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REPORTER •

Since 1939, Serving The South Pittsburgh Neighborhoods of • Allentown • Arlington • Beltzhoover • Bon Air • Carrick • Knoxville • Mount Oliver • Mount Washington • South Side Vol. 81 No. 32

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Free From Participating Merchants

Inside This Council seeks solution Week’s South • Pittsburgh Concerted effort needed

Reporter Beltzhoover

UPMC is partnering with the Knoxville Community Council and the Beltzhoover Consensus Group for COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the Hilltop neighborhoods.

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to rail riders on East Carson

to clean up area known as ‘The Wall’

By Tom Smith South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor

The main topics of discussion at the April Zoom meeting of the Zone 3 PubSee Page 3 lic Safety Council included a shooting in Carrick and Arlington A Flea Market, Vendor “freegans” on Carson Street. Zone 3 Commander John and Craft Show will take place on May 23 at Acad- Fisher discussed an April 26 emy Charter School (old shooting in Carrick as part of Arlington School), 2500 the crime trends report. He said the shooting took Jonquil Way from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Arlington place in the 1900 block of Civic Council is hosting Brownsville Road where a male was shot in the hip. As the sale. of the time of the meeting, See Page 4 the victim was uncooperaBeltzhoover tive with the police and reConversations in the fused to identify or acknowlPark with the Candidates edge who shot him. will take place on ThursAfter the incident, the day, May 13 in the new commander walked the shelter atop Chicken Hill 1800, 1900 and 2000 blocks in McKinley Park at Michof Brownsville Road and igan Street and Haberman talked with some of the resAvenue from 5-7:30 p.m. idents and businesspeople. See Page 4 He said while they were Carrick troubled about the shootAn Election Day spa- ing, they weren’t really conghetti dinner will be held cerned since it was the first on May 18 at the Concord of this type of incident they Presbyterian Church, 1907 have had there in some time. Brownsville Road. He noted the residents See Page 4 he talked to were generally pleased with the police Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto service. Anytime they have and the Department of called 911 they have rePublic Safety will expand ceived a quick response. “This case is open, but unthe city’s tracking of gun less we get some cooperadata. tion from the victim, it may See Page 2 Housing Court............... Online remain open,” Commander Letter to the Editor....... Page 2 Fisher said. Patrols have been inZoning Board................ Online creased in the area and offiOr check them out at: cers are now doing park and www.sopghreporter.com walks. The officers are now

SUMMER READING

also calling in so there is documentation of when and where they have been in the neighborhood. In a submitted question, Commander Fisher was asked how often police patrolled neighborhood parks. In all of Zone 3, the officers are instructed to call out a “park check” 24-hours a day, he explained. The officers call in when beginning and ending their park checks, noting any issues. If there’s any type of emergency the officers will radio immediately. “Park checks are done every day of the week, around the clock,” he added. The commander segued into talking about “the wall” between 17th and 18th streets on E. Carson, a location he said was frequented by “train riders, beggars, et cetera.” He said he and Councilman Bruce Kraus had visited the area that day and “assertive action” had to be taken against one individual “who was actually living there.” The individual was breaking rocks on the sidewalk and trying to sell them to individuals as they walked by. He was also soliciting money from passersby. The man’s belongings were packed up and taken to the fire station on 18th Street and he was told to “move along.” Commander Fisher said Allegheny Health Network was contacted about the man and he qualified for their Continued on Page 3

City officials and neighborhood leaders are concerned about the increase in graffiti and vandalism in the area between 17th and 18th streets known as “the wall.” Since the area next to the wall is private property, the police will be moving people along to avoid a trespassing charge.

