Our National Association of REALTORS has been actively engaged in the tax reform debate. The plan is expected to double the standard deduction and eliminate all personal deductions except the Mortgage Interest Deduction and the deduction for Charitable Contributions. The plan eliminates the deduction for State and Local Taxes. This will be devastating to middle class homeowners by removing economic incentives for homeownership and raising taxes by an average of $851. By doubling the standard deduction, the Mortgage Interest Deduction would only be available to the top 5 percent of taxpayers.



The Oldest Guy by Pat McCloskey

The Oldest Guy

by patmccloskey


” Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming,” Wow! WHAT A RIDE!”

-Hunter S. Thompson

I have also heard this with the ending, ” missing parts, leaking oil and screaming “Geronimo.” I always subscribe to this way of living because I like adventure, travel and experiences in my own way. However, due to a series of events recently, I have had some thoughts that question my verve. Some of this began a couple of weeks ago when I was discovering that I was the oldest guy on the mountain bike rides. I really should not let that bother me but with the death of my brother in law at 61, and some other news of contemporaries who have had their troubles, I began to question my lifestyle as I march quickly towards 63. Sometimes, I feel like I am in an out of control vehicle and can’t stand on the brakes hard enough. Life is screaming by.

Then God plops me down right in the middle of Somerset county in an old barn for Biff Swager’s 65th birthday party( Is that the greatest name in the world?……Biff Swager!!!). Biff’s wonderful wife Annie organized the surprise party and all the old ski crowd came out in force. The food was wonderful, the band was GREAT, and the group danced their asses off( no other good way to put it), yes they danced their asses off and the joy of life was in full swing. Sue Baum Treacy summed it up best when she marveled at the group and vowed that we all have to get together this winter and ski because that is what brought us all together as kids in the first place. She and her husband John walk the walk by recently retiring and hopping on the back of their motorcycle, touring the west.

So, that was a real shot in the arm and dispelled any thoughts about age when I saw my group of contemporaries really enjoying each other’s company and killing it on the dance floor- of an old barn. Even Herman Dupre who is in his 80s, said he has so much work to do, he wants to live until he is 124. His wife Sis said “I will give him 100 from me and that is it.” We all laughed and as I drove off into the night, I thought what a great group and a great reason to keep living life as large as possible. You don’t have to climb Everest or do something outrageous to be adventurous. For me, taking that first ski turn down a chute out West, or rolling over a giant boulder field in West Virginia on the MTB is adventurous. Just have a positive attitude and engage in new ventures. The joy of a bike ride in cool fall weather can garner the same feeling of adventure that Jimmy Chin feels on a mountain peak. Not as dramatic, not as bold, but still relatively speaking, a personal adventure. Do what you can but like NIKE says…………just do it!!!

I remember asking Scot Nicol, the founder of IBIS Bicycles, one time on a ride,” how long do you think we can keep riding mountain bikes like this Scot?” He looked at me and said, ” Pat- don’t even think about it. Just keep riding.” This is sage advice from a Californian who really enjoys what he does. But what else dispels those internal thoughts that say, ” you are 63- who are you kidding?” Besides the joy of a ski turn and the beauty of the mountains, and the fitness created by riding a mountain bike, there are things that define self worth. The love of a spouse, the caring for friends, volunteering, being there for a cause, and spreading the good word of the Kingdom. True self worth is nothing more that knowing you are loved by the Good Lord. We are so blessed. It is incumbent upon all of us to care for each other, one person at a time, one neighborhood at a time. Make the effort folks, because as I have recently seen, life is fragile and we need to make the most of every moment. The time that is spent with your family and friends is so valuable. Sometimes you don’t realize it until someone is gone.

I know where I am going someday. But in the mean time, I will definitely leak oil, skid broadside in a cloud of smoke, and live life with that promise ahead of me. Who cares if I am the oldest guy? Thanks for reading.



Fall Foliage Forecast by PennLive

By Marcus Schneck
Unseasonably hot, dry weather throughout much of September may have doomed hopes for a particularly vibrant fall-foliage period this fall in much of Pennsylvania.

“Several factors lead me to believe that what looked to be an excellent fall foliage year has been mitigated by this latest hot, dry weather pattern, coupled with outbreaks of maple anthracnose in a fair number of areas,” noted Ryan Reed, the environmental education specialist in the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources who compiles the weekly fall foliage report for the state.

“Despite this, there will be good fall foliage viewing throughout the state in forthcoming weeks. One may have to simply travel further between areas of brilliant color.”

For now, he said, fall foliage season continues in its preliminary stages statewide. Some northern-tier forest districts are showing more than 50 percent color in stands of northern hardwoods like maple, cherry and birch.

Central and southern forests are showing strong indicators of future color, with bittersweet, Virginia creeper, dogwood, walnut, hickory, birch and a few maples sprinkling color over the landscape.

The recent warm spell seems to have slowed the color transition, and even forced early leaf-drop in some areas.

Southwestern Counties (Allegheny, Washington, Greene, Westmoreland, Fayette and Somerset counties): In Forbes State Forest, peak color is expected during the first and second weeks (Negro Mountain and Laurel Ridge) in October.

The Laurel Highlands are separated by three separate ridges that vary in elevation, often leading to a succession of peak foliage. The Mt. Davis Division encompasses the highest point in Pennsylvania and peaks before any other region of the Laurel Highlands. The Laurel Ridge, extending from Ohiopyle to Seward, is the next area to peak, followed by the western-most areas of the Laurel Highlands, Chestnut Ridge, and Pittsburgh area.

Southern Region (Area south and east of a line through southern Monroe, Dauphin, Bedford and southeastern Somerset Counties): In Buchanon State Forest, several vine species (poison ivy, Virginia creeper, bittersweet) are adding early red and yellow colors to the forest edges. Hickories and birches on drier sites have also turned yellow. Route 30 offers a pleasant view of the Buchanon State Forest, and Tower Road and Bark Road vistas reveal beautiful scenery in the valley.


The Bike and Box Turtle by Pat McClosky

So, I am pounding up the Bathtub Trail, kind of clearing my head on a solo mountain bike ride this week and I come upon a box turtle right in the middle of the trail. I did something unusual- I stopped. I checked him out and marveled at the way the color of his shell blended in with the rapidly changing leaves all around me. I looked at the texture of his shell and thought to myself, what a wonderful Creator who weaved this beautiful ecosystem we have to enjoy right in my own county park. As I made my way up the trail, I noticed the diversity of the leaves that were beginning to cover the ground. Flaming red maple leaves, brilliant yellow oak leaves, multicolored ash, chestnut, and other species of deciduous trees that spread their foliage like a patchwork blanket before me. Fall has arrived and I am contentedly happy.

Usually I try to ride for a good workout and push myself, even on solo rides. But this day was reserved for more pleasant riding, kind of like mobilized hiking enjoying the natural world all around me. At this time of year, the trails are usually dry and you can pretty much ride as fast as you can and feel “in the zone” as you rail the corners and pound up the hills. This is the time when most of us are in peak shape and the euphoria that you feel after a fast paced ride is intoxicating. But, there are days in the fall when I like to just ride the bike for relaxed transportation in a world that is peaceful, welcoming, and shelters you from the pressures of the real world. The changing leaves are all around and along with the shorter evenings, the cooler temperatures, and the smell of the tannin in the leaves displays something that Western Pa. has in it’s bag of tricks to entice travelers and natives alike. If you are out in it, close your eyes and take a deep breath of that musty, woodsy, cool air into your lungs. Only at this time of year does it smell like that. Summer fragrances, winter blasts of cold air,spring evening smells, are all good eye closing intakes, but the fall air is the best.

The mountain trails in our Laurel Highlands are coming alive with color, and arm warmers, vests, tights, are all practical wear as the cooler temperatures welcome in the coming winter season.

But back to the box turtle. Instead of using him as a speed bump, I took the time to examine him and notice how he fits in. The diversity of the changing flora seem to welcome him as part of their patchwork of color. The buck are starting to surface and as they stare at you with their fully grown racks, they are part of this diversified animal kingdom that makes up the forest in the mountains and parks of Western Pa. Turkey, grouse, groundhogs, raccoons, birds of all species, including the majestic osprey and red tail hawk, are busy preparing for the long winter ahead. Bald eagles are visible in the mountains and their wingspans continually amaze me as I stop to take in their flight pattern in the ridges to the east. I see open chestnut pods releasing their treasure to the scurrying squirrels and chipmunks. Acorns,and seeds of all kinds are being scooped up by very busy little rodents who take great chances using the trails full of hikers and mountain bikers. The come perilously close to losing their life as they dodge the knobby tires of the many bikes on the trails.

But as my mind wandered, I thought about how all of this fits together. The trees, the leaves, the animals, all form the ecosystem that we call the forest. As I ride along, not in anaerobic debt, I take in the smells, the sounds, and the sights of a changing natural world. Yet it is one entity created out of a patchwork of diversity. Kind of makes you think doesn’t it? Enjoy the fall. Thanks for reading.

patmccloskey | September 28, 2017 at 11:41 am | Tags: Laurel Highlands | Categories: American Culture, Bicycling, Culture, Cycling, Diversity, Environment, Faith, Inspiration, Mountain Biking, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, recreation, trails | URL:

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August 2017 Laurel Highlands Real Estate Market Report

This is the August 2017 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are starting this year.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour



July 2017 Laurel Highlands Market Report

This is the July 2017 real estate market report. These reports give you the inside information based on courthouse records as to what has sold at Hidden Valley and 7 Springs Resorts. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the highest price that will be successful in the market place. Open the links below for a quick look at how sales are starting this year.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share with the public. If you want the UNBIASED facts of what is happening in your community and property contact us. We tell you what factual research indicates and not what a marketing department wants you to believe.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8535. Open the links below for the reports.

Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour

A Natural Cause by Pat McCloskey

Go to Pat’s blog for the story with photos
A Natural Cause
by patmccloskey

A number of years ago, my wife Janet and I were strolling through Sausalito, California when we came upon a gallery featuring the art works of Grace Slick. Now, I was a huge fan of the Jefferson Airplane when I was younger and Grace fronted the band with her sultry yet powerful voice. I was pleasantly surprised to see that she was also a very talented painter held in great esteem in the Bay Area. People surprise you. Not that you think they are not capable, but it is a pleasant surprise to see folks from one genre of accomplishment, move into another with relative ease. Case in point- my friend Angelo Ross.
I first met Angelo while we both were ski instructors and he was making his way up the PSIA ladder to his current position as a Development Team member of the Educational Staff. Angelo always took ski instruction seriously along with his main line of work as an Environmental Science teacher at Greensburg Salem High School here in Western Pa. I also ride mountain bikes with Angelo and on a recent trip to West Virginia, he told me about yet another passion that has turned into a very interesting business.
You see, Angelo is a talented artist whose work has developed over the years and now is featured on athletic and casual wear.
The story goes that Angelo became acquainted with the equally talented folks at Commonwealth Press in Pittsburgh who saw the value of his work and mentioned to him that they should begin the process of marketing Angelo’s art work on casual and athletic wear. Thus was the birth of One of the interesting things about this is that Angelo is marketing his art work through the medium of clothing, but he has another cause in mind besides pure mercantilism. You see, he lives Environmental Science – his passion, and therefore is dedicated to furthering the goals of local environmental causes like the Youghiogheny Defense Fund. This is part of the Mountain Watershed Project which preserves the environmental integrity of the Youghiogheny River among other waterways in our region. Whitewater rafting and fishing are prominent in these waterways and Angelo is dedicated to preserving these for generations to come. A portion of all proceeds that he generates through Natural Cause goes to organizations like these. Another cause for his generosity and passion is the Mt. Davis Challenge bicycle race, run in conjunction with the Confluence Tourism Association which promotes recreational activity in the Laurel Highlands. Jim Sota runs the event and it has been a successful race for many years. Angelo supports the cause. The man walks the walk and does not just talk the talk.
I am continually amazed by people. You know them through one area of your life and then you realize that there is much more to this person than you thought. People have abilities that cross over in their lives and it is refreshing to see that a young guy who you know from skiing and mountain biking has such a passion and such a talent and that he is creative enough to market it and donate to causes that reflect his passion.
I love hearing the stories like Natural Cause. I like to hear how they were created and how the business is doing. There is a lot of negativity swirling around these days and I make it my business to always be positive and encouraging. It is great when I see positive attitude and generosity come from others like Angelo. Natural Cause is a breath of fresh air to our local environmental causes and I hope that you all will go to his website, view Angelo’s art work, and order some product. You can wear it with pride knowing that your money has been well spent and that the beneficiary of your generosity are the watersheds, trails, and events that make our region so special. Well done Angelo Ross!!! Thanks for reading.
patmccloskey | July 27, 2017 at 11:59 am | Tags: Mt. Davis Challenge,,, Youghiogheny River | Categories: American Culture, Art, Bicycling, Culture, Cycling, Education, Environment, Friendship, Hobbies, Inspiration, Mountain Biking, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, Pittsburgh, recreation, trails | URL:


Hidden Valley Mountain Metric

This is a mountain bike “ride” through the Laurel Highlands on July 15! Options include a metric century (100 km/63 miles), a half metric century (50 km/32 miles), and a free shorter option for casual riders and families. Ride is fully supported and includes 6 categorized climbs!  Get your climb on, get out of the oppressive heat of the city and come enjoy the Laurel Highlands with your friends and family! Here’s the link for registration and more details!


Independence Day

In honor of our Independence Day here’s a short video from Schoolhouse Rock on how bills get to become laws. As simple as it is, “I’m Just a Bill” helps us to understand the process and the work it takes to turn a bill into law. It also reminds us of how important it is to voice where we stand to our elected representatives.  This video is something you might consider sharing with your children. It’s never too early to help the next generation understand how governance is supposed to work.



Laurel Hill State Park Summer Fun!

We LOVE Laurel Hill State Park! Here are a few of their offerings for this month! Easy to get to from either resort! Call if you have questions, 814-352-8649

  • July 8 Hemlock Hike 4 to 5pm
  • July 8 Moonlight Paddle 9 to 11pm
  • July 12 & 26 Wednesday on the Water 6 to 7:30pm
  • July 15 Bat Facts 8to 9pm
  • July 22 Learn to Kayak 10am to noon & 1 to 3pm
  • July 22 Wild Teas 7 to 8pm
  • July 29 Beginner Bowmanship 9am to 11
  • July 29 Wildflower Walk 7 to 8pm




Mortgage Interest Deduction

If you own a home and itemize, one of your deductions may be for your mortgage interest. If the plan that is being considered NOW is enacted studies show that the 75% of home owners who currently use the deduction could be reduced to 5%! For PA homeowners, property taxes would no longer be deductible either! OUCH! Think about HOW this will impact our ability to sell homes! 

A change like this could make us a nation of renters instead of home owners! We strongly encourage you to check out how this might impact you and let your elected representatives know where you stand!


Route 31 Road Construction

It began May 8 and has a very long way to go!! When you exit the PA Turnpike at Donegal be prepared to experience delays! The project begins just above the turnpike exit and continues down to the turn to Route 711 at Sarnelli’s. In a months time much has been done with much more to come! Please pack your patience and watch out for the workers!


National Flood Insurance EXPIRES Sept 30!

The last time the National Flood Insurance was allowed to expire approximately 40,000 transactions, a MONTH didn’t happen!! WHY? Because if your property is in a flood zone area AND you don’t have flood insurance, NO bank will finance it! Being active in our local, state, and national Realtor Associations has allowed Abe to meet face to face with elected representatives in DC and Harrisburg to explain WHY it is critical to ensure it doesn’t expire again! Check out the information slides!  


Memories of Memorial Day


by patmccloskey

One of my most memorable family trips was when we ventured on a bus tour to Washington, DC. Rob and Denise Dunbar, our friends, organized the trip and one of the highlights was a tour of the White House. Rob’s grandfather was a U.S Congressman and Rob and Denise knew the ropes to getting our security clearance and a tour of a truly magnificent historical residence.

Everyone needs to do this trip several times because there are so many historically significant monuments to see as well as the varied museums and galleries. Our nation’s capitol is remarkable any time of the year and I can’t wait to go back someday. But the memory that sticks out to me, even to this day, was when we were immersed in the solemnity at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The silence of the crowd was definitely noticeable as we watched the guard meticulously march in front of the tomb in the prescribed cadence and number of steps. This ceremony goes on at all times in all weather – night and day. It is a true honor to be chosen as one of the guards in this prestigious ceremony and we were all placed in a somber, reverent mood when we made our way through Arlington National Cemetery. Standing in that silent, and tranquil setting, my eyes gazed upon the rows and rows of the graves of the fallen soldiers who had been buried there. As far as the eye could see, the perfectly aligned sites,adorned with the white monuments bearing the statistics of the fallen, made me stop rigid in my tracks- taking in the enormity of the moment. I am a history buff, as you know from former posts, and I took some time to reflect on all of the wars, the sacrifices, the honored dead that were privileged enough to be laid to rest there. You could not help but think about the service that our men and women in uniform afford us, protecting our freedom every day, in the most demanding of situations world wide. I thought about my Uncle Jack, a B-24 Bomber Pilot in World War II, who flew 52 missions over Italy in the Anzio Campaign. Coming back each night with hundreds of flak holes in his fuselage, only to be repaired and sent out the next day on yet another perilous mission.

I always admire anyone who has served in the military. Their courage, dedication, and sacrifice, is most exemplary. As the song goes, ” Some gave all, all gave some.” On the bus ride back , I sat in silence as my family slept and thought about how close I was to serving. I had a #11 draft number in college and had the Vietnam war continued on one more year, I would have been plucked from my comfortable early post office lounge in my dorm room and splatted down in some rice paddy in South Vietnam battling the North Vietnamese. I am friends with many who went and served and I respect them so wholeheartedly. What a rugged and unforgiving experience they had. Some made it back and some did not. I pray for their families and for all the families of the service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. They should never be forgotten and if you ever stand in the center of Arlington, the moment and experience will be forever etched in your memory.

So, as we embark on the holiday weekend, with our picnics, our mountain bike rides, hikes, horseback rides or rounds of golf, let’s all take a moment and remember those silent warriors who are buried in Arlington and in other sites around the world. Memorial Day is the official start to summer for sure, but it should never be lost on any of us, what the true meaning of that day is to our country. God bless and protect our service men and women and thanks for reading.

patmccloskey | May 25, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Tags: Arlington National Cemetery, B-24 Bomber, Billy Cyrus, The White House, Vietnam War | Categories: Aging, American Culture, Inspiration, Military, Veterans, World War II | URL:

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Bridge Replacements!!

PLAN NOW!! The last two *bridges* on the picture are the ones back to back on County Line Road by and just above Somerset Trust. If you stop in at the Saltlick Township office you can see the maps outlining the new one way traffic patterns!! The Rapid Bridge Replacement Project will eventually see 588 structurally deficient bridges in PA replaced. For those of us headed to Seven Springs this will mean ONE LANE traffic! There are alternative routes. Catch up with us for some other options!


Lake Erie Fluff by Pat McCloskey

Click on Pats Name to see the article with photos.

Lake Erie Fluff

by patmccloskey

This week, the west is being pounded with “Snowmageddon”. Amazing amounts of snow in the Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain region. I can’t wait to get out there in March, but for the time being we are treated here in the east to the maddening cycle of snow and cold, rain, warmer temperatures, back to cold, ice, wind, etc. etc. etc. It takes fortitude to be a skier in the East and even if there is no snow on the ground in the city and suburbs, don’t ever underestimate the power of grooming, and snowmaking at the local resorts.

Fortunately cycles change and we are blessed periodically with a phenomena that I call Lake Erie fluff. As with the storms that come from the Pacific that bang into the Cascades, we here in the banana belt see storms that come from Canada. They roll over the warmer waters of Lake Erie which produce locally heavy snows in the Western New York areas as well as colliding with the ridges of the Laurel Highlands and produce a light powdery snow that is the fluff. Lake Erie is our “snow machine” and for those who live in the northwest corner of Pa. and Western New York, it is a reality of winter even in the cyclical winters of late. I went to school in Meadville, Pa where I wore Bean boots from September through May. But to local skiers, we look forward to these storms which can salvage the cyclical damage of the winter rain, freezing rain and warmer events.

My wife Janet and I take advantage of these storms each winter snowshoeing and skiing locally but also traveling north to the Lodge at Glendorn to celebrate her birthday and to take advantage of mid winter storms in the “icebox” of Pennsylvania. Snowshoeing on the local trails there is a very pleasant experience especially when the Lake Erie fluff falls softly during our outings. The crackling fires of the lodge are welcoming and we have been very fortunate to time these visits with snow events rather than warmer, rain events. We usually combine these visits with trips to Ellicottville, NY to ski at Holimont or Holiday Valley, each of which lie directly in the path of the storms rolling across Lake Erie.

It is not uncommon here in Pa. to see blizzard conditions in the northwest corner of the state with nothing on the ground as you drive farther to the south. Then the snowpack increases as you drive into the Laurel Highlands where you see the results of the storms colliding with those ridges and emptying larger amounts of the fluff on the local areas in the region. A strange weather pattern to be sure but it enables us to have some outdoor winter activities despite not being in the more traditional snowbound areas of New England or the west.

