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Arts & Entertainment

Croquet players show they can take the heat

| Monday, June 13, 2005

"Rain, rain, go away ... "

And so it did. Mother Nature was obviously of a charitable mind as more than 1,300 white-clad enthusiasts gathered Sunday at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg -- site of the 16th annual Croquet Tournament.

"I never watch the weather forecast," admitted event coordinator Amy McDivitt with a smile. "I'd just make myself sick all week."

A premier fundraising event, the tournament is sponsored by the Greensburg Croquet Club in support of the Greensburg YMCA. According to Rick Nedley , the Y's chief executive officer, this year's sanctioned competition is on track to bring in more than $50,000.

Modified single elimination play began at 10:30 a.m., with more than 100 teams seeking the coveted glass encased "Mallet."

Final-round play pitted Dennis Camlin and Aaron Sanders against Burrell Bureau and Scott Porter. Team Camlin/Sanders took the match -- and the championship -- by a score of 7-4.

Consolation round winners were Greg Mroz and Julian Vallozzi.

Winner in the children's bracket (ages 6-10) was the team of Danny and Nicky Stewart . Olivia Boyle and Shannon Littlefield out-malleted their opponents to take the youth (ages 11-15) championship title.

Off the court, more than 30 tent sponsors hoped to have their name engraved on the prestigious "Silver Bowl," on display at Vallozzi's Restaurant, east of Greensburg.

This year's third place honors went to the White Star Line tent, inspired by the movie "Titanic." Tony Sachs , decked out in period dress, claimed the movie as one of his all-time favorites. Friends who helped arrange sterling silver and china place settings and decorations: Don Takacs, Ernie Thrasher, Jennifer Pazak, Brooke Lichtenfels, Tom and Sandy Cole , and Bill Mangan.

CynaTek/Cyna Med -- and owners Ron Hall and Frank Morrison -- captured second place with their version of "Heaven on Earth."

William and Renee Snoddy -- Golden Eagle Construction/Coolspring Stone Supply/ Gavco -- were awarded the grand prize for a most creative oriental oasis. The tent was complete with decorative lanterns, birds of paradise, bamboo, decorative screens, and one small, stuffed panda -- a proud addition of Aleah Snoddy , 6.

Although it didn't garner a prize, we couldn't help but admire an Italian sidewalk cafe designed by Dr. Bill Kennen /Drs. Scott and Michele Jacobsen /DirectBuy. As the university bell tolled 3 p.m., participants and spectators hit the stream for the annual rubber duck race. Michele Bononi had the winning "adult" duck; Kris Kann came away with the best "child" duck.

The event's major sponsor -- with a donation of $10,000 -- was First Commonwealth. National City and PNC Bank served as Cabana Sponsors.

As always, a special event coordinated by a special group of board members: Ernie Vallozzi , president of the Croquet Club; McDivitt; Nedley; Beth Knizner; Gary and Linda Helman; Dr. Jack and Georgia Smith; George and Nancy Stewart; Rick and Joyce Versaw and Jim Manolakos .

Dressed in their bright whites: Algine Helfer, Louise Hughes, Amanda and Rob Canavan , Mimi and Franco Deblasio; Erik Tomalis; Cheryl and Doug Whitney ; the Rev. Martin and Julie Ankrum; Eric Bononi; Ron and JoAnn Eberhardt; Beth and Art Floro; Kim Brough; Barb Ceroni; Tom and Nancy Smail; Dave and Terri Brough; Maureen Egenlauf; Scott McNair; Jamie Dixon, Pitt's head basketball coach; Dennis Cremonese and Mike Fallon -- sporting the day's lone toga.

-- Ann Saul Dudurich

Benefit performance a home run

It was a hit out of the park for the Mom's House Theatre Cabaret benefit on Wednesday at the St. Vincent Summer Theatre production of "Rounding Third."

The theatre in the Robert S. Carey Student Center was filled with Mom's House supporters eager to enjoy the two-act play written by Richard Dresser about the lives of two Little League coaches.

"We've been doing this fundraiser for about 10 years," said JoLane Cecconi , board president and founder of Mom's House in Greensburg. "We always try to get in on the first show of the summer theatre season at St. Vincent. This is a really fun event for us, and we appreciate St. Vincent Theatre cooperating with us on it."

In addition to a fabulous play, starring Jarrod DiGiorgi and Philip Winters , the event featured beautifully crafted gift baskets which were raffled off at the end of the cabaret. The basket themes included a beauty and bath basket, poolside fun, red, white, and blue, and a Clifford the Big Red Dog basket. The lines were long for chances at winning one of the themed baskets. Play-goers enjoyed the cabaret after the show on the outdoor terrace of the Carey Center.

