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Friday, January 29, 2016

New Pterosaur exhibit brings world-class fossils, casts to Pittsburgh

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 6:17 PM

The world-famous Pterosaur fossil "Dark Wing" contains one of the best-preserved wing membranes in the world. - PHOTO BY COURTNEY LINDER
  • Photo by Courtney Linder
  • The world-famous Pterosaur fossil "Dark Wing" contains one of the best-preserved wing membranes in the world.


The Carnegie Museum of Natural History
will unveil its newest exhibit "Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs" tomorrow at noon.

The exhibit boasts original fossils, casts and models of the prehistoric Pterosaur — the first animal with a backbone to fly under its own power. Often mislabeled "Pterodactyls," which are just one subcategory of the winged beasts, Pterosaurs have been extinct for over 66 million years.

"Pterosaur science predates Dinosaur history," says Paleontologist Mike Habib, co-creator of the exhibit and research associate at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The highlights of the display include a skull cast of Tropegnathus — the largest open-ocean dwelling Pterosaur — and "Dark Wing," a world-famous Pterosaur fossil with wing membranes that are intact.

Dark Wing is a specimen that was discovered in Germany in 2001. The fossil contains the best preserved Pterosaur wing membrane in the world, complete with detailed blood vessels and muscles. This is the first time Dark Wing has been on display outside of Germany.

In addition, there are interactive displays on Pterosaur flight and an overhead life-size model of Quetzalcoatlus northropi, the largest flying animal known to man. 

Quetzalcoatlus has a beak large enough to swallow a small human and a wingspan equivalent to an airplane's wings. 

"In its ecology, it's like a stork from hell," explains Habib. "It definitely had the ability to eat small dinosaurs."

That being said, don't confuse Pterosaurs for birds or dinosaurs — they have no close relatives, though they're most comparable to birds or crocodiles.

"Pterosaurs: Flight in the Age of Dinosaurs" continues through May 22.

The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is located at 4400 Forbes Ave. in Oakland.

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Campaign 2016's Silly Season: A Weekly Tweet Roundup Jan. 29

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 5:54 PM

We slog through the Twitter streams of the 2016 Presidential candidates and give you a weekly roundup of the more entertaining ones. 

Another busy and bizarro week: Michael Bloomberg threatened to jump in the race; Sanders and Clinton threw some shade; Trump boycotted the Fox News debate, and held his own event at the same time (covered by CNN and MSNBC); and Iowa Iowa Iowa.


Advances in branding: Trump the Tower, Trump the Hotel, Trump the Casino ... now, Trump the Military.

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In other branding news ...

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The limited-edition confection is mint ice cream topped with a milk-chocolate disc. According to the carton text, seen in a photo posted on the website, the disc represents "the huge majority of economic gains that have gone to the top 1% since the end of the recession. Beneath it, the rest of us." Today, we are all mint ice cream.



Continue reading »

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What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 5:38 PM

Here's what went down in the 'Burgh:


PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
1. Mayor Bill Peduto gave his "State of the City" speech on Tuesday at the University of Pittsburgh. The speech was part of the Pitt School of Social Work's Center on Race and Social problems speaker series. The majority of Peduto's remarks centered around the issue of equality and the tale of two cities many have begun to identify in Pittsburgh. "We're in the top of every list when it comes to quality of life, the ability to create jobs," said Peduto. "But we're also at the point where we're dividing back into two Pittsburghs, where the disparity between those that have access to this new economy and those who don't is as great as the mill workers in the 1920s. And that's really where the city's challenge will be."

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New infrastructure at the Smithfield Street and Sixth Avenue bus stop in Downtown - PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • New infrastructure at the Smithfield Street and Sixth Avenue bus stop in Downtown
2. New infrastructure at the bus stop at Smithfield Street and Sixth Avenue in Downtown is drawing praise from the transit-advocacy community. In an opinion piece by Chris Sandvig, of the nonprofit Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, published on City Paper's website, he wrote "We thank Mayor Peduto for his leadership and look forward to working with his administration, and all stakeholders, to make the Smithfield "super stop" the first of many transit street projects and a new way of thinking."

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Piece by artist Quim Rifà, which was included in Drap-Art '15 in Barcelona - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GREATER PITTSBURGH ARTS COUNCIL
  • Photo courtesy of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
  • Piece by artist Quim Rifà, which was included in Drap-Art '15 in Barcelona
3. This weekend the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council is holding information sessions for the inaugural Re:NEW Festival, a month-long, citywide event slated for the fall. Re:NEW is billed as a “celebration of Creative Recycling, Transformation and Sustainability.” The programming will include “art exhibitions, expos and conventions, markets of artwork and goods made of upcycled materials, workshops, performances, talks and tours,” and more. The first info session is at 2 p.m. Sat., Jan. 30, at the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater, 4400 Forbes Ave., in Oakland. The second is at 6 p.m. Mon., Feb. 1, at Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center, at 1000 Madison Ave., on the North Side. Both sessions are free.

