Noah Brode


 

Creative Commons / Wikipedia

For more than a century, the Pittsburgh area has been home to the longest-running Serbian newspaper on the continent, written in a quiet office in Green Tree before being shipped off to readers across the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe -- including, of course, Serbia itself.

Creative Commons / Wikipedia

City officials hope to address perennial traffic problems caused by St. Patrick’s Day revelry on Pittsburgh’s South Side, by introducing special rules for drivers and partiers this weekend.

City Council President Bruce Kraus, who represents the neighborhood, announced several temporary changes for Saturday's bash. Those changes include free parking just across the Monongahela River, parking restrictions along East Carson Street, a ride-share zone on the street’s 1700 block and a free circulator bus.

The rules take effect 7 a.m. Saturday and end Sunday at noon.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Chase McBryde grinds metal in the corner of a big room cluttered with odds and ends collected from all over the city – old furniture, pallets, even the seat of a car. It was junk to its former owners, but McBryde views it all as potential source material.

His creations fill tabletops and dot the floor, from the full-sized model of a futuristic gun from the Fallout video game series to a cow skull replica. Even the warehouse studio’s coffin-shaped doorway is custom-made. Punk music plays on the stereo.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

A new daytime haven for homeless youth and former child welfare recipients in Allegheny County is experiencing its first successes.

Since its soft opening on Jan. 26, the 412 Youth Zone has seen about 400 young people ages 16 to 24 come through its doors in the Wood Street Commons building downtown.

Staff members said a core group of about 10 to 15 young people come in to the center every day it’s open.

Once inside, they can take part in free services provided by the center and its 30 partner organizations – or just hang out.

Vernon Chan / Flickr

A new code boot camp opening in Pittsburgh's Allentown neighborhood this April is meant to supply entry-level workers to fill positions in the Steel City's burgeoning technology industry, with a focus on populations underrepresented in the tech sector.

Alex Brandon / AP

Security tasked with guarding U.S. Senator Pat Toomey’s Pittsburgh office challenged a handful of activists hoping to deliver a petition to the Pennsylvania Republican on Thursday.

Organizers said the petition bearing 27,000 signatures urged the state’s junior senator to act on President Obama’s eventual nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, but most activists weren’t allowed inside. Security guards said they called the Pittsburgh Police, but no officers came to the scene.

Pittsburgh City Planning Deptartment

The Port Authority is set to begin replacing the rails of the Red Line “T” route on March 27, but a project to simultaneously improve the safety of the T stops there hasn’t gotten off the ground.

The Beechview T stops are situated on concrete islands in the middle of Broadway Avenue’s four lanes. They don’t have pedestrian crossings and they’re not well marked. Beechview’s councilwoman, Natalia Rudiak, said the situation is unsafe and discourages people from riding the T.

Jon Dawson / Flickr

Washington County landowners will begin to receive property reassessment notices Tuesday.

The newly assessed property values, which will take effect next year, are the county’s first since 1981.

When the new assessed values take effect in 2017, some landowners will start to pay more than what they’ve been contributing in taxes. Others will start paying less.

Etsy

  The online marketplace Etsy is inviting Pittsburgh-area manufacturers to connect with its designers to help them produce on a larger scale.

Local manufacturers and designers – whether already affiliated with Etsy or new to the service – are welcome to attend Etsy Manufacturing Day, a free event from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. March 8 at the Energy Innovation Center at 1435 Bedford Ave. in the Hill District.

Michael Sahaida / Wikipedia

  The year was 1896, the venue was Oakland's Carnegie Music Hall and the man with the baton was Englishman Frederic Archer when the then-Pittsburgh Orchestra played its first concert.

The program included works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and Wagner, as well as a Saint-Saens piece that was only about 25 years old at the time.

One-hundred-twenty years later to the day, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra will play that same Saint-Saens work at that same venue, along with some other seminal pieces it’s performed along the way.

Scott Roller / pittburghparks.org

Pittsburgh City Council has taken the first step toward renaming Cliffside Park in the Hill District to honor the late Pittsburgh-born playwright August Wilson.

A unanimous committee vote on Wednesday paved the way for final passage of the proposal to rename the park “August Wilson Park.”

Citiparks Director Jim Griffin said he was pleased with the decision, but he had just one question.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Proceedings took an unexpected turn at a hearing for Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin on Thursday.

Raymond "Dmitri" Beljan / Flickr

 

Carnegie Mellon University will receive a $750 million settlement stemming from a patent infringement lawsuit against a Bermuda-based technology company that allegedly used a CMU professor’s data retrieval algorithms without permission.

Port Authority of Allegheny County

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Manning broke a legal norm on Tuesday.

Manning accepted a lenient plea deal offering probation to three of the five white men accused of beating a black man and throwing him onto a Wood Street subway track in Downtown Pittsburgh after a Kenny Chesney concert last May.

But as he accepted those terms, Manning said he was unhappy with the deals reached between the defendants’ attorneys and District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr.

Jennifer Morrow / Flickr

  The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill to increase the penalty for attacking a health care practitioner.

Under House Bill 1219, the legal charges in such assault cases would be elevated from misdemeanors to felonies.

Pennsylvania Medical Society President Scott Shapiro said health care workers face a disproportionate amount of violence in the workplace.