Fresh Fridays free produce distribution is on the Hilltop on Friday in Allentown Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop, a free produce distribution through the Hilltop Alliance, will continue with a distribution on May 14. The Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop, the Hilltop Alliance’s free produce distribution, will again pass out pre-boxed food on Friday, May 14 on Allen Street at the St. John Vianney Church parking lot in Allentown. Do to COVID-19, the distribution went from a “shopper” style where people were able to pick and choose from the available produce to a Grab-NGo model where people

don’t have to leave their cars and will have a box of fresh food along with another box of dairy products placed in their trunks. The no-contact distribution allows both those picking up boxes of food and the staff and volunteers helping them to remain safe while distributing the boxes. While supplies last,

households are able to pick up two boxes of food totaling approximately 40 pounds; one with produce and one with dairy products while supplies last. People will be able to pick up the boxes either by driving up and having them placed in their trunk or walking up and taking the boxes with them. Those walking are strongly encouraged to bring a shopping cart or wagon to take their boxes home. The distribution will take place at the St. John Vianney Church parking lot at the corner of Allen and Continued on Page 2

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PAGE TWO

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New website will track police reform progress The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police has launched a new website to track the implementation of changes recommended by Mayor William Peduto’s Community Task Force on Police Reform. The site is broken down into task force recommended actions, steps the Police Bureau has already taken, steps the bureau plans to take, and the anticipated timeline for completing the actions. An accompanying page hyperlinks to Public Safety related datasets, dashboards and annual report links for the public.

Mayor Peduto named the Community Task Force on Police Reform in June, and it released its final report in October. Their independently produced recommendations included focus areas on Eliminating Racial Disparities; Officer Wellness; Reimagining Policing; Recruitment, Training, Education and Hiring; Relations with Pittsburgh’s Fraternal Order of Police; Transparency and Accountability; Use of Force Changes Needed to Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Policy; and Use of Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, “Flash-Bang” Devices and Other Less Lethal Methods of Crowd Control.

Letter to the Editor

Why in Mt. Oliver? We agreed, collectively, that the taxpayers of Mt. Oliver Borough and all residents should be made aware of the following issue: The transfer of the liquor license to 104 Brownsville Road. This 104 location has been nothing but a nuisance bar for the last 15-20 years. The previous owner did everything imaginable to operate a respectable business. After numerous disruptions by the clientele, which came from all over the Hilltop and other areas of the city, the owner closed its door, out of business! We urge all residents, to call county, state and district representative and object to this transfer for 3 Riv-

ers Beer who are from Philadelphia, PA. Our question is why here? Why not some other part of the city, the more affluent neighborhoods not just Mt. Oliver and Hamilton Avenue in Homewood. It’s not the question of the filling of an empty storefront, but filling it with a potential problem, which the borough certainly does not need. Our police department and fire department are doing their best to maintain a safe environment. Councilman Paul Doyle Councilman Nicholas Viglione Councilman Francis Heckmann Mayor Frank Bernardini

Letters to the Editor may be submitted by: • Email to tsmith@sopghreporter.com • Mail to PO Box 4285, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 • By Fax at 412-488-8011 The South Pittsburgh Reporter reserves the right to edit letters for length and accuracy. Submitting a Letter to the Editor does not guarantee publication. Individuals may only have one letter published in a four week period. Unsigned letters will not be published. All letters must include a contact telephone number. Due to the length of letters recently, The South Pittsburgh Reporter reserves the right to limit letters length. Letters to the Editor represent the opinion of the writers and not necessarily those of The South Pittsburgh Reporter.

Reporter S outh • Pittsburgh

A Neighborhood Publications, Inc. Newspaper Serving The South Pittsburgh Communities of • Allentown • Arlington • Beltzhoover • Bon Air • Carrick • Knoxville • Mount Oliver • Mount Washington • South Side Since 1939

TOM SMITH Managing Editor tsmith@sopghreporter.com

ROBERTA F. SMITH Editor Emeritus Office Hours By Appointment MAILING ADDRESS: P.O. BOX 4285, PGH. 15203 E Mail: news@sopghreporter.com

Telephone (412) 481-0266

Fax

(412) 488-8011

The website will provide transparency on the implementation of the task force recommendations and be updated as actions are completed. It was overseen by

Shatara Murphy, assistant Public Safety director for Community Affairs, and the department’s Office of Community Services and Violence Prevention.

