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Weekly News Roundup

Friday, August 26, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 2:45 PM

What's happening in Pittsburgh and around the region:

Video by Ashley Murray

1. Bocce is how the last week in Pittsburgh ended and this week began (if you consider Sunday the first day of the week). Bloomfield's Little Italy Days took over Liberty Avenue, and a two-day double-elimination bocce tournament ensued on Cedarville Street, just off the main drag. The Italian pride shone and wine flowed. Read about it on City Paper's new sports page.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF GAIL MANKER
  • Photo courtesy of Gail Manker
2. The final performances of August Wilson's Seven Guitars, staged in the backyard of Wilson's original Hill District house by Pittsburgh Playwrights, are this weekend. "Seeing Seven Guitars performed in the very Hill District backyard in which it was set should give anyone chills, but also a sense of an artistic birthright restored," writes CP's arts editor Bill O'Driscoll.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF GAIL MANKER
  • Photo courtesy of Gail Manker
3. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and his Democratic challenger Katie McGinty both picked up endorsements from gun-control advocacy groups this week. Toomey received one from the PAC Americans for Responsible Solutions, and McGinty from CeaseFirePa. Americans for Responsible Solutions was started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who in 2011 was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tuscon in which six people were killed. The PAC's executive director Peter Ambler cited Toomey's sponsorship on a (failed) 2013 background-check bill that was in reaction to the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre as a reason for their endorsement. Meanwhile McGinty maintains that Toomey has done little on gun-reform since.

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4. Allegheny County Council
is proposing changes to the county's minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprise rules (MWDBE), which guarantee a certain percentage — 13 percent for minority-owned businesses and 2 percent for those owned by women  — of county contracts to businesses owned by the aforementioned. The new rules would exclude companies that bring in more than roughly $56 million per year. Some have taken issue with the change, including Councilor Sue Means (R-Bethel Park), who says the vote is happening too hastily, and Maggie Hardy Magerko, owner of 84 Lumber (which brought in $2.5 billion in revenue in 2014), whose legal counsel says the rules changes would exclude the construction giant.

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On our podcast:

CP PHOTO BY LINDSEY THOMPSON
  • CP photo by Lindsey Thompson
Using City Paper's Alex Gordon's sports commentary on local rivalries as a jumping-off point, editor Charlie Deitch and staff writer Ryan Deto got behind the mics to discuss the "biggest" sports rivalries in all of sports, and came to the conclusion that, well, the local ones are kind of weak.

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From the pages of our print edition:

PHOTO COURTESY OF JAY ZUKERKORN
  • Photo courtesy of Jay Zukerkorn
This week in City Paper's arts section, contributor Natalie Spanner reviews the exhibit Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe at The Frick Art & Historical Center in Pittsburgh. The show includes six thematic sections of high heels: Revival and Reinterpretation, Rising in the East, Glamor and Fetish, Architecture, Metamorphosis, and Spacewalk. But if you want to see it, do it soon, as the show closes on Sept. 4. "Killer Heels honestly offers something for everyone, whether you wear sneakers, flats or Audrey Hepburn stilettos," Spanner writes. Read the full review and watch our video on the exhibit.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 3:59 PM

What's happening in Pittsburgh and beyond:

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1. Pa. AG Kathleen Kane
resigned this week after she was found guilty on perjury and obstruction charges. CP reports on its Politicrap blog about other attorneys general who were convicted of crimes while in office.

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CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
2. Drake and Future — along with Canadian artists Roy Woods and DVSN — brought their Summer Sixteen Tour to Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center. Did you see our photo slideshow? (Drake even donned a Pens jersey.)

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CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
3. Wigle Whiskey is crowdfunding the establishment of the Whiskey of America Museum (abbreviated as WAM!). “It’s time to reclaim our place in whiskey history,” Wigle co-owner Meredith Meyer Grelli said, citing the Whiskey Rebellion in Western Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Carnegie Mellon University is even jumping in on the action by creating a robot for the museum that automates the malting process of making whiskey. 

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CP PHOTO OF KATIE MCGINTY BY RYAN DETO; IMAGE OF PAT TOOMEY PROVIDED BY CANDIDATE
  • CP photo of Katie McGinty by Ryan Deto; image of Pat Toomey provided by candidate
4. Democratic nominee Katie McGinty and incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey have agreed to two debate dates, but the Toomey campaign is pushing for more. “We certainly support having debates in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but why is Katie McGinty stopping at two?" said Toomey's campaign spokesperson Ted Kwong in a press release this week.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF MOMS CLEAN AIR FORCE
  • Photo courtesy of Moms Clean Air Force
5. Moms Clean Air Force held a "Play-In for Pollution Control" in Beaver this week to protest the possible air pollution that could be produced by the coming Shell ethane cracker plant to be built in Potter Township. “Southwestern Pennsylvania consistently has poor air quality year after year according to the American Lung Association. Adding additional heavy industry like the Shell petrochemical facility would greatly impact the air quality by releasing tons of pollution that can cause serious health issues,” said Patrice Tomcik, of Moms Clean Air Force, in a press release.

