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Friday, December 29, 2017

Pittsburgh City Paper's most liked Instagram photos of 2017

Posted By on Fri, Dec 29, 2017 at 1:19 PM

Our 'Best Nine' Instagram photos of 2017
  • Our 'Best Nine' Instagram photos of 2017
Christmas in Pittsburgh is pretty photogenic, isn't it?

I highlighted some of 2017's most liked photos of local Instagram accounts a few weeks ago when this year's 'Best Nine' photos first started popping up in everyone's feeds. In those two short weeks, though, three of our current photo intern Jake Mysliwczyk's holiday images made their way into our top spots of the entire year.

We've included our final tally of this year's nine most liked Instagram photos below, including descriptions and links to stories when applicable. We also reached a milestone in the past week: 25,000 followers! If you're not already following along, give us a follow at

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

First Night update: Cold moves big events indoors

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 4:50 PM

Sunday's forecast of butt-freezing temperatures has persuaded the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to move most of the outdoor attractions at its big Highmark First Night Pittsburgh festival indoors.

Most First Night events were originally scheduled indoors anyway, and won't change. But here are the big changes for Dec. 31, from a press release issued at 4 p.m. today:

Don't worry, Pittsburgh, you'll still get New Year's fireworks - PHOTO COURTESY OF RENEE ROSENSTEEL
  • Photo courtesy of Renee Rosensteel
  • Don't worry, Pittsburgh, you'll still get New Year's fireworks
- The community parade down Penn Avenue is canceled, though the scheduled marching bands (always a highlight) and oversized puppets will move indoors to the August Wilson Center from 7:30-9 p.m. The event includes a newly scheduled Puppet Party.

- Two outdoor stages are being scrapped: the Dollar Bank Stage (out front of the Benedum) and the Eighth Street stage. However, all musical acts scheduled to perform there will now play indoors. See here for details.

- Headlining band Lee Fields & The Expressions will no longer play outdoors on the Highmark Stage, down near Penn and Stanwix, but will instead perform at the Benedum Center from 10:30-11:30. The show requires an admission button, but unlike certain other indoor First Night attractions does not require seat reservations. It is first-come, first-served, however.

- There will still be a band playing on the Highmark Stage at midnight: That's local guitar hero Byron Nash and Plan B, starting at 11:30 and playing till the Zambelli fireworks go off.

- Among other popular annual attractions, Ice Creations (live ice-sculpting) and Steel Town Fire will still perform on the corner of Ninth and Penn, but the sets will be shorter. And Soul Line Dancing with Roland Ford will move indoors, to the Highmark Room of the August Wilson Center.

For more a full schedule, see here.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Correction: Farewell episode of Prosody to air at 4 p.m. Saturday

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2017 at 10:45 AM

This week's print edition of City Paper contained an incorrect time for the airing of the farewell episode of radio show Prosody.

The half-hour show will air on WESA 90.5 FM at 4 p.m. this Saturday.

Guests of host Jan Beatty will include poet Ed Ochester, original host John Schulman, and Pittsburgh's best-known ex-cop/boxing trainer/poet, Jimmy Cvetic.

WESA has canceled the on-air version of the long-running show for poets and writers, though the program will continue in the form of podcasts and short segments as part of WESA's programming.


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Residents urge Port Authority to maintain service for bus routes in Mon Valley

Posted By on Tue, Dec 26, 2017 at 3:16 PM

Example of postcard asking to maintain route 61 bus service - PHOTO COURTESY OF NICA ROSS
  • Photo courtesy of Nica Ross
  • Example of postcard asking to maintain route 61 bus service
Last week, about 100 residents met at the Braddock Carnegie Library in Braddock to sign postcards asking the Port Authority of Allegheny County to consider their public-transit needs when considering changes that will likely come with the proposed implementation of a Pittsburgh Bus Rapid Transit system.

The BRT, which some have called light rail on rubber wheels, will make big changes to infrastructure along Fifth and Forbes avenues between Oakland and Downtown. The project will include installation of bus-only lanes, new stations with modern shelters, bike lanes, and will shorten bus-travel times. But, as City Paper reported in April, it could also change the bus rides of at least 1,500 riders from areas like Swissvale, Braddock, Duquesne and McKeesport. The number 61 bus routes, which currently start in McKeesport and Braddock and travel towards Downtown through Oakland, will be altered thanks to the BRT and their future of the 61 routes is up in the air.

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings laser-filled show to PPG Paints Arena

Posted By on Fri, Dec 22, 2017 at 9:17 PM

The Trans-Siberian Orchestra at PPG Paints Arena on Fri., Dec. 22 - CP PHOTOS BY JAKE MYSLIWCZYK
  • CP photos by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • The Trans-Siberian Orchestra at PPG Paints Arena on Fri., Dec. 22
Lights, camera, action! The laser-filled Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert was one of our Critics' Picks for this week, with shows both this afternoon and evening at PPG Paints Arena. The popular group takes traditional Christmas tunes and amps them up with electric guitars, fog machines, violins and fire.

Check out Jake Mysliwczyk's photo highlights from one of today's colorful shows below.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

How Pittsburgh finally funded its affordable-housing trust fund

Posted By on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 3:05 PM

Corey O'Connor discussing the affordable-housing fund at a December Pittsburgh City Council meeting - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Corey O'Connor discussing the affordable-housing fund at a December Pittsburgh City Council meeting
In early 2015, Pittsburgh City Council knew it needed to investigate and address the city’s affordable- housing problems. Back then, there was a reported shortage of more than 18,000 subsidized affordable units in the city, and since then that figure has only marginally decreased. In January 2015, City Councilor Daniel Lavelle (D-Hill District) introduced legislation to create an Affordable Housing Task Force, and the task force was created in February 2015.