I often hear people say that they don’t ski in the east or they don’t ski locally, they only ski out west. That is fine if you are satisfied with only a week or two enjoying your favorite winter sport. In my mind, take advantage of the local opportunities so that when you do go on a trip, you can be ready to go. In my mind, making turns is making turns. The more you make of them, the better you are prepared and also the more you can enjoy the winter. This particular winter has been a strange one but skiing Wildcat at Laurel Mountain has been a fun experience seeing that it is the steepest slope in Pennsylvania and the area has been reopened after a 10 year hiatus. I know that lapping those runs will get me ready for my Adirondack and western trips but it also has been truly enjoyable in its own right. Janet and I will be venturing north shortly and hoping for a nice dump of that Lake Erie fluff again on our visit. Our friends, Mike and Judy Smith, drive all the way from Philly to join us. They usually only ski the west but were pleasantly surprised with the Holimont experience in Western New York. Also the stay in Glendorn is memorable. Get there if you can.

patmccloskey | January 12, 2017 at 11:28 am | Tags: Holimont, Laurel Mountain Ski Area, Seven Springs Mountain Resort, The Lodge at Glendorn | Categories: outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, recreation, Skiing, Winter, winter sports | URL:

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Pat McCloskey’s thoughts on Laurel Mt. Ski Area

The Return of a Classic Ski Area

by patmccloskey

I have skied a lot of areas in my time and most of them were in New England where there are the giant, corporately run areas and the smaller privately held areas. The smaller areas always held my interest because they had a sense of tradition and a feel of skiing in another time. Recently, in our neck of the woods, down here in the Banana Belt, Laurel Mountain came to life again this year. It went from being one of the lost ski areas to a vibrant, resurgence of a classic ski area reminiscent of those areas in New England. In fact, there is a tie to Mt. Cranmore in the Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire. Apparently, when the Mellon family first had the idea to develop a ski area in 1939 for the members of the prestigious Rolling Rock Club in Ligonier, they hired Hannes Schneider to lay out the trails. Hannes Schneider was the ski school director at Mt. Cranmore who was brought to the US from Austria by the industrialist Harry Gibson, a friend of Richard King Mellon. Schneider is widely acclaimed as the father of ski instruction in this country.

When you first pull past the stone entrance hut on the mountain road, you feel as if you are driving back in time. The parking lot is never full and as you make your way to the top of the mountain lodge which has been recently refurbished, you can relax in an Adirondack chair by a roaring fire and put your boots on. You can then take your brown bag lunch inside or take advantage of some good comfort food in the new bar area in the base of the lodge. The picture windows look out on the whole Ligonier Valley which is not only scenic during the day, but a sight at night if you choose to night ski. The refurbished snowmaking by HKD and the new Pistenbully groomer make the Wildcat slope a delight to ski and it is known to have the steepest vertical in the state.

I remember skiing Laurel when it was run by the state and had some amazing powder days there with Frank Pipak, a friend who took the PSIA exam the same year that I did. Although, I spent the winter prior to that exam in Sugarloaf, Maine, I often credit my runs down Lower Wildcat with preparing me for the steeper terrain that was utilized in the exam. My friend Hiller Hardie always says, ” if you want to get your legs ready for the western trips, lapping Wildcat at Laurel will put you in good form.” Your legs get a work out on lower Wildcat with the steep vertical pitch.

When Seven Springs Mountain Resort decided to bring Laurel back to life this season, along with the DCNR of the State of Pennsylvania, it was time to promote it. I have told a lot of friends about my good times at Laurel and how they must try it. Like my two snowboarding friends, Tina and Mark Sauers who were totally enthralled with the area and the family feel to the place.

We have some challenges down here in the banana belt with the weather being on the edge of rain and snow. But credit Laurel with good snowmaking and grooming to make it possible for enthusiasts like me to get the most days out of rather dismal early winter conditions. I have a lot of good memories of skiing at Laurel back in the day including fun times with my son Jack and our visits to Fort Ligonier and the Pie Shop in Laughlintown at the bottom of the mountain.

Two years ago, Hiller, John McWilliams, Jeff Balicki and John O’Toole and yours truly used our snowshoes to hike into the closed area and after unloading our packs, took two runs down Lower Wildcat. Four hours plus of hiking for two runs was “having to have it” and it showed our devotion to an area which we all loved. It is so nice now to have Carl Skylling’s new Sky Trac chairlift instead of bootpacking to claim our vertical.

So if you are a local, get over to Laurel. You won’t regret it and if you are visiting, check it out. Lower Wildcat will surprise you even if you are a veteran of steep skiing from points beyond. I am so happy it is back. Hannes is probably up there smiling at all of us. Thanks for reading.


Update on Laurel highlands Ski Areas

Here is an update on some of the ski areas from  Appalachian Telemark Association Treasurer Jim Kapp.

Just some news you can use.

Info about Laurel Mountain: The state of P.A. spent 6.5 million dollars getting the place ready. Regraded and widen trails, HKD snowmaking. New Winch Cat. The owners of 7 Springs put additional funds in. \

The Mountain has 970 vertical. Chris Plummer is the Technical Operations Director. Signed a 10 year lease 8 years ago only 2 years left they are working to sign a 35 year lease.


Info about 7 Springs: Purchased 2 new groomers, Improved water lines and purchased additional ground guns. Lodge remodeled. Tyrol Building remodeled.Instead of an open floor plan it has 5 separate bedrooms with various capacities.

 The old game room next to the bowling alley is now the 710 Bistro. Nice small lounge with cozy furniture and big screen T.V. The bowling alley is also going to be redone/upgraded.

 Matterhorn updated/remodeled. Foggy Goggle new carpet and bathrooms remodeled.

All the remodeling will be finished for the end of November. They are saying now that opening day will be Black Friday. Yea! Pray for snow!

Jim Kapp


Best Fall? Laurel Highlands or Vermont?


Below a blog post by biker, skier Pat McCloskey.

My friend Helen Durfee always said that the fall season in Western Pa is just as nice as Vermont, just a little less dramatic. She grew up in the Laurel Highlands and lived the first part of her married life in Vermont. I agree that Vermont and New England are famous for “leaf peeping” but I have to say that this particular fall here in Western Pa. has been spectacular.

I have been treated to some amazing days of mountain biking and hiking this fall where I have taken the time to enjoy the color of the leaves. I have taken the time to “savor” the days like a fine steak or fresh seafood. I try to take little bites and enjoy the flavor. Like my commute to work on Squaw Run Road. I don’t go the fastest route to work but rather the scenic roads to enjoy the changes in the leaves each day. This year the changes have been remarkable.

Another contributing factor to my enjoyment of Fall 2016 has been the app that was suggested to me by my friend Eric Durfee( Helen’s husband and native Vermonter). It is called ProHDX and can be downloaded on your I-Phone. This particular app allows you to shoot a photo and really get the focus and colors sharply so that the end result is an I-Phone photo that looks particularly good compared to most. I am not a real good photographer and the only camera I have is on my I-Phone. But I have really enjoyed using this app and the convenience of the I-Phone on a ride or a hike can yield some spectacularly sharp images.

The one nice thing about a hike or taking in the view from a mountain bike is that you can avoid all of the cars packed with “leaf peepers” and enjoy the quiet transformation of the season in the woods of Western Pennsylvania. Many past seasons have been rushed with race pace rides looking at nothing other than the persons backside in front of me. Games, practices, kid’s activities take a lot of time and effort for many of us. But as you age and the seasons of rushing to activities wane, it is a great practice to slow down, take in the seasons, and enjoy the flames of the maple leaves, the golden colors of the oak trees and even the pale shading of the ferns on the forest floor. In my old backpacking days, I did take the time to hike and enjoy the fall in the Laurel Highlands. But in the many years since, those times had been replaced by soccer games, basketball games and general activities with my wife and son. Now I have a college student who does his own thing, and my wife and I are trying to slow down and enjoy what God provides for us by way of a natural display of color.

So, I guess the message here is to savor your experiences. The yearly season change where the warm days try to hang on into Indian Summer, create some spectacular viewing if you take the time to enjoy the days. You don’t have to go to the mountains to enjoy the scene. Just look out your window, your windshield, or take a walk in the neighborhood. Smell that fall aroma of leaves. See the tannin of the leaves change the creek colors. Notice the difference. Slow down. Thanks for reading.


Keystone Balance


Searching for some local artwork for the master bedroom I came across these photos of stone balances and was pleasantly surprised that they were the talent and photographic skills of old ice and rock climbing friend Tim Anderson. Tim had been restricted from the climbing world due to a shoulder injury and found he had this unique talent for stone structures and balance. These balances use unaltered stone, local rock, no glue, and are destroyed once the photo is taken. Some are so delicate of a balance the slightest breeze can knock them over. You may find Tim in one of the many local streams and locals in the Laurel Highlands. He has travelled to festivals all over the world to exhibit his unique talent. Go to his website for more.


Laurel Mountain scheduled to open

Excerpts from recent article in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

“Finally, Laurel Mountain will be open this year for skiing. It’s finally going to happen — that’s been the feeling around here,” Buchan said.

The resort atop Laurel Mountain, along Westmoreland’s border with Somerset County, closed at the end of the 2004-05 ski season. Seven Springs signed a 10-year lease with the state in 2008 to operate the Laurel Mountain slopes.

On Friday, workers were making progress on the ski lodge after the resort was infused with $6.5 million from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Buchan said the upgrades include a modern ski lift, significant improvements to the trails, snow-making equipment and nearly double the snow-making capacity from a new pond with a 27 million-gallon capacity.

Ligonier Construction Co. in Laughlintown was awarded the $5.158 million general construction contract. Merit Electrical Group in Oakmont received a $369,800 contract.


PINEROCKS Construction

marks-bouldersYou drive by the BHHS (first building after Out of the Fire) Donegal office every time you come to the Laurel Highlands. Mark Neiderhiser, just created a rock garden in the back parking lot! PINEROCK is his business, and he’s set up his own Stonehenge, water fall, picnic table, and throne, ALL out of boulders for you to see the work that he can do. He can be contracted for rock walls, boulderscaping, natural rocks, and boulder supplies. Stop in and take a look! Catch him at 724-455-7060.


Transfers Through Aug 31

Through Aug 31 there were 36 transfers recorded at Hidden Valley and 24 at Seven Springs. We offer monthly real estate updates for both resorts so make sure you sign up to receive our e-mail! Or you can stop back and visit  to see what else is happening in and around!



This incredible 183 acre parcel of breathtaking views, trails and a lake recently transferred. Court house records show the transfer for $999,000. For years it has been a favorite wedding destination with picturesque settings and background vistas. It has a multitude of trails, some rentals, and the main building for entertaining. Records show that the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy was the purchaser.


Abe and Wags 5 Star Professionals for Pittsburgh 2016


Abe and Wags Wagner have been selected as 5 Star Professions in the Real estate Industry again for 2016. They have been selected every year since the award was started in 2011. Five Star Professional surveyed Pittsburgh area residents who purchased a home price more than $150,000 within a 6-month period from June to November 2015. The final list of Agents represent less than 5% of the agents in the Pittsburgh area and they are the only agents selected that specialize in the Laurel Highlands.


Abe and Wags Team Awarded BHHS Presidents Club Award.


Abe and Wags Wagner were given the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices National Presidents Award recently at the William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh PA. This award is for closed sales  and places them in the top 3% of all Berkshire Hathaway agents in the United States. With their tested “Keys to Close” marketing and closing systems and their Luxury Marketing program they were able to close over $8.4M of sales with 26 Sides.


Pursue Your Happiness

Pursue your Happiness

Just got word that the new slogan and logo for PA Tourism was has been unveiled! Take a look at the video and see what you think! It made me want to get out of the office and have some fun! Check out the Visit PA site to see it live! Look for the next editions of the state’s travel guide to be called “Happy Traveler” and the e-newsletter renamed “Happy Thoughts.”




Abe and Wags Team earn Platinum Customer Satisfaction Award.


