This Just In: Nov 21 - 28 | This Just In | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

This Just In: Nov 21 - 28

Not Chickening Out

Summary: A North Huntingdon teen fights to keep her pet chickens. Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Jennifer Miele When it Aired: Nov. 14 Running Time: 1 minute, 42 seconds Visuals: * The chickens, and a rooster, scattering about. * Lucy the chicken -- who was hatched for a science project. Highlights: * When the young chicken crusader says, "Whenever I was younger, I had helped my parents out a lot and it was coming up on Easter, so I asked them if I could get pet chickens and they said, 'Yeah.' So here I am." * When Miele expounds, "14-year-old Melissa Hensler is in the middle of a pretty heated battle over her nine pet chickens. Seventy people ... signed a petition saying they don't mind the chickens, and hundreds more agreed when she put the petition online. But one neighbor is doing the squawking over loud squawking." * When Melissa's mother confesses, "We have been so emotional since this whole thing started, with the ups and downs and depression and the crying." * Miele's addition: "Melissa's mother, Barb, has helped her try to convince North Huntingdon's zoning board that the chickens should be allowed in the neighborhood if they are pets. And the Henslers say the birds -- with names like Lobster, Steak and Cocoa -- definitely are. In fact, the township named her rooster Sundae as its most unusual pet last year. Now, these chickens are teaching her a thing or two about pecking order." * When Melissa resolves, "If you believe in something strong enough, you can always fight for it." Her mother says, "These are things she's taken upon herself without me even asking her, and we are very proud of her because of that." * When Miele explains, "[T]he first time the zoning board voted on this issue, it was a tie, 2 to 2. But one member was absent, so they're going to vote again on this issue on Dec. 4." What We Learned: Birds of a feather squawk together. Unanswered Question: Which came first -- the chicken or the ordinance? News Value: 4. I want to hear more about the so-called "Urban/Suburban Hen Movement," though. According to an Associated Press article this summer, backyard chicken-raising is rising along with people's fear of some commercially farmed food. Chickens are supposedly very social creatures and also offer organic pest control. So maybe it is time to reconsider some of those old ordinances. Maybe the officials in North Huntingdon should pay a visit to

I'm Pickin' Up Good Vibrations

Summary: Does feeling your cell phone vibrating when it isn't make you certifiable? Station: KDKA Channel 2 Reporter: David Highfield When it Aired: Nov. 15 Running Time: 2 minutes, 15 seconds Visuals: * Highfield, outside in the dark, probably on the North Shore, looking particularly excited -- as though something is vibrating in his pants as he speaks. * Dr. Maria Simbra fingering a model of the brain. Highlights: * When anchor Ken Rice buzzes, "Is your cell phone or your Blackberry set on vibrate? If so, it could be messing with your mind. They're called 'phantom cell-phone vibrations' and if you feel them, you're not alone. David Highfield has been looking in to these sensations. David, I confess, I've had them." * When Highfield interrupts prematurely -- "I've had them, too, Ken, and it was comforting to learn I am not alone. Well, of course, lots of people have cell phones they wear on their belts or they keep in their pockets and, to be polite, they set them on vibrate. Well, the interesting thing is, for some people, it's led them to feeling vibrations that simply aren't there." * When he continues, "The Associated Press, USA Today and other news sources have written articles about it." * When a woman tells Highfield, "No, I never think that it vibrates when it doesn't. You people are crazy." * When Highfield concedes, "OK, it doesn't happen to everyone. But for those of us who it does, Dr. Maria Simbra says, we're not at all crazy." * When Dr. Maria offers, "Actually, there is a physiological explanation for this. ... Maybe your car keys in your pocket just sort of activate those nearby brain cells and your brain interprets the sensation of a vibration. ... [E]ven if you lose a limb, for instance, that part of the brain that interprets sensation in that limb is still there. So, even though it's gone, your brain can still perceive, for example, pain, in that limb." * When Highfield concludes, "Well, there really haven't been any studies on this cell-phone phenomenon." Let's hope it stays that way. What We Learned: Oh, we already knew what the vibrate mode was for. Unanswered Question: Why do we always have to question a good thing? News Value: 1. Highfield is right -- there have been many articles written on this subject and many broadcast. This news is so old I can literally smell the mold. Still can't feel the vibrations, though.

The 2024 Pittsburgh Dyke March
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The 2024 Pittsburgh Dyke March

By Mars Johnson