In this issue...
Working to make South Pittsburgh a better place, every day
Seniors aged 60+ can receive free home safety resources
Coal and coal mining are a large part of Pittsburgh's history, propelling our region to the forefront of industry for generations. First cropping up in the 1700s, coal mines were constructed all over South Pittsburgh in particular. In fact, what we know today as Mount Washington used to be called Coal Hill. By the beginning of the 19th century, coal became Pittsburgh's primary fuel source. And because of the way that coal was traditionally extracted, in which long tunnels and tracks were dug deep into the ground, many of our neighborhoods, and towns all across the region, now sit atop former mines.
In July, a 91 year old coal mine on Frederick Street in Mount Oliver collapsed after heavy rains, and over a dozen families suddenly found that their homes' foundations had moved beneath their feet, causing their houses to sink into the ground and crack. Utility companies stopped providing services like gas and electricity. At least five families were evacuated, and some have said that due to the severity of the damage done to their houses, they're deciding whether or not to even return home.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection stepped in at that point, and they've contracted a company called Coastal Drilling East to fill the mine cavity with a mixture of sand and concrete--and this will take eight weeks and cost more than $1.3 million. So who pays for this? As Mount Oliver borough engineer Ruthanne Omer said to the Post-Gazette, "The companies who built the mines are long gone. Although the state will stabilize the ground, without mine subsidence insurance, the money to fix this is coming out of our residents' pockets."
You may be asking yourself, am I at risk for a potential mine subsidence? To answer that question, check out this map that the DEP put together that shows where undermining occurred in District 4.
As you can see, essentially all of District 4 was undermined, and so there will always be a potential risk for subsidence.
It's important for South Pittsburgh homeowners to consider acquiring mine subsidence insurance. For more information, log onto the state's DEP mine subsidence website. You can also speak to a DEP expert to find out about your potential risk and available insurance coverage--call 1.800.922.1678, Monday to Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To speak with my office about these issues, or any others, call 412.255.2131 or send us a message through my website.
Speak up! The future of Brookline is up to us. Visit OurBrookline to share your ideas, take the surveys, chat with your friends, and promote the neighborhood--all while earning some local business prizes!
And the next opportunity to take part in Brookline's identity visioning workshops is on September 12 at 7:00 p.m. at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church at 933 Brookline Boulevard. Come out and help generate ideas for the future identity and vision of Brookline Boulevard. The meetings focus on the commercial distrrict but also touch on the identity of the neighborhood at large in order to promote business growth and community improvement.
Thanks to EvolveEA, SPDC, Design Center, the URA, and the City Planning Department for making this possible. For more information, feel free to call my office at 412.255.2131 and we can put you in touch with the team leading these workshops.
Did you know that in Pennsylvania, in the year 2013, someone can be denied a mortgage, refused a hotel room, or fired from their job just because of who they are or whom they love? Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeast where a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression can be used against them in a discriminatory manner without basic protections we as Americans have come to expect. Councilman Kraus and I sponsored a pair of Wills of Council that put Pittsburgh City Council on the record as supporting equal treatment and equal rights for all people--no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
In August I had a chance to attend a celebration for the Carrick High Alumni Association, which has been bringing together alumni and celebrating their achievements for 20 years. City Council issued a proclamation for Paul "Bucky" Harrison, who has devoted his time over the last couple decades to the Alumni Association, and August 11 was declared Paul "Bucky" Harrison Day in the City. Read the proclamation here. In addition, we celebrated the ninth annual class of distinguished alumni and teachers from Carrick High--learn more about these alumni (and former band director James Kraus) in our proclamation here.
On Saturday September 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Brookline Boulevard welcomes you to the Autumn Breeze Fest, featuring food, arts and crafts, special sales from many businesses, and more. Most of the construction work on the Boulevard will have been completed, so come out to visit our business district! This fall celebration is sponsored by the Brookline Chamber of Commerce, and if you're interested in participating as a vendor, contact Cannon Coffee or A-Boss Optician, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just like "Follow Fridays" on Twitter let users put forward recommendations for their followers, SPDC's Facebook page will be spotlighting a Brookline business or organization every Friday. Follow SPDC on Facebook to learn more about Brookline's history, residents, and businesses--and maybe scoop up a coupon or two in the process!
And if you don't already receive The Brookline, a monthly publication with an impressive array of news, event listings, and other happenings around Brookline, you're missing out! Join the Brookline Google group to sign up by email, or email Pam to request a subscription for delivery every month. Clint Burton's BrooklineConnection website has a fantastic archive of back issues. Dig in!
There's a lot going on in District 4 in terms of development and construction, and they're all at various stages of completion:
Congratulations to Beechview residents Sue Pfeuffer and Phyllis Didiano, who were recently named recipients of the 2013 Jefferson Award for their dedication and service to their neighborhood! The Jefferson Award, known as the "Nobel Prize for volunteerism," was started in 1972 and named after Thomas Jefferson. Learn more about the award here.
Sue and Phyllis are board members of the Friends of the Beechview Library and members of the Community Leaders United of Beechview (CLUB). For the past 20 years, they've lived on the same street in Beechview, and both have put countless hours in working to make Beechview better--from the weekly flea market, various community fundraisers, and community initiatives like the Beechview Area Concerned Citizens and the Night Out Against Crime. Check out this piece that the Post-Gazette posted about Sue and Phyllis to learn more. Congratulations!
