Daily Archive: June 29, 2011


Class size could increase to reduce school costs

At an A+ Schools community meeting, Superintendant Linda Lane gave guests a clear picture of how the budget cuts will impact Pittsburgh Public School District students. Unfortunately, few parents were there to hear it, with parents making up only 30 percent of the guests. “We still have an obligation to kids,” Lane said. “Although we have some budget issues, I can’t go into a school and say to a child, I’m sorry we didn’t teach you to read because of budget problems.” THE BIG PICTURE—Superintendent Linda Lane shares her vision for the future of the Pittsburgh Public School District. (Photo by J.L. Martello) PPS is expecting a budget deficit of $23.9 million for 2011 and a projected deficit of $68 million for 2012. By the year 2015 this deficit could equal $100 million if reforms aren’t made. “When the governor proposed his budget, that added to the problem we already had. We have to get to a place where we’re spending within our means,” Lane said. “The problem by 2015 could be a $100 million problem.”


Hilltop Alliance seeks unity in community

With his children grown and successful in their chosen careers, Melvin Pollard found himself in a position to give back to his community the way he used to in the late 1990s as chair of the Mon Valley Initiative. He took a job working nights so he could do just that. But as president of the Hilltop Alliance, and the only African-American on the board, Pollard is actually reaching beyond his community to all the neighboring communities huddled above Pittsburgh’s South Side. MELVIN POLLARD “It’s about unity,” he said. “Funders don’t want to deal with each little CDC in each neighborhood any more, they want to see broad cooperation. In the past, promises were made to these communities that weren’t kept. Hopefully now, things can be delivered and these communities can be revitalized.”


Kierra’s death continues to impact community

It’s been more than two years since 18-year-old ShaVaughn Kierra Wallace was killed in the North Side during her summer break from college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Yet, the wounds from her single gun-shot wound to the chest continue to ripple throughout the community. On June 25, the Kierra Keeps Caring Foundation held their 2nd Annual Walk 4 Life, an event to commemorate Wallace’s life and raise money for the scholarship fund in her memory. FAMILY—From left: Larry Wallace, grandfather; Virginia Wallace, grandmother; Carla Gaines-Robinson; and Vaughn Wallace, father. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “The foundation is in honor of my daughter. This foundation is based on her. My point in building the foundation is to keep her name alive,” said Wallace’s mother Carla Gaines-Robinson. “It gives me a little closure and it also gives me the chance to get out to parents and children how important life is.”



Gateway football players shot in fatal ‘altercation’ in Durham, N.C.

by Malik Vincent At around 10 p.m. on the evening of June 25, it was reported that two varsity football players at Gateway High School were shot, one fatally, after eating at a local establishment in Durham, N.C. The shooting claimed the life of Darrell Turner Jr., 18, a senior linebacker for the Gators and wounded Thomas Woodson, a junior, and the team’s starting quarterback. DARRELL TURNER JR. and THOMAS WOODSON Police have arrested Gabriel James Gamez, 22, of San Antonio, Texas, as the gunman. A stranger to the two victims, it was reported that he got into an altercation with the two teenagers and drew his gun and fired shots that connected with Turner’s back and Woodson’s leg.


Community Calendar

Fundraiser/Meet and Greet JUNE 29—Coalition of Organized Residents of East Liberty will host a Fundraiser and Meet and Greet from 4-7 p.m. at 271 N. Whitfield St., Suite 210, East Liberty. Proceeds will benefit transportation funding for children to access the Tickets for Kids program throughout the summer. For more information, call Ashley Fletcher at 412-378-2358.


Cat fight over Africa mounts between U.S. and China

(NNPA)—The daggers are starting to come out between the U.S. and China as the Asian giant displaces the U.S. as Africa’s number one trading partner. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at a recent forum on trade in Zambia, made slighting references to China’s growing African role. “We are concerned that China’s foreign assistance and investment practices in Africa have not always been consistent with generally accepted international norms of transparency and good governance,” she said. “(China) has not always utilized the talents of the African people in pursuing its business interests.” “It is easy to come in, take out natural resources, pay off leaders and leave. And, when you leave, you don’t leave much behind for the people who are there,” Clinton continued.



This Week in Black History

Week of July 2-8 July 2 JACKIE ROBINSON 1777—Vermont becomes first U.S. territory to abolish slavery. By 1783, New Hampshire and Massachusetts had followed Vermont’s lead. The abolition of slavery was formally placed in the Vermont Constitution which was formally adopted on July 8, 1777. A major force in the early abolition movement was a group known as the Rights of Man Movement.


Former GM exec Roberts: ‘Focus on educating kids’

by Corey Williams DETROIT (AP)—After only about a month as top boss of Detroit Public Schools, Roy Roberts, a 72-year-old former General Motors executive and private equity firm founder, is well aware that some people already want him gone. The district’s new financial manager said he’s OK with that reality, adding that differing opinions have value. His only request: Stay out of the way as he tries to turn around one of the nation’s worst public school systems. ROY ROBERTS “I don’t care what people think about me, really … because I know what parents are going to think,” Roberts told The Associated Press during an interview in his Detroit Midtown office. “They’re going to love it because I’m trying to do the right thing for their children, and you won’t find a parent that doesn’t want that. I’m simply going to look at a system and say ‘What is the best system we can put in place to educate these kids?’ I don’t care about the politics.”


Black college leaders meet to discuss challenges

by Errin Haines ATLANTA (AP)—As American colleges and universities gear up to meet a presidential goal to deepen the nation’s pool of college grads, historically Black institutions face extra pressure from threats to the financial support that many of their students depend on, the presidents of some colleges said June 23. PROTEST—Tennessee State University supporter Kwame Lillard speaks outside a meeting of the Tennessee Board of Regents at Nashville State Community College June 24. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, John Partipilo) About 100 presidents of historically Black colleges met in Atlanta and discussed their role in President Barack Obama’s call for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Meanwhile, Pell Grants are under fire as some members of Congress look at cutting such programs to trim the budget. Many minority students depend on the needs-based grants to stay in school.