In this issue...
Working to make South Pittsburgh a better place, every day
Issuing proclamations to people or organizations doing good work in the District and in the City is something that happens every Council meeting. In the past month, I’ve had a chance to bring attention to a variety of Pittsburgh institutions:
Taking an active role in all sorts of volunteer projects around South Pittsburgh--and beyond--the St. Basil Youth Ministry, based in St. Basil Catholic Parish in Carrick, provides a resource for youth from grade 8 to grade 12 to build leadership and community. The Youth Ministry lends their time and energy with local soup kitchens and food pantries, helping seniors with yard work and cleaning, visiting their elderly neighbors at senior residences, and more. And every year, they go on a mission trip to Kentucky, in the heart of Appalachia, where they do yard work and home repair, hold religious education sessions, and bring donated goods from Pittsburgh churches. Thanks for all you do, St. Basil Youth Ministry!
After serving in the 4th division of the Public Works Department for over a decade, telecommunications inspector Jim Takacs is taking his retirement. Jim is a veteran of the war in Vietnam, and after release from active duty, he spent 8 years in the Reserves, retiring with the rank of Major. For his service, Jim received the Purple Heart, among many other awards. He spent 32 years with Bell Telephone Co. as a lineman, cable splicer, and construction supervisor. Most recently, he worked for the City’s Public Works Department in the 4th division, which covers Brookline, Bon Air, Carrick, and Overbrook, in addition to other South Pittsburgh neighborhoods outside of District 4. Thanks to Councilman O’Connor for recognizing Jim’s service. Read the proclamation here.
If you read the Post-Gazette you’re probably familiar with Rob Rogers’ work--his weekly comic strip “Brewed on Grant” has for years playfully poked fun at the comings and goings in local government. But Rob has been an active editorial cartoonist for decades, and in 2009 his 25-year retrospective No Cartoon Left Behind: The Best of Rob Rogers was published. This past summer, his coverage of Mayor Ravenstahl was exhibited at the ToonSeum in a show titled Juice Box Memories: The Best of Boy Mayor. Rob’s wit and artistic skill, along with his great love for Pittsburgh, shine through his work. I was happy to have him in Council to honor him with a proclamation--read it here.
With a mission to create opportunity and build relationships for its members, ALPFA is a national Latino association for business professionals and students. On October 1, I recognized the Pittsburgh chapter on its fifth anniversary. Read the proclamation here.
Halloween is right around the corner, and there’s lots going on in District 4. Visit the City’s Halloween page to learn more--you can even request a free activity book! If you have other parties or fun activities to share, Tweet at me @nataliarudiak or post on my Facebook page!
The Carrick and Overbrook Community Councils are hosting their annual costume contest from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 26. This year the contest takes place in the Carrick High cafeteria and is intended for kids aged 12 and under. If you’re interested in participating, you must register--just call 412.884.5509.
The Brookline Halloween Parade is a wonderful yearly tradition, and this year it’s meeting on Saturday, October 26 at 2:00 p.m. at the cannon on Brookline Boulevard.
The Beechview Senior Center is holding its Halloween Party on Thursday, October 31 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
City-wide, trick or treating is taking place on Halloween night, Thursday, October 31 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Be spooky--and be safe!
Last year, the Firehouse Farms vegetable garden, which was tended by members of the Bhutanese community and teenage student volunteers, produced a great harvest, but for next year, a flower garden (a “cutting garden”) is being planned in its place.
Thanks to a $2,000 gift from the City and the leadership of our new neighborhood planner Josh Lippert, an ambitious garden project will be taking root alongside the Accamando Center (the old Overbrook firehouse) on Saturday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.--and you’re invited to lend a helping hand!
Josh’s plans include boxwoods around the war memorial next to the Accamando Center; a cutting garden featuring sunflowers, dahlias, daffodils, and the like, with a vine arbor entrance; fenced children garden with butterfly and bird-attracting flora; and a rock garden with a view to the Saw Mill Run creek. Some of the offerings include red twig dogwood, serviceberry, knock-out roses, and boxwood shrubs.
Meet Josh and see the garden take shape, and get your hands in the dirt, by joining in this Saturday right before 10:00 a.m. Supplies will be provided.
Saturday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. is a huge day for the Beechview Community Garden. Volunteers will be completing the Love Your Block grant project/Edible Garden mini grant even along with an end-of-the-year garden work day. If you're interested in volunteering, the garden will need people of all ages to help out planting a hillside with perennials, replacing mulch around raised beds, weeding the butterfly garden, tending a pumpkin patch and rosebushes, and much more. The first 20 volunteers get a free t-shirt, and lunch will be provided through an Edible Garden mini grant. If you're interested in helping out, RSVP here or by emailing email@example.com.
