A Publication of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition
Squirrel Hill Magazine
Vol 19 | Issue 1
COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS SQUIREL HILL REVIEW: OFF THE BEATEN PATH FIND THE HELPERS: A LEGACY OF KINDNESS THE 2021 SQUIRREL HILL TREASURES
A lot of expertise goes into our therapies. A lot of laughter, too. It isn’t just world-class medical treatment that makes the difference. It’s our approach to caring. It’s finding joy in the journey. It’s combining elements of play with innovative physician and therapy services, including behavioral health, in an outpatient setting. At The Children’s Institute, every child’s care is family-centered and individualized to be as enjoyable as possible. The results we see are truly amazing. To learn more, call 412.420.2362 or visit amazingkids.org.
BRIDGEVILLE IRWIN PLEASANT HILLS SQUIRREL HILL WEXFORD
Squirrel Hill Magazine
Our Mission The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition gives voice to the hopes and concerns of our residents, institutions, businesses and visitors and
Vol 19 | Issue 1
SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION OFFICERS PRESIDENT Mardi Isler VICE PRESIDENT Marshall Hershberg VICE PRESIDENT Dalia Belinkoff SECRETARY Raymond Baum TREASURER Lisa Steindel ASST. TREASURER Paul Katz IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT Richard Feder
works to preserve, improve, and celebrate the quality of life in our vibrant urban Squirrel Hill neighborhood.
Every year, SHUC honors the places and people that make our neighborhood great. We’re thrilled to honor Brian Lee, Kiya
ON THE COVER:
O’Connor’s Corner on Murray Avenue Photo credit: John Schiller
Tomlin, Nancy Johnson, and our Place Treasure – Wightman Park, as our 2021 Treasures. Recognizing our neighborhood heroes is important to us. Beyond those we’re
FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. All other communications can be directed to email@example.com or (412) 422-7666.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Anna Batista, Raymond N. Baum, Jill Beck, Dalia Belinkoff, Guy Costa, Vivian Didomenico, Lori Fitzgerald, Sarika Goulatia, Heather Graham, Barbara Grover, Michael Henderson, Marshall Hershberg, Melissa Hiller, Martha Isler, Paul Katz, Joseph Ott, Mary Shaw, Lisa Steindel, Erik Wagner
honoring this year at our Treasure Awards Dinner (tentatively scheduled for November
The Squirrel Hill Magazine is a publication produced by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC), a nonprofit organization. As a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, donations to SHUC are tax-exempt, and SHUC complies with all 501(c)(3) rules and regulations.
11th—more details at shuc.org soon), we’re highlighting in this issue the many organizations and people who help make Squirrel Hill the special place that it is. The SHUC Board & Staff wish to especially acknowledge the hard work that Mardi Isler, SHUC President, put into the planning and
CONTRIBUTORS & PHOTOGRAPHERS Joe Bendel, Maria Cohen, Jacquelyn Cynkar, Lawrence Gerson, Mardi Isler, Steve Jaffe, Natalie Kovacic, Helen Wilson EDITOR Natalie Kovacic
building of O’Connor’s Corner at Murray and
DESIGNER Lynn Kawaratani
Phillips Aves, which was unveiled on April
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Maria H. Cohen
24. Though she didn’t work alone, Mardi championed the effort to transform this corner into a place all residents can enjoy. Congratulations to all who were part of this effort!
Natalie Kovacic Editor, Squirrel Hill Magazine
Squirrel Hill Magazine, Vol. 19, Issue 1, is provided by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition as a free service to the residents and businesses in the 15217 zip code. Subscriptions are available for $25/year. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced without permission. Printed by Knepper Press.
September 2021 | 3
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in every issue GREETINGS FROM THE SHUC PRESIDENT
COMMUNITY CHAMPION: JAMESON COMBS
SQUIRREL HILL REVIEW: OFF THE BEATEN PATH
by Mardi Isler
SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY: NEIL LOG HOUSE
features 12 2021 SQUIRREL HILL TREASURES 17
O’CONNOR’S CORNER HISTORY
FINDING THE HELPERS: A LEGACY OF KINDNESS
TEENS FACE MANY UNIQUE CHALLENGES
by Helen Wilson
SQUIRREL HILL EVENT CALENDAR
Dear Neighbor: We are coming to the end of 2021, and while we’ve certainly had some challenges as have all non-profits, we have been able to continue to pursue our mission because you contributed. This magazine is a large part of that mission, which is to celebrate our unique urban neighborhood. We sincerely thank you for your past support and hope that you can continue to give so that we can publish this magazine at least two times per year. You can go to shuc.org/ donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the SHUC office 412.422.7666.
Together we are making a difference — one project at a time.
By Mardi Isler, SHUC Board President IT WAS A GROUP OF NEIGHBORS in 2009 who described their longing for a respite area that would provide benches for walkers and shoppers and give vehicle traffic driving up Murray a good impression of Squirrel Hill. The corner at Phillips was identified as the ideal location because of the wide sidewalks and the proximity to food purveyors and retail businesses. What brought those neighbors together was a process launched by the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC) Board. It had recently approved the formation of a “Gateway Committee” to apply for and then receive a Design Center grant to hold a series of sessions with residents to determine the public space improvements desired to enhance the entryway into Squirrel Hill. The committee was made up of committed individuals who were all helpful as the work proceeded. Many of you will remember what it was like to come off the Parkway Exit to Squirrel Hill in those days. You passed what the URA described as blight, an overgrown garden, vacant buildings—nothing to indicate that this was one of the most desirable place for living and working in the city. Rothchild/Doyno was chosen to facilitate and record what upgrades were favored by residents. A clear consensus emerged from those design sessions. Participants wanted a welcome sign and, since there were no streetlights on Murray Avenue, lighting. They also wanted to restore the garden, green the concrete desert, and construct what was described as a “parklet.” From those initial discussions, Rothchild/Doytno drew what they heard and created a sketchbook showing the Phillips Corner as one
important focus area. Soon after, in 2010, the O’Connor family agreed to let the intersection be named “O’Connor’s Corner,” to honor our late Mayor Bob O’Connor who lived nearby and so often would be there chatting with constituents.
How this project happened is such an incredible tale of community...It is also a living reminder of the tenacity, perseverance and generosity that can make our wishes come true. One project at a time, SHUC raised the monies and made the suggested improvements—except for O’Connor’s Corner, the most costly and complicated venture. The entire history is on the SHUC website, where you can see the timeline of progress which brought the project to fruitiSlowly, though, the building blocks for the project began to fall into place. The private property owner offered that improvements for the project could go beyond the public right of way. Councilman Corey O’Connor, Bob’s son, was able to secure funds for the clock. After this, the pursuit of county and state grants CONTINUED on page 8
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SHUC PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
Letter from the SHUC President: Community Wishes Can Come True
CONTINUED on page 7
began in earnest with help from Senator Jay Costa and Representative Dan Frankel’s staff. Private foundations provided gap funding for the architect of record and other costs not covered by government grants. And City Public Works agreed to help with construction. By late 2019, sufficient funding was secured for the project, the bid was prepared, published and a prime contractor selected. The pandemic delayed the start of construction, but by the end of 2020 the parklet was substantially complete. How this project happened is such an incredible tale of community. Everyone who touched the project made a contribution—from city and county employees, to private organizations and individuals, to our own SHUC Board. The journey was long, almost 12 years from conception to completion. Many people helped multiple times in multiple ways—to the point that one even joked, goodheartedly, that I had come to the well one too many times! But that’s the secret of a good community, of course: we pitch in.
