Friday, April 28, 2017

Hundreds of Pittsburghers to attend environmental marches locally and in Washington, D.C.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 12:15 PM

IMAGE COURTESY OF PEOPLE'S CLIMATE MARCH, PITTSBURGH
  • Image courtesy of People's Climate March, Pittsburgh
It’s no secret that President Donald Trump and many prominent Republican politicians deny the effects humans have on climate change. Trump has already rolled back many Obama-era environmental regulations, saying they are unnecessary and harm coal and oil businesses, to the applause of many Republican politicians.

But on Sat., April 29, people across the country will stand up for the environment with a series of marches known as the People’s Climate March. And hundreds of Pittsburghers are doing their part too.

Tom Hoffman is a Pittsburgh resident and organizer at Pennsylvania's chapter of the Sierra Club. He says that more than 200 people on four buses will be traveling from the Pittsburgh area to march in the Climate March in Washington, D.C., on April 29.

“This is a good way to get the environmental movement back to its roots,” says Hoffman. “It was a real mass movement for while, we got away from that. … We need to stand up and [defend the environment] in a loud way.”

Hoffman isn’t sure how large the crowds will be in D.C., but he hopes they will come close to the numbers of the Women’s March on Washington. Hoffman says that Pittsburghers, especially, should feel the need to stand up for the environment, given the region's industrial history.

“Having the history of our industrial city, I understand a lot money was made,” says Hoffman. “But it also created a lot of dirty air and dirty water, and when the steel industry died, people left town. We need to ensure green solutions that are sustainable.”

And it’s not just city residents who are fired up about the People’s Climate March. Hoffman says that one of their buses is leaving from Washington, Pa., and that some former coal miners from that area are attending the march in Washington, D.C.

Pittsburgh will also hold a march, and organizers expect hundreds to attend. A press release about the Pittsburgh march says “Western Pennsylvanians are uniquely aware of the ways in which the petrochemical industry is destroying our health, stealing our land, and poisoning our water.” The release also says marchers will demand that government react by protect access to clean water, soil and air. (Pittsburgh still has some of the country’s most polluted air, as City Paper reported this month.)

Hoffman believes that the climate march can pressure climate-change deniers to change their tune.

“I know it's not impossible. [Climate-change measures] need support from the federal government,” says Hoffman. “This march should pressure them.”

The Pittsburgh March for Climate, Jobs, and Justice will be held 10 a.m. Sat., April 29. The march will start at the Cathedral of Learning, in Oakland, and end at Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pittsburgh environmental groups launch initiative to help schools and child-care facilities address lead and radon

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 2:24 PM

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Children spend an estimated 1,000 hours every year in schools, early-education centers and after-school programs. While parents can work to protect their children from environmental hazards like lead and radon at home, they have little control over the facilities where their children spend a large chunk of their day.

"The research is clear that both lead and radon can impact a child's development, growth and learning," Michelle Naccarati-Chapkis, executive director of Women for a Healthy Environment, said at a press conference earlier today. "While these hazards are commonly found in schools and other educational buildings, any testing for these hazards is voluntary."

In order to address this issue, WHE, the Green Building Alliance and The Heinz Endowments today launched an initiative to help schools, early-learning centers and after-school programs test for lead and radon and mitigate the environmental risks in their facilities.

"We are here today to ensure increased attention and resources are provided to address these harmful environmental exposures," Naccarati-Chapkis said. "The long-term goal for us is to ensure every school and early-learning center tests for these two environmental hazards, and then takes the necessary steps to remediate those risks which is so important."

The dangers of lead contamination have gained a lot of attention in recent months since the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority found high lead levels in the city's drinking water. But radon in the air is equally harmful to childhood development.

Radon is also estimated to cause approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And they estimate more than 70,000 schoolrooms around the country have elevated radon levels.

School districts in Pennsylvania aren't required to test for radon or lead. But last week, Sen. Art Haywood (D-Montgomery County) reintroduced legislation that would require schools to conduct lead testing before the start of every school year.

Despite the dangers, according to a survey of school districts across southwestern Pennsylvania, conducted by WHE, only 20 percent of respondents had tested for radon and only 11 percent had tested for lead. Among those schools that have tested are the Allegheny Valley School District and Wexford Elementary School.

"In the Allegheny Valley School District, it was extremely important for us to know whether or not our children were in danger of any sources of lead," said Allegheny Valley Superintendent Patrick Graczyk. "No one forced our hand to test the water quality within our schools. We as educators and parents wanted to ensure that the drinking water used by our students, staff and community was safe to drink. Guessing was not an option."

