Pennsylvania Bridges January 2019: New Year, New You!

pabridges_january2019_cea_wThe January 2019 edition of Pennsylvania BridgesNew Year, New You! – is now available online and in print.

Thoughts from our Editor: January 2019: New Year, New You!

Resolution2I’m back! I don’t know if you noticed my monthly musings have not appeared in the last few issues of Pennsylvania Bridges, but I want to thank you for your patience with my absence as I had to put them temporarily on hold. I spent the last few months adjusting to a new, much busier schedule and an increased workload that left me with limited time to do any writing of my own.

As much as I cherished the experience, I’m grateful for a short break and an opportunity to recharge and reconnect with friends, family, and you, loyal readers of Pennsylvania Bridges. I missed the opportunity to put my thoughts down on paper and share them with you.

Speaking of what’s on my mind, it’s a subject I know is on yours, as well. As the new year approaches, many of us find ourselves thinking of resolutions we’d like to keep in the coming months, of ways we’d like to improve ourselves.

Mine are as follows. After a long semester spent grabbing too many quick bites at Burger King between my classes, one of my resolutions is to improve my eating habits by choosing healthier options and packing my lunch at home more often than not. This will require me to step up my game in the kitchen, which I am, to date, not known for.

I’m also hoping to find ways to get more exercise, and not just the physical kind. I’m searching for ways to exercise my mind, whether it’s by visiting more museums, attending more cultural events, adding to my overall base of knowledge, or learning new skills. Know an exhibit I should visit, a play I should see, a book I should read, or a video I should watch? Email me at carla@pabridges.com or leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Above all, I hope to exercise more kindness toward my fellow man, and less anger in general. I will seek to accomplish this by remembering that every single person I meet – whether it’s a student in my classroom or a clerk at my local Walmart – is facing a struggle I know nothing about. I realize that’s a cliche, but it rings no less true.

On a final note, when I do encounter hostility or rudeness, I will remind myself that I have a choice as to how to respond, with unkindness or with dignity, grace, and compassion. May I challenge all of you to make a similar effort to find ways to treat others with more civility in the year ahead.

We at Pennsylvania Bridges wish you and yours a joyous and prosperous new year!

Until next month,

Carla E. Anderton

Editor-in-Chief

December 2018 – “Goodness and Light”

pabridges_December2018_coveThe December 2018 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“Goodness and Light” – is now available online and in print.

Pennsylvania Bridges November 2018

pabridges_november2018_cea1The November 2018 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges“Those Who Serve” – is now available online and in print.

Pennsylvania Bridges – October 2018 – “Good Spirits”

pabridges_october2018_cea92818_web-1The October 2018 edition of Pennsylvania Bridges is now available online & in print.

Pennsylvania Bridges – September 2018 – “A Balancing Act”

pabridges_september_coverThe September edition of Pennsylvania Bridges “A Balancing Act” – is now available online and in print.

Thoughts from our Editor: September 2018

balances_commerce_186107About six years ago, my first – and, to date, last – novel, was published by a small press. Titled The Heart Absent, it was a story about Jack the Ripper in love, a tale of My Fair Lady gone horribly wrong.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Jack the Ripper crimes and began writing the novel when I was in my mid-20s. However, life intervened, and it wasn’t until I was in my early 30s a motive and a means to finish the novel presented itself in the form of Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. In the program, in order to earn a Master of Fine Arts, I had to produce a novel deemed suitable for publication.

Seems simple enough, no? Open a vein and pour your heart out on a page, then on another, and another, until you’ve bled yourself dry and, yet, in your hands you hold a living, breathing story, a creation that sprang solely from you. Doesn’t sound so simple now, does it?

The truth is writing is hard work. I often tell my students that writing is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration and that the most difficult part of writing is actually doing it, the literal act of putting your derriere in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard. You have to treat it like a job and carve out hours in your schedule to devote to the task.

Combined with the realities of life – work, family, and other real-world commitments – maintaining a regular schedule for writing can be daunting at best and near impossible at worst. Like Dr. Lee McClain, one of my instructors at Seton Hill told me, you have to strike a careful balance between life, work, and play, and the only way to accomplish that balancing act is to learn how to tell people “no.”

I’ve never been shying about stealing or sharing great advice, and it’s a nugget I impart to my students as well. Learn to say no, I tell my own students nowadays, usually in the first week of the semester. Don’t be afraid to tell people “not right now, I’m studying and/or writing.” Guard your time like the priceless gem it is, treasure each moment for there will never be another like it.

Speaking of moments, the ones I spent as a graduate student at Seton Hill were among some of my happiest, which is one of several reasons I was thrilled just last month when I was asked to come back to campus, this time as an instructor of writing for a new generation of students. Five days a week you can now find me up at the crack of dawn, driving to the “Hill” to teach composition classes to Seton Hill freshmen before then driving to Uniontown, where I also teach at a community college. It’s left me with a lot less time to devote to Pennsylvania Bridges, and in order to remain the quality of the publication you deserve and have come to expect, I’ve been thankful for the assistance of my fellow editors, our amazing team of writers, and at least one good friend.