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6. GTECH's Two Wheels Lots of Green
bike ride is happening this weekend on Sat., Aug. 20. The ride aims to build awareness about urban greenspace throughout Pittsburgh's neighborhoods. “Our greenspaces are really unique,” says GTECH's Katherine Chamberlain. “They take many different shapes, and they’ve all been designed by neighborhood residents.”

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7. As Dick Dale prepares to take the stage at the Rex Theater this Saturday, CP editor Charlie Deitch takes a look back at his 2015 story that revealed Dale's chronic health problems. “When I’m on stage, the pain can be excruciating. Someone has to help me up on stage because I can’t do it alone," Dale said last year.

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On our music blog:

Listen up because every week on our FFW music blog, we feature artists that we're covering on our Spotify playlist!


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On the pages of our print edition:


CP PHOTO BY BILLY LUDT
  • CP photo by Billy Ludt
City Paper news intern Billy Ludt explores the Stonewall Sports Pittsburgh chapter and Steel City Sports, two recreational leagues for the LGBT community. The leagues comprises several sports, including softball, volleyball and bowling. “To find a sense of community was really important to me, and to also get back to a sport that I played since I was little,” says Ashley Durham, who plays for the Steel City Softball league.


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Friday, August 12, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Aug 12, 2016 at 2:49 PM

What's been going down in Pittsburgh:

CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
1. Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa lit up on stage during their High Road Summer Tour stop at First Niagara Pavilion, near Pittsburgh. See our photos from the show.

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CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
2. Trump's veep pick, Mike Pence, stopped in Pittsburgh this week, which didn't go unnoticed by local Democratic officials and protesters who respectively held counter events and protests. “Take a hike, their plan doesn’t sell here,” Austin Davis, vice-chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Party, said about Trump and Pence to a crowd of protesters outside of Heinz History Center, where Pence was speaking.

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Video by Ashley Murray

3. Hillary Clinton campaign volunteers called voters from a phone bank in Pittsburgh's Allentown neighborhood this week. The campaign called the event a "Women to Women" phone-bank session, one of 14 such events across Pennsylvania as the campaign ramps up its efforts to reach the state's women voters.

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IMAGE COURTESY OF THE MATTRESS FACTORY
  • Image courtesy of the Mattress Factory
4. The Mattress Factory premiered Buffalo-based artist Dennis Maher's house-sized work A Second Home this week. The exhibit, made of varying architectural elements, including wooden archways and miniature curving staircases, takes up three floors of the Mattress Factory's galleries.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF HATCH ARTS COLLECTIVE
  • Photo courtesy of Hatch Arts Collective
5. Driftless, a play about fracking, closes this weekend at the New Hazlett Theater on Pittsburgh's North Side. In his review, CP arts editor Bill O'Driscoll calls the Hatch Arts Collective work its "biggest show yet" and describes it as an "artistically ambitious take on the hot-button topic of fracking."

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Special PolitiCrap blog:

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In a special PolitiCrap blog post, "Trump and Clinton in Pittsburgh City Paper: Through the Years," we go back through decades of our coverage to find references to and mentions of both 2016 presidential candidates. Because they've been public figures for so long, they don't have the advantage of building their own stories. The news media has backlogs upon backlogs of quotes. See how they fared on our pages.

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On our podcasts:

CP PHOTO BY CELINE ROBERTS
  • CP photo by Celine Roberts
On our Sound Bite podcast this week, Jeanette Harris of Gluten Free Goat gives us a tutorial on gluten-free baking. Spoiler alert: We make lime-coconut donuts (pictured above).

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From the pages of our print edition:


CP PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • CP photo by Luke Thor Travis
In the pages of our print edition this week, staff writer Ryan Deto explores the growing HIV epidemic in Pennsylvania's rural counties, where activists are trying to take action regardless of lack of support from local governments. Reported HIV cases in Washington County have increased from 18 to 107 over a seven-year period, with more than 11 percent caused by sharing of needles — an issue related to the Pennsylvania's growing heroin epidemic. Somerset County’s reported HIV cases have increased by more than 1,100 percent, and of those cases, 40 percent were caused by injection. “In rural communities that this has just never been a problem in, people are really being forced to confront it,” says Alice Bell, of Prevention Point Pittsburgh, a clean-needle exchange. “It’s here, it’s a huge problem, and we have to just get over whatever prejudices we have and whatever desire we have to put our heads in the sand, and deal with it.”



