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Monday, November 30, 2015

Campaign 2016’s Silly Season: A Weekly Tweet Round-Up Nov. 30

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:15 PM

We slog through the twitter streams of the 2016 Presidential candidates and give you a weekly round-up of the more entertaining ones.

Happy Cyber Monday, and Ted Cruz comes out swinging! And jingling.
This Ted Cruz holiday sweater is epic: Santa-fied head of Cruz, twisting snakes, the White House, snowflakes and flames. Perfect for the War on Christmas!
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Dr. Ben Carson spent the holiday overseas getting his foreign policy on, and he returned with this locker-room guideline on Syria. 
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It's not helpful in the long run, but Chris Christie gets in a good line about New Jersey.

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Trump showed how the rich stay rich — by watching pennies.

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Bernie Sanders tweeted out this photo of himself getting soul food with rapper Killer Mike. 

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And Jeb takes another awkward photo, this time posing with a giant ass-on-a-stick.
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MP3 Monday: Mr. Jhak & Mr. Owl

Posted By on Mon, Nov 30, 2015 at 12:04 PM

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This week’s MP3 brings two cities together: Pittsburgh’s Mr. Owl — a DJ, producer and founder of Parliament of Strix Records — and Philly emcee Mr. Jhak. Stream or download “Eternal Instrument of Rap” from the new record Who Killed the Page Wizurd, below.


Download link has expired, sorry!

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Sat, Nov 28, 2015 at 4:33 PM

Here's what went down in Pittsburgh this week:

PHOTO BY THEO SCHWARZ
  • Photo by Theo Schwarz
1. This week was book-ended with holiday events. Last weekend, thousands flocked to Downtown for the city's 55th Annual Light Up Night festivities. Tree lightings, ice sculptures, display windows, live music, fireworks and a holiday market were all part of  Pittsburgh's official holiday season kick-off.  Enjoy our photo essay.
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Myra Falisz posing with her public-art bike rack, "Time-traveling Mike." - PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
  • Myra Falisz posing with her public-art bike rack, "Time-traveling Mike."
2. Pittsburgh’s Cultural Trust unveiled eleven new bike racks in Downtown’s cultural district on Tuesday. And each rack is a unique public-art installation created by a different artist. “Even something as utilitarian as a bike rack can function as public art,” says Cultural Trust President Kevin McMahon.
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DRAWING BY CP ART DIRECTOR LISA CUNNINGHAM
  • Drawing by CP Art Director Lisa Cunningham
3. At City Paper, staffers drew hand turkeys to wish our readers a Happy Thanksgiving. Each one reveals a little bit of our staffers' personalities (and artistic abilities).
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"The Pretty 1" artisan jewelry, owned and designed by Nicole and Debbie Cerilli, for sale at the I Made It! Market - PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • Photo by Ashley Murray
  • "The Pretty 1" artisan jewelry, owned and designed by Nicole and Debbie Cerilli, for sale at the I Made It! Market
4.On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, the "nomadic" I Made It! Market set up its holiday shop on two floors of the Nova Place on Pittsburgh's North Side. One hundred vendors displayed their handmade wares. Mother and daughter Debbie and Nicole Cerilli, of Pittsburgh, sold their artisan jewelry, which they describe as  "whimsical, dainty and delicate."
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Michelle Lancet, co-owner of the fabric store Spool, in Allentown, welcomes Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto for a visit on Small Business Saturday. - PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • Photo by Ashley Murray
  • Michelle Lancet, co-owner of the fabric store Spool, in Allentown, welcomes Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto for a visit on Small Business Saturday.
5. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto visited the fabric store Spool in the Allentown neighborhood for Small Business Saturday. Co-owners Michelle Lancet and Jennifer Swartzwelder received funding from the Hilltop Alliance to open the store on Sept. 13 in the neighborhood's business district on Warrington Avenue. "The business district has done everything they can to help us succeed," Lancet says.
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From the pages of the City Paper:

CEA construction instructor and Ma’at foreman Johnnie Comer (right), standing with Homewood natives Woody Yates (center) and Adrian Foster (left), on one of the floors they are remodeling at the 7800 Susquehanna Street warehouse renovation project. - PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL
  • Photo by Heather Mull
  • CEA construction instructor and Ma’at foreman Johnnie Comer (right), standing with Homewood natives Woody Yates (center) and Adrian Foster (left), on one of the floors they are remodeling at the 7800 Susquehanna Street warehouse renovation project.

Staff writer Ryan Deto explores a workforce development program focused on ensuring that minorities and disadvantaged laborers, like those with a criminal record, are given opportunities to contribute to Homewood’s current construction revival. Development projects are slated for the once-neglected neighborhood, including a 40-unit apartment complex and the new state-of-the-art Animal Rescue League shelter, bringing hopes of economic vitality that could combat the neighborhood’s drug and violence problems. Rashad Byrdsong, president of the Community Empowerment Associate, who himself was formerly incarcerated in 1992, wants to ensure that people from the neighborhood and all disadvantaged workers get to share in any future prosperity. 