Mayor William Peduto and the Department of Public Safety will expand the city’s tracking of gun data with funding from Everytown Support Fund, the education, research, and litigation arm of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. Legislation introduced to City Council would accept $200,000 from Everytown to support the hiring of a Gun Violence Data

Fellow dedicated to collecting, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting information related to gun violence including homicides, aggravated assaults, shots fired, gun arrests, and officer-involved shootings. Public Safety’s current Gun Violence Data dashboard is available at https:// pittsburghpa.gov/publicsafety/gun-violence, and other data resources are available at https://bit. ly/3bcCo6B

City to track gun data

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$ WE BUY HOUSES CASH $ — Do you own an unwanted • Lawn Care house? Vacant? Needs Work? Owe liens? Back Taxes? Call OVERGROWN LAWNS & n o w 4 1 2 2 7 6 - 6 9 7 4 w w w . WEEDS — Leaf cleanup. Gutter birchwoodgroupinc.com 12/21 cleaning. Roof patch & repair. Lawn mowing, mulching, edging, • Announcements hedge trimming, river rock. Wall installed/ rebuilt. Painting, RE-ELECT FRANK staining, power washing. 412BERNARDINI, MAYOR — 881-2439. tfn Nicholas Viglione, Council; Francis Heckmann, Council; • Cleaning Services Paul Doyle, Council. For a strong council & to serve all CK MOVING, HAULING & residents. Paid political ad. CLEANING — Small moving and cleaning services, call for free • Remodeling, Repair estimates, 412-326-8797. 6/1 INTERIOR EXTERIOR PAINTING — Drywall, plaster repair; doors; windows; kitchens; bathrooms. Fully insured. Free estimates. Rick, 412-401-4877. 8/17

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TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2021

Fresh Fridays Continued from Page 1 Climax streets in Allentown, beginning at 3 p.m. and will go until all boxes are distributed. Those picking up the boxes, either walking or in a vehicle, will not be permitted in the parking lot The distribution is part of the USDA’s Corona Virus Farm Assistance Program through the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and is specifically for Hilltop residents. Households in the Zip Code areas of 15203, 15210, 15211 and Carrick residents in 15227 are welcome. There is no requirement to preregister and there are no income guidelines, but only one set of boxes per car or household. A safe and successful event is a primary concern. Those walking up to receive their boxes are required to wear masks and follow social distancing

recommendations. For more information, contact Julia McMahon at the Hilltop Alliance, 412586-5807 ext. 9. Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop is sponsored by the Hilltop Allince, Brashear Association, St. John Vianney Food Pantry and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank with support from PNC Bank, Dollar Bank, PA Dept. of Community & Economic Development and Birmingham Foundation.

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TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2021

THE SOUTH PITTSBURGH REPORTER

PAGE THREE

Concerted effort needed to clean up area known as ‘The Wall’

Continued from Page 1 help and they attempted to contact him to get him into appropriate housing. Zone 3 supervisors were notified to increase foot patrols in the area and anyone loitering in the area should be moved along. Councilman Kraus said there’s been a lot of effort this week going into addressing people congregating there, adding there is clearly one gentleman in the area with issues around mental health. But he is one of about 15 people congregating there on a regular basis with the others having no issues with mental health. “They are rail riders that are part of a movement call ‘freegan’,” he said. “It’s a national movement of people that are healthy, wealthy and wise and have chosen simply a life to live off the grid.” He said the freegans come

to cities according to the weather, armed with iPads and cellphones to stay connected. They ride the rails, making the South Side a perfect opportunity to camp by the river and come up to Carson to “deal drugs, do drugs or panhandle to get drugs.” The councilman said that part of the street (the wall between 17th and 18th streets) is private property. He explained the owner of the property is “as frustrated about the property as we are” and the property owner bemoans that he has had to spend thousands of dollars trying to correct the situation of chronic vandalism at the wall. “This is chronic vandalism to private property and the gentleman has every right to protect his property,” Councilman Kraus said. The councilman added, according to the property site survey, where the freegans

choose to sit and panhandle is private property. “We have authority from the property owner to myself to the commander to the Mayor’s Office directly that we are empowered to move anyone that is there trespassing, not loitering because the legal ramification is not loitering, not panhandling, it’s trespassing. You are not there doing the business of the business therefore you are in trespass and we have every right to move them along,” he said. Mr. Kraus added if they are vandalizing private property, it is not art, it is vandalism. “We expect that the full weight of code enforcement that we have on the books for vandalism, graffiti and destruction of private property is issued and enforced,” he said. He said the Mayor’s Office has been asked to fence

