Things to Do, Places to Go & People to See – March 2017

Smoke-Free for Life

Tuesday, March 7 at 6 PM – 7 PM

Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center, 240 Wellness Way, Washington

This class is FREE and open to the public! Learn to overcome barriers that have kept you from quitting in the past. Develop a customized “quit-plan” that will lead to success. Learn the art of positive self-talk and watch it work for you. Understand how to control your weight during and after the program. Practice sound techniques to manage stress. Develop strategies that will prevent relapse. Give and receive support in a positive and comfortable environment. 3 Ways to Register: Online at wrcameronwellness.org, In-person at the Wellness Center, or Contact Eric Schmalzried at 724.250.5249 or eschmalzried@whs.org

 

Free Produce to People Food Distribution – Fayette County

Thursday, March 9 at 10 AM

Fayette County Fair Fairgrounds, 132 Pechin Rd, Connellsville

The program provides supplemental food items to families each month that typically families receive about 60 pounds of food each month and includes items such as meat, when available, fresh vegetables and fruit, canned items, dairy,when available, and much more. Residents of Fayette County who receive the food are asked to bring a large box, wheeled cart or laundry basket to put their food in.

FMI: www.freshfirechurch.net

 

Beauty and the Beast After Dark

Friday, March 10 at 6 PM

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

At the heart of Beauty and the Beast is the powerful story of metamorphosis. Be our guest as we explore transformative natural phenomenons and real beasts in the natural world at a special 21+ event. Dress for a grand ball and sip on themed cocktails as you explore our castle-like museum by night.

$15 in advance; $20 at the door; $13.50 for members

FMI: www.afterdark.carnegiemnh.org

 

GIRLS ROCK – Benefit and Art Exhibition

Friday, March 10 at 6 PM – 8:30 PM

Percolate : Art Space, Gallery, Creative Laboratory, 317 S Trenton Ave, Wilkinsburg

63 women from Pittsburgh and the surrounding area will be exhibiting their work to support Girls Rock Pittsburgh, an empowerment program for female youths of all definitions, abilities, & backgrounds.

FMI: www.girlsrockpittsburgh.org

 

Mommy & Me Cake Decorating

Saturday, March 11 at 10 AM

Dairy Queen (North Charleroi, PA)

Mommy & Me is a great way to spend a Saturday morning with your child.  Limited space available. Cost is $25 per couple this includes your lesson, kids meal & cake. Call 724-489-9222 to reserve your space.

 

Community Division Class Sampler

Saturday, March 11 at 2 PM

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, 2900 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh

Ready to try a new avenue of fitness? Have the urge to start dancing but are not sure where to start? Here is your chance! Join us at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Studios on Saturday, March 11th for an afternoon of introductory dance and fitness classes from the PBT School Faculty. Warm up with a beginner level PBT Barre Fitness workout based on classical ballet and Pilates exercises, learn the traditional dance steps in Character, and finish with learning basic technique and combination work in Contemporary. No dance experience necessary as classes are geared towards beginner dancers. Ages 14 & up are welcome. $30 per participant; pre-registration is recommended. Register online or at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.

FMI: www.pbt.org

 

Wedding Resale- Pittsburgh

Sunday, March 12 at 1:30 PM

Pittsburgh Airport Marriott

A one day FANCYFLIP Wedding Resale event where any newlyweds can rent a booth to sell their used wedding items to future brides. It is like a flea market for wedding stuff!

FMI: www.fancyflipevents.com/events

 

MoonFlow Yoga with Lacey

Sunday, March 12 at 6:30 PM

Chaney’s Natural, 138 W Main St, Monongahela

MoonFlow yoga class releases negative energy and pent up stress with moon salutations. Moon salutations are designed to calm the mind and body and channel inner feminine energy. Bring your mat, some friends and $10

 

Hobbyist Mosaics at The Phoenix Arts Center

March 14-May 2 from 6-8 pm

Ages: High School/Adult

Uniontown High School Art Room

Cost is $75. Beginner Mosaics for Hobbyists is a class for those who are interested in learning how to create art by mortaring or gluing pieces of tesserae (material) onto another object, or substrate. Students will be introduced to the classic mosaic hammer and hardie in order to cut local materials. The class will cover how to mix mortar and epoxy, how to build a substate, and how to apply tesserae in flowing lines of andamento (movement).

