cover the cost of the trip. The previous system of taking $20 for the PTA off the top of each student’s profits was confusing, and because the fundraiser is not mandatory, it was not an equitable way to collect what were essentially student dues. On September 1-4, the PTA sponsored the annual breakfast with the teachers, where parents and students were invited to join their teachers for breakfast in the Nutrition Center. September 3 was the kick off for Sally Foster gift wrap sales fundraiser. September wrapped up with the Scholastic Book Fair on September 16 and 17, coinciding with the Boyce Open House. Many changes are in store at Boyce this year with the beginning of a two-year renovation project. Earth moving has begun, and several classrooms have been moved from the main building into nearby trailers. While there are some challenges, it is an exciting time to be at Boyce!


The Baker PTA was busy this August with a new family welcome for the families of 12 new students. Also starting their first year at Baker this year were 80 kindergarten students. Moving into September, the PTA’s evening member event was a huge success, with 63 people attending. Thanks go out to the IB students and their parents who provided childcare in the gym during the event. Another September highlight was the combined assembly with Eisenhower on bullying. October brought the first annual Baker Bonding luncheon at The Club at Nevillewood, a chance to welcome new parents and visit with returning Baker parents. November is PTA Healthy Lifestyles Month; watch for information on a Baker family event related to this topic.


This August, Eisenhower welcomed new families and incoming kindergartners to the school at a special breakfast. The teachers and staff were also welcomed back to school with a PTA-sponsored luncheon. The membership, school directory, and homeroom volunteer committees were busy during September, as were those who helped with the fourth grade breakfast. September concluded with a book fair and Open House.


Streams welcomed 37 new families on August 25 at the new family welcome breakfast. Twenty student volunteers took the new children on personal tours of the school, finishing by enjoying popsicles on the playground. That evening, there was a PYP new family meeting. On September 4, Streams offered “PTA 101” for those new to Streams or PTA. The program introduced people to what Streams PTA does for our students and, of course, how they can help with PTA. September finished with the homeroom parent meeting, picture day, and Open House. To keep Streams families updated on PTA happenings, Streams administration has been working hard on updating its website and sending out an e-bulletin through “Constant Contact.”

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Partners in Education (PIE) 2009-10 Schedule*

Partners In Education (PIE) is a PTA/PTSO organization that offers support, education, and networking opportunities for parents of special needs children. PIE promotes understanding between educators and parents. For more information, contact Lisa Merchant at 412-257-4016. • Differences between High School and College (multiple speakers) Thursday, November 19, USCHS LGI, 9 a.m.-noon • Coffee with PIE Tuesday, January 19, Giant Eagle Market District Community Room, 9 a.m.-noon. • Classroom Strategies for Children with Learning Disabilities Debbie Eskamen, Parent Education and Advocacy Leadership Center Tuesday, April 20, USCHS LGI, 7 p.m. (following the 6:30 p.m. general meeting) PIE Book Fair and Cheesecake Sale (to benefit Assistive Technology Fund) will be held at Barnes & Noble, South Hills Village, November 21, 2009, and May 21- 23, 2010. Look for PTA/PTSO “Constant Contact” reminders.

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Together in Parenting (TIP) 2009-10 Schedule*

Together In Parenting (TIP) is a PTA committee offering support and education on challenging parenting issues. For more information, contact Aliceson Yates at 412-308-6877. • Development and Discipline: Getting the Behavior You Want Without Being a Parent You Hate! Dr. Deborah Gilboa, Family Medicine Physician and Assistant Professor, Dept. of Family Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Sue Berman, PhD, ProParent. Wednesday, October 21, USCHS Theatre, 7-9 p.m. • Preventing Neck Injuries and Concussions in Youth Sports Dr. Tyson Swigart, Chiropractor and Sports Physician, Southpointe Chiropractic and Fitness Youth & Family Centered Services/Southwood Hospital Monday, February 22, Community Recreation Center, 7-9 p.m. • Sexting and Texting Mary Jo Podgurski, Washington Hospital Teen Outreach April 2010, specific date, time, and location to be determined. *All meeting location and times are subject to change. Check “Constant Contact” reminders.

Questions about PTA or PTSO? Call Liz Hall (PTA Council President) 412-851-1757 or Tina Seech (PTSO President) 724-462-3724 or Winter 2009




Did You Know?

Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Did You quirements teer ReKnow? Unsung HeroKnow? New Visitor and Volun sys tem e dg ba The e, 200 saf 9 ls ING oo Uns sch ung Heroes Award ep ou r was presented to USCHS Did Know? Did You Know? To he lp keYou inscience teacher Monica Erwin for t have been revised. Beg tric Dis the her proj for ect titled “Physiology es lin ide gu Und unteers are now erstanding WeeYou Did You Know? Did Know? k.” The project, designed itors and vol for ninth grade biology ning October 1, 2009, vis n to District pert photo identificatio stud ents , uses a cross curricular Did You Know? Did You Know? required to presen r untee vided with a visitor or vol app roac h to prom ote lifel ong sonnel prior to being pro or nse r driver’s lice Did You Know? Did You ng along you healthKnow? and wellness. Monica rebadge. Don’t forget to bri it the schools. vis to n pla you if m ceiv for ed ID a plaque, a media package, oto ph other Did You Know? Did You Know? and a $2000 check to be used for her scie Did You Know? Did You Know? nce curriculum. Did You USC Stands Pa Know? Did You Know? cked with Pink Girls Volleyball Did You Know? Did You Know? invite d everyone to he out breast canc lp spike er as they hosted a Did You Know? Did You Know? the Cure Volley for le Link to Dr. O’Too took on Mt. Le match on Monday, October 5. any of the exciting m ba U s no SC nd te n beginnKnow? Did Did You Know? ing with the ’Toole as he at O followed You . tenDr in Jo by the Varsity JV match, Click on “Superin match. Both te e School District. Know? cial pink You the on ams wore spen io events in thYou ct Did Know? Did and white jers se uick Links” “Q eys, played w e th r de un and encouraged ” s a nk ith a pink ball, dent’s Li everyone to coKnow? It’ www.usKnow? at ge Did Did You pa m b e team. TheYou we ou in g t’s t in ic and support th Distr volleyball team ’s happen e more about what sold special Vo rn lea Cure fan T-shir to y wa t grea lley for the ts with procee Know? Did You Did You Know? ds going to th Komen Founda our schools. e Susan G. tion. Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Information onKnow? Hoagie Time the H1N1 Virus talists en um str in d an While the members Pennsylvania DepKnow? ndKnow? Ba g in Did You Did You artm ch to ent of Health awaits recar ies M r ag he ho famous USCHS Pant ommendations from the CDC regardin gust making their Au st t pa en g preparation for H1N1, is rtm th pa rk de wo ic Did Did the District’sYou were hard at You nursing departmentKnow? oney for the mus raise mKnow? wou ril ld like to provide the folAp in ld or lowing tips for flu prevention. For Wal t Di sn ey W tr ip toKnow? more information regarding ocDid ll Did You You Know? wi le sa ie ag ho the virus, visit the Center for Dise 2010. Their next r ase Control and Prevention e an order or foDid ac pl To web y. site, www ar nu Did You Know? You Know? Ja cur in 52 14 1412-85 What can I do to protect myself from information, call more Know? at getting sick? A novel Did You Know? nt w eb sit e Did re pa nd H1N1 vaccineYou is currently in production and may be or vi sit th e ba ready for the public this fall. As always, a vaccine Did Youwww.usKnow? Did You Know? will be available to protect against seasonal influenza. Did You Know? Did There are You everyday actions thatKnow? can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses Did You Know? Did You Know? like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your heal th and those around you. Pennies for Peac e Did StYou Did You Know? • Cover you r nose and mouth with reams students ra Know? a tissue when you cough ised over $900 du or snee Pennies for Peace ze. Thr rin ow the g used th tissu ei r e in the trash. outreacKnow? Didtheir effYou Did You Know? h project! Read m • Wash your hands often with soap ore about orts on page 61. and water, especially after you cough Did You Know? Did You or sneeze. Alcohol-Know? based hand cleaners are also effective. Did You Know? Did You Know? • Avoid touc hing your eyes, nose, or mouth. Ger ms spread this way. You Know? Did You Know? Did • Avoid close contact with sick peop le. Did You Know? Did Know? • If you areYou sick with flu-like illne ss, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hou Did You Know? Did You Know? rs after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your feveYou Did You Know? Did Know? r should be gone with out the help of a feverreducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as Did You Know? Did Know? possible toYou keep from infecting them. Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Did You Know? Monica Erwin