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IMAGE COURTESY OF THE CENTRAL BLOOD BANK
  • Image courtesy of the Central Blood Bank
4. Tomorrow morning is your last chance for the Central Blood Bank's The Walking Dead promotion. If you donate blood tomorrow between 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at one of the Central Blood Bank centers (there are 22 in the area), you can receive a ticket to meet two actresses from the series — Katelyn Nacon ( who plays Enid) and Madison Lintz (Sophia Peletier) — this Sat., Jan. 30 from noon-5 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree. The blood bank is using the connection between zombies and blood to promote awareness and is hoping that cable TV's No. 1 rated show, on AMC, will attract donors. The show's sixth-season premiere drew 19.5 million viewers. In order to keep up with demand from the approximately 40 area hospitals the bank provides blood to, Central Blood Bank needs 500 donors each day.

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PHOTO FROM WWW.HEALTHCARE.GOV
  • Photo from www.healthcare.gov

5. Sunday is the last day to sign up for 2016 health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. According to Enroll America, a national outreach organization, four out of five Pennsylvanians who have signed up for coverage have received some kind of financial assistance to reduce their health-insurance costs. As for data released last week, a little more than 415,000 Pennsylvanians — 78,213 in Pittsburgh — had enrolled in a Federal Marketplace plan.

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On our podcast:

PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • Photo by Ashley Murray
In our second episode, columnist and Sound Bite segment host Celine Roberts takes us to the busy kitchen at Lidia’s Pittsburgh to talk to none other than Lidia Bastianich. We talk with City Paper staff writer Ryan Deto about Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat that is up for grabs. And, CP editor Charlie Deitch goes off about the Republican presidential candidates ahead of the Iowa Caucus. We are now on iTunes, so subscribe!

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On our political blogs:



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If political events are what you want, this is YOUR weekend. On Sunday, catch Pennsylvania State Rep. Jake Wheatley at his re-election campaign kick-off event at the Rivers Casino's Grand View Buffet. The event begins at 1 p.m. Wheatley has represented the 19th District, which includes the Hill District, North Side, South Side, Allentown, Hazelwood, Downtown Pittsburgh, The Bluff, Knoxville, Beltzhoover, Manchester, Arlington, Arlington Heights and, North, South and West Oakland, for 13 years. Also, he has the endorsement of 13 ward chairs. 

At 2 p.m., head over to Carnegie Mellon University for a U.S. Senate candidate forum. Pennsylvania’s upcoming U.S. Senate race has been dubbed one of the most important senate elections in the country by several political experts, and the three major Democratic candidates are Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, former Pennsylvania environmental secretary Katie McGinty and retired Navy admiral and former U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak. Topics to be covered this Sunday include immigration, mass incarceration, criminal justice reform, national security, foreign policy and climate change.


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On Wednesday, Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval to an ordinance amending the Pittsburgh City Code by removing language that says bicycles are confined to roads. The ordinance which was unanimously supported by council adds language to allow cyclists to ride in "wooded trail" areas that are often used by mountain bikers in city parks. "This is really a technicality that we're solving," said Councilor Corey O'Connor, chair of the urban recreation committee and sponsor of the legislation. "The old ordinance said if you're on a wooden trail you had to push your bike. So now we're allowing bike riders to bike in our parks and trail systems. It's a very minor technical amendment that we're making just to clarify the ordinance."

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From the pages of our print edition:

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Our new series is examining the U.S. Senate race one issue at  time. Democrats John Fetterman, Mayor of Braddock; Katie McGinty, former secretary of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection; and Joe Sestak, retired Navy Admiral and former U.S. Congressman, are vying to face incumbent Republic Sen. Pat Toomey in the general election. The issue we focused on this week: affordable housing. Read what each candidate has to say about this topic.

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State Rep. Jake Wheatley to kick off campaign at Rivers Casino

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 4:26 PM

Jake Wheatley
  • Jake Wheatley
Surrounded by 13 Democratic ward chairs, Pennsylvania State Rep. Jake Wheatley will kick off his re-election campaign at the Rivers Casino on Jan. 31. Thirteen ward chairs are endorsing Wheatley's candidacy to retain his 19th District seat.

Wheatley has represented the 19th District, which includes the Hill District, North Side, South Side, Allentown, Hazelwood, Downtown Pittsburgh, The Bluff, Knoxville, Beltzhoover, Manchester, Arlington, Arlington Heights and, North, South and West Oakland, for 13 years.

