Alumni Bulletin: 2004

Letter from the President

Dear Alumni Members,

My main purpose in writing this letter is to invite you to attend the Alumni reunion scheduled to take place from August 6 to August 8, 2004 at the School. Two years ago 86 of our members registered for the reunion. Everyone seemed to have had a good time. I’d like to see an even larger number of attendees at our upcoming reunion, and I hope it will be as successful as the last one. But I need you to participate. So please consider coming, and if you know an inactive Alumni member, why not convince him or her to come along too?

Although the program for the weekend has not been finalized as yet, I can tell you that registration will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, August 6. (If for any reason you need to arrive at the School before 3:00 p.m., please let me know so that I can be there to assist you.) At 6:00 p.m. we will hold our usual brief orientation meeting followed by a picnic supper—outdoors, weather permitting. Evening activities will include bingo, cards, darts, group singing, etc.

Saturday morning breakfast will be served at 8:00 a.m. The registration table will be staffed from 8:30 to 9:00 to accommodate those who may be unable to arrive for registration on Friday. The business meeting will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m., lunch will be served at noon, and election of officers and Board members will be held at 1:00 p.m. The banquet will begin at 6:00 p.m. Besides darts and cards, no other activity has yet been scheduled for the evening. Would anyone be interested in taking part in a talent show?

Sunday morning breakfast will be served at 8:00 a.m. The School must be vacated by 11:00 a.m., please.

The cost per person for the entire weekend is $44.00 plus membership dues, currently $6.00. If you plan to attend Friday evening activities only, the cost per person is $10.00 plus dues. The cost for the banquet per person is $20.00 plus dues. If you wish to come for the business meeting only and have lunch at the School, the cost per person is $5.00 plus dues. Along with this copy of The Alumni Bulletin you should find a registration form and a preaddressed envelope. Please complete the form and return it with your check or money order made payable to WPSBC Alumni Association no later than July 20. Those who return forms after this date will be assessed a late fee of $5.00.

I would encourage all those who register to attend the business meeting. Among other things we will talk about a new fund-raising venture, discuss how we can best use our website and we will take action on a proposed amendment to the Bylaws, which you will read later in this Bulletin. Also we need your participation in the election process.

I am happy to tell you that all 500 tickets for our August raffle last year were sold. We did almost as well in selling the 250 tickets which we had printed for the Steeler Tickets raffle based on the PA lottery number drawn in the evening of last Thanksgiving. The two tickets to the Steelers game on December 21 were donated by a lady who had provided free football game tickets at our jamborees. The two raffles netted the organization more than $2,300

Last September we held our second Fun Day in the new Early Childhood Center building across Bellefield Avenue from the School. Even though it rained, sixty Alumni attended. We all had the chance to walk around the building, see the garden, visit with friends and enjoy a nice lunch.

I am looking forward to greeting all of you members at our reunion in August. If you have any questions, please call me at (412) 683-1798.

Joanna Berkovic


Notice of Proposed Amendment

An amendment was submitted which affects Article IV of our Bylaws, Officers and Their Election. Action will be taken on this proposed amendment at our upcoming convention.

Section 2. “Election of officers shall be held at each biennial convention of the Association, … “ would be amended to read

Election of officers shall be held every four (4) years, …

Section 3. “The elected officers shall hold office for a period of two (2) years, until their successors are elected and duly sworn in, …” would be amended to read

The elected officers shall hold office for a period of four (4) years, until their successors are elected and duly sworn in, …


Alumni News

By Louise Flanigan


A little too late to make the last edition of The Alumni Bulletin, Marlene (Daugherty) Cain, class of 1958, was pleased to inform us of the birth of her first grandson, Clayton James, in the spring of 2003. Since then, she has been blessed with yet another grandson, Lucas Alexander.

Charles Vidunas, class of 1968, and his wife Kathy welcomed their first grandchild in April, 2003.

Edwin Kramer, class of 1951, and his wife Ida welcomed their third grandchild, a girl, on August 3, 2003.

We are sure there are many more births that we should be including in this column, but we have been made aware of only those we report here. If you know of any proud parents or grandparents, please make us aware of their blessed event, so that we may share it with all of our readers.

Engagements and Marriages

Gilbert Busch, class of 1972, and Elisa Walls, class of 1973, have announced their engagement.

Rose Miscio Mathews, class of 1944, is planning an autumn wedding.