"We expressed to our principal that we wanted to do this in our school and he was in full agreement," said Kristi Wees, a parent at Wexford Elementary. "By partnering with him and our school administrators and facilities staff, Wexford was tested for lead and radon last year, and at that time was in no need of remediation. This gave me and all the other parents great peace of mind."

Thanks to a $400,000 grant from The Heinz Endowments, WHE and GBA hope to help 100 to 200 grantees conduct lead and radon tests and access resources to reduce exposure to these hazards. Each participating organization can receive up to $7,500. Schools in under-served communities will be prioritized.

"We really believe this campaign can have a major impact on these specific issues," said
Andrew Ellsworth, vice president of health and learning for GBA, "and we hope to trigger broader understanding, broader awareness and broader action on this specific issue across the region."

For more information visit www.1000hoursayear.org.


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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pennsylvania Senate and House pass 'Sue Our Cities' bills

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 4:18 PM

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Yesterday, Pennsylvania's Senate and House passed what opponents are calling "Sue Our Cities" bills (SB 5 and HB 671). This legislation would give the National Rifle Association and other organizations the power to sue cities that have passed gun-control measures they deem unconstitutional.

"The bills will almost certainly result in either the NRA or any member of the gun groups across the state suing our town," says Rob Conroy, director of organizing for CeasFirePA, a nonprofit working to end gun violence. "Obviously, we at CeaseFirePA, and as responsible citizens, view this as a a huge problem."

In 2008, Pittsburgh passed an ordinance requiring gun owners to report if their firearms are lost or stolen. While Mayor Bill Peduto pledged to enforce the legislation if elected, the ordinance has never been enforced. Peduto has said he has not enforced the ordinance because of the threat of a lawsuit, but the so-called "Sue Our Cities" bill would give organizations like the NRA the ability to sue cities even if they haven't enforced legislation. They can face a lawsuit just for having laws like Pittsburgh's lost-and-stolen ordinance on the books.

"While how much this will directly affect Pittsburgh taxpayers is fully hypothetical, it's fair to say if a lawsuit were able to proceed without any successful constitutional challenges, taxpayers in Pittsburgh would be on the hook for not only the city's legal costs, but also on the hook for paying the legal fees of the gun lobby if they were to prevail," Conroy says. "The gun lobby has set this up so that taxpayers will essentially be giving donations to the gun lobby."

The Senate legislation was sponsored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-Clearfield) who, in a January 2017 memo, defended it saying:

"Where no uniform state laws are in place, the result can be chaotic, as restrictions change from one local jurisdiction to another. An overabundance of varying ordinances leads to citizens with no criminal intent being placed in danger of breaking restrictions where they don’t know they exist. Furthermore, it is unreasonable to require residents of Pennsylvania and citizens passing through from other states to be aware of every firearm ordinance as they pass through each local jurisdiction.

Specifically, this legislation would prevent local jurisdictions from imposing ordinances more restrictive than laws passed by the General Assembly. This legislation will also enhance and restore the original intent of the Uniform Firearms Act."

(A memo on HB 671 included nearly identical language.)

SB 5 passed by a vote of 34 to 16. Locals Sen. Jay Costa (D-Forest Hills) and Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Brookline) voted against the measure while Guy Reschenthaler (R-Jefferson Hills) and Sen. Randy Vulakovich (R-Shaler) voted in support.

HB 671 passed by a vote of 134 to 53. Local Rep. Dom Costa (D-Stanton Heights), who has come under fire for votes and positions on legislation in recent months, voted in favor of the legislation. But others like repsresentatives Ed Gainey (D-Lincoln-Lemington) and Adam Ravenstahl (D-Summerhill) voted against it.

"We believe that these bills are once again an illustration of just how far our state legislature is willing to bend, in this case, to the gun lobby at the expense of pretty much every other Pennsylvanian," says Conroy. "We are pledging every day to fight to against this."

While both pieces of legislation passed by a substantial margin, these votes don't signify the end of the fight for activists like CeaseFirePA. Any legislation will still have to be signed by Gov. Tom Wolf.

"We certainly hope that Gov. Wolf will stand up and do the right thing regarding this. We know that in the past he has expressed an intent to do so," Conroy says. "However, there is a substantial risk that this time around, there may be enough of a majority in both parts of our legislature to override the veto. It is on us the citizens to make sure our representatives do the right thing to protect our citizens."