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Winter 2009


School on a Mission with Town Hall South Speaker Kathy Gillen

Greg Mortenson, author of the for Peace” project for American students national bestseller Three Cups of Tea to help raise funds for these schools. spoke to a sold out crowd at the Town Upon hearing of Mortenson’s visit, Hall South lecture this past October. The Upper St. Clair resident and former Town Upper St. Clair High School theatre was Hall South board member, Kim Frenette brimming with enthusiastic fans, many began to organize a “Pennies for Peace” toting copies of Mortenson’s book. Greg drive at Streams Elementary School. With Mortenson spoke passionately about his the help of Gina Steve, Susan Rosati, and mission to educate children in Pakistan Karen East, the students of Streams donatand Afghanistan as a way to combat the ed pennies and at the same time learned seeds of terrorism. about the educationMortenson was al needs of others. rescued by Pakistani Several children villagers in 1993 on presented a check the slopes of K2, to Mr. Mortenson the second largest at the end of his lecmountain in the ture. “The children Himalayans. This Streams students, left to right, Jack Steve, Cindy were talking about chance encounter Burnhart, and Matthew Higgs, present a check to their own culture changed his life. To Town Hall South speaker Greg Mortenson for the and comparing it to “Pennies for Peace” drive. repay the villagers, the cultures in other he promised to build them a school. What countries,” said Gina. started as education needs for a small Town Hall South is part of the group of children, grew into his life’s misOutreach Mission of Westminster Church. sion. By 2009, Mortenson has established Since 1969, the series has strived to over 90 schools in rural and often volatile provide high quality, diverse lectures. regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. A portion of each ticket sale goes to These schools provide education to over local charities, including South Hills 34,000 students, including 24,000 girls, Interfaith Ministries, Washington who previously rarely had opportunities Women’s Shelter, and Greater Pittsburgh to learn. Mortenson founded the “Pennies Literary Council. n

Welcome to USC School District’s new hires for the 2009-10 school year:


Baker: Kathryn Martin Eisenhower: Nicole Lesovitch Streams: Angela Juliussen, Lauren Mechler, Kara Meston, Emily Pasquale, Alexandra Runyard Boyce: Marissa Grano, Christy Saputo, Krisanne Schaffer, Peter Serio Fort Couch: Chad Erbrecht (also at USCHS), Thomas Hunsburger, James Kulik, Michael Linder, Eric Magliocca, Kathryn Rummel USCHS: Nikki Crum, Joanna Darakos, Luke Loboda, Dominic Mannella, Timothy Robbins, Shannon Strayer, Colin Syme, Paul Wildenhain, Daniel Zelenski

Thank you to the following District retirees for their years of service: Administrative: Terrence Kushner Administrative Support: Mary Bonczek, Bonnie Thomas Professional: Janet Atutes, Jean Austin, Patricia Betz, Elizabeth Chadwick, Michele Desmond, Nancy Dombrowsky, Rachel Friedman, Magdalena Hudson, Joseph Kallis, Fran Kayatin, Nancy Kirschner, Thomas Labanc, Dorothy Moreau, Gary Navoney, Sheena Noe, Debra Obrosky, Ted Petersen, Janice Rankin, Helen Rishel, Karen Slaven, Thomas Smedley, Barbara Wagner Classified: Mariann Adler, Leroy Bittner, Margaret Crossan, Aurora Danks, Ingrid Empey, Patricia Goodman, Donald Hersh, Matoula Rice, Matthew Walsh


Winter 2009




Upper St. Clair School District Calendar

(Mid-November 2009—February 2010) 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-November 2009 9-10 10 11 12 12-17 16 17 18 19 19-20 20 21 22 23 24 26-27

No School–Teacher Inservice/Parent-Teacher Conferences BA–Book Fair FC–PTA Executive Meeting BO–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. ST–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. CO–Youth Steering Committee–7 p.m. (Board Room) EI–PTA Meeting–7 p.m. ST–Kindergarten Special Grade Night–7 p.m. (Gym) HS–Grade 10 Terra Nova Test Report Cards Distributed HS–Pops Concert–7:30 p.m. (Theatre) FC–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (MPR) BA–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) EI–Grade 1 Breakfast–7:30 a.m. HS–Band/Orchestra Concert–7 p.m. HS–PAC Meeting–9:30 a.m. HS–Junior Parent Meeting–7 p.m. EI–Grade 2 Social–7 p.m. ST–Ice Cream Social–7-9 p.m. (Nutrition Center) ST–Book Fair (LGI) HS–ACDA Young Women’s Festival BO–Calcu-Solve (Duquesne University) EI–Grade 4 Bowling–12:45 p.m. HS–SHJO Concert HS–Financial Aid Meeting–7-9 p.m. (Theatre) HS–PMEA Chorus Auditions HS–Jazz Rehearsal and Concert–7 p.m. (LGI) ST–Grade 1 Open Mike– 9:30 a.m. No School–Thanksgiving Recess

1-18 2 2-4 3-4 4 5 7-18 7-23 9 9-10 10 11 15 17 19-20 21 22 23 24-31

FC–Reachout HS–Deans’ Breakfast–7:40 a.m. (LGI) BA–Enchanted Shop Set-Up CO–PTA Council Meeting/Luncheon– 9:30 a.m. HS–Natural Helpers Retreat BA–Enchanted Shop ST–Holiday Shop HS–Sam Rhine Genetics Conference–7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Theatre & LGI) FC–Caught You Being Good Breakfast EI–PTA Executive Board–9:30 a.m. HS–Madrigal Dinner–5:30 p.m. (Nutrition Center) HS–Holiday Project Collection FC–Caught You Being Good CO–Youth Steering Committee–7 p.m. (Board Room) Progress Reports Sent EI–Holiday Mart BO–Band/Orchestra/Choral Concert at HS Theatre–7 p.m. BO–Band/Orchestra/Choral Assembly–2:30 p.m. (Gym) HS–Choral Concert–7:30 p.m. (Theatre) HS–PAC Meeting– 9:30 a.m. HS–Musical Casting (LGI/Choral Room/Band Room) HS–Pit Orchestra Reading–4-6 p.m. (Band Room) HS–Band Concert–7 p.m. (Theatre) HS–Senior Breakfast Mod 2 HS–Holiday Project Delivery–8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. FC–Holiday Assembly FC–In-School Social BA/EI/ST–Winter Parties–1:30 p.m. No School–Winter Recess

December 2009



January 2010 1 4 5 6 8 11 12 13 14-15 15 18 19 20 20-22 21 22 26 27 29

No School–Winter Recess HS–Musical Company Meeting–7 p.m. (Nutrition Center/Theatre) HS–Musical Dancing Theatre Angel Meeting–7 p.m. (Nutrition Center/ Choir Room) ST–Executive Board Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) HS–Deans’ Breakfast–7:40 a.m. (LGI) HS–PTA Council–9:30 a.m. EI–PTA Executive Board– 9:30 a.m. BO–PTA Executive Board Meeting–1p.m. FC–PTA Executive Board Meeting BA/EI/ST–Choral Concert–7:30 p.m. (Theatre) BA–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) ST–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) HS–PMEA SHS Orchestra Festival BO–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) ST–PTA Staff Appreciation Luncheon CO–Youth Steering Committee–7 p.m. (Board Room) HS–PMEA SHS Orchestra Festival EI–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. First Semester Ends No School–Teacher Inservice ST–Streams Ice Skating Party FC–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (MPR) Second Semester Begins BO–Deer Valley Parent Informational Meeting–7-9 p.m. (LGI) HS–PMEA SHS Chorus Festival (Gateway) HS–PAC Meeting–9:30 a.m. FC–Chorus Concert at HS Theatre–7:30 p.m. ST–Grade 3 Open Mike–9:30 a.m. ST–Grade 1 Special Night–7 p.m. (Gym/NC) FC–Social–7-9 p.m. FC–IB Program MYP Transition Meeting at HS LGI– 7 p.m. EI–Grade 3 Social–7 p.m. FC–Band/Orchestra Concert at HS Theatre–7:30 p.m. BA–Family Read-in Report Cards Distributed

Winter 2009

February 2010 1 2 3 4 5 5-6 6 8 9 10 10-12 11 12 15 16 18 19 20 22 25 25-27 26

HS–SAT Prep–7-9 p.m. ST–Executive Board Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) HS–Deans’ Breakfast–7:40 a.m. (LGI) HS–College Seminar–7-9 p.m. FC–PTA Council–9:30 a.m. HS–Pittsburgh NACAC College Fair (Grade 11 excused with permission) ST–Grade 4 Special Night–7 p.m. (Gym/Nutrition Center) EI–PTA Executive Board–9:30 a.m. HS–PMEA JHS Orchestra Festival (Hampton) HS–Sadie Hawkins Dance–7:30-10:30 p.m. HS–SAT Prep–7-9 p.m. BO–PTA Executive Board Meeting–1p.m. FC–PTA Executive Meeting BA–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) ST–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) BO–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (LGI) CO–Youth Steering Committee–7 p.m. (Board Room) HS–PMEA SHS Band West Festival (Bethel Park) HS–SAT Prep–7-9 p.m. FC–Valentine Social–7-9 p.m. BO–Valentine Treats BA/EI/ST–Valentine’s Day Exchange EI–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. EI–Ice Cream Social ST–Bingo at HS Nutrition Center–5-9 p.m. No School–Teacher Inservice HS–SAT Prep–7-9 p.m. FC–PTA Meeting–9:30 a.m. (MPR) EI–Grade 2 Breakfast–7:30 a.m. HS–PAC Meeting–9:30 a.m. HS–SAT Prep–7-9 p.m. FC–Grade 8 Parent Meeting–7 p.m. BO–Open Mike–9:30 a.m. (LGI) ST–Silent Auction–5-9 p.m. (All School Facilities) BA–Bingo at HS Nutrition Center Progress Reports Sent HS–Sitz Probe–12-4:30 p.m. (Theatre and Choral Room) HS–SAT Prep–7-9 p.m. HS–SAT Prep–7-9 p.m. EI–Grade 1 Social–7 p.m. HS–PMEA Region Orchestra Festival BA–Clothing Sale EI–Family Bingo Night at HS Nutrition Center–6:30 p.m.