Louis Schreiber, class of 1967, was married on August 3, 2003.

We need news of engagements and marriages for this column also. We can only report what news we are made aware of, and we do like to hear about the happy events of our members. So please keep us informed.


We are sad to report that since our last issue we have had several members and relatives of our members pass away. Again, please keep us informed if you learn of the passing of any member or relative of a member so that appropriate memorials may be made. In case of the passing of an Alumni member a sixty-dollar check is given to the charity of the family’s request or it is given to The Robert Flanigan Special Needs Fund at WPSBC when no family member can be contacted.

Harold Bleakley, class of 1938, died April 3, 2003.

Jody Majesky Mollus, class of 1982, lost her husband in April, 2003.

Greg Scott, class of 1981, lost his mother in May, 2003.

Mary Giordano McWilliams, class of 1943, died May 20, 2003.

Mary Yasem Baron, class of 1936, died May 21, 2003.

Robert Mester, class of 1965, died November 29, 2003.

Richard Miller, a former student, and his wife suffered the death of their oldest son last summer. For parents the loss of a child is perhaps the single worst tragedy of their lives.

Tony Draghi, a former student and the brother of Eugene Draghi, class of 1960, died early last summer.

Terri (Claar) Flowers, class of 1975, lost her brother December 16, 2003.

Ellen Murray Hostetler, class of 1954, died February 3, 2004.

Dina Tominello, class of 1983, died April 4, 2004.

Anthony Manna, class of 1947, died April 22, 2004.

Ilene Sirocca, class of 1966, lost her father in April 2004.

Ed Schreiber, class of 1967, died on May 9.

Illnesses and Accidents

Early last fall John Louis, class of 1981, and his son were struck by an automobile. Shortly after Thanksgiving when both had just about recovered from their injuries, Donna Rice Lewis, class of 1986, sustained a fractured leg while roller-skating with their daughter. Enough of that kind of luck, you guys.

On December 27, 2003 Martha Osborne, class of 1937, fractured her femur as a result of a fall. Following a slow convalescence exacerbated by health problems which surfaced after her accident, Martha is about ready to return to her own home. She expects to live independently, as she has done all her adult life. Right now she is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to walk around her neighborhood with her faithful guide dog. Lots of luck, Martha!

While walking to work this past February. Albert Pietrolungo, class of 1966, suffered a severe leg fracture after being struck by a motorist whose view of traffic seems to have been impaired by the glare from the morning sun. A staph infection which Al contracted while in the hospital, along with other medical issues, have hampered a quick recovery. However, we understand that he is now “up and about”. Easy does it, Al. We’re all rooting for you.

Plagued with poor health for a long while now, Elsie (Sharp) Feltenberger, class of 1947, has been residing for more than a year in a nursing home where she can best receive the care she needs to address her deteriorating physical condition. Anyone who wishes to communicate with her should address correspondence to: Elsie Feltenberger, Room 216 South, 1205 S 28th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17111. Her husband Jack’s phone number is (717) 545 9131. We’re thinking of you, Elsie, and we’ll keep you in our prayers.

To those of you who have experienced illnesses or other misfortunes we have not been made aware of, we extend our sympathy and best wishes.


Janice Miller, class of 1976, is a recipient of PNC Bank’s Performance Award for 2003. This award recognizes “consistently extraordinary performance in providing unparalleled customer service and satisfaction, maintaining a high-energy work ethic, demonstrating leadership and teamwork, contributing to improvements in the company’s operations, and making a personal commitment to community involvement.” An employee of PNC Bank for more than 25 years, Janice currently works as a program analyst and systems consultant.

With a workforce of 24,000 employees nationwide PNC Bank confers its performance award on only 10 persons annually. To be a candidate for this award requires nomination by one’s coworkers and superiors with documentation referencing the criteria quoted above. This year’s list of candidates totaled 340, from which the 10 finalists were selected. In addition to a monetary gift, the award winners are offered an all-expense-paid trip to the Kayman Islands over the Memorial Day weekend. They also have the responsibility of participating in the process of determining the 10 PNC Bank Performance Award winners for 2004.

Janice, we are all very proud of you!

I have enjoyed writing this column in the past and would like to continue. However I do need to hear from all you members concerning news. Please contact me by mail at 240 W. Brady Street, Butler, PA 16001. My e-mail address is

Darts Anyone?