Walking this tightrope isn’t easy, but nothing worth having ever is, has been, or ever will be. Thanks for reading!

Until next month, Carla E. Anderton

Mental Health Spotlight: Suicide Awareness & Prevention

September is National Suicide Prevention Month. All month, mental health advocates, prevention organizations, survivors, allies and community members unite to promote suicide prevention awareness. This subject has been the focus of three Spotlights that I have previously presented. It’s that important as this will be number four.

Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the suicide rate in our country has risen sharply between 1999 and 2016. The report was released on June 7, 2018 and found an increase across all states except one, Nevada, which recorded a decline of 1% but remains higher overall than the national average. Tucked away in those shocking statistics is perhaps the most sobering: In more than half of all deaths in 27 states, the people had no known mental health condition when they ended their lives.

Although there were increases across the board among age, gender, race and ethnicity, one demographic stood out with a sharp increase. The rise in the rates of death by suicide from 2000 to 2016, the increase was significantly larger for females, increasing by 21 percent for boys and men, compared with 50 percent for girls and women. For females between the ages of 45 and 64, the suicide rate increased by 60 percent.

Nearly 45,000 suicides occurred in the United States in 2016, more than twice the number of homicides, making it the 10th-leading cause of death. Among people ages 15 to 34, suicide is the second-leading cause of death.

As I mentioned in my July Spotlight, this is a perfect time to reach out to that person in your social circle that may be hurting. Remember that statistic at the beginning of this article, more than 50% of suicides in 27 states had NO previous mental health diagnosis. This disease strike fast and the effects are lasting on all of us who are left behind. Children may be raised without a parent, your favorite sibling my now just be an empty chair at Thanksgiving, your best fishing buddy my no longer be available on those long weekends. Simply because we are too beholden to stigma and don’t have the courage for fear of exasperating a situation. Since it’s awareness month, read up on it a little. Many times, people don’t know how to ask for help or even realize they need it. It’s simply easier to push it aside. Unfortunately, as these statistics illustrate, there is a grave cost.

World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10th. It’s a time to remember those affected by suicide, to raise awareness, and to focus efforts on directing treatment to those who need it most. National Suicide Prevention Week is the Monday through Sunday surrounding World Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s a time to share resources and stories, as well as promote suicide prevention awareness.

BREAKING NEWS: On August 14, 2018, H.R. 2345: National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2018 was enacted. This Act will create a simple three-digit hotline number (like 911) for a NATIONAL suicide hotline.

This is a pretty big deal, in my humble opinion, as it is far easier to remember a three-digit number than the long one that is in existence now. I will update when I hear what the number will be. Currently, a committee will be formed to work with the FCC to determine what the number will be. Final form will follow the existing Number-1-1 format.

NEED HELP? IN THE U.S., CALL 1-800-273-8255 FOR THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE.

*Mental Health Spotlight is an opinion based column. Any resources mentioned are provided for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the specialized training and professional judgment of a health care or mental health care professional.

Written by Fred Terling for Pennsylvania Bridges

Southwestern Pintsylvania: Allegheny City Brewing

alleghenycitybrewingAllegheny City Brewing is located in the heart of the North Side of Pittsburgh. It’s not far from the major stadiums but is still tucked away enough to feel cozy yet welcoming. Last month, I sat down with Al Grasso, one of the owners and head brewers at Allegheny City Brewing. He owns and runs the brewery with his significant other, Amy Yurkovich, and her brother, Matt Yurkovich. In the mid-2000s, the three of them moved to Colorado and fell in love with the craft beer scene there. Not only is it generally thought to be a top-notch state for craft beer, the abundance, from what Grasso says, is astounding. The three of them did a lot of hiking and backpacking and Grasso remembers that in almost all the small towns they stopped in to rest, there was a local brewery or brewpub.

Thanks to this, Grasso became interested in homebrewing, and M. Yurkovich soon followed. They soon realized that not only the volume they could produce but also the quality of beer they put out, was influenced by the type and quality of the equipment they used. They slowly started to upgrade to bigger and better setups to push the beers they were brewing. The three of them then decided to move back to Pittsburgh to both be closer to family, since the three of them are from here, and to open a brewery. A. Yurkovich ended up working full time on the brewery while Grasso had a full-time job as the head of sales and marketing for a commercial construction company and M. Yurkovich took a part-time temp job. Eventually, they transitioned and were all full time at the brewery.

Allegheny City is by far not the only brewery in the area. There are a few others in North Side alone, and plenty more in southwestern Pennsylvania. Grasso says that the quality of beer that everyone puts out is great. No one, in his opinion, puts out bad beer, and he thinks this will help make Pittsburgh a craft beer vacation destination. The fact that most of the Pittsburgh craft breweries are small allows them to not only experiment with different things, such as fruiting beers but also ensures you aren’t going to have the same beer twice at different locations. If a brewery wants to be known for a type of beer, that’s great, but some, like Allegheny City, want to be known as a neighborhood pub and gathering place. They want to be welcoming to everyone and try to have something for all tastes whether you are looking for an IPA, a sour beer, or something similar to a Miller Lite. He thinks that at this point what people seem to what is a clean, refreshing beer that they can sip while relaxing at a BBQ, on the patio, or just out with friends and not need to worry about it having a high ABV.