Wild About Orangutans Jan Falk, Enrichment Resource Teacher, Baker Elementary

Orangutans were the first thought that leaped into Sophia Kennedy’s mind when she pondered a topic for her SWEP project last spring. Sophia, then a fourth grade student at Baker Elementary, participated in the elementary School Wide Enrichment Program, commonly known as SWEP. This program requires an independent study accompanied by a project on a self-elected area of interest. With Sophia’s love of animals, it did not take long to narrow her topic to the threatened world of orangutans and the current efforts to enhance their endangered environment. When considering a project to accompany her research, Sophia decided to take her interest in community service and meld it with an activity that would directly benefit this endangered animal. A booth at the orangutan exhibit during the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium’s MOM day celebration presented the perfect audience for her message. Her older sister, Brigid, swung into the initiative as they created posters and a threefold brochure detailing facts and suggestion of things that all of us can do to protect this animal. In addition, for a donation to the zoo’s orangutan habitat, visitors received rubber wristbands and lollipops. At the end of the day, Sophia was proud to have collected $510, which she presented to the zoo’s curator of the orangutan habitat. This authentic learning experience is only the beginning for this bright and compassionate young lady as she moves forward

in her quest to find new ways of giving back to her community. Sophia says that you, too, can help.

Three Ways to Help Orangutans Sophia Kennedy

• Ask your parents to buy food that is palm oil free, or only contains palm oil that is grown in a sustainable way. Orangutan habitats are being destroyed by deforestation to create palm oil plantations. • Use recycled paper and toilet paper (Yes, this really is a product!). Remember, paper comes from trees that are harvested from orangutan habitats. • Support zoos that sponsor breeding and research programs for orangutans and other animal species. n


Upper St. Clair Baker Elementary Eisenhower Elementary Streams Elementary Before & After School Kindergarten-Plus Summer Camp Register Online at or call (412) 221-1980

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A Day In The District



Winter 2009

Photos by Terry Kish


Kindergarten News Parents are requested to register their kindergarten-aged children at the elementary school located in their attendance area. All children five years of age on or before September 1, 2010, are eligible to register. School Area Date Baker................................................................................................................Tuesday, March 2 Eisenhower................................................................................................ Wednesday, March 3 Streams......................................................................................................... Thursday, March 4 Times for all........................................................................................... 9-11 a.m., noon-2 p.m. A special evening session for all elementary schools will be held on Tuesday, March 16, 6:30-8 p.m. at the School District Central Office. It is not necessary that the student accompany the parent to registration. Readiness Evaluation

School personnel are available to screen children whose parents wish additional help in making a decision on entrance into kindergarten. Individual dates will be established during registration. Admission Periods

The admission period for kindergarten is limited to the first two weeks of the school year unless the child’s family transfers to Upper St. Clair from another school district where the child was enrolled in a kindergarten program. Questions regarding kindergarten readiness should be directed to Eloise Stoehr, Supervisor of Pupil Personnel, at 412-833-1600, extension 2214. School Health Immunization Regulations

The Allegheny County Health Department’s (ACHD) Board of Health has enacted the School Health Immunization Regulations for children in Allegheny County. Since the start of the 2009-10 school year, all students entering school for the first time at kindergarten must have the following immunizations completed prior to entering any public, private, or parochial school: • 4 doses of tetanus (1 dose after the fourth birthday); 3 doses if series started after seven years of age • 4 doses of diphtheria (1 dose after the fourth birthday); 3 doses if series started after seven years of age • 3 doses of polio • 1 dose of rubella

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Since 1983, Allegheny County regulations have allowed provisional status only for students who transfer from another state. Students transferring from out of state may be enrolled provisionally provided there is evidence of having received at least one dose of each antigen and provided there is a plan to complete the required immunization within eight months. Families are encouraged to obtain the needed immunizations from their physicians. However, the ACHD does offer the required vaccines free of charge. To obtain information about clinic location and times, interested persons should contact the ACHD Infectious Diseases Program at 412-578-8060. Provisions for this regulation do not apply in cases where extenuating medical or religious factors are involved. If there is any reason why a child should not be fully immunized, parents must submit a physician’s certificate explaining the circumstances. Parents are also required to provide written documentation if they disapprove of immunizations for religious reasons. These documents will be accepted in lieu of a certificate of immunization. Registration Packets

Registration packets will be available at each elementary school after February 23, 2010. Parents are encouraged to pick them up during school hours and return the completed forms at the time of registration. Winter 2009

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aluminum pull-tabs. What? Paperweights containing ash from Mt. St. Helens. Really? Animal figures made from recycled scrap metal, including a piece of cable from the St. Louis Arch. Sound crazy? Well, it’s not and it’s all right around the corner at Simply Divine! These great items along with hundreds more can be found in this quaint gift shop that specializes in items “made in the U.S.A.” Yes, you read that right. Artists from all 50 states contribute to their ever-changing offerings of one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts that appeal to young and old, male or female. Many of the items found here are made from recycled materials, including jewelry made from vintage silverware, nightlights made from former bottle glass, and a purse made from a Cat in the Hat book, to mention just a few. Each piece is unique with a story all its own to tell, Winter 2009

and many include story cards for just that purpose. The only imports you’ll find in Simply Divine! are works of art from SERRV, a 60-year-old nonprofit fair trade organization working with artisans and farmers around the world to help eradicate poverty. “We wanted to offer gifts of unsurpassed beauty that not only have an aesthetic appeal, but will also give back to our country’s artists or help to improve the lives of those overseas through Fair Trade. Our customers love the stories behind the art and the fact that their purchases are making a positive impact on so many levels,” says Kathy Burch, co-owner of the gallery. n To learn more about Simply Divine!, stop in any day of the week (open 7 days) or visit See ad on this page.

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Top Gift Choices for Differently-Abled Kids Amy Bahm, Learning Express Toys, Galleria of Mt. Lebanon, Owner Parents of both typical children and those with developmental needs look for toys that can benefit their child physically, intellectually, and emotionally. These toys may improve problem solving, develop motor skills, or encourage play at a higher level. It can be especially difficult to select products for young children with special needs. Cause and effect toys are big hits as reinforcers. These toys require a child to do something to get a reaction. That is a powerful, motivating thing for a learner and helps create a positive selfawareness. Many toys with parts are useful for teaching language skills. Those that have parts that differ by only one attribute, say color or shape, are excellent for teaching labeling of those features, including sound blocks and puzzles, pound and play toys, and the always popular jack-in-the-boxes. Science kits and tools are great choices to help children explore cause and effect relationships in our environment. Board games are a wonderful opportunity to create predictable social environments. Kids can learn to root for other children, have success not dependent on someone else’s failure, and learn turn taking and waiting. Certain games also help with fine motor skills and math or reading concepts. Classic games such as Zingo or Apples to Apples develop cooperative skills and are a popular purchase choice. Remaining active is critical to the growth of large motor skills. Active toys can help to improve balance, muscle strength, and core

stability. Children love to spin, rock, and bounce on Crocodile Rockers, indoor trampolines, Wobble decks, and ride on toys. One can never underestimate the power of dramatic play. Children with certain developmental issues can benefit from the visual props to aid them with pretend play. Toys like play food, toy houses, puppets, dress up clothing, and dolls can help to grow their imagination. Such items can also provide teaching opportunities for role-playing and language development. Almost all children can benefit from products that help to develop and enhance fine motor skills essential for activities of daily living, including dressing and for school-related tasks such as cutting, writing, and coloring. Parents and therapists alike enjoy the onepiece Animal Chopsticks. Crayon Rocks are another wonderful item developed by a therapist, designed to target the tripod grip muscles, thereby preparing fingers and hands for beginner handwriting. Small building products like Legos and art kits like Sticky Mosaics are other toys that remain big hits. How do children learn about the world around them? They touch, see, smell, and hear. Many children with developmental issues benefit from toys that promote sensory exploration including scent, texture, and musical toys. The staff at Learning Express welcomes customer feedback and suggestions. According to owner Amy Bahm, “Some of the best product ideas come from our customer’s personal recommendations.” n See ad on this page. Winter 2009



