Daily Archive: March 4, 2011


Proposed LIHEAP cuts

When President Obama gave his budget address last month, he shocked several members of his own party by proposing that the federal allocation for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program be cut in half. Senators from several North East states, including Bob Casey, D- Pa., criticized the proposal. SEN. BOB CASEY “The president’s budget includes dramatic cuts in LIHEAP funding for Pennsylvanians,” Casey said. “There are certainly areas of the federal budget that could be cut, but LIHEAP is not one of them. As the congressional budget process continues, I will fight against cuts to this program that provides vital help for needy Pennsylvania families and older Pennsylvanians.” Though President Obama’s proposal would cut roughly $134 million from Pennsylvania’s LIHEAP allocation, he said it would return the allocation to its pre-2009 funding level. The amount was doubled that year in response to a spike in fuel costs, which have since gone back down.


Greatness in Black men unleashed

Do you know the stories behind the successful business owner in your neighborhood or the man you see returning home from work every day in a suit? According to social worker and author Brigette Ways, each of these men has a story, many of which are sprinkled with struggles not unlike those experienced by disadvantaged youth growing up in Pittsburgh today. Through her motivational seminars, Ways exposes the potential in every man and woman and reveals how the most successful among us have often risen from lives filled with poverty, crime and violence. YOUTH PARTICIPATION—Michael Hill Jr., 11, reads song of praise. (Photo by J.L. Martello) On Feb. 26, Ways brought her Words By Ways motivational men’s seminar to the Wilkinsburg Salvation Army. She brought with her local professionals, community leaders and young men who have overcome great obstacles to accomplish their goals.



Byrdsong: CCAC labor deal could limit Blacks

On Feb. 2 Community College of Allegheny County Board Chair William Robinson told the New Pittsburgh Courier that “labor issues have been resolved” regarding minority participation on its K. Leroy Irvis Science Center project. Two weeks later, however, CCAC released a Project Labor Agreement for the project that requires 90 percent of the workers on the project to be hired from union trades, essentially the same agreement that resulted in an August lawsuit by the Associated Builders and Contractors Association. Community Empowerment Association founder Rashad Byrdsong said the PLA would keep Blacks from the community from working on the project. RASHAD BYRDSONG A Feb. 22 meeting, scheduled by CCAC to allow Black laborers and contractors to discuss working on the Science Center project, it was canceled due to a snowstorm and not rescheduled.


Northside Urban Pathways get K-5 approved

On Feb. 16, the Pittsburgh Public School Board voted on the approval of four new charter schools. The only school to receive approval was Urban Pathways K-5 College Charter School. “The District supports quality options for families that spur student achievement,” said Superintendent Linda Lane. MUSIC—Urban Pathways offers band and instrumental lessons, with a focus on performance. The new charter will serve as an expansion to Northside Urban Pathways, a 6-12 school that has been operating Downtown for the past 12 years. The school’s student body of approximately 360 students is predominantly African-American and representative of many neighborhoods in the city.


Speak Out: Your reaction to the Pittsburgh Courier celebrating 100 years?

The New Pittsburgh Courier recently celebrated its 100th year, so we asked Pittsburghers if there is still a need for a Black newspaper and this is what you said: “It’s great the Courier turning 100. I couldn’t get by without that paper. I think we still need a Black newspaper because no one else ­covers Black Pittsburgh the way the Courier does”Jerrard WilliamsMcKeesportElectrician


Drew becomes world's 200th spacewalker

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP)—A pair of visiting shuttle astronauts ventured out on a spacewalk at the International Space Station on Feb. 28, tackling a hodgepodge of maintenance jobs and an experiment to capture the invisible vacuum of space.Stephen Bowen and then Alvin Drew floated out the hatch early, and went straight to work with an extension power cable. Bowen, the lead spacewalker, was a last-minute addition to Discovery’s last crew. He is filling in for an astronaut who hurt himself in a bicycle crash last month. LAST MISSION FOR DISCOVERY—STS-133 mission specialists, from left, Nicole Stott, Michael Barratt and Alvin Drew leave the Operations and Checkout building for a trip to the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Feb. 24. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


Union-busting politicians

(NNPA)—Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has set off a firestorm among the state’s unions and public employees. To compound matters other states are proposing similar laws and will soon have to deal with their own revolts. Walker, in the name of balancing the state budget, has proposed legislation that will essentially deny public employees their collective bargaining rights and increase their payments to the state’s healthcare and pension plans.


Stop budget cuts in education

(NNPA)—As the federal and state governments are all faced with severe fiscal and budget restraints, even as the United States is currently undergoing an economic recovery, the last thing that should take place is to reduce the funding for education. At the primary, secondary and post-secondary levels, the funding for education was already grossly inadequate across the nation. President Obama is on the right side of history as he continues to remind and challenge members of the U.S. Congress, as well as governors and members of states legislatures that future of America will be dependent on how well we educate the nation’s children.


White out—Oscar and culture

(NNPA)—Months ago, we knew that there would be no African-American Oscar winners, mainly because we knew there were no Oscar nominees. What a denouement from that glorious year when both Denzel Washington and Halle Berry were winners for films that, if flawed, celebrated their artistic genius. While the Oscars have not been an equal opportunity experience, there have been celebrated nominations and wins that have lifted up African-Americans in film, and it may be a mistake to take just one year and turn it into a trend. Still.

Bernadette Turner


Generation X……Let’s GO!

Let’s go back for a minute. Back to a time when playing Double Dutch barefoot in the middle of the street wasn’t germ warfare, going in the house when the street lights came on was the norm and talking on the phone outside was rude (phone booths had doors). Oh, and television, the 3 channels you did have, went off…literally. Once you heard the white noise, T.V. time was over. Fast forward to a time called now. We’re bathing in hand sanitizer, if kids are outside (Playstation and Wii have dominated our homes) they dare not be in the middle of the street. You’re lucky if they come home, never mind street lights. NOT talking outside is rude because when someone calls, you’re supposed to be available. Now, you pay hundreds of dollars for hundreds of channels on your “Flat Screen” (Yes, the floor model is antiquated) watching only your top five or six.