Then that summer, more than 200 residents of the Penn Plaza apartment complex in East Liberty were given eviction notices, and Pittsburgh’s affordable-housing crisis took center stage. Much has happened since then, including continuing disputes around the Penn Plaza site and more legislative activity at city council.

This month, on Dec. 19, city council passed a bill that would fund its $10-million-a-year affordable-housing trust fund called the Housing Opportunity fund. The bill passed by a vote of 7-2 with councilors Natalia Rudiak (D-Carrick) and Darlene Harris (D-North Side) voting against the bill. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto has indicated support for the bill.

The fund will be filled by raising the city’s realty-transfer tax up .5 percent for 2018 and 2019, and then up to 1 percent in 2020. This means closing costs on home purchases in the city will go up slightly; those costs are typically split between the buyer and seller. The $10 million Housing Opportunity Fund will be used to provide gap funds on new affordable-housing projects, as well as help low-income home-buyers with home purchases and rehab costs.

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

These Pennsylvania Congressmen disregarded their own national-debt concerns with tax-bill vote

Posted By on Wed, Dec 20, 2017 at 1:07 PM

Keith Rothfus (left), Tom Marino (center) and Mike Kelly (right)
  • Keith Rothfus (left), Tom Marino (center) and Mike Kelly (right)
Twenty-one trillion dollars and counting. That is what the national-debt clock reads on the homepage of U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler). A similar clock also appears on the pages of U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley) and U.S. Rep. Tom Marino (R-Williamsport).

The increase in the national debt has always been a big issue for these Pennsylvania Republicans, as they have consistently campaigned on shrinking the debt and have warned of the dangers if the U.S. can not pay it back. In 2014, Kelly voted against raising the debt limit and said in a statement after his vote: “My constituents in Western Pennsylvania sent me to Washington because government spending has reached a crisis level, and I gave them my word that I would to do everything in my power to reverse course.”

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Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Pittsburgh City Councilor Dan Gilman to take over as mayor's chief of staff

Posted By on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 3:47 PM

Dan Gilman at a city council meeting - CP PHOTO BY MIKE SCHWARZ
  • CP photo by Mike Schwarz
  • Dan Gilman at a city council meeting
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and Pittsburgh City Councilor Daniel Gilman have been longtime allies. In 2013, Gilman filled the mayor's seat on council after Peduto was elected mayor. And before that, Gilman served as Peduto's right-hand man as chief of staff for the nine years Peduto was on on council.

Now, Gilman will once again be taking on that role. Today, the mayor's office announced Gilman would be taking over as the mayor's chief of staff on Jan. 3. Gilman is filling the vacancy left by Kevin Acklin who announced his resignation earlier this month.

"Dan is the perfect person to continue my and Kevin's work the last four years to make Pittsburgh a city for all. In fact, he's been integral to that work all along," Peduto said in a press release. "I am grateful to Dan and his family for taking this next step in his public service to the city."

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WESA cancels longtime radio show Prosody

Posted By on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 3:06 PM

  • Courtesy of Prosody
After 28 years on the air, Prosody, WESA radio's show for poets and writers, is preparing its last word.

WESA 90.5 FM has canceled the half-hour show in its broadcast form. On this past Saturday morning's program, longtime host and producer Jan Beatty announced that Prosody will no longer air on WESA, but will continue as a podcast on its website and iTunes. An on-air farewell program is scheduled for Dec. 30.

The cancellation is a loss for the local literary community. Prosody features readings by and conversations with local, national and international writers. Guests have included National Book Award winners, MacArthur "genius grant" recipients and U.S Poet Laureates.

“I’m going to miss the effect it had on the larger community,” says Michael Simms, a local poet, founder of Autumn House Press, and occasional guest on Prosody. “Jan was able to bring in an assortment of different poets to interview, from beginners who showed a lot of promise, to mid-level poets who had a book or two but were not well-known nationally, to national poets who are National Book Award winners and poet laureates.”

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What's it like to sing the national anthem at the biggest NFL game of the season? Ask Pittsburgh's Clinton Clegg

Posted By on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 at 2:13 PM

  • Photo courtesy of Justin Boyd
  • Clinton Clegg
While the Steelers' brutal loss to the Patriots Sunday night is a memory most Pittsburghers would like to leave behind, Clinton Clegg had a night to remember. The iconic local vocalist and frontman for rock/soul outfit The Commonheart opened the game with a powerful rendition of the national anthem, joined by his bandmates Mariko Reid and Anne Celedonia.

It's another highlight in what's turned out to be a productive year for Clegg and his band. They opened the year with a short tour opening for JJ Grey and Mofro, and played frequently around town. Last week, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Clegg was tapped to act in a new film, 116 MacDougal, to be shot in Pittsburgh this spring. And on New Years Eve, Clegg and the Commonheart will headline a show at Mr. Smalls, with Cisco Kid and Selecta. There's plenty to celebrate.

But before all that, CP wanted to find out what it's like for a hometown kid to perform in such a huge venue under such intense circumstances. Here's CP's email with Clegg, edited lightly for clarity.

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