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Programming announced for Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Arts Festival

Posted By on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 at 11:31 AM

People dancing across the face of Fifth Avenue Place, several stories high: It's sure to be a highlight of this year's Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, June 2-11 in and around Point State Park.

Blue Lapis Light performs on a building side
  • Blue Lapis Light performs on a building side
Performers from Austin, Texas-based aerial dance company Blue Lapis Light will be the ones rappeling down the Highmark Building in evening performances June 2 and 3.

That show comes courtesy of the Pittsburgh Dance Council, and was announced this past Saturday. The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust-organized festival's musical headliners were announced in March; arts-fest executive director Sarah Aziz provided the rest of the programming in a press event Downtown this morning.

Along with the familiar artists' market, the festival features several temporary public artworks. These include Indian artist Shilo Shiv Sulemon's "Tidal," an interactive "geo-feedback" work in which visitors can activate lights that mimic the flow of Pittsburgh's three rivers. There's also the Umbrella Sky Project, from Portugal, an installation of colorful umbrellas near the festival's acoustic stage, and Riverlife's "to be determined: Take a Seat!," for which the local nonprofit provides 25 movable chairs equipped with GPS along the riverfront, to be used simply for sitting — and to help determine where more permanent seating might be located.

A Blue Lapis Light dancer
  • A Blue Lapis Light dancer
While all the Trust's galleries are showcased during the festival, festival-specific gallery shows include the return of DRAP-Art, the Barcelona-based festival featuring art made from trash (that made a successful visit to Pittsburgh last year) and the annual juried show for regional artists, this year with works chosen by Lee Parker, John Peña and Lenore Thomas.

The festival will also again run in conjunction with the day-long, arts-and-tech-themed CREATE Festival, June 1 at the August Wilson Center.

Other news: There will now be not just one but two Giant Eagle Creative Zones, for kids' activities, in Point State Park and Gateway Center. Likewise, The Anthropology of Motherhood, a quiet space for parents with young children, adds a Gateway Center location to its original Point State Park spot.

The music headliners include the Rebirth Brass Band, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Dawes and Pittsburgh-based acts The Commonheart and Beats + Bars. A multitude of mostly local acts populate other stages and time slots.

All festival events and exhibits remain free to attend.

Complete festival info is here.


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Amazing Books to expand to Pittsburgh’s South Side, add writing classes

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 1:48 PM

Writing classes in all genres are part of the business plan for Amazing Books & Records to bring a full-time bookstore to the South Side for the first time in years.

Schwartz Living Market, on the South Side - CP PHOTO BY BILL O'DRISCOLL
  • CP Photo by Bill O'Driscoll
  • Schwartz Living Market, on the South Side
Amazing Books owner Eric Ackland has signed a lease for the Schwartz Living Market space on East Carson Street and plans to begin bookselling operations there by June 1. A coffeeshop and café are to follow, Ackland tells CP, followed by a roster of writing workshops, modeled on New York’s Gotham Writers Workshop and Boston’s Grub Street.

Ackland tells CP that he believes that the classes in his Steel Quill Writers Workshop, taught by professional writers, could very well become his business’s largest source of revenue. The workshops would cover fiction, screenplays, copywriting, technical writing, blogging and more, he says.

Meanwhile, the new 4,600-square-foot space would allow Amazing Books to display more of its inventory of used books than is possible at either of its current locations, Downtown and in Squirrel Hill. “It’s large and it’s beautiful,” he says of the new space. Ackland also envisions carrying a small selection of new books, as well as greeting cards. The other two locations will remain open for now, he says.

The building’s owner, Elisa Beck, sounds similarly enthused. The building, roughly a triple-wide storefront, formerly housed Schwartz Market, a neighborhood grocery that opened in 1938 and closed in 2011. Beck has been working to turn the spacious two-story structure into a hub for ideas to create a greener society, and renovating it into a “living building,” one that makes all its energy and processes its own stormwater and wastewater, among other qualities.

For a few years, the building housed a marketplace for vendors of healthy-living products, and more recently an artists’ co-op. The plan for Amazing Books in the space is “just really exciting,” she says, and in line with her vision. (Those interested to learn more can contact her at schwartzlivingmarket@gmail.com.)

Ackland’s expansion comes at a time when, even in the era of e-books and online book-retailers, brick-and-mortar bookshops in Pittsburgh are experiencing a rebirth. And he says that his current stores are profitable (thanks in part to online sales, which Ackland says make up “close to a third” of Amazing’s business).

