Monthly Archive: June 2010


Grocery store priority for new Hill House head

In December when he agreed to serve as acting head of the Hill House Association, Victor Roque said he would follow up on initiatives outgoing president Evan Frazier had in place, while a replacement search was conducted. The search ended June 10 when Roque was named new president and CEO. SERVING THE COMMUNITY—That’s what new Hill House Association President and CEO Victor Roque says the agency will focus on. He was promoted by the board June 10. “It comes at a good time for me” he said. “I’ve been retired a while, been on boards, and I found I like getting my hands on issues. And there are many issues and opportunities here in the Hill District.” As for putting his stamp on the Hill House, Roque said his vision for the association isn’t that different from Frazier’s. The only real difference, he said, is now that he’s officially in charge he has to follow through on the initiatives they’ve been looking at.


Harlem Children’s Zone coming to Homewood

In New York City, the Harlem Children’s Zone, a nonprofit organization, has been working to break the cycle of poverty one family at a time. With parenting workshops, a pre-school program, three public charter schools and child-oriented health programs, the organization has helped approximately 17,000 children. Recently, President Barack Obama’s administration announced it would launch the 20 Promise Neighborhoods program, which hopes to replicate the success of the HCZ in poverty-stricken areas of other U.S. cities. HOMEWOOD CHILDREN’S VILLAGE—John Wallace gives a presentation during the conference session “Refocus and Reform: Changing Direction in Urban Schools.” However, for the past two years, John Wallace, Ph.D., a University of Pittsburgh professor, has led an effort to bring HCZ to Pittsburgh. On June 23, the plan moved one step closer to reality when the Pittsburgh Public School District Board voted to add support services to Westinghouse High School, a key component of the Homewood Children’s Village proposal.


Mayor replaces 5 of 7 Citizen Police Review Board members

Rich Carrington jokes that he must have angered someone to have been re-nominated to Pittsburgh’s Citizen Police Review Board when five of his fellow members were not. “My job is to make sure citizens are represented when it comes to these issues, not the council, not the mayor, but the citizens who can’t speak for themselves,” he said. “My responsibility is to deal with cases as they come before me and be fair to the citizens and the police.” OUTRAGE—Black Political Empowerment Project Director Tim Stevens questions the motives of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s replacing members of the Citizen Police Review Board at a June 22 meeting. Carrington said criticizing the board because it has no disciplinary power is shortsighted. “Have we accomplished much as a board? No, but we have fought every day,” he said. “We have subpoena power. We’ve made unprecedented strides. Sure the police don’t speak when we haul them in, and council tells us to shut up. But more authority isn’t gained three years from now without the work we’ve already done.”


Garland disputes RAND Report findings

Though some were mildly surprised that the RAND report released last month found the One Vision One Life anti-violence program had no measurable effect in decreasing homicides, more were vocally upset with the report’s finding an association between the program and an increase in aggravated assaults. RICHARD GARLANDOne Vision One Life director One Vision Director Richard Garland was among them. “I’m working with the most at-risk population that no one else wants to work with. And there are a lot of people, ministers, folks at the county (government), people we’ve helped, who are very angry with the report and with RAND,” said Garland. “I’ll take the hit on the documentation (issues they raised) but not for the rest.”


Stanton Heights group takes school fight to court

At the zoning board meeting June 24, board members declined to hear an appeal by the Stanton Heights Community Organization on the grounds it was out of their jurisdiction. SHCO has been trying to block the construction of the Neighborhood Academy, a private school, from being built in their neighborhood since January 2009. Kevin McKeegan, an attorney representing the Neighborhood Academy, said the school has agreed to comply with the only zoning complaint, regarding signs. The rest of SHCO’s complaint is not related to zoning and will have to be addressed in Common Pleas Court.


BP assigns Black exec to oversee oil spill recovery claims

by Gregory Dale (NNPA)—Amidst the chaos of recovery from BP’s runaway oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, a new face has surfaced; one which does not have a British accent but instead, more visibly reflects the culture that has been severely jeopardized by the unceasing catastrophe BP has been attempting to fix—and he is African-American. NEW FACE—BP Director of Claims Darryl Willis, the new face on this crisis for the oil giant, talks with reporters in Bayou La Batre, Ala. on June 22. Darryl Willis, vice president of resources for BP America, volunteered to step into the fray and will serve as the head of the company’s claims team, which collects and responds to claims of monetary damages in connection with the disaster. Willis, a native of Louisiana, is now the public face for BP and appears in a series of commercials for the company.


Pitt seminar focuses on strengthening minority families

President Barack Obama once stated, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” The University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work and the Center on Race and Social Problems takes that challenge to heart, determined to make a positive transition in the world of diversity that will impact the world as we know it. The university played host to a “Race in America—Restructuring Inequality National Conference” from June 3-6. The presentations were designed to be the most solution-focused conference on race ever held.


Ball receives top education honor

Arnetha F. Ball, Ph.D., the Visiting Barbara A. Sizemore Distinguished Professor of Urban Education at Duquesne University, was recently presented with the Palmer O. Johnson Memorial Award by the American Educational Research Association. ARNETHA F. BALL The Johnson award recognizes the highest quality of academic scholarship published in one four AERA journals during the 2008 volume year. Ball’s article, “Towards a Theory of Generative Change in Linguistically Complex Classrooms,” was published in the American Educational Research Journal.


Speak Out: What is your reaction to the BP oil spill?

The worst oil spill in this country’s history has occurred in the Gulf. We asked Pittsburghers who is responsible for paying for it and who should clean it up? Here’s what you said: “It’s the biggest environmental and economic castatrophe that we have had in 40 years. The person/people responsible should pay for the damage and the cleanup costs. BP took shortcuts that caused the explosion and the equipment manufacturers produced faulty equipment. All responsible parties should pay.”Alice PittrellEast LibertyLegacy Arts Project program manager


Community Calendar

Celebrity basketball event JULY 3—B. Marshall and the Community Empowerment Association will host the DeJuan Blair and LaMarr Woodley Independence’s Day Celebrity Basketball Extravaganza event at 12 p.m. at the Peterson Event Center, 3719 Terrace St., Oakland. The event will showcase four games, which includes City High School stars vs. WPIAL stars, media and former pro and semi-pro players. Blair and Woodley will be coaching teams in the final game. For more information, call T. Rashad Byrdsong at 412-371-3689, ext. 14 or 15.