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Quads, speakeasies discussed at Zone 3 RMt.eporter Nov. council meeting Oliver Inside This Week’s South • Pittsburgh
The Mt. Oliver Borough Council quickly took care of business at a short November meeting with a series of motions authorizing payments.
By Margaret L. Smykla, Contributing Writer The last Zone 3 Public Safety Council (Z3PSC) meeting of 2020 on Nov. 16 featured a year-end report and plans for 2021. The meeting began with news that Zone 3 police Commander Karen Dixon will be returning Nov. 30, but is reSee Page 3 tiring in early January. Mt. Oliver Z3PSC president Liz Style next called for ideas on what Mt. Oliver will celebrate participants would like to see at meetings next year. Light Up Night on SaturShe then quickly reviewed the goals set last year for day, Nov. 28 in the 100- 2020. They included holding seven open general meetings, 200 blocks of Brownsville with guest speakers at four of them; and also, to hold two Road. board meetings. See Page 3 What actually occurred in 2020 were eight meetings, with three having guest speakers. Mt. Oliver Those speakers/dates were: Diane Powell, Pittsburgh OutHighlights from the department reports for Mt. Ol- reach Chair, Black Women for Positive Change, on Aug. 17; iver Borough for October. Reverend Eileen O. Smith, director of the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace (SPCP), and Richard Carrington, team @ sopghreporter.com leader of the South Pittsburgh Peacemakers (SPP), which South Side is an initiative of the SPCP, on Sept. 21; and Pittsburgh The South Side ChamPolice Chief Scott E. Schubert, Commander Eric Holmes, ber of Commerce has postChief of Staff and Commander, Intelligence Unit, and Sgt. poned its Progressive HolTiffany Kline Costa, Community Affairs Unit, on Oct. 19. iday Mingle event planned The membership outreach strategy also continued this for December 2. year on social media and elsewhere. See Page 4 Ms. Style said the goal is one project a year. For instance, South Side in 2018, instructions on setting up a block watch were com“Our South Side small piled, with a hardcopy available today. businesses need our help,” In 2019, the annul family-oriented Picnic with Police says South Side Cham- was instituted. ber of Commerce ExecuIn 2021 the hope is to continue to develop partnerships, tive Director Candice Gon- such as with the Allentown CDC Public Safety Commitzalez. tee, to support zone-wide educational sessions throughSee Page 4 out the year. This could not be done this year due to COVID. Zoom Mt. Washington meetings on the topic are a possibility next year. Mount Washington Another goal for 2021 is to rewrite the bylaws, an activCommunity Development ity blocked in 2020 by COVID. Corporation is seeking volMs. Style said the hope is to receive $2,000 again from unteer chalk artists to create art on the business dis- city council. While the request is in, “the budget process is trict sidewalks on Saturday going to be very tight this year,” she said. The Z3PSC also received a grant in 2020 from the Love and Sunday, November 28 My Neighbor program to support the Picnic with Police, and 29. which was never held due to COVID. The $1,460 has yet @ sopghreporter.com to be used. Classifieds................... Page 2 Ms. Style asked if there were any other ideas for the fuHousing Court............... Online ture. Or check them out at: She said last month she tried to get someone for this Continued on Page 2 www.sopghreporter.com
The 412 Mobility Hub is expected to be installed this week in a space about 4’ by 12’ on the sidewalk in front of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority parking lot at 18th and East Carson streets. Initially, the Mobility Hub will include a display screen with real-time transit information provided by TransitScreen and slots for six Spin escooters. The hub and others like it in the city will serve as a starting point for cohesive mobility hubs that will offer a number of shared transportation options (transit, bike-share, e-scooters, car-share, etc.) in one location. The e-scooters will launch citywide in spring 2021.
