Area Life

Why make your own chicken stock?: Because it rocks!

Why bother making chicken stock at home when there are so many respectable versions at the supermarket? Because the stock you pour out of a can or a box just can't touch the homemade variety.The difference is in the flavor and the texture, both of which - but particularly the texture - come ...

Pa. film industry seeks more tax credits

PITTSBURGH - Western Pennsylvania's film industry is having growing pains.It just wrapped up a blockbuster year that included the simultaneous filming of two major motion pictures - a first for Pittsburgh. A new studio opened in Robinson, another plans to expand in McKees Rocks and the region ...

Celebrity houses: Quirky add-ons common feature of homes

LOS ANGELES - Actor Mark Wahlberg's Los Angeles mansion has a putting green. Tech billionaire Bill Gates' Medina, Washing-ton, abode includes rooms where guests can customize the music, lighting and climate. Actress Shirley MacLaine's on-the-market New Mexico ranch includes a stone ...

Hotel hopes guests adopt a rescue dog

LOS ANGELES - At this hotel, guests get welcomed with a wagging tail or a warm lick to the face.A dog will bound out from behind the registration desk, clad in an "Adopt Me" vest, as visitors arrive at the Aloft hotel in downtown Asheville, North Carolina, believed to be the only hotel in the ...

New book profiles the prolific Becker family

I've previously mentioned Philadelphia resident Barry Becker in "Roots & Branches" - he's a cousin of the late German genealogy maestro John T. Humphrey and has become a friend of mine in the last year or so.But Becker's a genealogist in his right and he has just published the first ...

New Year predictions

Do we do predictions for 2015? Ok, let me do some January - Congress, realizing the crazy pile of poker chips available if they just figure out how to regulate, and more importantly, tax online poker, rush a bill to the floor of the Senate. State Sen. Pat Toomey says that if online poker is ...

Earth Matters: Environmental wish list for new year could be reality

This time a year ago, we took a tongue-in-cheek look ahead into 2014's environmental developments. Our crystal ball turned out to be a bit cloudy, and our predictions were expectedly inaccurate, but it was worth some chuckles.This time, I hope to take a more serious look at the upcoming year, ...

From ice buckets to breaking the Internet: A year in pop culture

Just for fun, let's try to picture the year in pop culture, all in one image.We might begin with a singer oddly named Adele Dazeem, belting "Let It Go" from Disney's "Frozen." Suddenly a friend would pour a bucket of ice water over her head. Adele would immediately tweet the moment on her new ...

‘Frozen’ named top entertainer of 2014

NEW YORK - If you have children, or know someone who does, or just listened to one recently, the choice of Associated Press Entertainer of the Year won't come as much of a shock: It's "Frozen," and in 2014, we just couldn't let it go.Although the animated film opened late in 2013, the story ...

Treasure moments of your life

There are a million feelings and sensations known to man. It's likely that we will feel a lot of them in our lifetime, but it's not probable we'll get to experience every single one.We often miss out on those moments - to allow ourselves to feel any one emotion to its highest degree. Some might ...

A life of lace: Local man practices art of tatting for almost eight decades

As a child, Wayne Hendershot had a bad habit - he bit his nails, much to the disdain of his mother.So, as a remedy, she decided to teach him tatting, a way to create a durable lace by making loops and knots, at about eight years old. Despite her efforts, Hendershot's nail-chewing habit ...

Garden Notes: Posies were used to communicate with beauty, grace

Aunt Posey was a singularly lively, beautiful woman who enjoyed talking and gambling. She was aptly named.Posies have been around since medieval times; a small flower bouquet that was, most often, a gift. Aunt Posey would tell us not to send flowers to her funeral.?She wanted to see them when ...

Earth Matters: Christmas trees have been holiday tradition for centuries

No holiday is more steeped in tradition and nostalgia than Christmas. Beyond commemorating a 2,000-year-old holy event, many Christmas traditions go back centuries.Even the films and shows we watch during the holiday season testify to our romantic and nostalgic yearnings for those simpler ...

Trinkets for the tree: Turn your child’s old toys into ornaments

From tractors and trains to cats and knights, my son's evolving obsessions all find a place on our Christmas tree.Like many families, we buy a new ornament each year, and I often seek out something that represents my son's current interests, in hopes that he'll enjoy looking back as an adult ...

‘Saving Private Ryan’ among films preserved

WASHINGTON - "Saving Private Ryan" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" are among 25 movies being inducted this year into the National Film Registry for long-term preservation, the Library of Congress announced Wednesday.The library selected films for their cultural, historic or aesthetic ...

Sharing music way to stay connected to friends

Luke Maguire Armstrong doesn't pen a holiday letter to friends. The guitar player and songwriter prefers to communicate musically.Armstrong makes a CD that he shares with friends and family each Christmas, containing songs that reflect the places he's visited or how he's felt during the year. ...

Tasty Words: Throw a healthy, hassle-free holiday appetizer party

What I love the most about the holiday season is the opportunity to share food with family and friends. Instead of stressing over a large meal, I usually host get-togethers where appetizers are the main event.The hustle and bustle of Christmas season can leave many people strapped for extra ...

Bell ringer doesn’t allow disease slow her down

Carolyn Fenchak of Ebensburg is an excellent musician, at one time playing the trumpet, her fingers flying over the valves to play the quick eighth notes.Fenchak is still great at music, but she's had to make some changes, because life has thrown her some unexpected challenges.That's OK, ...