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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. 82 No. 5

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

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PWSA explains proposed fees for Reporter stormwater efforts South Side Inside This Week’s South • Pittsburgh

The “South Side Sidewalk Shop and Stroll” is planned for Saturday, Oct. 9 starting at 11 a.m.

By Margaret L. Smykla Contributing Writer A presentation by the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer See Page 3 Authority (PWSA) on a proMt. Oliver posed stormwater fee, and on Pennsylvania Amer- stormwater planning efforts, ican Water (PAW) will kicked off the Sept. 14 meetbegin construction to re- ing of the South Side Planplace approximately one ning Forum. mile of aging water main Presenter Tony Igwe, sein Mt. Oliver Borough, to nior group manager, stormimprove service reliability water, said stormwater matand fire protection for res- ters because when it rains, idents. The combined cost excess water overflows rivof these system improve- ers and homes are flooded. ments is approximately $2 With better stormwater manmillion. agement, pollution and water See Page 4 into rivers can be reduced. Today, Pittsburgh averagPittsburgh es 38 inches of rain per year. As part of the City of Severe, highly-localized Pittsburgh’s Welcoming storms frequently overrun Week 2021, the Office the sewer system and treatof Mayor William Pedument capacity. to and Office of Equity’s Occurrences of severe Welcoming Pittsburgh anstorms have increased dranounced  Pittsburgh has matically in Allegheny been named a County. Certified Welcoming Too much stormwater plus place, becoming the 12th sewer water equals polluin the United States to tion in our rivers. Mr. Igwe achieve this designation. said it does not take much to @ sopghreporter.com overflow the system as it can Zone 3 happen with an inch or less A six-month update on of rainfall. implementation of the The Northeast U.S. and Community Task Force Pittsburgh have been getting on Policing Recommen- much more rain over the past dations was the focus of decades, as reflected in a 71 the Sept. 23 meeting of percent increase from 1958 the Zone 3 Public Safe- to 2012. ty Council (Z3PSC). The Our system was not built Zoom meeting also fea- for this volume of stormwatured crime trend infor- ter. Compounding the stormmation and other commu- water problem is that we nity news. have more pavements and @ sopghreporter.com hard surfaces than a century ago. Arlington To tackle these stormwater The Arlington Civic challenges, PWSA is buildCouncil is holding a Flea ing an innovative stormwaMarket and Vendor Craft Fair on Sunday, Oct. 3 ter management system designed to absorb or redirect from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as much rainwater as possiSee Page 3 ble before it enters our overClassified Ads.............. Page 2 burdened sewer system, he Letter to the Editor........ Online said. Mr. Igwe said before Historic Review............. Online PWSA changes how it manZoning Board................ Online ages stormwater, it wants Or check them out at: to change how it bills for www.sopghreporter.com stormwater. Beginning in

2022, stormwater will be billed differently, pending Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approval. Even if a parcel has no water meter, it will be eligible for payment of a stormwater bill to PWSA. Mr. Igwe said this will be more fair and equitable than billing by meter usage. PWSA determined three tiers for all residential properties. Those in Tier 2, which over 70 percent of Pittsburgh residential properties will be in, would see an increase from a $5.96 monthly rate in 2022 to $7.95 in 2023. By changing how PWSA charges for stormwater, improvements in the stormwater process, over time, can be made. The payoff should be fewer basement backups and less pollution, he said. To report basement backups and flooding, call PWSA’s emergency dispatch at 412-255-2423; call 311; or report it using the myburgh app: pittsburghpa.gov/311/ myburgh . An attendee commented he used to pay $100 for water every quarter 22 years ago. Now, he pays $200 a month.  He said there has been no change in the 100-year-old neighborhood pipes, and the South Side is one of the oldest neighborhoods with combined sewage. He said those residents will be angry if there is a rate increase with no change in infrastructure. Ana Flores, associate project manager, said there are often projects occurring outside one’s neighborhood that benefit that neighborhood. For more information, visit: www.pgh2ostormwater.com. Next, nighttime economy coordinator Allison Harnden delivered the Parking Enhancement District (PED) report for July and August. The PED is the enforceContinued on Page 4

