Daily Archive: April 14, 2010

Business

Crawford Grill purchased…Franco Harris part of investment group

Standing on the corner of Wylie Avenue and Elmore Street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Franco Harris looks across the street at the names of jazz legends etched on the Legacy senior building—Billy Eckstine, Erroll Garner, Earl “Fatha” Hines—and starts nodding his head. UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT—Members of the group that bought the Crawford Grill in February include, from left: Robert Meeder, Greg Spencer, Jules Matthews, Victor Rogue, Dwight Mayo, Franco Harris and William Generett. “This is a good corner,” the Hall-of-Famer said. “You stand here and your head just starts bopping up and down. This is such a historic site that the preservation and history of it has to live on. So the question is, how do we do that? Well, the first step is to buy this building—so we did.” The building Harris is referring to is the Crawford Grill, a Hill mecca for jazz that closed in 2003. He is among a group of four private investors and three nonprofits that purchased the property in February. The others include Randall Industries founder Greg Spencer, Transportation Solutions owner Dwight Mayo, former Fisher Scientific CEO Bill Recker; Pittsburgh Gateways, The Keystone Innovation Zone and The Hill House Economic Development Corp.

Business

Plummer joins Rivers Casino as gaming VP

When hired, his title was slots manager, but that was only because the Rivers Casino hadn’t been approved for table games. That approval is expected shortly from the Gaming Control Board, meaning Corey Plummer is the Rivers’ new vice president of gaming, the highest ranking African-American in the company. COREY PLUMMER Plummer served as the vice president of slots at Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs, Calif., prior to joining Rivers Casino. He has broad management experience having worked for Aristocrat Technologies, Inc., opened Native American properties and managed gaming and casino marketing domestically and internationally. He also held executive positions with SKYCITY Casinos in Australia and New Zealand. Plummer began his career in the gaming industry with Harrah’s Entertainment.

Metro

Judges overturn McFerren firing

After being terminated from Farrell Area School District as the high school principal in July 2008, it has been found that Lee V. McFerren was unjustly fired and the school board did not have sufficient evidence for his termination. LEE McFERREN On April 8, Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, wrote and filed a majority opinion on behalf of herself and judges Keith B. Quigley and Renée Cohn Jubelirer that states, “…The district’s evidence did not prove that it had a ‘valid cause’ to discharge McFerren. Accordingly, the secretary’s decision is reversed.” McFerren declined to discuss the opinion and his feelings, but did refer the New Pittsburgh Courier to his lawyer.

Metro

Judge rules in favor of Mosley

Last week U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan ruled that a state law allowing for faster firings of management-level school employees was unconstitutional. Though this decision could have future implications, it came as a direct result of a lawsuit filed by Dwight Mosley, Ph.D., in November 2007. DWIGHT MOSLEY Mosley, a graduate of Westinghouse High School and the University of Dayton where he earned his bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D., was fired from his position as the director of recruiting and staffing with the Pittsburgh Public School District Aug. 23, 2007. He filed a lawsuit against the district on the grounds he did not receive due process when he was terminated.

Metro

Sestak: Obama deserves better allies

Polls that show him trailing in his race to unseat U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter don’t matter to U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, nor do the polls saying he’d lose to Republican candidate Pat Toomey if he somehow managed to defeat Specter in the May primary election. What matters, he says, is integrity. OPPORTUNITY OR OPPORTUNIST—That, says U.S. Senate candidate Joe Sestak, is the choice Democratic primary voters face between him and incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter. “There is an absolute lack of trust in politicians by the public and Arlen Specter epitomizes that lack of trust,” Sestak told the New Pittsburgh Courier editorial board. “He’s shown time and again, he’ll do anything to keep his job. I think you should stand or fall on your convictions, which is why I’m not running to keep my congressional seat.”

Metro

Wheatley stays focused on education

After seven years as state house representative of the 19th Legislative District, Jake Wheatley has remained focused on his commitment to closing the racial achievement gap. For him, education is a top priority and improving education in his district, he said, is the key to resolving other issues. JAKE WHEATLEY “When I talk about education I always talk about the complete sense. It’s important to really make sure every child receives a high quality education,” Wheatley said. “We really see that as a critical piece; everything else is based on that. That’s the foundation.” As subcommittee chairman on education appropriations as well as a member of the state education committee, Wheatley has been at the center of resolutions to improve education throughout his district and beyond.

Metro

More school closings looming for Hill, North Side

The recent decision by the Pittsburgh Public School Board to close Pittsburgh Rooney 6-8 and Pittsburgh Vann K-5 schools has left some angry, some hopeful and some confused. Some groups are focused on improving the existing schools in Pittsburgh’s African-American community and others are worried more school closings will follow. “As we have been watching the decline of the student population in Hill District schools and as we have been listening to the board, going back three years, we can’t say it came as a surprise, although it was a disappointment,” said Sala Udin, chair of the Hill District Education Council. “Especially Vann because Vann, at one time, was a model of academic excellence that people came from across the country to see.” PITTSBURGH ROBERT L. VANN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Metro

Work fair helps parolees reevaluate themselves

For ex-offenders like Leo Halcomb, starting a new life after prison is full of setbacks, the greatest of which is finding a job. Many feel they are reentering a society that doesn’t want to see them succeed, but Halcomb was able to overcome these obstacles with the help of family and friends. “I faced the dilemma of not having a job, but I had people who were there for me,” Halcomb said. “I had a good support system.” FULL HOUSE—Leo Halcomb speaks at Trinity Lutheran Church on the North Side.

Metro

Clark to head YWCA Center for Race and Gender Equity

A national presenter and trainer with an expertise in diversity and inclusion—Dina L. Clark—has been named the new director of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s Center for Race and Gender Equity. DINA L. CLARK Prior to her appointment for the YWCA, Clark served as the first executive director of the Western Pennsylvania Diversity Initiative, a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting regional economic growth by providing resources to employers in the greater Pittsburgh region to attract, hire and retain employees from a variety of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

Metro

CLEANING UP LARIMER

On March 13, Public Allies Pittsburgh and the Larimer Green Team organized a community-wide cleanup in the Larimer neighborhood with participants from the Kingsley Association,…