Daily Archive: December 24, 2012


Groundbreaking for $11.5M Homewood senior homes

During the groundbreaking for the $11.5 million Homewood Station Senior Apartments development in Homewood, City Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess recalled how his late mother asked him to work to rebuild the neighborhood. With this project, he said, he has started to honor her request. “I grew up two blocks from this site. I pastored a church for 30 years one block from this site and I married a girl from around the corner. I’ve lived here all my life and I can say without a shadow of doubt this is the most significant development in Homewood in 20 years,” he said. “This is the beginning of building a brand new commercial district in Homewood. This is what transformational development looks like.” Joining Burgess for the Dec. 18 groundbreaking were a number of partners in the project, including Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Operation Better Block Executive Director Jerome Jackson, Oxford Development President and CEO Steven Guy, Community Empowerment Association founder Rashad Byrdsong and S&A Homes executive VP Andy Haines. When completed, the Homewood Station mixed-use development will provide 41 new mixed-income, one- and two-bedroom, residential units at the corner of North Homewood Ave. and Susquehanna St. The four-story building will also feature ground floor commercial space for neighborhood businesses, as well as a café. And thanks to Byrdsong’s workforce development assistance, Haines said the project will also employ community residents both during and after construction. “We want local contractors and laborers on site and in a management role afterwards. Operation Better Block will be the supportive services provider after completion,” he said. “Like Rev. said, this is the start of the future. It’s important that we’re providing affordable housing for seniors 55 and up. It’s important that we’re getting rid of vacant lots, and it’s important that we’re building taxable properties to help stabilize the community. We’re proud to be a part of it.” This first phase of five was supported with a $10 million Low Income Housing Tax Credit through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency and land sold through the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. The authority provided an additional $317,000 in grant funding. NEW BEGINNING—From left: Rashad Byrdsong, Community Empowerment Association; Mark Peterson, Bridgeway Capital; Steven Guy, CEO of Oxford Development; Jerome Jackson, executive director of Operation Better Block, Inc.; Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, City of Pittsburgh; Rev. Ricky Burgess, Councilman of District 9; Andy Haines, S&A Homes; and Ken Doyino, Rothchild Doyno Collaborative. (Photos by Ashley G. Woodson) Guy said the project would build on existing assets—being adjacent to the East Busway, proximity to the Faison School, and nearby newly constructed single-family homes—to create multiple paths to sustained economic development.


Angela Simmons launches ‘Bikini’ hair extension line

Angela Simmons believes that hair has the ability to make a woman feel beautiful. That’s one of the reasons she decided to team up with Indique Hair to create Bikini, her own line of hair extensions. “Hair extensions speak to me because I wear different styles,” said Simmons, 24. ANGELA SIMMONS Bikini hit boutiques in New York and Boston on June 21. The first extension in the line is a combination of Virgin Indian wavy and curly hair by alternating sections of Indique Hair using an innovative blending process.


Jazz violinist Rodney McCoy overcoming stroke to play again

Rodney McCoy has been blessing the world with beautiful violin music since he was nine years old. “My mother was a concert pianist and I wanted to play the piano, but the next likely thing was the violin. It was love at first sight,” McCoy said. RODNEY McCOY McCoy began studying the instrument privately under the direction of mentor and friend Sister Francis Assisi Gorham, a member of the Sisters of Charity and director of the Seton Center’s Suzuki School of Music.


America Should See The Newtown Carnage

by Roland S. Martin (CNN)–“One of these mothers from Connecticut should do an Emmett Till moment; show the picture of their child dead in the classroom.” That’s a text I received earlier this week from my TV One show producer. When I got it, a chill immediately went through my body just thinking about the possibility of seeing the carnage in such a photo. ROLAND MARTIN