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Friday, August 5, 2016

What happened this week in Pittsburgh news

Posted By on Fri, Aug 5, 2016 at 12:49 PM

Here's what's been going down in the Steel City that is Pittsburgh:

PHOTO COURTESY OF SCOTT ROLLER/PITTSBURGH PARKS CONSERVANCY
  • Photo courtesy of Scott Roller/Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
1. August Wilson Park officially opens this weekend in the Hill District, on Cliff Street, just a block from the street where the two-time Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson lived. The park is fully accessible for children with disabilities and includes a half-basketball court and performance space, and as City Paper's Bill O'Driscoll writes has "one of a better view[s]" in the city.

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CP PHOTO BY BILLY LUDT
  • CP photo by Billy Ludt
2. National Night Out — a campaign that encourages outdoor stronger relationships between communities and police — took place in Pittsburgh and around the nation this week. On Tuesday evening the North Side's Spring Garden neighbors gathered at Catalano Park for food, entertainment and discussion about community awareness. “The neighborhoods are safer when they’re together,” says Spring Garden block watch chair Denise Pierce.

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CP PHOTO BY ASHLEY MURRAY
  • CP photo by Ashley Murray
3. Cheswick and Springdale residents as well as employees of the Cheswick coal-fired power plant testified at the Allegheny County Health Department hearing on a proposed stricter permit for the plant. "We all want clean air, but the plant workers are very concerned that the proposed Title V permit from the county would increase operating costs," said union worker Kenn Bradley. Meanwhile, Dianne Peterson, who lives 10 miles from the plant said, "How many of us need clean air to breathe, to live? We have a responsibility." The health department is now considering each verbal and written comment before it makes a decision on the final permit. 

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Juliana Huxtable
  • Juliana Huxtable

4. VIA, a music festival that aims to create a diverse space for the intersection of art and technology, announced its lineup this week for its upcoming October dates. Among the performers are post-punk group ESG, legendary MC Rakim and prominent LGBT artist Juliana Huxtable. This year's fest will take place at the Ace Hotel in East Liberty.

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CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
5. A prayer vigil was held on Friday for Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, a local man who is facing deportation.  A group of 15 supporters held a vigil on the doorsteps of the U.S. Federal Courthouse on Grant Street, Downtown, where the offices of Western Pennsylvania U.S. District Attorney David Hickton is located. Hickton is prosecuting Esquivel-Hernandez for felony re-entry. "We are out here to reunite the Esquivel-Hernandez family," Guillermo Perez, of the Pittsburgh chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, told the crowd. "Martin has committed no crime, unless you think wanting a life free of violence is a crime." The supporters say they're hoping Hickton's Catholic faith will guide him.

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CP PHOTO BY RENEE ROSENSTEEL
  • CP photo by Renee Rosensteel
6. And, just ICYMI, OpenStreets Pittsburgh expanded its car-free celebration into the North Side and the West End for its final 2016 iteration last weekend. See our slideshow here.

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On our podcasts (Listen up!):

PHOTO COURTESY OF ARLO ALDO
  • Photo courtesy of Arlo Aldo
This week we speak with David Manchester of the band Arlo Aldo. Manchester dropped by the CP studios this week to discuss Arlo's latest record House & Home, and he treated us to a live performance of three tracks.


CP PHOTO BY CELINE ROBERTS
  • CP photo by Celine Roberts
On our food podcast Sound Bite (food for your ears), barista D Stubblefield schools us on the difference between first-, second- and third-wave coffee. "Think of Folgers and diner coffee as the first wave of coffee in the U.S."

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From the pages of our print edition:

CP PHOTO BY JOEFF DAVIS
  • CP photo by Joeff Davis
City Paper's Ashley Murray talks to politics experts who say Pennsylvania is "going to see a lot of these candidates," as the state is an important battleground in the 2016 presidential election. Last Friday, after the DNC finished up, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and her veep pick Tim Kaine, boarded a bus for three stops across Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Republican nominee Donald Trump stopped in Mechanicsburg, Pa. on Monday night. “Trump needs to run the table. It’s simply how the math works out this year,” Kristin Kanthak, of the University of Pittsburgh whose expertise is American politics, says. “He has to win Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida, or he won’t get enough votes. So we’re going to get a lot of attention here.”


Editor's note: This post was updated to include information about a prayer vigil that was held on Grant Street, in Downtown Pittsburgh, Friday afternoon.

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Friday, July 15, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 3:39 PM

What's happening in Pittsburgh news:

CP PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • CP photo by Aaron Warnick
1. Bernie Sanders' endorsement of Hillary Clinton this week brought the two camps of local delegates together on Pittsburgh's South Side Wednesday night. Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, who ran in (and lost) Pennsylvania's Democratic U.S. Senate primary, and who had endorsed Sen. Sanders, is now throwing his support to Clinton. “There’s far too much at stake to have hurt feelings,” he told the crowd.