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Roberta F. Smith Long-time Reporter Editor

By Tom Smith South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor A story I frequently tell is when I graduated from journalism school my mother said I could work for her until I found a real job. That was in January of 1979 and my mother, Roberta F. Smith, after several years as the editor of The South Pittsburgh Reporter had also become the publisher of the weekly newspaper. Although she was probably known best for her work with The Reporter, she was so much more. Roberta’s story ended this last weekend after a long battle with a terrible disease, but I’d like to think about the better times and some of her accomplishments. Roberta came from a newspaper family. Her father and two brothers worked in the composing room of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and her first job in high school was collecting contest entries in the newspaper’s lobby. My mother married my father, William T. Smith (Bill to everyone), and soon after had four kids. I was the second child and the first son. In the early years as children were being added to the family, we bounced around from house to house, several in Hilltop neighborhoods, before we ended up in St. Clair Village. It was after my younger brother was born, the fourth child and now two girls and two boys, that I remember my mother having her first job. She was working in a new program just starting up, the Head Start Program. After a few years of my father working multiple jobs, sometimes as many as three at a time, and going to school in the evenings, my parents bought their first home in Allentown. It wasn’t much, but it was all theirs. I’m a little fuzzy on the timeline, so excuse me if I remember things out of order. At one point Roberta took a job as the executive director of the South Side Chamber of

Roberta F. Smith 1934 - 2021 Commerce. The first woman to hold the position. At that point the Chamber was thriving with more than 300 members including major industries. One of the first offices I remember the Chamber being in was on 16th Street, up on the second floor. It was a small space and it wasn’t long before they moved downstairs to a smaller storefront with barely room for a single desk. It’s the next office I recall more clearly, the one in the 1400 block of East Carson Street. There, the Chamber shared office space with The Reporter and Roberta and Shelly became lifelong friends. Although I was pretty young, I remember Mom talking about “Operation Georgetown” and “Old Birmingham.” There were parades and luncheons and fireworks and selling hot dogs at the new South Side Riverfront Park. During that time, I can remember going on Continued on Page 3

Boro council hears concerns about scooters, speeders and senior residence By Tom Smith South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor

Mt. Oliver Borough Council’s September public meeting was in-person with all council members present and along with a number of people in the gallery. Council President Amber McGough turned over the opening of the meeting to Solicitor Emily Mueller who explained a change was needed in the announced agenda. A personnel mat-

ter had arisen in the past 24 hours and was being added to the agenda which necessitated the change and a correction of the agenda. Prior to beginning the regular agenda, Chief Ron Lowrey from the Mt. Oliver Fire Department (MOFD), reported on the company’s activities. The department responded to 40 calls in August: 25 of the calls were for EMS and the other 15 were fire calls. He told the council the

MOFD’s International Services Organization (ISO) classification had been upgraded to a Class 3 from a Class 4, adding that as little as five years ago they were a Class 7. He said the improved classification could help borough residents with the cost of their homeowners’ insurance. He added there are 2,289 fire departments in Pennsylvania and only 159 are Class 3. There are only five Class Continued on Page 2


PAGE TWO

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TUESDAY, SEPT. 28, 2021

Boro council hears concerns about scooters, speeders and senior residence Continued from Page 1 1s and nine Class 2 fire departments in the commonwealth. “That’s due to a lot of the trainings the guys do, a lot that we do with our run cards. People may see that a lot of fire departments show up if we get a fire. One of the reasons we do that is, one of the requirements is how much manpower can you get to the scene in ‘x’ amount of time, how much equipment,” Mr. Lowrey said. “We’ve added other departments to make sure we’re meeting those minimum standards.” Moving into the agenda items, the council accepted the resignation of Police Officer Jason Loose and authorized a Civil Service Examination for full-time police officer. A resolution was also adopted for the sale of 346 Anthony Street to a neighbor under the Allegheny County Vacant Property Recovery Program for use as a side yard. The added personnel item concerned the termination of employee #11 for an issue that had arisen in the past 24-hours. The motion to terminate the employee passed 7-0 without discussion. In further business, Councilwoman Christina Reft was appointed to the School District Reapportionment Commission with Aaron Graham as the alternate. The owner of 232 Stamm Avenue requested they be permitted to remove the existing sidewalk along the property’s Sherman Avenue side and re-grade and

