Monday, December 20, 2010

Spend New Year's Eve in Greensburg!

Looking for a way to kick off 2011? You can ring in 2011 with the Supper Club's First Annual New Years' Eve Gala, which also begins the celebration of the 100th Anniversay of the Historic Greensburg Train Station. Enjoy an elegant four course Prix Five dinner with live music from the Rick Struzzi Trio. Reservations are available from 5-9 p.m. and parties of 10 or more can be seated in a private dining area. The cost is $65 per person. Additionally, the New Year's Eve Party begins at 10 p.m. and will include a DJ, dancing, drink & food specials and a complimentary champagne toast at Midnight and a light fare buffet. The cost is $25 per person. If you'd like to attend both, the cost is $75 per person and reservations must be made by calling the Supper Club at 724-691-0536, ext. 2.
Four Point by Sheraton is also featuring  a "Ring in the New Year" overnight package including free dinner for 2 with a bottle of wine, free champagne toast, free midnight buffet, entrance to live entertainment, "METRO," and a New Year's Day brunch for 2 for $225 per night. Call 866-716-8144 and mention rate plan name LOCPKG1 to book this offer.
Looking to recover and relax on New Year's Day? The Rialto and J. Corks both have numerous football-viewing big screens and great lunch and dinner items.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Accepts & Sells Building Materials

Located in the Norwin Hills Shopping Center 
(behind Rite Aid)
8775 Norwin Ave.
Irwin, PA 15642

The Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located  in Norwin Hills Shopping Center, is an ideal resource for contractors and commerical building developers. The store sells new and used building materials at 50-90% off retail price. Materials can include kitchen cabinets, lighting fixtures, sinks, toliets, windows, lumber, tiles, paint, piping, tools, and more - depending on what materials are donated.
Additionally, the store receives donated furniture and appliances such as electric stoves and microwaves - great for those individuals or landlords furnishing apartments in the area.
The ReStore relies solely on donations from individuals and contractors alike and is a great solution to landfilling materials.  Donations are sold in the store with proceeds benefitting the Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity projects, including home builds and home refurbishings. For larger donations, such as whole truck loads of building materials or large pieces of furniture, pick-up service is available.
The ReStore is currently open to the public to shop, donate, or volunteer, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., with plans to open on Fridays as well beginning in January.
For more information on which items are accepted for donation and sold, please .

Renovation Project in Final Phase of Planning Process for Westmoreland Museum of American Art

Located at 221 North Main St.
Greensburg, PA 15601
Hours of Operation:
Wednesdays, Friday-Sunday
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is in the third and final phase of the planning process for the recently announced expansion and renovation project.  A significant amount of work has been completed by the Architectural Steering Committee since its formation in early 2010.  The committee developed the selection process for choosing the architect and compiled a list of regional and national architects to receive the RFQ. In addition to this administrative work, the committee made site visits to museums within the Northeastern region of the U.S. to learn the successes and challenges of their expansion project.  Recently, The Westmoreland distributed a request for qualifications (RFQ) to architectural firms. The Steering Committee hopes to announce the selection of an architect in June of 2011. 
Over the past fifteen years, a talented team of professionals have taken The Westmoreland from its roots as a good regional museum to a nationally-known institution recognized for its significant collection of American art, noteworthy temporary exhibitions, engaging community programs, and intrepid entrepreneurial spirit. It has become an invaluable community asset with an ever broadening geographic reach and a diverse audience. Today, the Museum has become a true cultural destination and a substantial component of the cultural scene of southwestern Pennsylvania. It is poised to expand and build on its successes.  
Expanded facilities are needed to meet their public commitment to effectively present the growing permanent collection, host popular historical and contemporary changing exhibitions, and engage our growing audiences in a conversation about American art.  Housing these facilities in a well-conceived, architecturally significant building designed for today’s museum goers is critical to The Westmoreland’s future. 