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

To be a true Pittsburgher, you need a Thanksgiving-themed pierogie ornament

Posted By on Thu, Nov 26, 2015 at 9:29 AM

PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNA JOHNSTON
  • Photo courtesy of Jenna Johnston

Happy Thanksgiving!

We took the day off, but not before finding you this adorable Thanksgiving-themed turkey pierogie Christmas-tree ornament, made locally by Etsy shop ArrayOfHappiness

Jenna Johnston, the Beaver County native and brains behind the decorated pierogie ornaments, says she started playing around with clay and this is what she came up with.

"I still have my original pierogi ornament on my Christmas tree. It doesn’t look anything like they do now," Johnston says. "I’ve come a long way with the design."

And, she's not just selling pierogies disguised as turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday. "Mainly, the Santa and the Pittsburgh [-themed] ones are the most popular." There are also little leprechaun pierogies for  St. Patrick's Day and pierogies donning hearts for Valentine's Day.

Johnston says she loves having an Etsy shop because it allows her to get to know people.

"You actually have a relationship with customers, as opposed to selling on something like eBay," she says. "I don’t really look at money aspect of it. I love meeting people. It is exciting to sell a pierogie though."


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gobble Gobble: Pittsburgh City Paper staffers draw hand turkeys

Posted By and on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 8:52 PM

So today in the office we decided to play a game and wish our readers a Happy Thanksgiving.

Slow news day or pure artistry? You decide. The rules were staffers could only use pens, pencils and miscellaneous office supply junk available on their desks and could include a quote or caption. Here are the results.

"Snarky Turkey" by Charlie Deitch, Editor

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"Culinary Turkey" by Al Hoff, Associate Editor

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"Political Turkey" by Lisa Cunningham, Art Director

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"Thankful Turkey" by Ashley Murray, Multimedia Editor
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"Scared Turkey" by Celine Roberts, Listings Editor
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"Post-it Note Turkey" by Rebecca Nuttall, Staff Writer
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"Cynical Turkey" by Ryan Deto, Staff Writer
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Listen Up! Nov. 25

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 11:28 AM

Every Wednesday, we make a Spotify playlist containing tracks from artists covered in the current music section. Listen below!

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Eleven new public-art bike racks unveiled in Pittsburgh Cultural District

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 10:16 AM

Myra Falisz posing with her public-art bike rack, "Time-traveling Mike." - PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN DETO
  • Photo courtesy of Ryan Deto
  • Myra Falisz posing with her public-art bike rack, "Time-traveling Mike."
A decade ago, there were no public bike racks in the city of Pittsburgh, according to Eric Boerer of BikePGH. In fact, Boerer says, it took two days of debate just to install twelve of the signature three rivers racks in the city.

Oh how far we have come.

On Nov. 24, Pittsburgh’s Cultural Trust unveiled eleven new bike racks in Downtown’s cultural district. And each rack is a unique public art installation created by a different artist.

“Even something as utilitarian as a bike rack, can function as public art,” says Cultural Trust President Kevin McMahon.

This is the second year the trust has sponsored a public-art bike rack program (last year’s created five bike racks, including one that looks like a miniature 16th Street Bridge). Now Downtown’s art and entertainment district is home to 15 public-art bike racks.

Boerer applauds the trust’s “creative approach” to a modern transportation issue and says the racks are a “perfect balance of form and function."

Wood Street Galleries curator Murray Horne says that four of the racks used stainless steel as their primary material and are maintenance free. The racks were funded thanks to $125,000 from the Colcom Foundation, an environmentally focused nonprofit.

This announcement comes on the heels of Allegheny County gutting the revenue of its public art law, which CP wrote about here.

Cultural Trust vice president Nick Gigante says he was glad to work with Colcom toward their goal of creating more beautification projects. He is also glad that the bike racks can be enjoyed and used every day of the year.

“Part of why we did this was to mark [the cultural district] as a preeminent entertainment and art destination,” says Gigante.

Myra Falisz created the bike rack titled “Time-Travelling Mike” said she was influenced from french author Jules Verne and the culture of the late 1800s. She adds that her art works perfectly as a bike rack because it was inspired by a time frame when bikes became a very popular mode of transportation.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Photo Essay: Pittsburgh's Light Up Night shines throughout the city

A photo essay from Light Up Night in Downtown Pittsburgh

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 1:15 PM

The holiday season officially kicked off in Pittsburgh on Friday night as people filled the Downtown streets for the city's 55th Annual Light Up Night festivities.

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MP3 Monday: The Hawkeyes

Posted By on Mon, Nov 23, 2015 at 12:17 PM

PHOTO COURTESY OF ADAM THOMAS
  • Photo courtesy of Adam Thomas
This week's MP3 comes from roots rock band The Hawkeyes. Download the rousing, radio-ready track "Had Enough," from the new record, One Plug in the Wall, below.


Download link has expired, sorry!

