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Korean War Footlocker focus of latest library historic photo show

Russ Raisig, a volunteer from Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, will present “Korean War Footlocker” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19, as part of the 2021 historic photo show “Faces of Ligonier Valley: Veterans of the Korean War Era” in the Pennsylvania Room of the Ligonier Valley Library.

Raisig will focus on a soldier’s life in the war including their equipment and experiences. Items in the footlocker will include artifacts from the museum’s collection, documents and photos.

Registration is open for the program. For additional information or to register, call 724-238-6451 or visit

Items on display at the photo show include photographs, documents, memorabilia and uniforms, and other items relating to experiences of war in Korea, Germany, military bases across the country, the globe and here on the home front.

While more than 270 Ligonier Valley veterans have been identified, Shirley Iscrupe, Pennsylvania Room archivist, is still seeking additional photographs, documents and any items that the public would be willing to lend for copying and the display.

The photo show will remain open for viewing until Tuesday, Nov. 16, during regular Pennsylvania Room hours from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

Those interested in viewing the show are asked to check with the library prior to visiting the show, as hours are subject to change; event plans may also change because of COVID-19. Check the library website at for updates.

For additional information, call 724-238-6451 or email

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2021 Halloween observances

Here’s a glance at upcoming Halloween celebrations scheduled in local communities:


Latrobe City Council announced Trick or Treat will be held 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, in the city. There will be no parade.


According to the Unity Township website calendar, Trick or Treat will begin 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31.


Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce announced updated hours:

Merchant Trick or Treat will be 5 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.

Ligonier Borough and Ligonier Township Trick or Treat will be 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.


The annual Tri–Community Halloween Parade will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31, in Bolivar. Lineup for the parade will be on Lincoln Street between 4th and 5th streets. The parade will proceed to the fire station, where treats will be provided to all costumed participants. Cash prizes also will be awarded. (Fairfield and West Wheatfield townships are the other two communities involved.)

Questions may be directed to Bolivar VFC Chief John Speidel at 724–676–4714.


Derry Township Supervisors said Trick or Treat will be underway 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, in the township.


Derry Borough Council set the borough’s Trick or Treat times the same as Derry Township — 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.


Trick or Treat is slated 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, and the parade will start at 5 p.m., according to New Alexandria Borough Council.

(Any municipalities not included here may email details to

Greater Latrobe Senior High School students in grades 9-12 from various clubs and leadership groups volunteered at “You’ve Got a Friend Day” at Twin Lakes Park on Oct. 6. Volunteers were paired with students with special needs for a day of fun and friendship. Students had the opportunity to go on a hayride, fish, boat, dance to music provided by a DJ, jump in bouncy houses, play yard games, and pet and feed animals in a petting zoo.

LVMS annual 5K race set Friday

Ligonier Valley Middle School will sponsor its 29th Annual 5K Race starting at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 15, to kick off Red Ribbon Week.

All learners in grades 6 to 8 are encouraged to participate in the race, which will begin at the middle school and move through the streets of Ligonier, which encourages living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Although many students run the 5K course, others choose to walk the route.

National Red Ribbon Week is held each October. The National Federation of Parents for Drug Free Youth and the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) joined together in 1985 to implement the Red Ribbon Campaign to encourage youth to take steps to prevent substance abuse and live a healthy lifestyle.

Local police departments and fire companies, along with the middle school staff and parents, will provide traffic control and encouragement at the race.

The day will also involve presentations focusing on anti-bullying, digital citizenship, healthy lifestyles and an awards ceremony to recognize participants.

The middle school thanks Laurel Medical Solutions for its donation to this year’s race, which covered the cost of T-shirts for all LVMS learners and staff for the event.

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New Alex OKs Halloween times, but not without discussion

New Alexandria Borough Council’s discussion at Wednesday’s regular meeting regarding trick-or-treating went beyond simply setting a time and date for later this month.

Councilwoman Jennifer Graham and longtime community volunteer Sue Sterrett engaged in a back-and-forth on events being held the day of the holiday or the day before.

“Generally speaking, the borough had decided for the last few years to do it on the actual day of Halloween,” Graham said. Sterrett, meanwhile, suggested holding the Halloween parade and trick-or-treating on the same day.

“The parade and trick-or-treating worked really well on the same day,” public works department employee Andy Kolano said.