O’Connor’s Corner is a great remembrance to one of our city’s leaders and another addition to life in our neighborhood. It is also a living reminder of the tenacity, perseverance and generosity that can make our wishes come true!
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JAMISON COMBS By Maria Cohen, Executive Director FOR THIS ISSUE, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is honoring Jamison Combs, who you may have seen at the many community events held throughout the business district and around the neighborhood. Maria Cohen interviewed him about what makes Squirrel Hill unique and his hopes for the future of the neighborhood.
Can you tell me a little bit about how you came to Pittsburgh and where you are from? I was born and raised in the South. I always wanted to live in a place that has snow on a consistent basis and has four seasons. I visited Pittsburgh to see some friends, not knowing much about the city. I had a great time. I was in the process of coming out as openly gay, so being in the South was really tough. So in addition to wanting snow, I wanted to move to a city where I could be more confident of who I am. My friend Doug told me, “sometimes it’s easier to move to a new city confident of who you are.” So Pittsburgh was that new place for me. A chance to have a fresh start.
doing a lot of freelance work for nonprofits, web design and graphic design. She wanted someone who is creative and could bring fresh ideas to the Business District. Later John Katz, President of Brandywine Communities reached out to me asking for similar creative services for his company. I joined Brandywine in 2019, so now I am in the Squirrel Hill community on a daily basis, which has allowed me to build a stronger sense of community. I love being able to work on Forbes Ave every day.
Were the Squirrel Hill Night Markets already happening when you came on board?
So you’ve worked in Squirrel Hill for a while. How did you get your start working in the neighborhood?
Yes, but at the time I came on, we were trying to figure out how we could make them more beneficial for our merchants. The night markets were a chance for people to see the neighborhood and catch a glimpse of it, but our goal was to take that energy from the Night Markets to get people to come back and become regulars in the neighborhood. We want people to build relationships with our merchants and to “uncover” more in the neighborhood than just the Night Markets. We refreshed these events and have attracted more people than before.
Heather Graham [President of Uncover Squirrel Hill] is responsible for that. I started working with Uncover Squirrel Hill in 2017 at a time when I was
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What do you feel is unique about Squirrel Hill and why did you choose to live and work here? I lived in East Liberty for seven years prior to moving to Squirrel Hill. I love that Squirrel Hill is so much more walkable and it’s dog friendly! My dog Lily loves it! I feel much more connected to my neighbors and know most of them by name. One of my favorite things to do is garden out in my front yard. It’s been a great opportunity to talk with neighbors who walk by. There’s also the perk of being able to have Chinese food anytime I want.
Can you share some of the other things that you are doing for the community? I noticed that, from a safety perspective, you’re always on top of it and paying attention. I feel it’s important for us to be advocates for where we live and for our neighborhood. If I’m not going to speak up in those situations, where something is happening or needs to be fixed, then who is? That’s the principal I live by. I love to 311 the heck out of some graffiti and potholes. (Because you know, we all hate hitting potholes!) We all can take the time to report issues and be bigger advocates for our community. Small things make a big difference. Even something as small as picking up litter. As a result our neighborhood could be even better than what it is now. The planters on Forbes Avenue are another example. That resulted from talking to different merchants and working and living in the neighborhood and seeing that that crosswalk is dangerous and really thinking through: what can we do to make this better? So we reached out to the city and worked with merchants and that’s how we got those installed. Email is great, and texting is great, but I think whenever we can connect as neighbors or as fellow business owners, connect on a human level, that’s ideal. I loved how at one of our Community Days, Beth at SOLEVO Wellness brought a petting zoo. Their staff worked together to create a special experience for our neighbors. There’s something special about working together like that.
Which are your favorite places here to eat?
Have you noticed a difference in the neighborhood since the Tree of Life shooting?
My checking account hates Hidden Harbor! I can’t just go there and get a meal. I always end up getting an appetizer and three cocktails, too! Saturday or Sunday you will catch me at Five Points Bakery. Every time I walk in I still stand there for a minute and just think, “Is this real?” There are so many choices!
Yes, I think the neighborhood has become even more welcoming and supportive of each other, creating safe spaces for our neighbors to go and to be. I remember some of the merchants opening up their stores and saying “I’m not selling anything... just come in and hang out, enjoy a cup of coffee and being CONTINUED on page 11
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with community.” I remember neighbors taking the merchants up on that and just going in and needing a place to debrief and talk through stuff. I hope that spirit of community continues.
What are some of your other future hopes for the community? I think we’ve got to work to get a younger demographic involved in the community. On the Business District side, we’ll continue to create events that will attract families and younger individuals to come to the neighborhood. But we really want younger people to be a vocal voice in shaping the neighborhood and what Squirrel Hill looks like for the next generation. We need people who care about trees, care about benches; we need families that are passionate about playgrounds and are willing to find
the time to speak up and make that stuff happen for their children and themselves. Speaking up on social media is easy, it’s the click of a button. But it’s a lot harder to actually show up for a cause, show up for an event, and be there. So I’m hoping that as we go back to our usual routines, we work to create a new routine, one where we all show up more.
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September 2021 | 11
THE 2021 SQUIRREL HILL
EACH YEAR, THE SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION HONORS ITS “SQUIRREL HILL TREASURES” — people and places who make Squirrel Hill a great neighborhood to live, work, or play. We are cautiously optimistic (and excited!) that we will be able to gather in person to honor our 2021 Squirrel Hill Treasures at our annual Treasure Dinner on November 11, 2021. This event not only recognizes these special individuals and places, but also raises funds needed to provide the programs, advocacy, and this publication for free to the residents of Squirrel Hill. Stay tuned to our website (shuc.org) for more details!
Brian Lee has been the instrumental music director at Allderdice High School for 16 years, leading the marching band, orchestra, concert band, jazz band, musical pit orchestra, and pep band. Brian is a proud Pittsburgh Public Schools alumnus, having attended Colfax, Sterrett, and Allderdice. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BHA in Piano Performance and Statistics, with a K-12 Music Education certification. The Allderdice instrumental ensembles have performed in countless events around the county, from parades to marching band festivals to sporting and community events. They have performed for many Pittsburgh Promise fundraising events, pop-up community performances, neighborhood celebrations, and even at halftime of a Pittsburgh Steelers game and the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2017 Stanley Cup championship parade. Brian firmly believes that it is an honor and CONTINUED on page 13
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responsibility to provide quality musical entertainment for the community. Brian credits Mr. Ken Lutz, his instrumental music director at Allderdice, and Mrs. Jill Machen, musical director and choreographer, for inspiring him down this career path. Having seen and experienced the significant impact they made through their compassion, dedication, kindness, and musical excellence, Brian strives to follow their example in making a positive difference in his students’ lives. He is thankful for the hundreds of students he has had the privilege of teaching, motivating, and building relationships with, and he looks forward to hopefully many more years of leading the instrumental music program at Allderdice. Brian resides in Squirrel Hill with his wife, Natasha, and two young children, Eliana (trumpet and piano) and Connor (trombone), who attend Dilworth Elementary School.
meetings. She also helped fund the initial holiday decorations that USH purchased to brighten Forbes Avenue during the important November through January shopping season. Throughout her 35 years in Pittsburgh, Nancy has devoted herself to many organizations, including several in Squirrel Hill. She was a long-time board member and served as president of the Carriage House Children’s Center in the Wightman School Community Building. At the other end of the age spectrum, she served on the board of the Forward-Shady Apartments senior citizens’ complex. She also served on the board of the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh and has been an active member of the National Council of Jewish Women, based on Murray Avenue, since 1986. Nancy may be best known for her many years on the air at WQED, Pittsburgh’s public television station, hosting a variety of programs, participating in countless membership drives, and co-hosting the long-running and popular QED Cooks cooking show. Nancy is currently working to establish a Pittsburgh Walk of Fame, a sidewalk attraction highlighting notable Pittsburghers who helped shaped our nation’s cultural heritage.
