Heads Up | BLOGH: City Paper's Blog |
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 3:30 PM

You might not have heard that open enrollment for plans in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace ends Sat., Dec. 15.

In 2017, President Donald Trump slashed the marketing budget for open enrollment by 90 percent, and it remains that low for 2018. It's likely you haven't seen many ads to remind citizens to sign up for their government-run health insurance.

So, use this as a reminder that you have until mid-December to enroll in plans effective for the 2019 calendar year via the healthcare.gov marketplace.

If you can't get a computer, or have trouble using one, state Sen. Jay Costa (D-Forest Hills) and state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Squirrel Hill) are hosting a free event to help get people enrolled at the Oakland Career Center on Dec. 11. The event runs from 5-7:30 p.m. and is located at 294 Semple St. in Oakland. 

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2018 at 2:05 PM

Last week, TribLive discovered police officers in Allegheny County have been designating condoms as "an instrument of crime" in more than a dozen prostitution cases last year. The revelation has drawn criticism from several social justice groups and local defense attorneys. Some jurisdictions, like New York City and California, have even outlawed or restricted the practice since it can encourage unsafe sex.

And today, Pittsburgh's branch of the Sex Workers Outreach Project, is hoping to educate people  about the potential issues of Allegheny County's condom-criminalization practices.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2018 at 12:20 PM

Today we had to make the very difficult decision to part ways with our editor, Charlie Deitch.

Charlie has served Pittsburgh City Paper and the people of Pittsburgh incredibly well in his tenure here and oversaw many positive changes at City Paper, including our newest redesign.

We are very excited for the future of CP and feel like we have a team in place that will help to move CP into a future where we can encompass all of Pittsburgh, with a renewed focus on neighborhoods, the arts, food and drink, and of course, local news.

Change is always difficult, and this was a difficult day. We are committed to the employees of CP, who work hard every day to put together a publication that we can all be proud of.

We wish Charlie nothing but the best in his future endeavors.

We are excited to announce that Rob Rossi will now be joining us as Editor of City Paper. Rob has been a Pittsburgh media staple for years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role. We look forward to Rob’s introduction to you in the next few days, and we are excited for you to all be a part of the City Paper’s bright future.

Vernon L. Wise III
President, Eagle Media Corp.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 1:14 PM

click to enlarge Rendering of Allegheny Commons fountain project - IMAGE COURTESY OF PITTSBURGH PARKS CONSERVANCY
Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Rendering of Allegheny Commons fountain project
Allegheny Commons in the North Side is the oldest park in Pittsburgh, and understandably, it’s a bit worse for wear.

But things are looking up for the park. On April 19, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy broke ground on a new fountain project in the northeast corner of the park. According to a press release, “the new fountain will mirror its original 19th century design and will include a 50-foot circular stone basin, a one-foot rim of heavy cut stone, a large Grecian vase in the center, a tall principal [water] jet and 16 smaller [water] jets.”

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 12:09 PM

click to enlarge JuJu Smith-Schuster bike bobblehead - PHOTO COURTESY OF NATIONAL BOBBLEHEAD HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM
Photo courtesy of National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum
JuJu Smith-Schuster bike bobblehead
In October 2017, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster tweeted out a picture of his beloved bike and informed his followers that it had been stolen. Pittsburgh social media exploded with calls for the thief to return Smith-Schuster’s bike, with the hashtag #TeamFindJujusBike. Fellow Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown even offered free tickets to a Steelers home game in exchange for the bike.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 3:24 PM

Polls in recent weeks taken of potential voters for the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District have shown candidates Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) and Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) in a close race. Since the second week in February, no poll has given either candidate a significant lead. Two polls from February gave Saccone leads of three points and six points, respectively, but the most recent Emerson poll, released March 5, gave Lamb a three-point lead.

But political observers should remain wary, as a fake poll of the 18th District race is circulating. A Virginia-based group called the Blumenthal Research Daily released a survey on March 2 at 1:45 p.m. which showed Lamb with a one-point lead over Saccone. The survey was announced via Twitter and has since been retweeted 34 times and liked 46 times, even though the BRD Twitter account only has 36 followers.

Three hours after the survey was released, Timothy Blumenthal, of BRD, posted a statement about the survey announcing that it is fake. “Hello everyone. I guess I’ll just start off with the obvious. Yes, Blumenthal Research Daily is a fake pollster,” wrote Blumenthal on March 2. “The numbers used were random, and I did little to no research before piecing together a rather sloppy google doc.”

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Feb 26, 2018 at 3:49 PM

click to enlarge IMAGE COURTESY FACEBOOK
Image courtesy Facebook
When the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued its new drawings of Pennsylvania's U.S. Congressional Districts on Feb. 19, state Republicans immediately criticized them and said they would challenge the maps in federal court. The state’s 18 congressional districts were redrawn earlier this month after the state Supreme Court ruled the original 2011 maps violated the Pennsylvania Constitution as a partisan gerrymander.

Federal judges have scheduled a March 9 hearing to listen to arguments concerning the new congressional district maps.