However, the new store would face some challenges. The loss of bookshops on the South Side during the early 2000s probably wasn’t a coincidence: Neither the rise of bar culture nor the changing local demographic necessarily bodes well for walk-up sales, for instance. An attempted third location in Oakland “bombed,” says Ackland.

Another issue: Ackland, a devout Jew, closes his stores at sundown every Friday and all day every Saturday, the week's busiest shopping day. That scheduling is “our Achilles heel,” he acknowledges.
“It is definitely hard, but we’re really proud of it.”

But Ackland says he thinks the Carson Street location, in a high-profile, high-foot-traffic neighborhood, can work. “It’s a neighborhood that’s supported bookstores before,” he says, recalling Elljay’s (since relocated to Dormont and renamed) and the original City Books, which ran part-time hours for years before closing in 2014. (Last year, City Books reopened under new ownership on the North Side.)

Ackland adds that the Schwartz location comes with off-street parking off Carson, a rare amenity in the neighborhood. And the building comes equipped with a kitchen, ready for the cafe and other potential food service.

Ackland says he is trying to raise $25,000 to fund the move and renovations to the new space. He plans to do that largely through a new membership drive. Amazing Books memberships start at $52 and come with discount benefits.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Affordable-housing advocates want Pittsburgh to buy Penn Plaza to maintain affordable units

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 2:44 PM

Affordable-housing advocates rally on Smithfield Street in Downtown, Pittsburgh. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Affordable-housing advocates rally on Smithfield Street in Downtown, Pittsburgh.
In June 2015, when LG Realty Advisors placed 90-day eviction notices on the doors of the 312 units that made up Penn Plaza apartments in East Liberty, many believed this was just another instance of low-income renters being pushed out of their neighborhood because redevelopment was coming.

Instead, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto met with Penn Plaza residents, and more than 100 of them formed a tenant council to advocate for their rights. Soon after, a deal was reached that got move-out costs for the tenants and affordable-housing commitments from the city, in turn for allowing the developers, LG, to move forward with their plans.

But things started to go south for the developers after that. A fight over the public park next to Penn Plaza went in favor of the public, and the Pittsburgh Planning Commission voted 9-0 against the developers' plans because they said LG failed to collaborate with the community. Also, the major business tenant of the proposed Penn Plaza redevelopment, Whole Foods Market, pulled out.

Now, the affordable-housing advocates who have been rallying around the Penn Plaza saga, Homes For All Pittsburgh, want the city of Pittsburgh to purchase the remaining Penn Plaza building to preserve it as affordable housing and allow the tenants to own the building, like a co-op. The building, 5600 Penn Ave., is set to be demolished soon (the other building 5704 Penn Ave. was demolished in 2016).

Today, about 20 people held a rally on Smithfield Street, Downtown, demanding that Penn Plaza be sold to the city.

Pittsburgh, through the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, actually tried to purchase Penn Plaza back in 2015, but LG declined. Helen Gerhardt, of Homes for All, believes it is time to reconsider that plan.

"The city has an obligation to provide fair and affordable housing," says Gerhardt. "We want someone to own Penn Plaza who has that obligation."

Gerhardt says that in addition to providing affordable rents for low-income residents, tenant-owned buildings can have positive effects on residents, as they tend to provide some onsite jobs and social services that can help lift residents out of poverty. She cites success on the North Side, where the Northside Coalition for Fair Housing was able to purchase scattered sites and keep them affordable and tenant-owned. Gerhardt says Homes For All will continue to call out LG until it sells the building to the city.

Gerhardt also added she is grateful that the city and Pittsburgh City Council have taken steps to address affordable-housing issues, but says substantial affordable-housing legislation must come soon. She says she has spoken with developers who are on board with inclusionary zoning requirements, where developers set aside a certain percentage of units that maintain affordability. City council is currently considering creating a Housing Opportunity Fund, which would provide $10 million a year to pay for affordable-housing projects and provide more leverage for state and federal housing grants.

Gerhardt says more and more low-income Pittsburghers are being pushed out of their neighborhoods due to rising rents and its "absolutely" time for council to act on these proposals.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Author of "Guns, Germs and Steel" and "Collapse" speaks tomorrow in Downtown Pittsburgh

Posted By on Tue, Apr 18, 2017 at 3:35 PM

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jared Diamond returns for a free talk at Point Park University.

