Daily Archive: February 17, 2010


Residents unite behind Hill District Master Plan

Hill District residents braved the snowy weather to attend a town hall meeting with their elected officials, community groups and developers. Discussion on Feb. 15 was centered on the Hill District Master Plan, which will receive $350,000 in grants from city planning departments and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. MAKING PROGRESS— Aliya Durham, YMCA district vice president, left, and Paul Cali, of DRS Architects, present artist renderings of the new Thelma Lovette YMCA. “We’ve always had these miscommunications in the Hill so we thought it would be good to have all the different government representatives and community groups together,” said Rep. Jake Wheatley, who organized the meeting.


Williams falsely used as WBE

When Heinz Field, PNC Park and the David L. Lawrence Center were being built a decade ago, Cameil Williams, the county’s MWDBE director, worked to help Blacks and women get contracts on the projects and to uncover the “pass-through” contracts that had minority participation only on paper. CONTRACT CON?— Business owner Cameil Williams was listed as a WBE subcontractor by Mt. Lebanon Office Equipment’s furniture bid on the Consol Energy Center despite having no agreement with Mt. Lebanon. Now, as a small business owner, she’s trying to get contracts on current development projects. So the irony was not lost on her when she got a call congratulating her for a near $20,000 subcontract she’d won for the Consol Energy Center. The only problem was—Williams had no such subcontract.


Census jobs offer remedy to Black unemployment

With a national unemployment rate of 16.5 percent for Black people as of January 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, jobs are becoming more limited and harder to find. With the 2010 Census coming, the Census Bureau is offering thousands of jobs that pay great and offer flexibility to accommodate anyone. DOING HIS PART—A resident fills out the census form from the U.S. Census Bureau. “These jobs are great opportunities for people who may have jobs already and are looking for extra income or for those who are unemployed and looking for a job,” said Pamela Golden, media specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau. “They are ideal for people who like to work with the public and who work well independently.”


CEA claims police brutality a Black issue

At a community forum held to address the beating of 17-year-old Jordan Miles by three Pittsburgh City police officers, tensions rose when Beth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizens Police Review Board, suggested police brutality is not only an issue plaguing the African-American community. COME TOGETHER— Beth Pittinger calls for everyone to support the Citizens Police Review Board. “Victims of police brutality are not just Black, and that is not diminishing the history,” Pittinger said. “I’m suggesting that to say that when we come together in our city, that is when we have achieved things.” After detailing the history of the CPRB at the forum hosted by the Community Empowerment Association Feb. 13, Pittinger pleaded for the community to support the board. She said it is important for everyone to attend meetings addressing police brutality, whether the victim is White or Black.


Snow buries Penn Hills strike

Penn Hills teachers had hoped to draw attention to their five-month-old contract dispute with the district when they went out on strike Feb. 4, and for one day it worked. But before a new negotiating session could be convened the next day, the worst winter storm to hit the region in 17 years took the focus off the strike and put it on dealing with downed trees, no power and no heat for everyone in the municipality. ALL FOR ONE —Administrative Assistant Vickie Pollard walks the picket line as Penn Hills teachers go on strike Feb. 4. They agreed to return to work Feb. 10, though an agreement on a new contract has not been reached.


It’s in the numbers

LaVerne Baker Hotep is known for her many deeds. She is an essential part of the Center for Victims of Violence and Crime, a vocalist, African drummer, author and founder and president of WellWoman InnerPrize. Now after more than 30 years of study and research she is fully operating Numerology Readings for Enlightened Living and revealing her numerology expertise. SPREADING KNOWLEDGE— LaVerne Baker Hotep shares information through her numerous business ventures. “Nearly every aspect of our daily lives deals with numbers in someway,” said Hotep. She listed time, money, bus routes, highway exits, addresses, telephones, Social Security numbers, bank accounts, elevators and even fast food ordering as a few possible everyday encounters. Noting that some people might classify numerology as being mythical, she says the roots of it date back thousands of years with variations being found in most cultures going back to Phoenicia and Babylon.


Speak Out: How do you celebrate Black History Month?

February is Black History Month so we asked Pittsburghers what their plans are. Here’s what you said: “I am not doing anything for Black History Month because I don’t know what’s going on. If I knew of different things then I would probably do them.” Brandon Cunningham Student Penn Hills Brandon Cunningham, Anisa Tate and Rahsaan Scott


Community Calendar

Planning meeting FEB. 18—The Black Political Empowerment Project will host their monthly Planning Council Meeting at 6 p.m. at Freedom Unlimited, 2201 Wylie Ave., Hill District. The community is invited to join in the discussion. For more information, call Tim Stevens at 412-758-7898 or visit b-pep.net or b-pepinfo@b-pep.net.


Black History Month Calendar of Events

BHM service FEB. 21—The Summer Vacation Bible School of Morningside COGIC will host a Black History Month Service at 4 p.m. at Dearborn St., Morningside. The theme is “Reflecting on Pittsburghers.” The selected individuals to be recognized are Helen Faison, Nate Smith, Cmdr. Gwen Elliot and John Moon. There will also be a showing of the documentary, “Freedom House.” All are welcome to attend. For more information, call 412-361-9865.


Viva Mandela! 20 years of freedom celebrated

by T. Mgudlwa DRAKENSTEIN, South Africa (AP)—Standing at the gates of a prison, South Africans celebrated how far they have come since Nelson Mandela took his walk to freedom 20 years ago Feb. 11. Now 91 and frail, Mandela is rarely seen in public. He celebrated quietly at his home last week by reminiscing with fellow veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle. WATERSHED MOMENT—A man holds up his fist in front of the statue of former South African President Nelson Mandela during celebrations outside the Drakenstein prison near Cape Town, South Africa, Feb. 11. Thousands of admirers flocked to the former Victor Verster Prison in Drakenstein near Cape Town where Mandela was last held and where a 10-foot (3-meter) high bronze statue depicting Mandela’s first steps as a free man after 27 years behind bars now stands. On this day 20 years ago, Mandela walked out of Victor Verster hand-in-hand with his then-wife Winnie, fist raised, smiling but resolute.