Monthly Archive: August 2010


Roberts makes history with many firsts, may seek another

Overcoming obstacles as not only an African-American, but as an African-American woman, is no stranger to Valerie McDonald Roberts. She has managed to turn what would be trials for others into triumphs. Roberts was not only the first African-American woman to be elected to the Pittsburgh City Council, but more recently, she was the first African-American woman to be elected president of the Pennsylvania Recorder of Deeds Association. VALERIE McDONALD ROBERTS The Wilkinsburg native is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she received a B.S. in medical technology and an M.S. in forensic chemistry. But it is her political career that she is known for. She is the current Allegheny County manager of Real Estate and former county Recorder of Deeds. She began her political career in 1989 when she ran and won a seat on the Pittsburgh Public School Board.


Housing Authority awards $10,500 to resident students

When Marian Peters attends Penn State this year, she will be following in her sister’s footsteps. Not only is she attending the same university, but she is also the recipient of a $1,000 Clean Slate Scholarship presented by the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh. “Yes, it’s really great, very helpful,” said the Peabody High School grad. “I’ll be attending the main campus. I’m thinking international studies, political science, theater and finance.” TERRELL McNEELY, MARIAN PETERS



Francis Street Reunion hit with former residents

Residents from the Francis Street housing project in the Hill District brought back the annual reunion that used to take place years ago. The new committee consists of Francine Bibbens, Carol Bibbens, Calvin Bibbens, Shannon Lawthorne and Janicee Council. With the demolition and sale of the Francis Street housing project these former residents want to keep the memories alive and well for future generations. ORGANIZERS—Francis Street committee members Francine Bibbens, Calvin Bibbens and Carol Bibbens at the Francis Street Reunion. “Even though the Francis Street Reunion initially started 10 years ago, we wanted to get it going again because the only time we reunited with someone from Francis Street was when someone died. Instead of meeting at funeral homes, I wanted to see my old friends and neighbors on a happier occasion. Carol Murphy, Dundee Council, Alice Richardson and others started the Francis Street originally and it was a great time for everyone” said Francine Bibbens.


SEA gets earful on arena fate

After three hours of public comment from 50 speakers, no clear consensus emerged on the fate of the, now vacant Civic Arena during the Sports and Exhibition Authority’s public meeting. But judging by the “boos” given to several attorneys and developers, and applause given supporters of reusing the facility, there appeared to be more supporters of the latter option. NO DEMOLITION DERBY—Eloise McDonald tells the Sports and Exhibition Authority Board that razing the Civic Arena is “asinine.” Eloise McDonald of Oak Hill said it was “asinine” to tear it down for housing. “People on the Hill won’t be able to afford to live there,” she said. “So how does that benefit the Hill?” But Phyllis McClure, who watched the arena’s construction wipe out several hundred homes as a child said it has to be removed to not only physically, but also psychologically reconnect the Hill District to Downtown.


CEA community meeting to end violence

The Community Empowerment Association, Inc. held an Action Alert Community Meeting in response to the shootings at Homewood Field. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together residents, community organizers, city officials, concerned citizens and families not just from the community of Homewood, but from all over the Pittsburgh area. The theme for the meeting was “As human beings we must stand together and stop the insanity. No one should be shot at a family sports event and the community must come together to stop the madness.” Rashad Byrdsong of the Community Empowerment Association, Inc. organized and chaired the meeting while members of the audience gave their opinion on how to solve the problem.


The ‘fizzics’ of Champagne

PARIS (AP)—French scientists say they have settled a question that has long divided Champagne lovers: How best to pour the bubbly? At an angle, not straight down. The scientists at the University of Reims say pouring bubbly at a slant, as you would a beer, preserves more of the tiny gas bubbles that improve the drink’s flavor and aromas. THIS IS HOW WE DO IT—Pouring your bubbly at a angle is the best way.


Bridging generation gaps to inspire African-American youth health

by Jessica Harper (NNPA)—A 2009 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) revealed that Black teens and young adults are more prone to violence than their White counterparts. Despite that alarming fact, mentoring and counseling groups like the District-based Evolutionary Elders (EE) continue to inspire African-American youths to excel personally and professionally. Co-founder and author, Eugene Williams Sr., said the organization fights the odds by maintaining a positive outlook about the future of Black youths. “We don’t want to be bothered with defeatist attitudes,” Williams, 68, said.


Katrina revealed race and poverty

(NNPA)—Much as the Emmett Till murder did 55 years ago, Hurricane Katrina pulled back the cultural curtains and revealed the intersecting roads of race and poverty in the United States of America. In both cases, America’s egalitarian myth of civility to all her citizens was shattered by the photo of Till’s open casket in Chicago (Jet Magazine) and news images (CNN) of African-Americans treated as animals and “refugees” in New Orleans. Before and after Hurricane Katrina, the city of New Orleans has been a case study in the oppressive confluence of race and poverty on African-Americans. Prior to Katrina, New Orleans had the highest percentage of public housing residents in the nation, many of who were allowed to live in poorly policed, sub-standard living conditions.


America still talking about race

According to the website, some of the criticism of first lady Michelle Obama is driven by partisan politics. However, “others say the attacks are rooted in White resentment of the “uppity Negro.” Two things quickly come to mind. The first is that no one other than Harry Reid uses the word “Negro” anymore. Second, that it is the 21st century and yet there are those who continue to talk about race as if it were 1955. Last February, in a speech to honor Black History Month, Attorney General Eric Holder remarked that Americans of all colors should stop avoiding an honest discussion of race in America. Said Holder: “Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and I believe continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards.”


For Black farmers: Justice delayed is justice denied

(NNPA)—For more than 10 years, tens of thousands of Black farmers have been denied justice and a share of a $1.25 billion government settlement as compensation for decades of discrimination in federal farm loan programs. Many have lost their farms waiting. Some have died waiting. And on Aug. 5, before going on its summer recess, the Senate prolonged the wait by failing to once again appropriate the funds to right this egregious wrong. Consistent with an unfortunate pattern that has stalled congressional action on everything from health care reform to unemployment benefits, the Senate is stuck in a stalemate over the Black farmers’ settlement due to partisan bickering over how it will be financed. But, as noted in a recent Reuters news story, “The measure brought to the floor included offsets required under congressional ‘pay-as-you-go’ rules mandating new spending be offset with cuts elsewhere so as not to add to the deficit.”