Laurels & lances: Attitude, delay and entertainment

Laurel: To a positive outlook. When Sara Belt of Unity was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at 53, it could have been a crushing blow for her and her family. Instead, she chose to be appreciative of the answers the diagnosis gave for her symptoms.

Three years later — when estimates should have put her into a loss of cognition — Belt has progressed from mild presentation to moderate, but there has been other progress, too. She and husband Don have become national leaders in advocating for those dealing with the disease that affects more than 6 million Americans.

They talk to federal legislators about the funding and other resources that should go toward curing the disease. They assembled a resource kit for patients. They speak at events. They interact with anyone who has questions. Belt is also participating in a fourth clinical trial for an experimental drug treatment.

This kind of proactive attitude takes something as unfair as disease and finds a way to harness it to make a difference.

Lance: To an unfortunate delay. The Tarentum Bridge closing for a $3.4 million rehabilitation project was already a complication for people in the Alle-Kiski Valley. Detours were causing traffic congestion, which was in turn causing other problems like delaying emergency services. But it was easy to take since it was just going to be a few days out of a project that will actually take until the fall to complete.

And then that ended with a bang. Or a crash, actually.

On Saturday, a car drove across the closed lanes from New Kensington to Tarentum, hitting the side, catching fire and severely damaging equipment necessary to complete work.

Every crash is unfortunate, but this one is expected to delay the reopening of those lanes, which were set to be operational again June 27. The Tarentum to New Kensington side reopened as scheduled June 13.

Laurel: To sweet, sweet music. If there is one thing that people have missed over the last year of coronavirus pandemic restrictions, it has been live entertainment. Over the last week, a number of announcements have been made about upcoming concerts that will bring music and comedy back to the area.

Grammy winner Richard Marx, “Saturday Night Live” alum and former senator Al Franken and comedian and impersonator Frank Caliendo are all slated for dates this year at the Carnegie of Homestead Music Hall. Donnie Iris and the Cruisers are coming to the Roxian.

The biggest announcement to date is a return visit from rock legend Elton John, who will be bringing his farewell tour back to Pittsburgh in 2022.

And all of this is on top of smaller entertainment events like Live! Casino Pittsburgh’s upcoming beer, wine and music festival and the Westmoreland Fairgrounds Food & Music Festival that starts Friday.

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