FMI: www.thephoenixartscenter.org

 

Detoxing Your Home

Tuesday, March 14 at 7 PM

Wohar Chiropractic Health Center, 1295 Grand Blvd, Ste 100, Monessen

Learn how to replace chemicals in your home with easy to use natural cleaning products.

FMI: www.drjwohar.com

 

MF at 40: A Walk Through the Archives

Thursday, March 16 at 6 PM

Mattress Factory – Museum of Contemporary Art, 505 Jacksonia St. [parking lot], Pittsburgh

Muddy shorts. Bird nests. Artists’ sketches. Curator’s notes. Fragments of hard candy. Installation models. The Mattress Factory is a museum unlike any other, and our archives are one-of-a-kind as well. During this inaugural MF@40 event, visitors will have an opportunity to get a rare look at the Mattress Factory’s archives, which capture the museum’s evolution since its founding in 1977. Chronicling artwork, documentation and objects throughout its history, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

$15 tickets include two drinks, light appetizers, after-hours access to the museum’s galleries and guided tours of archival materials. MF Members enjoy FREE admission for this event! For the special discount code, please contact stella@mattress.org.

FMI: www.mattress.org

 

Sound Series: Kid Koala: Nufonia Must Fall Live

Thursday, March 16 at 8 PM

Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh

Part film, part puppetry, part live music, and 100% award-winning storytelling, Nufonia Must Fall is a multidisciplinary performance piece created by internationally renowned Canadian DJ and musician Kid Koala and directed by KK Barrett (Being John Malkovich and Her). Koala and the dynamic Afiara Quartet provide live scoring on piano, strings and turntables. Critics have tagged it as “modern primitive multimedia” because it mixes live puppet theater, video, a live string quartet, and a nest of electric instruments to tell the story of a tone-deaf and completely unemployable robot who falls in love with its human creator, a brilliant but unwitting scientist. Get ready for romancing the Anthropocene.

FMI: www.warhol.org

 

The Wiseguy Kitchen Comedy Show & Dinner

Friday, March 17 at 6:30 PM

Bella Sera, 414 Morganza Rd, Canonsburg

Join former mob boss turned reality star Big Vinny, aka The Wiseguy Chef and his crew, as they try to go legit. The Wiseguy Chef tries to teach his patrons how to prepare delicious Italian American cuisine. Our own Chef Giuseppe will prepare a delicious buffet for you to enjoy prior to the laughs beginning. Cost is $65.

FMI: www.bellaserapgh.com

 

Still, Birth. A Staged Reading of a New Play

Friday, March 17 at 8 PM

Carnegie Stage -off the WALL, 25 W Main St, Carnegie

You are invited to participate in a developmental reading and talk-back for a new play by Campany and Parrish. Pregnancy and infant loss often occurs in silence, causing a moratorium on grief that can have tremendous impact upon the health of the mother, as well as the rest of the family. This grief can transform into various physical and mental health issues. Still, Birth seeks to speak of this loss aloud in the hopes of supporting those who suffer in silence.

Seating is limted. Please use CODE: still101 – to make your FREE reservation. You may also choose to pay the $10 donation to support Off The Wall Theatre/Carnegie Stage for allowing us to use the space.

FMI: www.tickets.vendini.com

 

Beyond Bodyslams! – Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, March 18 at 7:05 PM

Steel City Improv Theater, 5950 Ellsworth Ave, Pittsburgh

Gary Michael Cappetta revives his acclaimed stage show, BEYOND BODYSLAMS! giving you an inside and personal look at his most controversial and outragious experiences from his acclaimed book, BODYSLAMS!. Through his no nonsense, artful story telling ability and never before seen video, GMC will relive his days with the WWF, NWA, AWA, WCW and ROH. $20 – General Admission. $40 – Meet & Greet – Includes Early Entry Gen Adm / Free Book / Free 8×10 Tour Photo / Post Show Photos & Autographs

Day of show tickets are $27 & $45.

FMI: www.steelcityimprov.com

 

Heroic Tales

Saturday, March 18 at 7:30 PM

Katz Performing Arts Center, 5738 Darlington Rd, Pittsburgh

Beethoven’s monumental Symphony No. 3 celebrates the hero within each of us while Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man honors the unsung heroes of World War II. Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings is one of the most evocative pieces of American music, long associated with moments of intense emotional grief. We conclude our journey through the country’s heritage of heroism and remembrance with Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait featuring narration by the magnificent Demareus Cooper.