Free Holiday Parking

The City of Greensburg will be offering free holiday parking in the City’s parking lots, parking decks, and street metered locations within the Shopping and Cultural Districts for the month of December.  The Bell Parking Garage will remain the standard rates during the holiday season.
The free holiday parking will extend from today through the first weekend in January, ending Sunday, January 2nd, 2011.  Hours of free parking are weekdays after 1 p.m. to midnight and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
The free holiday parking is to encourage residents and visitors to patronize the downtown businesses and to utilize the convenient parking to enjoy Greensburg's shopping, fine dining, and entertainment during the holiday season.  

Free Holiday Parking

The City of Greensburg will be offering free holiday parking in the City’s parking lots, parking decks, and street metered locations within the Shopping and Cultural Districts for the month of December.  The Bell Parking Garage will remain the standard rates during the holiday season.
The free holiday parking will extend from today through the first weekend in January, ending Sunday, January 2nd, 2011.  Hours of free parking are weekdays after 1 p.m. to midnight and all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
The free holiday parking is to encourage residents and visitors to patronize the downtown businesses and to utilize the convenient parking to enjoy Greensburg's shopping, fine dining, and entertainment during the holiday season.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

GCDC Elects New Board Members, Names 2011 Executive Committee

John M. Ranker, Esquire, of John M. Ranker & Associates, P.C. established his general civil practice law firm in 1996. The firm focuses on areas of business and corporate law, real estate, civil litigation, contracts, personal injury, estate planning and administration, family law, workers’ compensation and school law. Ranker currently serves as the solicitor for the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit and is a partner and has previously served on the board of directors for Laurel Legal Services and Lawyers Abstract Company. He lives in Hempfield Township with his wife and four daughters.

John Kline is Vice President of Middle Market Lending for First Commonwealth Bank, which has 17 retail locations in Westmoreland County with a tradition of supporting worthy community programs, local charities and community-based organizations.  In addition to his new role with GCDC, Kline currently holds committee and board positions with several religious and civil organizations.  Kline is also a volunteer with March of Dimes and a member of Rotary International. He resides in Hempfield Township with his wife Gretchen and their two daughters, Olivia and Paige.

David McNichol holds the position of Vice President, Business Banking III for PNC Bank and. is responsible for business development, retaining and growing existing relationships and supporting other local branch offices.  Prior to joining PNC Bank in 2005, he previously held business development and branch management positions with other regional banks. McNichol has held leadership positions with Latrobe Rotary International, Blairsville Improvement Group, Barb Thompson Early Literacy Center and the Greater Latrobe School District Grant Allocation Committee. He resides in Derry Township with his wife, Lisa and their twin sons, Cameron and Bryce.

Sue Nelson has been working in the First Commonwealth Bank Trust Department since 1983, now holding the title of Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Executive.  With years of experience in Trust Administration and Regional Management, Sue is the head of the Trust Division of Wealth. In addition, Nelson is a member of the National Association of Female Executives and serves on the First Commonwealth for Women Committee. Nelson also serves on the board of The American Red Cross in Indiana County as well as the Salvation Army of Westmoreland County.  Shelives in Sewickley with her new husband, Mike Bock, partner in the law firm of Schnader, Harrison, Segal and Lewis, LLP.

Ronald Ott has held the title of Hospital President for nineteen years, most recently with Westmoreland and Frick Hospitals of Excela Heath, which he began in 2009. Previously he worked in several positions at McKeesport hospital since 1980, achieving the title of President in 1991. Ott is responsible for successfully consolidating the Jeannette facility into Westmoreland Hospital and successful recruitment of many new primary care and specialty care physicians to Excela Health. Additionally, Ott is a board member of Penn State Greater Allegheny campus and Auberle and formerly held positions on the McKeesport Hospital Foundation, Mon-Yough Community Services, and Select Specialty Hospital boards of directors.  He resides in Murrysville with his family.

Regina Beatty is a Private Wealth Advisor with Mosaic Consulting and is one of only 69 financial planners in the U.S. selected to join Sagemark Consulting Private Wealth Services, which focuses on clients in the very high net worth category.  Her practice also specializes in the financial needs of senior executives, business owners and professional women. She is also a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor and an active member of the Financial Planning Association and a Rotarian (Greensburg Chapter). She and her husband Darren enjoy spending time with their children and families, traveling and playing golf.

