The approval this year by the Pennsylvania Insurance Department of Highmark’s acquisition of West Penn Hospital was preceded by the lobbying efforts of a coalition of community groups, public officials, hospital workers, health care advocates, and residents. On Thursday, November 21st, there will be a town hall meeting for residents regarding the future of West Penn Hospital where you can hear from both Highmark and West Penn Hospital officials on their progress in promoting health, sustaining vital medical services, and ensuring the success of this institution. Senator Jim Ferlo is hosting the meeting with Senator Jay Costa and Senator Wayne Fontana.
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow…
On Saturday, November 2nd, the Save Race Street Committee will hold their 5th Anniversary Celebration and Annual Meeting at the Homewood Carnegie Library. That represents five years of making their street cleaner, safer and more beautiful. A recent accomplishment of the Committee was the completion in late September of their Love Your Block project where they transformed an ugly vacant lot at 7110 Race Street into a landscaped garden.
“The Pittsburgh Region Goes Green: Community Benefits from Local Green Infrastructure Projects“ is the latest talk in the Beyond Tunnel Vision speaker series. Highlighting successes in the Pittsburgh region, it aims to show that “We CAN do green infrastructure here AND people are already doing it!” Councilman Bill Peduto will give the introduction and municipal and community leaders will share information about local green projects happening in the City of Pittsburgh, Etna, Homestead/Munhall/W. Homestead, Millvale, and elsewhere.
With another mass shooting just this week, guns are once again in the headlines, But, these types of events tend to overshadow some statistics that are far more likely to impact the average person. For example, according to The New England Journal of Medicine, living in a home where there are guns increases the risk of homicide by 40 to 170% and increases the risk of suicide by 90 to 460%. And, a report filed by the Washington State Department of Social Health Services found that, “a child or teen is killed once every seven and a half hours with a gun, either by accident or by suicide. In 72 percent of these cases, the firearm used was housed in the victim’s own residence.” The statistics locally are equally harrowing.
Next year will see the start of Pittsburgh’s first bike-share program with 500 bikes available at 50 stations. This will mean even more people of varying abilities will be sharing the road with automotive drivers. CyclingSavvy is a workshop created to make confident and competent cyclists to establish Pittsburgh as a safe and bike-friendly city. The program works to change the belief patterns and behaviors of cyclists by using innovative and modern teaching techniques.
Traveling over many Pennsylvania bridges, one becomes acutely aware that we have some serious infrastructure problems in this state. In fact, with 4,000+, PA comes in number one in having the most structurally deficient state-owned bridges in the nation. Worst of all, this problem is only going to get worse.
The Northside Old Timers is a non profit group of current and former Northsiders dedicated to improving the lives of youths by fostering peace, unity and harmony in 19 different communities in Pittsburgh’s Northside. They work primarily with children from kindergarten to the eighth grade as they have found this age-range to be the most susceptible to positive change. Their motto is “Save One, Job Done” and they work to reduce violence by creating activities which enable these youngsters to get to know their peers in other neighborhoods — “changing the way children think about one another in order to change the way they act towards one another.”
In 1907 some of the world’s preeminent social scientists embarked on what would become the most comprehensive and impactful study of urban life in the history of our country. The Russell Sage Foundation of New York City funded the Pittsburgh Survey of 1907. The Foundation was a philanthropic fund designed to identify the challenges of urban life and reform city government in a progressive direction to address these challenges head on. The voluminous results of the Pittsburgh Survey were compiled in four books and became a blueprint for the ills of early 20th century urban life and how to solve them. The Survey exposed rampant government corruption, deplorable working conditions in the early factories and mills, poor living conditions for most working-class families, inadequate water and sanitation, and deep divisions among ethnic communities that led to mistrust and exclusion. The conditions exposed by the Survey played a major role in the political activism that led to the hard-won reforms of the Progressive Era and the enactment of labor laws, government reforms, and our social safety nets.
The Housing Authority of Pittsburgh controls nearly 6,000 public housing units and administers more than 6,000 Section 8 vouchers throughout the City of Pittsburgh. Our Housing Authority was the first created in Pennsylvania and one of the first in the nation. Many of the units and communities were constructed many years ago and are badly in need of modernization and better service provision. A recent independent audit revealed some serious concerns about how contracts are awarded by the authority and how services are provided. Public housing residents should not have to live in substandard conditions. They should not have to wait for an audit to see improvement in their communities.