Nancy Polinsky Johnson is the publisher and editor of Shady Ave magazine, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this fall. Nancy purchased the magazine in 2009, after six years serving as its editor, and she has crafted it into a beloved and respected resource for the East End of Pittsburgh, highlighting, among other things, the uniqueness of our Squirrel Hill neighborhood. When Uncover Squirrel Hill was reorganized (it was formerly the Squirrel Hill Business and Professional Association), Nancy was one of the first business owners to join and participate in monthly member
Nancy and her husband, Channel 11 news anchor David Johnson, reside in Squirrel Hill. They have two adult sons, Michael and Eric, and this year are delighted to have become grandparents.
Kiya Winston Tomlin has been a board member, advocate and active fundraiser for the Pittsburgh Promise for more than 11 years. She believes that supporting “The Promise” is investing in our community and improving our quality of life, since access to education provides hope and opportunities for our students. Kiya by profession is a designer and women’s apparel manufacturer. At the beginning of the pandemic when CONTINUED on page 14
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there were shortages she used the resources of her fashion business to design and sew washable reusable masks, donating thousands to hospitals locally and throughout the nation. Kiya has been designing, sewing, and making clothes since she was a young girl. She took her sewing machine with her to college at William & Mary’s College where she met her husband, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. Kiya later switched to the College of Design, Art, and Architectural Planning at the University of Cincinnati. She now has her own clothing line which began with re-imagined sweatsuits in 2014. Kiya’s designs are targeted at women over the age of 30 and are produced locally. She enjoys designing clothes that are comfortable and stylish for all body types and that help enhance a woman’s self-confidence.
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Kiya and her husband reside in Squirrel Hill with their three children: two boys, Dean and Mason, and daughter Harley Quinn.
The Wightman Park renovation is a project that took several years and many stakeholders to complete—and to the Community’s delight, it was finally completed last year! The space is a magical place for Children to play with thoughtful design by Landscape Architect Andrea Ketzel and an interactive sculpture by local artists Oreen Cohen and Alision Zapata. Among those leading the charge for the park renovations, Councilmember Erika Strassburger was key to making this much needed renovation happen. Along with the PWSA, the group also focused on stormwater mitigation, which is expected to benefit both our Squirrel Hill neighbors and residents in Shadyside. The strong partnerships and dedication that went into the design and build of the park make it a template for other parks in the area. We are extremely fortunate to enjoy the amenities of Wightman Park in our Squirrel Hill Neighborhood. It truly deserves this year’s Treasure Award for Place.
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7/24/20 10:53 A
Murray! Murray the Squirrel is available for events and visits to local organizations and schools. Call SHUC at (412) 422-7666 or email email@example.com to request a visit.
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SQUIRREL HILL REVIEW
SQUIRREL HILL REVIEW:
OFF THE BEATEN
INVITATIONS PLUS 1406 S. Negley Avenue invitationspluspgh.com
Yvonne Stein, current owner of Invitations Plus, came into owning the store by way of marriage. Her late mother-in-law, Goldie Stein, started Invitations Plus as Cards Plus, a cards and stationery shop, which eventually grew into five card stores throughout Pittsburgh. When Yvonne married Goldie’s son, Barry, she and her husband took over the family business when they had their own children. At the time, Yvonne was a teacher, but found once she and Barry had their own children, it was easier to run the small shops. “Today,” Yvonne says, “cards are not as big a seller; people buy their cards with their groceries and drugs, at Target. So I had to do something the big stores don’t do, which is invitations.” Invitations, personalized greeting cards and note cards became her emphasis. They first opened a shop in Shadyside, but found the square footage wasn’t enough to hold the inventory they needed to serve customers. That’s when they decided to move their store to Squirrel Hill, first on Murray Avenue, but eventually landing on the presentday Invitations Plus on Negley. Though their new location has worked well for them, COVID hit at an unfortunate time for Invitations Plus—the beginning of March is a critical time for their business. “I do the most business in early Spring, more than the holidays, because people are thinking about their spring and summer invitations for bar and bat mitzvahs and weddings.” They had to close their store, which hurt their business, and social distancing
measures continue to be a challenge as people aren’t planning large parties. That said, Yvonne has noticed a slight uptick in her business. “People are starting to feel safe, starting to feel more comfortable planning events,” she says, “even if they are in the future.” Why go to Invitations Plus rather than order invitations online? “I don’t encourage people to purchase an invitation based solely on looking online. You can start there, but you can’t feel the paper,” she says. And that makes a big difference. When you’re looking online, she tells us, you really have no idea what you’re looking at.” You can start your order online with Invitations Plus, however. Yvonne can start the design online and then the customer comes in to select their paper and envelopes and touch their creation. “I know the difference between paper that’s 50 pounds or 100 pounds. But if you don’t have experience in the field, you don’t know what that means when looking at those numbers online.” They can also print smaller batch invitations right in the store, as they have an abundance of cardstock available. “I’ve had brides come into me with a bag of invitations that they ordered online. And they thought it was nice when they were looking online. But it turns out they just weren’t the quality that they thought it was going to be,” she says. Buying these special invitations inperson makes all the difference! CONTINUED on page 20
September 2021 | 15
The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition wishes to extend their gratitude to the building and private property owner, Lucia Levantis, for working with us to create the O’Connor’s Corner Parklet, as well as to the businesses on this page who were good-natured and tolerant of the disruptions from construction projects. Thank you all!
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O’CONNOR’S CORNER HISTORY
THIS IS THE STORY OF HOW A COMMUNITY VISION BECAME A REALITY
Concept drawing with clock by Rothchild/Doyno designating O’Connor’s Corner after a series of community meetings and recommendations for Gateway improvements.
In September, PA DCED GRTF Grant Award of $75,000
2013 Site plan drawings for 4 Squirrel Hill “Nodes,” including O’Connor Corner by Pashek Associates In April, “O’Connor’s Corner” Clock installed with funding from Councilman O’Connor.
2017 In July, County CITF Grant Award of $150,000 included standars for tree pits and trench drians to reduce storm water run-off on the site and added benches for respite.
In November, hired Architect of Record Steve Hawkins.
2019 In March, received completed Site Survey. Coordinated with City Forester for Tree Pit location and TreeVitalize Application. Forester to choose tree species. Signed Encroachment Agreement with Private Property owner.
In April, submitted Encroachment Permit Application to DOMI. Agreement with AECOM to avoid conflicts with future BRT. Agreement with Port Authority to slightly reolcate bus shelter. Agreement with Gateway Outdoor to rehab/relocate the existing bus shelter.
In July, Colcom Foundation Grant Award of $25,000 allowed for the hiring of an architect of record.
In June, Frank Dawson drafted grading plan adding CONTINUED on page 18
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2019 (continued) ramps for safety and allowing 3 business entrances to become handicap accessible. In July, Attended Pre-Development Meeting with PWSA to determine permit requirements. Hired Bohler Engineering to prepare stormwater mitigation plan. Received Jack Bucher Foundation Grant Award of $25,000. In August, coordinated with Peoples Gas to rehab and adjust the location of the meters. DOMI responded to April Encroachment Permit Application with Email questions, responses helped to get permits from involved City Departments—PLI, DOMI, and Mayor’s Office. In October, Zoning Approval of ramps for handicap accessible businesses. DOMI legislative encroachment permit approved by city council. Resolution granting unto SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION the privilege and license to construct, maintain and use at their own cost and expense, (6) tree pits along with (6) benches at 2136-2144 Murray Avenue. Decision to delay construction until spring due to concerns about potential adverse weather conditions and setting concrete.