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CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
2. The Pennsylvania Interfaith Impact Network, a coalition of faith leaders, convened this week to discuss the issue of racism in policing. The meeting was spurred by the killings of Alton Sterling, in Louisiana, and Philando Castile, in Minnesota. “If our police are the best trained in the world, but we fail to deal with basic racism and the adversity of people of color ... our black people are arrested, locked up, and the worst possible outcome, killed,” said the Rev. Rodney Lyde, president of the organization. PIIN will hold a community meeting on July 21, at 7 p.m., at the St. James AME Church in Larimer.

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CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
3. Steelers greats Jerome Bettis and Hines Ward endorsed two new Kraft-Heinz pickle flavors ahead of this weekend's Picklesburgh festival being held on the Rachel Carson Bridge (Ninth Street Bridge). The flavors: Spicy Garlic and Sweet and Spicy. Taste for yourself at the festival where both flavors will be available to try.

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4. The Allegheny County Board of Health decided this week not to move forward with mandating the HPV vaccine for kids entering the seventh grade. Since a June 22 public forum on the idea, the board has received 1,100 comments — 641 in support, 510 in opposition — making it one of the most-commented-on issues the board's ever discussed. Parents who say their kids have suffered injuries and illness after receiving vaccines came out in force against the idea, while board member Dr. Donald Burke, who's spent his life developing vaccines, said "I've watched them work over the years." 

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CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
5. Immigrants are economically punching above their weight in Allegheny County, said officials at a press conference earlier this week. “A resurgence in our economy that is being fueled by people coming from other countries,” Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto told attendees. According to figures presented, immigrants in Allegheny County contributed $217 million in state and local taxes in 2014 and had a spending power of $1.8 billion that year.

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This week on Sound Bite:

Sound Bite takes flight with the YMCA garden program and Neighborhood Nestwatch Pittsburgh to learn about urban bird populations. To hear more of our food-for-your-ears podcasts, visit our Sound Bite page.


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CP PHOTO BY DAVE DICELLO
  • CP photo by Dave DiCello

Hot off the presses (and in digital):

Our writers take you around the city in our 2016 City Guide, offering personal advice from where to find homemade ice cream and honey wine, buy used vinyl, get an edgy tattoo or check out punk shows. As CP editor Charlie Deitch writes in his intro to the guide, "When you see these recommendations, know that these are places we ourselves go — places we take our friends and family to."

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This week in City Paper history:

CP FILE PHOTO BY LAUREN DALEY
  • CP file photo by Lauren Daley

On May 4, 2011, frequent Pittsburgh City Council critic Yvonne F. Brown surprised everyone in council chambers when she hauled a cat out of her bag and presented it to Councilor Bruce Kraus. While Brown wasn’t much of a fan of Kraus (still isn’t, in fact) as a representative, she knew he was a cat-lover because he once asked Brown, “Why do you hate cats and dogs?” But when a neighbor could no longer keep the cat, Brown brought it to Kraus. Brown told city council: “This is to build a bridge between [Kraus] and me. … I don’t know how good of a council person he is, but he has a heart.” Read more to find out what happened to the cat, and to learn more about what happened this week in CP history.

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Friday, July 1, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Jul 1, 2016 at 12:14 PM

What's happening in Pittsburgh:

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1. Furries, in their annual summer pilgrimage to Anthrocon, have taken over Downtown Pittsburgh again. “I’ve been going to [Anthrocon] for as long as it’s been in Pittsburgh,” a "fursona" named Tanuki said. “Everyone is so cool. … Pittsburgh treats us like royalty.” See more photos.

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2. Donald Trump
, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, visited small-town Pennsylvania this week, promising to renegotiate NAFTA, put a stop to the TPP, and bring back steel to Western Pa. “We need to make America independent once more,” said Trump in his notably scripted, focused speech from Monessen, Pa.

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PHOTO BY REBECCA NUTTALL
  • Photo by Rebecca Nuttall
3. Gun-reform legislation was the subject of a local press conference this week. The event, attended by Mayor Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus, U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle, gun-violence victims and representatives from gun-reform organization CeaseFire PA, aimed to carry the momentum created by the U.S. House Democrats recent sit-in. "[Your representatives] need to hear from you. If you live in their districts, you need to call them on the phone and say 'We want you to vote; we want a vote on gun control,'" Doyle told the crowd. Last week the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a state law that pre-empted municipalities' local gun laws, allowing the NRA to sue.