FMI: www.edgewoodsymphony.org

 

Exhibit Tour: #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience

Sunday, March 19 at 1 PM

Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St, Pittsburgh

Transport yourself back in time during an in-depth tour of #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience with History Center docents. See what makes Pittsburgh unique through the History Center’s extensive collection of photographs. Experience life through the lens of Pittsburghers with the upcoming exhibition, #Pixburgh: A Photographic Experience. From the darkroom to the digital era, #Pixburgh provides visitors with a compelling glimpse into how Pittsburghers chronicle their city and their own lives in a format that’s more popular than ever.

This exhibit tour is included with regular museum admission and is free for History Center members.

FMI: www.heinzhistorycenter.org

 

Empty Bowls Dinner 2017

Sunday, March 19 at 1:30 PM – 6 PM

Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 5th Ave, Pittsburgh

The annual Empty Bowls dinner serves up a meaningful meal of soup and bread as a reminder that too many people throughout our region are facing hunger. This year’s event benefiting Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and Just Harvest will feature artisan pottery for guests to take home, soups from restaurants across the City of Pittsburgh, children’s activities, an auction featuring local artwork and a host of celebrity soup servers.

This year’s seating sessions are: 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. & 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Tickets are $20 when purchased in advance and $25 at the door. Tickets for children are $10.

FMI: www.justharvest.org

 

Ladies Night

Sunday, March 19 at 4 PM

Brownsville Do It Best Hardware, 6027 National Pike, Grindstone

A fun filled event with everything for the Ladies: Crafts, Craft Ideas, Bag Sale, Scavenger Hunt, Prize Drawings, Product Demonstrations & more

FMI: www.brownsvillehardware.com

 

FUSE: Tchaikovsky + Drake

Wednesday, March 22 at 6:30 PM

Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts, 600 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh

This concert features Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5 with a dozen Drake songs weaved throughout the work, including “We’re Going Home” and “Hotline Bling.”

** Please note that this concert features the music of Drake; he will not be performing at this event.**

Each FUSE@PSO experience begins at 5 p.m. with a happy hour, featuring a variety of happy hour-priced drinks, activities and sponsors. The concert follows at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Series season packages are available as well. Tickets are general admission and there is no intermission. Drinks are allowed in the concert hall at these performances.

FMI: www.pittsburghsymphony.org

 

Anna Karenina – Vakhtangov Theatre

Thursday, March 23 at 7 PM

SouthSide Works Cinema, 425 Cinema Dr, Pittsburgh

This Vakhtangov Theatre production of Anna Karenina is a modern dance interpretation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel, originally published in serial installments from 1875 to 1877 in the periodical The Russian Messenger. Telling the life story of the titular Anna, a St. Petersburg aristocrat, against the back of late 19th century Russian society, Tolstoy’s novel is widely considered a pinnacle in realist fiction.Cholina strives to find the equivalent of Tolstoy’s words in harmony and movement, as every gesture holds as much meaning as a word.

Tickets are $15 for adults. $12.50 for children and seniors. Save $2 off admission w a ticket stub from New Hazlett Theater or PICT Classic Theatre

FMI: www.clevelandcinemas.com

 

Material Worlds Fashion Show

Friday, March 24 at 7 PM

Ace Hotel Pittsburgh, 120 S Whitfield St, Pittsburgh

High fashion meets high tech at Material Worlds, a one-night-only event presented by Carnegie Museum of Art at Pittsburgh’s Ace Hotel.

Inspired by the CMOA exhibition “Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion” (February 4–May 1, 2017), local artists will showcase wearable works of art featuring innovative technology, unique processes, and unconventional materials. Mingle with other Pittsburgh professionals and creatives during a thrilling runway show. General: $40 ($35 Carnegie Museums members), includes drink ticket. VIP: $100 ($90 Carnegie Museums members), includes guaranteed runway seating and access to VIP open bar lounge

Attire: Creative Formal

FMI: www.cmoa.org or www.acehotel.com

 

Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet & Pittsburgh Creative Arts Festival

March 24 – March 26

David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd, Pittsburgh

Marketplace, Classes, Special Events and more.