Mt. O. mayor expresses concerns over Arlington Avenue dance club in city By Tom Smith South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor
“I’ve called everybody but the dogcatcher, more than once, more than twice,” Mt. Oliver Mayor Frank Bernardini told the Borough Council at the November meeting. Mayor Bernardini was complaining about the former American Legion building on Arlington Avenue in the City of Pittsburgh. He said he’s called Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto’s of-
fice and Councilman Bruce Kraus’ office along with Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich and the Allegheny County Health Department with no success or action on the property. “According to the Public Safety Director it’s going to take more than one or two people to call,” Mr. Bernardini said. He urged anyone with complaints to call the city and county officials concerning the night club. But it may not be necces-
sary now. There has been official action taken recently concerning the property. The club had been closed by the Health Department in September for Coronavirus violations including: operating without a valid health permit, allowing indoor operations past 11 p.m., serving alcohol without a meal and a lack of face coverings. The Nuisance Bar Taskforce also executed a search Continued on Page 3
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Quads, speakeasies discussed at Zone 3 Nov. council meeting Continued from Page 1 meeting from the Mayor’s Community Task Force on Police Reform. She was not successful, but hopes to have someone here in 2021. In light of expected city budget issues due to COVID, she will also try to have someone come to a meeting in 2021 to address budget issues, including how public safety cuts would impact Zone 3 residents. Next, Rob Conroy, of CeaseFirePA, discussed seeking an end to gun violence through education, coalition building, and advocacy, which is the organization’s mission. He said he is hoping for a gun safety majority in our state legislature next year. Among the three pieces of legislation CeaseFirePA would like to see passed is extreme risk protection orders which would allow law enforcement officials and family members to temporarily remove firearms from someone at risk of harming themselves or others during a crisis. CeaseFirePA would also like the loophole closed which allows long guns to be sold in the state without a background check if sold by a private seller. Another desired piece of legislation is a statewide reporting requirement of lost or stolen firearms within
72 hours. It addresses those who illegally transfer guns, he said. Next, police Lieutenant Louis Caporali, who is in charge of Zone 3 until Commander Dixon returns, reported on local shootings. He said the night before there was a fatal shooting in the 2000 block of Brownsville Rd. While it is under investigation, it does not look random. A shooting on Beltzhoover Avenue a few weeks ago left three people dead. Both shooters were in one vehicle so a conflict is begin investigated. Two juveniles were arrested for a shooting on Reifert St. on Oct. 3. In South Side on Oct. 23 two men were shot while walking down the street. No one was hurt when a man ran into the Rochelle Towers at 107 Knox Ave. with a firearm. The man, gun, and drugs were seized. The police are still dealing with the unlicensed speakeasies for those who want to socialize/drink after 11 p.m. in defiance of COVID restrictions. None has a license to sell alcohol. He said the one on Brownsville Rd. in Carrick has not been operating recently. Its fines total about $50,000. The speakeasy in the former American Legion in
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the 1700 block of Arlington Ave. was served search warrants. The Fire Department and Health Department investigated; citations were issued. Fines total about $10,000. “The owner continues to operate in defiance,” he said. Very often the speakeasies are shut down, and then reopen, as no directive has been provided to local authorities by the governor’s office on how to govern or enforce COVID. He planned to meet with the district attorney the next day about the speakeasies. Lt. Caporali also reported a speakeasy at 38 Mt. Oliver St. that caught fire a month ago is under investigation. The problem was electrical and not intentional, he said. Next, regarding speeding motorcycles and illegal quads on East Carson St. and elsewhere, he said they have been stopped and cited, and the vehicles taken away. A problem with identification of quads is there are no license plates. Police must review videos and talk to neighbors. “We’re doing the best we can. They know we can’t
chase them,” Lt. Caporali said. He has said previously the police cannot risk injuries by having someone run over during a pursuit. A driver may also die in a pursuit. Large, organized bike outings of 200-300 bikers on city streets can also be a problem, he said, as they know policing boundaries and taunt the officers. “It’s like a big game to them,” he said. While most of the riders in Carrick are juveniles, the ones in South Side are adults. While the juveniles say they would ride elsewhere if there was a designated place to do so, Lt. Caporali said it is “very difficult” to set aside a place in the city to ride due to liability. In questions for the lieutenant, it was noted Church Ave. residents have spotted strangers consistently going down a nearby alley. They called it into police, but are not sure of the outcome. Lt. Caporali said they are drug users who are getting into vacant homes. If there is an emergency at a vacant house, like windows are broken into, call 911. With 311,
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the police receive the messages days later. To a question about Airbnbs, he said they are not illegal. Airbnb is an online company which provides a platform for members to rent out their properties or rooms to guests. The lieutenant said to call 911 if the renters are loud or engage in illegalities, and citations will be issued. Bob Charland, of the office of city Councilman Bruce Kraus, said to visit “neighborhood concerns” on the Airbnb website to list complaints. To a question about the process for selecting a new Zone 3 commander in light of the pending retirement of Commander Dixon, Lt. Caporali said the top five candidates are shadowing a commander now to learn the duties. A few commanders are expected to retire in early 2021, he said. Lt. Caporali also announced that a traffic calm-
ing study will be conducted on Maytide St. The busy thruway would be closed for two days between Brownsville Rd. and Route 51 to install the equipment. The final comments came from Ian Reynolds, the “Safer Together” coordinator, Dept. of Public Safety, regarding Thanksgiving. He reported the annual Thanksgiving “Get Stuffed With Love” program, to ensure no city resident goes without a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, will be held again this year. There are no income or age requirements. Everyone in need is eligible to receive a free, warm meal delivered to their residence. Call a zone police station to register. Zone 3 residents should call community relations Officer Christine Luffey at 412-488-8425 to register. The next Z3PSC meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Jan. 18, 2021.