re-seed the property. Currently, the sidewalk is in disrepair and only 2’ wide with a utility pole blocking part. The borough code requires a 5’ sidewalk. The solicitor is checking to see if the sidewalk can be removed entirely, replaced with another of similar size or if the new one must be the 5’ width. In unfinished business, Ms. McGough asked for a motion to waive penalties and interest on five properties owned by Mehrouz Emamzadeh in the borough. At the August meeting, Mr. Emamzadeh’s son asked for the relief from the penalties and interest saying his father had been ill and had failed to make the tax and fee payments, incurring the extra penalties. The request failed with no council member making the requested motion. Even without a motion, several members of the gallery spoke out against granting relief to Mr. Emamzadeh. Councilman Francis Heckman expressed concerns about the senior residence on Ormsby Avenue. “There’s a lot of problems there that need to be addressed,” he said. Residents there have told him there are things needing fixed and they haven’t seen the manager in weeks. He asked Borough Manager Rick Hopkinson to see if something could be done to help them. Mr. Hopkinson said the residence gets annually inspected, but he could contact building officials concerning

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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

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the current problems and the next inspection. He said if people reach out to him with specific issues, he can relay those problems to the building management. “If there’s a property maintenance issue or a safety issue, then we can get involved,” he said. Mr. Heckman also ex-

“I swear to God, I look everyday and one of these kids are going to get hit and killed and it’s going to be too late,” Mr. Heckman continued. Councilman Paul Doyle asked if, “we were ever going to get rid of those (electric) scooters around here?” Mr. Hopkinson replied, Continued on Page 3

pressed concern with drivers, including school bus drivers and parents, “flying up and down Otillia Street.” He said there aren’t any sidewalks there and worried the school kids are “taking their life into their own hands daily.” “(The drivers) are a bunch of morons and you can’t

get two cars up and down the street, let alone a school bus,” he said. Mr. Heckman suggested the school buses shouldn’t travel those streets and should instead use Margaret Street. “Those kids can walk across the field and up the steps to the school,” he added.

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TUESDAY, SEPT. 28, 2021

THE SOUTH PITTSBURGH REPORTER

PAGE THREE

Roberta F. Smith, Long-time South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor

Continued from Page 1 our first family “vacation,” one where you got to stay in a hotel. Thinking back, it wasn’t much of a vacation for Roberta, it was a Chamber of Commerce conference in Ligonier. She spent a great deal of time attending conferences and going to conventions representing the Chamber. Having left college when she got married, Roberta decided to pursue her degree and re-enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh. She took night classes while working during the day and eventually earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. A strong-willed woman, Roberta would occasionally have disagreements with her bosses at the Chamber and eventually left, but was destined to return. Another job she held was at The Brashear Association as a Neighborhood Worker. For as long as I can remember, Mom always worked a lot of evenings and being a neighborhood worker required attending a lot of community meetings after regular work hours. The same as they do now. Since she was already attending meetings throughout the community, she began reporting on those meetings for The Reporter. She would get

paid 10 cents a printed column inch for writing about what happened at the meeting. Already involved in and friends with people in the community, she would not only report on, but frequently volunteer to help with neighborhood events. As time went on, she was offered the position of editor of The Reporter. She readily accepted even though it would mean she would be out at community meetings even more evenings a week. There would be times she would at community or board meetings four times a week and neighborhood events on the weekends. With her community involvement, Roberta was elected to the Board of Directors of the South Side Chamber of Commerce and The Brashear Association. In each of those organizations she would rise to be the first woman president of their Boards of Directors. As editor of The Reporter, she would often write “Commentorials,” her version of the paper’s editorial. She would often “stir the pot,” but only if she thought it was in the best interest of the communities she lived and worked in. Although Roberta frequently spoke in public, at community and organizational events,