Thanks to data compiled by the University of Pittsburgh University Center for Social and Urban Research (UCSUR), we can answer this question! The American Community Survey estimates that there are just over 190,000 veterans who live in the metropolitan area (including the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland). This number means that 10% of the metro area’s population over 18 is a veteran!
Learn more about our region’s veteran population at this Pittsburgh Economic Quarterly report.
And follow UCSUR on Twitter for more interesting facts and reports on our local population.
I’m currently uninsured--what should I do? I own a small business, so am I required to offer coverage now? As a senior citizen, how will the ACA change my life? I already have insurance; do I need to do anything?
The Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) is changing the landscape of health insurance in this country, and it can be a bit confusing. Thankfully, State Rep. Erin Molchany is holding a session where you can learn about the new insurance market and have your questions answered. This seminar for community leaders is intended for people who may be fielding questions from the public--from your parish, from your patients, or from your community members. Join them at this free information session at Grandview Bakery at 255 Shiloh Street on Mt. Washington on Saturday, October 26 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Please RSVP by calling Rep. Molchany’s office at 412.343.2094.
And if you need to sign up for health insurance or have questions about the new marketplace, attend one of their free events open to the public, where you can ask questions and work one-on-one to look at your insurance options:
Monday, October 28, 4:00-7:00 p.m.
Thursday, November 7, 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Friday, November 8, 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Tuesday, November 12, 2:00-6:00 p.m.
After years and years, this project is finally taking off! Around $15 million in cost, this long-awaited project will make the intersection safer in many respects: it will improve traffic flow (in one of the busiest intersections in the entire region!), make pedestrian access easier, and address constant flash flooding issues.
Join us for a public meeting with PennDOT, Michael Baker Corporation (the construction engineers), and other officials on Monday, December 9 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at St. Norbert’s Church at 2413 St. Norberts Street. Come learn more about the scope of the project, phasing and timeline, and effects on local traffic, including detours.
Until this public meeting, and throughout the course of the project, you can always contact the ACTA information hotline if you have questions or would like more information. The hotline phone number is 412.533.4606.
After the public weighed in at a community meeting in the basement of the Beechview Presbyterian Church last June, there was a unanimous vote to demolish 1602 Broadway Avenue (between 1600 Broadway Ave and the IGA) because the building is so far beyond repair. The URA is now moving forward with this plan, and demolition begins this week and will last for 10 days or so. The ultimate goal is to clear the way for either a patio for a potential restaurant at 1600, or a construction-ready site for a future development.
Contractors will be roping off a few parking spots on Broadway Avenue to get their equipment in there. If you’re experiencing any real problems with this (like extremely loud noise at weird hours, for example), contact my office at 412.255.2131.
It’s generally a good idea to get rid of unwanted medication--tens of thousands of children every year show up in emergency rooms because of unintentional overdoses of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. But don’t flush ‘em down the toilet! Did you know that wastewater treatment plants and septic systems aren’t designed to treat medication waste? Recent U.S. Geological Survey studies have found traces of painkillers, estrogen, antidepressants, blood pressure medicines, and more in water samples from 30 states. These medications in our water lead to defects in fish, and when antibiotics are released into the environment like this, it can even help germs because drug-resistant!
To give Pittsburghers an opportunity to properly dispose of unwanted or expired medicines, the City’s police stations are holding a medication disposal event. On Saturday, October 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., you can bring all of your unused or expired medications to any City of Pittsburgh police zone station. In District 4, our police zones are Zone 6 and Zone 3:
The Zone 6 station is located in the West End at 312 S. Main Street.
The Zone 3 station is located in Allentown at 830 E. Warrington Avenue.
If you have any questions, contact the City’s Safety Manager David Reed at 412.255.2403.
Our City’s farmers markets have long been a popular source of seasonal, locally produced, nutritious, affordable food. Vendors sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs, baked goods, honey, coffee, and more--and with the new “Fresh Access” program enabled by Just Harvest, SNAP shoppers will be able to use their benefits at five of the Citiparks farmers markets, including in Carrick (the others are South Side, Bloomfield, East Liberty, and North Side). The Carrick Farmers Market runs until November 27 and is located at the Shopping Center on Brownsville Road at Parkfield Street.
Shoppers wishing to pay with credit, debit, or food stamp cards should approach the Just Harvest tent at the market, where they’ll be able to swipe their card to receive wooden tokens, which work like cash at the market. For more information about the Fresh Access program, check out Just Harvest.
