Daily Archive: August 5, 2010


Keeping youth out of the juvenile court system… County proactive on delinquency

(Part one of a series) Every year thousands of youths are cycled in and out of the juvenile justice system in Allegheny County. According to last year’s Annual Juvenile Probation Report, as of Dec. 31, 2009, there were 4,032 juveniles under court supervision. COMMUNITY INPUT—Marc Cherna leads a public meeting seeking feedback from the public on service provided by the county. Besides the many independent community groups working with youths to keep them out of the system, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services has a number of programs aimed at preventing and reducing criminal behavior and delinquency. “We serve over 225,000 people in the county every year out of the 1.2 mil and people tend to forget all of these services are paid for with their taxpayer money,” said DHS Director Marc Cherna. “We want more services basically and that’s always a matter of funding. We still have room to improve.”


Calli’s Restaurant committed to good food, customer service

The corner of Forbes and South Braddock avenues has a lot of hard work going on. Six days a week the owner and staff at Calli’s Restaurant are committed to the labor it takes to provide good food and customer service in a friendly atmosphere. “I come from a family that believes in hard work,” said 34-year-old Damien Hodges, proprietor of the 75-seat bistro. For the past year Hodges has been putting his all into the restaurant that was to be a project he and his mother, the late Amril Crichlow, who passed away in the middle of the construction, which started over 18 months ago. Not letting her dream die with her, Hodges and former Allderdice High School classmates Leslie Jenkins, an electrician and Matt Hoffman, the owner of a construction company, continued on and the restaurant opened July 20, 2009. OPEN FOR BUSINESS—Damien Hodges, owner of Calli’s Restaurant, is celebrating his first year anniversary.


Young Senegalese try to wrestle way out of poverty

by Sarah DiLorenzo DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Fortune and fame may be just around the corner for Aliou Faye, who quit his job earlier this year to devote himself full time to becoming a champion wrestler. For now, though, he can only afford to eat meat twice a week. FACE OFF—Senegalese traditional wrestler L’an 2000 (French for ‘The Year 2000’), left, faces off against his opponent Super Etoile (‘Super Star’) during a weekly wrestling match in Dakar, Senegal. “In two years, you won’t recognize me,” said Faye, who is trying to bulk up despite his meager resources. He is one of thousands of unemployed or underemployed men who flock to this West African country’s capital of Dakar to train in wrestling schools in the hopes of making it big. Those who succeed rake in tens of thousands of dollars every time they step in the ring.



Disappearance of Black political power brokers

There was a period of time when there were a limited number of Black men who were elected to the position of ward chairman and they had real, genuine influence. In the fifth ward when the Republicans were in power, a Black man, Earl Sams, was the man Downtown with influence. In 1936 when the Democrats came to power, Robert “Pappy” Williams became the most powerful Black in the party and was the driving force to elect the first Black legislator from this part of Pennsylvania. The man was Homer S. Brown, who eventually, through the effort of Pappy Williams, became the first Black judge in Allegheny County.


Helping seeds grow by supporting mothers

Single females today head more than half of Black families in Pittsburgh. One local group aims to help improve the quality of life for these single mothers and their sons. Celebrating its 10th year supporting families, the Mother to Son program recently held its annual recognition dinner. As a supporting group under Small Seeds Development, Inc., the Mother to Son program assists single mothers through self-help training sessions and special workshops geared toward helping mothers deal with the difficulties of raising adolescent boys. Families can participate in field trips, motivational speakers, confidential mother/son mediation sessions, financial literacy education, and goal-oriented family service plans. CANDI CASTLEBERRY-SINGLETON, TYNIQUE ANDERSON, CAMERON RAINEY


Speak Out…What is your response to the financial troubles of the August Wilson Center?

The August Wilson Center for African American Culture recently revealed it was having financial difficulties so we asked Pittsburghers what they felt should be done. Here’s what you said. “I knew it was in trouble when I stopped receiving mailers. It is not supported enough by the larger community enabling it to market and spread information. It needs more funding to get info out to the community about what’s going on.”Shirlene ThomasSalon ownerBellevue Shirlene Thomas, Velva Millender, Lee Davis


Metro Beat

Cooling centers for seniors As meteorologists predict temperatures to reach 90 degrees this week, the city of Pittsburgh is extending hours at local senior centers in the area to act as cooling centers for seniors to use to beat the heat. For residents more than 60 years old, the Citiparks Homewood and South Side Market House and the Jewish Community Centers will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Thursday. “It is our goal to provide a cool, fun and safe environment for our most at-risk citizens during dangerous heat waves,” Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said in a release.


Ky. girl’s letter shared with nation

by William Croyle The Kentucky Enquirer COVINGTON, Ky. (AP)—Ten-year-old Na’Dreya Lattimore is not happy with the country’s education system, and she let President Barack Obama know it. Last Thursday, the president shared her sentiments with the nation. SPECIAL LETTER—Na’Dreya Lattimore, 10, of Covington, Ky., holds a copy of the letter she sent to President Barack Obama, as well as his letter in response, July 28. Na’Dreya, a fifth-grader at Sixth District Elementary School, wrote the president a letter in December. She received a hand-written response from him in May, and he referred to her letter at the end of his education reform speech during the National Urban League Centennial Conference in Washington, D.C.


Blacks split with Obama over education reforms

(NNPA)—At the recent National Urban League convention, President Obama’s speech took aim at criticisms that had been launched by the Black civil rights community over the educational reforms proposed by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. The 17-page document, “Framework for Providing All Students an Opportunity to Learn through Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act,” was put together by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the NAACP, the National Urban League, RainbowPush Coalition, National Council for Educating Black Children and the Schott Foundation for Public Education. My understanding is that the National Action Network was part of the group but ultimately not a signatory to the document. These organizations discovered last year that Duncan was putting together a draft proposal known as “Race To The Top” with little input from the African-American community and this document stands as an important critique of that proposal from our point of view.


Lessons from the Shirley Sherrod case

(NNPA)—In life, there are lessons we all must learn. Making mistakes and evolving past them is, after all, the ultimate form of growing and developing oneself. Shirley Sherrod, the now infamous victim of a right-wing smear attack campaign, discussed her own personal evolution at an NAACP gathering several months back, when her comments on racial harmony were erroneously taken out of context. And in the roller coaster of events that ensued, the country as a collective simultaneously learned a necessary harsh reality: that we can no longer allow those with an agenda to dictate our discourse, politics or rule of law. And just as importantly, we cannot allow ourselves to blindly believe the vitriol being hurled towards the president, the administration and every day Americans working to further unite the nation and lead us on a path to equity.