The idea for Foster Friends of Washington County and the care pack drive took spark just before Thanksgiving 2014. More »
Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the film classic, Back to The Future. More »
When California resident Rosemary Capanna started posting photos on social media of oil paintings she’d created using a palette knife, she never expected such a tremendous response. More »
With so much history rapidly disappearing, it’s comforting to realize one of the town’s architectural wonders will turn the big 1-1-1 this year. More »
Most professional writers, myself included, toil away at some sort of “day job” in order to pay the bills and put food on the table. When I’m not sitting at the editing desk, by day you can find me in the classroom, teaching English and public speaking. On the first day of class, I like to lead students through an ice breaker activity to help us all get better acquainted.
Timons Esaias, one of my professors at Seton Hill University, taught me a valuable lesson about reaching students: offer them an incentive. To entice my students to open up about themselves, I give each of them a small bag of mixed candies and ask them to answer a question about themselves for each piece. For example, if your bag contains a “fun size” Milky Way bar, you have to say a few words about your dream career.
In the spirit of fairness and cooperation, I keep a bag, and for each piece of candy I reveal something about myself.
This semester, I drew a Milky Way from the bag of goodies and had to share with the class what my dream career would be. It took me only seconds to respond.
“I’m doing it,” I said. “What’s next?”
Yes, I often joke on social media about leading a rock star life but I’m dead serious. About five years ago, I made an important decision about life. I was going to stop trying to please everyone, and I was going to do exactly what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it. Life’s simply too short to do otherwise. I’ve never regretted that decision.
Truth be told, I am doing exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, and that is to reach people. Occupy space in their brains, make them think, and reach them with my words, whether they’re written on a chalkboard or here in the pages of Pennsylvania Bridges.
Speaking of, this edition’s pages are filled with stories about people who’ve decided what they want out of life is to reach people, to make a significant contribution to the lives of their family, friends and communities.
As I said, I love my work, but putting together this issue was even more awe inspiring than usual. I witnessed volunteers coming together to assemble bags of food for needy children who otherwise would go hungry on the weekends. I saw a near mountain of backpacks filled to the brim with items intended to bring comfort to children and youth in distress. I heard about a minister and beloved community leader whose community is rallying around him while he struggles with health issues. I read about an arts organization receiving a grant to help fund their efforts to bring art to underfunded schools. And we’re only up to page 14!
My aim with this edition, as with every issue, is to reach my audience and report to you on all the fantastic arts, entertainment, education and lifestyle news happening in our region. Here’s hoping I was successful.
Until next time — Carla E. Anderton, Editor-in-Chief, Pennsylvania Bridges
The Winter 2015 Edition of Pennsylvania Bridges is now available online and in print.
On the cover: The Billy Price Band, pictured here, will take the stage at Jozart Center for the Arts on March 14 at 8 p.m.
The Holiday 2014 Edition – Making Seasons Bright – is now available online and in print.
On the cover: Della and Lila Mitchell strike a pose, ready for the season dressed in their colorful and festive winter outfits.
During this time of year, people make a special effort to help others. Maybe it’s Christmas spirit, maybe it’s holiday cheer, but the result is the same. We go out of our way to think of and care for our fellow man. It’s a simple concept, the idea of giving to those in need, and yet it’s a notion that often seems soon forgotten on or shortly after December 26.
With that in mind, as we were preparing the content of this edition of Pennsylvania Bridges, we sought out individuals and organizations seeking to make a positive difference in the lives of others 365 days a year, those making all seasons a little brighter for those struggling in darkness.
We didn’t have to look far. Mere blocks away, on the banks of the mighty Monongahela River, a brave group of polar philanthropists are already planning to take an icy dip in the river early next year to raise money for charity. Talk about a “cool” idea! Details are on page three. In other chill concepts, Pittsburgh comedian Amy Capiross will host a benefit show December 27 to raise money for warm winter items for the homeless. More information is on page eight. In Washington County, a group of friends is collaborating to collect and distribute “care packs” to children entering foster care. Read all about it on page 12 and learn how you can get involved.
Putting together a publication is challenging work, but never more so than during the holiday season. There’s so much going on, and so much worthy news to report. The difficulty lies in striking a careful balance between listing holiday events and offering stimulating and original content that remains interesting and relevant after all the presents have been unwrapped and the ball’s dropped in Times Square.
Stimulating and original are certainly words that could be used to describe the delightfully bizarre art of Jeffrey Donato, featured on page four. As far as interesting, we’ve got an interview with the musicians from area favorite LocaL, articles about two unique local businesses, a couple of music reviews examining the latest albums by local and global talents and another take on a century plus old crime by Yours Truly. Finally, we discuss the relevance and enduring popularity of two very different movies that celebrate their 30th birthdays this year.
Speaking of stimulating, there’s no shortage of interesting sights and sounds to enjoy this holiday season. Whether you’re staying close to home or venturing to the city, entertainment opportunities abound. We’ve spotlighted several of those offerings throughout the pages of this edition.
Whatever your holiday plans, take a few monents to reflect on how you can be a positive force in the lives of others, and make the seasons bright all year round.
Until next time,
Carla E. Anderton, Editor-in-Chief