Borough firemen lead the annual parade and patrol the streets during trick-or-treating, Graham noted, adding that the department had not come to council before Wednesday to suggest a specific date.

Added Graham: “In my years on council, there has never been an issue with the fire department blocking off the roads and making sure kids are safe when trick-or-treating (is taking place).”

Citing stress, Sterrett abruptly left the meeting and told council she is finished organizing the event, which she has done for roughly 15 years.

Council approved a motion to send Sterrett an apology letter, asking her to reconsider ending her involvement with Halloween planning.

Council also approved to hold the annual Halloween parade starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, with trick-or-treating in the borough to follow from 6 to 8 p.m. The borough fire department plans to buy 1,000 treat bags for children attending the parade.

Some council members expressed concerns that people will be “roaming” the borough on Sunday, Oct. 31, with the impression that trick-or-treating is that day. Borough officials said they will get the word out regarding the Oct. 30 events through social media and newspapers.

Also Tuesday, council approved to spend up to $4,000 for a borough leaf collection unit.

“You’re providing a nice service,” Council President Tim Ruane said of the device, which will assist with residential leaf pickups.

There is no set timetable when any purchased leaf collection unit will arrive, but council approved tentative leaf pickup times on Nov. 1 for the east side of the borough, Nov. 8 for the west side and Nov. 15 for any remaining residents or call-ins.

Bethany Deglau, who oversees the public works department, said paving for the borough tennis and basketball courts will begin today, Oct. 14. She noted that the basketball court could be ready for use early next week, while the tennis court is expected to be out of commission a bit longer.

Last month, council unanimously approved using American Rescue Plan funds to pay for the resurfacing of the two courts. Graham said previously that the courts have developed “huge cracks” in the surface and tree roots are preventing the borough from milling and putting down new asphalt as has been done in the past.

Daniel’s Excavating of Greensburg is handling the project at a cost of $15,000.

In other business, council approved:

  • To accept the resignation of Jim Solinski as health inspector and to appoint William Hoffer Jr. as health inspector;
  • A change in the borough’s ordinance to add a stop sign at the intersection where Center Alley bisects Gay Street;
  • To place a “No Parking” sign on borough property Gallagher Street near West Main Street;
  • A proposed flag pole project at Grey Wing Park created by Lachlan McKlveen, a 16-year-old Boy Scout who is working toward Eagle Scout.

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New Alexandria Community Choir looking for new members

Debbie Resslar is looking for singers to join the New Alexandria Community Choir.

“We have a place for all levels of musicianship, singing as a part of the choir as well as soloists spots and featured descant singers,” she said.

No auditions are needed. Anyone who likes to sing can contact her for details about the choir’s first meeting on Sunday at the New Alexandria United Methodist Church. The choir was temporarily suspended during the pandemic and will be resuming for a three-performance season in December. This year’s cantata is “Go Sing It on the Mountain” by Pepper Choplin.

“The choir has been performing since 2009 when it was formed to commemorate New Alexandria’s 175th anniversary,” said Resslar, who lives in town.

She was teaching music at Greater Latrobe School District at the time. The choir was still going strong when she retired in 2013 after 34 years of teaching.

She attributes its continuing success to not only the talent of the singers and the receptive audiences, but also to the friendships that have formed. Members come from the area and beyond, including from Ligonier and Johnstown.

“Through the years we have been blessed to have singers including present high school students, singing friends, family members and past high school acquaintances,” Resslar said. “They have been members from the Westmoreland Choral Society, the St. Vincent Camerata, local theater and many area churches.”

Brenda Trout of Salem Township has been a member since the choir started.

“When you sing with others, it makes you feel good and happy,” she said.

“As you’re singing, your voice becomes not just you, but a harmony of voices that is amazing. You become something bigger than yourself. You’re not just a choir member, but part of a great group of people and friends.”

Lynne Watkins of Derbytown is also a long-time member.

“I got involved from the beginning when I first heard about the choir forming,” she said. “I have always loved to sing and during my high school years I was always in the choir and most musicals.”

The membership is open to singers who are in the seventh grade and above. Hayley Frye of Bovard, now 22, was in the eighth grade when she joined.

“Getting to talk with the members and hearing them share their experiences through their lives was really helpful as I grew up and began making life choices that ultimately impacted where I am now,” she said. “Joining the choir is more than singing Christmas music for an audience. It’s a family who cares for one another. And we have fun together doing something we all enjoy — singing and sharing the word of God.”