Around the Township

Paper mache dolls hang from the tree

Christmas Always Comes Early For Local Artist Susan Castriota

For the past 25 years, my Labor Day weekend has been a busy one as I put the final touches on my illustrations of Pittsburgh’s skyline, rivers, buildings, and popular landmarks. By the end of September, these images are transformed into holiday greeting cards and pages in my Pittsburgh calendar. Last year, the Christmas season began a bit earlier with a special project. It was followed by a very special invitation and ended with the rekindling of wonderful memories from my childhood. A personal version of “Christmases Past” follows. As an energetic eighth grader at Fort Couch Middle School always looking for a creative project, my eye caught an article in the December 1971 issue of Family Circle magazine. It was a “how-to-do-it” exposé on making paper maché dolls that could be used as Christmas tree ornaments. Thanks to the support, enthusiasm, and resourcefulness of my mother, that article began an annual “mother-daughter” project that lasted for the next five years. I created the dolls and mom was their personal fashion designer. After I completed the molding of their bodies out of a cast material, their individual likenesses began to take shape—first, the decision between brunette, redhead, or blonde, followed by the careful attachment of hair (drapery chord), one strand at a time. I then meticulously hand-painted each face, while my mom, Mary Lou, sewed the dresses—complete with ribbons and trim—and in some cases, matching bonnets. We ventured outside of the magazine’s blueprints by adding two nuns (rosary beads included), Mrs. Santa, and a bride, which I received many years later as a gift on my wedding day. I recall that we created six or seven “little women” each year. As unselfish as my mother was with her time and patience on this project, she begrudgingly passed the dolls on to me—one at a time—throughout my adult years. It was only this past year, and the first that my mother did not decorate a tree, that I received the complete set. What a surprise! Invariably, holiday parties 68


Winter 2009

and family gatherings now draw a crowd to my display of these wonderful women that prompts a proud retelling of how a young girl and her mother worked together to create them. Perhaps it was my childhood training in Christmas ornament design that allowed me to quickly overcome the intimidation that came with last year’s request to design an ornament for the White House Christmas tree. The over-sized silver ball came in the mail in June with simple instructions, simpler than the doll instruction in the magazine article that started this journey for me many years ago: 1) a red, white, and blue color theme; and, 2) an image representative of our congressional district. Knowing that the district encompassed portions of Allegheny, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties, my mind quickly pictured four memorable Western Pennsylvania scenes: Pittsburgh’s Incline, Ligonier’s Diamond, a covered bridge in Mingo Creek Park, and Upper St. Clair’s Log House. In early December of last year, my husband and I found ourselves in Washington, D.C. enjoying the decorations and tastes of a White House Christmas. So overwhelming was the experience that I momentarily forgot my mission: to find my ornament on the 30-foot tree adorned with 400 plus ornaments inside the Blue Room. Much to my delight, I found it—even after two of the most delicious servings of eggnog—hanging prominently at eye level. Once again, my creative soul began looking for another Christmas ornament project. This time, my inspiration came from the dessert table inside the Lincoln Dining Room where I spotted a tray of cookies bearing the likeness of the Bush family’s Scottish Terrier! I rescued them with a White House napkin and, after a few coats of polyurethane, immortalized them as Christmas tree ornaments. I don’t anticipate a visit to the White House again this year, nor do I expect to receive a box full of memories of my childhood, but I will once again open my personal collection of doll ornaments with a sense of anticipation and warm memories of a mother’s love. I recommend the experience for mothers and daughters everywhere! Meanwhile, my Labor Day weekend was a busy one again this year—five new creations for the Christmas tree. Please share them with me and your family and friends by visiting n

Ornament created by Susan Castriota for the White House Christmas tree. (See USC Log House on the left.)

What Dreams are Made Of Chester Dudzinski

Baseball players from around that were higher seeds.” USC played the world. Twenty-two pristine ball fields. four games in one day, back-to-back-to Baseball lovers everywhere. Is this what back-to back. Winning three games, then dreams are made of? eventually losing the fourth game, which The Upper St. Clair Panther 12-yearcaused USC to be eliminated from the old All-Star Travel Team turned their tournament, had the team on the field and dreams into reality this playing continupast July when they atally from ten in tended the week-long the morning until 12-year-old tournament one the following in Cooperstown, New morning, amidst York, at the Dreams Park rain delays. baseball complex and Dreams Park Youth Baseball Hall Of is more than just Fame. In the tournathe name of the ment, USC participated facility to the USC with 102 other teams Pin trading on the first day at Cooperstown was ball players, their from around the world, one way for the players to get better acquainted. coaches, and their trading pins and collecting memories families. The team, with their coaches, and wins. lived apart from their families and in The team, coached by USC resident the barracks of the baseball village for Jeffrey Conn, was selected from Township the week without television or air con12-year-old ball players who participated ditioning. They shared bathrooms and in the baseball program sponsored by showers. They got to know the players the Upper St. Clair Athletic Association of the many other teams that participated (USCAA). This is the fourth year that the in the tournament from as far away as USCAA sponsored a travel trip to this California. A highlight for the boys was tournament. trading customized pins with players “Our team started the tournament by from the other teams. The week was truly playing four of the top AAU programs in “all things baseball, all the time.” the country,” stated Coach Conn. “Al“Needless to say, our players put forth though we lost all four games, we were full effort through all 24 innings of basevery competitive and lost in extra innings ball on the last day of the tournament to the Texas Longhorns team that includand played very well in a high pressure ed Roger Clemens’ son and the team that environment; they never quit. They eventually lost in the tournament champiplayed together as a team and encouraged onship game. We then went on to win the one another to accomplish things each next five games in a row, including three would not have imagined to accomplish in the playoff round against AAU teams at the beginning of the tournament. I am very proud of the effort and determination our players displayed during the tournament and feel privileged to have had the opportunity to manage them and share in this experience,” concluded Coach Conn. What are dreams made of? Any of the ball players on this year’s travel team will tell you that spending the most memorable baseball experience of their lives Members of the 12-year-old USCAA travel baseball team, left to right, at Dreams Park is high on front row: Dan Trocano, Mike Krenn, John David, David Painter, Rick their lists. n Mellick, Chaz Mertz; middle row: Garrett O’Grady, Jessie Slinger,


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Andrew Bartusiak, Ryan Dudzinski, Braden Kaib, Jordan Conn; back row: coaches Jack O’Grady, Joe Krenn, Jim Trocano, Jeff Conn.

PA 10088

Winter 2009



We are Family Now Alexa Bartusiak

We came as strangers, the 21 of us. Sure, we attended the same school, but never truly knew each other until November of last year. On November 14, 2008, the Kids Helping Kids outreach group of 16 students, two doctors, and three teachers left Upper St. Clair for an adventure that would change our lives. We arrived at Rancho Wendy in the Dominican Republic after seven hours of flying and a five-hour drive in a crowded van. On that dark, rainy night, as we nestled into our small dorm rooms and ate a questionable late-night snack, we had no idea what the week ahead would bring. In the morning as we woke to daylight, we found ourselves surrounded by a valley of bright green foliage and mountains that cuddled with the clouds. Every day that week, opening our sleepy eyes to this sight, each of us had a mission: to change the life of just one person. Everyone did this in their own way. Some of us, including my father, Dr. Robert Bartusiak, a general dentist, and I traveled to hurricane shelters and villages to extract abscessed teeth. Others accompanied the emergency room physician, Dr. Frank Gaudio, who went to churches and orphanages to hand out medication and treat illnesses. Still others walked miles to feed the starving people on the streets and in the mountains, many times donating their own lunch to those who needed the nutrition much more than they did. Another group handed out clothing to the many people dressed in tattered T-shirts in the tin huts that many Dominicans call “home.” The most important thing we did, however, was to build relationships—not only with each other, but with the locals. We often think that we have nothing in common with someone who speaks a different language, has no money, lives in a shack, has different colored skin, or entertains himself with a stick and a tire. However, over the course of the week, we learned that it does not matter what our differences are, because we are all people who can relate on some level. Each person I met on this trip wanted nothing from us but a little attention. They did not feel the need for material possessions and instead found more value in human connection.

