Daily Archive: December 14, 2011


Pgh School District shaves $31.9M off projected deficit

In June, as the Pittsburgh Public School District reeled from impending budget cuts at the state level, they announced that despite these cuts, they were already looking at a possible $53.6 million deficit for 2012. Six months later, on Dec. 7, the district passed a budget with a projected deficit of $21 million, cutting the originally projected deficit by more than half. MAKING PROGRESS—Despite increasing strain on the district’s budget, Superintendant Linda Lane announced the district made adequate yearly progress in 2011. “I haven’t been in the district long, but from those who have been here longer, they’re assuring me they don’t remember anything as big as this. What it means for the future is we’re going to have to focus on the things that are important and let some other things go,” said Superintendent Linda Lane. “We want our kids to continue to improve in terms of their learning outcomes. We want our parents to feel like we’re providing a strong educational background for our students.”



County votes to raise taxes

After running a yearlong campaign repeatedly saying he kept real estate taxes from increasing, Allegheny County Executive-elect Rich Fitzgerald praised county council members for approving a hike in real estate taxes. “I know that it was a difficult decision, but I stand with many leaders of our community in commending the members for recognizing that increasing the millage was something that had to be done,” he said in a Dec. 6 press release. RICH FITZGERALD The 1-mill property tax increase, which Democratic council members said was needed to save county services, would raise county tax bills $100 for properties of $100,000. It represents a 21 percent tax increase. Meaning anyone paying $500 last year will pay $105 more.


City drops civilians from police review

Instead of sitting inside interviewing prospective Pittsburgh police candidates, members of the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network stood in the cold outside Holy Innocents Catholic School, because the city would not let them continue. They demanded to be allowed to do so. NOT GOING QUIETLY—Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network President Rev. Richard Freeman demand that community members be allowed to continue interviewing city police candidates. (Photo by Gail Manker) “We’re here because the government has decided the voice of the people is not necessary, that the voice of the people will be muted, will be silenced,” said PIIN President Rev. Richard Freeman. “That is untenable. Many were trained to represent the people in this process and we’re here to demand that they be back at the table.”


3 women accept Nobel Peace Prize

By Bjoern H. Amland OSLO, Norway (AP)— Three women who fought injustice, dictatorship and sexual violence in Liberia and Yemen accepted the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize Dec. 10, calling on repressed women worldwide to rise up against male supremacy. “My sisters, my daughters, my friends—find your voice,” Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said after collecting her Nobel diploma and medal at a ceremony in Oslo. UNITED IN SISTERHOOD—Nobel Peace Prize winners Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, left; Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, center; and Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, right, take the stage at City Hall in in Oslo, Norway, Dec. 10. (AP Photo/John McConnico) Sirleaf, Africa’s first democratically elected female president, shared the award with women’s rights campaigner Leymah Gbowee, also from Liberia, and Tawakkul Karman, a female icon of the protest movement in Yemen.



Where are guns really coming from?

In recent Courier articles the Pittsburgh Police, and a report by the Pittsburgh Development Group says that most of the guns being used to commit street crimes are coming from females, friends or family of the person using the illegal gun, or they are stolen guns. First let me congratulate and thank all the people working hard to curtail Black on Black street violence. Something must be getting through because there was only one homicide last month. Now we must work to move that number down to zero, because I’m sure the family and friends of Joseph Boone feel that one was far too many.


Community Calendar

Shoeboxes DEC. 17—The EastLiberty Shoeboxes will host a Community event at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 250 N. Highland Ave., East Liberty. This is a non-profit organization that provides Christmas gifts for children and families. For more information, call 412-361-0463 or visit http://www.ashoeboxchristmas.com.


This Week In Black History

Week of Dec. 17-23 December 17 1663—Queen Nzingha of Angola dies at the age of 82. Known as the Warrior Princess of Matamba, Queen Nzingha gained legendary fame for her resistance to Portuguese attempts to colonize the interior of Africa. She also battled the Dutch slave trade. Leading a tribal group known as the Jugas, she is generally credited with leading the stiffest resistance to early European colonialism and imperialism. EDDIE KENDRICKS 1939—Eddie Kendricks is born in Union Springs, Ala. Kendricks was the lead singer for the Temptations during the group’s heyday.


Oakland toddler in rap video shooting dies

by Terry Collins OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—A 1-year-old boy who was shot in the head during the filming of a rap music video in Oakland was taken off life support Dec. 9. Hiram Lawrence, who would have turned 2 on Dec. 28, was pronounced dead at 3:05 p.m., Rev. Roosevelt Taylor said. SHOT IN THE HEAD—In this Dec. 7, photo, Brittany Houston and Hiram Lawrence, holding a photo of his son, talk about their son’s condition at Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/The Tribune, Kristopher Skinner) The boy’s family had held out hope that he would show some brain activity, but doctors at Children’s Hospital Oakland concluded after multiple tests that he was brain dead from the injuries he suffered in the shooting last month.


Police: 2 Mich. kids used toy gun to steal snacks

WARREN, Mich. (AP)— Police say two Detroit-area youngsters used a toy gun to rob five of their schoolmates of candy and chips. The five victims were walking home earlier this week from Lincoln Elementary in Warren, north of Detroit, when one of the boys pulled the plastic gun on them, police said. The suspects, ages 10 and 8, have been identified and police said they were making arrangements to have them brought in to be questioned, according to The Detroit News. “I can honestly say I cannot ever remember anything like this happening with such young suspects,” Warren Detective Lt. Dan Beck told The Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens reported. “At least one of the victims told our officers he believed the gun was real.” Police later determined the gun was a toy because the tip was described as orange. But Beck said the two young suspects could be charged with armed robbery because one of the children thought the gun was real. Beck said the victims ranged in age from 7 to 11.