While the outcome of the federal district court's decision will undoubtedly have a big effect on how Pennsylvanians vote in upcoming elections, a grassroots group wants to remind people that having legislators draw maps and then battle in the courts is not the only way to reshape districts in Pennsylvania.

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Friday, February 16, 2018

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 11:25 AM

click to enlarge Francisco Cantú - PHOTO COURTESY OF BEOWULF SHEEHAN
Photo courtesy of Beowulf Sheehan
Francisco Cantú
There’s a lot of misinformation being thrown around about undocumented immigrants. Some people equate being undocumented with being a criminal, even though people’s first immigration violation is a civil, not criminal, offense. Many also believe that undocumented immigrants don’t speak English. But, according to the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute report, 62 percent of undocumented immigrants in Pennsylvania either only speak English or speak English well.

No one understands the difference between immigration myths and facts better than author Francisco Cantú. Cantú worked as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent from 2008 to 2012. He patrolled the U.S.-Mexico border, and also grew up near the border while his mother worked at National Parks in the Southwest.

He wrote a memoir about his experience as a border-patrol agent called The Line Becomes a River. Cantú studied international relations in college, and he describes in the book how he wanted to join the border patrol so he could experience the actual border, instead of just studying theory in the classroom.

The book has received praise from critics across the country for its authentic portrayal of law-enforcement officers and undocumented immigrants. Cantú will be at the City of Asylum bookstore at Alphabet City, in the North Side, on Feb. 17 for a free reading of his new book.


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Monday, January 8, 2018

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 2:21 PM

click to enlarge The frozen Allegheny River near PNC Park in Pittsburgh - CP PHOTO BY JAKE MYSLIWCZYK
CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
The frozen Allegheny River near PNC Park in Pittsburgh
It takes a lot of cold to freeze one river, let alone three. But the frigid temperatures that have hung over Pittsburgh for the last couple weeks have accomplished just that. Many sections of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers have accumulated inches of ice. (Check out this week's City Paper out Jan. 10 for more spectacular images of our iced-over rivers.)

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 5:06 PM

click to enlarge Demetrio Aragon (right) and his family inside the La Catrina kitchen - PHOTO COURTESY OF DEMTRIO ARAGON
Photo courtesy of Demtrio Aragon
Demetrio Aragon (right) and his family inside the La Catrina kitchen
In May 2016, City Paper reported about the economic revitalization of Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood and the role Latino residents were playing. The South Hills neighborhood had been marked by several vacancies in its business district for decades, but over the last few years, Latino entrepreneurs have been opening up restaurants and other businesses, bringing vitality back to the neighborhood.

Recently, La Catrina, a new Mexican restaurant joined the ranks, and the owners are looking for a little help so they can improve their operations and offerings. Demetrio Aragon and his family have lived in the Pittsburgh area since 2000. Aragon worked in Japanese restaurants until one day his wife convinced him that the family should open up a restaurant to serve the traditional Mexican dishes they had trouble finding in Pittsburgh.

“My wife, it was her idea,” says Aragon. “She saw the Hispanic population growing, and that there was a need for real food. We serve sopes, and tamales, but not like some I see here that are served unwrapped. We wrap ours up [in a corn husk]. That is the way it is supposed to be done.”

Aragon says the restaurant, which occupies a space across the street from the IGA/Las Palmas grocery store on Broadway Avenue, has been open for more than three months, but the place still needs a griddle, refrigerator and mixer to become fully functional. Aragon, with help from the Beechview-based Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, is trying to secure a crowd-sourced loan through kiva.org. As of print, La Catrina’s loan is 94 percent funded with only $550 left to reach its $10,000 goal, with only three days remaining to contribute.

“We just need some equipment,” says Aragon. “It’s just me and my wife and daughters. We don’t have investors.”

Ashleigh Deemer, chief of staff to Pittsburgh City Councilor Natalia Rudiak, wrote in an email to CP that La Catrina deserves a little support, so that Beechview can continue to grow economically. "Beechview has been a hidden gem for years, but Broadway Avenue's small-business culture is really taking off, and La Catrina is a perfect destination for anyone who wants to visit and see all Beechview has to offer," she wrote.

Aragon and his family live in Dormont, but choose Beechview to cater to the neighborhood’s growing Latino population. Aragon is from the Álvaro Obregón district of Mexico City (the same district as deported immigrant-rights activist Martín Esquivel-Hernandez), and he says there is a big opportunity in Pittsburgh for ultra-authentic Mexican food because there aren’t many authentic Mexican restaurants.

La Catrina specializes in many hard-to-find Mexican recipes, all crafted by Aragon’s wife, Angelica. La Catrina offers chilaquiles (deep-fried tortillas bathed in chili sauce), lamb barbacoa (and a soup made from all the lamb’s juices), and sopes (a corn masa dumpling typically topped with slow-cooked meats, lettuce and avocado).

Aragon says that all of La Catrina's traditional Mexican recipes are made from scratch, including all of the chili sauces that covers most dishes. La Catrina offers Tex-Mex food as well, but not all of those items are scratch-made.

Aragon says that La Catrina's clientele has mostly been Latinos looking for a taste of home, but many native-born Americans have also eaten there. He hopes that La Catrina will be a restaurant welcoming to everyone.

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