Daily Archive: July 22, 2011


Hill YMCA project displays diversity

While a considerable uproar was raised over the lack of Black workers and contractors on the K. Leroy Irvis Science Center project at the Community College of Allegheny County last year, no such turmoil surrounds the construction of the Thelma Lovette YMCA building in the Hill District. Why—because it was designed to be inclusive. MOVING MOUNTAINS—Heavy equipment operator Ricardo Mesbeth preps the site at the Thelma Lovette YMCA project, which he said has the most Black workers he has seen on a site in 15 years. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “Every part of opening the new YMCA, from designing the building to hiring swim instructors, is about involving the community,” said construction manager PJ Dick Vice President Rich Perallo. “The new YMCA shouldn’t provide benefits to the community only after construction; it should also be a good business opportunity for minority-owned businesses in the area during construction.” So far, it has been—and not just with supplier contracts, or landscaping, or waste removal, but with bricklayers, laborers, heavy equipment operators and ironworkers who look like Hill residents. In fact, one of them is.


Hangman’s noose found at local plant

Last week, someone placed a full-sized hangman’s noose above the production line at the American Beverage Co. in Verona. The company is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime. In a written statement, spokesman Mike Bartlett said, “The union and company are investigating the matter. We take this very seriously. We’re going to be interviewing people. Hopefully, someone will identify the party responsible. And if we determine who they are, they will be terminated.” Alvin Wallace, an employee who spoke to KDKA-TV about this incident on July 14, said he has since been disciplined by his union for doing so. “They snapped out over there. There’s a racist faction that’s out of control,” he said.


Select restaurants, airlines banning children from service

It seems that not everyone loves babies—especially some businesses. A Monroeville restaurant will ban children under the age of 6 from its dining area beginning July 16 after receiving noise complaints from older clientele. The small, 40-seat McDain’s Restaurant and Golf Center located in Monroeville, Pa., resides on a golf course and attracts older customers, according to ABC News.


MAD DADS Beyond the Block

On June 25, Greater Pittsburgh Area MAD DADS (Men Against Destruction— Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder) hosted their fifth anniversary celebration and benefit concert at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. While grown men were outside dressed in their favorite “furry” costume, the MAD DADS were inside the AWC recognizing services rendered to the community and paying tribute to Bishop Robert Tyler, a Founding Father of MADS DADS Inc. LOCAL AND NATIONAL MAD DADS—John Thompson (Mayor of Wilkinsburg), Al Merritt, Bishop Robert Tyler, Theron Cook, Michael Frazier, Ernie Bey and the Honorable Joseph Preston. (Photos by Debbie Norrell) Bishop Tyler is a native of Pittsburgh and left Pittsburgh in 1966 for Omaha, Neb. He was called into the ministry in 1974 and ordained in 1977. He was highly instrumental in the formation of the MAD DADS organization, a group of men that empowers men to become guardians of their own communities. The internationally recognized group has been awarded by two presidents and received the prestigious Essence Award. Bishop Tyler is presently Chairman Emeritus of the National Board of Directors of MAD DADS headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla.


R. Kelly’s ‘Love Letter’ show… fun, festive

AUGUSTA, Ga.—It was no ordinary night in Augusta, Ga. In fact, an early evening torrential downpour coupled with violent lightening strikes and thunderbooms, nearly threatened the ensuing tour date of the self-proclaimed “Pied Piper of Soul,” namely, Robert Sylvester Kelly, known worldwide as R. Kelly. Thankfully, sunshine and blue skies pervaded and the show began as planned-supported by a throng of R. KELLY R. Kelly fans ready to witness the Grammy-Award winning superstar who has also had his share of controversy during a stormy, success-laden 22-year career. It should also be noted that the bulk of the estimated 5,000 attendees were of the female gender. So it’s quite obvious who Kelly’s fan base represents. Speaking of lovely ladies, the 2011 Love Letter Tour was opened by a couple of fine young singers who worked hard to warm-up the stage for the nouveau R & B legend. Both Marsha Ambrosius and Keisha Cole performed well, but it was obvious both ladies lacked the onstage savvy that comes with time and experience. Both are good vocalists, but struggled when trying to claim the audience without resorting to unnecessary commentary (Ambrosius used some unprovoked expletives while Cole repeatedly scolded sound engineers for unacceptable sound issues).


Obama budget concessions to the right of GOP voters

(NNPA)—A recent Gallup poll shows that most Americans support President Obama’s plan to raise the nation debt ceiling, set to expire Aug. 2, with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases, especially on corporations and the wealthy. Republican leaders, on the other hand, are resisting any tax increases, a position not favored even by Republican voters. In the poll, taken July 7-10, only 20 percent of Americans say deficit reduction should be achieved solely through spending cuts. Another 30 percent say it should be done mostly with spending cuts and 32 percent believe the goal should be reached equally with spending cuts and tax increases. Among Republicans, 24 percent favor an equal split between spending reductions and tax cuts, 26 percent favor only spending cuts and 41 percent favor reaching the target with mostly spending cuts. Among independents, 30 percent favor mostly tax increases, 28 percent support an equal share of spending cuts and tax increases, and 23 percent prefer mostly spending cuts.



Bobby Jindal’s failed war on HBCUs

(Real Times Media)—I am finally convinced that the Republican party has been taken over by secret Democratic operatives. A team of highly-trained well-placed Obama/Saul Alinsky operatives have been working their way into the Republican party for years now with one single goal: To ensure Republicans lose the Presidential election of 2012. With a bad economy and general discontent in their favor how else can you explain the apocalyptic incompetence of Republican governors since the 2010 election? In a mere months they’ve blown more political capital than Deborah Palfrey. Scott Walker in Wisconsin has managed to do what Democrats haven’t been able to in 30 years, galvanize the labor movement in a non-election year. John Kasich in Ohio has managed to get teachers, college professors and cops all united in a mutual hatred of his new anti-labor policies. Now Bobby Jindal is galvanizing the almost 30 percent Black vote in Louisiana against him with moves that are such political kryptonite that you’d think they must’ve come right out of a Democratic playbook.


Children of color count like Caylee

(NNPA)—Recently, a criminal jury acquitted Casey Anthony of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee while convicting her of the lesser charge of lying to police investigators. Ms. Anthony has been released from jail amidst an avalanche of animosity by observers of the case. Whether Casey Anthony was guilty of murdering her little girl has been the subject of a national discussion. Over the past year, the case of Casey and little Caylee has dominated news coverage on many television networks, most notably CNN. Caylee’s case begs broader questions: Why do little White girls garner so much more media coverage after going missing than little Black girls? Why does the nation know the names of Jon Benet Ramsey and not, let’s say, Diamond Bradley or Yasmine Acree? In a report by Kathy Chaney, writer for the Chicago Defender, the circumstances of four Black girls in Chicago received little, if any media coverage—local or national.


Back Home Blues

If you knew Lionel Young when he worked here 25 years ago, you’d have been more likely to hear him playing Beethoven than blues. But not long afterward, the concert violinist who won the Carnegie-Mellon Concerto Contest and played with the Pittsburgh Ballet/Opera Orchestra, traded in Horowitz for Howlin’ Wolf and has since won even more acclaim. On Saturday, July 23, Young brings his unique electric blues violin stylings back to town as one of the featured artists in the Pittsburgh Blues Festival at Hartwood Acres. Truth be told, Young, who started playing at age 6 in Rochester, N.Y., was always into the blues. His mother was a pianist who liked 60s funk and R&B, and his father, being from New Orleans, was a fan of that style jazz. LIONEL YOUNG