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PHOTO BY REBECCA NUTTALL
  • Photo by Rebecca Nuttall
4. Protesters against coal rallied outside of a Bureau of Land Management's Pittsburgh hearing on the future of mining on public lands. The hearing was one of six around the nation; the bureau manages 570 million acres of publicly owned coal-mining fields. "These lands need to be managed and are managed under law for multiple use. That's parks, wildlife, recreation, extractive uses — oil, gas, coal-mining — and grazing. But there isn't supposed to be undue degradation," said Jim Lyon, vice president for conservation policy for the National Wildlife Federation, at the rally.

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5. In honor of Amusement Ride Safety Week, Pa. Secretary of Agriculture Russell C. Redding took in some quality riding time at Kennywood Park. According to the Pa. Department of Agriculture, which oversees amusement park safety in the state, 70 percent of injuries that occur on rides result from rider error. "As everybody is rushing to their favorite amusement park and thinking about fun, we also want them to think about safety," Redding said during a press conference at the park.

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CP FILE PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL
  • CP File Photo by Heather Mull
6. Allegheny County Health Department late this week announced a draft permit for the Cheswick coal-fired power plant. The new permit would require the plant to lower its smog-forming emissions - nitrogen oxides, or NOx. Last year, City Paper profiled advocates and residents who were campaigning for a tighter permit.

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On our Sound Bite podcast:

PHOTO BY CELINE ROBERTS
  • Photo by Celine Roberts
On our Sound Bite podcast this week, food-and-booze writer Celine Roberts buzzes around Pittsburgh's beehives with Randall Hall of BEEBOY honey, a local urban-honey company.

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From the pages of our print edition:

Do you like pets? So do we. That's why we've devoted an entire issue to Pittsburgh pets, their quirky owners and fun animal-focused events and locations. Here are a few highlights:

PHOTO BY JOHN COLOMBO
  • Photo by John Colombo

PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • Photo by Luke Thor Travis
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This week in City Paper history:

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On July 1, 2010, Charlie Deitch looked at how the racing business was booming at Meadows Casino. This story examined not only the resurgence of the industry but also the need for it to begin attracting regular fans to make the industry self-supporting. While racing prizes increased, the amount wagered by gamblers has steadily decreased along with the fan base, and that has made for an uncertain future. As Daniel Tufano of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission put it, “If we don’t start appealing to a younger demographic, this sport is going to die through attrition.” Read more about this week in City Paper history.

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Friday, June 24, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By and on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 12:31 PM

Here's what's going down in Pittsburgh:


1. Environmental advocates 
and a local chef hosted a symbolic picnic, demonstrating what foods would be left to eat if the honeybees who pollinate our produce completely disappeared. According to USDA figures, honeybees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops each year, and their colonies are dying at an annual average of 30 percent.

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PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • Photo by Luke Thor Travis
2. Ball on the Bridge took over the Andy Warhol Bridge last weekend. The event, which had 28 competition categories, highlighted ball culture and the need for improved health-care services for Pittsburgh’s LGBT community. See our slideshow of the night.

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3. The Allegheny County Health Department held a hearing this week on whether to add the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine to its mandatory schedule for boys and girls ages 11 and 12 (in addition to the required tetanus and meningitis vaccines), which is now the Centers for Disease Control's official recommendation. HPV can cause certain cancers, including cervical and throat, among others. The majority of speakers — including pediatricians, gynecologists, researchers and oncologists — spoke in favor of the mandate.  Dr. Umamaheswar Duvvuri, a head- and neck-cancer surgeon at UPMC and the local VA hospital, told the crowd, " I unfortunately have to see these patients on the back end of this, when they've already had [cancer caused by HPV]. An ounce of prevention is worth of a pound of cure." 

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PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
4. Affordable-housing advocates are aiming to collect 15,000 signatures to put a referendum to city voters, asking for a 1 percent realty-transfer tax increase to create and fund the Housing Opportunity Fund. The fund is a recommendation of the Affordable Housing Task Force. Advocates say the goal is to raise at least $10 million per year, which would help rehabilitate 270 homes for renters, create 234 new affordable homes, and provide rental assistance to 180 families each year.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PITTSBURGH PUBLIC THEATER
  • Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Public Theater
5. "Venus in Fur" is in its final weekend at Pittsburgh Public Theater. Theater writer Ted Hoover wrote a rave review of the "sly, dark comedy" for City Paper, and arts editor Bill O'Driscoll seconds Hoover, writing this week that "The production is driven by terrific performances ... And then, in its final minutes, the play kicks imperceptibly but decisively into another gear entirely."

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On our podcast:

PHOTO BY NATHAN HALL
  • Photo by Nathan Hall
This week on the City Paper Podcast, host Alex Gordon sits down with local artist David Bernabo, whom you might recognize from his many appearances in local art, music and dance. Today, David discusses his new(ish) album The Inn and his novel approach to writing and recording. Featuring the album version of "Material," plus acoustic re-renderings of "Winter God Light" and "Table In The Circle."