Lauri Rantala / Flickr

A federal grand jury in Pittsburgh has indicted a Washington County man on four counts of drug offenses related to trafficking heroin laced with the painkiller fentanyl, U.S. Attorney David Hickton announced Tuesday.

Ronald Milliard, 24, of Washington was allegedly involved in the distribution of heroin that was tied to at least two overdoses in Washington County in August, according to Hickton. The county has been wracked by 222 overdoses and 33 overdose deaths since that month. Twenty-seven overdoses fell within a two-day span.

The battle lines are set for the general election for the next mayor of Pittsburgh.

Democratic City Councilman Bill Peduto emerged victorious from a field of four primary contenders, while lone Republican candidate Josh Wander secured his party's nomination with no trouble Tuesday night.

Now, Wander finds himself facing long odds; a Republican hasn't held the mayor's office since 1934.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

City Councilman Bill Peduto beat out three other Democratic contenders Tuesday for a win in Pittsburgh's hotly contested mayoral primary.

Peduto is hoping to win the seat currently held by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, who announced in March he was not seeking re-election. While this was a primary race, Peduto’s victory all but guarantees him the seat. Democrats outnumber Republicans in Pittsburgh by a wide margin, and the city hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1934.

The demolition of the Civic Arena wrapped up in March of 2012, and a broad stretch of parking spaces now occupies the space where the Igloo once stood.

Now, the gears of redevelopment could soon begin to turn for the 27-acre site in the lower Hill District, as Pittsburgh City Council is moving legislation to apply for a $20 million federal grant for the project.

On Wednesday, Council unanimously approved the legislation necessary to apply for the so-called TIGER grant, readying Hill District Councilman Daniel Lavelle's bills for final passage on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh City Council gave unanimous preliminary approval Wednesday to a bill that would allow the Citizen Police Review Board (CPRB) to review police regulations before they're implemented, rather than afterward.

The measure, sponsored by Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess, will be put to a final vote on Tuesday.

Noah Brode / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council will consider new legislation from Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess that would lay the groundwork for a 2015 property tax relief program for city residents who've both owned their homes for more than ten years and paid higher tax bills following the 2012 property reassessment.

90.5 WESA

Gov. Tom Corbett and his allies in the state Legislature have introduced controversial legislation to reform the pension systems for state employees and public school teachers.

The sponsors say the bills make necessary cuts to reduce the state’s massive liability problem. Unions argue that the measures are illegal because they cut current workers’ future benefits.

To get a handle on how Pennsylvania’s two public pensions ended up in their current funding crisis, one has to look more than a decade into the past.

A Big Commitment

The month-old unionization effort of food service employees at the Rivers Casino was boosted with a bit of political clout on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh City Council passed a resolution in support of the proposed union, which could band together some 800 workers at the North Shore gambling house.

The union would include waiters, banquet servers, floor workers and others spread out across the casino's five internal restaurants. The labor group Unite Here! would administer the union. A spokesman said the group has no experience organizing casino dealers or security guards.

Pittsburgh City Council has given unanimous passage to a set of bills that will revamp the way city police officers are trained to respond to domestic violence incidents.

All nine City Council members agreed to adopt the Maryland Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program, a step-by-step questionnaire process used by responding officers to determine the victim's risk of physical abuse. The officer would then be required to call the hotline for the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh and ask the victim to speak with the operator.

Calling it "phony" and a boon to "corporate education," a handful of Democrats in the Pennsylvania Senate blasted Gov. Tom Corbett's proposal to implement new standardized tests that would determine students' high school graduation status based on knowledge of Common Core academic benchmarks.

Pittsburgh City Council This Week

May 13, 2013
90.5 WESA / 90.5 WESA

    

Last week, Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval to Councilman Ricky Burgess's bills to reform the police bureau's domestic violence response policies.  One bill pays for training under the "Maryland Domestic Violence Lethality Assessment Program," and the second bill changes the city code to reflect the new policies. A final vote comes Tuesday.

When receiving a 911 call regarding domestic violence, responders must ask the callers a series of questions to determine the risk of imminent harm to the victim. Afterward, the officers must offer to call a women's shelter to help the victim.

Perhaps you’ve heard of a gallery crawl, or even a bar crawl. Well, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is sponsoring a “sketch crawl” all throughout downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday. Just bring all the art supplies you need and show up at the Cultural Trust’s Education Center on 805 Liberty Avenue at 10:00 a.m. Accomplished sketch artist Rick Antolic will take participants to various locations throughout the Cultural District, helping with the sketches along the way.

Noah Brode/90.5 WESA

Phipps Conservatory is celebrating the release of a book that details the construction of its new Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a $23.5 million facility that produces all of its own water and energy.

Called "Building in Bloom," the book by Mary Adam Thomas is the first of a series commissioned by the Living Future Institute, an Oregon company that administers the ultra-green Living Building Challenge certification program for structures.

A week after the American Lung Association declared that the Pittsburgh area has the seventh-worst air quality in the nation, the Allegheny County Board of Health approved an air quality improvement plan mandated by the federal government for the Liberty-Clairton area.

The vote of approval on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to the plan without including several local groups' suggestions for stricter pollution guidelines.

Though called a "reactionary solution" and a "distraction" by its detractors, legislation to install a $1.15 million gunshot detection system in the violent neighborhood of Homewood passed Pittsburgh City Council on Tuesday.

Each of the three bills passed 7-2, with Councilman Patrick Dowd and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak the only members to vote against them.

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