Friday, November 4, 2016

Breaking: Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay resigns

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2016 at 11:48 AM

Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay
Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay has resigned. His last day will be Nov. 8, Election Day. He became known as a reformer in the department, which often made him unpopular within the department's ranks and popular with members of the community.

Earlier this year, members of the Pittsburgh FOP, the officers' union, gave McLay a vote of "no-confidence," however, Mayor Bill Peduto stood behind the chief, our Rebecca Addison reported at the time.

While McLay's last official day is Dec. 4th, he has accrued enough time off that his last day will be Nov. 8 and he will move back to Wisconsin shortly after, to rejoin his family. The reason he gave why this would be his last day: "I wanted to vote."

McLay was hired on the promise of instituting improved police-community relations and made a splash when he held up a sign during Light Up Night 2014 that read "I resolve to challenge racism at work, #endwhitesilence."

At a Nov. 4 press conference announcing his decision, he relayed the message to his former officers that they were on the right track in terms of a forging a positive relationship between police officers and the community.

"To the men and women of the police bureau, stay the course, you are on the right track," said McLay. "Everyone of you are leaders, everyone of you have an ethical responsibility to serve this community."

While McLay denied that the FOP's no-confidence vote influenced his decision to step down, he did communicate that results that can come after someone comes in and tries to make changes. He said that often the person who comes and and "knocks down the silos, usually ruffles the most feathers." McLay said he had been discussing the possibility of leaving the Pittsburgh police with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto since August. McLay was the first chief chosen from outside the bureau in more than 150 years.

"For everybody, I remind you that change is hard," said McLay. "Everybody wants things to be different and we all resists change, but please understand improvements only come about with change."

McLay believed he was able to accomplish some change, through his office's work forging relationships with activist and faith leaders. When Black Lives Matters protesters took to the streets in July, and the marchers wanted to enter and shut down the parkway, McLay said he was proud to avoid that by speaking with the activist leadership and persuade them to march down Ft. Pitt Boulevard instead, toward Point State Park.

He praised Pittsburgh and became emotional when issuing his send-off: "This is a great city. and it has been an honor to serve you all."

Taking over for McLay in the interim is Assistant Chief Scott Schubert, who has been with the Pittsburgh Police for 24 years. He vowed to continue the community-policing model. "We are not going to stray from our vision," said Schubert. "We believe in it." Peduto said Schubert would serve for 90 days and McLay's replacement will be named after that.

Peduto said that when he hired McLay, they had spoken about how the average term for a police chief was three years and he knew the city "only had him for a short time." Peduto, like McLay, believes that Pittsburgh policing is on the right track.

"We needed a wrecking ball chief to get reform. Now we have the opportunity with an entire new command set," said Peduto. "We are so much closer to getting there because [McLay] was our chief."

10:25 a.m.:

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pittsburgh native Lee Terbosic reprises Houdini upside-down escape Downtown this Sunday

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 3:01 PM

Nationally touring comedian, magician and Baldwin borough resident Lee Terbosic will perform an upside-down straitjacket escape for the people of Pittsburgh on Nov. 6.

Lee Terbosic
  • Lee Terbosic
"I haven't done any other crazy stunts like this personally. I mean I've jumped out of airplanes but magic-wise this is my real first big stunt," said Terbosic, a Pittsburgh native who was on America's Got Talent last year, in a recent phone interview.

The Houdini 100 event is happening one century to the day after Harry Houdini performed the same suspended stunt, and moreover in the same location — the corner of Liberty Avenue and Wood, while dangling from a crane 60 to 70 feet in the air.

Terbosic was inspired to contact Mayor Bill Peduto and arrange the event after seeing an image in a book picturing Houdini performing in the air above crowds of people packing Downtown streets in 1916. Peduto later declared Nov. 6 "Lee Terbosic Day."

Though he's done the standard straitjacket escape thousands of times, Terbosic has been conditioning his body to be upside-down for long periods of time using an inversion table.

"I've been performing the straitjacket escape in my act for about 15 years, but always on two feet," Terbosic said. With practice he reduces any risk of blood rushing to his head and possible unconsciousness.

