Daily Archive: October 15, 2009


Brinker Group opens office in Pittsburgh, brings $100 million bonding capacity

Though there was little fanfare for the grand opening of the Brinker Group’s regional office on East General Robinson Street, there was palpable excitement from the Black business owners and public officials who welcomed the Detroit-based contractor to Pittsburgh. TO BUILDING BRIDGES—Brinker Group CEO Larry Brinker thanks Pittsburgh for a warm welcome at the Oct. 8 grand opening of his Detroit-based contracting firm’s new regional office on the North Side. “This is a day of great hope for minority businesses in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County,” said Mark Jones, representing County Executive Dan Onorato. “The Brinker Group has the capacity to do $100 million in bonding. With their commitment, I look forward to the day when we have several large minority-owned companies here that can bid and compete in this market.”


Harris would turn city into small business

While mayoral candidate Franco ‘Dok’ Harris, 29, believes Pittsburgh has strong leadership throughout its universities, hospitals and foundations, he said this kind of leadership is sorely lacking in city government. DOK HARRIS “There is no proactive leadership,” Harris said. “There has been no time spent building relationships. When you build relationships you don’t have to worry.”


Acklin focuses on neighborhoods

It would make a great movie; poor kid works his way from the streets of South Oakland to Harvard, then law school, then to the mayor’s office via a grass-roots independent campaign. It could be Kevin Acklin’s movie—if he can just write that last act. KEVIN ACKLIN On Oct. 9, Acklin told the New Pittsburgh Courier editorial board he has knocked on about 70,000 doors throughout Pittsburgh in an effort to do just that.


Where the jobs are

In July, Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate was reported at it’s highest in 23 years at 7.6 per cent according to the latest numbers from the state Department of Labor & Industry. As the Section 3 Coordinator in the East Liberty community, the goal of Kevin Mickens is to have the unemployment numbers lowered in East Liberty by providing residents with jobs. A JOB IN THE MAKING—Kevin Mickens, East Liberty’s Section 3 Coordinator assists Lucretia Morris in her job quest. “There’s a lot of connecting going on,” he says. Working in conjunction with East Liberty Development, Inc. and the Coalition of Organized Residents of East Liberty, Mickens’ purpose is to ensure that residents most in need of employment can take advantage of the available and upcoming opportunities throughout the area.


Style…Economy forces back-to-basics approach

(Part one of a four-part series) Janet Jackson was hard to miss at the media showing of Ralph Lauren’s three spring-summer 2010 collection previews, perched on a front row and elegant in a gray sweater cinched with a wide brown belt over a white blouse and dark pencil skirt. G-STAR, HILFIGER Many among the fashion press were pleasantly surprised to see her. But even more eyebrow-raising than her rare New York Fashion Week appearance was what Lauren sent out that rainy Thursday morning—a collection inspired by the stark, simple garb of the pioneer, the farmer, the cowboy and the American laborer yet injected with a modern glamour that made them unmistakably feminine.


Local leaders to dismantle school-to-prison pipeline

There are currently 456 juveniles serving life sentences in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. At a meeting held by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, community leaders discussed the concept of the school-to-prison pipeline, a system they say accounts for the large numbers of African-American male juveniles in the prison system. ONE HOOD—Jasiri X facilitates an ACLU discussion at the Amani International Coffee House in the North Side.


Will A+ Schools make schools work?

This week, A+ Schools launched their new School Works program, a community-based action initiative through which volunteers will interview Pittsburgh Public School District principals. The goal is to discover where there are inequities within the schools and to create an action plan for correcting those inequities. MARK BRENTLEY and CAREY HARRIS


Metro Beat

Man sentenced Last Tuesday a Lawrenceville man was sentenced for the March 2007 killing of an 18-year-old outside of the Cotton Club on Webster Avenue in the Hill District. Common Pleas Judge Lester G. Nauhaus sentenced Kevin D. Coaston, 32, to eight-and-a-half to 20 years in prison for killing Jerrell Everett. Coaston was found guilty, in July at a non-jury trial, of third-degree homicide. During his trial witnesses testified to seeing him shoot Everett and running away with the gun.


Grandparents find it takes more than love

What can you do when you’re raising your child’s child; you don’t believe in spanking; you don’t have a car; you don’t have the energy or strength you had 20 or 30 years ago; and you’re on a fixed income? Where can you go? Who can you talk to? PROUD GRANDPARENTS—Barbara Witherspoon, left, is founder of “It takes more than love.” With her is Betty Brown. These are the kinds of questions that motivated Barbara Witherspoon to get together with two other Wilkinsburg-area grandmothers in 2004 to discuss how they could help others facing the same challenges while raising their children’s children, which led to the establishment of “It Takes More Than Love: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.”


Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize triumph praised by many

by Gregory Katz LONDON (AP)—The choice of President Barack Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize was cheered Friday by a global chorus from European leaders to minibus passengers in Kenya—but it also elicited criticism over the decision to break with tradition and recognize hopeful promise over concrete achievement. GREAT THINGS EXPECTED—Archbishop Desmond Tutu reacts during a press conference held to congratulate U.S. President Barack Obama in Cape Town, South Africa, Oct. 9.