South Side Sidewalk Shop and Stroll Oct. 9 The “South Side Sidewalk Shop and Stroll” is planned for Saturday, Oct. 9 starting at 11 a.m. The South Side Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh through a small grant to present the event. The chamber is inviting South Side shops, restaurants, and bars to participate. Everyone is welcome to shop and enjoy the South Side specials and then stroll over to City Theatre’s 2:30 p.m. open house and 5:30 p.m. live preview performance at the theater at a “pick your price $5/$10” feature that afternoon. The open house at 1300 Bing-

Classified Deadline: Thursday, Noon

ham Street will include City Theatre’s Fall season kickoff and ticket sales. For City Theatre questions, call the box office at 412-431-2489 or visit http://www.citytheatrecompany.org. For everything else, contact the Chamber at info@southsidechamber.org for more information.

she didn’t enjoy small talk. That’s not to say she didn’t have friends, she enjoyed a good party and talking with her close friends. Roberta could count senators, representatives, mayors and city and borough council members among her friends. She knew everyone and everyone knew who Roberta was. If they had cell phones then, her contact list would be enormous. Although she was loyal to those friends, she wouldn’t hesitate to let them know if she didn’t approve of a position or a stand they were taking. Roberta also enjoyed getting away from things, whether it was having a late evening cocktail on the front porch with neighbors or traveling for a week at the lake with family, it was her time away. After several years, I began a series of internships at The Reporter under my mother’s direction. It wasn’t easy, as anyone who has worked for Roberta could tell you, but I learned every aspect of putting a weekly newspaper together. At the end of 1978, the publishers offered Roberta the paper for a nominal amount and Roberta offered me a job, until I could find a “real” one. Roberta then concentrated on the editorial side of the paper, leaving the production side to me. The arrangement allowed her to take time off. And she did. Not long after I started, Roberta left for North Carolina for three weeks to be with her daughter after the birth of her first grandson. She would eventually have six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Roberta continued her vol-

unteer work and got the acting bug after participating in a “Murder Mystery” fundraiser with The Brashear Association. She joined the cast of the Veronica’s Veil Players, enjoying every production she had the opportunity to act in. Her involvement in the community increased with her appointment to the Board of Directors of The South Side Hospital. She often talked about having to make the motion to sell the local hospital to UPMC. She said the board wanted a “community person” to make the motion for the sale. After the sale, Roberta became a member of the Birmingham Foundation’s Board of Directors. The foundation was created from the proceeds from the sale of the hospital. While she was very involved

Borough

Continued from Page 2 “we have no say over that.” Mr. Doyle countered that if there are scooters taking up parking spaces, they are losing the parking revenue. Police Chief Matt Juzwicak said they don’t have a lot of control over the situation. “I don’t believe they’re supposed to be parking in parking spots, but there’s no way to really control when a 12-year-old goes in a parking spot and walks away it’s not a big issue, but it’s also not up to me to move those (scooters),” Chief Juzwicak said. When asked if the owners could be cited, he said it would be something they could look into.

Flea market, vendor fair in Arlington

Th e A r lin g to n C iv i c Council is holding a Flea Market and Vendor Craft Fair on Sunday, Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The fair will take place at the Arlington playground at The Fort, 1523 Fernleaf Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15210.