The Abe and Wags Team were awarded the Platinum Customer Service Award from Quality Service Certified this year. This award is based on independent customer surveys on the service provided by the Team. They are rated on areas such as communication, contracts, negotiation, follow up, and other areas of the real estate transaction. The Abe and Wags team has been given this award 9 out of the last 10 years. It is only given to 2% of the over 60,000 agents who are Quality Service Certified in the United States. You can see the rating at and search for Robert Wagner.


Family Fun at our Local State Parks Feb 19-21

Family Fun at our Local State Parks Feb 19-21

If you are looking for something different to do consider visiting Laurel Hill, Laurel Ridge, or Kooser State Parks over the weekend of the 19th to the 21st! Activities may include horse drawn sleigh rides, hillbilly curling, sled dog demonstrations, live music, snowman/snow sculpture contest, and outhouse dash, guided cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (equipment available), sledding under the lights and more! 814-445-7725


Bridge Replacement on County Line Road

Heads up!! Bids just went out for BOTH bridges on County Line Road through the PA Rapid Bridge Replacement site! Here’s a link to the site that talks about how the RBR was created. These are the two bridges you cross if you are going to 7 Springs from Champion. They are in the first 100 yards of County Line Road after east of Route 711.

The first bridge on the schedule is the second bridge before the big curve. This project is referred to as Bridge 498. The calendar shows a start time of May 2016 through April 2017

The second bridge to be replaced is the one right after you make the turn on to County Line Road to head to Seven Springs. It crosses over Indian Creek right by the ICV Trail. This project is referred to as Bridge 497. Start date on this one, Aug 2016 to May 2017.

From my conversations with the project manager there will be temporary lights installed to handle the traffic flow. Stay tuned as we’ll be updating the process. You may want to become familiar with some of our back roads!


Avoiding the traffic backup at Sarnelli’s Corner

Sarnellis Corner

If you are coming from Seven Springs to the Donegal Turnpike Exchange you probably go through the intersection at Sarnelli’s Store. If it is a holiday weekend and after 3:00 that could be backed up with many cars. Avoid that intersection by turning right on Tannery Road about a mile before 711 off County Line Road. This is across from Back Creek Road and at the corner of the open field. Go to the stop sign and turn right again and this will take you to Route 31. Turn left to the turnpike. If you miss that turn then cross Route 711 and continue on County Line Road and go to the first stop sign. Turn right on Hellin School Road to the end, turn right on Route 31 to the Turnpike. Either alternate route should save you the time and frustration of waiting your turn to turn left at Sarnelli’s.



Updates to 7 Springs ski slopes

7 Springs Snowmaking

This is excerpts of a November 15 PG article by Larry Fine. 7 Springs purchased 4 Pisten Bully ParkPro snow groomers and 5 HKD SV 10 Impulse snowmaking tower at the top of North Face. Snow Boarding magazine rated the Spot as the 2 best boarding area on the East Coast. They have created an Uphill Ski Access program from 7 to 9AM for skiers who want to skin up the slopes. They are also opening the Highlands Market on County Line Road just outside of the main entrance. It will have seating for 30, offer house made food, a large craft beer selection, and grocery. Foggy Brews on the second floor of the base lodge will be open every day during ski season.


Snowmaking starts in the Laurel Highlands

With 3 days of temperatures forecasted  to be below 30 at night snowmaking has started at both 7 Springs and Hidden Valley resort in the SW of PA. Both resort are working on getting the front intermediate slopes and trail network open. Although no opening date has been announced we could see opening this weekend. Pictures were taken earlier today.


Updates to skiing at Hidden Valley Resort

Free Weekend

This is an excerpt from a recent article in the Post Gazette by Larry Walsh. Hidden Valley purchased two Prinoth BR 350 snow-grooming machines, installed portable snowmaking on Bobcat and cleared glades and the off-loading area at the top of Avalanche Quad. Updates to the lodge included remodeling of the Alpine and Yukon rooms, seating in the Sunrise Sunset café and now carpeting.  See you on the slopes.


Dollar General Under Construction

Dollar General 2015

Almost immediately after settlement construction began on the new Dollar General store. The 1 acre parcel (abuts Route 31) sits in front of the Donegal Community Center on the left hand side of the road as you are headed to the resorts. You’ll definitely notice the dirt being moved as they install their own septic system. Most likely you’ll see the store opening sometime in the spring of 2016, weather permitting:)


Bids out for Laurel Mt. Ski Area

Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, 10:51 p.m.

Bids for general and electrical construction contracts at the Laurel Mountain ski area have been opened and are under review by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Five companies submitted bids for the general construction proposal, which carried a cost estimate of $1 million to $5 million. The work includes demolition and replacement of one chair lift; site clearing and tree removal; improvements to snow-making, water storage, pumping and distribution; upgrades to electrical service and regrading of ski trails.

Six companies submitted bids for the electrical construction proposal, which had a cost estimate of $500,000 to $1 million. That portion of the project includes supplying and installing exhaust fans, site electrical upgrades, electrical work for a ski lift and trail lighting.

“Our goal is to award the winning bid and notify within a week,” barring any questions about the submissions, said Terry Brady, deputy press secretary for the department.

Laurel Mountain Ski Resort opened in 1939 for Rolling Rock Club members. In 1964, the property was given to the state with the stipulation that no summertime activities would take place there and no lodging would be built.

The resort closed from 1989 to 1999, then reopened and closed several times between 1999 and 2005 because of mild winters and financial problems. In 2008, Seven Springs Mountain Resort signed a 10-year lease to operate the site as a concession.

For general construction, the apparent low bidders and their three base bid amounts are:

• Ligonier Construction Inc., $4,623,000; $5,048,000; $5,158,000

• A. Merante Contracting, $4,897,711; $5,117,711; $5,240,711

• James T. O’Hara Inc., $5,670,000; $5,990,000; $6,170,000

• Clearwater Construction Inc., $5,805,000; $6,150,000; $6,425,000

•CH&D Enterprises, $9,747,117; $10,066,530; $10,386,500

For electrical construction, the apparent low bidders and first two base bid amounts are:

• Merit Electrical Group, $353,000;

• Mashan Inc., $399,900;

• Westmoreland Electric, $449,000;

• TSB Inc. doing business as Schultheis Electric, $494,200;

• David W. Jones Co., $546,700;

• Power Contracting Co., $587,149

The amounts for the companies’ third base bids are:

• Merit Electrical Group, $369,800

• Mashan Inc., $429,500

• Westmoreland Electric, $471,000

• TSB Inc. doing business as Schultheis Electric, $518,500

• David W. Jones Company, $585,700

• Power Contracting Co., $614,600

Both sets of bid results were to be opened Aug. 6, but the general construction bid opening was delayed because of last minute fine-tuning of the proposal’s wording, Brady said. The department didn’t immediately award the electrical construction contract because it wanted to award contracts for both portions of the project at the same time, he said.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or

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Oktoberfest SALE at Rustic Lodge Furniture


The biggest sale of the year is on today at Rustic Lodge Furniture on Route 31 in Donegal. Enjoy German Food, Beer, and Wine with music by Madel Jager while you peruse the great selection of mountain theme furniture and beautiful designer ski wear, après ski wear, and outer wear, which is new for this year. See you there. 412-721-9038.


7 Springs Wine Festival this Weekend

030 - Copy

The Seven Springs Wine Festival, August 28 through 30, 2015, showcases wineries from all over Pennsylvania offering a tantalizing experience for anyone who loves wine. The festival features complimentary wine sampling from 31 wineries, daily seminars, live entertainment, a variety of crafts, and musical entertainment. Go to their website for more information.

7 Springs Resort


7 Springs Rib and Wing Festival July 24-26


Join us at the annual Rib and Wing festival with plenty of vendors and entertainers at 7 Springs Resort July 24-26. Here is a list and description of the food providers and entertainers.

Armadillo’s BBQ and Rib Company

Over 160 culinary awards, including Best Ribs & Sauce in America, reaffirm Armadillo’s BBQ and Rib Company’s dedication to bring you the very best. Our mobile equipment is state of the art yielding perfect barbecue every time. Weather it is a Big Texas style barbecue, a quaint little steak dinner, or everything in between; “It’s Available.”

Armadillo’s BBQ and Rib Company is the 2006/2007 Pro Football Hall of Fame Grand Champion for the Most Outstanding Ribs and BBQ Sauce. Along with our 160 Awards we were crowned Grand Champion of the Columbus Ribs and Jazz Festival 2006 and Grand Champion BBQ Sauce in the Great West Virginia Rib Cook Off “Huntington 2004, 2005 & 2006″ “Best Ribs 2004 and 2005″ plus many more!

Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ

Basting mop clenched in one fist, steering wheel in the other, rolling cooking pit rattling behind, Butch Lupinetti is back on the road. His destination could be Chicago, Minneapolis, Cedar Rapids or anyplace in between. But the outcome will never change. Butch will pour sweat for 20 hours a day, standing in a cloud of wood smoke, exquisitely charring tons of pork ribs, beef briskets and chickens. When it’s over he’ll be loaded and rolling again; very likely with a huge trophy and a check.

Nationally Butch has been repeatedly recognized as one of America’s great barbecue chefs. Butch has been actively competing in competitions since 1992. He has won over 400 awards, including a Grand Champion win for the State of New Jersey – a Kansas City BBQ Society sanctioned event, the Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ and The Best In The West Cook-Off in Sparks, Nevada, the super bowl of barbecue competition events, just to name a few. During those events, his sauce has won 1st place in contests such as the Great America Rib Cook-Off contest held in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2014, Butch’s Smack Your Lips BBQ won Best Ribs, Best Sauce and People’s Choice awards at the Seven Springs Rib & Wing Festival.

Pigfoot BBQ

Pigfoot BBQ Co. is owned by Jerry and Debbie Gibson. They started competing in Rib Cook-Offs in 1982 in Cleveland, Ohio at the National Rib Cook-Off, which was the first Rib Cook-Off as we know them now. Jerry and Debbie began competing professionally in 1989 and have traveled the country from Florida to Toronto, as far west as St. Louis and as far east as Boston.

Along the way they have won over 250 Awards for Best Ribs and Sauce. Including seven time winner of the People’s Choice Award in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Best Ribs and Sauce National Ribfest, Naperville, Illinois; Peoples Choice Greatest Ribs in America, Cleveland, Ohio; Best Sauce and Ribs Twin Cities Ribfest; Best Ribs in Ohio six years straight and many more awards.

Smokin Joe’s Hog Wild Barbecue

Joe is a “barbequer” by choice. He loves the art of barbeque.

Joe retired from the State of Ohio in April 2003 with 30 years of service in the Food Service Department at the Richland Correctional Institution and started his business in June of the same year. Operating a barbeque business has always been what Joe wanted to do in retirement, and now he is “Living the Dream!” Smokin Joe’s Hog Wild Barbecue has participated in rib cook-offs in seven states: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and West Virginia. Our proudest award was Best Sauce in 2008 at the Naperville, IL Ribfest, notably the largest cook-off in the Midwest. We have won over 100 awards during the past eight years including: Best Ribs, Best Sauce, Best Brisket, and Best Beans in the Midwest.

Randita’s Food Truck

Randita’s is an all-vegan cafe serving organic, healthful, and delicious plant-based food. In addition to our restaurants in Aspinwall and Saxonburg, our mobile food trailer and catering services are available to provide your next special event with food that is good for you and good for the planet.

