Top stories of 2013

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Shoppers welcome Hill ‘SHOP ‘n SAVE’
(Oct. 23-29) Apparently waiting 30 years and one day for a new grocery store is too long for some Hill District residents. The day before its scheduled opening in Heldman Plaza SHOP ‘n SAVE operator Jeff Ross went to check on the store and found “shoppers” roaming the aisles.

“We actually had to politely turn people away who were in the store already,” Ross said.
When the store officially opened Oct. 18 at 7 a. m., they and others crowded back in, and Hill residents were almost universally impressed.

August Wilson Center

August Wilson Center faces foreclosure
(Oct. 2-8) On Sept. 10, the August Wilson Center for African American Culture issued a letter detailing plans for the future of the financial failing institution. In the letter AWC interim President and CEO Oliver Byrd admitted the center’s shortcomings, which include “a lack of sufficient finance and accounting expertise” but also pointed to the nearly 100 contracted events planned over the next year as a testament to its solvency.

However, on Sept 26, the wind was again let out of the center’s sails when Dollar Bank initiated foreclosure proceedings. Since then little has been heard from AWC officials.

“Dollar Bank has filed for foreclosure. We were aware of that,” Byrd said on Sept. 30 before declining to comment further. “We expect to make a series of announcements later in the week.”

AWC defaulted on a $7 million mortgage with Dollar Bank.

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Upset over teacher arrest, Courier photographer handcuffing by police
(July 3-9)  Community members and leaders met with Pittsburgh police administrators and public officials on July 1, just days after a Pittsburgh school teacher was arrested and a New Pittsburgh Courier photographer was handcuffed outside of a community meeting to discuss the incident and better relations between the police and the community.

“I think (the incident) may be a blessing in disguise because this problem of police harassment is constant in the urban community,” said Rossano P. Stewart, the photographer.

On June 26, Dennis Henderson, a teacher at the Manchester Academy Charter School, and Stewart were leaving a Community Empowerment Association meeting held at the organization Kelly Street headquarters in Homewood, when they were allegedly almost hit by, then harassed and handcuffed by Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Jonathan Gromek.

Charges were dropped the following morning.

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Hawkins: Rivers Casino admits it has a problem
(Sept. 4-10)  As anyone in a 12-step program can attest, the first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem. And according to Allegheny County Councilwoman Amanda Green Hawkins, The Rivers Casino has, and is taking further steps to correct problems.

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Harper indicted, to plead guilty
(March 27-April 2) On March 22, after a 36-year career with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, former Police Chief Nathan Harper was indicted by a federal grand jury on five counts for conspiracy, theft of public funds and tax evasion. According to the indictment, Harper is being charged with one count of conspiracy for the personal use of nearly $32,000 in public funds and directing unnamed police personnel to deposit approximately $70,000 into unauthorized accounts at the Pittsburgh Federal Credit Union.

LINDALANE

Board extends Lane contract
(March 27-April 2)  Last week Pittsburgh Public Schools unveiled a new district website, changing the way parents, teachers and students access information. But some things in the district won’t be changing in the near future. On March 20, the Board of Education voted to extend PPS Superintendent  Linda Lane’s contract for three more years.

Kierra keeps Caring hosts 4th Annual Walk 4 Life
(July 17-23) For the past four years, Carla Gaines–Robinson has hosted a community walk in honor of her daughter Sha’Vaughn Kierra Wallace who was shot and killed in May 2009. The annual Walk  for Life, which was held this year on July 13, also commemorates the life of Jayla Brown, a 19-year old shot and killed in August 2007.

Whites favored over African-American
ACLU amends police bias suit
(April 24-30)  On April 15, the American Civil Liberties Union filled an amended lawsuit against the Pittsburgh Police with five individuals who previously applied for the police force. The lawsuit claims the bureau’s hiring practices favor Whites over African-American candidates and that these practices account for the paltry numbers of minorities on the force.

Community outraged over toddler’s death
(May 29–June 4) The shooting death of a 1-year-old boy at an East Hills cookout has left many in the community feeling outraged and fed up with the Black-on-Black violence. Om May 21, two females were injured and their nephew was killed when three men got out of a vehicle and opened fire into a crowd at a cookout in the 2300 block of East Hills Drive. The toddler, who has been identified as Marcus White Jr., 19 months, was taken to Children’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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Parker charts new direction for NAACP
Feb. 13-19) Constance Parker elected President of the NAACP Pittsburgh unit in November met with the New Pittsburgh Courier Editorial Board and said the unit has failed to communicate with and for the Black community in recent years , and that will change.

Council OKs $12 mil for Larimer Plan
(August 7-13) The plan to begin rebuilding Larimer with 350 units of mixed income rental and for-sale housing receive another boost this week when Pittsburgh City Council approved allocating $12 million to the project.

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Simmons out at Shuman
(July 31-Aug. 6) William “Jack” Simmons, who has been under fire for months over his management of Allegheny County’s Shuman Juvenile Detention has finally been let go.

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