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Friday, June 29, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 10:48 AM

According to a March Gallup poll, Americans worry about health care more than any other issue. The poll found that 55 percent of Americans worry about the availability and affordability of healthcare, and only 23 percent worry about it a little or not at all.

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County officials seem to understand this. Last week, both Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Council passed resolutions asking federal and state officials to take steps to pass a universal, single-payer health-care system.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 4:57 PM

click to enlarge Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins - PHOTO COURTESY OF DANNY NOLAN
Photo courtesy of Danny Nolan
Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins

Earlier this month, Third Eye Blind announced a new EP of covers called Thanks For Everything, featuring tunes by artists like Queens of the Stone Age, Bon Iver, Santigold and Tim Buckley. Proceeds from the EP will go the Andy Warhol Museum. Considering the band is from San Francisco (and sounds like it), City Paper wondered "why the Warhol Museum?"

TEB lead singer Stephan Jenkins was kind enough to clear things up via email this week. Keep an eye out for Thanks For Everything on Aug. 24.

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Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at 1:18 PM

click to enlarge Stephen Zappala - CP PHOTO BY JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo by Jared Wickerham
Stephen Zappala
Allegheny County district attorney Stephen Zappala announced Wednesday that criminal homicide charges are being filed against Michael Rosfeld, the East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed Antwon Rose.

Zappala said at a news conference that Rose, a 17-year-old from Rankin, was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car involved in a drive-by shooting in North Braddock on June 19. Zappala said video evidence shows shots fired out of the back seat of that car, and the shooter was wearing a dark shirt.

Rose was wearing a white shirt.

“By all accounts, Mr. Rose didn't do anything resembling any crimes,” said Zappala.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2018 at 5:11 PM

Pittsburgh loves fireworks - CP PHOTO BY JAKE MYSLIWCZYK
CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
Pittsburgh loves fireworks

Most Americans spend their July Fourth celebrations in one location. Whether for DUI avoidance or commitment to tradition, we generally pick a party, load up on necessary supplies, post up and call it a day. (This generalization was arrived at unscientifically and is possibly false). 

This year, why not switch things up and take a tour of all Pittsburgh has to offer on Independence Day, with an all-day(ish) marathon of patriotic partying? City Paper nailed down the schedule for you, and it involves exercise, Bill Pullman and flags. Enjoy! Don't drink and drive. 

7:30 a.m. Start the day right with the 34th Annual Whiskey Rebellion 5k, kicking off at Canon-McMillan Memorial Stadium in Canonsburg. Make sure to hydrate and load up on patriotic high-caloric food beforehand, like American flag waffles or breakfast hot dogs. 

9 a.m. If 5k No. 1 failed to tire you out, keep the cardio coming with its sequel, the 35th annual Brentwood Firecracker 5k starting at Brownsville Road. Impressive! 

10 a.m. Surely all that running has taken the wind from your sails. It's time to relax and cool off with one of the most American summer movies of all time: The Sandlot, at Waterworks Cinema. It has everything: marshmallows, Denis Leary, children chewing tobacco. 

12-3:30 p.m. With your legs exercised and your funny bone tickled, it's time to put that curious brain to work. Start with a Flag Ceremony at Sen. John Heinz History Center, follow up with the colonial re-enactors at Fort Pitt, then check out the all-day Celebrate America at Point State Park. This is also good time for some lunch hot dogs.   

4 p.m. Dance at New Amsterdam with a special July Fourth version of its free dance party, Penumbra, featuring Gvrgoyles and Emplate. 

7:30 p.m. You were promised Bill Pullman and here he is. Check out Independence Day at AMC Waterfront for a timely re-visiting of the 1996 classic. Sadly, the movie is several hundred hours long, so in order to stay on schedule, you'll have to bounce before anything too exciting happens.  

8:15 p.m. Join the Pittsburgh Philharmonic at Zelienople Community Park for a night of music from American composers. Come for the John Philip Sousa, stay for John Cage's "4'33" encore. 

9:30 p.m. OK, you've spent all day racing around town. It's time to settle down and head back to Point State Park for some fireworks. Eat any leftover hot dogs and crack a beer. You did America proud today. 

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Posted By on Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 2:25 PM

click to enlarge Scene from Antwon Rose protest on June 22 - CP PHOTO BY JARED WICKERHAM
CP photo by Jared Wickerham
Scene from Antwon Rose protest on June 22
More than 200 hundred people marched from Freedom Corner in the Hill District to Point State Park on Saturday afternoon — a fourth consecutive day of protests in the name of late teenager Antwon Rose.

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Friday, June 22, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 at 12:40 PM

click to enlarge Bakery Square in Larimer - PHOTO COURTESY OF STATICSHAKEDOWN
Photo courtesy of Staticshakedown
Bakery Square in Larimer
Last week, the Pittsburgh Planning Commission conditionally approved a new development at Bakery Square in Larimer. The development includes about a 700-unit parking garage, appearing to want to accommodate additional drivers.

But at the same time, the developer, Walnut Capital, is also pitching the project as a “multi-modal transit center.” The parking garage is the first step in a proposal to link Bakery Square, home to a Google office, to a new busway station that would also serve Hamilton Avenue in Larimer. Pittsburgh City Councilors Ricky Burgess and Erika Strassburger have given the project support, saying it will spur economic development and help create affordable housing.

But Laura Wiens of advocacy group Pittsburghers for Public Transit says the development’s two transit-related visions are antithetical.

“It is a terrible idea, we don't want 700 people driving on Penn Avenue to then get on public transit,” says Wiens. “That is not how our transit system should work.”

