Around the Rivers: New Vision for Chatham, New Album for Jackie Evancho, New Home for HEARTH

Here's a review of the week's headlines from Around our region's Three Rivers:

 and debated financial details before  Neighbors saluted the Stars and Stripes on  and familiesand  to make sure 

Patch brought you plenty of other stories as well from Around the Rivers over the past week. Among them:

Chatham University's "Splendid Vision" for its Eden Hall farm took a major step forward on Wednesday when  unanimously  approved its plan to turn the farm into the country's first sustainable campus.

Chatham's master plan for the 388-acre farm in Richland is titled "A Spendid Vision" in a reference to a term used by Chatham alumna and environmentalist Rachel Carson. Supervisors approved it after months of meetings with neighbors of the farm to discuss and address concerns about traffic, parking and other issues.

"I just want to say ... thank you so very much," Chatham University President Dr. Esther Barazzone said after the plan was approved. "We pledge to be a good neighbor ... and make Richland proud to have us." 


 Richland singer Jackie Evancho released "Dream With Me," a new 14-song CD that features the vocals of Barbra Streisand and a duet with Susan Boyle of "Britain's Got Talent" fame.

If you haven't heard Jackie's CD yet, AOL is offering a free listen by clicking here.

The 11-year-old singer rose to international fame last summer when she amazed audiences with her big voice on NBC's "America's Got Talent."

Since then she has performed in numerous public venues and on TV shows, including     and 


The Sewickley Community Center held its second annual Juneteenth observance on Saturday, with plenty of history and entertainment to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.

The family-friendly celebration emphasizes education and achievement. It featured a pancake breakfast and a panel discussion about education through history, along with music, food and theater performances.

The day marks the anniversary of June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, TX, with the news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free. This was 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, according toJuneteenth.com.

In Sewickley, volunteers worked for months to organize the event.


After learning that the state Department of Enviromental Protection had suspended a recreation project in Bell Acres due to ongoing environmental violations, Bell Acres Council said it wants answers about the project.

 members said they also may consider suspending the borough's grading permit for the project. They directed Solicitor Robert Junker to contact and arrange a meeting with the Quaker Valley Recreation Association, a community-based organization involved with the development of Legacy Fields at Bouchard Family Park.

The project involves a partnership of the recreation association and the Quaker Valley School District to build new athletic fields, according to QVRA's website.

Council wants project leaders to attend next month’s council meeting to explain how the violations of water-pollution regulations occurred and why those issues haven't been addressed.  Organization leaders said they are working to correct the violations but have been stalled by poor weather. 


HEARTH, a North Hills housing program for homeless women with children, became the third nonprofit organization to move from behind the St. Benedictine Sisters’ monastery in Ross to a new home in Green Tree.

HEARTH made its home at St. Benedictine Place for 15 years before the sisters decided to sell the property, prompting HEARTH employees to move seven women and 15 children to an apartment complex in Green Tree. HEARTH is one of five nonprofits to receive notice last summer that it would have until August to move out of the building at 4540 Perrysville Ave.

The Benedictine Sisters of Pittsburgh are selling the 40,000-square-foot building, which until 1985 was the former all-girls St. Benedictine’s Academy, and their 78,000-square-foot monastery. Asking price: $3.2 million.

Sister Benita DeMatteis said the sisters decided to sell the property because it was too large to maintain for the order’s remaining 52 members.

“We have interest but no buyers,” she said.


Nicholas Steri had just turned 18 when he first boarded a USS LSM-32 ship on the California coast in 1944. The teenager from Coraopolis had been in the Navy for four months when he headed to the Pacific theater, where he spent a good portion of World War II aboard the vessel.

Steri weathered the Battle of Okinawa, much of the Pacific war and a tsunami on the amphibious ship, which was 300 feet long and 35 feet wide with a flat bottom that made it look and ride like a bathtub. For his service, he received the Bronze Star, the World War II Victory Medal, the American Campaign Medal and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal, among other military honors.

Now 85, Steri, a lifelong resident of Moon, is seeking the one military honor that evaded him: the Purple Heart, presented to veterans wounded or killed in the line of duty. Veterans must be injured while in action and have two witnesses to their wartime service.

Steri, who has only one witness to the shrapnel injury he received during the battle of Okinawa, wants to persuade lawmakers and military officials to grant an exception in his case.

"I went into the Navy as a kid, and I came out as an honorable man," he said. "I know what I did, and I'm proud. No one can take that away. It would just be nice to have it noted." 


Fred and Tina Romantine, who operated the grocery on University Boulevard store since 1986, on Saturday transferred the store operations to its namesake corporation.

The Romantines, who reside in Moon, decided to retire to "spend more time with family and travel," according to a statement from a Giant Eagle spokesman.

The store's 180 workers will continue to be employed at the corporate-owned store. 


Harmony resident Sherry Cepek traveled to Pinehurst, NC, for a niece’s wedding and came home with a new career.

After visiting Green Gate Olive Oils, a charming shop selling different varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, Cepek decided to open her own shop, The Enchanted Olive in the Cranberry area. She specializes in varieties of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, which include antioxidants that have the potential to protect against heart disease and cancer and enzymes that improve digestion.

Located on Route 19 across from the Northgate Plaza in Harmony, The Enchanted Olive offers an array of oils and vinegars that range from the standard extra-virgin olive oil to more exotic blood orange and white truffle flavors.

For adventurous foodies, it also suggests a plethora of olive oil and balsamic vinegar-based recipes, including asiago and white truffle mashed potatoes and lemon olive oil pound cake with lemon glaze, online.

The store is available for tasting parties. For more information, visit the Enchanted Olive website.


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