Terbosic isn't nervous thanks to his experience, conditioning and his faith in his safety crew from locally based Adrenalin Dreams. "I'm confident, but of course I'm also a little cautious," Terbosic says.

Houdini 100 is a free event open to the public. The streets will close at 10:30 a.m. and a set by DJ Scottro will precede Terbosic's stunt at noon.

The night before, Nov. 5, there is a VIP pre-party at the Dave & Busters in Waterfront with guest DJ Bamboo at 8 p.m.

Tickets are also available for an after-party to watch the Steelers game with Terbosic at Ten Penny starting at 1 p.m. with guest DJ Petey C.

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Bike tour highlighting climate change visits Pittsburgh on Sunday

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 2:21 PM

LowCarbon Crossings, a cross-country bicycle trip by a pair of activists looking to spark much-needed conversation and political action on climate, comes to town for several public events.

  • Mindy Ahler (left) and Ryan Hall prepare to begin their trip Aug. 27, in Seaside, Ore.
Mindy Ahler and Ryan Hall started their journey of more than 4,000 miles on Aug. 27, on the coast of Oregon. Retracing Lewis & Clark’s historic route, they pedaled the highways and backroads of northern-tier states like Montana and North Dakota, crossing mountains and plains.

They have mostly hauled all their own gear, and have tent-camped and stayed with contacts along the way, when possible organizing public events in towns they pass through. They've been meeting both formally and informally with people from rural areas to big cities to talk climate change and what we can do about it. They’ll wrap the trip with a series of events starting Nov. 13 in Washington, D.C.

Reached by phone this morning, they were taking the trip’s final rest day, in an apartment near Gannon University, in Erie, where they arrived yesterday. Tomorrow, on Day 70, they’ll strike out for Meadville, Slippery Rock and Sewickley before reaching Pittsburgh around mid-day Sunday for events including a “solidarity ride” with supporters, an evening presentation and, on Monday morning, a chance for local cyclists to escort them out of town on the Great Allegheny Passage. All events are free and open to the public.

“It’s been going great,” said Ahler, the Minnesota-based regional coordinator for Citizens' Climate Lobby and co-director of the nonprofit Cool Planet. “We’ve had some really great conversations.”

Ahler and Hall are promoting not only carbon-free travel, but also legislation that would help move society away from fossil fuels by putting a price on carbon. The carbon fee and dividend backed by Citizens' Climate Lobby would add $10 per ton of carbon emissions to fossil fuels where they are extracted (at the well or mine), then distribute the funds among households. The fee — which Hall emphasized isn't a tax because it wouldn’t fund government activities — would rise by an additional $10 per ton annually.

Hall, a three-time AmeriCorps volunteer most recently stationed in Iowa, says that he and Ahler have talked with people who work in the fossil-fuel industry and even met a few climate-deniers — including some who consider climate change a “government conspiracy.” But Hall says the main point is that — in a country where the biggest threat facing civilization didn’t warrant a single question in any of the three presidential debates — he and Ahler are actually talking to people about climate.

“We were able to have these conversations, unlike our public officials,” says Hall. “It’s really important that our elected officials be more proactive about it.” He adds that the media ignoring climate change is a big problem, too.

Ahler says that even the pair’s discourse with climate-deniers has been civil. “It’s always been amazingly respectful,” she says. The trick, say she and Hall, is finding common ground: Even people who won’t accept that climate change is real and caused by human activity want to protect the environment and safeguard the planet for future generations.

“There’s conversation to be had about pollution,” says Hall. “There is common ground to be found, but it’s a little tricky to get there if both sides aren’t willing to seek it out,” he adds, citing the partisan divide in Congress. Hall says the fee-and-dividend proposal can garner bipartisan support because it’s a market solution rather than a regulation.

The LowCarbon Crossing Team’s Pittsburgh itinerary this Sunday includes a 1:30 p.m. media interview at thematically apt local gem Bicycle Heaven, on the North Side, after which there’ll be an informal public meet-and-greet. Bicycle Heaven, a museum and bike shop, is located at 1800 Preble Ave., in the R.J. Casey Industrial Park.