FMI: www.pghknitandcrochet.com

 

Farm to Table Local Food Conference

March 24 – March 25

David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd, Pittsburgh

We’re getting back to our roots! We’re excited to be able to bring a cultural perspective to our conference this year. The theme is: Growing Roots for Healthy Communities and it’s all about celebrating the diversity of farming and traditional cooking methods that make eating local fun, educational and enriching.

The conference provides consumers with two days of networking and educational opportunities. Seasonal cooking demonstrations, gardening, and information about the nutritional value of local food are presented by local experts.

Meet with other Locavores to discuss ideas about where their food comes from and where to find businesses and organizations who can provide them with healthy food and healthy lifestyle choices. Event held 10 a.m.-5p.m. both days; additional events before and after each day.

FMI: www.facebook.com/pittsburghcc

 

Pittsburgh Humanities Festival

Mar 24 at 8 PM to Mar 26 at 9 PM

Cultural District, Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Humanities Center of Carnegie Mellon University, is a three-day gathering of internationally-renowned academics, artists, and intellectual innovators in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. The Festival will offer intimate conversations, interviews, and performances focused on art, literature, music, science, policy, politics, and more—all helping us to explore what it means to be human. It’s smart talk about stuff that matters.

The Writers of the Onion – Friday, March 24

Bassem Youssef – Saturday, March 25

A Conversation with Kathleen Neal Cleaver and Denise Oliver-Velez – Sunday, March 26

+ 24 Concurrent Sessions (Interviews & Conversations)

FMI: Explore the full lineup and get tickets at www.TrustArts.org/SmartTalk

 

Spring 2017 Mindfulness Fair

Saturday, March 25 at 10 AM

123 University Place, Pittsburgh

The Fair will showcase resources and activities available to both the campus community and the Pittsburgh region, and will feature a variety of talks, yoga, and Tai Chi demonstrations, information tables, and family activities. Lunch/refreshments provided and admission is free.

FMI: www.mindfulnesspitt.org

 

Pittsburgh Fairytale Ball

Sunday, March 26 at 10 AM

David L. Lawrence Convention Center, 1000 Fort Duquesne Blvd, Pittsburgh

Our princesses can’t wait to sing, dance, and play with your little ones! There will be a Royal Entrance, Stories, Songs, Free Portrait Station, Candy Buffet, Tiara Decorating Station, Group Games, Dancing and More. Pose with The Snow Sisters. Create a Crown with Rapunzel. Enjoy candy with The Little Mermaid. Read Stories with Belle. Have an enchanted evening with all your favorite fairytale friends.

FMI: www.prettyprincesspartiesmn.com

 

Family Day

Saturday, March 25 at 11 AM

The Westmoreland Museum of American Art, 221 N Main St, Greensburg

Surprises and fun for the whole family! Enjoy free admission, art projects, scavenger hunts, special discounts and more.

FMI: www.westmoreland.org

 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Saturday, March 25 at 11:45 PM

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont, 1449 Potomac Ave, Pittsburgh

Hosted by The Junior Chamber of Commerce Players. Come do the time warp with them!

FMI: www.thehollywooddormont.org

 

Steel City Slam

Tuesday, March 28 at 7:45 PM

6001 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh

Cash prize slam! $25 for 1st, $10 Gift Certificate to Capri Pizzeria for 2nd, Hearty applause for 3rd. All you need to compete are three, 3-min poems. Not interested in competing? You can also come read on the open mic, judge the slam, or just watch the poetry.

Signup at 7:45, show starts at 8:15. $5, All Ages Venue, All Ages (including Adult) Content. Slam list caps at 8 poets, open mic at 6. Are you a youth poet? Come before the show. Our sister group Young Steel has a youth focused workshop from 6-7:30 before the slam every week.

FMI: www.pghpoetry.org

 

Half-Pint Prints

Saturday, April 1 at 10 AM – 12 PM

The Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St, Pittsburgh

Families work with The Warhol’s artist educators to create silkscreen prints during this drop-in silkscreen printing activity for children ages 1 to 4 years old. Free with museum admission

FMI: www.warhol.org

 

Mad Hatter Tea Party

Saturday, April 1 at 2 PM

The Somerset Historical Center, 10649 Somerset Pike, Somerset

This program is open to the public and current LHOAF members. The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is an introduction to a series of literature-inspired foods and cooking techniques. Attendees will learn about traditional Victorian afternoon teas. There will be tea, cakes and sandwiches for the enjoyment of participants as well as a demonstration on how to make a Battenburg/Domino Cake using a recipe from the 1800s. All those attending will leave with copies of the original Victorian recipes used to make the sweets and savories present at the program. The fee is $10 per adult for LHOAF and museum members, $15 for non-members and $5 for all children between 11-18 years of age. Advance registration required by calling the Somerset Historical Center. Please RSVP by Saturday, March 25.