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge Sign from a protester at June 21 rally in Downtown Pittsburgh - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
Sign from a protester at June 21 rally in Downtown Pittsburgh
Leon Ford was shot in the back during a routine traffic stop six years ago, leaving him paralyzed. After years spent speaking out against police brutality, he recently settled a lawsuit with the city of Pittsburgh. He has since become an integral part of the city’s and the country’s police-reform movement.

On Thursday afternoon, Ford sat in his wheelchair at the Allegheny County Courthouse amid thousands protesting the shooting death of Antwon Rose.

“This is painful for me,” Ford said. “I fought for six years and I didn’t think this would be happening.”

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 5:58 PM

Each week we post a song from a local artist online for free, and this week it’s “Galactus (Nothing Left To Give)” by Bagger. The song is an ambient, lo-fi number that espouses a cool exhaustion and sadness with ‘80s nostalgia swimming underneath. Stream or download “Galactus (Nothing Left To Give)” for free.

Bagger: "Galactus (Nothing Left To Give)”

To download "Galactus," right-click here and select "save link as."

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Trump administration is separating migrant parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border, drawing criticism from some area representatives.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 18, 2018 at 5:21 PM

click to enlarge Alex Esquivel-Hernandez was separated from his father, Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, who was deported in 2017. - CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
Alex Esquivel-Hernandez was separated from his father, Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, who was deported in 2017.
Thousands of migrant families are currently being intentionally separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. The Trump administration has indicated this policy was created to deter immigrants trying to enter the U.S. illegally. (Data shows the opposite has occurred).

The White House has also attempted to claim the policy doesn’t exist, and President Trump even tweeted that Democrats, who are in the minority in U.S. Congress, are to blame for these policies. The policy was created by the Trump administration last year.

And while Trump could easily end the policy himself, Congress could also pass a law that would force Trump to veto legislation that would end the policy. With that in mind, City Paper wanted run down where Southwestern Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation stood on the issue.

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills)

Doyle is opposed to the family-separating policy and called it “abhorrent” in a statement, adding that families with children should be treated better.

“I strongly oppose the Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents,” said Doyle. “I’m outraged that the Administration would adopt this policy, and I’m angry that the Administration is trying to mislead the public about why so many children are being separated from their parents now. It’s Trump’s policy – and his policy alone – that’s separating children from their parents.”

Doyle is a cosponsor on House Res. 927, which condemns the family-separation policy and calls for keeping immigrant and asylum-seeking families together. The resolution has about 150 cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats. Doyle spokesperson Matt Dinkel also says Doyle is cosponsoring the Keep Families Together Act in the U.S. House, which will be introduced on June 19. A Senate version of this bill was introduced earlier this month by Sen. Diane Feinstein of California.

Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon)

Lamb also condemns the family-separation policy. He says it’s “cruel, and it doesn’t make us any safer.”

“We can enforce the law without breaking up families and forcing kids to live in detention camps and tent cities,” said Lamb in a statement. “We are a country that respects and abides by the rule of law, and we are a country that treats human beings with dignity and compassion.”

Lamb has not cosponsored H.R. 927. However, he is calling on Congress to take “bipartisan action” to end the policy.

Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley)

Rothfus has been silent on Trump’s family-separation policy. His office didn’t respond to request for comment on this story.

However, he has been supportive of Trump’s efforts to construct a wall along U.S.-Mexico border and supported the president’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), claiming that President Barack Obama overstepped his authority when creating DACA.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Scranton)

Casey has been extremely vocal in his opposition for Trump’s family-separation policy. He has publicly called out Trump, secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and asked them to end the policy.

“[Trump] and [Nielsen] are not telling you the truth,” tweeted Casey in response to news of the Trump administration claiming the policy is not their doing. “There is no law requiring the Administration to rip migrant children away from their parents; it is a morally abhorrent policy choice they make every day.”

Casey cosponsored the Keep Families Together Act, a bill in the U.S. Senate that would end broad-based family-separation tactics at the border. All 47 Democratic senators, and two independent senators, have cosponsored the bill, meaning it only needs support of two Republicans in order to clear the senate.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh)

Toomey said in an interview on the Hugh Hewitt radio show he doesn’t think Trump should fully reverse the policy, but added “it’s just not the right thing to be doing.” But, he also believes some of the reports about immigrants are exaggerated.

“First, I think the instance of the, you know, the heart-wrenching separation of a small child from the mother is, has been, the frequency’s been exaggerated significantly,” said Toomey.

Toomey didn’t offer many specifics on how he would like the family-separation policy to be altered. He admitted to some naiveté on the subject, but did repeatedly endorse the use and growth of family detention centers.

“But at the end of the day, if we had family detention centers, and we had the law that permitted the use of family detention centers, then this problem would be enormously diminished,” said Toomey.

Pennsylvania is home to a family-detention center in Berks County.

Steve Kelly, a spokesperson for Toomey, told the Philly Voice that Toomey will “look forward” to reviewing the Keep Families Together Act, as well as some other Republican-sponsored legislation.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 at 1:43 PM

click to enlarge The end of the Penn Avenue protected bike lane - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
CP photo by Ryan Deto
The end of the Penn Avenue protected bike lane
Good luck riding a bike from Downtown Pittsburgh into the Strip District.

After a pleasant mile-long ride on Penn Avenue’s protected bike lane, the lane abruptly ends at 16th Street in the Strip. From there, the protected bike area disappears and riders are forced to navigate crowded roads, alleys with poor visibility and several turns just to get to the shops a few blocks away. It’s not for the faint of heart.

“It’s a no man’s land,” says Eric Boerer of bike-advocacy group Bike Pittsburgh of the bike route into the Strip District.

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