Daily Archive: September 19, 2012


Hundreds celebrate Wofford

More than 80 local musicians joined friends and family of blues singer Leroy Wofford at the James Street Gastropub to celebrate his life and to raise funds to help with his funeral expenses. Wofford was shot by two men at his home Sept. 8 and died the following day at UPMC Presbyterian. Pittsburgh police are still investigating. SOULFUL SENDOFF—Nelson Harrison, James Johnson, J.D. Donaldson, and Myron “Bama” Johnson perform during the benefit concert for the family of their friend, slain blues singer Leroy Wofford. (Photos by J.L. Martello) The Sept. 12 fundraiser was organized by James Street co-owner Adam Johnston and Dr. Nelson Harrison when they learned the family needed financial help. And help they got. “Everyone helping get my father put to rest, and your condolences, I really appreciate it,” said daughter Charmaine Kelly. “My father was a good man and didn’t deserve this.” But he did deserve the send off he received from Pittsburgh’s jazz and blues artists. Just some of those who either stopped by to donate or perform, or both, included Etta Cox, Al Dowe, Kenny Blake, Antone DeFade, Dr. James Johnson, Eric Johnson, Michelle Benson, Fred Pugh, Brian Edmonds, Keith Thornhill, Nick Nichols, Spider Rondinelli, Barbara Ray, Flo Wilson and Kenny Blake.”


Panera loses suit, must pay

U.S. District Court Justice Gary Lancaster has approved a tentative settlement in a class action discrimination lawsuit brought by former em­ployees of ­Panera Bread franchise owner Sam Corvelli. Under the settlement lead plaintiff and former Corvelli employee Guy Vines of Castle Shannon would receive $10,000. The court cannot give final approval until approximately 300-400 current and former employees are made aware of the settlement. Vines claimed company policy was to keep Blacks “in the back” of restaurants and deny them promotions.


Walker runs for NAACP president

Earlier this month, longtime University of Pittsburgh law enforcement specialist Deborah Walker, announced her candidacy for president of the Pittsburgh branch of the NAACP in the upcoming Nov. 13 election. “I’ve talked to scores of people across the city and there’s been one common theme that comes up: the NAACP needs a new start,” Walker said. “And I think with my skills and experience I could be that new start that moves the organization into the future.” DEBORAH WALKER In addition to her years of service with the NAACP, Walker is the former chair of the Pittsburgh Citizens Review Board, president of Pitt’s Staff Association Council, chair of the sub-committee for education on the Governor’s Commission on African-American Affairs, and chair of Pitt’s Alumni Association Student Programming Committee. She said this leadership experience combined with her skills, knowledge, education and contacts make her a great candidate for NAACP president.


Newly registered voter laments obstructions

by Eric Mayes For New Pittsburgh Courier PHILADELPHIA (NNPA)—Lawrence Austin is now a proudly registered Democrat, with a new state identification card, intent on casting his first ballot on Nov. 6—but his road to the ballot box has been a long and rocky one. NEW VOTER—Lawrence Austin shows off his voter identification card. After months of struggling to get the necessary paperwork for the state ID card, Austin recently obtained an identity card from the state Department of State. It is valid through 2022 for voting purposes only. (Philadelphia Tribune Photo/Abdul R. Sulayman/Chief Photographer)


New parking tax revenue to Hill

Last week, more than 300 new parking spaces opened for commuters on the site of the former Civic Arena. That number will shortly increase to 800, and thanks to the work of the Hill Consensus Group and city Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, half of the parking taxes generated from those spaces will be used exclusively for Hill District development. R. DANIEL LAVELLE “It’s not as big a contribution as we had initially asked for—$1 for every car parked on the site—but we fully support Councilman Lavelle’s legislation and anticipate a substantial investment,” said Hill Consensus Group Chairman Carl Redwood. “This is a definite positive for the Hill. We just need to make sure the developers it helps give back to the community.”


Black history group to convene in Pgh

On Sept. 26, the Association for the Study of African Life and History will bring their annual meeting to Pittsburgh. The theme of the 97th annual event will be “Black Women in American Culture and History.” “This is our 97th annual conference and the purpose of the conference is to bring together scholars and individuals in the community who promote history and to have a venue where new scholarship is presented to the public and the academic world as well as special events that highlight history,” said Sylvia Cyrus, ASALH executive director. SYLVIA CYRUS The conference, which is expected to draw 1000 guests, has approximately 180 different events over the course of five days, from Sept. 26-30. Special guests will include Shirley Sherrod, former Georgia state director of rural development for the United States Department of Agriculture, who was forced to resign in response to comments she made during a NAACP meeting.


Casey enters Aliquippa Head Start move fight

by Joby Brown U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey expressed his concerns about the moving of the Aliquippa Head Start Program to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services, in a letter dated Aug. 29. Senator Casey emphasized the concerns of citizens, local, county and state officials, about the aborted decision to move the Aliquippa Head Start. He said he was bothered by the lack of public input in the decision making process. In his letter, he asked the secretary and her department, “to take immediate steps to communicate with the families and community stakeholders and address their concerns.


Community Calendar

Voter ID & Registration SEPT. 22—Bethel AME Church in Monongahela, Pa., will host a Voter ID & Voter Registration Seminar at 12 p.m. at 715 Chess St., Monongahela, Pa. A representative from the Washington County Board of Elections will facilitate the seminar and answer any questions about the requirements for the November election. For more information, call 724-258-6491.



Take charge of your health today. Be informed. Be involved….Aging and mobility

by Michael Yonas, DrPH This month’s special section on aging and mobility is a continuation of the monthly series started last year, focusing on health disparities in the Pittsburgh region. It is a collaboration among the New Pittsburgh Courier, Community PARTners (a core service of the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute—CTSI) and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh. Michael Yonas, DrPH, assistant professor of family medicine at Pitt, sat down with Esther L. Bush, president and CEO of the Urban League, to talk about this month’s focus. MY: Ms. Bush, your opinion on the previous health disparities and research awareness segments has been so insightful. What are your thoughts about this month’s overview on healthy aging?


Community PARTners links University to community

The Clinical and Translational Science Institute has one mission: to facilitate the translation of research advances into clinical and public health practice and policy—bridging the laboratory bench to patient bedside to community-based practice. To achieve this goal, CTSI is working to join together existing programs with new initiatives to create an awareness and understanding of the benefits to health that can be realized from research. CTSI has established 10 core divisions to take on this mission. Community PARTners (Partnering to Assist Research and Translation) is one of these cores. It aims to be an essential link between the University and the community, which is why they are teaming up with the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and the New Pittsburgh Courier to let people know about health information and research that is going on right now.