Continuing our monthly updates from District 4 public schools:
The Beechwood PreK-5 Parent Faculty Association is having a Bake Sale and Barbecue Sandwiches event to benefit the students, which will take place on Election Day, November 5, at the Beechview firehouse (1428 Beechview Avenue). Beechwood PreK-5 will hold their “mummy and son” night on October 30 at 6:00 p.m., and the annual Halloween parade is at 1:15 p.m. on October 31.
Brookline Elementary welcomes John Vater as their new principal. He and the staff at Brookline Elementary want to welcome you to Coffee with the Administration, which will be held on the first Friday of each month at 8:30 a.m. Also, the Parents School Community Council Meeting will be held at Cannon Coffee on November 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Carmalt Academy is hosting special four-legged visitors every Wednesday: therapy dogs have been coming to listen to 1st graders read storybooks to them! Carmalt’s book fair will be held from October 14 to the 18th. And the Carmalt PSCC/PTO/Title One meeting will be held on October 23 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. And in the middle school, everybody’s looking forward to the Fall Fling dance at the end of the month!
Concord Elementary and Carrick High have been celebrating Spirit Week. “The Future is Mine,” a group at Carrick High organized by Lisa Mahla, partnered the two schools together to celebrate Twin Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, and Blue and Gold Thursday. As part of a contest to see which students have the most school spirit, some of the elementary kids even got a chance to visit the high school!
There’s something artistic in the water at Roosevelt Elementary… Students now have their own virtual art gallery: check it out here! There are already over 100 pieces of art from Roosevelt students, and much more is to come! Students are event putting together a monthly art newsletter that features art happenings around the City.
South Hills 6-8 will being holding after-school homework club on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning on October 22. And October 22 was Math Night at South Hills Middle, where parents visited to take a peek at the work their kids were doing and learn how they could help them with their math education.
West Liberty K-5 has been active in the community lately. In the past few weeks, teachers have discovered DonorsChoose.org. On this site, teachers are able to list classroom projects that they’d like to get started with students, and the community can help pitch in with small donations--even as little as $1. So far, two projects have been funded, and West Liberty is looking at three more. Check out their site to see how you can help.
The Department of City Planning has announced that they’ve updated their websites, so that now you’ll be able to look at scheduled meetings and presentations for the Planning Commission and Historic Review Commission.
To look at Planning Commission information, go to http://pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/boards/planning-commission. On the lefthand side, you’ll see a menu for Process, Schedule - 2013, and Archive. If you go to the Schedule page, you’ll see links for each meeting’s agenda, minutes, and any presentation files.
Similarly, you can access the Historic Review Commission information at http://pittsburghpa.gov/dcp/historic-review-commission. Click on the Schedule - 2013 link on the lefthand side to see meeting information for the Historic Review Commission.
This past summer, the Elder-ado senior centers merged withi LifeSpan, Inc. With assistance from foundations, Elder-ado conducted a search for an agency that would be able to continue to fund and support the services they provide to seniors in the Hilltop area. LifeSpan will continue to provide daily meals, recreational activities, and more at their centers:
Check out the South Pittsburgh Reporter’s article to learn more.
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.
Beechview Area Concerned Citizens & Beechview 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.
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.
Affordable Care Act seminar for community leaders
Brookline Clean Up w/ Pitt Make a Difference Day
Beechview Community Garden Fall Clean Up Day (with Love Your Block project)
Accamando Center Clean Up and Garden Planting
Unused/expired medicine collection event
Carrick CC and Overbrook CC Halloween costume contest
Brookline Halloween Parade
Rep. Molchany health insurance enrollment fair
Beechview Merchants Association meeting
Beechview Senior Center Halloween Party
City of Pittsburgh official trick-or-treating
Carrick-Overbrook Block Watch meeting
Rep. Molchany health insurance enrollment fair
Beechview Area Concerned Citizens & Block Watch
Carrick High Veteran’s Remembrance event
Beechview Senior Center Veteran’s Day Remembrance ceremony
Rep. Molchany health insurance enrollment fair
Brookline Chamber of Commerce meeting
Rep. Molchany health insurance enrollment fair
Brookline Block Watch meeting
Carrick Community Council public meeting
South Pittsburgh Development Corporation monthly meeting
Zone 3 Public Safety meeting
Mt. Washington Community Forum
Fairhaven United Methodist Church gala
Overbrook Community Council meeting
Beechview Merchants Association meeting
Route 51/88 construction public 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.