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THE SOUTH PITTSBURGH REPORTER
Mt. Oliver Council approves paying the bills Mayor expresses concerns for work completed on the Brownsville Road Sidewalk project between Oct. 20 and Nov. 4. Borough Manager Rick Hopkinson added that this wasn’t the final payment, an additional $25,000 to $50,000 worth of work had to be completed. Council also approved a motion to recommend SHACOG award an ADA ramp project to Excalibur Construction in the amount of $27,837.50.
Mt. O. Light Up Night is on Saturday, Nov. 28 Mt. Oliver will celebrate Light Up Night on Saturday, Nov. 28 in the 100-200 blocks of Brownsville Road. The celebration, from 4-8 p.m. will feature a visit from Santa and lighting of the Christmas Tree at dusk. There will be good eats by Maietta’s Restaurant and Mt. Oliver Gyros: Sweet treats by TC Candy; Hot cocoa, coffee and s’mores bars with the Mt. Oliver
Fire Dept. Warm up by the bonfire at the Walnut Street parking lot and listen to live music by Caleb Smith and The Koz Band. Free parking is available on Brownsville Road and the Middle Way parking lot. Everyone is encouraged to drop off a new, unwrapped toy at the Borough Building for the Toys for Tots Toy Drive.
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The council heard a motion for a request of a handicapped parking space on William Street. Mr. Hopkinson said the Public Works Department had reviewed the request and said it met all the requirements under the ordinance. Councilman Nick Viglione requested they table the request until he had a chance to look at the location. Council President Amber McGough responded, “sometimes we’re delaying these things and we get these (council information) packets ahead of time. We need to be checking some of this out before hand.”
Other councilmembers agreed they would also like to take a look at the location. Mr. Hopkinson asked them to be aware a nearby parking pad belonged to a different house and the house requesting the handicapped space didn’t have any offstreet parking. The council also voted to move its December meeting from the normal third Monday of the month to the second Monday. The December meeting of the Borough Council will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 14 in the Mt. Oliver Fire Hall, 120 Brownsville Road.
Pennie’s 2021 Open Enrollment Period is going on now. Pennie is Pennsylvania’s official destination for individuals and families seeking high-quality health insurance coverage and is the only place to access financial assistance, for which nearly nine out of 10 customers currently qualify. All current and potential enrollees are encouraged to visit pennie.com to explore their coverage options as plan offerings may change yearover-year. If individuals need assistance shopping for and enrolling in coverage, or updating their migrated Pennie account, they should visit pennie.com, call the Pennie call center or connect with a local broker or assister. The multi-lingual Pennie call center can be reached
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LifeSpan is collecting cookies for senior citizens LifeSpan is beginning its 11th Annual Holiday Sweet Treats Cookie Campaign. The organization is seeking 450 dozen cookies to distribute in half-dozen packages to brighten their seniors this holiday season. LifeSpan is asking bakers to donate two to three dozen homemade cookies by Friday, Dec. 11. Cookies can be dropped off at : LifeSpan Main Office, 314 East 8 th Ave., Homestead, PA 15120, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Call 412464-1300 for questions or additional drop off locations. For more information about LifeSpan, visit their website at: www.lifespanpa.org
Continued from Page 1 warrant at the venue in late October after a number of complaints. The taskforce found alcohol sales without a license, illegal gambling and a rifle. Fines at the club for violations have totaled about $10,000. Each time they were closed, the club reopened. The venue was again visited and closed by the Health Department this past weekend. Covid-19 violations in-
cluded operating without a health permit, operating under a closure order, operating as a nigth club, exceeding the allowed capacity, lack of face coverings, serving alcohol without meals and serving alcohol after midnight. The closure was for a minimum of seven days. On Sunday, owners of the club posted on Facebook that they have closed, permanently.
