System Recheck: One final glimpse at the stories that made 2011 | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

System Recheck: One final glimpse at the stories that made 2011

There was a nasty election and a new governor, and Hines Ward became the king of the dance

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MARCH

MARCH 10: Icelandic performance artist Ragnar Kjartansson, known for "long-form" works like singing for months in abandoned churches, opens a one-man exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Highlights include "Song," in which three young women (his nieces) occupy the Hall of Sculpture, singing the same fragment of song for three weeks straight. Later in March, Kjartansson and friends offered an evening of what he called "Ingmar Bergman-style vaudeville."

click to enlarge Protests of local transit cuts popped up throughout the year - PHOTO BY LAUREN DALEY
Protests of local transit cuts popped up throughout the year

MARCH 27: Faced with budget woes, the Port Authority of Allegheny County cuts 29 routes, lays off nearly 200 employees and shuts down an operating division. The Authority was facing an even deeper cut and layoffs because of a $47.1 million shortfall. But outgoing Gov. Ed Rendell provided the transit agency with $45 million from a discretionary fund, which PAT stretched over the course of the year to reduce cuts. 

MARCH 29: Wiz Khalifa releases Rolling Papers, which debuts at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, behind Britney Spears' Femme Fatale. 


APRIL

APRIL 20: A group of about 100 protesters march to the Southpointe office of Range Resources, asking for support of a Marcellus Shale natural-gas extraction tax, before police turn them away. 

click to enlarge The National Rifle Association convention brought a lot of differing opinions - PHOTO BY LAUREN DALEY
The National Rifle Association convention brought a lot of differing opinions

APRIL 30: As the National Rifle Association's annual conference settles in at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, more than 200 protest illegal guns on the streets. The rally, organized by the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, marches from Freedom Corner in the Hill District to the conference Downtown, where it is met with heckles and jeers from gun-toting conference attendees, some of whom give the protesters the middle finger. 


MAY

MAY 5: The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center halts contract negotiations with Highmark, Inc., after being convinced the insurer is planning to invest in the West Penn Allegheny Health System, a UPMC competitor. The move sets off a heated feud between the organizations, which leaves patient care in the balance. If the health system and insurer don't renew the contract that expires on June 30, 2012, Highmark customers would lose access to UPMC hospitals and be forced to pay to consult UPMC physicians. Legislation is currently pending to give state officials more power in the stalemate. 

MAY 4-6: Citing insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction, the U.S. Department of Justice announces that it will not file federal criminal charges against the three Pittsburgh police officers accused of brutally beating Homewood teen Jordan Miles during a Jan. 12, 2010, arrest. The next day, Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper re-instates officers Michael Saldutte, Richard Ewing and David Sisak, who had been on paid administrative leave since shortly after the incident. The announcements spark protests led by police-accountability activists demanding "Justice for Jordan Miles."

MAY 5: As candidates for city council file their campaign-finance reports, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reveals that incumbents Bruce Kraus, Darlene Harris and Patrick Dowd violated the campaign-finance laws they helped write and pass, accepting contributions beyond limits set by a law passed in 2009. While some caveats to the law partially vindicate the accused councilors, their opponents campaign against the alleged hypocrisy. 

MAY 7: A pop-up bookstore known as Fleeting Pages emerges in the vacant space that was once Borders in East Liberty. The store stocks works from local and independent authors and remains for about a month. 

MAY 11: Trailing in the polls, Mark Patrick Flaherty's campaign for county executive throws a Hail Mary by releasing an email sent from his opponent Rich Fitzgerald to natural-gas industry executives begging for the industry's support. "I need money and I need it fast," wrote Fitzgerald. "[P]ut your money where your mouth is and help fund this campaign." 

MAY 11: The outdoor venue at Stage AE hosts its first concert, Social Distortion. 

MAY 17: The primary election results are in! Some highlights: Fitzgerald beats Flaherty for the Democratic nod for county executive; all three incumbent city councilors -- Kraus, Harris and Dowd -- defeat challengers backed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl; City Councilor Doug Shields loses his bid for district judge to attorney Hugh McGough; Corey O'Connor, son of the late mayor, wins his bid to replace Shields on council.

MAY 18: In an exclusive interview, Jordan Miles opens up to CP about the feds' decision not to charge the three officers accused of beating him in January 2010 and his discomfort in the spotlight. 

MAY 20: Superintendent Linda Lane outlines the serious budget dilemma facing the Pittsburgh Public Schools during a community meeting on the South Side, projecting a $68 million deficit for the district's next fiscal year.

click to enlarge Hines Ward and Kym Johnson celebrate their Dancing with the Stars victory
Hines Ward and Kym Johnson celebrate their Dancing with the Stars victory

MAY 24: His team may have lost the Super Bowl, but Hines Ward will not be denied the Mirror Ball Trophy, as he and partner Kym Johnson win season 12 of Dancing With the Stars


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