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When the original Eat’n Park restaurant opened on Saw Mill Run Boulevard in 1949, it caused a traffic jam on Route 51. At the beginning, the restaurant was a carhop, with peppy servers bringing food and drinks to patrons’ vehicles. While Eat’n Park has been a Pittsburgh institution since its inception, serving up classic, home-style meals and that oh-so-delicious soup and salad bar, the ubiquitous Smiley Cookie wasn’t a staple until 1986. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

McMurray Rotary Club’s Dinner En Blanc was a night of white, from guests’ outfits to festive balloons to napkins for the waving. Based on a French theme started in 1988, the May 19 event marked the latest in a series of annual galas that serve as the club’s major fundraisers. All money goes toward philanthropic giving, locally and internationally. The site of the dinner was Lindenwood Golf Club in North Strabane Township, which was founded by the late Russell Wylie, one of the charter McMurray Rotary Club members in 1965. The club meets at 12:10 p.m. each week at Atria’s Restaurant, 4059 Washington Road, Peters Township. For more information, visit

Bethel Park native Paul Petroskey is better known to the world as "Weird Paul," a YouTube star who calls himself the "original vlogger." Sharing VHS home movies and music videos from his childhood and even making new videos on archaic analog equipment, Petroskey's channel has attracted worldwide attention and is the focus of a new documentary.

Third cousins Gene Czambel and Rand Gee – who met through Gee’s genealogical research – have co-written the first history book of the Thoms Run coal era. “Forgotten Mines & Coal Towns of Thoms Run” chronicles the history of the mines, life in five coal towns, schools, merchants, hotels, taverns and beneficial associations from 1880 to 1930. The historic pictures and facts provide a panoramic view of life in the coal patches of Beechmont, Hickman, Federal, Burdine and Presto, Pa.

Upon entering Cefalo’s Banquet and Events Center in Carnegie, guests were handed small bottles with blue liquid and instructions: “Drink me.” It was fitting for the Mad Hatter’s Ball, which celebrated 50 years of the Mt. Lebanon Junior Women’s Club. The annual benefit donated a portion of the proceeds to the Foster Love Project, which aims to provide “love in action” to foster children and support for the families who are fostering them. Guests went down the rabbit hole and enjoyed a strolling magician, music by DJ Jeremy Ganss Productions, basket raffles, and more. And, prizes were awarded for the best Alice in Wonderland attire.

Upper St. Clair native and former Pittsburgh Pirate Sean Casey is back at it again, though he hasn’t slowed his speed. The current Major League Baseball Network analyst is entering his eighth summer as president of the Miracle League of the South Hills, an organization he founded to provide every child and adult an opportunity to play baseball.

It is perhaps the biggest story to come out of Dormont in quite some time – the sale of the Hollywood Theater from Kelly-Reilly-Nell-Barna Associates to the nonprofit the Theatre Historical Society of America. Almost immediately after the announcement of the pending sale was made in January, the social media firestorm began. And the efforts made by the nonprofit Friends of the Hollywood Theater to stop the sale materialized offline as well – there was a public meeting and a petition that garnered more than 7,000 signatures (Dormont’s population is 9,000).

While Donora isn’t located in the South Hills, it is going to be the topic of discussion at a March 27 Bridgeville Area Historical Society event. “Cement City, Donora, PA” will be presented by Brian Charlton, curator/archivist of the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum. The talk will be held at The Chartiers Room, located at the Bridgeville Volunteer Fire Department on Commercial Street. We dug into the Observer-Reporter’s archives to find some historical images – notably of the pollution that was responsible for the 1948 Donora Smog Disaster, and one of the “Cement City” homes upon their completion.

Nostalgia was the theme as Mt. Lebanon celebrated its collective sports heritage during its first-ever Hall of Champions recognition event. Former alumni, coaches and administrators gathered at the Circuit Center Ballroom, located on the South Side of Pittsburgh, to welcome the newly enshrined Class of 2016-17, as well as share memories from past successful seasons. To be inducted into the hall, an athlete must have met one of three criteria: earned All-America status as a player, competed as an individual or on a team that captured a WPIAL title or a PIAA championship. The event is expected to become an annual celebration and a fundraiser to help support the sports programs at the high school.

Regular readers of the Observer-Reporter editorial page may recognize the name Oren Spiegler as a frequent contributor of letters to the editor. The Upper Saint Clair resident, 61, is a government hearing officer who loves politics and public affairs and is never shy about discussing controversial issues. We decided to find out why he is so passionate about public affairs and making his voice heard.

Happy 2018, and happy Third Annual Q&A Issue of South Hills Living! This issue has become one of my favorites, and as I was editing the features, there were a few very profound things that really stuck out to me.

Ever since they began making apple cider in an old dairy barn at Trax Farm in 1964, workers here have spent the dog days of summer through the dead of winter cranking out gallons and gallons of the beverage to sell to the public.

It’s a 90-degree day in July, and 10 women are gathered in a garden, just like they are every Tuesday. A couple of children are playing with the water hose while their mothers and their friends harvest the garden.

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