Daily Archive: June 2, 2010


Duquesne Conference tackles urban education

The push for strong teachers in schools has become a nationwide trend and Pittsburgh is no exception. The Pittsburgh Public School District recently launched its Empowering Effective Teachers plan to ensure a strong teaching and learning environment in every school. However, the task of creating, identifying and rewarding highly effective teachers can be difficult when many scholars do not agree on a plan of action. In an effort to address this and many other issues in education, Duquesne University hosted the Third Annual Duquesne Educational Leadership Symposium May 25-27. ARNETHA BALL “Education is currently under attack. Schools of education are closing; urban schools are closing,” said Arnetha Ball, Ph.D. “Too many decisions are being made without us being at the table. What will you do to take our rightful place as agents of change rather than objects of change?”


WDUQ sale on hold… Foundations pay for time to preserve station

Erroll Garner, Earl Hines, the Turrentine brothers, the Betters brothers, Walt Harper, Ahmad Jamal—all are Pittsburgh jazz legends, known the world over. But increasingly, even in their hometown, they seem to only live on the airways of WDUQ radio. But with Duquesne University’s pending sale of the station license, some fear their work and their place in Pittsburgh history may disappear from local airwaves, lost to future generations. NELSON HARRISON says losing only jazz station in Pittsburgh would be a disaster. “I really can’t imagine not hearing the melodic voices of Tony Mowod and Bob Studebaker, as well the other excellent hosts such as Helen Wigger, bringing this community the sounds of this nation’s original art form, jazz,” said Tim Stevens in a letter to the New Pittsburgh Courier. “This station has played more music by Pittsburgh artists than probably all of the other Pittsburgh stations combined, something that I as a Pittsburgh jazz vocalist and writer highly appreciate.”



19 of 30 homicides Black lives …All 4 victims in May were Black, under 30

With the previous month’s count of only one Black homicide, there was hope that all the vigils and marches had finally made an impact on the community and would put a stop to the senselessness that continues to plague the streets of the Black community. However, with four homicides in May, which is half of the monthly count for last year at this time, it is clear that the message has not gotten through. Not only were all the victims Black, but they were all under the age of 30. It’s sad enough that one cannot walk down a street without fear of being shot, but now one cannot even sit on a porch or even worse in their own living room. This has got to stop. Enough is enough. As part of an ongoing effort to heighten awareness about the effects of murder in the Black community, the New Pittsburgh Courier will compile a list of homicides in the county each month. It is our hope that as the list of victims grows, so will a true understanding of how these lost lives affect the mental health, economic well-being and self-images of the region’s Black neighborhoods.


Hazelwood charter school enters third round vs. board

Across the state, the issue of charter schools and the need for choice was a highly debated topic in the primary election for governor. In Pittsburgh, recent controversy has been focused on the proposal for a charter school in the vacant Burgwin School building in Hazelwood. CHARTER ADVOCATE—Sarah Jameela Martin makes a statement at the Pittsburgh Board of Education public hearing, May 17. “It’s a slow process in Pittsburgh because you have to put a proposal in and normally they will reject your proposal no matter how good it is,” said Sam Howard, executive vice president of Imagine Schools for the Midwest and Northeast. “Charter schools offer choice and choice doesn’t seem to be en vogue in the system.”


Green Jobs Summit… Most jobs still in the pipeline

Recently, Pittsburgh has hosted a number of seminars and summits promoting green jobs and a green economy. Advocates claim, as they did during the Green Pathways to Prosperity Summit held May 20 at the Pittsburgh Project, that problems such as unemployment, blight and divestment in urban communities can be ameliorated by building a “robust, diverse and inclusive local green economy.” LOOKING FOR GREEN—Attendees look over informational brochures during the May 20 Pathways to Prosperity Green Jobs Summit at the Pittsburgh Project. But what is this green economy? What are the green jobs that are going to remake the inner city, and how many are there? Khari Mosley, the director of green economy initiatives for GTECH and a member of the Urban Green Jobs Alliance, facilitated the Pathways to Prosperity Summit and said he was pleased with the crowd and their level of interest, but admitted that translating interest into employment is still a challenge.


Possible changes for East End schools

In late April, the Pittsburgh Public School District released recommendations by the East Region Advisory Committee for changes to Peabody and Westinghouse high schools. The changes would not go into effect until the 2011-2012 school year and have yet to be approved by the school board. “In making this recommendation the East Region Advisory Committee paid particular attention to the issues of academic instruction, student support, declining enrollment and facilities utilization,” said Derrick Lopez, assistant superintendent, secondary schools. “After multiple working sessions and community input the committee feels this recommendation best meets the needs of East End families.”


Speak Out: What should be done to get more Black police officers in Pittsburgh?

The Courier recently found that the number of new Black police recruits is declining. We asked Pittsburgher what they felt could reverse this trend. Here’s what you said: “Start early with young people, say in middle school, making them more aware of the importance of careers in that area and preparing themselves earlier on; learning about them and finding people who could mentor them so that they can ultimately become one of the positive people on the police force.”Shirley BiggsHighland ParkEmeritus Faculty, Pitt Shirley Biggs, Roger Green, Michelle Biggs


Community Calendar

Diabetes education JUNE 2—UPMC Passavant will host a Diabetes Education Series from 1-3:30 p.m. at 9100 Babcock Blvd., McCandless. The series will teach individuals and loved ones how to manage the disease with techniques suggested by the American Diabetes Association. Attendees will learn how to administer insulin and medication, monitoring blood glucose and proper diets and exercise regimens. Registration is requested. For more information, call 412-367-6887.


Africa marks 1960, when 1/3 gained independence

by Donna BrysonAssociated Press Writer JOHANNESBURG (AP)—Africans offered tough love for their leaders and expressed hope for the future May 25 as they assessed progress since 1960, the year that brought independence to a third of the continent. Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian, said contemplating five decades of freedom gave him hope for the future. “We think Africa does have the ability to become the next frontier, if we organize properly and if we govern ourselves properly,” Annan told reporters in Johannesburg. “We can look forward with hope, provided that we do the basic work.” KOFI ANNAN


Mix up leads to cremation of wrong baby in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—An Ohio coroner has fired an employee blamed for an error that led to the body of a 1-year-old boy being cremated against his family’s wishes. Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak fired seven-year employee Angela Summerfield on May 26, saying she did not follow proper procedure and released the wrong body to a funeral home. The coroner says Summerfield’s error led to the release of the body of 1-year-old Jaylen Talley, instead of the body of a 22-day-old infant whose family wanted cremation. GRIEVING FAMILY—In this May 24 photo, a picture of Jaylen Talley lies in the foreground, as Jaylen’s family sits in the background in Columbus. In background are Jaylen’s mother, Jamere Sydnor, back left, grandmother Paula Hall, father Marico Talley, back right, and siblings, from bottom left: Laileona Sydnor, 7; Marico Talley Jr., 4; and Jade Talley, 7. The photo of Jaylen sits atop the white suit that the youngster would have been placed in for the funeral.