About The Rib & Wing Festival Entertainment

Martyr Kanin

Martyr Kanin fans run deep. They’ve compared Martyr Kanin to everything from an acoustic version of the Counting Crows to the mellow stylings of David Grey to Bob Segar to Jack Johnson. It’s tough to classify Martyr Kanin’s music as a specific genre: their plethora of originals can be anything from driving and daring to soulful and heartfelt. They also love to entertain crowds with their own versions of everything from Bon Jovi to Michael Jackson to John Denver.


North Of Mason Dixon, aka NOMaD, made a tremendous splash on the regional country scene in late 2004 after placing third in a highly publicized, country showdown competition; Since then, this steadily climbing, beyond high energy act has garnered a great deal of success and shows no signs of slowing down.

Opening for national acts like Brooks and Dunn, Toby Keith, and Rascal Flatts (to name a few), being solicited by several tourists destinations such as Ocean City, MD and the Poconos, having performed as a featured artist at some of the areas biggest events and venues (Dollar Bank Jamboree, Post Gazette Pavilion, and the Pepsi-Cola Roadhouse), and performing for such organizations as the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins, this Pittsburgh based band delivers a refreshing and unique sound they call “Hard Rockin’ Modern Country” that defies any other description.

Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers

From the Iron City Houserockers of 1979 to the current incarnation of The Houserockers, this band has always been one of America’s hardest working rock and roll bands. A Rolling Stone review once echoed the words “they are up there with Springsteen, Petty and Seger”. Pretty good company, don’t you think?! From Love’s So Tough to A Good Life, the band has changed but the music remains true to their Pittsburgh, Steeltown roots! Hard edged, rock and roll with fine lyrics from the ringmaster, Mr. Joe Grushecky. More than just a “bar band”, a Joe Grushecky & The Houserockers show is one of the best shows you will see, hands down! And here are the guys that are currently making it happen.

Shot O’ Soul

Formed in Feb 2008, Shot O’ Soul has evolved into one of the top blues bands in the Pittsburgh area. Shot O’ Soul has headlined some of the best stages in the area including Moondogs, Cefalo’s, The Baltimore House, Baja Bar at Fox Chapel Yacht Club, Sharpsburg Guyasuta Days, Millvale Days, Etna Community Park, and various private clubs and charity events. Shot O’ Soul placed 3rd in the 2009 Pittsburgh City Paper Best of the Burgh readers poll in the category of Best Blues Band. A real achievement after so little time on the local scene and a testimony to the enjoyment that Shot O’ Soul brings to it’s audiences! Now featuring it’s most talented lineup since it’s formation, Shot O’ Soul are ready to make their mark on the local Pittsburgh live music scene. This band, fronted by it’s 2 outstanding male and female vocalists and an excellent song selection of original songs and classic favorites, is giving Pittsburgh music fans the best 1-2 vocal punch in the area! Come on out and see for yourself why “everything in life needs a Shot O’ Soul”.

Bo’Hog Brothers

Over its 20 year history, the band got their blues education playing in the Steel City’s smoky bars and still performs up to 100 shows a year. The most recent lineup of the band features the unpredictable Gregg Krupa on guitar, with his ever changing interpretations of the music, and the incredibly musical and creative play of Sudden Steve Binsberger on piano and organ. Hank Raffetto and Nick Crano complete the band with a rhythm section that has worked together for 10 years.

Junction PA

In the early 1970’s six young men came to a small western Pennsylvania town to attend Grove City College. They formed a musical group there that became the most sought after band on that campus.

The band members came from different geographical locations and diverse walks of life. By the time the members met, each had groomed different musical styles. Yet, during their first practices it became apparent that they were developing an unusual chemistry and a unique sound. As one record company exec later stated, “they don’t sound like anybody else!” As they continued working on their original material they sensed that something special was being created. The fusion of their different backgrounds and musical genres became in effect .. different roads leading to this one place. Thus, the band was appropriately named Junction Pa.

Over the years they remained close, occasionally getting together to play some of the songs they had recorded as well as trying out some new ones to see what their combined efforts might generate. In 2011 these “jam” sessions came to full fruition as four of the original members met together to record some of this new material. They also began touring again showcasing their signature vocals/harmony on these outstanding original songs.

The Brighton Boys

The Brighton Boys have been playing around the Beaver County and Pittsburgh area for three years. Since starting as a lounge band at restaurants, they have gone on the share the stage with big names like Donnie Iris and The Cruisers, and play venues such as Stage AE, Mr. Smalls, The Altar Bar and Jergel’s Rhythm Grille. They have built up their credibility as one of the top bands in the region. Their sound combines classic songs with a new fresh style that is popular today.

Walk of Shame

Walk of Shame, based out of Pittsburgh, PA, plays a great mix of “bar/party” rock and is committed to playing all of your favorite songs to sing, dance, and drink along to.

It’s not uncommon to hear “Timber” followed by “Sweet Child of Mine” at a WoS show! The guys try to give something to everyone, and always take requests. Venues like working with the band because of their willingness to play whatever the patrons want to hear. The commitment to forging long-term relationships with places is what has made WoS one of the most sought after bands across the country.

Sydney Hutchko

Sydney has given music a lifetime of dedication, from her classical music education that put her on stage with the Pittsburgh Symphony and Pittsburgh Opera to stints as a Music Row intern while attending Nashville’s Belmont University. While at Belmont, she put a band together, playing shows in Nashville and in the tri-state—Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia area. She threw herself into interning opportunities, including McGhee Entertainment, whose legendary management roster ranges from Darius Rucker to KISS.

In return, she’s already seen the kind of success few singers fresh out of college could even dream of. She has opened for Miranda Lambert, Florida Georgia Line, Brett Eldredge, Charlie Daniels and the legendary George Jones; performed on the long-running Wheeling Jamboree; and spent 22 weeks on the MediaBase country chart with her single “Southern Curves.”

The hard work that ties it all together has her poised for a breakthrough. She continues to shine on stage, both as a headliner and in support of country’s biggest stars.

Chris Higbee

Chris Higbee has a passion for country music. He is a complete musical artist skilled in fiddle playing, singing, song writing, and playing various other instruments. Chris’ passion is deeply felt by anyone listening to his work or partaking in a live performance. Chris’ performance energy is so infectious it has been known to convert the most stubborn non-country music fan into HigBillies, the self-named fan base of Chris Higbee. His performances always draw a large and committed crowd.

Shake, Shake, Shake

A marquee value band who took time off this year to rebuild and reinvent themselves around founder/drummer extraordinaire, Justin Betz. With an extensive talent search, he found the incredibly talented frontman, fresh face, Tim Carty. He has all the moves of today’s pop stars and takes the lead on stage to pump up audiences with his star power and passionate vocals. Shake Shake Shake is back with their best lineup to date.

Scott Blasey

Scott started playing music in 1986 with three guys named Rob, Greg, and Dave. We formed the Clarks at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where we were honored as “Distinguished Alumni” in 2004, and spent the last twenty years traveling around the country preaching our brand of rock-n-roll salvation. We sold a bunch of records, toured with some big names, and played on Letterman. We’re hugely popular in our hometown of Pittsburgh and still play about 80 shows a year all over the U.S.A. – from DC to LA, and Appleton to Austin.









Marinades for Dinner and More

This venue is quickly becoming a favorite for its Sunday Brunch and Dinner. Fresh ideas and homemade food each week pleasing your appetite for good home style cooking and atmosphere at very reasonable prices. Always casual and BYOB. Open for events and every Sunday for Brunch from 10-3 and Dinner from 3-8. Events, catering, weddings, celebrations, and planning made easy for you at our location or yours. Seating up to 125. Outdoor pavilion. Bed and Breakfast rooms available, up to 8 for events. View the WEBSITE for catering ideas and events open to anyone who likes to have fun! Located at 327 Mt. View Road, Donegal, PA 15628  724-221-5793

Directions: From Turnpike exit 9 go east on Route 31 1 mile, turn right on Mt. View at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices office, go about 1 mile, on right.


Abe Wagner writes on RPR Commercial Capabilities

This is a copy of the article on the NARRPR blog. Here is the LINK to the article.

Reports about RPR®’s ( Realtors Property Resource) commercial platform is popping up across the nation and, sometimes, in surprising ways.

In the apex of a finance course at REALTOR® University’s Master of Real Estate program, Adrienne “Abe” Wagner needed to identify, analyze and then bring to market a commercial property in order to pass the class.

“I’d been using RPR [Realtors Property Resource®] for my business for a long time, but only for my specialty, which is residential,” said Abe, an associate broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Donegal, PA (pop. 165). We don’t have city sewer on our main road so our commercial properties are very limited. So I knew this assignment was going to be a challenge.”

Never one to back away, Abe, who holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics, a Master’s in Real Estate, and a robust line up of real estate related certifications, set out to become an expert in RPR Commercial.

“’Know what you don’t know’ is common parlance among commercial REALTORS®,” she said, “so learning to use the tools provided by RPR Commercial gave me everything I needed to generate an amazing array of reports on my income producing property. I couldn’t believe the wealth of information and tools provided on the site.”

Increasingly, rural-centric agents like Abe are turning to RPR to identify marketplace opportunities for business owners, property managers and developers intent on moving into their areas.

Using demographic, psychographic and spending data information, RPR’s advanced analytics and tools produce persuasive trade area analyses, commercial property reports, and best business reports that, when coupled with powerful thematic maps, help agents determine the right fit for a client’s enterprise.

Abe’s favorite RPR features include photography options that allow users to get an immediate fix on location with adjustable aerial views, in addition to overlaying tax maps that highlight boundaries; and reports that cluster historical data such as loans, square footage, parcel data, maps, lot size, and neighborhood information.

In her extensive To Purchase or Pass on an Office Investment Opportunity project, Abe created a marketing proposal centered on an existing commercial property in Lemoyne, PA. Drawing from reports generated within RPR, Abe analyzed and identified dozens of data sets for the property including economic forecasts, tax and mortgage figures, employment, population trends, consumer spending, lifestyle preferences, education and income comparisons, photos, and maps.

Abe underscores the value of RPR’s extensive reporting tools, “There is no other single source that I know of that compiles this much data into one report.”

“Generating the reports was really cool and very easy,” she added. “When I came across small stumbling blocks, I called the tech support group. And they were fantastic!” RPR’s Help Desk is available to members 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and, like the RPR benefit, at no additional cost to the member.

Learn more about the reports Abe used to market her commercial property.
◾ Commercial Best Business Report
◾ Commercial Trade Area Report
◾ Commercial Property Report
◾ Commercial Trade Area Analysis


New Ohiopyle State Park Office & Visitor Center Officially Dedicated

The beautiful, new, energy-efficient 11,529-square-foot Ohiopyle State Park Office/Laurel Highlands Falls Area Visitor Center was officially dedicated on June 11, 2015. The new center, with its stunning view of the Ohiopyle Falls and Youghiogheny River, offers many features:

  • Interior and exterior viewing areas of the National Natural Landmark Ferncliff Peninsula
  • Improved access and visitor flow for approximately 100,000 commercial and private whitewater boaters launching on the popular Lower Yough
  • In partnership with the LHVB, provides the public with visitor information
  • Cool, interactive, interpretive exhibits that depict the region’s outdoor activities through the years
  • Serves as primary trailhead for some of the region’s iconic outdoor recreation sites including the Great Allegheny Passage and the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.


