Saturday, July 5, 2014

Pittsburghers inspire

Last weekend I returned to Dutilh United Methodist Church in Cranberry Township, north of Pittsburgh, PA where I was privileged to attend the memorial of beloved friend Francis Sutter, an advocate for peace and social justice who passed away last month at the age of 101. She was the founder of the Pittsburgh North People for Peace and Justice, and a supporter of the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh's Peace and Social Justice Center.

Mrs. Sutter was honored and revered by many for her good works, and she was loved by everyone for her great and generous soul. She touched her friends with kindness, and like her Pittsburgh compatriot, Fred Rogers, made everyone she encountered happier for having known her.

Mrs. Sutter was memorialized July 1, 2014 by Mary Sheehan in The New People, Pittsburgh’s Peace and Justice Newspaper article, “In Memory of Francis Sutter”. 

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On this trip to Pittsburgh, I was fortunate to spend time with fiber artist Louise Silk, my friend from long-ago when we were both members of the Pittsburgh Embroiderers’ Guild, now the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Inc.

Fiber artist Louise Silk, blogger of Bubbe Wisdom

She is currently working on a retrospective of her work, and creating commissioned works of art for clients who wish to memorialize loved ones with the ephemeral fibers of daily life. We had a wonderful time talking about grandbabies, blogging, art, religion, politics, and Steinmart -- a retail spot neither one of us had ever visited, a lapse I corrected after lunch.

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Then I sped onward to Cranberry for a reunion and picnic dinner on the back porch of best friends Janet and Larry D. 

Janet D. at home in Cranberry Twp., PA

Larry barbecued pork over a wood fire, and we added fresh salad greens from his sumptuous garden and real Pittsburgh pierogi to our repast. 

The next morning Janet and I visited Cranberry’s Graham Park, the newest in a series of stellar parks brought to Cranberry citizens by their township government, unfazed by the cesspool of teabagger politics.

Along the Graham Park walking trail, we ran into CranberryTownship Board of Supervisors Chairman Bruce Mazzoni, his wife Conni, and his aunt Gloria Secchi --out for a morning stroll.
Gloria Secci, Janet D., Bruce Mazzoni and Conni Mazzoni at Graham Park, Cranberry Twp., PA 

Janet and I congratulated Mazzoni on the beautiful facility that includes 13 lighted ball fields and a handicapped accessible fishing pond. When asked, Mazzoni said that outstanding local government facilities including parks, library, and other amenities was a major reason that Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC chose Cranberry Twp. as the site of its new 1.2-million square-foot, global headquarters.

A Jan. 3, 2013 article titled "Cranberry Twp. named best for kids in PA" in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette quoted Mazzoni:
"There's no doubt that Cranberry is what it is because of a partnership between the township and the community itself,'' he said. He said an ongoing effort to build a new playground in the Route 19 community park - a partnership between Cranberry and at least two civic organizations - the Cranberry CUP and the Cranberry Township Community Chest - is an example of how people come together to give the township the attributes that would garner such a designation as the one the township has garnered from Bloomberg Businessweek [as best place to raise kids in Pennsylvania].

Janet and I enjoyed using the new work-out stations along the trail and on our way back to the parking lot, we stopped by the Miracle League Field, a baseball field created for the use of handicapped children. The Graham Park field, sponsored in part by the Pittsburgh Pirate Charities and Pirate Freddy Sanchez, is one of only two such facilities in the state. The field features a synthetic surface that allows children in wheelchairs and walkers to play the game safely.

Miracle League Field at Graham Park in Cranberry Twp., PA

Watching those young people enjoy the weather, the excitement, and the energy of playing together was the most inspiring gift of a wonderful weekend home.

Thomas Merton Center,
Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, Inc.,
Steinmart in Pine Creek Center,
Pgh. Post Gazette “Cranberry named best for kids in PA”,
Miracle League of Southwestern Pennsylvania,