Daily Archive: January 16, 2011


Roberts to run for county controller

Allegheny County Manager of Real Estate Valerie McDonald Roberts has officially announced her run for county controller, following County Executive Dan Onorato’s announcement that he would not run for a third term. VALERIE McDONALD ROBERTS “I wanted to make sure, as a courtesy, that Dan had the space and time to make his announcement,” she said. “Had he decided to run again, then we would have had to have a discussion about my run because I am an appointee and serve at his pleasure.” Roberts said she wanted to announce her bid as early as possible so she could begin soliciting support for the Democratic Party endorsement. Still, state Rep. Chelsa Wagner, D-Beechview, beat her to the punch, announcing her run for the controller’s position Jan 10.


New Granada wins landmark status struggle

After a 10-year battle, the New Granada Theater has been designated as a historical landmark. The more than 80-year-old structure, which has been used as a movie theater, live entertainment venue and community center, will now be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. POST STABILIZATION—This photo shows the current status of the The New Granada Theater after much needed improvements. “It is an iconic structure that represents our rich heritage and culture, particularly in the arts and culture,” said Marimba Milliones, chair of the New Granada Theater Committee. “Tomorrow, it will play a starring role in the Hill District’s economic viability as a large scale mixed-used development.” The Hill Community Development Corporation and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation led the 10 year submission process. Primarily, this new designation will aid both organizations in their fundraising efforts.


PAT approves 15 percent service cut

Effective March 29, the Port Authority of Allegheny County will cut 29 of its 129 remaining routes and reduce service on 37 others in what CEO Steve Bland said was an attempt to give incoming Gov. Tom Corbett and new legislators more time to find a funding solution for its continuing budget deficits. The board approved the reduction Jan. 12, saying it would extend the need for the drastic 37 percent cuts it had planned for an additional six months beyond the June 30 end of the fiscal year. In addition to the service cuts, 260 jobs will be eliminated and the Harmar garage will close. The original proposal would have eliminated 47 routes and 500 jobs.


Local youth reward honor roll students

In the summer of 2008, 14-year-old Nigel Ash founded Kid Nation Inc., a non-profit created for kids by kids working to motivate youth locally and around the globe. In the more than two years since Kid Nation got its start, the organization has extended its reach to youth in countries such as Japan and Canada. NIGEL ASH, creator of Kid Nation. “We are influenced by the world around us and our hope is to reach other kids and let them know that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you can succeed and you can capture your dreams—whatever they may be,” Ash said. The organization’s main focus is the Honor Roll Tour, a project that rewards honor roll students with a free concert by Kid Nation’s hip-hop group, the ­UNDALRDS. The group, made up of honor roll students between the ages of 5 and 16, performs a show comprised of dance, spoken word, and original music with an inspirational message.


Long-term unemployed shunned by employers

The national unemployment rate for African-Americans is as frightful as Pittsburgh’s weather. Some who were counted among November 2010’s 16 percent unemployed were newly unemployed. Others have been unemployed for seven months or longer, rendering them “undesirable” in the eyes of employers. One reason so many Americans, African-Americans in particular, find themselves still collecting unemployment stems from employers’ unwillingness to hire anyone who has been out of the workforce for longer than six months. In an article for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dan Chapman reported that some employers state openly in their job descriptions that people who’ve been unemployed for longer than six months need not apply to the positions.


Goodwill mentors at-risk youth

Goodwill Southwestern Pennsylvania is in need of a few good mentors. Their GoodGuides Youth Mentoring Program targets at risk youth in Allegheny County, helping them build life skills and career plans. “The youth will benefit by learning through career exploration and goal setting. They will discover opportunities and possibilities they may not have ever thought about,” said Program Manager Jackie Abel-Stavropoulos. “They can go on to college if they wish and even if they don’t they still can have a good future by planning.” GOOD GUIDES—Lamar, right, gets help with college applications from Remie, a volunteer mentor. The program is part of Goodwill’s national initiative funded by a $19.1 million grant to Goodwill Industries International from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Delinquency Prevention. It targets youth suffering from risk factors such as abuse, disability, drug or alcohol dependence, family violence, or gang membership.


This Week In Black History

Week of January 21- 27 January 21 1773—Poet Phyllis Wheatley, born in 1753, was freed on this day in 1773. Kidnapped in Africa and sold as a slave when she was only seven years old, Wheatley would become Black America’s first poet. She grew up in a prosperous Boston family, which allowed her to learn to read. She not only mastered English but also excelled in Greek and Latin. Her first book of poetry received rave reviews in the United States and Europe.



Will Chicago Blacks accelerate demise of Democrats?

In the late 1950s there were a number of us who were registered Republicans, but we placed our concerns about elevating colored persons in political office over political registration. A colored Democrat in the third ward [lower Hill] had challenged a White man twice and both times he was soundly defeated, with a number of votes by colored voters. Eighty percent of the White voters had moved to the South Hills but remained as registered voters in the third ward. It was illegal but most did not care and the rest were afraid to expose this illegal act. We the colored Republicans realized that we had no chance of winning any office, so we devised a campaign strategy that would increase the potential of a person of color getting elected. The campaign consisted of a commitment of knocking on doors the entire summer, starting in April through October and we had about 1000 small mirrors with the inscription on them that read: at the next election vote for the person who looks like the one in the mirror.


Guest editorial…What would King say? Here’s what he did say

by Linn Washington Jr. So, what would King say? That is a standard question around this time of the year revolving around the birthday of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the national holiday celebrating his formidable accomplishments in aiding America truly become the “Land of the Free.” It’s hard to say what anyone would say if they are no longer living to say what they’d say, because people change over time, some reaffirming long held positions and others totally rejecting previously held positions.