Abe Wagner Awarded Masters of Real Estate

On Friday May 15, 2015 in Washington DC Abe Wagner was awarded a Masters of Real Estate, Sales and Marketing by the National Association of Realtors University. This 24 credit masters program is the only one in the country with an exclusive focus on the sales and marketing of real estate. The university also offers Masters Programs in Association Management and Commercial Sales and Marketing. Our most enthusiastic in congratulating Abe for this exceptional achievement.


Nemacolin 5 Alarm Chili Cook-off June 13, 2015

Nemacolin Chili Cookoff

Compete in the Restaurant Division of Nemacolin’s annual Five Alarm Mountain Madness Chili Cook-off

Have you been told that your restaurant has the BEST chili? PROVE IT by registering for the Restaurant Division at Nemacolin’s 6th Annual Five Alarm Mountain Madness Chili Cook-Off! Winner will receive Bragging Rights, an Award Plaque and a One-Night Nemacolin Stay with $150 in Resort Spending Credits. For more information, contact Ashli Mazer-Workman by email or by phone at 724-329-6387.


Shaker Urgent Care Center Under Construction

Right after you pass the Family Dollar store on Route 31 you may have noticed dirt being moved around. It’s the first new construction project we’ve had in the Donegal corridor for some time!   We’re still working on getting more details for you but if you’re looking for rental space here’s their email,


Trillium Time!

For those of you who follow our BLOG you know how much we love the Indian Creek Valley (ICV) Bike and Hike Trail. Most of you will easily find it because it is located across from the Somerset Trust Bank on County Line Road (Please, only use their parking when they are closed). Although there are multiple sections with each one having its own unique characteristics, including FLOWERS! One of our personal favorites is the Trillium and this weekend they will be blooming for all to see! Check out the ICV website!



Construction Ahead!

Fall 2016 is to be the beginning of a very major and long road project for Donegal! Beginning at the Donegal turnpike exit and to Sarnelli’s Market at Route 711, Route 31 is going to get wider and have existing roads moved around. Let’s start with the turnpike exit. Below you can see how the new road will extend past the current one!

1 Turnpike

The next major change is the interchange of route 711 to Ligonier and the school. The old road to the school is to the right of the new highlighted road.

2 711 and school

Then comes Schoolhouse Road which will cut across the farm and end up right outside of the BHHS office (bottom left building)!

3 School house - us

And the last major fix is at the Route 31 and 711 intersection as shown below. Sarnelli’s Market is on the corner of the bottom right.

4 31 and 711 Sarnellis

We think you should explore some other options to consider NOW before the construction gets underway. Try getting off at New Stanton to Route 66 and taking the Mount Pleasant exit. There are multiple ways to get to County Line road from there! Catch up with us and we can share some more back roads!


Initial Contribution Fees

We recently discovered that several of the home owners associations are now charging what is called an “initial contribution fee” to buyer’s when settlement occurs. In many market places this has been a common expense for years. So far the fees have been accessed for one full quarter of association dues. Those fees are dependent upon which association and or associations your property belongs too. Read your resale certificate closely as it will be noted there. These fees are required to be added to reserve funds. As financing rules have dramatically changed, higher reserves are greatly smiled upon by underwriters!


Back on the Road Again

Enjoy the Ride

by Pat McCloskey

It is mud season now. April showers bring May flowers but for mountain bikers, it is a time for us to wait until the trails are dry so we don’t trash them for the rest of the summer. I bring out my road bike and begin the long process of trying to get in shape after a winter of maintenance trail running, snowshoeing and skiing. I can always ride in the rain on the road bike because I am used to the drill. If you don’t ride in the rain in Pittsburgh, you don’t ride much in the spring. Trust me, as I get older, the process gets a little harder but I am dealing with it in a more mature way which I will discuss in a short. Suffice to say, I don’t blast out of the parking lot these days. I ease on down the road. As I meander on the country roads north of my house, I think back to the painful rides at this time of the year when I raced a road bike. It was always a chore to try to get in shape so that you didn’t get dropped on a training ride or in a race. You had to scramble just to be able to ride with your friends. As I daydream on my current rides, I think back to when I used to meet Art Bonavoglia, Frank Habay, and George Sagan up on Saxonburg Boulevard waiting for a crew to come up out of Shadyside in Pittsburgh. I slowly dragged my sorry butt out of bed and made my way to the meeting point where George, Art, Frank and I waited for the freight train that was coming. Scott Dismukes, a former track cyclist- strong as hell, Bob Gottlieb- Cat 2 rider of local fame, Barb Katzenburg-national class road racer, and Mike Alex- PHD candidate in Electrical Engineering at CMU riding a mountain bike with slick tires. These guys could ride and when they came roaring up the road, you better be warmed up and ready to jump on the pace line or you were history. I would see them in the distance and sigh to my friends,” Here they come.” The pain began. The destination was always Lake Arthur up in Butler County. These are beautiful country roads here in Pennsylvania but all I saw on those rides was the backside of someone faster than me in the paceline. As we exchanged pulls, ( mine were always the shortest), we made our way through pastoral fields and dairy farms. Virtually no traffic which made the ride as pleasant as it could be but the pace increased with each country mile. By the time I got to Prospect, Pa with a stop at the country store to reload on food, I was exhausted. I can remember laying on the sidewalk jamming Fig Newtons in my face and washing it down with Gatorade as fast as I could swallow. I looked at Mike Alex and said,” How the hell do you ride that fast on a mountain bike?” He said the slick tires helped but he was only being humble. I looked at Art, Frank and George and said, ” How am I going to make it back?” But I always managed it somehow. Fig Newtons and bananas were the Cliff Bars and Power Bars of the day. That type of energy food was not available yet. The Newtons and the bananas generally did the trick but when I pulled into my townhouse I was totally gassed. The killer crew left me and roared back to Shadyside logging in excess of 100 miles.

As I come back from my daydream on my road rides now, I am usually alone. I think back to that far away time in a galaxy far, far away. Painful spring rides, wool jerseys, leather hair nets, toe clips and cleats, downtube shifters, and steel road frames. Today I ease into my spring road rides. The equipment is lighter, smoother shifting, and carbon fiber rides a lot more comfortable than Reynolds tubing, although there is something to be said for the classic steel frame. I don’t stress myself. I don’t need to train. If a hill comes, I shift down and noodle up until I reach the top. I don’t have to do what Mac Martin used to tell me. ” Take it out of park McCloskey, and when you reach the top of the hill, don’t just coast- put the hammer down because your competition will be coasting behind you.” I don’t need that pain anymore as the 60 year old kid. My road rides now are enjoyable. I can look at the spring blossoms, ride in the softly falling rain, and really……enjoy the ride. I mostly mountain bike these days but I must admit that I look forward to bringing out the road bike in the spring. It reminds me of my past and I definitely don’t have the pain that I used to go through at this time of year. Like life- I am now enjoying the ride. I see flowers, trees, farms, and sights other than the back of some guys lycra shorts. Haul that road bike out guys and gals, let the trails dry out. Thanks for reading.


Trout Trail Fly-Fishing March 21

Trout Trail Event Planned

The 4th annual Laurel Highlands Trout Trail will hold an opening reception at 7 p.m. March 21 at the Lincoln Highway Experience.  The evening will start with a presentation by Leo Vense, a premiere fly-fishing guide, and includes a short fishing DVD; an exhibit of vintage fly-fishing rods and reels; demonstrations by Ken Vallino and Scott Minster, whiz fly-tiers; and a sampling of juried artisan items with a trout theme.

The program, for $10 per person, includes craft beers, select wines, and assorted appetizers. To register, visit the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor at, click on Gift Shop, then Event Tickets.

The Trout Trail was recently listed on VisitPA’s Ten Places to Fish promotion!


Stoneycreek Rendezvous Whitewater Festival

Stonycreek Rendezvous,

Kiski-Conemaugh Sojourn

The Stonycreek Rendezvous will be held May 15-17 based at Greenhouse Park in Somerset County. The Rendezvous has become one of the biggest whitewater festivals in the country.

A water release is planned all three days to assure adequate flow through the Stonycreek Canyon (Class III-IV whitewater).  If flows are high enough, six other streams in the area offer Class II to V whitewater.  The festival also features food, music, beer, camping, a whitewater rodeo, races and more.  On the web:

The Kiski-Conemaugh Sojourn will be held June 4-7.  The schedule: Thursday, Johnstown to Seward through Conemaugh Gap, 15 miles, mostly flat paddling with a few Class I or II ripples; Friday, Robinson to Blairsville through Packsaddle Gap, 10 miles, mostly flat paddling with a few Class I or II ripples; Saturday, Conemaugh Dam to Avonmore with stop in Saltsburg, 12 miles, flat paddling; Sunday, Avonmore to Roaring Run; 7 miles, mostly flat paddling. See


Memories of Brad English by Pat McCloskey

Follow Pats blog by opening this link patmccloskey

It was a bright, sunny day last Sunday in Somerset, Pa. when the clan started to arrive. Heidi and Melissa, Annie and Biff, the Bouchers, Lars and Inger, the Baum girls, Linda Belle, Dixon, Porter,Patty, and a host of others who call the English family their friend. You could feel the warmth of long lasting friendships in the building and in many ways, the group was holding each other tight as mountain life enthusiasts do. Mountain people are a tight knit group all held together through a love of sliding down a mountain on skis, riding knobby tires, hiking, fishing, and otherwise enjoying the mountains as a place of rest, fun, and safe haven with friends.

We lost one of our own last Thursday when Brad English was taken from us so unexpectedly. That is why the gathering at the funeral home was in many ways a meeting of the clans from up in the Laurel Highlands. You had the locals, the weekenders, the commuters, all the folks who forged friendships up at Seven Springs Mountain Resort here in Pennsylvania. The North Hills group, the Fox Chapel group, the Mt. Lebanon group, and of course the Seven Springs and Rockwood group. All close knit friends for many years. It was a homecoming of sorts seeing that some of the group had moved away, but as everyone paid their respects to Greg and Mary Ellen English and their family and Brad’s lovely daughter Jenny, you could feel the warmth in the room and the need to hold on to our life in the mountains. Bill Boucher put it best when he said, ” This one really hurts.” And it did. Brad English was one of the good guys. A friendly welcoming man who grew up in the mountains, built his own house, raised his daughter, and was a friend to everyone on the mountain. He was the first guy standing in line at the Gunnar Chairlift every Saturday when I made my way from the North Face lot to the base of the Gunnar chair. Both of us enjoyed the first chair up the hill, and the groomed perfection that lies ahead for the early birds on the ski slopes. Brad had a great sense of humor when he harassed the ski patrol and lift operators to open the lift up early. He wanted to ski and in his own funny, needling way, the lift guys and the patrol scrambled to make his wishes come true. Brad was a skier, a hunter, a fisherman, all things mountain. Interestingly, when I was a young guy skiing at Seven Springs, the English brothers were in my estimation, the best skiers on the hill. Natural talent. Even when Brad did a stint living in Vail, I remarked out there that Brad was still one of the best skiers in Vail. He was an enthusiast, skilled skier, and sportsman. But most importantly, he was a friend. He was welcoming into his home, and was one of us and now he is gone.