FMI: www.somersethistoricalcenter.org

 

Super Science Saturday: Egg-cellent Egg Hunt

Saturday, April 15 at 12 PM – 4 PM

Carnegie Museum of Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave, Pittsburgh

Join us for our annual Egg-cellent Egg Hunt! Follow clues that lead to treats, and meet live springtime animals! This event is designed for children 3–10 years old. Scavenger hunt maps and prizes are available to the first 500 children. Free with museum admission!

Super Science Saturdays is a free program at Carnegie Museum of Natural History that allows visitors of all ages to explore a special theme through hands-on activities, experiments, demonstrations, discussions with museum experts, and more.

FMI: www.carnegiemnh.org

 

Animaniacs Live!

Thursday, April 20 at 8 PM – 11 PM

Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead, 510 E 10th Ave, Munhall

Animaniacs Live features songs from the original WB show performed live!

Starring composer Randy Rogel, and voice actor of the original Animaniacs cast Rob Paulsen – Voice Actor

FMI: www.druskyentertainment.com

February 2017 Edition: Moments & Milestones

february2017 cover.qxdThe February 2017 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges is now available online & in print.

Moments & Milestones

This month, I am set to reach one of life’s major milestones. On February 23, I will turn 40 years old.

I find this fact astonishing only because I can recall with crystal clarity the day I turned ten, when I thought an eternity would have to pass before I reached the great sum of 15.

Still, I reached that milestone and many others, and 30 years later, here I sit thinking of past accomplishments and future feats yet to be achieved.

Forty seems like an appropriate age to take stock of your existence by counting the milestones along your life’s path. From learning to walk to learning to fly, so many occasions have had a profound impact on me. Giving birth to my favorite person, graduating from college and graduate school, publishing my first novel, and marrying my soulmate a few years back have all been events that shaped me in dramatic ways.

Having said that, what I remember most vividly about the last 20 years or so has not been so much the milestones but rather the moments I’ve shared with friends and loved ones. This is hardly an original concept and I must credit the source, the late Rose Kennedy, who raised a U.S. President and two senators along with six other children. She was also a leading philanthropist who lived to the ripe old age of 104.

“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments,” she wrote in her autobiography, Times to Remember.

The moments I cherish best have been the most unexpected, and at times have not fit neatly into the narrative I once believed my life would follow.

For everyone official milestone I’ve met, there are hundreds of moments that have eclipsed their standing. This is not to diminish their importance, rather it is emphasize how incredibly rich my life has been to date.

Like anyone, there are instances I’d rather not repeat, difficult lessons learned the hard way. Still, I can’t discount any of them for – without them – my life might have taken an alternate course than the current one.

Speaking of alternate courses, this issue is dedicated to those who go out of their way to help those whose lives have been touched by hardship and/
or tragedy.

In this edition, we honor the first responders on the scene, as well as those who raise their voices on behalf of the silenced. We pay tribute to those who support the downtrodden and the disadvantaged.

In an effort to be a positive force for change, we also are spotlighting organizations and causes to which you can contribute your resources. Even if you don’t have a lot of money, you can still make a difference by volunteering your time to help others in need. Have a spare hour or day? Want to help – among others – hungry children, people with life limiting illnesses or victims of domestic violence? Details about several worthy causes are listed within this month’s pages. Remember, volunteering can be a rewarding solo activity or a great way for families to bond and instill good values in their children’s hearts and minds. No memory is as precious as one that’s made while lifting others up.

Finally, this issue contains over 50 notices of places to go and things to do in the month of February, from celebrating Valentine’s Day at a local restaurant with your special someone to discovering the diversity of artists and performers in your own backyard.

Whether you elect to mark your life by milestones or moments, take time to appreciate the unique beauty of each.

Until next month,

Carla E. Anderton

January 2017: New Beginnings

january2017 cover.qxdThe January 2017 edition of Pennsylvania BridgesNew Beginnings – is now available online & in print.