Posing for a photo in the DR

Dr. Bartusiak and Alexa Bartusiak

The people of the little town of Bonao had hearts free of sorrow or pain. I can safely say that these people gave more to us than we could ever give to them. We brought them materials which they could not afford, but they taught us the value of kindness, of a smile, of reaching out to someone just because it is the right thing to do. As we crossed a rickety rope bridge over the rapids of a river on our last day, a young boy I hardly knew grabbed my hand. “Esta bien, venga juntos,” he said, which translates to “It is okay, let’s do this together.” That small act of kindness changed my perspective on life. This boy had nothing to give except for his caring, which he did over and over again. Each day we encountered similar life-changing experiences. We did our best to help those less fortunate, but these kind and beautiful people ended up helping us more than any of us could have ever imagined. We returned home— changed, forever. We better understand human worth and that all we can really give to others is a helping hand. We came as strangers, but left as family. We grew and learned together and now, as we each embark on our own journeys through life, we can make small differences each and every day to improve the lives of those around us. It was a gift for which I will be forever grateful! n

Hand standing for fun!

Esta bien, venga juntos. 70


Alexa Bartusiak is a freshman at Ohio University’s E. W. Scripps School of Journalism. USCHS seniors and juniors of the Kids Helping Kids group who traveled to the Dominican Republic were accompanied by doctors Robert Bartusiak, DMD and Frank Gaudio, MD and teachers Janet Ali, Tom Yochum, and Todd Flynn. Winter 2009

Discovering a New You

Diane Dolanch and Lindsay Hasse, Stephen Szabo Salon Most fashion magazine articles

suggest to their readers that hairstyles change with each season. A good hairstylist shouldn’t just follow trends. Trained stylists should create an individual look for each customer, helping to refine and enhance his or her tastes in hair styles. Why not discover a new you, not only for the everyday, but for the upcoming holidays and into the New Year? Finding the right look starts with the right cut for your face shape. Women who have round faces should have a cut that falls just below the chin in soft, gradual layers. Layers will make you face appear slimmer. Adding side bangs or wispy ends is also a very flattering look. Avoid curly, short hair, which emphasizes the roundness. If you have a square face, long sleek styles with layers are good looks for you. These styles will soften a strong jaw line. Also, curls or choppy ends will add texture and will soften the square face shape. Avoid chin length bobs and a blunt bang cut, since they make the face look squarer. Women with oblong shaped faces can wear a chin length, stacked bob. This gives a little fullness to a long face. Curls or waves also give the appearance of a little fullness. Be careful

with long hair. Long hair on an oblong-faced woman may tend to drag down the face. Long layers that hit at the chin and collarbone tend to work best. Having side-swept bangs with hair that falls below your jaw line is a great look for those who have a heart shaped face. It draws attention from your chin, up to your eyes and cheekbones. Avoid blunt-cut bangs and choppy layers. Oval faces can pull off almost any look. Play up your best feature. An angular bob will bring out your cheekbones; side-swept bangs will bring out your eyes. There are some styles to avoid. Short layers on the top of your head will make your face appear long. Also, avoid blunt cuts; your hair will lie in a triangle or pyramid. Have you considered color? Hair color will not only accentuate a new cut, but it will also enhance your skin tone and make your eye color pop! Whether you have blue, green, hazel, or brown eyes, selecting the perfect color for your hair will further boost your new look. A personalized consultation might be in your future to help you discover “a new you!” n See ad on page 66.

A New Studio for Thomas

Jessica Spencer, The Thomas Studio, Artistic Director

Good things come to those who wait. This proverb is proving true for 30-

year Upper St. Clair resident Linda Thomas Spencer, owner of The Thomas Studio of Performing Arts, and her staff. This past September, Linda unveiled the new home of her dance studio. This beautiful, 7500-squarefoot facility welcomes dancers of all ages and levels into a tradition of love and dedication that Linda started in 1967. Linda inherited her love for dance from her mother, Ruth Thomas, who spent years dancing professionally before starting her teaching career in the city of Pittsburgh. Since taking over the studio from her mother, Linda has taught countless children life lessons that stretch beyond shuffles, grande jetés, and back handsprings. She and her staff have also taught their students confidence, dedication, and poise while integrating a love for the arts into their lives. Turning the studio’s artistic direction over to her daughter, Jessica, a 1993 Upper St. Clair graduate, has allowed Linda to focus her energies towards designing and building the best facility possible for her dancers and faculty. Located at 111 Washington Avenue on the border of Bridgeville and Upper St. Clair, this facility offers a multitude of benefits for

the aspiring dancer. The building features three spacious dance studios, complete with 12-foot high ceilings, basket weave sprung floors, plenty of natural light, and a large parking lot. The opening of the new facility came coupled with an award from the Small Business Administration naming The Thomas Studio Western Pennsylvania’s 2009 Family Owned Business of the Year. The award recognized not only the Spencer family’s accomplishments with the studio, but also its dancewear store, Stayin’ Alive Dancewear, located in Bridgeville and run by Linda’s son, Damon, a 1997 graduate of Upper St. Clair. The Thomas Studio offers ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, gymnastics, and voice for ages two through adult, six days a week. The studio is proud to have won many national titles and awards and have its alumni studying dance at prestigious universities and progressing to professional dance levels. The studio is even more proud to have its students, both young and old, feel the lifelong effects of their training by walking through their daily lives with furthered confidence and poise. n See ad on this page. Winter 2009



Tropical Mix and Mingle Mary Lynne Spazok

Swaying emerald palms danced amongst sea green leaves of fuschia hibiscus at the sun-kissed Mix and Mingle picnic for the 2009 Medallion Ball honorees, 31 of whom are from USC. Adorned with vibrant leis and enjoying Rita’s Italian Ice smoothies from festive handpainted goblets, guests also relished Gretchen’s Good Eats menu of kabobs, tropical fruit, and angel food cake. Compliments of Gayle Manning and Decorator, whimiscal party décor flourished. St. Lucy’s president Annie Engel and Kelly Riley, ball chairperson, discussed this year’s events with the invited guests and answered last minute questions. Later, while enjoying Caribbean melodies, attendees fashioned greeting cards under the guidance of Cynthia of Handmades by Cynthia. Encouraging words on how to develop an artistic business that’s rewarding certainly stimulated the interest of gifted entrepreneurs. While Cynthia’s cards are available in the retail market, this day’s individual designs were donated to benefit the Blind and Vision Center. Graciously orchestrating this gala at her USC home where 105 attendees were hosted, Tropical Mix and Mingle chairperson Edyce Rizzi had help from co-chair Peggy Dennin and volunteers Karen Boston, Anne Marie Boyd, Laura Hardwick, Beth Hornak, and Vicki McKenna. Honored at the 46th Medallion Ball to be held on November 27, USC volunteers totaled 4764 hours of good turns, including St. Louise de Marillac Bible camp, St. Clair Hospital, the Dominican Republic Mission trip, and The Blind and Vision Center. Formal portraits and escort listing will appear in the spring 2010 issue of

Eighteen of the 29 USC Medallion Ball candidates stop to pose while enjoying the summer picnic.

Left to right are Edyce and Margo Rizzi and Kelly and Peggy Dennin

UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY. Congratulations and best wishes to

all honorees! n

Photos courtesy of Karen Boston.

Club Encourages Women to Education

and book review activities, antiques, gourmet dining, and cards games. Monthly, club members meet at the Crown Plaza Hotel on Fort Couch Road to socialize, conduct business meetings, and enjoy guest speakers on a variety of topics specific to each presenter’s expertise. Annually, the club offers a $2000 scholarship to a female undergraduate returning to complete her degree after at least a five-year interruption of studies. In December, the Returning Woman’s Scholarship is awarded at the club’s annual holiday luncheon at St. Clair Country Club from the list of applicants who meet the October 15 application deadline. A second $2000 scholarship is awarded to a graduating high school senior in the spring of each year, Newly-elected officers of the South Hills College Club for 2009-10 at a recent planning who, being college-bound, is selected on the basis of merit session are, left to right, Roberta Campbell, president; Ann Marie Donahoe, (both Mt. and need. Lebanon residents); Louise Lane, (Upper St. Clair), vice president and corresponding To date, the South Hills College Club has awarded secretary; and Marian Cleland, treasurer, (Bridgeville) over $350,000 in scholarships, with funds coming from The South Hills College Club is dedicated to members’ dues and donations. The club welcomes prospective promoting higher education among women. Founded 85 years new members who live in the South Hills communities of Upper ago by a small group of women college graduates residing in the St. Clair, Bethel Park, Chartiers Valley, Mt. Lebanon, and Peters South Hills, its purpose is to share common interests and encourTownship. n age women to achieve higher education for their own benefit and that of their communities. The group has also established For further information about the club or the scholarships, contact 412-276-2813. subgroups for members’ specifics interests, including reading 72


Winter 2009

An Energy Audit Might Be in Your Future

Vasso Paliouras, ProEnergy Consultants, President Every summer, residents in Upper St. Clair complain that even with central air conditioning, they cannot cool the second floor of their home and have to rely on ceiling fans. Meanwhile, their basements are extremely cold. In the winter time, these complaints turn to the inability to heat the downstairs of the home. Homeowners who live in homes that may only be as old as 25 years find themselves upset that they spend so much money on utilities for homes that have modern insulation, double paned windows, and more efficient HVAC systems. These are symptoms of energy leakage within the home. One way to get a handle on utility bills and energy usage is to have a home energy audit. A home is one of the greatest investments an individual or family can make. Home is also where people want to feel the most comfortable. An energy audit is an opportunity to learn about a home and how to achieve that ultimate comfort level. Professional energy auditors can investigate the entire home, using specialized equipment, including a blower door and infrared camera. The “blower-door” test provides clues to the results of an audit. A large fan is used to slightly depressurize the house. Air is forced out of the home to exaggerate the leaky areas where air comes in exposing gaps in the home’s exterior. An infrared camera is used to thermally scan the home and translates hot and cold into color images.