Tuesday there was an on slope service, which is what he would have wanted. Friends skiing, watching the celebration of life from the top of the chair, toasting with frosty beverages and literally and figuratively setting Brad’s spirit free to the Laurel Highlands which he loved so well. The Gunnar Chair and slope will always be home to Brad. I will always think of him while riding that chair on Saturday mornings.

Life is so fragile and the message that kept ringing in my head was what my mother always told me. ” To have a friend is to be a friend.” That is why she had so many friends and it holds true with Brad English. Lots of friends on that mountain. Life flies by so fast and it is easy to get caught up in the day to day. Easy to never make plans to get together with friends, easy to let convenience get in the way, easy to let work schedules dictate your life. But in the final analysis, your family and friends are everything. Cherish them. Cherish the old times and keep the friendships alive with a phone call, a lunch, a ski date, or whatever. I am guilty as much as the next guy. But like Bill said, this one hurt. It makes you think when you lose a friend. Embrace opportunity. RIP Brad. Thanks for reading.

Photos and title courtesy of Melissa Updegraff Thompson and Annie Rose Swager.

patmccloskey | March 12, 2015 at 12:06 pm | Tags: Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Skiing Western Pa | Categories: Friendship, outdoor activities, outdoor sports, Outdoors, Skiing, Winter, winter sports | URL:

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February Financing Report

For the Week Ending February 27, 2015. This report compliments of Kurt Sieg

Please enjoy this quick update on what happened this week in the housing and financial markets.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen eased concerns of a pending policy rate increase. Her testimony helped to stabilize rates this week.

Durable goods orders rose in January, showing manufacturing may be starting to stabilize. This points to a strengthening of the U.S. economy.

Consumer prices dropped in January, led by cheaper gas. Low inflation means the Fed may have to start the process of hiking rates later than June.

January new home sales fell only slightly despite big declines in the snow-battered Northeast. Supply rose to its highest level since 2010.

January existing home sales were at a 9-month low but were still up 3.2% from a year ago. Tight inventory and low rates continue to be factors.

Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index improved for the 4th consecutive month, showing that housing is stabilizing at a national level.

Teacher: “What is the chemical formula for water?”

Student: “HIJKLMNO”

Teacher: “What are you talking about?”

Student: “Yesterday you said it’s H to O!

Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.



Kirk Sieg
Equity Resources, Inc.
(724) 799-3465


Tales of 7 Springs Past


Standard Race

For all of us growing up at Seven Springs Mountain Resort here in Pa., Lars Skylling, the Director of Skiing, was like a god to us. Handsome, with the Swedish accent, and great skier to boot, with Stein Eriksen form. We all looked up to Lars and wanted to emulate him on the slopes. Lars is shown here in this picture below, receiving his award for induction into the Pennsylvania Snow Sports Hall of Fame. He has the Tyrolean jacket on with the green tie- third from left in the back. Great guy, we all love Lars. He is retired now but I had the opportunity to ski with him a couple of years ago in Vail and for a guy in his elder years, he still made elegant turns. IMG_4952
So, when we were kids, Lars was the ski school director and he started an open race every Sunday after the day session ended that was called the Standard Race. My buddy Porter said it was called the Head Standard Race but in any event, it was an open, four gate flyer from the top of the front side of the mountain down to the finish line in front of the old warming hut. If you came within a certain percentage of the time that Lars laid down, you received either a gold, silver, or bronze “7” pin that we all clamored for with every run that we made. As we all got older and into our early teens, we were able to finally get that gold “7” because we were catching up to the master. However, Lars threw a surprise for all of us when he added the upper trail on the Stowe slope and jumped the corner when he made a right hand turn down on the Cortina Trail. Whoa!!!!! We all were taken by surprise and the conversation on the hill that day and on the chairlift to the start was whether we had the guts to jump the corner like Lars did. If we didn’t, there was no way we would get the gold so we all had to see if we had the bravado to do it and if we survived, we got the coveted pin. photo
One year, I decided that if I leaned forward at the finish line and tried to break the beam with my hand, I might be a little faster. Unfortunately, I blew out of my bindings when I lurched forward and took out the whole timing device and the electric eye. John Fraser and his dad came running out of the hut to see if I was ok, but the real challenge was to get the timing device up and running again. As we all crossed the finish line, Bob Rose would herd us into the station wagon that he had strategically placed outside the warming hut and the North Hills clan would eventually make it back to Pittsburgh with a dinner for the crowd at my folk’s house. My parents didn’t ski but they sure could cook and entertain. That was their contribution. All the kids talked about the race and how we ended up. If you got the gold pin, you were a stud, and everyone knew that the next step was the day that you would finally be able to beat Lars straight up. That day eventually came for most of us as we got older and faster. But no matter the outcome, we all loved Lars and if we were able to finally best his pacesetter time, it was a milestone in our skiing career that we would never forget.


Caddie Shak For Sale

If you have gone to either 7 Springs or Hidden Valley Resorts from the west you have gone by this favorite summer recreation park on Route 31 just 1.2 miles from the Turnpike Exit 91. This amusement park for kids of ALL ages has a 36 hole par 2 with the famous waterfall, 3 go-cart tracks, bumper boats, kiddie rides and train, arcade, batting cage, driving range and pro shop, 2 picnic pavilions, paintball gaming area, maintenance building and machine shop, and snack shack. This established park is a favorite for many visitors of the Laurel Highlands and appeals to all ages and members of the family. Contact Robert Wagner for more information about this venue or visit the web page on this site.




NEW $15.00 Hot Dog at the Lift Line Café ?

Frankly, we don’t know nor do we care. This spoof blog post makes fun that the resorts advertise their agents as “Special” and the first to know if something is happening at the resorts. The fact of the matter is that if anything will happen in the way of something NEW in real estate a permit has to be approved in Somerset County and a good friend in that department will make sure we are the FIRST TO KNOW. If you want to know what is really going on in real estate at the resorts follow us, if you are interested in the newest $$$ food item, ask a resort agent, they know 🙂

PS: Ski conditions are great!


Financing Market Report from Kirk Sieg

For the Week Ending January 30, 2015

Please enjoy this quick update on what’s happening this week in the housing and financial markets.

The Fed praises economic growth but is closely watching inflation and overseas developments. Members remain patient in raising policy rates.

The Durable Goods report shows weakness in manufacturing. Orders dropped unexpectedly for the 2nd month, supporting Fed patience with rate changes.

Consumers are focusing on the good jobs news. Consumer confidence surged to its highest level since 2007 despite some continuing economic weakness.

December existing home sales data is mixed, with existing sales showing strength and pending sales dropping unexpectedly. Overall, prices are up, and low rates may continue to support the trend.

New home sales blew past predictions with a significant increase, supporting growing market strength, rising prices and the potential for lower inventory.

Former distress sale or “Boomerang Buyers” may be eligible to purchase again. The first big wave of about 500,000 could hit this year.


Rate movements and volatility are based on published, aggregate national averages and measured from the previous to the most recent midweek daily reporting period. These rate trends can differ from our own and are subject to change at any time.


Kirk Sieg
Equity Resources, Inc.
(724) 799-3465

8500 Brooktree Rd Suite 220, Wexford, PA 15090

NMLS 1579. Equal Housing Lender. Certain restrictions apply, call for details. AL MC20405.003; AZ BK-0928406, BKBR-0119886; DC MLB1579, MLB318356, MLB206792, MLB1244789; DE 9521, 18096, 11829, 19804; FL MLD880, MLDB1628, MLDB1629, MLDB2489; IN 11055 & 9940; KY 824; MD 14944, 15822, 19299, 19381, 19954, 19044, 21427; MI FR-0018548; NC L-134393-101, L-134393-102; OH MB800302 & SM501794; PA Dept of Banking; SC MLS-1579, MLB-1237766; VA NMLS 1579 ( DBA Equity Resources of Ohio, Inc., ERI Mortgage, Inc., Equity Resources, Inc. of Ohio, Equity Resources of Ohio.

This email was sent as part of my effort to maintain our relationship and keep you well informed of market conditions. It could be interpreted as a commercial message. If you would like to stop receiving these emails, you may click here to unsubscribe at any time.
Equity Resources, Inc. – 8500 Brooktree Rd Suite 220 , Wexford, PA 15090


Seven Springs to start skiing on November 28

7 Springs halfpipe

If you are not on the resort newsletter Seven Springs announced they will open for skiing November 28, and kick off weekend is that weekend. A recent trip to both resorts shows all snow guns going full blast as the snowmaking team takes advantage of early cold weather. The extended forecast shows cold enough temperatures to continue the snowmaking effort up to the holidays with only a few warm days. Photo is of the Seven Springs half pipe LAST YEAR. Sorry riders, will be a few months before that one is ready. Skiii Yaaa.



It is one of the most frequently asked questions we receive, “Where can we ride our ATV’s?” Here’s one option, the Indian Creek Valley ATV Club. Easily found by staying on 711 to White, maybe 8 miles from Sarnelli’s, then look for the sign on the right (if you come to Indian Head you passed it).  They offer year round riding for ATV’s and UTV’s on over 30 miles of “safe and groomed trails.” There’s a mix of elevation and difficulty to challenge any rider. Their website offers more details, check it out and safe riding!


August 2014 Laurel Highlands Market Report

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share in the public domain. If you want the DETAILED UNBIASED story of what is happening in your community and property become our client and become one of the CHOSEN FEW that actually knows the facts. We are the best source for accurate information on property sales in the Laurel Highlands.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8583.

Open the links below for the reports.

Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour

Rubber Ducky Fund Raiser & FREE Children’s Fishing Day

Mountain Watershed Association is hosting a free children’s fishing day and a Rubber Ducky Race fundraiser on Saturday October 4, 2014 at Resh Park in Indian Head, PA.

The fun starts at 10:00 a.m. when the fishing starts. Kids ages 12 and under can participate with adult supervision. This event is FREE of charge. There will be a break in the fishing action for lunch, which is provided, around 11:45 and door prize winners will be announced. Participants must bring their own rod, tackle, and bait. All participants will be entered into the Door Prize drawing. Pre-registration is not required, but would be appreciated.

During the fishing day MWA will host its annual Rubber Ducky Race at 1:30 p.m. when 1,000 rubber duckies will be released and will race down Indian Creek. For a donation of $5, you can have two chances to win. Prizes include: 1st Prize-$500, 2nd Prize-$250, 3rd Prize-$150, 4th Prize-$100, and Last Duck-$50. Ticket holders need not be present to win and proceeds will benefit the Children’s Fishing Day. Tickets are being sold at the MWA office, G&D Market, Donegal Pharmacy, Brady’s Restaurant, Love Laugh Learn Daycare, Tall Cedars, TJ’s Restaurant, Ritenour Sporting Goods, B&G Bait Shop, Sheri Bukovac Bookkeeping, and Indian Creek Valley Water Authority.