The list of those endorsing Wheatley includes ward chairs Fred Wilbun, Walter Anderson, Bill Tenney, Jeff Koch, Sonny Seiler, Anthony Mosesso, Bruce Williams, Bob Lewis, Bernard Grady, Janet Mundy, Kevin Quigley, Terrence Matuszak and Pittsburgh City Councilor Darlene Harris. 

The campaign kickoff event will begin at 1 p.m. at Grand View Buffet in Rivers Casino.

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Pittsburgh City Council approves measure giving cyclists more room to ride

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 12:53 PM

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Yesterday Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval to an ordinance amending the Pittsburgh City Code by removing language that says bicycles are confined to roads.

"The current city code confines bicycles to paved road use," cyclist Eryn Hughes said during the public comment period at the start of the meeting. "Despite the inherent confusion about policy the current and actual use of the wooded trails is primarily by mountain bikers who have lovingly stewarded them over 30 years following in the tire tracks of the volunteers before them."

The ordinance which was unanimously supported by council adds language to allow cyclists to ride in "wooded trail" areas that are often used by mountain bikers in city parks.

"This is really a technicality that we're solving," said Councilor Corey O'Connor, chair of the urban recreation committee and sponsor of the legislation. "The old ordinance said if you're on a wooden trail you had to push your bike. So now we're allowing bike riders to bike in our parks and trail systems.  It's a very minor technical amendment that we're making just to clarify the ordinance."

Some members made a point of emphasizing that the change to the city code will not allow cyclists to ride in pedestrian-designated areas in city parks.

"I just want to clarify that there are certain things you can do in the park in certain places and you're still not going to be able to ride in a picnic shelter area or places where people have permits and other places that are otherwise identified," said Councilor Theresa Kail-Smith.

Also at the meeting was Eric Boerer, the advocacy director of BikePGH, who said changing the city code would increase Pittsburgh's standing as a bike-friendly city.

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Central Blood Bank promotes donations with The Walking Dead

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 12:49 PM

A Central Blood Bank promotion through Jan. 29 allows donors to meet The Walking Dead actresses. - IMAGE COURTESY OF THE CENTRAL BLOOD BANK
  • Image courtesy of the Central Blood Bank
  • A Central Blood Bank promotion through Jan. 29 allows donors to meet The Walking Dead actresses.

Three days are left in the Central Blood Bank's The Walking Dead promotion. Donors who go to any Central Blood Bank location and mention the word "walk" will be given tickets to meet two actresses from the series — Katelyn Nacon ( who plays Enid) and Madison Lintz (Sophia Peletier) — this Sat., Jan. 30 from noon-5 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Green Tree.

"It’s a meet-and-greet with both Katelyn and Madison and fans who are our donors," says Megan Lakatos of the Central Blood Bank. "They’ll have an opportunity to meet them, [get] photos, autographs."

The blood bank is using the connection between zombies and blood to promote awareness and is hoping that cable TV's No. 1 rated show, on AMC, will attract donors. The show's sixth-season premiere drew 19.5 million viewers. Lakatos says that in order to keep up with demand from the approximately 40 area hospitals the bank provides blood to, it needs 500 donors each day. 

"I’m very excited because I love to meet fans and talk to them. They’re all so avid and dedicated," Madison Lintz told City Paper by phone. "They all remember me even though I was in [the show] a couple seasons ago. They all appreciate my last scene that I did, which is nice. And I totally support blood [donations] because it helps so many people."

Spoiler alert. if you're really behind on The Walking Dead.

Lintz's character was killed off in season two, when the character Rick Grimes shot her in the head after he found her reanimated as a zombie in a barn full of zombies.

Lintz chuckled and said when she booked her new show — the crime series Bosch on Amazon Prime — that she "put in my contracts that they were not allowed to have any barns."

Nacon's character Enid is still a survivor of the zombie apocalypse on the show.

The show is in its sixth season, and the mid-season premiere is Feb. 14. 

The Central Blood Bank has 22 donation centers throughout the area. The centers are open Thursday from noon-7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.


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Democratic U.S. Senate candidates to discuss issues at CMU forum

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 10:32 AM

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Pennsylvania’s upcoming U.S. Senate race has been dubbed one of the most important senate elections in the country by several political experts. One of them, G. Terry Madonna, professor and director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs at Franklin & Marshall College, says that if the Democrats don’t beat out Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey for this seat, the party will have little chance to take control of the senate come 2017.

The race has already started between the Democratic candidates, which include Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, former Pennsylvania environmental secretary Katie McGinty and retired Navy admiral and former U.S. Congressman Joe Sestak. (To learn more about these candidates and hear their thoughts on affordable housing, click here.)

And to really get to know these Dems, the 14th Ward Democratic Committee will be hosting a forum with all three candidates on Jan. 31 at 2 p.m. at the Carnegie Mellon University Center. The forum is newly named in honor of former Allegheny County Councilor Barbara Daly Danko, who passed away last May after a 10-year battle with cancer.