GCDC would like to thank the following members for their work and dedication during their time as board members: Charles Seamens, Tyler Courtney, Joe Brennan, Kim Hollon, Charles Nevins II and Jack Robertshaw.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Redevelopment Authority Launches “Downtown Destinations” Commercial Property Web Site

The Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland unveiled a new website designed to promote business development in the County's core communities. "Downtown Destinations" showcases marketable properties in the County's cities and boroughs that are available for business expansions or new enterprise. The website is available through the Westmoreland County homepage at

The new website features properties in the towns’ business districts, as well as those properties located within a state Keystone Innovation Zone - an initiative designed to foster innovation and create entrepreneurial opportunities. "Our downtowns have been the historic hubs of our communities, and this is part of our renewed efforts to keep them vibrant and ensure their long-term vitality," said April Kopas, Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority of the County of Westmoreland. Feature properties are located within the communities of Arnold, Derry, Greensburg, Irwin, Jeannette, Latrobe, Lower Burrell, Monessen, Mount Pleasant, New Kensington, Scottdale, Vandergrift, West Newton and West Overton.

“Downtown Destinations” is a cooperative effort of the Redevelopment Authority, the Economic Growth Connection of Westmoreland, the Westmoreland-Fayette Workforce Investment Board, the Private Industry Council and Westmoreland County’s Geographic Information Systems Department. “This project is a great opportunity to market our town” said Jeff Landy, Mount Pleasant Borough Manager. “With the County’s support, municipalities can better attract businesses to take a closer look at the benefits of operating a business in a downtown. We could not have done this on our own, and we greatly value our partnership with the county and our neighboring towns.”

Monday, November 8, 2010

Holiday Season Starts with a Parade Down Main Street

Fire Trucks are a crowd favorite during the Holiday Parade
 Greensburg Annual Holiday Parade Saturday, November 20th
at noon.until 1:30    
The city of Greensburg Holiday Parade is the start of a month long schedule of downtown activities and events celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  For many residents the parade is part of their family’s tradition.  Frank Lehman, Director of the City’s Recreation Department, noted “it is an enjoyable time for families and friends with the children enjoying the candy and fire trucks”. The city of Greensburg has scheduled the annual Holiday Parade for Saturday, November 20th at noon.   

Arrive early to get a good parking space as the crowd lining Main Street can exceed 9,000 people if the weather is nice. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the downtown shops and restaurants with many offering specials and samples.

The parade route starts at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art and proceeds south on Main Street towards City Hall. Traffic will be detoured around the parade onto Maple Avenue and College Avenue.

Come into downtown and participate in this Greensburg tradition. For information on how to register your organization to participate in the parade, contact the Greensburg Recreation Department office at 724-834-4880. This event is a great way to advertise and be seen by thousands. 

Vet Art Project Pittsburgh Honors Veterans

Vet Art Project Pittsburgh [VAPP] Presents “LETTERS”. The Vet Art Project creates opportunities for veterans and their family members to work in collaboration with artists from all disciplines to create new art about war for public performance and viewing. The goals of the Vet Art Project are to support our veterans, create stronger voices among our veterans, provide new opportunities for artists, and offer a venue to hear the voices of our veterans and artists and foster discussions about how war affects us all.

LETTERS is a witness and interactive event honoring our nation’s veterans of domestic and foreign wars. The reading will be held at DV8 Espresso Bar and Gallery located on 208 South Pennsylvania Ave on Saturday, November 13, 2010 from 2pm –5pm

The event is open to the public.  Become a witness to these letter readings from soldiers at war, in peace and throughout our nation’s history.  In cooperation with Operation Homefront, audience members will have an opportunity to write an open letter to an active soldier. VAPP will get these letters into the hands of a soldier.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Miniature Parade of Trees Returns to the Shopping District

Just Miniature Scale is pleased to announce the Sixth Annual Miniature Parade of Trees. This display of creatively designed miniature Christmas Trees has become a downtown tradition and a favorite of residents and visitors. Judy Mizikar, owner of Just Miniature Scale, noted several trees are sponsored by local businesses and individuals. “They look forward to seeing their tree after our designer is finished. We try to create a tree that represents the firm or the interest of the owner”.

