City of Pittsburgh Council District 4
District 4 Newsletter | January 2013
Happy 2013!
In This Issue...
 
District 4 News
 
Working to make South Pittsburgh a better place, every day
How to Appeal Your Assessment: a presentation
Need help preparing your taxes this year?
City releases 2013 refuse pick-up information
Citizen Police Review Board public meeting
Ready for the 2013 Citiparks 60+ Winter Games?
City Police's statement on financial crimes
Veterans: do you need exterior house repair or help with maintenance?
Carrick Athletic Association registration for baseball and softball
South Hills Middle School looking for volunteers
Does your community group need speakers?
Computer classes at Carrick High School
Heating assistance for low-income homes
A dispatch from the Citizens Against Litter January newslitter
Block Watches work!
 
 
Help, Work, Donate, Volunteer
 
A+ Schools needs volunteers
Western Pennsylvania Laborers' joint apprenticeship and training program
Citiparks recruiting lifeguards for summer 2013
Employment opportunities with the City of Pittsburgh
Western Pennsylvania Humane Society seeks donations
St. John VIanney Food Bank needs donations
Meals on Wheels needs drivers and kitchen help
Lend a help to the library--become a friend of the Beechview library
 
 
Events
 
 
 
 
District 4 News
 
Working to make South Pittsburgh a better place, every day
Happy 2013! It's going to be an exciting year, and, of course, January is just the beginning! In last month's newsletter, I discussed some exciting projects both underway and in the pipeline, including:
• The billboard tax legislation I introduced with Councilwoman Harris and that Council passed.
• The blight-fighting Code Red legislation I introduced with Councilman Peduto passed.
• Brookline Boulevard's long-awaited updates will be getting underway in 2013. Stay up to date with what's happening by checking our website.
• The Beechview Senior Center has secured funding.
• Carrick's Dairy District, centered around Colteryahn Dairy (the only operating dairy in the City!) is one step closer to reality after receiving a large grant.
• The former Giant Eagle on Brownsville Road is slated to become the Hillcrest Senior Residences.
• Redevelopment of the old Overbrook School may be on the horizon.
• A Park & Ride on Route 51 is being studied, with a timeline to be put together in the coming months.
How to Appeal Your Assessment: a presentation
Kenneth Behrend, former member of the Allegheny County Board of Assessment and Appeals, and Barbara Ernsberger, former commissioner in the City of Pittsburgh Department of Planning, will be hosting a presentation titled “How to Appeal Your Assessment" on Thursday, February 14 at 12:15 p.m. at the Carnegie Library at 612 Smithfield Street. Attendees will be provided a free property assessment booklet. Come with your questions! 
 
Need help preparing your taxes this year?
Federal, state, and local income taxes are due on April 17 this year, and if you qualify for a refund, the sooner you get your tax documents in the mail, the sooner you could receive it! For those who may not be able to do their taxes on their own, the City of Pittsburgh and local partners are providing a free resource to help with tax preparation.
 
It’s called Volunteer Income Tax Assistance, or VITA, an IRS program offered to the elderly, disabled individuals, or low and moderate income households (those earning less than $49,000 a year) to offer free tax preparation services for federal and state taxes, as well as rent and property rebates. VITA services will be offered downtown on the second floor of the City County Building between the hours of 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday beginning on February 4th. VITA will only help prepare one tax return per person, and when you come in for help you must bring a social security card for every person listed on the tax return. Walk-ins are welcome for this service. For more information on this program, call my office at (412) 255-2131.
 
You can also make arrangements for free tax preparation through the United Way’s Money In Your Pocket Coalition. If you are an individual who makes up to $20,000, or a household that makes up to $40,000, you can make an appointment for free assistance with your tax preparation. Last year, the United Way and its partner organizations, including Just Harvest, YMCA, Allegheny County, and others, helped to prepare more than 6,000 tax returns, delivering $10.6 million in tax refunds to Allegheny County residents. To make an appointment at one of their locations, or to learn more, call (412) 255-1155 or 2-1-1. There are locations downtown and across the city, including the Federal Building, Downtown YMCA, or the Carnegie Library in Squirrel Hill.
 