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By Tom Smith South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor The Mt. Oliver Borough Council quickly took care of business at a short November meeting with a series of motions authorizing payments. The council authorized payments of: $3,938 to State Pipe Services for the 2020 SHACOG Lining Contract and Spot Lining Contract; and, $37,131.25 to A. Folino
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Support our local business disricts on Small Business Saturday “Our South Side small businesses need our help,” says South Side Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Candice Gonzalez. In the midst of the recession in 2010 American Express created Small Business Saturday® on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to Shop Small and bring more holiday shopping to small businesses. The first Small Business Saturday was a big success. One year later, local officials across the nation took notice and moved to promote the day. In 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of the day, and officials in all 50 states participated. In an effort to support their local communities, organizations across the country brought their communities together with events and activities on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year. Business associations, nonprofit trade groups, municipalities, and public
officials started to unite, forming a Small Business Saturday Coalition to encourage everyone to Shop Small in their communities. Over the years, many realized customers of local small businesses can make a big impact during the holiday season and all year long. Every time you pick up a cup of coffee from your favorite neighborhood cafe or buy a gift from a local artist online, you are shopping small and making a difference. In fact, 62 percent of U.S.
small businesses reported they need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID levels by the end of 2020 in order to stay in business. (Estimate from data on businesses with under 100 employees, as reported in the American Expresscommissioned 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study. This study reported U.S. small businesses are responsible for $4.8 Trillion in U.S. GDP, the equivalent to the third largest economy in the world.)
Chamber postpones this year’s Progressive Holiday Mingle
The South Side Chamber of Commerce has postponed its Progressive Holiday Mingle event planned for December 2. The Mingle is being postponed in compliance with the Allegheny County Department of Health’s strong COVID-19 pandemic advisory on November 18. The advisory recommends people in Allegheny Coun-
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ty should only leave their homes for work, school, and essential activities amid the county’s current surge in coronavirus cases. This advisory is in place for 30 days or until the county health director determines it is appropriate to change it. The Chamber’s Board of Directors decided to postpone the planned Progressive Holiday Mingle to comply with the county pandemic advisory and to avoid endangering the health of those who would have participated. The chamber’s board regrets having to postpone the Mingle but hopes everyone understands it is best. The five restaurants that would have been featured in the December Mingle event are Carmella’s Plates & Pints, La Palapa Mexican Kitchen and Mezcal Bar, Stagioni Ristorante, The Vault Taproom, and Twelve Whiskey & Barbecue. The chamber will select a 2021 date to be determined for the Mingle when it is safe. Sponsors and ticket purchasers have been notified. Contact the chamber at email@example.com for more information.
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Concord Presbyterian Church will hold a Christmas Pancake Breakfast and Vendor Fair on December 5, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The event will take place at Concord Presbyterian Church, Fellowship Hall, 1907 Brownsville Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15210. Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 6. Proceeds will go to holiday food baskets for those in need. All must wear masks and be socially distant including vendors, workers, diners and shoppers. Hall capacity is 75 people per Covid-19 guidelines.
Small Business Saturday continues to be an annual holiday shopping tradition. It is just one part of the larger national Shop Small Movement that supports small businesses every day and everywhere. Whether shopping at a local family-owned clothing shop or getting take-out at your favorite local restaurant, supporting local small businesses helps to create more vibrant business districts and communities. “Shop Small, Shop South Side on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28,” Ms. Gonzalez said. “Visit the South Side Chamber of Commerce’s website directory at www.southsidechamber/directory for hundreds of featured South Side businesses. Connect to any of these businesses with a single click on your smart phone or computer. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, this holiday season looks a bit different, and it is likely going to be a tough one for small businesses and their customers. “In spite of our challenging times, together we can help to strengthen our South Side small businesses by choosing to Shop
Small in the South Side. Buy gift cards. Get restaurant take-outs. If our South Side businesses succeed, they will stay here and continue to enhance our quality of life. Let’s spread the word to in-
spire our South Side community and visitors to lift our collective spirits and Shop Small, Shop Safely in South Side on Small Business Saturday, this holiday season, and all year long.”
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