Joe Wassermann

You may have been shoveling snow on the 24th of January because there was quite a bit of it this past winter, but we weren’t. We, being those nutty darters at Pittsburgh Vision Services, were warm and dry, throwing darts and eating pizza at our mini dart tournament.

The Alumni members who took part, as usual, did very well. Here are the results of the two events we had that Saturday. Altogether, fifteen players participated. In our count-up event, Jim Musto was 4th, Larry Wiseman 2nd, and Joe Wassermann came in first. In the afternoon, we played 301 doubles. Regis Sullivan and his partner came in 4th, Cindy Perseo and Bonnie Newland took 3rd, and Joe and his partner slid into first.

Once again, we all enjoyed the competition and socialization. Think about joining us; it is fun and more than just totaling points can be learned from playing.

Dr. Simon Honored as Woman of Spiritt”

(From the Winter, 2004, edition of Insights, the School’s newsletter)

Dr. Janet Simon, executive director of the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children,

was one of 10 awardees Designated as a Woman of Spirit in 2003. The award was given to Dr. Simon by Carlow College, in recognition of her work at the School for Blind Children.

The Carlow honor is bestowed annually on women “who are leaders in their professions, voices of the unheard and visionaries in their communities.” The awards were presented on Oct. 4, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel.

For Simon, the honor didn’t end there. The board of trustees at the School for Blind Children made a contribution in her honor. Simon is using the money to create a music collection in the School’s library. A small committee is selecting the music CDs, with an

emphasis on classical, popular and ethnic music.

The selections will be well balanced, representing a wide range of styles, and should appeal to people of all ages. The collection will be available on loan to all of the programs at the School. This marks the first time the School has had a music collection as part of its library materials.

The selection committee consists of Dr. Simon, Staff Development Associate Lynda Hedfors and music teacher Roger Thomas.

School Honored

The Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children was one of three finalists designated to receive the prestigious Alfred W. Wishart, Jr. Award of Excellence in Nonprofit Management. Awards were given at a ceremony on Oct. 28, 2003, at Carnegie Mellon University. The Wishart Award, now in its third year recognizes nonprofits that demonstrate good management and leadership skills.

Organizations must show a commitment to outstanding management in eight specific areas, such as demonstrating leadership among staff and the board of directors, effective use of information, objective analysis in planning and programming, continuous improvement of service delivery, and an emphasis on measuring and monitoring outcomes. This year three organizations, selected from among the 2,700 nonprofits in Allegheny County, were honored. The top award went to Action Housing. The other two finalists were the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children and Family Resources.

The School was nominated for the award and submitted a packet of information in response. Executive Director Janet Simon, Ph.D., as well as other administrators and members of the Board of Trustees, were asked to attend the award ceremony without knowing the outcome. The School for Blind Children received a crystal plaque, which bore the name of the School and the date and name of the award. It is on display at the School for Blind Children.

The award was given by the William J. Copeland Fund in honor of Alfred W. Wishart, president of The Pittsburgh Foundation for 31 years and chairman of the Fund since its inception.

Making The School’s Website Visible and/or Audible to All

The School’s website,, first appeared on the internet in 1998. This year it was rewritten and updated to reflect recent changes at the School. More significantly, the website was reconfigured to make it more accessible to web surfers who are blind or visually impaired. The website is now less cluttered and easier to navigate. In addition to menus on each page, users can click onto a site map, listing the entire contents. Access to the site map is available through a footer at the bottom of each page.

The web design takes special notice of people with vision impairment who use special software to surf the net. Their web readers actually read the screen text aloud to them. They use the keyboard controls of their internet browser to navigate. Of course, if a website has non-text elements, such as photographs, charts or designs, the blind surfer has no idea of what is on the screen.

On an accessible site, a text description, known as an alt-tag, is inserted. At, for example, each photograph in the Tour of the School, is identified by alt-tag text. (Sighted web surfers can view the alt-tags by moving their mouse slowly over the photograph.) All buttons are labeled with alt-tags, which might say, “Click here for Contact Information” or “Click here to go to Events Calendar” rather than simply “click” or “enter.”

The School’s website has now been tested in several ways, including a software package called Connect Out Loud. In this test, the information was conveyed to the user “quickly, every time,” said Mike Carberry, who worked on the project at Scott Pipitone Design. Carberry also printed out the web pages in black and white to make sure the contrast was adequate for color blind users.

