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Friday, February 16, 2018

Sarah Huny Young and Damon Young throwing Black Panther party Feb. 17 at Ace Hotel

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 6:35 PM

Within the first 24 hours of being released, Marvel's Black Panther has already earned more than $25 million and garnered nearly universal critical praise (check out City Paper's review this Wednesday). If you still don't have tickets, tomorrow you'll have an opportunity to see the film and celebrate the occasion with a party at Ace Hotel in East Liberty at 9 p.m. Sarah Huny Young of photography project American Woman and Damon Young of the blog Very Smart Brothas are throwing an event for the occasion. CP caught up with Sarah Huny Young via email to learn a bit more about the event. The interview has been lightly edited for clarity.

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Pittsburgh teachers union returns to the negotiating table after unanimously authorizing strike

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 1:40 PM

Last night, the executive board of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers voted unanimously to strike if PFT President Nina Esposito-Visgitis deems it necessary. The board's vote comes after PFT tallied thousands of ballots from city teachers who overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike earlier this week.

"On Monday, the PFT Executive Board got a clear message from our members that they are willing to go on strike if necessary," Esposito-Visgitis said in a statement. "I am honored that the Executive Board and the members continue to trust the Negotiations Team to advocate for the issues that are important to them and their students."

PFT has been negotiating with the Pittsburgh Public School District on behalf of teachers, paraprofessionals and technical/clerical employees for months. The district’s contract with the union expired on June 30, 2017. Today, they have returned to the table in hopes of reaching a resolution.

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Former border-patrol guard Francisco Cantú to visit Pittsburgh to share immigrant stories

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

  • 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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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Coming up this weekend: The Third Annual Pittsburgh Fermentation Festival

Posted By on Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 2:51 PM

The Pittsburgh Fermentation Festival will be held this Sun., Feb. 18 at Spirit in Lawrenceville. Come and spend the day learning about your favorite microbial friends with a series of workshops; use your competitive edge to enter into the fermented foods contest; or enter the as-of-yet mysterious Fermenter Olympics. This event, run by Justin Lubecki and Ferment Pittsburgh, is in its third year of bringing the magic of fermentation to the Pittsburgh public.

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UPDATE: ToonSeum closing its Downtown Pittsburgh location

Posted By on Thu, Feb 15, 2018 at 11:47 AM

The ToomSeum's Downtown location on Liberty Avenue - CP FILE PHOTO
  • CP file photo
  • The ToomSeum's Downtown location on Liberty Avenue
(Editor's note: This article has been updated)

Since 2009, the cartoon-art museum, the ToonSeum, has occupied an intimate location on Liberty Avenue in Downtown, Pittsburgh. It has also occupied a special place in the hearts of fans of comic books, cartoons and superheroes.

But on Feb. 14, the museum announced it would be closing its permanent location and switching to a roaming-museum model.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Happy fish-fry season!

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 12:02 PM

It's the start of the Lenten season for Catholics, which means Pittsburgh has 40 days to enjoy a robust offering of fish frys all around the city and suburbs. For a comprehensive guide to fish frys, take a look at the Pittsburgh Lenten Fish Fry Map created by Hollen Barmer. A labor of love that began in 2012, the map has grown over six years in collaboration with Code Pittsburgh. Filters allow users to tailor the list of fish frys to specific desires, whether the search is for frys "Open for Lunch" or with "Homemade Pierogies!!!"

Most of the fish frys are held in church basements or fire halls, and open in the late afternoon. If you want a place in line, it's always better to arrive early before the crowds. Take-out options are typically available as well. If you want to combine Friday happy hour and a fish dinner, there are even a few that serve alcohol. Let fish-fry season of 2018 begin!

