Monthly Archive: June 2013



The Afro-American Music Institute celebrates fathers

WORKING WITH THE BOYS—Pamela Johnson in blue dress dances and sings with the boys’ choir. (Photos by J. L. Martello) The Afro-American Music Institute and its subsequent Afro-American Boys’ Choir is Pam and James Johnson’s greatest joy. “I can manifest their spirits through music and the choir gives the boys a sense of unity because they all have accomplishing something,” said James “Dr. J.” Johnson.



Former Tuskegee University first lady dies

MRS. THELMA P. PAYTON (Courtesy: Tuskegee University) TUSKEGEE, Ala.— Thelma P. Payton, the wife of Tuskegee University’s fifth president, Dr. Benjamin F. Payton, died June 20 at the Gulf Coast Medical Center in Fort Myers, Fla. She served as first lady of the university from 1981 to 2010.



Out & About 6-26-13

Kenneth L. Huston, director & CEO of Future Champs, Inc is the week’s BEST DRESSED MALE. This week I visited Lemont Restaurant in Mount Washington, Black Beauty Lounge in the Hill District, Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum in Homewood, Galaxy Lounge in Homewood and 7101 in Homewood. My first stop was at the Black Beauty Lounge in the Hill District where everyone came to celebrate the birthday of Teyonna Pollard. It was also Karaoke Night and the place was packed with everyone having fun.



Residents give input at community blight meeting

MAKING POINTS—Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess counts off the community-involved criteria he expects to incorporate in his pending LandBank legislation to address neighborhood blight. (Photo by J.L. Martello.) Despite the heat, about 60 neighborhood residents and stakeholders filled the upstairs meeting room at the Homewood Library for a discussion with Black Political Empowerment Project Founder Tim Stevens and Pittsburgh Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess on issues surrounding blighted properties.



Dowd resignation could open door for 3rd councilman

PATRICK DOWD When Pittsburgh Councilman Patrick Dowd announced he would be resigning his seat to head a new child-advocacy nonprofit, one question arising from the move was what does it mean for the Black residents of District 7. The district, which stretches from Law­rence­ville to Larimer, through Stanton Heights, Morningside and Highland Park has always had a sizeable African-American population. But thanks to redistricting, it now also includes the Strip District, Bloomfield and Friendship.



Violence prevention group moves in new direction

BARBARA J. WILLIAMS received the Community Champion Award. From left: Kenneth L. Houston, Barbara J. Williams and Randy Castritota. (Photos by Gail Manker) In 2008, Larry Chisholm, an ex-offender from the Hill District, opened Future Champs Boxing Gym in Wilkinsburg with the help of Randy Castriota, owner of Castriota Metals & Recycling. The two men met after Chisholm was released from prison and Castriota gave him a job and a place to live. Shortly after, Castriota asked Chisholm, who once had a promising career in boxing, what his dream was.



Halle Berry describes daughter’s harassment terror

Actress Halle Berry leaves the hearing room after testifying before the Assembly Committee on Public Safety for a bill that would limit the ability of paparazzi to photograph the children of celebrities and public figures at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., on June 25. (AP Photo/Steve Yeater) by Tracie Cone SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — With dozens of journalists tailing her every move, Academy Award-winner Halle Berry appeared at the California Capitol on Tuesday to testify for a bill that would limit the ability of paparazzi to photograph the children of celebrities and public figures.



CNN bringing ‘Crossfire’ back on the air

VAN JONES by David Bauder NEW YORK (AP) — CNN said Wednesday that it is bringing the political debate show “Crossfire” back on the air this fall with Newt Gingrich as one of the combatants. The former House speaker and Republican presidential candidate will be one of the four regular hosts of the program, taking the conservative side along with commentator S.E. Cupp of The Blaze. Stephanie Cutter, a former campaign spokeswoman for President Barack Obama, and Van Jones, a Yale-educated attorney and advocate for green projects, will speak from the left.