New & Notable September 2021



North Hills Community Outreach Introduces Podcast

North Hills Community Outreach has launched a monthly podcast titled, Get to Know NHCO. Hosted by Executive Director Tom Baker and Director of Development and Communications Erica Cochran, the show highlights opportunities available to residents of northern Allegheny County to receive a helping hand. In addition, the show educates listeners on volunteer opportunities available throughout the 40-zip code region that the organization reaches. Episodes are released on the second Wednesday of each month. The podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Castbox, and at www.nhco.org/podcast.


Leslie Davis Named UPMC President and CEO

UPMC recently announced that its board of directors has unanimously selected Leslie C. Davis to succeed Jeffrey Romoff as president and CEO. During her 17 years at UPMC, Davis has demonstrated a commitment to both clinical excellence and building relationships with patients, doctors, employees, leaders, and communities. This experience leaves her exceptionally well-qualified to lead a large organization like UPMC to future success and growth at such a critical time for the health care and insurance industries.


Zombies of the Corn Announces New Attraction

Family-owned and operated Three Rivers Paintball is gearing up for their Ninth Annual Zombies of the Corn, which will be held weekends in October (starting Sept. 24 & 25). This event offers friendly startles, gotchas galore and fright levels for all ages. Attractions include new addition The Fun House, as well as the Zombie Compound, the Zombie Maze, storytellers, bonfires, outdoor movies and more. Parking will be handled by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Cranberry Township collecting donations for Voice–the local domestic violence agency in Butler. Last year, more than $8,000 was donated by this hardworking service organization. For tickets and information, visit

www.ZombiesOfTheCorn.com or call 724-775-6232.


Art of Wine and Food to Benefit HEARTH

The Allegheny Financial Group and Associates in Ophthalmology will be holding its 20th annual Art of Wine & Food 2021 fundraising event on Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 at the Pittsburgh Field Club. This event raises funds and creates awareness of HEARTH’s mission to house women with children who are homeless due to domestic violence or other trauma. Contact Jessica Monahan at jmonahan@hearth-bp.org for more information.


Charity Golf Scramble to Benefit NHCO

On Monday, Sept 13, a Charity Golf Scramble at Birdsfoot Golf Course (225 Furnace Road in Freeport) will be held to benefit North Hills Community Outreach. To register, visit www.nhco.org.


The Lighthouse Foundation to Host Seventh Annual Soaring for Hope Gala

The Lighthouse Foundation will host the Seventh Annual Soaring for Hope Gala on Sept. 24, 2021 at the Butler Country Club. Tickets are $110 per person and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Contact Theresa Rodriguez at trodriguez@thelighthousefoundation.com for more information.


BHS Recognized for Sustaining a Culture of Excellence in Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery

Since 2018, Butler Health System has been recognized as an accredited Center of Excellence by SRC, a nonprofit, patient safety organization that provides accreditations for surgical facilities and medical professionals. This means that BHS has met and continues to meet nationally recognized standards. In addition to BHS being recognized as an accredited Center of Excellence, Meng-g Lee, MD, FACS, FASMBS has also been recognized as Master Surgeon in Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery by SRC. To learn more about SRC and the accreditation process, visit www.surgicalreview.org.


La Roche University Board of Trustees Elects Alumnae as Officers

The Board of Trustees at La Roche University recently elected Ernestine Harris ’03, M.S. ’10 as board chair and Dione Graswick ’93 as vice chair. Harris is a human resources leader and coach who has worked successfully in multiple businesses including PPG Industries, Carnegie Mellon University, Digital Equipment Corporation, PNC and GlaxoSmithKline. She has a Bachelor of Science in business management, Magna Cum Laude, and a Master of Science in human resources management from La Roche. She joined the board of trustees in October 2016 and was elected vice chair in May 2019 and served one term before being elected board chair in May 2021.


Graswick is an assurance partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and currently works in PwC’s national office within Auditing Services, Methodology and Tools Practice. She previously led the assurance practice in Pittsburgh, serving as the assurance diversity leader for the market and led the Pittsburgh Office’s Women’s Inclusion Circle. Graswick has a Bachelor of Science in accounting from La Roche and is a Certified Public Accountant. In 2016, she received the Distinguished Alumni Circle Award. She was elected to the board of trustees in October 2018 and was elected vice chair in May 2021. She has been a member of the university’s executive committee since 2020.


BHS Urologic Associates Opens New Location

In August, BHS Urologic Associates opened a new office location at 102 Technology Drive, Ste. 110A, Butler, PA 16001. The practice will continue to see patients at 104 Technology Drive, Suite 204. BHS Urologic Associates includes George Daniels, MD; Anthony DiMatteo, DO; K. Alexandria Ellis, DO; Kevin Traub, MD; Morgan Kiebler, PA-C; Hannah Martig, PA-C; Hailey Spirko, PA-C; Nikki Karatinos, CRNP. These board-certified physicians have experience performing minimally invasive procedures (Urolift®, Greenlight Laser, SpaceOAR, TURP, among others), the treatment of bladder, kidney and prostate cancers, kidney stones, erectile dysfunction, incontinence, vasectomies, and other urologic related conditions. To learn more, visit

www.butlerhealthsystem.org or call 833-995-0121 for an appointment.