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The food scene:

PHOTO BY CELINE ROBERTS
  • Photo by Celine Roberts
On our Sound Bite podcast, food writer Celine Roberts visits Chillegal, a pop-up kitchen tucked away in a hillside garden in Pittsburgh. 

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On our music blog:

PHOTO COURTESY OF JESSICA FLYNN
  • Photo courtesy of Jessica Flynn
Contributing music writer Meg Fair comments on the inclusive atmosphere that acts Modern Baseball and Joyce Manor create to combat "dude-dominated spaces [that] can feel unsafe and are unfortunately rife with harassment" for women and others across the gender spectrum who attend pop-punk and emo shows.

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From the pages of our print edition:

PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
Staff writer Ryan Deto writes about Martin Esquivel-Hernandez, who after receiving a driving citation from Mount Lebanon police was picked up by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers on May 2. Esquivel-Hernandez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, has been called a community staple and advocate by family, friends and local business-owners. Now, after being moved around for weeks to various detention facilities, he has decided to fight his own deportation.

In his "Pittsburgh Left" column about Esquivel-Hernandez's case, City Paper editor Charlie Deitch writes, "What an oversimplification of a situation based on broken and backward immigration law. They say he’s here illegally. They say he’s not one of us because he’s from Mexico. They couldn’t be more wrong. Martin Esquivel-Hernandez might not be a documented resident of the United States, but he’s a well-documented resident of this city and that has to count for something."

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This week in City Paper history:

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This cover, from our June 19, 2013, issue, is historic because it documents Pittsburgh's final PrideFest held without marriage equality. Here’s hoping this year’s cover was the last PrideFest without discrimination protections for the LGBT community. Read more about this week in City Paper history.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Jun 17, 2016 at 2:25 PM

What went down in Pittsburgh:



1. Pittsburgh PrideFest was held on Sunday, complete with a parade and street festival. Photographer John Colombo captured the scenes, while staff writer Rebecca Nuttall spoke to participants on what this year's Pride meant to them in the wake of the Orlando massacre at an LGBT nightclub on Latin Night.

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2. Pittsburghers mourned on Monday night for the victims of the Orlando massacre. Local leaders from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths spoke, prayed and sang to and with the crowd of hundreds on Grant Street, Downtown. The Renaissance City Choir, an LGBTQA group, also performed during the candlelight vigil.

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3. The 2016 Stanley Cup-winning Pittsburgh Penguins
paraded through Downtown for a crowd of what officials say was around 400,000. Fans cheered "Murray Murray Murray" when goalie Matt Murray rode by in the back of a pickup truck. Center Evgeni Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby took turns hoisting the Stanley Cup as fans held up their cell phones in unison to try to catch a photo of the trophy.

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4. Hillary Clinton visited Pittsburgh this week. Speaking at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 5 on the South Side, Clinton said she originally planned to speak on labor relations but instead focused on security in light of the mass shooting in Orlando and criticized her opponent's response to the tragedy. "Just one day after the massacre, he went on TV and suggested that President Obama is on the side of the terrorists," she told the crowd.

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PHOTO BY CHARLIE DEITCH
  • Photo by Charlie Deitch
5. Drusky Entertainment will bid farewell to its flagship venue Altar Bar at the end of July. A press release on the closing read, "Altar Bar Inc., the current management team of Altar Bar with its exclusive promoter, Drusky Entertainment as well as our wonderful staff regret to inform our loyal patrons, artists, and friends that the facility at 1620 Penn Ave in Pittsburgh is being sold. Due to this unfortunate situation, our lease is expiring. The new buyer has another purpose for the building."

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PHOTO BY REBECCA NUTTALL
  • Photo by Rebecca Nuttall
6. A coalition of Pittsburgh advocacy groups called for a new search for Pittsburgh Public Schools superintendent. On May 18, the school board approved Anthony Hamlet, who last worked as an administrator in Palm Beach County, Fla., for the position. Hamlet has been under fire for discrepancies and accusations of plagiarism on his resume, which the school board is investigating. "No additional amount of investigation will undo the damage already done. More time spent deliberating only further tarnishes the reputations of both Dr. Hamlet and the Pittsburgh Public Schools. The Board must act now,” the advocacy groups, including the Urban League of Pittsburgh and A+ Schools, among others, wrote. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers and the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network have expressed support of Hamlet.

