With only a few months left before its one-year anniversary, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture is experiencing some serious economic struggles. In order to right the sinking ship, the Center plans to cut its 2011 budget by 25 percent. AWC TEAM—From left: Andre Kimo Stone Guess, Aaron Walton, Nancy Washington and Oliver Byrd. “The potential here is to be the preeminent institution. We’re going to do that by being inclusive. The hard part is done; we’re sitting in the building,” said Executive Director Andre Kimo Stone Guess. “If it weren’t built no one would do it today because on the other side of this recession no one would do it.” The laundry list of problems has included construction costs that totaled $43 million, close to $7 million over the initial budget and last year’s state budget catastrophe that delayed the release of state funding.
Daily Archive: July 21, 2010
A lot of people said it couldn’t be done. But that’s always the case when people who have the vision, faith, desire and courage to try turning their dreams into reality face those who gave up on their own dreams long ago. Well, one walk down Liberty Avenue will show you that it could be done—that it was done. GROUNDBREAKERS— From left: Oliver Byrd, Yvonne Cook, Valerie McDonald Roberts and Sala Udin receive Founders Awards at the August Wilson Center, July 13. “We’re looking at moving from a local to a regional to a national to an international perspective, to make this the preeminent African-American cultural center, for African-American culture and arts, in the world,” said Aaron Walton, the new chair for the August Wilson Center for African-American Culture, prior to the honors ceremony. Walton is also the retired senior vice president of corporate affairs for Highmark, Inc. and one of the many people who was there “in the early days” of the center’s development.
When in need of inspiration, Pittsburgh’s young women and girls should look no further than the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 50 Women of Excellence. This year’s list was no exception with the honorees representing some of the most influential and well-respected institutions in the city. For the third year in a row, the New Pittsburgh Courier held its 50 Women of Excellence Luncheon in the Westin Convention Center Hotel. On July 14, the crowd of almost 500 guests gathered to celebrate this year’s list of 50 honorees. DISPLAYING THEIR AWARDS are Elizabeth “Niecy” Dennis, Alma Speed Fox, Joyce Ellis and Tene Croom. “I suppose it’s a privilege and I’m glad the Courier recognized me,” said honoree Lisa Haley Huff, vice president, treasury management specialty sales, PNC Financial Services. “A lot of Black women are busy doing similar things. There’s certainly more beyond these 50.”
When one thinks of veterans, they think about those individuals in combat on the frontlines, but often forget about those behind the scenes. For three years Stanley Rideout, retired chief of police for the Pittsburgh Public School District, worked behind the scenes for one of the world’s most deadly conflicts, World War II, before working in front of them keeping order. FAMILY MAN—Veteran Stanley Rideout with his wife, Vina, in front of their wall of family portraits. It was his senior year at South Hills High School, when Rideout, 85, now of Sewickley, learned he was going to be drafted into the armed forces. “I did not want to go. I requested deference, but was denied,” he said. So after his graduation from high school, the then- Beltzhoover resident, entered the U.S. Navy in September of 1943, and was stationed in the Great Lakes area, where he went to school to be a radioman in the service. Radiomen specialized in communication and were responsible for decoding messages and getting them to their commanding officer or the appropriate chain of command.
Even though he would be the only one or one of a very few White faces on stage or in the building during his early years, he continued to play his music, which was a combination of jazz and R&B on an instrument few have been able to master. Gene Ludwig, a leading figure on the Pittsburgh jazz scene for half a century and one of the select few to master the Hammond organ, died in West Penn-Forbes Regional Campus July 14, at the age of 72. GENE LUDWIG
Like other schools in the Pittsburgh Public School District, achievement at Brashear High School in Beechview has declined significantly over the past two years. Although perhaps not as drastic, the same can be said for the King Accelerated Learning Academy K-8 in the North Side. MARK ROOSEVELT and JERRI LIPPERT But a new set of recommendations by superintendent Mark Roosevelt hopes to turn these numbers around and eventually have a rippling effect on the whole district. On July 19, Roosevelt presented his proposal for the Teacher Academy to the School Board. The proposal is part of the district’s Empowering Effective Teachers Plan funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Grant.
With a projected $52 million 2011 budget deficit looming for the Port Authority of Allegheny County, Executive Director Steve Bland says fare increases and large service cuts are unavoidable unless new state funding is authorized. “We need something, anything that is a broad-based source that follows the economy,” he said. On source of funding was to have been revenue from turning I-80 into a toll road. State budgets were approved with these monies allocated for PAT even though the Federal Highway Administration indicated it would not approve the change. In April it denied the state’s tolling application.
A law has been passed allowing table games in Pennsylvania to be added at the Rivers Casino. So we asked Pittsburghers their opinion. Here’s what you said. “I think it will bring a better crowd to the casino. I would come check it out, though I am not a gambler but I guess it will do something for the city.”Shane PhillipsNorth SideRoofer Shane Phillips, Shane Phillips, Curtis Ford
Resource fair JULY 22—NeighborWorks Western Pennsylvania and the Martin Luther King Reading and Cultural Center will host a Community Resource Fair from 1-7 p.m. at 636 Herron Ave., Hill District. This event is free and open to the public and will include food, entertainment, kids activities and more. For more information, call Ann Callen at 412-281-1100, ext. 124.
Two dead in suburban shootout east of Pittsburgh AP—Police say two men have been killed in a shootout in Penn Hills, but it’s unclear whether that is related to recent violence in eastern Pittsburgh neighborhoods near the suburb. Allegheny County police have yet to identify the men who were shot about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday. The driver of a sport-utility vehicle was found dead in the vehicle, while another man found wounded just outside of it died a short time later at a Pittsburgh hospital.