Monthly Archive: July 2011


JC…putting it all together

In an era of music where formulas and cookie cutter songs are the norm, it is refreshing to see an up and coming artist bringing something new to the scene, enters JC of The Finest. Justin Collins started out in the hip-hop and R&B group, The Finest. JC learned the ropes of the hip-hop scene, offering verses, and singing on the hooks with national artists such as Wiz Khalifa, Johnny Juliano, Max B, and Wes Fif. JC JC is now running Top Floor Studios. He used to go to ID Labs Studios with E-Dan, who is the person he came up under. E-Dan mixed and mastered all of The Finest’s material in the beginning. As time went on, JC became more hands on with the production, mixing and mastering. He was gradually breaking away from E-Dan to do his thing. “The Finest came about while we were in college. It consisted of eight people in the beginning that loved to make music,” JC said. “It went from eight people, to four, down to two people. It happened that way because people began to fall by the wayside as things became more serious.


Cover To Cover…‘Africans Thought of It’

How many things can your favorite blanket be? Count ‘em up: put it over a chair and it becomes a tent; wrap it around your shoulders and it’s a cape; pull it over your head and you’re a ghost; run with it behind you and your blanket becomes wings; fold it and it’s a mattress; and snuggle with it and you feel better on a bad day. It’s fun to pretend and use your imagination, but sometimes your ideas could make people’s lives easier. In the new book “Africans Thought of It” by Bathseba Opini and Richard B. Lee, you’ll read about inventions in Africa through the centuries. If you look at a map or globe, you’ll see that Africa is the world’s second-largest continent. Around a billion people live in Africa’s 54 countries, representing over 800 different ethnic groups. Each group has invented many things to enrich people’s lives, and some of them are still around today.


Practice makes perfect

(NNPA)—Education and training are critical, as they are the second component to “doing the knowledge.” What is required is root knowledge, not merely branch knowledge. You cannot master a subject by making a cursory glance of it. To obtain a comprehensive knowledge requires digging deep, even if you are ahead of the game because of a natural aptitude for a particular subject. There is no such thing as too much knowledge. However, you can have too little, and a little knowledge is usually dangerous. That’s when you’re likely to take uncalculated risks and enter a minefield ill-equipped and unprepared. After defining your goals and vision, you need to learn what is necessary to achieve it. Take the time to study your chosen profession. Such knowledge can be obtained either in school or in life. Mentors and teachers come in to play here. They can provide you the information you need to move forward, especially in the beginning.


How I spent (am spending) my summer vacation

Remember back in the day when we had to chronicle our “How I Spent My Summer” adventures at the start of every fresh new school year? Well, this week’s column is kind of a version of that as I share with you how I’m spending my summer with Nielsen. It’s pretty much how I’ve spent the last seven summers: traveling with my Nielsen colleagues across the country spreading the word about why you should care about research and the impact it can have on your lives.



Tiger throws the wrong guy overboard

by Jim Litke (AP)—Used to be few things in sports made you feel more foolish than second-guessing Tiger Woods. So maybe throwing longtime caddie and close pal Steve Williams overboard after a dozen years and six times that many wins around the world together will pay dividends in the long run. WINNING TEAM—This July 17, 2004, file photo shows Tiger Woods and his caddie Steve Williams lining up a putt on the second green on the third day of the British Open golf championship at Royal Troon golf course in Troon, Scotland. (AP Photo/Adam Butler) The guess here, though, is maybe not. You can’t be in a good place surrounded by yes men. It’s worth remembering that until Woods’ SUV went pin-balling down the driveway 20 months ago, he rarely put a foot down wrong in his career. He set tongues wagging by changing coaches and twice overhauling a swing just about everybody else considered the picture of perfection—then had the last laugh by tearing off two of the most sublime championship runs golf has ever seen.



Right on Target

I made it to the ribbon-cutting of the brand new Target in East Liberty. Those of us who live east of the city of Pittsburgh have been watching and waiting for this brand new addition to 15206 to open. No matter what you call it now, it will always be East Liberty to me. Years ago there was a high rise on this site and I remember when there was a variety store right in this very spot, it may have been Treasure Island or Gold Coast, it was a store very much like today’s Target. The preview was packed and I spotted a lot of East End residents, business and residential people like Michelle Ross, Tim Stevens, Malik Bankston, Riley Davis and Dr. Helen Davis. The store is large and well laid out. There is a grocery department with fresh produce and I noticed a nice collection of Black art. You can see the merchandise is geared to the surrounding clientele. There is a Starbucks and a Pizza Hut inside of the store at the top of the escalator.


Pittsburgh Black Nurses in Action honor trailblazers

On June 25 at the Churchill Valley Country Club, The Association of Pittsburgh Black Nurses in Action, a chapter of the National Black Nurses Association Inc., held the third Annual Evelyn Paige Parker Scholarship Luncheon honoring six of their trailblazers. The honorees have been active with the organization for more than 15 years and have overcome discrimination through prayer, pride and perseverance. This year’s honorees included: Adena Davis, Mary Gray, Frances Johnson, Lillian Lesesne, Luevonue Lincoln and Gladys Harris-Nesbit. TRAILBLAZER—Doretta Lemon-Fallen (co-chair), Lillian Lesesne and Patricia Tucker (co-chair). (Photos by Debbie Norrell)


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.