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Friday, November 20, 2015

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 5:05 PM

Here's what went down in the city of Pittsburgh this week:


CITY PAPER FILE PHOTO
  • City Paper file photo
           
1. As one elected official after another across the U.S. promised to not accept Syrian refugees in light of the Paris terror attacks, Mayor Bill Peduto affirmed support for bringing Syrian refugees to Pittsburgh.  “We want to provide [refugees] an opportunity to give their families all the opportunities they deserve here in Pittsburgh,” he said.

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PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • Photo by Ashley Murray
2. Monday night, more than 20 speakers testified in front of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) board, asking for assistance as water and sewage rates rise. A board subcommittee is tasked with creating a community assistance program as ALCOSAN raises rates to pay for a multibillion-dollar federally mandated infrastructure fix. “One thing that motivates me is my ability to rise, wash my body and prepare for the new day. I must admit I’ve been in the position before where this holy ritual was not possible," Wallace Hamilton, of Swissvale, testified.

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PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
3. At Tuesday's county-council meeting, an amendment to the county’s public-art rule was passed 11-4, striking the 2 percent allocation from public construction projects that is supposed to go to a fund financing public artworks.  Renee Piechocki, director of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council’s Office of Public Art, said she was “disappointed” with the vote and suggested to the council that “rather than go back to zero, simply amend the bill so it functions better and then actually do it.”

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PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
4. Mayor Bill Peduto and Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay met with the Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network and other activists at Rodef Shalom temple, in Oakland. More than 1,000 attendees heard Peduto speak about increasing the number of police officers, creating more transparency in public schools, formation of the affordable-housing task force, and instituting a $15 minimum wage for city workers. Police Chief McLay spoke on public-safety and race relations: “We have been creating a strong process in the training of [ethics], and we are learning how to teach our officers about unconscious bias and procedural justice.”

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PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • Photo by Ashley Murray
5. The City of Pittsburgh and economic-development and recreation groups protested ALCOSAN's possible riverfront construction by laying an 8,000-square-foot tarp on the banks of the Allegheny River. According to Riverlife, one of the groups that protested, in the past 15 years about $129 million has been invested in the city's riverfront parks system, with a return on investment of nearly $4.1 billion in adjacent riverfront development.  "We have come so far as a city and community in revitalizing our riverfronts, to undo that investment would be a tragedy," said Stephan Bontrager, spokesperson for Riverlife.

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6. This week, Pittsburgh City Councilor Daniel Lavelle, who represents District 6, proposed an ordinance to decriminalize marijuana. The ordinance would permit City of Pittsburgh police to cite individuals found in possession of a “small amount” of marijuana under a local ordinance as opposed to charging them with a misdemeanor-level criminal offense. Approximately 1,000 individuals are charged with a misdemeanor-level marijuana possession offense in Pittsburgh annually.


On Thursday, Pittsburgh City Council listened to testimony for and against adding "source of income" as a protected class against housing discrimination. The legislation would aid those who receive housing-assistance vouchers. "The vast number of [postings that say 'No Section 8'] on Craigslist points out the problem," said Barney Oursler, executive director of Pittsburgh United.

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PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • Photo by Ashley Murray
7. Representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency's Region 3 office attended a meeting in Ben Avon where residents asked EPA and Allegheny County Health Department to shut down the DTE Shenango coke plant. At the meeting, Carnegie Mellon University's CREATE Lab debuted the Shenango Channel, a website with video monitoring of visible emissions from the plant. EPA's David Arnold told the large crowd that what is seen in video footage of Shenango is "in my mind is totally unacceptable."

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PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
8. More than 30 people spoke Friday morning to the Port Authority board, expressing their desire for bus-service extensions to the North Hills, Penn Hills and Garfield. This is the second consecutive meeting that saw a large number of residents directly addressing the seven board members present to request more service.

“On the weekends, we cannot get off this hill,” said Garfield resident Kevin Martin, who takes the 89 route that runs only on weekdays. “We are trying to get to church or to the store, it is very difficult.”

PAT spokesperson Jim Ritchie said that public comments submitted via email, telephone or letter will be accepted through November, and then the service suggestions will be evaluated by the board. According to PAT staff, more than 600 request have been submitted as of last week.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WESTERN PA HUMANE SOCIETY
  • Photo courtesy of the Western PA Humane Society
9. After more than a week of gracing the cover of City Paper, our feline model, Tiger, was adopted from the Western PA Humane Society on Thursday. Humane Society staff described Tiger as a "very cool kitty." See the behind-the-scenes video of Tiger's photo shoot for CP here.

And from the pages of this week's print edition:

Reporter Rebecca Nuttall explores an urban teaching program in Pittsburgh. Launching this 
PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL
  • Photo by Heather Mull
year from a partnership between Pittsburgh Propel schools and Chatham University, the Pittsburgh Urban Teaching Corps aims to to reduce teacher turnover in urban settings where instructors often get burned out, as well as to attract racially diverse talent in an effort to provide more students with teachers who look like them. 

“Part of Propel’s mission is to be a catalyst for change in public education,” says Randall Bartlett, Propel’s senior director of teacher residency, research, reporting and the arts. “We need to explore and implement new models for teacher education for urban students."

Read Rebecca's full news feature on the Pittsburgh Urban Teaching Corps

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