In 2005, Judy Mizikar started the Miniature Parade of Trees in her downtown store as a way to further enjoy the Christmas season. Mizikar added she the event provides an opportunity to give something to the Greensburg community after a year of customers supporting her business. “For years I had followed the Tribune Review's Holiday campaign, Operation Santa Claus, in the newspaper. I chose to use the display funds to support it because it provides something directly to our area”.

The Miniature Parade of Trees has been written up in two National Miniature Magazines and has been recognized as an example of using miniatures in creative ways. Trees come from all over the United States to support this event. The Parade has risen over $13,500 in the past five years in support of the Tribune Review’s Operation Santa Claus. This long standing charity provides holiday groceries and children’s gifts to needy families in our area. Many people have traveled to downtown Greensburg to marvel at this miniature display of amazing 6 inch tall, creatively decorated trees.

The miniature Christmas Trees will be on display November 13th to December 17th in the storefront window of Just Miniature Scale. The store is located in Greensburg’s Shopping District at the corner of South Pennsylvania Avenue and West Pittsburgh Street.

To learn more about the event and the process to sponsor a tree, the following description provides basic information. Just Miniature Scale will provide a 6 inch tall artificial tree to any and all who would like to decorate one. The trees are on display at the shop for several weeks. Each tree has a donation cup for the public to ‘vote’ for their favorite design and a silent auction bid sheet! During the November 13th opening reception, Just Miniature Scale kicks-off the silent auction for the purchase of the trees. On December 17th, the staff determines the final winning bid for the tree and notifies the recipient. “The Annual Miniature Parade of Trees is the event sponsored by my shop that I am most proud. It has brought back the spirit of Christmas by bringing friends, family, customers and community members together in an effort to improve others' holidays. The diminutive trees are 'big' in spirit!” added Mizikar.

There are a few ways a sponsor can help with the Miniature Parade of Trees.

1. An individual, family or business can decorate a tree for the display.

2. An individual, family or business can sponsor a tree that a talented “elf” will create for a $100.00 donation. Themes can be suggested, but not always possible in miniature. The sponsor’s name will be posted with the tree.

3. An individual, family or business can contribute an enhancement gift such as memorabilia or items of interest. In the past, autographed items, event tickets, gift cards, DVD’s, and more have been added to a tree.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spooky Halloween Activities for all Ages in Greensburg

Halloween is creeping around the corner and its time to buy bulk candy, decide on the perfect costume and pick what scary event to attend. Costume parties, haunted houses, ghost stories, and corn mazes are just a few ideas of things to do this Halloween Weekend. While Greensburg businesses and organizations have scheduled events and specials, make a point to consider other options in the area. The following events are only a few happening in or around Greensburg this weekend. Visit the ThinkGreensburg BLOG to learn the complete list of Halloween events.

Date: Oct 24-31
Event: The Valley of Terror.
Time: 7:30 to 10pm
Location: Adjacent to Westmoreland Fairgrounds
*Visitors can choose from Haunted Hayride, Haunted Maze/Trail and the Haunted Farm.

Date: Oct 28
Event: Wine Dinner for Women
Time: 7pm
Location: The Supper Club at Greensburg Train Station
*Attendees can experience the Organic Wines of Redwood Valley, California’s Lolonis Winery. Call 724-691-0536 or visit to reserve a space.

Date: Oct 29 and 31
Event: Rocky Horror Picture Show presented by Stage Right
Time: 8pm & Midnight
Location: Davis Shopping Center, East Pittsburgh Street
*Call 724-832-7464 to order tickets.

Date: Oct 30
Event: Annual Halloween Party at Rialto Café
Time: 7 to 2pm
Location: Rialto Café
*Drink specials and costume contest for attendees.

Date: Oct 30
Event: The Parkwood Inn Halloween Party
Time: 7 to Midnight
Location: The Parkwood Inn
*Drink specials, music by DJ team Silver Hat Productions and costume contest for attendees.