McDonald’s restaurants across the Greater Pittsburgh area are partnering with author and Veteran Army Resilience Master Trainer Duncan Kirkwood to offer youth resilience training. The free, virtual workshop for high school students across the Greater Pittsburgh area will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 19. Mr. Kirkwood’s hourlong motivational presentation will provide local teens with real advice about how to overcome setbacks, sur-

mount ego and find meaningful purpose. “At our restaurants, McDonald’s franchisees work with many young people. Over the past year, we’ve seen how much the pandemic has taken a toll on their ability to overcome obstacles and face challenges with flexibility and grace,” explained McDonald’s owner/ operator Michele Rice. “To insure that as many young people as possible can gain value from this workshop, we’ve made it free, and

we’ve made it virtual.” In developing the resilience initiative, McDonald’s hopes to provide young people with mental skills and practical techniques to help them thrive in the upcoming post-pandemic era. To register for McDonald’s free youth resilience training, school administrators should go to www.tinyurl.com/rrc8rzmj

Youth resilience training session offered

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Vaccine clinics will be held in Beltzhoover

UPMC is partnering with the Knoxville Community Council and the Beltzhoover Consensus Group for COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the Hilltop neighborhoods. The clinics will be held on Saturday, May 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the McKinley Park Shelter House, 900 Delmont Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15210 and Tuesday, May 25 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at St. Paul AME Church, 400 Orchard Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15210. The clinics are open to all Pennsylvanians age 16 and older and will use the Pfizer vaccine. Appointments are required. To schedule an appointment, call 833-8160068 and specify the desired location, McKinley Park Shelter House or St. Paul AME Church, or visit Vaccine.UPMC.com to selfregister. For more information, visit www.health.pa.gov.

off the area with a chain link fence, much like an area across the 10th Street Bridge and beneath the Parkway. They are working with the property owner to clean the area up and repair the damage, “at his cost.” The wall will be painted and the South Side Clean Team will remove any new graffiti placed on the wall. The councilman continued that the South Side is 20 years into the problem of rail riders and every year every year they fail to get a head of it and end up “playing catch up,” trying to deal with a situation they shouldn’t have had to deal with to begin with. Commander Fisher said while everything Councilman Kraus said was true, a problem 20 years in the making can’t be solved in two weeks. “It’s going to take time, it’s going to take effort and it’s going to take a joint effort,” he said. He added if people are approached by the rail riders, they shouldn’t take any action themselves other than calling 9-1-1. “This is a bigger issue than just sending a police car and running them out of there,” he said.

Barbara Rudiak, president of the South Side Community Council, said several years ago there was a problem with the rail riders on the South Side Riverfront Trail. At the time, the community council worked with city officials and community groups to lessen the impact of the rail riders. “We’ve never seen them damage the property and the attraction to that wall,” she said. Ms. Rudiak said they have to think about a long-term plan because if they move them from the wall in the 1700 block of E. Carson, they will just go somewhere else. The councilman said a proactive approach is needed, not a reactive approach. Discussions started weeks before that the rail riders

would be coming and how to be prepared for their return so as to not reach this point. “We do this every year. It’s March, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, things are coming. Rail riders will be on their way. We need to be prepared. Once they start to take root, we run into all these problems about how you have to bring in social services, you have to take the belonging, you have to store them, you have to give them six weeks’ notice before you can move them. Don’t let them to be there to begin with,” the councilman said. “This isn’t a law enforcement problem only. We can’t arrest our way out of this,” Commander Fisher said. “We’re going to come up with some other solutions and work as a team together on this.”

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Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop

Friday, May 14 Special Process During COVID-19

Grab-N-Go, Pre-Boxed Fresh Produce & Dairy 3 pm • Friday, May 14

While Supplies Last - Arriving Early Does Not Mean Early Service

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PAGE FOUR

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TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2021

Assistance is available to pay PWSA water and sewer bills The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) encourages renters responsible for paying their PWSA water and wastewater bill to apply for financial relief through the Allegheny County Emergency Rental Assistance fund. This program is part of the federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP),

which began in March and is available right now to renters who are struggling to afford their rent and utility bills.   “No one should have to choose between paying for water services and other essential expenses,” stated Will Pickering, PWSA chief executive officer. “This funding specifically helps renters who are expe-

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riencing financial hardships caused by COVID-19 or other circumstances. Any renter who is having a difficult time keeping current with their PWSA bill should apply soon while funding is available.”   A total of $37 million is available to provide families in Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh with necessary financial relief. The funding is available on a first-come first-serve basis and can be provided to a tenant for future rental and utility payments, and for unpaid rental or utility payments that have accrued since March 13, 2020.   To qualify, a household must pay rent and meet each of the following requirements.  