But bring your own bikes, too, because at 2:30 p.m. Ahler and Hall will head out for the solidarity ride, which will take the Riverfront Trail from Bicycle Heaven (just downstream of the West End Bridge) to the 31st Street Bridge and then loop through the Strip District and Downtown on the way back to Bicycle Heaven.

That evening, at 6:30 p.m., Ahler and Hall will give a presentation on climate-change solutions at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 5801 Hampton St., in Highland Park.

And at 8:30 a.m. Mon., Nov. 7, the team will depart from REI on the South Side for the GAP Trail. Local cyclists are welcome to accompany them for as long as they wish. REI is located at 412 S. 27th St.

Even if you can’t ride, Ahler and Ryan are asking people to fill out postcards to their U.S. Senators and Congressional reps with their concerns about climate change. (Fill one out here.) After they get off the GAP Trail and C&O Towpath, Ahler and Ryan will hand-deliver the cards in D.C.

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Light Up Night 2016 schedule announced, pedestrian improvements and green-energy installation among changes

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 1:08 PM

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto
Anyone familiar with Light Up Night knows that it’s one of the most vibrant, crowded nights that Downtown Pittsburgh experiences each year. Pedestrians cram on the sidewalks and streets to watch buildings and Christmas trees get illuminated, listen to live music and watch fireworks erupt over the the city's three rivers.

To accommodate all the foot traffic, sections of Ft. Duquesne Boulevard will be closed to cars and will act as a pedestrian promenade during the holiday festival held on Nov. 18. The promenade will include two large music stages, as well as many food vendors and interactive attractions. It will also provide great views of the fireworks, said Jeremy Waldrup of nonprofit coalition Pittsburgh Downtown Partners at a Nov. 3 press conference. Also new this year: cable and internet giant Comcast agreed to a multiyear naming-rights deal, so the festival will be referred to as Comcast Light Up Night

Waldrup joked that it might be a difficult sell Pittsburghers on the name change, given how many locals still call PPG Paints Arena the Civic Arena, even though they were never the same structure.

“I know Pittsburghers can be a little resistant to change, but we need your help to make Comcast Light Up Night a household name,” said Waldrup.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald recognized Pittsburghers' stubborn ways, but believes things are changing, considering Downtown's renewed vitality.

“We may be a bit resistant to change, but things are changing,” said Fitzgerald. “People are living Downtown, and we are embracing the changes.”

Comcast is also bringing changes to the night. Christine Whitaker of Comcast said there will be 30 “street team” members in light-up jackets roaming Downtown and handing out Santa hats. She also said there will be a virtual-reality booth where users can experience a NASCAR simulation and WiFi access on Ft. Duquesne boulevard.

Another big change to this year’s festival is the installation of a wind-powered, LED-light display on the Rachel Carson Bridge. Similar to the popular light display on the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, the vertical suspension bars on the Rachel Carson Bridge will light up in artistic patterns.

“We are celebrating what we are: a city of bridges,” said Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto at the press conference. “And we are celebrating one of our great leaders, Rachel Carson.”

Carson, a Springdale native, was a pioneer in the the U.S.’s environmental movement, and authored influential books, such as Silent Spring and The Sea Around Us. The project is sponsored by German-based material-science company Covestro and will use wind turbines manufactured by Pittsburgh-based manufacturer WindStax to power the lights.

This year, the main music stages will be placed on Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, and top musical acts for the festival include rock band O.A.R. and local pop singer Daya, as well as other artists.

Comcast Light Up Night will be held Fri., Nov. 18. The tree lighting is at 11:15 a.m.; activities run throughout the day, with the fireworks begining at 7 p.m.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Green Party's Pittsburgh rally pushes a third choice for president

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 12:03 PM

  • Photo by Stephen Caruso
  • Activist YahNe Ndgo
With many Pennsylvania residents voting against a presidential candidate, not for one, Green Party activists pitched their platform of reform to the Kelly Strayhorn Theater Tuesday night with a week to go before the general election.

Headlined by activist YahNe Ndgo, about 100 supporters showed up at the East Liberty theater from across Western Pennsylvania to hear speeches, songs and poems in favor of love, peace and change, while directing a critical eye at the existing two-party system.

“If you’re going to put your life on the line, put your life on the line for love, not people’s profits,” Ndgo said.