Jared Diamond
  • Jared Diamond
The talk, titled "The History of Everybody for the Last 13,000 Years," will address "the root causes of societal collapse due to environmental and governmental structure concerns, and how societies ultimately choose to fail or succeed," according to a statement from Point Park.

Sounds a lot like Diamond's 2005 book Collapse — and, in a nation whose new leader seems intent on ignoring the science of climate change and rolling back other environmental protections, still alarmingly relevant.

Diamond last spoke in Pittsburgh in 2013, following publication of his book The World Until Yesterday, about what we can learn from traditional societies. Here's my interview with him previewing that talk.

Diamond's best-known book remains Guns, Germs and Steel, in which he ambitiously attempts to explain why societies evolved in different ways, and why some people over the millennia ended up conquerors and others the conquered. (It had largely to do with the native flora and fauna where their societies began.)

The author is hosted here by Point Park's Environmental Journalism program.

"Jared Diamond offers a big-picture perspective of how the environment and society are historically related," said Environmental Journalism program director Christopher Rolinson. "It gives our students an opportunity to ponder our actions — what we're doing to the planet, and how it's going to affect us in the future."

Diamond, a professor of geography at UCLA, has won numerous awards including a MacArthur "genius" grant and the National Medal of Science.

His talk begins at 7 p.m. and takes place in the University Ballroom on the second floor of Lawrence Hall, at 201 Wood St. The talk is free but it's advisable to get tickets here.

Here's the event's Facebook page.

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Politicians and local leaders hold discussion on state anti-labor, anti-immigrant legislation

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 1:19 PM

Politicians and local leaders discuss Pennsylvania state bills attacking immigrants, health care and organized labor. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Politicians and local leaders discuss Pennsylvania state bills attacking immigrants, health care and organized labor.
Big news stories about how President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are introducing rules and laws meant to attack immigrants, organized labor and health care seem to be dropping weekly. While those stories get most of the public’s attention, for Pittsburghers and Pennsylvanians, it may be more prudent to watch the similar action happening at the state level in Harrisburg.

Republican, and even some Democratic lawmakers at the state capitol are also introducing bills attacking labor unions, immigrants and public health. And because of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the federal government tends to avoid overreaching its authority on a multitude of state laws. So, the lesson from an April 14 roundtable discussion with local politicians, union members and immigrant-rights advocates: pay attention to Harrisburg.

“We came here to talk about some issues at the state level that need immediate attention,” said state Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Lincoln-Lemington) during the discussion at Smithfield Street Church of Christ in Downtown. “There are bills in Harrisburg that we need to fight against in order to protect working families.”

Some of the pieces of legislation the panel is objecting to are SB 10, a bill aimed at defunding so-called “sanctuary cities”; SB 300, a state effort to defund services at Planned Parenthood; and a series of “right-to-work” bills. (Right-to-work legislation, like SB 166 and SB 167, would allow non-union members to avoid paying into unions in unionized workplaces. Labor advocates say these laws undercut workers' right to organize.)

“These are really dangerous times ahead, where people are trying to strip our rights,” said Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus (D-South Side) to the crowd of about 20 in attendance.

Steve Kelly is member of the Service Employees International Union and a local custodian. He said at the roundtable that if right-to-work laws are put in place, it could “totally destroy” workers’ ability to collectively bargain.

“I can’t tell you how scared it makes me,” said Kelly.

Jeimy Sanchez-Ruiz of immigrant-rights group Casa San José said Pittsburgh's Latino-immigrant community is also frightened by bills like SB 10. Sanchez-Ruiz says SB 10, which would force local police officers to fully communicate and cooperate with federal immigration officials, would increase police racial profiling.

“We should not be afraid of our own police,” said Sanchez-Ruiz. She added that bills like these could push immigrants, even those who are legal residents and U.S. citizens, further into the shadows in fear that their families might be separated through deportation.

Gainey said to combat these bills in Harrisburg, Pittsburghers must react with organization.
“We as people have to continue to organize and protest, but also bring new voices to Harrisburg,” said Gainey.

Immigrant-rights advocates protesting outside of state Rep. Tony DeLuca's office in Penn Hills - PHOTO COURTESY OF THOMAS MERTON CENTER
  • Photo courtesy of Thomas Merton Center
  • Immigrant-rights advocates protesting outside of state Rep. Tony DeLuca's office in Penn Hills
And some of that organizing is already working. State reps. Dom Costa (D-Stanton Heights) and Tony DeLuca (D-Penn Hills) have both recently changed their stances on SB 10, vowing now to vote against the state’s anti-sanctuary city bill, thanks to protests and pressure from local immigrant-rights groups.