Date: Oct 31
Event: Whisker Walk sponsored by Westmoreland County Humane Society
Time: 1pm with registration required
Location: Twin Lakes Park
*Dress your pets and kids in Halloween Attire for a great afternoon of fun and fundraising. Call 724-837-3779 or email to register your pet.

Date: Oct 31
Event: City of Greensburg Halloween Parade
Time: 5:15pm line-up with the parade starting at 5:30pm
Location: Lynch Field Park.
*Greensburg’s Annual Halloween Parade will take place at Lynch Field. Bagged Treats will be distributed to all children in costume at the end of the parade. This event is sponsored by the City of Greensburg Recreation Department. Call 724-834-4880 for more details.
Date: Oct 31
Event: City of Greensburg Annual Trick-or-Treat
Time: 6 to 10pm
*Location: Neighborhoods of Greensburg.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Greensburg Holiday Parade - Register Today!

Register to Participate in the Greensburg Holiday Parade
The City of Greensburg Recreation Department is seeking businesses, organizations and clubs to participate in the 2010 Holiday Parade.  The Parade is scheduled for Saturday, November 20th and will start at noon.  Spaces are limited as a total of 83 participants filled the 2009 Holiday Parade.  Interested businesses should contact the Recreation Department at 724-834-4880 soon to reserve a space.  There is no fee to register a float or group.
Parade participants have the option to be as creative or as simple as they desire.  Previous participants have created a float while others walk as a group or ride in a classic car.  A favorite of the children lining the parade route is the candy passed out by the participants.   
 Every resident knows the Holiday Parade is the start of a month long schedule of downtown activities and events.  The parade is a good time for families and friends with many making it part of their family tradition.  The size of the crowd can exceed 9,000 people along the parade route if the weather is beautiful.  Regardless, this community event is a great way to be seen by the residents of Greater Greensburg area.

Nov 5th is the Deadline to Apply for Energy Efficiency Grants

The PA Department of Environmental Protection is seeking applications for the 2010 Small Business Advantage Grants program.  This grant program is intended to help companies fund energy efficiency and pollution prevention retro-fit projects.  Applications need to be submitted by November 5, 2010.  Eligible businesses are less than 100 employees and located in Pennsylvania with proposed projects that can save at least 25 percent in energy or pollution-related expenses per year.  The awards are a maximum of $7,500 and up to 50 percent matching grants. 
The full application is available at the DEP web site. The DEP first launched the grant program in 2004 and has awarded funds to approximately 1,000 Pennsylvania businesses.   The following list is a sampling of retro-fit projects in the region receiving Small Business Advantage Grants from the DEP.
  • High-efficiency restaurant equipment to conserve energy.
  • High-efficiency washing machines to conserve energy, water and decrease wastewater.
  • Architectural insulation to conserve energy.
  • Upgraded lighting with individual motion sensors to control new fixtures to conserve energy.
Eligible projects would install equipment that promotes energy efficiency or pollution prevention, adopt processes that reduce energy consumption, reduce consumption of raw materials, increase the reuse of raw materials on-site, or reduce the production of waste. Some examples of eligible projects are: Energy efficient lighting, high efficiency furnaces, boilers and air conditioning units, insulation/air sealing, energy efficient refrigeration, waste recycling systems or solvent recovery systems. ENERGY STAR rating is required if the equipment being installed is part of the project.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Greensburg Entrepreneur Continues Tradition of Neighborhood Barber.

When Becky Swiger purchased Zippi’s Barbershop, she not only maintained operation of a significant neighborhood business, but she also maintained the social fabric of Greensburg.

Swiger is the owner of Beck’s Classic Men’s Cuts located on West Otterman Street. Swiger started her career in 1987 cutting and styling hair at a salon in Pittsburgh. Since then, she has worked in a wide array of shops from a high end salon in South Carolina to a local barbershop known as Richards Barbershop in Greensburg.