The best test of the site came from a blind user, Ted Crum, an employee at the School for Blind Children. Crum noted that the School’s website now is “much easier to read and use.”

Preparing websites that are accessible to the blind and visually impaired is increasingly important as the average age of computer users continues to climb. Aging results in various accessibility issues, such as vision and hearing changes and declines in dexterity. For some websites, such as government sites, accessibility is a legal requirement. For others, like the School for Blind Children, an accessible website is part of a commitment to serving people with disabilities.

Tips from Phil’s Files

By Philagonas Evancic

Here are some tips which I have found useful during my years of keeping house. Hope they will be of some help to you as well.

1. While eating, if you accidentally drop or spill something on your clothing, such as salad dressing, gravy, etc., mark the spot with a safety pin as soon as possible or before you remove the garment. In this way you will be able to locate it when you remove the garment. This lets you know exactly where to apply a prewash treatment or where you may need to add a little extra laundry detergent before putting the article in the washer.

2. To rid your home of unpleasant odors such as lingering cooking odors, put half a cup or so of white vinegar in a little dish and place it in your kitchen where it won’t be bumped or spilled. Allow the vinegar to sit for several hours or overnight. No, your house won’t smell like vinegar, but the unpleasant odor will be gone.

3. Instead of using fabric softener when you do your laundry, add 1 cup of white vinegar to the final rinse water. It will make your clothes soft, eliminate static cling, and retard the build-up of soap scum in the washer. This tip is especially useful if you are allergic to fabric softeners.

4. To remove burned or cooked-on food from Corning ware, add a mixture of 4 parts water to 1 part white vinegar to the dish. Bring to a gentle boil. When the water cools down, you should be able to gently scrub off the burned or cooked-on food.

5. To clean your garbage disposal and keep it smelling fresh, make a tray of vinegar ice cubes. Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with enough water to fill the tray. Grind the cubes through the disposal, then rinse with cold water.

Why all this “plugging” of white vinegar? Because it works—and it’s inexpensive.

An Attorney’s Advice

(The following information is excerpted from an article which has been widely circulated over the Internet.)

A corporate attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company. Maybe we should all take his advice-and pass it on..

1. The next time you order checks have only your initials (instead of first name) and last name put on them. If someone takes your checkbook, they will not know if you sign your checks with just your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign your checks.

2. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the “For” line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won’t have access to it.

3. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine, do both sides of each license (or equivalent), credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. (Alternatively, you could write down or otherwise record significant numbers on the cards you generally carry with you.)

We have all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards, etc. Here’s some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

1. Cancel all credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your purse, wallet or credit card(s) were stolen. This proves to credit providers that you were diligent and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

3. Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security number.

The numbers are:

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289

Social Security Administration (fraud line) 1-800-269-0271

Tid Bits

(Louise Flanigan submitted the following tidbits. We hope they brighten your day).

Observed on Bumper Stickers or Signs:

At a tire shop: “Invite us to your next blow out.”

In a non-smoking area: “If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and will take appropriate action.”

On a maternity room door: “Push! Push! Push!”

On an optometrist’s office door: “if you don’t see what you are looking for, you have come to the right place.”

On a taxidermist’s window: “We really know our stuff.”

In an orthopedist’s office: “Time wounds all heels.”

On a fence: “Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive.”

At a car dealership: “The best way to get back on your feet: Miss a car payment.”

Outside a muffler shop: “No appointment necessary; we hear you coming.”

In a restaurant window: “Don’t stand there and be hungry. Come on in and get fed up”.

In front of a funeral home: “Drive carefully; we’ll wait.”

In a veterinarian’s waiting room: “Be back in five minutes. Sit; stay.”

Dumb Blonde jokes (which have been changed to Gracie Burns jokes):

Gracie thought a quarterback was a refund.

Gracie thought General Motors was in the army.

Gracie thought meow mix was a CD for cats.

She thought Eartha Kit was a set of garden tools.

She spent 20 minutes looking at the orange juice can because it said Concentrate.

She studied for a blood test.

When she missed the 44 bus she took the 22 bus twice.

When she went to the airport and saw a sign that read “Airport left,” she went home.

When she read that 90 percent of all crimes occur around the home, she moved.

She thinks taco bell is the Mexican telephone company.

She thought she couldn’t use her AM radio in the evening.

When she got a shirt that read “TGIF” she thought it meant this goes in front.