The event went on without Jill Stein, the party’s candidate for President. Stein was supposed to appear, but had to cancel for health reasons, according to Carl Romanelli, the Stein campaign’s Pennsylvania coordinator.

In her place, Ndgo took the role of the keynote speaker, while organizers played a video of a Stein campaign speech.

The third-party activism comes on the heels of the latest Pennsylvania poll from Franklin & Marshall College, which found that 35 percent of Pennsylvania Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton voters support her due to a dislike of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, and that 30 percent support Trump due to dislike of Clinton.

Both answers were also the most common justification for voters’ choice.

The poll found that 49 percent of Pennsylvania voters support Clinton, followed by 38 percent for Trump, 4 percent for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and 2 percent for Stein.

Despite some disappointment at Stein’s no-show, the crowd was engaged, cheering and waving orange, green and white “Stein Baraka” signs — Ajamu Baraka, a human-rights activist, being Stein’s running mate.

Cassie Riggs attended the rally with her friend Emma Alkire. Riggs, an East Pittsburgh resident, supported universal health care and peaceful resolutions to world conflicts. Not finding either of those issues on the Democratic or Republican parties’ platforms, she is voting Green in the presidential election.

“My main reason for supporting [Stein] is because the two-party system is inefficient,” Riggs said.

However, down ballot, she planned to vote for Democrats like Senate challenger Katie McGinty and incumbent 14th Congressional District Representative Mike Doyle, as Riggs wasn’t aware of third-party candidates besides Stein.

Ed Bortz and his partner, Sandy Hazley, have been Greens for the past 20 years — Hazley, who’s “never voted for an establishment candidate in [her] life,” supported Stein “since I first heard her name.”

Bortz noted, however, that the Greens “haven’t ran enough local candidates." Historically, Greens have had the most electoral success at the local level, he said. The two, who are North Side residents, neither remembered voting for a successful candidate.

“[The Green Party] doesn’t need to wait for presidential elections,” Bortz said. “We need to find a slate of people for municipal elections.”

Bortz tried unsuccessfully running for Congress before, and has no intention of trying again, but he’ll continue to support the party’s nominees.

Despite the struggles to find local candidates, one regional reformer on the ballot took the theater’s stage Tuesday night after a musical performance by Mike Stout, a labor-organizer-turned-protest musician whose set included a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War.” Then Michael Badges-Canning, a candidate for Pennsylvania's 64th House District in Butler and Venango County, spoke.

Badges-Canning, who was arrested after September’s Shale Insight conference for attempting to enter the Duquesne Club to interrupt a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, rallied the crowd around the Greens positions with a game of call-and-response.

Asking the crowd for a “hell yes” if they supported an issue, Badges-Canning ran through the Greens' positions, eliciting cheers on topics ranging from fracking and the Black Lives Matter movement to electoral reform.

Then, referencing his arrest, Badges-Canning turned against the mainstream candidates.

“[Trump] is not the only fat-cat politician. If Hillary Clinton would come to Pittsburgh I would have talked to her, too,” Badges-Canning said. “We got to dump Trump, and we need Jill, not Hill.” [Editor’s note: Hillary Clinton has been to Pittsburgh several times since January, including an appearance here last weekend, and plans a return trip on Friday; details of the visit are not yet available.]

Carl Redwood, a Hill District Consensus Group member, also attacked the Democrats, seeing the party as complicit in the destruction of inner-city neighborhoods. And despite repeated cries he’s heard from friends, from 1960 to 2016, about the danger of voting a third party due to the spoiler effect — where a vote for a third party hurts the support of ideologically similar candidates — Redwood was insistent on voting for Stein.

"This concept of we have to support the lesser of two evils is a real danger for our community ... [that] always gets you both,” Redwood said.

Her voice raising and lowering, arms gesticulating, Ndgo spent time in her speech attacking both Hillary and her husband, former president Bill Clinton for “push[ing] the Democratic Party to the right” on issues like mass incarceration, welfare and trade deals like NAFTA.

With these issues pushed out of the mainstream, Ndgo wants to make the Green Party a new home for the left.

“The Green Party has set itself up and out to be the electoral arm of the [justice] movements across the country,” Ndgo said.