“When I started at Richards, it opened my eyes to a whole other way of doing hair. Barbering is a more precise and well defined way of cutting hair. I found that I really enjoyed this aspect of being a barber” noted Swiger when asked about her experience. After gaining an appreciation for the craft, Swiger further refined her skills working in various barber shops before the next impact on her career. Swiger introduced herself to a barber named Carlo Zippi.

Carlo Zippi owned Zippi’s Barbershop which was a landmark in the Ludwick neighborhood of Greensburg. “Zippi was very well known and praised around the community” says Swiger. When Zippi decided to retire he chose Swiger to continue the trade in his shop. “I feel so lucky and blessed and thank him silently every day”.

The shop is located between downtown and Route 30 at 622 West Otterman Street at the corner of Jefferson
Avenue. Swiger’s customers are from every age group, however, a large portion of the clientele are from a generation familiar with a classic locally owned barbershop. Swiger’s customers want to walk into a barbershop that offers the same fifties and sixties era ambiance that is special and hard to replicate. They remember patronizing the local shops with their father or grandfather and the personal experiences and stories shared. Beck’s Classic Men’s Cuts strives to maintain the atmosphere created by Zippi. When younger clients come in the shop, they realize that there is a certain atmosphere that only can be found in a neighborhood store. Swiger noted “While a haircut is a service that should be done quickly, I try to make it very distinctive and unique for each client”.

Tradition in a community such as Greensburg should be praised and supported since it is the foundation of our City. Locally owned shops like Beck’s Classic Men’s Cuts have had an influence not just in the area, but also the people who inhabit it. “The best thing about taking over the business is that I feel I am part of this community and part of the American tradition of small business ownership that focuses on personal attention and quality service. Having the opportunity to blend myself into the local history of the area and becoming a Greensburg business owner have become the most fulfilling parts of my life”.

When discussing the history of Greensburg, it is very common for local businesses to be the focal point of the story. It is hard to imagine Greensburg not containing a more entertaining and informative source of local news than a barber.

Store hours are Tuesday thru Friday from 9 to 5 and Saturdays from 9 to 2. Beck’s is a walk in business. Please call 724-467-0289 if you need a hair cut.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Greensburg - More Than a College Town

Let me begin by saying I’m not the typical college student. I just haven’t had the average college experience. For one, I’m a transfer student. After graduating high school in 2006, I spent my first year of college at another institution, before transferring to Greensburg’s Seton Hill University in 2007. Once enrolled at SHU, I spent my first year commuting 35 minutes from Blairsville and then moved into an off-campus apartment in Greensburg.

Potentially, my less-than-average college experience could be something to lament over. Transferring, commuting and living off-campus have definitely posed barriers to the campus assimilation and friend-making processes. Slowly but surely, though, I overcame these barriers and carved my own college niche. In whatever euphemism you want to use, I’ve enjoyed dancing to my own tune, traveling my own path, building my own bridge – whatever – throughout my college years. And I think Greensburg played a large part in that experience.

Greensburg is a college town without being a “college town.” It is home to not only SHU, but to PITT at Greensburg and Triangle Tech, and Westmoreland County Community College is in nearby Youngwood. Given its proximity to so many schools, Greensburg has its fair share of college-friendly bars, restaurants, coffee shops, tanning salons and tattoo shops. These businesses certainly affirm Greensburg’s college identity, and moreover, they establish that identity an important, vital aspect of the City. But what I found refreshing as an nontraditional student is that Greensburg isn’t completely defined by these elements. The true heart and soul of the City, I think, extends beyond the college scene and incorporates the interests of several ages, backgrounds and walks-of-life.

In retrospect, I guess I’ve just been an nontraditional college kid living in an nontraditional college town – and it’s been a perfect match for me. But don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the typical, average or traditional. In my college experience, though, things just haven’t gone that way.

Then again, what or who is really traditional or average? We’re all just people, all different, unique and definitely un-average in our own way. My time in Greensburg, at Seton Hill, has solidified that perspective in me. And ultimately, Greensburg’s inclusive, eclectic nature has not only helped me make the most of the past three years, it has given me a place to call home as a young adult.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mother-Daughter Day in Greensburg

At 22, I find myself at a transitional stage with my mom. We’re almost to that point where I’m old enough for us to be friends, but I’m not quite old enough to have outgrown her authoritative, parental dynamic. Luckily, as a resident of Greensburg, I’m living in a city that’s diverse enough to bring us together for a night.

