Daily Archive: July 27, 2011


Target opens to rave reviews

With a crowd that included community partners, the developers and neighbors from the adjacent business corridor, the East Liberty Target opened to rave reviews from the invitation-only visitors. Among those invited, Gerald W. and Alma Speed Fox wasted no time. “Alma loves it. But she has a walker and likes to go everywhere,” said Gerald Fox. “It’s nice, but it’s too big for my mind. I like a 5 & 10 where you can see from one end to the other. I had to leave her.” ON TARGET—Sidney Stinson assists Torey and Nia Stevenson with some of the produce in the new East Liberty Target store’s grocery section. (Photo by J.L. Martello) State Rep. Joseph Preston was in Harrisburg for the July 19 “soft” opening but stopped by a few days later and was pleasantly surprised by the traffic at the 147,000 square foot building that sits where his former district office once sat. “I’ve never been so happy to be evicted,” he said. “When we started talking about this seven years ago, no one thought it would happen. And here we are; jobs, diversity of income and convenience. Residents can now walk to a major department store. They haven’t been able to do that in 40 years.”


City school costs among highest in Pa.

With a budget deficit of $68 million looming for the Pittsburgh Public School District in 2012, administrators have been looking for areas to cut spending and reduce costs. Despite an already $8.7 million deficit projected for the district in 2011, an additional cut of $15.2 million in state funds, has exacerbated a crisis some administrators, education activists and experts have long seen coming. “The district was warned about that years ago. They were told to cut spending and they chose not to do that. This board made a willful decision to not do the things we needed to do,” said Randall Taylor, former District 1 school board representative. “They are misleading the public by saying this was the governor’s fault.” LINDA LANE However, while many activists and experts say administrators could’ve done more to curb the financial crisis, they admit a portion of the district’s large budget can be attributed to the special needs of urban areas where a high number of students come from families living in poverty. In order to right the crisis, they say the district must balance cuts while maintaining services essential to helping low-income students.


Boone of ‘Remember the Titans’ headlines Heritage Weekend

In recognition of his achievements in the fight for diversity, football coach Herman Boone of the “Remember the Titans” movie fame, was given the honor of throwing the first pitch at the opening game for the Pittsburgh Pirates Heritage Weekend July 22. Many have seen the movie “Remember the Titans,” but at the African American Heritage Day Sports Luncheon earlier that day, guests heard Boone’s personal account of his struggle to integrate the Titans football team in Virginia. PLAY BALL—Herman Boone is joined by the Pirate Parrot and grandchildren Will, 8, Lauren, 11, Mackenzie, 11, and Myles, 10 after throwing out the opening pitch. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “These young boys decided early in their life that enough was enough. This team, the Titans, became one of the best teams in the United States and they didn’t like each other. There is something about sports that brings us together as a nation,” Boone said. “If nothing else, the main thought I want to bring to you is no matter how much we continue to cling to our separateness, we continue to live in the only country in the world where people come from all over to call their home.”


Local choir wins national prize

Last month, the Afro American Music Institute’s Boys Choir won first place at the National Boys Choir Convention in Louisville, Ky., beating out three other choirs from Kansas City, Mo., and Louisville, winning a trophy and medal. “I am so happy and proud of my boys,” Pamela Johnson said. “This was a wonderful opportunity for the choir. They have the opportunity to become great Black men.” AFRO AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE’S BOYS CHOIR According to Executive Director of the National Boys Choir Convention, McDaniel “Brother” Bluitt, the competition’s goal is to “create a greater awareness among choristers and establish a mutual network of choristers who have common interest and create a network to provide on-going annual competition nationwide.”