As I mentioned briefly in last month's newsletter, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Beechview branch is on deck for building improvements. Planning for these enhancements will begin this fall, with the renovations scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014. Stay tuned for announcements for community meetings so you can learn more about the process and share your input.
There are currently openings for volunteer positions serving on a task force with the intent to integrate people with disabilities into community activities and the employment of their choosing. The task force will also advise the Mayor and County Executive on state and federal issues that deal with the dignity of our neighbors, friends, and family members who live with disabilities.
Members of this task force are expected to be city residents, attend ten Monday afternoon meetings a year, usually between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. at 200 Ross Street, and the positions are appointed a four-year term. If you’re interested in learning more, visit this page or call 412.255.2102. If you’re interested in taking part, email your resume and a letter of intent to email@example.com. The deadline to apply is noon on August 31, 2013.
Pittsburgh Public Schools open on August 26, and there are lots of new faces around South Pittsburgh. This month's dispatch:
What are your thoughts about Pittsburgh Public Schools? PPS wants to know! Superintendent Linda Lane has asked me to share with you this online forum to exchange ideas about how to ensure that all students develop the skills--both academic and non-academic--they need to succeed. Whether you're an educator, a parent, or an interested community member, take part in the conversation here.
If you are concerned about crime in your neighborhood, we encourage you to attend your neighborhood block watch meeting. There, you can learn how to organize your closest neighbors and meet people who may have dealt with similar issues elsewhere in the community. This is a chance to meet local officers, officials, and your own neighbors, and to speak up about problems you see and experience every day.
Carrick-Overbrook Block Watch
Brookline Block Watch
The Pittsburgh Community Safety website is another fantastic resource for keeping tabs on your community. Sign up to receive public safety alerts in your police zone, and check out the virtual blotter. Need help? Check out the user guide.
Did you know that our houses can potentially be dangerous places, especially for the youngest and the oldest members of our population? A program for County residents aged 60 or older can help recognize and fix some common potential problems. A project of Family Services of Western Pennsylvania’s Interfaith Volunteer Caregiver program, trained volunteers will inspect your house room by room for fire and fall hazards, making recommendations as they go. They will help distribute safety supplies (like nightlights, bathmats, and flashlights), install smoke alarms, and help residents outfit their homes with grab bars or handrails--and it’s all free of charge. If you’re interested, please call the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers program at 412.345.7420 to request this home safety check, which lasts about an hour.
The Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers program, a part of Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, is advertising lots of free, volunteer services to our area’s aging population. Anyone in the County aged 60+ qualifies for free help from IVC, regardless of income. Services they provide include:
To learn more and to get assistance for yourself or a family member, neighbor, or friend, call IVC at 412.345.7420. And also call that number if you’re considering volunteering with this program to help others.
Jake from Tree Pittsburgh and the Carrick Tree Tenders invite you to Tree Care Day on Brownsville Road, where they will be sprucing up (no pun intended) the new trees along the corridor. This will take place on Saturday August 24, 2013 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Meet at the corner of Brownsville Road and Churchview Avenue--and come prepared to play in the dirt and have fun! Tree Pittsburgh will provide tools, gloves, and any other necessary materials. All you'd need to bring is yourself, some friends, and clothes that you don't mind getting dirty in.
If you're interested in attending, and for any questions about tree tending, please contact Joe Krynock at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jake Milofsky at email@example.com or 412.362.6360, or call my office at 412.255.2131.
The City of Pittsburgh invites all individuals seeking employment to apply online using their website at www.pghjobs.net. Click on the Online Employment Center button to view current job openings and register in the online employment system. If you don’t have access to a computer with Internet capabilities, visit the City’s Online Employment Center at 414 Grant Street, City-County Building, Fourth Floor, or call for Employment Application information at 412.255.2710.
Our Meals on Wheels programs are in need of volunteer drivers, visitors and kitchen help Monday through Friday. Volunteering requires a one and a half hour commitment for drivers and visitors and a three hour commitment for kitchen helpers once a week or as needed.
Hilltop/Mt. Washington/Bon Air/Carrick/Overbrook/Brentwood: Call the kitchen at 412.881.0990 between 8:00 a.m. and noon or stop by the kitchen at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church (601 Brownsville Rd.) from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Beechview/Brookline/Carnegie: Call 412.307.1640 or the kitchen at 412.279.5670. The kitchen is located at St. John’s Lutheran Church at 601 Washington Ave, Carnegie, PA 15106.
Carrick Tree Care Day
Beechview Merchants Association Meeting
Labor Day Parade
Beechview Area Concerned Citizens & Beechview Block Watch
Brookline Chamber of Commerce meeting
Carrick-Overbrook Block Watch meeting
City Council Public Hearing concerning Fairhaven Methodist Church's historic designation
Brookline Block Watch meeting
Beechview Senior Center Picnic
Carrick Community Council Public Meeting
Brookline Identity Visioning meeting #3
First Annual Kennywood Latino Day
South Pittsburgh Development Corporation (SPDC) monthly meeting
Zone 3 Public Safety meeting
2014 Capital Budget Hearing - Beechview
Mt. Washington Community Forum
Brookline Autumn Breeze Fest
Overbrook Community Council meeting
Economic Development South (EDS) Bike/Pedestrian Committee meeting
Brookline Area Community Council meeting
Improving our neighborhoods and keeping them great is a process that requires involvement from people like you. Be active, and join us at any of the following events or meetings. We can't do it without you! If you have questions about any of these events, feel free to give our office a call at 412.255.2131.