A group of immigrant-rights advocates from Casa San José and the Thomas Merton Center protested at DeLuca’s office on April 13; then staffers told the protesters that the state representative would change his vote on SB 10. (DeLuca still supports HB 459, a bill that would impose penalties on business that hire undocumented workers, which advocates argue could further encourage employers to keep all workers off the books, thus exposing employees, including the undocumented, to sub-standard wages and working conditions. Activists are pressuring DeLuca to change his stance on that bill too.)

Members of the April 14 roundtable told attendees they should participate in a May 1, May Day march for immigrant-rights to showcase their opposition to all of the bills discussed. Kelly of SEIU spoke about the importance of organized labor joining the causes of protecting healthcare and immigrant-rights.

“My heart breaks for what is happening to immigrants,” said Kelly. “I will be there [at the march] with you. I will be there with all of the workers.”

The May Day March will take place on May 1 at 3 p.m.at the intersection of Hot Metal and South Water streets in the South Side. And a related festival, open to the public, with food and music, will occur at Pittsburgh Federation Of Teachers Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pittsburgh Steelers Owner Dan Rooney dies at age 84; Twitter reactions

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 5:28 PM

rooney.jpg

Dan Rooney, the longtime owner and chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers has died today at age 84, the team announced. On both it's website and social media, the Steelers posted the above simple image.

Rooney became team president in 1975 but had been taking on a bigger role with the franchise since graduating from Duquesne University in 1955. He led the team to six Super Bowls but had a greater impact on the league and the country. Rooney led the charge to ensure that minority applicants were given a fair shot at head-coaching and senior management vacancies.

Reaction to Rooney's death was swift. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued the following statement:

"Few men have contributed as much to the National Football League as Dan Rooney. A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was one of the finest men in the history of our game and it was a privilege to work alongside him for so many years. Dan’s dedication to the game, to the players and coaches, to his beloved Pittsburgh, and to Steelers fans everywhere was unparalleled. He was a role model and trusted colleague to commissioners since Bert Bell, countless NFL owners, and so many others in and out of the NFL. A voice of reason on a wide range of topics, including diversity and labor relations, Dan always had the league’s best interests at heart. For my part, Dan’s friendship and counsel were both inspiring and irreplaceable. My heart goes out to Patricia, Art, and the entire Rooney family on the loss of this extraordinary man."

Pa. Gov. Tom Wolf wrote:

“Pennsylvania has lost a true icon and one of our most revered citizens, civic leaders and public servants. Dan Rooney was truly loyal and dedicated to the tremendous organization he built and the city and country that he loved to serve. On behalf of every Pennsylvanian, Frances and I express our deepest condolences to the Rooney family, Dan’s friends and colleagues, and every member of Steeler Nation. He will be missed but his legacy will live-on forever in the hearts of the countless players, fans and citizens whom were lucky enough to experience his passion and grace.”

From Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto:

"Pittsburgh, and our nation, owes immeasurable gratitude to Ambassador Rooney.
Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for your devotion to your family and the Steeler nation. Thank you for all you have done for Pittsburgh."

We'll have more on Dan Rooney in next week's issue. Below is a roundup of reaction from social media.


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

“Cocktails & Camaraderie” event at Pittsburgh’s Soldiers & Sailors Tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 12:07 PM

Vintage cocktails have been a thing for a while, but Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum adds further history to the mix with its Museum Comes Alive events.

A previous Museum Comes Alive - PHOTO COURTESY OF SOLDIERS & SAILORS
  • Photo courtesy of Soldiers & Sailors
  • A previous Museum Comes Alive
These are happy hours supplemented by information about what life was like for soldiers during different wars. Tomorrow’s program includes period-appropriate music, rarely displayed military artifacts from the museum’s collection and live actors (from Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh) in costume as soldiers interacting with guests.

The conflicts highlighted tomorrow are the Civil War, World War I and the Vietnam War.

The cash bar includes vintage cocktails from those eras, as well as craft beers from locally based ShuBrew. Complimentary appetizers will also be available.

The 21-and-over event is sponsored by Steel City Vets, a nonprofit supporting post-9/11 veterans.

Cocktails & Camaraderie runs from 6-8 p.m. Thu., April 13. Admission is $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Tickets are available here.

Proceeds benefit Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum.

The museum is located at 4141 Fifth Ave., in Oakland.

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