There is a lot of additional information about tax assistance at the Carnegie Library website.  As always, please don’t hesitate to contact my office about this or any other issue at (412) 255-2131. 
City releases 2013 refuse pick-up information
The City’s Environmental Services department mailed out the 2013 Refuse/Bulk and Recycling Pick-up Schedule. For maps and schedules for the entire city, visit this page.
 
Due to a state law, the City will no longer be collecting electronic waste. Electronic waste are considered things like computers and televisions. Instead, these items must be taken to an electronics retail store or to a drop-off location, including Construction Junction, all Goodwill locations, or retail locations like Best Buy. Read more about the Covered Device Recycling Act on this page. 
 
Citizen Police Review Board public meeting
There will be a public meeting of the Citizen Police Review Board on Tuesday, January 22 at 6:00 p.m. in Council Chambers. There will be opportunity for public comment; please contact Carolyn Gaskin at 412.765.8023 if you have any questions or would like more information.
 
Ready for the 2013 Citiparks 60+ Winter Games?
This year’s Citiparks Winter Games will take place January 22-31, with competitions in archery, shuffleboard, basketball, hockey shoot-out, darts, table tennis, pool, Wii bowling, and kooshball. You must be at least 60 years of age and live in Allegheny County to participate. It costs $2 to register, plus an application and release and indemnity forms. The events take place in such diverse locations as Dormont, Greenfield, Lawrenceville, Whitehall, Schenley Park, Oakwood, South Park, and more. Lunch will be provided, and transportation will be arranged from City senior centers. For more information about the games, call 412.422.6405. May the games begin!
 
City Police release statement on financial crimes
Counterfeit checks, internet fraud, identity theft... These are financial crimes that can be devastating. To combat this, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Task Force created the Financial Crimes Task Force in 1995, which helps federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies address this growing problem. To learn more, visit their newly updated website.
 
Like in life in general, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Some tips:
   Order a copy of your credit report annually
   Don’t carry a copy of your social security card in your purse or wallet
   Promptly remove mail from your mailbox
   Pay attention to your credit card billing cycles
   Keep an eye on your credit cards
   Purchase a shredder
   Be cautious of requests for information via telephone or internet
 
For more information, contact Pittsburgh Police Zone 6 Commander Scott Schubert at 412.937.3051.
 
Veterans: do you need exterior house repair or help with maintenance?
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh is seeking veterans and their families who could benefit from outdoor maintenance and exterior home repairs. If you need back yard debris removal, tree and bush trimming, yard landscaping, gutter and roof cleaning, lawn mowing, or paint touch ups and you own your home, have homeowner’s insurance, fit Habitat for Humanity’s income guideline, and are able to make a small monthly payment, which may be subsidized, you may apply! Contact Jeremy Martin at jmartin@pittsburghhabitat.org or at 412.351.0512 ext. 11 to get more information about Habitat for Humanity’s Veteran Housing Initiative, where they’re serving those who’ve served our country.
Carrick Athletic Association registration for baseball and softball
The 2013 baseball and softball season is coming up soon--registration for boys and girls ages 4-19 is at the Phillips Park Rec Center in Carrick on these dates:
 
Saturday, February 9th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday, February 23rd from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 9th from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 23rd from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
 
South Hills Middle School looking for volunteers
South Hills Middle School is interested in having community members come to the school, located at 595 Crane Avenue, to assist with hall monitoring, cafeteria duty, students in the classroom, and clerical duties on a volunteer basis. Those interested in volunteering for work directly with children will have to acquire clearances, which will be paid for through the PTO. For more information, contact Carol Senft at csenft1@pghboe.net.
 
Does your community group need speakers?
If your community organization is interested in hosting a Citizen Police Review Board meeting or would like a speaker from the CPRB to hold a presentation, contact Ms. Carolyn Gaskin at 412.765.8023. The CPRB is an independent review board created by voter referendum that investigates citizen complaints about improper police conduct. The CPRB is made up of seven unpaid members who are appointed by City Council and the Mayor.
 
City of Pittsburgh Department of Animal Control has graciously offered their staff as a resource for community organizations in our area who would like to learn more about the Animal Control program. To invite a staffer to speak at your meeting, contact Supervisor Gerald Akrie at 412.255.2036.
 
