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Honored Guests at St. Clair Lecture

Dawn Law
| Monday, Oct. 13, 2008

The 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War drew distinguished guests to the ninth annual St. Clair Lecture at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in Hempfield.

In the packed house Wednesday was Lawrence John Forbes Keppie , a descendant of Gen. John Forbes, who in 1758 led the successful campaign to oust the French from Ft. Duquesne.

Also present were Charles Fagan , chairman of the Ligonier 250 Committee; Debbie Corll , project manager of Pittsburgh-based French and Indian War 250 Inc.; Martin West , executive director of Ft. Ligonier; David Miller , museum educator at Bushy Run Battlefield; and Sharon Smith , president of UPG.

Michael McConnell , an author and history professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, explored the ill-fated relationship between the British and their Indian allies, primarily the Cherokee and Catawba.

In early 1758, the tribes trekked hundreds of miles northward from Tennessee and the Carolinas, clashing with colonists along the way. The Indians were disappointed to find an ailing and depressed Forbes, depleted troops, nonexistent artillery and no reciprocity. British attempts to befriend northern Indians, enemies of the Cherokee, bred even more discontent.

On the other hand, a frustrated Forbes described the new arrivals as a "plague" that was eating him "out of house and home."

The British did not understand that the Indians believed an exchange of gifts was a show of faith and a sign of peace. Instead, the British expected the Cherokee to be subordinates who earned their "gifts."

When the Indians had enough, they abandoned the British and headed for home.

"Cherokee actions and British words, combined, make us wonder if a British and Indian alliance was ever a possibility in the first place," McConnell said.

Westmoreland Heritage, Westmoreland County Historical Society and the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, with UPG, supported the program.

Seen throughout: Joel Sabadasz, Annie Urban, Penny West, Bill and Becky Thorne, Lisa Hays, Bill Roach, JoAnn Anderson, Joanna Moyar, Mike and Jill Moore, Kirk Utzinger , Dr. George and Linda Austin, Lou and Joan DeRose, Tom and Donnis Headley, Stu Horner, Stephanie Fagan and Wendy Mackall .

-- Dawn Law

Blaney Theatre Dedication

Two longtime friends and benefactors were honored Thursday with the naming and dedication of the Gerald and Carolyn Blaney Theatre at California University of Pennsylvania.

The former Black Box Theatre in Steele Hall now pays tribute to Carolyn Eberly Blaney , president of the Eberly Foundation, and her husband, Gerald , both of whom are true believers in the transforming power of education -- as evidenced by foundation-funded scholarships that help students to further their studies. The foundation also was a major contributor to the school's Eberly Science and Technology Center.

Through a recent renovation, the 150-seat Blaney Theatre is equipped with a state-of-the-art audiovisual system and digital sound. Performers have access to dressing rooms and green rooms.

Cal U President Angelo Armenti Jr. , accompanied by his wife, Barbara , welcomed guests to the dedication. Remarks were given by Brian Levine , student director of "The Real Inspector Hound," a Tom Stoppard one-act play recently staged in the theater.

Guests were entertained by members of the university choir and enjoyed refreshments after the program.

Cal U dignitaries in attendance included Laura Tuennerman , interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts, with daughters Elyse and Megan Kaplan ; theater department chairman Michael Slavin with Barb; Lenora Angelone , vice president of student development; Len Colelli , dean of the Eberly College of Science Technology; and Executive Vice President Joyce Hanley .

Others attending were Bill and Kathy Lincoln , Dr. Harry and Linda Serene, Leo Krantz, Tony Mauro, Bill and Kathi Flinn, Annette M. Kaleita, John and Alice Fisler, John and Pat Tweardy, Tim and Karen Susick, Christina Lanzi and Julian Lacey .

-- Kim Stepinsky

Mystery Writers Workshop

The people who attended the Mystery Writers Workshop on Saturday at the Greensburg-Hempfield Area Library all have the ability to be creative and the desire to write stories, but most were looking for a little direction on producing an intense murder mystery on a budget.

That is where Mary Ann Mogus and Barb Miller came in. Mogus is a freelance writer who has spent time working at the West Overton Museum producing interactive murder-mystery plays. Miller teaches Writing Popular Fiction at Seton Hill University, and has published everything from historical novels to paranormal mysteries.

Both are members of the Ligonier Valley Writers, a nonprofit group that provides guidance, lectures, writing contests and workshops to writers of all genres.

Saturday, the group collaborated on a murder mystery set in the library. Each person contributed a character. "Dialogue reveals the motive," Miller said. Before long, the group decided the victim was found in the bathroom. "Maybe the person who found him really had to go," Mogus joked.

Paula Smith of Monroeville said the workshop was informative and enjoyable. The group also got mini-lessons in costume design and makeup.

The workshop was free, but the women say the writing they do often benefits their two main purposes -- the Ligonier Valley Writers Conference, set for July 18 at the Fred Rogers Center at St. Vincent College, and the annual Loyalhanna Review, which features work from local writers.

Seen at the event: Craig Grossman, Carolyn Skotnicki, Carl Lander, Kathleen Clark, Rebecca Dunn, Ron Shafer, Emily Cosentino, Barbara Purbaugh, Patricia Dinsmone, John Rodgers, Amanda Leek and Linda Rodkey .

-- Jennifer Miele, WTAE

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