Local company explores mobile phone capabilities

Predictions indicate that by the year 2014 the majority of the world’s population will own a smart phone. That is music to the ears of Curtis and Cassandra Brown, founders of Jireh Mobile. For more than five years the couple has been making their mark in the mobile phone industry and is excited to be a part of such a phenomenon. “Technology is the way of the world,” pointed out Cassandra. “As a premier mobile marketing solutions provider, our opportunities are unlimited within such an innovative and growing industry.” SCANNING FOR INFORMATION—Cassandra and Curtis Brown, founders of Jireh Mobile, demonstrate the capabilities of a mobile phone. (Photo by Diane I. Daniels) Jireh Mobile is described by Curtis as a mobile marketing solutions company that provides interactive mobile marketing tools that enhance any marketing strategy, enabling businesses to reach their on-the-go client base. “We have established ourselves as a leader in interactive mobile campaign and database management,” he said. “Examining mobile marketing, social media trends and placing high priority on the end-users experience has given Jireh Mobile an edge in the mobile marketing industry.”


Community Calendar

Stress Workshop JULY 27—The East End Cooperative Ministry Community Stress Center will host “How Does Stress Affect Your Health?” workshop from 5:30-6:45 p.m. at the East Liberty Carnegie Library, 130 S. Whitfield St., East Liberty. Attendees will learn from Dr. Charlotte Brown, of the University of Pittsburgh, how stress affects one’s heart heath, diabetes, cancer and more, and how to recognize the difference between stress and depression. For more information, call 412-383-5137.



This Week in Black History

For the Week of July 30-August 5 July 30 ADAM CLAYTON POWELL 1863—President Abraham Lincoln issues his famous “eye-for-an-eye” order. The order was basically a threat aimed at stopping the Confederate practice of killing captured Black soldiers instead of imprisoning them. Lincoln threatened to kill one captured rebel soldier for every Black soldier killed by the Confederates. In addition, he pledged to condemn one captured rebel soldier to life in prison at hard labor for every captured Black soldier sold into slavery by the rebelling Southerners. The order did not stop the Confederate practice of killing captured Black soldiers but it did have a restraining effect.


The disappearing Black middle class

by Jesse Washington (AP)—Millions of Americans endured financial calamities in the recession. But for many in the Black community, job loss has knocked them out of the middle class and back into poverty. And some experts warn of a historic reversal of hard-won economic gains that took Black people decades to achieve. “History is going to say the Black middle class was decimated” over the past few years, said Maya Wiley, director of the Center for Social Inclusion. “But we’re not done writing history.” AT ODDS WITH PRESIDENT—Princeton Professor Cornel West, center, eagerly shakes the hand of President Barack Obama in July 2010. Today, West calls Obama “a Black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs.” (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Algernon Austin, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy adds, “The recession is not over for Black folks.”



What happened to old friends?

I attended a wake Friday night. The person I went to see was the departed wife of a lifelong friend. There were a number of folks in attendance, and once again the question arose, why is it always an occasion such as this to bring old friends together? Why can’t we come together on a happier situation? Blue Ellis, a former resident of Pittsburgh, who currently resides in California came up with the idea to have an annual picnic and title it “What Happened to Our Old Friends Day?” On Aug. 6 the third picnic will be held between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at Westinghouse Park. If you reflect for a moment you will ponder on whatever happened to a certain person, because it’s been so long since you have seen them. We generally refer to them as friends and the question surfaces were we really friends? It was a term of endearment, because in those years regardless where we lived — Hill District, North Side, East Liberty, Homewood, etc. — when we moved and went to different schools such as Mc­Kelvy, Watt, Vann, South, South Hills, Allegheny Oliver, Perry, Fifth Avenue, Schenley, Westinghouse, Peabody, etc., we remained friendly. In those years our rivalry overwhelmingly consisted of athletics definitely not weapons.


Stop police killings

A report released by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a group that works to promote law enforcement safety, indicates violence against police is at an all-time high, even though overall violent crimes have significantly declined. According to the report, fatal police shootings reached a 20-year high in the first half of 2011; 40 officers were killed by gunfire. More than 25 percent of those fatal shootings occurred in January, when 11 officers from around the country were killed. In one deadly 24-hour period in January, 11 officers nationwide were shot; three of them died. If the fatal shootings continue at this rate, shootings will be, for the first time, responsible for the majority of officer deaths. Looking at these numbers, it would seem that it is open season on law-enforcement officers. Collectively, we have to work together to stop police shootings.