New Beginnings: January 2017 Editor’s Note

confidenceOne of my all-time favorite actresses is Julie Andrews. I’ll save you the trouble of Googling to see if 2016 took her, too. Fortunately, at 82 years young, she’s still with us. While she appeared in a number of iconic films, one holds a special place in my heart, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. As far as I’m concerned, everything about this film is amazing, from the masterful performances of Andrews in the role of Maria and her co-stars – particularly Christopher Plummer as the dashing Captain VonTrapp and Peggy Wood as the ever sage Mother Superior – to the infectious tunes that provide the movie’s soundtrack.

Perhaps my favorite scene in The Sound of Music is the one where Maria first travels to the VonTrapp estate from the familiar confines of the convent, where she thought she’d live out the rest of her days.

“What will this day be like? I wonder. What will my future be?” she asks, her voice a mixture of uncertainty and eagerness. As she approaches the palatial home and prepares herself to meet “a Captain with seven children” she ponders “what’s so fearsome about that?” and sets off with renewed confidence.

It’s an inspiring instance of resolution and determination that tells the audience what sort of person Maria is, during which their view of her shifts from flighty and scatterbrained to confident and composed.

For me, however, the most motivational part of this scene is at the beginning, when Maria exits the convent, bags in tow, and prepares to leave behind the only life she’s ever known.

As the gates of the abbey close behind her, Maria says, appropriately, “When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window.”

My first viewing of the film was in 1984, so long ago that my grandmother actually rented a VCR from our local Kroger grocery store so we could watch the movie on VHS. (That’s right, I said “rented” as, at the time, most working class people couldn’t afford to own VCRs.)

In the years since, I’ve lost count of the times I’ve held on to that sentiment, that when God closes a door, somewhere a window opens. I uttered it to myself the day I left my hometown at the tender age of 22, filled with anticipation of the possibilities that awaited me in California, Pennsylvania. I repeated the phrase over a decade later, when I made another earth moving change. Only a couple of months ago, I had to say “Au Revoir” to a place I considered my second home for 16 years, and as that door closed behind me for the last time, I kept in mind the thought of the window that’s opened for me again and again, just when I’ve needed to set my sights on something new.

If you’re reading this, you’re looking through my personal window. Thank you, and don’t mind the dust! With the shift from bimonthly to monthly, we’re adding lots of awesome, original content as well as expanding our current offerings. One example has been a marked increase in event listings. Looking for something to do, close to home, in January or early February? We’ve got you covered.

2016 was a challenging year for a lot of people in myriad ways. Maybe it was a good year for you, maybe not. Maybe you’ve had doors close behind you, too, and you’ve found yourself searching for an open window. May 2017 be a year of renewal for you, of change and new beginnings.

Speaking of new beginnings, this issue is dedicated to those who have set off on innovative courses, just as the ever cheerful Maria did in The Sound of Music. May confidence, too, be their guide!

Until next month, Carla E. Anderton

December 2016: Ghosts of Christmas Future

December 2016: Ghosts of Christmas Future

December 2016: Ghosts of Christmas Future

The December 2016 edition of Pennsylvania BridgesGhosts of Christmas Future – is now available online & in print.

Ghosts of Christmas Future

berriesIn our two years publishing Pennsylvania Bridges, I’ve always regretted the fact we never had the opportunity to publish a November issue, given we began as a bi-monthly publication.

A Thanksgiving issue always provides the perfect chance to reflect on all we’ve been grateful for in the past year, and to envision all we might give thanks for in the coming year.

So, this year, I want to express my tremendous appreciation to so many, even as we move into the month of December, because this month I also get to say a special thanks to you, our loyal readers, and also to our talented, dedicated writers and staff.

Before I get carried away with asking folks to come on stage, however, let me take a brief moment to make an exciting announcement.

Beginning this month, we will be publishing Pennsylvania Bridges every month. Yep, you heard it right, and you heard it here first. Every month, we’ll be bringing you the best in arts, entertainment, education, lifestyle and special event coverage in the region. We’ll also be expanding our already extensive coverage of local churches, area non-profits, and other philanthropic organizations geared towards helping others, as well we increasing our front row and behind the scenes presence at area arts and entertainment events.

Got a story? You know how to find us. We’re on the web at pabridges.com, as well as on Facebook & Twitter.

Want us to print your announcement? Let us know.

Like to write? Get in touch. We’re always looking for a few good people. Have a photo you want to share? Let us know.