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Helen M. McKain 2/5/1930-9/7/21

with South Side organizations, Roberta would also volunteer her time with the Mount Oliver Area Chamber of Commerce. She enjoyed helping with their events and counted many of the members as her friends. Her awards and proclamations could cover a wall, and did in her South Side office before her retirement. When Roberta retired at the end of 1999, she only took a few of her recognitions, among them were the South Side Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year, The Brashear Association Community Service Award, a Community Service proclamation from the Mount Oliver Borough Council and Special Recognition from the Mount Oliver

Chamber of Commerce. There were also framed proclamations from the Pennsylvania State Senate and House of Representatives and Pittsburgh City Council in her home office. Roberta’s story ended on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 18, but she will not be forgotten. Arrangements were made by the Readshaw Funeral Home. Ever the community person, she requested donations to The Brashear Association, 2005 Sarah Street, Pittsburgh PA 15203, in lieu of flowers. Editor’s Note: I know Roberta would not be happy with this story and would have either taken a red pen to it or rewrote it entirely. She will always be my editor.

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PAGE FOUR

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TUESDAY, SEPT. 28, 2021

PWSA explains proposed fees for stormwater efforts Continued from Page 1 ment of South Side Flats parking meters from 6 p.m. to midnight on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The expansion of PED hours to include Thursdays began last month. PED funds must be invested back in the neighborhood for public safety, cleanliness, and infrastructure improvements. In the July report, Ms. Harnden said revenue totaled $12,278.97, which is more than double last July’s PED revenue during the COVID closures. For August, 2021, the PED revenue totaled $17,248.42, which includes the addition-

al Thursdays revenue; last August, PED revenue totaled $7,648. The 2021 revenue to date is $92,923.08. The PED trust fund totals $203,574.28. The total revenue since the PED began in April, 2017, is $771,721.69. In license changes, there was a return from safekeeping for: Club Café, Mallorca Restaurant, and Dancing Crab Thai Noodle House. A person-to-person transfer due to new ownership occurred at the Carson Street Deli. In her report of the Clean Team, or Block by Block which maintains the E. Carson St. corridor, Ms. Harn-

Pennsylvania American Water (PAW) will begin construction to replace approximately one mile of aging water main in Mt. Oliver Borough, to improve service reliability and fire protection for residents. The combined cost of these system improvements is approximately $2 million. Weather permitting, Pennsylvania American Water contractors will start upgrading the water main along Ormsby Avenue, from Hays Avenue to Otillia Street, on Monday, Sept. 27. The company also will replace aging water mains along Parkwood Road and Penn Avenue in Mt. Oliver in mid-October. Work hours are 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Work on weekends and evenings is not expected unless required to maintain the project schedule. Completion of these installation projects is expected in late October 2021. Final street restoration will be completed in the spring of 2022. To view current PAW

projects, visit the company’s 2021 web-based infrastructure map accessible from any computer or mobile device by visiting Pennsylvania American Water’s website, pennsylvaniaamwater. com, and clicking on Infrastructure Upgrade Map. The map features summaries of water pipe upgrades, total dollars invested, and installed pipe length. Users can navigate the map by panning and zooming, similar to other popular webbased maps. By clicking on individual projects, users can see specific project details, including affected streets. Projects shown on the map are expected to be completed by the end of the year. During construction, customers might experience temporary service interruptions, discolored water, and/ or lower than normal water pressure. Crews will work as quickly as possible to shorten the length of these temporary inconveniences. Once the pipe is installed, a temporary restoration will take place in the excavated area.

PA American begins upgrades in Mt. Oliver

den said trash collection averages about 10,000 pounds per month. Weed and graffiti removal also took place. The Clean Team removes trash and graffiti/stickers, lends hospitality assistance, and more. City Councilman Bruce Kraus said total PED revenue would have surpassed $1 million by now if not for COVID. He called the PED “a resounding success.” As Parking Authority agents are frequently accosted, police officers will accompany them, he said. Mr. Kraus said a part-time third worker was added to the Clean Team due to the condition of the streets on Monday mornings. He would like to make the worker full-time if the problem persists. Funding for a third worker is from the PED trust fund. Mike Clark, of the South Side Community Council (SSCC), said he would like to know the ticket breakdown, and why some infractions are ticketed while others are not. He said if a police officer is added to every enforcement agent trip, why not have all infractions ticketed as quality-of-life issues abound, such as parking in crosswalks and being blocked by illegally parked cars, to send a message. David Onorato, of the Parking Authority, said he can produce a breakdown of tickets which he will give to Mr. Kraus’ office. He also said the Parking Authority is having trouble filling positions, and is down 15 employees. Next, in Old Business, Barbara Rudiak, president of the SSCC, said a Development Activities Meeting (DAM) on August 19 featured two presentations involving Rite Aid. A DAM provides an opportunity for citizens, prop-