NHCO Honors NA Teacher with the People Helping People Award

At North Hills Community Outreach’s annual Corks for the Community event, the organization gave its People Helping People award to North Allegheny physical education teacher Dean Boronyak. Each year, the award is given to someone who NHCO feels has done a fantastic job carrying out its mission in the community. In addition to consistently teaching students kindness, sportsmanship, and the value of giving back to the community, Boronyak also spearheaded North Allegheny's Jump for the Hills fundraiser, which raised $46,599 for NHCO. This year’s award was presented to Boronyak by Baierl Acura General Manager and 2020 award recipient Bill Brown.


Moraine State Park Regatta a Success

The Moraine State Park Regatta 2021 was a huge success and was the perfect way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the park. The regatta committee would like to thank all of the sponsors, vendors, safety partners, board and staff, and attendees for making it a record-breaking year. The Regatta had more than 28,000 attendees, 100-plus car cruise participants, seven safety partners, 64 vendors, 1,300 Get Moving participants, 45 volunteers, and six entertainers—and they also released more than 400 butterflies!


La Roche University Receives College of Distinction Honors

La Roche University was named as a College of Distinction for the tenth consecutive year. The designation recognizes La Roche for exhibiting excellence in the classroom and for incorporating high-impact practices in every student’s undergraduate education. The University’s student-centered programming includes novel research as part of the La Roche Honors Institute; internships; service learning experiences; and project-based course assignments that serve the local community. La Roche also received recognition as a Catholic College of Distinction and a Career Development College of Distinction. To learn more, visit www.collegeofdistinction.com.


BHS Cardiology Welcomes New Cardiac Electrophysiologist

Virginia Singla, MD, MS joined the BHS Cardiology team in August 2021. Dr. Singla earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Duke University, a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and a masters in Clinical Research from the University of Virginia. She completed a residency in internal medicine at the University of Virginia Health System along with a cardiovascular medicine fellowship and clinical cardiac electrophysiology fellowship at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Dr. Singla is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Adult Echocardiography, Cardiovascular Medicine and board-eligible in Cardiac Electrophysiology. To make an appointment, call 833-995-0118.


Citizen Science Lab Receives $250,000 Grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation

The Citizen Science Lab has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to expand its work in providing science, technology, engineering and math programs to youth and their families in Pittsburgh. A critical component to the creation of a new STEM laboratory located within the Hill District, the funding will play a key role in helping the lab acquire the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Reading Center located on 636 Herron Avenue. The funding will be used for geological surveys, feasibility studies, as well as architectural plans and designs for the new space. The Citizen Science Lab offers unique programs in biology, science, physics, and chemistry, and plans on expanding its resources by adding aerial drone programs as well as an innovative greenhouse and chicken coop. Through these expansions, the lab plans to implement food science apprenticeships and distribute freshly grown produce and eggs to residents of the Hill District.


New Physician Joins BHS Cardiology

Varun Avula, DO, joined the Butler Health System cardiology team in August. Dr. Avula earned an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University and a medical degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed an Internal Medicine residency at East Liverpool City Hospital, a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Arnot Ogden Medical Center, and an interventional cardiology fellowship at Allegheny General Hospital. Dr. Avula is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease and is board-eligible in Interventional Cardiology. He is a member of the American College of Physicians and Cardiology. Dr. Avula has expertise in performing peripheral endovascular interventions, diagnostic catheterizations, coronary interventions, and the insertion of advanced mechanical support devices such as ECMO, Tandem Heart, and Impella. Dr. Avula is experienced in structural heart interventions that include PFO/ASD closure, TAVR, Mitra Clip, Cardiomems, and Watchman. To make an appointment, call 866-620-6761.


DMS Teacher Donates Teddy Bears In Memory of Holocaust Survivor

Dorseyville Middle School language arts teacher Scott Vensel has donated 100 teddy bears to Family House in Shadyside, which provides housing for patients and families staying in Pittsburgh for medical care. The bears were donated in memory of Holocaust survivor Shulamit Bastacky. For the last several years, Bastacky spoke to eighth-grade students at Dorseyville as part of Holocaust remembrance assemblies. Sadly, Bastacky passed away in early 2021. Every year, when Bastacky visited schools, she challenged the students to bring in teddy bears to donate to the community. The idea was to offer a simple gesture of goodwill toward those in need of comfort, and the students had done this for several years. This year, Vensel used money from a LIGHT Education Initiative grant that he received to purchase the teddy bears, and middle school students also handwrote notes that explained who Bastacky was and why random acts of kindness help people through difficult times.


Northern Tier to Hold Love Your Library Mum Sale

This September, Northern Tier Library will celebrate its fifth annual Love Your Library campaign, and all donations made to the library during the month will receive a prorated match from the Buncher Foundation. During its mum sale fundraiser, the library will offer a selection of high quality plants for sale including 8” pots of mums (six colors available) for $6 each; 6” pots of kale (purple or white) for $5 each; and 12” bowls of pansies for $15. The order deadline is Friday, Sept. 10.