2020 In March, invitation to Bid in the Post Gazette March 13th and March 20th providing information to those interested in providing a bid to construct “O’Connor’s
Corner.” Stay at Home order due to COVID 19 requiring a dropbox to communicate with potential bidders and to receive bids, hand delivered bid packet also accepted. In April, Virtual Bid Opening followed by committee evaluation of submissions. Contract awarded to Baiano Construction, Inc. contract negotiated and signed with Baiano. City Public Works approves contribution of labor for storm water mitigation installation and tree pit construction. In June, Gateway Outdoor Advertising picked up Bus Shelter in order to rehab it. In July, Baiano Concrete Work completed. Lux Ornamental measures for railings for handicapped accessible ramps. City Public Works Tree Pits dug, while digging discovered water main pipe running through the center of the pits which meant the full extent of the stormwater mitigation could not be achieved. City Public Works installs forms to provide pedestrial protection from tree pits. In August, Gateway Outdoor Advertising returns rehabilitated bus shelter to the site. In September, DERO prototype outdoor seating platform installed by Baiano for Dumpling House. SHUC Mural Committee met with potential artists to review criteria for the Mineo’s Wall prior to concept drawing submissions. CONTINUED on page 19
Copyright 2021 Alison Zapata
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Coordinated Care Helping Seniors Stay Healthy at Home
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2020 (continued) In October, Mural Committee met on site with Alison Zapata, chosen artist for the Mineo’s Wall to tweak concept design. Lux Ornamental installs railings for handicapped accessible ramps. Mural design for Mineo’s Wall finalized by artist Alison Zapata, preparation begins for spring painting and installation. In November, Sestili Nursery plants Bamboo in planters outside Dumpling House and Boxwood in planter beside McGuinn’s Barber Shop. (Chef Lin and Ken agreed to water until mid-December when plants will be established!) Large pots installed by Baiano for planting Tree Lilacs. Sestili Nursery provides gravel for drainage and soil for large pots. City Public Works removes forms surrounding tree pits to be ready for planting. TreeVitalize, Western PA Conservancy provided and installed trees in pits along Murray Ave. Trees were also installed in large pots with the assistance of City Public Works Forestry Division. Six Zelkova and two redbuds planted in 3 X 10’ pits.
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SQUIRREL HILL REVIEW
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ARTISTS & CRAFTSMAN SUPPLY 5603 Hobart Street www.artistcraftsman.com Artist & Craftsman Supply is an employee-owned art supply store, and part of a small chain based out of Portland, Maine. When their founder retired in 2016, the company moved to an employee-owned model. According to Garrett Bower, Outreach Coordinator for the Squirrel Hill store, that means employees in the company accrue stock and a percentage of ownership each year they work. Garrett says there’s no such thing as a “bad product” in their store. Most employees know how every item functions, and if it’s not their forte, there is someone in the store who generally does. He says that’s a great strength of Artist & Craftsman Supply. “Our model gives employees incentive to engage with and stay with the company, and it helps build a strong culture, while helping the store maintain a small business ethos,” he says. “If you’ve been in the store in Squirrel Hill, it feels very much like a labor of love. This store is definitely something that we working artists in the store really care about.” Because of this model, Artist & Craftsman Supply employees know the ins and outs of everything in the store. “If we carry it, we’ve experimented with
it, played with it, or enjoyed using it,” he says. If a customer wants to learn about a particular medium in more depth, they can find someone who can do that with them. “It’s a very collaborative effort in that we get to engage with customers on a very personal basis,” he continues. “We get to educate them based on our experience. And we all gain knowledge from that, we gain knowledge through the work that everyone does. And we get to pass that on to the people who come into the store. “Every time we free up some space, we get to put our heads together and think: what do we want to carry? What’s something new and interesting that we think people would be really excited about?” Because of the knowledge-sharing culture they’ve built, there’s no shortage of active demonstrations in the store. Prior to COVID, and when it’s safe to do so again, Artist & Craftsman has working artists demonstrate a product or show different techniques. But what Garrett and his coworkers try to convey is that art is for everyone. “It’s a very human thing, to create art. If you’re a human person, and you think and you feel—you can make art. And I think that people connect with that and why they appreciate that about the store. We try to keep things very accessible.” Artist & Craftsman has significantly expanded the space inside their building on Hobart Street over the CONTINUED on page 24
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Finding the Helpers:
A LEGACY OF KINDNESS
JOANNE ROGERS SARA “JOANNE” BYRD ROGERS was a talented concert duo-pianist. She was married for more than 50 years to Fred Rogers, the longtime TV host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. The show’s puppet, Queen Sara Saturday was named after her. While Fred was alive, she was only peripherally involved in the neighborhood, but had her own causes, mostly involving music. After Fred died in 2003, she became the primary spokesperson for Fred’s legacy continuing his message of kindness. Joanne loved the recent renewed interest in Fred’s work, participated in the PBS 50th tribute, was in the documentary film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” And she was thrilled with her cameo appearance in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” To celebrate Joanne, it took a year to convince her to have a 90th Birthday party – the event was finally marked on her 91st! Joanne was special and will be missed by many. She was a hoot, funny and entertaining, she always had a story to tell. To mimic the sing-songy way she said good bye or good night, “whoo hoo” Joanne!
JEAN ROBINSON Jean Robinson could be seen at the Post Office parklet frequently. With the help of Seeders and Weeders Garden Club, she purchased all the bulbs, perennials and annuals for the Post Office Parklet and then lovingly planted, weeded and tended the garden, literally on her hands and knees for as long as was needed during Pittsburgh’s growing season. The abundance of daffodils she planted there are a gorgeous sight in early spring. Jean will be missed mostly for her delightful self. She was upbeat and cheery as she walked our streets, stopping to talk to those she knew – which was a very long list in Squirrel Hill. Jean made many contributions to Pittsburgh, serving on boards of organizations that make Pittsburgh unique. Not one for accolades, Jean was honored to be named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania and a recipient of the Jefferson Award for Community Service. SHUC’s memory of Jean will be the beauty and joy she added to our vibrant Squirrel Hill neighborhood. CONTINUED on page 22
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HELPING HANDS What began as a partnership between neighbors, grew into an army of helpers; neighbors helping neighbors, whatever the need. Steel City Helping Hands (SCHH) began at the start of the pandemic. It was several friends collaborating to provide food support to vulnerable Pittsburgh families, specifically those with in-home children with disabilities. These were some of our city’s most vulnerable, families unable to leave the home to receive assistance or help. Volunteers were coordinated to deliver food/toiletry items on a weekly basis, supporting the families for several months. As organizations and nonprofit leaders learned of the group, more families were identified. Word of mouth fueled our efforts. Founder Jen Tepe fielded independent requests, while the group simultaneously began operating as a pantry out of Jen’s garage. Partners in the field would send an “ask” and SCHH would respond with a delivery on demand. The group worked to network neighbors, helping to stock and re-stock the pantry
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as needed; utilizing neighborhood porch drop-offs, which then flowed back to the garage pantry. The four administrators are Jen Tepe, Jacquelyn Cynkar, Karen DiVito and Amy Mann. As they spent more time in the field, covering many neighborhoods throughout our city, new needs arose. Household items and furniture asks came in; homeless encampments and shelters were supported; the group responded to a displaced family, re-located due to a home fire; housing insecure families requested apartment set-up help. The operations grew and they added a storage space, alongside the pantry staples, to temporarily house furniture, clothing, shoes and other household items - all donated by the kindness of neighbors and held ready to go back out into the communities in need. Additionally, with the shift of many schools to online learning, the organization hosted a schoolsupplies drive and a desk/table drive, allowing them to give specific assistance to families grappling with the transition of children with disabilities and their siblings now schooling from home. At the heart of Steel City Helping Hands is generosity and a quiet kindness; in the spirit of CONTINUED on page 23
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JCC CENTER FOR LOVINGKINDNESS
Fred Rogers they act as and look for the helpers, while working to create connections within our city: connecting an ask to a volunteer and connecting neighbors to new neighborhoods. They deliver directly to homes, in a no-contact style during the pandemic. Their Helpers are a group of over 79 volunteers who have donated money, food and/or household items to the organization. Some have given time or made deliveries or supported collection drives. All are neighbors who are thinking about and supporting our city neighborhoods. At the heart of the mission is its flexibility to respond, to a front door. The group is limber, adjusting to lend a helping hand in whatever ways arise.
