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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Fight over Penn Plaza highlights city’s inability to plan neighborhood growth equitably

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 5:31 PM

Former Penn Plaza building - CP PHOTO BY AARON WARNICK
  • CP photo by Aaron Warnick
  • Former Penn Plaza building
In 2015, hundreds of evictions were announced at the Penn Plaza apartment complex in East Liberty. It created a flash point in Pittsburgh’s affordable-housing discussion. Since then, the arguments have only grown more aggressive, especially concerning development in East Liberty.

The battle continued over what will be developed on the former Penn Plaza site and has involved grocery giants like Whole Foods, a public park and ongoing chaos at Pittsburgh Planning Commission meetings. The developers, LG Realty, have recently proposed a retail/office space for the site, while housing-activists want the site to include affordable housing. There is no working relationship between housing-activists and LG.

And, there hasn’t been any in-depth analysis to determine what type of development would be best for East Liberty. The city needs more affordable housing, but does it need more units at that location? Would retail and office space add vibrancy to the Penn Avenue corridor or would it create too much traffic?

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Welcome summer with Negroni Week

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2018 at 3:04 PM

The classic negroni - PHOTO COURTESY OF DREW CRANISKY
  • Photo courtesy of Drew Cranisky
  • The classic negroni
One part bittersweet and one part herbal with a touch of citrus: This is the Italian aperitivo known as the Negroni. The drink combining gin, sweet vermouth and Campari is beloved by bartenders and boozehounds the world over. Since 2013, Imbibe Magazine and Campari have hosted an annual Negroni Week, which celebrates the classic cocktail and supports a variety of charities.

This year, the event will be hosted June 4-10, and Pittsburgh has 33 participating bars (as of this posting). Bars and restaurants register and choose from a list of charities, including Children of Restaurant Employees, the Little Free Library organization, and Rainbow Kitchen Community Services. Each Pittsburgh venue will offer a version of a Negroni and part of the proceeds will go to their chosen charity.

To see where to go to get your Negroni Week groove on, check out negroniweek.com

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Monday, May 28, 2018

MP3 Monday: Caleb Kopta

Posted By on Mon, May 28, 2018 at 12:18 PM

Caleb Kopta - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Photo courtesy of the artist
  • Caleb Kopta

Each week we post a song from a local artist online for free, and this week it’s “Burning House” by Caleb Kopta. The danceable indie rock track has some serious Sam’s Town-era Killers vibes with a dose of ’80s nostalgia. Blast the chorus with your windows down for full effect. Stream or download “Burning House” for free on FFW>>, the music blog at pghcitypaper.com.


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Friday, May 25, 2018

Chicago immigration advocates travel through Pittsburgh, request federal support for DACA

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 6:00 PM

The Faith Life and Hope Mission immigration advocates - PHOTO COURTESY OF ELIZABETH DEAVILA
  • Photo courtesy of Elizabeth DeAvila
  • The Faith Life and Hope Mission immigration advocates
President Donald Trump has renewed his intense criticism of the U.S. immigration system and immigrants in general. He called undocumented immigrants that cross the U.S.-Mexico border “animals” during a recently televised conversation about immigration policies and the MS-13 gang.

His rhetoric isn’t stopping immigration advocates from calling for protections, including a Chicago-based walking from Illinois to Washington, D.C.

On May 25, 31 advocates from Chicago’s Faith Life and Hope Mission church passed through Pittsburgh on their march to Washington. Elizabeth DeAvila of Faith Life and Hope Mission says the group is on its 28th day of walking and spent time with fellow immigrant-rights advocates at Casa San Jose in Brookline.

This group, led by Father Jose Landaverde, is marching to gain support for policies such as stopping deportations, reigning in immigration enforcement and providing protections for recipients of federal programs — including Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“We support DACA,” says DeAvila. “These parents brought these kids to U.S. to get away from violence and to avoid hunger in their home countries. We believe Christ would never close [the] doors to people who are hungry and need shelter.”

DeAvila says the group supports an effort currently in the U.S. House to force a clean vote on DACA. Currently, 213 members of the U.S. House have signed a discharge petition which would force votes on a series of immigration bills, including one that would give DACA recipients a chance to stay permanently in the U.S. Five more signatures are needed to force a vote in the House.

Nine U.S. Reps. from Pennsylvania have signed the discharge petition, including Pittsburgh-area representatives Conor Lamb (D-Mount Lebanon) and Mike Doyle (D-Forest Hills). Three Republicans from moderate Pennsylvania congressional districts have also signed on, including Ryan Costello (R-Bucks). However, Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley), who also sits in a moderate congressional district, has not signed the petition.