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erty owners, business owners, and stakeholders to learn about the proposals that affect them and to resolve concerns at an early stage of the application process. At Rite Aid’s 1915 E Carson St. store, the front facade was painted prior to contacting the Historic Review Commission (HRC) and learning unpainted brick in the historic district cannot be painted. Rite Aid is currently working with the HRC and the Local Review Committee to remove the paint.  The other Rite Aid is located at 2655 E. Carson Street, or the former American Eagle Outfitters. Again, changes in the facade were discussed within the context of the historic district guidelines.  Ms. Rudiak also reported the Esser Plaza project went before both the HRC and the Art Commission. The HRC commissioners approved the project with one caveat.  A North Side canal stone repatriation group is seeking restoration of the old canal stones that were dispersed throughout the city. Esser’s Plaza has 62 of those stones. If the plaza can no longer use the stones in its reno-

vation plan, the HRC asked that they be informed of the substituted stone. The Art Commission asked for a change in the paver pattern. New plans were drawn up and a revised application was submitted to the Art Commission seeking final approval at its Sept. 22 meeting.  All of the SSCC’s DAMs are recorded, and can be viewed on SSCC’s YouTube page. In committee reports, Candice Gonzalez, executive director of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, reported that Chamber and the URA of Pittsburgh will sponsor the South Side Sidewalk Shop & Stroll event on Oct. 9 starting at 11 a.m. Everyone is invited to retail shop and enjoy local bars and restaurants, and then stroll over to City Theatre for its 2:30 p.m. open house with treats and news about their live “in theater” featured performances starting that day.  Ms. Gonzalez also reported the Chamber will hold its Annual Meeting and board of directors’ election on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 5:30 p.m. in accordance with Chamber bylaws, most like-

ly in Zoom format. In the report of the SSCC, Ms. Rudiak said the second general meeting of the year would be held on Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 6:30 p.m. More information will be available via the SSCC’s social media site. Ms. Rudiak also reported the SSCC held a virtual meeting on Sept. 1 with residents and city/state officials to discuss the increase in crime and disruption in the residential areas of the South Side due to the large numbers of people coming to East Carson St. on Thursdays through Sundays. Officials responded to recommendations and provided clarity on various practices, while residents shared their experiences and concerns. She said the intent is to continue the discussion moving forward.  The meeting can be viewed on the SSCC’s YouTube page. In SSSNA news, the 21st Annual StepTrek will be held on Oct. 2 The annual non-competitive, selfguided walking tour of the Slopes is the organization’s biggest fundraiser.  The next Planning Forum meeting will be Oct. 12.

Fresh Fridays on the Hilltop

Friday, Oct. 8 Special Process During COVID-19

Grab-N-Go, Pre-Boxed Fresh Produce & Dairy 3 pm • Friday, Oct. 8

While Supplies Last - Arriving Early Does Not Mean Early Service

St. John Vianney Church Parking Lot 823 Climax Street, Allentown

Off E. Warrington Avenue at Climax & Allen streets

• No Registration Required! • Drive or Walk Up! Volunteers Will Load It In Your Car! • Masks Required • One Box Per Car/Household Households in 15203, 15210, 15211 ZIP Codes & Carrick Residents in 15227

For More Information, Contact:

Hilltop Alliance, 412.586.5807 ext. 9 Sponsored By: Hilltop Alliance, Brashear Association, St. John Vianney Food Pantry & the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank Supported By: PNC Bank, Dollar Bank, UPMC Health Plan, PA Dept. of Community & Economic Development & Birmingham Foundation

Profile for South Pittsburgh Reporter

SPR 09-28-21  

SPR 09-28-21  

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