At the heart of Steel City Helping Hands is generosity and a quiet kindness.
Founded in 2017, The JCC Center for LovingKindness is an incredible resource for our Squirrel Hill community and our neighbors in other Pittsburgh communities. Their team of UPstanders has worked to support the community to help combat Hate/ Racial Injustice/anti-Semitism, worked to get as much Census participation as possible, has hosted many Interfaith Events, hosts weekly classes on engaging. challenging topics, has helped to get the vaccine to many Pittsburgh residents, especially the more vulnerable population and so much more. Melissa Hiller of the JCC shares “Reinforcing Joanne and Fred Rogers’ belief that there are helpers all around us, JCC Center for Loving Kindness UPstanders are strengthening the fabric of community and showing up to assist people at vaccination clinics and making appointment and reassurance phone calls to folks––neighbors––who need some extra support. UPstanders are living out that neighbor is a moral concept, not a geographic term.” The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition proudly partners with the JCC Center for Loving Kindness. We are very proud that Melissa is also a SHUC board member focusing on supporting our community. You can find out more abut the Healing Partnership at jccpgh.org/center-for-loving-kindness. CONTINUED on page 24
If you’d like to get involved with Steel City Helping Hands, please reach out to add your helping hands to the group. If you know of someone in need, please reach out to connect them to available support. You can follow Steel City Helping Hands on Facebook @SteelCityHelpingHands. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can always reach out to one of the four administrators, as they aim to do small things with great love.
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past three years. “When you open the doors, it seems like the store goes on forever,” Garrett told us. But they feel fortunate to occupy the space they do. “Sure, it’s the wonder of going off the beaten trail, but it’s not any more difficult to get to than anywhere else,” says Garrett, which really works for them. “We like having an element of being where hidden treasure would be. Parking is free.”
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THE 10.27 HEALING PARTNERSHIP The 10.27 Healing Partnership was founded after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue to support the community. All of the local Squirrel Hill businesses stepped up immediately. The group continues its healing work into the pandemic.
Artist & Craftsman has recently partnered with 412 Food Rescue, the 10.27 Healing Partnership, the JCC, and others, and they’re grateful for those collaborations. “Those partnerships have been really great for us. We feel a connection to our community, even while the store was closed or we couldn’t do in-person demos. We can still engage with people and show them that we care and that we’re still here, and that stuff feels really good. Especially right now.”
The JCC 10.27 Healing Partnership teamed up with local merchants including Starbucks Forbes Ave, EvelynJames Interiors, Littles and Coffee Tree Forbes Ave to create “Unity in the Community.” with Healing posters for local artist of all ages. You can view the Healing Posters online at 1027healingpartnership.org/ poster-gallery.
What does Garrett want people to know about the store? “My job is trying to engage our community, get people into the store and get interested in the materials we have. And encourage them to be creative and to engage with those things that they might, maybe have never really seen themselves sort of playing around with before. We’ve got something for everyone. We’re always excited to help young or old artists, anyone in between, any sort of skill range. We’re happy to see you.”
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HOW WE GUIDE Whether it’s in person or on Zoom, our three full-time college counselors provide regular, one-on-one counseling to students and families, and meet directly with college admissions officers across the country. Our counselors possess the expertise and the tools to ensure our students find their best-fit school, pursue their passions and achieve in a wide array of programs and fields. How will you guide your child toward success at a top college?
BECAUSE “HOW” MATTERS PK-12 • Four Campuses (photo taken pre-COVID-19)
PRESCHOOL THROUGH 8TH GRADE COEDUCATIONAL INDEPENDENT SCHOOL Proudly in the heart of Squirrel Hill 412.521.1907 | www.stedmunds.net
PHASE TWO OF WIGHTMAN PARK UNDERWAY
ACTON-Housing is converting the old Squirrel Hill Theater site into 43 new units of housing as well as first floor commercial space.
CONSTRUCTION OF 43 AFFORDABLE UNITS ACTION-HOUSING IS EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE that construction has begun on the site of the former Squirrel Hill theater (5824 Forward Avenue), converting this blighted site into 43 new units of affordable housing as well as first floor commercial space. The development team has been hard at work over the last year finalizing the design and financing for the project and it is finally time to begin work. The design team for this project includes ACTIONHousing (developer), Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (architect), PJ Dick (contractor), Iams Consulting (MEP engineer), and Morris Knowles (civil engineer). Ever since Krause Commons opened next door on the former Poli’s site, and ACTION-Housing received hundreds of applications on the first day, it was clear that there was unmet demand for affordable apartments in Squirrel Hill. ACTION-Housing is looking forward to bringing new affordable housing to the neighborhood. If anyone has any questions about the project, they can contact Lena Andrews at landrews@ actionhousing.org.
In October of 2020, four years of work culminated in the re-opening of Squirrel Hill’s Wightman Park. Improved amenities to this neighborhood asset include a new playground, distinct age appropriate play areas, a wooden pavilion, green space, and an accessible bathroom. Not only is this park an improvement for the children and families that will use the amenities, but it also has been an immense undertaking to address the stormwater and flooding in the neighborhood. The park has improved stormwater drainage features, including a rain garden that will hold over 52,000 gallons of water and underground stormwater storage below the baseball field. In recognition of this effort to combat stormwater overflow, the Wightman Park stormwater project won the 2020 Sustainability Award through the American Society of Civil Engineers. Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s (PWSA) Phase Two of this project will design a network of stormwater “green streets” in Squirrel Hill to direct stormwater to the improved infrastructure within Wightman Park, with construction expected to be completed at the end of 2021. By capturing the stormwater in the park, the project will reduce overflows of combined stormwater and sewage into the Monongahela River, flooding in the park itself, and basement sewage backups in the neighborhood. While PWSA is constructing Phase Two, the volunteer-run organization Friends of Wightman Park will begin efforts to maintain and take care of the park. The group has been tasked with beautifying and ensuring long term maintenance through annual plantings, mulching, weeding, litter pick up, CONTINUED on page 27
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fundraising, and more. If you are interested in volunteering, email email@example.com.
Artist in Residence Mimie Zlotnik
Thank you to our partners at the City of Pittsburgh, PWSA, and ALCOSAN for making this project a huge success. Be sure to bring your family and friends over to Wightman Park this summer and enjoy all that this wonderful park has to offer!