DeAvila says the group's time walking through Southwestern Pennsylvania has been a mixed bag. People in Pittsburgh have generally been welcoming, but DeAvila notes her group has been harassed in rural areas. This group is primarily composed of Latinos and is made up of two DACA recipients, three TPS holders and 26 U.S. citizens.

“We are walking these 800 miles with a lot of dignity and courage,” says DeAvila.

The group will walk to Greensburg on Saturday.

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Five Questions with Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 4:27 PM

PHOTO COURTESY OF
  • Photo courtesy of
The Dirty Projectors, fronted by David Longstreth, have been an influential outfit since its formation in 2002. CP hopped on the phone to chat with Longstreth before the band's show in Pittsburgh at Mr. Smalls on May 29.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Bill Peduto skeptical of Uber’s plans to resume autonomous-vehicle testing

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2018 at 7:10 PM

Uber autonomous Volvo - CP PHOTO BY REBECCA ADDISON
  • CP photo by Rebecca Addison
  • Uber autonomous Volvo
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was an early champion of Uber moving to Pittsburgh, and then of Uber testing autonomous vehicles here. When Uber balked at working with city officials on a federal transit-grant application in 2016, things started to go downhill.

Peduto has voiced much more criticism of Uber in the years since, and Uber has faced a series of issues unrelated to their relationship with Pittsburgh.

The latest issue involves Pittsburgh, though.

Uber announced May 23 the termination of its autonomous-vehicle testing in Arizona. An Uber driverless-car collided fatally with a pedestrian in Tempe in March, and Gov. Doug Ducey suspended autonomous-vehicle testing in that state. Since, Uber has suspended all autonomous testing.

The suspension includes Pittsburgh, but Uber stated in a news release that it's eyeing a return to Pittsburgh streets.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Sen. Toomey bill repeals Obama-era anti-discrimination regulation in auto industry

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 2:33 PM

Pat Toomey - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Pat Toomey
It’s been a chaotic year and a half with the Trump administration in the White House and Republicans in control of U.S. Congress. But one area where both Trump and Republicans have been organized and effective is in rolling back financial regulations created in the wake of the Great Recession.

Since 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has seen several regulations stripped by Congress, including a repeal championed by U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Sewickley).

Now, a law co-written by U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Lehigh) has eliminated another CFPB guidance; one that was created to ensure racial minorities aren't taken advantage of by the auto-lending industry. On May 21, President Donald Trump signed into law the repeal of that informal rule. With the guidance gone, consumers in Allegheny County and the entire U.S. shouldn’t expect the CFPB to tackle car companies and auto lenders that upcharge based on race.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

MP3 Monday: Mike Hitt

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 2:52 PM

Mike Hitt - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
  • Photo courtesy of the artist
  • Mike Hitt

Each week we post a song from a local artist online for free, and this week it’s “Eulogy,” Mike Hitt’s first track after a three-year hiatus as he built up his own MCM Studios. “Eulogy” may be a song about reflection at the end of life, but its release is a rebirth for Hitt. Stream or download “Eulogy” for free below. 


To download "Eulogy," right-click here and select "save link as." Or check out the video below.


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Kittens invade Butler Street for Lawrenceville Cat Crawl

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2018 at 2:11 PM

An Animal Friends volunteer holds up two kittens during the Lawrenceville Cat Crawl on Sat., May 19 - CP PHOTOS BY ANNIE BREWER
  • CP photos by Annie Brewer
  • An Animal Friends volunteer holds up two kittens during the Lawrenceville Cat Crawl on Sat., May 19
Visitors to Lawrenceville this weekend were greeted by something even more charming than the typical flow of hip kids browsing boutique shops and breweries: kittens! The Lawrenceville Cat Crawl, hosted by North Hills shelter Animal Friends, invited folks to meet adoptable cats as they shopped. Volunteers from the shelter were set up in stores and eateries on Saturday afternoon.

Our summer photo intern Annie Brewer crawled her way through Butler Street to get shots of these cuties to brighten up your Monday.

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Friday, May 18, 2018

Six Iconic Pittsburgh Couples

They're Royalty to Us Dammit

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2018 at 5:04 PM

iconicpittsburghcouple.jpg
In the spirit of the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, let's take a look at some of Pittsburgh's most iconic couples of yesteryear and today! Although they don't rival the House of Windsor, these couples are royalty to Pittsburgh natives.

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