Daily Archive: September 3, 2009

Metro

Allen sworn in…New appointment gives Blacks more power on city school board

At the Aug. 26 Pittsburgh Public Schools board meeting, Dara Ware Allen, Ph.D., was sworn in as school board director of District 2. As the addition of another African-American to the school board, her appointment marks the first time four Blacks have served on the board at one time. Randall Taylor, Mark Brentley, Thomas Sumpter and Allen are the four African-American members of the nine-member board. OATH OF OFFICE —Dara Ware Allen is sworn in as the District 2 board member for the Pittsburgh Public Schools. “I have a personal and professional vested interest in the district doing well,” Allen said. “I have always had a passion for public education, especially the Pittsburgh Public Schools as a graduate and through my work with Youth Works.”

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Metro

40 of 58 homicides Black lives…Down 20 from last year, has message finally gotten through?

This time last year the Allegheny County Homicide count was up to 78 and this year there are 20 less homicides. Has the message finally started to get through to the community about ending senseless violence? Have the marches, the protests and the pledges to take back the community finally gotten to the gang bangers, the drug dealers, and those who just do not think? Only time will truly tell. As part of an ongoing effort to heighten awareness about the effects of murder in Black communities, the New Pittsburgh Courier will compile a list of homicides in the County each month. It is our hope that as the list of victims grows, so will a true understanding of how these lost lives affect the mental health, economic well-being and self-images of the region’s Black neighborhoods.

Metro

Hill District First Source Center officially opens

Fifty years ago, 50,000 people lived in the Hill District. This number went to 28,000 in 1970 and to a paltry 15,000 in 1990. This information was shared by Carl Redwood, director of the Hill District Consensus and a leader of One Hill who worked to establish the Community Benefits Agreement between the community and the Penguins, to an overflow audience of special invitees including city officials, other tenants, community organizations, potential clients and other interested parties who were on hand for the official grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremonies of the new Hill District First Source Center Aug. 26. RIBBON-CUTTING—From left: Evan Frazier, Hill House, president and CEO; Mayor Luke Ravenstahl; Ken Nesbit, site coordinator, Hill District First Source Center; Everett McEleveen, LifeWorks; Victoria Pittrell, director of Family & Workforce Development, Hill House; Gregory Spencer, board chair, Hill House; Carl Redwood, board president, One Hill CBA; and Angela Howze, intake and referral specialist, Hill District First Source Center.

Metro

PAT promises better overall service from new plan

Last week, Port Authority of Allegheny County released the final draft proposal of the Transit Development Plan. Under the new plan, many areas will see a higher frequency of service and a more simplified system, with 73 percent of riders seeing a higher level of service overall. “The first thing we want to emphasize is this is not a cut in service,” said Port Authority CEO Stephen Bland. “Most of the changes are eliminating overlap.” Tied to the release of the new plan came the announcement of a fare increase set for January 2010. While most fares will see an increase, Port Authority will not increase the Zone 1 cash fare, which is currently $2, however the weekly pass will increase to $22 and the monthly to $80.

Metro

Shopper forces recall of offensive doll

Time was when Black women’s advocates, remembering their childhoods playing with alabaster-faced dolls, complained that toymakers were not making any Black dolls. Doll makers eventually gave Barbie African-American friends and soon followed suit with unique Black fashion dolls and baby dolls that opened and closed their eyes, cried, drank, spoke and even wet just like White dolls. STUNNED—John Taylor holds a “Lil’ Monkey” doll outside the Greensboro, N.C., Costco, where he purchased it in early August. Recently, however, one such doll maker followed this path into the realm of racial stereotype, when in early August, a Black version of the “Cuddle with Me” doll arrived at the Costco store in Greensboro, N.C. Like the White dolls, this one came with a pet animal. But unlike the White dolls, the Black one came with a pet monkey—and the doll wore a bonnet with stitching that read, “Lil’ Monkey.”

Metro

Beltzhoover festival helps unify community after loss

A trip through McKinley Park during the sixth Annual My Brother’s Keeper Unity Celebration in Beltzhoover, revealed a community of women torn apart by the loss of their sons. Among them was Debra Germany who lost her son Raymond Germany in July 2001 when he was 23 years old. FAMILY TIES— Sharon Daniels, middle, stands with, from left, Leslie Jones, Anne Brown, Maria Griffy and Melanie Jones, family members of the deceased Clayton Thompson. “My son made $1,000 a day selling drugs, but it cost him a bullet in the head,” said Germany, executive director of Divine Intervention Ministries. “My son was murdered because he decided to sell drugs for a living.”

Metro

CEA to launch construction training

The Community Empowerment Association will launch a 12-week pre-apprenticeship training program, beginning in September. Registration for those interested in the Ma’at Construction Group program began at the Brother to Brother Breakfast Aug. 29. “We feel one of the ways to help young men stay out of trouble is to keep them busy,” said CEA founder Rashad Byrdsong. “Why we feel this is the time to do this is because of the multi-million dollars of construction that’s going into the area.”

Metro

School named after superintendent

Gateway School District has announced the renaming of their elementary school after the district’s first Black superintendent. Moss Side Elementary School will now be named the Dr. Cleveland Steward Jr. Elementary School. Cleveland Steward Jr.

Metro

North Side All Class Reunion

The North Side All Class Reunion and community day gathering featured Oliver, Perry, and Allegheny high schools. Fred “Scrappy” Bulls and James “Jamie” Younger held “The First Annual All Class Reunion” at Epiphany Church in the Hill District Aug. 21. This event brought together everyone who attended the three North Side high schools years ago. The community day gathering, which was held at West Park, brought together everyone from kindergarten to eighth grade. THE NORTH SIDE ALL CLASS REUNION

Metro

Speak Out: What is your reaction to Michael Jackson’s death being ruled a homicide?

Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide, so we asked Pittsburghers what they thought and should the doctor be charged. Here’s what you said. “I don’t think it should matter how his death was caused. We should just focus on his life and the inspiration that it brought to the world through his music and humanitarianism. In regard to the law of man, I think the doctor should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In regards to God’s law, let the chips fall where they may.”Michelle CokerMonroevilleActivist