UPDATES TO WIGHTMAN PARK The Shriber family (Doug, Sarah and Nate) generously made a significant donation to help us get much closer to our fundraising goal and to open the park amenities including the bathrooms at Wightman Park. We are so thankful to the Shribers and hope that you will be able to enjoy all that newly renovated park has to offer!
Mimie is not a senior who makes art. She’s an artist whose studio happens to be at JAA’s Weinberg Terrace. Being who you are, no matter your age. That’s Aging. Creatively.
412-420-4000 | jaapgh.org JAA_SqHill_Mimie-FINAL.indd 1
September 20216/5/19 | 272:59 PM
DISCOVER CDS Squirrel Hill Magazine reaches 13.000 households in the 15217 zip code every quarter and thousands more online. Support the important work of your local neighborhood organization and get noticed! Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for our 2021 Media Kit.
Visit comday.org or call 412-521-1100 to about Pittsburgh's only co-ed Jewish
In our shifting world, CDS is inspiring our students with learning that is joyful, engaging, experiential, and enduring Visit comday.org/visit to schedule your virtual tour of Pittsburgh's co-ed, independent, Jewish day school
LET ME HELP YOU MAKE YOUR NEXT MOVE Linda Corcoran, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services Squirrel Hill Office C. 412.848.6967 O. 412.521.2222 ext. 258 E: email@example.com W: lindacorcoran.cbintouch.com Real estate agents affiliated with Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services are independent contractor sales associates, not employees. ©2019 Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services. All rights reserved. Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and Equal Opportunity Act. Owned by a subsidiary of NRT LLC. Coldwell Banker and the Coldwell Banker logo are registered service marks owned by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. 19FMOX_PIT_4/19
WHAT “ONE HEALTH”
MEANS FOR YOUR PET By Dr. Lawrence Gerson, V.M.D.
THE CDC’S ONE HEALTH OFFICE LEADS the agency’s One Health efforts in the United States and abroad. “One Health” is a comprehensive way to look at the intersection of human health, animal health and environmental health. The health of people is interdependent on both a healthy environment and healthy animals. Of all the 1,461 human diseases, 60% of them can be seen in multiple species. Additionally, the American Veterinary Medical Association states that in the past 30 years, 75% of the new human infectious diseases can pass to people from animals.
The health of people is interdependent on both a healthy environment and healthy animals. Examples of the ‘One Health’ concept include food borne illness. As a veterinarian, I have found clients way too casual in the feeding of raw meat. E. coli is a bacteria that can be found in contaminated meat products if not cooked properly. Salmonella found in poultry requires proper heating to destroy the pathogens. A current trend is to feed some pets raw food. But both home-prepared and commercial raw pet foods can have inherent dangers with pathogenic bacteria. Once fed, the raw product can carry bacteria
to pets that can transmit and ultimately infect humans. Especially vulnerable are children, the elderly, and immunocompromised people. Both human and animal health requires a healthy farm environment. Animals are used for food production in meat, as well as dairy and poultry, including eggs. And everyone, including vegetarians, must rely on pollinators for crop fertilization. How we raise crops requires proper sanitation and the cautious use of chemicals. Failure of keeping a clean environment can have implications to the health of everyone. The transition to large scale factory farming is very different from the small family farm of the past. Lyme disease is common in Pennsylvania—in fact, we have more cases here than any other state. Parks and woods are the perfect environment for the propagation of ticks. Pet owners and the general public have to be vigilant to prevent the spread of Lyme disease which can easily be missed initially as a diagnosis. Fortunately, there are several products available for pets that will prevent transmission of Lyme disease. Consultation with a veterinarian is recommended to discuss the best prevention for your pet’s particular exposure and situation. I prefer an oral product to minimize exposure of chemicals to people, and especially for clients with children or multiple CONTINUED on page 34
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shuc snapshots NOTES FROM YOUR SQUIRREL HILL URBAN COALITION STAFF
Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition Update
treasure with her tireless efforts to strongly combat hate in the Asian Community and for other Marginalized voices as well. She boldly and bravely shared her personal story. We are so proud to call Jasmine a Squirrel Hill Treasure! In late April, the verdict guilty on all three charges for Chauvin in the George Floyd case demonstrated accountability and was a step toward justice and hopefully healing.
By Maria Cohen, SHUC Executive Director
AS THE FALL APPROACHES and many more of us are vaccinated, we have enjoyed a small return to some semblance of normalcy with the understanding that some things just will not be the same and that we don’t yet understand how the variants, boosters and potential approval of a vaccine for children under 12 in the fall will affect our quality of life as we transition into the School Year. Fortunately, many of us have had a chance to enjoy a few moments of respite with some dinners out, concerts and fun with friends and family! After over a year of being in a Global Pandemic we have all very much need to heal, see each other again and have some fun! Issues of anger, violence and hate that were somewhat hidden percolated to the surface and smacked us in the face especially in the Spring and early Summer. We have been called to stand in solidary with our Asian community members and have done so by attending events to better understand the struggles and show our unbending support for our Asian community members, signing a letter against Asian Hate for the APALA, and have been sharing Anti-hate resources. Jasmine Cho, 2020 Squirrel Hill Treasure, demonstrated what it is to be a true community
We understand that more needs to be done with reforms and changes to our system. SHUC stands in strong support of our Asian, Black and all other Marginalized Community Members. Squirrel Hill is still Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and No Place for Hate.
When crisis occurs, it is impressive to see our Squirrel Hill neighbors rise to the challenge. When crisis occurs, it is impressive to see our Squirrel Hill neighbors rise to the challenge. We are a community of Upstanders, a term coined by JCC Center for Loving Kindness to honor its volunteers. The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is humbled and privileged to have collaborated with the JCC to serve our community in so many fundamentally important ways. In partnership with the Squirrel Hill Health Network, the JCC and the Allegheny Health Network, many volunteers and healthcare professional distributed the vaccines to our Squirrel Hill community and many other neighboring communities at the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh and other community centers. It CONTINUED on page 31
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may soon be necessary to reignite vaccine distribution for booster shots in our community and neighboring communities. These incredible organization have demonstrated that the will be continuously nimble and do what they need to do to support the safety of all of our community members and neighbors. We are very thankful! SHUC is also a supportive sponsor for the JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness Yom Kippur Service, A Yom Kippur Commitment: Moving Beyond Hate: Lessons from Billings, MT and Life in Pittsburgh, PA. A three part discussion collaboration hosted by the JCC Center for Loving Kindness and SHUC, to continue the discussion of how our community can combat hate will begin in October and be will be hosted monthly through December. We hope that you can join us! We are so thankful to our volunteers and regular Litter Patrol members who made the Squirrel Hill Grand Pandemic Litter Patrol Event happen and such a success. Special thanks to Barb Grover and her Litter Patrol team for their hard work and dedication! Another special thank you to Pittsburgh Honey and its team of volunteers who are caretakers for the I-376 Squirrel Hill interchange through the PenDOT Adopt-A-Highway program for that past several years. Their team of customers, independent volunteers, and members of the Lower Murray Merchants Association have been, and remain, dedicated to the beautification and improvement of the Gateway to Squirrel Hill, it’s five corner intersection, and the lower Murray corridor through to Browns Hill Road. Another big thank you to Solevo Wellness, whose team worked to clean the area around the Welcome Sign in our Squirrel Hill Gateway. It takes a village and we are thankful to our community for your support to keep Squirrel Hill clean! SHUC is cautiously optimistic and excited about the return to in person events! We were very excited to be a part of the successful return to Bach, Beethoven and Brunches. We are very happy about the return of our Night Market Events this month and in October
this year. We will be flexible and follow CDC guidelines as we host. Our annual Treasure Awards Dinner Event is planned for in-person on Thursday, November 11th. We are cautiously optimistic and will make adjustments to ensure the safety of our guests as needed. Please mark your calendars. We really hope to see you there! Please reach out to share with me what you would like the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition to continue, feedback about changes that you would like to see in our Squirrel Hill community and your thoughts and ideas to help support us in preserving, improving and celebrating the quality of life in our vibrant Squirrel Hill community. You can connect with me at mcohen@ shuc.org.