Computer classes at Carrick High School
Looking for something to do on Saturday afternoons? Need help with anything computer related? Call and reserve your spot! 412-885-7700.
Heating assistance for low-income households
Do you or someone in your neighborhood need help with your heating bills this winter? The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families pay their heating bills. It offers assistance in the form of a cash grant sent directly to the utility company. Here’s their brochure for more information. You can apply online here, or contact the LIHEAP hotline at 1.866.857.7095 (or 1.800.451.5886).
 
A dispatch from the Citizens Against Litter January newslitter
The Brookline Sunday Trash Walkers have a few things to say:
 
"Perhaps our experience on the Sunday Trash Walk in early November had to do with the unusually balmy weather. In addition to the usual walkers and motorists who stopped to thank us, we had two incidents that stood out that day.
 
"First we digress to inform the man who thought we were doing 'community service' for a crime. 'What did you do? Drive drunk? Parking tickets?' No and no. We did not commit a crime. We choose to pick up this litter. So yes, it is community service, but the crime was committed by those who can't walk a few more feet to the trash can.
 
"That brings us to incident one. We were bending down to pick up litter in the vicinity of the library when we heard the following exchange:
 
"Don't do that. It's littering," a female voice said.
"It's okay. They'll pick it up," a male voice replied.
 
"NO IT IS NOT OKAY! It is not okay that you have no respect for our community and its residents. It is not okay that you think your trash is someone else's responsibility. In retrospect we were glad we didn't see them. Now they are just disembodied voices. If we had a face to go with the voices, it would color any future interaction we might have.
 
"Incident two turned into a teachable moment. A couple of young teenagers came by with questions. 'Do you get paid for this?' No. 'Do you want to do this?' Not really, but if I don't, who will? I live here and someone is trashing my community. I don't like looking at it.
 
"They pondered this while we continued on. We encountered them on theother side of the Boulevard where one of the teens threw a $5.00 bill to the ground and said, 'Here, pick up that trash.' I ignored him and walked on. He called after me. 'Hey do you want this for cleaning up?' And I seized the moment. I walked back and told him to keep his $5.00, but I wanted him and his friend to do something else. Just keep the street in front of your house clean. They thought maybe they could do that. And, maybe they will.
 
"If everyone just cleaned the street in front of their house or business, we wouldn't have to do the Sunday Trash Walk. We could read a book, watch a movie or take a nap. That Sunday we collected 12 grocery-size plastic bags of trash from Cannon Park to Pioneer Avenue.
 
"We try to go out every Sunday except the first Sunday of each month. The first Saturday of the month St. Mark's Prayer Walk cleans the trash, and we use the first Sunday to clean our street."
 
If you’d like to subscribe to the Citizens Against Litter newslitter, send an email to info@citizensagainstlitter.org.
 
Block Watches work!
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
Monday, February 4, 2012, 7:00 p.m. at Concord Elementary (2350 Brownsville Rd)
 
Beechview Area Concerned Citizens & Beechview Block Watch
Thursday, February 7, 7:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. at Beechview United Presbyterian Church (1621 Broadway Ave)
 
Brookline Block Watch
Tuesday, February 12, 7:00 p.m. at Judge Jim Motznik's Office (736 Brookline Blvd)
 
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 (pdf) here.
 
 
 Help, Work, Donate, Volunteer
 
A+ Schools needs volunteers
A+ Schools will be interviewing every principal in the Pittsburgh Public School system as part of their School Works Program. To do this, some volunteers are needed! Visit their website at www.aplusschools.org or call 412.697.1298 to learn more and to sign up to volunteer.
 
Western Pennsylvania Laborers' joint apprenticeship and training program
The Western Pennsylvania Laborers’ Joint Apprenticeship and Training Program is accepting applications on a continuous basis for its Building and Heavy/Highway Program. Applications must be returned to the Western Pennsylvania Laborers’ Education and Training fund at 317 Deer Creek Road, Saxonburg, PA 16056.
 
Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. For more information, call 1.800.442.8868.
 
Citiparks recruiting lifeguards for summer 2013
The Citiparks Aquatics Division is looking for lifeguards for this year’s summer season. If you know someone who is certified, or interested in obtaining certification, to work for Citiparks, contact the Aquatics Division Office at 412.323.7928.
 
