Daily Archive: March 23, 2011


Old Timers’ gathering in limbo

Members of the North Side Old Timers, an anti-violence group of longtime North Side residents, are still waiting for the fate of their yearly Unity Gathering to be decided by Pittsburgh City Council. At the end of January, a group of White North Side residents signed a petition calling for a public hearing to discuss issues concerning events being held in West Park. The nearby property owners said events in the park created noise, litter and other problems. TURN OUT—Approximately 10,000 people attended last year’s Unity Gathering in West Park. “Apparently those people are using our event as a poster child for their complaints. We think we’re going to be ok, but everything has not been resolved,” said William Thompkins, an Old Timers member and community outreach director of the Pittsburgh Project, a nonprofit community development organization. “The bottom line is it’s a public venue and we see no reason why it can’t be shared by everyone. We have just as much right to that public venue.”


Larimer gets community development update

The first good news was enough people attended the recent Larimer Consensus Group meeting that Kingsley Association Executive Director Malik Bankston had to move everyone to a larger room. The 50 or so group members, residents, stakeholders and political representatives came to hear what having Larimer certified as one of the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Blueprint Communities means for the neighborhood’s development plan. WORKING ON CONSENSUS—Larimer Consensus Group Chair Roland Criswell responds to a resident’s questions about how development will help with job creation. (Photos by J.L. Martello) What they heard from FHLB representative John Bendel on March 17, is the certification could mean hundreds of thousands in additional development funds for Larimer. The FHLB invests funds from its partner commercial banks and receives a percentage of the profits. From those profits it invests in community and business development projects around the country. It created Blueprint Communities in 2004 to sharpen its focus and achieve more beneficial results.


AME Bishop recommits to community

For decades the church has been a prominent staple in the Black community. It brought families together, addressed social issues, helped those in need and much more. Many events that took place historically happened at the church. This is especially true within the African Methodist Episcopal Church denomination and churches in the city of Pittsburgh. Many AME churches were stops on the Underground Railroad, housed one of the first African-American schools and held many protests that led to social action. BISHOP C. GARNETT HENNING SR. In recent years, some have wondered where the AME church has been and what happened to the presence it once had. Well, Third Episcopal District Presiding Prelate Bishop C. Garnett Henning Sr. says the church is alive, revived and committed to being one of the powerful institutions it once was, especially in the Pittsburgh area. “The AME church has a presence, but needs to make a louder one,” Henning said. “One of my goals is to regain the glow of the church and regain the role of the church (in the Black community).”


Perry-Nichols a double-lung transplant first

A week ago Robert Perry-Nichols had to write everything because he couldn’t talk with the feeding and breathing tubes in his throat. But that’s better than a month ago, when he couldn’t even breathe. Now the 18-year-old is both talking and breathing, thanks to a double-lung transplant performed at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital on Feb. 11. It was the first such surgery performed there on a sickle cell disease patient. STRONG COMEBACK—Mike Nichols, left, talks with his son Robert Perry-Nichols as he recovers from receiving the first double-lung transplant ever given to a sickle-cell patient at UPMC Presbyterian. (Photo by Christian Morrow) “When I first got out of surgery, I couldn’t move anything but my arms just a little,” said Perry-Nichols. “Last night, I walked by myself for the first time since. I went down to the kitchen and made some hot tea and got some ice.” But just getting to that point was a trial. After 10 hours of surgery and two weeks in intensive care, Perry-Nichols finally moved to a room on the transplant floor, but fluid began to accumulate in his new lungs and he returned to intensive care.


Community Calendar

Public service awards MARCH 24—Champion Enterprises, the Officer of the Allegheny County Executive, the Office of the City of Pittsburgh Mayor and Goodrich & Goodrich Law Firm will host the 10th Annual Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Public Service Awards at 7 p.m. at the Allegheny County Courthouse, 436 Grant St., Downtown. Several local heroes from the city and county will be honored for their continuous work. There will be a reception prior to the awards ceremony. Donations are $20 and proceeds will benefit the Champions Safe Summer Program. For more information, call 412-628-4856.


Wife: Ali willing to visit Iran to free hikers

by Janet CappielloAssociated Press Writer LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP)—In addition to sending a letter to Iran’s supreme leader seeking the release of two American hikers, Muhammad Ali’s wife says the boxing champ is also willing to go there to help make it happen. But Lonnie Ali says such a visit would depend on her husband’s health. Parkinson’s Disease has limited his speech and physical activity. APPEALS TO KHAMENEI—In this Sept. 19, 2009, photo, boxing great Muhammad Ali looks to the field prior to an NCAA college football game between Louisville and Kentucky in Lexington, Ky. Ali has pleaded with the government of Iran to release two American hikers arrested in 2009 and charged with spying. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)



This Week In Black History

Week of March 26-April 1March 261831—The founder of the AME Church, Richard Allen, dies at age 71 in Philadelphia, Pa. As its first bishop, Allen set the African Methodist Episcopal Church on the path to becoming the first Black religious denomination in America to be fully independent of white control. He, in effect, chartered a separate religious identity for African-Americans. He also founded schools throughout the nation to teach Blacks. This includes Allen University in Columbia, S.C. RICHARD ALLEN


Blues legend Pinetop Perkins dead at 97

by Jim Vertuno (AP)—Muddy Waters was looking for a new piano player when chain-smoking journeyman Pinetop Perkins showed off his aggressive keyboarding during a jam session. “He liked what he heard. The rest is history,” said Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, who was a drummer in Waters’ band back in 1969. THUMBS UP—Grammy winning blues pianist Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins motions a “thumbs up” gesture during the 2009 annual Blues festival at Hopson Plantation in Clarksdale, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File) By then, Perkins, an old school bluesman with the gravelly voice, for years had played the rickety bars among the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta, and toured far beyond them with rock pioneer Ike Turner in the 1950s. He performed with the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson and slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk. When he and Waters hooked up, Pinetop was in his 50s and never had recorded an album of his own but “had more energy than us younger folks did,” Smith said.


President O’Bama? Irish-American relatives ID’d

by Cristian Salazar NEW YORK (AP)—President Barack Obama found out years ago he had an Irish ancestor who fled the potato famine in 1850. He can now claim 28 living relatives who also descended from that Irishman, including a Vietnam veteran, a school nurse and a displeased Arizona Republican. OBAMA’S COUSIN—Dorma Lee Reese poses for a picture at her home in Tucson, Ariz., March 16. Reese, 83, a retired EEG technologist, learned about a year ago that she is a third cousin to President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) The president’s newly identified relatives are revealed in a study released to The Associated Press by Ancestry.com, whose genealogists also traced descendants of 23 other Irish passengers on the ship that brought Falmouth Kearney to the United States when he was 19. The survey allowed genealogists to further trace branches in Obama’s family tree and others who arrived on the ship, known as the Marmion, on March 20, 1850.



Professionalism and discipleship

A couple of weeks ago there were a few men discussing that at one time all of us had a mortgage at Dwelling House. All of us had a story to tell about Robert R. Lavelle and how he was the most unique businessman in America. The common theme amongst these individuals was that Mr. Lavelle exemplified professionalism and discipleship. After this discussion, the idea was born to have an award in his memory where six individuals who emulated Bob Lavelle’s character are honored.