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STOCK IMAGE
  • stock image
7. Allegheny County received $3.4 million dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to fix up lead-paint-ridden houses. According to Pa. Department of Health numbers, nearly 90 percent of housing stock in the county pre-dates 1978, the year lead paint was banned. Health officials warn that lead-paint dust often gets on the hands of children, who then put their hands in their mouths, thus causing high levels of lead in their blood. In 2014, the state health department found that about 1,000 kids under age 7 in Allegheny County had levels of lead at or above the CDC level.

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On our music blog:

Each week we post a Spotify playlist, including artists that we cover in our current issue. Enjoy this one below, which mixes it up with The Gotobeds, Lofi Delphi, Sleep and Master P.


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From the pages of our print edition:

PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
In this week's City Paper print edition, staff writer Ryan Deto looks at why, while Mexicans comprise the fifth-largest foreign-born group in Pittsburgh, they are becoming naturalized citizens at a far lower rate than other foreign-born groups in the city

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This week in City Paper history:

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This week in City Paper history, we revisit Charlie Deitch's June 2012 piece highlighting former Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett's funding policies. At state-budget time, Corbett was never afraid to drop the ax, especially when it came to things like education funding and social services. He also wasn’t shy about giving tax incentives to corporations moving into the state, or about pushing through business-friendly legislation. Deitch's story resulted in a classic City Paper cover. To properly illustrate the cover, staffers threw out several ideas before one stuck like glue. Artist Jim Rugg was commissioned to create a parody based on a controversial Time magazine cover from a month earlier on attachment parenting that showed a mother breastfeeding her 3-year-old son under the headline “Are You Mom Enough?” Rugg’s cover showed Corbett in a tank top, breastfeeding a businessman, with the headline “Are you Gov Enough?” Given Corbett’s basement-dwelling approval ratings, the cover was an overwhelming success.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Jun 10, 2016 at 4:35 PM

What's going down in Pittsburgh:


1. The corpse flower
at Phipps Conservatory and Bontanical Gardens bloomed this week, emitting  the rank smell of rotting flesh, hence its nickname. Phipps went a step further by naming its specific corpse flower "Romero," after Pittsburgh's native zombie filmmaker. Watch our video above or read our preview coverage

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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Photo courtesy of the artist
2. The Performance Art Festival is back for its third year at the SPACE Gallery in Downtown. This year, it coincides with the Three Rivers Arts Festival. Performances will take place 4-10 p.m. on Fri, June 10-11. Admission is free.

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3. The Three Rivers Arts Festival has been happening all week. Here's just a taste below of the performers that have taken the main stage and the atmosphere throughout Point State Park.







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PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • Photo by Ryan Deto
4. The Port Authority of Allegheny County is updating its system by providing new wayfinding tools for riders at various bus stops. PAT plans to build eight solar-powered bus stops that will provide digital readings of routes’ wait times on iPad-size screens, and two of those digital bus stops will also include maps. Also, pole bus stops will be enhanced with signs providing information about bus routes and schedules.
 
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On our podcast:

PHOTO COURTESY OF DANIELLE MEDIATE
  • Photo courtesy of Danielle Mediate
This week on the City Paper Podcast, we talk to the talented local musician Emily Rodgers about her new album Two Years. Spoiler alert: She plays three beautiful songs in-studio for us.

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Get out the vote!

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Vote for your favorite bar, hair salon, sushi place, and many many more categories here.

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Backstory: This week in
City Paper history:
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On June 5, 2012, news editor Charlie Deitch looks into the practice of some health-insurance companies refusing to pay for experimental treatments that could save patients’ lives. The story profiled terminal-cancer patient Brenda Brunner, who has since succumbed to the disease. As her health was declining, Brunner often wondered whether the experimental treatments she was denied early in her illness could have prolonged her life. “I started getting letters informing me that there was a clause in my policy that they wouldn’t pay for any medical treatments associated with clinical trials or experimental treatments,” said Brunner. “We couldn’t afford the costs otherwise and I had to leave the trial. I was absolutely devastated.” According to the American Cancer Society, of the 20 percent of cancer patients eligible to take part in a clinical trial, only 5 percent actually do, and part of the reason is cost. While 27 states have laws requiring insurance companies to pay for some costs associated with clinical trials, Pennsylvania is not one of them. “The insurance companies are against this because they hate mandates,” said state Rep. Tony DeLuca, the top Democrat on the state’s House Insurance Committee. “But when you get down to it, this shouldn’t be about money. It’s about saving people’s lives.” Added Brunner: “I’ve been through so many treatments that I’m just not healthy enough to be accepted anymore. You always wonder, ‘What if ... what if ...’ The worst part for me is that I’m never going to know.” Pennsylvania still doesn’t require insurance companies to pay for experimental treatments. Read about other City Paper history this week.