Because members invariably have other commitments, they begin learning their parts at home.

“Each member receives a parts listening CD or USB drive for home practice practices,” Resslar said.

That prepares them for when they meet and Resslar pulls them together as a choir.

“We are blessed with an excellent director who has given so much of herself to the effort of having a local choir,” said Nancy Vincze of New Alexandria, whose husband, John, also is a member.

The cantata that they’ll be performing this year is described as a “highly inventive mixture of mountain melodies, folk hymns, spirituals, familiar carols and original music that is sure to surprise and delight.”

Performances are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, in the New Alexandria United Methodist Church, then at 11 a.m. the same day at the New Alexandria Community Presbyterian Church. The next day, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, they will be part of the Derry Area Historical Society’s Christmas sing-along at Old Salem Church.

Resslar can be contacted at 724-668-2749.

Excela Health again honored among Most Wired in industry

Excela Health was recently ranked among the 2021 College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) Digital Health Most Wired healthcare organizations for the second consecutive year.

The honor comes during October, earmarked as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, to acknowledge the significance of safeguarding the vast stores of electronic data that are enveloped across the informational technology spectrum, including healthcare information.

Excela achieved a certified level 7 and Special Recognition designation for both acute (hospital) and ambulatory (outpatient) performance.

Specifically, this honor reflects Excela Health’s ability implement technologies and strategies such as population health/cost-of-care analytics, health information exchange integration and patient portals to help analyze data and to achieve meaningful clinical and efficiency outcomes. Excela also deploys more advanced technologies, like telehealth, to expand access to care beyond traditional settings.

“The surveys in which we participated allow us to examine how well Excela Health is leveraging IT to improve performance for value-based healthcare in the areas of clinical quality and safety, clinical integration, business and administrative management, and technology infrastructure,” said Janice Devine, senior vice president, chief information officer for Excela Health. “As we began navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw patients and providers embrace telehealth as never before, as a means to expedite care and remain connected with their healthcare team.

“I’m proud of the collaboration between our clinicians and the IT team to leverage Excela’s investment in information technology to improve the quality and safety of patient care in our community. I am also gratified that our unwavering focus on security and data integrity were among the areas where Excela received the highest survey scores.”

“Digital transformation in healthcare has accelerated to an unprecedented level since 2020, and the next few years will bring a wave of innovation that empowers healthcare consumers and will astound the industry,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell. “The Digital Health Most Wired program recognizes the outstanding digital leaders who have paved the way for this imminent revolution in healthcare. Their trailblazing commitment to rapid transformation has set an example for the entire industry in how to pursue a leadership vision with determination, brilliant planning and courage to overcome all challenges.”

A total of 36,674 organizations were represented in the 2021 Digital Health Most Wired program, which includes four separate surveys — acute, ambulatory, long-term care and international acute. The surveys assessed the adoption, integration and impact of technologies in healthcare organizations at all stages of development, from early development to industry leading.

Each participating organization received a customized benchmarking report, an overall score and scores for individual levels in eight segments: infrastructure; security; business/disaster recovery; administrative/supply chain; analytics/data management; interoperability/population health; patient engagement, and clinical quality/safety. Participants can use the report and scores to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement. Participants also received certification based on their overall performance, with level 10 being the highest.

Excela Health first participated in the Most Wired program in 2017 when the survey was under the auspices of the American Hospital Association.

According to the survey, Most Wired hospitals are using smart phones, telehealth and remote monitoring to create more ways for patients to access healthcare services and capture health information.

At Excela Health, the tools promoting clinical safety and quality include electronic order entry for medication and tests; barcoded medication administration to ensure the right drug to the right patients; and allergy to drug interaction checking.

In the area of clinical integration, Excela’s patient portal — Excela — allows patients to access their own medical records and engage in secure messaging with Excela employed providers who are connected via a single electronic medical record.

Supporting business operations are online staff scheduling and payroll; electronic purchasing requisitions and electronic bill and remittance posting.

All of these advances are supported by a secure wireless network for clinicians and staff, as well as state-of-the-art security software and practices to safeguard patient information.

As in past years, CHIME will publish an industry trends report based on Digital Health Most Wired responses from U.S. participants.