Slippery Rock University Trustees Approve Creation of College of Health Professions

In August, the SRU council of trustees unanimously voted to approve the creation of the University's fifth college, the College of Health Professions. The new college, which will start no later than fall of 2022, will be largely comprised of existing academic departments currently housed within the College of Health, Engineering and Science. Earlier this year, SRU also hired the college's founding dean, John Bonaguro.


Butler County Tourism Presents Inaugural Restaurant Week

Butler County Tourism & Convention Bureau is hosting its first Restaurant Week from Sept. 13-19, 2021. Nearly 30 different restaurants in Butler County are participating and will be featuring some of their delicious signature dishes throughout the week. Restaurants include 11th Frame Bar and Grille, Anna Marie's Winery and Cafe, Avor Thai, Burgh’ers Brewing, Butler Brew Works, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Denny's, Dented Keg Brewing Company, Domenico’s Ristorante, Firehouse Subs, General Shu's, Hotel Saxonburg, Houlihan’s, Jason's Deli, Los Mayas Mexican Restaurant, Missing Links Brewery, Pizza Palermo Cranberry, Primanti Bros., Rajbhog Indian Cafe, Red Lobster, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews, ShuBrew: Handcrafted Ales & Food, Spring & Main Cafe, The G.O.A.T Sports Bar, Upper Crust Shop and Wunderbar Coffee and Crepes. Information about each restaurant including featured items, price point and more can be found at www.VisitButlerCounty.com/RestaurantWeek.

La Roche University Dedicates Anthony J. Battaglia Clinical Simulation Center

In August, La Roche University dedicated its new clinical simulation center in honor of Anthony J. Battaglia ’95, M.S., RN. Battaglia contributed the largest outright gift from a La Roche graduate in the institution’s history to erect the center, which opened in April 2020. The Center allows students, including those in the Entry Level Master of Science in Nursing (ELMSN) program, to study their craft. Following the official ribbon cutting, guests toured the center and watched nursing faculty and students demonstrate and use the state-of-the-art equipment and patient simulators. Battaglia, the founder, president and CEO of Pocket Nurse™, a global simulation and health care education solutions organization, earned his B.S. in nursing from La Roche and his M.S. in training and development from Carlow University. He also is a fellow in entrepreneurial business with the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh.

Love Is #FREE Now for Sale and also Hidden Around Pittsburgh

412 Food Rescue’s new book, Love is #FREE: 100 Food Rescue Hero Stories to Inspire, is now available to purchase. Additionally, for some adventurous book lovers, Love is #FREE will itself be free: copies will be stashed at various sites throughout the city for scavenger-hunters to find. The book celebrates 412 Food Rescue’s volunteers, who have rescued and redistributed nearly 20 million pounds of food since the organization was founded in 2015. The portraits for the 221-page, full-color book were captured by photographer Chancelor Humphrey, creator of Keep Pittsburgh Dope. Artist and community organizer Baron Batch created the cover and art throughout the book, and Veronica Corpuz wrote an original poem, “Ode to 100 Heroes,” for the project. 412 Food Rescue made its first Love is #FREE book drop on July 27, and there will be additional drops over the coming weeks. Follow the organization’s Instagram for clues.


North Hills Genealogists Present Annual Fall 2021 Virtual Conference

The North Hills Genealogists will host Discover Your Roots, Discover Yourself: A Virtual Family History Conference on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. The conference will feature Ari Wilkins of the Dallas Public Library. There will be door prizes awarded throughout the day. Register by Monday, Oct. 18 to be entered into an early-bird drawing. For more information, email conference@northhillsgenealogists.org or visit www.NorthHillsGenealogists.org.

Northern Tier Library to Hold Love Your Li-Beer-Y! Beer Tasting

Join Northern Tier Library for a live beer tasting that will showcase the best brews the city has to offer on Friday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. Depending on release dates, the library will be featuring beers from Pittsburgh innovators Brew Gentlemen, Cinderlands Beer Co., Dancing Gnome Brewery, Hitchhiker Brewing Co. and Old Thunder Brewing Co. Because this event will be held during Love Your Library month, all proceeds will receive a pro-rated match from the Buncher Foundation. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased on the website or at the library. Reservations will be taken until Friday, Sept. 3.

FCAHS Honored By State Language Association

Fox Chapel Area High School and its World and Classical Languages Department were recently recognized by the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association (PSMLA) for furthering interculturality and global competence in students. Department members include Pam Barentine, Kelly Barone, Shannon Finley, Tanja Koller, Mark Matusiak, Amy Montgomery and Drew Richards. Barone was also awarded a Global Educator Certificate for helping to establish and maintain the PSMLA Global Scholars program at Fox Chapel Area High School, and for her efforts in inspiring and challenging students to become PSMLA Global Scholars Graduates for at least two consecutive years. She was one of only 17 educators in Pennsylvania to earn this recognition.


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