Metro Beat

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New position

Carlow University has announced that it has named Rev. Dr. Jermaine McKinley the new coordinator for the university’s Mercy Center for Service, which gets students active in service and volunteer work.

“The opening of the Mercy Center for Service marks the beginning of a new phase in the life of the university as we strive to grow in our response to our Mercy heritage—particularly the tradition of service inherent in any Mercy institution,” Sister Sheila Carney, RSM, special assistant to the president for Mercy Heritage and Service, said in a release. “Dr. McKinley brings to her position as coordinator a wealth of experience and insight that will bring the center and all that it means to its fullest potential. We heartily welcome her to the Carlow family.”

Prior to her new position, Rev. McKinley has served the past 10 years as assistant director of the Metro-Urban Institute at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and was a professor at the Community College of Allegheny County. She also is the vice moderator of Pittsburgh Presbytery.

Reverend McKinley says her role is to benchmark all current community service endeavors, assess their effectiveness, and seek to coordinate the overall effort. Her upcoming events are the Mercy Service Day activities and the university’s Alternative Spring Break, which will send 21 students, faculty and staff members to Laredo, Texas, during the week of March 7 to build houses for the Laredo chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Council online

Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto announced that beginning Jan. 5 all city council meetings would be broadcast online for individuals everywhere to view, not just city residents as before. Along with the new broadcasts, videos will be embedded so that you may search for and watch specific parts of a meeting.

“I am pleased that starting today, city council meetings will be more transparent and the public will have easier access to information that is important to their community,” Peduto said in a release. “This is the first significant change since the early 1980s when meetings were cablecast. Over the past 25 years, times have changed, and government must change, too. People must see how their tax dollars are being spent—more eyes watching equals better government,” Peduto added.

This is just one of many initiatives released within the last year to make city government more open. Just last year, iBurgh was introduced. It is the iphone mobile application, which lets residents share concerns directly with city officials.

To view the meetings, visit http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/council.

Website launch

AP—Groupon, a shopping website that offers a daily deal on the best local goods, services and cultural events, launched in Pittsburgh Jan. 11.

“Pittsburgh’s economy has stayed strong despite the financial crisis, and it has been one of the few cities to add jobs,” said Groupon founder Andrew Mason. “A growing economy means more new businesses. Groupon will help those businesses find new customers. And in the process, we’ll save those customers money on the things they love to do.”

Using the principles of collective buying, Groupon negotiates unprecedented deals with top businesses. Groupon subscribers receive free daily e-mails alerting them to the deal. These deals are only activated if a minimum number of people agree to buy, encouraging subscribers to share the promotion with family and friends via social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter. By guaranteeing a large number of new customers, Groupon creates a win-win situation for local merchants. So far, this innovative approach to e-commerce has generated millions in revenue for local businesses while saving two million subscribers more than $63 million.

“Groupon brings buyers and sellers together in a fun and collaborative way,” said Mason. “We offer the consumer a great deal they can’t get anywhere else and deliver the sales directly to the merchant.”

During its first week in Pittsburgh, Groupon’s featured deals will include yoga, fine dining, bowling and more. Pittsburgh is Groupon’s 29th city. For more information, visit http://www.groupon.com.

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