The results of these tests let the homeowner know the source of the leaks. Homeowners are then armed with the information needed to make important money saving improvements by eliminating the guesswork! If you answer yes to any of the following questions an energy audit might be a good choice for you. • Do you think your utility bills are higher than they should be? • Do you suspect that your home is not as energy efficient as it should be? • Do you have difficulty cooling your second floor in the summer and heating the downstairs in the winter? • Do you feel big temperature differences from room to room or floor to floor? • Would you like to know what improvements to make to your home to make it as energy efficient as possible? What will it Cost? Energy audits range in price based on the size of the home. Homeowners can recuperate the cost of an audit by savings in utility bills in no time. Regardless of the age of the home, all homeowners should have a home energy audit. New and current homeowners view home energy audits as a necessity and part of the process in planning home improvement projects. Homeowners who are selling their home should also have one to give their home an advantage and distinction from other homes on the market. According to Pennsylvania’s Green Government Council, a home’s value increases by $25 for every $1 decrease in energy usage. Learning about your home is an invaluable experience. Find out where your home is losing energy and you’re losing money. n

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Tips on Beating the Flu Every year we are faced with the dreaded flu season. While cold viruses are present year-round and peak shortly after school begins, influenza or the “flu” typically arrives later in November and peaks from late December through early March. It is estimated that as much as 20% of the U.S. population will get the flu each year. Most people will recover in one to two weeks, but some people develop life threatening complications such as pneumonia. The elderly, newborn, and people with certain chronic illnesses are particularly susceptible to complications. This year, there have been outbreaks of the H1N1 flu (swineorigin influenza) in several states. Typically, the swine flu is found in pigs and does not usually spread from human to human. However, this virus appears to be a combination of swine, avian, and human influenza and can be spread to humans. As with any influenza virus, H1N1 can cause substantial illness and death. The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu. As with any infectious or flu-like disease, take precautionary measures.

Is it a Cold or the Flu? On any given day, you are exposing yourself to bacteria, viruses, and fungus in the workplace, at school, through public transportation, and even through contact with your family members. Determining if you have caught a cold or the flu can be tricky, but there are some differences in symptoms that can help you distinguish between the two.

• Fever with the flu can last for three or four days. Fever with a cold is rare in adults and older children. • With the flu, headaches can appear suddenly and be severe. Headaches are rare with a cold. • Muscle aches can be severe with the flu, but are mild with a cold. • Tiredness and weakness is often extreme with the flu, lasting two or more weeks. Generally, with a cold, a person only has mild tiredness and weakness. • Extreme exhaustion can occur with the flu and appear suddenly. It does not occur with a cold. • Runny nose, sneezing, and sore throat are often cold symptoms, and only sometimes flu symptoms. • While a cough with the flu can become severe, a cold has a mild hacking cough. If any of your symptoms seem flu-like, contact your doctor immediately. To confirm illness, a test can be given during the first few days after the symptoms begin. Basic steps can be taken to prevent you and your loved ones from contracting the flu: • Get a flu shot. • Get plenty of rest. • Wash your hands. • Avoid sudden temperature changes. • Keep your immune system strong. Additional Tips to Keep the Flu and Cold Away • Watch what you touch in public places. Carry and use liquid hand sanitizer if you can’t wash. • Wash your hands before you touch your face or eat, and never share food or drinks. • Hold your breath when someone sneezes or coughs near you, and step a few feet away. • Don’t smoke. Smoking can lower you immune system and irritates the nasal and throat passages. • Get plenty of fresh air. • Avoid cold drafty places. • Get plenty of exercise. Exercise increases peripheral vascular circulation and lung capacity and reduces stress. • Drink plenty of water. Dehydration adds biotoxic buildup. Ginger and cinnamon treats are a great herbal drink to boost the peripheral vascular circulation, which can add a little extra to your auto-immune defense system. • Take vitamin C daily. n Heartland Homecare offers a free brochure, “What to Know About Flu Season,” which contains details about who should receive the flu vaccine. For a free copy, call 800-497-0575. See ad on page 48.



Winter 2009

LD GO HE HE TH O G HE T M T AM TE E T M E Green Pressure TH AM TEA TEA D T OLD O M TE D L Neale Misquitta G EG D A O L E E L G The common language converT LD GO GO E H TH M sation around environmental and energy T D H O A L M E a direct impact on individual physicalE and T issues has dynamically changed over the M E G H O A A E D T LD E health. T financial To H deal with T degrading M last decade, revolving around several G E H A O T DT L E physical health issues, health undeniable facts. The earth is an environM insurance T M E G H A D O T A seven percent L mental system comprising finite andM costs rise by approximately T space E both DindividualO GOL E G THE THE A a year, TEwhichDagainTimpacts limited food, natural resources, and E energy. L H M O health.E G E T byLDand institutional financial The population of the world increases L M TE T G H O A “Sustainability” is a complex term that approximately 100 million persons every H O A E T T Gbeing EcanGhaveTmany H meanings and can almost year. The area of the earth capable of AM TE D TE LD G M M E be applied to every or A process or T populated continues to remain constant O E TH A M TSimply, E LD OL G EAsystem organization. in the green context, at 17%. The population of the earth will D T H O E L at a G E resources G T must be used or balanced double in the next 50 years, putting treD H D O T Lcan be replenished. T AM AM G HR.E THE rateL at which O they mendous pressure on the available space, O E M G ofHthe Green Business T M OfferingAcustomized food demand, and natural resource and GMichael Richmond Ereal estateTE LD T E T League ( energy utilization. M E D H sustainability services Upper St.LClair A D O T by Tdefines M as A “resource E manTo put this into perspective, in one L G E D O T residents since 1976 AThere exists H O G T scientific E agement.” evidence L lifetime, at current growth rates, a city like E T G D H D O T E that humanity Boulder, Colorado, will look like what Los L E & Marshall T AM A Lis livingtoOunsustainably, Gand Sandy H MGoldstein O that effort is needed return the use of TH Angeles looks like today. Management of E T E G E G E to within Hsustainable T A natural resources natural resources and energy utilization T 412-721-0306 cell M T Han institutional D office LD G TE ext.L215 limits. From or corporate is the single variable that can be grasped AM EA724-941-9400 T M E D perspective, it is increasingly recog-T and conceptualized on a large scale by the A O GO E Tbeing L E G D nized that businesses cannot succeed in a developing world. Experts have agreed that H M D O T L E Ladded G E T society that fails. Businesses have the decisions related to slowing population H O GstrategiesHtoE TH M T AM TEA GO E challenge of developing future growth rates and lowering consumption T AM A E D LD operate in a green or sustainable manner, of natural resource utilization are ways H T T M E L O while continuing to maintain profitably to preserve the health and beauty of our E D T A O T L and keep customers happy. homes. This growing realization of the D O E G E G TH TE LaD Ironically, although there is common L need to manage natural resources and efG O H TH M E language in identifyingG theO significance of ficiently use energy has inevitably led to G T H E green and sustainable issues, individually the emergence of green and sustainable T AM AM TEA H and institutionally, thereT is no common concepts. M TE TE LD language agreement on where E to A set the The best definition of green is enviT LD LD GO standard for greenness or sustainability. ronmental, physical, and financial health O There are no commonly establishedO and efficiency, applicable to individuals G greenE G THE or sustainable norms or standards. and institutions. Despite technological How do we decide when good is good and medical strides, long periods of hectic TH M enough? Metrics are largely presented in A consumerism and energy dependence folPlace, “Where the Locals Eat: The 100 E • First mystical terms of carbon footprintT and lowing the industrial and technological Best Restaurants in the Top 50 Cities” CO2 emissions. A consumer-friendly revolutions have negatively impacted inReal Estate Professionals

dividual and corporate health. An example of individual health impacts due to the predominance of synthetics in our society is one cited by the U.S. EPA, concluding that indoor air quality is two to five times worse than outdoor air quality, a significant exposure considering the average U.S. citizen spends 90% of his or her time indoors. On the corporate side, setting aside work place air quality exposure, one only has to think back to when the price of gasoline at the pumps was in excess of $4 per gallon and the economic downward spiral that hit all industries dependent upon energy consumption or transportation requirements within their product cycle. The natural outcome of the above examples is

transparent approach to making a difference is still lacking. The approach to greenness and sustainability needs to be based on simple concepts that individuals can understand and know that what they are doing is making a difference. At the same time if all you are doing is product recycling, you are missing the big picture of driving change in the world. n Neale Misquitta ( is a 20-year environmental professional who has published numerous technical papers and innovations in the environmental field. A certified green/sustainability consultant and a renewable energy professional, he successfully founded two environmental consulting companies in the Pittsburgh area. Winter 2009