Recently, my mom and I got together for dinner and a show at the Palace Theatre. We caught the April 17th performance of Close Enough for Jazz, by the River City Brass Band. Jazz isn’t always my genre of choice, but I have been known to find WDUQ Jazz on my car radio from time to time (okay, actually it’s a programmed favorite). As for mom, she loves jazz. And although I may not be as devoted a fan as she, we both loved the show – it was phenomenal. The guest conductor – Steve Hawk, from Slippery Rock University – was amazing, a truly talented musician. He performed as well as conducted, and his line-up of tunes kept the pace of the show up-beat and entertaining, even participatory at points. The songs they played mixed traditional jazz with WWII era swing and big-band.

Before the show, we had dinner at one of Greensburg’s newest restaurants, One Eleven. Neither of us had been there before, but I had heard that reservations were a must. And now, after having dined there, I can see why. Both our meals were delicious. We each ordered fish specials, a grilled marlin for me and Sicilian tuna with pasta for mom. And we splurged a little too, each ordering the crab bisque, a glass of wine and a post-meal cup of coffee. Portions were more than generous, so if you try out One Eleven, be sure to come with an appetite and don’t forget your doggy bag!

After our meal, we enjoyed the short walk from the restaurant to the theatre. It was a little chilly, but a well-lit and pleasant walk, none-the-less. It had been only my second time to the Palace, and the quality of the show exceeded my expectations. Like my mom kept saying, it was a show worthy of Heinz Hall, for half the price!

So with Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, I hope everyone will consider treating mom to a day or night out in Greensburg!

P.S. – If you're in need of a gift, River City Brass is back at the Palace on Saturday, May 8 for Cirque du Brass Band!

Monday, April 19, 2010

STOMPing into Saturday in Greensburg

I couldn’t have asked for a better Saturday afternoon. The weather was gorgeous, the sun was shining, and the streets of downtown Greensburg were bustling. I couldn’t wait to see STOMP at the Palace Theatre.

Several months ago around Christmas, I noticed an advertisement in my school’s—Saint Vincent College—newspaper for the Palace Theatre. Listed with several other upcoming events, was STOMP, performing at the Palace Theatre on April 2nd at 8 p.m. and April 3 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Occasionally I have heard about STOMP and have seen STOMP-inspired dance groups, but upon finding this advertisement I couldn’t resist buying tickets to the show. With my boyfriend’s birthday, which happens to be April 3rd already on the calendar and the usual “what-special-plans-am-I-going-to-make-for-you-this-year” thoughts already surfacing in mind, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to surprise him and to experience something new together. Being the impulsive person that I am, I (briefly) thought it over and immediately jumped online to order tickets. Luckily, there were still many seats available. I debated between balcony seats and the lower level orchestra seats; I ended up selecting Seats 9 and 10, in the center, Row F, about 9 rows away from the stage. Not too bad. Seeing that this group is all about producing unique percussion sounds and rhythms, being seated closest to the stage would be the best place to truly absorb the atmosphere. I was very satisfied with the Palace Theatre’s user-friendly website to order the tickets and with the promptness after purchasing them; about a week later I received the tickets in my school mailbox.

Now with the tickets in my possession, I just had to wait until April. I was keeping this as a birthday surprise for Jim. Me? Keeping a secret? Ha…Oddly enough, I made it all the way to about 3 hours before the 2 p.m. showing on Saturday, April 3. I gave him one of his birthday cards (my indecisive nature won’t let me choose just one) which held both of our tickets. His initial reaction was just a timid “aww...thanks, but uhh what exactly is STOMP?” I however was far from bummed out with his reaction because I knew a lot about the group and was eager to explain them to him before the show. Jim is a drummer (and never lets me forget it with his constant rapping on tables and tapping of feet) so I figured this should be interesting for him.

