Community gardens provide numerous benefits. They preserve green space, create a sense of community, provide exercise and nutritious food, and improve the overall quality of life in a neighborhood. Grow Pittsburgh teaches people how to grow food in urban areas through a variety of programs including encouraging and assisting people to start community gardens. This year, Grow Pittsburgh has a new program: The 2013 Community Garden Sustainability Fund.
Pennsylvania state law requires PennDOT to prepare an update to Pennsylvania’s Twelve Year Transportation Program every two years and submit it to the Pa. State Transportation Commission (STC). It’s then sent to the Governor, the General Assembly and the Secretary of Transportation. The purpose of the program is to evaluate the condition of our transportation system and create a blueprint of prioritized transportation projects in order to ensure economic development throughout our state.
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.
According to the Oakland Transportation Management Association (OTMA), over 100,000 pedestrians and 75,000 vehicles travel through Oakland each and every day. OTMA’s mission is to create a better and safer transportation environment for those who visit, work, and live in the Oakland area by decreasing the amount of people using single occupancy vehicles, supporting the use of public transit, and encouraging walking and cycling.
Even though mental illness touches so many lives–every year, 1 in 4 American adults endure the trials of a mental health condition–there still remains a stigma attached to it. “Writing Away the Stigma: With True Stories Well Told” is a five-part creative nonfiction writing workshop for those who have experienced mental health issues themselves or through their relationship with a family member or friend. It’s the creation of Creative Nonfiction and Staunton Farm Foundations and is open to residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania.
We wrote last month about the Good Neighbor Campaign. It was created to facilitate better relations between off-campus student residents and long-term residents in the Oakland neighborhood. The University of Pittsburgh and various neighborhood groups are participating in this effort. The campaign includes educating student residents on how to be better neighbors and to encourage responsible partying. It also includes promoting conversation between non-student and student residents (approximately 65 percent of Oakland’s residents are enrolled in college or graduate school).
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.
Pittsburgh Westinghouse is one of 10 high schools in the Pittsburgh Public School district. Located in Homewood and established in 1917, it has an especially rich musical heritage. It’s alumni includes Billy Strayhorn (jazz composer, known for “Lush Life” and “Take the “A” Train”), Erroll Garner (jazz pianist and composer), Ahmad Jamal (jazz pianist), and Frank Cunimondo (jazz pianist). But right now, budget cuts have hit their music program hard–they have lost their instrumental program and their chorus teacher and one teacher is handling it all.
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 Forum for Economic Development (FED) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan clearinghouse for ideas to bring industries to Southwestern Pennsylvania in order to create jobs in manufacturing and the trades. FED and the Center for African American Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE) have announced that the first speaker in FED’s Michael F. Moran Speaker Series will be Bill Peduto. This series is funded by FED and was created to “promote meaningful discussion and further action on the sources of long-term unemployment in Pittsburgh and how to aid the most hard-hit groups in southwestern Pennsylvania.”