Squirrel Hill Rewards Give Back It is almost time for fall and we have another reason for you to visit Squirrel Hill. Now when you use Squirrel Hill Rewards to shop local and earn rewards you can donate your neighborhood points to some of your favorite local charities! Uncover Squirrel Hill has partnered with Saltwater Loyalty to add the option of donating points to one of three Pittsburgh based charitable organizations, including; the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh, Brother’s Brother and 1HOOD. CONTINUED on page 32
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The charities that are featured will rotate so keep an eye out for your favorites! Squirrel Hill Rewards provides “local love” to the Squirrel Hill business district by incentivizing sales through promotional offers and rewards. It’s a turnkey program for merchants to publish promotional offers where consumers simply register, view and redeem these offers. Saltwater Loyalty has designed a platform for destinations, such as Squirrel Hill, to unify their merchants under a branded, best-in-class, loyalty rewards program. The program is the first of its kind to create a coalition of merchants that provides consumers rewards for shopping and dining in the community. Most exciting, Squirrel Hill is the first business district to launch the program nationwide! Jason Gilbert of Saltwater Loyalty shared, “There has been a lot of talk about the importance of ‘buying local.’ One of the things I love about this program is that it provides residents a platform to be rewarded for keeping their dollars local. The addition of local charities naturally continues the cycle of community support.” Here’s how it works. New users simply create an account at SquirrelHillRewards.com. The program is secured by partnerships with Visa, MasterCard and American Express so customer information is always safe. Next shop or dine at local Squirrel Hill businesses using the credit card that’s been registered to your account. Finally, get rewarded! Instant rewards when you shop or dine. The community benefits, the consumer benefits and now charities benefit. Participating merchants include; ViviPilates, Silk Elephant, Kiin Lao & Thai Eatery, Bull River Tacos, European Wax Center, Global Market Retail, Chocolate Moose, Sunburst School of Music, I am Yoga and we are excited to announce our newest merchant to join, Little’s Shoes. We encourage our local Squirrel Hillers and Merchants to sign up for this exciting program!
SHUC Litter Patrol Update The 1st Annual Grand Pandemic Litter Clean Up took place April 18 through April 24 in Squirrel Hill, where over 100 volunteers donned gloves and grabbed some blue Giant Eagle bags to put litter in its place, making everything look free and new again. Led by Mr. Murray the Squirrel (a good friend of Johnny Patrus) and some great advertising by Barbara Jones, volunteers cleaned some areas that just needed a little tender loving care. SHUC wishes to thank Melissa Lysagh and her fellow Starbucks employees for lending a hand in the business district; Hayley Moffett and friends who cleaned up Commercial Avenue; and Jennifer Golovin and the cub scouts of Troop 1818 who scoured Wightman Park and surrounding streets. And thanks to all those couples and individuals who took a walk with a bag in hand and made our world here in Squirrel Hill a little brighter! Congratulations to all of our photos contest winners including the Yuans, Roslands, Ingrams, Hershbergs, District 8, Starbuck’s on Forbes/Shady, Bob Dannenberg and Jamison Combs! CONTINUED on page 33
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Photos show all the hard work done, which can be viewed on the SHUC.org website. And finally, thank you generous sponsors - Bagel Factory, Coffee Tree Roasters, Little’s Shoes and Mineos for your generous gift cards. It was truly a great effort by all and we can all enjoy their efforts!
In Memoriam Ceci Sommers
which literally saved SHUC. In its first year in 2011 the Treasure Dinner quadrupled the net revenues the prior dinner event had produced enabling SHUC to hire an executive director and better and more effectively serve the community. Ceci converted what she called “boring dinner events” into community parties that have sold out and enjoyed increased sponsorship support every year. We will remember Ceci fondly for her commitment and dedication to the SHUC mission.
Keeping Squirrel Hill Beautiful We appreciate the Western PA Conversancy’s staff work to rebuild the retaining wall for the Garden at the Parkway, and Michael Rosenbaum’s continued efforts to keep the garden weeded and planted with annuals. Thank you to Solevo for weeding and mulching the Squirrel Hill Welcome Sign, the first impression of our neighborhood when coming from the Parkway.
Ceci Summers was known for her many contributions to Pittsburgh but for the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition she was critical change agent. When Ceci joined the board she immediately signed up for the Magazine Committee. SHUC had recently acquired Squirrel Hill Magazine and was struggling to give it an appropriate identity. Ceci used her media savvy and her energy to help produce a publication that communicated with and served our community. She also passionately supported our efforts to improve the Squirrel Hill Gateway. Ceci’s most significant legacy however, was the SHUC Treasure Dinner. The awards, the Charlie Humphrey videos and innovative format was part of the annual neighborhood event she envisioned and produced
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pets in the household. We recommend a yearly Lyme disease test for all dogs along with the heartworm blood test. Rabies vaccinations are also critical for any dog or cat. Each year 59,000 people die worldwide from rabies. In Pennsylvania last year, we had 347 positive cases in a number of species. This virus has a reservoir in wildlife and the most at risk to us are raccoons, foxes, skunks and bats, some of which are common in the City. Feral cats are a frequent cause of exposure, as well as foxes and coyotes, which are sometimes found even in urban areas. As the CDC states, “By promoting collaboration across all sectors, a One Health approach can achieve the best health outcomes for people, animals, and plants in a shared environment.” You can learn more about this cross-disciplinary approach to animal, human, and environmental health at cdc.gov/onehealth.
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Locally grown, community owned. Offering a wide range of organic, natural, and local products. 7516 Meade Street Pittsburgh, PA 15208 www.eastendfood.coop 412.242.3598
MANY UNIQUE CHALLENGES,
ESPECIALLY DURING A PANDEMIC UPSTREET IS A MENTAL HEALTH INITIATIVE offering therapeutic services for anyone ages 12-22 to support them in challenging times, prevent crises, and reduce stigma around mental health. Many teens connect with UpStreet looking for help with school, motivation, friendships, and relationships. Some are reluctant to ask parents or school staff for help navigating problems because they fear not being believed, feeling dismissed, or burdening their parents. Talking to teens about mental health feels daunting for many parents. It’s common to struggle to know where to start the conversation, what questions to ask, and how to navigate important topics that teens can be reluctant to talk about. “For parents, talking about mental health may be difficult. The first step is just to be willing to start the conversation,” UpStreet Clinical Coordinator Erin Barr advises. “If they wait for their teens to bring it up, it may never happen. And some teens may feel like they’re burdening their parents by asking for help.” While UpStreet primarily caters to teens, parents can also reach out for help understanding how to navigate mental health conversations with their kids. UpStreet gives advice to parents on how to start these conversations and how to listen well. Barr advises not to force a dialogue if teens don’t have much to say in response but to leave the door open for future conversations when they do want to talk. Parents can normalize talking about mental health by bringing up their own mental health in casual conversation--talking about feelings, demonstrating self care, and sharing experiences with mental
health challenges. Once a teen does share their own experience, it is important to find a balance between listening and giving advice. Barr explains, “By asking if they want advice and honoring their response, you can begin to create a culture of trust and support which hopefully encourages future conversations.” It’s important to validate teens’ feelings, even when the source of these feelings is unclear. While teens’ struggles may be different than those of adults, parents should not minimize their feelings. Minimizing may risk shutting down future important conversations or not getting teens support when they need it. UpStreet Youth Advisor Asha Edson says, “Err on the side of believing them even if it’s scary—you’d rather take an exaggeration seriously than brush something serious off.” Barr says, “Understand that your teen isn’t choosing to struggle with their mental health. Ask what they need to get to a place where they feel motivated enough to do their homework or be productive.” UpStreet hopes that by providing advice and resources for parents to talk with their teens about mental health, they can help create better support systems for teens who are struggling. Have questions about talking to your teen about mental health? Talk with one of the UpStreet staff to get advice, tips, and resources at upstreetpgh.org.
