Daily Archive: January 11, 2012


Obama pushes payroll tax cuts through

As Americans prepared to celebrate the New Year, President Barack Obama celebrated the two-month extension of the payroll tax cuts set to expire Dec. 31. Now two weeks later, Obama has begun working to have these cuts extended until the end of 2012 in an effort to encourage economic growth and help struggling middle- and low-income Americans. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA “We’ve been doing everything we can over the last few weeks to make sure that 160 million working Americans aren’t hit with a holiday tax increase on Jan. 1,” said Obama at a press conference Dec. 22. “Now, if you’re a family making about $50,000 a year, this is a tax cut that amounts to about $1,000 a year. That’s about 40 bucks out of every paycheck. It may be that there’s some folks in the House who refuse to vote for this compromise because they don’t think that 40 bucks is a lot of money. But anyone who knows what it’s like to stretch a budget knows that at the end of the week, or the end of the month, $40 can make all the difference in the world.”


Banks must invest in community key to Lavelle’s new banking bill

One of the last legislative acts by Pittsburgh city council in 2011 was the 5-4 passage of a bill that would direct the city to deposit its funds in banks that reinvest the most in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. The idea is to use the potential deposits of $350 million as leverage to have banks invest even more and assist the city in its redevelopment efforts. But while laudable, Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, who voted against it, said it did not really address the needs of those communities, and he convinced Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to veto the bill. R. DANIEL LAVELLE On Jan. 10, Lavelle reintroduced the legislation, now called the Responsible Banking Bill. “At its heart, this bill does what the other one failed to do,” he said. “It holds institutions accountable for assisting low- to moderate-income communities.”


YouthWorks puts youth to work

The theme of the YouthWorks 2011 Youth at Work event was opportunity. Since 1994, YouthWorks has provided more than 22,000 youth with an opportunity to pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty and violence many low-income minorities live in. “It really does become a launching pad because it expands their network and cultivates their interests. We’ve seen through many of these experiences, our young people may get a job later on,” said Dara Ware Allen, YouthWorks executive director. “History is so compelling about how opportunity can make a difference and how our decisions can lead to that. Our young people see how the decisions they make everyday can affect them.” WES MOORE (Photo by Rossano Stewart)


East End new housing increase

Nearly four years after the first phase of Liberty Park was constructed, the second phase, 71 mixed-income rental units in 13 buildings, should be ready for tenants by summer. The project is halfway completed, less than eight months since breaking ground. The 124-unit first phase, now called Fairfield Apartments, is already fully occupied, mostly by tenants who were temporarily displaced by the demolition of the Liberty Park highrise. COMING SOON—71 units in the $14 million Liberty Park II development will be ready for occupancy this summer. Architecturally identical to phase I, units feature columns and brick. (Photos by J.L. Martello) Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who also took part in the groundbreaking with City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, hailed the project as another important step in revitalizing East Liberty.


Occupy the Hood on Occupy movement

Not surprisingly, organizers of the Occupy Pittsburgh protest, who took over the park next to BNY Mellon last summer, also moved to occupy Grant Street and the City-County Building during a Jan. 10 hearing on the bank’s request to evict the protesters. As of New Pittsburgh Courier Deadline, a Common Pleas Judge had not ruled on the matter. But even if the protesters are evicted, the Occupy movement will remain and move on to other fertile ground. First stop—your mind. JASIRI X


Community Calendar

Adoption Webinar JAN. 18—Adoptions From the Heart will host a Webinar at 7 p.m. This is the first part of the Embryo Ed series. The topic is “Basic facts about Embryo Placement.” This is one webinar of a four part educational series that will help those families who are pursuing embryo placement. The discussion will cover topics such as legal issues, the number of embryo considered for placement and more. There will also be additional materials and resources available to individuals who complete the seminar. Registration is required and the cost is $35 per couple. For more information, visit http://www.afth.org.


2 UK White men sentenced for killing Black teen

by Meera Selva LONDON (AP)—A young Black man lay dying in a south London bus stop. His friend called frantically for help while a gang of White teenagers who had stabbed him ran off. Two members of that gang were sentenced Jan. 4 for the 1993 murder of Stephen Lawrence, but three more remain at large. 18-YEAR-OLD MURDER VICTIM—Undated family handout photo of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence. (AP Photo/Family Handout/PA ) Judge Colman Treacy sentenced Gary Dobson to at least 15 years and 2 months in jail, and David Norris to at least 14 years and 3 months for the murder of the teenager, and urged police to continue looking for new leads in the case.


This Week In Black History

Week of Jan. 13-19 January 13 1869—On this day in 1869, one of the earliest post-Civil War attempts at organizing Blacks on a national level occurred. The National Convention of Black Leaders was held in Washington, D.C. Frederick Douglass was elected president. Also, the first Black labor union convention took place. It was called the Convention of the Colored National Labor Union. FREDERICK DOUGLASS


‘SVU’ actress Tamara Tunie speaks as victim of real-life theft

by Jennifer Peltz NEW YORK (AP)—“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” actress Tamara Tunie spoke out Tuesday about being a real-life crime victim, saying her former business manager exploited her trust to steal more than $1 million she earned by working doggedly at a peak in her career. TAMARA TUNIE Blasting Joseph Cilibrasi as a “menace to society” as he was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 7 1/2 years in prison, Tunie, a native of Homestead, Pa., said he insinuated himself into her life by joining in birthday parties, weddings and other family events, only to use that closeness to embezzle from her and leave a lasting hole in her family’s finances.


Jay-Z raps about birth of daughter with Beyoncé

by Nekesa M. MoodyAP Music Writer NEW YORK (AP)—Through a rap verse, Jay-Z has confirmed the birth of “the most beautiful girl in the world”—his newborn daughter. The song “Glory” made its debut on his social website Life and Times on Monday—two days after he and Beyonce reportedly gave birth to a daughter, Blue Ivy. POWER COUPLE—In this Jan. 11, 2009 photo, Beyonce is joined by husband Jay-Z, as she arrives at the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file)