• “City’s Best”, AOL City Guide Reader’s Vote • First Place, Post-Gazette Reader’s Poll • First Place, Tribune-Review Reader’s Survey • First Place, South Hills Record Reader’s Vote • First Place, City Paper’s Reader’s Poll • Gold Medal, “Best Happy Hour,” Reader’s Choice Vote, Trib Total Media


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Happenings! The Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair is hosting a holiday giving tea luncheon and holiday boutique on Tuesday, November 17, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. A donation to the Foundation in the amount of $35 or more is requested. Available for purchase will be raffle tickets for prizes as well as holiday boutique items. For more information, contact Celeste Acinapura at Step back in time at Woodville Plantation as this living history museum celebrates a candlelit holiday tour on Sunday, November 22, noon-8 p.m. Admission is $5 per adult and $10 per family. Learn how 18th century holiday customs differ from modern celebrations. Highlighted will be traditions such as Twelfth Night, Boxing Day, and the firing of the Christmas guns. Also included will be a tour of the newly restored Cowan bedroom. Woodville Plantation, the home of John and Presley Neville, is Western Pennsylvania’s link to the late 18th century. Built in 1775, the museum interprets life during the period from 1780 to 1820, the era of the New Republic. Guided tours of the house, located at 1375 Washington Pike in Bridgeville, are available every Sunday, 1-4 p.m. Orthopedic surgeon Jon B. Tucker, M.D. is hosting seminars on ailing shoulders and knees at St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon through March 2010. The seminars, conducted from 4 to 5 p.m., are held in the Dunlap Conference Center, fourth floor lobby of St. Clair Hospital, and are free of charge. The remaining seminar dates and topics to be discussed are: Tuesday, December 15, shoulder; Tuesday, February 16, 2010, knee; and Tuesday, March 16, 2010, shoulder. To register or for more information, call 412-276-0267. To get ready for the summer swim season, take swim lessons this winter! Upper St. Clair Swim Club offers swim lessons for all ages, including adults, to help you on your way to becoming a more confident swimmer. Lessons will be offered at Upper St. Clair High School pool. For further information and for the January 2010 swim lesson dates, visit FosterCat, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing a way for all cats and kittens to have a safe and loving permanent home, held its fourth annual spaghetti dinner fundraiser in Pittsburgh this past September. The organization uses the fundraiser as a major resource for funding its mission to help foster parents provide temporary care for unwanted or homeless cats until they can be placed for adoption. For more information about the organization, visit To become a volunteer or foster parent, contact 412-481-9144 or



Winter 2009

The public got its first glimpse of St. Clair Hospital’s new main lobby, gift shop, Café 4, Dunlap Conference Center, physicians’ lounge, and rest rooms this past July. Work on the $2.5 million project, which was needed to better reflect St. Clair Hospital’s quality care and to provide an unparalleled patient and visitor experience, began in mid-March. Lami Grubb Architects designed Café 4 and the gift shop, and Valentour English Bodnar & Howell (VEBH) Architects of Mt. Lebanon designed the Dunlap Conference Center, the main lobby, and corridors. Contractors for the project were MBM Contracting, Powell Electric, Clayworth Mechanical, All Pro Painting, and Malc T Millwork/Casework. Edward B. Dunlap, chairman and CEO, CentiMark Corporation, and local restaurateur, poses with his wife, Anna, in front of the new Dunlap Conference Center at St. Clair Hospital during the dedication ceremony. The conference center is part of a $2.5 million renovation of St. Clair’s fourth floor lobby, the main entrance to the hospital.

Family Hospice and Palliative Care • Community Services: November is National Hospice month. Family Hospice and Palliative Care displays the Memorial Tree of Love at the Galleria and other locations. Memorial tags can be placed on the tree for a minimal donation. Call 412-572-8812. • Support Groups: Dealing with grief is never easy; it’s harder during the holidays. Call 412-572-8829 for information about grief support groups at The Center for Compassionate Care in Mt. Lebanon. The Orchid Society of Western PA (OSWP) will hold its annual spring show the weekend of March 20 and 21, 2010. Visit for more information.

Many Upper St. Clair residents attended the 12th annual St. Clair Hospital Foundation Gala at Hilton Garden Inn, Southpointe this past July. Photographed, left to right, are G. Alan Yeasted, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, St. Clair Hospital, and Kathleen and Jack Piatt.

Audubon South Hills Bird Circle Celebrates Ten Years Nancy Page, USC Citizens for Land Stewardship Ten years ago following a well attended bird walk through Boyce Mayview Park sponsored by USC Citizens for Land Stewardship and led by Bill Judd of Mt. Lebanon, there was a discussion about why there was not a “bird circle” in the South Hills area. There was no answer except for that one was not yet formed. It was from this discussion that an Audubon-sanctioned Christmas Bird Circle was created and centered around activity in Boyce Mayview Park. Bill had for many years birded the park and had a lengthening bird list. The criteria of an Audubon Circle require that it not touch any nearby circle, be 15 miles in diameter, and have many varied and well represented habitats, each of which must be documented in the initial application. To gain acceptance, ten-year support for the circle by experienced birders must be established. The bird count can take place any one day between December 14 and January 5, and last no longer than 24 hours. All birds are counted by sight or sound. If it is a rare bird that is being counted, increased documentation is required. All of the information regarding the count is compiled following the count day by one person known as the “compiler.” The bird circle compiler for South Hills Bird Circle is Nancy Page who initiated the circle’s formation. The South Hills Bird Circle is divided into seven areas, each with an experienced leader. Many people who participate began as novices. New birders are welcomed; age does not matter. Known as one of the country’s leading and enjoyable leisure activities, the learning never ends. Birders are considered volunteer citizen scientists, and Audubon recognizes them as such. Birders are an important cog in helping to watch the environment and our natural community. The Christmas Bird Circle stretches from the east along the Monongahela River near Elrama to the west at South Fayette, going north into Dormont, and south into Washington County’s Mingo Creek Park. Each area has its own unique

habitats. Those familiar with the areas know where to go to find certain species of birds. The total bird count varies from year to year, primarily due to weather, but the number of species remains approximately 58 to 65 different types of birds. The bird count this year will take place on Saturday, December 19 and celebrate the circle’s tenth anniversary. After the count day is finished, birders gather to celebrate the count and compile the numbers gathered within each area. It is a special time of good food and good fellowship with many people that you may only see once a year. There is a special bond between birders who love those little feathered friends and desire to see how many birds they can find and count. For some, it’s the thrill of seeing that special bird, which might be a “life bird” or it may just be the joy of seeing the birds and being out in the world’s natural environment. What ever it is that calls you to this experience, rest assured that you’ll be glad you joined the effort! n

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A blue bird pokes his head out of a birdhouse.

For more information about the South Hill Bird Circle and the Christmas Bird Count, call 412-831-3289 or visit Look for the “birds nest” area of the website regarding former bird count results. You’re invited to join in this year’s efforts! Winter 2009

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The boys are back! While it’s been almost 20 years since they rode a bus to a football game together, most of the members of the 1989 USCHS football team were in Upper St. Clair to watch the Panthers take on Central Catholic on Thursday, September 24.

Photos by Terry Kish



Winter 2009

A Brief History of Chocolate Lynn Rogers, Betsy Ann Chocolates, Owner Many modern historians have estimated that chocolate has been around for 2000 years, but recent research suggests that it may even be older. Last November, anthropologists from the University of Pennsylvania announced the discovery of cacao residue on pottery excavated in Honduras that could date back as far as 1400 B.C. It appears that the sweet pulp of the cacao fruit, which surrounds the beans, was fermented into an alcoholic beverage at the time. It’s hard to pin down exactly when chocolate was born, but it’s clear that it was cherished from the start. For several centuries in pre-modern Latin America, cacao beans were considered valuable enough to use as currency. Both the Mayans and Aztecs believed the cacao bean to have magical (even divine) properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage, and death. By the 16th century, chocolate was a fashionable drink throughout Europe, believed to have nutritious, medical, and aphrodisiac properties. It remained largely a privilege of the rich until the invention of the steam engine made mass production possible in the late 1700s. In America, chocolate was so valued during the Revolutionary War that it was included in soldiers’ rations and

used in lieu of wages. While most of us probably wouldn’t settle for a chocolate paycheck these days, statistics show that the humble cacao bean is still a powerful economic force. Chocolate manufacturing is a more than four-billion-dollar industry in the United States, and the average American eats at least half a pound of the sweet stuff per month.* Upper St. Clair has its own chocolate store, Betsy Ann Chocolates. It has called Upper St. Clair home for the last 15 years and is owned and operated by Upper St. Clair residents Lynn and Tim Rogers. The gourmet chocolates of Betsy Ann have been a favorite for generations, as the Pittsburgh-based company was started in the 1900s and voted as having the “Best Truffles in America” by the Food Network. The Upper St. Clair store offers a wide variety of gourmet chocolates, gourmet truffles, gift-box favors for all occasions, and various gift items. Betsy Ann creates gift baskets for all occasions and is happy to have customers provide their own baskets. Betsy Ann supports local organizations and charities through fundraising programs and also provides corporate gift items. n *Taken from Smithsonian Magazine by Amanda Bensen. See ad on page 67.

