Daily Archive: August 10, 2011


Rev. Curtis sets record straight on youth mayhem

It was an afternoon that began full of fun, fellowship and praise, but later ended with mayhem and foolishness. On July 31, Mt. Ararat Baptist Church, in East Liberty, held their 14th Community Day picnic at Mellon Park, an annual event offering fellowship and fun to members of the congregation, as well as members of the community. According to reports, while the picnic that entertained 3,000 individuals was wrapping up, a large group of young people visited the nearby McDonald’s, Trader Joe’s and even the new Target Store causing a raucous and what some are describing as a “riot.” REV. DR. WILLIAM CURTIS Many are blaming Mt. Ararat, accusing the youth of their church and those that attended the picnic of causing or being involved in the incident, but Rev. Dr. William H. Curtis, pastor of Mt. Ararat would like to set the record straight.


Hill House selects new CEO

After a corporate career that took her as far away as London, Cheryl Hall-Russell returned to her native Indiana and to her nonprofit roots. Now she is bringing her extensive expertise to Pittsburgh as the new president and chief operating officer for the Hill House Association. Hall-Russell is the fifth person to lead the agency since its founding. She succeeds Victor Roque who resigned in June, and like Roque, she will also serve as president and CEO of the Hill House Economic Development Corp. She starts her new position Sept. 1. CHERYL HALL-RUSSELL “I’m very excited about coming to Pittsburgh. I didn’t know anything about the city, but I know about Hill House and their impact—so it’s not a mystery,” she said during a phone interview. “I’m pumped about the position and the opportunities it presents.”


Oldtimers celebrate youth

Pittsburgh School Board Director Mark Brentley and his former colleague City Council President Darlene Harris rarely agree. But that is not the case when it comes to supporting the Northside Oldtimers and their efforts to save their youth and community from violence. Shouting, “Stop the violence, save our streets,” and “Hey, ho, violence has to go,” Harris and Brentley marched together with neighborhood children and residents of all ages from the Propel School to West Park, kicking off the day-long Oldtimers community celebration. YOUNG & OLD TOGETHER—City Council President Darlene Harris, School Board Director Mark Brentley and Pittsburgh Project outreach Director Will Thompkins were among those joining the 5th Annual Northside Oldtimers Children’s March. (Photo by J.L. Martello) “Last year I was in the hospital. But this year, I said if I can walk, I’m marching with the kids parade because this event is important for the children, the community and the city,” said Harris.


Langley, Oliver to be closed… More school realignments

Two more high schools could be eliminated from the Pittsburgh Public School District if the board approves a proposal released by the district Aug. 4. Under the new realignment plan for the 2012-2013 school year, Oliver High School and Langley High School would be among seven schools eliminated through consolidation. LINDA LANE “We are committed to using taxpayer dollars efficiently. This proposed reduction to our physical footprint is just the beginning. We remain committed to becoming a system of quality schools that promotes high student achievement in the most equitable and cost-effective manner,” said Superintendent Linda Lane. “Addressing the District’s underutilized classrooms will provide us our largest savings in the long run. The way to achieve these savings is through a combination of school closings and by addressing our under-enrolled classes.”



What has gone wrong with us?

Let’s go back some years ago. During that period of time we went overwhelmingly to Black churches, ate at Black-owned establishments such as B&M, Mama Lucy’s, Boykin’s, and others.We were generally treated as second-class citizens at parks such as Kennywood, Westview and South Park. We were denied access to swimming pools, skating rinks, major hotels and the job situation was deplorable. However, there came a time when Blacks said, “ain’t going to take it anymore.”


Community Calendar

Basketball camp AUG. 10—PROMISE and Jakim Donaldson will host a Basketball Camp from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Oliver High School, 2323 Brighton Rd., North Side. This three day camp is for boys and girls ages 8-18. For more information, call 412-321-1019 or visit promiseonthemove.com.



This Week In Black History

For the Week of August 13-19 August 13 1881—The first African-American nursing school opens at Spelman College in Atlanta, Ga. 1892—The Afro-American newspaper is founded. The first edition is published in Baltimore, Md., by John H. Murphy Sr. At its height, the newspaper chain would publish papers in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Richmond, Virginia and Newark, N.J. It continues to publish today in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. ERNEST E. JUST 1906—The “Brownsville Affair” takes place. Angry Black soldiers, who had been subjected to intense racial discrimination and insults, are accused of sneaking into Brownsville, Texas, and killing a local White bartender and wounding a police officer. Although the evidence was weak, President Theodore Roosevelt sided with Brownsville Whites and ordered 167 of the Black soldiers dishonorably discharged for a “conspiracy of silence” because they either denied involvement in the shootings or refused to say who was involved. However, 66 years later (as a result of the findings of a book) the Army opened a new investigation which cleared the accused soldiers and reversed the 1906 dishonorably discharges.


Food stamp use increases

In recent weeks, the nation has been bombarded with nonstop media coverage of the debt ceiling debate. Congress and the president could not seem to come to an agreement over how to best protect the nation’s credit rating and control the national deficit. We were told, repeatedly, that if the debt ceiling wasn’t increased, America’s global borrowing power would be negatively affected and that the economy would suffer. At the 11th hour, Congress voted on and the president signed a cobbled together plan that ensured America could continue to borrow money to pay its debts. People across the country breathed a collective sigh of relief. Or did they?


The beginning of the end

(NNPA)—When S&P downgraded the U.S. bond rating from AAA to AA+, they formalized the financial buzz of months, if not years. The U.S. is going to hell in a hand basket, replicating the denouement of England in the mid-21st century. Our tax structure, which rewards the rich and punishes the middle class, looks like something from a developing country, and our economic distribution is going to look like that soon, as well. While many are disappointed and outraged that the flawed S&P felt they could involve themselves in the internal meat grinder of U.S. politics by demanding a certain level of spending cuts, the bottom line is that our politicians were willing to take us to the brink on the debt ceiling, and this brinkmanship does not bode well for fiscal stability.


Guest editorial…Debt deal: The good, the bad and the ugly

After weeks of wrangling, the White House and congressional Republicans reached an agreement on a debt reduction plan that has in it some good, some bad and a lot of ugly. The best thing about the deal is that it keeps the nation from financial default which could have triggered an economic crisis not only in the United States but throughout the world. The vote in the House and the Senate showed a bright moment of bipartisan unity and decency when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made her first appearance in Congress since being shot in the head seven months ago. Giffords drew thunderous applause from both Democrats and Republicans as she walked into the House chamber unannounced and cast her vote in favor of the bill.