While we’ll be temporarily cutting back on our page count per issue, we’ll be dramatically increasing our circulation, as well as doubling the number of times we’re printed each year.

What that means is twice the audience for your special event or business, with an edition being produced every month.

Getting back to people I need to thank, however, this issue wouldn’t have been possible without the journalistic efforts of Fred Terling, Assistant Editor and Staff Writer. You’re the best, Tomato.

Technology columnist Eric Worton provided support in the form of [regular] meals, as well as an in-depth report on how to cut the cord using Roku devices to explore the best in entertainment programming.

Reanna Roberts of our exclusive series Exploring the Paranormal gave us a unique perspective on the mental state of that classic Christmas curmudgeon, Ebenezer Scrooge.

Pastor B.T. Gilligan always pens a thought provoking reflection on matters of faith, and this month’s was especially moving. I dare you not to cry reading it. I certainly shed a tear or two.

In short, this issue, like others before it, is jam packed full of goodness.
Based on your feedback, you guys feel the same way. The message is clear: You really like us! Thank you! Keep those letters and emails coming. We pride ourselves on being YOUR paper, and we want to be your voice.

Simply put, as we enter the holidays, I feel so grateful, for our advertisers, for our writers, and for all of you, whether this is your first time reading Pennsylvania Bridges or whether you’re already a loyal fan. Thank you!

As we prepare to celebrate a season with great meaning for so many, I can only hope that we show each other kindness, decency, and the very best of what we can be. Merry Christmas, and Happiest of New Year’s!

See you in January. Until next month,
Carla E. Anderton

Westmoreland College dedicates new lab

ribbon-cutting-not-cutWestmoreland College held a ribbon cutting ceremony to dedicate its new Instructional Design Lab which provides college faculty with the tools to create content engaging course content.

The lab is equipped with six smart podium computers that provide the tools for faculty to imbed video, PowerPoint presentations and other digital content into their online courses delivered in a web conferencing format. These online classes are delivered synchronously allowing instructors and students to interact in real time. Students can access the courses via any mobile device, including smartphones, tablets or computers.

“It’s the closest you can get to being in class without being in an actual classroom, “said Associate Professor John Shelapinsky who teaches Paralegal classes online.

This fall, 47% of Westmoreland students are taking at least one online class and their grade point averages are slightly higher than those enrolled solely in on-ground courses.

“One of our goals is to grow online programs and services to engage students where they are and that’s online, said Westmoreland President Tuesday Stanley. “The Instructional Design Lab will help us to do that.”

Funding for the creation of the Instructional Design Lab was provided by a gift from an anonymous donor.

“We are very grateful to the donor for the gift that enabled us to equip the lab and hire an instructional designer who assists faculty in transitioning their on-ground courses to an online format and developing engaging digital content,” said Stanley.

Funds from a $2.25 million Title III Strengthening Institutions Grant received from the U.S. Department of Education will allow the college to expand the Instructional Design Lab with additional equipment and professional development.

“The lab is the college’s first step in achieving its long-term goal of creating a Learning Commons as part of the Founders Hall renovation project, currently in the planning stage,” said Stanley.

Once completed, the instructional design lab will move to the Learning Commons which will also contain spaces for tutoring and academic support, mentoring and counseling services, career services and an IT help desk.

Westmoreland offers 11 associate degree, diploma and certificate programs that are available 100 percent online. Among those offerings is the Associate of Arts degree, which is transferrable to bachelor’s degree programs at four-year universities. Other programs available completely online are some of Westmoreland’s most popular majors such as business, accounting, criminal justice and psychology.

This fall, Westmoreland was ranked first in Pennsylvania for 2016 online colleges by OnlineColleges.com.

Photo: Delivering remarks at the dedication ceremony were Stanley; Tara Zirkel, dean, Distance Education and Education Centers; Dick Dickert, chairman, Westmoreland board of trustees; Philip McCalister, president, Educational Foundation board; Annette Boyer, director, Distance Education and Learning Resources; John Shelapinsky, associate professor of Paralegal, Business and Real Estate; Ted Kopas, Westmoreland County commissioner; and Chad Amond, president, Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce.