Employment opportunities with the City of Pittsburgh
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.
 
Western Pennsylvania Humane Society seeks donations
A resident of South Pittsburgh who works at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society on the North Side is requesting any dog food (canned and dry) that can be donated--they are in dire need. Please consider dropping off these donations at 1101 Western Avenue to help keep their dogs alive and healthy until they can find a forever home.
 
St. John Vianney Food Bank needs donations
If you’re interested in helping out the St. John Vianney food bank, or are interested in making donations or volunteering, please contact the St. John Vianney Ladies of Charity at ladiesofcharity@sjvpgh.org or 412.381.8300. St. John Vianney Parish Center is located at 823 Climax Street.
 
Meals on Wheels needs drivers and kitchen help
The Carrick, Beechview, Hilltop/Mt. Washington, and Arlington 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.
 
Carrick: For an application, call the kitchen at 412.881.0990 between 8:00 a.m. and Noon or stop by the kitchen at Concord Presbyterian Church (1907 Brownsville Rd.) from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.
 
Beechview: The Beechview Meals on Wheels kitchen is at St. Pamphilus Church (1000 Tropical Ave., 15216). To get involved, call 412.343.5455.
 
Hilltop/Mt. Washington: Including Allentown and Beltzhoover, the Hilltop/Mt. Washington Meals on Wheels kitchen is located at 631 E. Warrington Ave. Please call 412.481.1434.
 
Arlington: Serving the communities of Arlington, Mt. Oliver, Bon Air, and the Southside Slopes. Located at the Henry Kaufman Center at 2201 Salisbury Street. Please call 412.381.7727.
 
Lend a hand to the library--become a friend of the Beechview library
Now it’s your turn to shine: Consider becoming a member of the Friends of the Beechview Library, a community organization focused on supporting the efforts of the Beechview Library. In the past, they’ve organized flower and book sales, held an antique appraisal fair, and threw raffles, all dedicated to funding library programming for children and teens. To learn more about becoming a member, call 412.563.2900.
 
 
 
Events
 
 
South Brook Middle School PSCC Meeting
Tuesday, January 22, 6:00 p.m. at South Brook Middle School (779 Dunster Street)
 
Overbrook Community Council Meeting
Tuesday, January 22, 7:00 p.m. at the Overbrook Firehouse/Accamando Center (Rt. 51 across from Maytide)
 
Roosevelt Elementary Middle School PSCC Meeting
Wednesday, January 23, 6:00 p.m. at Roosevelt Elementary School (779 Dunster Street)
 
Concord Elementary School PSCC Meeting
Wednesday, January 23, 6:00 p.m. at Concord Elementary School (779 Dunster Street)
 
Carrick High School PSCC Meeting
Wednesday, January 23, 6:00 p.m. at Carrick High School (779 Dunster Street)
 
Brookline Area Community Council
Monday, January 28, 7:00 p.m. at St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (933 Brookline Blvd)
 
Carrick-Overbrook Block Watch
Monday, February 4, 2012, 7:00 p.m. at Concord Elementary (2350 Brownsville Rd)
 
City Council Post-Agenda Info Session on Mental Health, sponsored by Councilwoman Rudiak
Tuesday, February 5, 2012, 1:00 p.m. at City Council, (414 Grant Street, 5th Floor)
or watch on Comcast Channel 13 or Verizon FiOS Channel 44, or online at http://www.pittsburghpa.gov/lic
 
Beechview Area Concerned Citizens & Beechview Block Watch
Thursday, February 7, 7:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m. at Beechview United Presbyterian Church (1621 Broadway Ave)
 
Brookline Chamber of Commerce Meeting
Monday, February 11, 5:45 p.m. at CLP Brookline (708 Brookline Boulevard)
 
Brookline Block Watch
Tuesday, February 12, 7:00 p.m. at Judge Jim Motznik's Office (736 Brookline Blvd)
 
“How to Appeal Your Assessment” presentation
Thursday, February 14, 12:15 p.m. at Carnegie Library at 612 Smithfield Street
 
Mount Washington CDC Community Forum
Thursday, February 21, 7:00 p.m. at Mt. Washington Senior Center (122 Virginia Ave)
 
 
 
 
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.
 
Published:
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
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