Because of the variances within each brewery or brewpub, Grasso doesn’t think you should check them out over any other brewery. You should check them out and then everyone else because each location is unique and special.

Regardless of which brewery you are visiting, he (as someone on the board of the newly formed Pittsburgh Brewers Guild and brewery owner) follows the motto “A rising tide raises all ships.” Patronizing other places will just help them all in the long run, which is something they try to do already anyway.

If a brewer needs advice, a bag of grain, yeast, or anything, really, Grasso says that they can just go on to social media, email, or make a phone call and get it from another local brewer. They try to help each other and work together.

Since Grasso has made the transition from homebrewing to brewing as a career, I asked him what advice he has for homebrewers that want to open up their own breweries. At first, he laughed and said “don’t do it!” but made it clear that he was joking. His real advice was to realize that it is not just a 6-8 month process, it is a years-long process. It takes a lot of time, money, and energy. Your beers need to be on point from the start or you won’t make it. He also said that the best piece of advice he received was from another local brewery, and that was to take your budget and double it, and take your schedule and double it. What you initially thought it would take isn’t enough.

Grasso ended it by saying “It is a journey, but it’s 1000% worth it.”

Allegheny City is located at 507 Foreland Street in Pittsburgh.

FMI: Call 412-904-3732

Hours: Wed: 5-10, Thu: 5-10, Fri: 4-12, Sat: 2-12, & Sun: 12-7.

Story by Reanna Roberts for Pennsylvania Bridges

Author’s Note: I am working on setting up interviews with other Southwest PA breweries. Is there a brewery you’d like me to cover? Reach out to me via email – PABridges.Reanna@comcast.net

“Expensive habit” becomes business for Brownsville yogi

Route40YogaWhen Paige Goozdich of Brownsville, PA, was searching for a healthful physical routine after her daughter was born, she already knew that traditional exercise held no appeal. On her sister’s advice, Goozdich tried yoga and, in a short time, was floored by the experience.

I started going to classes and loved the laughter, and that there was an 80 year old man there doing arm balance next to me. So, I knew I wanted to do this,” Goozdich said, continuing, “It just became an obsession with me, five and six days a week going to classes. Yoga’s an expensive habit…for me, it was more of an investment if I wanted to do this as a career. I wanted to put my money into my own practice so I could be a good, strong, valuable teacher.”

In 2017, Goozdich took the next step toward a career in yoga by enrolling in Alliance Yoga’s 200 hour training program at Yoga H’Om in Robinson Township, PA. In addition to receiving traditional hatha instruction with “great trainers” Maggie and Terry, she had another month of additional, unexpected training — in the business of yoga. Yoga H’om covered “all of the business aspects of opening and running a yoga studio, and what to expect when working with other people.”

Fortunately for Goozdich, when the time came to put her yoga and business training into action, she was already surrounded by helpful entrepreneurs and, importantly, an available location.

Travelers along National Pike – celebrating its bicentennial this year – are likely familiar with National Pike Chiropractic at 565 National Pike West in Brownsville, which is owned by Goozdich’s father, Lee. Her mother, Ruthann Goozdich, also runs her counseling center at the same location. And as of June, 2018, Paige has been running her new studio, Route 40 Yoga, in the same building.

“My studio shares space with my dad’s chiropractic office and my mother’s family counseling (practice), and my father owns the building so it’s just one big family” Goozdich said. “The whole mind, body, spiritual aspect of yoga seemed to make sense in that building.”

Goozdich also credits her boyfriend, David Dinger, with “the support I needed to get into my own business.” Dinger, a Marine veteran, is also an entrepreneur, having opened DWD Equipment Transportation in Washington, PA in 2017.

According to Goozdich, residents of Brownsville and surrounding communities will find “the perfect introduction to yoga” at Route 40 Yoga. “For me, I definitely feel like I’m a different kind of teacher as far as things I offer students in the area. I come from a more physical anatomy aspect. I focus more on breath work than chanting (which some may find intimidating),” Goozdich said, adding that “I’m trying to be every man’s yogi. I have a 16 year old and an 84 year old. I wanted everybody to try yoga at some point to experience the physical or mental, or even spiritual.”

But because some traditional spiritual aspects of yoga can “be a really big hangup for people coming to yoga,” Goozdich chooses to focus more on breath work and physical poses than on the spiritual. “I’m perfectly content with being a stepping stone studio to get people in the door. And if they want something more spiritually fulfilling, there are more studios in the metropolitan areas that have those aspects.”

Goozdich describes her journey from her first yoga class to her new studio as “a life-changing experience. I always thought it was glorified stretching…(but) there is so much more to it than I could ever believe from the pictures and calming, breathy voices.”

To begin your own journey in yoga, visit Route 40 Yoga at facebook.com/Route-40-Yoga-226329304631156/ Traditional Hatha classes are held on Monday and Wednesday from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Thursday morning from 9:30 – 10:30, and a lunch class runs from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Story by Keren Lee Dreyer for Pennsylvania Bridges