Monthly Archive: September 2009


Health care insurance costs soar

Seventeen percent of the nation’s economy goes toward health care costs; far more than in any other industrialized nation. Yet, 50 million Americans are currently without health insurance. For those fortunate enough to be covered, the high premiums and deductibles make a serious dent in their household budget. Companies are paying less for employee health care while workers are paying out of pocket more often, sometimes for fewer services. A medical emergency can often leave a family financially drained. In fact, a large percentage of those who file bankruptcy do so because of mounting health care bills.


Lalah takes stage with style, grace, opens August Wilson Center

Songstress Lalah Hathaway treated Pittsburghers to a variety of music that has spanned her career when she graced the August Wilson African American Cultural Center stage, Sept 10-11. Hathaway was in town to kick off the inaugural season of the center. The mission of the center is to serve and promote the history of African-Americans in western Pennsylvania. LALAH HATHAWAY


Legendary Rastafarian takes crowd on Jamaican journey

Fellow Jamaican Paula Reed said she hadn’t danced like this in years after attending the reggae concert of legendary singer Ernie Smith. Reed was visiting Pittsburgh for the second time and heard about the concert and decided to support it. ERNIE SMITH “I loved everything about it,” said Reed. “It reminded me of home.”


‘Stomp’ raises the roof

Rhythm, soul and light-hearted comedy reigned as the legendary internationally acclaimed dance-musical “Stomp” arrived at the Benedum Center Sept. 15. For six nights, the show dazzled Pittsburghers as they made a beeline to witness eight performers who moved in synchronized harmony, made delightful music with everyday objects and danced with youthful ferocity. CLEANING UP—Even brooms and other common objects were used to make music.


Out & About with Snoop Dog and Ving Rhames

This week I visited Capri’s Bar and Restaurante in East Liberty, Questions Night Club in the Strip District, Krobar Night Club in the Strip District and the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty. My first stop was the Shadow Lounge where I met with hip-hop artists “The Finest.” They were showing support to “Weapons of Mass Productions” by Boka. Folks came out to this event to show their skills in the studio lab and compete for cash money. Hollywood actor Ving Rhames and friends chilling at Krobar Night Club in the Strip District for Snoop Dogg’s concert.


Arts & Culture Calendar

Thursday 24 Part Three The Carnegie Museum of Art presents “Documenting Our Past: The Teenie Harris Archive Project, Part Three” from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. It features photographs selected by a guest curator, Charles A. “Little Teenie” Harris, the oldest son of “Teenie” Harris. Harris has selected images by his father that have never before been viewed by the public, in addition to other well-known favorites. The 184 photographs have been divided into the following themes: landmarks, celebrities, children, family, occupations, politics, protests, social, sports and weddings and religious events. In addition to the images selected, the exhibition features the 50 winning photographs from the “One Shot” Teenie Harris Photo Contest. The exhibit will run to Jan. 31, 2010. For more information, call 412-622-3131.


PNC recruiters: There are jobs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pittsburgh has an average of one job for every four unemployed residents. Recruiters at PNC beg to differ. “Even in a down economy, there are great jobs available and PNC has a lot of them,” said Melissa Mounce, senior vice president and director of talent acquisition. Mounce, who’s based in Chicago, along with PNC’s Pittsburgh-based recruiting manager, Julie Paden, wants to spread the word about the many job opportunities at PNC. Thanks to the recent acquisition of National City Bank, PNC has “greatly expanded our geographic footprint” to places like Chicago, Milwaukee, Florida, California and Texas where job opportunities are also available. MELISSA MOUNCE



The Carr Report…Understanding annuities

What is an annuity? An annuity is a savings plan with an insurance company. Lately, I’ve received several questions asking if annuities are the way to go. I’ve answered this question so many times that my answer has become scripted. “There’s nothing inherently bad about an annuity. It’s simply not a first option to save money.” In this column I’ll like to explain the fundamentals of annuities. I’ll compare the pros and the cons of annuities. You’ll see why I believe you should not consider annuities until you’ve exhausted other long-term investing vehicles such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and/or employer sponsored retirement plans 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, etc). (I’ll refer to both individual retirement accounts and company sponsored retirement plans throughout this report as qualified retirement plans.)