Sam Hens-Greco, chair of the 14th ward committee, says the event is about giving the voters of the East End the opportunity to meet the candidates, and the candidates discuss some important issues.

“Our goal is to provide Democratic voters with the opportunity to meet and hear all the Democratic Senatorial candidates so they can decide who will be our best candidate and Senator,” said Hens-Greco in a press release.

Such topics could include: immigration, mass incarceration, criminal justice reform, national security, foreign policy and climate change, according to Hens-Greco.

The forum starts at 2 p.m. on on Jan. 31 on the CMU campus (doors open at 1 p.m.), and it is free and open to the public. The forum is also being live streamed by CMU and can be view at www.heinz.cmu.edu/live-event/index.aspx

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Listen Up! Jan. 27

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 3:09 PM

Every Wednesday, we make a Spotify playlist containing tracks from artists mentioned in the current music section. Listen while you read!

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Mayor Peduto shares 'State of Pittsburgh' at Pitt School of Social Work

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 12:01 PM

Mayor Bill Peduto - PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • Photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Mayor Bill Peduto
Yesterday, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto gave a "State of the City" presentation to a packed room on the 20th floor of the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning, plus two overflow rooms. The event was part of the Pitt School of Social Work's Center on Race and Social problems speaker series.

"We're in the top of every list when it comes to quality of life, the ability to create jobs," said Peduto. "But we're also at the point where we're dividing back into two Pittsburghs, where the disparity between those that have access to this new economy and those who don't is as great as the mill workers in the 1920s. And that's really where the city's challenge will be."

The majority of Peduto's remarks centered around the issue of equality and the tale of two cities many have begun to identify in Pittsburgh. The topic is one at the core of the Center on Race and Social Problem's mission.

"Change is happening very quickly," said Peduto. "And after 50 years of not knowing anything except how to manage decline, we are now going to be challenged about how to manage growth because not all growth is good. It's like cholesterol, there's good growth and there's bad growth and if we simply go by a single bottom line of how much money will it bring in, how many jobs will it create and we ignore the environmental impacts or the impacts to people then we'll just have made the mistakes of earlier eras."

In particular, on the subject of affordable housing, Peduto elaborated on plans he discussed during an interview with City Paper two weeks ago. He talked about a car ride he took with President Barack Obama where he pitched an idea to use federal dollars for housing vouchers to increase low-income home ownership.

"I said, 'We have a problem in the city of Pittsburgh. I've got 7,000 people right now who qualify for vouchers for affordable housing and I have no where to put them. I have 13,000 blighted properties, vacant lots and abandoned properties that I own and I have no program to wed them,'" said Peduto. 

Peduto also took time to address comments, including some from the audience, about the mayor's contributions to gentrification in East Liberty, a neighborhood where many say there is an affordable housing crisis.

"What knocks me down is the people who just say 'you destroyed East Liberty, you gentrified East Liberty, there's no affordable housing in East Liberty, people are leaving East Liberty like never before,'" said Peduto. "There have been developers that have talked about tearing down a church to build a Starbucks. There have been all these different proposals that we are trying to hold the gate on and when people say 'you destroyed East Liberty', it doesn't help the dialogue."

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Info Sessions Upcoming for Major New Arts Festival

Posted By on Wed, Jan 27, 2016 at 8:07 AM

Piece by artist Quim Rifà, which was included in Drap-Art '15 in Barcelona - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GREATER PITTSBURGH ARTS COUNCIL
  • Photo courtesy of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
  • Piece by artist Quim Rifà, which was included in Drap-Art '15 in Barcelona
On Jan. 30 and Feb. 1, the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council holds information sessions for the inaugural Re:NEW Festival, a month-long, citywide event slated for the fall.

Re:NEW is billed as a “celebration of Creative Recycling, Transformation and Sustainability.” The programming will include “art exhibitions, expos and conventions, markets of artwork and goods made of upcycled materials, workshops, performances, talks and tours,” and more. The festival is geared for visual art, performing arts and music.

The festival will also serve as the North American premiere of Drap-Art, the International Festival of Recycling Art, held annually in Barcleona, Spain.

GPAC will soon issue calls for artists and volunteers, as well as vendor application forms.

In the meantime, it’s holding the free info sessions. The first is at 2 p.m. Sat., Jan. 30, at the Carnegie Museum of Art Theater, 4400 Forbes Ave., in Oakland. Register here.

The second is at 6 p.m. Mon., Feb. 1, at Neu Kirche Contemporary Art Center, at 1000 Madison Ave., on the North Side. Register here.

The festival is presented by GPAC, the Downtown Partnership, The Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Sustainable Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Resources Council, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, VisitPITTSBURGH, and the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

For more information on the Re:NEW Festival, go here.

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