The event would not have been possible without the help of Robin Ryan , board member and chairperson of the event; Betty Nemchik and Millie Krinock , co-chairs of the basket raffle; Nancy Michael , administrator and program director at Mom's House; Diane Chopyak , financial officer; Christian and Christine DeDiana , longtime supporters of Mom's House; Suzan Firment and Jane Church , board members. Paul and Carole Whalen also contributed to the overall success of the fundraiser.

Seen at the show were Gloria Rehak , Marcy Canterna , Shirley Canterna , and Dodo Canterna , Rae Martchek , Rose Tiberio , Mary Ann Duda , Dorie Couch , LaVerne Sober , Cierra and Vanessa Washington , Karen Bennett , Lucy Lute , Leah Pratt , Carol Pratt , Dorothy Hradnansky , Renie Hradnansky , Pat Hartwell , Ilse Hilliard , and Dave McNichol .

-- Marjorie Wertz

Steelers lineman shares lessons with scouts

Max Starks was a man among boys. Boy Scouts , that is.

More than 200 guests filled the ballroom at Greensburg Country Club Wednesday evening as the Steelers offensive lineman detailed his life's path; one filled with smart choices. As keynote speaker for the 22nd annual Westmoreland-Fayette Council Boy Scouts of America fundraising dinner, Starks told of his successes due, in large part, to hard work, support from his mother, and life as a Boy Scout.

The 6-foot-7-inch lineman also signed photos, footballs and other memorabilia throughout the evening.

Prior to Stark's talk, Michael D. Sekora , of Luxor, received the Young American Award -- an honor given to youth ages 15-25 who have achieved excellence in a variety of personal and community endeavors.

Additionally, First Commonwealth Bank was chosen Company of the Year. Dave Hanna, president of the Southwestern region, accepted the award.

Eric Bononi assumed the master of ceremonies role for the evening.

After the program, silent auction results were announced. We had our eye on a signed Mario Lemieux shadow box, donated by 84 Lumber. The lucky bidder: Tammy Valero.

William L. Taylor, Scout Executive, deemed the evening a fundraising success, with more than $82,000 earmarked for the benefit of local scouting programs.

Among those on hand for the festivities: Tim Colcombe; Regis Sabol and G. Edward Lewis -- president and past president, respectively, of the Westmoreland-Fayette Council; Michele Bononi; Pete and Stephanie Curry ; Rick and Lisa Miller; Bob Bowell and Chuck Urtin , both of Irwin Bank & Trust; Dick and Nancy McKelvey; Tony DeNunzio; Don and Yvonne Bloom; Shawn Pilla ; Cindy Knaus and Tom Forsythe , both of National City; Dave Delisi and his son, Chris; Tony Helpenstell; Greg Benson , with sons Charlie, 12, and David, 8; Scott Gehr; Westmoreland County Commissioner Phil Light; John Garlow; Frank Peagler; Chuck and Lee Speicher , Rick Loeliger, and Dr. Jack Smith.

-- Ann Saul Dudurich

Hospital hands out scholarship awards

The Westmoreland Regional Hospital auxiliary gave out its annual scholarship awards during a luncheon at Giannilli's II in Greensburg on June 6. Diane Waltos , president of the auxiliary gave the welcoming address and invocation. A short business meeting was held, in which Jean Pistentis was officially installed as auxiliary vice president. The students then thanked the scholarship committee, chaired by Michelle Kennen and Jamie McHugh .

"Three of the scholarship recipients are repeats from last year," said Waltos. The repeat scholarship winners are: Joshua Horn , a sophomore at Rochester Institute of Technology, majoring in bioinformatics; Erin Greenawalt , a sophomore at IUP majoring in speech and language pathology and audiology; and Kristy Bolha , a sophomore physical therapy major at the University of Pittsburgh. Bolha and Horn were unable to attend the scholarship luncheon.

Four new scholarship winners are Jenna Montgomery , who will attend the University of Pittsburgh and major in bioengineering; Andrea Altieri , a physician's assistant major at Pitt; Melissa Nagy , a nursing major at Duquesne University; and Joshua Momper , who will study pharmacy at Pitt. All the new scholarship winners are 2005 graduates of Hempfield Area High School. Each scholarship is $1,000.

President of Excela Health, Doug Clark , told the students there is a difference between working and having a passion.

"I challenge you to figure out what your passion is and find somebody who really believes in you," Clark said. "Getting to your goals takes a lot of hard work. But dreams can come true and they will for you."

Seen at the luncheon: Ruth Metz , Blanche Cribbs , Anita Owen , Mary Ann Singley , Carol Thomasay , Ruth Johnson , Ellen Katter , Lisa and Jim Montgomery , Michele Momper , Mary Lee Nagy , Carlitta Reed , Kaarin Tintori , Delores Sullivan , Lee Bryan - Taylor , Ann Banchiere , Bernie Fisher , Amy Testa , Jean Platos , Janis Bolha , and Tammy Bowman .

-- Marjorie Wertz

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