That afternoon, we parked at City Hall and walked up North Pennsylvania Ave. and passed several different unique shoppes and restaurants. We arrived at the Palace Theatre on West Otterman Street and only had to wait about fifteen minutes for the doors to open. Shortly after the wait attendants began seating people and the show started several minutes later. The group made their way onto the stage and immediately zoned in the audience with a brief performance involving brooms. Because STOMP creates art, music and rhythms by using the body as well as out of ordinary objects, it wasn’t surprising when they pulled out objects like matchboxes, paint cans, garbage cans (and lids), and, are you ready for this? Everything and the kitchen sink (literally). They formed a drum line, with straight-from-your-kitchen sinks hooked around their upper bodies from a metal chain. The performers kept the audience awed, thrilled and engaged through several creative scenes with even more bizarre objects for about an hour and 45 minutes. But even after the show ended, the audience was excitedly eager for more. It was a brilliant performance and an interesting experience; and looking over at Jim’s intrigued expressions every so often made it even more rewarding. I knew he appreciated the technical drumming-aspects involved in the show.

After the show, the audience was ostensibly pleased with the performance; the energy coming out of the show was almost the same as going in. After navigating our way through a mass exodus out of the Theatre, Jim and I tried to reenact some of the scenes we saw during our walk to The Headkeeper, a local tapas bar located on South Main Street; this was another excellent find and the perfect place to celebrate Jim’s 21st birthday. Since the show ended around 3:45 p.m., the restaurant’s patio seating was available as the evening rush hadn’t quite begun. A week beforehand, my supervisor at work had introduced me to the restaurant as a former biker bar, and with the seemingly mile-long rows of beer in the wall-side coolers, I couldn’t help but agree. The service was friendly and the food was excellent; Jim chose the calamari dish, and sticking to my typical creature of habit routine at restaurants, I chose the marinated chicken breast with basil pesto and goat cheese.

The City of Greensburg has so much to offer and all it takes is a little web-surfing, talking to friends, scouting out local events in newspapers, or checking out events listed online, to find something unique and entertaining to do on the weekends. I do not regret picking up that copy of the newspaper because Jim and I had a wonderful time together that day at the Palace Theatre, and our evening at The Headkeeper. I definitely would recommend checking out the many other events the Palace Theatre provides to the community as well as unique restaurants downtown. Stay informed with what’s going on in Greensburg, PA with ThinkGreensburg’s social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.


~A Saint Vincent College Sophomore

Monday, March 29, 2010

What are we doing?

Theater, restaurants, concerts, parks…. these are a few of my favorite things.  No, I'm not going to start dancing and singing around town like Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.  However, it does make me happy that I am able to enjoy these community assets with my family and friends.  

So, you may be asking yourself what we are doing in this social media world.  We want to know what you like about your community; what are you doing, what would you like to see, and, of course, we want to share information about your community with you.  Topics can include business's that are coming and going and community events and highlights.  The most important part is learning what changes you believe are necessary to improve our community.  So that's it!  Please let us know how you and Greensburg know each other, what you all like to do together and what you like most about Greensburg.  Looking forward to chatting with you and seeing you out in the community soon!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Red Star Brewery & Grille serves their last beer on March 27th

The Greensburg community has 14 more days to enjoy a micro brewed beer and fresh guacamole at Red Star. The owners have confirmed the last date of operation is March 27th. As a way to share memories with family and friends, several informal events have been announced.

An interesting event titled the "Culture & Beer Tour of Greensburg" is scheduled for March 20th. A local resident is organizing this informal gathering to celebrate two Greensburg landmarks. The group will start at noon with the current exhibition at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art  "Concerning the 1930s in Art: Paintings from the Schoen Collection".

At 2pm, the tour transitions to the Red Star Brewery & Grille to enjoy a pint or two of Greensburg's brewing history before Red Star closes and the beer is gone. The public is invited to join the "Culture & Beer Tour of Greensburg". People joining the tour are responsible for all admission fees and beer/food charges.

We all have fond memories of the Red Star Brewery, so look for other "goodbye" parties at Red Star or have one of your own.