Monthly Archive: August 2010



Is Smooth Jazz savior of traditional jazz?

AUGUSTA, Ga.—The rumors are running rampant throughout many major cities in the nation—live (traditional) jazz is just about dead. Well, during a recent Smooth Jazz” show at the William Bell Auditorium in the heart of Augusta, Ga.’s entertainment district, a lineup of jazz stars headed by virtuoso guitarist Norman Brown, vocalist Phil Perry, keyboardist Alex Bugnon and rising sax superstar Eric Darius, provided jazz lovers with arguably the finest-ever jazz performance in recent times. NORMAN BROWN Billed as the “3rd Annual CSRA Jazz Festival,” the show featured several of the world’s premier jazz men who are predominant when it comes to the nouveau jazz category called Smooth Jazz.


Out & About with Brotha Ash

by Ashley G. WoodsonFor New Pittsburgh Courier This week I visited the Sanders Family Reunion in Penn Hills, Umoja’s African Arts in the Park at Allegheny Commons Park on the North Side, CJ’s in the Strip District, Herbie Hancock at Heinz Hall and Jenesis Magazine at the Shadow Lounge in East Liberty. My first stop was at CJ’s in the Strip District where DJ Nick Nice was on the 1’s and 2’s playing all the hits for the crowd. Chilling at CJ’s in the Strip District.


Six small running backs who come up huge

by Ralph D. RussoAP College Football Writer (AP)—There’s always been a place in college football for the undersized back, but it seems as if there are more great little guys than ever before. Here are six (in no particular order) who will star in 2010. And since small is subjective, we’ll make the cutoff 5-10 and 200 pounds. Dion Lewis, 5-8, 197, Pittsburgh. As coach Dave Wannstedt puts it, Lewis does not run like a small back. Unlike some others on this list, he doesn’t play in a spread which allows him to operate in space. He runs between the tackles and went for 1,799 yards and 17 TDs as a freshman last season. PITT ALL-AMERICAN—Running back Dion Lewis scoots away from a defender during practice. Lewis will need to do the bulk of the work for the Pitt offense in the opener against Utah.


Group provides keys to success

For a working person often struggling to get a head, at times the simplest tasks can seem very difficult, like purchasing a vehicle or working toward improving a credit score. Family Services of Western Pennsylvania understanding the plight of individuals who cannot obtain a traditional auto loan because of credit issues, offers a transportation loan program that provides help to purchase or repair a vehicle. The Ways to Work Program is for people with dependent children and the Keys to Success Program serves those without dependent children. STARTING A GREAT PROCESS—Tia Baker, Transportation Loan Program participant, left, works with Family Services of Western Pennsylvania officials Brian Polinsky and Gwen Porter to start the two- to three-week process of getting a reliable car. A participant in the loan program for about a year, Tia Baker, says the process is very simple. “The hardest part of the program for me was looking for a car.” After filling out an application, meeting the criteria and participating in the financial literacy component she now drives a car she is happy with, a 2001 Hyundai. “My next step is to purchase a home. This program has helped me regain my accountability while rebuilding my credit,” said Baker.


Foreclosure crisis defers or denies the American dream

(NNPA)—As the U.S. Treasury Department devoted a day’s discussion this week to the future of two housing government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) issued a new research report that details the impact and characteristics of foreclosures in the nation’s most populous state, California. Dreams Deferred dispels the McMansion myth that the foreclosure crisis is the result of consumers purchasing high-priced, opulent estates. Instead, the new report found that the majority of California foreclosures were modest homes of three bedrooms or less with a median size of only 1,492 square feet. Although foreclosures are highest in major cities such as Los Angeles, the highest concentration or density of foreclosures occurred in the big-city exurbs of Central Valley and Inland Empire.


New credit card rules take effect

(AP)—The final phase of the landmark federal legislation that placed new restrictions on credit card interest rates and fees takes effect Sunday. Though the bulk of the law’s provisions were enacted earlier this year, there are still a few important changes you need to be aware of: Penalty fees New protection: Fees for late payments and other transgressions will be capped to the amount of the violation, up to $25. Previously, these fees were often between $35 and $39 regardless of how much was owed. Also, a single violation can no longer result in more than one fee.


Chief Harper: Enough is enough

Last week’s shooting near Willie Stargell Field during a midget football game in Homewood was the last straw for Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper. Even before the incident, Harper was fed up with the Black-on-Black violence in Pittsburgh, but this incident gave him one more reason to be concerned, one more reason to say enough is enough. TIME TO BE PROACTIVE—Chief Nate Harper is fed up with crime in the city’s neighborhoods. “To have that type of violence, to have 30 people (witness it) and no one say who the shooter was, and to make it even worse you have all these kids and to have no counselors come out, what is this telling our community? Get used to it. This is the way we live,” Harper said at an exclusive editorial board meeting with the New Pittsburgh Courier. “Every parent should be upset that these knuckleheads, these terrorists did this.”


Youth football league bonds in show of unity

In their own show of force, all 10 teams in the Allegheny County Midget Football League came together at Chadwick Field in Lincoln-Larimer. Reflecting the show of force demonstrated by Pittsburgh police officers after a violent incident earlier in the week, the teams united on the field Aug. 18 to demonstrate their unity. “We’re here just to show we have unity and support,” said Jose Regus, league president. “It shows that we’re going to stick together and make this league as prosperous as it’s always been. We’re going to continue to do what we’re all here to do, give these kids guidance. We’re about more than football.” The action came as a response to a shooting following a league football game at the Willie Stargell Field in Homewood Aug. 15. After the shootings that left three people wounded, Police Chief Nate Harper threatened to cancel league games in the city if community members did not come forward with information. They did. To further mend the strained relationship between the league and law enforcement, city officials and team coaches met to develop a plan for making the games safer. At the meeting and during the gathering at Chadwick field, the coaches pledged to work harder at policing themselves. “When you see a problem, address it,” Regus said. “We’re just not going to tolerate the things that have happened in the past. We’re going to keep this a kid’s environment.” Despite popular sentiments that Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods are often hostile towards each other, coaches, players and fans on teams from the East End to the North Side gathered to voice support for the league. “It shows we will unite around the kids. The thing that happened at the field, it wasn’t a Hill District-Homewood thing,” said Monte Robinson, a Homewoods coach. “It was a great show of support for the league and Homewood especially because that’s where the incident was around. It woke everyone up.” SHOW OF SUPPORT—Jose Regus addresses the packed bleachers at Chadwick field. “I want to say it sends a message that the league itself is serious about doing what’s best for the kids,” said Paulette Bradford, Clairton league president. “We were in a position when there was never anything to do as kids. I’d really hate to see it happen. I hope and pray everybody steps up.”


PAT: Cuts hurt everyone…Black neighborhoods dodge most of the pain

Unlike 50 surrounding communities, Pittsburgh’s Black neighborhoods would not see a total loss of service if cuts planned by the Port Authority of Allegheny County go forward—but they will see significant cuts in some weekend and off-hour daily service. LIFE SUPPORT—Medical tech students at the Stanford Brown Institute wait to tell a stenographer service cuts could jeopardize their and their children’s schooling. During its Aug. 19 public hearing at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the authority repeated its intention to cut service levels 35 percent and raise fares in January unless state legislators find a way to close a $47 million hole in its budget. Still, because Pittsburgh’s Black communities account for a large percentage of the authority’s existing ridership, they would see fewer cuts than neighborhoods that use less transit.