Daily Archive: December 23, 2009


Mother shocked at prayer vigil: Son’s killer will not be charged

When LaTonia Edwards joined friends in Mt. Oliver for a one-year anniversary vigil to remember her slain son, 16-year-old LaRon Benton, who died on his birthday, Dec. 16, 2008, she still believed police had no suspects and had made no arrests—until a reporter asked her for her reaction to the arrest of Benton’s cousin, Dontae Benton, 16, and a friend, 17-year-old Terrin Mangham. MOTHER’S LOSS— Surrounded by friends and family, LaTonia Edwards breaks down during an anniversary vigil for her son, LaRon Benton, who was killed in Mt. Oliver, Dec. 16, 2008. According to a county police affidavit, LaRon, Dontae and Mangham lured drug dealer Ralph Meadows to an abandoned house in an attempt to rob him at gunpoint. There was a struggle during which Meadows managed to grab one of the guns. As he fell to the floor it fired, striking LaRon in the chest.


IUP targets Blacks: To seek students with outreach, retention efforts

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has begun a new initiative to increase the number of African-American students pursuing post-secondary education. In a partnership with the Pittsburgh Public School district, the Promise Plus initiative will help ensure more students take advantage of the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship. EAGER TO LEARN— Lincoln Elementary students surround David Lind, director for the Center for Video Technology, IUP Department of Communications Media, at the university’s television station. “The IUP Promise Plus initiative is an example of IUP’s commitment to outreach educational attainment,” IUP President Tony Atwater said. “We take great pride in working with Heinz Endowment to build successful futures for elementary and high school students in the greater Pittsburgh region.”


IUP faculty votes no confidence in president

Last week, approximately 80 percent of the faculty at Indiana University of Pennsylvania voted they have no confidence in IUP President Tony Atwater. The results of the vote were released Dec. 18 by IUP’s chapter of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties who called for the vote in November. “This development is unfortunate but not surprising,” said Atwater. “I earlier extended an invitation to IUP APSCUF’s leadership to meet and pursue possible ways of resolving differences. However, the faculty union chose not to respond to my invitation.” TONY ATWATER Of the 777 faculty members who were eligible to vote, 672 participated with 568 expressing no confidence, 64 expressing confidence, and 40 abstaining.


Frazier goes out with a bang: Farewell party, large corporate donation

On Evan Frazier’s last official day as president and CEO of the Hill House Association, his co-workers threw him a farewell party. And in true Christmas spirit he gave something back, announcing the agency had reached a new fundraising goal with the help of the largest corporate gift ever received. FAREWELL—Left: Dr. Jeannette South-Paul of UPMC talks to Evan Frazier. At right: Tika Hemmingway talks with Evan Frazier. “We have reached our $10 million mark in our capital campaign, thanks in part to EQT Corp. making the largest corporate donation in Hill House’s history,” he said, Dec. 18. Hill House board chair Greg Spencer called the $500,000 gift “historic.”


Pioneering paramedic honored

Before 1967, if you needed an ambulance to get to the hospital, you usually didn’t make it. But in that year, 26 African-American men from the streets were selected to become the nation’s first paramedics. They became the Freedom House ambulance drivers-and in 1972, John Moon became one of them. “To this day, despite my efforts, (Pittsburgh Emergency Medical Services) fails to acknowledge its foundation, which is the Freedom House ambulance service,” he said HONORED GUEST— Helping John Moon enjoy a special evening, are, from left: Lisa Paige, assistant city solicitor; Maurita Bryant, assistant police chief; and Tamiko L. Stanley, assistant director and CEO. Moon received the awards from DiverCity 365. When the city of Pittsburgh took over the ambulance service in 1975, putting Freedom House and other companies out of business, Moon was one of the few Blacks hired, and in addition to the life-saving work he continued to do, he found himself training mostly White people in paramedic procedures. After 34 years, he retired as an assistant chief of medical services.


Editorial: Wishing all a Merry Christmas filled with love

What does Christmas really mean? Should we stop celebrating it? With the economy being what it is, White unemployment is more than 10 percent and Black unemployment over 20 percent, should we just forsake this holiday? It’s just a holiday in which we spend too much and end up in debt for the rest of the year, getting our kids stuff they don’t really need. Listening to many of the doom and gloom people of today would make most of us bypass Christmas. But what is Christmas really about?


King new Urban Youth Action executive director

Urban Youth Action, Inc. welcomes Ruthie D. King as its new executive director. With an impressive background in business and community leadership, King brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Pittsburgh’s oldest youth workforce development organization. RUTHIE D. KING With a successful track record of youth workforce development, educational partnerships and community engagement, King is positioned to help UYA continue its mission to prepare youths to be “work ready, life prepared and community minded.”


Metro Beat

Tuition tax deal made AP—Pittsburgh officials tell The Associated Press that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has reached a deal with university leaders that averts the need to impose a first-of-its-kind tax on college tuition. Three city officials say a deal has been reached. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced. Ravenstahl and university leaders will announce the details Monday.


Community Calendar

Santaland DEC. 23—Macy’s Department Store’s Downtown location will host Santaland from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. at 400 Fifth Ave., Downtown. Parents can bring their children to visit Santa and share their Christmas wishes and take a photo with him. There will also be a gift shop available. Santaland runs through Dec. 24. For more information, call 412-232-2000.


Vatican defrocks African archbishop for defiance

VATICAN CITY (AP)—The Vatican says it has stripped charismatic African Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo of his priestly duties because he defiantly continues to ordain bishops despite already being excommunicated. DEFROCKED—In this Jan. 29 file photo, Zambian prelate Emmanuel Milingo takes part in a TV show in Milan, Italy. A Vatican spokesman, Rev. Ciro Benedettini, says last Thursday’s announcement of the defrocking means any future ordinations by the Zambian prelate will be considered invalid by the Catholic Church.