Seeing young speakers like Ndgo, and at the state of the nation, Bortz can’t help but be excited.

“We're growing,” he said. “A new generation is stepping up.”

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A conversation with this week’s Pittsburgh City Paper cover artist Nathan Mazur

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 10:17 AM

Artist Nathan Mazur with his Bus Issue cover illustration
  • Artist Nathan Mazur with his Bus Issue cover illustration

It's hard to look through Nathan Mazur’s portfolio without smiling. This local artist’s website is full of lovable creatures he’s designed for CD covers, T-shirts and posters. He’s also skilled at giving life to inanimate objects, putting happy faces on objects like flowers and foods — you can check out a cartoon waffle dancing in an animated music video he collaborated on with Santa Barbara musician Parry Gripp here.

This is Nathan’s second City Paper cover. The first was an illustration of tots lugging oversized instruments for a story on young musicians being kept from playing bars. This week, it’s a cartoon of a Pittsburgh Port Authority bus, complete with Nathan’s signature cartoon bee on the front, for our Bus Issue. We checked in with Nathan over email after he competed this week’s illustration.

What neighborhood do you current live in?
I hail from the east suburbs to ensure that Pittsburgh’s garbage traffic keeps me at least an hour from anything I need or want to do.

Are you freelancing full time, or do you have a separate day job as well?
I am far too anxious of a person for the feast and famine that accompanies full-time freelance, so I push pixels around at a think tank throughout the day.

What’s your favorite thing about being an artist in Pittsburgh?
There are lots of places in Pittsburgh to get your stuff displayed or peddle your wares, and the arts community in general is fairly accessible, helpful and friendly.

What’s your work space look like?
My work space is a messy, finished room in the basement with a couple desks: one for the computer and the other for painting. I share the room with a pair of Australian lizards and a 12-year-old Mexican Red-Knee tarantula. The python was moved to the laundry room because of his size. There’s some taxidermy specimens and various musical instruments in there as well. I’ve been working at the dining room table a lot lately, though.

Your online bio claims that you’re a “cereal enthusiast.” That warrants an explanation!
I’ve tried just about every commercially available cereal at some point. The sugary stuff is my vice. My favorites are Reese’s Puffs and Basic 4.

Tony the Tiger, Count Chocula ... There are so many great cartoon characters on cereal boxes. As a “cereal enthusiast,” what’s the best one?
I’m really liking the newly redesigned Lucky from Lucky Charms, though those weird, little cannibal squares they often use for Cinnamon Toast Crunch are endearing.

You’ve done work for books, record albums and television. What was your favorite assignment ever?
I don’t have a favorite assignment, really. I love the stuff I do for Parry Gripp because it’s always super fun. I also really like seeing my art get made into a tangible good, like a book, sticker, T-shirt or stuffed animal.

What’s the worst possible thing you can think of that someone could ask you to draw?
I dislike drawing classrooms with a lot of people in them or crowded bus interiors. It only reveals how shoddy my perspective skills are!

Your portfolio is full of adorable creatures and feels so happy. Have you intentionally avoided drawing anything too dark?
I haven’t purposely avoided anything dark, it’s just never really been asked of me. A lot of the garish colors and forced expressions I choose for my characters often have a manic undercurrent. Beneath the aposematic colors lurks implied danger, I suppose.

Where does the name of your website “Scared of Bees” come from?
Scared of Bees was a name for a band that never became fully realized. I had the web domain already purchased and needed a portfolio site, and since my actual name was already taken, I just used that. It’s worked out well as it’s kinda funny, more memorable than my given name, and is a good conversation starter. I’m not really scared of bees, though. We need more bees!

Your cover illustration for us this week is for our Bus Issue. Do you have any good stories about riding buses in Pittsburgh?
I was once taking a bus from Downtown to the South Side. It was late afternoon. Around 18th Street, some grizzled old dude walked on with a case of American. A couple minutes later, I heard him crack one open and enjoy a cold, frosty chug. And why wouldn’t he?

