‘Tis the season for outrageously ugly sweaters! From pop-up stores, to their own page at Amazon.com, to celebrity fashion wear, ugly holiday sweaters are a trend that will not die. In fact, demand for that perfectly tacky sweater has “skyrocketed” in the past five years, according to one retailer. If you have an ugly holiday sweater party in your future, why not make your own (and enjoy some great Church Brew Works beer while you’re at it).
On Friday, December 6, there will be a dedication ceremony for the new Southwestern Pennsylvania World War II Memorial, located at at the North Shore Riverfront Park. The memorial was designed to bring the past into the present by juxtaposing glass walls engraved with WWII-era photographs of local images (as well battlefield images) with a view of Pittsburgh’s transformed, modern skyline.
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.
Mayor-Elect Bill Peduto was exceedingly busy between the May primary and the November general election–and we don’t just mean running for mayor, being a city councilor, and making his usual rounds of umpteen meetings and events. He also managed to hit the road to study best practices in cities around the country and the world. But, Bill’s not just a student of cities–he was the only American speaker at the International Seminar of La Fabrique de la Cité (The City Factory) in Stockholm this July where he presented “Another look at the ‘Renaissance Programme’ in Pittsburgh, a public-private cooperation.”
Rebuilding our neighborhoods begins on Tuesday, and I hope you’ll join me for an Election Night party in the neighborhood my grandmother was born and raised — Homewood. The celebration will be at the Homewood Coliseum (7310 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15221) beginning when polls close at 8pm.
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.
“A voice like this one comes not once in a century, but once in a millennium,” was how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. described the singing of Mahalia Jackson, “The Queen of Gospel.” Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world with many firsts including being the first gospel singer to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall (1950) and the first to win a Grammy Award in the category of Gospel Music or Other Religious Recording (1962). She won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972 (the year she died). Her influence extended far beyond gospel to many musical genres including rock, pop and soul. A civil rights activist, she sang in front of 250,000 people at the March on Washington in 1963.
Vibrant Pittsburgh, the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, and Pop City Media have teamed up to present Pittsburgh’s 2nd City-Wide Dine Around event on Saturday, October 26th. Recognizing that it’s not easy being new to a city or region, a Dine Around is meant to be a casual, stress-free time of good company and good food. The event is typically held in a home and provides an opportunity for newcomers to our region to connect, network and discover information about regional resources.
Pittsburgh has been rightly celebrated as America’s “Most Livable City” but, the renewal has not been citywide—there are many neighborhoods that have not shared in the growth and progress. Coro Pittsburgh is a comprehensive program whose mission is to advance ethical and effective leaders who share a commitment to civic engagement. The Coro Fellows in Public Affairs will hold a Dialogue on Urban Affairs on Friday, October 25th. The topic at hand: Is Pittsburgh Livable for Everyone? They are looking for you—the public—to give your input into the conversation. You may even find some opportunities to take action in helping achieve a more equitable city for all.
The biggest karaoke event of the year is all for a good cause. Come out on Friday, November 1st for the Second Annual Live Rock N’ Roll Karaoke Costume Party: Day of the Dead Edition! All the proceeds from this evening will directly benefit Jamie & Ali McMutrie’s Haitian Families First. HFF supports families and children in Haiti by giving them access to education, healthcare, and nutritional needs — guiding them toward self-sufficiency. The event will be hosted by Randy Baumann of the DVE Morning Show and they’ll be a celebrity karaoke competition featuring Mikey & Big Bob of the 96.1 Morning Freak Show, Sally Wiggin of WTAE, and our own Democratic Mayoral Candidate Bill Peduto!