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Winter 2009


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Celebrates its 60th edition

Advertiser Index Winter 2009 Advertiser


Action Builders .................................................................................................. 31 * Amel’s Restaurant . ............................................................................................. 75 Ameriprise Financial Services, John D. Link . .................................................... 48 * Angelo Associates, Inc. ...................................................................................... 23 Betsy Ann American Chocolates ........................................................................ 67 Boehmer Heating & Cooling Company .............................................................. 69 Bower Hill III Apts. ............................................................................................... 9 Brookside Lumber Company . ............................................................................ 63 * Calabro Tire & Auto Service . ............................................................................. 77 California University of Pennsylvania . ................................................................. 2 Cardello Electric Supply & Lighting ................................................................... 31 Castriota Designs by Susan Castriota ................................................................ 66 Chatham University . ............................................................................................ 7 Cherup, Lori, L. MD. FACS ................................................................................ 21 * Clark Construction Company ............................................................................. 59 * Coffey Contracting Company ............................................................................. 79 * Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Inc. Corporate . ............................Back outside cover * Coldwell Banker–Route 19 South/Galleria ......................................................... 24 * Coldwell Banker–USC, South Hills Offices ........................................................ 25 Country Meadows Retirement Communities ...................................................... 37 Crandall, Steven R., D.M.D. ............................................................................... 33 * Cupelli & Cupelli, Drs. . ..................................................................................... 65 * Extended Day Services . ..................................................................................... 63 Friendship Village of South Hills ....................................................................... 47 Heartland Home Health Care and Hospice ......................................................... 48 * Hefren-Tilotson, Inc. .......................................................................................... 46 Howard Hanna–Maureen Cavanaugh . ............................................................... 71 * Howard Hanna–Susan Highley .......................................................................... 13 * Howard Hanna–Diane Horvath . ......................................................................... 65 Insight to Careers . ............................................................................................. 49 Keller Williams–Karen Marshall Group . ............................................................ 69 * Keller Williams–Sandy and Marshall Goldstein ................................................. 75 * Kerr Family and Cosmetic Dentistry . ................................................................. 45 Learning Express Toys ....................................................................................... 67


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 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 30 issues.

Upcoming guides for the Spring 2010 issue include Celebration and Home Improvement. 80


Winter 2009



Louis Anthony Jewelers ..............................................................Back inside cover * Manalo, Larry E., D.M.D. ................................................................................... 44 * Master Remodelers, Inc. ...................................................................................... 7 McClintock & Associates, P.C. . ......................................................................... 49 McMahon Financial, LLC . ................................................................................. 57 Mt. Lebanon Montessori School and Academy .................................................. 79 Mt. Lebanon Recreation Center ............................................................................ 9 * Piccolina’s Restaurant ........................................................................................ 44 * Pinebridge Commons Associates ...................................................................... 44 Pittsburgh Audiology ........................................................................................... 7 Port Authority Services ...................................................................................... 79 Pro Energy Consultants ..................................................................................... 73 * Prudential Preferred Realty–Route 19 South ........................................................ 1 R & R Masonry Restoration . .............................................................................. 73 * Scott Bros. Windows and Doors .......................................................................... 5 * Sesame Inn ........................................................................................................ 61 Simply Divine! LLC ............................................................................................ 66 * St. Clair Hospital . ............................................................................ 13, 15, 17, 19 * State Farm Insurance–Cindy Brophy . ................................................................ 45 Steel Valley Orthopedic Associates, P.C. ............................................................ 17 Stephen Szabo Salon ......................................................................................... 66 The Hand Center of Pittsburgh ........................................................................... 77 * The Thomas Studio of Performing Arts .............................................................. 71 The Villas of Arden Mills . .................................................................................. 74 The Washington Hospital ..................................................................................... 5 Today’s Cosmetic Surgery .................................................................................. 19 Township of Upper St. Clair Community & Recreation Center ........................... 38 * Valley Brook Family Dental–Joseph L. Gurecka, DMD . ..................................... 59 Watermark Financial .......................................................................................... 79 * Wellington Real Estate–Patty Thomas ................................................................ 11 Wisp Resort Real Estate .............................................................Front inside cover

New for Spring 2010!

Be a part of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY’s Celebration Guide with special events from the residents of our community. Do you have a special celebration coming up this spring or summer season—engaged to be married, special wedding anniversary, new baby, Bat Mitzvah, Bar Mitzvah, turning “the big one”? To be included in our Community Celebrations listing, please email the following information about your event to •A brief description of the event. •A phone number, address, and email of a contact person. •A digital photograph in .jpg format at a resolution of at least 300 dpi. •Full name of person(s) in photograph. Information must be received by Monday, January 4, 2010, and is subject to space constraints and placed on a first-come, first-served basis. Enjoy your special event and share the news with others in our community!


1820 McLaughlin Run Road Upper St. Clair, PA 15241


Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Pittsburgh PA Permit No. 206

Upper St. Clair, PA 15241

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Check out these fabulous Upper St. Clair area homes!

Exquisite French Country Home nestled on 1.7 Acres in Deerfield Manor in Upper St Clair built with the utmost quality. $1,975,000 Stacy Romanias 412-833-5405

Deerfield Manor - Exquisite custom Provincial, 6 bdrms, 6.5 baths, mahogany library, 4 car gar, too many amenities to mention! $1,950,000 Sydnie Jones 412-344-0500

Beautiful home & convenient location in Deerfield Manor. Award winning School District with excellent Parks & Recreation. $699,900 Jim Walsh 412-833-5405

Luxurious Contemporary, open floor plan, custom features, 4 bdrms, 2+2 baths,island kitchen, fam rm, den, game rm, patio, 3 car grg! $449,000 Sydnie Jones 412-344-0500

Beautifully renovated 4 bedroom, 2 full & 2 1/2 bath brick colonial home located in Deerfield Manor! New look on the inside & out! $387,000 Lynn Dempsey 412-833-5405

Don’t miss this spacious Tudor by Baker & Holstead. Lg rooms & open flr plan are enhanced by rich hrdwd flrs & elegant moldings. $399,900 Pat Paslowski 412-833-5405

SHOWS LIKE A MODEL! Totally updated 4 bdrm home w/eat-in kitchen w/all new cherry cabinets, granite and stainless appliances. $309,900 Rose Lepore 724-942-1200

Elegant townhome with flexible floor plan! Kitchen opens to greatroom and familyroom, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, patio, 2 car garage! $295,000 Noel Bliman 412-344-0500

Magnificent home is built with quality by Thomas Homes, and the rooms are spacious with neutral decor and beautifully maintained. $289,900 Hope Bassichis 412-833-5405

Lovely 4 bdrm, 3.5 bath Contemporary with updates! Floating spiral staircase, floor to ceiling windows, fam rm, gam rm wet bar,more! $279,000 Norma Bishop 412-344-0500

Newly remodeled brick ranch with over $41,000+ of updates through out. 3 bdrms, 2.5 baths, & completely updated eat-in-kitchen. $274,500 Lynn Dempsey 412-833-5405

COMPLETE MAKEOVER - Light & bright newer kitchen, baths, roof, driveway, vaulted ceilings, skylights, covered deck with great yard. $269,900 Carol Marks 412-833-5405

Spacious 5 bdrm, 2.5 bath home with great curb appeal! Beautiful flooring, wonderful 3 season room opens to deck and lush rear yard! $250,000 Kathi Kernan 412-344-0500

Split entry has been lovingly maintained. Gleaming hardwood floors, spacious and bright living room with a log burning fireplace. $239,900 Sandy Wiedt 412-833-5405

Lovely ranch, livingroom stone hearth & fireplace, picture window, updated kitchen, 3 bdrms, 2 baths, gameroom wet bar! $204,900 Ron Graf 412-344-0500

Lovingly cared for home w/beautiful family room, 4 large bdrms w/master bath (walk-in closets in 2 bedrooms) hardwood throughout! $194,900 Judi Scheidler 724-942-1200

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WINTER 2009  

Winter 2009 issue of UPPER ST. CLAIR TODAY Magazine.