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

How re-allocating a Pittsburgh parking tax can combat the city's affordable-housing shortage

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2018 at 5:39 PM

The Penn Mathilda affordable-housing complex in Bloomfield is an example of a project that could benefit from parking-tax diversion. - PHOTO COURTESY ACTION HOUSING
  • Photo courtesy Action Housing
  • The Penn Mathilda affordable-housing complex in Bloomfield is an example of a project that could benefit from parking-tax diversion.
On Feb. 8, Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority voted to divert up to $6.8 million in parking-tax revenue to help fund an affordable-housing project in the Lower Hill District, near PPG Paints Arena.

The millions will be raised over 19 years by the expected revenue of a 423-space parking garage going up near PPG Paints Arena. The City’s Edge mixed-income development will be the beneficiary of the diversion, and the apartment complex will be home to 32 market-rate units, and 74 subsidized units located next to the parking garage.

On Feb. 8, URA Chair Kevin Acklin said the vote fits with the overall philosophy of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s administration.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

#MeToo founder Tarana Burke talks advocacy in Pittsburgh

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 5:03 PM

For the past decade, Tarana Burke has spent her time seeking ways to ease the pain of sexual assault survivors. During this time, she’s discovered the power of language, specifically two simple words: me too.

“‘Me too’ creates this community that we [survivors] so desperately need because this road to healing and recovery is so tough,” Burke told a sold-out crowd of over a 1,000 attendees Tuesday night at the Calvary Episcopal Church in Shadyside at an event hosted by PublicSource.

The #MeToo movement promotes unity among sexual assault survivors by creating what Burke calls “empowerment through empathy” and an environment to sustain conversation about sexual harassment. While the movement gained momentum when actress Alyssa Milano tweeted about it last October in response to sexual misconduct allegations against media mogul Harvey Weinstein, Burke has been using the phrase since 2006.

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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Pittsburgh immigrant workers win wage-theft case for work they did at Robinson hotel

Posted By on Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 5:15 PM

Members of Pittsburgh's Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and the Thomas Merton Center celebrate winning the wage-theft settlement - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE THOMAS MERTON CENTER
  • Photo courtesy of The Thomas Merton Center
  • Members of Pittsburgh's Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and the Thomas Merton Center celebrate winning the wage-theft settlement
Last month, four immigrant workers and their supporters braved single-digit temperatures to protest against a subcontractor they claimed never paid them for more than two weeks of work they did at a Courtyard Marriott in Robinson Township.

Antonio, one of those workers who only gave his first name in a Jan. 6 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said in Spanish to the crowd of protesters, “We’re calling on the hotel to put pressure on the [sub] contractor to get our pay.”

The group of four Latino immigrants were hired to paint and clean rooms at the Marriott by a subcontractor, Oscar Benitez, of Atlanta, that advertised for workers at Las Palmas grocery store in Brookline, according to Guillermo Perez of Pittsburgh’s chapter of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. The subcontractor was hired by National Custom Inc., a Georgia-based construction company. Perez says the workers’ initial contract was for $300 a room and after 10 days of work and no pay, Antonio walked off the job. The other three other workers negotiated a new contract for $12 and hour and were paid for 30 hours, but then were not paid for an additional seven days they worked.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Do Pittsburgers prefer burgers or pizza?

Posted By on Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 5:02 PM

Everyone knows the most iconic Pittsburgh foods are pierogies and sandwiches with fries stuffed inside. If people are visiting the Steel City, they need to try some church pierogies and a Primanti’s sandwich; they’re Pittsburgh rights of passage.

But Pittsburgers don’t eat these famous foods the most often compared to other popular foods. According to new data released by Google News Lab, Pittsburgh is like most Rust Belt cities in its most-frequented restaurant choices: We like pizza and we like burgers.

According to the data, which was aggregated from information taken from people who have enabled Location History, Pittsburgh is fifth in the U.S. in terms of burger-restaurant visits and seventh in the U.S. in terms of pizza-restaurant visits. Other cities with top 10 rankings in both pizza- and burger-restaurant visits were Baltimore, Boston, Detroit and Minneapolis. (Also of note, is Pittsburgh’s top 15 ranking in coffee-shop visits among a list that is dominated by West Coast cities.)

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