For more information, or to pre-register for the fishing day, please contact Carla at the Mountain Watershed Association: (724) 455-4200, extension 3#, or



SB 76 Picture

It is time for more discussion! SB 76 the NO more school property tax was voted and passed In the Senate Finance Committee 6-5! We were there TODAY. Now it goes to Approbations Committee to see it they will pass it to the floor. Wags and I along with many of our REALTOR friends filled the rooms (yes they had to open up a second hearing room there were so many of us because we were having our State Organization meeting the same day!!) with high hopes! Check out RealReform76 for more information, find your Senator, and to share your story!  Basically, Philadelphia and that area and the teachers union are the greatest opponents, while every retired person with property and Realtor in the state should be for it. Here’s how the finance committee voted:

Yes –
Senator Blake, Democratic chair (D-Lackawanna)
Senator Browne (R-Lehigh)
Senator Brubaker, Republican chair (R-Lancaster)
Senator Eichelberger (R-Blair)
Senator Scarnati (R-Clearfield)
Senator Wozniak (D-Cambria)

No –
Senator Greenleaf (R-Montgomery)
Senator Hutchinson (R-Venango)
Senator Smith (D-Allegheny)
Senator Teplitz (D-Dauphin)
Senator Vance (R-Cumberland)


Senate Finance Committe to VOTE on SB 76 TOMORROW!!

NO TAX SHOULD EVER BE ABLE  TO TAKE AWAY YOUR HOME! Check out for the details on this bill. It was just scheduled to come up for a vote in the Senate Finance committee TOMORROW! Let your senator know that it is time for school property tax reform!! Tell them you support SB 76 and expect them to do the same! School property taxes are making our seniors homeless! One of our elderly neighbors recently shared they can only pay their school property taxes for another 4 years and then they are out of money!


Star Market Auction

Star Market

If you come in from the Pittsburgh side of the mountain you know where this is! When you’re at the 4 way stop by the Post Office and Church on 711 the Star Market is on your left. There are two different dates, on-line they say Thursday September the 18th, but the sign says Thursday, September 25 at 5 pm the bidding begins If you have an interest best to catch up with them! Here’s the link to Hostetter Auctioneers. If you’ve never been into the store they carried a line of groceries, meat, had a small diner with lunch specials,  the gas pumps, lottery ticket sales, propane and ice… Sure hope someone sees it as the gold mine we do!


We Are So Proud!

Meet Vileska Gelpi, 11 year old daughter of buyers agent Amanda and husband Rich! She just happens to be competing this weekend in the Drive, Chip, and Putt contest in Highlands, Michigan.   After winning in her age group of 10-11 year olds in July at Nemacolin Woodlands, advancing to compete at Quicksilver in August with a second place win, a victory over 9 other competitors at Prestwick Village Country Club in Highland, Michigan could earn her a trip to compete in April 2015 at Augusta, Georgia!


July 2014 Laurel Highlands Market Report

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share in the public domain. If you want the DETAILED UNBIASED story of what is happening in your community and property become our client and become one of the CHOSEN FEW that actually knows the facts. We are the best source for accurate information on property sales in the Laurel Highlands.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8583.

Open the links below for the reports.

Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour

Getting the Highest Price for your Home

Another great Slide Share Presentation on some tips on getting the top price for your home and hiring an agent.


5 Reasons to Hire an Agent

Credit for this slide show goes to Aw Carmen. Even though this agent is in Malaysia, the same rules apply here.


June and Mid Year Market Reports

This is the June and the first 6 month market stats. These reports give you the inside information based on Courthouse records. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the HIGHEST PRICE that will be successful in the market place.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share in the public domain. If you want the DETAILED UNBIASED story of what is happening in your community and property become our client and become one of the CHOSEN FEW that actually knows the facts. We are the best source for accurate information on property sales in the Laurel Highlands.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8583.

Open the links below for the reports.

Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour



Pennsylvania Turnpike Traveler Advisorary Panel

The Turnpike Commission is in the midst of the largest capital rebuilding plan in their history! This panel is an on-line research community that will provide feedback from 4,000 customers! We know our readers spend a good bit of time on the PA Turnpike and you may qualify to be a part of the Advisory Panel! Here’s your chance to be heard and to receive some treats in return! The first step is taking a short survey as they want to ensure they have a good mix of different types of travelers sharing their thoughts.


Public Notice for Donegal Mine Posted

PA - CMAP Template

This was the public notice from LCT Energy for their proposed mine in Donegal and Saltlick Township as written in the Tribune Review.

PUBLIC NOTICE Pursuant to the PENNSYLVANIA CLEAN STREAMS LAW, the PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Rules and Regulations, the SURFACE MINING CONSERVATION and RECLAMATION ACT, and the BITUMINOUS MINE SUBSIDENCE and LAND CONSERVATION ACT as amended, notice is hereby given that LCT Energy, LP, doing business at 938 Mt. Airy Drive, Suite 200, Johnstown, PA 15904, has made application to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for a new underground Coal Mining Activity Permit, related NPDES permit and request for a new blasting plan. The proposed Rustic Ridge #1 Mine will consist of approximately 2,886.5 acres in the underground permit area. The proposed subsidence control plan area will consist of approximately 2,780.6 acres. The underground permit area is located in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County and Saltlick Township, Fayette County within the four corners described as follows: The southernmost point is approximately 2,300 feet southwest of the intersection of Indian Creek Valley Road (SR-711) and County Line Road (SR-1058). The northernmost point is approximately 6,600 feet northeast of the intersection of School House Ln (T-308) and SR-31. The westernmost point is approximately 1,900 feet southwest of the intersection of Thompson Road (T-878) and SR-31. The easternmost point is located approximately 2,200 feet southeast of the intersection of School House Lane (T-308) and Jones Mills-Stahlstown Road (SR-2031). The subsidence control plan area is located in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County and Saltlick Township, Fayette County and is the same as the underground permit area with the exception of approximately 106 acres located within the four corners described as follows: The northernmost point is at the intersection of School House Lane (T-308) and Jones Mills-Stahlstown Road (SR-2031). The southernmost point is approximately 1,770 feet southeast of the intersection of SR-31 and School House Lane (T-308). The easternmost point is approximately 3,305 feet east of the intersection of SR-31 and School House Lane (T-308). The westernmost point is approximately 665 feet southwest of the intersection of SR-31 and School House Lane (T-308). The surface activity site boundary will include approximately 67.7 acres and is located in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County. The entrance to the surface activity site is located at a point approximately 3,600 feet north along County Line Road (SR-1058) from the intersection of County Line Road (SR-1058) and Hellen School Road (SR-2029). The proposed areas can be found on the Donegal, Seven Springs, and Stahlstown, PA U.S.G.S., 7.5 minute topographic maps. The proposed operation includes three NPDES discharge points that will discharge into Champion Creek. The discharge points are located as follows: Point 001 is located approximately 380 feet northeast from the point where Champion Creek passes beneath County Line Road (SR-1058) and will discharge treated surface runoff to Champion Creek. Point 002 is located approximately 1,970 feet northeast from the point where Champion Creek passes beneath County Line Road (SR-1058) and will discharge treated surface runoff to Champion Creek. Point 003 is located approximately 2,110 feet northeast from the point where Champion Creek passes beneath County Line Road (SR-1058) and will discharge treated mine drainage to Champion Creek. This application includes a request for a new blasting plan. A stream variance is requested for Champion Creek beginning at the intersection of UNT #10 and Champion Creek, and continuing approximately 300 feet upstream, the variance includes activities of construction of diversion and collection ditches. The total variance area is approximately 0.2 acres. A stream variance is requested for Champion Creek beginning at a point 3380 feet upstream of where Champion Creek crosses under County Line Road (SR-1058), and continuing upstream approximately 270 feet, the variance includes activities of construction of diversion and collection ditches. The total variance area is approximately 0.1 acres. A stream variance is requested for Champion Creek beginning at a point 2430 feet upstream of where Champion Creek crosses under County Line Road (SR-1058), and continuing upstream approximately 60 feet, the variance includes activities of construction of a sediment pond. The total variance area is less than 0.1 acres. A stream variance is requested for UNT #9 to Champion Creek beginning at a point 140 feet upstream of the intersection of UNT #9 to Champion Creek and continuing upstream approximately 700 feet, the variance includes activities of construction of a sedimentation pond, diversion and collection ditches, a stream crossing, and an access road. The total variance area is approximately 0.9 acres. A stream variance is requested for Champion Creek beginning at a point 120 feet upstream of where Champion Creek crosses under County Line Road (SR-1058), and continuing upstream approximately 680 feet, the variance includes activities of construction of a haul road, stream crossing, erosion and sediment controls, sedimentation traps, and roadside ditches. The total variance area is approximately 0.6 acres. A copy of the application is available for public inspection and copying for a fee, by appointment, at the Westmoreland County Recorder of Deeds, 2 North Main Street, Suite 503, Greensburg, PA 15601 and Fayette Recorder of Deeds, Fayette County Courthouse, 61 East Main Street, Uniontown, PA 15401. Written comments, objections, or a request for a public hearing or informal conference may be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection, California District Mining Office, 25 Technology Drive, California Technology Park, Coal Center, PA 15423, no later than 30 days following the final (4th) publication of this notice and must include the person’s name, address, telephone number, and a brief statement as to the nature of the objection(s). 58739583(7-3,10,17,24-14)


May 2014 Market Reports

Very interesting month at both resorts but pay attention when Abe reports the short term forecast. These reports give you the inside information based on Courthouse records. If you are thinking of selling or buying you need to review these reports and contact us for more information to determine the HIGHEST PRICE that will be successful in the market place.

Keep in mind this is just a small window of information we share in the public domain. If you want the DETAILED UNBIASED story of what is happening in your community and property become our client and become one of the CHOSEN FEW that actually knows the facts. We are the best source for accurate information on property sales in the Laurel Highlands.

YOU HAVE A CHOICE. Choose an experienced TEAM with the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the Laurel Highlands. We help our clients successfully buy or sell at both resorts. Contact us today at 412-897-8583.

Open the links below for the reports.


Play VisualTour
Play VisualTour

Newest Associates Hatching

Even though we liven in the country we have never seen robin eggs hatch! So we’re betting there’s a good chance our friends living in cities can say the same. This week the robin chicks are breaking through their eggs! Here’s more information on how this process has evolved! When you go by our office in Donagal  the robins nest is to the right of our back door.


Communtiy Meeting on Deep Mine Permit

Add a reminder in your calendar that on Wednesday,  May 21 at the Highlands Hall (corner of Route 31 and 711)  from 7 to 9 there will be a community meeting to hear about the planned Deep Mine for Donegal and Saltlick areas. On the agenda are the “people and places” that could be affected. Mining maps will be available for review. The Mountain Watershed Association has more details on their site. 


Berkshire Hathway expects 4 new Associates!!

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty is expecting 4 new Associates to our Laurel Highlands office on Rt 31 in Donegal! Pittsburgh has the eagle cam of the great birds, we have the first shots of the 4 blue robin eggs outside our back door in the flower planter.  Many of you may have the pleasure of enjoying these birds but have you seen them grow? We’ll be posting new shots to keep you updated. Once they go through rigorous company training we expect them to be “Bird dogging” and “Scouting” for business opportunities. Till then here’s a link for more information about the robins!


All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright 2019.

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