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SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY
THE LEWIS + CLARK EXPEDITION COMES TO SQUIRREL HILL The present-day Neill Log House.
EVEN THOUGH COVID-19 STOPPED MANY OF US from traveling to tourist destinations, it didn’t stop tourism from coming to Squirrel Hill. In August 2020, the Squirrel Hill Historical Society was contacted by a consulting group that created the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience (lewisandclark.travel), a sustainable tourism website intended to be a companion to the National Park Service’s Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (nps.gov) website. The Lewis and Clark Historic Trail Experience not only gives information about how a particular location relates to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but also lists other historical sites, tourist attractions, restaurants, hotels, and shopping venues in the local area. What does Squirrel Hill have to do with Lewis and Clark? The answer is that in 1803, when Meriwether Lewis came to Pittsburgh from Harpers Ferry to take charge of the keelboat built here, some researchers think it likely that he passed by or even visited the Neill Log House, located in Schenley Park, adjacent to the Bob O’Connor Golf Course. The researchers believe Lewis was following a version of Nemacolin’s Path, an ancient Indian trail used by General Braddock and which later became the National Road, US 40. Although all traces of Indian trails are long gone from Squirrel Hill, some historians believe
By Helen Wilson, Vice-President, Squirrel Hill Historical Society
Nemacolin’s Path continued up and over Squirrel Hill, coming very near the Neill House, which had already been standing for possibly 30 years by the time Lewis arrived. It is considered to be the oldest domestic structure in Pittsburgh. Research that was done on the route Lewis followed to Pittsburgh provided strong evidence for the consulting group to put the Neill Log House on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience’s map as its easternmost point. The project manager’s contact with the Squirrel Hill Historical Society caused the society to look more closely at the Neill Log House. The SHHS made arrangements with the City’s Department of Public Works, which has jurisdiction over the house, to assess its condition. A preliminary visit by SHHS officers and DPW personnel in September 2020 found that the house needed to be repaired before it could be reopened. It had collapsed in the late 1960s, been restored and reopened by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation around 1970, then repaired and reopened again in the 1990s after another period of abandonment. The preliminary meeting led to more meetings and one SHHS member, Charlie Stewart, has a very special reason to be interested in the project. He is the great-great-great-great grandson of Robert Neill. CONTINUED on page 37
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As interest in restoring the Neill House grew, major historical preservation groups in Pittsburgh, aware of the historical importance of the house, have been involved in planning with the DPW on how best to restore it and manage it afterwards. Updates are reported in the SHHS’s monthly newsletters.
SQUIRREL HILL HISTORICAL SOCIETY Currently the Squirrel Hill Historical Society’s programs are held on Zoom on the second Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend, but registration is required for nonmembers. Email the SHHS at sqhillhist@ shhsoc.org to register. Nonmembers can also register to receive monthly program announcements. As soon as it is safe to do so, programs will resume at the Church of the Redeemer. Go to the SHHS’s website, squirrelhillhistory.org, for more information about the programs and to view videos of our past programs.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
The Story of Carrie Furnace RON BARAFF, Rivers of Steel
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 12
Reflections on the Tree of Life Shootings Three Years Later A group takes inventory in the Neill Log House in January 2021.
‘ Meanwhile, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition has taken charge of the tourism side of the project and has submitted a compilation of other things tourists can see and do and places they can stay in the local area. The map on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience’s website now highlights these places. Visit the website at lewisandclark.travel, scroll down to the map, click on it, and drag it until you come to the easternmost large orange circle. Then Zoom in until the orange circle separates into smaller blue circles. Clicking on the blue circles gives you information about what is at each location. If you click twice on the blue circle representing the Neill log house in Schenley Park, a new window opens with more information about the Neill house.
BETH KISSILEFF, Co-Editor of Bound in the Bond of Life, will speak about her book, with its compilation of first-person accounts that memorialize the Tree of Life massacre.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
KYLE HOUSER, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, will talk about the history of the organization, including Pittsburgh Filmmakers. He says, “The organization has always been one that has had to adapt, change with the times, and add new programs, and these days are certainly no different. Our shift to offering online programming and trying to keep our community safe as well as creative has been one for the books.”
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SQUIRREL HILL HISTORY
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Fall Upcoming Events SEPTEMBER
SQUIRREL HILL FARMERS’ MARKET
SQUIRREL HILL NIGHT MARKET
A neighborhood favorite, the Squirrel Hill Farmers’ Market is back in swing from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. on Sundays through November 21. The Market offers farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, cheese and baked goods, as well as flowers, coffee, tea, and small gifts. All markets accept food stamps (SNAP), credit and debit cards as part of Just Harvest’s Fresh Access program. Visit pittsburghpa.gov/events/squirrel-hillmarket to see a live map of the vendors who will be on site each week!
The Squirrel Hill Night Market’s last appearance of 2021 is on Saturday, October 2. Inspired by pop-up night markets in Asia and around the world, the Squirrel Hill Night Market is a free, outdoor street festival that’s fun for adults and kids of all ages! The Night Market features 75+ “I Made It!” Market artists selling handmade wares, nearly two dozen food trucks and Squirrel Hill restaurants, as well as live music with Sunburst School of Music, art, and performers. for the next, and how you can involved with our community. Meet new Executive Director Maria Cohen, chat with your neighbors, and join Committees to serve your neighborhood.
Sundays through November 21 | 9 am - 1 pm Beacon and Bartlett Parking Lot
Saturday October 2 | 6 - 10 pm Forbes and Murray Avenue
CARNEGIE LIBRARY PITTSBURGH SQUIRREL HILL All Carnegie Library library locations, including Squirrel Hill, are reopened with no time restrictions. Masks are still required for staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status.
A FAIR IN THE PARK
Friday September 10 | 1 - 7 pm Saturday September 11 | 10 am - 7 pm Sunday September 12 | 10 am - 5 pm Mellon Park The Craftsmen’s Guild of Pittsburgh and I Made It! Market is proud to present A Fair in the Park 2021 at Mellon Park September 10th, 11th, and 12th. The Fair features nearly 100 fine artisans from Pittsburgh and across the country. For hours, our participating artists, and more, visit afairinthepark.org.
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• Expanded hours and additional hours on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in Squirrel Hill • Capacity has returned to 100% • Computer use time is unlimited unless others are waiting • Laptop lending has returned and personal device use is permitted • The return of furniture to help you relax, read and work • Curbside and virtual services are still available for patrons who are more comfortable with contactless service.
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