180 Degrees Empowerment Center offers opportunities for area youth

13502588_659102580913805_4113438828867297511_oDepressed areas create despair for residents and youth alike, and a sense that opportunity exists elsewhere. But Terry Vassar of Brownsville, Pennsylvania, decided that he could make it where he lives, and raise others up in the process, through his 180° Empowerment Center, a 501.3c organization headquartered in Brownsville.

Vassar, proud father of five children and a Windows R Us franchise owner, explains the inspiration for the Center’s name: “180 is about making a complete turn-around. Anytime anyone came to Jesus, they would have their life turned around 180 degrees.”

From high school graduation until about age 28, Vassar said that while he had a good family, “…some of us find love in different places, and I found mine in drugs and street life. But at 28, I realized I had no life, and went back to school,” adding that once he rededicated his life to Christ, he didn’t need to go to rehab to quit his habits.

After completing a degree in Ministerial Studies from Shiloh Bible Institute, Vassar worked as a telemarketer where he “ . . . learned how to be a communicator and have people skills,” which benefitted him though managerial and mortgage broker jobs, and would later help bring the Center to the Brownsville community.

14054553_683504928473570_3336914508211999575_oVassar’s experiences on the street, along with personal development through hard work, seeded the idea for 180° Empowerment Center in 2007. However, it took time to build connections with the school district, and create a location, at 165 Market Street in Brownsville. Once in place, he moved ahead with his vision, working with Brownsville Area School District Superintendent Dr. Philip Savini, Jr., Ph. D, to bring the Center’s outreach programs to the district, starting in December of this year.

The Center provides English, math, and Spanish tutoring for 7-12 grades, along with PSSA, SAT, and ACT preparation. In addition, grief counseling, career awareness, student aid workshops, and suicide awareness and prevention programs are available to the area students, or anyone in need.

On request, life development courses and credit counseling are also available.

California University interns from the Department of TRIO and the Hispanic Student Association have stepped in to volunteer their tutoring skills. Lisa Driscoll from the Department of TRIO and Academic Services facilitates the relationship between California University and the Center.

“She’s awesome and it’s been a great partnership. She was instrumental in getting everything in line to start in December,” Vassar said of Driscoll.

Furthering technical literacy skills for Brownsville school district students is Fab Lab, which as Vassar calls “A new, 21st century way of doing design.”

Fab Lab, instructed by Brandon Prentice from Intermediate Unit 1, features classes in Laser Cutting, 3D Printing for Beginners, and a Vinyl Sticker Tutorial. While working through these classes, students learn about design software and 3D modeling to produce projects for the individual class instructions. New Fab Lab classes will form in early 2017.

Vassar’s message for the area is a positive one: “I believe that people in the Mon Valley area, because of the depression, believe they can’t do it here. But by the grace of God, I am. I want kids to be able to duplicate what I’ve done. I want kids to find out what they love to do, and work on developing their strengths.”

Those wishing to donate and/or participate: 180degreesempowerment.com/about, and click on “Lend a Helping Hand.”

Photos: (top) Students show off self portraits made during Fab Lab (bottom) Students participated in a basketball clinic offered by the Center at Brownsville Area High School this past August. Future clinics are planned.

Story by Keren Lee Dreyer for Pennsylvania Bridges

California Holly Days set for Dec. 4

xmas261California Borough families will have the opportunity to partake in a free holiday celebration on Sunday, December 4, 2016 at California University of Pennsylvania’s Natali Student Center from 4-5:30 p.m.

Activities Will Include:

A large inflatable snowman chair for fun photo opportunities

Photobooth Fun – Snap some holiday-themed selfies in the home-made photo booth!

Holiday Crafts

Cal U’s Theater Department will perform a portion of their upcoming musical, “The Happy Elf,” at 4:15 p.m.

Holiday Cookie Decorating

Balloon animals and face painting will be available

A family-friendly holiday movie will continuously be shown in the Vulcan Theater

A card-decorating station will be set-up to decorate cards to send to soldiers and hospitals

Santa will arrive at 4:30 p.m.

Don’t forget your list, and remember to smile for your printed photo with Santa for your decorated frame

Blaze and the DQ ice cream cone will be in attendance

PARKING WILL BE FREE. The best place to park will be behind the Student Union (coming down Hickory Street)

The Bookstore will be running a 20% discount. Plan to have dinner after the event in the Gold Rush, too.

Please invite your friends & spread the word! We hope to see you there!

Event Sponsored by California Borough Recreation Authority and California University of Pennsylvania