VOTE FOR

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• One or more people within the household has qualified for unemployment benefits, had a decrease in income, had increased household costs, or experienced other financial hardship due directly or indirectly to the COVID-19 pandemic. • One or more individuals in the household can show a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.  • The household has an income at or below 80 percent of area median income. In Allegheny County, this equals $66,400 for a family of four. For more information about how median income limits apply to your household, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.   Applicants will need to provide the following information: head of household’s personal information; income information for all household members 18 and older; rental lease and amount owed; landlord’s name and contact information. If applying for utility assistance, applicants must provide utility expenses and utility provider information.  Apply quickly if you think you may qualify. The program ends when funding runs out.  If you need help paying your PWSA water or wastewater bill, rent or any utility bill, you will need to go to covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us to complete an application and upload the required documents. Once you submit an application

that requests help with utilities, someone from Dollar Energy Fund will contact you. Landlords may also apply on behalf of their tenants. You do not have to be late on rent or utilities to get assistance. Utilities can be paid as part of rent if you are responsible for reimbursing your landlord for utilities and this is stated in your lease. Make sure to submit that portion of your lease with the application and any bills from your landlord if the utilities are not a flat fee.   A guide and FAQs on applying for utility assistance can be found on Allegheny County’s COVID relief website, https://covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us. If you don’t have WiFi, a computer, or need help completing the application, contact ACTION-Housing by calling 412-248-0021. Drop-in centers with free WiFi and computers are also available. For more information, contact ACTION-Housing at 412-248-0021 or by email-

ing rentalassistance@actionhousing.org.  “These grants will help our customers who are renters struggling to meet basic needs.” Julie Quigley, Director of Customer Service for PWSA stated. “If you need assistance with past or future water and wastewater payments, contact ACTIONHousing to start the application process today.”  The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is proud to be one of many organizations in Allegheny County participating in the Emergency Rental Relief Program. It is a collaborative effort including the Allegheny County Department of Human Services, City of Pittsburgh, ACTION-Housing, YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and others.  PWSA offers a variety of Customer Assistance Programs to help customers reduce their water and wastewater bill. For more information, visit www.pgh2o. com/CAP.

Mayor, judge candidates in Beltzhoover at forum Conversations in the Park with the Candidates will take place on Thursday, May 13 in the new shelter atop Chicken Hill in McKinley Park at Michigan Street and Haberman Avenue from 5-7:30 p.m. Invited mayoral candidates include: Ed Gainey, Tony Moreno and William Peduto. Judicial candidates invited to speak include: Rosemary Crawford, Patrick Sweeney and Wrenna Watson.

A cookout style meal is at 5 p.m. and the candidates will speak beginning at 6 p.m. COVID-19 protocols include: Must wear a mask; keep your distance and bring a folding chair. There will be enough folding chairs available for seniors. This Conversation in the Park is hosted by the Beltzhoover Inter-Agency Network, Beltzhoover Consensus Group, Knoxville Community Council and Urbankind Institute.

A Flea Market, Vendor and Craft Show will take place on May 23 at Academy Charter School (old Arlington School), 2500 Jonquil Way from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Arlington Civic Council is hosting the sale. Tables are $10 each and available by calling Kate

at 412-251-9513. All vendors should be registered by May 16. Vendors will be permitted to check in and enter the lot between 8:30 and 9 p.m. to set up. No cars will be permitted to enter after 9 a.m. Rain date for the sale is June 6.

Arlington flea market, vendor and craft show

Concord Presbyterian hosts election day spaghetti dinner An Election Day spaghetti dinner will be held on May 18 at the Concord Presbyterian Church, 1907 Brownsville Road. The take-out only din-

ner includes salad, spaghetti, breadsticks and dessert and will be available from 4-7 p.m. for $10. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the church’s holiday food baskets.

Profile for South Pittsburgh Reporter

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