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Friday, June 3, 2016

What you need to know about Pittsburgh news this week

Posted By on Fri, Jun 3, 2016 at 6:00 AM

What's going on in Pittsburgh:

PHOTO COURTESY OF DANIELA VESCO/PARKWOOD ENTERTAINMENT
  • Photo courtesy of Daniela Vesco/Parkwood Entertainment
1. Beyoncé "slayed" at Heinz Field Tuesday night, and the local Beyhive loved it. CP contributor Meg Fair reviewed the show, writing "Beyoncé proves in a matter of hours that you can work hard, be a loving mother, a sexual creature and a fulfilled human being as long as you love yourself first and foremost."

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PHOTO BY LUKE THOR TRAVIS
  • Photo by Luke Thor Travis
2. The “Big Screen” was back outside Consol Energy Center, showing the game for free to fans gathered outside. Handmade signs, Penguins face paint and big smiles were seen throughout the crowd, as the Penguins won 2-1 in overtime, putting them ahead 2-0 in the best-of-seven NHL championship series. See our photo slideshow from the night. The Pens play Game 3 this Saturday night in San Jose.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF CAROLINE VOAGEN NELSON
  • Photo courtesy of Caroline Voagen Nelson
3. The Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival kicks off this Fri., June 3 and lasts until June 12. We preview the 57th annual fest in our issue this week, and patron can expect visual art, theater, live music, food booths and trucks, and the artists' market. New features include sensory-friendly “breakout areas” for people on the autism spectrum and the fest’s first-ever feeding room for parents and kids, with a changing station, quiet space for breast-feeding and more.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF PHIPPS CONSERVATORY
  • Photo courtesy of Phipps Conservatory
4. Phipps Conservatory is gearing up for the bloom of the smelly corpse flower, which yes, smells like rotting flesh in order to attract the insects that pollinate it. The bloom is rare, happening only once every few years, and so starting this weekend Phipps will be open until 8 p.m. nightly (and 10 p.m. on Fridays) in anticipation of the flower's opening. Phipps even named its Sumatra-native Romero, as in the local filmmaker George Romero who made Night of the Living Dead.

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On our podcast:

PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNA SZABO
  • Photo courtesy of Jenna Szabo
This week on the City Paper Podcast, host Alex Gordon talks to comedian Kyle Dunnigan about his multiple Emmy awards for his writing and original music on Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer; his former job as a balloon-delivery man; and his unrelenting commitment to satire. Dunnigan will be in Pittsburgh this Fri., June 3 at the Altar Bar.

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Behind-the-scenes:

PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANK HARRIS
  • Photo courtesy of Frank Harris
Local artist Frank Harris illustrated a parody of Grant Wood's famous "American Gothic" painting for our cover this week, only his version featured Iceberg and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. The parody is a nod to the Pens Stanley Cup-run converging with the start of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival. We caught up with Harris for a Q&A about his work and prediction for the Stanley Cup Final.

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From the pages of our print edition:

A.J. Koury of Homewood Children's Village - PHOTO BY RENEE ROSENSTEEL
  • Photo by Renee Rosensteel
  • A.J. Koury of Homewood Children's Village
This week, City Paper's Ashley Murray writes about the status of childhood lead testing in Pennsylvania. Testing kids' blood for lead levels is not mandatory in the state, and so Homewood Children's Village, a nonprofit that operates in a neighborhood with older housing stock where lead paint is a risk, is coordinating lead testing for kids in the community. Meanwhile local health officials and lawmakers are pushing to make testing mandatory.

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This week in City Paper history:
COVER ILLUSTRATION BY PAT LEWIS AND PHOTO BY HEATHER MULL
  • Cover illustration by Pat Lewis and photo by Heather Mull

City Paper’s Issue 22 should probably be known as the marriage-equality issue. On May 30, 2012, staff writer Lauren Daley began a multi-part series describing the difficulties that same-sex couples face when they try to get married, using her experience as the backdrop. Daley and her girlfriend were planning their wedding in New York (where same-sex nuptials were legal at the time; they were banned in Pennsylvania). But once they came back home, it was like their marriage wouldn’t exist. Daley writes: “Pennsylvania lawmakers don’t want my girlfriend and me to ever get married. But once we’re married out of state, those same officials seem equally intent that we never, ever part. At least not without a lengthy court battle. Thanks to Pennsylvania’s ‘Defense of Marriage Act,’ which defines marriage solely as being between a man and a woman, same-sex couples have a murky legal status — even if their union has been ratified in another state.” Unfortunately, Daley and her wife had moved to New York before May 21, 2014, the day same-sex marriage was declared legal in Pennsylvania. And on May 28, 2014, CP ran just a photo on its cover of a woman, smiling and triumphantly thrusting her fist into the air. No words accompanied the image; words weren’t necessary on this day. Read more about this week in City Paper history.

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