Do you have any upcoming projects we should be on the lookout for?
I’ve got a couple animated videos in the coming weeks I worked on for Parry Gripp. I’ve also recently undertaken something I’ve dubbed the #jartproject on Instagram where I draw something inside of a mason-jar stamp I bought at Michaels. I’m not happy with most of them, but it’s been a good exercise to create things without the benefit of ctrl+Z.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pittsburgh immigrant-rights advocates ramp up support for Martin Esquivel-Hernandez

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 5:30 PM

Maria Elena Hernandez-Lopez, the mother of Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, sheds tears and begs that her son be released from immigration detainment on Nov.1. - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP Photo by Ryan Deto
  • Maria Elena Hernandez-Lopez, the mother of Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, sheds tears and begs that her son be released from immigration detainment on Nov.1.
It has been six months since Martin Esquivel-Hernandez last set foot in his Pittsburgh home. Esquivel-Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico with no criminal record, was detained by U.S. immigration officials in May and has spent most of his incarceration locked up in a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio. He faces felony re-entry charges and most likely deportation if convicted. City Paper has covered Esquivel-Hernandez’s story extensively, showcasing his life as an advocate for Latinos in Pittsburgh and the struggles he went through to reunite with his family in the U.S.

Two weeks ago, Esquivel-Hernandez, requested that his felony re-entry charges be dropped, according to a motion filed by his lawyer, Sally Frick. The motion claimed that Esquivel-Hernandez was racially profiled when, in April, he was pulled over by Mount Lebanon police (the event that led to his detention by U.S. immigration officials and felony charges by the Western Pennsylvania U.S. District Court).

Esquivel-Hernandez was cited by Mount Lebanon Police for driving without a valid license, insurance and registration, but the motion claims “there has been no indication of any valid reason for the traffic stop.”

In response, Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Hull, who is prosecuting the case on behalf of the federal government, requested that Esquivel-Hernandez's motion be denied, and rejected any claim of racial profiling. “The government contends that defendant’s allegations are just wrong,” wrote Hull in the response.

But, Esquivel-Hernandez’s advocates are not giving up hope. On Nov. 1, a group of more than a dozen supporters signed letters urging U.S. Attorney David Hickton to drop Esquivel-Hernandez’s case. The group, which included faith-based leaders and immigrant activists, also held a prayer circle outside the U.S. Courthouse on Grant Street, Downtown.

“Many undocumented immigrants are terrorized into silence, but Martin refused to be silent,” said Janice Vanderneck, of Latino resource center Casa San Jose, in reference to Esquivel-Hernandez's work advocating for local Latinos. “We call on [Hickton] to show compassion.”

Esquivel-Hernandez’s wife, Alma Brigido, pleaded to Hickton to drop the charges and allow Esquivel-Hernandez to return home in time for the holidays. “We don’t want to be separated for Christmas or New Year’s,” said Brigido in Spanish. “Please don’t destroy the unity of one more family.”

Brigido also begged that her husband’s case be dropped so Esquivel-Hernandez could return home and take care of his children, Samantha, Luz and Alex, who is an American citizen. “If you don’t want to support Martin in this way, please do it for his children,” said Brigido in Spanish.

Esquivel-Hernandez’s story is not uncommon. As previously reported in CP, there have been 16 other felony re-entry charges filed in the Western Pennsylvania district since June 2015. Only one of those cases involved an undocumented immigrant with a serious criminal record. According to Syracuse University, the majority of undocumented immigrants detained by immigration officials have no criminal record.

Maria Elena Hernandez-Lopez, Esquivel-Hernandez’s mother, spoke through tears has she pleaded that her son be released and allowed to return home. “I ask you, attorney Hickton, that you recognize his pain,” she said in Spanish. “I am sure your mother would suffer the same as me.”

A trial date has not been set for Esquivel-Hernandez.

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A photo essay of Pittsburgh's Bricolage Production Co.'s Halloween performance of 'Midnight Radio: Night of the Living Dead N'at'

Posted By on Tue, Nov 1, 2016 at 2:04 PM

Bricolage Production Co.'s Midnight Radio: Night of the Living Dead N'at blends a 1968 movie with 1940s radio techniques to spoof local zombie culture. Actors Sheila McKenna, Wali Jamal, Jason McCune and Sean Sears live-dub Tami Dixon's comedic, Pittsburgh-inflected script over a screening of excerpts from George Romero's cult classic Night of the Living Dead, including live original music by Pittsburgh band Cello Fury.

Check out our photos from their Halloween night production, and look for our review of the performance in tomorrow's City Paper. Night of the Living Dead N'at continues through Nov. 12.

CP photos by Luke Thor Travis
Bricolage Night of the Living Dead N'at
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Bricolage Night of the Living Dead N'at

Photos by Luke Thor Travis

Click to View 25 slides

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Monday, October 31, 2016

'Pretty Little Liars' author and Pittsburgh resident holds launch party for new series tomorrow

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 2:49 PM

Though the first installment of her new young-adult series, The Amateurs, was only just released, bestselling author Sara Shepard says the books has already been optioned for TV.

Sara Shepard
  • Sara Shepard
Shepard's first and most successful series, Pretty Little Liars — which has spanned a whopping 16 entries, not counting two companion books — has become a popular television show since it premiered on ABC Family in 2010. It is currently in its seventh and final season.

The Amateurs (Freeform) involves 18-year-old high school student Seneca Frazier, who wants to discover what happened to a senior, Helena Kelly, who disappeared and was likely killed five years earlier. By connecting with the victim's sister and other interested parties on an online message board for cold cases, the curious group begins an investigation of its own.

Shepard, reached by phone, says that The Amateurs is the first book in a planned trilogy. But Shepard, who has already penned the second installment, says the series could possibly be prolonged like her others have been. "Pretty Little Liars was at first only four books, and then extended to eight and then more, so we never know," Shepard says.

While The Amateurs retains the mystery elements of her other similar series, it offers a darker tone inspired more by true-crime works like the Serial podcast, hosted by Sarah Koenig. "There are also a couple of male POVs which is fun to do because most of my characters have been girls," Shepard adds.

Regarding other modern fantasy young-adult novels, Shepard's interests skew toward the dystopian. She has enjoyed the Hunger Games series and The Thousandth Floor, by Katherin McGee. "I'm always reading YA — it's part of the job," she says.

Shepard grew up in Philadelphia, and moved back there in 2008 after earning her master's of fine arts at Brooklyn College, in New York. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2012. Her other YA series include The Lying Game — which was also adapted into a show on ABC Family — and The Perfectionists. Shepard also has two adult novels, The Visibles and Everything We Ever Wanted.

A free launch party for The Amateurs with Shepard takes place tomorrow at the Penguin Bookshop, in Sewickley, at 6 p.m.

The store is located at 417 Beaver St.

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Pittsburgh City Paper staffers share their Halloween costumes of the past

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Happy Halloween! Later tonight, kids will fill the streets of Pittsburgh for trick-or-treating. Today, we thought we'd wish you holiday greetings by sharing some of our staff's Halloween costumes from when they were kids.

Brace yourself for cuteness.

"I wanted to be a Power Ranger": Advertising Representative Blake Lewis
  • "I wanted to be a Power Ranger": Advertising Representative Blake Lewis

News Editor Rebecca Addison
  • News Editor Rebecca Addison

Art Director Lisa Cunningham
  • Art Director Lisa Cunningham

Music Editor Margaret Welsh (left) and her sister
  • Music Editor Margaret Welsh (left) and her sister
Professional Wrestler Mil Máscaras a.k.a. Editor Charlie Deitch
  • Professional Wrestler Mil Máscaras a.k.a. Editor Charlie Deitch

Graphic Designer Jeff Schreckengost
  • Graphic Designer Jeff Schreckengost
Marketing Design Coordinator Lindsey Thompson
  • Marketing Design Coordinator Lindsey Thompson

Production Director Julie Skidmore
  • Production Director Julie Skidmore
Web Producer Alex Gordon
  • Web Producer Alex Gordon

"Train Conductor is my second career choice after journalist": News Intern Stephen Caruso
  • "Train Conductor is my second career choice after journalist": News Intern Stephen Caruso
"A rootin-tootin' future cartoonist": WaynoVision Cartoonist Wayno
  • "A rootin-tootin' future cartoonist": WaynoVision Cartoonist Wayno

Music Intern Megan Fair
  • Music Intern Megan Fair
Interactive Media Manager Carlo Leo
  • Interactive Media Manager Carlo Leo

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